1) Here's a fact (?) I read recently: an extra glass of wine today will shorten your life by thirty minutes. That's ridiculous. That's not going to stop me. I've already lived an extra thirty minutes, and then some.
2) Swimming pools I have known. Well, numbers one and two I have never swum in , nor ever will: the indoor and outdoor pools at Hearst Castle -
"Hearst Castle is a National Historic Landmark and California Historical Landmark mansion located on the Central Coast of California, United States. It was designed by architect Julia Morgan, between 1919 and 1947, as a residence for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who died in 1951. In 1954 it became a California State Park. The site was opened to visitors in 1958." (Wikipedia)
The indoor pool is gorgeous and big, great for swimming. I saw in my mind's eye, though, several various celebrities who swam there, guests of Hearst; I don't think swimming was uppermost in their minds. The outdoor pool, as I remember, is surrounded by statues, impressive lap-counters.
A private pool, that used to belong to friends of mine, evokes beautiful memories and unending admiration for Alan Waisman,my late friend who was an architect. He had a brilliant idea to avoid the swimming pool smell, acceptable perhaps in a Y, not so in a private home. He took the smallest size commercial green house he could find and put it up around the pool, accessible by a short staircase exiting from the house through a bathroom. I swam in that pool one early spring in Upper (what's it called?) Vancouver, above Howe Sound. The dogwood trees were all in bloom and I was enclosed in glass, swimming in a cloud of pink.
I love to swim, as you know, and not just in oceans or lakes; I have enjoyed hotel pools all over the world. I was a regular in one of my smallest pools ever, the one on the Insignia, the Oceania cruise ship I lived on for 101 days on that truncated Round The World trip I took three years ago. The pool was only 9 strokes long but on a choppy day, it was total fun. The water sloshed back and forth according to the dips and swells of the waves outside the ship. I'd be standing in knee-deep water and then it would gather up behind me and swoosh down like one gigantic tsunami (well, not a tsunami) and wash over me.
The abandoned quarry in St. Mary's Ontario, 14 miles from Stratford, was closed to the public but discovered and used by kids who snuck inane swam in the crystal clear, cold, deep water that had filled the huge excavation left after the stone was removed. St.Mary's is called the Stone City, from the beautiful Tyndall stone that built many buildings, both public and private, around the area. I guess some entrepreneur - the city? - figured out that the kids had something. So one end was terraced and paved and given a designated, paying entrance with change rooms and towels for rent. And lifeguards. And an allotted distance, roped off, within reaching distance of the lifeguard. It seas called the biggest outdoor swimming pool in Canada but that was then, one of my favourites.
Once we were living in Stratford and busy with the never-ending stream of theatre people, both the professional makers of theatre and the eager audiences, we didn't have enough time to get to the quarry, so we put a pool in our back yard. I was the official lifeguard and I had the best tans of my life then. We did that in those days, fried our skin. I'm still here. With thirty minutes to spare.