Like most lido spotters, I can’t look at a bit of open water without wanting to hurl myself into it. Be it the sea, a pool, a river, a puddle even … I get a twitchy feeling. It must be got into. Others see a bracing, flu-inducing pond. The lido nut sees a glistening pool lined with mermaids, luring them in. You might say it’s a condition.
But lately, it seems we lido-lovers are not alone. The Outdoor Swimming Society is pushing 20,000 members. This year, yet more of Britain’s sleeping lidos – from Otley to Saltdean to Broomhill – are on track for resurrection. And this 17-18 September sees the inaugural National Lido Conference, hosted at Portishead Lido: an official lido love-In for UK pool operators and swimmers, run by Lido Girl.
For many, the pursuit of the open-air pool isn’t a sport; it’s a quasi-religious, year-round way of life. Clearly, there’s something in the water. Is it because we’re all 90% water? Is it an amniotic flashback? For me, it’s being able to float on your back under open sky without having to separate out your liquids and eat a microwaved panini on a budget airline. Lidos are going on holiday without any of the anxiety. At once quintessentially British, yet also a piece of the Riviera on your doorstep,– which is handy, now that foreign travel is about to get more expensive.
So it’s no surprise that the hashtag (splashtag? sorry) #LidoLove is now so popular. When I first volunteered to help publicise Peckham Lido’s crowdfunding campaign, I had no idea I’d be quite so drenched in the stuff. But take it from me, #LidoLove is well and truly upon us.
Read The Guardian