Hunger games: Cat’s play, Gym babe.


It’s coming to the end of my ten LA Fitness sessions, via Groupon. Has it made any difference? Yes I think I’ve noticed a few positive aspects, one I seem to be walking faster, two I have more energy, and three I do believe I may be losing a bit of weight. Hip Hip Hoorah. Though this could be due to my enforced diet, aka Gallbladder problem. Am I fit enough to survive in a Hunger Games scenario? No. Definitely not. But it’s a start, and a start is better than nothing. Anyway I don’t have the killer instinct to survive for more than a second in the Hunger Games. I’m a pussy cat, the best I could do would be a scratch, and a hiss, and a bit of feline stretching, that’s it.


I’m quite proud of my multi tasking. On the way to the gym, I read, and make notes on the bus. I must look like this nerdy book person. Well that’s ok because I suppose I fit that description quite well. Today I was reading Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. I was so engrossed, Eleanor and Park is just cute, CUTE, C-U-T-E, C – U – T – E, and for that half an hour I felt I had been transported back to the late 1980’s. Yes I remember The Smiths, Joy Division, Miami Vice. It brought back a flood of memories. It was wonderful, so wonderful that I nearly missed my stop. Fortunately I looked up and had this panicky moment when you kind of don’t know where you are and think that you’re way beyond where you should be, but it was ok, I hadn’t missed my stop. If I had missed it that would have been a nuisance as the next stop is the hospital and I didn’t fancy going there. I went there last week for a scan, upper abdomen – yes gallbladder issue. So there’s no way I fancied ending up there again. No. Once was enough. It was messy, gel all over my tummy. While I was lying there I had a bit of a nostalgic moment. The last time I had gel over my tummy I was pregnant and that was a long time ago. Happy times, funny how these kind of things bring back all sorts of memories.

Anyway, getting back to my gym session, I did my workout, ended up in the pool. It was busy, very busy, not surprising really when you consider that today is a bank holiday. So I had to avoid the other swimmers. Tricky. There was definitely this ripple effect. Too many bodies, the water was getting out of control. I prefer it when it’s quiet. Though I like the sauna and steam room when they’re busy as it’s great for eavesdropping. Yes, I admit it, I’m a terrible eavesdropper. I think it is almost compulsory if you’re a writer. You just can’t help yourself. It’s amazing what people will say in such an enclosed space, especially considering that they know that there’s just no way that people aren’t listening in. So I think it’s fair dues to blog about it. One time I was in a sauna, and these two men were chatting, confessing. One of them was admitting that he used to go to the gym without paying – not LA Fitness – I hasten to add, but some other gym. He kept doing it until he found God. Then he stopped. From this point on the conversation changed. God was mentioned a lot. A heap of a lot. I almost felt like he was in there with us in the sauna, purifying our sins with the sauna heat. Well the heat got too much for me, so I had to go. I left those two guys praising God, in the sauna. It reminded me of a comedy sketch. It was just so bizarre. I hope this doesn’t offend anybody, I’m not religious myself, but I do believe in respect, respect for other people’s views. So if I’ve offended anyone, I apologise.

Let’s see, what was I talking about, oh yes, waves. The waves reminded me of a story my dad told me, another swimming pool tale. He used to go to Portobello baths when he was a young lad. I expect there might have been a sign like this one:


Does anyone pay attention to those signs. I doubt it! They had a wave machine. He loved it. The waves would bounce him around and he had an excuse to collide with all the pretty girls! The girls pretended they needed saving and well he was happy to oblige. He played the part of a life guard. He hasn’t changed much, he still appreciates the ladies, nowadays at the age of eighty-five he gets a kiss at the end of his golf matches! My mum knows, she indulges him. Good on him, I say, why not. Life is too short not to enjoy it. Believe me.


Photos – Google images.

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Gym Babe or Tai Chi Wannabe

gym adventure

My new year’s resolution to get fit has been in the pipeline for a very long time. It is now May. When you start to feel out of breath running for the bus you know that its time to join a gym. I’ve signed up to LA Fitness on a Groupon deal, ten sessions, its a start. I decided not to drive there but bus to the gym and use the time to read too, multi tasking. I was feeling pretty virtuous. So what’s the problem? Well I’m a bit of a yoga, tai chi, type of girl, who finds all those sweaty bodies working out, pumping adrenaline alarming.

