Leisure: Moments from Death at King's Cross Ponds
Written by: Violet Myers
Rose got a lot of shit for not letting Jack share that big door she was floating on at the end of Titanic. Like many people, I too was quick to criticise, couldn’t she have budged up just a bit? That was until the day I took a quick dip in King’s Cross swimming pond in November.
The thing with freezing to death, and take this from me, is logic, honour and sympathy for your loved ones goes out the window and all is left is remorseless pain and shrivelled internal organs.
The pond opened earlier this year and has been described as ‘An immersive piece of land art’ – which can only be described as copywriting gone mad. It’s the country’s first manmade fresh water swimming pool, it’s open year round and is a mere ten minutes walk from King’s Cross station.
Our first clue to the horrors we were about to entail was meeting the only other swimmer who, unlike us, was wearing a wetsuit and referred to the 7c water as ‘fresh’. As I approached the pond, pulling at my Next halter neck bikini whilst wondering if open water swimming in winter could be considered as a form of self punishment and whether I should get back in touch with that therapist, the lifeguard pointed out a school of fish that had set up shop in the deep end. “The water’s has no chemicals so we get a lot of nature here” he explains “I’ve been right down to the bottom before and have seen all sorts of things.” Fighting every natural urge to not get into the glacial pool, I made the plunge.
Our first clue to the horrors we were about to entail, was meeting the only other swimmer who, unlike us, was wearing a wetsuit and referred to the 7c water as ‘fresh’
Now I’ll be the first to admit that freshwater swimming in November may have been a foolish idea and by no means did I think it would be warm. I wasn’t expecting the Mediterranean, I wasn’t even expecting Tooting Lido, but on my second width the fear of death was upon me. Nothing can quite prepare you for how hard the water hits you at these temperatures. I’m ashamed to say of the two hour allotted time my £3.50 ticket got me, I had approximately 114 minutes left when I got out.
But although my third length was easier due to the later phases of hypothermia in which the body gives up on feeling in order to survive, the whole experience was exhilarating. It felt strange to feel so alive and so close to death at the same time, but the freezing green water was invigorating.
Outdoor swimming has really taken off this year, with thousands taking to the water on a daily basis in all seasons and I can almost see why. I felt sharp, awake and pretty bloody badass.
It’s definitely not for everyone, anyone with any kind of heart problem should probably stick to The Sobell Centre, but there is something remarkable about swimming in the open air. I may still loose a toe to frostbite, nor will I ever watch Titanic in the same way again, but these fabulous post-swim endorphins are worth all the toes on my feet.
King’s Cross Pond Club
20 Canal Reach
(entrance on Tapper walk)
Open from 8-4pm on weekends and 10.30 – 4pm on weekdays.
By gum there are a lot of winter markets this year. Fueled by sickly sweet mulled wine and overpriced pulled pork sliders, we’ve managed to wade our way through the murky waters of winter markets and find some decent looking ones round this here part of town. Don’t let our Grinch-esq vibes put you off (I’m more of a Pancake Day person myself) because, if you’re into markets, you’ll probably like these. Read on, if you’re merrier than us.
Take a short walk along Finsbury Park’s own sunset strip and you’ll find MoseyHome, an interiors retailer and styling consultancy who have invited us to collaborate with them on an exciting new series titled 'Style My Shop', in which they invite some of London's most talented interiors experts to quite literally style their shop. Interiors porn at it's finest.
Why was the snowman sad? Because he had a meltdown. Much like us, every year, when winter comes. It’s cold, it’s dark, and we know Christmas is on its way. But hey, it’s not all bad – the events round this time of year can be pretty swell. So don your scarf-shawl-blanket and get your frolic on, it’s time for fairy lights, scarfing mulled wine and stuffing your face!
Touch, taste, smell, hear and create art. Smith & Sinclair, purveyors of the Edible Cocktail, presents The Flavour Gallery: a multi-sensory adventure that’ll seduce your senses and tickle your taste buds beyond all imagination. Ooh matron!
Brush the cobwebs off your sexy banana costume; it’s that time of year to make a tit of yourself in fancy dress again. We’ve rounded up the most spine-chilling Halloween happenings in North London and, trust us, they sound horrendous. Be afraid, be very afraid.
God bless the Queen... of Hoxton. Or, more specifically, their rooftop - which happens to be one of our favourites in this here city of London. These guys are well known for creating beautiful, seasonal pop-ups which have included the Nordic Viking themed 'Skye Halla' and the Neverland inspired 'Bangarang'. This winter make way for 'The Moroccan Medina', a sky high hideaway inspired by the romanticism of the beguiling ancient city of Marrakesh.
Next time you need a caffeine hit why not take it from a cup brewed from Jamaican beans grown under a canopy of rainforest-preserving trees, whilst eating a home made vegan banana bread as you sit among an array of sweetly scented blooms. Welcome to Mento, Finsbury Park.
Pilgrim, the newest kid to Hackney's pop-up scene, is a unique dining experience inspired by the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. This six course tasting menu includes regional dishes with a contemporary twist not yet seen before in London.
Recent times have seen an unnerving surge in right-wing politics. President Trump’s campaign to ‘make America great again’ saw him make the audacious promise to ‘build a wall’. France saw the uneasy ascent of Marine Le Pen’s National Front in its general elections and Germany’s AfD, (the first openly nationalist party in almost six decades) celebrated an unprecedented third place victory in its recent elections.
Summer is officially over. We're not sure it ever began in the first place. I guess that's one of the few downsides of living in London (other than crippling debt, tube strikes and Boris Johnson), but I digress... Magic Roundabout Old Street is raising the bar for winter, transforming the site into a tented, heated, 'Decades' inspired wonderland.
Guess who’s back, back again. Fat Macy’s back, tell a friend. No, really. Tell everyone about it. Fat Macy's supper club came back into our lives and this time around they had their Middle Eastern Feast on at the cute as a button Luminary Bakery in Stoke Newington, with a menu inspired by Ottolenghi and the #CookForSyria campaign.
Getting shouted at by a burly prison guard with a buzz cut and an offensively loud American accent isn't usually the way one wishes to begin one's night. Nevertheless, as I clamber into a very large (cheers guys) orange jumpsuit, the guard shoves a bottle of Conkers Gin wrapped in a thin towel (no fluffy Egyptian cotton here lads), into my now somewhat clammy hands. Whispering hastily at me to not get caught by the warden I'm ushered off in single file into the depths of Alcotraz.
If you haven’t heard the news yet, the world’s first black bookshop is back. Yes, after months of campaigning for funding and volunteers, New Beacon Books has reopened after threat of closure with a brand new refurb to boot. Established in 1966 by John La Rose and Sarah White, New Beacon Books is the UKs longest running independent bookshop specialising in African-Caribbean literature, cards and artwork.
London cocktail week is upon us. To be honest I can think of nothing worse than strapping on a wristband, carrying around a guidebook and queuing up for something that just needs to be brought to my sorry, tired old lips immediately. Apparently this year however, Drink Up London have released an app that eliminates all of the above nonsense. Get your ticket, download the app and get enjoying your £6 cocktails all week long. Just remember to flash your digital pass to the bartender first.