Never again!

I was due to go to the office this morning, but as I awoke unable to move any part of my body, I have had to give it a miss. When I went to bed last night  I was very tired and a little stiff. This wasn’t surprising considering my visit to the gym in the morning.

But when I tried to get out of bed this morning, stiffness had been replaced by rigor mortis! I couldn’t move any of my limbs, my neck had set and my back felt like someone had strapped me to a pole. I had to get up, if only to go to the bathroom, but try as I might, I couldn’t sit up. In the end, the only way I could get off the bed was to shuffle towards the edge, let my legs swing over the side, and propel myself into an upright position. I managed to wobble to the bathroom, and with some struggle did what I had to do before shuffling my way back to bed.

I have never felt so much physical pain in my life. Every part of my body seemed to be either on strike or in rebellion against me. I decided that the best thing I could do at this point was to go back to sleep in the hope that with a little more rest I would feel better. On the plus side I did sleep some more, but on the negative side, it did nothing to alleviate the stiffness and pain that was making any movement extremely painful, if not impossible.

Eventually, the need for breakfast forced me to once again make the painful journey from quilt to carpet. Once I had managed this I then had to face the Herculean task of putting on my housecoat. Getting my right arm in wasn’t too much of a problem, but then trying to manoeuvre the left resulted in several further expletives and not inconsiderable pain before I was successful. At this point, I was beginning to think I should have stayed horizontal. The thought of trying to get dressed filled me with a terror I had not experienced since I was a small child.

All I had to do then was go downstairs. This did not seem like it was going to be too bad. Or at least, so I thought. Almost as soon as I descended onto the first stair I realised my mistake. This was going to hurt! The only way I was going to make it all the way down was by taking the stairs one at a time. About halfway down the is a full-length mirror. I have often thought of moving it as I find it a little disconcerting at times, but have never got around to it. Why my mother chose to put one there I will never know. As I approached it I made the mistake of watching my painful descent. And I must admit that if it had been anyone else hobbling down the stairs I would have laughed. With both legs locked straight and my back unbending, I looked more like Herman Munster than the suave man-about-town. I have no idea how long the descent took, but it felt like an eternity, and I was very close to shedding a tear along with the colourful language that followed me down.

Once seated at the breakfast table I was able to relax and enjoy a much-needed cup of coffee while Mrs Kaczka fussed over me like I was a sickly child. Now normally her over attentiveness can be somewhat irritating, but for once, I accepted the attention gratefully. By the time I finished my first cup I realised that there was no way I was going to be able to work this morning. I am not even sure I would have been able to make my way to the office, at least not without attracting unwanted attention. Moving about was painful, but eventually, I did manage to loosen up enough to have a shower and get dressed. And all this because I had agreed to try out the gym.

Well, I can tell you now that I am never going back there again. Why on Earth would anyone want to put themselves through this kind of torture every week? As far as I can see it does a lot more harm than good. I have spent the whole day recovering and for what? What possible benefit could there be to justify what I have gone through today?

Dorothy came home shortly after lunch. When I told her how much I had been suffering she just laughed at me. According to her it just goes to prove how much I need the gym. Apparently, the more exercise you do the less painful it gets. She also predicted that it would be a lot worse tomorrow! I am not ashamed to admit that this last little gem of wisdom very nearly brought a further tear to my eye. The thought of going through all this again tomorrow was just too much. I had hoped that Dorothy would be more sympathetic to my plight. I was obviously mistaken.

My big worry at the moment though is how I am going to feel by Saturday. I am taking Hope to Cambridge’s little soiree and I had hoped we might take the floor for a dance or two. But I am feeling anything like as bad as I do today, I will instead be staying at the table and leaving the dancing to others. Which would be a shame as I am rather partial to a good dance. Not the modern jiving and jiggling around; no, I enjoy real dances like the waltz or the foxtrot. That doesn’t in any way imply that I am an expert or anything, but I did learn to dance at college and it is one of those activities I really do enjoy on the rare occasions I get the opportunity. My mother was a very good dancer but my father refused to take part, so I would often partner her at balls and events. I like to think that I cut a rather fine figure on the dance floor. Mind you, I don’t know if Hope is interested in dancing, but most women are, aren’t they? I suppose I will find out on Saturday.

Thinking about Saturday reminds me that I really must visit my barber tomorrow, providing I am physically capable of leaving the house. A good cut and shave will set me up very nicely. One wants to look one’s best for these big social events, and I wouldn’t want to let Hope down.

