I cannot tell you how disappointed I am not to have swum to France. 2 years of preparation. Many months without even so much a glass of wine. Well that is not strictly true I had a few exception nights. But in the main I had abstained.
Nearly every weekend dedicated to swimming not to mention the early mornings and brutal Wednesdays. Smelling like a bleached whale over winter. Then shivering at the waters edge even before I got in over the winter and for much of the summer too!
I have enjoyed nearly every single minute of it. And I only say that because of the bad time I have written about in Dreams are not made of this.
I am blessed with great friends. Some swim. Many do not. But they all seem to indulge me.
The journey is to continue. And therefore so is this website.
Having booked for August 2016 I have it all to do again.
I hope my friends will still be my friends in 2016 and that I have not driven them away with this swimming malarky. I doubt it very much though as many of them swim too. But, many do not.
To make up for the lack of swimming ,my friend Kaz decided to have a little party with me. She came down to the van and we planned to have a few drinks. She had bought a present for me from her holiday in Tenerife. She had primed me for it. She had told me everything was fake there. I was imagining that she may have got me a fake hand bag or watch. Perhaps a piece of Triffinany jewellery.
Imagine my delight when she presented me with this fake blue tit! I was stunned. Especially when she told me she trawled the shops looking for it because most of them were fake robins. (aka red parrots!)
I am truly lucky to have a friend who buys me such wonderful gifts.
She then told me that she had something else for me. She presented me with a note book. I wondered if she was hinting that I should start writing my blog again. But perhaps instead of boring everyone with it, write it in the book!
I opened the book. On the first page was a message from my Mum and Dad wishing me luck in my Channel swim. I read through the countless messages. One from my friend Debbie in Leeds. (I think my sister Janet had something to do with getting that one) And then others from swimming friends and others that were printed as they were from Facebook.
Not one person had given the game away.
I was moved to tears. My frustrations of the previous weeks escaped from my eyes. Kaz said to me she would not have given it to me if she had known it would make me cry. But she also had a tear or two in her eyes. (I don’t know how many as i avoided looking at her as I was trying to get a grip of my emotions. I say I am not prone to tears but I seem to have been crying quite a lot in the last few posts!).
It is a book I will treasure for ever.
So we had a glass of champagne and toasted the new adventures.
One of the reasons why I have not booked the Channel solo for next year is that Kaz doing 50 4 50. She is going to undertake 50 things she has never done before. I want to do some of them with her. She had already begun with a swim assessment at the lake. MIche for some reason had decided to join her. Bonkers. The pair of them!
She did not however take part in the Naked Swim. Although she did man the safety kayak. Usually we swim without accompaniment however the safety of the public is paramount.
Victoria was hoping to join in for the swim but family commitments meant that she could not make it. Tim also had volunteered to man the safety boat. It appeared to be all hands on deck. Such is the attention to public safety. Pete had ensured that I was not proposing to walk from the changing area to the lake sans swim suit. After reassuring him that I would be taking it off in the water, he agreed to the endeavour.
Heather and Julie (lake swimmers) turned up and decided once they were in that they would join in. Princess Fiona wore her bikini instead. Claire decided she would swim.
Armed with a horrific hangover, I was pleased that the water was 15.4 degrees. The sun was shining and it was not too cold.
I swam to the bouy and then span my cossie around my head before throwing it to Tim for safe keeping. Tim I trusted with my cossie. I was somewhat suspicious that Kaz may have decided not to give it back to me. He politely kept his back to me while I did the salute.
Heather and Julie did not even trust Tim, choosing to tie their costumes round their necks.
It was liberating. But also quite strange. I had not hang ups about swimming naked. But I did have hang downs. And they cause drag. It was a completely different experience. Not helped by the hangover, Princess Fiona and Claire were miles ahead.
We joined up at the end by the catamaran for the dressing. Tim took some pictures of the 5 of us and then the naked swimmers got dressed before swimming for the bank. Of course it was not truly a naked swim. As per Leybourne rules, we kept our hats on!
A few interested members of the public (mainly men coincidentally) had stopped to see what all the laughing was about. But there was nothing to see around here!