Thighs Don’t Lie

My knees and hips are also furious about my new exercise regime

OF COURSE I’m on a health kick at the moment.

It’s January, season of new starts. And anyway, what else is there to do these days if you’re not a sainted Key Worker?

From what I can work out, everybody else’s motivation and productivity seem to have fallen off a cliff while we mooch around at home, waiting for our distant vaccinations and the post-Covid New Dawn.

Despite this (and as if there wasn’t enough for us to be down about already) many of us still feel we should be achieving something with all this lockdown downtime.

So I’ve decided to try and turn back the clock, yet again, to when I was thin and thirty-ish.

Continue reading “Thighs Don’t Lie”

Hiding From Covid In Another Century

In times like these, being stuck in the past can be a comfort  

Original image: girlfeet/Pixabay

WHEN I THINK BACK about what I did during the Covid-19 pandemic, I wonder if I’ll remember how much time I spent not being there.

What I mean is, I’ve spent a lot of this year hiding in books, which is something I’ve done to distract myself from sadness and worry ever since I was small.

But for some reason, most of my lockdown reading has been about history – whether it’s a novel set in times gone by, or an academic account of what went down back then.  

Continue reading “Hiding From Covid In Another Century”

You Only Ride Twice

Finding it hard to sleep? Imagine being back on your bike…

Original image: Rudy and Peter Skitterians/Pixabay

SINCE I TURNED 40, and started getting up at least once a night to visit the bathroom, I’ve found it increasingly tough to get back to sleep in the small hours.

As well as my glitchy personal plumbing, work and life stresses gradually helped me to perfect the art of waking up at about 4am, and then failing to drop off again.

Typically, I’d spend a couple of hours a night lying awake with my worst, most useless, thoughts – about someone horrible at work, for example, or being mean to an ex-girlfriend 20 years before.

And then, when I finally gave up on the prospect of sleep at around 6.30, I’d get up to start another day – gloomy and totally keyed up, as well as just fucking tired.

Lately, however, I’ve stumbled upon an unexpected solution to my insomnia. 

Continue reading “You Only Ride Twice”

Rioting And The Over-50s

I never dreamed older people would try to overthrow The State in their spare time – until I saw pictures from The Capitol

It’s striking how many people in and around The Capitol were middle-aged or older

WHEN I STARTED writing this blog, I wondered what the future might hold for me and other 50-somethings.

I thought – correctly as it turned out – that I’d be writing mostly about dodgy knees, grey pubes, baldness, and binge drinking.

But, until I saw the pictures from The Capitol, I never thought about us rioting.

Continue reading “Rioting And The Over-50s”

How To Flip A Heavy Day Like A Judo Throw

Surprisingly, happiness lies in a blast of adverse weather

Original image: giografiche/Pixabay

TODAY WAS THE SORT of January day we all dread – cold and grey, with north winds driving tiny needles of sleety rain hard into your face.

We don’t have the world’s harshest weather here in the north temperate zone but – trust me – today was horrible enough.

When you threw in the post-Christmas comedown, worrying rates of Covid infections, and the Government announcing another six-weeks of lockdown, it added up to the perfect excuse for just sitting around and feeling fed up.

Which is precisely why I went outside…

Continue reading “How To Flip A Heavy Day Like A Judo Throw”

They Can Cancel Our Christmas, But They Can’t Stop The Solstice!

It’s the shortest day today, which always means there’s light after the darkness  

Original images: Kira auf der Heide/Unsplash and Mike Peel/Wikimedia Commons

THERE’S BEEN a lorra lorra gnashing and wailing in the UK this week, after the Government did yet another U-turn and cancelled Christmas.

Faced with a highly infectious new coronavirus strain in London and the south east of England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson banned Christmas travel to and from the capital – and restricted festive visiting nationwide to December 25.

While no-one is arguing much with the need for stricter measures, pretty much everybody thinks the timing of Johnson’s announcement stinks.

