After months away from all things open water, I went down to Dover this weekend for the CS&PF dinner (plus a great chance to get in a couple of research interviews).
It was a beautiful afternoon on Friday when I arrived and the harbour looked very peaceful - it felt a bit odd to be down there and not be planning to spend a whole day swimming up and down.
Dover's not the loveliest town in the world, but you've got to love somewhere that includes a special logo on its harbour usage signs for distance swimmers....
On Saturday afternoon, I went to the CS&PF AGM, where big changes were afoot - with Mike Oram stepping down as Hon. Secretary (to be replaced by Kevin Murphy), and several new people bringing expertise in the fields of law, medicine and accountancy to the new committee. This felt like a really positive set of changes, and happily, the meeting passed largely without controversy.
Before dinner, a bunch of us went over to the White Horse pub to perform the Channel swimmer's ritual of adding our names to the walls of the pub. The walls are packed with years of swimmers' names, but I managed to find a little strip to make my mark on. To be honest, I didn't think that I was that bothered about it, but when it came to it, I enjoyed it enormously and it feels great to have my name up there among all those other swimmers.
Then on to the dinner in Dover town hall. It has to be said - hats off to all those involved in organising this - nice food, good company, and a great chance to celebrate all the successes of the year. The highlight for me though came during the raffle, when, to my enormous surprise and delight, I won a free Alcatraz swim, donated by the nice people at Swimart. The timing is perfect for my California trip this summer - what a huge stroke of luck, and a fantastic treat.
The only blot on the weekend was the fact that I've got a galloping chest infection, which even after a week isn't getting any better. I probably shouldn't have gone this weekend, and was a bit spluttery, but I really didn't want to miss it...and to be honest, a heady combination of over-the -counter medications combined with a few glasses of wine held it at bay for most of the evening! So, no training for me recently....but at least I had the perfect excuse for not joining this morning's sea swim!