Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Since I am including the Lido in my list of permissible places to do ‘65@65’, the opportunity to do ‘65@65’ at the world’s very first lido was not to be missed. Pauline was coming to Venice to row. I was her drag-along. I could only slow her down, as ballast. Lovely to have time, share breakfast and dinner at the start and the end of the day, things get serious when the call of the Venetian rowing comes, usually by 9am, then oars and forclas at the ready, it is time for serious physical work and pleasure to begin. My intention on this trip – to go to the Venice Biennale, and hopefully swim. The lido called me on the first night. Yes there was dinner, but yes there was the lido, and the sun setting and the moon rising. ‘Save me pudding’ I said, and to the river / lagoon sea bus / vapereto I went. The sun going down, the sea becoming a very Venice / Turner sky, every Venice sunset cliché played out on the boat ride. Every cliché justified when seen in real life. But the idea of real life is problematic in a crumbly disintegrating and marvellous chalk and pink and grey and blue way – what you see is marvellous while at the same time sad, decaying. Life and death again. Death in Venice – the book, by Thomas Mann, the movie of the book, directed by Visconti, both set on the Lido de Venezia. All in mind as the boat berthed at the Lido. My plan was not to die, nor to contract the plague, or cholera, or any of the diseases known to have ravaged the city. I was here to swim.