The joys of being a couch potato

I don’t remember the l948 Olympics, though I was 12 at the time, alive and kicking. Probably out in the street playing football in bare feet, kicking an old sock. Oh, but we were happy then.

So were the Olympians, even though no new venues were built for them, no Olympic village or any special housing was created, and most of the competitors, even the winners, trained on bread and dripping and went back to normal work the next day. That’s the way to do it. It was of course the Austerity Olympics.

Now we have had trillions of pounds being chucked around on monster pieces of architecture which will probably never be used again and soppy new designer uniforms which don’t look half as natty as those in l948. Natty – not used that word, since, well, probably since l948.

But of course I will be cheering them all on. I do like to see young people totally knackering themselves.

One of the comforts of age is that you don’t feel guilty being a couch potato, stuffing yourself while watching others physically performing. You can moan and swear at them for being useless or not trying hard enough, without anyone saying OK then, let’s see you do better, let’s see you give up four years of your life getting up at five in the morning to train in the rain and the dark.

“Oh, I would if I could,” I always say, which, of course, is a lie. “I have this dodgy knee, you see, can’t overdo it at my age.”

But I do, all the time. We are at our Lakeland home at the moment and I just walked up around Melbreak, which was very silly, as it is very steep and stony.

My knee is now swollen and I know I will have to stick to short walks for the next week. It’s my own fault, really. I played football till I was 50, despite having two cartilage ops.

I do swim three times a week at Cockermouth pool, though I hate getting dressed and undressed, what a faff that is, so it is always wonderful to swim in the Lake, being able to walk down to it with my cossie on.

I so enjoy the swimming, but I am useless at it – takes me ages to manage 20 lengths, doing alternate lengths breast stroke and back stroke, then my final length is a frantic front crawl going so fast I often have to be helped out of the water, puffing and panting.

The thing about continuing to walk and swim, however badly, is that it does help you appreciate and admire those who can do it properly. I also tell myself how good it is for me, keeping me fit and supple and active.

Well you need to be, if you are going to somehow drag yourself up on to that couch and cheer on those dopey – I mean wonderful – lads and lasses . . . 

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