Finding a set of scales to weigh yourself seems impossible here in Greece. I have asked at hotel after hotel but with no joy. I tried a couple of beauty salons and a place where you stick your feet in a tank of fish but no joy. It is as if in a sort of medieval fairy tale like way, the fat crooks of Pasok and New Democracy who have for the past 30 years eaten all the pies while pretending to run the country, had purged the land of weighing machines. This was a desperate attempt to ensure that no-one could check out how grossly overweight they were after all those pies, as the economy moved into the latter stages of anorexia.
But today I struck gold and weighed myself in a small chemists shop. And dear readers .. I am now just 2 lb away from being officially what the British Heart Foundation describes as a “normal healthy” weight. I shall be off on a run later today to celebrate. Putting this in context, my peak weight was 19 stone six pounds. I am now 13 stone 10 pounds. Put another way I have lost 29.5% of my body weight. My target was to get down to 12 stone 13 pounds by the end of my trip. Now that, in order to bring you on the spot coverage of Greece going bust, I have had to extend my stay until September I am feeling very confident of hitting that target. Especially as tomorrow I am off for a week or so walking with a heavy rucksack on my back in the hills of Southern Albania and Northern Greece. It is safe to say that when I next see Athens in 10 days time I shall be a) very smelly and in desperate need of a shower and b) given that the temperature is in the high thirties, I shall be much closer to 13 stone than 14 stone.
To put my weight into context again ( as only a once very fat weight obsessive can), there are only two readers of this blog (that I am aware of) who have ever seen me at this weight. One is my father. The other is Abbe Aronson, for when I last tipped the scales at this weight I was just about to fly to Philadelphia to declare my undying love for the most beautiful woman in America. She claims we kissed. I am sure i would remember such a groundbreaking event but I cannot. But being a woman of impeccable taste and judgement (then as now) she broke my heart and rejected my ardour. Abbe, I ask you, how many men whose hearts you must have shattered in 1986 can say that ( bar the odd grey hair) they are today in the same shape as they were then? Should Abbe decide that she is now tired of chasing young ladies ( something, for the avoidance of doubt that I can fully understand anyone having an interest in and do not condemn and which, I should clarify lest any reader question this, was a lifestyle choice Abbe made much later in life and was not in any way associated with the trauma of kissing me/not kissing me in Jersey City in 1986), the offer is always open – just hop on a plane to Tirana and I shall meet you at the airport. Let me know when you land.
I digress with my sad tale of, as yet, unrequited love for Abbe Aronson. The battle of the bulge is not yet won but I am now seven or eight pounds down since arriving here and any weight obsessive would be happy with that. One just feels better for it. I felt hot as I sat in a restaurant by the sea waiting for my lunch ( Greek salad with lemon not oil and vinegar) and so removed my T-short and walked across the beach into the sea. I did not feel in the slightest bit self conscious in doing so. In years gone by I know that I would have been rather ashamed of my belly and would have removed my star wars T-shirt at the water’s edge before sliding beneath the water hoping that no-one noticed how fat I was. Of course no-one gave a hoot. But there was always that lack of self-confidence. These days young waitresses in restaurants in Greece seem to want to see my body. This lunchtime was a close as they have got.