Saturday, 9 January 2021

"don't be led astray" I wasn't; "go quietly away" no, why should I?

 These words were said to me by women who I knew through the swimming at the Olympia Dundee, in December 2019 and February 2020.  Both of these ladies were dementia widows, the former from Dundee, latter from Perth, we went to school together.  All of us about the same age.

"don't be led astray" was said to me on the morning of the Xmas Tea Dance when I was drying my hair in the changing rooms, chatting to this Dundee woman who asked what I would be wearing to the dance, I said probably the usual, thinking denim shorts with tartan braid, but in actual fact I wore a short skirt, Black Watch tartan, from Primark, and a green patterned shirt:

Queen's Hotel bar before Xmas Tea Dance 17Dec19


I was heavier back then, lost a bit of weight now, after medial collateral ligament injury on left knee, so hope to do more dancing in the future, fitter.

When my fellow female swimmer said to me "don't be led astray" regarding the dance I didn't know what she meant and tried to question her about this but she said no more, gave no details, didn't spell it out.  I don't drink alcohol, don't like the taste, never have done, and so I wouldn't be losing any capacity at the dance unless my water got spiked at the table, most unlikely, anyway I would be keeping an eye on it.

I assume that she was led astray at the Xmas Tea Dance the year before, by a man, possibly the Englishman who led the "In Group" organising the get-together and seemed to know a lot of women who swam at the pool, chatted up new women on the scene, even at the cafe upstairs, making a beeline towards them, even though his hips were needing "done" again, so he said.  He walked with a stick but could still move fast, nearly kissing me on the lips in the autumn of 2019 when I gave him £5 deposit for the Dance, in the changing rooms of the Olympia pool when drying my hair.  But I averted my face and gave him my cheek, wasn't happy at his space invasion.  I was interested in dancing, not in him. You can catch germs through saliva, very risky these days with Covid19.

I really didn't like this guy, to be honest, thought he was a creep, but I liked some of the folk in his "In Group" which is what he called it.  And so I started joining them upstairs in the Olympia cafe at times for a cuppa after swimming.  And heard tales of his home village near London, how he met his Dundee wife on holiday, when they were both middle aged, she had died a few years before, and how he had a half share in the house he lived in, the other half owned by his stepdaughter.  He talked about his cleaning woman raking through his dead wife's clothes [I thought this was in very bad taste], some of them still with labels on, allowing her to choose which ones to send to her poor relatives in Poland, saying some Polish words which she may have taught him.  

He had a large tattoo on his chest of his dead wife, very realistic as I saw photos of them together on his facebook page.  I just thought, well done to that Dundee lady for leaving her mark on this Englishman.  But I wasn't impressed with his comments about his father-in-law being a drunkard and Dundee men not respecting women, him having worked alongside them as a bricklayer.  I suppose he meant how they spoke which I thought was ironic, considering his actions, suspecting that he preyed on vulnerable, lonely women in Dundee, leading them "astray" if possible.  For I had witnessed his behaviour and eventually was pestered by him in the pool, showers and changing room, having to raise a complaint with Olympia management.

I danced mostly with women at the Xmas Tea Dance December 2020, only one women's choice Scottish Gay Gordon's jig with a male swimming friend who was single as I'd got to know him quite well in the Olympia since about September 2018, also sometimes sitting with him at Greggs cafe on the High St, Dundee, if we happened to be there at the same time.  He was from Hilltown originally and we had shared stories and photos about our families.  But we didn't sit together at the dance and I wasn't led astray by anyone there or afterwards.  I went there on my own and left by myself, heading home.

The comment "go quietly away" was said to me in a bullying manner when I was in a queue at the Tesco Riverside cafe in February, by the Perth woman after I mentioned to her that I'd be raising a complaint about the pest in the pool.  I was taken aback by her words and manner, and told her to go quietly away, in response, although felt like using stronger words.  What was she getting at? She had witnessed me upset in cafe with Englishman after hearing him talk about missing his Philippines trip, implying sex tourism to me in the changing rooms, after goading me about my name "Chrys with a "y"' which I'd never said to him. Although I did say this to the other dementia widow when first meeting her in pool early in 2019.  And she said that her name also had a Y in it, but I found out much later that this wasn't true.  [maybe after she had been led astray]

But the Perth woman hadn't witnessed the changing room goading by the pest and heard me saying to a friend about my support of a Philippines girl Regina Mandantes through Tear Fund, to get an education. She was from a very poor family and I gave money for her to attend school, monthly for years, from when I ran the Scripture Union Group at Castlehill Primary Cupar 1993-97 and afterwards, until she grew up, money going to her family so that she could stay at school.  I was distressed at the thought of poor girls in the Philippines turning to prostitution to earn a living, with rich English or British tourists.  A population of 106million and only 7million covered by health plans.

