Time’s Arrow

A few days have passed, so here’s the answer to the cryptic clue I left in the ‘Up Pompeii’ post:

Manage to get firm going to gym (4) Cope

I’ve harvested these occasional clues from British puzzles, and it occurs to me that they not be quite so accessible to US readers – sorry for that. A ‘firm’ is a company (as in ‘business’), abbreviated ‘Co’… just for fun, here’s another that requires knowledge of the British royal family and knowledge of an old word for a tax (‘duty’ here is a tax). Fitness themed as ever…

Duty constraining Queen to keep fit (8)

Answer at the bottom.

But I’m digressing before I’ve even started (‘Nothing new there, then,’ says Dave). Hmmm.

Today’s Gallery Theme: ‘Putting in the Hours’

Alex Crockford (4)

We had a very late night Saturday. First to Chad’s gym to meet up with our mates Leon and Dane from KY along with Zach and Gary. Great workout, wrestling to follow with plenty oil, then the six of us left to ourselves to enjoy assorted gay stuff together, as we do. You’ve read it all before. [If you haven’t, see the end of this post!…] Eventually Zach and Gary returned to their apartment and we with Leon and Dane to our king-size bed – by then around 3am, so everyone zonked straight out (just in case you were wondering).

Broco 1 (Hantel)

We woke extremely late, not helped by the clocks going forward for daylight saving time (yes, it’s earlier than in UK, which confuses the folks back home when we call – and it confuses them even more when I point out that just down the road, it’s an hour earlier than it is here, all year…). I awoke to sounds of people shouting in the yard outside our window, and Dave standing at the window saying ‘You’ve got to see this…’


Now, my son Leo had spent the night at his friend Chris’s house, so I was surprised to hear his voice shouting the loudest. Turns out he and Chris, along with their fitness-freak friends Jude, Ryan and Tjark, plus Chris’s 20yo brother Billy, had collected a group of boys from High School who were fed up with being ‘shown up’ in Phys Ed sessions by our home-grown enthusiasts, and challenged them to a ‘bodyweight’ workout session to show them ‘how it’s done’. And where better (I suppose) than in our yard? Not in the training cabin – not enough room and, anyway, that’s kind of private for us and them, not for every new kid on the block. So there they all were, shirts and shoes off as demanded by our young ‘trainers’ (it’s quite warm here nowadays), shorts or jeans firmly in place as would be expected by the overlooking neighbours, going through crunches, sit ups, press ups, plank and just about every other exercise known to man, sometimes with a mate on their backs to make it harder…. just the stuff we would normally do… except that all we actually felt like doing was staying in bed after the night before.


Jaymee (Dave’s daughter) and her acrobatic friend Karla, who had stayed over at ours, were even joining in with the lads. And meanwhile we, the generation that started it all here in this little town, too knackered to go and show how fit we are – or perhaps show that we were slightly less fit than they were. I guess that was the thought in our minds as we stood at the window, trying to see without being seen. Time’s arrow – are we really slowing down so much in our 30s?


As a qualified phys ed instructor, I know that it is the endurance – stamina – that we shall lose first. The ability to sustain long tumbling and acrobatic routines… that sort of thing. As age takes its toll we shall still be able to do the weights routines – albeit with a longer pause between sets – there’s really no limit for that, and doctors are now saying that even the pensioners should take it up (if they haven’t already) and keep it up.

Despite spring having sprung here in rural Tennessee, somehow, watching those 13-15yos putting in the effort yesterday morning made me feel real old. Time moves along… and age with it…

river viiperi special (9)

The really great thing, though, was that every one of the newcomers was a willing volunteer, finally deciding that they needed to do something about their fitness, and willing to take advice from those of their peers who most clearly demonstrated the value of exercise. Score there, then. We are extremely proud of those boys (and girls!), all of whom devote several hours most days to various forms of physical training.

seated press

This evening, I have the twins and their friend Alvin again, in the twins basement. Private coaching, with their dads sitting there waiting to be impressed by their offspring. Both of those dads were very sporty one time but, like us, notice a decline and admit to being less inspiring to their boys than they would like to be.  At least with us, gym coaching and the occasional performances mean we do have to keep on our toes, and I guess we train about 10 time’s harder than the average American dad. It’s just more like constantly running uphill than it used to be!


I’ll let the rest of the pictures provide the inspiration now:


(When he’s done with the bench press he needs to work on those arms…)


(…whereas that guy’s proportions are just about perfect…

…squats, now, from a guy with highly developed shoulder musculature…)





And what we like best of all – a guy just quietly working away, not built like Goliath but wanting to be fit for his sport…


OK – earlier on up the page I mentioned some books which will surely fill you in on where we’ve come from – gay, yes, occasionally graphic but not porn, lots of acrobatic and wrestling fun, circus tours that went right and one that went horribly wrong… and some really strange things in the English Lake District…

The first part...The second part...Cover 3 ThumbClicking on the covers will lead you to more information, and they are available for e-readers too from the usual places.



The ecologists will probably kill me for that one, but I couldn’t resist. And for that matter, since I’m a gay man, I’ll add another. The vegetarians will be out to get me for this one:


One benefit of time’s arrow moving ever forward is that folks are far more tolerant of us than they used to be. And they are even coming to realise that it’s not a lifestyle choice, but simply what we are. Ryan’s dad learned that, coming from a position of extreme homophobia to giving us his son to ‘make a man of’. And we have to respect him for that. And the boy did well… as his performance in our yard, and in the High School wrestle squad, clearly shows.

And now – time to climb in the car and go visit the even younger generation – see what we can make of Stevie, Josh and Alvin!

Duty constraining Queen to keep fit (8) Answer: Exercise [Ex(ER)cise]

About tony

Born Northampton UK
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