OH for the days when the body was supple and could adopt the Lotus Position with ease.
Actually, my body could never adopt the Lotus Position, either with ease or two Tibetan monks taking a leg each and a third pushing down on my head.
My legs were too short. I couldn’t even cross them properly. I used to gaze with awe at skinny people who not only crossed their legs but then intertwined them around each other like a corkscrew. I nurtured a secret hope that they might get up suddenly and drill themselves into the ground as they unwound.
My body was built for the sort of suppleness that sent me crashing at rugby or soccer. Not that I really crashed. I had the knack of bouncing, rolling and springing back to my feet with a grin that said: “Never touched me!” a quote that will only mean anything to George Formby fans. And, no, he’s not the bloke who invented a grill machine.
But whatever agility I had has gone and you notice it more than ever when you attempt the most mundane task in the universe. Yes, I’m talking about cutting your toenails.
For perfect hygiene you should cut your toenails sitting on the grass in the middle of the back lawn. That way no stray bits will fly off into the carpet or hide themselves in the bed. But in this weather the operation has to be conducted inside. With a carrier bag.
Years ago, a reader gave me this tip. Before starting, slot your foot into a plastic bag then any bits of nail will stay inside. It works, too. But once you have finished, make sure you bin the bag. Don’t leave it hanging around for someone to take with them when they go shopping to the bakers.
“By heck, Gladys, but these cup cakes have got some chewy bits in.”
Or the butcher’s.
“I’m not sure what part of the pig these sausages came from, but they’re biting back.”
However, even with proper use of a carrier bag I’m finding it increasingly difficult to actually bend over to get to my feet. Clothes get in the way and so I do it naked. I used to do it sitting on the bed but tended to roll over backwards. Now I prop myself against the bed-head, take a deep breath, grab a foot and snip.
During the period of the grip and snip, I hold my breath. This is to get more than one toe done during the same painful manoeuvre. One of these days, I may attempt a world record and my wife will send for paramedics who will find me naked, unconscious, clutching a Sainsbury’s bag and a pair of clippers.
“He was attempting a whole foot at once,” she will say.
And there’s no answer to that.