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

ferries are for wimps!

Just ONE week away!!!!!! – at 11.30AM next Thursday morning, I’ll be bobbing up and down on the Solent waves like a vegan’s turd.

Trying, as I look down into the cold, dark depths beneath me, not to think about the marine conservationists who have rarely been out of the papers this summer, banging on about the wonderful species of shark and jellyfish who have immigrated to our unusually warm shores.

Instead, my motivation, like the road-crossing chicken in all the jokes, will be to get to the other side. My other motivation, and here you can help me, will be to help children fighting a cancer that claims more little lives than any other in this country: neuroblastoma.

Today is the first day of September, and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. So help me help Families Against Neuroblastoma help children battling the disease all over the country. Click on this & pass it on too: http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN , and let’s hope September sees some rays of sunshine for those fighting childhood cancers.

Thanks very much everyone who’s supported me, sponsored us, and offered helpful advice on how not to swim like a dick.

Especially my sidekick Sharkboy (my son Rocky, 9) who’s accompanied me on many swims.

If the swim goes well, yes, you can do it in a few years’ time, Rocky. In the meantime, like all the normal people, who I’m secretly quite jealous of, you can get the car ferry.

Ashley the Jedi Knight

Two weeks today as normal people get the ferry to Bestival, the summer’s last big festival, on the Isle of Wight, I’ll be dipping my toes into the Solent, wondering why I ever thought it was a good idea to swim there. 

September 8 will also be an important date for Ashley Hyde’s family.

Ashley, 7, was a happy young boy whose love of Star Wars and big smile made him a great character to cover when we ran his story in Chat magazine when I worked there.

On June 9, 2008 Ashley was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma. Ashley battled through months of treatment, endless rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, a complex operation and endless procedures.

Throughout Ashley’s gruelling battle with cancer, the Hyde family kept his spirits up, doing lots of fun things with him like training as a Jedi Knight.

‘May the Force be with you,’ Ashley’s parents would reassure their little Jedi Knight. And it seemed it was. In July 2009, Ashley was in remission. 

Ashley described himself as a young Padawan Jedi in training for battle. But sadly the battle was just too big for such a little warrior.

After just six months, in December 2009, Ashley relapsed. Ashley’s family and friends constantly fundraised to send him abroad for treatments not available here. But the disease was too advanced and too aggressive, and despite all the treatments they tried, on September 8, last year, Ashley finally lost his last battle.

Ashley had touched hundreds of people with his unique personality, staying in touch with many schoolfriends with Skype, whatever gruelling treatments he was having. And hundreds of people, including four Star Wars storm troopers turned out to pay their respects to him last September.

Ashley’s family continue to honour him by fundraising in his name to help other children in his situation. Neuroblastoma takes more children in the UK than any other cancer. It can be treatable, and as I write this, there’s many urgent appeals. Families Against Neuroblastoma help families like Ashley’s get urgent treatment. Often abroad and often expensive, and campaign for all the treatments to be available for everyone here too.

FAN is run by ordinary parents, like Ashley’s, who have gone to extraordinary lengths to help these kids. I’ve always been touched by their enthusiasm.

One year on,  this September 8, as Ashley’s family remember him, I’ll be thinking of him too as I set off on my fundraising ferry-dodging swim across the Solent.

Ashley, may the force be with you!

And if you’d like to help Families Against Neuroblastoma battle our most deadly childhood cancer, please take a minute to sponsor this swim: http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN

Thanks,

Ben x

Sox, lies and verruca types

Blimey, according to WordPress there’s been quite a few visits to this blog lately. And many have stumbled upon this site from all manner of searches on Google, according to the stats.

Apologies to those of you who, according to WordPress, typed in the following searches into Google and didn’t find all you were looking for on this blog:

verruca socks stigma
flattering wetsuit pix
why wear socks?
verruca size when should I worry
the most dangerous shark in the world 
triathlon guy wetsuit 
wetsuits fetish boys 
boys wearing socks outside 
men wearing latex
what to do in shark attack
swim naked sexy
how to swim front crawl
people wearing verruca socks
naturist swims
fat boys swimming 
rubber triathlon man
white boys in sexy white sox
how to get out of swimming classes
latex socks fetish is it wrong

and many other such searches too weird to mention.

