Monday, 27 April 2009

My cards - swimming theme

I really enjoy making Artist Trading Cards, mostly using rubber stamps and inks.
These are 2.5 inch x 3.5 inch cards, the size of the old swap cards we used to trade as kids.

The principle is simple - they can't be sold, they must be swapped. I belong to a few groups.

After swimming in a few ocean pools this summer, I was inspired to make a card combining my love of stamping, photography and swimming.

I used one of my photos of Bronte Baths to make this one. I used part of a rubber stamp (Swim) and stamped it on acetate. I overlaid it on the resized photo and scanned. With the result I then used a photo manipulation program, ULead Photo Express to turn it into a watercolour effect, and add the bubbles.

Below are some more ATCs I've made with a swimming or beach theme.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Cabarita Pool

I was tooling around the Inner West of Sydney recently, and decided to take a peek at Cabarita Pool. Fortunately there was a great viewing area on the outside, cos I didn't have my swimming stuff with me (no, I don't ALWAYS carry it around....note to self: point to consider!)

There was one lone lap swimmer, and it's true it was a fairly windy day, but the board at the entrance said the water temp was 26 deg. Not bad at all.

To get to the pool, you need to enter through Cabarita Park, on Hen and Chicken Bay, part of Sydney Harbour/Parramatta River.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Two recent pieces from newspapers

First, from the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader on Thursday April 9, 2009: "The Sunrise Jellybean Mermaids are a happy bunch of early-morning swimmers, aged from 55 to 86, who have been meeting for more than 40 years at Oak park Pool for a traditional sunrise start to the day. The name Jellybeans stems from the colours of their bathing caps resembling jellybeans bobbing in the pool. The group is known to belt out a song or two to the amusement of passers-by. In this picture “King Neptune” appeared with the mermaids to mark the change of daylight saving. " Long may you swim, Jellybeans! ***

The following humorous piece is by Mark Dapin, a regular columnist in the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Weekend Magazine.

It made me laugh.

Pool Resources by Mark Dapin. Good Weekend April 18, 2009 "I come from a land up over, where swimming in the sea is an eccentric minority pastime and most of the beaches could double as roughcast plasterwork. I learned to swim when I was about nine years old at the “municipal baths”, which was every bit as glamorous and modern as it sounds. In England, all the swimming pools used to be called “baths”, which served to remind people not to go there too often or stay in too long. I could not see the point of swimming. I lived in the north of England, where nobody ever swam anywhere. Public-service announcements on TV warned that a child could drown in two inches of water, so what sort of nutter would jump into a whole metre of liquid death? When I was 12, I moved to the south of England, where water sports are slightly more popular. At school, they asked if I could swim, and I told them I could not, so I was consigned to the shallow beginners’ pool and ignored by the PE “teachers”, who had a furious contempt for anyone who might need to be taught PE. The other kids in the non-swimmers’ group were not the brightest nor the most robust boys in the school, and I started surreptitiously swimming, out of boredom. A PE teacher spotted me, and that was the end of that. I had to move up to the swimmers’ group. But I was useless. I never managed to progress further than 25 metres, or master a style more complicated than breaststroke. I had barely ever swum in open water until I went travelling to South-East Asia and discovered snorkelling. To my mild surprise, I noticed the seabed was not sealed with neatly grouted tiling, and was home to various forms of life apart from other boys’ feet. In fact, it was a teeming dream world of brightly coloured domestic refuse, including plastic bags, Singha beer bottles and car tyres. Among the cheerful detritus of Thailand’s modernisation, I saw poised, gaudy fish and outrageous ears of coral, and these combined to awaken in me the swimmer who had been asleep since cheesecloth shirts were fashionable (or, at least, my mum told me they were fashionable). When I arrived in Australia, 20 years ago, I began to visit the coast, but my beach-going – like my hair – dropped off with the years. I became a naturalised Australian, but felt slightly fraudulent, since I had rarely even owned a pair of Speedos. Then a swimming pool opened in my apartment complex. One day, out of curiosity, I climbed into the pool and decided to test how far I could swim. After a couple of attempts, I discovered I could swim any distance at all. As long as I stuck to breaststroke (which is easy, because I still can’t do any other stroke), I never got tired. Everyone else who swam in the pool wore goggles to keep water out of their eyes, so I went and bought some, too. I immediately lost them, and bought some more, but this did not satisfy my sudden desire for swimming equipment, so I purchased putty plugs to keep water out of my ears, and considered shelling out for a special peg to keep water out of my nose, but worried it might make me look like a gimp from a bondage and discipline show. Many pool users also wore caps to keep the water off their heads, but if you’re that wary of getting wet, you should probably stay out of the pool. I abandoned the goggles and the plugs, but I have stuck with the swimming. It is relaxing and rewarding, if a bit boring. The natural-born swimmers in the lanes on either side of me go much faster, and I won’t even try to go into my ridiculous attempts to master freestyle (there is a reason it is not called the “Pommy crawl”), but the whole pool experience makes me feel strangely and satisfyingly Australia, as if I do belong in a land down under after all. "

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Swimming in fiction: The Famous Five

The Famous Five adventure series features a few swimming scenes, as the super-slueths take off in their school hols fighting crime and evil-doing the length and breadth of England - well the West Country part of it, really.

