all going swimmingly…

Just over two weeks to go and do I feel ready to swim the Solent?

Well … I’ve sprung a leak in my gimpsuit – I mean wetsuit – and had to send it back… So I might now have to actually invest in some goosefat if it doesn’t return in time. (Wonder if that will actually keep me warm or just make me taste better for sharks?) As a vegetarian, is olive oil a passable alternative to goose fat?

I’ve swum 4k (need to get up to 6K) at the lido and it took two and a half hours- far too long. Though I did learn a valuable lesson: Swimming in a less than tepid lido after eating an extra-hot vindaloo-strength prawn curry the night before isn’t the best idea. Not unless you want to wind-surf. Every 20 or so lengths I had to run to the toilet. (If my swimsuit gets fixed in time for my swim2bestival, and I’m zipped into it I wonder what am I meant to do if I need a toilet half way across? Hold onto a boat and hastily peel myself out?) I’ve got a stinking cold from swimming in freezing lidos, snot’s pouring onto the keyboard as I type.

I’m being overtaken by pensioners in the fastlane in the swimming pool. And every other swimmer’s offered me conflicting advice about how I should be swimming. Longer strokes. Shorter strokes. Elbows higher. Hands lower. Hands to the side. Don’t kick your legs- just use them for balance. Kick your legs 6 times per stroke. Everybody suddenly seems to know a lot more about swimming than me.

Solent / isle of Wight

Had a practice swim in Selsey, Sussex last weekend, and it was rather wavy to say the least. The Isle of Wight looks a lot further away from here, and it certainly seemed so, as every time I looked at it I got a mouthful of salty wave, and a faceful of seaweed. It was like swimming through a stormy cup of miso soup. Gone cold.

As if having to wear a wetsuit isn’t bad enough, I’ve been told to wear a swimcap. For visibility. My own – to see through my shaggy hair. And other boats/windsurfers etc who might mistake me for the sea as I splash about ineffectually.

charity swim to isle of wight

that's stray seaweed around my neck

They won’t be able to miss me now with my banana-coloured ill-fitting head condom.

So just over two weeks to go and I guess I feel as ready as ever. Which is a lot less ready than I hoped I’d feel by now!!!

Re: fundraising: I’m 2/3 of the way there- so thank you very much everyone who’s kindly sponsored me and suppported me thus far! And anyone that hasn’t yet please click on:

http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN

-It takes just a minute & will help FAN save children with Britain’s most dangerous childhood cancer- Neuroblastoma.

Yours swimmingly,

Slightlylessfatboyswims x

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Swimwear photos – as promised.

Woody concerned about his father

Sigh. So here are some swimwear photos as promised. And that’s the Isle of Wight in the background. Behind all the shipping.

Practising in the Solent was rather different than braving the gently-lapping crystal-clear waters of Ibiza last month, – where the only thing to worry about were ageing nudists on the beach – who seemed to be bending right over every time I came up for breath.

(What is it with naturists? They seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time bending right over, as if they’ve lost something very small in the sand that takes absolute ages to find. That’s not natural. That’s what my nine-year-old Rocky would refer to as pulling a moonie.)

I'll show you how it's done Dad

Anyway at least Rocky has finally stopped insisting on joining us on the 4 mile swim across to Bestival on the Isle of Wight, after swimming his heart out – and going backwards in the fast currents of the murky Solent.

He will be joining us by ferry on the day, as I feel it only right my boys see what may be their father’s final resting place.

We’ll be setting out just after midday on September 8 from GAFIR’S Lifeboat station, Portsmouth for this year’s event, hoping the tide will carry us to the left, then back in to land at Ryde on the Isle of Wight, rather than Zakynthos.

http://swim2bestival.blogspot.com/

The lifeboat guy looked less than impressed at my swiming prowess on this visit to the Solent. As we chatted, he looked me up and down, asking, ‘so are you a STRONG swimmer?’ ‘You’ve down this sort of thing BEFORE, right?’ Then as we parted his eyes went misty and he nodded ‘GOOD LUCK, MATE,’ in the sombre tone monkey keepers must’ve sent the first chimps into outer space with.

I was out of breath just struggling to squeeze into my wetsuit. My pal Andrew,- who’ll be doing the swim too, tried his best to hide his exasperation.

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Well I did promise swimsuit pix.

Eight weeks to go! There’s still time to sponsor me and help Families Against Neuroblastoma: http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN – splash the cash and I’ll post even more swimsuit photos!

And there’s still time to book tickets for Bestival and smugly appreciate the convenience of boat travel: www.bestival.net/

I’m off now for a serious sporting endeavour. School sports day and the dads’ race. Some of the dads were limbering up this morning and were bringing starting blocks and everything.

Wish me luck!

Ben x

s***t creek

Solent today… a glassy sheet of calm waters as still as a mirror. Or a warm bath.  

Wonder if armbands are allowed?

http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN