THIS ISLAND LIFEI READ with mixed feelings the news the Heights Leisure Centre at Sandown will be closed over the next six months for refurbishment.
There was sympathy for those who use the facilities to sustain a decent level of fitness — and relief I will not now be able to join them.
Apparently, it’s that time of year when 'we’ need to go on a diet because 'we’ over-indulged during the festive season and 'we’ should be ashamed of ourselves.
Mrs N is on the health and fitness warpath. She is like a galleon in full sail and I shall be required to follow behind in her low-calorie, fat-free, no added sugar wake.
The fridge has suddenly become crammed with clumps of celery, insipid yoghurt and that stuff which looks like cheese and tastes like putty.
But if you can’t beat them … so I have pledged to lose at least two stones (it could be more if the mood takes me) before attending my mate Malc Lawrence’s wedding in the summer.
This weight loss will be achieved in my own way — and that does not include joining either Weight Watchers or Slimming World.
I have nothing against either organisation and I’m sure they have been responsible for helping people shed mountains of excess adipose tissue — but they’re not for me. It’s going to be difficult enough without paying for the privilege of turning up at a church hall once a week to receive a sympathetic round of applause for losing half a pound.
Neither will I be going down the sponsored route. I would hate to think the financial wellbeing of some charity depended on my ability to consume salad in industrial quantities.
Attempts at weight loss tend to attract the faddish and the latest is an experiment conducted in America (where else?) which proved women who wrote for 15 minutes each day about things they love most shed pounds quicker than those who wrote about subjects which didn’t matter to them.
I’m living proof this is a flawed theory.
I’ve spent years writing about my family, friends, cricket and Havenstreet but it has not prevented my waist from expanding exponentially.
Perhaps I should start phase two of my favourite things and fill this column for the next few months with variations on the themes of John Betjeman poems, John Wayne films, Roy Orbison songs and The West Wing.
Extra help is at hand, however, because Mrs N has invested in a Jennifer Ellison fitness DVD on the grounds this young lady dropped five dress sizes in order to appear in Dancing on Ice.
It seems I shall also be expected to prance around in front of the telly each afternoon at the behest of a blonde bimbo who appeared in Brookside for a few years and then disappeared without trace.
I attempted to mount a feeble defence and the conversation went thus.
Me: "Well of course she lost four stones — she had a baby."
Mrs N: "Well you look pregnant as well but it’s not going to be that easy for you, is it?"
After 40 years you’d think I’d know better.
A familiar name from the Island’s cricketing past
LAST November cricket commentator and writer Peter Roebuck jumped from the sixth floor of a South African hotel after an allegation of sexual assault had been made against him.It brought an end to the life of a man whose many obituaries described as 'strange’ and 'troubled’ but whose ability as a pundit on the sport he adored was never in doubt.
I dropped plenty of hints about getting his autobiography, Sometimes I Forgot to Laugh, as a Christmas present and my daughter, Sam, eventually managed to track one down in India.
No sooner had I started to read it than a familiar name popped up on page 39.
Roebuck was referring to those he met during his days at Millfield School and wrote: "… and a chap called le Breton, who seemed wise beyond his years and would eventually become somebody important behind the scenes in the Liberal Party, or whatever it is they call themselves these days.
"He advised me to listen to one coach and one only … this was one of the most important tips I received in many decades in the game."
You don’t get many le Bretons to the pound, so I assumed it had to be the genial chap who, during the 70s, seemed to play cricket every day on the Island for about three seasons for any team that would have him — including Havenstreet if he was really desperate.
Contact was made via cyberspace and it was good to talk to the old boy again.
He confirmed he was indeed one of Roebuck’s mentors and had remained in touch with him down the years.
William himself operates a nifty keyboard and if you want examples of cricket writing at its most perceptive and affectionate, log on to http://downatthirdman.wordpress.com