He made my day
“I am very fit!” He sat forward in his chair, feet clad in worn running shoes. His thin greying hair was not in any particular style. Just sort of generally all over the place. His track suit top had seen better days. Faded and worn at the edges, it sat tight around his ample girth. His long casual trousers could do with a hot iron and some stitching to repair the fraying edges. His voice had a friendly, happy sound, which made it easy to listen to the heavily accented English.
“I want you to give me advice with my training”, he announced. “I run with my dogs every day. The one dog is a typical rugby player, she keeps on tripping me! Which is very good – very good. I have to watch my step to keep my balance!”, he said, in a laughing way. “I went to see the coach at the rugby club. ‘Coach’, I said to him, ‘Why do the guys when they score a try, carry on like that? I want to know’, I said to him. ‘You know, Coach, it looks as though they get so much enjoyment, which is something I do not understand. Now I want to score a try too! I want to feel what it’s like and see what makes big men jump like that and carry on!’ So, the coach said to me, ‘OK, just get yourself fit and I’ll see what I can do. A man your age will get hurt by the guys, so what I’ll do is, put you onto the field in the last few minutes of the game when the men are tired and they won’t be so hard on you. Don’t you think that is a good idea?’ That is why I am training with the dogs. Only, the one keeps tripping me, you know. Now I can get fit and practice my balance!”
He loved to tell his story, talking loudly, waving his hands about to make a point. His happy face, full of passion and expectation of what it must feel like to score a try, was very endearing. “Now, they tell me you change people’s diets!”
He looked at me from under his greying, bushy eyebrows. “You are not going to tell me I cannot have my beer and cheese! I just love it. Oh! The taste of a lovely bite of cheddar mixed with a mouthful of local beer! Lovely, lovely! At 9am every day, I have my beer and cheese. I love it! When people come to my business, they say, ‘Drinking beer at 9am! What is wrong with you?!’ So, I say to them, ‘Why must I wait for 1.00pm or 12 noon? Where is it a rule or written that I cannot have my beer at 9.00am? I am not drunk. I do my work. I take care of my home and dogs. I keep fit. So, what is wrong with beer and cheese at 9:00am?”