Battle of the bulge gets off to false start, but pie's a triumph
NEW runners purchased in the sales, it was up and atom for me on Tuesday after The Good Woman did her bit in the battle against lethargy by going to yoga.
Having read the bedtime story, Farm Animals, and put the Little Fella and the Whirlwind Princess to bed, I resolved to do something, anything, other than flake out on the couch in front of the fire and stare vacantly at the television.
Prompted in so small part by the loss of a few buttons from the belly region of my upper body clothing, including a shirt button at a wedding in Spain and a jacket button lost less ceremoniously somewhere in Wexford town a few weeks ago, I decided to get out and get fit (like you can do this in a few goes), knowing that the alternative would mean I'd be shirtless by March.
Now my decision to take up some form of exercise after a two season absence was not entirely self motivated. It may have been decided by the lack of viewing options on the box that Tuesday night, or the lack of quality recorded telly to view.
Basically, if I had Sky Sports I'd probably be obese in no time.
Speaking of which a report issued late last year found that Irish men are getting fatter at the fastest rate in Europe.
By 2030, 58 per cent of Irish men are expected to be obese, topping the scale of all European countries, according to a UK-based study published last year. If you add the projected number of overweight men to the Irish total, the figure is even worse, coming in at a heart attack inducing 90 per cent.
All the carvery dinners and munching on the go in post Celtic Tiger Ireland is taking its toll apparently.
A new review of men's food behaviour by Safefood, the all-Ireland health body, confirms the startling statistics. It shows that 70 per cent of men in the Republic are currently overweight or obese, compared with 50 per cent of women, as are 69 per cent of men in the North, against 57 per cent of women.
Men are more likely to eat larger portions, they're less likely to be aware of healthy eating guidelines, and many don't regard eating well as an important factor in their long-term health.
As I set out on my walk Tuesday night I was unaware of all these facts. Enjoying my new Asics runners, I built up a head of steam as I negotiated the hilly twists and turns of my hometown, enjoying the feeling of being outdoors at night (and not in a shopping at the supermarket context).
A little while into my walk I noticed a sea of glass shards on the footpath in front of me.
I was standing in the middle of it in my shiny new runners.
Very shortly afterwards I felt a sharp sensation in my left foot. The feckin' glass had breached the sole of my runners.
Having been passed by some runners (human, not synthetic this time), I resolved to soldier on and continue my walk, with a less concerted effort for fear of a long term injury.
Puffing and panting with a worrying colour on my cheeks no doubt, I lumbered along the ring road surrounding the town and down into town before arriving home, having walked for one and a quarter hours. Not a bad start all in all, but I'll think twice before going for a walk again.
Visitors arrived on Sunday and as usual we were completely unprepared.
Luckily a colleague came up trumps with a please all recipe of chicken and mushroom pie.
'Easy as pie,' I thought, and as if to counter balance my exercise on Tuesday night, I set about making it late on Saturday night to ensure a smooth as possible Sunday morning.
What I didn't realise down through the years when I was eating all these different chicken and mushroom and steak and kidney pies, wis how much butter, cream, full fat milk etc goes into them.
Having cooked everything in butter, I made a roux and rolled the pastry over the casserole dish.
Spatial awareness always being a weak point with me I completely messed the pastry part up, but it did have the unintended, serendipitous effect of making the pie look like a mushroom once it was finally baked.
The guests arrived and having enjoyed the pie and their company, the inevitable clean up began.
It is a truism across the globe that most husband and wife rows kick off on Sunday nights and it was the same in the Looby household as we once again tried to cram all our batch cooking, summer holiday planning and house cleaning into a two hour burst beginning at 9 p.m.
Roll on the summer!