I’ve been reading about a tiny village in the rugged mountains of Italy which sounds just like Utopia to me. All anyone ever seems to eat there is a meagre amount of cheese and ciabatta crumbs and chew on scraps of oily fish. They’re all as fit as fiddles, despite dragging on packet after packet of cigarettes and stoically glugging a vat of red wine every day. Statistically they can expect to live to a hundred and ninety years old but guaranteed to still have zero cholesterol. I’d happily herd goats there.
“It’s their diet,” I said to Guido. “In this country…,” I said shovelling in another slab of Guido’s heart attack inducing bread and butter pudding, “nobody takes pride in their bodies anymore. Oh, pass that jug of hot custard, would you?”
One of the problems (if indeed it is a problem) of being in a relationship with a partner who looks like a cross between a German Olympic javelin thrower and that shirtless hunk from the 11 O’clock Diet-Coke Break commercial is that you are constantly put to shame on the body image front. That’s why readers, starting from tomorrow, I’ll be commencing a strict de-tox diet which will only involve eating copious amounts of boiled cabbage.
“Are you sure you’ve thought this one through?” asked Guido. I could hear the scepticism crackling in his voice. “Because you don’t actually like any vegetables, unless they’ve been deep fried.”
Nevertheless I’m feeling pretty confident about the double whammy effect this green leaf diet will have as I can now reveal I’ve also been going to the Bermondsey Community Hall Thursday night aerobic class. Well, when I say “I’ve also been going” what I really mean is, I’ve been once. It’s run by a very energetic sports coach called Stanislavsky, though he exclusively lets me call him Stan for short. He’s from Hungary and although I can bearly understand a word he says I have to tell you he has the best thighs I’ve seen this side of Budapest. He’s also a strict vegetarian and, although we met just last night for the first time, I think he may have confessed that his secret regime involves a raw zucchini first thing every morning.
Well when Stan got everybody running on the spot let me tell you something strange started happening. All I could hear was a strange and incessant rat tat tat noise. It was like the faint sound of distant gun fire. Initially I thought I’d something stuck to the sole of my shoe. It was only when I got closer to watch Stan give detailed instruction on how to jump and then squat safely I realised that the sound was actually eminating from between his butt cheeks. Every excited lunge Stan took had the added and highly audible sound of an alarming gas leak. I can only think the root cause must be the internal spontaneous combustion of all those vegetables he’s been swallowing.
Rest assured I’ll obviously be monitoring my own body’s reaction to it’s de-tox. If it requires eating something sweet and sticky and stodgy in order to counter act any adverse reactions, I know just where to find it. And it’s not in the Italian hills.