I am ashamed to admit that it is weeks since I set foot in the health club.
I cannot remember the last time I dipped so much
as a toe in the blue water of the swimming pool. The trainers in charge of the aqua-aerobics class have had to manage for simply ages without me misleading half their classes by getting the moves wrong on account of not being able to see properly without
So this afternoon, when Mr B announced that he thought he would have a snooze in his armchair in front of snooker on the TV, I decided to hot foot it
(can you hot foot somewhere in a car?) down to the health club for a swim. It wasn’t too difficult a decision to make, bearing in mind that the alternative was an afternoon writing Christmas cards. I left them, unwritten and littering the dining
room table, without a second glance. It felt a bit like The Great Escape.
Do you know, it was rather good to get away and do something completely unconnected with
Christmas just for an afternoon. After all, the Big Day is still some way away. Indeed, according to our Advent Candle (regular readers will remember it is stout of stature and takes a good deal of burning) it is still only the Fourth of December. There
is time, is there not, for Life Before Christmas?
I was reassured to find that the health club appears to have gone in for a minimalist approach to the festive
season. There is a slightly peculiar looking snowman, dressed fetchingly in red felt, standing a trifle lopsidedly on the reception desk and a small tree in one corner of the cafe. Under-stated would be a good word to describe it. I imagine
it will be a whole different story in the New Year when the edict will go out to promote healthy living to everyone who has eaten and drunk too much over Christmas and the New Year and is now feeling repentant, fat and hungover. Then the club will doubtless
be decorated with posters and balloons and members of staff will be clutching clip-boards as they talk earnestly to the penitent.
There is hardly anybody in the
changing room when I get there. I choose locker number 100 on the basis that it should be easy enough to remember. When I push open the door to the swimming pool it is to find that I have the whole pool to myself. What bliss! The lifeguard on duty
perks up when he sees me – at least he will have someone to watch. Then he realises it is me and his shoulders droop. It is going to be a long, slow swim and it will be difficult for him to stay awake, so boring it will be. However, stay awake
he must because I move so slowly through the water that every so often he will feel the need to check that I am still alive. I’ve told him not to worry but he is a conscientious lad.
After my swim and a shower, I repair to the coffee lounge for a small skinny latte where I find a friend from my old work-place. We compare notes on Life in General and I try not to sound too triumphant about the fun of being
retired. I endeavour not to say that I don’t know how I ever had time to work because everyone says that, don’t they? But the words just somehow escaped from my lips before I coud swallow them.
The Youngest of the Darling Daughters texts me to say that she has no power and that her house is cold and cheerless. I wish I lived near enough to take her a Red Cross parcel of blankets, flasks of soup and candles
of the non-Advent variety.
I wonder if a virtual hug will help at all?