Lunch breaking the waves (Andrew)

I work in Larbert in an office park next door to a butcher and a baker but, sadly, not a candle stick maker*. I have one hour for lunch which just enough time to get to a swimming pool for a lunchtime swim. I could jump on the M9 motorway and get to Grangemouth leisure centre where the pool is divided into 25m lanes but, even though its further away, I go to the Mariner Centre in Falkirk instead.

The Mariner Centre doesn’t have lanes. It doesn’t even have a regular shape. It’s shaped like a shell, with a large children’s pool in one half and a deeper pool in the other. Families come here with young kids. Swimmers don’t – but they should. Because the Mariner Centre has one thing other pools lack: every 30 minutes they switch on their wave machine for five minutes.

I try and time my swim so I arrive just before the waves start and I finish just after the second waves end.

It’s brilliant.

The pool is usually quiet (on Monday there was only one other man in the ‘deep pool’) but when the waves switch on, if there are families, they usually leave because the kids are too small to face the… tsunami.

The waters get gradually choppier. The waves start to bounce of the sides of the pool until, in the middle, the waves crash over my head as I try and swim through them.

I love it.

I tell myself it’ll be good practice for Norseman and swimming in the fjord but that’s not the reason I go there. It’s fun being battered by the waves, trying to breathe properly by breathing between crests, feeling like I’m not moving as I’m caught in the current, then, seconds later, shooting forward as the current swirls behind me.

It’s only five minutes. The waves subside as quickly as they come. Back to laps. Back to work. But if there’s a better way to spend a lunch break, I haven’t found it yet.

*We don’t have a candlestick maker but we do have the best named building: the headquarter’s of ‘Mrs Tilly’s’ – the cake and confectionary brand. Their office is called ‘The Indulgence Factory’.

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