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Friday 23rd July 2021


Remember the London Olympic opening ceremony, where we somehow managed to convince ourselves we were nice. What a nine years it has been!

Been on the fitness kick for about three months now and though people have noticed that I was looking a bit thinner, it’s only this week that people have really started commenting on how much weight I’ve lost. There’s usually a little double take and then they say something. There’s maybe a hint of concern - they have all known I was ill and sudden weight loss isn’t always a good thing, but I do look so healthy that I don’t think that thought stays for long. But why now?
Something happened in that whoosh of weight loss (though I lost two kilos in two days, things have settled about half a kilo up from there for now) that must have slightly changed my shape (or maybe it’s just the shorter hair cut). My personal trainer seems impressed by my progress and my strength. She’s pushing me further and I am mainly rising to the challenge, but although she put me through some stuff today I pretty much enjoyed it. If Covid really hits hard in Tokyo I think there’s a chance that I might get called up for weight lifting. Even as a 54 year old man there’s something very satisfying about lifting a barbell over your head. I don’t even know what weights are on the end and it doesn’t matter. As a kid with no ability to lift anything you’d look at cartoons of moustachioed men effortlessly lifting bars with spheres on the end over their heads and dream of the day that you’d be able to do that. Or be able to go to a fair and use a big mallet and see if you could make the bell ring at the top of a tall pole.
I allowed my kids to have the joy of appearing strong today when Amazon delivered a big but light parcel to the house. I pretended I couldn’t carry it and asked Ernie to help and he was able to lift it easily. I took it off him and immediately dropped to the floor as if it was too much for me, then Phoebe picked it up one handed. They were delighted to be proven to be strong. I know how they felt because I still remember the frustration of not being able to lift heavy things as a kid and the admiration I felt for those who could effortlessly pick things up. If only that kid could see me lifting weights above my head like a moustachioed strong man.
I think I’d more or less given up on the idea that I could get fit again, that it wasn’t possible at my age, or that I wouldn’t be able to stick to it or I should be just eating and drinking what I liked and having fun. But in truth it’s been pretty easy, just required some commitment to exercise and slightly healthier eating. All it took was the prospect of an early death.
If you want to do it, you can. If you’re not arsed, then that’s not a problem either. This is not about vanity for me (except when I am watching myself lifting weights in the mirror and imagining that they are 10 times as heavy as they really are) but about prolonging my life. The benefits of (usually) more energy and being able to fit into clothes you haven’t worn for seven years are just bonuses. Keeping it up is the issue of course, but it’s great to have the half marathon to aim for in November. Approaching £12,500 raised now (halfway to the latest target). Donate here.
And we’ve decided that we’re going to put the money made from streaming RHLSTP in the autumn towards this charity (and maybe a couple of others) too. The plan is to gift the stream to monthly badgers for all their support over the years (though they will be able to make a charity donation too if they wish), but we’ll let you know more about that nearer the time. 
My niece came to visit us tonight for the first time since Christmas 2019. She now lives in France so it’s been quite an ordeal for her to get over to the UK to catch up with family and friends she hasn’t seen in all that time. Who knows if she’ll be able to come back more regularly or if we’ll have to wait another 19 months to see her,

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