Friday, 25 March 2011


I had my first visit to the gym this week. The idea here is that you are referred by your physio/ doctor to go along to the local leisure centre, where you are given an exercise plan tailored to take into account your physical problems. If I am being cynical, I would say that I am now paying for the physio I used to receive on the NHS, but I suppose that's the way of the world. Anyway, I don my new trainers (see last posting), a pair of dance/jazz pants and a sparkly diamanté T-shirt (baggy enough to disguise the muffin tops, but fashionable enough to disguise my age) and do a quick check in the mirror.

Hmm, not too bad from the front. OK, so it's not quite Madonna, but I'm not wearing a leotard for anyone. From the side?.......ah right.....keep facing front.....that's better. Now, make-up; I'll keep it to a minimum: powder base, blusher, neutral eye-shadow, lip tint – I'll forgo the mascara in case I break sweat. Earrings?....hmm...perhaps the crystal drops are too much with the diamanté T-shirt...

Finally, with a liberal spray of deodorant or two (OK, it was more of a walk-through mushroom cloud, but you can sweat in these places)  I leave the house. I'm late because of the earring dilemma but it's all a vanity/confidence thing – if I don't think I look right, I don't feel right....

Once at the gym my heart sinks. I thought it would just be exclusively for crocks like me.... but no, it's an open session and although there are a few crumblies scattered about, the majority are well and truly fit. They are pounding the treadmill and lifting weights left, right and centre. Don't look, keep your eyes on the equipment, pull your T-shirt down and don't forget to face front......

I get up onto the exercise bike and slowly begin to pedal. This isn't too bad because I have a problem with my right leg, so my left leg pedals as fast as it can and does all the work, whilst my right leg basically hitches a ride. There is an old man on the bike next to me (a fellow crumbly if I'm not very much mistaken). He has very white legs with large, bulgy, blue/grey veins and is wearing stone-coloured safari shorts, a grubby, light-blue T-shirt that says “If found, please return to the pub” , lace-up plimsolls and knee-high socks.  Definitely a crumbly. I give him a cautious smile (don't make eye contact, he may start up a conversation) and concentrate on the tiny TV screen attached to the bike. It's showing cricket. do you switch channels? This button? No, that alters the I can hardly move......this one then then ....yep...only now it's showing In the Night Garden with Igglepiggle and Upsy Daisy. Oh dear... it's not easy trying to change TV channels whilst pedalling and keeping up rev rate.....Cash in the Attic...that'll have to do.   I catch a glimpse of the old man next to me out of the corner of my eye.  What's he doing?   I don't believe it - he's looking at my console to see how fast I'm going.... You'll never get £85 for that manky old vase Jennie Bond...I wouldn't give it house the old man is trying to go faster than me....well, if he can get up to 52 RPM so can I....just about.   If I didn't know better I would say he was challenging me to a static bike race. Haha...63 RPM! Eat my dust old man! Victory is mine! I was right, they only got thirty quid for that vase.... Triumphant, I stumble off the bike with as much dignity as I can muster (my legs are like jelly and I can't feel my back) and head towards the treadmill.

There are a couple of ladies pounding the treadmills – they are running very fast and have sweat triangles on the back of their jazz pants. Despite my re-enactment of the Tour-de-France - stage 2 on the exercise bike, I do not sweat because I am wearing copious amounts of Invisible-mineral-double-action-48hr-Non-stop-calming antiperspirant. Those ladies could learn a thing or two from me. Still, there they are, sweating and pounding and here I am, trying to step up onto the machine....  Good...made buttons...more TV....oh, just leave it on the stupid cricket....Right, speed setting  number 1...noooooo, too fast.....I am holding on for dear life and my drop earrings are jangling about and hitting my chin....keep smiling.....0.5....better.....better and slow, oh so very, very painfully slow. If a sloth hitched a ride on this treadmill, it would probably die of boredom, that gives you some idea of how slow I was going.

Enough. I am not sweating, I am hurting; in both my pride and my muscles. I am leaving whilst I can still stand. I catch a glimpse in the mirror of a wreck that thinks she looks like Olga Korbut, but in reality, Barbara Cartland is probably more nearer the mark. The old man is still on the bike. The ladies are still sweating. There is a sign for the café and they sell Starbucks coffee....and cake......that's more like it.


  1. I love your post. Very witty and the perfect antidote to a slow afternoon in front of the computer. It seems we have a lot in common. Age, writing, 3 children, silly sense of humour, dis-like of gyms, love of cream cakes, sadly - pain, living in a small village in the countryside...we should be pals!!
    Thank you for following my blog. You're a star! *x*

  2. Thank you so much, that means a lot. Perhaps there are more of us out there than we think! Followed your blog because your wonderful poem spoke to me and touched a nerve - beautifully written. Thanks for following back x

  3. Starbuck and cake much better alternative:)

  4. I'm impressed with your effort to look good to feel good! Even Frau Fancy here goes to the gym looking every bit the troll...