Today I took Tiddler to his swimming lesson. I really enjoy spending time with him by himself, and he likes having the extra attention. He loves swimming and is becoming more confident and independent. He swam by himself today, with armbands and was very proud of himself. We had been in the pool for about 15 minutes, which is half way through the lesson time, when the fire alarm went off.
We had to leave by the exit which is right next to the teaching pool, and as I walked out I could see our towels hanging up about a metre away the other side of the barrier but couldn’t get them. As we lined up by the door, we were given foil blankets, but I only got one which was quite small and didn’t go round both me and Tiddler. So obviously I wrapped it around Tiddler and managed to get it round my shoulders a bit, which meant that I had to walk out and round past the main entrance of the building and across the car park with rather a lot of the rest of me on show! I was glad that I had my decent Boden swimming costume on (at least it never happened when I was wearing my old baggy maternity swimsuit that had done four pregnancies) but even so I wasn’t particularly impressed.
I was also annoyed about having to walk across the car park which seemed to be rather unsafe. I couldn’t help imagining what it would have been like if I had been with all four children – and even worse, what it would have been like three years ago if I’d been there on my own with a 5 year old, a 4 year old, a toddler and a baby. I suppose that’s like a weird kind of reverse disaster planning, worrying about how bad things might have been if they had happened when the kids were younger. But of course it could happen to someone in that situation now, so I really think that they need to rethink the location of their meeting point. The other problem with it was that there were a lot of cars moving around and leaving the car park at once – presumably all the people who had all their possessions with them (and their clothes on) when the alarm went off – so it was even more dangerous than usual.
I was very lucky that as soon as we reached the meeting point, we saw Granny and her friend (our neighbour) who had just arrived for a swimming session that was due to start just after Tiddler’s lesson. They kindly lent us their towels so we were able to warm up and cover up a bit, which was good because it was about 5 minutes before a member of staff came to offer me an extra blanket. It was a nice sunny day, but we had got very cold in the first few minutes after we came outside so it took us a while to warm up. I don’t want to imagine what it would have been like in the middle of winter. After 15 minutes the fire brigade arrived, and 5 minutes later we were allowed back into the building. Tiddler had by then missed the rest of his lesson, so we just had to get changed and go home. It was rather disappointing and confusing for him, but it least he got to see a fire engine and four firemen!