Zebedee with Dougal
There was a time when I felt invulnerable. Never ill, I worked for thirty years without a single day off. My body was my obedient servant. It did what ever I commanded it to do. Lift a heavy weight - no problem. Stay awake for forty eight hours - easy! Why was I surrounded by so many weaklings - snivelling and moaning - what was wrong with them?
Once I emerged from a potentially fatal car crash. The vehicle had turned over two or three times on a bend in a Scottish country road. I was lying on the ceiling. I wound the window down or up and crawled out. Seeing the car on its roof and being in a state of adrenalin-fuelled shock, I decided to turn the car back on to its wheels so I could push it to the verge. I succeeded.
In contrast, on Friday, I found myself prostrate on my son's small bathroom floor. I was tiling some unfinished floor level boxing for pipes - around the bathroom "furniture". This meant I had to be up and down like a yo-yo but every time I got up from the floor, the effort involved was strenuous. Back in my salad days I would have been zipping around like a spring, leaping from the floor as Zebedee did in "The Magic Roundabout".
Frustratingly, since I "retired" from my last school I have had to contend with a catalogue of physical "issues" including:- urine infections, a frozen shoulder, returning gout, broken ribs, an abscess on a tooth, an e-coli infection, two hospital operations. I am well and truly peed off with this stuff and just want to get back to how it was before when I was pretty much a suburban superman. But I'm honest enough to accept that time has been catching upon me. I'm getting old and though it would be nice to think that getting old meant sitting in a rocking chair on a verandah watching the sun go down, I rather think it has much more to do with aches and pains, faculties reducing, the body starting to shut down.
Tonight, as I write these words, I'm confident that for the first time in seven or eight months my frozen left shoulder will not wake me in the early hours and I'm pleased that for the first time in a month I did not limp home with pain caused by uric crystals in the joints of the big toe on my right foot. On Thursday, I felt strong enough to finish digging over the vegetable patch - allowing frosts and winter weather to contribute to the development of a finer tilth.
So the aches and pains are at bay but I recognise they haven't gone away for good. Just round the corner there will be something else. I guess it's payback time. When you are younger you think you will last forever but it isn't so. We are only here for a short while.