Fat Boy on a Diet: Lent a Hand

February has been a mixed bag thus far. I passed the stone mark early doors, but there’s been a little bit of back sliding and I need to nip that in the bud.

So, I’m falling back on the religion of my childhood. Every year between Shrove Tuesday (AKA Pancake Day AKA Mardi Gras) and Easter it’s customary for Christians to give things up for lent. For forty days and nights, other than Sundays, they abstain from some vice as a period of fasting to mimic JC’s desert ramble.

As a kid it was always sweets. We weren’t a big sweet family so this was easy, unless we saw my Nan who drowned us in chocolate and treats.

Even after my religious beliefs faded I kept going with Lent most years for a while. I gave up chocolates most years, but did stretch it to other vices including alcohol one year as I feared my student excesses were perilously close to actual, proper alcoholism.

This year I’m going a bit more hardcore in the hopes it will help the diet along. What am I cutting out? Well, here’s a list:

  1. Chocolates and sweets
  2. Desserts
  3. Fast food

I’ve been trying to limit these anyway, but I figure a complete stop might be more effective and break the habit.

So, there you go, let’s see how I do.

Giving up anything yourself? Or any other thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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Fat Boy on a Diet: January Update: New Year, New Me?

The dreaded post Christmas weigh in.

I’m not a fool. I knew I wasn’t going to hop on the scale and discover that I was in peak physical health.

But I was surprised. Unpleasantly surprised.

My weight had ballooned to new heights, and I had crossed a line I’d drawn in my head.

“I might be fat but I’m not as heavy as ****”

Only now I was heavier. By quite a bit.

This left me feeling pretty crappy, a greedy, lazy slob and generally a waste of space. Not good.

But there was an upshot, once the tsunami of self loathing had receded I was just angry. Angry at myself for letting it get to this stage and even more determined to do something about it.

WoM is joining me on the weight loss trail and has joined chub club (due to my shifts I can’t go). This has helped a lot, having a partner in this endeavour and they suggest some pretty decent alternatives and ideas.

I’ve hopped on the scales a couple of times and my efforts have paid off. There’s been a steady weight loss, I’m still heavier than I’d like ,or was this time last year, but at least I’m moving in the right direction.

Tune in a few weeks to see how February goes.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Resolutions 2018

So I know this is a little late, but I was busy around New Year’s and I wanted to think it through. So here are my resolutions for the coming year.

1. Lose Weight

The old favourite.

This has been on the agenda anyway, but I was ill over the Christmas period and the weight didn’t help. Also when I weighed myself for the first time in quite a while it was a sobering number on the scale.

So, more exercise, better diet and actual commitment this year. No cop out and no excuses. To aid this let’s go on to-

2. Monthly Updates on the Weight

I’ve had this plan before but it was vague. This year however every month I’m going to post an update every month about how I’ve done. The idea being that by sharing I’ll be more likely to stick to it.

So, if I near the end of a month with no news, give me a nudge.

3. Cross Off at Least One Bucket List Item

Last year I got one and a seventh done, but the list is still pretty long. I might make a concentrated effort to do a few things on it, or at least lay the ground work.

4. Try to Publish a Book

I have two finished novels sitting around and a third half done. I’m pretty happy with one of them, so I think it’s time to tidy it up a bit and send it off. It’s a little bit scary, and it might not go anywhere, but at least I can say I’ve tried. Watch this space, I guess.

5. Try New Things

Life is for living after all.

6. Be Sociable

In 2017 I saw my friends and family a lot more than usual and it was great. Doing stuff with my time off work made me happier and it was nice to keep those connections going.

Actually spending time

7. New Ink

Putting this on because it’ll be the easiest one to get done, but I am planning quite a few new tattoos and would like to get at least two done this year.

8. Be Nicer

‘Nuff said.

Made any resolutions yourself, reader? Or have advice for me on how to keep mine? You know what to do. BETEO.


Bucket List #30: Ride an elephant

In my naivety I’d somehow gotten into my head that elephants were like dogs or horses, and that after centuries of living alongside man were kinda happy with their role. I imagined that for a creature as large as an elephant, a person on their back wouldn’t be a big deal. 

