The Ultimate Stress Buster: a quick dip in the Welsh Sea

23 April 2006

Theo ran up and down the beach shouting. He couldn’t believe I was going to do it. The sun was shining, but the breeze was brisk, rippling against my goose-pimpled skin. The waves glittered before me, saying ‘Come unto me, I will wash away all the stress, and you will be a new teacher, a new person, a transformed being after you have immersed yourself in me!’

But I knew that it was going to be cold. Very,very cold. And I didn’t have a towel, and I was only wearing my boxer shorts. But these were mere tiny details, a larger force was drawing me into the waters — the stress-busting force of the Welsh sea.

I plunged in. The green water, which looked as warm as the Caribbean, annihilated me. I felt as though I had died, but I was still alive inside death. I started to swim, flapping wildly, feeling the hideously beautiful claws of the Gower Pennisula grip all my limbs and squeeze them so tightly that the very breath was knocked out of me. But I persisted with my doggy-paddle, inching my way forward through the green water. Above me, away on the promontory, white ponies skittered across lush fields of green. On the beach, three children poked around in the rock pools, looking for smooth pebbles and lobsters underneath the craggy stone.

I stepped out of the sea and my body felt like it was burning up it was so cold. It was the best feeling in the world. It was like being on drugs only better, because the after-burn ate through every bone in my body, making me sizzle with arctic fire. Wow! All the difficulties of the my life were behind me now. There were no more yobs to hurl abuse at me, no more classes to teach, no more people to please, only the heart of the sea washing through me.

And my son shouting, ‘You did it, Daddy, you did it! You did it!’

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