My only game that I was any good at was tennis. I played a heck of a lot at school but I wasn't a prodigy and began petering out at around 20. I suppose my real game is scuba-diving. I learned when I was 10 in the lovely tropical waters of the Caribbean and was I pretty keen - until the frigid grey threatening waters of northern New England rather damped the attraction. Once I'd learned, I felt like Jacques Cousteau, and when I went home to do it, it was like being in one of those World War II films about navy saboteurs - very cold, and very hard work.
Every year, I am fortunate enough to spend a few weeks in Thailand, during which I go diving every single day. And when I'm back in Britain, I'm involved in a couple of scuba charities which teach disabled people to dive. It means that every now and then, I'll don my scuba gear and jump into a swimming pool. Although after my childhood experience, I only really like warm water.
I am unashamed to admit that I do like a sport that has a lot of kit, and there's plenty of kit with scuba-diving. It's technically demanding, so you can't be sloppy and think about the phone bill. Because you have to concentrate a lot, somehow it's incredibly relaxing. Also, you get to see some great stuff - sharks, rays and eels. You never know what's going to be down there until you get into the water. There's that thrilling moment when you start descending and you just think: "Gosh, this is going to be amazing, I hope."
I suppose I like fishing for the same reason; it's another think on which you have to concentrate in a marginally Zen-ish way.
The Surrey-based Scuba Trust (01306-740349) offers subsidised diver training and snorkelling to anyone with a physical disability. Includes regular trips to the Red Sea. Enquiries welcome from disabled divers, volunteer instructors and benefactors. The Latimer Sub-Aqua Club (0181- 840-7772) offers a similar London-based service.Reuse content