32 days ago
My mind flashes back to that day in 1978, or perhaps it was 1977, when I was climbing out of the old outdoors pool at Warwick school, a place where penguins would have complained about the cold.
240 days ago
In the old days when Wales defeated Ireland in the rugby, my late father and I would console ourselves with the phrase “At least Olaf will be happy”. Though she is in Paris at present I am sure that my eldest and fairly thirsty daughter, will need no great persuasion to wander into a pub to cheer on her compatriots in red.
1005 days ago
For the second time this season Stoke and Ireland player James McClean has got a match halted after what he claimed was racist chanting aimed at him, that is to say Huddersfield supporters chanting “Fuck the IRA”. The FA says that it is now investigating this racism. But so woke is the FA that it sniffs our racism even where it does not exist, as in this case, and in the process insults – with a racist slur – the vast majority of folks of Irish descent.
1472 days ago
One week down and my every other day visits to the gym continue. Joshua loves it and asks to go every day as kind Perry, the stalwart of the local Tories and the gym manager, allows him to watch Thomas The Tank Engine on the screens while I slog away at the treadmill.
1483 days ago
In the Greek summer heat my ankle causes me no problems. But my return to the colder British autumn nights sees it start to hurt, especially after a long drive, I stretch and it clicks audibly. The pain is minor but nagging. The final smash up was playing for London Irish (amateurs), it ended my undistinguished rugby career. Twelve years before that I had hurt it badly at Oxford playing basketball. But the initial weakness was caused by that incident in the freezing outdoor pool at Warwick School aged 8 or 9. It was bullying by other boys and the physical scar is still with me. And so I think of my old school, of the master who threw my head against the wall twice, Mr Geoffrey Eve, and of the cover up that continues to this day. I had another nightmare about it all last night.
2735 days ago
We all knew it was going to happen but today Rand Paul has announced that he is running for President. The Senator is the son of the great Ron Paul (pictured) and being a bit more of a politician than his Dad makes his libertarianism slightly compromised but he is still streets ahead of the field. In his first campaign email he promises that when he wins he will pledge:
Term limits to get rid of the career politicians.
Require Congress to read legislation before they actually vote on it—read the bills!
Audit the Fed—we deserve to know what's happening with our money.
Pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution—no more adding trillions in debt—time to pay it down.
Boldly overhaul the tax code—no more loopholes for the biggest corporations with the best lobbyists—give workers a tax cut.
The last point is great. Libertarians
2931 days ago
I saved the last of the frigana for after lunch. Two sessions in the morning left me with one last patch to clear. But first a major problem: My bike was leaking oil. The man at the garage said “go to Kalamata tomorrow” as I bought my second bottle of the day. But I am a changed man.
Three months ago I would have phoned John the bike man in a panic. Today once back at the hovel I got underneath the bike and diagnosed the problem. Tubing had come loose. And I fixed it. Triumph one.
Triumph two came just before dusk as I finally removed the last frigana bush on the property. 2000
2973 days ago
I wonder if I am getting a little tedious on this weight loss issue? It was another good day. Just one salmon salad to eat and a good bit of manual labour and a run to boot. I am partly inspired by my guest who insists that she needs to lose 15 lbs. I think that would officially make her a stick insect but there is now a competitive battle.
She went on a far longer run. But then she ate two salads today and a frozen yoghurt! Sin. So I reckon I edged it today as I also want to lose another 15 lbs which would officially make me normal weight.
She can rabbit on for ages about any subject under the sun so I feel that I am justified in mentioning more than occasionally how loose my 34 inch jeans feel. But they really do! I am now 99% confident that I would fit into 32 inch jeans – fighting London Irish waist size – quite comfortably. I can see that a shopping trip to Kalamata looms on Saturday.
I also feel less embarrassed about my body. Do I sound like a real girl here? My guest says that I was developing a bit of a farmer’s tan (elbows downwards) and so I now wander around the hovel topless. Sadly my guest has not followed sit but that is another matter.
My point is that although I am aware that my stomach is still too large – it is the last flab to go – I do not feel embarrassed by it as I would have at higher weights. And I know that slowly it is shrinking. And tomorrow the really hard manual labour starts at the Greek Hovel – the pounds must surely just fall away for both of us?
