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Those boots are made for walking...a lot!


By Alan Beresford

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ONE of the quite significant changes brought to my life through lockdown is the taking of more exercise. And it recently marked an important numerical milestone – 400 of them.

Stewart Stevenson MSP.
Stewart Stevenson MSP.

Coupled with my having spent 427 minutes (seven hours seven minutes, if you wish) on the rowing machine where it's been 40 strokes a minute, I have not been fitter for decades.

There's been a bit of rooting about among the accumulated detritus of at least 50 years. Mainly that's led to a slow movement of junk towards the bins. But it has also uncovered a pair of chest expanders. They certainly haven't been used for some 40 of those years.

I might consider that their time has come as part of the fitness program were it not for the handles at the end of the springs having gone walkabout. May have to fabricate something.

All of the 400.11 miles I have walked have been on my daily exercise in the local area. My saviour from the potential damage to my feet and legs has been a pair of shoes with good padding between me and road. And the wearing of two pairs of socks, one thick, one thin, to avoid rebound or friction inside the shoe. Lots of walking without care and attention to feet can lead to loss of toenails. Past experience tells me that is little fun – only a hobby for masochists.

So the shoes are now high mileage and in need of replacement. Initially worried that I couldn't find the same model of shoe. Success, albeit a different colour.

Although this is an item of expenditure I can attribute to the Covid lockdown. It's one of very few. Rather, an examination of my banking shows a sharp drop in personal spending. That's on top of a big drop in business expenses, too.

I am clearly part of the consumer slowdown.

Today we contemplate a money-saving and convenience-creating activity. There is only one brand of mayonnaise that my spouse will contemplate using. And it's a regular on the kitchen table at mealtimes close by her plate.

Our neighbour has just left a tray of very large eggs on the doorstep. Thanks, Mark! That creates the opportunity to make a home-made product. We seem to have the makings. All that is apparently required in addition is a strong arm to beat at speed, and for some time, as oil, vinegar and egg blend. I have been elected as the 'arm'.

The eggs came, of course, on an egg tray. A week ago, it emerged that there is a shortage of egg boxes and trays. Apparently, no one in the UK manufactures such things and egg demand has risen sharply. Does that Paul Hollywood have something to with this? People moving from merely watching Bake Off to actually doing some baking? I did a gig with him in East Kilbride when I was a government minister.

When our egg tray is empty, it will go to a local farm that can re-use them after they have been purged off any infectious fellow-travellers.

Provided everyone behaves themselves, I mean everyone in our country, not just MSPs, we should see further edging of the Covid 'R' number downwards. If so, that creates scope for the hospitality industry in particular. It might be possible for us to contemplate renting a cottage for a week after mid-July. A relaxation for us and income for some else.

But not quite sure how all this blends with our being classified as "vulnerable" due to our being eighth-decaders.

It's a ... being old.

Even if I am now very fit old.

More blogs by Stewart Stevenson at Diary of the Eighth Decade.

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