Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Bexley: It's a resort! But what about the future?

I took a friend from England to Bexley pool in January 2011. She said it was "like a resort", and she's not wrong! Where else can you spend all day in beautiful park-like surroundings, have a picnic, play, sunbake and exercise for $5 an adult!

The future of the pool has been under a cloud for some time.

Why wouldn't developers not want to get their hands on this delightful site - build 100 townhouses, slap up a huge security fence, probably even provide a 25 metre lap pool for the exclusive use of those residing behind the gates and walls?

It's still precariously balanced. While Mark Hanna, who has fought tirelessly for the pool over many years, co-ordinating the campaign which saw Rockdale Council agree to proceed through various stages of the proposal, and with not a few hiccups along the way, including a rescission motion, has been elected to Rockdale Council at the recent elections....the numbers are still delicately poised.

Previous blogs providing the 'back story':

15 December 2011: Bexley pool update

2 December 2011: Bexley pool proposal for re-development

10 December 2010: Bexley pool battle (article from The Leader)

Meanwhile, as the spring / summer season gets underway, here's some of my underwater shots from Bexley taken over the past couple of years...enjoy! Taken with my Canon D10 camera.

Paris: Piscine Deligny and Piscine Joséphine-Baker

Swimming in Paris: a long-held ambition, and in July 2011 I decided to take some time out from the sales and gardens and take a dip. I'd previously been a bit daunted by the apparent rules and regulations at French swimming pools, but having put my metaphorical toe in the water in Monaco a few years earlier, I figured I was up to the challenge! With my best terrible French practiced in the metro on the way, I felt ready to venture forth.

I was on a bit of a "women in Paris" bent at the time, and was delighted to discover that the Piscine Josephine Baker is on the left bank of the Seine - actually floating in the Seine - near one end of the Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir in the 13th arrondissement

The Seine used to accommodate many floating swimming pools, the last of which , the Deligny sank in a storm in July 1993.

The Deligny was first built in 1801, and the last version in the early 20th Century.

Josephine Baker was an American born actress, civil rights activist, French Resistance heroine, and first American born woman to receive France's highest military honour, the Croix de Guerre.

In 2006, this pool opened. It floats on a barge off the Quai François Mauriac at Port de la Gare. It was built in Rouen and floated up the river.

Photography is banned in the pool....a mother was even prevented from taking some photos of her own children while I was there, so I snuck ONE photo with my iPhone, which I had hidden under my towel.

I got a few shots of the exterior, including from the Passerelle Simon de Beauvoir.

The water is drawn from the Seine, treated, then retreated before being recycled back into the river.

I was quite pleasantly surprised at the generaous opening hours and entry price : approx 5 Euros for 2 hours, and 2.60 Euros per hour thereafter.
French swimming pool etiquette was a bit daunting at first, but there was an English speaking person at the entrance who demystified MOST of it for me - compulsory shower before entering, compulsory swimming cap (fortunately I had brought one from home, having read this to be the case). You get a locker key, and are not allowed to take extraneous bits and pieces onto the pool deck - it's all rather "serieux", even for a pool too small to really do much serieux swimming!

I did manage to transgress in one important aspect - I wore a pair of thongs (flip-flops) in the changing area - and a cleaner man had to rush up to tick me off (yes, man - the changing areas are mixed, with individual changing cabins. There are some individual showers, some mixed.)

Anyway, the cleaner constantly sluiced the floors in the change area, and it appeared that my thongs could have transmitted some Parisian grime to the floor!

Being female, I wasn't caught by the "no boardshorts / Speedos only" rule. An American family with three young children was turned away on this basis!

The pic below I took from the Passerrelle Simone de Beauvoir - a sinuously curving footbridge linking the Bibliotheque Natinale (Mitterand library) and the Bercy district.

Here's  some pics I found on the web, including an artist;s impression of the retractable roof.