Friday, 12 September 2008

once upon a time

I have been telling the story over and over at work regarding my predicament and the weather putting a stop to me swimming last week at the beginning of the neap tide. I do still so want to swim The English Channel, very much so. I am determined to tackle it one day when the time is right. The fact is, I believe I owe it to Charlie to spend next summer at home or on holiday with him, not spending every penny we have chasing my dreams year in year out.

I did get some very generous help from my friends and family but the fact remains that I missed my annual holiday with my best buddy. I have promised that next year we will not sacrifice our week away, even if it means we spend it in Switzerland at Lake Zurich! Sorry Kell ...

I still have a number of people to inform of the events but I am feeling a little better knowing it was completely out of my hands, I feel a weight lift once I have made it clear that their donations have not been breached in any way. And that one day I will return......think I better buy a ticket for the euro millions !!

Its looking reasonable for Windermere swim, maybe Thursday 25th Sept..will keep you posted.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Life goes on

Life is slowly returning to normal on the work and parenting front. I feel like there is a huge void waiting to be filled, after all the training and planning I am at a loss as to what to do next. Don't misunderstand me I do have a thousand mundane tasks to be fulfilled in and around home, but on the swim front it all seems kind of weird.

I am thinking about doing the 10.5 mile Lake Windermere swim before the end of the season, though it is just a thought at this stage, maybe Zurich next summer ?, providing I could take Charlie with me. However even if I do those swims I know that the Channel will still be eating away at me from within.

We have already discussed the implications and what could done slightly differently by way of training, time off work and child care. Not a lot of changes but sufficient that would probably postpone a return to Dover next year unless of course we win the Lotto!

I certainly am not alone in my disappointments of being thwarted by the weather and the lousy British summer; Stanley Paris who hoped to become the oldest Channel swimmer at 70 years of age has also returned home to the United States, as has a training friend of his, a lady from India whose name I do not know. At least I didn't have a flight to catch, my journey home being simple enough in comparison.

Alison Streeter MBE said "it is the worst summer for Channel Swimming" she has known in 28 years of involvement.

I have received a great deal of backing from people who have confirmed the last year was not in vain, we managed to raise some funds for and perhaps more importantly some awareness regarding the plight of the many children fighting Neuroblastoma and of course The JACK foundation. With that I am happy. Its a pity I cannot go around claiming the funds for the charity from the paper pledges, that would boost their figures by another thousand pounds or so.

Fingers crossed for Enda Kennedy who will make his attempt in 10 days time on the final neap tide of the season.

Updates will continue re future plans, thankyou again for your support.

Sunday, 7 September 2008


Whilst I was driving home yesterday… I asked myself a few questions regarding how or what I might have done differently in the build up. Having thought about little else since October 2006 I am not sure just what else I could have done.

A brief look at my training records show around 1025km swimming in the last 12 months with around 80+ hours in cold water since May this year, I don’t think I could have managed a lot more physical training wise with my other normal commitments.

My main regret is taking the carrot to swim after the drive on 8 August. That one weekend trip left us around £2500 (mainly the boat fee) out of pocket with any comeback to be a struggle. Together with a large drop in confidence. Had I not risked the journey that Friday maybe I would have been more relaxed and excited about a later swim and had more holidays from work still to use.

That said, no one can control the weather. I may well have spent the whole of this week waiting at Deal without opportunity to swim, then the pilot would have another set of swimmers on the next tide as well as all those backed up from earlier. The whole thing can be a nightmare.

I under estimated the complications with the Pilot, the wait and the effect all of this would have on those close to me.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Thats it...

The weather never did improve, nor did the forecast for the coming the week. I spoke with the pilot and another pilot for good measure… the consensus of opinion being that there does not look like a swimmable window of opportunity anytime soon.

With deep regret I therefore took the advice of my pilot to travel home and thus abandon any hope of swimming the English Channel. I feel emotionally shattered, over eighteen months of preparation, sacrifice, never ending research, training and financial commitment has ended.

I will post soon regarding some hindsight and what might have been. Thank you to everyone who has text me today and especially thank you to those who have supported me through all of this build up, to all those who have donated in advance and helped to raise awareness of the Jack Foundation and the fight against Neuroblastoma. I am sorry it has come to nothing.

To the Dover beech people. You are an amazing bunch, without Freda Streeter and Barrie Wakeham very few swimmers would every make it to France. As Ned Denison reminded today I have also met a lot of great people and made a few friends along the way.

Gutted, embarrassed, upset and angry.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Deal or No Deal

Well I have arrived at the South East Coast, as stated earlier I am staying in the town of Deal just a few miles from Dover, having had a fairly trouble free journey yesterday reaching the accommodation around 6pm. I travelled alone with KGB due follow on Sunday. I didn't do a lot last night apart from eat, sleep and think about home.

Woke this morning to hear the wind and rain against the windows, it is completely miserable. I had a drive up to The Harbour where I saw Sam Jones and a fella called Steve from North Devon who is hoping to swim this week. We swam for an hour in the choppy water whilst the rain lashed it down. A far cry from the weekends of sunshine we experienced 6 weeks ago.

After coffee and breakfast at Chaplin's in Town, I returned to the Lodge to shower then popped over to the library for Internet access, the latest information on the channel swimmers email group is that the gale force winds look set to remain and we will be lucky if anyone gets the go ahead on this neap tide. So.. after all the months of training, and after anxiety of making the decision to return it looks like it might never happen. I certainly cannot make it down here again for the final tide of the swim season at the end of September. It is therefore fingers crossed that the met office have made a mistake. Without a lengthy break from the present conditions no swims will start.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Jessica Sullivan

nice video, would put my mortgage on Jessie completing her swim, am sure she will be least I hope so. I recently had some great emails from Kaise Stefan amongst others, thankyou for your kind words, your support and enthusiasm is overwhelming.

Monday, 1 September 2008


I am delighted to say that Mike Cross (3 x English Channel, Loch Ness etc) is joining us for the swim, he was one of the first people outside family (together with Enda and Macy) to offer his support post 080808. I think most things are now in place. Mike is full of enthusiasm and advice, I am really pleased to have him onside. He only lives around an hour from Dover so the logistical issues of notice, travel, accommodation and work are kept to a minimum.

After a long wait Loraine has now gone on holiday to join her daughter, she is disappointed not to be involved as planned but it is out of our hands, I would like to thank her too for her support thus far.

We will be staying at Wellington Lodge in Deal as of the 4th. I am working nights Monday and Tuesday then the afternoon/evening of Wednesday. The plan is to take Charlie to school Thursday then head off to Dover, where I will await suitable weather conditions.