As soon as I’d swum the Channel I had several phonecalls and emails from people who know what happens next. After all that training and dreaming and training and dreaming when you finally do it, you slump. The people who knew this told me it was going to happen, that it was absolutely natural, and that WHATEVER I DID, I MUST NOT BOOK ANOTHER CHALLENGE OF ANY KIND BECAUSE IT WOULD BE A KNEE JERK REACTION. Before the month was out, I had booked to climb Mount Kilimanjaro at Christmas. THIS CHRISTMAS.

Of course they were right and for the past month I’ve been in denial. It’s not that I’m not excited about going to Africa but, really, after the year I’ve had a week lying on the beaches of Zanzibar rather than climbing the highest mountain on the continent would make for a more sensible trip to Tanzania.

People keep asking: what training are you doing?’

Eh, not a lot.

I confess I’ve also been guilty of answering the question with those fateful words: ‘I am a Channel Swimmer’. But I know it’s not really an answer to the question on any level. That was three months ago and from the little research I’ve done there’s no sea involved.

One of my loveliest friends bought me a book – Kilimanjaro Diaries – in order to focus my mind and help me prepare. I started reading it this week and what I love is the author describes it as an endeavour of ‘mid-magnitude’. I thought to myself: I can manage that, I can manage mid-magnitude. But if not, I’m about to have my comeuppance.

So this will be my last bi-weekly blog for a little while. In two Sundays from now hopefully I’ll be half way up a mountain and on Christmas day I’ll have reached the summit. All being well I’ll be down again by the Sunday after that and I’ll be able to write to you from a bath in a nice hotel where I’ll be bathing my feet. Escaping Christmas is something that childless people often do but my plans this year have really taken the biscuit. Or should I say the mince pie? In fact I had two mince pies for breakfast this morning just to make up for the fact I doubt they’re big in Africa. I had them hot with Mascarpone – I highly recommend it.

And finally, just to say, I’m not doing it for sponsorship. I’ll save that for challenges of major-magnitude. This is only mid-magnitude and it’s all my own damn fault.

Happy Christmas!

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