I rarely run. I don't really see the point and never have - even in the days when I turned out for various incompetent rugby and hockey sides. A brisk stroll from scrum to line-out is all the exercise a man needs.
So it came as some surprise to find myself hubba-hubbaing up Westray's main road in wellies and padded boiler suit, puffing, wheezing, hoping the heart attack would decide not to arrive at this particular moment.
Our Shetland ponies, Teddy and Merlin, have been a little fidgety since Dotty the mare left. They were jumpy as I led them out of the bottom field, across the road and into our lane.
I noticed Merlin's headcollar was loose, made the mistake of trying to sort it out one-handed and he wriggled out of the thing altogether and took off up the road. It wasn't the best time to find out that the clip on Ted's lead rope had broken. He headed north as well, a breathless pig farmer in pursuit.
The lads headed half-a-mile up the road where they met our neighbour Chris. He parked across the road and herded the boys onto a track. The track led over the spine of the island. The pig farmer collapsed into the passenger seat of Chris's car and (with scant regard for the vehicle's undercarriage) we set off in pursuit.
Relieved not to be stuck in mud at some point, we found the boys socialising with Hannah's (another neighbour) horse. Chris blocked the exit while the lads and I had a frank discussion about lead ropes, running away, the pig farmer's knees and suchlike.
Securely tethered, the boys followed me the mile or so home and I was quietly satisfied to see both looking pretty knackered by the time I led them into the stable.
I managed to keep it together until I collapsed in the kitchen, hand reaching out for a reviving mug of tea.