There are all manner of weird. wonderful and foolishly expensive pampering experiences on the market but a fish pedicure must rank up there.

You can now dip your feet in a tank full of miniature carp which will frantically nibble the dead skin off your feet for 15 minutes.

You have to feel sorry for the little blighters. One day they are swimming around in some balmy river in Asia, the next they whisked off for a life of servitude in rainy London chewing the corns off people’s feet.


I do wonder about my musical taste in hindsight and I’m not talking about the Spice Girls or Phil Collins.

I was dusting off some old CDs and came across Pornosonic  (unreleased 70s porno music) featuring such classics as Laying Pipe, Nice ‘n’ Sleazy Does It and Special Delivery.

Cue the slinky funk bass and rinky-dinky keyboards. Sounds quite good. Not sure what the neighbour thinks.


It’s been quite a week for the spiritual shepherds of the world.

In the western corner we have Pastor Terry Jones doing his bit for global harmony with his will he, won’t he burn a Koran saga, while  papal emissary  Walter Kasper declared that Britain was a third world country.

Not wanting to be outshone Islamic extremists have taken umbrage at a north African nightclub called Meca saying it is an insult to Islam forced its closure.

Good job they don’t know about the Mecca bingo chain.


The commander of US forces in Afghanistan General David Petraeus described his task as: “Building an advanced aircraft while it is in flight, while it is being designed and while it is being shot at.”

Sounds like your onto a winner there, David (not).


Think you’re too old to get in shape?

Then it’s time to meet 99 year-old Fauja Singh, the fastest pensioner on the block.

The majority of senior citizens enjoy putting their feet up after a lifetime of work but Fauja Singh is still busy breaking records and making a name for himself as one of Britain’s most extraordinary athletes.

The Redbridge based runner plans to rewrite the record books again next year by becoming the oldest and fastest man in his age group to complete a marathon.

Success would mark the culmination of a remarkable career which began at the relatively youthful age of 81 when Fauja took up running to stave off the boredom of sitting at home.

The diminutive Sikh has since completed the gruelling 26.2 mile distance seven times and is the current over 90s world record holder.

Age seems to have little relevance for the devout vegetarian whose daily training regime includes an eight mile run, early nights and a positive mental attitude.

Fauja said: “I do not consider myself to be old. From the moment I do that, I would lose everything, because age is a state of mind – as long as you’re positive, you can do anything.”

His decision to start running marathons was originally sparked by watching the London race on TV along with a chance encounter with Harmander Singh, a veteran of nearly 50 (marathon) races who agreed to train him.

Harmander said: “We just started with the basics and slowly built Fauja’s mileage up. It was simply a case of breaking the training down into manageable chunks and moving towards our goal. He’s quite a celebrity now.”

Fauja also competes as part of quintet of runners called Sikhs in the City who have a combined age of 420 years. All five members of Sikhs in the City share an infectiously positive outlook and lust for life that is key to their ongoing success.

Ajit Singh, 80, for instance, has just learned to ride a bicycle, so one of his goals now is to complete a triathlon. He and his lifelong friend Amrik Singh, also 80, have completed more than 1,000 races between them and acted as mentors to Fauja.

So, when does the country’s most famous Sikh intend to put his feet up?

“I won’t stop running until I die. The next target, God willing, is to be the oldest marathon runner ever.”

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Marathon runner Harmander Singh likes to dress up for the big occasion and has completed the London Marathon a knee trembling 25 times in a variety of guises including Obelisk the Gaul, Wee Willy Winky and as a nurse.

The indefatigable 50 year-old has raised thousands of pounds for charity since running his first marathon aged 24 and has competed in 43 marathons all over the world.

Harmander now passes on his experience of long-distance running to people wanting to get in shape through the ‘Sikhs In The City’ Running Club who meet every Sunday morning in Redbridge, east London.

“We’re always looking for people to join,” says Harmander whose most high profile success was training the then 89 year-old Fauja Singh to run his first marathon in just ten weeks.

Fauja was a poster boy in Adidas’s ‘Impossible is Northing’ campaign and also competes in road races as a member of Sikhs in the City whose four members have a combined age of 336 years.

