I must go down to the sea again . . .

I’ve decided to post these jousts fortnightly instead of weekly; because firstly I have only just realised how much I am enjoying the absence of deadlines now that I am retired. Secondly, coming up with something silly to say every week is a serious challenge and I refuse to join the throng of those who would try to tell others what to think. Well-argued essays have their place, but they should be written by people who know what they’re talking about, and I don’t know much about anything – instead, I know dangerously little about quite a few things.

Thirdly, the swimming pool is about to reopen and Suze and I like to go three times a week if possible, and what with the early springtime demands of the garden and the allotment, well, I just don’t know where the hours go.

Talking of swimming, biological anthropologists speculate that, not long after the dawn of time, when our simian forebears first came down from the trees they headed straight for the beach. Our earliest ancestors may have become “aquatic apes” and this, say the biological anthropologists, goes some way to explaining why we shed our fur and why what fur we have left tends to be streamlined as if our bodies were very accustomed to swimming as a means of locomotion. Maybe that’s true and I wonder if, what with climate change and rising sea levels, we might as a species be considering returning to a wetter way of life.

We need look no further than Australia (although now I think about it, Australia’s quite a long way to look for most of us). The centre of that continent is almost empty of people because so many Australians have opted for an aquatic lifestyle, many of them now only emerging from the water to mate, play cricket and watch the Melbourne Cup.

Perhaps, after a few more generations, our bodies will begin to change as we adapt to a watery new world; Picasso may have been prophetic when he started moving our eyes and mouths around to one side of our faces, like flounders. Looking at his ‘The Swimmer’ I’m sure Picasso could have drawn that from life, using someone like me as the model. I am still working on my freestyle, or crawl, at the pool and if my mouth could just move around to where my left ear is I’m sure everything would fall into place.

But then, I could be talking out of the back of my head.

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