We do benefit from having a store that looks out across the river and it is truly wonderful (now we have all of this gorgeous sunshine) to see the (newly released from hot and sweaty school rooms) highly charged guys and girls leaping into it to cool off.
However, it worries me.
As I see them swim past it has to be said that between them there does appear to be some good strong swimmers - but that can't be said of all. I worry about the bravado and the over confidence that the not so strong swimming guys display when joining in with the rest of the crew. I worry about them getting into difficulties and I worry that things could get scary.
Look, the guys here have been pretty sensible swimming with the tide, but do they really understand it? Do they understand the force of tide and how it can catch you out when reaching that pontoon potentially dragging you under or getting hurt/cut.
There are no warning signs here on this river, nothing to tell all of the guys in bare feet about what lies beneath, about the tide strength, about the inherent dangers of swimming in a busy little river with boating traffic who struggle sometimes to see the channel markers never mind a small swimming head.
I spent most of my youth swimming in the river with my mates and this was some of the best memories I have - go for it everyone but please do it safely.
I had a mate who impaled himself on a sunken anchor, another who just could not swim against the tide getting into trouble - all of this far outweighed by the fun we had.
This blog is pointed at parents, and at the great kids who are maybe not quite as strong in the river as they ought to be. It is also pointed at every other swimmer who, in the relief of summer, take unnecessary risks - when there is no need.
Lessons - learn about the tide, the conditions, be very aware of your own abilities. Let people know where you are, where you are going, keep in groups, have a spotter on the land with phone in hand. Get some simple wet suit shoes on - (they are pretty cool these days).
Parents - do you know what the guys are doing?
Mate - as long as they are outside and not stuck in front of some screen then fantastic - like I said just do it safely.
If anyone wants to come and get some advice about how to enjoy the river then just shout.
I apologise if I have come over all miserable - not the intent however just think how miserable summer will be of there is a terrible incident.
Have a great summer everyone - See you 'IN' the Water