I’m not sure about going for a Christmas swim. This was never an issue before, when we lived in the city. I’d see some culchies in Santa hats running into the freezing sea and wonder if they were starved of attention growing up. It never felt like something I’d ever do.
And then we moved to the countryside, a few kilometres west of Ballycotton, and now I’m not so sure. This is the first Christmas in our new home and the neighbours couldn’t be clearer – we have to go down for the Christmas swim.
The good news is our neighbours are class and I’d love to see them on Christmas Day. The bad news is I went for a well-wrapped up walk on the beach yesterday and nearly arrived home with frostbite. I don’t want to duck out of a community shin-dig on Christmas morning – however, I’m not exactly rugged and there’s a good chance they’ll laugh at me.
Our local beach is what a city guy like me would call a pile of rocks. I bumped into a close neighbour the other day and asked him why the swim wasn’t at the lovely sandy beach in Ballycroneen. Apparently, that’s for people from Cloyne and you don’t want to bump into them on Christmas Day. (It’s a GAA thing, I’m not fully up to speed on it yet.)
Another neighbour, whose kids are friendly with our two on the school bus, said it will be a blast. But then he’s from Sweden, where they like jumping into frozen pools and whacking each other with branches. He said it’s mainly about the hot whiskies on the beach/pile of rocks afterwards, which sounded great. Then he told me it’s a real blast, coming out of the freezing water, bleeding after catching your leg on a sharp rock. I’m not sure if he’s cut out for a life in sales. I hate catching my leg on a sharp rock.
The kids are having none of it. They haven’t waited months for Santa to bring presents, only to leave them behind so they can indulge their dad with a swim on the day. When I told them that their friends from the bus will be there, my son said that they don’t go near the beach on Christmas morning, it’s only their dad who does that. My son said this in a very dismissive tone, making me feel like I didn’t know anything. I reckon it’s good preparation for when he hits the teenage years.
I still fancy a hot whiskey with the ambitious Swede. He’s great craic, just what you’d wa