Taking the Dunge Plunge


The Whitstable Bathing Association is reconvening this weekend, this time bound for Dungeness and Rye. Swimming togs will be packed, layered with misgivings, along with jumpers, brolly and money for chips. The misgivings have taken root in fertile soil, watered by the Met Office’s prognostications of 17C modified by the kicker ‘Feels like 13C’. Also, is Dungeness B a nuclear power station? It bloody sounds like it.

The problem of cold came within an ace of solution earlier this week with the kind offering of a spare wetsuit. A chum has son who is now fully grown and beefy, but was, once upon a story, a stripling youth. It is the wetsuit from that chapter of Son’s Life that is now cluttering up chum’s cupboard so he enquired if it might find a new home.

There it was, in a bag on my desk yesterday morning, so off I went to the ladies to try it on, carrying my phone with me in order to text my boss for help if I got stuck. Previous readers will know this to be a risky manoeuvre, given the presence of a film crew. Two thirds of the way in, huffing and puffing and tugging and yanking, my phone beeped with what was presumably a ‘How’s it going?’ from my boss, which turned out to be a ‘Vote for me’ from Tessa Jowell that earned her a bellow of rage. An aside: don’t join a political party because they text you INCESSANTLY. Anyway, it turned out that I could get the suit on (mostly) but not zip it up. Sadly the culprit was not an eye-poppingly generous embonpoint but a bulky ribcage and mortifyingly broad shoulders. At least I got it over my hips.

Anyway, the prospect of not being able to move without strangling myself while bobbing about in chilly waters seemed like a truly stupid idea, so the wetsuit went back to its crestfallen owner, and I am left with plan A, which is to run in and out of the water, tracking a route inspired by the outline of a conference pear, my curses muted only by the Doppler effect and the laughter of my friends.

Of course, this whole happy outing will be knocked into a cocked hat by tomorrow’s walk to Croydon, crowned by a visit to Mr Central Heating, who is in line to reward my valour with 15x22mm Munsen rings with matching 15x10mm male backplates. It’s like a fairytale.


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