Sunday 7 September 2008

Turning Persian

14st 2lb; 4.5 units of alcohol yesterday; 1,247 days of life left; Flintshire.

Now here’s a funny thing (a first for this blog, I hear you murmur). The roads were all but impassable when we finally got home at around six yesterday evening, and I know for a fact that it continued raining throughout the night. Well, not for an absolute fact, but it was certainly lashing against the skylight in my bedroom every time I woke from my fitful slumbers, and it would have been a bloody strange coincidence if it had stopped raining every time I managed to ignore it and get back to sleep. So attempting to drive the LTCB home this morning seemed to fall firmly into the category of Gestures: Futile But Essential (Even Though Foredoomed To Failure). I regarded it as my little sacrifice to the continuation of our relationship.

For some reason I found myself thinking of those unfortunate pilots who were sent up during the war to search for enemy warships. Their commanders already knew damn well precisely where the ships were, because they had cracked the German Enigma code. But if they had just kept sending in massive waves of attacking planes, the Germans would have started thinking, “Hang on, how the hell did they know we were here? Bit of a coincidence, that, don’t you think, Fritz?” By sending up a plane for a spot of reconnaissance, it could all be explained perfectly logically. So long as the pilot had time to radio back his findings before he was shot down in flames. When Fred Winterbotham’s book finally exposed the great Enigma secret in the mid-1970s, I can remember my uncle belatedly realizing how a number of his friends had had their lives sacrificed in this way in order to preserve it. Still, that’s war for you, I suppose. Not for the fainthearted or those hoping to make the most of their Old Age Pension.

There were a couple of helpfully doom-laden reports on the wireless this morning of the A697 being blocked by landslides. But being too honest for my own good, as usual, I had to admit to the LTCB that these were north of my house whereas our objective was to head south, then west. Even so, I did not expect that we would be able to get very far. Imagine my surprise – and here is that funny thing at last, but sadly in the sense of peculiar rather than ha ha – when, despite all the additional water that had fallen overnight, we made it to Chester without the slightest difficulty and in remarkably good time. We duly presented ourselves for Sunday lunch with the LTCB’s parents over the border in North Wales, look you isn’t it, just as Lewis Hamilton was celebrating his Pyrrhic victory in the Belgian Grand Prix with the usual colossal waste of good champagne.

What’s more, and I write as one noted for his dislike of travel, lunch was worth every minute and inch of the drive. When I started this blog I was an unenlightened soul who would have said with confidence that nothing could beat a good, old-fashioned English roast for Sunday lunch, unless it was a steak and kidney pie. But now I find myself becoming addicted to the Iranian ways with chicken and beef, and particularly to the accompanying crispy rice. Perhaps I was Persian in a previous life.

It would be nice to be able to say that this also promises a vast improvement in my health, like the adoption of one of those Mediterranean or Okinawan regimes that produces scores of centenarians capable of completing a triathlon in the evening, after they have spent all day digging their vegetable gardens. Sadly I see little evidence that it is any more likely to promote slimness and fitness than the sort of English diet I grew up with. But on the other hand, what a way to go. So much tastier and more stylish than a deep-fried Mars bar and chips, too.

I cannot help noticing that I have lost no weight since I met the LTCB at the end of April; indeed I have regained seven of the pounds I had taken so much trouble to lose earlier in the year. Kindly disposed friends assure me that this is quite all right, since I am putting on weight because I am happy. Which might be true, but contemplating the resulting bulges in the mirror is inclined to make me miserable. I think it’s what they call a vicious circle.

What to do? It looks like a toss-up between renewing my strict diet or removing all the mirrors from the house.

Oh dear. Best of three, I think.

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