Jan 4, 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Boy I am a little nervous and very excited. For the past two months I have been learning to high dive with Tom Daley for ITV’s SPLASH!.

I started training whilst on tour with my band and I had to keep quite about it, I hadn’t even told my brother or sister. Tom Daley is a stunning boy in every way. Thoughtful, kind and accepting of all ages, shapes and sizes. He quite literally has taken my breath away in that such a young person could be so centred, strong and yet beautifully warm of heart. Whilst training with my team and I stood next to him on the 7.5metre platform and he suddenly did a dive! The sound was like a gun going off, the strength he exhibited was like none I have ever seen before in my life. He is a great guy and he has me on his side all the way, forever!

My dive is on the 11th January………it will be live! For me it will be as terrifying as it is exhilarating. Terrifying because we only get one chance…..a split second chance….and exhilarating because once I have faced my fear I will be thrilled.

The news I would be doing SPLASH came in the summer and ever since I have been building up my physical strength and working on my inner confidence, not because of the diving itself but because I have a real anxiety about wearing swimwear in front of people!

I look at the newspapers every morning and feel a tinge of terror for all those celebs caught on the beach in their swimwear, even when they look a million dollars, the exposure for me is a tad too far. I find the concept of being judged in swimwear really alien to all my beliefs about what show business is. Well I have really put myself out there now and I have to toughen up about it !

My last real holiday was in the Maldives in 2001! That is how much I don’t like being in a swimsuit! My body confidence is somewhere between “0” to “-10”. It has always been like that. It has nothing to do with weight, I am the same weight as thirty years ago, (not the same shape sadly) it has nothing to do with my age, I felt like this as a child……it is just one of those things we all burden to some extent, a kind of demon on my shoulder.

That said the process of learning to dive has been wonderful….why?….because it has nothing to do with how you look in a swimsuit and everything to do with how you understand your body in freefall……..much more exciting! Really challenging. AND anyway….my swimsuit always comes off the minute I hit the water. I think poor Tom Daley has unwittingly seen my baps on at least two occasions. The producers are so concerned about my “break free cleavage” they have got in a costume designer to rein the blighters in!

Tom Daley Splash

It was about 3 weeks ago, whilst training, that I realise my best wont be good enough for this show because the competition is so good. There are some breath taking people taking part, really good high divers so in the last couple of weeks I’ve had to up my game, bite the bullet and fall from heights I’d never choose to fall from ever again, unless there is 5metres of water beneath me!

Am I any good…..well wait and see. For a 55 year old with a hip replacement and who never bothers to diet (because I am a healthy eater so why diet) I look my age in a swimsuit but I can dive…..relatively speaking, to a certain degree but it always hurts.

Pain has been the common topic of discussion among those competing. It is a constant surprise that hitting the water hurts. And I have not been alone when it comes to the “ouch” moment. Every competitor I have trained with has surfaced from a dive with a grimace of pain on their face at least two or three times….. including me. We are hitting the water at 30 miles per hour and if you haven’t positioned properly in the air and not locked  your arms forward to break the surface tension of the water then you are …….in TROUBLE!  It is like falling onto a hard unforgiving surface.

BUT I LOVE IT! I have never felt so well. Now I am convinced swimming if the cure for all ills.

December has been magical for me. I decided pretty much 11 months ago I would not do a Christmas show this year but instead have a proper Christmas with friends. It started in Seattle, USA with my hubby and fellow HUMAN Bill Rieflin searching the venues of the city to find the right place for THE HUMANS play in April…..we found THE TRIPLE DOOR, which is a perfect. It is a seated 1930’s cabaret venue, so right for the weirdness of our band, we will be doing two nights there. I cant wait.

Bill made sure Robert and I had a fantastic time mostly because neither Robert and I have family near, my sister is sailing around the world participating in the CLIPPER RACE. Bill included us in his family celebrations with his parents, which I loved. I miss my parents so much especially at Christmas so Robert and I had a present opening session with the Rieflin household.

Once back in the UK I returned to focussing on diving. There was a training day either side of Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. This kept me on my toes. I didn’t eat too much over the festive season, instead I WORRIED and WORRIED about how I was going to  find the guts to dive higher…….this has been my consuming thought for about 8 weeks now, boy I’d like an extra week training before the 11th Jan but I am not going to get it…..tee hee!

Luckily I have a very busy year to occupy my mind when I don’t want to worry about diving. I am devising the ACOUSTIC TOYAH show and the new TOYAH BAND TOUR, which takes constant thought, there’s a lot to learn once the set lists are chosen and I’m making sure both shows will be lively, warm and fun!

I even have the hard task of deciding to go to CANNES FILM FESTIVAL this year. I’ve been invited because the short film I have appeared in THREE SIDES OF THE COIN has been chosen to show. So I either go to CANNE and be there for my birthday or I head for Seattle where Robert and Bill will be that week………a hard decision indeed!

What are my New Year Resolutions? Live every minute with awe and excitement because awe and excitement exists in every little thing……as well as the big things in life AND be creative in the home, at work and with friends………..