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By imposing on myself the posting of a daily article I found that I am constantly under stress to write, a double edged sword. Though it has honed my ability and increased my readership, it has stressed me no end to meet that illusion of a deadline!
A few years ago I had discovered that the best way for me to relieve stress is to swim. I love swimming, and I’m good at it. I am also lucky enough to have a pool. So everything is there for me to take advantage of, get some exercise and relieve my stress.
Yesterday I went into the pool, thinking I will start with a few laps of proper exercise, then take it easy and lounge a bit while relaxing in the water. The moment I stepped into the pool all my plans went up in smoke!

Helen, my beautiful, huge, strong Golden Retriever was standing right beside me, knee deep in the pool, wagging her tail furiously (and splashing me in the process) grinning at me in anticipation of a shared swim! Of course! When they were puppies I used to swim with her, Troy and Petra, and it was a joy. Those little puppies used to splash their way to me and climb up on my shoulders to rest and feel secure. I adored our swims together. So now with Helen standing there in anticipation, I thought: Why not? It will bring back some lovely memories.
So I took a few steps forward and she smoothly swam next to me, so I walked further in and she kept up with me, then I started swimming and here, to my shock, she tried to get up on my shoulders and promptly pulled me down. I’m a very good swimmer, so out of sheer self defence I kept swimming under the water till I reached the edge of the pool where I had something solid to hold onto. Helen saw me and made a beeline for me, but went to the edge and held on there.
Now I was at the deep end and needed to get back to the shallow end if I wanted to get out, but there was Helen, holding onto the edge, grinning at me with a challenging light in her eye! This needed a good fool-proof strategy. So looking at her, I decided to play dirty. Right below this part of the pool is a small pool where the water of the vanishing edge spills into.

So without hesitation I pushed Helen into that pool, pushed myself off the wall and swam my fastest to the other end of the pool, the shallow part. I got there just in time before Helen, who had promptly jumped back into the big pool, reached me. She was ecstatic! We were playing together in the pool!
I sat on the pool steps, in the water, with Helen right next to me, trying to think of a way to get a start on her so I can get to the other side before she could reach me. I remembered the seat that was to the left of the pool right next to the jets, so I walked there, with Helen swimming right next to me, and stopped where she could stand right on that seat with her head above water.

I then realised that she could not jump from there but she could start to swim, so I promptly jumped in and sprinted to the deep edge. She was right there a few seconds behind me. She climbed on the edge, and I promptly pushed her over! Then pushed off and sprinted to the shallow part of the pool. This then became our routine. After a few times she stopped waiting for me to push her into the small pool, she just jumped in, and would not come back into the big pool until I had pushed away from the wall and started swimming back.
We had a lovely time, except for Prince who kept barking his head off, following us on dry land from one end of the pool to the other.

Towards the end of my swimming session, suddenly there was silence, I was at the deep end. Looking up I saw that Prince had fallen into the pool and was holding on for dear life onto the edge. So I moved around to the edge so Helen could not drown me if she came in, till I reached him. Poor huge baby, he had such a panicked look on his face! I petted him, crooning softly “Its ok, it’s ok”, took a hold of his bottom half and pushed him out of the pool. He ran for dear life cavorting on the grass, celebrating his renewed lease on life!
When Helen and I resumed our exercise, he resumed his litany of barking, which I now understood expressed his fear for us. But when Helen got out of the pool and I was still in, he stopped barking! Well I guess he cares more for Helen than he does for me. For all he cared I could drown at my leisure!
I had a great time, and so did Helen, lots of exercise for both of us. Going into the shower afterwards I felt a few tender spots on my arms and legs, it must be where Helen had kicked me trying to climb on my shoulders. The next day I was black and blue all over.

So that is that, no more swimming dates with Helen, she is too strong for me.
But it was fun while it lasted.

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