The entire family is on holiday this week.
And when I say "holiday" I of course mean that we are being groovy fashionable young things and having a staycation... basing ourselves at home and having various day trips to places that are neither distant nor expensive. While the rich might be lapping up the ambrosia of St Moritz or Cannes we are slurping away quite happily on the custard of Great Malvern and the Birmingham Sea Life Centre.
The kids are happy. Karen is happy. And the bank account is sighing with relief.
I, however, am gasping with unfitness.
We took the kids up the Malvern Hills yesterday - well, one peak of them at any rate: the British Camp which, if you follow the link, you will see is an Iron Age Hill Fort rather than a shrine to Kenneth Williams.
Karen, Ben and I are expert hillwalkers. Tom, at little over 21 months, is not. So I carried him up in a specially designed kiddy backpack.
I'm sure he felt like Hannibal marshalling a very truculent, wheezy elephant up a moderate foothill.
I cannot believe how unfit I have become.
Now Tom is a solid lad but he's hardly Geoff Capes. Yet I felt like I was about to expire. My shoulder muscles seemed to be tearing apart down the centre of my back. My head felt like it was being pushed off the base of my spine and my forehead felt tighter than Gordon Brown's chocolate starfish.
It was painful. Very painful.
But I persevered. I made the noble sacrifice because Tom was loving every single moment of it. You could hear in his voice the wonder of so this is what you guys can see from up here! The backpack places him at head height you see so he was able to fiddle about with my hair and poke his fingers into my lugholes as I climbed. I suspect he was trying to steer me.
Anyway, once I'd confessed my agony to Karen she made a few adjustments to the backpack and the pain lessened a little. So maybe it was not all down to my lack of fitness but instead my hamfisted usage of what is essentially a very easy to use device? I bloody hope so.
I'd hate to think I was that out of shape.
My assumed immortality has been rather shaken as a consequence. Could it be that I am getting old? Should I be on the search for a nice bit of pasture?
I thought 40 (which I become next month) was supposed to be the new 30?
Not the old 60?