Sunday 31st July 2016

I know it sounds daft writing my Sunday Blog when Monday is almost over, but I can’t let yesterday’s events pass by without a comment.

After a fabulous Saturday evening in Glasgow with the Osmonds and friends, Sunday morning brought an opportunity to attend Church locally. The reverence in Sacrament meeting in the Springboig Ward was so lovely, and the talks were excellent. The members made us feel so welcome.

After having a few relaxing hours (actually, I took the time to make new lists and design the balloon labels for tomorrow! No rest for the wicked lol), we made our way to the Paisley Stake Centre for an Inspirational Evening or Fireside with the Osmonds.  There is a story of how it came to be held there but I will share that one another time. It did mean Paul and I enjoyed the Reception held for the family and it was so lovely to finally get the chance to hug Justin and Kristi!

The presentation they gave was wonderful and especially moving for many who were there.  As I was sat on the stand near the family with Tracey, I was able to observe the faces of those who were listening. What is wonderful about these special evenings, is that it is relaxed and uplifting, and you get a glimpse into the personal lives of the Osmond family. I am so looking forward to a similar evening at the Sheffield Stake this coming Sunday  If anyone would like more details about this event, please email me at lindacarlo@outlook.com. It is especially suitable for those who are not of our faith.

We had to leave with the Osmonds straight after the Fireside because of the long trip home. They needed to follow us out of Glasgow because of a problem with their SatNav. I made Merrill laugh when I said ‘All these years I have been following the Osmonds, and now you are following me!’:-D  There is another great story  to  share as we started on our journey home, but you will have to wait for my book to read about that one 😉

It really was a long journey home, arriving back in Doncaster just after 2am. Such a wonderful day, and most memorable for lots of different reasons. Thank you to the people of Glasgow and Paisley for making us feel so so welcome.

Saturday 30th July 2016

Well this is a first! I have found a way to write a little something from my iPad in our hotel room. I just wanted to say what a nice journey we had coming here to Glasgow this afternoon. We picked up the lovely Leigh Cowell  on the way so that made the travelling time much more pleasant.😄

One very special moment was just as we went past Gretna Green when I realised how close we were to the turn off to Ecclefechan. It was a very quick and spontaneous decision, but I felt we simply couldn’t drive past this quiet little Scottish village without stopping to pay respects to my Mum’s  grave there; she was born there and always wanted to be laid to rest there. (It will be almost midnight when we go past again on the way home, so it was now, or another time when we would take a trip to Scotland.) It was a very quick but very easy decision to make. We only had time to stop for a few minutes but I’m so glad we did. On the bottom if her family gravestone, we had engraved ‘Families are Forever’ and I truly believe I will be with her and my Dad again one day. My parents taught me to believe anything is possible and because of that, among many other important things, my life has been extremely full of great and special things, and I’ll be forever grateful for who they were, and still are to me.

Tonight we enjoyed a lovely Scottish evening with Merrill and friends, with delicious food and great music from the one and only Merrill Osmond. Justin and Kristi joined us towards the end of the evening, which for me personally meant so much. A highlight for me was when Justin signed as his Dad sang Impossible Dream. Very emotional for me personally. It sounds like Justin is looking forward to my final mile on Tuesday …. almost as much as I am haha ! A special thank you to all who put so much work into making tonight such a great success. A very special evening to remember.

Friday 29th July 2016

Today I am writing this early, rather than in the early hours!! 🙂 Even though it’s just 10:30am, I think I have already experienced the highlight of my day!

With Carl and GraceAs planned, I was up and ready to have an early morning swim at Armthorpe pool. Carl Lewis, DCLT Marketing Manager, was coming to swim a mile with me, along with the awesome Grace Blair who is just 8 years old. Grace has to be seen to be believed!! Carl and I were so impressed by this little girl who also loves open water swims as she looks forward to taking part in a triathlon!! And she’s not even 9 yet!  She is proud of the fact that her furthest swimming distance is two miles. She has every right to be proud!  I have asked her Dad to keep me informed of her progress because this girl is going places. She has also managed to raise £30 in sponsorship for the Hearing Fund, with possibly more to come in.  If you feel impressed by Grace and would like to make a donation for her fantastic efforts this morning, the Just Giving page can be found at:  https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/linda-carlo  Thank you.

I tried really hard to to swim the 56 lengths that would keep me on target to complete the 250 miles on Tuesday morning.  I keep getting ahead of myself and my very specific distance plan. However I decided to swim an extra few lengths with Grace so she could finish her complete mile. (I haven’t counted those towards my total.) She made Carl and I laugh because when she came to her final two lengths, she had paced herself really carefully, and her final 50m was so fast, she left us wayyyy behind!! What a little star!

So, my current mileage stands at 248.8 miles. This leaves 1.2 miles to go. I am passing through Edinburgh on the map 😀

My funds raised so far is £6,421. If anyone would be willing to help me to get to £7,000 for The Hearing Fun UK in these last few days, I really would appreciate your help.  If you have thought about making a donation, please do it now. I am seeing Merrill and Justin Osmond in Glasgow tomorrow. I’m so looking forward to that!  My next Blog entry is likely to be on Monday morning, so please come back and see the pictures which will be taken.