Down at the gym

Today was the day of my agreed visit to the gym. I have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to it, but I had given my word so, that was that. But I still maintain that it is all a waste of time and energy. After all, what is so wrong with my body that I should feel the need to improve it?

Now admittedly I don’t have the physique of an athlete, but there is a very good reason for that: I am not an athlete! I play snooker and occasional golf, but that is about all. And I maintain that I am not overweight in any way. One or two comments have been made to the effect that I am getting a little paunch, but that only natural at my age. Certainly, nothing to get worked up about. To my mind, these gyms and clubs are playing on people’s vanity. A brisk walk and sensible diet are all that is really needed.

When I am walking through town I often see individuals who could definitely use some help to get their weight down. From my own observations, I think it is a social thing. Whilst I can think of one or two individuals of my acquaintance who could do with losing a pound or two, generally speaking, we are all fairly trim, we live active and healthy lives and eat the right foods. Those people I do encounter who may be considered obese or overweight are generally not of my social circle. It is all down to too many fatty foods and too much time spent in front of the television if you ask me.

Anyway, Archie collected me just after 10 o’clock and we made our way to his club. Of course, I knew the building but I hadn’t realised it was some kind of health club. I was also very surprised by what I found inside; it was more like a country hotel. I suppose we all have preconceived notions of what people and places will be like, and very often these ideas are quite close to the real thing, but often they are not. In this case, I had expected a room full of sweaty, middle-aged men in shorts and vests, pushing weights around. I did not expect the room full of fairly attractive young ladies riding bicycles and other rather elaborate pieces of equipment.

Once I was changed into my new gym clothes Archie introduced me to a very nice young lady called Sara. Apparently, she was to be my personal trainer who would be in charge if my induction.  I was a little alarmed as I wasn’t sure I wanted to be induced! Isn’t that something they do to pregnant women? But I need not have worried, it was more of an introduction to the facilities and to see what would be best for me.

Now, as I am sure I have already said, I don’t feel I need any of this exercise lark. I’m perfectly fit and have no intention of doing my body any further injury than is necessary. For a little over half an hour, Sara had me doing things that I never imagined I would do. It started with the cycling thing. Now, I’ve ridden a bicycle before, but not for a very long time, and even then, it was just a way of getting around the family estate. I had always used one to get around when I was at college, but since then, I have preferred to use cars. These days, on the rare occasions I visit the old family house, I use one of those electric jobbies they use on golf courses.

I found the cycling machine a little tiring, but not too bad actually. In fact, I felt quite good, even a little elated. I have to admit that at this point I was beginning to believe that it wasn’t so bad after all. I mean, my heart was beating away like some demented woodpecker on drugs and I am sure I was starting to sweat.

But this was just a warm-up, apparently. After that, Sara led me from one device of torture to the next. She had me pulling, pushing, lifting and generally doing things with my arms and legs that were totally unnatural. Whilst the atmosphere and general ambience were not what I had expected, the whole exercise thing pretty much lived up to my expectations.

At Archie’s suggestion, I finished my afternoon with a short session in the sauna and jacuzzi. Neither are new experiences for me, and they were a welcome way to relax after what Sara had put me through. It was while I was sat in the jacuzzi that I saw Hope’s daughter Charlotte come through from the changing rooms and head towards the pool. She was still there when we left, but I don’t think she saw me. Not that would be anything wrong with her seeing me, but I would rather not have to explain what I was doing there. After all, I had no intention of repeating the experience.

Once we had showered and changed, Archie and I went straight to the Club for a quiet lunch and a few drinks. I was a little tired from the morning’s exertions but still felt that strange exhilaration. It was not an unpleasant feeling, just one I am not used to.

Dorothy was pleased to hear about what I had been doing at the gym. She seems to believe that I am going to make a habit of it. I can assure you that I am not. It was interesting, even a little fun, but it just isn’t for me.

I had planned to go to the Club again this evening, but I am feeling tired and my legs are a little stiff. I suppose that is only to be expected after all I went through earlier today. So instead I will take myself off to bed with a good book. I am expected at the office tomorrow morning so it is probably just as well.

A weekend of capitulation

The chaps and I had a rather heated conversation at the Club last night about fitness clubs and gyms. Now it may surprise you to hear that until recently I had not given such places even the briefest of thoughts. After all, as far I am concerned they are of interest only to the grossly overweight, those with an obsession with their bodies or keen sportsmen. They are certainly not the kind of place you would find respectable chaps such as myself or my friends. But it seems that I may have been a little wide of the mark.

