Daddy Cool: 'They would have to sink or swim

AFTER trudging along every Sunday for the best part of three years to take my two boys to swimming lessons, I finally packed it in at the end of last year. Hefty monthly fees during a time of savage recession and endless pay freezes had first made me consider whether it was the best use of my meagre financial resources.

The interminable faffing about in the changing rooms was also beginning to get on my wick. But it was the staggering lack of progress in the pool that helped make up my mind for me. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting the pair of them to be transformed into the next David Wilkie. But is it unreasonable to expect them to manage an unassisted length or two after spending enough time in the water to develop fins?

The boys would simply have to sink or swim, I reasoned. Last week, this was put to the test in the most alarming fashion.

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Myself, my seven-year-old son, his six-year-old brother and their three-year-old sister had been larking about at Edinburgh's Lauriston Castle. We headed to the once free-flowing waterfall and pond, which lately has become a stagnant soup of slime. Predictably, this proved irresistible.

I remain convinced that one day, if only due to the law of averages, one of my children will heed my command of "Come away from the edge!", but I'm not holding my breath. I don't think my youngest son was either as he disappeared into the murky depths after attempting to scoop up an unsuspecting and catastrophically out-of- reach froglet.

At this point I was about 20 yards away, but on hearing the initial splash and subsequent gurgling, was able to muster what little pace I possess to arrive at the scene of the soaking and drag my soggy son back to dry land before he starting sleeping with the fishes. A dash home, warm up in front of the fire, couple of Pink Piggies from M&S, and you would never have known anything had happened. But I might start those swimming lessons again.

PS: Happy birthday and lots of love to our oldest child, who turns eight today. Daniel you're a star.

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