Tony Allen: And finally... Taking the time

Sep 21 | 2020

I remember as a child how the last few expectant days before Christmas would seem like a lifetime. Of course now I have a much better understanding of what a lifetime actually is. Although the reality seems to have gone much more quickly than original childish expectation.

Tony Allen: And finally...This particular momentous year has been a revelation, with the individual days seeming to pass slowly but the combined effect having just skated by. I am somewhat left with the feeling that I could have achieved much more. If I had used up all of the available hours in useful self-education I could perhaps even have become a partially trained something or other. A budding chef or a violinist perhaps.

I certainly spent quite a lot of time in the garden and some weeks ago I was quite proud of my achievements. But gardening is, simultaneously, both a long-term project and an ephemeral experience. If I look out at the garden at this very moment after a very hot and waterless August, I think that it’s perhaps fair to say that everything seems to have - what I believe the professionals appear to call – ‘gone over’. Or ‘past it’s best’ to us amateurs.

My one success seems to have been runner beans and I’ve got enough of these to fulfil the casting requirements of Chariots of Fire. A notable success I hear you say, but the reality is that they are woody and tasteless (sounds like a firm of accountants!) and seem to be surreptitiously discarded by the lady of the house, who then appears to delight in cooking pre-frozen alternatives.

A further preoccupation over recent months has been that of ‘keep fit’ although the use of this epithet makes the assumption that one was fit in the first place, so maybe ‘get fit’ is more appropriate for most of us.

Now I must confess, however, that in the olden days, that is to say pre-March, I did used to use a gym. Or to put it another way, I paid the membership fee. Of course the gym has only recently re-opened, so prior to that we had to develop a fitness regime; which I must confess involved mainly walking, so we purchased one of those fitness things that you wear on your arm and set ourselves a daily number of paces. This target would be subsequently increased as our fitness progressed.

I ended up covered in bruises as I became obsessed with checking how many paces we’d walked and as a result I would keep bumping into things. I must confess that we could really feel the benefits of our new regime and considered that it was three days well spent.

Then I got sciatica! Cripes - what a painful experience that was and it certainly put paid to any further physical progress on our part, I was put on pain killers and the other half of the team was demoralised by my grunting and groaning. It took me about three weeks to get back to normal. I should have trained to be a physiotherapist, although I guess it would take quite a time just to learn how to spell it.

DIY was another avenue of occupation for idle hands. This is a bit like music, you are either good at it or you are not, and I fall very sharply into the latter category. We made a list of jobs that needed doing and then deleted those that did not coincide with my capabilities. This left me with a situation where I did not really need a list. There was a suggestion that I should put some floorboards down in the loft – but that just went over my head!

To be fair (to me) there were a number of jobs which I successfully carried out and for which I received a pat on the back. Good job that I’m quite flexible. Best of all it helped me usefully pass my time, and probably went a long way towards keeping me fit.

So there you are. To coin a phrase: How was your war? We are now currently engaged in the process of de-cluttering. The worst bit being the sorting of clothes. I must confess that this is almost nastier than sciatica as they are like old friends. Anyway does anyone want to make me an offer for one of those fitness things that you wear on your arm?

And I didn’t mention that damned pandemic once! ... apart from now.