Goodness, it’s already January 9 – I’ve aged another year in a time when Scottish life expectancy is falling. What lies ahead in 2019 when the Brexit clock is counting down – and taking the reputation of our politicians with it?
Some things are dependable in life. My Michelin Man waistline remains the same; my bucket list grows longer – and Nicola Sturgeon is still threatening another independence referendum. Will it be any different in 2020?
Well I hope to have returned to a 40in waist and the gift of a new Fitbit might just help me do it. Suddenly a new wardrobe (that I already possess but I have rarely graced) will open up to me. Those business suits I bought three years ago that wink at me when I have an important meeting. Those screamingly loud pink Marco Polo shorts I bought two summers ago have yet to attend a barbecue. The tight fitting T-shirts that are only permissible under a shirt worn loose.
It all has to change, and walking is what’s going to do it I am telling myself. I get lots of swimming in the summer that helps me shed a few pounds, but like our long-haired white cat Monty, I fatten up in the winter months when the most exercise I get is walking through airports between terminals. I need to develop a better fitness-driven routine and more walking and rediscovering my bicycle are the first ports of call I hope to make this month.
It’s not that I don’t eat healthily; I cook all that we eat at home from fresh, there are plenty of vegetables and pulses – but I admit to too much dairy and an affection for potatoes of all descriptions and variations. But beyond having more exercise and cutting back on the cheese, cream and potatoes (often in combination) I know what the real problem is – my portion control!
I like a glass of wine with my meal, and I don’t believe that is a bad thing. But have you seen how the size of wine glasses has ballooned over the last decade or more? When I first started quaffing, a small Paris glass was the norm. Sure it had to be topped up more often but I’ve no doubt that these goldfish bowls that pass for wine glasses – and look great on a dinner table – have helped my consumption rise. Then there is the crockery. When I was a kid or even a teenager I would eat like a horse but burn it all off. Plate sizes were modest to say the least and I would often have a second helping – especially at school dinners, where we used to have roast potato eating competitions or fight over the skin on the custard jug!
I had a milk round in the morning and a paper round after school – then it became paper rounds at either end of the day – climbing three storeys of tenements to deliver The Scotsman or Evening News. I was as lean as the proverbial butcher’s dog (I never saw one at McAlpines, my butchers!).
But then something happened – I learned to drive and plate sizes started to increase. Now, like wine glasses my plates are massive and the bowls could take the Scottish fishing fleet (what’s left of it). I blame pasta; I never knew pasta in my mum’s house – except macaroni cheese (which never qualified as pasta, we just thought of it as a Scottish dish). But when spag bol and especially tagliatelli carbonara arrived, the pasta bowl replaced the soup plate and then started getting bigger and bigger.
It has to stop. I have to park my big bowls and humongous wine goblets. I need more self-discipline and its happening this year. I promise – honest, it’s more likely than Nicola Sturgeon refusing to have another referendum. Watch this space to find out.