Wednesday, 12 January 2022

The Bread Line

Hello, dear readers!


It’s that feeling that some unlikely combination of events has taken place which conspire, in near perfect harmony, to bring about some unexpected and oft welcome outcome.

A bit like the so called Partygate scandal rocking 10 Downing Street which could (hopefully) cause an upheaval in the political sphere of seismic proportions, and bring down, if not a Prime Minister, then a whole political party, occurring on and around the day I put aside to write this blog.

So, yeah, I’m not writing about that.

Chewing The Fat
No, at the moment, the whole thing is just a little too fresh, the nasty taste in the mouth just a little too strong, and the dust far from settled. I try to stay away from too much politics in my writings for various reasons. There’s the risk of alienating readers, the chance of getting too ranty and therefore boring, and the fact my mum doesn’t like me getting ‘all political’ (why yes, I am in my mid-forties, thanks for asking).

So for now, we’ll put a pin in that one, and maybe (if there’s a call for it) come back to it later.

But what shall we talk about instead? Well, how about the pre-planned post about how fat I’ve gotten? Sound like a plan? Then let’s go!

I am, as mentioned above, in those years which some might call ‘middle’. Personally, I’m not the greatest fan of the term, mainly because it seems to put a limit on the years I’m going to spend on this wonderful little planet, and that’s a gloomy thought, and I don’t like gloomy thoughts.

Middle-age, however, comes with additional baggage, and one of those is known as middle-aged spread. This may indeed be what I’m suffering from, but there are other contributory factors which I’m sure have had more that a hand in my burgeoning waistline. There are the usual suspects, my enduring love of food, especially of the fried variety, the odd drop of Bourbon, and my stunning levels of physical inactivity. (I make Rip Van Winkle look like the story of an energetic go-getter).

Of course, Lockdown hasn’t helped in any of that. The sparse opportunities to take some exercise have dried up a little over the last couple of years, the chances to get out and about and partake in healthier enjoyments going with it. A day out, be it to a park to walk the dog, to the shops to play that fun little fame wherein I attempt to stop my wondrous wife, Tina, from spending any money (Yorkshireman, remember), cinemas, bars, drives to see family or friends, all have dissipated to one degree, or another and left behind them a life of sedentary torpor, stuck in front of the telly.

As the special days retreated, treats became smaller, chocolate, a drink or several, a takeout. These became the things to look forward to and each of these treats, coupled with an inactive life, left their mark on Mark. I don’t know how much of a mark, not it any measurable terms. We don’t own a set of scales, and my lack of balance means even if we did, their use would be both inaccurate and amusingly dangerous.

There is more of me to love, though. A lot more. Enough that even my own mother asked if I was going back to Slimming World soon.

So the question becomes, what do I do about it. Do I make peace with my gut? Do I simply give in and become the next Augustus Gloop? Or, do I give my head a shake, sort myself out and start to eat a little better, and do a little more?

Bread & Butter
Well, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know (mum) that I’ve taken the hints, and I’m taking advantage of the new year to bring in a new me. I’ve already changed my diet, taking inspiration from Slimming World and the Vegan cookbook I bought some time back to follow an eating regime which includes more veg, more fruit, and a lot, lot, lot (lot) less junk. The weekly takeout will become bi-weekly, and I’ve also taken the somewhat radical step to cut out bread completely for one month, and, when I reintroduce it, to limit my intake and put a few less slices in the ol’ bread basket.

I know it’s the time of year when these promises get made and promptly get broken, but I really do have the very best of intentions. The last couple of years have been rough for all of us, but that’s no excuse to give up on us. It doesn’t mean we have to become passengers in our own lives. We can take control, if not of everything, then of our own actions and our own thoughts. So, yeah 2022 may well be another car-crash. The virus may still hold sway over our lives, and the clowns in charge may continue to play us all for mugs, while the rich get richer and the rest don’t count, but I can come out of this year a better version of me than I entered it.

Now where did I put those nice, juicy pears?

Until next time.


Hey, folks! If you would care to take a look at some of my more creative writing, then the links below will transport you to the magical worlds of two anthologies my short (and in one case, very short) stories have been included in. Feel free to check’em out!

Death Ship


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