And so, as part of a Tarzan style fantasy I added riding an elephant to my bucket list.

How I imagined it going

Of course, this turned out not to be the case and reading about the elephant riding industry in Asia made for depressing reading (more). With all this new info I couldn’t in good conscience hop aboard Jumbo or Nelly and have a ride.

But crossing something off the bucket list without having done it seemed to be a cop out. I could just delete stuff if they became too tricky to achieve, and for me part of the idea of the list was to stretch myself.

No, it would have to stay. And to cross it off I would have to get creative.

And so, back in the Autumn I worked out how I could do it without any animals suffering. Where could offer such a solution? Disney World of course. 

Yes, high on my list of things to do in the happiest place on Earth was jump aboard the Dumbo ride. And so, I succeeded in riding an elephant.

And before anyone says this was the easy way out, they’ve obviously never suffered the suspicious stares you get as a lone adult male queuing for what is essentially a children’s ride.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


My 2017

If you listen to Twitter 2017 has been awful and nobody can wait to leave it behind. The problem with this narrative is that whether a year has been bad or good is subjective. For some 2017 sucked, but for others it was probably a good year. 

You can point at the negative news stories, the attacks and tragedies, but we have those every year, and honestly, is that how you remember the years as time goes by? Or do you remember them for the personal reasons?

It’s the personal ones, obviously. And for me 2017 has been mainly good.

There were bad points, in April I lost my grandfather, and the stress and hassle of organising a wedding pushed me to the limit. There were days when I got stressed, when I was angry, when dragging myself out of bed was a real effort. I watched as friends struggled with things, and discovered that even after decades a friendship can die and be cast aside.

But this isn’t Nottingham, and the ups outnumber the downs. Those ups were, in no order;

Getting married. While the planning drove me bonkers, the actual day was great. There were no dramas and at the end of a brilliant, fun day surrounded by loved ones, I went home with my new wife. I felt luckier and happier than ever.

After this came two great weeks in Florida where I thoroughly enjoyed Walt Disney World, far more than I expected.
Elsewhere I got to spend time with my friends and family, reconnecting with them and seeing as their lives developed and grew.

I welcomed the arrival of my niece, one of the cheeriest babies I’ve ever met and got to see my nephew’s personality develop.

My little family grew too as WoM and I got a dog, Ozzy. While he can be a pain in the arse at times, I wouldn’t change him for the world.

So, all in all, 2017 was a good year for me and I enter 2018 feeling happy, optimistic and eager to see what the future holds.

I hope this year has been kind to my readers, and if it hasn’t that they have at least learned from it and emerge stronger and wiser to face the new one. I wish all of you the best for 2018.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO. 


Reader, I married her

As I sat in the hot tub on Sunday evening, the warm bubbles rippling around me I looked back over the previous weekend and felt a wave of relaxation wash over me. I would never need to make a seating plan or chase up RSVPs again. It was a state approaching inner peace, a world away from where I had been on Saturday morning.

Nerves hadn’t been a factor until then, as utter disillusionment with wedding planner meant I had reached a stage where I just wanted it done and over. I have no idea why Liz Taylor enjoyed doing this so much as one wedding is definitely enough.

However, having every single person asking you if you feel nervous will start fraying your nerves. Should I be nervous?

On top of a terrible night sleep (shout out to Travelodge for keeping their rooms about the same temperature as the surface of Mercury), the constant pestering ensured that the butterflies in my stomach meant I only had one helping from the all you can eat cooked breakfast. As a man who likes to get his money’s worth I usually abuse these things until I can barely move and need to be rolled out.

It being an afternoon wedding I had a few hours to kill, I managed to ease my stress levels by reading some George R. R. Martin in bed. 

This good work was undone by the fact I mixed up the time I had to leave, 13:00, with my checkout time at 12:00. This led to a rushed shower and me having to dress in my best man’s room.

I also had to sit down and write my speech, as I wasn’t sure what the groom says. It turns out to be mainly thanking people, but my groomsman Mike’s partner Samantha walked me through it.

Thankfully, we fitted it all in and got to the church at about 13:20, enough time for me to meet and greet, go for a nervous pee and get asked about my nerves another hundred times. 

