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Common factors/characteristics


For many years I swam, each and every morning right throughout the year, in the Highgate open air men bathing pond on Hampstead Heath, London. Swimming was my obsession. We were a tight-knit disparate bunch of all-weather-all-season-swimmers, and I often pondered over the mystery of the common factors/characteristics that brought us together each morning at 7:00. I never did find the answer other than the obsession we shared with swimming in all seasons in the Highgate open air men bathing pond – no matter if the pond was frozen over – which it often was in late winter. We were swimmers of all weather and all seasons.

Outside the pond’s enclosure is a grassy lawn that fills with gay men sunbathing in summer – especially on Sundays. Women, when confronted by these blokes, would universally lament: “What a shame.” Of course, my friends warned me to not make eye contact with those blokes. I never made any extra effort to avoid eye contact. But, it made no difference. Anyhow, those gay men were not all season all weather swimmers like us. And, they certainly were never sighted at 7:00am.

Similarly, I’m about to set-of to resume my journey to Israel and my wonderings are now directed towards the men and women who make-up the Facebook group Confraternity of Pilgrims to Jerusalem. Wish me bon voyage!


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