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Sundays at the pool

This is about the best motivational poster I know. There’s a variant for running as well. 

It stands out quite a bit to me as there are any number of other motivational posters which operate on the basis of making you feel bad about how poorly you’re doing. I think that misses the point in a lot of ways.

I had a truly terrible swim yesterday. Mostly it’s because I learned the hard way that sometimes, at 10.30 on a Sunday morning the swimming pool is a bit packed. Both pools were packed, both the 25 and 50m pools. There were people messing around in the diving pool as well.

Mostly young boys it has to be said. It leaves me conflicted. As a general principle, I think it’s important that children and their parents spend quality time together doing stuff, like swimming (for example). But I spent most of the last 10 years of my life in Ireland as a member of private gyms which had as a plus point pools which were generally usable – very few children  and generally not so busy that they could not be used.

I sort of envied the kids playing on the diving boards. As part of my project to reduce the number of things I regret not trying, I signed up for springboard diving lessons in the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin. They didn’t go well for me.

But as far as actual swimming is concerned, I got very little other than regular collisions because other people just don’t seem to care if they swim into other people, don’t care if they block lane ends, don’t care in general. I think in total I managed to swim around 150m. This is basically pathetic.

But at least I went; it’d be worse if I didn’t.

Yesterday once more

Yesterday, I wanted to flit through my instagram feed. It’s a frustrating exercise at the best of times as Instagram is an algorithmic feed. What this means is somewhere in Instagram land is code that attempts to identify what is most relevant/interesting/important to you. In my case, it is an abject failure.

I’d be fine with this if Instagram allowed me to say “show me my feed in a chronologically descending order – most recent first”. But it doesn’t.

There are multiple downsides for me. The platform is increasingly unusable. Yesterday it decided the most important posts for me to see were posts that were 14 days old. Instagram is a social media feed. 14 days is ancient history. All due respect but there is no way in hell that this is even remotely relevant/interesting/important to me now. It is old news. I don’t read 14 day old newspapers. Why Instagram thinks that 14 day old social media posts might be most important to me is beyond me. Their algorithm does not work.

What is particularly frustrating is that every single evening before I go to bed, I take a look through instagram. And there are a subset of accounts which I want to see every single night. I search for them every night even though they are accounts which I follow. Instagram does not care. They can cheerfully show me ads for the same professional accounts every day – I’m sick of seeing ads for the Economist across both Facebook and Instagram for example – but they cannot show me the accounts I follow in the order that I want to see them. I cannot be allowed to see these things in order of time.

I can get around some of this where someone automatically posts their instagram feed to a twitter account and that can be followed via my newsreader. But.

On a wider scale, I’m increasingly re-appraising how I use these tools. I started cleaning out my twitter account of accounts that no longer interested me recently, and I’ve also started using the mute word facility. Aside from the whole time sink thing, one of the things that struck me was the low level menu of frustration, anger, annoyance and feeling disheartened that seemed to be constantly following me around.

Over the past few days, via the vagaries of my twitter feed, and Twitter’s tendency to think I need to know who liked what, I have see the same New York Times article posted to my timeline a thousand times. Twitter is able to know what I’ve seen and who has seen what. It counts these things and uses them as metrics. So it should be able to see that I’ve seen a particular link many, many times. For things like telling me people liked a certain link, I don’t need to keep seeing this. It’s not that it isn’t relevant to me; it is that it isn’t constantly relevant to me.

And yet, not only that, Twitter feeds and refeeds me tweets and links I’ve seen many times for long periods. It’s like I said above. I don’t read 14 day old newspapers and so I don’t need Breaking News retweeted to me 5 days later. Breaking news tweets desperate need to expire and Twitter needs to stop nagging me about things

While we’re at it, they read the links to post to me – they have to be able to display them – but my experience is that if those links include words from your mutelist, they still get posted to you. They could fix that too.

Things I didn’t need: algorithmic feeds telling me what other people liked. Things I did need: news items expiring as they cease to be fresh and a comprehensive ability to block content that they are ramming down my throat so much that the platform is getting unusable that includes links.

