As time passes, I become fixated by things I very much dislike. I have become an expert on notorious UK serial killers thanks to the watering down of television content. I have also a fascination with violence on film, which I cannot watch in one sitting as the kids come wandering in meaning I have to view it in 363 stages, which makes me lose the flow of what is going on.

My main fascination at present however is a topic I have written about many times before, that of ‘middle age.’ Recently when describing someone to a third party I said, ‘the old boy with the blond hair.’ It turns out this ‘old boy’ is 11 months older than yours truly and I had a long hard look in the mirror prior to jumping once more upon my two-wheeled steed and going out to prove that age is but a number and I have still got ‘it’, whatever it may be.

Watford Observer: Brett Ellis cycling in Cornwall. Photo: Brett EllisBrett Ellis cycling in Cornwall. Photo: Brett Ellis

The realisation as to my upcoming half century is starting to dawn as I geared up with my helmet and red, white, and blue Adidas ‘crepes’ before realising they were more befitting a teenage skateboarder. Reverting instead to my functional if unexciting riding footwear, I rode at breakneck speed and overtook a young (40-year-old) lady on a road bike, which is the pinnacle for a full-suspension mountain bike rider. Over hill and glade, I belied my years before hitting a footpath and, with a steady push of the pedal, slipping a disc again in my back.

In that moment, I felt my age. Straddling a bike on a footpath for five minutes is no picnic when you can't manage to get your leg over (sorry, it's all going a bit Benny Hill now) before a kind passer by helped me off my steed and walked me, like a geriatric, to the nearest road so that I could call my extraction team, aka my wife and brother in law.

Watford Observer: In some pain after the slipped discIn some pain after the slipped disc

So, as I write this I am laid up. My daily gym and cycle activities which have culminated in a three-stone weight loss since January are now nothing but a memory. I lay here feeling self-pity and struggle to shuffle to the fridge to get me yet another cold one to drown my sorrows. The summer is written off as I grumpily bark out orders to my wife, who is learning quickly how to do all those middle aged blokey jobs like checking the oil on the car, using the strimmer, and reading the electricity meter.

So yes, at last, middle age has truly arrived and I have succumbed to it: I even, during the hot day yesterday, found myself bare chested in the garden as I sucked in my remaining flab rolls when one of the younger school mums popped in to have a chat about whatever school mums chat about. She gave me the look I used to give my grandad when he had piles or my gran after she fell down the stairs: the look of resignation tinged with pity, but also the knowledge that this is now it for me, poor old boy that I am.

So, for now as I lay on my back and order more uncalled-for crap from Amazon Prime, my priorities have shifted: bye bye Adidas and Nike, and hello double denim, home weights (for when I can manage to hold them), some budgie smuggling Speedos for the inevitable recuperation advice of swimming and, in six months’ time, a Saga subscription.

All I need after that is to book a cruise, start shopping in the M&S clothing department, add a short cut to the Hush Puppy website on my home screen and buy an ebike, as I finally succumb to the aging process and dream of those not too distant days when I wasn’t referred to as that ‘old bloke’ by those blasted millennials.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher