As I walked along the road

A new year and a new determination. Last year I decided to stop smoking, this year I decided to start walking. Giving up smoking was nowhere near as difficult as I expected it to be: now I feel physically ill when I smell cigarette smoke - so much so that I can't go into places where I know there will be smoking going on. I only hope that my 2005 resolution is as successfully maintained, you see, since I stopped smoking, I have started putting on weight - quite a lot of weight, it has to be said. My sedentary lifestyle has not really helped the cause of keeping the pounds off, and since Liam started secondary school last August, I have not needed to cycle the four miles to pick him up, then walk the four miles back. I am also afraid that I am at that age when unhealthy and unfit Scottish men succumb to illness. So, I intend to walk at least two miles every day - and hopefully, as I get fitter and faster, to increase this to eight miles. Once the weather begins to improve, I will be out on the bike again. Until then, it is walking that I have to do. So, armed with this new determination, I was up at a reasonably early 10am (well, it is New Year's Day!). I looked out the window, and noted that the weather was fine, so off I went up past Pitempton to Kirkton of Strathmartine, then on to Bridgefoot and back home via the newsagent's. It was great. As you might imagine, there was hardly a soul about, so I had the roads all to myself and plenty of time for thinking about things that annoy me: intolerance, bigotry, ignorance, fanaticism and stupidity - the kind who write pathetic comments about how the Asian tsunami was the Christian God wreaking his vengeance on evil Muslims and Hindus, and how they all deserved it (see some of the comments that the lunatic fringe have left in Hellmut Issel's gallery to see what I mean). I was going to write about these people, but then I thought what advantage is there in bringing the wrath of the intolerant, bigoted, stupid and ignorant fanatics upon myself: nothing I can say will change their pathetic minds, so why should I bother. Better just to ignore them and hope they go away. This I decided whilst walking on the road (to paraphrase one of Scotland's best folk songwriters, Dick Gaughan). Perhaps on tomorrow's walk I will decide that the fanatical ignoramuses ought to be challenged at every possible opportunity. Who knows. We'll see. In the meantime, I hope you all had a good time last night, and that you're not suffering from too much of a good time (unless, of course you are an intolerant, bigoted, ignorant, stupid fanatic, in which case I hope you have the hangover from Hell).


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