In truth, I have to re-evaluate what I use these sites for. I could probably live without Instagram and switch back to Flickr for example. I’ve historically found twitter a den of information. It’s just lately, it’s been a den of frustration and a tool which other people can use to manipulate my emotions.

Much of what I blocked this weekend wasn’t information. It related to things people wanted me to feel outraged about. You can argue that this is delusional, but I’d like to get from Twitter the things I got originally. Tools for stuff that interest me. A large amount of my twitter feed used to be basically photography and digital art. I’m interested in machine learning. Much of that feed is tainted, sadly by American politics. I don’t get much news. I get some news stories, massively amplified. Harvey Weinstein and Tom Humphries wrecked my twitter feed for so long that I eventually muted as much as I could about them. But I still get served up links (which I have often already seen a dozen times because twitter isn’t much of a curator). It’s not that I want to hide in some fluffy bubble with a fluffy toy. It’s that being outraged All The Time is exhausting. It assumes there is nothing going on in the real world that causes me concern.

I’m not asking twitter to be therapy. I’m asking for it to feed a certain need which is information about things that interest me, chat with people who are my friends, and the ability to tune out things that are designed to make me emotionally exhausted. I read newspapers. It’s amazing. A newspaper doesn’t flick back to page 4 every few minutes to force you to read the same story over and over and over again with a view to making you angry, upset and unhappy.

Remember, Facebook actually experimented with making its users more and less negative.

So I tune out. I’m the product. Shortly, if Twitter and instagram continue to mess their products around, they won’t have any customers. .

Coat Sunday

Today is Mantelsondag. This is a local thing which never came up in any of the cross cultural workshops I did either in Dublin or London when I was studying translation and interpreting. I suppose I can understand London – they sort of expected you to have the language side of things sorted by the time you got to them.

Anyway, Mantelsondag which I may have spelt wrong is Luxembourgish for Coat Sunday and it is the Sunday on which, traditionally, the locals have bought their winter coats. Quite a few of the shops in the main shopping areas were open as a a result.

I suppose the closest that we have, or had, in Ireland is the 8th of December the day traditionally on which all the people from the country came to the nearest city to do a bit of Christmas related shopping. That often involved Christmas finery. It’s not quite the same thing but it’s a tradition which is broadly dying because to be fair the shops are open most Sundays in Ireland except on St Patrick’s Day and Christmas Day if they fall on Sundays. And New Year’s Day is problematic as well but I’d like to hope you’ve sorted a winter coat by then.

Swimming Data Overwhelming Options

I’ve found the collection of precise data about my swimming habit has been helpful for at least keeping me reassured that despite the fact that I am way short of my main goals, I am making progress. As such, if other people were wondering whether it was worth their while even though they can barely swim a length, and sure it’s a bit of overkill, isn’t it, I’d say, if you have the money and a smartphone and a computer, get it.

The problem is around what to do with the data in terms of analysing it. There are no perfect solutions.

Currently, my swim watch populates 4 data outfits. Obviously it feeds Garmin because it’s  a Garmin watch. I also send the data to Swim.com which tells me how I rate compared to other swimmers in my pool (this is great when I am swimming in Syrdall because I’m top of all the rankings but have no competition at all. Even in dCoque, for distance I rate 10th out of 11 swimmers although the top 6 I will not catch unless someone stops them swimming), to Sporttracker.mobi which for various reasons I slightly prefer and as of this week, and therefore missing two months of data, Speedo’s brand new tracking site at on.speedo.com

As a special aside, I also log how I feel about the swims in a notebook because I feel better writing it than typing it. But that does very little number crunching.

For the number crunching software it is hard to say what’s best. Swim.com has some really nice features, and it taps into the population of swimming pools which is handy because it also means that you can find swimming pools in strange places. However, the guidance in terms of setting up the data transfer at the outset wasn’t clear and in the end, I have no idea how it comes to be working because I didn’t do anything the site told me to do.