Harmander added: “We have a 2km circuit of local roads marked out which people run around. I always jog or walk alongside new members to assess their fitness, work out a training programme and assign a ‘running buddy’ of similar ability. We take people of all ages and abilities so don’t be shy about coming along.”

His combination of encouragement and gentle leg pulling has certainly got some impressive results and his enthusiasm for running infectious.

“We have one member who was overweight and recovering from a heart condition who ran a marathon within 18 months and another who’d never run before but was clocking up15km in a matter of weeks and couldn’t believe how fast she lost weight.

“Running can really change your life. You don’t need expensive equipment or membership fees bar a decent pair of running shoes.

“It’s all about personal achievement and we are here to help people reach whatever goals they set themselves as long as they show commitment.”

Harmander has an unusual if honest motivational tool for new members.

“I tell people to go home, take their clothes off, stand in front of the mirror and ask themselves if they like what they see.

“I ask them to acknowledge it has taken a lot of time, money and effort to get in that condition and that re-directing even half that effort into getting in shape will work wonders.

“My advice is be realistic and work towards a goal. It’s amazing what you can achieve over a period of time with sustained effort.”

The father of four discovered his own love of running as an errant schoolboy growing up in south Ilford and still enjoys the sense of freedom it gives him.

“I find running a great way of keeping in shape and getting rid of stress.

“It also brings people together. I’m a firm believer that there is only one race of people and that’s the human race.”

Harmander’s commitment to helping people is a reflection of his Sikh faith and the Sikhs In The City Runners simply present him with another opportunity to help the community.

So does anyone else in the Singh family run?

“Oh yes. I’m a baby really. To date, I‘ve run 43 marathons but my uncle is way ahead of me on 111 at the age of 66.”

If you would like to get in shape, why not join the Sikhs In The City Runners on Sunday mornings and take the first step towards realising your goals of living a healthier live. Harmander would like to hear from anyone interested in joining on 07858 94 6868 or

It is free to join the club but you can also join the Sikh Sport Association on a rather novel membership (you don’t have to be a Sikh to join). Simply subtract you age from 100 and that is your lifetime fee. Membership will give you access to a year round calendar of sports events and activities. For details, speak to Harmander.



His Royal Highness descended from his eight floor eyrie today to tell us about his plans to implement a 30% cut in the workforce starting next month.

He began with the usual platitudes about remaining professional, focusing on what mattered and ignoring hearsay while delivering some telling body blows with his velvet padded gloves.

There was talk of a Mutually Agreed Redundancy scheme and the ‘September conversations’ which sound like the title of a Robert Ludlam novel but referred to an assessment process we’ll all undergo to decide who ends up filling the meat pies.

“I see this as a stage in our journey, not the end of it,” he told the bowed heads before graciously telling us he would remain in post until the termination of the primary care trust in 2013. A hardship indeed when you earn more than £100,000 a year


“What’s that smell? What’s that horrible smell? What IS that smell?’ harped some old crab being wheeled around the supermarket today.

Her husband remained blank faced and too polite to point out the impossibility  of smelling anything in the air conditioned sterility of a Sainsbury’s mint mart.

“It’s horrible, horrible. Where is that smell coming from,” the crone repeated like some loop taped parrot.

Take about getting stick in mid-town traffic. I felt like leaning down and whispering in her flap: “You smell the rot of your own corpulent flesh you denizen of the Eighth Gate. Now begone and let me shop for my doughnuts in peace.”

Cruel I know but necessary to prevent me pushing her wheelchair and all into the large utility hole being dug outside the shop.


India is limbering up for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in New Delhi with a bit of psychological foreplay in the shape of Mallakhamb.

The practitioners of this ancient form of gymnastic will be parading their contortionist skills during the opening ceremony.

The gravity defying gymnasts do their stuff with the aid of a vertical wooden pole or rope in some eye watering displays of strength and balance.

And none of this lot made the Indian gymnastics team? If I was a British athlete I wouldn’t bother getting on the plane.

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