Guest blogs

All at sea…

Georgie’s second post on Winging It Club is here as she faces the challenge of a lifetime this week…

Trip to France – 1kg petroleum jelly, four cossies, four pairs of goggles (who ever managed to even get their toes wet before the advent of the mighty Zoggs Predators?), anti-sickness pills, thermal vest, onesie, nails Shellac-ed so I’ve got something nice to look at (priorities), 2 hour qualifier swim completed – the list goes on. Not your typical list before a summer trip to the continent but this is the culmination of 5 months of gruelling preparation for a relay swim to our French voisins rather than get across the Pas de Calais in a more conventional way.

It turns out, though, that a nominated day for swimming the Channel is no different than waiting for a due date when having a baby; who knew?! In fact, the parallels are getting ludicrous– my swimming kit is poised and ready by the front door just like my hospital bag has been over the years along with the food bag crammed full of anti-nausea nosh like ginger biscuits, carefully made childcare plans scuppered every day the swim is postponed again and my nerves shot to pieces wondering when my swim “baby” will ever materialize? The solution? Try and be the calm, pragmatic and patient adult I strive to be most days – not my forte – while suppressing my inner tantruming toddler who just wants to GO!  I’m also dithering over whether I should rest and watch Wimbledon (not just my home town but also my Mum’s favourite fortnight of the year) or resume my swim training programme (blurgh!). I may also be indulging in a little online retail therapy to pass the time (ssshhhh! don’t tell my husband!).

Only two days overdue so far and it could be perhaps another week, or more! I’ll have to buy some more capacious swimming costumes soon to accommodate a little extra Georgie as I unsuccesfully try to keep the lid on the biscuit barrel, a futile exercise at the best of times. And keep me away from the Comté! Cheesus! I managed to strain a shoulder muscle – my only injury during all these months of training – just two days ago zealously cutting a generous chunk of my favourite cheese.  Ah, the irony that a French fromage could be my undoing and I haven’t even left the house yet. So, when will be off? Tuesday, perhaps, is the latest prediction. It seems that even an old BBC weather bird like me can’t accurately forecast when those pesky winds will calm down between Folkestone and Calais. This really is pathetic fallacy in its purist form after last week’s Brexit result. I suspect when we reach the other side, the welcome may well be as chilly as the sea.

Yet still the determination to fulfill this challenge and adventure burns stronger than ever. So far I’ve raised almost £4000 for St Raphael’s Hospice, where my dear Mummy spent the last few weeks of her life last summer.  I can’t tell you how many times during my training I’ve filled my goggles with tears (even the Predators aren’t weep-proof) or how many checkout girls I’ve sobbed over in the supermarket when talking about the swim. Grief is the word and it’s not going anywhere.

Last night I had the clearest and most vivid dream I’ve had about Mum in months. She was well, happy and carefree and gave me the biggest, longest and most soothing hug I could have wished for. She told me quite simply she’d never really gone and she’d always been here. The comfort of these words is so powerful but so raw and poignant too. It was magical to see her but very painful to wake up from the dream. Seeing Mum in good health, like in the good old days, cancer-free and with a head full of hair, a body unfettered by repeated courses of chemo and radiotherapy and a face full of happiness and light is the image that I will take with me across the sea, however long it takes to get there and whenever we end up going…

 

Georgie Sollom

Image: Georgie and the channel swim crew

You can sponsor Georgie at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=GeorgieSollom

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