Monday 15 December 2014


To the outsider, boating looks like a very healthy pastime. Fresh air, locks to work, walks to the shops, and so on. For those in the know, it doesn’t quite work like that. Ever since my best beloved decided that the strain of working the locks was nothing compared to the tension involved in steering Erin Mae straight into them, I’ve stood like a lord on the stern while most of the hard work went on around or above me. Exercise consists of a yard this way or that across Erin Mae’s delightful cruiser stern, though occasionally I would gallantly climb up a dripping ladder with my windlass to give a hand. It doesn’t take long to note that the average waist-band size among boaters is no less that that of the population as a whole.

Many moons ago, a colleague and I agreed that one day we would run the London marathon. One day… We never have, and probably never will. Meanwhile my main exercise was via playing hockey through the winter months, and doing various things with my students in the summer. But about 8 years ago I said farewell to wielding a hockey stick, and I haven’t had any proper exercise since. Not even on Erin Mae. My best beloved, on the other hand, had acquired a gym membership to help with recuperation after surgery, and was getting quite addicted to the machinery, the endorphins and the company. Once we started spending serious time on Erin Mae, however, the gym membership lapsed and she, too, began to be concerned, especially about the lack of aerobic activity during the winter.

So we took ourselves (and the wallet) along to the local sports emporium, and came home with a cross trainer. It was a bit like an Ikea flatpack to put together, but we managed it, and now it sits in the garage, cajoling us into some cardio-vascular worthiness.

As it happens, it’s a Kettler (mostly because all the other fitness equipment firms seem to have gone into liquidation over the last year). That means our garage is getting extremely full of German technology, what with the new Grundig fridge freezer I wrote about last week.

I wonder if Erin Mae will notice the difference in the new, sprightly us, when we get back on board in the spring.


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