I got weighed today and I've lost 6.6 lbs or 3 Kg in the last four weeks. Although it's the smallest monthly loss so far, at least its still coming off and since my last weighing we've had a couple of meals out - so far, 64 lbs lost. Not doing too badly. Plenty of further flab to lose.
My ancestral families, with one or two minor and notable exceptions have always been big people. My grandmother used to say to me when I was a kid that if I ever grew big, I could explain that I "had big bones." Hmm, that never really worked. Some of my great aunts were as thin as rakes, painfully thin when I look at some of the old black and white photographs of them and some of that is down to smoking I'm sure and in other cases, perhaps a tough lifestyle with not a great deal of cash.
I haven't smoked since I was about 22, just a couple of months before we married. One day I was out of breath and I screwed my packet of fags up and threw them in the open fire. My wife to be nearly had a fit. I've never had a fag since and never fancied one either. She gave up not long afterward. Of course we used to go into the sweet shop on the corner and buy a packet of fags, then a box of matches because we always forgot them, then a packet of Polo mints to take away the cigarette smell on the breath and a quarter of sweets and so on and so on, so it was a very expensive habit when we looked back. We actually lost weight when we gave up!
I started when I was a very young teenager or perhaps when I was around twelve; my parents both smoked. To this day, I remember my first fag which I had in the upstairs loo. I was physically sick and my head spun around something dreadful - yet I persisted - why is that?
We smoked all sorts. The old man at the corner shop in Finkle Street in Cottingham, Mr Brocklesby or 'Brock' used to split a packet of five blue (filtered) Park Drive and sell us kids single fags for a penny. I used to hide mine in an old fountain pen which had no cartridge in case I was searched at school. I moved on to small filtered Cadets (I don't think you can buy them these days,) then Dunhills, very posh although I didn't like the taste and ended up with Lambert and Butlers, Embassy 'Number 6' and finally Benson and Hedges. Of course, being macho, I liked to be seen smoking Camels and I'm sure I was actually smoking camels - dead ones at any rate - they were foul. Occasionally I smoked Park Drive plain (no filters) - the damage I must have done - I regret it even now.
I tried the old roll ups, but never got the hang of it, I remember once putting a single strand of tobacco in the paper to save tobacco and when I lit it, it took a single second to burst into flames and burn my lip which the paper stuck to because my lips were too dry.
I even tried pipes, cigars (I used to like a Castella - quite long and thick, unlike me) those long black Cafe slim things with liquorice flavoured paper (very chic) but I eventually gave it all up. My first packet was about 20 new pence which of course is one new pence per cig. When I stand behind people at the counter when I'm buying my lottery tickets today and see them paying a fiver a packet, I'm glad I've stopped. If you buy twenty a day, that's thirty five quid a week, £140 a month, £1,680 per year and more importantly 25 pence per cig!
Do you remember some of these quotes from TV adverts?
"Ahhhh, a Condor moment" (pipe tobacco)
"Cool as a mountain stream, the coolest taste in smoking." Consulate menthol cigarettes - they were AWFUL!
"Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet; the mild cigar from Benson & Hedges." To the music of Bach's Air on a G string.
"I like a man who smokes St. Bruno." Pipe tobacco, usually provocatively quoted by an attractive brunette.
"Pure gold, from Benson & Hedges." Their packet was gold coloured.
Interestingly, while cigarette advertising was banned in the UK in 1965, you could still see cigar adverts right through to 1991.
Memories eh? As the weekend arrives, I can look forward to more reading because the weather forecast is poor for tonight and Saturday meaning no grass cutting or lounging in the garden. I've shifted habits this last couple of years by trying to cut the grass midweek so I can actually enjoy the garden on a weekend without working in it. Sensible you might think, not me, only just thought of it! Trouble is I'm often too tired to do it once I'm home after a busy day. Although I won't be able to get in it - I can look at it through the window as I'm plodding though my book which I must finish this weekend.
Here's today's story. Two elderly ladies were sat in a bus shelter one day and both were smoking while waiting for their bus. When it started to rain, one of the ladies reached into her handbag, pulled out a condom, cut the end off it, placed it over her cigarette so it wouldn't get wet and carried on smoking.
Her friend thought that that was an excellent idea. She went into the chemists the very next day and asked for a packet of condoms.
"What size?" asked the pharmacist.
"To fit a Camel," the old lady replied.
Have a great weekend!