Thursday, 3 May 2012


The World Snooker Championship is on at the moment. I have been watching it since the mid 1970s. Every year I have always said that I would go up to the Crucible in Sheffield to see it live and finally I made it. With me not playing sport we decided to make some trips out and Sheffield was one of the first we booked.

A few months ago I had made the same trip up North. On that occasion it was to see an Ibsen play at the theatre, I was rather more excited about seeing the boys on the baize.

As we walked up to the famous old theatre I suddenly got overly excited and started shaking a bit, Katie had to calm me down as I rushed us through into our seats. The lights went down, a hush descended, play began, and then seemingly instantly it was over. Three hours, eight frames, whizzed by like a thundering, whispering train. The Ibsen had been a similar length but that had felt like days compared to this. The true drama of real live sport can not be beaten. I loved every minute of it, and then loved it even more when we went again in the evening. Brilliant.

Back on the treadmill down at the gym I have begun to ramp up the pressure. Each day I am increasing the speed a little, and upping the level of difficulty. My leg is getting stronger, and the thigh muscle is returning. The stats show it and my walking shows it. I can now leg press over 100 kilos, which is past the target set by the hospital before I can go running again. Next ACL circuit training should see me given the thumbs up.

After going to the gym for nearly two months I only just noticed that the sports hall is often used by the local Muslim community for prayers. They take it over, lay down their prayer mats and get down to it. I stuck my head round the door the other day to see what was going on. It wasn't full, but there was a good old crowd. My peep coincided with the end of prayers and so I got spied spying. I thought they'd be annoyed but to my surprise they invited me in. It seems that no one else who uses the gym as a gym has ever shown any interest in them. We chatted happily for a few minutes before I bade them farewell. As I left, they were laughing and joking and seemed to be a jolly bunch.

My other major excitement recently has been my NHS health check. They take blood, do blood pressure, weigh you, measure your waist and so on. The results came and were all ok, but I decided to visit my GP to discuss them. The real reason I arranged this appointment was because Katie thinks I have alzheimers and she finally convinced me to ask the doctor to test me.

I was crapping myself with the knowledge that if I failed my life would suddenly take a dramatic turn for the worse. It was worse than a-levels, degree, and driving test all at once.

"I'm going to tell you a name and address, repeat them back to me and later on I will ask you to repeat them again." Oh shit!! "John Brown, 42 High Street, Kensington." I repeated the details back, phew. "Now I want you to draw a clock face, with the hands at ten past eleven."

How can I do that and remember the address? If they had taken my pulse at this point I'd have been in the danger zone. Suddenly I found it impossible to draw a clock face, I concentrated as hard as I could, all the while trying to retain the address. Clock face drawn and presented, I was ready to announce the name and address but no.

"Now tell me two stories that have been in the news this week." I managed these quite easily, hoping, praying I would now be allowed to do the address. "Just tell me a bit more about that second story." I was sweating. Don't look back at it, can you repeat the address?

Finally, just when I thought my head would pop he asked for the address.

"John Brown, 42 High..." I paused, was it street or road? Aaaaahhhhhhhhh! Go for street. Yes it's street..."42 High Street, Kensington."

Phew. I nearly died, my head nearly exploded but I managed it. The upshot being that..."You don't have alzheimers. Tell your wife you're just not listening or concentrating when she talks to you."

"Maybe it would be better if I just said I had alzheimers!" He chuckled, not the first time he's heard that joke I'll warrant.

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