True Gripes / Don’t scare the joggers: Al fresco love is a health hazard


I have tendonitis in my right leg. I have shin splints in my left. Who is to blame for this terrible state of affairs? That ghastly sector of the populace which lacks pride, has never heard of self-control and knows only the animalistic meaning of the word ‘breeding’: I refer to public snoggers.
I have been a jogger for 10 years without suffering so much as a bruise, when suddenly this year something strange happened. The average hormone level in Holland Park soared, making it impossible for anyone even sticking to the perimeter to make it more than a few yards without tumbling over a horizontal couple, locked in carnal embrace.

It is not just that these people are such unattractive blots on the landscape. The mounds they form, protruding from the ground are a real obstacle for pedestrians and dangerous hazards for athletes.

My physiotherapist told me my shin splints came from repetitive strain. The only repetitive strain I’ve suffered recently is jumping over these wretched creatures without disturbing them – not you understand out of politeness or from a worry that I might damage them – more to avoid having to watch the excruciating process of disengagement, followed by an unpleasant vowel sound emanating from their voice-boxes.

As a result I either end up doing hurdles – for which I am not tall enough – or jogging up the park’s only isolated bit – a particularly steep hill, which my little legs are not cut out for.

So. . .now I’m ill. The legs have given up – pushed to limits beyond normal endurance. I’m getting fat; my brain is drying up through lack of oxygen and it’s all the fault of these insolent youths – invariably long-haired and dressed in black – who think sunshine is synonymous with an open-air orgy.

Every time I stop to wonder – or rather since I am stopped, just wonder – why these couples behave in such a brazen fashion, the nightmare they evoke becomes worse.

One imagines rooms without sofas, overbearing mothers, squats without bedrooms, Roman Catholics, permanent noise, buckets of vomit, in short – no privacy. Can this be the case? Or is there some primitive instinct I have missed out on that says sex is better outdoors?

I don’t think this can be the whole answer. Now I have forsaken the park for the swimming pool, to my horror I still bump into canoodling couples – mostly foreigners – in the shallow end.

Safer to stay indoors and pick up a book. Only the last time

that I tried that, the cover looked at me accusingly.

It was Helen Zahavi’s True Romance. . .