Monday 1st August 2016

Well, here we are. The final day before the end of the 250 mile Challenge.  I know I have said this before, but I have such mixed emotions about tomorrow. My body is desperate for a rest, but my head and heart just don’t want it to end.

I apologise in advance if I cry. Not only have I experienced support and love on a level I could never have imagined, I am so touched by the amount of effort others have gone to, to help this dream of mine become a reality. I set out wanting to help these deaf children have a better life experience. That still is my ultimate purpose.

The more that people have responded to my crazy enthusiasm, the more it has driven me to keep going and to try harder, and to keep swimming. It has taken me exactly 12 months. 52 weeks. 250 miles. Doncaster to Edinburgh.

Tomorrow I swim my final few lengths. I will share the end of this with my hero, Justin Osmond; the man who inspired me in the first place, to believe this was possible. To have Merrill there too just means more than I can express. Whatever would my 15 year old me have said, as I screamed as loud as the best of them during that first Earls Court concert back in 1975?! Never would I have ever thought that it would come to this.

Tomorrow will be a special day. A truly happy day. There are family and friends travelling miles to share this with me. I love these people. For some reason they believe in me. How blessed am I?

Time to get some sleep now …. tomorrow is going to be one to remember. God bless.

 

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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