It’s funny who you bump into when you take the dog for a walk. And I do mean funny.
Enjoying a stroll along the River Thames on Saturday morning, I spotted a man in a wetsuit emerging from a morning swim in the murky waters. He was surrounded by several boats and canoes, and a hundred people or so.
Then I realised it wasn’t just a casual swim – this was comedian David Walliams in the middle of his epic challenge to swim the length of the River Thames from Lechlade to Westminster – 140 miles in all.
He was raising money for Comic Relief, and supporting him (while wobbling precariously in a kayak) was funny-woman Miranda Hart.
David had a brief breakfast stop at one of my local hostelries and then set off downstream to continue his massive endurance test.
He was approaching Cookham lock with a strong front crawl stroke when he was faced with a threat to his success more risky than the Thames tummy bug he’d suffered, or his ever stiffening shoulders… an over enthusiastic dog!
A Labrador launched himself into the water to swim to David, but began to tire. David helped it back to the side where its grateful owner hauled it out of the water to safety. The owner later told the television cameras that his dog, Vinnie, is having hydrotherapy treatment for a hip problem, and loves the water so much he leaps in whenever he sees it!
I’m writing this on Monday evening, having watched the TV footage of David completing his challenge in fine style. He climbed the steps out of the river at Westminster to the news that he’s already raised well over a million pounds to help people living in poverty both in the UK and around the world.
What an incredible achievement – eight consecutive days of swimming for 10 hours a day. I take my swimming cap off to him.
Lots of love, Kathy x