Not so Fatboyswim

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Thanks very much everyone who’s sponsored me at

http://www.bmycharity.com/Swim2Bestival4FAN

and helped spread the word about the amazing work Families Against Neuroblastoma do.

And thanks very much to the great people at Swim2Bestival who helped 10 strong swimmers (and me) and their very hard-paddling support canoeists get across the Solent battling a Force 6 gale.  http://swim2bestival.com/

Especially my canoeist Stu who managed to battle the waves without capsizing once, while humouring my deranged dehydrated ramblings…

However uncomfortable the plastic seats… However rocky the boat, I’ll never complain about a ferry crossing again!

The tricky cold bollock stage

Well… was hoping the weather would be better, but I’m told yesterday’s 3ft waves are subsiding. 

Fellow swimmer Andrew Hudson’s just sent me this photo of what the Solent looks like now:

uh oh

Apparently there’s a swell left from yesterday’s big waves and it’s still choppy in the middle. (Don’t think swell means good.) The canoeists accompanying us tomorrow are discussing conditions right now, as they can’t go out if they’ll keep capsizing. So fingers crossed! The 12 Bestival swimmers should be setting off from GAFIRS lifeboat station, Stokes Bay, Gosport at 11.30AM tomorrow, or if it’s still too choppy, Friday at 12.30PM.

(UPDATE: SWIM’S ON FOR TOMORROW!!!!)

So I should be in my wetsuit about 11AM tomorrow , having handed my canoeist a carrier bag with my asthma spray, a high energy drink or two and a packet of shark repellent. (£8.85 from Amazon. So it must work.)

(You thought I was joking, Andrew!)

Then I’ll be running into the waves, complaining about how cold the water is for a bit, until I get past the tricky cold bollock stage. At which point it’ll be OK as I’ll still be able to stand up for a bit, then, a few steps later, it’s time to swim! Four miles. To Ryde Westsands.

As well as the kayaks, there’ll be a mother ship (called Alice, apparently) driven by Alan who will be communicating with the coastguard, Southampton VHS and the Queens Harbour master, Portsmouth. They in turn inform all the other mariners including ferry and shipping companies as we swim through the busy shipping lane that serves Portsmouth and Southampton docks. And I get a tap on the shoulder with a canoe stick if any shipping’s coming through.

I’ve been told we can’t get insurance for the sea bit, but we are insured for the shore bit. Which will be reassuring as I cross the road to the treacherously pebbly beach. 

So hopefully the gusty South Westerly winds blowing waves against us as we swim to the Isle of Wight will chillax a little bit.

And here’s what you can do:

At 11.30AM tomorrow, please, please, please, please, if you’re anywhere BUT the Isle of Wight, please turn South to face the Isle of Wight, take a deep breath. And then blow as hard as you can. 

(If you live on the Isle of Wight, you suck. Yes you do.) 

I’m no Michael Fish, but there must be a small chance that will dampen the wind down, and if not, at least I might get off slightly at the thought of everybody blowing me.

What else you can do: http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN 
– Please help me help Families Against Neuroblastoma help children all over the country battling our deadliest childhood cancer. It needn’t be. Every little bit really counts, and it just takes a minute to click on the link above and help. So please pass the link on!

I’ll be thinking of Ashley Hyde’s family tomorrow (see my previous post below) who have tirelessly fundraised for FAN. Brave Star Wars fan Ashley sadly lost his final battle against Neuroblastoma, aged 7, one year ago, on September 8, 2010.  May the force be with you, Ashley!

Will keep you posted,

Slightlylessfatboyswim x

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

Which is the most middle class festival?

Apparently, Michael Eavis has been gagging on his homegrown artichokes about how middle class Glastonbury’s become.

Worrying (-my favourite passtime) about how my speedos would fit in with Bestival’s fancy dress theme, I began to wonder which IS the most middle class festival?

In the old days festivals were affairs where you’d be scared to leave your tent in case you ran into people like this:

Nowadays, you’re more likely to be queuing for houmous & flatbread with people like this:

Eavis may have a point, especially as this year to get to Glastonbury you needed an array of fast-broadband computers to rival a stockbroker’s to bag a ticket online, unless you went VIP TeePee.

So WHICH is the most middle class festival?

Probably NOT Glastonbudget in Leicestershire which angrily shouts: “FACT- this year you wont even pay more than 50p for a hot drink! That’s a FACT!” The “World’s Best Tribute Festival. EVER” also boasts the Antarctic Monkeys, Blings of Leon, Oasish, the Fillers & “REAL ACT: Doctor & the Medics.”

And probably not V Festival. Because it’s in Chelmsford. Wear wellies to wade through the ankle-deep discarded fried chicken boxes, fast-food wrappers & ketchup.

So is it the Big Chillax – where you can get the best falafel this side of Tripoli?

The Sussex highbrow hijinks that is Lah-titude – where dodgy dancing will be put to shame by Saddlers Wells performers?

Is it one dreamt up by the smug marketing team of fruit smoothies, where it’s not just the music that’s live, but the yoghurt too?

