Back at high school, which it must be said was quite a few years back now, my physed teacher used one word a lot.

It was the word that embraced his role on the teaching staff board.


His job was to get his young charges fit ... and that was not an easy task because some of us were simply not cut out to be fit.


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We were cut out to be spectators ... not part of the high-paced confrontations out there on the main field by two teams of lads in different-coloured jerseys.

And as for climbing knotted lengths of rope slung from the ceiling of the school gym, well I was with the smart kid who was admonished for saying "why don't we just use a ladder to get up there?"

He was one of the lads who got a mate with a car to pick them up at a designated spot in Te Awa and take them to within 300m of the finish line of the big cross-country course which left pretty well everyone, except for them, exhausted.

But yes, it is important to possess an element of fitness to whatever level one is comfortable with, and can maintain.

For me, the act of walking is the answer.

I aim for 30 minutes of it a day and despite having a couple of slightly dicky knees I get away with it, and like to think that without the daily strolling the knees would likely be dickier.

However, when the month of February rolls around I engage in a form of fitness I now dub "back and forth".

The doctor who got me started on the fitness pursuit about 10 years ago would have been delighted to see me engaging in "back and forth" last Sunday, as the mysterious wiles of February weather unfolded.

It did this last year.

December and January were heatwaves and then as the cricket season and Art Deco nudged closer the northerlies went all easterly and the damp airs of the tropics came this way ... to the despair of the owners of open-top vintage cars and hard-working viticulturists whose toils to create the finest of vintages was tampered with by the only thing they could not control.

But hey, the weather boffins have been saying it for years ... we are effectively entering what is acknowledged as the cyclone season in the tropics so the chances of us taking a glance from one if them is very much heightened.

Also, this La Nina thing we are apparently living under is prone to spark humid, damp easterly flows so anything on the eastern seaboard is basically in the way.

Mind you, the other side of the island has had the worst of it thus far so we can't really complain.

Although I began to complain on Sunday because Mother Nature was either in two minds or she was simply being mischievous.

At one stage the sun came out, but three minutes later light rains fell.

At one stage I saw the darkening clouds shuffling up from the south ... but an hour later they were lighter and drifting in from the northeast.

Blended in with humidity, it is not the best drying weather when one's tea towels are hanging up inside the garage.

But when the air dried out and warmed up, with occasional bursts of sunshine, it was just perfect outside.

So out they went.

Then, seven minutes later, in they came again as an annoying shower drifted over and looked set to hang about.

But it didn't and it brightened up so out they went again.

About nine minutes later mischievous Mother Nature was at it once more and began delivering misty rain ... and I was at it again ... dashing back to the line to put the tea towels inside again.

Until 11 minutes later when it cleared up and the sun, weak but glowing nonetheless, emerged.

So out they went again.

Yep, the fitness regime of "back and forth" was well and truly being pursued and at one stage I even detected the presence of a slight sweat.

I would estimate that those six tea towels probably travelled several hundred metres that day ... from the line into the garage and back out to the line again.

Which meant so did I, so that was a very good thing and I thank the uncertain clouds and currents of February for that.

But like anything, enough is enough, and I have begun to tire of hearing people remark "oh but we do need the rain".

Indeed, but I need dry tea towels too.