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Living a good life has caught up with me and I have diabetes, says Codger columnist Alan Watkins

One of the joys of the season that has just passed is to have a quiet drink with friends.

Although officially retired, I met up with some of the gang before Christmas for a seasonal gathering, dinner and a drink.

I couldn’t drink much: I was driving, but that didn’t stop my enjoyment of the event.

What I didn’t expect was that would be my last drop for… well, will someone please tell me when?

I should have been warned. The receptionist at my surgery had said the doctor wanted to see me.

Alan Watkins has tipped the scales at 18 stone
Alan Watkins has tipped the scales at 18 stone

“Well?” he said when I walked in. “Well,” I retorted.

He didn’t hold back.

“You’ve got diabetes,” he said.

OK. The weight had been going on. The nurse had weighed me in just short of 18 stone.

But then I have been heavy for decades. It’s not overweight, it’s living a good life.

The trouble is I have got lazy, and along with eating well, I have avoided hurrying anywhere, running any time, and exercising at any opportunity.

I have successfully done that since my teens.

I’m now on medication that reacts violently to alcohol.

I’ve got a string of medical appointments in the offing, all designed to get me back on a level footing.

I’ve had a great time eating things I love, drinking things I enjoy and sitting in front of the telly while Britain’s Olympians covered themselves in glory.

Now I have got to get out, in the cold and the frost, and start walking around a bit.

Yesterday I found my way to Bredhurst’s tiny church and set off to explore the local woods.

It’s the start of my exercise for health regime.

Alan beats his fellow Codgers David Jones, left, and Peter Cook in the belly department
Alan beats his fellow Codgers David Jones, left, and Peter Cook in the belly department

I have to say Bredhurst Hurst is a revelation. (Hurst, by the way, is Saxon for a wooded hill – and that is precisely what Bredhurst Hurst is.)

The volunteers who have been battling with the litter, the overgrowth and the disappearance of pathways have done a marvellous job. I shall have to go there again... probably in the next few days.

Anyway, I have set myself a couple of targets.

One is to exercise each day.

I’ve been on the foot treadle this morning. It’s a sort of primitive torture machine.

This afternoon (rain permitting) I shall go for a tramp around Medway.

The other target is to lose four stone in weight. I shall then review the options.

Pity I’ve got to go down this course.

But at least the malt whiskies are ready for my return from this period of pain.

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