Barchetta - Hard - Zorg
The festive period and my waistline have been frequent enemies. At the end of 2011 they fought a long and sustained battle which Christmas won. I sit here in the second week of 2012 feeling fat, not fitting into my clothes and wondering at the concerted effort it will take to get match fit again.
The problem this time round was that the festivities started early, on 25th November when my company hosted 120 guests at the Yang Sing Chinese restaurant in Manchester. I could feel my veins congealing as we tucked into a five course Chinese banquet accompanied by a free bar. From then on my job led me into almost daily entertainment of key and prospective customers at bars and hostelries across the North West. Monstrous burgers at the Village Inn at Bury. A fabulous and rather swanky PGA Golfing lunch at the Hilton. A mammoth curry at the Networking In The City lunch. The Nationwide Joinery blowout at the English Lounge. Not to mention Zoe’s birthday party which saw us destroy delicious Italian food at Milan’s in Worsley.
Thus when the official two week shutdown commenced on 22nd December I was already the size of a whale. This before I ate several of Zoe’s mega Christmas dinners, devoured copious amounts of crisps and nuts and cakes and chocolate, drank ridiculous amounts of wine, and took advantage of Tesco’s generous Jack Daniels special offer.
Christmas Eve saw us heading off the hyperactive children at the pass by taking them for a pizza and then to the late films at the cinema. The boys saw Sherlock Holmes, Zoe and Mhairi took in Arthur Christmas whilst I drew the short straw and had to sit through Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked with my two daughters. My girls loved it, which is a relief as I thought it amongst the most obnoxious movies of all time. By the time we got home toward 11pm they were all on their knees and off to their rooms swifly, affording Santa the chance to place a barrage of presents in the lounge. He finished around 2am by which time his two little helpers were shattered.
Somehow I was on good form five hours later when a herd of wildebeest rampaged into the lounge and laid waste to it. Or maybe it was just our five children opening their presents. The jury’s out.
I love that week between Christmas and New Year where not having to go to work leads to the daily routine going out the window resulting in going to bed in daylight and getting up in darkness. And not having a clue what day it is and that not being a problem. However after five days of that I realised I needed exercise so invited our friends (and blog regulars) Ron, Terry and Fred Barchetta over so we could go to a gig at the Moses Gate the day before New Year’s Eve. Any weight we worked off by throwing ourselves around to AC/DC tribute band Whole Lotta DC was replaced with the venue’s rather well priced lager. Fred managed to escape the next day with some – though not all – of his sanity intact. We chained Ron and Terry to the lounge so they couldn’t leave until 2nd January. We did let them off the leash briefly, for long enough to sample the wonders of the Vulcan and its famed Vulcan Juice. Other than that we force fed them the three staples of any hard rockin’ diet: lardy food, premium lager and Rush DVDs.
Charley on Christmas Day
After recovering from these shenanigans I decided it was finally time to sort out my eyesight. As 2011 had progressed my close vision had gotten gradually worse. By December I had to take my specs off to read a book, or put on reading glasses if I was wearing my contact lenses. I was starting to look like an old man. The optician did his eye test and announced with a touch too much excitement that I now needed bifocals. Not to worry, he said – it happens to us as we get old. How reassuring. After sitting through the spiel about why varifocals are so great and how having Zeiss glass in them will stop me looking like Mr Magoo with Coke bottles on his face I parted company with £700 and left the place shaking and crying. That was just the hangover. I don’t think the shock of the spending has sunk in yet.
I was probably ready to go back to work on 5th January. The festive food and drink stash had been largely consumed and I’d watched all the films I wanted to on Sky, in Blockbuster and in the DVD collection. Music had been downloaded and listened to, often through headphones at silly o’clock. The varifocals had wiped out any fundage available for sale shopping. There was nothing for it other than to give in to the old routine.
The first morning back was a shock and I’m still surprised I even managed to get out of bed. But it’s amazing how quickly you slip back into it. And a week later I’m feeling pretty hearty. Healthier food has entered my diet. I’m talking about exercise, even if I have yet to do any. Talk around the house is of summer holidays, rock festivals, gigs and the benefits of not always being a gentleman. 2012 is here, and it feels good.
Happy new year!