You know that kid at school who was last in all the sports races? The last to be picked at team-picking time?
That was me.
Swimming was the worst. It would completely exhaust and humiliate me. Other children would glide through the deep end with ease, whilst I stayed at the shallow end with a couple of girls who cried every week and another who was slowed down considerably by wearing her full PE kit.
I avoided swimming for a good few years after school.
About 15 years ago I learned how to do breast stroke properly from a magazine article. It transpired that the stroke they had taught us in school, where you stuck your head out of the water and bobbed along, was old news. It was reserved for those middle-aged women who chatted whilst swimming and kept their perm dry and all their make-up intact.
With my cutting edge skills I was the New Generation - goggles and all - and I overtook all the elderly women in the pool. Whoosh. It felt amazing. I thought about learning front crawl, but I was already too mightily impressed with myself to find the motivation. So I rested on my laurels for a bit, and finally stopped swimming altogether.
Then the Littlest Latte started to learn to swim.
The Littlest Latte is a natural. She jumps straight into the deep end and splashes off as if it is as natural as walking. Watching her joy in the water reminded me of my abandoned plans for front crawl.
So I convinced my mother to buy me a 10-week course of swimming lessons as a Christmas present, and since January I have left the house every Saturday morning at 7am to go to the sports centre. In the early weeks, it seemed insane - leaving a warm bed to chip frost off the windscreen in the dark whilst my children were still asleep. I went from a freezing cold car to a freezing cold pool, and didn't really warm up until lunchtime.
However, I am proud to report that I can now jump straight into the deep end and swim half the length of the swimming pool in a deadly slow front crawl.
And now the morning skies have started to look like this, I am really wishing I had a few more lessons left to enjoy.