Speedo has some really nice features – its goal setting feature is user friendly compared to the Garmin one, for example, which focuses on challenges involving other people. And Speedo has monthly challenges. It also has a paid option which allows you to feed into coaching. On the other hand, you’d need to be sure you wanted all that stuff, plus, the site advertises Speedo gear that might support your training – you may or may not find that good.

Desktop wise, I tend to favour Sporttracks although I haven’t nailed down how to get goals into that system, it tends to be a bit better for adding notes to workouts and certain information is easier to find in the summaries than it is on the Garmin site.

Mobile access wise, I’ve not found Speedo to be great in how it displays my data – my rest periods confuse it and to be honest, Garmin is probably the best for that. What’s a little bit frustrating I guess, is that in real terms, I’d like to be admining just one of these accounts – this is what it boils down to at the end of the day. I’d prefer to be swimming than operating 4 separate accounts which all basically describe the swimming. But because none of them cover all bases, it’s not really easy to decide which of them to let drop at this point. I will be revisiting this later, I think.

Swimming Pool Review: dCoque, Luxembourg

I expect this to be the last pool review for a while as I won’t be swimming pool hopping so much until next summer again I guess.

dCoque is basically the home of Luxembourg’s national sports and entertainments centre and it has a swimming complex. It also has a climbing wall but I haven’t been there yet as all my time is Swimming. All the Time, All the Swimming.

It was closed for most of the summer, and while I was there back in February once before I had managed to structure my life in such a way as I could fit in the two hours you need for a reasonable swimming trip, I hadn’t built a habit and when I started swimming more seriously in the summer, I’d pretty much forgotten the details of the pool. So I decided to wait for it to reopen before writing it up.

If you look at the swimming pool reviews on Swimmer’s Guide, you’ll find a lot of positive things said about dCoque. I tend to concur. The complex has a bunch of pools to which the public has access to three, namely the paddling pool for kids, a shallow 25m pool and a 50 pool. There is also a separate diving pool but I do not know how much access is granted to the diving section. When I was there on Wednesday or Thursday this week it was being used for scuba training and it has several diving platforms as well. I’ve done the diving board  thing twice, and gotten profoundly sick both times so regretfully I’ve given up on ever being the type of person who can dive from a 10 metre platform and land successfully and gracefully in the water.

Swimming wise, I believe there are two training pools, a 50m and a 25m which are used for clubs and classes. I have not seen them Outside those, there is an arena 50m pool which is 2.2m deep and a learning pool which scales from 0.6m to 1.35m. I swam in both of them.

People have told me they find the pools in dCoque cold. I don’t quite get this as for me,they are not the coldest pools I have swum in in Luxembourg – I really think that’s Bonnevoie – but unlike Les Thermes, the temperature is comfortable enough to swim in. During the week, evidence suggests the pools can be busy.

Of the two of them, I swam most in the 25m pool because that’s the length I’m kind of used to at this point. It’s a stainless steel pool – I didn’t remember this from the last time I was there, and the main disadvantage is the 60cm depth at one end as my freestyle stroke has enough of a sweep for me to hit the floor if I’m not paying attention. I wasn’t alone swimming lengths in that pool which on one front is gratifying; on the other hand, plans I had around my own training ideas for the next three months are being reframed in terms of “get used to the 50m pool”. Despite being busy, the 50m really is a very easy pool to swim in for the short space of time I was in it. It’s a novelty to be in a pool that has a standard depth start to finish.

Unlike the 25m pool it’s a tiled pool which for some reason I tend to prefer. The fact that it is a wide pool helps in spreading the crowd of swimmers around – I’ve found 25m pools can look crowded a lot more quickly than the 50m pool does and that beyond there being more than double the number of swimmers in a 50m pool. Does not make sense to me mathematically but finding gaps to swim through was far easier.

Anyway.

