5 things you did not know about Dan Champion

I generally try to avoid memes, not because I don't enjoy reading them on other blogs, but because I don't ever seem to find the time to do them justice myself. But as Mike Cherim's (external link) gone to the trouble of explicitly tagging me on this one, it's a nice theme, and being a pretty private person I don't normally give much personal detail away here, I'm making an exception for this one.

So here are 5 possibly interesting things you're unlikely to know about me:

  1. From about the age of 12 I wanted to be a lawyer. I still don't know where that desire came from, and it wasn't until the age of 19, during the second year of my English Law degree at King's College, London (external link), that I realised I didn't really want to be a lawyer. I completed my law degree nonetheless, although I spent a lot of time during the last two years of the course on "extra-curricular" activities.
  2. I spent two years working as a forester when I left university. It was the most physically demanding work I've ever done, but also some of the most enjoyable. Being outside 10 hours a day in all the weather Scotland can throw at you might not sound like much fun, but by its very nature forestry takes you to some breathtaking places, like the Isle of Mull (external link). After 4 years in London it was somewhat cathartic to spend so much time in so much wilderness with so many midges (external link).
  3. In the last couple of months I've learned to swim at the Scottish National Swimming Academy (external link) at Stirling University. Although I could get from one end of a swimming pool to the other without touching the bottom before the lessons, it would be insulting to swimmers everywhere to describe it as swimming. I was terrified of water too - couldn't abide it on my face, and the idea of putting my head underwater was too much to contemplate. After 8 weeks of tuition from the excellent staff at the academy I can now swim underwater, and do a pretty good breaststroke. I return in February to learn the front crawl and can't wait to get started.
  4. In August 2005 my wife and I featured on BBC Radio Scotland's programme Grassroots (external link). We only expected to be interviewed for a 5 minute slot but ended up being on for half an hour. There's an mp3 of the show on our smallholding site (external link) if you really want to listen to it.
  5. I sponsor a 13 year-old Nicaraguan boy through Plan International (external link). His name is Nelson, he loves baseball and maths and sends me some lovely letters and drawings. If you can spare a small amount of money each month please consider spending it on a sponsorship. The work of organisations like Plan makes a big difference to some of the world's poorest people, and you get the opportunity to establish a lasting bond with a child.

Enough about me, I'm tagging Claire (external link), Grant Broome (external link), Jim O'Donnell (external link), Andy Saxton (external link) and Stephen Lang (external link).


Thanks for sharing, Dan.

Posted by: Mike Cherim at December 17, 2006 7:15 PM

I'm useless at swimming and have been putting off taking lessons for a while now...
Anyway, I've just posted my five for you.

Posted by: Stephen at December 17, 2006 9:15 PM

will join in, though if its okay I'll have to leave it till tomorrow, the horse gets first place in importance.
now you are marvellous at swimming we can do kayak lessons in that bit of river you have such a lovely view of.

Posted by: claire at December 17, 2006 9:17 PM

Swimming almost made it into my list, I'm rubbish - I expend far too much energy staying on the surface. it's easier underwater though :)

Posted by: Karl at December 18, 2006 10:12 AM

I used to swim competitively holding two records for my age group at the time in the Far East (Japan). One for 100 meter free style, the other for 100 meter butterfly. I'm not a bird, but I am a fish.

Posted by: Mike Cherim at December 18, 2006 3:32 PM

The main motivation for me learning to swim properly is that we're off to Australia in July and I want to swim over the Great Barrier Reef, not just see it through the bottom of a boat. But I really wish I'd done it years ago, I'm enjoying it so much.

And Claire, if you do any kayaking in the Med then I'm up for it, but definitely not in the Forth!

Posted by: Dan at December 18, 2006 5:31 PM

Hi Dan
I will have go at this on Friday or just after when I finish for Christmas. I have dropped you an email.

Posted by: Andy Saxton at December 18, 2006 8:05 PM

here's mine then
I've tagged five other folks too

sure the forth is warm compared to some places, and not too manky either, you'll be fine.

Posted by: claire at December 18, 2006 9:29 PM

Here's mine:

Posted by: Grant Broome at December 21, 2006 9:27 AM


I found my way to this post via Mike Cher'm's blog. I read with interest about your sponsorship of a child through Plan International. As a result of your writing about their organization, I sponsored a child as well. Thank you for bringing this organization to my attention.


Posted by: David Zemens at December 23, 2006 11:10 PM

David, that is fantastic, thanks for letting me know. And do let us know about your sponsored child once you hear.

Posted by: Dan at December 24, 2006 12:55 PM

Will do, Dan. Thank you for causing me to be a bit more introspective.

I do know the child I am supporting is from Zimbabwe, and that he is 12 years old (I think). When I get the mailed information from Plan International I will post other details here.

Happy Holidays!

Posted by: David Zemens at December 24, 2006 2:07 PM

Dan -- My wife and I received the packed of information from Plan USA last week. The child we are sponsoring is a 12 year old boy from Zimbabwe. We are both looking forward to exchanging letters, and perhaps a small gift, with him on his birthday, which is January 26th. Thanks for providing the link to Plan International!

Posted by: David Zemens at January 8, 2007 4:02 PM

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