I could see the blonde head of “Big Daddy,” England’s most famous wrestler. He was taking his daily constitutional in the deep, choppy waters when suddenly I heard him shout to his daughter, “Jan! Jan! A jellyfish just got me. Help!”

Rolling over in the water, I watched to see how tiny Jan could help her enormous daddy.

“He got me again!” his voice boomed.

Suddenly I was struck. It was as if my right arm had touched a high-voltage wire. Spinning violently, with my leg caught in a vice-like cramp, I glimpsed the tiny blue jellyfish swimming away. Grateful for the safety rope beside me, I hung on, weak with shock and the incredible stinging, my right calf painfully knotted. It seemed an eternity before I was able to make it back the short distance to the beach, petrified that there might be a second close encounter of the first kind. It wasn’t long before ugly welts rose around my right forearm and a livid red line crossed my back. By dinner time the pain had subsided to a bone-deep ache; the swelling lasted six weeks.

Later, as “Big Daddy” and I compared stings, he inquired solicitously, “I hope you won’t let this keep you from going into the water, will you?” His voice was both compassionate and concerned, and his granite face, with its blue eyes, was friendly and kind. I hadn’t the heart to tell him I’d lost all taste for the sea, all trust of its “critters.’

But two painful days later, assured by the beachboys and bathers that the sea was clear, I ventured another swim. Suddenly a familiar voice boomed, “Good for you! Didn’t let that jellyfish put you off, did you?”

It was “Big Daddy” out for his hourly workout in the deep water, shouting encouragement to this one timid swimmer. “Good girl!” he responded to my wave. “Keep it ...

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