Once a year, usually for four weeks, sometimes less, me and a bunch of the guys head up to the Lake District for a detox at a place called Yealand. You can check it out — it was in the Doomsday Book.
This consists of a 10-mile hike before breakfast, which is one three-egg omelette, followed by an hour in the gym taken by a 23-year-old ex-Royal Marine and fitness coach.
In the evening we can feast; all the vegetables we can eat.
Oh, and strictly no booze. That’s the hardest part by the way.
The only criterion that must be met for the participants of Boot Camp is they must be good company, or those long walks seem very long indeed.
In the gym or The Ludus, as we call it, there is a Wall of Fame of some of the participants.
This is your author, after going 10 rounds sparring with the Royal Marine fitness instructor.
And still looking fresh!
I put him through his paces I can tell you.
This is Ken McKenzie, or Deformitus, as he is known, being instructed in the art of unarmed combat.
An essential skill he must hone to perfection, as he lives in the leafy suburb of Chiswick, West London.
This is our leader Matthew, he always likes to be different, and is here seen participating in some naked wrestling. Much to the girls’ chagrin.
Mind you, I think they were more unhappy that Rick, the trainer, opted for the more traditional ‘Keeping the clothes on’ approach.
Matthew’s wrestling nickname is ‘El Chipolata’, for reasons that soon became apparent.
Jeff is a Boot Camp Legend. He managed to climb halfway up The Old Man of Coniston, and decided bootcamp wasn’t really for him.
He did his ‘gym sessions’ in a horizontal position in his bed reading the paper. He is seen here sitting with a right nice cuppa tea, encouraging the rest of us to ‘Run faster’ and ‘Jump higher’.
But I may be doing him a disservice; he did make some effort, he only had slimline with his 12 noon Gin and Tonic, and chose the gluten free bread for his morning bacon butty.
Jeff has never returned to bootcamp.
This is LeadBelly, so called for his gluttony and huge consumption of wine. Despite this, he claimed that he would ‘Run rings around us all’ in the gym.
And to give him his due, he kept up on the walks, put in a sterling effort in the gym, and is seen here passed out after just 10 minutes, just prior to chucking up his breakfast of one three-egg omelette.
Of course, the girls have their own version of bootcamp. Not in Yealand, but in Burley, a kinda Girlie-Burley Bootcamp.
They walk around the garden, have a glass of champagne to accompany the scones and cucumber sandwiches.
Then, after all this effort, retire to the conservatory for some reading.
The closest they get to the gym is Jim the window cleaner, who coincidentally comes to clean the windows at the same time the girls take their reading break.
Strapping Jim on a hot day will strip to the waist, like a cola advert.
Not that Sarah noticed. She was so engrossed in her copy of The Dangerous Book for Boys (that she was holding upside down!) to notice, or so she says.
Anyway I am totally Hank (Hank Marvin – Starvin’ ) having had no food since breakfast, and laying here, aching everywhere, nervously awaiting the toll of the big brass bell, which can only signify one thing, the trainer is here. Once more into the Ludus, for an hour of pain.
Wish me luck.