I am not one of nature’s swimmers. I don’t enjoy the feeling of sudden and panicked terror which overcomes me as soon as I go out of my depth, and I have such an inefficient swimming technique which means that I am totally exhausted after just few feet of wriggling and thrashing through the water like a wet cat.
However, such unusually hot weather seems to bring out unusually irrational behaviour. It was so hot yesterday while I was refurbishing a broody coop that by late afternoon, I realised that something needed to be done. The loch where I fish for brown trout is just a field away, and with the sun beating down on the hills all around, I headed for water with an intense single mindedness. Scoop has just started to learn the basics of swimming, and while she’s as buoyant and as resistant to water as a black ping-pong ball, her technique still lacks a certain something. Her “doggy paddle” is very noisy, and from a distance, she looks like a mississippi paddle steamer. A bit of practice and she’ll be cutting through water like an otter, but she joined me faithfully as I stripped off and waded into the brown peaty water.
All was well until she swam up to me and scraped her paddling paws down my side, causing me to sink momentarily beneath the water. She then turned and worked her way solemnly back to the bank, puffing through her cheeks and shaking gallons of water over my dry clothes when she got out.
Good generals never ask their soldiers to do anything that they wouldn’t do themselves, and I hope that this excursion will maybe help Scoop‘s resolve when I ask her to plunge into a frozen estuary on a January morning to retrieve a teal. Hopefully, she won’t attempt to differentiate between balmy summer loch and bone freezing salty creek, and she’ll assume that I am just as ready to strip off and plunge in as she is. How wrong she’ll be.