Facilities wise, the dressing rooms are fine; there are plenty of showers. The lockers lock with your card or bracelet and unlike most of the other pools I’ve been to in Luxembourg, they tend to be short and comparatively wide rather than tall and narrow.

You can swim until 9.30 most days and it is open 7 days a week unlike most of the other pools in the area. It opens at 8am 4 mornings a week and I think, at around 9 on weekend mornings.

Transport wise, it has a car park but it is also served by a bunch of buses, definitely 1, 16 and from town by a few of the RGTR buses as well. 8 goes nearby as well.

Saturday mornings

I like those Saturday mornings where I wake early, and get up * reasonably * early and have a chance to ease into the day. I like doing it during the week as well but for some reason that’s not happening much lately.

Facebook has been begging me to install their mobile app on my phone for ages but I’m just not interested. I took twitter off my iPad and I’m getting close to pulling it off my phone although if I do that at least on the phone it will stay logged in on a browser. I get a lot of my news and quite a few interesting bits and pieces through Twitter – far more than I ever did through Facebook. But it is too easy to get hooked into reloading twitter all the time and that distracts me from being distracted by my own thoughts. Saturday morning’s get me back there sometimes.

I never feel all that great if I stay i bed late on a Saturday morning. Mostly I like to be up before 8 if possible, well before 9 at best. After that things start feeling not great. I feel behind, unrelaxed. Online social media often contributes to my still being in bed at 10am on a Saturday morning and it frustrates me.

I sometimes wonder how much of this is evidence that in fact, and in agreement with all appearances and a selection of calendars, I am getting old. Not so much the getting up early – because I mostly did that anyway – but the feeling that social media is not bringing so much to my life any more.

Saturday mornings bring the opportunity to relax a little, think about where I am in the world and what I want to do. They are always much better if I am not also trying to frantically catch up with things. There is pleasure – surprisingly enough – to be got from the sound of getting the washing machine done on time and listening to it going through its cycle early on a Saturday morning. It gives me a feeling of control. And relaxation because at least I don’t have to scrub the clothes thanks to technology.

I wonder sometimes – coloured a lot by what I read on line – how much time we devote to not being stressed, not being under pressure. Even our hobbies can add pressure by adding a time dimension to them – three of my local swimming pools close at 12 on a Sunday which puts you on a bit of a time table. The please on Saturday mornings for me is not being on that much of a timetable. Not needing to rush out the door.

I like Saturday mornings. Above and Beyond in the background. A leisurely breakfast and the knowledge that no bus I get on today will be the same as a sardine can fitted with a sauna.

Productivity and the need to speedread

Amongst the many things which the internet has brought me are productivity blogs.

I’m sure I have written those lines before but I can’t find them. Possibly I meant youtube videos but I still can’t find the post I thought I wrote about them either. So I’m guessing I deleted it from the drafts at some point and said “meh, I never did finish that post and now it’s like six months old; what’s the point

Clearly I hadn’t Dealt With My Issues there.

One of the saddest things I saw on multiple productivity blogs – and I mean multiple – like lots of – many tens of – many minutes of my life I won’t get back – was how to read efficiently.

How to read books really fast. How to get the gist of a book efficiently.

I remember thinking then; you know, they’ve lost sight of what reading is all about. It’s not something you do efficiently (and anyway if you try to, you’ll just forget the content). There’s no glory in being able to read 100 books a week, particularly all the ones by famous entrepreneurs, about entrepreneurs, about how to be get rich, be rich, be productive, etc etc etc. I got the feeling these people would have some difficulty with Pride and Prejudice.

When I say I saw many sites pushing the how to read books really quickly, I mean, I saw lots. It saddened me. There were a couple of problems with this approach, I felt.

  • you’re not going to remember much
  • you’re not going to be a better or worse person for it
  • you sound like you’re trying to impress someone.

I’m not sure how you can impress someone by speedreading a load of books. This, however, is a side issue. My personal view is that you’re better off reading fewer books, and choosing judiciously, than you are reading a load of books. I’m not against reading loads of books. I’m against the idea that you can efficiently do it as fast as you can and actually get any benefit from it other than misplaced bragging rights.

