Crystal Palace pool circa 1998

Water cold enough to take your breath

As fingers pierce the surface film

And bodies undulate in time.

Sunshine streams through panes of glass

As divers circle through the rays

And children patter on the tiles.

The chlorine tang still burns my nose

But dried out skin and prune-like prints

Were just a symptom of my life.

The Crystal Palace housed a world,

A pool that held my childhood dreams

In careful liquid hands.

It’s now the place I like to go

When leaving home is not allowed.

I’m finding that as we are becoming more and more confined to our own homes I want to go places more and more. I have a whole list of places that I would have loved to go to over the Easter holidays; more than normal, I’d say, because I know I can’t go anywhere.

However, I have also found that I’m now thinking more about places that I used to love as a kid as well. Places that I’ve never had any thoughts about in years, but now I feel like I’m itching to go to again.

I was thinking a lot the other day about a place where I spent many happy days as a kid. I saw it on an advert and after that I just couldn’t help but want to revisit the place.

My happy place as a child was the swimming pool at Crystal Palace Sports Centre in London. We used to do training camps there and even though it has been twenty years since I was last there, I can still close my eyes and remember it vividly.

Does anyone else have these places that you can go back to almost instantly in your mind? I have found that spending a moment taking some deep breaths and just being there is really calming when things are getting a bit overwhelming. Try it next time you feel you’re struggling and I hope that it brings you some of the inner peace it has brought me.

Much Love

Rachel xx