Friday, May 31, 2019

Gym Life

                                               Bowfield Country Club, from their website.
                                                    That's my chair on the right.

We have a system here that pays for authors' appearances in libraries etc. Such events can be organised via a website that hosts a list of authors who are eligible for the scheme. On this website it lists what kind of author you are; crime, kids, a storyteller, a poets, a songwriter etc.
Not a Gym Bunny, 
a bunny called Jim.

The form came through on the email for this year’s update, and on the end was a another form which you could fill out if you wanted, but it was not compulsory. It asked what gender you identified as, fair enough. Then what ethnicity you identified yourself as, fair enough. Then it asked if you identified yourself as working class.

Well I fell off my seat at that one. And ticked the box as I am now a minority and could be persecuted and discriminated against.

That's by the definition of class as I learned in my Modern Studies Higher. ( For which I got  95% so I should be a politician, as  being a writer, my ability to tell lies is also rather good!)  

I read somewhere that  to explain class in the UK to an American, a Brit should just say we have  a class issue as you have a race issue. I have no idea if that is true- you can  judge that for yourselves.

One definition - the social group consisting of people who are employed for wages, especially in manual or industrial work.
Another - working class are the group of people in a society who do not own much property, who have low social status, and who do jobs which involve using physical skills rather than intellectual skills.  

As many working class people now own their homes, and many middle folk can’t afford the home they want and settle in private rents, it's all getting a bit topsy turvey.

However, I'll stick with my belief.  I don’t speak French. I can't go into Waitrose (posh supermarket) without having a panic attack at the cost of mayonnaise and posh folk amuse me. Esp Jacob Rees Mogg So that’s that then.

However, shock gasp amazement. My classification has been put in question by recent events,.

I have joined a country club, surely the definition of the bourgeois.

Well maybe not, more like the definition of somebody with two jobs and likes going swimming at 6.30 am.
                                                 I do a mile in here 3 times a week
                                                                       And plot

We have a hotel/ country club 7 minutes drive from our house. It has a swimming pool. I need to learn to snorkel. ( more about that later but feel free to speculate). Yet the local authority pool is £4.80  to swim per session. The country club is £500 a year, so if I go more than twice a week, and I can go at 6.30 am and not take time off work,  I am quids in on the deal.

I'm a Scot and we don’t like spending.
                                                A manatee, my swimming role model

Over the years I have always been a reluctant member of  a gym. I've ran the sports injuies clinic, therefore got discount membership,  but have always been happier exercising  outdoors, running or hill walking.

Snorkeling outdoors in Scotland is NFAA, (No Fun At All).

Gyms are the same the world over I am sure. They are great fodder for novels ( and serial killers).
Here's a list of the usual suspects.

1)     Gym bunny.. weighs about 3 stone, unhealthy interest in looking good. Will have the best of training gear, personal trainer, fake tan, wireless earphones and a stomach that looks like a washboard. They will walk round the changing rooms naked and witter on about classes with names like, Body Attack and Booty Balance. They’ll get botox by the time they are  35 and will look very odd when they are 40.

2)     Macho Mike – walks around the changing room as if he’s additioning for King Kong. He’ll wear a black muscle vest with Iron Man or Touch Guy on the front. His body hair disrupt the outline of his tattoos. He growls when he lifts weights. He’ll run for 2 minutes as a warm up causing a faint tsanumai in the swimming pool next door. The sweat streams down under his skip cap even before his workout starts. He lifts weights that are far too heavy for him with the resultant clang as he lowers them back none too gently echoing  round the gym. He will have bad arthritis  in his knees by the age of 40.

3)     Old trout – usually thin and slightly tanned, spritely, will wear sketchers and slacks and keep their gym stuff in a 'tartan hold all'. They’ll have their own routine of swimming, yoga and Pilatus and go bowling in the summer. They like to keep fit, they’ll be the first to complain when the water in the pool is too cold. Or too warm. They are incredibly healthy and will live a long life. 

4)     Miss Majorca – can be tanned to a deep mahogany colour, she’s the bingo wing version of old trout. Wears a fancy swimming costume, dips into the pool, has a Jacuzzi and a sauna but keeps her immaculate makeup and her styled  peroxide bob in place. She’ll make a lot of money from being divorced and scans the gym looking for a new husband.

5)     Miss Kardashian – can be mistaken for the gym bunny but will have bigger eyebrows and absolutely no muscle definition. Any curves that aren’t fat will be silicon, her lips will be so big you’d think someone had belted her in the face. She’ll pout and promenade alot but will lift nothing heavier than her phone. She is likely to have a small dog in a bag in her car.  She rattles with jewellery  every time she moves. She'll have a fancy water bottle with electrolytes, which she sips from all the time. 

6)     The prescribed walker – overweight wearing shorts and a t-shirt he got for last year’s holiday in Majorca. He’ll wear full length socks with his trainers and walks on the walking machine like a duck with a double hernia. He’ll be constantly checking the fitbit on his wrist hoping that the cardiac stent will hold up as he loses 5 stone. But if you talk to him he’ll be a lovely bloke. He'll have a normal water bottle.

7)     Mr Pants – good suite, hair gel, big chain round his neck, staying at the hotel because of a conference. Not as bright as he would like people to think, wears his D&G boxers into the Jacuzzi with his other mates at the conference and thinks nobody with notice. Due to wet pants he has to go commando at the conference and hopefully has an accident doing his zip up. Stinks of aftershave, always trying to chat up women. Could easily get cornered by Miss Majorca. Their combined IQ is slightly less than that of my dog.

8)     Fat nan the boxer – never wears trendy gym gear, tend to sweat alot as they work hard. Tend to have a look on their face of slight constipation as they’ll be working through routines and drills in their head.  They will have a water bottle, with water. They will use up more calories than the rest put together. They are often seen in Hollywood films, pounding the streets, mile after mile, looking like sh..t. They will be working class.

Caro Ramsay  1st June 2019


  1. Why does this NOT make me want to join a gym (or Jim as the case may be)?

    1. You don't need to go to a gym - you break a sweat just at the thought.

    2. Maybe if we had your weather, I might feel the same. As the London Marathon is in April, the training happens in a Scottish winter, at 5am to get a three hour session in before work. Chilly and very wet,

  2. But it's very quiet at the bottom of the swimming pool!

  3. You're wonderful at characterizations, Caro, you really should be a novelist...

    1. Or a serial killer.....but you will never know...

    2. I recognize the types through the haze of my days of gym memberships, but one additional category came to mind when I saw your photo of the manatee bobbing along in the water. Not sure what you'd label them, but they were the male back-strokers who swam at the NYC Downtown Athletic Club back in the days when swimming was permitted only sans swimsuits.

    3. Too Proud Timmy? Chumming Chester? Snorkler? Nausea Inducing Nitwit?

    4. jeff, I need to think of some witty answer to your response re men swimming backstroke in the buff. The witty response will have something to do with the coldness of the water...

  4. For your consideration, Caro...