As two o’clock neared the nerves were cranking up a little, but luckily Best Man Dan came through with a short, low key pep talk which calmed me.

I hate to sound sexist but I wasn’t upset or surprised as the start time passed, having been resigned to the fact that eight ladies (the artist formerly known as MWF, 6 bridesmaids and my mother-in-law) would struggle to get there on time despite having started their prep at 7ish.

I told Best Man Dan and my groomsen I was expecting them to be at least ten minutes late and I wasn’t far off.

I’d been surprised that the vicar had told me that I needed to keep eyes front as MWexF entered. I think in movies and cheesy reaction photos the groom looks and breaks down, which is what my soon to be wife wanted, having threatened to walk right back out if I didn’t cry. During the vows I would wobble, but managed to keep it together. 

I felt odd not knowing what was going on but managed to catch a few bridesmaids in the corner of my eye. And then there she was.

My bride looked beautiful, and I was glad I’d followed my Nan’s superstitious footsteps in not seeing her in the dress until the day. We exchanged nervous smiles and got going.

I was slightly distracted by a Ladybird who had hitched a ride on the bridal bouquet and then flew onto me. But after that I followed BMD’s advice and shut out everything but for the vicar and the lady at my side.

The service went smoothly, and quickly. It seemed like we were sitting to sign the register in moments. And then walking out triumphantly to The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”.

We were married, and I was filled with relief, happiness and love. Photos were taken, confetti thrown and congratulations received.

And then to the reception. There were no dramas, no scandals, no fist fights. Sorry, reader but it was a lovely evening. Among the highlights:

  • Great speeches from the Maid of Honour and BMD. Funny, sweet and just the right level of mocking.
  • Not messing up my own speech.
  • A bouquet toss. Having agreed that it was outdated and undignified, we went and had one anyway. And I’m glad we did, as it was brilliant fun, especially as you got to see who was taking it a bit too seriously and the faces of some nervous boyfriends.
  • BMD launched a charm offensive which won him many fans and led me to let a couple of girls down gently and say that yes, I am sure he’s gay.
  • Far too much drunken dancing.
  • Seeing my Dad dance for the first time ever.
  • Man hugs and back slaps galore.
  • Being blamed for making people cry with my speech. 
  • Being called a prick by a bridesmaid who had believed us when we’d told them our first dance was going to be Rick Astley and was then caught off guard by the real one.

As for my misgivings about the suits? Well, I’m still not a fan and would rather have been more casual, but I did get a few compliments.

Luckily, before my head could swell to much a friend informed me that their dad reckons I look like Samwell Tarly from Game of Thrones. No disrespect, to John Bradley but I’m sure he knows he isn’t the show’s heartthrob.

When we got back to our lodge in the wee small hours we crashed out, happy but exhausted.

Sunday was hectic, running errands, tidying up and trying to see as many of the guests as we could before they hit the road for home. Our first real down time came sitting in the hot tub, relaxing in the warmth.

“How are you feeling?” 

“Pretty damn good, Mrs Page, pretty damn good.”

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Cats and Zombies

2AM. Saturday morning.

I have only a few hours until I have to get up for work, but I’m wide awake. And sleep isn’t going to come easily.

Why aren’t I asleep?

Because I’ve just had a nightmare.

Yes, like a little kid, a bad dream has jolted me awake and now I’m lying in the dark, every noise transformed into something ominous by fear.

The dream started off well enough, with me as a cowboy. There was a shoot out between James Stewart and Audie Murphy, which left both dead. And then undead Audie got to his feet. Yes, Walking Dead style, it didn’t take a bite, but I blame George A. Romero as I’d been thinking about his movies a lot in the last week and eager to watch Dawn of the Dead again. Perhaps this was my subconscious’ tribute to the director?

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I managed to cuff Jimmy before he revived, but Audie bit another person. Having dropped the most decorated zombie in Hollywood, I saw the other zombie pursuing my cat, Midnight. Out of bullets (isn’t that always the way?), I hastily ran and shoved the zombie into a side room and grabbed Midnight.

