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Pools II (2004)

Alban doing his thing in the summer of 2004 at the Cabrillo College pool.

We start this second look at our family in pools with Alban diving. The end of this particular dive is in the next photo.

The smooth sleek end of Alban’s dive.

Whatever it is, if it’s done in the air, Alban does it well, and makes it look effortless: think trampoline or skateboard or mountain bike.

The only time he tried it out, he took to diving like a duck takes to water. The focus of this shot isn’t perfect, but he took just a one-week diving class through the Red Cross in June of 2004, coinciding with swimming classes at the same pool for Charlie and Alex.

Then, as tends to be par for the course for Alban, he did not want to do it any more. It’s hard work being parents!

I never understood why he wouldn’t want to continue sports that he seemed to be a natural in: diving was one of them, but he refused point blank to do anything more with it after that Red Cross class.

I constantly regret not pushing him harder, even over his maman’s objections. She thought that I was being mean to him when I pushed him. I don’t think so. He needed a dad at home, not just for his occasional vacations in France with Pierre.

The first step! In Carentoir, at l’Etang du Beauché, during our summer vacation at La Grée.

Water was high on the list of the children’s pleasures, at least until their respective late teens, that is. So we sought it out. As often as we could, we’d find a hotel or motel with a pool when we went on a trip or to an out-of town soccer tournament. Summer holidays in France and England were accompanied as a rule by pools or lakes. We even signed up for pool-related activities in Santa Cruz.

Step 2 in a great afternoon for the boys at the local swimming hole.

2004 included a mixture of water-related fun, and a fair bit of it is on this page. I had free time that summer, as much as any summer before or since, and profited from that to take a lot of photographs of the family.

Splashdown! Charlie asked for these pictures to be taken. This was real fun!

Actually, there’s water all over this website: at the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, our little piece of paradise on the Pacific Ocean, or at Thorpe Park, an English fun fair, on the River Thames in Marlow, my home town, on the beach in St Malo on the Brittany coast north of Brocéliande, in Florida, at other swimming pools . . . the list goes on.

2004 also included Charlie in this cute series of pictures taken at l’Etang du Beauché, near La Grée, our favorite summer holiday destination, in August 2004. He and Alban took turns to jump off this bridge, Alban adding backflips and somersaults to the basic jumps.

England’s great white hope, about to create an enormous splash in Santa Cruz!!

Dropping below the children we simultaneously drop the level of elegance. First, a few words of explanation, to set the stage as it were.

Maman registered the four younger children for morning swimming or diving classes during the early summer of 2004. She then took them for more swimming most afternoons in June, when the weather stayed wonderfully warm for Santa Cruz (which, being on the Northern California coast tends to be cool in more ways than one). They loved it. For them, there was no such thing as too much swimming!

Alex’s turn to splashdown!

I periodically accompanied the four of them to their classes, occasionally trying to join in in my own modest over-50s way. Emphasis on modest!

I am the extremely white-skinned individual above, grimacing while flying through the air, determined to jump at least once from the springboard while the children were doing their endless jumping routines. Like I said, I just wanted to join in, and ignore the advancing years!

During all those afternoons in the month of June I plucked up sufficient courage to make a total of two jumps from the springboard. These two jumps did salvage my pride, although if the photo is anything to go by, they probably should not have!

Alex resurfacing. Check out his expression! He can’t keep out of the water, but is very focused on keeping the water out of him!

Next is a short series taken of Alex during the same long and wet vacation in Brittany in August 2004.

This swimming pool with its fun slide was on the bank of the Lac aux Ducs near Ploermel, a Breton town in Brocéliande and near La Grée. La Grée was always good for watering holes with fabulous names and in this case quite a history.

The Dukes here are the Dukes of Brittany, whose famous chateau de Josselin is nearby. Cardinal Richelieu destroyed four of the nine towers of that gorgeous chateau as a gentle reminder to its then occupant,  Henri II de Rohan, that protestantism was a bad idea. Brittany overflows with the most fascinating history at times.

Maman did not register Daphné for the Santa Cruz swimming classes, because at almost 17 she was arranging her own summer itinerary. But by one of those flukes that enrich the mother-daughter relationship, she had arranged a swimming class for herself, which overlapped in part the classes of the younger children. Here she is learning backstroke after Alex and Charlie had finished their class.