Saturday 11 February 2012

Jonathan Ocean Swimming

(New novel: work in progress...)

Jonathon Tye had been sleeping very well at the Maison Bleu. The air was good - balmy but still fresh with salt on the breeze. He had always loved swimming in the ocean and this week he'd managed a several dips in the warm waters of the Mediterranean with the boy Joe Conroy, who was very easy company.

He thought of the time he swam too far out to sea at Scarborough, leaving his mother and sisters shivering behind their canvas windbreaks, raked by the chilly breezes bouncing off the North Sea. That was when he discovered how much he liked sea swimming. In the salt water he felt strong, light and graceful - completely unlike his earthbound, lumbering, oversized self. There in the cold North Sea he had relished his chilly freedom, scything his muscular arms to force his body through the water, now and then turning onto his back to rest his lungs and steady his breath before, gulping air, he turned again to set off again for the horizon. Here the Mediterranean was soft as milk, a different kettle of fish from the North Sea. But there was the same delight in striking out for the horizon.

Then he thought of his headmaster's delight when, as a young teacher he volunteered to drive the minibus to Scarborough for the Wednesday swimming trips: one option on the games afternoons. Although this group were mainly shirkers and dropouts they were no bother. When he parked the mini-bus on the sea-front half of them would vanish, sliding off to smoke or drink, invading of the fairground with infantile glee. They would turn up again at the appointed time and pile into the mini-bus, filling it with the smell of fish and chips and half-digested beer. He would laugh at their groans when he opened all the windows wide and drove fast to get rid of the stench.

Jonathan’s mind moved on now to Joe Conroy and his rather different take on a trip to the seaside. The boy had an intuitive grasp on the right word in the right place and the courage to say what he felt. And he had such experiences, such insights to communicate. Jonathan sensed that there was power there, like a ticking bomb.

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