As lockdown eases it is so satisfying to get back out into the world to show off my toned physique.

Aye, I’ve spent the past four months finally getting around to doing all those things I said I would.

My 10K pace is simply cracking, my diet has never been healthier, with only the occasional beer or glass of wine as a reward.

My word, the weight I’ve lost.

And as for those new hobbies. I finally got around to learning to play the piano and I’m nearly finished writing my first novel.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, absolutely none of that has happened.

No doubt I wasn’t alone in trying to find the positives in a world full of restrictions.

After all, it was only the myriad distractions of life – like going out to eat fine food, meeting up with your mates in the pub and going to the theatre – that stopped me embarking on a mission to be the better person. Turns out it wasn’t.

Healthy eating? I think I have kept the manufacturers of Pringles and Gold Bars afloat throughout the crisis.

Not eating out so often?

We have three local curry houses, two Chinese takeouts and one pizza place on speed dial.

Bye-bye booze? I have literally just had to stop writing this because my case of extremely fine beers arrived at the door.

Running more? I can’t tell you if my Garmin needs charged, because I’m not too sure exactly where it is gathering dust at the moment.

Learning to play an instrument? I bought a souped-up Alexa.

Finish a novel? I can’t even get to the end of reading one.

Was I the only one to find that the burning desire to turn lockdown into a new me turned into the discovery the same four walls 24/7 came with ennui attached?

If surfing the net for nonsense and becoming addicted to Twitter are life-affirming experiences, then I’ve been doing it wrong.

With all of that, I was in serious danger of looking like the fat folk from the movie Wall-E.

In my defence, I have figured out in the past couple of weeks that I can hardly be seen in public looking like Jabba the Hutt – even with a face mask as a disguise.

So, as of now, I am on a mission to catch a grip. Let’s be honest, becoming the next Jools Holland or Lee Child isn’t going to happen.

However, I can steer clear of the biscuit tin, embrace the salad and explore the wonderful word of soft drinks for a while.

Well, during the week. Weekends not so much. Post-corona isn’t going to change my world that much.

No longer shirty over dress sense

I remember as a teenager thinking it was ludicrous that middle-aged people would wear jeans.

In the 1970s, denim was for those rebelling against the system, not the ones who built it in the first place.

Besides, was there anything more ridiculous than someone knocking on for 60 in a pair of Levis? Catch a grip.

So, fast-forward 45 years and I’m sitting writing this in my favourite 501s.

But I still have that rebel soul lurking under all these wrinkles and lines (when I shave these days, my dad stares back out of the mirror).

And how am I marking my stick-it- to-the man nature as I start the countdown to my bus pass?

I have taken to wearing Hawaiian shirts.

These days I have a grand total of six and I’m aiming for seven, so on holiday I will have one for every day.

After all, if you want to stand out from the crowd, you might as well do it with a splash of colour. And it’s part of railing against our rubbish north-east weather.

For the record, though, a Panama hat is a step too far. Well Mrs B says so, anyway.

Dolphins give rise to moment of pure joy

On ONE of our rare sunny days recently, I took a walk up to Our Lady Of The Storms, the ancient ruined church on the edge of Stonehaven.

As I was admiring the view, fate threw in a bonus: A splash in the bay caught my eye and I was treated to the spectacle of a pod of dolphins, leaping through the glittering waters.

It was a moment of pure joy.

Not only was it uplifting, it was also a reminder of how lucky we are to live in the north-east. Let’s never take that for granted.


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