This afternoon, I took my daughter, 3, to Danes Camp leisure centre in Northampton for a swim. She may be a toddler, but she's happy in the water, and can comfortably swim a length of a 25m pool. Her two great delights are sitting on my back "faster daddy, faster" and jumping into the water. Both of these are easier if the water is more than 2ft deep.
"She can swim, and I am keeping an eye on her"At this point, the life-guard went to fetch her manager. He repeated the allegation that my Daughter couldn't swim, ignoring the evidence of his own eyes as she splashed about happily, underneath signs warning of "danger" and listing things you're not allowed to do (have fun, mainly).
"You'll forgive me, if I pay more attention to my daughter than to you"She was at this point about 5m from me, in deep water.
"It's the rules. She has to be able to swim 50m"This is ridiculous. There are only a handful of 50m pools in the entire country.
"She can swim 50m, but not here, it's only 10m from one end to the other. You'd struggle to make her see the point of swimming 50m without getting out and jumping in, but she's more than capable of doing so"Logic failing, our brave defender of child safety attempted to further define his rules
"but it's doggy-paddle, not a recognised stroke"At this, ludicrous, desperate, surreal attempt by thwarted authority to re-assert itself in the face of someone saying "why?" and applying logic, I said
"we're finished. I am happy my Daughter is safe, and I shall ignore you from now on and enjoy my swim"At this he mentioned banning me, like I give a shit or want to "swim" in his chav piss-puddle again, and calling the police.
And fuck me, if Terry Jones, our jumped up little leisure-centre gauleiter, wasn't as good as his word. Sure enough, when I left, there were two uniformed Police officers in the manager's office, looking like (short, young, slack-jawed) paramilitary gestapo in their assault vests and black shirts. To the officers' credit, they barely said a word and appeared rather embarrassed to be there.
The five-minute conversation is below.