Life

Still weighing up the downside of our fabulous Italian holiday

The lure of the hotel breakfast table featuring dark chocolate sprinkles with your fresh fruit and warm-baked cakes after your full Irish was a siren-call that could not be resisted. But I'm chowing the lean now. Life is one long carrot after another

When I stood on the scales on return from La Bella Italia, there was a moment when the eyesight issue seemed a bit of a plus

SCARCELY has the whiff of sun cream dissolved into the fresh air of an Irish summer than the new resolutions are leaping out of me like a bad case of nits.

Holidays inspire you that way. A week in Italy and I'm dreaming of escaping to Sorrento and living out my days as a tour guide.

“Sophia Loren's house on the right on the cliff edge, bellissima. Carlo, her husband, bought it all as a gift, as you do,” I'd say.

“Positano – so beautiful. You have to ask for permission to paint your house there, you know. They say the Saracens came and stole their holy statue and a voice spoke out from the heavens saying 'Put it back' and that is what the name Positano means and how it came about.”

Yep, I'm a natural.

Well, I could always be a wedding planner. The weddings were so beautiful in Italy. Ah, dream on.

I couldn't tell my other half “Arrivaderci”.

I'd have to take him with me – after all, he speaka da lingo. According to his trusty Duolingo app, he is 23 per cent fluent and getting better by the day. Complimente to him.

And ah, blue sparkling seas, the shadow of Mount Vesuvius rising out of crystal waters, the juiciest, most perfect oranges in the world; I could even stomach a visit from the Mafia for all that.

You might have guessed that we're home with a lurch.

On a jam-packed holiday, I managed to squeeze in five books and a pile of magazines – and we only sat by the pool once.

Now, I'm back to newspapers and, psst.. I have to confess to a sneaking addiction to Saga magazine.

It's the reading fodder for people of a certain age so that's a confession. I picked up a copy on the hotel “sharing” table and the £1,000 crossword prize had me hooked, never mind the reviews of battery-operated bikes and advice on pensions.

Still, we are, officially, middle aged... well, if we both live to 110.

But on our return from our Italian paradise, the other resolution was the health one.

It's been a roller coaster year health-wise in the McCann family. We have all emerged with hair on end, after a ride on a rollicking big dipper. Suddenly, being fit and healthy is very important.

But the lure of the hotel breakfast table featuring dark chocolate sprinkles with your fresh fruit and warm baked cakes after your full Irish, was just a siren-call that could not be resisted.

When I stood on the scales on return from La Bella Italia, there was a moment when the eyesight issue seemed a bit of a plus.

Then I put on the glasses, checked the figure and decided that not even my old spectacle frames weighed a good half stone.

Now, I am resolved to lose the belly fat.

Years ago, I'd starve for a week and quickly return to a Size 10. Ah, the joys of youth. Now, it means suffer, baby, suffer.

It does not help when your other half is a thin type who happens to weigh at least a stone less. Remember that old nursery rhyme, Jack Spratt? Well, meet Mrs Spratt who could eat no lean.

But I'm chowing the lean now. Life is one long carrot after another with the odd orange thrown in.

It helps if you're addicted to television shows like Trust Me, I'm a Doctor. There, they looked at lots of diet fads and tested them out.

Muffin top, blubber, spare tyre – call it what you will, it could be a sign of health trouble ahead.

The team tried it all, sit-ups and crunches; drinking milk (yeugh). But in the end, it came down to diet and exercise.

Remember the old cabbage soup diet? Well, forget it.

Remember the Mars bar diet? Well, forget that too.

I am resigned to a hungry July and August spent far far away from the biscuit and bun aisles in the supermarket. The jammy wagon wheels sing their siren songs from the end of the shelf, but I am strong, resolute and immune.

In fact, there may be an argument for locking all Kit-Kats and Breakaways in the garden shed.

I am also back in the swimming pool. OK, so it is not quite the lido at Sorrento where the sun pours down like honey and the water is crystal and turquoise. But it's still a joy.

“You have a lovely stroke,” said a woman in the pool last week.

I wanted to kiss her on both cheeks and cry: “Ciao bella,” but instead I said a good old Irish thanks and hauled myself womanfully out of the far end of the pool, like a plump black seal, pulling hard in on those belly muscles.

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Life