I arrived at the store on the fourth morning to find the area manager running around getting his hands dirty - something was afoot. The manager had walked out. The team behind the counter was about 15 strong, most aged between 17 and 22 - then there was me at 40. A new manager would be in place within a couple of weeks, would I cover until then? Keys were handed over, banking and ordering procedures hastily explained and rotas amended. My stress-free honeymoon was over.
For the next ten years I managed a succession of stores for the company and was on my feet for 10 -12 hours-a-day, six days-a-week in noisy, airless environments. My record shop flab fell away as I ate on the run and rarely stood still. It was only when I left in 2011 that my body began to revolt. Various aches and pains appeared and followed one after another - and still they come.
My lifestyle after leaving became comparatively sedentary, so I got into a routine of going for at least one good walk per day. In the city I would don my MP3 player for such excursions, but when we moved into the village last year I soon realised that the sounds of nature were all I needed to accompany me and the walks became longer and more frequent. In spite of this, my weight increased steadily and I felt that more was needed and so began power-walking interspersed with short jogs to get the ol' lungs and heart working a bit harder. I've never been a jogger, never-ever. What I do is more akin to shuffling, but by jove, I started to feel better for it.
Two Tuesdays ago I was about halfway round my circular route when a small discomfort on the inside of my right knee became a screaming pain. No pings or snaps, nothing dramatic - it just gradually began to hurt...a lot. After a couple of days of resting my leg, I realised that the pain wasn't just going to go away, so I went to see the friendly, family GP. During the previous 10 years of store management I think I visited my doctor once - lately,the practice is fast becoming my second home. Something has worn out in my leg, but they're not quite sure what - a ligament maybe, or a muscle perhaps - nothing too serious, but enough to stop me in my tracks for a bit. For the time being I'm on painkillers and booked in for a course of physio over the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, back at Saturday Scratch.....The Hurricanes, fronted by future Meditations vocalist Danny Clarke, were one of a series of lesser known artists produced by Lee Perry in 1971. The single is a tough, brass-driven tune which was subsequently versioned in 1973 as 'Elephant Rock' on The Upsetters' seminal 'Blackboard Jungle Dub' LP. The title of the original Hurricanes cut? 'You Can Run'......are you havin' a larf mate? I can't even walk properly at the moment!
Enjoy your weekend and remember to warm-up thoroughly before exercise.
Previously on Saturday Scratch.