George Thornton English Channel Swim : Round 2; Day 6

Short report today, folks.

As I reported late last night, we’ll be waiting a few more days for Dad’s shot at the Channel. OK, well, nothing we can do about that.

This morning Dad and Joe went down to the beach to swim with the "group." You may recall my reporting last year on the community of swimmers who gather to swim each morning. Here is what I wrote:

"There is this fascinating sub-culture of marathon open-water swimmers here in Dover. They gather each day on Dover Beach, and swim back and forth across the harbor — "wall to wall" as they say — preparing for, or waiting for their chance to cross the Channel. A dozen or more swimmers are in the water each weekday morning, and that number swells (pun intended) to well over 100 on weekends. Frida Streeter, mother of Queen of the English Channel Alison Streeter (43 crossings, more than any other person), holds court on Saturdays and Sundays as she "coaches" her army of swimmers, sells them energy drink powder and other paraphernalia, and creates a community of like-minded oddballs. Everyone is immediately friends and colleagues, all are supportive and eager to commiserate, and everyone wants to hear each other’s stories. If you’re a a prospective Channel swimmer or crew, you’re immediately accepted into this community. If you’ve already made a successful swim, you’re accorded a type of royalty and are admired. I know that Dad really enjoys being a part of it, and thrives on the group’s energy."

So Dad wanted to experience that again. This morning, the water even inside the relatively protected Dover Harbor was rough. Dad and Joe said that the surf was choppy and waves made swimming a challenge. Joe is training for a 10km butterfly swim and had planned on a 2 hour butterfly training period today, but stopped after one lap due to the rough water. Clearly, the Channel itself was not swimmable today. In fact, no swim boats went out.

Our crew took a mental health break and got out of town. We jumped in the car and headed up the coast. Our destination was the town of Sandwich, and while we eventually made it, we had a small driving adventure along the way. Using a nearly worthless sketch map that was printed on the back of a brochure, we made our way to and through the town of Deal. At the north end of town, we came upon a 2-way, single-lane road. The road was only wide enough for a single vehicle, but traffic travelled in both directions. Why not? Mom wasn’t too excited, but we pressed on, simply pulling to the side whenever an oncoming car needed to pass by. Quintessential English rural driving. Some of the drive was through a nice links golf course, and all of it was through the bluffs along the shore.

Anyway, we ate sandwiches in Sandwich and walked around a bit. In the one photo, Dad and Mom are eating their sandwiches with the "Sandwich Shop" in the background. That’s not a restaurant, it’s a tourist information office for the town. The other photo shows a segment of Strand Street, which is "probably the longest set of half-timbered houses in all of Britain." Cool, right?

We then headed "home" for a relaxing evening in Dover.



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