15 July 2008

Middle Aged Spread on the Riviera

All my adult life I’ve been able to squeeze into size 32 Levis. Indeed it’s a standing joke between my brother, Robert, and me that when we see each other after maybe 6 months, the first thing we do is check the labels on our respective jeans to see what size we’ve progressed to. Unfortunately, whilst he still has 32 on his, my waistline is creeping inexorably upwards. It has only just occurred to me that he might be devious enough to change the labels on his jeans to a smaller size so the next check will inspect the stitching as well as the size on the label !

Now, he has quite a manually demanding job and I’m sure that must have something to do with keeping him at size 32 because otherwise he’d be as fat as a barrel. He lives in the West of Scotland (Glasgow to be precise) where size is quite clearly associated with the number of pints and curries one consumes on a weekly basis and he certainly consumes both with great enthusiasm. Also, his job entails visiting restaurants and hotels all of whom seem to provide him with enormous amounts of free food so he’s never short of a couple of meals or two ! So it must be the job but perversely, my builder who worked harder than anyone I’ve ever seen had a beer gut which would have made a sumo wrestler proud.

Anyway, my waistline is creeping up and up and I blame, fairly and squarely, the totally pervasive social life which embraces this area. It is not uncommon for me to return from a ‘boozy’ lunch to be woken up from my early-evening slumbers to be told we’re going to ‘so and so’s’ for a BBQ ! One just doesn’t get a rest. I suppose I could refuse to go but then I’d be categorised as a social pariah and then I’d be cast out from the ex-pat party scene and that just would not do. You wouldn’t get to hear the local scandal and gossip and if you’re not there – they talk about you !

Every now and then I blame the booze (wine to be precise) for my ever-expanding condition and try and stop or at least cut-down but with very sociable neighbours living next door it’s very difficult. Also, having a bar in the house does not help. Screening football, rugby and tennis on the large display seems to attract a variety of sports watchers all of whom drink vast quantities of booze and if you do not keep up with them you suddenly feel like you’re a stranger at your own party !

Occasionally I spot a gap where there are no social events taking place for at least a week and plan a booze free week but then someone ‘just pops in’ and out comes the Rosè. Luckily this is not a spirit drinking culture otherwise I think I’d be pushing up the proverbial daises and I keep trying to convince myself that a few glasses of Rosè cant possibly do any harm after all the South of France diet with a few glasses of red wine is supposedly good for you. And of course we get quite a few visitors who stay with us for the week or the weekend and whose sole aim is to partake of the local Provence Pink during their stay and of course you must join them or you would be a party-pooper. I recall a dear friend of mine, now sadly deceased and living in that large hostelry in the sky, arriving for a week’s stay and dragging me off to the local bar on the first morning for breakfast where he promptly ordered croissants, coffees and brandies for both of us ! I was aghast and the barman was shocked but Alan thought that what all Frenchmen had for breakfast so he was not going to miss out !

So, it’s a never-ending battle which I am determined to win. One day I’ll be back into my 32s which are stored in my wardrobe awaiting the day when once more they will hug my bum.

As I’m writing this I’m eating pizza – do you think that might be the problem ?

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