Saturday 22 August 2009

"Channel Buoys and Gulls" Channel Swim Team appear on BBC TV show "Eggheads"

Above: The "Channel Buoys and Gulls" team who took on the mighty "Eggheads" on Monday August 17, 2009. Left to right: Paul Hopfensperger (2 x English Channel swims), Megan Forbes (1 x C.S.), Mike Cross (3 x C.S.), Sophie Rutenbar (1 x C.S.), Jim Boucher (1 x C.S.). Kevin Murphy, "King of The English Channel" with 34 x Channel swims was the team substitute (not pictured).

Above: The world famous BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane, London.

When we were asked to audition for the BBC quiz show "Eggheads" in June of this year, I have to admit that I honestly didn't expect to be selected, however having been informed that we had been selected, we all journeyed from our various parts of the country to assemble at the BBC Television Centre as a team of English Channel swimmers with a combined total of 42 channel swims between us and to be know for the day as the "Channel Buoys and Gulls" quiz team.

Above: Assembling in "The Green Room" which was in fact remarkably yellow prior to entering "makeup".

Above: Jim and Sophie get their makeup and hair sorted prior to entering the studios.

Above: Having our microphones fitted in the main Eggheads studio.

Above: Lisa explains to Kevin why he has to be the substitute member of the team. This was due to the fact that he works for the BBC and so was not able to appear on the show.

Above: One of the extremely large Sony television cameras used for filming the show.

We were given about 30 minutes of instructions prior to the Eggheads entering the studio, and as team captain, we had a list of the subjects and who would answer them if the subjects were selected. As I was not allowed to have the piece of paper during filming, I was trying to memorise who was doing what.

Every time one of us broke into a slight sweat, the makeup girl came and "touched us up" with her little brush!

Final check of my papers before the Eggheads entered and filming commenced. Due to the secrecy we must maintain, I am not allowed to explain here how we did. The show will be aired sometime in 2010 as part of series 11 (we are currently on series 10).

Above: After the show was complete, we had the picture above taken with the Eggheads. Again due to secrecy, one of the Eggheads is temporarily airbrushed out of the photo.

Above: The Eggheads sign autographs in Megan's Eggheads book after the show.

We all had a fantastic day, and I would like to thank Lisa and here team for inviting us and making us feel very welcome during our day in London. A full set of photos can be found on my Facebook page by clicking on the link below:-

<'Channel Buoys and Gulls' Eggheads Photos>

Article in The Bury Free Press, Friday August 28, 2009:-

Monday 10 August 2009

Dover? Felixstowe? or Pin Mill? Where? - Pin Mill one of the most beautiful hamlets in Suffolk for Luca's first view of Open Water

Above: Beccy with 11 day old Luca Jacob following a seafood lunch at "The Butt and Oyster" in Pin Mill, Suffolk.

Following an early night on Saturday to get up early for a swim in Dover Harbour at the 2009 Dover Regatta weekend, Beccy and I woke up at 8.25am after a restless night feeding our 11 day old son Luca. Not then feeling bothered to drive the 2.5 hour, 145 mile trip to Dover, we set off for the 38 mile trip to Felixstowe. At about 20 miles, I couldn't even be bothered to drive to Felixstowe and suggested stopping off at Pin Mill for some lunch before proceeding to Felixstowe. Beccy agreed and turning off at Ipswich, we headed along the shore of The River Orwell towards Pin Mill. Never heard of Pin Mill? Shame, it is a beautiful place. This is what the BBC website says about it:-

Pin Mill

"On the banks of the River Orwell the hamlet of Pin Mill is at the heart of one of Suffolk's areas of outstanding natural beauty. Situated on the Shotley peninsula, it is a haven of tranquillity, loved by artists, walkers and birdwatchers. The 17th century "Butt & Oyster" inn is so close to the river that it can serve pints of ale through the window to yachtsmen at high tide.

Pin Mill had links to smugglers in the 19th century and it was the setting for Arthur Ransome's book 'We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea'. It was also featured in the popular BBC Lovejoy series.

Above: Beccy and Luca after our helping of Scampi and Chips at "The Butt and Oyster", Pin Mill, Suffolk.

Following our hearty meal, Felixstowe seemed further and further away so I took Luca for his first look at a bit of open water - The River Orwell. He didn't say much, probably because he was asleep as he has been through most of his "first time experiences" over the past 11 days!

Above: Luca's first experience of Open Water in The River Orwell with Dad.

Having dipped my feet in, I decided that the water looked very appealing, cancelled Felixstowe and decided on a swim in The River Orwell, the first time I had swum in it, even though we had been up and down it many times when we used to have our boat.

As I entered, a small RIB came in with a man and his children. "That's a Channel Swimmer" he laughed to his children. "Yes twice I replied". He looked at me rather strangely and carried on paddling to shore!

It was beautiful in there. It was also incredibly warm. When I came ashore and got out, my watch was reading 24 Degrees Centigrade, hardly a "cold water swim". I felt very rough and unfit, but am really glad I got in. I am now ready to start training again for hopefully some big swims over the next couple of years.

It was a stunningly beautiful day, and I had a thoroughly enjoyable swim. There was no need to trek all the way to Dover, we have great facilities here in Suffolk. If you are ever in the area, I thoroughly recommend Pin Mill.

Thanks to Bex as always for taking some great photos, and hopefully Luca enjoyed his first look at Open Water even if he was yawning. Get used to it Luca, there's plenty more to come!