Friday, 10 August 2012

Heading Downhill And Fast

We felt that our somewhat sedentary lifestyle of the last couple of weeks was starting to take a toll on our weight so we nipped out to Argos yesterday and bought a set of scales for the caravan bathroom; sure enough we’ve each put on about five pounds since we moved. It’s not a huge figure in the grand scheme of things but we wouldn’t want to be putting that on every few weeks so we decided that action was called for. 

On the open road.

We’re missing the gym so last night Marion joined Sarah for a Pilates class and we’ve been blessed with the good fortune of four consecutive sunny days which has meant four bike rides for me. I said in my last blog that I’d ridden over twenty miles on Tuesday but I thought that I might be fooling myself with that guesstimate and drove the course that I cycled in the car and it came out at 18.3 miles. I checked a couple more of my regular routes and they’re all between 11 and 15 miles. I hope that that level of exercise soon starts to take effect. I’m not exactly Bradley Wiggins but I’m certainly putting in an effort. Cycling downhill – even on the fairly gentle local slopes – is exhilarating; God knows what it must be like coming down Mont Ventoux on the Tour De France. 

We’re always ready to try something new so, when the BBC showed a documentary about improving your fitness using a routine that involves regular fasting we decided to give it a try. The documentary didn’t go into too much detail but the presenter Micheal Mosley lost over a stone in five weeks and other blood measurements that affect susceptibility to heart disease and cancer also improved dramatically. We could be mugs for listening to a one-hour documentary on the telly but it was convincing stuff and we liked the idea of not having to watch what we eat on the five days of the week when we aren’t fasting. Yesterday was day one and we fasted although we are allowed six hundred calories on fasting days so had a good breakfast of Weetabix accompanied by banana and strawberry smoothie. We can drink water and green tea so we treated ourselves to a visit to a cafĂ© and found ourselves handing back the chunk of tablet (Scottish fudge) that came with our beverages. So far it hasn’t been much of an ordeal although we found ourselves spending an inordinate amount of time yesterday planning what we were having for breakfast this morning and the bowl of muesli and plate of bacon and egg has never looked so appealing. I'll keep you updated on our progress.

If you’re looking for a brilliant summer read, look no further than Jonas Jonasson’s The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared. As its title suggests it’s a story about a hundred year old man. On his hundredth birthday Allan Karlsson decides to climb out of his care home’s window and head wherever his legs take him. They take him to the bus station where he meets a young man who asks him to guard his large and heavy suitcase for him while he uses the toilet. What follows is a brilliant and hilarious tale of Allan’s adventures as he takes a bus ride into the unknown – with a suitcase. This quirky Swedish novel is beautifully translated into a very simple and easy read that is always entertaining, moving between Allan's outrageous adventure and flashbacks to even more outrageous (if possible) adventures from his past involving encounters with some of the biggest names of the twentieth century. I found myself laughing out loud at the charming, non-political, engaging, unflappable Allan and his hilarious story. An episode involving one character, Sonya, was as funny as anything I’ve read in years.