You can change the swimming pool but you can’t change the people’ is what someone said to me shortly after visiting the new pool in Gosport.
This particular friend was concerned about the colourful language used by some of the swimmers.
I didn’t let this put me off for too long and went to have a look at the town’s new public pool during half-term.
However, with deadlines pressing, I decided not to swim, and to instead sit and work while my daughters enjoyed the water – with strict instructions not to listen to anyone except the lifeguards.
They are both old enough, and good enough, to swim alone, but I do like to keep an eye out for them between paragraphs.
And that’s where it all went awry. The designers of the new, improved leisure centre have created a seated viewing area by the toddler pool (not what I needed), and another area upstairs where you pay 70p to stand as apparently the balcony is too high to see over – no good for multi-tasking me.
Resigned to the toddler viewing area, I sat and craned my neck to get a view of the big pool and my girls, who swam into my view once every 10 minutes or so.
That was okay, I guess. I was after all trying to work, until I was asked – very politely – to unplug my laptop as it wasn’t PAT tested.
Maybe this was an uber polite way of saying ‘don’t steal our electricity’? I’m not sure, but I wonder how the train companies manage when their commuters plug in their goods, PAT tested or not.
Minutes later my laptop ran out of juice, presenting me with the opportunity to sit and reflect on my surroundings.
The floor was covered in crisps and crumbs, there were dirty tables and smudge marks all over the windows.
Vending machines were stuffed with chocolate and sweets, and not a healthy snack in sight. That irked me too.
What I should have done is gone outside in the fresh air and looked in at the swimmers for free through the windows from the car park, like some odd-looking passers-by did.
The old version of the place was smelly and dirty and very, very cold, but at least the layout made sense.