No3 in an occasional series of a fundraising project for the DPA

“G’day mate. That’s a nice verandah you’re building over the toyshop.” Owners of any self-respecting sized belly who have visited Australia may well have been greeted with this charming phrase of Strine. The imagery of this phrase is useful in describing a fundamental problem with the belly – where does your waistband go ? I am of course only speaking for the chaps here, as the engineering of the female body and the requirements of fashion are somewhat different and I don’t pretend to understand them.

The problem is that once your girth gets to any decent size, your waistband refuses to stay in place. It’s like trying to put a belt around a football; it just slips off. So the big question is: Above or Below ? I’ve always favoured the southerly route.

One size solution for the Tropic of Cancer approach

Most of those I have met who have favoured the Great Circle northern route have tended to be more elderly and to have their clothes well tailored. I used to have an honorary uncle who was a confirmed member of this persuasion whose waistband always seemed to me to be rather too close to his armpits. He also always wore a substantial pair of braces. Correctly done, it is a great gesture of confidence – “I’ve got a great girth and I don’t give a damn !” In modern times the celeb proponent of this is Simon Cowell for reasons that I can’t understand. He doesn’t have a decent belly size and can hardly be called well dressed. I’ve always thought it helps to make him look quite a prat. If I had made all those squillions from Pop Idol I think I might have invested a little more money in the fashion business and got rid of some of those old tee shirts.

Desperate measures ! I can't believe anyone would actually do this.

My own fondness for the Tropic of Capricorn stems, I think, from a fundamental attitude of denial shared, I suspect, by many men of a certain size. A good belly doesn’t just happen overnight. It creeps up on you to begin with and then takes years of unwitting nurture and care. Securing the trousers under the verandah is a way of making sure that our waist size (at least as measured by the trouser waistband) remains smaller than would otherwise be the case. It also provides a reassuring support, a kind of buttress under the verandah rather than the awning of the alternative approach.

Why am I telling you all this ? The sad truth, dear reader, is that all is not going to plan. The pounds are simply not disappearing as fast as I had hoped despite implementing two of my main weapons (exercise being the first – and I’ll tell you about the second next time). I think the weight is moving about a bit, re-distributing itself in more seemly fashion and the absolute measure of my waistline may have decreased by an inch and a half. But unfortunately the scales appear to be stuck and the belly is still large enough to accommodate a small family of asylum seekers. I now plan to bring in the heavy guns of the much dreaded 3rd measure to get this under control (of which, more in a later post).

Next time : A Farewell to Ale (Control Freak has been postponed but will appear later)

Weight: 118.8 Kg – 261.4 lbs

Distance Rowed: 110 km (a little way north of Junction 23 on the M5)

Girth: 51 inches

If you would like to sponsor me and raise funds for the DPA then just send me a message on  Just state the amount of money per pound weight lost (from the starting point of 263 lbs), the maximum amount of your sponsorship, and your best guess of my weight in pounds on June 16th 2012 to be in with a chance of the £50 prize. Judging on progress so far, this will not be an extensive outlay.

Many thanks to new sponsor this week – Martin.