Outdoor activities with a healthy dose of curiosity, brought to you by Laure Latham
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For once I’ll write out of my parenting zone because my morning swim in the Serpentine came with a 12-foot surprise today. From afar it looked like a giant Jesus or a standing Buddha walking in the lake. I even made fun of it with my friend Alex who’s a yoga teacher and thought a Buddha would be a perfect swimming companion for her. However it turned out to look more than a Jesus Elvis Presley and I couldn’t understand what it was doing there. “Who’s the guy in the lake?” I asked around in the changing room of the Serpentine Swimming Club. “Mr. Darcy” came the answer. Mr. Darcy of the wet-and-see-through shirt lake scene? Just the one.
Apparently this 12-foot fiberglass Mr. Darcy is promoting a new Drama channel in the UK and will go on a tour until he rests in the lake at Lyme Park where Colin Firth’s scene was shot. Now, I know that Jane Austen would not approve of people in offensively scant outfits swimming around the ultimate romantic male figure but swimmers are not Mr. Darcy’s main companions in Hyde Park. Swans and row-boats – even two motorboats this morning, I didn’t think they were allowed – will paddle and float around the wet-shirt man in great numbers for a good look. Austen-obsessed women in awe of the proud and arrogant bachelor will come for a picture of their dream man.
As for me, I don’t think Mr. Darcy needs such a publicity stunt given how women fall for him all over the world. I’d rather leave him to readers’ imaginations than see the thing being nibbled away by pike, crayfish and blooming algae. It’s already not a flattering rendition of the brooding male – I mean, the face is weird – but it could become quite aquatically vegetal after a while.
What would Jane Austen think? Perhaps she’d revert to what she knows best, social ranking, and advise swimmers on proper water fashions: “I could advise you merely to put on whatever of your swim suit is superior to the rest—there is no occasion for anything more.”
Right on. No reason for anything more than the pleasure of swimming under the summer sun in the Serpentine.
Good thing I took my camera for a swim. Here are a few more pics for your Pride and Prejudice swimming pleasure. Click on thumbnails to enlarge: