Popular perception says the devil makes work for idle hands. As it turns out he also makes work for other parts of the body and this he calls exercise.

Because of the supposed endorphins, it’s really easy to get addicted to exercise and you become so fit that you push yourself to ever-greater extremes, one of which is death. Undoubtedly, the benefit of regular exercise is that you develop a superbly toned body, one that everyone would be highly jealous of, were it not for the fact that you stink of chlorine, continually break off to carbo-load with high-energy liquids and have to stretch for fifteen minutes before starting anything. And, in any event, don’t forget that exercise was actually created for those who can’t handle hard liquor and class A drugs!

I’ve done more than my fair share of exercise: I’m still trying to master the game of squash; have run more adventure races, marathons & ultras than I care to recall; discovered I was more rust than iron in triathlon; continually proved that I have no natural talent on two wheels, have swam often in cold water, very cold water; and don’t ever want to do anything like this ever again.

fit for purpose

Back in the day, you got fit in order to do something. Getting fit enabled you to run a marathon, swim the Channel, cycle to John O’Groats or whatever flicked your adventure switch. With many New Year resolutions probably focusing upon this particular condition, it begs the question, when did ‘fitness’ become a pastime in and of itself, an activity separated from any particular physical escapade, athletic endeavour or social aspiration?

small boys in the park. jumpers for goalposts

Even before the whistle has been blown to signal that start of a new season and before the first contentious VAR decision is called into question, the recent Greek tragedy of Harry Maguire’s court case has brought football back centre-stage with a bang. Mind, with the Charity, er, Community Shield taking place today it’s actually only been off our screens for a barely believable 138 hours.

the year of the wooden spoon

Rumour has it that the older we become the more we count out our days in coffee spoons. As it transpires, the five members of Team 212 (aka Team Four Play and yeah, we’d already broken the rules by smuggling-in an extra participant) count out theirs in the number of Captain Challenges they’ve competed in.

and they’re off…

Once upon a time to everything there was a season: a time to bowl, a time to bat, a time to shoot, a time to pass. That was before the cricket and football seasons converged upon each other as evidenced by last weekend’s clash of the first Ashes Test with the Charity/Community Shield, heralding the kick-off of the forthcoming footie season.

french letters

Bonjour, je suis returnee! In the past I’ve provided an almost day-by-day, blow-by-blow account of my shaky trials and tribulations on two skinny wheels en France but, rather do that again here’s a slightly different approach which addresses some broad-based subjects that I’ve experienced over the last couple of weeks. Just to briefly recap, the plan was to ride-down a circuitous route to central/southern France on me jack-jones, camping and living on the cheap, before blagging a lift back in wee Tom’s Bongo (campervan) as he’d been surfing on the Brittany & Vendee coasts.

c’mon in, the water’s…busy

Notwithstanding climate change, insect armageddon and the inevitable extinction of the human race, the real downside to the UK’s warmest February temperatures on record is that the lanes at West London’s finest swimming pool fill-up with local revellers keen on exercising for the first time since before winter set in. Not for these dippers are wetsuits or special waterproof booties and the draw of tessellating, shimmering patterns bouncing off the bottom of the pool takes on a hypnotic ‘look into my eyes, not around the eyes’ quality.

allez le jaune

In spring, as Lord Alfred Tennyson observed, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love…and cycling. As it’s been too cold of late to venture out with any real gusto I’ve started to reminisce on the last couple of two-wheeled adventures and put-my-thinking-cap on wrt the next one. Several have involved trips across La Manche to follow le maillot jaune and this made me consider whether Team Sky are looking forward to this year’s Tour de France as much as I am?

beat the clock

You may have run one. You probably know of someone who has run one. Undoubtedly, you will have sponsored someone who has run one. Personally, I’ve run four. Four, full-distance, official marathons of 26.2 miles, 42,195 metres and, as my legs are most likely much shorter than yours, approximately 60,000 steps. Sadly, 258 runners in last month’s Shenzen marathon in China, saw fit to not do the hard-yards and were left red-faced after being caught cheating.

2018 Tour de France: AKA ‘Three Men in a Tent’

The original tale, ‘Three Men in a Boat’ by Jerome K. Jerome tells of three friends rowing their way along the Thames toward Oxford. The pals consider themselves capable outdoorsmen, though they have trouble with simple outdoor survival skills and tend to find themselves holed-up in local hostelries a little too often. Setting up a tent flummoxes them, cooking on a camp stove proves way too complicated, before they eventually ditch the boat and take the train back to London.

cometh the hour…

Ingerland, Ingerland…In-ger-land!

With an anticipated twenty million of us watching the home team play our first knock-out-round match in over a decade, it’s safe to say Russia’s 2018 world cup has been a success. And even though they went out at the group stage, with a pretty ignominious one-point from a 1-1 draw with Argentina, I’d also like to highlight that this year’s tournament was another huge success for our North Sea neighbours, Iceland.