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I’ve always been a tall lad. When I was nine years old, I was the first person of that age in school history to reach five foot, thereby earning the immense honour of being allowed to wear trousers instead of shorts. When I reached six foot, I was regularly conducting “beer runs” for boarders in my year, as I was the only one who looked old enough to get served at an off-license. And finally, at six-foot three inches and thirteen years old, I stopped growing – to the immense relief of my parents, who had been buying bigger and bigger clothes every few weeks for the best part of a decade just to keep up with the growth spurt.
So where did my body go next? Out, that’s where. At 16 I moved away from the boarding life into another college nearby, where I discovered girls, parties and non-compulsory sport. Gradually the exercise wained and food intake went up. At university, student grants and an amazing chinese restaurant just round the corner ramped the pressure up, and by the end of my scholarly years the damage was plain to see.
Four years later, I’ve decided take a small step and get some regular exercise. There have been some false dawns before, as regular readers will be quick to point out. There was the rowing machine, which was used for around a month before I grew weary of getting up at six in the morning and row away in the cold garage before work. There was the gym membership, which became prohibitively expensive when my increasingly busy job conspired to allow me only a visit a week at most. And now, dear friends, Michelle and I have invested in two gleaming new bicycles. After a week of Halfords losing, finding and then querying the order we’d placed and paid for, we emerged on Friday night to ride home on our new purchases. It was only about a mile and a half (“But it was uphill!” I remind everyone I recant the story to), but I had to stop three times and arrived home virtually dead. Still, everyone has to start somewhere and today we’ve managed a good 3 miles stint around Stoke Park. Combine that with our new healthy eating regime and I should cheer the bathroom scales up no end in a few weeks.
Although, of course, I’ve said that before…