Taking a bit of fresh air this morning I saw an elderly fella staggering and wheezing down the canal towpath towards me. As he got closer I could see he was well into his 70s, glowing red, sweating and doing about 1 MPH. Seriously worried for him I asked if he was OK, he stopped, bent down with his hands on his knees and said: "I'm out for me morning jog, you should try it porky".
To say I was taken aback is putting it mildly, to such an extent that I just left him, no witty retort or torrent of abuse, and carried on walking. At least I don't have people checking I'm not about to die when I do go out for a spot of exercise is the best I could muster, and I just thought it as I walked away.
But it made me think, and I remember a few years back a colleague telling me about her husband, two years younger than me and without a hard earned beer belly and smokers cough. She was urging me to 'look after myself' and to think about doing some jogging, even a marathon or two like her husband. My feeling was sod that, you don't get St John's Ambualance and emergency doctors sitting around in pubs the way they line the route of a marathon. He died three years ago, just after I'd given up smoking.
Every now and then I wonder whether I should start smoking again, just to be on the safe side. It's especially good with a nice glass of Laphroaigh.