Swim Gala

Today (6 January) was an immensely busy day!  We left home early to make our way to Ponds Forge, an international swimming [and diving] pool here in Sheffield, where Kezia was to participate in a Swim Gala. Mark had registered her to participate in the girls’ (9 year olds) backstroke and front crawl competition.  The Gala was scheduled to begin at 10 am, and we arrived in time for Kezia to join her local swimming group, and get changed and ready to participate.  Mark had volunteered to be a time-keeper so he headed down to pool-side to receive instructions on what to do.   I paid viewing entry for myself, and Azkarah and Tirzah, and we positioned ourselves at the glass balcony overlooking the whole pool.  The entire event lasted about 3 hours.  The goal of the event is to spot young, talented swimmers who are then recruited to the local swim clubs (squads), which train their swimmers to compete in national and international swimming events.  This was Kezia’s first ever Gala, and she came in 16th out of 26 in the backstroke swim competition.  We, unfortunately, don’t know her position for the front crawl competition.  We think she did well, and hope to enrol her in the next Gala, which will take place during the summer break.

Since we were all together at the swimming pool, we decided to go for a family swim (something we haven’t done in a very long time).  Ponds Forge has a really cool and fun family pool with waves, and a pool that goes round in a circle, and has its own current so one really doesn’t have to exert much energy in swimming; all one has to do is recline on one of the many floats provided and let the current push one along.  We all loved it!  There is also a super, long slide (2 of them that wind down next to each other), which Kezia persuaded me to go on with her – I screeched all the way down until I landed with a splash into the pool 🙂 – I felt like one of those bobsleds, you know like in the family movie Cool Runnings, that bounce from side to side what with the momentum of the speed!  To one side of the main family pool, is a smaller pool with different kinds of fountains and a small slide for under 4 year olds, where Tirzah had a LOT of fun.  She kept throwing herself down then standing up and throwing herself back down again, and again, and again 🙂  She really had fun.

After dinner tonight, Mark and Azkarah went out into the garden to hunt for slugs. Yep, slug hunting – not the nicest of professions but a necessary profession.  Our tiny garden is infested with slugs, and in the past we have ruthlessly exterminated them with salt, but that is a horrible way to get rid of slugs (if you’ve never heard of this method you can read up on it on google – I’ll not go into detail) even if we do detest them.  Besides, we couldn’t use that method with Azkarah around, as she considers them (and sails) to be beautiful [“Look, mummy, isn’t it (referring to slug or snail) beeeaauuuttiiiful?”]. Eek!  Anyhow, Mark asked Azkarah to accompany him outdoors to hunt for these creatures of the night, and together with their headlights on they went out with small, plastic disposable cups to find, pick up (with small pincers) and dispose of our unwanted garden tenants!  Once their cups were almost full, both Mark and Azkarah headed out to the small park close by and emptied the contents of their cups on to the grassy slopes.  To Azkarah, “daddy kindly released the slugs to freedom.”  No point telling her they might well be prey for any lurking predators!

It’s late and I need to go to bed…  Tomorrow is another day!


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