Not long now until the trip across the Atlantic. I have absolutely no fear of flying having done it from a young age. Father used to work for Canadian Pacific, so the odd trip to Vancouver wasn't unusual, and he was away a lot, usually in Europe, Prague, Switzerland, and other countries too numerous to mention, but we did get to go on some awesome holidays and always by air.
I also don't mind flying across that expanse of water, I like to look down, on the rare occasion I get a window seat, and see the sparkling blue ocean which might have white caps on it and the odd ship of some kind, unless I'm flying to the UK and it's pitch dark as its night flight.
I, however, am banned from going any where near water unless it happens to be my morning shower and hair wash. This revelation came about quite some time back.
When we immigrated, we found the perfect property which came complete with swimming pool. Now, not having had this luxury before, it wasn't something we really thought we wanted, but the summers do get hot and it did look very inviting. Once we bought the place, we then realized we had no clue how to look after the pool, so the husband had a quick crash course from the previous owner, nothing to it, very easy, doesn't need much maintenance etc., Hmm, well, I beg to differ there. Then we found a company locally where we could buy the chemicals needed, and they would also come and close it in September and open it again in the spring which took a lot of the stress away.
Well, I suppose we had been here maybe a year or two, when I got to know the neighbours really well, and as Connie was working, I used to weed her garden and mine just to get them under control. This was in the days when I didn't have too much to do. And so, there I was, one hot summers evening weeding her garden and perspiring, ( well, sweating buckets actually), when I thought it was time to stop and have a lovely cooling dip in the pool.
The husband was inside, down in the basement watching tv with the air conditioning on, and said was I alright? I told him I was just going to have a lovely cooling dip in the pool, went up stairs and got my towel and went back down and out through the patio door shutting it firmly behind me to keep the house cool.
Dear reader, it should be said that we are quite secluded, the house is a raised ranch, so looks like a bungalow from the front but is actually two storeys from the back, with windows and patio door on the lower level leading out to the pool, which is fenced on one side by a high cedar hedge, a line of trees keeps it private from the road that only the pit trucks use, and not at night, and our neighbours on one side whose property sits quite near the main road, and the neighbours on the other side about 100 yards or more and almost on the same level as ours. So........ off I stripped. Now I had heard the sounds of others out in their gardens, but felt safe enough to skinny dip as no one could see me.
I have to tell you that I do not swim. I never have, the thought of water coming above my waist has me hyperventilating, so I have never been very fond of being in a pool and always stay in the shallow end where I can touch the bottom, hang on to the sides and try very hard not to get my hair wet.
I put my towel down on a chair, and walked to the pool steps. I held onto the bars and turned around and put my foot on the first rung, I brought the other one into the water.......... and thats when I slipped and my left leg ended up behind the steps, my right leg touching my right ear and my hands slipping on the wet bars, and me having a panic as I was well and truly stuck. I started calling out for help, first for the husband, as I didn't care if he saw me naked, but of course, the doors are firmly shut to maximize the air con and he was watching tv. Then I remembered that my neighbours were out on both sides and had to try and attract the husbands attention without alerting them to the fact that I was in a spot of bother. The layout of the basement furniture means that the husband had no view of me or the pool so had no clue that I was in trouble. Well, eventually I managed to extricate myself and not cause uproar in the village. The husband comes out a little later to see how I am and I told him of my escapade.
Needless to say, he told me I wasn't allowed to be in the pool unattended from that point on, but that was after he stopped laughing. Mind you, the bruise the size of a dinner plate a few days later, was enough to warn me off.
Well, the pool has now gone. It was quite old, about 30 years when we moved in and it needed a new liner, one of the jets wasn't working and would be costly to repair, and we just didn't use it, so we decided to fill it in. If I feel the urge to have a dip, there's a pool next door, but I haven't done it yet.
My next foray with water happened in Port Lambton.
The neighbours plus the three children, the husband and I went down to a friends cottage in Port Lambton, a pretty spot. The road has the St Clair River on one side, and the cottage he has actually backs onto a canal. It has a nice garden with trees and a hammock slung between, a deck, BBQ, and is nicely laid out inside. We arrived one hot summers afternoon, got ourselves organized and then had some friends visit for supper, fogged the garden to get rid of the mosquitos and had a very pleasant time. The children were bedded down in the living room and all were feeling mellow. Connie and I had been shopping for supplies and we were set for the next couple of days.
The next morning saw us up not necessarily early, but up, and we had a lovely breakfast before enjoying a relaxing day sitting out the back by the canal and watching the world go by. There were houses on the opposite bank and each cottage has a jetty, there was a boat winched up out of the water and we had the use of it if we wished. There was also a plastic ring seat chair thing, that one could sit in and just drift in, and, as there was no current or fast moving shipping, it was fairly safe. It was also attached to the jetty by a long piece of rope. The children were all there, along with a friend of Ivey's in their swimming gear and each one had a life jacket,they all swim like fishes, but its good to keep them safe, there were only four lifejackets and I had no intention of going anywhere near the water. So, the idyllic scene was set, the husband and Connie and a friend, Sammy, were all sitting in lawn chairs, Murray was working on getting the boat into the water, the children are all there and excited, and Unger had been out in the little chair thing and had come back, Ollie was not too sure about it and changed his mind, and I was just putzing around trying to keep out of trouble.
Ollie kept asking if I was going to go in the little chair thing, not without a lifejacket says I, well, you can have mine as I don't want to go out in the boat either, so here you go. Thanks Ols! I feel much safer now. I am safely strapped into the lifejacket and I have changed into my swim suit. The kids are saying to me come on down here, Cynthia! This is fun!! Ok, ok. I climb down onto the jetty, which because it's floating on water, isn't very still, Dad is still fiddling around with the boat, and Unger and Ivey, have the plastic chair thing and are holding it and telling me how to step into it so I can have a quiet float on the canal, (which I hasten to add, isn't terribly deep). So, I am taking all this in, and I carefully lower one foot onto the plastic chair thing......................................................................
when it skids away on the water and I fall straight in.
I have to tell you that I did the only thing to save myself that I could think of, which was to grab hold of Ivey's leg and throw her over my shoulder. I am clinging on with my fingertips for dear life to the jetty piteously crying help me, help me!! Murray looks over at me, sighs and says, "if you edge over to the end, you'll find some steps". What? Oh yes, I see. Meanwhile those sitting under the shade of the trees look on and the conversation went something like this:-
"What was that?"
"Cynth fell in"
"Oh, where's Ivey?"
"Think she tried to drown her by throwing her in"
And that dear reader, was that. I managed to extricate myself from the water and haven't been allowed near it since.....
(I would also mention that no children were harmed during the telling or making of this story....)