Friday 26th March 2021
Covid restrictions had already put my Spring 2021 project on hold. Limited travel meant staying local so the project was postponed – maybe in 2022? And then another idea started to bubble up, and a chance encounter led to a conversation and an email enquiry, and well, this is what happens when you follow your dreams.
It felt so close. My swimming was in a good place, with regular outdoor visists to Woburn Lido – a beautiful place. So close… and then. My last official swim was at Woburn Lido on the afternoon of 5th January. The latest lockdown took effect a few hours later. It looked as Covid would continue to put all our dreams on hold.
Flooding in Bedfordshire meant that river swimming was out of the question – the flow, the mud, the effluent, the danger. Events 1, Helegant 0. For Spring 2021. But hope springs eternal (see what I did there?) and dreams die hard so with a bit of imagination, a bucket of optimism and a bit of tweaking I realised that the bubbling-up alternative might still be possible. And even, maybe, sooner than 2022.
And now? The dream feels so close again. Outdoor swimming restarts on Monday 29th March, and I’ve booked swimming slots from now until mid June at Woburn Lido and at Box End Lakes. And the bubbling-up plan?
I’m delighted to announce that I have secured a place to swim in the English Channel* as part of a relay team going from Dover to France in September. Boat 4 to be precise. So much is still unknown and tentative, but I’m going to train ‘as if’ it will go ahead. Because that’s the way to make stuff happen.
My fundraising this time is for a wonderful charity called COSMIC. COSMIC supports children’s and neonatal intensive care units at St Mary’s and Queen Charlotte’s Hospitals London, helping frontline intensive care staff deliver vital critical care, and supporting families with children on the units. It also supports research initiatives to improve intensive care.
No pressure, but if you would like to donate, this is the link https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/helen-gardner19
I’ll post occasional updates on training and preparation here. I need to join the CS&PF (Channel Swimmers and Pilots Federation), pass a medical, pass the swim test, do the training and then hope for good weather.
Those who have follwed this blog from the beginning will know that I had a long-held ambition to swim the English Channel. Jellyfish, oil slicks, tankers, bad weather, cold water, salt mouth, sea sickness, chafing – what could be more appealing?
Dreams don’t disappear just because our bodies get older. And while it may not now be possible to reach the standard required to achive a solo swim there are still opportunites to be claimed. By doing the challenge as a team I can have the eperience, and raise some money for a good cause at the same time. Wish me luck.