(yes, I’ll come to the Alex Stubb stuff in a bit).

The issue as I see it is that we’ve produced a narrative that Every Minute Has to Count As Productive. If you’re starting from that point of view, the more pages you read in an hour, the more productive your reading is. After all, no one is testing you on the contents of a Steve Jobs biography; what matters is that you can claim to have read it and not look completely out of it when your peer group is swapping notes on getting up at 4am.

I have issues with that narrative.  Mostly because I think it matters what and why you read, and not how much. For this reason, I think the world would be better off if more people read Pride and Prejudice and not, for example, Steve Jobs autobiography.  But that’s by way of an aside. There’s an additional problem and it’s this: sometimes there’s a focus on what people should be reading. This leads to lists of Books That Famous Rich People Think You Should Read or more to the point books that a journalist would like you to think that Bill Gates thinks you should read. Amongst others.

One of the things I liked about Alex Stubb’s reading program (and he has it on his own site here by the way) is that he made no comment about what books he was going to read, or appears to even have suggested that he’d do so over the course of the year while he’s doing this. I think this matters. Books are a journey, and reading is exploration. I think we need to recognise that. I recognise reading lists are good door openers but they should be guidance rather than instruction. The downside is that Alex is also talking about how many books he will get throughas well  and I sometimes wonder how good that is as a goal.

One of the very best books I have read is SIlk Roads by Peter Frankopan which is a tour de force of history. I strongly recommend it. I also admit it took me about 18 months to finish it because sometimes I read it, and sometimes I went on holidays from it. It doesn’t make it any less a book and since the last couple of books I read, I polished off in 3 or 4 hours, nor is it because I read at a particularly glacial speed.

The point I’m trying to make is your reading will not be any better if you are trying to fly through it just to move on to the next one. Plus, the speed at which I fly through books varies. Some things are binge read, like a back of Pringles, other things are savoured, like a box of Fazer chocolate (try getting that in Ireland). There is no productivity solution to reading other than to sit down and switch off twitter.

In the meantime, I’m putting a page on this site to cover the books I am reading, or, rereading since the start of September. I have to be honest and say the whole hour every day hasn’t been working out for the last 2 weeks despite the fact that there’s time set aside on my alarms to remind me to switch of and travel elsewhere in my mind so there is not a huge amount to report as of yet.

 

I must buy all the things!!!!!

Someone posted a craft link to my Facebook feed the other day on how doing craft stuff and buying craft stuff were two separate hobbies. I totally understand this.

Yesterday, I bought some mechanical pencils. When I lived in Ireland, basically, if you wanted a mechanical pencil, it was a 0.5mm or a 0.7mm you got. And the choice in the cheap price range was a bit pathetic. This is why I tended to bulk buy mechanical pencils when I was out foreign. They had pretty pencils. They had good pencils like Uni Kuru Togas and Uni Shalakus. They were pretty, and they came in a nice range of colours and as 0.5s went, they tended to stay fairly pointy.

When I started drawing I realised that I needed something slightly finer again to deal with fur. I drew mice.

And evil looking kittens.

And I struggled to find anything finer, like that really nice 0.3 the guy on the Youtube video was using. I tore Dublin apart looking either for a clutch pencil that was nice and long (duh) or a 0.3. I eventually found a 0.35mm Faber Castell. For a long time, that was the only 0.3 pencil I had. I bought some class of a Japanese one in Delfonics in Paris once for a friend who liked particularly lethal stationery and spent months afterwards regretting not buying two.

We’re talking about 0.05mm here but the other problem with this is the lack of replacement leads.

Which brings us to yesterday. I discovered another stationery shop in Luxembourg a few weeks ago and yesterday, I got to go and Check It Out. It didn’t have Uni Kuru Togas (pity) but it did have a few Pentel Orenz in various sizes. I have coveted a Pentel Orenz for ages. I actually owned one (having picked it up in Delfonics in Paris a few weeks’ ago) but they had them in a lot of different sizes and colours. And they had other Pentels that I didn’t see too often. I’ve a bundle of Pentels in the mechanical pencil role but they are 0.5s and 0.7s.