2989 days ago
The first person to join me at the Greek Hovel arrives in two weeks and has already warned that our morning routine for the three weeks that follow will commence with a jog or was it a run. Either way I have rather tried to put this to the back of my mind but it struck me today that I have just two weeks without this ordeal left.
For the past two years the closest I have come to this form of masochism is shuffling quickly to the newsagents to get a pack of Marlboro Lights before the newsagent shuts. But I used to be able to do a decent run.
In my London Irish days I could do six miles in an hour on the treadmill (on a gradient) and used to run back from work in Shoreditch to Swiss Cottage. And then go to the gym. But that was a long time ago.
But what the hell.
2991 days ago
As ponder who I am going to fire on Monday, I tried an experiment – putting on the 34 inch jeans. Heck – they are comfortable. And so the 36 inch jeans (tight before I left but now uncomfortably loose to the point of falling down) are officially “retired). As a reminder of the timeline
Peak waist size – 44 inches . Disgrace 19 stone 6 llbs. Fat Bastard.
Waist size two years ago and also fighting weight (London Irish Wild Geese) 32 inches
Waist size at 17 30 inches
Waist size before I left ( very tight 36 inches)
Waist size now a comfortable 34 inches
Target waist size August 10th 32 inches ( will give a normal Body Mass Index, BMI, reading)
Target waist size on return to UK 30 inches ( will give a well into normal BMI)
When you see this week’s video postcard all supportive comments and encouragement will be much appreciated!
Sod Quindell now I have something to really get obsessive about
2991 days ago
When I record my videos each week you are meant to email me to say “Tom you have lost weight – well done!” I should not have to prompt anyone (especially the Mrs). But I have lost weight. Well I can’t measure it since, as I noted two years ago, there are virtually no scales in the whole of Greece but I can do the trouser test!
At my shameful 19 stone 6 pounds peak my waist was a disgraceful 44 inches. At my fighting weight (hooker for London Irish Wild Geese) I was a 32 inch waist. Two years ago in Greece I almost got down to 32 inches. I was within spitting distance.
Back in the UK – and blaming the Mrs for leading me astray - my waist expanded again. On leaving I was in 36 inch jeans and they felt tight. Within a few days my Ireland rugby shorts (from a post London Irish age) were so obviously falling down that they had to be retired. But they do not really count – they come from a plump (Clontarf veterans) era.
However, as their replacement – red swimming shorts - went from tight to comfortably loose I tried the trouser test.
3122 days ago
On Saturday I wore my London Irish shirt from my playing days, I suffered for 95 minutes which seemed like an eternity and I thanked God for agreeing to my suggestion that West Ham lose but Ireland triumph. Today I am asked to celebrate St Patrick’s Day but I will not do so.
For this day is a day when the whole world becomes Irish, hundreds of thousands don ghastly fake leprechaun hats and everyone gets drunk. By midnight the streets of Britain will be littered with discarded fake leprechaun hats, piles of vomit and folks collapsed on the street singing Swing Low Sweet Chariots as they remember who they really are. St Patrick would no doubt be truly honoured.
Party of my Irish ancestry comes from the Mathew family who were great temperance campaigners. The last of the line (named after its founder) died of an alcohol related illness some years ago. I cannot say that I am a man of temperance, quite the opposite.
But as it happens I have made an agreement with my three legged cat Oakley. The vet suggests that, especially has he only has three legs with which to support his body mass, he is a little plump. In fact I think the word she used was obese. So Oakley is on the low fat Iams and is being forced to take some exercise. In sympathy I have been off the sauce since Friday and am also on a Spartan diet. The Mrs reckons, not unfairly, that I could do with losing a few pounds and so Oakley and I are suffering together. As such I have enjoyed three days of complete sobriety which is all rather a shock to the system.
I digress. The wholly commercial exercise that is St Patrick’s Day is not something I shall take part in. On any other day of the year I’ll happily sink a pint of Guinness at the drop of a hat. But today, I will as I now do every year, give the whole thing a complete miss.
3144 days ago
Whatever one things about the sheep shaggers, and as I explained on Friday I have mixed feelings, an evening match at the Millennium Stadium has a world beating atmosphere. It was a wonderful night. Wales played well, France were abject. I returned to Bristol rather worse for wear on the last train.
Worse was to come with Ireland against the Old Enemy. I really do loathe the swagger of English rugby with a passion. I loathed it when I wore the green jersey of London Irish