I haven't fallen down a pothole. I'm still alive - albeit in rather rotund form. Although to be fair to myself I have actually started my traditional New Year diet. Only this year to make it even more of a challenge I decided to start on February 1st rather than January 1st. Ambitious eh?
So the challenge is whether or not I can get into a bikini by August.
Anybody out there related to Houdini? I could do with some advice....
Okay, okay I'm teasing- I don't really wear bikinis. I'm English! I wear Laura Ashley smocks and Wellington boots and a pinafore. Even on the beach. Do you know how cold it is on an English beach? An afternoon on a English beach is like being whipped with an ice laden tea towel whilst standing stark naked in a force ten gale. Painful. And anyone who doesn't wear (at the very least) a smock, thermals, an insulated coat, woolly hat, gloves, scarf and three pairs of socks to an English beach is destined to have recurrent chilblains for the next forty years.
You know how we English got the reputation for having a "stiff upper lip"? No? Well I tell you how it came about...
When we are babies English tradition has it that we are left in our prams on promenades, piers or in our back gardens for a dose of good old sea air. (Apparently, it's good for the lungs and builds up a cast iron constitution.) Roughly, this tradition translates to 12 hours a day in the freezing cold with only a rubber teat for company and a flock of seagulls pooping on your pram.
For about 3 years. Or until such time you can undo your harness and scream "child abuse."
So that's how we English got a stiff upper lip; it started out because our lips were actually frozen solid. However, after we won two world wars other nations realised that there was no way they could beat a country whose children were subjected to such hideous infant torture. God knows - I remember only too well those days spent looking forlornly out of my Silver Cross pram worrying if the seagulls were going to shit on me and yearning for my mother's breast.
(Okay, maybe a little dramatic licence there as I can't actually remember anything; I was practically mummified.)
Anyway, bearing in mind this great English tradition it's no miracle we were able to evacuate so many of our soldiers from Dunkirk. It was just like a bracing stroll along the promenade with a few German dive bombers instead of seagulls...
I say Johnnie - there's a Stuka at 11 o'clock. I'll cover you whilst you and the boys wade out in your Wellies."
Yes, Sir! It'll be damn cold out there though, Sir!
Just bracing sea air, Johnnie. Perfect opportunity for an afternoon swim.
Yes, Sir! Shall I tell the boys to swim the last two miles to Dover for some exercise, Sir?
Excellent idea, Johnnie. Don't forget to practice the synchronised swim routine too.
Right, heads down Everyone! Damned blasted Jerries... and I wanted to be back in Old Blighty for tea....
Yep, so that's the story of how we got our stiff upper lip.