Thursday, 31 July 2008

Number One In The Body Fat League

L goes off to her pre-work cardio-tennis and in her capacity as my personal coach tells me she's considering booking me to join her next week. Hmmm.

I take the Red Arrow into work to give the legs a rest. Before I leave, I have a couple of attempts at rousing the kids for their papers which L follows up with a phone call. Not sure if any of this worked.

I leave the two dogs together for the first time because one was asleep in the hall, the other in the kitchen. The fussy eater ate a full bowl of food whilst the gannet just picked at his; I think they’re swapping roles.

I leave work just after lunch because I've been invited to participate in the Biobank medical research project. It seemed like a bit of a jolly to me, so I thought I'd give it a go. L has also been invited but doesn't seem as keen. She was sceptical and spoke to her GP about it, who appeared to be dead against it. This made my mind up; anything that gets up the noses of GPs sounds good to me.

I think L's also sceptical about whether I'm going through with it and queries whether I've not just got an appointment with a younger woman. Well, hopefully, they’ll be a nice young nurse holding my wrist, taking my pulse, but knowing my luck, there won't be.

It’s their first day doing the tests and many of the staff don't seem to quite know what they're doing. I have to train one nurse on how to use the computer software, I also make apologies for the programmer who wrote it and forgot to make it mouse compatible. I assure them I'd have made a better job of it, had I written it.

Finally, I've won something and without the aid of a dog. One of the medics informs me that I'm number one in his body fat league table. I have 9.1% body fat, which he says is in the athletic zone and it's the best he's had so far. He says he's had a couple of 40%ers today. It's good to know I'm classed as athletic.

They take a sample of my blood and I make sure they take it from my left arm, I need my right for tennis later. I'm sure it said in the leaflet that it would be around three tablespoons full. Well, five and a half test tubes is a lot more than that. As Tony Hancock would say, 'that’s almost an arm full'. Half way through the fifth test tube, I start to feel a bit faint. At this point I really needed that nice young nurse with cool hands to mop my forehead but all the ones who dealt with me were the Hattie Jacques matron type from the Carry On films. There were plenty of nice young things drifting around but presumably, they were only for show.

Finally, they let me go and outside it's absolutely chucking it down, so our tennis court will be awash. What’s worse is, that my immediate problem is, that I don't have a coat with me.

So to the tennis. I used to play a lot but this was back when I was a teenager and when racquets were generally wooden ones. I reckon I have only played one game in the last 20 years and that was about 15 years ago when a friend and me went down to Ipswich to play a challenge match again a couple of tennis nuts. We won, on sheer guts and determination. Our opponents have not spoken to us since. My opponent today plays about once or twice a year, so he's a regular by comparison.

It doesn't start well, the courts seem to be a lot smaller, the balls a lot faster and the racquets a lot more highly strung these days, as well as not made of wood or is it just me? As we came in I enviously eyed some pretty decent wooden racquets that the tennis centre had got screwed to the walls, I wonder if they'd mind if I borrowed one.

After a bad start, mainly because my trademark shot to the back corners kept sailing off towards the main road, I start to get it together. Although it’s going to take something special to come back from 0-6 0-2 down. Things do improve, they have to because the people in the next court are get sick of me apologising for sending them extra balls.

I shock my opponent by making the second set quite close, losing it 6-3 and then going 2-0 up in the third. It then almost resembles a proper match, as games go with serve and before long my opponent is serving to save the set at 3-5. He goes 40-0 up and I ponder the pressure of serving for the set. Then, amazingly and partly thanks to some dodgy serving on his part I win five points in a row to take the set on his serve. We wind it up then because we've already gone 40 minutes over time, which is a shame because I reckon I could have done him over five sets.

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