For the start of these episodes go to
In a quaint little custom quite a few seaside towns and cities build a structure amongst the rocks right on the edge of the ocean and call it “The Saltwater Sea-Baths”.
Why you might do this with miles of sandy beach, sea water, dunes, breakers and all the stuff beach communities love, right there is a bit beyond me. But I have lived in a few places where this is the norm.
So has Jillian.
And to add to this strange reality, many of these pools are quite large complexes also including hot mineral water baths, massage rooms, and many other health spa kinds of things.
But some are just an excavation out of the rocks and are filled by the waves either breaking over the sea-side wall or funnelling through tunnels in the rock just above the highest level of the pool.
What this means is that these pools are COLD. I mean in the breakers cold water is moving – a lot - and so are you, the swimmer; but, in a pool of this kind the water is mainly still except for the rhythmic tumble of fresh cold water entering at the sea wall end. And all motion by a person seems to make it colder rather than more bearable. What we have here is a deep pool of still, glassy, almost motionless freezing water just waiting for a swimmer to brave it, and I still have to work out why this is so enticing. I mean there is not even scotch whisky involved.
As well as this there is an even more ludicrous situation at such pools. They are fenced and locked when not officially open to the public – even the ones that are not much more than a hole in the ground and a rudimentary change room setup. Very primitive, But still secure behind high wire fences with barbed wire on top. Bit like a torture prison from one of those unenlightened countries of the past.
But it gets worse.
Add to this the mania of most seaside places like this for a winter solstice (the shortest day – longest night) swim at midnight. Yes you heard me. In the middle of the longest, coldest night of the year hardy (read stupid) souls venture into one of these sea baths for a lovely little swim.
And the baths are, of course, closed and locked, aren't they?
One night Jillian ventured out with a few others in their early twenties to one of these ceremonies. Unfortunately this particular sea baths was below a number of houses built on the cliff above. The shouting, screaming and laughing woke the community minded deeply slumbering neighbours, (it was a clod winter's night) and the constabulary were despatched.
Jillian and her friends heard the sirens and decided to make off into the night. Did I say there were high wire fences and barbed wire involved? Well since they had climbed in - they needed to climb out. It was slow and dangerous work. The blokes a wee bit more worried than the girls.
You see, as boys will be boys these chaps had decided skinny dipping was the bees knees. This made escape even more dangerous and speed was obviously of the essence. Hmmm the fence, the barbed wire. Not good for a young bloke.
At least one of our intrepid males decided to forgo the few seconds required to gather up his clothes and climbed the fence naked. Of course he fell off. Was he still on one piece? No time to check. Too cold to tell. Piling into the car and laying rubber they headed off in the direction away from the approaching patrol cars.
Now Jillian found herself in the back seat with another young woman and our naked friend. Blue with the cold and by now embarrassed and frightened, he began to investigate whether or not he was still a bloke. No blood was a good sign. But the ladies were not impressed. (That's not what I meant, but it was extremely cold. OK?)
Here was this naked 20 something years old man busily and visibly checking his family jewels while they tried to look the other way.
I have said it before – but as Jillian reiterated – some images just can't be unseen. #ourjillian.