What does a swimmer do after the swim? They go back to France of course!
After the swim I was pretty dang excited and proud of myself. I kept thinking “That wasn’t so bad.” (Make sure to put the verbal inflection on SO. It was tough and had its bad moments so don’t mistake me) Oh but those thoughts were so premature. I decided before going to sleep that I should take a few more Advil and an additional pain pill. Little did I know that these would do nothing. I slept terribly. Every bone, muscle and I believe even hair follicle was screaming out in agony. I spent most of the night praying that the pain would cease. No such luck, there was no position to lay in where my shoulders didn’t hurt. Morning soon came and I could end the game of pretending to sleep.
Our first stop was to a breakfast joint to eat our weight in breakfast goodies. Then it was down to the swimmers beach to say hello to any of the remaining swimmers. I was able to see Freda and Cliff. I wasn’t even sure that they had heard about my swim until I saw them walking up with big smiles on their faces. Freda told me to go get on my swimming cossie and loosen up. I tried to explain that I couldn’t lift my left arm and for once I wasn’t going to get in. (Note: She was probably right about the loosening up, but I was stubborn.) Turns out I had a successful swim on the General’s birthday. That has to be a good omen, doesn’t it.
Then I dragged my Mom, Dad, and Jane over to France. Where we were promptly charged too much in the taxi to get to Wissant. Oh well, thankfully I had Euros left over from 3 years before when I was working in England and traveling around Europe. The winds were really crazy today and the beach was full of windsurfers, kite surfers, wind go-carts, kites, etc. Anything wind propelled was there that day. Unfortunately I didn’t land by Wissant. I landed 1/2 mile from Cap Gris Nez. However, at the time I didn’t know that these were like 3-5 miles apart along the beach. I wouldn’t allow us to pop the champagne until we reach the exact spot where I landed. Had I been smarter or spoke any bit of French I would have had the taxi take us to Cap Gris Nez. After a very long walk, which wasn’t well received by my crew, we finally found the spot. (Note to other swimmers: Your crew get pretty banged up on the boat as they learn to get their sea legs. They get bounced around quite a bit on the boat. They get the bruises that you don’t get in the swim). The champagne was popped and sipped by all. It was really too bad that none of us really like champagne. Then we completed the walk to Cap Gris Nez to again catch an overpriced taxi back to the ferry terminal. Finding a taxi in a town that was closed down is a whole different adventure story!
On Monday we began the long process of packing up our bags. Once this was completed, I headed into town to get some flowers and lager for Reg. The lager was for Reg and the flowers were for his wife Michelle who helped me through out the year with my questions. We met up with Reg, Ray and Mikey down at the Jetty pub to review my swim. Turns out I took a pretty straight path across the Channel. Usually a swimmer’s chart looks like an “S”, but mine was pretty much point to point. It was here that I learned about the large jellyfish that I almost jumped on from the start. I also got a chance to see the relaxed joking side of the crew as Reg and Ray were all business on the boat.
After receiving my chart, we were off to the White Horse pub. Years ago a tradition was started where successful Channel swimmers signed the walls of the pub. You have no idea how bad I wanted to sign these walls. I walked in order my pint of cider and said “I get to sign one of these” I was promptly handed a pen. After signing, I had the opportunity to walk around and see all the other signatures of swimmers I knew of, swimmers I had met, etc. It was amazing.
After this we were back to the Sandown Guest house to say our good-byes and work our way up to London to visit with my aunt, uncle and cousin. As soon as we left Dover, my time as persona numero uno ended. It was now time for me to do whatever my parents and Jane wanted to do in London. We did the following:
- took a bus tour
- took a boat tour
- saw Spamalot
- Saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham palace, which was weird as one of the bands did a montage of ABBA songs. We began to wonder if they were getting paid to advertise for Mama Mia.
- went to Greenwich where time as we know it today began
- Shopped at Niketown. Jane and I had to see how it was in London.
- Look kids Big Ben, Parliament
- Chinese dinner with Leroy, Jane and family.
- Toured St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Went to the Photography Museum
- Toured the US Embassy. This is where my aunt and uncle work the lucky ducks.
Basically we walked my legs off, which was sad as they were the only part of me that didn’t hurt after the swim. The crew took care of that for me though 🙂
Even though it was a whirlwind tour of London, it was a fabulous time. I think we all got to unwind from the stress of the swim. Plus it was great to see both my extended family and Leroy after not seeing them for quite a few years. And I’m sure my legs will forgive me in the next few days or so.
Note: Still working on the photos. I hopefully will have the chance to post some this weekend.Tags: English Channel Swim