Saturday, 13 December 2008

Once in a hundred years!

I have decided that, come what may, I am going to be crossing the English Channel to France on the 25th July, 100 years after Bleriot's celebrated crossing. Hundreds are due to do it and when I originally mooted the idea, Neill didn't think I'd be ready, but I am going to be doing it anyway...and Neill, seeing my renewed determination last weekend, is going to support me. He tested my resolve by saying that if I was serious, I should join him this weekend by jumping into Pitsford Reservoir, fully kitted up...and I accepted the challenge.

Actually it won't be this weekend, and we are going to be much more sensible and do it "Officer and a Gentleman" style, in a swimming pool with divers standing by. Neill says the suits get incredibly heavy in water, so we have to have back-up in case anything goes wrong. Life jackets are inflated with CO2 at a cost of £11 a shot, so I need to get it right first time! We discussed, this morning, whether we should keep helmets on or jettison them. Some favour the latter as they are heavy and could contribute to neck impact. Neill's thinking we should keep them on for initial impact, then rethink - they may be heavy but they keep heat in. Of course nobody wants to think they will ever end up in the drink at all, but it is right to be prepared.

Carol de Solla Atkin, never one to walk away from a challenge herself, has been very encouraging and gave me the boost to go and ask Neill for his support; I am hoping she will accept MY challenge, convert to microlights and join us.....and I think she is keen. After all, this is an opportunity that comes round only once in a hundred years.

The photo comes from The Flying Kiwi - Richard Seaman
Thanks Richard

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