Skip to content

Corona Diaries: blubberous toad starts working out, shock horror

March 31, 2020

In one of our rooms we have what we rather pretentiously call a gym. I suppose the presence of a cross trainer and exercise bike qualifies it for that name, as does a mirrored wall that provides the excruciating experience of being able to watch yourself as you wobble back and forth on one of the machines. To relieve the boredom, there’s a telly where you can watch satellite TV piped from the box downstairs. I hadn’t used our gym for a decade. My preferred form of exercise is golf, but my wife uses it most days.

In case you think I’m some kind of an oligarch, you should know that it also possesses most of the characteristics of a junk room, as seen above. Boxes of artificial flowers used by one of our daughters for her business share the space with suitcases used on our travels that we can’t be arsed to stick in the attic and various other things for which there is no other logical home. No landmines or samurai swords, but it makes picking your way to the fitness equipment something you would not attempt in the darkness.

Now that golf is banned, along with Easter Eggs and blue ponds, I’ve made my first tentative steps back on the cross-trainer. Half an hour, with plenty of intervals. It would be a supreme irony if at this moment of viral danger I dropped dead of a heart attack. So I’m not going at it with the manic intensity of relative youth back in the day.

One session a day in the gym, plus the statutory 30 minutes of outdoor exercise (carefully avoiding beauty spots or any other place that might be remotely pleasing to the eye), should be enough to prevent me from turning into a semi-inert blob. It doesn’t help my blood pressure to see Rick Stein cruising around France sampling some ineffably gorgeous-looking gastronomy, while I’m wending my lonely way to nowhere upstairs. Bastard!

But I do miss the golf course. Unlike the blubberous toad in the White House, most of us in the UK walk our courses. Some of us carry our clubs – though not me because my knees wouldn’t take the strain. This blubberous toad has an electric trolley, but that doesn’t stop me walking through five miles of English countryside at least three times a week. In the process, I get to see red kites, swifts, weasels, rabbits, foxes and the occasional deer darting from fairway to fairway.

Now these places are closed. I suppose that’s just as well, because if they remained open, no doubt some posse of over-zealous police would quickly be at work with mechanical diggers ripping up the greens, so that those of us who can still walk around our courses can no longer enjoy the view. Or perhaps they’d spray them red.

I very much doubt if Mr Trump, in his turbo-charged cart surrounded by other vehicles manned by secret service agents with fearsome weaponry, sees much beyond his ego.

Not that I’m complaining about this temporary restriction. Unlike millions who live in apartments whose only concession to nature is a plant-box in the front window, we have a garden, and we live in a leafy town at an arm’s length from London.

Nor are we afflicted by the loneliness of social isolation, unlike many people who live alone. I like my own company, and long before the pandemic, my wife and I evolved a way of living whereby we don’t impinge on each other’s space. So not much chance that we’re going to batter the hell out of each other and end up divorced.

She might say otherwise, as my sociopathic behaviour – such as the desire to tidy up stuff that’s beyond my remit – irritates the life out of her from time to time. But thankfully not enough to induce her to depart for East Grinstead.

This might sound complacent, but it’s accompanied with regular touching of wood. Anything might happen to disturb the equilibrium – most obviously if one or both of us gets seriously ill or worse, or if someone we love suffers a similar fate. Or, less terminally, if the Sky box fails, the boiler blows up or the internet falls over. Any of these irritants turns me initially into a raging maniac, and subsequently leads to sullen improvisation. In normal times, though, fixes to these problems are usually available in fairly short order. Not now, perhaps.

All of which leads me to reflect on what pampered, spoilt and unresilient creatures we are, or at least those of us who have never dodged bullets in Afghanistan, risked asphyxiation down coal mines or, today, worked ourselves to exhaustion in intensive care wards.

I don’t think there’s any need, therefore, to hark back to earlier times when we say we’ve never had it so good. Some of us have never had it so bad, but the rest of us are learning not to take the good things for granted. And most especially, the people we love.

From → Social, Sport, UK

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: