Lockdown Deadline

For the first time in eighteen months, I went for a swim in a “proper swimming pool”. In fact, it was the same pool where I learned to swim fifty-something years ago.

I rememer my swimming teacher was “Mr Oag” and the pool was managed back then by “Mr Grew”.

Back then, there were three pools. As well as the standard 50m pool, there was a “kids pool” and there was a “babies pool”. The “babies pool” is no longer there, and the kids’ pool has changed too. The 50m pool doesn’t appear to have changed that much, except maybe the steps leading in and out at “the deep end” As I swam and looked down at the line markers below me, I’m pretty sure they’re exactly the same as when I was growing up.

The change-rooms have changed significantly. As a kid, I remember the wooden cubicles and men’s change space was open to the sun. You could actually look down from the nearby bandstand into the men’s change rooms! The men’s and women’s cubicles were on opposite sides, whereas now they’re together and there’s a more modern “closed in space”, with mens, womens and family spaces all located together.

As I floated on my back and looked up at the sky, it was a blissful experience. The puffy white clouds. The warm water. It was about as good as it gets. And I was there all by myself, along with only the three staff on duty.

Lismore Memorial Baths

Sometimes swimming pools can be anything but relaxing. There’s a degree of “competition” as people speed along, as if they’re competing in the Olympic Games. Often, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of room for people like myself who like a more “leisurely” swim. Even in the slow lanes, there doesn’t seem to be much sympathy if you want to splash about.

But that’s exactly what I did yesterday, as I took a swim at the Lismore Memorial Baths. It was awesome to swim, take a rest, change stroke, and generally relax, knowing there was no one else around me to worry about.

The pool only opened a few days ago, after winter, and after the frecent lockdown. 

“Wll you still be open during the lockdown”, I asked the staff member on duty. “Sadly no”, he told me.

With the lockdown in Lismore about to commence again, I regarded it as a deadline event, to squeeze as much as I possibly could into a short period of time.

My first priority was a haircut and a beard trim. Pat and Jack had one too, yesterday, conscious that over the last five or six weeks we’ve become a little bit “scruffy”. I rang several hairdressers around town, and no one could fit me in except “The Boys”. “If you can be here at 10.45, we can fit you in”, I was told, as I mentioned I was simply looking for a clipper cut. This the salon I recently noticed had a disco ball in their window, flashing at night. The cut was a little more expensive than I would normally pay, but my hairdresser did a good job, and we had a nice chat.

The disco ball in the window at “The Boys” in Lismore.

I also needed to get my glasses repaired. The frame has become a little “loose” in recent weeks, and I was hoping a local optometrist might be able to tighten the screws. He only had to touch them lightly and they snapped. Thankfully, my health insurance paid for most of the cost of the new frames which are largely the same as the ones I had previously, albeit with a flash of green along the side.

While I waited for the glasses to be repaired, I called into the Richmond Hotel for lunch. I was the only one there, too!! The steak was okay, albeit a little fatty in parts, but it was a nice thing to do ahead of the lockdown, accompanied by a glass of rose.

Lunch at Lismore’s Richmond Hotel

Within a couple of hours, I managed to achieve an awful lot.

We’re back in lockdown in Lismore for the next week. 

According to yesterday’s press conference, a woman from Lismore and her child, had gone to another area (presumably Sydney), had become infected, and had returned to Lismore. 

To date, the authorities have reported only a couple of locations where they visited, but importantly one of them was Goonellabah Primary School. “Why would you take your kid to school if they were sick and there were only a few days left before the holidays?”, one family member said to me. Others have been less sympathetic, with phrases like “Lock her up and throw away the keys” being fairly common.

“I had a bit of a meltdown but I’m fine now”, a friend told me on Messenger. He and his partner have been living a split life over the last few weeks due to the border closure. He was hoping to return home this weekend, but that’s not going to happen now.

I was also planning to visit Alstonville today, to help a friend’s mother with a range of technology stuff, but that’s also not going to happen now.

I had booked a ticket to fly to Sydney next Thursday, but I suspect I’ll need to change that flight now too.

Walking home I stopped down by the river for a moment of further relaxation.

Oh well, I’m having a day off work today, and I have the weekend ahead of me. There’s still lots of terrific places I can visit within the Lismore LGA, even if I can’t go for a swim.

Author: James O'Brien

Born / Currently : Lismore / Widjabul Wia-Bal - Bundjalung Live : Sydney / Gadigal - Eora Also : Brisbane, Bourke, Renmark, Wagga, Perth Pronouns : He/him/his.

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