Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Body dysmorphia

I went back to the gym today for the first time in ages and weighed myself to get a sense of exactly how fat I'd become. I’m happy to report that I’m not the heifer I’d imagined. I’m probably about half a stone heavier than I should be, so you can add body dysmorphia to my list of psychological flaws!


LA Fitness was, as usual, pretty hideous. They’ve ripped up much of the floor in one area, a drinks fountains is falling off the wall, and machines and lockers are broken everywhere you look. To make matters worse, the little sign that they now put on every dangerous object shows a picture of a rather perky looking LA fitness model, who seems to be grinning like some kind of imbecile. Surely, to accompany the; “Sorry, I don’t seem to be working at the moment” message, they need a photograph of someone looking a great deal less happy about the situation. Or no photo at all, ‘cus I just want to punch this guy – and I’d probably want to punch any face I’d learnt to associate with shoddy workmanship!

I am finally cranking myself up towards full speed again. At the moment I’m still allowing myself a lie-in until 9.30am and taking things rather slowly but I’ve been working on the Pepys Motet for much of the day and it’s a relief to find my mind swinging back towards this particular project. I still wake up with my teeth clenched together, however, and am wondering what the root of the stress must be. Maybe it’s just this ageing business; that bald patch on the back of my head, the slightly saggy profile, the realisation that I’m approaching 40 with no mortgage or pension. For the first time I realise why many of my friends spent their 20s being slaves to jobs they hated doing and lived only for the weekends...

The rain doesn’t help. It’s just after my birthday that I always begin to feel the summer is nearly over and the only antidote to the sadness this invariably brings are those beautiful hazy, sunny evenings when the shadows reach for miles and the thistle down floats in the light breeze and the only thing you can do is sit in a pub garden, by a river somewhere in the countryside, and eat salt and vinegar crisps whilst the wasps dive into your coca-cola.

Pepys woke up with a pain in his back, having tossed and turned all night. He wasn’t generally one for giving in to these things and instead of taking “physic”,went by boat to the Privy Seal office, and then to Hyde Park, where he watched “a fine foot-race three times round the park between an Irishman and Crow, that was once my Lord Claypoole’s footman". You’ll be pleased to learn that Crow beat the unnamed Irishman by about two miles, which seems pretty comprehensive!

Pepys went home, stopping off at Montagu’s en route to collect his lute. He retired to bed, in some pain still. And pain, as we know, for Pepys was troubling, because it could mean a return of the bladder stone which had almost killed him some years before.

He then writes in his diary about how full his head had been with business, very much to the detriment of family, friends and politics, all of which he felt he’d neglected. “Never since I was a man in the world was I ever so great a stranger to public affairs”. I know how he feels. He then thanks God for bringing him the work at the Privy Seal office, which was making him as much as 3 l per day. Many people had been enquiring about the possibility of renting his old house in Axe Yard, but even this provided him with a set of problems. Pepys could use the money this would bring him to lavishly furnish his house at the Navy Office, but the offer from Mr Man of £1000l for his position still stood... Where would he live if he were to give up that post?

Life is very complicated...

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