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Ripples #68

Compiled and written by Lenny Giteck

Ripples art--smallKate Middleton Takes Up Swimming
In Preparation for the Royal Birth  

According to the Web site entertainmentwise.com, Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton — a.k.a. the Duchess of Cambridge — has taken up swimming in a big way (no offense meant to the royal “baby bump”) during the final weeks of her pregnancy.

The article quotes royals watcher Robert Jobson as saying, “She likes to swim in the Palace pool. She gets there whenever she can for some private relaxation.” (Exactly which palace is not specified.) Furthermore, the report notes, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) says relieving stress is not the only benefit pregnant women can derive from swimming.   

“[Swimming] can also prevent problems in later pregnancy and labour. [A] lot of women also find that swimming helps to ease swelling in their legs and feet, or even relieve sciatic pain, because it's such a great way to get the circulation going. There are even suggestions that swimming can encourage your baby to get into the best position for labour.

The Duchess is said to be alternating swimming with the practice of yoga. Meanwhile, back at Kate and William’s future summer mansion…

TheStir.CafeMom.com reports that a major renovation is underway on what will be the couple’s summer home, in the village of Anmer in Norfolk County, 112 miles from London. The improvements include “moving” the swimming pool to a new, sunnier location on the estate, one less exposed to the prying camera lenses of the paparazzi. (You probably recall the enormous brouhaha over topless photos of Kate taken surreptitiously and published in some British and French tabloids.)

Of course, as the article points out, “moving” a pool really means building a new one and filling in the old. The Stir, for its part, doesn’t approve of the extravagance (not that anyone in the royal family asked its opinion). “If extra privacy is really what they're after, why don't they just build a big fence around the current pool instead?” the Web site sniffs.

Photos: To see what Kate and William’s modest summer cottage Anmer Hall looks like, click here.


Ripples Classic: September 14, 2011

Wealthy Brits Dig Way Down
To Add Pools to Their Homes

While we’re on the subject of rich Brits and swimming pools…it seems the latest trend among London’s well-heeled crowd is to add indoor pools to their houses by digging into the earth and creating opulent, often multifloor basements. From nytimes.com:

In a city that has some of the richest people and most expensive real estate in the world, well-off homeowners who have exhausted the traditional methods of home expansion — build up or build out — are enthusiastically branching out the only other way possible: down.

Far beneath London’s surface, and to their neighbors’ considerable chagrin, they are using enormous machines to remove thousands of tons of dirt and replace it with new structures extending as many as four floors down.

They are building not just swimming pools, but also cinemas, recreation centers, gyms, wine cellars, bowling alleys, squash courts, climbing walls, servants’ quarters, saunas, waterfalls, Jacuzzis, hair salons and multicar garages with special elevators to shuttle vintage car collections up and down.

Building up or out in London is rarely possible because of the city’s strict zoning laws. That leaves the downward option — but it has come with its share of controversy, soured relationships among neighbors and bitter lawsuits. Again, from nytimes.com:

Matthew Wright, a popular television and radio host, wrote recently in The Daily Mail, describing the basement project next door: So bad was the “excavation, foundation drilling, concreting, underpinning (you want to try to live through underpinning), not to mention shuttering, grinding, drilling and so on”…that even earplugs “meant for shotgun enthusiasts” could not drown out the noise. Unable to sleep after the workmen arrived at 7:15 every morning, wielding pneumatic drills that caused his bed to vibrate, Mr. Wright…became too exhausted to continue hosting his late-night BBC radio show and had to quit.

In at least one case a neighbor’s house was so damaged by the excavation work next door, its foundation crumbled and the place had to be completely rebuilt.


And with that dirty dig at the lifestyles of the filthy rich, Ripples says…
Until next time, happy watershaping to you!

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