There, or thereabouts…


It is a cold, crisp morning; the sort that draws an involuntary wince when the twin comforts of a snuggie, and the remnants of warm tea are withdrawn somewhat suddenly. Having not visited the gym in two weeks and a few days – blame my trip to the middle of nowhere, not my laziness – the plan is to drag myself there at some stage over the course of the day. The dry, sunny vista that greets my eyes looking out onto Pittodrie beguiles me into kitting myself out in my gym get-up; which is how at the ungodly hour of 9am on a Saturday I am high tailing the 700 yards or so from my house to the gym. The forty-five minute amble on the treadmill passes by uneventfully enough – today there are neither svelte, graceful does nor brawny, over-fit ones to terrorise me, or show me up for the lazy bum I am..

Four minutes into my slow down routine, I catch sight of F, in the full length mirror, she is waving excitedly.. Behind her is her father..

AJ!!!!! He hollers, when I come off the treadmill, wiping my brow and breathing heavily..

You never talk true for this gym matter o.. That girl must have you in her armpit..

I laugh. He and I have this ongoing conversation where he insists the sole reason I am still doing the gym thing is that some woman of some description has me cornered. Just how I could have gone from a couch loving, NCIS/Big Bang Theory bing-er to one who goes to the gym twice or more each week beats his imagination.

[In the interest of full disclosure, both Q. and S. were obsessive gym-ers; nothing of course developed from those liaisons.]

He insists the weight loss is significant too. Bar the odd day on which the extra space in my favourite pair of jeans is obvious, I don’t see any evidence of that. While we are talking, trading these volleys of accusation and counter accusation, someone else walks past with two children in tow. It’s an old classmate of mine from my Newcastle days..

Doing very well with the gym thing pal, he says.. Keep it up, he adds, punching me lightly in my stomach. F. rolls her eyes, like only a woman can. Her father stifles a laugh as he throws me a knowing look… I shrug a bit, inwardly chuffed that the hard work of the summer of living dangerously appears to be paying off already..

On this evidence, I suppose I can claim to be there, or perhaps thereabouts?