That is February out of the way then with the diet box ticked again with about 12lbs off the back of the truck and one month to go. March 1st is kind of like cresting the summit with 30 days downhill to go, straight into the Easter weekend. It has been a pretty straight forward affair so far with very few moments of weakening resolve. In fact, I've broken just the once. The cause of my downfall was a visiting toddler called Simon. As we were playing on the floor with his Brio Thomas trains, (getting the names right is a very important component of this game), I obviously passed some kind of 'for an adult he's okay,' test for the wee fellow offered me a Hula Hoop. Now we all know how jealously guarded are a toddlers little bowl of Hula Hoops, or a grown-ups for that matter. I was very touched by his gesture. So I ate it. And another..... I couldn't very well stop and try and explain that I wasn't allowed them because I was on a diet. So we did the bonding thing and had some more. Trains and Hula Hoops, it's a grand life.
While doing this period of noble abstinence I have been genuinely surprised by friends who on the one hand kindly say, 'you look better for it,' and then say, 'I could do a month but not any longer; I don't have your self-control.' The reason it is surprising is that most of the friends have in the past done similar, and for longer periods, either as soldiers or as sportsmen. The thing is, and we're all becoming increasingly aware as we get older, that if we don't impose a pause on our own indulgence the doctors will when the body starts screaming 'enough!'
To make it easier, I give myself short term targets. After all, with one day of fasting and eradicating all the rubbish most men could lose 5 or 6lbs in a week. That done, they reckon you need to lose around 19lbs for friends to notice a real difference. With one hard core starting week you are already a third of the way there. A stone is roughly equivalent to an inch off the waist, and a collar size, so there's an intermediate target right there, (for women they say 10lbs is roughly a dress size). Day by day and the weeks quickly turn into months. Moreover, the honest truth is if I can do it, anyone can for there aren't many bad things that I don't enjoy. Kettle crisps, give me one I'll scoff the packet. Those disgusting horrible hot-dogs tubby people buy at the cinema? I love 'em. I'll eat them there, from a stand on Fifth & Madison, at the rugby or at a Beerfest. Cornish pasty's, burgers, anything between two slices of bread, hot buttered toast just keep it all coming. Except between January & April. Genuinely, if I can find redemption for a few months anyone can.
While we are on the subject of February I am reminded that this year marks eight years of this modest record of my dark descent into middle age. When I started the blog I didn't think for a moment that, with some fits and starts, it would enjoy such longevity, especially as so many blogs have fallen by the wayside to be replaced by 140, recently upgraded to 280, characters or witty one liners on the Facebook which in turn, have become old hat for many, especially the young, who have moved on to one picture and if you are lucky a few words on Instagram. It is especially satisfying that reader numbers have remained more or less constant throughout. Thanks Mum.
A glance at the blog analytics tells us that for another year, the most popular post has inexplicably been Come On Down Anne Lundon from 2014, which looked at the decline of regional accents and dialects although A Bad Day at The Office from 2015 which described the sinking of HMS Sheffield during the Falklands war was a close runner up. To celebrate regional accents being kept alive lets enjoy listening to citizens from some parts of the United States, such as North Carolina, who still after hundreds of years have hung on to their forbears regional accents from notably the West Country and East Anglia.