Tuesday 7th May – Just As Things Were Going Well!
Yes, it’s Tuesday, not Monday where my usual planned swimming session takes place.
Monday the 6th May was St George’s Day in Bulgaria which celebrates all people given the name George or variant of that name. Galia my partner was included in that groups and the day also the Bulgarian National Armed Services Day. Being such a significant day in the Bulgarian Calendar it is deemed a National Holiday and that means parties not work here. This also includes schools which as closed for the day. No school, no pool as the saying now goes here.
This was the first disappointment, but not too disappointed as there is always tomorrow and lots of chores to do on the land before the storms that are forecast come in later that day. Maybe a blessing that I can start earlier on these chores today.
The second disappointment was spending the afternoon was spent time online looking for a wetsuit to buy. My goodness, they are expensive! Even renting one out is well over my budget on a small pension here. There are some from China that are cheaper, but from what I read they are not suitable for swimming and aren’t durable. However, I may have to opt for these as the price is bearable. From experience though I know that a dirt cheap suit will be a false economy, albeit I have a plan to counteract this.
We had an evening of celebration of St George’s Name Day in a restaurant that evening with my partner and her son. (Eating in restaurants is a very, very rare event for us might add.) Not a lot to drink, just one Rakia (plum brandy) with a salad and ½ litre of beer with a pizza. This was followed by a nice 15-minute walk home passing through the beautifully lit City Centre all from solar powers lighting. By the way, the storms that were forecast didn’t arrive much to my disappointment. The land needs a good watering and it didn’t happen. Always good to save on electric and water being pumped up from the well.
The third disappointment was finding out that there are no safe open water places locally to swim. There have been occasions where we pass places that potentially would be suitable, but I am warmed time and time again that these waters are polluted. Also, I am told that every year there are many gypsies that end up at the bottom of these lakes and rivers but not reported. Everyone I speak to about this has the same opinion, that if I don’t drown, I will die from poisoning from contaminated waters. They also mentioned the snakes and massive catfish that live in these waters and stories of attacks from swimmers are frequent.
Having first arrived in Bulgarian some 14 years ago, I do not doubt what people tell me about the waters around here. Even in the mid-summer with sweltering temperatures, I have never seen anyone swimming in open waters before. The only sights of bathing in these waters are gypsy youths in very shallow water, but never venturing into deep areas.
All set up for today now with tooth-pasted goggles and swimming kit prepared kit meticulously set up in my shoulder bag. This was the first time for a long time that I was looking forward immensely to the session. Even with the thoughts of no open swimming opportunities and as finding out last month, the closure of the pool during the school summer break.
A storm finally arrived early this morning as the walk was made to the pool under a stream of pouring rain. 09:47 on the car park ticket machine, a little late due to sorting out my brolly in the winds en route but no matter.
My head turned away from the car park ticket machine and I saw a sight that wasn’t normal in the routine to the session. Sometimes noticing just one instance creates an oracle as to what to expect. This was exactly what happened here. The sight that I saw was a man walking into the school entrance. That may seem quite innocent, but I knew this man wasn’t a teacher. A great pastime and hobby of mine is watching people, I do it all the time trying to work out what type of person IK am looking at with their dress sense body language and other mannerisms. I know instinctively that this man had a weather-beaten face with a hat that looked like he had pressed on his head around Victorian sponge cake powdered with icing sugar. His mannerisms included a walk that wasn’t direct as if he wasn’t quite sure where to go and didn’t react to any of the students that were swarming the playground as he entered.
To me, this man was here for maintenance, or more likely repair with his dust mounted clothing. As I followed him in, my heart sank as I knew my analysis of this man was correct. I saw a yellow builders’ truck outside the entrance to the pool building. Also, there was a pipe from the back of the truck that had been rolled into the entrance door and beyond. I knew the pool would not be open seeing this.
I entered the building and the receptionist cubical was bare and locked up. The pipe that had entered the building was seen extended through another door which led into the pool area. There was a worker standing by the door. I asked him what was going on, but I knew what the answer would be. He stated the obvious saying that the pool was under repair. He then led me to the main entrance door which was open. He shut the door and showed me a sign that I didn’t see due to the door being open before. It stated that repair work to the pool will be from the period 7th May to 23rd May. A BOMBSHELL TO ME!
I made my way home with my tail between my legs. I knew that for the whole of May I would be able to train as there is no pool until the 23rd and I am visiting my kids in the UK from the 22nd May to 31st May. With no open waters to practice in either this left me with a major dilemma.
A lot of thinking going on now.
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