Pandemic Pondering #62

Insomnia/Dungaree Day/Exercise

I’ve been struck by Pandemic Insomnia. The causes are multiple and the Italians warned us all that it would happen. You would think hard Labour would give some protection but despite shifting tonnes of gravel yesterday my head was very busy overnight. Contrary to popular wisdom Blue light can make me sleepy in a way that a book does not. So I have some constant companions on my night time sojourns into smartphone enlightenment.

Messrs Google, Guardian, London Evening Standard, and a little Instagram and Facebook.

Last night the main topic of my swiping and browsing was stay at home exercise. My guru is Joe Wicks but yesterday I listened to a podcast of Joe talking to Lennie and Jessie Ware on Table Manners. I’ve reccomended this podcast team before.

Joe said his wife, Rosie, sometimes used other on-line fitness coaches. No shock at the virtual dining table as Jessie’s husband is a fitness coach and she also used someone else.

Not being married to a fitness coach I feel no need to be unfaithful to Joe. Last night I browsed other sites, gazed with only a reluctant shoppers eye and decided to stay with Joe.

Last night, I learnt some adjunct useful tips that I can apply to our fitness regime.

Some we’ve initiated without the help of the internet. Baked bean cans have been ditched in favour of proper dumbells. The cans had a life of their own, once put down, and the exquisite pain of a can being exactly where I plonked my commodious bottom is a Covid-19 memory to cherish.

Apart from bottom injuries, uneven weights can cause harm when you exercise. I mention this not because my beans were uneven but because some unevenness occured coincidentally this morning, more of that later.

The internet warned about being obsessive about home exercise. This morning I took heed and didn’t wear lycra, bringing a certain casualness to the event.

Now to the unevenness of weight during an at-home exercise session.

Hugo is an empathetic dog. He has lived his life predominantly with 3 women . He is in tune with our emotional and hormonal states. An emotional or hormonal state brings Hugo to his true purpose in life. To calm and console, with a cuddle that is as close as he can possibly get to the woman in question. He also mimics the symptoms so he has in the past suffered from horrendous hangovers, romantic break ups,shocking grief and menstrual cramps. Insomnia is unknown to him and is more difficult to understand. It is rare if not highly improbable that a dog would actually suffer from too little sleep. Hugo decided that my cure would be his constant close attention.

An uneven weight for indoor exercise.

So now onto the blog I should have written today.

Dark Grey Walls

It’s been 6 weeks since the humans @theoldmortuary joined the gym. It was never the intention to become gym bores on here telling you about our reps/ sets/weights achievements. So as usual this is a ponder. We’ve even made a gym friend who has called in @theoldmortuary and noticed that the gym and @theoldmortuary have walls painted the exact same shade of very dark grey. We chose dark grey @theoldmortuary because it makes a small dark cottage seem larger and brighter. Quite why a gym would choose the same colour is beyond me but it’s all new and recently refurbished so there has to be a reason.The grey walls are significant to my static adventures on a bike. Every visit I knock out 10k always accompanied by a Podcast and this wall.This sweaty wall is the blank canvas to my imagination that is boosted by podcasts.It was an entirely appropriate backdrop to my sweaty, teary experience of Desert Island Discs with Ian Wright on the BBC Sounds app.
Thankfully not all podcasts have the same effect so often I can just relax and enjoy the sweaty drips on the wall.

Muscle Memory

It’s been a while since attending a ballet based class was a thing for the humans @theoldmortuary.

An exercise class called Barre enticed us in.

My previous ballet experience was in a mirror- less room at the Institute, Braintree so even the word Barre was a little bit exciting. Holding the Dado rail was the Essex way. Plymouth Ballet lessons were a lot posher for Hannah and involved lessons from Wayne Sleep and Bonnie Langford as well as mirrors and Barres.

As it turns out we didn’t touch the Barre.

The movements and language were a revelation. I had completely forgotten that French is the language of ballet.

The strange thing is that our bodies had not forgotten, effortlessly getting into the positions required before our brains had fully processed the command.

‘Effortlessly’ is slightly disengenuous, we didn’t turn into giddy, gauzy, whisps of women seemingly floating across the dance floor in a chiffon of pink. How I wish that were the case; but it was noticeable that none of the moves were unfamiliar to us and we threw in little ‘Jettes’ quite naturally and our ‘arabesques’ felt as beautiful as the word suggests. As with all things exercise there was a punchy soundtrack that encouraged movement and time keeping. The only downside to all this ballet nostalgia was the mirror, in keeping with its well-known cliche. It didn’t lie.

8 uninterrupted minutes

Aqua aerobics is an unusual place to experience a favourite music track.
Donna Summer released ‘ I Feel Love’ in 1977. It was a moment; 8 minutes long, it was a futuristic and ground- breaking recording. 35 years after its release the track does not sound dated.It was a key moment in the history of Dance music.

Read more in a 2012 Guardian article.

It was the backbone and pleasure zone of my nightclub and party life in London and Brighton.

Hear the track for yourself on YouTube

Nightclub and party life is , for most of us, a lovely but passing phase. With time ‘I Feel Love’ for me has become an unexpected and rare pleasure at weddings or work parties. A moment to slip responsibilities and, more contemporary, musical tastes. A time to dance and move for 8 uninterrupted minutes.

Somehow, inexplicably, I’ve become the sort of person who dips their toes and, in fact, all of me into a pool for aqua aerobics. Dumbells are involved. Donna Summer became involved.The much loved opening notes swirled across the pool. The familiar throb made a little impotent by the new, watery surroundings did its best to lure me in. It was impossible and inappropriate to lose myself in the moment as would be usual. I was among strangers and responsible not only for dumbells but also my own and others safety. Doing things with dumbells in water and moving effectively in the same shape as the instructor is tricksy to say the least, no time to get funky and flexible. I’m not sure I ever achieved gracefully executed exercise but on a positive note there were no unseemly moments, above the surface at least.

The unimaginable happened. A pleasure the younger me would never have condoned. The shortened version was used; its brevity made me smile. 8 minutes interrupted was perfectly acceptable on this occasion.