Sometimes I can’t bear London. The noise, the pollution, the hordes of people. Coming back from somewhere else and arriving at the North Circular, regardless of the time you are hit by a sense of urgency. People desperate to get to places and people desperate to leave.
A swim in the Ladies’ Pond on Hampstead Heath dissipates all this. This wonderful oasis that restores energy and soothes the nerves. It is, as Margaret Drabble so aptly said, “Rus in Urbe” (countryside in the city).
It makes London so absolutely worthwhile. Ironically, once you have been for a swim in the pond, you are ready for anything… and you can even begin to embrace London and appreciate its vitality.
Click to hear Ruth talk about the ladies pond on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour 06/06/2013 (forward to 15m:40s)