Saturday, 8 April 2017
In search of the perfect swim bag...
I'm not entirely sure if it's the ethos of being a Girl Guide that is so embedded in me that I just can't help myself. I feel the need to carry absolutely everything I may need for any emergency around with me everywhere in an overly large handbag. This includes: hair grips, pen and paper, plasters, a bandage, a safety pin, tape measure, string, torch, peg, cotton and thread, face cloth, Tiger Balm, buttons and so on. It's the fear of never knowing when an emergency will happen and the need to "be prepared." I've not actually ever had a real emergency situation thank goodness, but I do worry because although I have pretty much have everything I think I might need, that age old statement 'all the gear, no idea!' would truly be appropriate when it comes to me. I really wouldn't have a clue what to do if faced with one.
I have decided this year to purchase a swim bag and after an exhaustive research I've opted for a rucksack. What I love are pockets, lots and lots of them, and this one fits the bill. My decision to replace the garden bucket that I used last year to transport my wetsuit etc. from home to venue and back again was based on the fact that there was nowhere to put my stuff and with limited space there's nothing more embarrassing than getting your towel or wetsuit out to find that an item of underwear has also vacated the bucket, sometimes when you weren't even aware, and you have to deny the escapee is yours, forcing you to go home commando.
Now my bag has arrived my Girl Guide self is already filling it like a master packer with 'what if' items: What if I cut my finger? (plasters) What if there are no washing facilities? (wipes, tissues, liquid soap). What if I get cold? (silver blanket). What if Shark needs saving mid swim? (whistle), and so on and such forth till all pockets are allocated. In fact I've covered pretty much every eventuality almost to the detriment of the stuff I actually need to swim with, however manage to compress the essentials, namely wetsuit, goggles, spare goggles, towel, anti chafing balm (not that I chafe you understand), ear plugs, spare ear plugs, drink, swim cap, flip flops, clothing, contact lenses, snacks, Jaffa Cakes, money and finally my lucky mascot into the remaining pockets, and after a long hour of careful packing I was feeling decidedly chuffed with myself and decide a dry run is in order.
This is the moment that I realise there are two things that I haven't considered. Firstly how on Earth am I going to successfully and swiftly deal with an emergency when all of my 'what if' items are squirrelled away in the bag that's teeming with pockets? I would have to perform a scavenger hunt around my bag looking for it, thus wasting valuable time. Secondly, how heavy the bag is. Even with my beefy arms that would even impress the likes of Geoff Capes, I am struggling to pick it up, let alone put it on my back. The solution? Empty the bag, remove the less essential items (that'd be possibly the silver blanket and the liquid soap), produce a spreadsheet/inventory of its contents and their location, and repack in a more orderly fashion.
So with a plan in place I begin, and immediately discover another flaw. If you put your wetsuit and your clothing (namely spare underwear) in the same bit, your 'clothing' is very likely to leave the bag at the same time as the wetsuit, sometimes quite spectacularly and sometimes unbeknown to you, leaving you possibly compromised (depending on your point of view) similarly to the bucket, and so now the penny has dropped and I realise the the underwear absconding isn't because of the bucket, or the rucksack, it's because of me - let's call it human error... Wetsuits and underwear should always be packed separately at all costs! See, always learning...Perhaps if I'd worked this our sooner I wouldn't have had to go home without as it were, or had to fork out for a new bag after all, but then again I have to ask, can a girl have too many bag- swimming or other?