Now we’ve moved on to fresh fields, my five-day-a-week gym routine is no more. Whereas I was once able to stroll to my city centre torture chamber, I’d now have to bus it – so that’s that. But, I still need to help my circulation by power-pushing my ageing legs, and avoid diabetes by keeping the pounds off. So we’ve invested in this monster.
No longer am I able to leer discretely (or not so discretely) at the sweaty fellas squatting and pressing around me. No. My view has been replaced by classic episodes of Coronation Street from the eighties, weekdays on ITV3. The tattooed talent in tight togs have given way to dreary Deirdre’s dreadful perm, wooden Ken’s unlikely sexual prowess, bottle-blonde Bet’s gravity-defying hair do, blue-rinsed Phyllis’ hopeless pursuit of flat-capped miserable old fart, Percy Sugden, Jack and Vera’s endless bickering and Betty’s nuked hotpot. I love it. The script is glorious and my guilty secret is out.
Regular readers will know that I’ve been under the doctor because of something called PAD (Peripheral Arterial Disease). It’s caused by the thin veins I inherited from my father and a wayward lifestyle of sex, drugs and sausage rolls. The condition affects my mobility and is quite common in old farts of my age, apparently. Following the double stent to unblock my dodgy groin, my consultant (and Dr Green from ER lookelikee) decided that exercise was the best way of evading the surgeon’s knife. This was uncharted waters for me. Apart from a healthy amount of rumpy-bumpy, I’ve always taken the path of least resistance in the physical therapy stakes – buses, tubes, taxis, piggy-backs. I’m a hop on, hop off kind of guy. Ask Liam. He knows. I always figured that if God had wanted me to walk further than the pub, She would have given me more than a 27 inch inside leg. Still, to avoid going the way of my dear old Dad (who didn’t make it past 50), I took the quack’s advice and joined a city-centre gym (no sniggering at the back). It’s a low-cost 24/7 DIY affair, fit for the age of austerity. Stripped-down and ultra-modern without a fluffy robe or juice bar in sight, there are just rows and rows of hi-tech instruments of torture and wall-to-wall mirrors for watching the inquisition. Thankfully, I’m not too intimidated by half-my-age beefed up muscle marys on steroids. While they’re pumping iron on the top floor, I’m fast-walking with the girls downstairs. Life’s a catwalk and I’m back on the treadmill.