One of the truths I live by is: "You never regret a swim."For a long time I thought I invented it, but an ex-girlfriend claims I copied it from her, and actually it turns out that plenty of folks have said it at various times, including the poet Elizabeth Bishop, and Heinrich Schliemann who discovered the lost ruins of Troy, and my friend Rosa's grandmother, and as far as I can tell each of us thinks we were the first.It's one of those pieces of wisdom that seems absolutely self-evident until you forget it, and then it becomes a momentous rediscovery. This is because very often you don't feel like a swim. Sometimes it seems the sea doesn't want you or there is too much green and grey in the palette and not enough white and blue. Sometimes the prospect of taking off your shirt and shorts and trudging all the way down there then trudging all the way back then drying yourself off then putting your shirt and shorts back on again feels like an existential labour and a lifetime's unreward...

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