On New Year's Day, I sat in Pizza Express with Tom, Betty and Dolly. I finished my final mouthful of Tiramisu and announced that just as soon as we left the restaurant, 2012 really was going to be the year of healthy eating and fitness.
Betty rolled her eyes and informed me that I’d made exactly the same declaration this time last year, at this very table. She also reminded me of the exercise bike, the sit up machine, and the yoga DVD, that I insisted on getting myself for Christmas last year and which now all lie dormant in the attic.
At the start of last year, in an admirable bid to get me motivated, my daughter insisted on putting on the yoga DVD every evening before bed, and effortlessly and bendily carried out all the routines. Meanwhile, I would watch on from the sofa, with a glass of wine, and visualise myself being a size 10 again.
A couple of times she managed to get me onto the sit-up machine, but gave me a withering look as I huffed and puffed and failed to lift myself off the floor by even an inch.
On one occasion she even managed to sniff out my trainers and instructed me to run up and down our garden path a hundred times. I drew the line at three.
But a new year was ahead of us. So, with bellies full of pizza, we headed for the park with the kids’ new Christmas bikes, for our first stint of 2012 exercise. Thinking I'd got off lightly by leaving my bike at home, Betty jumped on hers and pedaled away at full pelt shouting: ‘Run run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the Gingerbread Man’. Passerbys looked on and smiled at her sweetly, as I lumbered past them, yelling at her to stop before she reached the river. I swear my child is out to humiliate me.
My unrelenting daughter has helpfully suggested I go for early morning jogs up the hill behind our house, or a bike ride, even a swim in the River Wye. The hill is near on vertical with menacing wild ponies ready to charge, the main road should only be attempted on a bike if you have nerves of steel, and as for swimming in the river, I can only assume my child really does not like me very much.
Next year, in a bid to get my militant daughter off my case, I shall announce that my New Year's resolution is to have lots of lie-ins, train her how to make a cup of tea, and have her and her sister in bed by 7pm sharp every night.