Grumpy Old Man Part 4
The Power Of Recovery
I am not as young as I was. My powers of recovery are not what they were.Twenty odd years ago, when I was at university, I used to be up late on a Friday night, having sunk ten pints of watered beer at the Sweaty Bop only be up again at 6am, to jog down to the Boat House on the River Isis (which is what the Thames is known as it meanders its way through the Dreaming Spires of Oxford), throw up behind the Boat House, before taking an hour and a half training session as stoke of a sporting eight, being a racing eight crewed by people who cannot row very effectively but claim to be good at other, non-public school sports such as football.
The stroke is the one who sits at the front facing the cox and attempts to beat out the rhythm for the rest of the boat to follow. The cox is the little one with the big mouth and bigger attitude who steers the ship, and who in my case, would belch last night’s chilli kebab and Guinness into my face every time I came forward.
Having rowed, I would jog back to college in time for breakfast only to spend the afternoon captaining the Animals football team, being a team made up of blokes, well, lacking the finesse of Christiano Ronaldo, before returning to College in time for a quick shower and back to the Beer Cellar for another heavy bout of watered down Marstons.
These days it takes a little longer to recover. It has taken me the best part of a week to recover from last weekend’s walking weekend with the lads. Admittedly, I was cheered a little bit when super fit P (he of the 300k cycling event in the Alps) phoned to check how I was and admitted that he was suffering big time too. Myself, I have been limping and wincing all week and avoiding stairs whenever possible. I had no idea how much you used the muscles at the front of the shin. Ouch.
Nevertheless, I am proud of myself today. As promised, I went out on my bike. It was forty five minutes of sheer agony. The Cheshire plains felt like the Massive Central today. And, I am saddle saw! Is it my imagination or have saddles got much, much narrower over the years? And not for the better if the state of my bum is anything to go by. Now where did I leave that jar of Vaseline. It helps with the chafing……
Indeed, bike technology has moved on alarmingly too. When I was in my teens and early twenties I used to do a lot of cycling and would do all of my own maintenance and repairs, although I was not so big on cleaning. I have to admit, reluctantly, that when my mates and C clubbed together to buy my new cycle, I had to resort to reading the instruction manual before I could operate the gears. An instruction manual for heaven’s sake. I thought they existed just for the benefit of women and the incredibly stupid.
So it would seem that I am descending into middle age. I am becoming a grumpy old man. This has been hammered home none too subtlely of late – being made redundant, with conversations with my mates focusing far too much on how to combat nasal and ear hair, gardening and growing your own vegetables (apparently purple sprouting broccoli is to be recommended). And, only this week I joined in a conversation with a colleague, J, which was essentially a tirade about the arrogance of the Germans. All of them. Every last one of them. Clarkson for President.