Unfortunately the living dead opened the door and seized me from behind. It went to bite my neck.

At this point I awoke, but still gripped by the fading terror of the nightmare, I actually awoke in the process of throwing my elbow in defence.

Luckily the biter had come from the right and I was elbowing thin air. On the left and I would have clocked MWF in the face and probably sporting a shiner. And I suspect that her coworkers would have heard “my boyfriend elbowed me in the face while asleep because of a nightmare” and assumed it was a flimsy excuse, a slightly more inventive version of “I walked into a door”.

Luckily, Pumpkin, who in the dream was sensible enough to avoid the walkers, jumped into the bed and huddled in by my arm. Stroking him calmed me down and eventually I fell back asleep. And this time, without any nightmares.

Thank the gods for cats.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Would You Rather? Part 5: Nightcrawler > Professor Xavier

Would you rather be famous when you’re alive and forgotten when you die or unknown when alive but famous after death?

I think I’d actually prefer to have a legacy that lived on after me than be famous. I don’t think I’d be well suited for fame.

Like most people I’ve daydreamed about being famous and rubbing shoulders with celebrities, but I think the reality would be far less fun. You’d probably find out people you admire are idiots, and get fed up with being bothered. I also don’t think I’d play the game well and wind up putting my foot in it a fair few times, which would be embarrassing.

…die if you don’t slap a new person on the butt every 12 hours or die if you didn’t kill somebody every year?

Crikey. That’s a tough one.

Obviously I don’t want to murder anyone, but the alternative is slapping a stranger every twelve hours. While you might be able to arrange some of them to be consensual, you’d probably struggle to find a new person for every time, and then you’re entering the realms of what could be seen as sexual harassment.

So, one murder every year could actually hurt less people.

And I mean, I could pick my victims? Mercy killings? Would that justify it? Is killing anyone ever justified?

…have an unlimited international first class ticket or never have to pay for food in a restaurant again? 

Right, the restaurant one sounds like the better deal. You eat out more often than you travel aboard, so in the long run you’d actually save more cash.

But the thing is, I can already go to restaurants, but my travel options are more limited.

Travel is a lot of cash in one go, whereas restaurants are smaller expenses but more often. So, I’d pick the first class ticket and go to places that otherwise I wouldn’t be able to.

…eat rice with every meal or eat bread with every meal?

Umm, bread I guess. It goes with more stuff, you can use it to mop up sauces and probably wouldn’t get boring as quickly as rice.

…be hired for a well paid job you lied to get and have no idea what to do or be about to give the most important presentation of your life and forget all the material you had prepared?

The presentation, I reckon I could blag that for a short time as opposed to spending ages at the job pretending to know what I’m doing. That just seems exhausting, so I’d opt for the brief humiliation over the long term faff.

…be an amazing artist but not be able to see the art you produce or a great musician who can never hear what they’ve played?

Man, this one is kinda complicated, as both would suck.

On balance I’d go for the artist option, because once the painting is done I wouldn’t need to look at it again, whereas as a musician I think there’s probably some satisfaction in hearing your own stuff and witnessing people enjoying it.

…every shirt you wear be itchy or only be able to use 1 ply toilet paper?

The itchy shirt would be more annoying and impractical, and you’d look like you had fleas or something.

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And with the toilet paper you could always fold it over. Simple.

…teleport anywhere or be able to read minds?

I’ve never seen the appeal of telepathy, which is always portrayed as this great power to have. But I imagine it would cause more problems, as you’d be bound to hear some stuff you didn’t want to know.

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But teleportation? That would be pretty sweet, mainly because I could sleep later and still make it to work on time, and also for generally getting about. And let’s face it, you’d rather be Nightcrawler than Professor X, wouldn’t you?

Agree with my choices or think I’m completely wrong? Let me know in the comments. BETEO.


Fat Boy on a Diet: Off the Scale

I went to the doctor’s on Friday. Fear not, reader, I’m not ill but I have been iffy recently and thought better to have a check up in case it turned out to be something I could fix.

After a quick exam I was asked to hop on the scales.

This is par for the course, at least for chubsters like me. I get it. Weight can be an exacerbating factor for many things and a doc should prompt you to get fitter in the same way they should tell people to quit smoking, health promotion is part of their job.

