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Swimming Pools

Here’s Alban at Disneyland.

Alban at Disneyland in Anaheim in February 1999

Is this boy happy, or what!! By the way, Alban does not want to convey the impression that he cannot swim. He can now. When this photo was taken, in February 1999, he could too, but it was easier to wear the lifejacket than not!

Tom at Disneyland in Anaheim in February 1999. The children claim that there was a sign behind him saying “No Diving.” I wouldn’t be surprised! Such admonitions were at times viewed as a challenge.

For our children, a vacation without a pool was like halloween without candy. If we announced a weekend in an interesting hotel or a trip for a few days, the first question was invariably “is there a pool there?” or “do they have a pool?”

Being well trained, we parents normally managed to find a pool at most destinations. Some, like Disneyland or Florida, were easy to find. Some, like central London, were more of a challenge. We worked at it.

It was worth it. Pools were just the same as Disneyland for all of the children, happy places, fun places, places to enjoy being children. No wonder the parents put effort into finding them!

Daphné at Disneyland in February 1999

The first photos on this page are a collection from our trip to Disneyland in Edgar (our RV for two or three wonderful years: holding the pen has its advantages!) in February 1999, during Nick and Tom’s visit from Paris. That was a difficult choice for the children, swimming pools or Disney rides. As you can see, swimming pools did pretty well!

We don’t have a lot to say about swimming pools. The parents mostly sat and watched over their charges, and the children mostly played, and splashed, and played again. I joined in the playing from time to time, lobbing one of the smaller children into the air for a serious splash, or ambling harmlessly around among them. Good clean fun!

The four of them together in a pool at Disneyland, February 1999. Don’t forget, those of you who do not live in our sunbelt, that it is often hot in the Los Angeles area in February!!

Water rides were as much fun as pools! This was at Thorpe Park in England, not far from Marlow.

I do remember a lot of worrying, especially at first when they were younger, constantly trying to monitor each of the several children in a pool. They were not easy to follow or keep up with, each incessantly mobile and constantly changing direction. But no-one ever came to any real harm.

Except me! I somehow managed to graze my nose on the floor of a pool while diving into it, much to the amusement of the children present. This was at a hotel near Heathrow airport. There were comments made in poor taste about the pool not being deep enough for my nose while diving!

As the children aged, our worries were of course reduced. They were all at ease in the water pretty quickly.

Charlie at Christmas 1998, again at Disneyland.

While watching over the children in pools had its worrying side when they were younger, it was also serious entertainment. They were all like puppies in swimming pools, splashing around, laughing, doing naughty things proudly, so fun to watch and play with.

My time at pools was spent alternating between relaxing to watch my puppies gambol and romp (or joining in with a sort of gambol and romp of my own), and running around to make sure that they were each still in one piece.

Alex at our hotel in London, July 2001.

The children periodically deplored the frequent absences of their parents from swimming pools (as well as from the ocean), which we tended to attribute with reasonable accuracy to our supervisory responsibilities. I suspect that we also had a healthy respect for water. Alban had an alternative explanation at one point when the topic came up in Florida: “they are too busy in their bed doing something that I am not going to tell you!” He was 11 years old. Not quite, Alban! Pretty much whenever you were in the pool, we were watching.

One of those notable times when both parents actually got our feet wet: The Sonesta Beach Resort, Key Biscayne, Florida, in 2000. It was seriously hot, and all of us spent most of our time in this magnetic hotel swimming pool. Marie-Hélène, the only one of us missing from this picture, took it. But this was one of the rare occasions when she was splashing around with the rest of us!

More water: here is a log ride at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and here‘s a boat, and here a ferry, and the most amazing swimming pool we’ve swum and dived in. Water is fun wherever you find it. 

Pools were right up there with Disneyland, places where whatever else was happening before or after or around and about, this family had fun, fun, fun!