I now wonder if the Perth woman thought I'd been led astray by the pest? Telling me to go away from the Olympia as if I had done something wrong when that wasn't the case.  I raised a complaint about this pest and it was upheld.  The Olympia Manager at a meeting I had with him not long before Lockdown in March said that the Englishman had "lost his moral compass" however I thought this was being kind, assuming the guy ever had any morals which I didn't know, had no assurance of, from what I'd witnessed of his behaviour over a period of months, including trying to kiss my lips without my permission in the Olympia changing rooms, taking advantage, in 2020 a serious breach which could have caused Covid19 virus.

That man is still swimming in the Olympia Training Pool and I'm banned.  Very unfair as I did nothing wrong.

hand delivered letter 8pm on 3 December
 

I have written an Email, 2,800 words, to Leisure and Culture Dundee Acting Director/Managing Director Judy Dobbie going into detail about what happened on 3 December in the Olympia training pool and changing rooms, mentioning a number of incidents and also the filth at the base of the pool which I saw when wearing my prescription goggles for the first time in nearly 2 years, from the end of November 2020.  I was shocked to see the state of the pool under water, what looked like green slime with toeprints in it, various other detritus at ends and corners, as if the pool had not been cleaned for ages.  Since being banned I've swam in both the Dundee University and Cupar Public pools and they are both immaculate underwater.

Excerpts from this Email sent to Ms Dobbie on 6 January 2021:

"No Duty Manager to be seen in the Olympia pool or changing room areas while various activities were ongoing, toddlers learning to swim, people with autism in training pool, only [named member of staff] in the changing room behind a screen.  Lifeguards unsupervised, taking direction from a mother who was forcing her toddler to swim against his will, crying that he wanted to go home, for up to 40mins."

"a group of lifeguards horsing around, a female with hair in bun, glasses, smaller, with what looked like a spray bottle of chemicals point it at a male lifeguard and spray him playfully"

"Regarding the directional signs at end of lanes, they were often going the wrong way from usual after Lockdown ended and this confused many swimmers, including me as I couldn't see the signs without spectacles, until halfway down the lane.  I heard many other female swimmers complain about this when in the pool and some males swimming right towards me, very risky if doing crawl without looking where they were going.  On one occasion an older man in his 70's who was swimming in the medium lane same as me, someone I know well, and his wife who swims in the fast lane, got confused, as a lifeguard actually changed the directional signs halfway through our swim time, and asked me what was the right way, for he'd forgotten although we had swam there for 2yrs."

"in November 2018, as you will be aware, I'd raised a complaint about an incident in the Olympia where I was bullied on the poolside by Duty Manager Ian [don't know his second name] after I'd raised concerns about Health & Safety issues in the flumes.  I mentioned it to lifeguards in the passing, how the water had run out in the flume I was in, halfway down, in the dark, I got stuck, had to propel myself, a man and boy behind me, and I just got out the end before they did, whooshing behind me. 

I never did get an explanation as to why the water ran out, stopped in the flume when I was in it.  Two male lifeguards later accused me of lying about it, when I was in the showers, and I refuted this, then they said it could have been a new lifeguard pressing the button by mistake"

"recently an aggressive male in changing room, undressing in an aisle, blocking my way to locker, saying he only had "TEN MINUTES" to swim, a big muscled, taller, younger man than me, who eventually went into a cubicle and then came out right next to me as I removed my clothes from locker, standing very close, intimidatingly"

"my way was blocked by the fully dressed, tall, young woman wearing glasses and a face mask.  She looked agitated, not sure why.  I asked her to move so I could access locker but she didn't so I retreated and asked her to follow me, into the wider area end of cubicle aisles ...  

It's chilly with aircon in changing rooms and I needed to get dressed.  I couldn't understand what the tall lassie was saying to me, even when she lowered her mask a bit, so I just took the opportunity to access my locker, remove clothes.  At this point [member of staff] joined her at end of cubicle aisle and I asked her who she worked for, she said clearly Carr Gomm, an organisation I know, from being a MH activist and campaigner.  They follow me on Twitter. ...

when I got out of the Olympia building by the Gallagher retail park exit, I raised a complaint about this worker with Carr Gomm via twitter, then went off to my car to drop off my swimming stuff then up to the M&S cafe for refreshments and a warmup"

M&S Cafe 3Dec20 after stressful swim at Olympia
 
M&S Cafe 3Dec20

 

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