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Saturday, 23 September 2017
WHENEVER I’m in the local Co-op (five times in one day being the latest record) I always make sure I stock up on cheese. There’s haloumi, of course (yumsters either fried or simply “raw” straight out of the packet), double Gloucester (obvs), red Leicester, mild cheddar and Cookie’s favourite, mature cheddar.
In fact, they’re all Cookie favourites and I only ever get cheese for him, I tell myself over and over, as treats to bribe him into obeying my commands (“sit” being all we’ve managed so far, but he’s really good at it when there’s cheese in the offing).
Well, you didn’t think I got the cheese for me, did you?
Ha! As if. Ye of sod-all faith.
Actually, you’re half-right, if I’m honest. It’s usually a case of one slice cut up into tiny squares for Cookie, two slabs for me, one slice cut up into tiny squares for Cookie, four slabs (with some mayonnaise for good measure) for me, one slice cut up into... I think you get the picture.
But that’s not why I’m stacking it on. Neither is it my out and proud addiction to anything made by the wonderful Mr Kipling.
And it has definitely got absolutely nothing to do with those soggy-in-the-middle, scrummy, giant milk chocolate cookies the Co-op staff insist on throwing into my bag without my knowledge, either.
Nah, it’s the rapid onset of that most alarming of characteristics peculiar to the over-the-hill and past-it — the middle-age spread. And I’m totally powerless to do anything about it!
Which is brilliant, actually. Because now I don’t even have to blame The Ex and his mammoth portions or the kids and their scoffing habits (God knows where they got those from) for my spare tyre(s) — it’s just getting older, a natural part of the ageing process.
So when I see those posters of unbearably gorgeous, youthful models in barely-there bikinis sneering down at me and asking me, in a defiantly hands-in-hips accusatory tone: “Is your body beach-ready yet?”, I always laugh.
I swear I heard the model laugh back at me once, prompting me to high-tail it to the nearest Krispy Kreme stall and ram one of their lovely jammy, creamy, custardy creations down my throat. Or maybe it was two, can’t remember. I was stressed, all right?
And that’s what we all do when we’re anxious — fight, flight or turn into a flabby fright. It’s human nature, innit? And guess which one I plump for most often…
But I mean, bikini? Beach-ready? You must be having a Turkish bath, mate. Or, more likely, a Fry’s Turkish Delight. Full of eastern promise, me.
Which is why you only see a head-and-shoulders shot of me at the top of this column. Column inches only stretch so far sideways, after all. And you might be reading this a little too close to breakfast time.
Still, the way I see it, there are far more important things to worry about than how many calories there are in a West Cornwall pasty. Like climate change, for instance. Or the threat of nuclear war. And why-oh-why, for the love of all that’s decent and holy, did Cadbury’s change the Crème Egg recipe?
So who cares if my body, my temple, has developed a charming, bijou little bay window out front? At least I’m still standing, albeit leaning forward a tad, what with the weight of it all.
Because when I’m ready to get back out there and delve into the dating scene, I’ll be like a renovator’s dream.
But that’s another story…
15 September 2017