James Henderson is on Holiday

James Henderson is on Holiday

Weight - 90kg *Alcohol units – 6 (and that’s just last night), probably 20 for the week – well, I am on holiday. Near-death incidents while cycling – 0, but obviously I haven’t been cycling this week. Injuries: a sore side to my foot, weird, never had that before, perhaps it’s the tarmac. Comments to say ‘Ooooh, you’re looking so thinnnn…’ (with the implication that this makes me a better person) - 3. Comments complimenting me on being something worthwhile - 0

Man in a Palm Tree (2).jpg

Most columnists have a stand-in for moments like this, when they go on holiday. Not me. But then training, or in my case non-training, doesn’t stop when you’re go abroad. It just takes a different form, says he, as he retreats to his hammock and a third book in three days. So I am writing with a sky blue swimming pool before me, in which inflatable pool toys move constantly and without relatable logic. Beyond it is a hazy outline of Turkey, and behind me somewhere, in the bougainvillea, a rooster is calling.

So my standard regime of cycle, swim and pretend-running has been interrupted. And instead there is, well, pretend-running and swimming in the sea. So I have been out ploughing my way across the bays of Rhodes, and then on an evening over in Halki, tangling myself in the lines holding yachts fast to the shore.

 There is fruit though, to satisfy the new regime. Our visit to the local fruit barn was a revelation – we are now weighed under with nectarines, apricots, tangerines, peaches, plums, pineapples. And the obligatory, fifteen pound watermelon that someone threw in (thump) and which will sit uneaten for the whole week. And then there are three very determined avocados. They have been sitting in the sun for three days and frankly would be more use in a cannon than on a plate.

Joe the Physio has got me gradually to reduce the walking section between the running sections, and I have gone from 50 : 50 run-walk to 75 : 25, though I am still hobbling along guarding the left Achilles. So it’s early morning down by the beach, or on the mountain road. Only a few people have given me that look which says “slacker…” as I pull up for teh regular walking sections walk, but there was a nice one this morning.

I can’t understand Greek, but it was pretty clear what a five year old boy meant as he eyed me passing, hand in hand with his grandmother on an early morning walk: “Granny, why is that old man putting himself through such evident pain, and yet he is moving so… so… slowly?” He was even willing me on with an expectant face.

Granny brought it suitably down to earth, with the Greek for: “Don’t worry, darling. He is obviously desperate. He’s a tourist but we should ignore him. He might be dangerous…”


* With apologies to Bridget Jones, though you’ll notice a deceleration of the speed in which I am shedding lard. Only one kilo this week. We’ll see.