Or is it indeed Bestival, with Pimms bus & Boden shop?

And if Bestival’s face-painters aren’t beseiged by yummy mummies, how about Breastival- ( www.thebreastfeedingfestival.org.uk ) where you can all lie in a giant breast-shaped circle, or be lectured on The Role of Men in Breastfeeding (- which I thought was looking sheepishly at your shoes?)

Lettuce know what you think, below – also any tips about not drowning on my swim2bestival appreciated! And any tips about how my speedos could fit in with this year’s Bestival’s fancy dress theme of ‘Rock Stars, Pop Stars & Divas’?

Sponsor me : http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN & I promise more pictures of me in my swimwear!

Love, Ben.

Not raving, but drowning.

Why run, when you can walk? That’s always been my motto. Especially when it comes to exercise. And my first proper training today reaffirmed everything I supected about why exercise is not for me.

It takes blooming ages.

A good hour of getting smelly, plus showers, plus getting changed, getting to the pool and back. Half your day gone. How do fit people hold down jobs?

So I braved the verruca-infested waters of the local pool. And I can actually swim. 1km. Just need to add another 6 and a half km to that and do it out at sea.

With currents. And waves.  And lots of shipping. And a double tide ripping through the Solent.  And possibly South Coast man-eating sharks. And I’ll be alright!

Don’t think my front crawl is as elegantly effortless as I thought it was. When I paddled up to the lifeguard to ask if he knew how long the pool was, he leapt out of his chair with the 20% concern / 80% annoyance  of someone that may have to get wet rescuing me, shouting “are you OK, bruv? ” loud enough to stop most swimmers in their lanes and make them stare fearfully at me every time I swam into the deep bit.

Think I may have to work on my technique.

1km in half an hour not good: that would make over 3 and a half hours in total for the crossing, and I really need to do the whole swim in under two hours during the slack water period before the tide starts flowing out of the Solent real fast, and towards the continent. Otherwise I need to swim with my passport, just in case.

Good line-up at Bestival if I do swim fast enough to catch some of the festival. Here’s a little mix of what my fishy self could be receiving medical attention to:
Bestimix 56: The Disablists by Bestimix on Mixcloud

And here’s a poem that keeps springing to mind. Possibly the worst ever rendition of this miserable classic by Stevie Smith. Not sure if it’s meant to be a storyboard for a really inappropriate Disney film that never got made:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjgqRl7_erc&feature=related

love,

Ben x

Do sharks like Jewish food? Surely nobody does, really?

And another thing I’m not happy about, are reports of man-eating sharks off the South Coast.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/3645678/Hunters-search-for-St-Ives-Jaws.html

Why now? Apparently, the Oceanic Whitetip is the most dangerous shark in the world & it was drawn to Cornish seas by higher water temperatures.

Great: so before I had to worry about the Solent being cold. Now I have to worry about it being too hot too.

Too scared to type in ‘Solent’ & ‘shark’ into Google. Please don’t all tell me what comes up if you do.

Have been googling what to do in the event of a shark attack though. And the two different opinions on the web are punch them on the nose, or poke them in the eye. Not very reassuring. Both are a bit too near the mouth for my liking. ( I wish the advice was to kick the shark in the c**** or grab their g******s ) And I’m not sure that in the event of a fight between me and a man-eating shark, I’d have the opportunity to land two blows.

So, if anyone does genuinely know, please comment and let me know which is the best to go for: eye poke? nose punch? distract them with a tin of tuna?

love,

Ben. x

Swim, fatboy, swim!

Welcome to my one and only attempt at blogging. And it’s about my one. And ONLY. Attempt to swim 4 miles across ferry-infested waters to get to the Isle of Wight and Bestival.

I’ve raised the grand total of £50 so far, and I should be spending more than that on goose-fat to smother myself with when I swim over this September, so I’m hoping this blog will help me raise some much-needed funds and awareness for an amazing charity that helps save children from Britain’s most dangerous cancer for kids – Neuroblastoma.

Take a minute to look at the urgent appeals they have on right now: http://www.familiesagainstneuroblastoma.org/

And here’s where you can donate & wish me luck: http://www.bmycharity.com/Swim2Bestival4FAN

And here’s where you can find out more about Bestival & the swim & buy tickets if you fancy joining me for a weekend of great acts & a fishy smelling Ben Gelblum: http://www.bestival.net/

This isn’t what a blog’s meant to look like, is it? Anyway, I shall be updating you on the event, on my rigorous training regime. (So far, I managed 7 lengths of my hotel pool in Ibiza before being sick in my mouth. Which I had to swallow as I was still in the pool.) And imparting any wisdom I come across on my journey. (Though it will be mainly the W7 to Park Road lido , not a trek to Dharmsala.)

So please comment below with any encouragement or advice – advice on swimming / doing the whole exercise thing / advice on what a blog is meant to look like / much-needed career advice / advice on where on earth to buy goose-fat? Do I really need it? Will it make me swim faster? Or just taste nicer for sharks?

Um, cheers, then.

Ben x

Dive in & comment: http://wp.me/p1Dy4r-1