Friday, 10 April 2015

A gym slip

Today we had a power cut. Everything went off. I couldn't use the landline and without my computer, I was pacing the garden with nothing to do except a bit of weeding. Having no electricity made me feel helpless. I had my mobile phone, of course, and used that to ring a couple of non-local friends and have a moan. One kindly looked at a website that tells you about power cuts, but there was no mention of one in Uxbridge.

Up and down the road, burglar alarms were shrilling. Mr Grumpy was out. It was 2.15 pm. 'What on earth am I going to do with myself?' I wondered. Then up spoke the voice of my conscience. 'Go to the gym!' it ordered. 'You know you need to. You've put on 12 lbs since before Christmas, your blood pressure is up and you're not walking your 10,000 steps a day.'

I acceded to its demands, put on a pair of black leggings, found a suitable t-shirt and off I went. To my surprise, my swipe card still worked. With great embarrassment, I found myself having to ask where the female locker room was, as I had forgotten. When I got to the ladies-only gym (the mixed one is upstairs and no way am I ever going to display my crinkled old flab before the disgusted eyes of all the muscle-bound studs groaning and grunting as they lift gut-busting weights), I found there was only one other person there, a young woman pedalling away on an exercise bike whilst reading a paperback. Way to go!

I did 20 minutes on the treadmill, then 5 minutes each on exercise bikes and air walker, and then I did some leg presses. 'That will shut you up for a while, Conscience!' I thought smugly.

I needed to get the ring I wear every day repaired, as a stone had dropped out, so I visited a couple of repair places until I found someone who told me to bring it in next week. I passed the dress stall in the market and found myself buying a £10 sun dress in poisonous purple and putrid green (why, oh why?) and then... here comes the big confession... my trainers tugged me into the M&S coffee shop where I counted out the coins I had in my purse (I'd left my wallet and cards at home, in case they got nicked at the gym) and discovered I had just enough for a cappuccino and... oh no!... a thick wodge of carrot cake, for which I have a great weakness.

So I sat there piling back the calories I'd just worked off, while my conscience nagged me mercilessly and told me what a weak-willed wimp I was and that if I carried on this way, I'd never get back to 9 stone again. I sat on the bus home (should have walked the three miles but my foot was hurting in my new trainers) and felt bloated and guilty.

At least the electricity was back on by the time I got home and the freezer hadn't defrosted. I suppose I shall have to go to the gym again tomorrow now, to lose the carrot cake calories. There must be an equation here somewhere: Energy = Marks Carrot cake squared. Or rather, my waistline rounded.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Book overload!

Something went a bit wrong with my Kindle the other day. It wasn't turning on and off properly; if I turned it off, it popped back on again. Weird! So I handed it to Mr Grumpy (my partner, for anybody new on here) as he is Mr Fixit for anything mechanical.

He hummed and hawed and asked me if I had reset it lately. I told him I had (just last week and quite by accident when I hit the wrong button as I was dozing off). "Well, I'm going to do it again," he said. Then he told me I hadn't been turning it off correctly as I wasn't using the Power Off button.

Ha ha! That was my chance to score one over him, which happens as rarely as rocking-horse doo-doo. "It hasn't got one!" I said triumphantly.

"There has to be one, you just haven't found it," he said, in the tired tone of a teacher fed up with explaining something tedious to a thicko student. He turned the reader this way and that; no button. I knew there wasn't. For once, I had RTFM'd (Read The Feckin' Manual).

He gave up. By now, it had finished resetting itself. He gazed at the screen, sliding through page after page. He held it up to his face and squinted at it. "Do you know you've got eighty-five books on here?" He sounded appalled rather than astonished.


"How on earth are you going to read them all?"

"Easily." Three a week... twenty-one weeks' supply. Less if I go on holiday. And some are reference books that I'll only read when I need them, such as How to Format Your Book for Kindle. And there are one or two I may not like and will consign straight to the Cloud, to join The Miniaturist, which I couldn't get on with at all.

Eighty-five books hardly constitute a library. They would hardly fill three shelves. Languishing in Mr G's garden shed are at least twenty-five boxes of 'proper' books - books made of paper, touch-feely reads that seem almost sensuous when compared to the act of stabbing a cold, hard screen to turn the pages. One day I shall have my own place again. My own study, my own library. I will have my external library and my internal one, inside my Kindle. And, of course, the neatest, most portable one of all - the one inside my own head.