It all began with a chat I had with Dorothy earlier this week. She was on her way to meet her girlfriend Angela, and they were going to a gym. Now I have to admit that this revelation took me quite by surprise. I mean, for one thing, Dorothy is a very slim and attractive young woman, as is Angela. The idea that either of them would need the use of a gym was something I not only hadn’t considered but was openly shocked to discover.

When I asked why on Earth she felt the need to go to a gym, she said it was to keep herself fit for performing and also to keep her shape.

“What shape,” I asked, only to be met with a look that would have done Aunt Murdock proud. Luckily I had enough of my wits about me to keep quiet and say nothing further, other than to wish her an enjoyable afternoon. She left, mumbling something about my shape and suggesting I needed to look in the mirror. What she meant by that I wasn’t certain.

This particular conversation had been all but forgotten until the subject came up again yesterday evening. I had joined some of the chaps for dinner at a rather nice little restaurant that Dasher had told us about close to Sloan Square. It is one of those rather exclusive places that served some really fine food. It is somewhere I hadn’t visited before so I was intrigued to see what they had to offer. I must say that the selection of food and wine were superb; I had a perfectly cooked pigeon washed down with a particularly fine Côte de Beaune. Whilst the presentation was very modern and artistic, over all, it was a very good choice. It is certainly somewhere I would think Hope would enjoy.

Anyway, over dessert (a very fine cheese selection), a couple of the chaps began discussing their experiences of various fitness clubs. Following so soon as did after my conversation with Dorothy, I ventured to say that I saw little point in all that exertion when they were so obviously in fine shape as it was. I mean, what is the point of putting one’s self through the kind of punishment usually reserved for sportsmen or soldiers when it was plainly unnecessary. I have even heard that some doctors have been recommending this kind of thing to their patients. Quite astonishing really when you considered the punishment they will be putting their bodies through for little or no visible benefit.

Well, it seems that, as with Dorothy, such enlightened opinions were not overtly welcome by some of the group. In fact, their replies were quite loud and impassioned. At one point I found myself totally alone in questioning the need for chaps like ourselves to undergo such activities.  By the time we left the restaurant I was beginning to feel a little like a stray rabbit at a greyhound meeting. Even Dasher himself said he was considering joining a club. Apparently, his doctor is concerned about his weight.

“Nonsense,” I said, “you’re slimmer than me.”

It seems that was not the correct thing to have said either as I spent the next half hour resisting suggestions that I needed to join a gym myself.

The whole thing started up again at the Club where, after a further hour of brow beating and comments about my weight and size, I finally agreed that I would “take a look” at one of these places, just to see what it was like. I made no commitment to do anything else, certainly not to join or do any of that exercise stuff. I just can’t see myself leaping about to Kylie Mongue wearing little more than a headband and leotard.

I mentioned this to Dorothy this morning over one of our rare breakfasts together. She seemed delighted with the news and asked me which gym I was going to look at. In all honesty, I hadn’t given the actual place much thought. Apparently, a couple of the chaps go to some place quite close to Hyde Park which is supposedly very nice. I assumed I would go there. This seemed to please Dorothy who appears to know of it. I will check on the details this evening at the Club but don’t expect I will get there this week. I am far too busy, what with work and one of Aunt Murdock’s cultural outings, I just don’t know how I would fit it in.

Before she left for the afternoon, Dorothy also gave me a little of an Aunt Murdock style grilling over my intentions regarding Hope Greenwood. I had to admit that I hadn’t been in touch since our none-date on Monday, which Dorothy seemed quite annoyed at. I mean, Hope and I had made no promises, except that we would keep in touch. I had planned to invite her to join me as my “plus one” (a phrase I particularly dislike – it sounds so common) at a small gathering that Cambridge is holding later this month in aid of some charity or another. He does this kind of thing all the time but I can’t recall which particular good cause will be benefitting from this year’s event.

Whilst that went down well, it appears that it is not enough for my romantically inclined little cousin. Just to keep the peace I agreed that I would call on Hope at her Gallery later this week. Primarily to extend the invitation to Cambridge’s charity event, but also as an opportunity to, maybe, take her out lunch again.

Looking back it looks as if I have had to make quite a few concessions to the whims of those around me this weekend. Quite astonishing really.