Not so Fatboyswim

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

Advertisements

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

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

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

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

Loose Swimmin

So this blog doesn’t stray too far into the territory of outdoor fetish-wear, here’s a bit about swimming that I’ve just worked out.

In seven and a half week’s time (gulp) I’ll have to swim this far – about 4 miles, or 6 km from Gosport to where my son Rocky’s pointing, Ryde, on the Isle of Wight.

yeah, sure, Dad!

The fastest Swim2Bestival was an awe-inspiring 83 minutes last year, the slowest so far, just over 3 hours.
The trail I’ll be blazing on September 8th will probably be the aquatic equivalent of London Marathon’s slowest-ever ‘Brian the Snail’: however long it takes the ocean currents to bring me back to the Isle of Wight.
 
A beginner triathlete – ie: someone rather better at swimming than me – swims 25 yards front crawl in 20 strokes. If I can manage that, it should only take me me a total of 2,816 strokes to reach Ryde, burning a total 1,736 calories – the equivalent of 6 Marathons.
– I am, of course, not referring to the athletic endeavour, but the chocolate bar now better known as Snickers.
Watching TV apparently burns 145 calories per hour. Making my swim the equivalent of just under 11 hours of telly viewing.
– I guess that’s like watching a DVD boxset with all the extras.
I’ve never owned a DVD boxset, but I guess if I’m to attain such a level of fitness, I’d better be off to Blockbusters this afternoon to invest in some.
I wonder if Baywatch Series 1 burns off more than The Wire?
 

Anyway, enough about swimming.  This week will be International Neuroblastoma Week – find out more: http://www.familiesagainstneuroblastoma.org/

So help stop this child-killer claiming more lives & sponsor me now: http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN .

At least that’ll shut me up for a bit!

Why do I think this is important? Read this: https://fatboyswim.wordpress.com/about/

& feel free to comment below please,

All the Bestival,

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

 

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