Is that an inflatable ball or my reflection in the mirror?


It’s been a long time since I darkened the doorstep of the gym but after being weighed on Friday, drastic action is needed. It must be an age thing. I don’t eat more than used to but my belly is now less spare Mini tyre and more John Deere tractor.

My gym guru, PK, does well to disguise her shock as saunter in trying to hide behind Dynamite Di, which is impossible as she’s 5ft nothing and a size 10. Still, PK gamely steers me away from the coffee machine and towards the instruments of torture.

First off is a couple of minutes on the bike. She thinks I’m joking when request an oxygen tent. I’m then plonked on the cross-trainer for three minutes but I feel seasick and get off after one.

Thinking this is fate’s way of saying “embrace your podginess and run for the changing room”, I try to escape but am foiled as PK manoeuvres me on to a mat to attempt some sit-ups, buttock twanging and general bendy things. Just 40 minutes after arriving I am back in the car, dazed, confused but strangely exhilarated


Spend entire day hunched over computer and burning no calories. Do humps come with age? My posture is appalling, so I trawl the internet for an inflatable ball thing that you can sit on and it sorts your spine alignment out. Apparently, you exercise your tummy muscles while just sitting.

It’s my birthday next week so when Louis asks me what I would like say a ball. He looks surprised, excited and horrified all in a moment at the thought of his mother taking up football, playing in public and embarrassing him to a degree previously unimagined. He is relieved, if a little confused, when say it is just for sitting on.

In the evening, Dave and I go out for pasta then off to the cinema to see Redeye. It’s a great thriller by Wes Craven set on an aeroplane. Halfway through I turn to see Dave with his eyes out on stalks looking suitably terrified. Afterwards, he claims it wasn’t that convincing. Oh, yeah


Back at the gym. Last about 40 minutes and take a vow to attend regularly to try and make a difference to my tummy.

And at my tender age, is wearing one of these Victorian shirts that are all the rage mutton dressed as lamb? I didn’t think so until Dave said I looked like Whistler’s Mother. Not speaking to him ThursdayMy old pal James Curran comes up from London He is a muso deluxe, so we sit in The Baillie drinking beer and arguing about new albums.

Several lagers later, Dynamite joins us and the conversation turns to after-dinner speaking. I have committed to doing one at the end of November. I am informed that people fear standing up and speaking in public more than death. Not the words of encouragement I was hoping for.

By the time we leave the bar, Di has decided I should talk about Hair Through The Ages. I call a taxi – death would, in fact, be preferable to that


Louis is on Virgin Radio. The breakfast presenters are doing a feature where they get a child on air and ask them if they have any grievances against their parents. Louis’ complaint is I don’t let him play loud music before he goes to bed.

The judge then decides who is in the right, the child or the parent. But they don’t warn him that the judge is none other than Paul McCartney, who is in the studio talking about his new album. The DJs Pete & Jeff ask Louis: “What would you like to ask Paul McCartney?”Louis clams up and throws the phone at me. I throw it back to him.

He goes bright red and intimates by way of running out of the room that he is not saying another word. Paul McCartney, the lovely man, took pity on the “the wee Scottish boy who went all shy on us” and sang Yellow Submarine to him. Wow.

chased Louis round the house, telling him it was the most amazing thing in the world to have an actual Beatle singing YOU a special song. He grinned and agreed. Tremendous compensation for temporarily being the quietest person in Britain


Dave is away golfing, so I go into town with Dynamite. It is hot and we are stomping up and down Princes Street. By 4pm my feet are sore so we head home.

Going out tonight to Big Fish, a place only open every second weekend. But at 7.15pm, Dave phones to say he is still at the golf club. I grit my teeth, stroll from the room and make sure Louis doesn’t hear my message to him.

The golf course is 20 miles from Edinburgh and we are meeting our pals at 8pm. I have to drop Louis at his grandma’s in between and am not amused. Still, after a fabulous meal of blackened monkfish and carpaccio of tuna, all is forgiven


Writer & broadcaster.

Related Posts

Read also x