I don’t get when people complain about doctors advising them to lose weight, I mean, sure it should be approached tactfully, but what do you expect them to do? Ignore something that might be detrimental to your health?

So, logically I don’t mind. But I still feel embarrassed. Of course, it was about to get worse.

I stepped on and the shot round like Usain Bolt in a jetpack. 

In fact it shot right by the last number. 

Yes, my weight was beyond the measurements of the scale.

If only blushing burnt calories. I’d have dropped half a stone easy.

The Doc, without a word, fetched a second scale. This had a display screen. This could show my weight.

I know I’m big. I didn’t expect to step off at 10st or something. But seeing it in black and white hammers home.

Before uni, I was the lightest I had been for years. I was jogging, eating better and walking everywhere. I’m now back where I started in 2011, where I got on the scales for the first time in years.

The weight loss resolution is dead in the water. Penny pinching for the wedding meant I had to stop Chub Club. Laziness and apathy has seen my weight tick up slowly. Worse, I knackered my knee last year and that means jogging is out.

The doctor advised power walking. I have become Harold Bishop.

Dropping weight for the wedding seems a folorn hope. 5 months to go. Suit fitting in a month. I can shift a bit by October, hopefully, but it won’t be a lot.

Looking good and being comfortable in Florida looks unlikely.

The blame lies with me, and I need to buck up and sort this out. I can’t run, but there’s a local gym. It has a pool, but I don’t think I’m ready for that. 

I have to do better.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Would You Rather? Part 4: Caves, Clowns and Climbing Trees

Would you rather be the best in the world at climbing trees or the best in the world at jumping rope?

I think I would go for the trees, because that’s probably something I’d enjoy more. I could be a nature photographer or something, climbing up to get pictures of the critters and whatnot.

Being able to jump rope well wouldn’t help as I’m not a Victorian schoolgirl or a boxer.

Would you rather live in a cave or a tree house?

Tree house. Aside from people terrified of the slightest height, who would pick the cave? Especially as some tree houses are pretty awesome.

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Would you rather have everything on your phone (browser history, pictures etc.) accessible to anyone who Googles you or never use a cell phone again?

The inconvenience of not having a phone would be pretty annoying, especially as I like using my phone as a distraction. But at the same time, would I rather lose that and have my personal stuff shared?

I guess I’d have to sacrifice my phone. Because while it’s highly unlikely people would be Googling me, I’d rather not run the risk of some random getting my emails and text messages.

Would you rather be accidentally responsible for the death of a child or accidentally responsible for the deaths of three adults?

If I’m picking one or the other surely the “accidental” part is out the window? Because you’re choosing one of the options to happen?

This is a really tough one, because like most normal people killing a child is utterly beyond the pale, but it’s rather hard to condemn three over one. Logically you should pick the kid, but there’s that emotional aspect that just messes with you.

This is a rough one. I guess I’d pick the kid, because I think the loss of three adults would have a much wider impact on the world, and the guilt over three lives is bound to be more intense, surely?

Would you rather all plants scream when they are cut/picked or animals beg for their lives when killed?

I imagine that animals make a lot of noise anyway, but as I’m not responsible for killing my own food I don’t have to face that. On the other hand, with plants I do cut the grass occasionally and pick blackberries so the screams would impact my life more.

So, I’d rather animals beg for their lives, simply because I don’t have to hear them.

I wonder if we did have to kill our own food more of us would be veggies?

Would you rather lose your best friend or all of your friends except your best friend?

I don’t really have a best friend, more like a circle of friends who are at the same level. So, I’d probably pick to keep that little group at the cost of everyone else than the other way round as I’ve been mates with them for years, and can probably do without the more distant friends and acquaintances better.

Would you rather have the police hunting you for a murder you didn’t commit or a psychopathic clown hunting you?

I hate clowns.

At least the cops would have to abide by certain rules and hopefully could be convinced of my innocence. But a psycho clown? Probably not open to reason.

And I’d be freaked out the whole time. So, I’d take the police option. Unless I thought there was a chance I could take the clown.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.