You know, when you start drawing they keep telling you to, you know keep trying stuff till you find what you like. I have a lot of pencils both wood case and mechanical and clutch. I’m finding that I like different pencils for different things.

Anyway, my little eyes lit up, and I bought 2x 0.2s and 2x 0.3s. I was strong on the 0.7 and 0.5 front, even to the extent of not buying a 0.5 Pentel Graphgear which I sort of thought I didn’t have but rationalised it on the grounds that I had about 4 Kuru Togas and 5 Shalakus, all 0.5. And that wasn’t including all the other 0.7s (hello Faber Castell and Caran d’Ache). There’s a moratorium on a number of stationery items at the moment although it’s possible if they were selling Kuru Togas in anything other than a 0.5 I’d have capitulated.

Today then, I needed to find homes for these new pencils, the joy of my life, which which I would be drawing fur till the cows came home, metaphorically. I have seen no cows since I left Ireland. As part of that job I also did a census of boxes of mechanical pencil leads. I took the opportunity to tidy out the pencil section of my tool box (this means I didn’t deal with the fineliners) as well. From this experience I learned that I have a lot of 0.3mm mechanical pencils. Now, the one that was in my handbag pencil case has been causing trouble but because it was one of 3 Staedler Mars I’m not entirely sure whether it’s the same one that came out of my handbag pencil case (it’s a small case to impose discipline), these new ones which I got yesterday and the infamous Faber Castell 0.35 which I bought a few years ago from the only shop in Dublin which did, at the time, sell something that fine.

As a result of this exercise – I deliberately did not take any photographs, I have discovered that

  • the reason my tool box wouldn’t close was because it had LOADs of pencils in it. It’s still pushing it tightness wise but it looks less uck than it did this morning
  • I have enough pencil lead to open my own shop but surprisingly enough, the lead I am least well supplied in is 0.7 of any graphite grade. I have more 0.3, and 0.2 than I have of 0.7. I think this is linked to panic buying. IF you know every shop will have some variety of 0.7 then you don’t panic about it. Given that historically I’ve found it impossible to get either 0.3 and smaller pencils and associated lead, I clearly binge bought it any time I saw it.
  • My desk is nice when it’s tidy.
  • I also have a lot of international ink cartridges, colour blue (they were in the same drawer as the pencil lead supplies). I have no idea what to do with them; I have plenty of fountain pens, this is true, and many of them even take international cartridges (I have loads of Lamys too). But I really have no idea how I accumulated so many blue cartridges because I do not buy them. I’m pretty certain I did not ship them from Ireland. And while you tend to get a cartridge or two when you buy a cheap fountain pen (like 10E worth of neon colour plastic things), I still seem to have an order of magnitude more blue cartridges than can be reasonably explained by the number of dirt cheap plastic school kid fountain pens I have acquired in the last year.
  • If I had any guts I’d do something about the fineliner supply in my tool box but to be honest, I think one of the key issues there is the inability to differentiate between the “live” fineliner and the “spare fineliner because the wretched things go dry at the most inopportune times”.

Anyway, courtesy of this morning’s work, my pencil lead selection is currently tidy, and there is a moratorium on buying any pencil lead at all. Whatever I have, I need to work through and this includes the random colour lead I seem to have acquired as well. No more. Although, no wait, I am allowed get graphite when I run out of that. But we’re talking about an event sometime in the long term here.

I’m getting good at actively not buying any more cheap plastic fountain pens (I dread finding out about the colours of next year’s special edition Lamys). This at least is not adding to the orgy of blue ink in one of my stationery drawers.