Here's bossy Julian, wimpy Ann, tomboy George and gormless Dick (not to forget Timmy the Dog) and all the Blyton sexist and class-based stereotypes played out in some swimming secnes.

Extract from Five Get Into Trouble (first pub Nov 1949):
"Now for the lake," said Julian, folding up the map which he had just been examining. "It's only about five miles away. It's called the Green Pool, but looks a good bit bigger than a pool. Gosh, I could do with a bathe. I'm so hot and sticky."

They came to the lake at about half-past seven. It was in a lovely place, and had beside it a small hut which was obviously used in summer-time for bathers to change into bathing suits. Now it was locked, and curtains were drawn across the windows.

"I suppose we can go in for a dip if we like?" said Dick, rather doubtfully. "We shan't be trespassing or anything, shall we?"

"No. It doesn't say anything about being private," said Julian. "The water won't be very warm, you know, because it's only mid-April! But after all, we're used to cold baths every morning, and I daresay the sun has taken the chill off the lake. Come on - let's get into bathing-things."

They changed behind the bushes and then ran down to the lake. The water was certainly very cold indeed. Anne skipped in and out, and wouldn't do any more than that.

George joined the boys in a swim, and they all came out glowing and laughing. "Gosh, that was cold!" said Dick. "Come on - let's have a sharp run. Look at Anne dressed already. Timmy, where are you? You don't mind the cold water, so you?"
The next day was fair and bright. It was lovely to wake up and feel the warm sun on their cheeks, and hear a thrush singing his heart out....

"I'm going for a bathe," said Julian. "Anyone else coming?"

"I won't," said Anne. "It will be too cold for me this morning. George doesn't seem to want to either. You two boys go by yourselves. I'll have breakfast ready for when you come back. Sorry I won't be able to have anything hot for you to drink - but we didn;t bring a kettle or anything like that."

Julian and Dick went off to the Green Pool, still looking sleepy. The two boys were almost at the pool. Ah, now they could see it between the trees, shining a bright emerald green. It looked very inviting indeed.

They suddenly saw a bicycle standing beside a tree. They looked at it in astonishment. It wasn't one of theirs. It must belong to someone else.

Then they heard splashings from the pool, and they hurried down to it. Was someone else bathing?

A boy was in the pool, his golden head shining wet and smooth in the morning sun. He was swimmign powerfully across the pool, leaving long ripples behind him as he went. He suddenly saw Dick and Julian and swam over to them.

"Hallo," he said, wading out of the water. "You come for a swim too? Nice pool of mine, isn't it?"

"What do you mean? It isn't really your pool, is it?" said Julian.

"Well - it belongs to my father, Thurlow Kent," said the boy.

Both Julian and Dick had heard of Thurlow Kent, one of the richest men in the country. Julian looked doubtfully at the boy.

"If it is a private pool we won't use it," he said.

"Oh, come on!" cried the boy, and splashed cold water all over them. "Race you to the other side!"

And of all three of them went, cleaving the green waters with their strong brown arms - what a fine beginning to a sunny day!

The marvellous website Enid provides a plot summary of each of the books, and some reproductions of illustrations.

In Five Go To Billycock Hill, "Toby takes the Five down to a pool for a swim, but Julian is concerned about the sign that informs them the area is restricted. Toby tells them it's been there ages and doesn't mean anything, so they all plunge in—but soon an officer arrives from the RAF base and tells them to clear off. So swimming is out. But Julian sets things right by apologizing in a most grown up way that impresses the officer no end. Good old thirteen-year-old Ju! "

In Five Have Plenty of Time, "The Five are once more staying at Kirrin Cottage and enjoying the sunshine and swimming in the bay."

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Malabar Pool

Probably my last rock pool of this summer. Malabar is a very quiet pool, thoroughly local. No glamour here, no cafes full of "beautiful people", just families enjoying themselves.

Photos taken 23 January 2009

A rock pool has existed here since the 1890s.

Unfortunatley Malabar has had a bad name since an outfall carrying abattois waste from Homebush was built in 1916. By the 1970s the pool and bay were declared off-limits due to pollution from what was now a sewerage outfall.

In the early 1990s, a deep ocean outfall was constructed, emptying 4.2 kilometres offshore (I still think it's outrageous Sydney tips its sewerage into the ocean at all, even though it is treated to a certain degree - but not fully, but that's another story).

Local schools requested that the pool be re-opened and the local state Member of Parliament and incoming Premier, Bob Carr, promised funds for it. The restored baths were opened in 1997. Monitoring shows that it is now perfectly clean, and it was certainly looking gorgeous the day I went for a swim there.

Each of the ocan baths has a different character. This one was very quiet, and family-oriented. There are no cafes, and none of the glamour of beaches and pools a little further north...I liked it very much.

See more at the NSW Ocean Baths site.