The Lost Samurai

The Lost Samurai

Ben’s plan for next year…

Flashback six months. Ben and I are walking past Malham Tarn. We’re a couple of miles into our 5 days/90 miles Pennine Way epic. And I’m feeling good.

“We should do this every year,” I say.

As I say, feeling good. At the time I hadn’t walked for eight hours soaked to the skin. I hadn’t been so exhausted that I couldn’t speak. I hadn’t slipped on the rocks and broken two fingers. I hadn’t fallen in a bog and had to walk a mile in my underpants to dry out.

“As long as you’re up to it, Dad.” Back in August I thought he was being considerate. Now I realise he had the gift of foresight.

“Where shall we go next year? Southern Ireland? Bologna to Florence?”

“Why don’t we walk across Japan?” [Read more…]

The Poor, Brave Soldier

The Poor, Brave Soldier

The wife when I was hallucinating…

That’s how it starts. The sudden need for your wife to soothe your brow and call you her ‘poor, brave soldier.’

Technically, it starts with the ominous shivering. “I just can’t get warm today,” I said last Saturday lunchtime. And three hours later I wrapped myself in my dressing gown, crawled into bed and pulled an extra blanket over me. Then I asked – very weakly – for another blanket.

But when the shivers and shakes start, nothing keeps you warm.

“Maybe I’ve eaten something,” I whispered. “I’ll be OK tomorrow.”

“Good,” my wife said, “Because Ben says he’s bringing Chloe round.”

What? He was finally bringing her round? No way could I meet her in this state. I had to get better… [Read more…]

Watch and Learn. And Visit A&E…

Just ordered a skateboard for a (nearly) six year old, tweeted a virtual pal of mine. This isn’t going to end well…

It’ll be fine, I reassuringly tweeted back. Unless, of course, your OH jumps on it and says, ‘Watch and learn…’

Says the voice of experience, she replied.

Sadly, she’s right. And I have the scars – and the stamps on my A&E loyalty card – to prove it.

Twenty or so years ago – the years when I didn’t fall lovingly on every pair of trousers with an ‘athletic’ waist – I played squash.

Jane and I had been living together for four days when they phoned from the sports centre. “He’s crashed his head into the wall. We think he may need to go to A&E.” [Read more…]

The Weigh-In

I have made one of the most stupid decisions of my life.

I have bought a new set of bathroom scales.

The old scales and I were pals. I could trust them. If you want to be pedantic they were broken. But like a broken clock is right twice a day, the bathroom scales were right whenever I stepped onto them. “Close enough,” I’d mutter, and skip cheerfully downstairs for a bacon sandwich.

But I’ve finally cracked. Yet another night of red wine, red meat and the wretched cheeseboard and I’ve stabbed my mate in the back. [Read more…]