Letter to my Grandson (xxii)

Dear Winton

Your swimming is coming on in leaps and bounds. I come along as backup and cheer squad every Sunday morning but swimming is your time with your dad, I’m really just a spectator and photographer.

This is  “She’ll becoming round the mountain”. You get much better value out of this than any of the other kids, given that you’ve got the biggest dad in the class.  I look at some of the other fathers in the swimming pool and quite a number of them wear their glasses in the pool.

One of the things about learning to swim with a dad is that it’s good to learn to swim with a dad who is a swimmer and your dad is an amazing swimmer. I watch him in the pool after your lessons and he’s like a huge powerful freight train ploughing up and down the pool. I told him we need to let you see him swimming more often so that you can see where all this is going.

You are beginning to be quite a fearless underwater swimmer although we had a small misadventure last weekend when you swallowed quite a large amount of water and threw up. It set you back for about three seconds and you were off again.

But the real highlight last week was on the noodle. You were riding on it the same way as you do in “She’ll becoming round the mountain” but this time it was “Gowaypapa. gowaypapa.”  and pushing me away. To my surprise, you are able to balance on the noodle without holding on to it and bounce along the bottom of the pool. I’ve never seen you do that before. You are quite adamant you didn’t want any help from either me or your dad and you were off on your own adventures.

You also love dancing in the pool and are quite happy to do it on your own.


But last Sunday I saw what I thought was quite remarkable. There little girl standing by the side of the pool and you went up and stood next to her. She put her hands up above her head and turned around and you did exactly the same and then you copied her next movements as well. Then you sat down at the edge of the pool and kicked your feet in the water and she copied you. This went on for about five minutes. Absolutely priceless.

Now that I’ve got a decent camera I am getting much better photographs of you. I know it’s just your grandfather talking but I do think you are a strikingly beautiful child.


There is a young Somalian girl who is a little bit older than you but seems to have taken quite a fancy to you.


We always finish the swimming session with a special treat .. “chocca”. It is normally the bribe that gets you out of the water and into the shower. You and I go to the front desk and buy a couple of chocolate bars normally Tom and Emma’s which are innocuous enough but recently you opted for a rather larger chocolate protein bar.


It wasn’t one of my best moves for a number of reasons. The first being that, despite the labelling, bar is full of caffeine and chocolate so you went right off that afternoon.

The second was that the next week when we went to the front desk to buy our Chocca, you dived straight for the caffeine enriched protein bar. I managed to negotiate the purchase of the protein bar and two of the anaemic looking Tom and Emma’s bars but you were having none of it and screamed blue murder when I wouldn’t let you have the protein bar. Eventually, your dad and I wrestled you into the pusher with no chocca.  Usually, you make your displeasure loudly and vehemently clear.

But today you just sat in the pusher and looked straight ahead without moving as you realised that a part of your world come to an end, that despite having been a very good boy there was no chocca at the end of swimming. I think I will always remember the expression on your face that day.

I didn’t get a goodbye kiss when you left.


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