Highgate Women’s Pond We are fair feather swimmers, lucked out on sunshine dipping down among the moorhens and the mandarin ducks. Remember the house we shared, the book we all read - from The Women’s Press - ‘Steaming Ahead’ - picture of an iron on the spine. It was called Three Ply Yarn, told the stories of women’s lives, how they combine, pull apart and coincide. Today our hair drips in cow licks down the sides of our faces, tangles in plaits as we glide between warm kissed shallows and chill surprise below shadows. Lovers, daughters, sisters dart in a warm beam of water marigolds, a spritzer of dragonflies. We pass the swim ring with a swan’s nest in the middle pass the life guard paddling her canoe, swim as far as we can, and back again, our eyes sky watered, swim through the vodka jelly of remembered parties, through earl grey tea with a nice slice of lemon, through water that’s only itself, just water. At the metal steps we queue to get out, heads bobbing, bald headed coots. Then in the sun we lie on the banks of the pond, think we are safe in the screen of the trees, as among the abundant roses we show our generous flesh. Later we cold shower in the changing room, wooden discomforts, timelessly functional - this could be 2009 or 1909 we could meet here through every season, dive sinewed and strong into winter’s element, break the ice and tow rope each other from trouble. But no - we are fair feather swimmers, re-united for just one day, can only imagine how our lives would be - if we’d stayed three ply.