Few bathing ponds are frequented by as many renowned writers as the Kenwood Ladies, by Hampstead Heath. This unashamedly indulgent collection of essays paints an idyllic picture of a little spot of pastoral paradise in the heart of the big city. A wonderful book to dive in to on a hot summer’s day.
'In this collection of work, writers including Margaret Drabble, Esther Freud, Deborah Moggach and Sophie Mackintosh share their stories of the pond and reflect on its history and present.’ – Stylist
Tucked away along a shady path towards the north-east edge of Hampstead Heath is a sign: Women Only. This is the Kenwood Ladies’ Bathing Pond.
Floating in the Pond’s silky waters, hidden by a canopy of trees, it’s easy to forget that you are in the middle of London. On a hot day, thousands of swimmers from eight to eighty-plus can be found waiting to take a dip before sunbathing in the adjoining meadow. As summer turns to autumn and then winter, the Pond is still visited by a large number of hardy regulars in high-vis hats, many of whom have been swimming here for decades.
In these essays we see the Pond from the perspectives of writers who have swum there. Esther Freud describes the life-affirming sensation of swimming through the seasons; Lou Stoppard pays tribute to the winter swimmers who break the ice; Margaret Drabble reflects on the golden Hampstead days of her youth; Sharlene Teo visits for the first time; and Nell Frizzell shares the view from her yellow lifeguard’s canoe.
Combining personal reminiscence with reflections on the history of the place over the years and through the changing seasons, At the Pond captures fourteen contemporary writers’ impressions of this unique place.
Publisher: Daunt Books
Number of pages: 198
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm
'This book of essays is something to hold on to and re-read when we cannot be there in person. Pure joy' - The Financial Times
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“Pure Joy !”
This was a pure joy to read. I devoured it in one sitting. The stories around this historic pool and swimming club come alive that you can almost smell the meadows, wild flowers and damp showers in the air. I came... More
“Glorious - an absolute joy!”
I'm not sure I can even begin to describe just how much I adored this book but I'll try!
It's an absolute joy! It's a glorious celebration not only of 'The Pond' itself but of the... More
“Glorious beyond that”
Well what a write up on Hampstead Heath and the Ladies.
I'm going to say it's great and kudos to all those wonderful women.
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