Tuesday 5 June 2012


Overlooking Carmarthen Bay with the Gower and Worm's Head in the distance

I took last Friday off in order to create a decent break of five days and devoted it to a fitness regime of exercise and sound diet. This was in response to the realisation that my health has slipped almost imperceptibly into decline, not in a major way but sufficient to warrant action. Specifically my weight had crept up to 18 stone 4 lbs, I am puffing when walking uphill, and the dreaded gout attacks are increasing in frequency.

At this rate I will need to buy size 40 inch waist trousers and XXL shirts and start taking the daily gout pills for the rest of my life - and no doubt statins and lord knows what else too. The trouble is I have been easing off the gym, putting too much sugar in my tea, and eating cheese and chocolate in the mid evening, having up until then eaten three good square meals supervised by Mrs B.

I have now completed the five days keeping to a healthy diet of not over 2,000 calories a day and doing at least 10,000 steps every day plus some swimming. The rewards are great - I am a jubilant 17 stone 12 lbs and feeling much better.

The next trick is to keep heading in the right direction. Fancy or cranky diets are rubbish and it just comes down to eating less, exercising more (and keeping off the fags) for the rest of your life - temporary diets being the utmost folly.

It's all about psychology of course, not biology. Long ago I worked out that I have always been exactly the weight and fitness level I have chosen. This sounds harsh but you don't stand a chance of moving forward until you recognise that nobody ever pointed a gun at you and told you to eat more or exercise less. It's all in your power to do it if you really want to.

Top tip for lunch in Cardiff - try Wally's Kaffeehaus in the Royal Arcade with goodies from the city's famous delicatessen...

Meanwhile between the walks and frugal meals (not much left of the 2,000 calories after Wally's, mind) I see the news of the Jubilee. Now I feel no loyalty to the monarchy nor any special respect for the present incumbent though equally I see no political importance in the matter either. Listening to Polly Toynbee on the box talking republicanism this weekend is a bit like witnessing a child poking a wrinkly old elephant in a zoo with a stick - not a significant matter, maybe a bit rude, but not worth commenting on as the beast feels nothing.

(It's also similar to little Richard Dawkins gleefully jumping up and down to tell us he's found rational arguments for rejecting religion. And the Pope's a Catholic, Richard. The rest of know that religion was found out during the Enlightenment 200 years ago. The strangely boyish professor is wasting time when science should instead be concentrating on finding the keys to the likes of cold fusion and genetically modified super-wheat which could solve our global energy and food needs respectively.)

My own analysis of the weekend's Royal celebration is that the old girl enjoyed the Derby as usual but after that it was all downhill. The river thing found her shivering under a B&Q gazebo erected on an old coal barge (ill-disguised with swags of velvet) escorted by a flotilla of hurray henries and gawped and screamed at by the usual suspects lining the bank. As for the concert...enough said. Less would have been more and a quick, dignified appearance on the balcony would have been sufficient surely.

She must now be settling down to a nice drink to celebrate the end of the whole ghastly ordeal and savouring the peace and quiet while the D of E is in hospital. Apparently she likes one part gin to two of Dubonnet with two blocks of ice - and sometimes she will have a second glass. This is the only interesting thing we know about her and goes to her credit (although using Italian vermouth - a proper "gin and It" - would mark her as a true cocktail connoisseur). Go on, Ma'am, order up a third this time and have a giggle at the expense of all the miserable flunkies and sycophants who got soaked hanging about for you this weekend.

Walking from Carmarthen Tesco's into the town on Saturday (and so saving the Council's exorbitant car park charges) I snap this picture of the Royalist defences built during the Civil War to defend their West Wales redoubt. History relates that as soon as they saw the Parliamentary forces moving up the valley they legged it without a fight. How deep is the current support for the monarchy?