I have lived in Shropshire for 11 years. For the first 6 years I had a cottage out in the country. It wasn't brimming with the character you expect upon hearing the word 'cottage'. It had been extensively extended in the seventies and had a predominantly 'seventies' feel to it. It did, however, have some nice features, plenty of space and a peace and solitude which I loved.
My home in the country was a casualty of the break down of my first marriage. It was put on the market, sold, and the proceeds split.
The decision to remain in Shropshire was based on the fact that my girls were all settled here with friends and boyfriends and extended family and doing very well with their educations. Having suffered the disruption of divorce, I really wanted to keep any more upset to a minimum.
My new partner and I looked at several houses in the country to try and replicate the lifestyle I was used to before making the radical decision to move into the town. We found the perfect house with a big, well established garden that shielded us from the 'town-ness' of our new environment. The new location gave the girls much more independence and freed me from having to chauffeur them everywhere. I got used to walking to the shops and the girls got used to walking to school.
The town where we live is a small market town. We have pretty much everything we need in the way of shops to mean that travelling further afield to a larger shopping centre is more of a treat than a neccessity. We are not blessed with a huge choice of vegetarian eateries but we do have a Wetherspoons that serves an OK selection of non meat options at reasonable prices and I have high hopes for the new Indian restaurant opening soon (can't beat a good curry). We have a lovely community hall that puts on a variety of entertainments and classes, most of which are not at all up my cup of tea, and we have a canal! I'm sure there is plenty more I could mention but I will conclude by saying we have a gym.
A few years ago, my sister and I embarked on a get fit quest and took advantage of a special offer membership at the gym. We started off with the best of intentions religiously striving to achieve the targets set for us by the exceptionally fit gym staff. We also attended a weekly pilates classes held by the most gorgeous of the staff, Pete. As time went by, our commitment to the cardio vascular workouts declined, the weight machines began to look more like instruments of torture and even the thought of Pete demonstrating pilates moves was not enough to convince us that we should get our gym wear out of the cupboard. The time we spent chatting in the jacuzzi and sauna far outweighed the time we spent actually exercising. My sister, rightly or wrongly convinced, herself that exercise was the cause of all her physical problems and the final nail in the coffin of our best laid plans was the fact that I fell pregnant.
Our Gym membership sat unused and forgotten and my waistline expanded, albeit for the best of reasons. We would occasionally see Pete through the window or around town. He was living proof of the efficacy of exercise if done correctly - every time we saw him his muscles seem to have become more defined and pumped up.
Last week, my eldest daughter came to me bemoaning the fact that she was so unfit and her clothes were getting too tight. It was my husband's idea that we join the gym together. I am at the point in my weight loss plan where a little exercise would probably make a big difference, and I love the idea of having a really good excuse to spend time with my daughter. We went along for a trial and an assessment and I remembered how much I used to love it when I first started going with my sister. We signed up for a full year and I am determined not to let it slip this time.
This morning, we went for our next session which we finished off with a lovely relaxing time in the wet room.
Sadly, the gorgeous Pete is no longer there. Perhaps he pumped those muscles just a bit too hard and exploded!