One thing the BBC programme about brain training did emphasise was the importance of physical workouts for mental agility, particularly for older people.

I’m not so sure, you know. The creativity and energy I use coming up with excuses not to exercise are many and legion. Trying to still that inner voice (the Protestant work ethic has a lot to answer for) that whines away when I’ve gone yet another week without doing anything more strenuous than walking from the car to the sofa to the kitchen takes up a great deal of imagination and effort.

‘Sometimes I wish I had a terrible childhood, so that at least I’d have an excuse’.

Incidentally, I Googled ‘excuses not to exercise’ to see if I could any funny ones (I couldn’t) led me rapidly to a site I came across offering (for the paltry sum of $75 a year) fake doctor’s notes complete with surgery addresses! It makes my vague fantasies about pretending I was stuck in Spain because of the volcanic ash on the first morning of this new term relatively trivial. (I didn’t by the way).