After a few months of being able to think of nothing but the move, I now feel a bit lost.  I mean, we have unpacked, I tidy obsessively, and hopefully soon, the flat will seem cosy and just how we like it.  Probably by the time we move again in 6 months.  What has happened in the meantime however, is that I no longer have a social life, or in fact any life apart from one that involves movers, boxes, rubbish and the council.  I need to get back into the living part and leave the moving part behind.  This weekend I went to the movies and saw Argo.  Going out on a Saturday night was great.  I haven’t done that in a good while.  Saturday was traditionally the evening everyone else went out and I was left to relax at home with sole control of the remote and able to catch up on episodes of stuff that the others don’t like.  Now however, we do not have that luxury.  If we are all home, we are all in the same room.  We cannot watch different things, as there is only one TV.  If I want to work at my desk, it is against the wall adjacent to the television.  It’s well, snug I guess is the word.  Nice, actually.  And it might even push me a little to do more and get out more.  This weekend I was out Friday and Saturday night.  Two nights!  Unbelievable.  I haven’t been out on two consecutive nights since my sister got married in 2007.

But it isn’t just my social life that has suffered as a consequence of moving.  It is also my body.  Apart from the complaints usually associated with moving house: aching back, neck and shoulders from lifting and bending, paper cuts, dry hands (oh my goodness, no amount of hand cream gets rid of the sandpapery feeling of my hands), sleeplessness, and general angst, I have not exercised properly for ages, and also have been partaking of far too many takeaways.  I don’t know if everyone feels this way, but sometimes it was just easier at the end of the day to order in rather than prepare something however simple.  Obviously the last weekend we were there, we had no saucepans, so there was a lot of takeaway then.  In short, I am fantastically unfit, and heavier than I was before this all started.  I have already spoken about my foray into yoga, which is still ongoing, but what I really wanted to do is get into some sort of routine where exercise is an everyday occurrence, without, I hasten to add, requiring gym membership.

I am not a gym bunny.  I don’t do public exercise.  Not because I cannot, but I am just too self-conscious.  I used to walk in Primrose Hill every day.  At first walking was challenge enough, but as I got fitter (and I use the term loosely) I started to jog.  I always swore I would never jog.  Joggers always amaze me. It is a form of exercise I have never really understood despite my brief attempt to take it up all those years ago.  (I gave it up pretty quickly, believe me).

There are six main types of joggers:  There are the perky pony-tailed ones for whom jogging poses no problem whatsoever.  They take their tiny steps and with every step the pony tail swishes like a thoroughbred’s as they prance along light on their feet.  They almost always have one of those bottles that you loop your hand through and an iPod/MP3 player attached to their arm.  I call them the swishers.  The next type of jogger is the type who has been wearing the same shorts, t-shirt and pulled-up socks combination since they took up jogging in 1992.  Probably the same trainers too.  They don’t call it jogging.  They call it running.  They run up hills down hills, in rain, sunshine, snow, sleet any weather conditions.  Nothing stops these guys.  They like to think they are real men and theirs is the non-cosmetic form of exercise. These, I call the sweaters.  Then, there are the personal trainers.   These guys and girls are super-fit.  They also make it look effortless.  All their sports gear is form-fitting, designer and the trainers are the very latest thing in footwear technology.  Even in winter, these people wear tank tops.  You can’t blame them.  Those toned arms presumably take a lot of work, it would be shame to waste all that effort on something trivial like winter.  Sometimes, the personal trainers have some poor victim  client with them.  They are usually struggling to keep up and looking sweaty and miserable, confused in the knowledge that their masochistic tendencies have ensured that they are paying through the nose to be this unhappy.  This group I call the sergeants and soldiers.  Then there are the resolutionaries; the people you see on January 1st as you are driving up to your Uncle’s house for a massive meal.  The kind that makes you feel vaguely guilty that it’s midday on January 1st and you have already broken at least two of your New Year’s resolutions by having bacon and a chocolate croissant for breakfast.  These people look motivated, but they also look like they are dying.  Their cheeks are red from exertion, and they are usually also holding weights and doing bicep curls while they run.  These people will be on the streets until January 15th or until it rains, whatever happens first.  Around March and April you get the people training for the marathon.  They tend to jog on weekends because they have to jog for hours and there just isn’t time before work.  The charity runner has a smug look, like he/she is actually exercising to save lives, not to lose weight or for any other selfish reason.  I come into a category of my own.  I look like one of the soldiers, although there is no sergeant in sight.  My face goes red, sweat pouring from every pore, my feet pound the pavement as if there is a herd of something large approaching.  It actually makes women walking alone hasten their step and look over their shoulders worriedly.  I am breathing so loud that I could be mistaken for a pervert chasing some poor unsuspecting victim.  My ponytail doesn’t so much swish as smack me in the face.  And all this after about 5 minutes.  You can see why, when I decided to get fitter therefore, I didn’t choose to jog.

No what I chose to do was not use the lift in my building.  I live on the 7th floor, and so I figure that walking up and down the steps is not only good for me, but it’s also free which can only be a good thing at this time.  The first time I attempted the stairs, I got up to the third floor ok.  Third to fourth was harder.  Then my thighs started to burn as I went to fifth and sixth.  At the sixth, I genuinely thought about calling the paramedics.  Or at least the lift.  But I persevered.  Walked up the last flights slowly, trying to pretend like I wasn’t leaving tears and bits of lung on the staircase.  I got to my floor, and let myself into the flat.  D looked up. “Oh my goodness!  What happened?  Are you ok?  Did you get mugged?  Are you having a heart attack?”  I couldn’t speak.  I panted bent over double for 15 minutes as she got more and more nervous.  Eventually I explained.  She was relieved and now takes the stairs too.  She, of course, arrives upstairs, slightly breathless, but certainly not as close to dying as I do.  Then again, she is 17 years younger.  And today when I did it, I didn’t get quite as breathless as the first few times.  I am hoping that by the time we leave here, I will have buns of steel and be able to run up the stairs without breaking a sweat with my pony tail swishing perkily behind me.  Or at least, that my recovery time will be less than 3 hours. I don’t mind which.

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