Saturday, 5 July 2014

A Bit of a Work Out


Earlier this week, a lovely girlfriend invited me to meet up for a work-out at her gym.  When I say her gym, I don’t mean a rowing machine in the spare room.  Rather, the amazing gym that Fiona’s employer gives as a perk.  I’ve been to one or two gyms in my lifetime…okay, just the one…and thought it pretty good.  A big studio for the likes of Zumba, and crashing into other members, and a smaller studio full of bicycles that didn’t go anywhere.  Oh, and another room full of weights and machines that looked like instruments of torture.  And were.  However, nothing prepared me for Reebok Sports Club in Canary Wharf.  This is the gym of all gyms – the one that takes the crown.
          I signed in and was whisked through the security turnstile.  Clutching my bikini wrapped in a bath towel, Fiona said, ‘Oh dear, I forgot to tell you that you didn’t need to bring a towel.  Look.’  She pointed to a wall, possibly as long as Hadrian’s, which was stocked floor to ceiling with fluffy white towels.  ‘Nor do you need shower gel, hair conditioner, a hair dryer, or flat irons,’ Fiona said, ‘because it’s all here.’  I stared around in disbelief.  It was like Vidal Sassoon, except a zillion times bigger, and minus a mincing hair techie.  ‘Let me show you around,’ said Fiona.  And so I was shown.  All three floors.  All 10,000 square feet.  There was even a rock climbing wall, a golf lab and a boxing ring for heaven’s sake!  Think of something you want to do, and the Reebok Club have got it.  Not to mention 210 classes a week to do it in.  I felt exhausted just looking at everything. 
          Before I go any further with this blog entry, let me just mention that Fiona has been on a successful mission to lose weight and shape up through exercise and sensible eating.  She’s dropped two dresses sizes, and is fit.  Whereas lately I only seem to think about exercise, eat whilst thinking about it, and have possibly gone up two dress sizes.  As Fiona had worked out earlier that day with a personal trainer, and whizzed a medicine ball round and round her head – and possibly the personal trainer too – she was happy to do something a little gentler.  With a sigh of relief, we slid into the pool.  While we did a sedate breaststroke in the slow lane, guys in wet suits practised diving in the fast line, and in yet another lane twenty women were bouncing around for the water aerobics class.  Still, I must have worked off, ooh, at least fifty calories.
          Afterwards, we showered, dressed and strolled across the Thames to The Gun, a pub in the Docklands.  This place is a little piece of history.  Two-hundred-and-fifty years old, way back then the surrounding area at that time had iron foundries.  Here, guns were made for the Royal Navy fleets.  Under the pub is a labyrinth of tunnels, where all sorts of weapons were brought in on the black market.  Lord Horatio Nelson acquired a nearby property, and would regularly meet his lover, Lady Emma Hamilton, at The Gun.  The two of them would use a secret circular staircase to access an upstairs room.  We were lucky enough to be shown around.  All I can say is that folk back then must have been incredibly short.  Stooping, we went through a narrow aperture (folk must have been incredibly thin too!) and stepped into Lord Nelson’s ‘naughty room’.  Except today it is called The River Room, because of its spectacular view of the Thames.
          After our guided tour, we were taken to the restaurant.  At this point I’d like to mention what we were wearing.  Fiona was attired in a smart power suit accessorised with quality handbag.  I was wearing a summer dress accessorised with a bath towel.  Inside the towel was a very soggy bikini.  I clung onto it tightly as we were led to our table at the far end of the restaurant.
          ‘Now, ladies, enjoy your meals, but I must have the table back by ten-thirty.  Jonathan Ross has reserved it.’
          Fiona and I did a bit of hyperventilating.  Wow.  Wossy would be sitting here in two hours!  How trendy was this place, eh!  I kicked my bath towel under the table.  Clearly this was an uber cool location, and bath towels were definitely not uber cool.  I tossed my hair back, picked up the menu, and tried to look uber cool.  The words blurred before my eyes.  However, I didn’t want to whip out my reading glasses.  Firstly, they looked cheap.  Which is because they are.  £4.99 from Asda – bargain.  But, secondly, they are bright red with white spots.  I did consider whether to put them on and pass myself off as eccentric, but what with the bath towel, I think there’s only so far you can push it.
          The waiter took our order and, for a while, all was well.  It was as we were leaving that all attempts at being uber cool failed.  The waiter tripped over my towel.  Gathering it up, I belatedly realised it was no longer in a tight coil.  Standing up, the towel swiftly unravelled divesting itself of the bikini which came to rest in the remains of my strawberry sorbet.  Still, I don’t think too many people noticed.  Well, only ten or so.  Which reminds me.  Why did the blonde keep doing the backstroke?  She’d just had dinner and didn’t want to swim on a full stomach…

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