Last year I was first in. In fact, first in ever. Probably some of the men who built it have had a splash about, but I was first ‘official swim’ in the lido. I was nervous, to tell the truth. Not about giving the speech to dedicate the pool and declare it open. Not even about everyone watching me swim. No, I’m a competent swimmer, if not gifted.
But I’ve never stripped off my mayoral robes in front of six thousand before.
Pride in accomplishing a goal I so passionately believed in helped me through. You know, one hundred and twenty local men without work took part in building it. One hundred and twenty men with a reason to get up in the morning. With something to feel proud of, like I did of them.
Since last year it’s been gala dinners and celebrations every week. The mayor is invited everywhere and one can’t really refuse, unless there is a double booking or some ethical reason. So I’ve eaten more puddings than usual and put on a little weight around the middle.
When the Guildford Lido opens this year, I shall be wearing a swimming costume two sizes bigger.