I need to spend more time drawing. I did a dragon for Inktober the other day but I seem to lack the time to actually do anything major, any painting lately. I also started designing this year’s Christmas card – I’d apologise but the Christmas card designs tend to need to be done several times. I don’t have any of my large format watercolour paper with me so it gutted me this morning to do this, but I bought some. I have about 150 sheets of the stuff in Ireland. That aside, I think one of the key reasons I don’t draw much is that my desk suffers from Flat Surface Law Syndrome, the one that says No Flat Surface Remains Uncluttered for more than 5 seconds.

For weeks I’ve considered that a good solution to the lack of desk space would be buying more desk space but really, I think what I need are more shelves. It frustrates me that I can’t keep my home desk tidy when my work desk looks immaculate. I think it’s because my electricity bill does not travel to my work place. Things wind up on my desk though because there is no home for them.

There was a time I used to buy books and CDs. They did, in all fairness, take up more space.

Swimming Pool Review: Les Thermes, Bertrange Luxembourg

Truth be told, I was not that lost on Les Thermes which I finally got to visit yesterday. I can see why families might like it but for me, it didn’t do it. With Coque due to re-open on Monday, I cannot see myself going to the trouble of going to Les Thermes unless absolutely every single swimming pool in the area is closed.

On paper, it looks like it should be brilliant. It has a lot of pools – a wave pool, an outdoor pool, a pool with some bubbles, a paddling pool, a short pool which looks around 15m or so, and a 25m pool The 15m pool has an adjustable depth. The 25m pool ranges in depth from 1.8m to 4m. There are 2 diving boards at the 4m end, a 1m board and a 3m board. There is also a water slide that obviously has a landing pool although I didn’t check that out. I didn’t examine the paddling pool in any great deal. All of the other pools appear to be stainless steel. This ties in with the vaguely futuristic style of the building which looks a little like what people in the 60s imagined what the future would look like, vaguely circular and UFOish. The interior has a bunch of red faux leather panels and the windows of zones looking over the pool from on high are weird shapes.

So, to the good points. The wave pool is terrific, it generates really nice breaking waves and they aren’t exactly weak either. I’m not going to say you could go surfing in there but if the pool was a little bigger…bodysurfing wouldn’t be impossible, apart from washing up on stainless steel rather than sand.

The bubbles/jacuzziesqe relaxation pool behind the wave pool is very sweet and the bubbles are likewise, not exactly weak.

The outdoor pool was a bit smaller than I expected, but again, it was quiet enough, the water was plenty warm enough even though the air temperature wasn’t all that high.

For me, the primary issue was with the actual swimming pools as opposed to what you might call the leisure pools. Being somewhat of a wuss, I’m surprised I’m even making this comment, but I found the water too warm. The 25m pool was also, well, difficult to swim in. The diving boards were closed off to swim in and the rest of the pool was populated by people swimming very slowly. And I was much slower than usual in the rather too warm water. I can live without the leisure fun stuff but I’d like a sports pool to be reasonably easy to swim in.

Even the shorter pool – which was beautifully empty – was just too hard to move around in because it was too warm.

Dressing room wise, differently to other pools in Luxembourg, it has gender separated dressing rooms and they are communal with one private dressing room in the set I used. Showers have 2 private showers in the women’s shower sections. Lockers wise, they work with the entry bracelet (I really like that technology) and the lockers are a little wider than is my experience in other pools. Les Thermes also has much wider opening hours to the municipal pools which would possibly make it attractive if you had a car.  But I don’t, so a feature of any pool review for me is always going to be “and how much hassle is it to get to”.

For this reason, Les Thermes has wound up not on top of my list of pools here. Currently, I’d rate the pool in Syrdall to be a better pool – its swimming pool is noticeably cooler than the leisure pools and it’s somewhat easier to get to (one bus as opposed to 2 or 3, against that, a little further away). For actual swim training, I’m not commenting on Coque until I’ve been back in there next week but Bonnevoie is probably a better pool. If you’ve kids though, it’ll be a toss up between Les Thermes and Syrdall and if the wave pool matters, then it would be Les Thermes.