Just days earlier, he had said it would be “inhuman” to deny Brits a proper Christmas after nine months of worry, sacrifice and hardship.  

Yet the announcement did precisely that, coming just as millions were putting presents under the tree for relatives who now won’t be able to open them – and buying Christmas treats that now can’t be shared with loved ones.

Continue reading “They Can Cancel Our Christmas, But They Can’t Stop The Solstice!”

Running Like A Mouth Full Of Cotton Wool

A first run for six weeks has inspired a happy flurry of similes!

Stretching again, and enjoying the yellows

MY BODY SAID ‘Yes’, but my mind said ‘No’.

My body said ‘Yes’, but my mind said ‘No’.

My body said ‘Yes’, but my mind said ‘No’.

But, in the end, my body won – I was going to try running for the first time since I crocked my knee in October.   

Continue reading “Running Like A Mouth Full Of Cotton Wool”

All I Want For Christmas Is A Two Mile Run

Please Santa, let me get fit enough to run on Xmas morning!

Original image: Mohamed Hassan/Pixabay

Now that we’re into December – and sort of out of lockdown – ’tis the season when Christmas preparations crank into overdrive.

Here in London, people have gone for it early – putting up their trees and outdoor decorations last weekend, when of course we were still in November.

Christmas purists like my wife (who believes that no bauble ought to go up before December and every pine needle should be gone by Twelfth Night) might look slightly askance. But no-one seriously wants to stop people from squeezing all the light and joy they can out of this bleak time – except maybe the Government.  

Continue reading “All I Want For Christmas Is A Two Mile Run”

Give Us Hills, Not Pills

If you’re feeling blue, you could do worse than get on a bike

Original image: Keith Johnson/Pixabay

I FELT that I had to cycle yesterday morning: even though I was tired from riding the day before, and my bad knee was sore. Even though it was 9.30am on Monday and I ought to be working.

I was feeling moderately bad, mentally. The excitement of my birthday week and the weekend that followed it had dissipated and left me with a bad case of the Monday blues.

There’s something about the mess of a Monday – Sunday’s unwashed dishes, the pile of washing in the basket, unread emails piling up in my inbox all weekend – that unmans me, and makes me want to run away from my life.

I caught myself ruminating that maybe now that I’d reached 55, I should stop there and end it all because I’d reached the end of my usefulness. I thought about how my brother and I don’t talk and how it was probably my fault…

Then, just after I set off, I saw a pensioner and told myself: “You live like a pensioner. You don’t have the energy or the discipline to live a full life. All you’re fit for is staying at home and pottering around until you die.”

As I said, I wasn’t having a great day. But the longer I cycled, the more forgiving of myself I became.

Continue reading “Give Us Hills, Not Pills”

Biking Saves The Big Day

I spent my birthday cycling across London in the rain, so I could cycle up a hill in the rain

IN THIS CORONAVIRUS year, I’m particularly ticked off with my parents for giving me a November birthday.

Trying to party in November is as daunting as entertaining young children in the dreaded February half term: for starters, the days are short and dark, and everybody’s mildly depressed from lack of Vitamin D.

It’s cold and wet, the leaves are off the trees and slushing up the pavements, and no-one can bear it outside for long. So, unless you want to hunker down for hours in a pricey café, or brave the insane crowds at the free museums and art galleries, you’re fucked. 

But at least in February, we have the option of paying through the nose for our fun. This lockdown November – with no pubs or restaurants, cinemas or museums, shops or art galleries to celebrate in – I began to worry that it might be my worst birthday ever. 

Back in the day, we would have got by very nicely on smoked salmon, bagels, fizzy wine and a day spent entirely in bed. But I’m 55 now, not 25 and – anyway – the kids are here, working from home.

So I threw my leg over the bike, instead. I spent my birthday riding across London in the rain, so I could ride up a hill in the rain.

And it was brilliant.

Continue reading “Biking Saves The Big Day”