Anyway I hope everyone gets something from this blog. Mostly the children battling Neuroblastoma, who urgently need the funds I’m hoping to raise for Families Against Neuroblastoma. So however you stumbled upon this page, please take just a minute to donate all you can with this secure site: http://www.bmycharity.com/Swim2Bestival4FAN

cheers,

Ben x

OK, for all those of you that are appear to enjoy them so much, here’s another picture of some latex socks:

latex socks

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

jellyfish soup

I was the only person swimming at the lido early this grey morning.

Unsurprising, as by this point in the summer holidays, it’s got the same water content as a urinal. And it was so cold, I’ve only just been able to coax my testicles back down again with the promise of a hot bath, with radox and everything.

And I doubt my balls would ever be decending again if they read all the headlines about the ‘Jellyfish Soup’ forming around the British coastline due to clement conditions for these unedifying floaty invertebrates.

Reading about all the stingy ones washing up on our shores, I can’t help but wonder if I’m allergic.

What if I get anaphlaptic shock on my charity swim to the Isle of Wight in three weeks’ time? ( http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN )

I don’t know about you, but I’ve often wondered about how I’d best like to die.

I’ve come to the dramatic. But I’d also quite like it to be in bed. In fact I’d like it to be both. At the same time… Something pervy and dangerous… Or a sinister bedroom murder…

Any of those would do. But certainly not at sea. And definitely not as some sort of anaphlaptic reaction – a death I can barely spell. And not after being inadvertently stung by a sort of bloated floating transparent slug.

Big jellyfish doing impression of Don King

So now this blog has an added element of suspense about whether I’ll swim all the way without some sort of mishap, feel free to cut and paste any bits for an obituary. Though please not the bit above about how I’d like to die. Not unless I really do manage to swim across the Solent and then actuallly do die in some sexy/sinister bedroom mishap.

And here’s a cut out and keep jellyfish guide issued by the Marine Conservation Society who are all very excited about the unprecedented proliferation of Jellyfish swarms around our shores:

don't really want to end up wearing any of these as a hat

And in the spirit of educating you lot about our wobbly friends, here’s some

AMAZING JELLYFISH FACTS:

Bastard jellyfish can still sting when they’re dead.

If I get stung by a jellyfish, it’s helpful to wee on me.

Jellyfish reproduce both sexually and asexually in one of nature’s most romantic celebrations of life. There’s daddy jellyfish and mummy jellyfish. When daddy’s sperm are ready, he gobs them from his mouth into the surrounding sea, where they swim into mummy jellyfish’s mouth and fertilize her eggs. The fertilized ‘planula’ are then abandoned over the sea bottom, where these unloved little blighters latch onto anything solid in their miserable lives, splitting asexually until there’s enough for a swarm.

In some parts, Jellyfish are a tasty snack. But do dry them first, as they go off quickly!

The box jellyfish kills more people than any other marine animal. If stung your chance of making it back to shore or surviving are virtually 0%. These great big bastards can move at 2 metres a second and have 64 arseholes.

The largest jellyfish ever found was a Lion’s Mane Jellyfish with tentacles 120ft long, making it the longest animal ever found.

Jellyfish are brainless. They’re not fish. They’re about 98% water. Like spongebobs they are almost plants, but not quite, as they have to eat stuff which makes them an animal. Or something like that. I don’t really care enough.

Just three weeks to go before I swim to the Isle of Wight, and if you don’t want me to bore you with any more jellyfish facts, please sponsor me & help Families Against Neuroblastoma help some brave young children battling this cancer right now:

http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN

Love,

Ben.

diving fist first

One of the school mums has been angrily dragging me to the Finchley Lido in disgust at my pedestrian attitude to my swimming training.

‘What stroke do you call that?’ my school-gate-mate despairs as I struggle to keep up.

‘Um.. Front crawl? Long stroke.. Long crawl? Sea swimming. I don’t know? Freestyling, man, it’s meant to stop me sinking. Help me float. Make me more efficient.’

‘Well. It’s f*****g slow.’

At least now the summer holidays have started I won’t have to dodge all the dive-bombing school swimming trips.

They take up half the pool. AND I bet they haven’t ALL gone to the toilet before diving in.

And where are their verruca socks? When I went swimming as a schoolboy, statistically one or two kids in each class had to endure the shameful stigma of wearing a verruca sock.

in the old days

Now a whole school and not even one sock. Verrucas haven’t been eradicated. You can still buy the latex socks. I checked on google. What’s wrong with people? They’re happy to look like dicks travelling to work wearing a facemask in case someone happens to sneeze swine flu into their gob. Yet they wouldn’t dream of sending their cheery brat to the swimming pool with a latex sock covering their verruca-encrusted foot to protect everyone else, – in case they get teased.

