I slipped on the deck one morning, running across to grab some lemons, and as I ran, one leg slipped out behind me twisting my knee as I hit the deck, my thumb wrenched back as I tried to stop myself. Still, I kept sliding and letting my lemons go rolling ahead of me l desperately try to stop myself from careering over the steps to the concrete below. I stop on the top step. There is no time to waste as the Gilbert’s in the car with the motor warming and I wince as I gather some of the lemons I am taking to Amy, limp to the car and slip in the seat. “I just slipped on the deck” I say to Gilbert as I put my seat belt on. “Aha”, he says, his thoughts on other things.
Every morning that I spa I stretch and make up exercises that I think will help. I twist from the waist side to side and pretend I’m a mermaid keeping my feet together and drawing my knees up. I make like a starfish and then do scissor legs. I have no idea if this will help anything but it feels great. I love the water. The birds are too busy to watch catching their breakfast insects. Occasionally Paddy the dog will stealthily sneak up and pop his nose over the edge of the spa and if particularly curious will jump up to look in. Given he’s about a 50 kilo Ridgeback and about five foot tall if he stands on his hind legs, I nearly have a heart attack as if a shark has just loomed up over the edge of my boat, and losing my grip sometimes I go under enough that my gasp almost has me taking on water. “Get out you bloody idiot”, I yell at him when I realise my life wasn’t in danger at all, and he lumbers down, still panting happily as if I told him I love him.
The jets switch off automatically after ten minutes and I know it’s time to get out. It’s a marvellous way to start the day and I’m warm with blood pumping. Sure as hell beats doing exercises I think, as I pass Gilbert who is doing squats in front of the TV.
My knee is not right and there is a spot in my back that feels like it’s on the verge of going into a spasm and I decide maybe this mermaid business is not working. Maybe I need some physio to help me along. “I’m at the end of my frozen shoulder unfreezing, my back feels tight, my hip is giving me jip, this finger locks up and this thumb aches. I’m generally feeling quite old and stiff”, I confide to Helen, my new best friend. I sound like a whiney old moaner. She marks all the problem spots on a picture of a body and takes notes. It’s not looking good, this body picture and lines of notes. “…and I hate exercises, I continue. I would shovel compost for an hour happily before doing exercises, but I love spas. Can you give me things to do in the spa?” I ask tentatively.
“I certainly can, she replies full of smiles. That’s perfect for what we need to do for you. We need to get you stretching and lengthening your muscles which have to some extent become short and tight. The hot water will help with that. We need to keep you doing the things you enjoy, and strong and this is entirely achievable.” Wow, so glad I asked!
I smile. I’m excited. I have a prescription for exercises in the spa! She gives me the full check over. She finds out where I want to be. Do I want to take up running, or biking? Hell no! Its pretty simple I explain bringing it right down to basics. “I want to be a fitter, slimmer, stronger more supple me. Yes that’s it in a nutshell”. Now she smiles. “Ok”, she says and so we begin. I am so happy doing my stretching most mornings and I feel absolutely fabulous getting out all warm and ready for breakfast. Its funny but after a very short time I am feeling fitter, slimmer, stronger and more supple. I’m not sure if its just in my head, because as she puts me through my paces I still can’t do the things she seems to want me to do. Like touch the floor or reach past my knees when I go side to side and even when I try to do it, I feel surprised that I can’t. Helen explains its about the long term. We’re not so much just fixing a problem but keeping me in better physical health going forward.
I tip toe out to the spa in the dark as the moon bids me goodnight, slipping past the tree line. I have much to be grateful for.