If you’re reading this post on the day of its publication, then I’m on holiday right now. It’s actually a sporting holiday en famille. I say this not to gloat, but because it reminds me of an observation from my sporting endeavours, and those of many millions like me.

When I work really hard at a particular sport, the kind of effort that involves sweating profusely and being out of breath at times, I also go red in the face. Very red. Almost maroon in fact. It’s pretty unsightly – and I’m aware of the irony of using pretty as an adverb there. It also takes what seems like an eternity to melt away, long after the heart rate and breathing have returned to normal.

Do you know what’s most galling though? How come you never see any athletes, in person or on the TV or web, with puce faces as a result of their exertions? Why do they have a normal-coloured face in the face of extreme work? Even the paler-skinned varieties like me?

Now I’m sure there is a scientific reason for this that the good folks at wikipedia have already committed to the web, so it’s more of a plaintive question on my part than an inquisitive one.

It’s pretty annoying though. It’s like a beacon advertising to everyone in the vicinity: look out, non-athlete alert :-(.