Week Eleven: 2022

I think I can now say I’ve recovered from my week of non-skiing. I’ve focused on all things green and sunny, eschewing anything white and fluffy. The neighbour’s cat has had a hard time, I can tell you. It was a shame in many ways, to miss out, not least that I lost the opportunity to pour scorn on two die hard Chelsea fans for their years of crowing at the trophies their football team won with the help of that Russian’s blood money. Nothing like a little schadenfreude to add a spring into one’s step.

It’s two years, give or take, since we went into full lock down in the UK. One thing that changed then and which has remained a new constant is my loyalty to the exercise videos provided by Joe Wicks. At the start it was to replace the gym that had closed that had me following his PE with Joe You Tube channel but even when that stopped, the cheeky chappie persona, the huge catalogue of different videos and the ease with which one can do them in the privacy of one’s front room kept me loyal.

Some things have changed in my approach. Early on, I gave into the modern idea that we need to guzzle litres of water when we exercise and now a bottle accompanies my grunts and groans. There have been the occasional flaying foot-full bottle interfaces that have postponed that day’s exercise as I scrabble to sponge up the excess. The Textiliste pointed out that there was a spot developing on the lounge rug where my head tended to go during ab exercises and which she thought might be salt from the sweat: a yoga mat joined my routine. The light patch remains, worryingly.

At some point my somewhat mathematical brain had me counting what I was doing. I then began to keep notes in my journal. I can now look back to see what 20 exercises I’ve done on a particular day, how long Joe set us that day, per exercise – usually 35 to 40 seconds with 25/20 seconds to recuperate before the next. And I can also see how many star jumps or sit ups or steps while sprinting or push ups I’ve done. That requires me to use the recuperation period to scribble down the exercises then add a number or a tick for something that you can’t count (like holding a static plank). I’m obsessed but at least it keeps me vaguely fit. I’m not sure, if anyone were to read my journals in future years, what they’d make of these lists.

I’ve kept a journal since I started writing seriously, in 2006. These days, as well as the day and the date and the list of exercises – assuming I’m ‘doing a Joe’ that day – I include the morning’s weather, a couple of news items and a couple of personal diary entries. Currently, I don’t often include the flights of fancy and thought pieces that I once did. They faded with Covid and haven’t returned now we have the Ukraine troubles. My thinking feels facile alongside those events. I will begin any poem in the journal, though fiction tends to begin either on my ipad or another dedicated notebook. Funny how that had become the habit.

I was in the park today, with Dog when I glanced up and two woman were walking towards me, in animated conversation. They were probably 30 something and attractive. Almost as an instinct, having registered those thoughts, I looked down and away until they’d passed me. It then occurred to me how odd that was. I’m fully signed up to the idea that no one, not least a 60 something male with a face for radio and a body that the NHS would probably discourage from being left to science should gawp and ogle anyone of the opposite sex in any way that would make them uncomfortable. But to feel the need to avert my eyes completely, which is essentially an instinctive reaction to avoid being categorised as ‘that type of man’ is equally sad. They’d not noticed me yet why take that chance. Am I being polite or a hypocrite? I can appreciate someone attractive on TV or film or stage without being judged; ditto in a work of art. I can see attractive men without feeling the need to look away. The pendulum has swung, at least for me and my generation with my attitudes. It’s understandable. But still, it’s a little bit sad and in some ways probably makes me look a little shifty.

But there’s always Dog. I feel pretty safe even if he might feel objectified at times…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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27 Responses to Week Eleven: 2022

  1. I’m so pleased all that exercise is now beyond me – I think. I still ogle surreptitiously though

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pam Lazos says:

    Always a delight to read the inter-workings of your mind, Geoff. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. joylennick says:

    I love delving into others minds now and then if they give me a few clues…How very polite you are, Geoff!. Old enough, and obviously vain enough… to have appreciated all the wolf whistles I received as a teenager (oh come on girls…) I pity the poor lads who have to wait for an introduction !! (“I didn’t like the way he looked at me, Officer…” ) Serious assaults apart, how the world has changed! Sadly, drugs are often to blame, and the increased birth-rate of a few Neanderthal types of male. Thank goodness there are still plenty of decent, intelligent men on the planet, Geoff!.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Would love to be in your garden right now – looks lovely!
    Growing up in London, we were always told never to catch a man’s eye on the Tube or the bus as they would take that as an invitation(!). I’m afraid I didn’t appreciate the wolf whistles like Joy (above), though, as they made me feel under some sort of obligation somehow.
    I think it’s very British to avert one’s gaze anyway. Never making eye contact is probably what gives us our stand-offish reputation!
    Glad you were a gent with those women, though – thank you on their behalf!
    I’ve been looking back at my work and home emails to remind me of those early covid days …

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Isn’t it a dilemma now whether we should feel free to say “What a pretty girl.” or should feel mortified that we even noticed there was a girl there at all! Am I even allowed to admire my own calves?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. noelleg44 says:

    That is a dilemma, Geoff. But on the other side of the coin, as a woman grows older, people don’t look her and hardly even register she’s there, unless they are of the same age! Dog would always be the object of my attention!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The pleasure of being an octagenarian is I can say good morning to attractive 30 something females and they cheerfully respond. I know full well they see me as an old grandfather type who wouldn’t have a salacious thought in his balding head. So in truth, if you live long enough the worry of being thought of as “one of those men ” completely disappears.I enjoyed your post today, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. joylennick says:

    Oh, how ‘stuffy’ and buttoned up some women are! I’ve had a good giggle over it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. JT Twissel says:

    Perhaps they were gay? It’s been a while but I don’t remember being insulted by the occasional glance in my direction.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. willowdot21 says:

    I am not sure about men but I know women over sixty , like me, become totally invisible! So those thirty somethings probably did not notice you.
    I did a lot of exercise and Pilates at home during lockdown it definitely split the day up.
    Hey ho ! I am sure that we’d see eachother of we passed in the park even if no one else did!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Elizabeth says:

    I recently got to see my great great grandmother’s diary, kept in the wilderness of Minnesota in the 1850’s. It turns out that such entries as the weather, the mundane activities, the reading(she seemed to keep up with Dickens) are very interesting down the way. Much more so than drama. I think your journal records are the same. Real though sometimes mundane.

    Liked by 1 person

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