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Monday, 25 October 2010

If you want it here it is come and get it

Did you like the Huey Lewis and the News number on my last post? I forgotten what a stonking good song that was. It reminded me of the mega hair and diddly squat suits us men wore in those far off days of my middle age.

I'm getting old. There's no way around it. 60 might be the new 40 but no one has told my old bones and sinews.

This sad, inescapable truth bore down on me last week.

We've bought a greenhouse for the allotment which means making space for it. It's 10 by 8 ft so neither small nor large - Goldilocks size - but that means giving up a piece of valuable growing space.

It also meant grubbing up a row of blackberries, red and white current and raspberry bushes. This is a major event for me: I hate moving/destroying well established plants. It was with considerable apprehension that, last Friday, I went down to the allotment. I worked from 12 to 5:30pm, cutting down the bushes and then up rooting them. By the time I'd finished I could hardly move, I was aching everywhere. At night I found it difficult to sleep since however I would lie some part of my body complained about the unnatural contortions I'd inflicted on it. It took the whole of Saturday for my body to forgive me; and Sunday's trip to the Royal Horticultural Society's  (RHS) Hyde Hall in Essex was, at just over two hours, a study in creeping paralysis and rheumatic dodderings.

And it was a waste of time! The October edition of "The Garden", RHS's members mag - a bit like Waitrose's but without the foodie bits - celebrated UK fruit. It beckoned the unwary to "Enjoy the Taste and colours of Autumn at Hyde Hall's festival." We were suckered in with glowing prose about traditional apple stock, lashing of food stalls and tasting of English apples. A fat chance.

We got there without the inevitable row about whether I'd misheard or my wife,the navigator, had misnav'd. We got there by a roundabout way. As the car climbed a hill I said "I remember this", and was confronted by what I thought was the UK's "Mission to Mars" facility. Hyde Hall, quaint, slightly run down but manageable had been transformed into a visitor's centre. A very large modern canopy made of wood and concrete, surrounded by a massive car park greeted us. It could have been Bluewater, Lakeside or any one of a hundred of those sodding out of town shopping malls.

We very quickly hightailed out of the airplane hanger thing and trumped up the hill to the ancient ruin that is the Hyde Hall we knew. Snapping madly on the way - aren't digital cameras great! We arrived at the Autumn Apple celebration; except you'd have been excused for missing it. The apple tasting - something that we were looking forward to - was the travesty. In a tent only big enough to swing a cat, on 4 plastic tables on plastic plates sat a apple core, a couple of browning slices of apples; and a volunteer trying hard to divide up a minuscule piece of apple. A crowd of about 20 people were buzzing around the one remaining Malus domestica talking in hushed tones and reading the explanatory blurb given out as some sort of substitute for the real thing.

We were both scandalised; and said so in slightly raised voices as we headed for the gardens, and the carp pond, which were all decked out in their autumn finery - the gardens that is not the carp. Much snippy snapping, a quick coffee and pre journey home wee and we were heading back to Walthamstow. And "Strictly Come Dancing" results. Most of the viewing was taken up with my wife's "How do they do that?" as some Slovakian nymph  open up her legs and showed us all what she was capable of.

A glass of wine and a bowl of home made sweet potato and tomato soup brought the hammering heart rate down as I slowly slipped into aching unconsciousness.

Today, I've been cutting up grass sods and compacting soil on the allotment plot so the greenhouse can rest in a suitably right angular pose.Three hours later I gave up. Every time I thought I'd  the site level, the bloody, smart arsed spirit level bubble would slowly move to one end or the other but never sit still in the middle. Anyway I forgot to take down a tape measure so the site may well be too small.

And I now have to prepare supper, wife's at her place of work. It's a glass of red wine and slowly advancing paralysis as today's exertions take effect and I'm reminded by so many exquisite twinges, aches and searing stabbings that time's running out and I'll be collecting my old pension in a couple of years.

And tomorrow I'm playing squash!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Strength-training will go a good ways towards mitigating some of the degeneration we usually accept as part-and-parcel of ageing.

I know a 60ish kung-fu instructor who does have a bad back and slightly dodgy knees, but is still way fitter than most sporty 30-somethings. A lot of this is down to basic strength-training, because the muscles and connective-tissues get stiff and wither away with disuse.

Chin-ups, push-ups and squats once per week - needn't take 15 minutes, seriously. A little investment with a huge payoff. No need to pay for a gym or even any equipment.

When you hear about old people breaking their hips falling - muscule and bone atrophy from inactivity is to blame.