January guilt has struck again. However, I’m beginning to feel that rather than giving up chocolate, cheese, alcohol and losing weight (that’s losing weight; not giving up losing weight ) I should give up guilt. Perhaps the same theory as the man who kept reading that smoking was bad for him so he gave up reading. Not only is the January weather grey and soggy, my brain feels the same after a blast of shopping/giving/receiving euphoria. Getting some enthusiasm going seems like trying to push a supertanker with a rowboat.
Nonetheless, too much negativity can be a bad thing, as I’m sure Norman Vincent would agree, and therefore, rather than wallowing in a bath of excuses and procrastination, I have decided to get on with it. So I am resolved. Probably.
I’ve discovered that the best bit about a health and fitness program is getting hold of the equipment. Many hours can happily be passed trotting from shop to shop looking for running shoes that appeal, fit exactly and don’t fall into the “Hang on, that’s half a mortgage!” price category. As a result of a green-eyed goddess attack, and feeling that resolutions should contain revolutions, I currently have my eye on a new hybrid bike. Blacky, shiny, very chic. And they say it functions well enough. I could have been cycling on it for the last 12 days but feel this decision should be made carefully. The end result is that the bike still sits unmuddied in the shop and I sit sweat-free at home.
Much to the amusement of the family, I decided I would swim every morning before work. I’ve stuck to this without fail, often walking to the sports club. I’ve switched to porridge every morning, cut down on alcohol and avoid cheese like the plague. The net result is that since 1st January my weight has changed by two pounds. Upwards. A disappointing result. Resisting going back to eating large amounts of Stilton, reaching for the Chablis and binning my bathing suit, I’ve adopted the Thomas Edison principal that at least I’ve managed to find one more method by which I don’t lose weight. A lightbulb moment.
Being on a health and fitness programme, the kids are half Nelsoned into it too. It’s only fair to share. So recently we all headed to the forest, swapping slothful slobbing for pedal power. Like a school trip we pedal in a ragged line; Crocodile DundAdam at the front, Charlie, Sophie, and yes, I’m last. The caboose. On the track, we met a flock of birdwatchers, all dressed in green waterproofs, clutching enormous cameras, binoculars and foldy stools. We stopped to have a word with them, not so much out of interest for their hobby, but because we bumped into them halfway up an extremely long hill.
We eventually, eventfully (cow blocking the track, horses that barked, stuck gears) made it to the pub. Here we found ourselves sitting near two elderly ladies, their hair neatly permed, dressed in twinsets and pearls, fashionably teamed with thick socks and thundering great hiking boots. Presumably their conversation ranged from the best type of baby knitting wool via ordnance survey maps to the best type of crampon.
Morris dancers had invaded The Slug and Bootlace. Dutifully they clicked finger cymbals, waved handkerchiefs, strutted their funky stuff and rang little bells. The road they were cavorting in was very narrow and had to be shared with cars, bicycles, dogs and walkers. It made for wonderful chaos which could have only been improved by the addition of a few runaway pigs or a couple of belligerent cows. We are able to watch their efforts with a degree of polite attention until we realised that the songs seemed to be almost identical: minor variations of Never Smile at a Crocodile. The dances didn’t seem to vary much either, unlike the dancers who were very assorted. I got the giggles. The kids were alternatively hissing, “Oh, Mother,” and singing along. Adam took the only sensible manly course of action and removed himself to the bar.
On the way home, we kept meeting strings of people on horseback. If moving in the same direction this wasn’t too much of a problem as we could cheerfully shout “Good morning,” as we sailed past. Meeting them heading in opposite directions proved to be socially more tricky. We fell into a routine that Adam, at the front of our line, would shout, “Good morning!” to the first rider. They would reply, “Lovely day” to Charlie in Adam’s wake. Sophie, by this time level with the front rider would agree that it was. They would then bid me goodbye. This system worked perfectly unless it was a very long string of riders in which case we had a series of “Good morning! Lovely day! Yes, it is, isn’t it? Bye,” on repeat loop. We must have sounded like a bizarre chorus of wheeled parrots striking up every time we met equine mounted parrots.
So one more cup of decaffeinated black coffee, then I’m off for another bike viewing. Then shoes. Loving this.