Dear Diary #01 – First Swim and BLM

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Lockdown is getting to me. This morning I woke up early and decided to go for a walk seeing as nobody would be around. I think quite a few other people had the same idea. I kept bumping into other paranoid looking individuals out on their sneaky morning escapades. Who knew going for a walk would become so exciting. What an adventure!

I walked down to the beach. There’s an old statue of Queen Victoria down there. Somebody had covered her in an old sheet with the words “black lives matter” painted on the front. She looked terrifying. It was a powerful image. Something about the way she was bursting through the sheet gave her a possessed look. The slight breeze added to the effect, making her hover above us menacingly like a ghost in a long dress.

After taking a few photos and getting a bit freaked out by her, I turned around and was confronted by the English Channel at its finest. Blue water and blue sky stretching as far as the eye can see.

A lonely swimmer glides by. I can’t help but imagine an approaching shark fin. In reality there’s nothing dangerous in these waters except the odd jellyfish…or is there? My mind will always be convinced there’s a 20-foot Great White lurking below!

I wasn’t planning on swimming. I thought it would be too cold at this time in the morning but I’m actually sweating now. That swimmer looks so calm and peaceful. Screw it, I’m going in!

I take off my shoes and hobble to the shoreline. Anyone who has ever lived here will instantly recognise the walk of somebody heading for a swim. The shape and size of the pebbles make walking barefoot an unimaginably painful task and gives your stride a kind of rabid zombie look.

I finally made it in with most of my dignity intact…I think. It’s colder than I thought. My legs fill with pain instantly. I start feeling strange pulses shoot down my arms. The temperature of the water sucks my breath away. Another reminder of #Icantbreathe. From the water I can still see the spooky queen in the distance.

I notice a couple turn up. They walk to the end of a sea wall and proceed to perform a little choreographed dance. From a distance it sounded like they were chanting or saying a blessing. I wondered if they were praying for George Floyd. I doubt it. It looks more ritualistic.

I’m shivering violently now. I get out of the water, hobble back to my things and lie on the hot stones like a reptile warming its blood in the sun. An old man starts to feed the birds behind me. It reminds me that I haven’t fed myself today so I head home for breakfast.

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