When I grew up, parents enjoyed dressing you in shameful stuff that would get you teased. They insisted on it. OR was that just my experience…

I guess there’s only one item of swimwear that I find as scary a verruca sock, and that’s the FISTGLOVE ™.

‘The WHAT?’ I asked my fellow Swim2Bestival swimmer Andrew, trying not to giggle like a schoolboy.

‘The FISTGLOVE ™’ explained Andrew, patiently, ‘ – when you wear it you can’t use your fingers, so it helps you practise using your whole body to power you through the water. I’ll just get them… I think they’re in the bedroom…’

Maybe not everyone is as smutty as me.

I hope not.

Though… Scarily,- according to wordpress, – this weekend two people came upon this blog having typed ‘wetsuits fetish boys’ into google. (- Um, maybe I should change that to ‘stumbled’ upon this blog.) So I’d better stop going on about FISTGLOVE ™.

However you’ve come across this blog, there’s just over a month left to please sponsor my swim to the Isle of Wight and help some really brave children with a lot worse to face than verruca socks (see previous posts) :

http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN

Thanks,

Off to the pool with my FISTGLOVE ™,

Love,

Ben x

20110725-041333.jpg

SWIMSTAKES!

These are some of the most popular search terms that have brought people to this blog this week, according to wordpress:

‘swimwear’

‘most dangerous shark in the world’

‘boys swimwear pics’

‘triathlon guys’

– I can only speculate about which of these searches faced the most disappointment.

As none of the search terms included ‘The Ben Gelblum Swim2Bestival office (or home) swimstakes ™’ , I had better remedy that with this easy-to-cut-out Ben Gelblum Swim2Bestival office (or home) swimstakes ™.

Just cut out these options and you can have a sweepstakes gamble type thing with your colleagues/friends/family about my athletic & fundraising prowess or watery demise in the Swim2Bestival on September 8:

SWIMSTAKES!

And if you’ve got time to do that, you’ve DEFINITELY got time to click on this:

http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN 

and sponsor my once-in-a-lifetime athletic endeavour and help lots of children in urgent need of cancer treatment.

Do it today! It’s Neuroblastoma Awareness Week, so please spread the word!

Yours swimmingly,

or not really swimmingly today as I’ve got a sniffly nose,

Ben x

PS: sponsor me now: http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN

NB awareness week

Quick reminder of why I’ve committed myself to this marine madness:- http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN

(-Yes, apart from clearly having some sort of mid-life crisis involving leaving a proper job to squeeze into rubber suits and go to the seaside.)

This week is International Neuroblastoma Awareness Week, organised by the most single-minded mum I’ve ever come across.

Linza, 35, set up Families Against Neuroblastoma after enduring the most painful loss.
Linza described her son Max as a very handsome, cheeky, loving little boy. At just 5 months old, Linza’s son Max was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. No one in the UK could help, so his family launched an appeal to raise the sums needed to take him to America. Max held on. But by the time they’d raised the funds necessary, Max was declared unfit to fly, and just hours later, as if he knew, he quietly slipped away in his family’s arms.

It is Linza’s reaction to her loss that’s so amazing. Setting up FAN (Families Against Neuroblastoma), she vowed to do her utmost every day to fight to give children like Max a chance to survive, and many have been saved.

Linza has got all kinds of charities all over the world involved to set up INTERNATIONAL NEUROBLASTOMA AWARENESS WEEK this week (find out more & ‘like’ : www.facebook.com/NBawarenessweek )

Linza and familes all over the world fighting to get treatment for children like Max are doing all kinds of interesting stuff this week.

Including this Kindness Voucher, based on an idea by an American boy Braeden Burgess who sadly lost a two-year fight with Neuroblastoma. So print it out, perform an act of kindness and help raise awareness of the charities that step in and help familes let down by postcode lotteries in health provision. There’s some urgent appeals on. In this country alone, about 100 children a year will need help to fight the UK’s most deadly childhood cancer.

For all these children, it’s a race against time.

And if spontaneous acts of kindness aren’t your thing, please sponsor me, then you can help these children fight Neuroblastoma, while having a laugh at my athletic incompetence: http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN

Thanks,

Ben x