Exciting times. Almost at the end now. Two final swims … one on Monday and the final one on Tuesday morning. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday 29th July 2016

You know it’s total madness when I’m writing my Blog after midnight because it’s simply the first minute I have had to do it all day!!  Here are some of the things I have been up to, in no particular order:

Sorted balloon tags (almost). (I need a sample for the Balloons Away guy tomorrow.)

Made a list of outfits needed for Saturday and Sunday  at Glasgow, and Evening with Friends and the Hearing Fund Gala next weekend in Leeds, plus the Sheffield Fireside on the Sunday. Bought two outfits and feeling rather smug…. one dress had been £99 and reduced to £19.99 … last one too!! 😉 Size 14. Fits perfectly. (I love Slimming World!)

Appointment to have my blood pressure checked at my Dr’s surgery. Result : normal!

Made a mammoth list of Things to Do before the Final Mile on Tuesday.

Sorted the violin Justin needs to borrow for the Sheffield Fireside.

Answered emails and Facebook messages and texts.

Made a list of sponsors to follow up with.

Organised help to promote the Osmond Fireside at Sheffield on Sunday 7th August.

Swam 60 lengths (I should have only swam 56 tonight but I just couldn’t stop myself haha)

Taught my swimming classes.

Called my daughter.

Two loads of washing and drying.

Hugged my husband for doing the ironing and putting it all away!! (I didn’t even need to ask him!)

Spoke to the Duty Manager to organise the order of events at the Final Mile.

Lost a Press release Word document after being told I had attached something completely unrelated, to the lovely Charlotte who is looking after all the PR.  After half an hour of looking, I gave up and rewrote it!

Updated my swimming mileage – it’s now at 247.9 miles ….. 2.1 miles to go! Yikes!

Went to Asda to pick up last week’s Doncaster Free Press with another Challenge write up in it…. I had called last night to have a copy put aside before this week’s edition replaced it. They couldn’t find it… it was gone. Oh dear.  I should have bought one sooner.

Found a craft punch on ebay to make 300 butterflies with for something I offered to do at the Hearing Fund Gala. (In my element… I love craft projects!)  I just need to find someone who would like to give me 100m of ribbon 😀  Wish me luck on that one… I need to find it quickly!

Wrote my list of things to do tomorrow…. it starts with a mile swim with the awesome Carl Lewis, Marketing Manager for DCLT, and 8 year old Grace who would like to swim a mile with me. That’s at 7.30am. Up at 6.30am. It’s now 1.08am. Oh dear! lol (Don’t worry… I plan to sleep for a month after this is over!!)

Must say a prayer and say thank you for all of this.

Crazy/amazing times.

Goodnight everyone xx

 

Wednesday 27th July 2106

Balloons Away logoWho would have ever thought there was such a thing as a correct technique to blowing up 250 helium balloons…. but apparently there is!! I had the pleasure of speaking to the lovely Ray who owns Balloons Away, this morning.  I had been wondering how on earth I am meant to manage blowing up that many for the Balloon Release on the Final Mile Day next Tuesday, and this man is an expert on the matter! 🙂 I have been invited down to be shown how best to do this on Friday, so once the balloon samples have arrived I will be popping over to the their unit  in Doncaster (excuse the pun! lol) where I will be given a crash course on the correct method!  I’m really looking forward to this.  It seems that having ribbon attached is not environmentally safe for animals out there in the fields, so even though a perishable tag will be attached, this will be fine. Prizes for the furthest balloons found are being arranged.  It would be amazing if any of you reading this, finds one! (Fat chance, I hear you say! lol …. but you never know! 😉 )

Arrow AugustThere have been two articles published in the last couple of days.  The first one is our local Arrow Magazine.  Obviously the information given by the publishing deadline means that the numbers are a little out of date.  Still, I appreciate the opportunity to have the updates included monthly for those who may be following my progress in the villages close to where I live.

The second article is found in my Church’s international magazine called the Ensign which was delivered through my letter box yesterday.  Each month they include a UK insert of news over here. I feel it a privilege to be part of my Church news pages.

Ensign Part 1 Aug 16Part 2 Ensign cropped

With just 3 miles of swimming to go, I have planned the final lengths to the metre.  On Friday I will have the pleasure of swimming with Carl Lewis, Marketing Manager for DCLT,  as well as a little girl who is 8, who would like to swim a mile with me too. I will look forward to that. In fact over the next 11 days, I have so much to look forward to!

Monday 25th July 2016

DCLT logoDCLT have done it again…. I had a crazy idea of a 250 helium balloon release after my Final Mile next Tuesday, and they simply could not have been more helpful!  I knew if they were OK to help me with this, the only hurdle would be to get it past Air Traffic Control Management at Doncaster Airport.  I certainly didn’t want to be responsible for causing any plane crashes because the pilots had to fly through a mass of floating orange rubber!! Seriously though, anything which is air borne must be reported to the local airport, and they have the authority to approve or turn down requests of this nature. Fortunately they approved! 🙂 🙂

Airport

Today I swam Mile 246 …. just 4 to go!!!

