Having been persuaded to dust off my swimming trunks by one time friend and colleague Stephen Gould (he is definitely a frequent visitor to the Blarney Stone), I have started my swimming training in earnest now - and also in a swimming pool.
For the last three weeks I have been making regular trips to my local David Lloyd Centre and am ploughing up and down the pool. As someone who once did a lot of training, I find this quite tough as swimming on your own can be monotonous, but interestingly it is a good way to think through business ideas and issues.
The pool is about the only place you can't be reached by mobile these days, so there is a certain upside to swimming.
To overcome the monotony of solo training, Mr Gould and myself have started meeting weekly at the Oasis Pool in New Oxford Street. The Oasis has an outdoor pool - heated - which is a great pool for an early morning swim. It can be quite atmospheric with steam rising off the pool surface creating quite an eerie scene.
I think I am getting fitter, but there is clearly a long way to go with the training, but it is really good to have a target to aim at and raising funds for The Light Fund is a great motivator. Stephen is doing a great job of recruiting, informing and cajoling his team. A recent recruit is Rob Corney from Bulldog Licensing - a veritable man mountain and a swimmer sure to create a big splash. We welcome him with open arms, but also in the knowledge that if the swim gets tough he will fulfil the role of floating human pontoon that we can hang onto.
I have also made a concession to modern sports technology by upgrading my swimming trunks from beach bum long shorts to tight fitting lycra swim shorts. The latter only to be unveiled to the wider public in the seas in Malta. Slimline trunks do make a difference - I reckon my times have improved dramatically as a result of the change in swimming gear.
As I approached Christmas, the challenge increased as it was difficult not to be seen as a party pooper by saying no to the gallons of hospitality available. But looking long-term, every pint equals about 40 lengths of pool plodding.
Thanks for all your words of encouragement and astonishment. You? Swimming? Malta? Remember it is in a good cause and hopefully we can rely on your support in the months to come.