Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Confessions of Lisa Marshall

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Confessions of Lisa Marshall

Article excerpt

Monday

I drag myself out of bed and head off to the pool for my usual morning swim. The main reason behind doing so is the hope of having firmer thighs and buttocks. And I do find it really enjoyable but there are the odd days when the speed swimmers are out in force.

When I first started going to early birds, I was impressed that the local pool had a wave machine. It didn't take me long to realise that the waves were, in fact, caused by a couple of swimmers who fancied themselves as a bit of a Duncan Goodhew.

I try to keep out of their way so as not to embarrass myself by coughing and spluttering when a tidal wave hits me. I'm one of those swimmers who does the breast stroke with their head permanently craning out of the water. I'm scared to put my face under. It's a big accomplishment that I can swim at all. I wasn't such a good swimmer when I was younger.

I remember sitting cross-legged in school assembly when I was 14 and the headmaster calling people's names to present their 200 metre and lifesaving badges. Because I wasn't even capable of such an achievement, I sat happy in the knowledge that I didn't have to get off my behind and walk to the front of assembly.

To my surprise, my name DID get called out:

"Lisa Marshall!" bellowed the Headmaster.

I looked at my friend Gillian in absolute shock. We were both poor swimmers and I whispered to her that there must have been some mistake and he was going to award me someone else's 200 metre badge. We giggled and I stood up proudly to make my way to the front.

"10 metres!" he shouted.

My face fell and I could feel myself turn scarlet. People started sniggering. But it got worse. By the time I reached the front and was accepting my certificate, the headmaster then yelled: "With a float!"

It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. At least I wasn't the only one. Gillian was the next one up to be awarded the same humiliation.

The same can be said for my ability to ride a bike. Nowadays I'm often out for a cycle on the mountain bike but I think I was about 12 before I managed to take the stabilisers off my Raleigh Chopper. …

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