Opinion

Saturday 23 February 2019

John Masterson: 'Setting my body and mind clocks back to home'

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

John Masterson

The world is a huge place, yet many of us spend a large portion of our lives within the same postage stamp-sized bit of it.

Some people are just homebirds and when they are away count the days until they can return home. That is certainly not me. I am never happier than when I am in some far flung part of the globe, preferably a sunny part.

But increasingly I am spending my time in Kilkenny, walking the same streets that I did as a teenager, and often within a stone's throw of where I grew up on the Castlecomer Road, or the Comer Road as we call it, practically opposite the Newpark Hotel.

Having been away from Kilkenny for the bulk of my working life, I find memories triggered every day from a long distant part of my life. I remember being in that very hotel for lunch the Sunday it opened. As a youngster my mother always let me take the lemon from her G&T and suck it. Whatever way I did it that lunchtime it went down the wrong way and I managed to part choke and spill my Coke all over myself and the new carpet. I was sent home, all 100 yards in disgrace. I can still picture my pink shirt and pinstriped hipsters and feeling very uncool.

I have recently been spending time back there again because I am useless at keeping New Year resolutions, as indeed many of you are.

During Christmas in the USA I got into the habit of going to the gym and doing some punishment on the machines and then having a swim, before luxuriating in the hot tub. I didn't lose an ounce. But it was Christmas and I didn't gain any either. Plus I felt great.

On New Year's Eve I decided that I was going to keep this up but kept this to myself. I had been getting a bit lazy in recent years and it was showing. I came home and did precisely nothing about it. Every time I was going to go out and run a few miles I found a very good excuse not to.

It had to stop and I realised that I have now ceased being a roadrunner unless the sun is out. I have a need for a bit of luxury and my favourite exercise, apart from hitting golf balls into the rough, is swimming.

As I had discovered at Christmas, I can do the punishment of the running and rowing machines if I have the reward of a swim and a soak.

February is not too late to rekindle a New Year resolution and it turned out to be close to home. In that very hotel where I once disgraced myself I am now a devotee of the running machines and the pool. All it takes is a little bit of luxury to keep me going.

I have an achievable target to reach by April 30. And then to make sure I cannot backslide, I made it public, as I am doing again now.

I know if anyone says they are giving up cigarettes, I will never meet them without my first question being; are you still off them? I happened to mention on the morning KCLR LIVE programme that I sometimes present that I had a target. With the support of Kilkenny and the good staff of the Newpark Hotel, there is not the slightest chance that I will fail to reach my goal.

The alternative is emigration and I am becoming something of a home bird. I might have a Diet Coke to celebrate and will try not to spill it.

Sunday Indo Living

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