I know. It’s six weeks since I last checked in with a report on my athletic, health and girth progress.
Does this mean I’ve fallen off the cart. Faded out. Given up? No. It doesn’t, although a few events in Real Life have meant that I haven’t quite done my daily dozen, during that time, with the regularity of the first days and weeks.
There was the arrival of ‘Yoshi’ the piano.
There was a rotten little flu bug. And, of course, there was a whole week out for my Whoopie-Ohio trip. And much of another week, afterwards, for recovery from the worst jetlag I‘ve ever suffered. But I had to wrench myself to life, and go down to Holmes Place to see Sascha the wonderman, because my neck and back were twisted into the vilest and most painful contortions, after 9 hours times two in an Air Berlin cattle-class seat. They are, I swear, the skinniest airplane seats and the most uncomfortable ever.
But, in between times, I’ve battled away. More of the same. New exercises, new machines. New frustrations. The right arm (the stricken one) is still noticeably the weaker. And progress doesn’t go in a straight line. Just when you think you’ve conquered that repetition of the 6kg weight, the next day its all custard.
Well, today I did conquer it. 15 good presses with each arm … and then a friendly German with a perfect body (no 6-pack) came by and picked up the 10kg one … sob! … and did a perfect arabesque while holding it. And he wasn’t even 20 years younger than I. But neither did he have a belly.
Yes, my belly is still a feature. I’m afraid it’s never going to go wholly away. But it IS better? Yes?
But what’s more: I’m better. Really. And I feel better. Especially when I don’t drink more than x cocktails or one bottle of wine an evening. Yes, I know. The boys at the gym are shocked. They’re young, healthy and teetotal. But, I’m sorry. I’ve given up every other vice ‘a gentleman never mentions’. I’ll drink less, but not nil. Doctor’s orders!
But today was a good day. Even if a solo day, for Paul was off in Hof at a wedding. Somehow, my workout stretched to 50 minutes (Nik has been teaching me all sorts), even without the painful roller, and without the machines that were busy. Then I met my new German friend at the pool, and had a nice chat. He’s got a job interview tomorrow: please! that he gets it. His wife is living and working in Berlin, while he’s boarding 400km away where his job is. Well, I guess if I meet him in the spa again, it means he got it!
I had the sauna all to myself, so I dripped for 12 minutes. An English spa nurse once said I shouldn’t do sauna, because of my heart ‘problem’. So I don’t usually go in alone. Well, that’s my excuse. I enjoy the sweating. But I do get the giggles sometimes.
Is there a sauna etiquette? I mean, there are heaps of rules round Holmes Place. Where you must and must not wear footwear, badehose necessary (sadly) in the pool. And, I think, no badehose in the sauna. It’s all right, if you’re modest you can have a towel. But …
We all go in with a towel, most of us lie on it (the shelves are hot!). Others drape it tactically, or wind it aggressively round their waist. You have about 10pc peacocks, 20pc free spirits, 40pc artistic arrangers, 25pc towlies (the girls have theirs on their hair) and 5pc illegal badehose. It is rare to speak or smile (a few of us do, though). And, I think, probably considered ‘bad manners’ to look. Yet, when they go outside, many of the ‘shy’ ones shower and rub down naked … The funniest are the Egyptians. I don’t know if they are from Egypt, but that’s what I call them: they remind me of the Egyptians in the Asterix comics. All 30-40 (?) with a North African complexion, all with gayshaven locks, all with Pierce Brosnan semi-beards, all with more or less successfully cultivated bodies, and probably a less successfully cultivated IQ, and ALL with their genitalia locked away behind tight towels or trunks, as if it were against their religion to be seen otherwise. I don’t think they go to the gym: just the pool and sauna.
Me, I just amble in, take the nearest spot, stretch out on my towel, shut my eyes (no, not for THAT reason, the sweat gets in them otherwise!), have a good drip for 10 minutes or so and then out. Grand cold shower, repeat in steamroom, shower II, and then off to the weighing room.
Today I was a world record 75.2kg. If, in the six weeks remaining, I can lose one kilogram more, that will be 10kg shed during my time here. A stone and a half? Add to that Sascha’s revitalising of my arms and hip … I think I can say ‘mission highly successful’. 2000 euros well spent.
So, on I go. Wish me luck for those 6 weeks! This has been a grand summer project. Three cheers for Holmes Place and all who sail in her!