“A brief belay while I hit a peak of fitness”

Number 46 - 2009.

Last Friday, my friend Arnold asked me what I was doing for the weekend.

“I’m going climbing,” I said.

“Climbing. The only climbing you’ve ever done is of the social variety!”

“I happen to come from a long line of Jewish mountaineers; my uncle, Sherpa Rosengard was obscured on Everest by Tenzing.”

“Sure,” Arnold said. “What kind of climbing?”

“I’m becoming a belayer.”

“Is that like being an Amish?”

“It’s a climbing qualification. One person climbs up the rock face and I, the belayer, hold on to the rope. If they fall off, I stop them plunging to their death. It’s quite important.”

“How long does this course take? One, two years?”

“Two hours.” I said. “But it’s a very intense two hours.”

“How intense?”

“You have to do knots and things.”

As Arnold knows, generally the terms “exercise” and “Peter Rosengard” are mutually exclusive. But two weeks ago I did go running in Oxford Street.

I’d got out of my car to pay for the parking by phone and glanced back to see my car half way across the road and picking up speed. I’d left the handbrake off.

I ran after it like Usain Bolt in the 20-yard sprint, and if it had been the 25-yard sprint I definitely would have caught up with it before it ran into the back of that taxi.

I’ve still got a niggling groin injury, but you should have seen the taxi.

Last September, I joined a gym in St John’s Wood, but when I asked if I could watch a comedy programme on the TV monitor, the assistant said: “Sorry, we only play music here… the other members don’t like comedy.”

“But there’s nobody else in the gym,” I protested.

“Sorry… it’s the rules,” she said.

That was when I lunged for the remote control.

“ I’m the only member here,” I shouted as she dialled for Security.

I then found a small gym in Mayfair where they let me play my own Larry David DVDs when I’m on the running machine.

I was laughing so much I didn’t even notice that I was doing any exercise!

I’d found the perfect gym.

But after watching the entire series 250 times, I haven’t been back. I’m waiting for the new season’s shows to come out.

I’m thinking of opening a chain of gyms, just for middle-aged Jewish men who want to watch Larry David all the time. It will be called Laughter First.




Peter Rosengard

July 16 2009.