Yesterday morning, being Sunday, I got out of bed and padded around the house in my dressing gown.
No. There isn't a house in my dressing gown. That way lies madness. What I meant was...oh never mind. Anyway, I wandered around the house, light of foot and feeling no aches or pains whatsoever.
This was most unusual.
I say it was unusual, not because I'm normally a martyr to pain. Nope, not me. Although I am now officially embarking on my fifth decade, Captain Rheumatism has not yet been around to visit my joints. I can still gambol and frisk like a pie-obsessed gazelle, should the mood take me.
No, the reason I was surprised at my lack of pain was because the previous day I could have been found walking around the wilds of Worcestershire. Where the sauce comes from. In total I did seven miles in about three and a half hours. Which is approximately six and seven-eighths of a mile more than I'm used to walking on a Saturday.
I was accompanied by the able and enthusiastic Mike and Emma, who've taken to walking like, um, something that walks takes to walking. They've offered to help me with the training for my planned walk along Hadrian's Wall in September this year.
Oh, you thought I'd forgotten about that, did you?
If I'm going to do the Wall in a decent time I need to be able to do 15 miles per day, every day, for six days straight, over some pretty hilly terrain. Given that my normal daily walk might involve parking slightly further away from the office door then bitching about it, I need to get some miles under my rather strained belt.
Anyway, Mike and Em have mapped out a number of circular walks in rather nice bits of the country near here, and gently persuaded me to join them on Saturday. It would seem that each of these walks starts and finish at a pub. They know me so well.
And here's the thing. It was ace. It was as if we had the English countryside to ourselves:
The sky was unseasonably cloud-free (and free of vapour trails, thanks to a certain Icelandic volcano), the sun shone, the trees did whatever it is trees do when you're not looking:
We climbed a hill to an old church that looked out over a decent chunk of the county:
We walked along the canal towpath, past a flight of locks with the sign 'Astwood Bottom Lock'. I asked Mike, "Can I just check, have you locked your bottom?" Sensibly he walked on:
I did my best to take a photo that someone could convert into a souvenir chocolate box or jigsaw puzzle:
And, slight twinges aside, I made it to the end and a well earned pint of Abbot Ale at the Navigation Inn.
Maybe it was the weather, perhaps the company helped, but I actually enjoyed physical exercise for the first time, well, ever. We appear to have found a formula that works. I now simply need to repeat until fit.