Thursday, 8 April 2021

Bathing Machine

Public Domain,

I was reading Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier, about Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, renowned nineteenth century fossil-finders / palaentologists from Lyme Regis. 

There is a scene where Elizabeth's younger sister, Margaret, uses a bathing machine to swim in the ocean. 

"The bathing machine, a little closet on a cart, had been pulled far out into the water to give her privacy, and Margaret swam with it between her and the shore, preserving her modesty. Once or twice we caught a glimpse of an arm or a plume of water as she kicked." (page 48)

That got me wondering about any other references to these modesty-preserving contraptions, and their history. There's a pretty good write-up in Wikipedia

Above: Mermaids at Brighton swim behind their bathing machines in this engraving by William Heath, c. 1829. 

Queen Victoria used a bathing machine at Osborne Beach on the Isle of Wight, where it can be viewed. 

There is even a children's picture book entitled
Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine. Read more about it here.

Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine | Book by Gloria Whelan, Nancy Carpenter |  Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster AU

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Swimming with Menieres Disease

You may have noticed in my latest blogs that I have a pink earband around my head. That's because I have developed Menieres Disease, which without getting too boring about it, is a condition of the inner ear affecting balance and causing vertigo and all sorts of horrid stuff. One treatment which seems to be successful is the insertion of an ear grommet (just like the little kids have when they suffer 'glue ear' etc).

The upshot is that I can't risk getting water in my grommet-ear. So, to help keep an ear plug in place, I use the neoprene headband.

It's not perfect though, and so, reluctantly, I have had to adapt my swimming to head-out-of-water style. I really really miss gliding along doing freestyle, water slipping over my body, caressing it.  But, needs must!

I also found I was getting an ear infection most times I swam at the public pool .

This year I used part of my retirement savings to install an 'Endless Pool' - one with a swim jet. It works really well, and is a decent substitute for lap swimming. Keeping up exercise is also really important with Menieres, and for general health. As anyone reading my blog knows, swimming is just something I have to do!

So, I have devised a routine involving a retro 'ladylike' head out breaststroke (while trying not to strain my neck!), side-stroke, which I've always loved, and an on-the-back kicking and 'scooping' motion, or beating with my arms like a Pilates "Hundreds" move.

Fortunately I can also still enjoy trips to calm conditions beaches, and have even risked snorkelling in Fiji, with all the headgear in place. And some antibiotic drops in case of infection!

So far, it's all going well!

The getting in end. The water is pushed through the grille at the end and returned via the channels located under the side benches.

The swim jet and filter at the one end. The jet can be adjusted to your swimming pace. 

I do a bit of step pool-robics too. I put music on and go for it! 

Still love a bit of sea baths (or beach as long as it's gentle - no diving through waves!) swimming. Here at Newcastle baths.

And a dip this summer in the Tuross River.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Mahon Pool with Darelle and Sally

Today we returned to one of our favourite pools, Mahon at Maroubra.

What's good about it:

  • there is a change area (though it desperately needs updating), so you don't have to travel home with that clammy "swamp-butt" feeling
  • the water is lovely, and because the seas get high at Maroubra, it does get regularly flushed
  • there is a great cafe just across the road. Plus they were able to serve me a delicious salad without any salt! RARE!
  • there is soap available in the toilets
  • it isn't too much of a "scene". No yummy mummies with oversized "look-at-me" strollers, just a great mix of people of all ages and ethnicities
  • parking is relatively easy to find, even on a Saturday of a long weekend, in the school hols
The downsides:
  • not much shade
  • the steps are getting a bit slimy with algae and are a bit precarious for those of us with some balance issues

Monday, 8 January 2018

Sally and Darelle's Swimming Adventures - Guerilla Bay

An overcast and humid day for a final swimming adventure. The northern end of Guerilla Bay where there is a shallow cove.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Darelle and Sally's Wild Swimming Adventure. 7 Jan 2018, Part 2. Happiness restored!

Between fish and chips at Bermagui, and scone and coffee at Bodalla, we had a refreshing "wild swim" immersion in the Tuross River at Eurobodalla. The river passes under the bridge at the turn off to Nerrigundah.

The older wooden bridge is still in operation while the new, higher concrete model is being constructed.

 Trolls under the bridge waiting for billy-goats wanting to cross

We reckon under the new concrete bridge are the remains of a first, lower wooden bridge. Possibly swept away in a long ago flood?

Planking in the river!

Sandy bank

Sally and Darelle's (non) Swimming Adventure - Blue Pool, Bermagui. 7 Jan 2018 Part One

We set off with such high hopes, fuelled by fond memories Sally had of the two previous times she had swum at Bermagui's Blue Pool. Its setting down the clifftop, with a backdrop of the sapphire-blue sea is quite stunning.

The first view from the clifftop was non-too promising. For a start it wasn't looking blue, and second, noone was in it. Also, though the car park was busy, people seemed to be coming and going in quick succession.

Disappointment was our name:

The reason had been posted: CAUTION Algae Bloom. Due to insufficient swell the Blue Pool hasn't been able to flush itself out which has allowed Algae to grow. 

After admiring the view, and spotting some seals in the ocean, we retreated into town for fish and chips for lunch.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Sally & Darelle's Swimming Adventures: Rosedale (Boatshed Beach) and Tomakin Cove

We started off with a walk to Rosedale Beach - north end (Boatshed Beach) for a gentle (if brisk!) dip. Then off to Mossy Point for a cafe, and a dip at the even cooler and brisker Tomakin Cove. 


Dolphins, ahoy!

Three young men were having a great time jumping and back-flipping off this rock.

The water in Tomakin Cove is shallow (good for swimming laps)

Tomakin (Tomaga) Cove