Chairman Meow is on a diet. The Vet has branded him a podgy puss and it would hardly do for a great Meowist leader to turn into a capitalist Fat Cat
The Chairman isn’t the only one who’s found himself out of shape after a year in the Country. Rural living, it seems, can seriously damage your waistline. That said, it’s not as though we weren’t warned. Just down the road from us was Wobbly Bottom Farm on Wibbly Wobbly Lane : clearly a sign.
Like many, we left London in pursuit of a better life. What we found was often cleaner, cheaper and less crowded, yes, but healthier, no – not least because we were suddenly so dependent on our car. Like the Grand Old Duke of York, the railway network will march you up and march you down, but cross-country is a completely different story. I’d have given anything not to drive half way round the M25 everyday, but it was practically impossible to get to work by public transport.
On the domestic front too, we found ourselves completely reliant on four wheels. In London, you’re never more than half a mile from countless grocers, restaurants and clothes shops. Most Home Counties have just a few hundred of each and even then, they’re mainly concentrated in the large towns. Our nearest big supermarket was 10 miles away – far too far to walk for the necessities of life like 25% off 6 bottles of wine.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that we didn’t go for walks, many of them glorious. It’s just that we had to choose to go for a walk just as you choose to go to the cinema or go to the gym. And much like going to the gym, it’s amazing how much more appealing even ironing can seem when it’s pissing it down with rain. When we did actually venture beyond the front door, there was a real sense of ‘big day out’ and any health benefits were rapidly undone en route with a celebratory pub lunch
Around 5.7m journeys are made on foot every day in the capital. Much like breathing, walking in London is something that just happens unconsciously: walk to the tube station, run for a bus, pop down the road for a pint of milk. You can try and avoid walking, but it’s probably not going to do you much good: Cycling is all the effort but with added danger (just ‘extreme walking’ really), taxi hopeless if you’re south of the River, helicopter a tad extravagant and a bitch to park.
Of all the reasons for coming back to London, losing a few pounds seemed as likely as moving to Iceland for a tan. Frankly, gaining a few pounds was (and is!) far higher up the agenda. There are over 50 Michelin starred restaurants in London and after a year in the culinary wilderness (ie an Italian, an Indian and a dodgy Chinese takeway) I’m hell-bent on sampling them all : It’s just I’m taking it (literally) one step at a time.