|Our kitchen cupboard...|
On the advice of a proper Pimlico local, I've joined a gym down the road. No protein shake plans yet though.
Snooping hopefully around the squash courts on my first visit, I came across a bunch of middle-aged chaps engaged in friendly Saturday morning squash. As this age-group represents that of the whole squash-playing community, I tried to look interested, middle-aged and squash competent - in hopes of finding someone to play.
And this is how I came to be there the following week. Fragile and sleep-deprived and clutching a borrowed squash racquet, chivvied on court by aged enthusiasts, I stumbled about ineptly. My first opponent - we'll call him 'The Bully' - seemed delighted. Attired in football shorts and a rugby shirt, he had the poise and charm of Silvio Berlusconi on a particularly wild night out.
|Silvio on a particularly wild night out|
The following point, scurrying forward to pick up a short ball, I found myself shunted to the floor when TB flung his substantial self at me. As I stumbled wearily away, fearing my spine fractured, he laughed gleefully - 'sorry didn't see you there' - and honoured me with another wink.
Having witnessed my defeat (-argh-) at the hands of such an oaf, the fat and decrepit immediately summoned me on court themselves.
The next, wider than he was tall, spent several minutes expressing his concern about TB's brutal and ungentlemanlike behaviour. He took the task of comforting me into his own hands - moving only so as to be close enough to pat my bottom at the end of each point. No mean feat for a man who could barely stand, let alone walk.
He was followed by an aged Aussie, who, he informed me with pride, used to smoke 120 cigarettes a day. An impractical number, I observed.
'Yes, yes mate, but you see I gave up thirty years ago - else I wouldn't be the immaculate physical specimen you see before you now....'
Feet away, things were kicking off. The Bully had been pitched against a fifty-year-old chap of delicate build ('The Scrawn'), and a tussle had ensued during a particularly tricksy point. Now muffled shouting was filtering down the corridor.
The squash court opened and out rushed The Scrawn. He sat down on the floor:
'No I won't. I'm not playing him any more. He's not being fair! He's not playing by the rules! I'm not playing.'
Withdrawing discreetly I left them to fight it out. I'll be back next week, don't worry. I can hardly wait.