Just do it. Kind of.

by Max Akroyd


I bring you good tidings this Sunday morning. You are fitter than you thought you were.

Unless you are ridiculously young anyway or an olympian in your spare time – you know who you are – all that gardening is enough to make you passably fit. I know this because I’ve just completed my second ‘run’ of this week. And it wasn’t that bad.

Unfortunately, becoming a peasant hasn’t made me any brighter and I’ve unwisely undertaken, before my children no less, to run a half marathon next year. So first thing this morning I was up early enough to notice all the new light around the place. Collecting our two dogs, who were just as stiff in leg and uncertain in mind about a repeat of this idea, we headed off to the local forest.

How beautiful the spring morning by the river Hyère was, emerald light passing through the new-formed canopy … shame about the ungainly peasant giant lumbering through the scene with his ragged dogs, causing all the panicked local fauna to fly off or sploosh into the river. I managed to complete the three miles or so by splitting it into sections of jogging, staggering and stopping for a wheezey respite. I believe this systematic approach to running is called a fartlek among fellow professionals. 

As I sprinted lustily forward, it was gratifying to look back and see Poppy – our hound thing – miles behind, like a hairy barrel with a little pink strip of tongue stuck on the front. Less so to look down to see Lucy, our labrador, keeping up with me without even breaking into a jog. Oh well, we all made it back to the car without medical intervention, then home for coffee and a bacon butty. The Rural Idiocy fitness plan completed for another day.

Gardening today will comprise sowing seeds in the greenhouse and a bit of potting on. The fact that this means I can sit on my arse all day is purely coincidental.