WEIGHT until the end of the Coronavirus crisis

Life in lockdown - more quick fat than Kwik Fit

Sitting solo in the front office of my legal practice branch in Giffnock, I occasionally get to look up from the desk, from all the scanning and malarkey, to see a scene of busy-ness on Fenwick Road. Lots of locals are out walking and cycling, presumably getting their one-a-day exercise. But some are also doing essential shopping and banking. And across the street our local Kwik Fit is going like a fair all day, presumably servicing cars that owners are at last getting around to, now that they are not out at work each day. The guys (I call back to mind the old TV advert song “You can’t get better than a Kwik Fit fitter, You can’t get better than a Kwik Fit fitter, You can't get better than a Kwik Fit fitter, they’re the boys to trust!”. Try saying that three times after the office night out) as well as doing the brakes and the tyres, get the reception area chairs out each day and wash them down.

These are all the lucky ones, in one way at least. Exercise and activity are now at an absolute premium. I don’t know if you have seen the Pixar animation film Wall-E. As with so many of these works, it has many levels. There is colour, slapstick and cute characters for the weans, but it is also a commentary on human consumption, culture and hope. Simple enough plot – post-apocalyptic barren ruined Earth, organic life ended, the last of humanity long escaped on a spaceship. The only sentient beings are a little scavenging robot (Wall-E) and inevitably a cockroach. I will leave the rest, as you will surely have plenty of time to see the film (or see it again) in the next weeks. But the point is this: the humans are still, hundreds of years later, on their spaceship. The captain’s treasured cap and jacket have been handed down the generations, but by the time we catch up with the space-born population, everyone is so fat and lethargic the jacket can only be draped round the captain’s neck. He plays golf – by slouching in the command chair on the bridge and pressing the buttons of his arm-rest to make virtual shots on a screen.

Anyway, back to the present day. Like most of you, I am completely out of kilter. I may be borderline ancient, but I do sport, I walk, I swim, I buzz about the town enjoying various activities alone and/or with family and friends. The Fitbit sometimes grabs my arm, and pants for a breather. Though on that subject, when out for a walk with my spouse, I always seem to do more steps than she. Apparently it is because I have short legs, though I am not sure if that was said scientifically or sarcastically.

I already feel the lack of exercise. Even at work I occupy a small section of our office with all the electronics and comms kit, rather than ranging around the southside of Glasgow, hurtling into town or to Edinburgh for meetings and Law Society of Scotland work, generally putting myself about. Gym closed, classes suspended, pool not available. I can walk of course, but no decent destinations are open, and we are meant to stay close to home. My running days are sadly over.

Last week I thought I had a brilliant idea – my main sport, as some of you know, is karate. I am a 4th Dan and have been doing Shotokan for 44 years. It is the perfect exercise for body mind and spirit, and great fun with friends in the classes. I suggested that class members all have a virtual class – in our own homes or gardens at the same time – i.e. the usual day and time – then compare notes after. I even offered to film mine and make it available as a prequel to doing a Joe Wicks-type of club show each week.

I set up the camera on a proper tripod at the back of the garage, worked out a script and running order (radio pals… I still have the discipline) and hit the Record button. In shot I went through the warm-up, some basics and combinations, and a few kata. That was enough for the moment to let me see how near to Jean-Luc Godard I was in creative talent.

Mother of God(ard) – I am glad I did it offline. Having been trained over many years by some fantastic instructors putting me and a class through paces, I have a standard image of a fit, knowledgeable expert facing me/us, teaching routines and exercises perfectly while we try to match him or her. What my video contained was to all intents and purposes a fat oaf with a pot belly writhing and leering into the camera. Add to that the occasional background shot of my spouse wandering across the garden with a coffee and a book heading for the lawn bench, then my local garden robin flying across the scene, and the whole thing was a debacle. There is definitely a karate class video project to set up. This wasn’t it.

And anyone who shouts “Pictures or it didn’t happen!”, I simply wish to Heaven you were right.

Not so much quarantone (see the online photos of unclothed ripped chaps) as quarantonne.

The worst was that in an instant I saw my weight had very quickly gone up. I have never been skinny, and it is a bit of an aeon since I have been slim, but the World Premier of the non - Hollywood blockbuster Austin’s Antics was, and is, beyond a joke.

All change right now – get on with that exercise, match calorie intake, head back to being the gorgeous hunk that I know is in there somewhere. I must be my own Michelangelo – chip away at the marble.. or blubber... until the perfect sculptured figure emerges.

Epilogue: One bugbear - cycling. I absolutely can’t stand seeing cyclists riding along the pavement as many do past the office. It is against the law, dangerous to pedestrians and, if it comes to it, to cyclists themselves. Utter selfishness. And on the occasions I have politely remonstrated or explained the situation to them, I get ignored, sworn at, and on one momentous occasions, greeted with “Get tae f*** ya auld codger”. Sadly I made the mistake of relating that story to my family, and instead of the expected outraged sympathy, guess what I am now known as. Anyway, I feel as if I should start a campaign.

Slogan anyone?

Austin Lafferty: self-portrait, April 2020

Austin Lafferty: self-portrait, April 2020

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