Saturday, 18 May 2024
From Couch Potato to Tarzan: A Tale of Unexpected Fitness Canva

From Couch Potato to Tarzan: A Tale of Unexpected Fitness

Written by  Apr 07, 2024

What do you do to keep fit? How are you preparing for the oncoming summer season? Do you hit the gym and pump weights, or are you a devotee of the plank, is it yoga or maybe cycling across Konavle?

My fitness regime is, to say the least, limited. Without my trusty dogs dragging me around, I'd probably struggle to hit my daily step count. They're my personal trainers. OK, I have managed to completely cut out sugar in my coffee, but as I spend the vast majority of my day thumping at a keyboard I really need some physical exercise from time to time.

That all changed last week, when I went from zero to flat out in a couple of days.

It wasn’t an organised workout, but it did involve a lot of effort and weights. “Maybe you should take a couple of andols?” my wife said to me as I groaned a bear whilst having a shower after a hard day of moving and lifting.

So let’s start at the beginning.

Opposite my house is another house that has been empty for a decade and a half. It is, or rather was, fully furnished. And the owners, who now live in Germany, decided to empty it and start to renovate it. Being a good neighbour I volunteered to help.

The wife speaks Croatian, but her husband (apart from the odd swearword) doesn’t. They drove from Germany in a rented van, the same van that would be our removal van.

Now, this house isn’t small, and therefore contains a lot of furniture. Already my wife had put and advert on Facebook in an attempt to get some of the furniture adopted, but a lot remained. “OK, we start tomorrow,” we all agreed.

I looked at how much there was to carry and quickly joked “Sorry, I can’t help you, have you heard about Brexit.” He may not have understood everything but he did smile at the word Brexit.

Thankfully the German man, let’s call him Hans, was built like an American footballer. I quickly nicknamed him “Tarzan.”

There are ten rooms in the house, including two kitchens, meaning the oversized van would soon be full.

Now my German is somewhat limited, my only phrase is “Ich liebe dich” which wasn’t of much use speaking to Tarzan!

So with hand movements and very broken Croatian/German we began the task of carrying countless wardrobes, cupboards and beds. “Dieses Sofa ist leicht,” laughed Tarzan as I struggled under the weight of a massive sofa. I was pulling muscles that I didn’t know I had! Whilst he was chuckling and talking on his mobile (sorry Handy) at the same time.

After what seemed like the twentieth cupboard I said “Pause!” Tarzan laughed, he did a lot of that. He pointed to my T-Shirt, “weiß.” Yes, clearly wearing a white (or rather black now) T-shirt whilst lugging 15-year-old dusty furniture around was a bad choice.

He popped open a beer and signalled towards me. “No, thanks, I don’t really drink much,” I answered. And with a look of puzzlement on his face he answered, “Are you really an Engländer?”

Three days! It took us three days to remove everything and countless trips in the van to dump the garbage, sorry Müll! I am so happy that I didn’t start a career in the removals business! “You’re not bad for a German,” I joked with Hans. “Ah, English humour,” he smiled.

We had done a good, if rather exhausting, job. Am I now fit for summer? Well, no. But I have to admit the physical work made a welcome break from the laptop.

And as the couple jumped back in the van for the long drive back home to southern Germany I heard his wife say, “Come on Tarzan it’s time to drive Jane home.”

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to


About the author
Mark Thomas (aka Englez u Dubrovniku) is the editor of The Dubrovnik Times. He was born and educated in the UK and moved to live in Dubrovnik in 1998. He works across a whole range of media, from a daily radio show to TV and in print. Thomas is fluent in Croatian and this column is available in Croatia on the website – Dubrovnik Vjesnik

The Voice of Dubrovnik


Find us on Facebook