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Monday, June 4, 2012

The National Aquatic Centre or..The Woman with the Purple Nose

We went to the National Aquatic Centre yesterday and I learnt a few things. Mainly, that it is not a great setting for the vain or self conscious.
There's loads going on besides the pool, starting with a kids pirate ship with slides and water cannons spraying jets everywhere, all involving a LOT of time spent standing in swimming togs not underwater. Everything is on show - bellies, tattoos, thighs, upper arms, the lot.

Over and again, I waded self-consciously past people sitting in chest high luke-warm water, who were trying to regain some tiny bit of body heat before getting up, goose pimply and wet (Is it just in Ireland that there is always a freezing draft at swimming pools?) to follow their children again.

As well as all the usual black speedos, there were many beachy, coloured swimsuits and quite a few women who tried to look ok whilst wearing the compulsory swimming hat. A feat beyond most of them, sadly. The thing about swimming hats is that if they are perched on the back of the head, beret- like, displaying a coiffed, ironed fringe, they are as unflattering as ever, but with an added edge of ridiculousness.

 Mostly I didn’t care how I looked. What was the point? I was wearing my speedos with no extra tummy support and matching black hat. All I could hope was that I wasn’t mistaken for a grandmother. And I thought I was doing ok until my son said “Why is your nose purple?”

On the other hand, I cannot deny, it was fun. From the moment I walked in and got jetted in the face, to being swept by the current in the canal, a happy little dude swallowing pool water and smiling on either side of me, to hearing ad finitum about the awesomeness of the slides, it was a good time.

Afterwards we went to HMV in the Blanchardstown centre where, as a special treat each child was allowed pick something. The youngest got Ivor the Engine on DVD (chosen for its vintage look by moi, he cried anyway though. He was hungry), the second child chose an (extraordinarily irritating) Sonic Xbox game, the third got major disappointment on discovering they  had no How to Train your Dragon gift of night fury  and the last got the same when informed that no, he still was not allowed play Fable or Elder Scrolls. (When I googled is Elder Scrolls suitable for children? I found a link that explained how to kill children on the game.)

So back to the car we went, me with crispy chlorine hair, three out of four children crying and kicking the kerb. We were happy though, my husband and I. We had tired kids, the evening was approaching and the final two episodes of series two of The Wire were waiting for us at home.

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