Finally I have been observing something quite interesting ….. as my money raised goes up, so do the Views to this Blog!! So here’s the thing … I have currently raised £6,313 and I have currently got 6,480 Views.  This is my Goal: By this time next week (Mon 1st August)…. the night before the final Mile…. I would love to reach £7,000 and 7,000 Views!!!  Please can you help spread the word.  I will share an update each day because I know how excited everyone is getting as I get closer to the end. It really surprises me how people seem to love to want to read what happens next!  My sister reminds me that as there is so much bad stuff going on out there in the world, people like a bit of good news for a change. Maybe she is right (she usually is! 🙂 ). Anyway! My final week has begun and I am excited to see what each day brings.

25 July countdown

Sunday 24th July 2016

As I head into my the final full week of the 250 mile Challenge, I need to share some events of a most memorable day yesterday.  Our last Bag Pack was at Asda. I was a little concerned that I had asked so many of my helpers to come to the previous bag packs, that I would struggle to find enough people help with the last one.  I should not have doubted for a second.  My family have always been willing to help and yet again several friends also came to the rescue, some having already helped before, and it was very successful.  We raised an impressive £560!!  A special thank you to the Asda customers who were so generous.

Having been at the store from 9am, we packed bags till 4.30pm.  We then quickly collected everything up, kindly thanked the Manager for allowing us to be there, and raced across town to Armthorpe Leisure Centre for 5pm where a Swim a Mile event was being held.  I need to give a special shout out to James who was the first positive response to my need for a Duty Manager at Armthorpe.  He was willing to keep the Centre open for the Swim a Mile, after he would usually be heading for home at 5pm when his shift ends.  He was assisted by the lovely Katie, the lifeguard, along with by the awesome Luke who stayed to help too. We could not have held this event without their support and by way of showing how grateful I am, an edible thank you in the shape of cupcakes will be in order 🙂

As I stepped into the Reception, I was touched by how many people had come.  We wanted to set up the upright posters on the poolside which we had used at Asda, so everyone headed into the changing area and I headed to the Pool.  Just as I was about to enter the pool hall area, I stopped to remove my outdoor shoes and as I did so, I caught a glimpse of someone who was standing waiting to go in.  My fleeting thought was ‘He looks just like our Peter!’ (my brother from Newcastle).  As I stood up, he stepped forward and said ‘I’ve come to Swim a Mile with you!!’ It was at that moment I realised it WAS Peter and he had Swim a mile Petercome all that way to support me!!!! I was so overwhelmed I hugged him and cried!  I was so touched he would do that for me. I couldn’t stop smiling!! I come from an amazing family, and whilst I miss my parents terribly at such a special time like this, my brother reminded me again of how blessed I am to have such a positive influence in my life.

 

Along with my lovely brother there were several other people who came who are very important to me.  DCLT Chief Exec Michael Hart introduced himself, followed by the lovely Bobbie Roberts who is head of Trustees at The Deaf School in Doncaster.  I was so touched that they would think that what I am doing is important enough to support this in such a personal way. I really am humbled by that.  Also what meant so much was there were the following lovely people there:

Swim a Mile group

Chris – a nurse from my GP’s surgery who kept an eye on me when I had those serious kidney problems two years ago, which led to my significant weight loss.

Linda – an old colleague of mine. She was one of the first teachers I worked alongside when I first became a swimming teacher.

Jean – a friend from Slimming World who swam her first ever mile yesterday.

Nathan – a lovely chap who has increased his fitness so much in the past month to be ready for this.

John – he had come all the way from Sheffield with his lovely wife.  John is on what we call the Sheffield Stake Presidency in our Church and they oversee the welfare of Church members which includes Doncaster.

Chris – a Duty Manager from Rossington Leisure Centre who simply wanted to offer support.

Lee – an old manager of mine from years ago.

Brenda – my special friend from Slimming World who has supported almost every Bag pack we have had, and came straight from Asda with us to swim.

I hope you can see why I was blown away with this kind of support. Having my brother there was simply the icing on the cake. I swam his last few lengths with him and he kept telling me how proud he was of me.  Peter and I don’t get to see each other very often so you can imagine how him being there made me feel.  It would have been such a special mile to swim anyway, but sharing it with so many awesome people made it an occasion I will never forget.  We raised almost £40 from this event, with almost £500 coming in sponsorship once it has been collected!!

The current total miles is now 445 …. only 5 miles to go!

The fundraised amount so far is £6,263!! If all the promised money comes in, we may even get up to £7,000!!!!

As I head into the final week (my last day is Tuesday 2nd August), I have a prayer in my heart that every single person who has helped in some way, will realise what a difference they have made. Thank you so much.

More about the Final Mile soon …. not long to go now!!