MAN’S WORLD: Battling waistbands after a winter’s over-indulgance

editorial image

Not for the first time in my life I’ve been thinking about food. And wine.

Or rather, the lack of it.

Sadly, I’m on a diet.

There’s no evidence of it in Hartlepool but I have to assume that summer is coming.

Which will mean the annual squabble between the waistband of my shorts and a winter’s over-indulgence.

Assuming I have any shorts left…

“I’m going through my wardrobe,” my wife announced.

“You need to do the same. Or I’ll do it for you.”

My feelings were mixed. Yes, I needed to go through my wardrobe.

No, I didn’t need to come face to face – or more accurately, waist to waist – with the man I once was.

I trudged upstairs to confront the inevitable.

Jane had thoughtfully provided a plastic sack from the charity shop.

A large one…

Blimey. My favourite black jumper.

I’d forgotten about that.

Why had it stayed at the back of the wardrobe for so long?

I tried it on. That was why.

And that navy blue V-neck. Nope, same result.

The afternoon settled into a steady rhythm.

Find something. Get excited. Try it on. Stick it in the sack.

The second sack, as it turned out.

“I’m keeping some of my favourites,” I said.

“To encourage me. Besides, I’m still giving an awful lot to charity.”

“You’re not going to get an MBE for clearing out your wardrobe if that’s what you think.”

“What about Tom and Ben?” I said hopefully.

“That’s a really good idea,” my wife said.

“Apart from the tiny fact that both boys could fit into one of your jumpers. And then there’s the small matter of style. Or lack of it…”

That was that. By the end of the afternoon I was on a diet.

My wife appointed herself Chief Enforcer.

“What did you have for lunch?” she demanded as I came home from work.

“A salad,” I replied, more or less truthfully.

“Just a salad?” she said, reaching for the electrodes.

I duly confessed. Deep fried squid with salt and pepper mix: with a salad.

Maybe I shouldn’t have tweeted a picture of it…

“It was a business meeting,” I said limply, as though that reduced the calories.

I don’t have a good track record with diets. An ex-girlfriend once put me on the Beverley Hills diet – and it led to the only religious experience of my life.

I started with a day of bananas. Then she decided it was grapes all day. Then blueberries – and that’s when I had the vision.

I was driving round the York by-pass when it appeared in front of me.

Hovering in the air.

Maybe five feet off the ground.

It was a rack of lamb.

The only celestial vision I’ve ever had and it featured a dead sheep. But hell’s teeth it looked good.

…And I could recognise a sign when the gods sent one.

Clearly, dieting wasn’t for me.

I pulled in at the next garage, bought three Mars bars and dumped my girlfriend the next day.

Anyway, that was then. When I was a weak, callow youth.

This time it’s different. I have gone two days without a glass of wine. Naked Wines have e-mailed to ask if I’m ill.

And I’ve a walking app on my phone.

I christened it yesterday. 3.37 kilometres, 36 minutes, an average speed of 5.6km per hour and the weather was cloudy. “And 225 calories burned,” I said proudly.

“That’s one of your glasses of wine,” my wife said.

Sadly, she’s right. It’s going to be a long road until all my clothes fit again. Long and hard. And dry…