I’m reconsidering my relationship with Tiago. It’s no longer exclusive because he’s now seeing Drew twice a week, Archie once a week and he even met with Arabella before she crippled herself once more.
The tension between me and Tiago is not only because he’s now so busy it’s difficult for the two of us to have time together, but because he suggested it would be a great idea to work out my bio-age.
And like a fool, I stepped into his trap.
And because I’ve been working up a sweat at our meeting place a couple of times a week as well as pounding my way up and down the black line of the local swimming pool every Tuesday and Thursday, I was sure I was in for an excellent, gloating, showing-off kind of a result.
The test took about an hour. It didn’t get off to a good start with me having to step on the scales and discovering I’ve gained another kilo. That’s three kilos since I started seeing Tiago. Isn’t the idea that you spend all this money to go backwards?
So after that humiliation he measured me. The good news is, I’m not shrinking. And my blood pressure is under control and I passed the step test that showed my pulse rate is good. And I was given full marks for having never been a smoker and after discussing vegetable and fruit portions and trans-fats, I scored well for nutrition. And he gave me a 10/10 for drinking three litres of water a day. I have low vulnerability for stress so that was in my favour but we might just skip over the number of alcohol units per week because that clearly wasn’t.
Then I had to breath into a tube and make a little red dot move along the cylinder. Bloody thing wouldn’t move. I was allowed three attempts and like a chronically ill heavy smoker I failed. A score of 370 is way lower than it should be. I told my swimming coach and he said I should be up around the 500 level. There’s clearly a skill for the tube test.
Next was to see how many push-ups I could do before collapsing onto my nose. The counting would stop at the very first one I didn’t do properly. No pressure. With a lot of grunting I did 40 push-ups which put me in the bio-age of a 16-29 year old. I was feeling positive.
Then there was a core strength test and I had to do a plank. I lasted four minutes and Tiago said that’s better than his best of 3.5 minutes. I was thinking I might qualify for a trophy.
But then out of the cupboard he brought a broom stick. I thought he was going to whack me with it. I had to hold it over my head and do a squat while he stood behind me and looked at my unflattering angle. This is known as a yardstick test or a president’s challenge and it’s designed to test your flexibility. Tiago gave me a zero. Mean! Thirteen is a bad score. I’m supposed to have a score of around 20.
The final indignity was measuring my waist. Apparently, for my height, it’s massive and is pushing up my bio-age. I thought I was slim! I feel like I’m Gweneth Paltrow in the movie, Shallow Hal where I think I’m Gweneth but I’m in denial and I’m the other woman. If I sit on a chair I’ll break it.
When it was all over I had to go home and sit by the computer and wait for his email to come through. And last night it arrived. I was shattered. For all the bloody effort, my bio-age is just 18-months younger than my actual age. The report recommended that if I want a better result I need to improve my cardiovascular fitness, take 4cms off my waist and swap wine for green tea.
Who can be bothered.
Bloody stupid test. Purely designed to make you feel defeated.
Meanwhile, the cripple, who is unable to do a thing for herself let alone exercise, bleats from her room, ‘What’s for lunch?’ And after I tell her she asks, ‘How much longer?’ And when it’s ready she says, ‘Could you plate it up and bring it to my room…with a glass of water?’ (Tiago isn’t the only one tipping me over the edge). I made her a tomato and thyme tart for lunch and it met with approval. Tiago would approve because counting the rocket on the side, it has two servings of vegetables and one serving of fruit – just don’t have it with a glass of wine.
I found the recipe for this tart on the inside of a box of Careme Puff Pastry. The method used takes forever and with all the effort I’m now having to put in to trimming my waist, I needed a few shortcuts. And it didn’t seem to affect the tart in the slightest. Here’s my greatly altered version…
- 375g all butter puff pastry, thawed. (I used Careme)
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 medium brown onions, sliced
- 1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed
- 500gms cherry tomatoes
- 1 tspn vinocotto
- 2 tbsp thyme leaves
- 100g goat's curd
- 1 tbsp preserved lemon, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 150C (300F).
- Roll pastry until it fits into a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush edges of pastry with lightly whisked egg yolk. Place in fridge for 30 minutes.
- Place 1 tbsp of the olive oil and all the butter into a heavy-based saucepan and melt butter over low heat. Add onions and stir. Put lid on saucepan and cook down the onions without browning for 20 minutes. Add capers and stir. Remove from heat and cool.
- Meanwhile, place tomatoes on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle over vinocotto. Sprinkle with half of the thyme. Place in oven for 30 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
- Increase oven temperature to 220C (430F).
- Remove pastry from fridge. Drain liquid from onion mixture and spread over the tart. Place in oven for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 200C (400F) and continue to cook for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and top with tomatoes, goat's curd, preserved lemon and remaining thyme. Return to oven for 5 minutes.
- Enjoy with a rocket salad or similar.