At last, the sun has got its hat on, hip hip hip hooray!
Not that we need to wait for the sun to shine before we visit an outdoor pool, of course. With work and life in general taking over, our visits have been relegated to the weekend; it’s criminal isn’t it, to be sitting in an office while it’s sunny outside and you should be in a pool somewhere.
Our first trip of the three was to Chesham. A welcoming receptionist told us that we could get in for FREE! I thought it was because we used to live in Chesham and they were delighted that we had returned but in fact it was their open day. Ten minutes earlier, and we would have also enjoyed a free barbecue. Gah.
Despite the lovely sunshine, it wasn’t too busy. The inflatable was coming down so the children were leaving and I did 66 lengths which I think was about a mile as it seems to be a 25m pool. Changing rooms are a bit open plan although there are some curtained changing rooms.
Next we went to Woodstock. Again, it was a boiling hot day, and our original target was Hinksey Outdoor Pool in Oxford where we always find it difficult to park, and indeed to even get in to the pool itself if it’s a busy day.
So we looked harder and found Woodstock. We didn’t even know about this as Woodstock isn’t quite as prolific as Hinksey on social media, so we arrived on a hot day to find FIVE people there. Five! And two of them were lifeguards.
Like Chesham, it’s not much to look at from the outside, but parking was free. It was about £7 for small son and I to get in. We weren’t impressed by the changing rooms, or more specifically, the toilets – yuk. But the pool was great; clean and surprisingly deep. Again, it’s basic, but what do you need apart from water? It does have plenty of grass areas AND a diving board. I was really delighted to see that the staff were extremely friendly, and greeted all of the regulars by name, as well as giving them a cheery bye as they left. I didn’t manage my customary mile in this pool as I had small son with me, but he did a width!
Then today’s visit was to Chipping Norton Lido, or Chippy Lido as it’s known by the community. And community is important here – the pool is run by the community and pleasingly, it’s heated by solar power.
It’s set in the middle of a housing estate and as you pass through two lines of parked cars, thinking it can’t possibly be here, keep going – you’ll see a sign saying ‘swimming pool’ in a minute.
Parking is free again here, and as with the previous two, it looks like an old working men’s club from the outside. It cost me £4.25 to get in and the lad behind the desk was extremely pleased that I paid the correct amount. The first thing I noticed EVERYWHERE were the “no photography” signs. I understand why they need to do this – but modern life dictates that it’s almost impossible to police. You need to get a form filled in. Seems a bit silly to me.
The changing room were meh and I almost cried when the toilet brush and holder complete with contents FELL on me in the toilet. Why it was on the window sill, I don’t know, but I emerged covered in who-knows-what. Well, we know exactly what, don’t we?
The pool has a beautiful, but faded cafe next to it and a lovely wooded area. I’d timed my visit to coincide with the adult swim – why then were there no lanes? There were only about 10 people in the pool, but as we were all competing for space to swim up and down, it seemed crowded.
The pool itself is pretty standard and for some reason (air bubbles according to the facebook page), it was quite murky. However, a slide hugely redeems it, and the lifeguard laughed and turned the water on when I asked if I could have a go. It’s small, but fast and with a massive smile on my face, I returned for a few more goes; no elegant ladylike swimming for me!