Brain function is low, speed dropped, the acceleration has gone. Lying idly next to my son, with the breeze flapping the blind – in my record third week of holidays – I notice indolence and a mind declined.

Still the body is stronger, the face browner and the belly slimmer so I’ve got some things right. And good times, happy smiles and big hugs from the family are a very significant compensation.

But maintaining an agile mind is like running a high performance engine – it needs quality fuel, high revs and plenty of throttle to go through the gears.

Country lanes and coastal roads are all very well, but I’m about ready for a return to the rigours of the urban cycle. Work is as important as play.

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