RICHARD ORD: Pipe and slippers? More like grappling hooks and crampons just to get upstairs...

​Do you remember when stairs were fun? ​I’ve memories of racing my brother up them two or three steps at a time to be the first to do a somersault on the bed.
'And the toilet's on the first floor yeah? I'll begin my ascent now then...''And the toilet's on the first floor yeah? I'll begin my ascent now then...'
'And the toilet's on the first floor yeah? I'll begin my ascent now then...'

Then, job done, tearing back down them at least four at a time or, using the banister as support, leaping from the landing to hallway without touching a single step. A full flight in one go. I was probably 12 years old.

At 58, stairs are no longer those carpeted playthings of my youth (can’t speak for my brother, he may still be bounding up and down stairs for fun, for all I know).

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These days I view a flight of stairs in much the same way as a mountaineer views the North Face of the Eiger in a blizzard. Not much smiling involved.

Knee wreckers, that’s what stairs are.

To be fair, these days pretty much every once-mundane activity can now take its toll on my failing body.

The irony is that this year I decided it was time to start taking care of my health and fitness levels if I wanted to see my grandchildren grow up to fleece their grandad of what little cash he had managed to save. (I don’t have grandchildren, but have factored in the leech factor of my sons ever procreating).

And each new activity and lifestyle change to extend my life has resulted in an accelerated downturn in physical performance.

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As I’m in a relationship with a pescetarian. That’s a vegetarian who allows herself to eat fish. Meat is murder, unless that meat has gills. This means I’ve pretty much removed red meat from my diet. I’ve also cut out dairy. The result of which was, as I revealed last week, a phone call from the doctor to tell me my cholesterol was through the roof! Genetics apparently. Nothing to do with my diet. My body’s trying to kill me. Charming!

Since my eldest (leech one) borrowed (and for borrowed, read stole) my car, I pretty much walk everywhere. Instead of a walking health boost, I’ve now got arthritis in my big toe!

Not one to be put off, however, I decided to take up a new sport. Pickleball. It’s a cross between tennis and ping pong. This energetic new pastime would, you’d think, result in a revitalised body brimming with vitality. Of course not. Just pain-wracked knees when ascending stairs.

I thought I was reaching the pipe and slippers time of life. Less pipe and slippers, more grappling hooks and crampons just to get upstairs!