My first visit was a bit of a disaster. I managed to get lost when I got off the bus, (how is this even possible?) My excuse is I walked through a building site, trying to find a short cut. I ended up asking one of the builders if he knew the way! He responded in a Geordie accent, “Sorry love, I’m not from here.” He went out of his way to help me and managed to point me in the right direction. At reception I asked for a towel and the young man behind the counter looked at me as if I had a screw loose. LA Fitness don’t supply towels. I should have known, I used to be a member in the past. Yes, my memory is on the decline too. All wasn’t lost, I remembered a padlock, and my gym kit too. I could shower at home. So not too bad after all. I did a work out, or what I consider to be a work out, it was a bit faint hearted I suppose. I walked over to the water fountain and tripped! I didn’t break anything. It wasn’t the tripping that was mortifying it was my own sense of embarrassment. How would the super fit, super cool gym users react? Well, they hardly batted an eye lid, their eyes were still trained to the overhead tv monitors, absorbed in work out mode. So I was ok. After this catalogue of ridiculousness I thought that nothing else could happen. Wrong. I couldn’t work the drink’s machine after my workout, not rocket science, but somehow it was beyond me. Just to complete my day, I had an irritating bus driver on the way back that told me off for having the wrong ticket. “Your ticket is only valid from the town,” he said pompously. I explained to him that I had bought the ticket from the driver and asked for a return to the station, so it wasn’t my fault if the driver hadn’t printed out the right ticket. He waved me on.

I do seem to attract unwelcome attention sometimes. Echoes of a previous gym visit cross my mind. I had a visitor’s pass. I was looking forward to a pleasant swim, sauna, and steam room. What I experienced in its place was unpleasant to say the least. I was in the swimming pool trying to see my way, squinting, (I am very short sighted), when this older lady harangued me for getting in her way. This couldn’t have been more ridiculous. We were the only two swimmers. I am a slow swimmer, I barely break the surface of the water, let alone cause a tidal wave of swimmer’s distress! She must have been having a bad day. Or she had sharing issues. It was a shame really because her bad day became my bad day. I wondered if she quite possibly had a screw loose. An unfortunate side effect of being a writer is you always imagine all sorts of scenarios. So just to be on the safe side I stayed well away from her. I was glad to make out her hazy form leaving the pool. Liberation. Thank goodness.

Nothing like this ever happens to me when I am going to tai chi or yoga! Is it a sign? Or am I just being paranoid. Similar things happen to me in other places, even library visits can be frightening! Whatever you do don’t park your car down a narrow road near a library especially if the library is near a primary school. You are asking for trouble. Even if your car is parked legally, and it’s not blocking anyone, it doesn’t matter. You are in the no go zone believe me. Unless you want an angry person to shout at you and follow you all the way to the library. I’m not kidding this has really happened to me. Again my writer’s imagination was in overdrive. Is he going to kill me? By the time I walked into the library I was trembling with fear. I stayed there a long time, fearful that he would still be there waiting for me, plotting ways to murder me. Luckily he had vanished. I made my escape.

The trouble with living near libraries and schools, residents get easily riled. I know my mum and dad live near a school, and they do get annoyed by inconsiderate drivers. My dad still remembers open fields, grass, and trees. Now the neighbourhood is full of cars, and woman stopping for a chat after they drop their kids off at school, cluttering up the sidewalk. So I sympathise. But in my defence I wasn’t inconsiderate, I think I just met someone who was having a bad day. Anyone his day became my bad day too.

I’ve been to the gym several times now. I have to say that there are some definite positives. The sauna and steam room are a wonderful source of inspiration. It is amazing what people will talk about when they are half naked and dripping with sweat. It is a confession zone. A place to literally let off steam! There is no way that you can’t eavesdrop. The tiny space, is made for eavesdroppers!

After my last session at the gym something happened that made my day. The gym session had all gone well. I was on my way back to the bus, so I stopped in a supermarket to pick up a few groceries. Just as I was about to pay, the guy at the till asked me if I was a student. I said no. He didn’t seem to believe me, he asked again, “You not at Anglia Ruskin University?” He obviously gets a lot of students in his shop. It was almost as if he wanted to believe I was a student at Anglia Ruskin. Me too. Perpetual student, sounds good. Then to my astonishment he said “Are you at Sixth Form!” Can you imagine, whether or not he was delusional or taking the micky it made my day. I said, “I wish!”

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

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