Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Fear


What am I most afraid of?

Straight out I have to say I have an unnaturally vivid fear of sharks. I think this might have to do with the time I was an 6-year old boy, ship (okay, yacht)- wrecked with my parents on a reef in the bahamas, but I could be wrong.

Given that the chances of me losing a limb to a “marine carnivorous elongated elasmobranch with a prominent dorsal fin” (see – I’ve been doing my homework) are about 300 million-to-one, I think I can package the fear.  I read once that I am statistically much more likely to be killed by a donkey bite in Africa. Given that I live in the UK, I should be ok then.

Then there’s the cold, cold, COLD water, but I’m eating my way to better insulation. Walrus Wayne, they call me at work. There’s the treacherous currents, which I hope to dodge with the dexterity akin to Blair answering WMD questions.  There’s also the mental and physical exertion and exhaustion that will befriend me during the swim. But more of that another time.  And I suppose, because I was once a Boy Scout, I should be prepared and consider the possibility of rogue (and very lost) Somalian pirates.

All of this, however, fades into oblivion in the face of - *drumroll* - The Jellyfish. To be specific, the swarms of Giant Venomous Jellyfish, aka Lion's Mane jellyfish or Cyanea capillata, that are tentacling their way around the Cornish coast. Hell, I might even consider re-greasing myself to avoid the potent sting.  *pauses*  Then again, with my greased (non)lightning experience the other night, maybe not.

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Wayne likes pork pies and Guinness. He likes routine and predictability. He loves his family. He's 40+, short(ish), balding and battling with waistline expansion. He's been known to occasionally play a good round of golf, likes to tinker with 'stuff' and has rescued a group of friends from the African wild by fixing a Land Rover with a jellybaby.

He's never been a great fan of physical exertion. In short (apart from the jellybaby incident), Wayne is an ordinary person. And he's about to do something really amazingly, astoundingly and astonishingly extra-ordinary. He's going to swim the the treacherous, never-been-swum-before channel between Kintyre (Scotland) and Ballycastle (Ireland). For charity. This is his story.