As this summer season comes to an end, I’m sure you’ll all agree it’s been a season that won’t be soon forgotten. Looking back to the Friends preseason swim The weather was a cool cloudy 18 degrees. But the water was an unexpected 26 degrees. The delightful anticipation of jumping, diving, or slipping into those sparkling water was one we’d been waiting for all winter.
A new boiler replacing the ancient inefficient heaters had been installed tested and come up to scratch. Normally we would have entered the water with a few shivery squeals, swam rapidly to the pool end gasping for breath from the cold water. Gradually our open-air starved bodies would acclimatise to the water temperature as we swam our lengths.
This year though there was no cold water to make our muscles energised and tingle. I must admit not all were enamoured with the warm waters. Many have mourned the missing euphoria of swimming in much colder water. More though have embraced and welcomed the 26/28 degrees and as the word spread and the air temperature climbed higher more and more of the city’s population came for the first time to our Historic Lido.
Another new innovation this year was an early 7.30am. start on a Wednesday morning. This has been a great success. Many City workers liked the chance to have a swim before their working day began. It took a little while to catch on but the weather certainly helped.
Mid-June saw the Historic Pools of Britain Summer Conference at Peterborough’s Key Theatre and Peterborough Lido. Historic Pools of Britain was established in 2015 to give a voice to indoor and outdoor pools across the Country, reflecting both the importance of the role they play in the life of their communities and the significant contribution they make to Britains Heritage. Several of the Friends attended the conference along with Steven Luker. Many of the conference attendees took advantage of a swim before returning to their own part of the country.
The Summer Solstice swims were a delight. The weather, perfect. Vivacity did us proud. Watching the sunrise at 4.30 in the morning while we swam in the red and orange sun rippled water was an experience not to be missed. As was the full English breakfast hungrily devoured while wrapped cosily in pink Vivacity blankets. The sounds of the awakening City seeped in through the Lido walls. The Solstice evening swim was equally well appreciated. As the sun set and dusk approached we climbed out of the water to the delicious smells of a Hog Roast and watched the setting sun turn the sky and the pool area into a palate of rich colours from pale pink, to orange, to ruby red and finally purple until the dusky twilight descended.
In July two special, after hours swim sessions, were laid on for the first Peterborough Pride event in an alfresco evening swim and to watch the sunset whilst listening to ambient music. The Lido cafe was open for refreshments.
As the weather slowly warmed and the end of the school year approached many schools decided to bring their Charges to the Lido for their end of term pool fun. The children many of whom had never seen the Lido or swam in the open air before. They splashed, screamed, laughed and giggled in the warm sun sparkled water. They had such fun and I’m sure they will remember and want to come back. One school went one better though by getting the Rutland Scuba diving club to come and give some of their children a lesson in the rudiments of scuba diving. They all had fun with their challenge of assembling the replica vehicle underwater while using Scuba gear. What an experience. Well done that school.
As the heatwave enveloped the City the crowds descended on the Lido. Long queues formed across the gardens surrounding the Lido as they waited patiently to get through the ancient turnstiles of the Lido entrance. They came with their picnics their beach balls, unicorn rings. They came in their thousands. No screams of “IT’S FREEZING’ this year. Sun cream slapped on to protect delicate skin from the fierce sun.
The lifeguards were stretched to their limits during June July and most of August watching over the crowds of happy people. The Cafe girls were rushed off at times with demand for bacon butties, burgers, chips and Polar Krush. All coped with admirable good humour. Their biggest challenge came after closing when the massive clean up had to be tackled ready for the next mornings’ crowds.
As the end of summer season approached with just one week to go Vivacity announced an extension of one whole week and three opening sessions in the following week. Friends website and their Social media links went to work getting the information out there. A few hours after posting the announcement the Statistics page of our Facebook page recorded 403 people had been reached and the post had 6 shares. That’s slightly better than the longer postings of the Solstice stats. When the page and website were still not that well known about. Never underestimate Power of the Internet
By midday, just 2 hours from opening, on day one of the extended opening time, there had been 63 bodies counted through the turnstile and more families arriving. Unfortunately, some had read about the extended opening but had failed to read on to the revised opening times. And turned up to find a closed pool. Lifeguard cover had been a struggle all through the season. A problem not just confined to our city. Several of our lifeguards had booked themselves vacations before returning to their Universities so were no longer available for extra shifts. The shortage of lifeguard cover meant reducing hours to just one work shift a day.
On the penultimate Sunday, we held our annual ‘End of season lido picnic’ The day was sunny and warm but with a cool breeze to remind us Autumn was around the corner. There was the usual eclectic selection of savoury and sweet goodies to devoure after our afternoon swim.
This Historic old Lady we all know and love, our Lido, is feeling it’s age though. Keeping it maintained so fresh and pristine is a challenge and an expensive one at that. There’s yet another big expensive maintain job to be tackled after the season ends. Hopefully the feet through the turnstile this year will help Vivacity offset fraction of the upkeep.
I think this season will be remembered for sunshine and laughter and fun
Thank you all, and an especially a massive thank you to Vivacity staff, Lifeguards and Cafe Girls.
by Monica website Admin.