But this time is going to be different. TheBloke (TM) and I have both joined a local gym (avert your eyes now)... and it's a "council gym". I worried about this at first. I don't really see myself as a leisure centre kind of a girl. I'm more of a spa, sauna and home for a hamburger type of girl. But, as I've put on two stones in the last year and a half (almost equivalent to two entire Monty Cats and he is not a petite feline) and I suspect upcoming bridal wear will not be forgiving to a spare tyre. (Thinking about it, perhaps I should have chosen a dress that doesn't have a spare tyre as an accessory. Now I consider it, it does sound a bit weird).
So, the leisure centre is actually pretty nice. It has brand new gym equipment with integrated TV, it has a swimming pool, and it even has a spa attached with a sauna, aroma room (whatever that might be), an "experience shower" (apparently mist or heavy rain, but basically a shower) and - brilliantly - a "bucket shower". This is (and I kid you not) a bucket of cold water that is balanced on the top of the shower, and you pull a rope and the cold water falls on you. Don't believe me? Check this out: http://www.thespalondonandessex.co.uk/experiences.html
Anyway, pool, spa, fancy gym equipment, you could almost be mistaken for thinking it was a David Lloyd. Almost. Because there's one thing the council do very differently from anywhere else. And that's staff. Now, any regular Ploggers will know that my battles - particularly with Tower Hamlets Council - have been frequent and - to a bystander at least - hilarious. Memorably I once had to explain to a Tower Hamlets' call operative what the word "minimum" meant. The guy at the end of the line actually used the sentence, "Sorry, what does 'minininium mean?" But I hoped that having moved to the London Borough of Redbridge, things would be a little better.
But no. The staff. Oh, the staff. Here are some genuinely true things about the staff at the leisure centre:
- It took an hour for us to join the gym. We filled out the paperwork in about five minutes and then had to watch the most stupid woman in the world type it all into her machine. One letter at a time. I asked, "Do you need to type all of this in now?" She said yes. I asked, "Should we come back later?" She said, "No, I'm always this busy." Thus missing the point that she was just stupid and slow and we didn't want to wait.
- There is a young, male, blonde guy who stands at the back of reception (not actually manning it), whose job it appears to be to smile apologetically at customers every time the reception staff do something stupid. As far as I can tell, he does nothing else. His face must hurt by the end of the day.
- Our £26 (each) gym induction consisted of, "Have you been to a gym before?" We replied that we had. "Well, basically, it's exactly the same. OK? Off you go."
I almost look forward to interacting with them, just so I have more stories for you. How I suffer for my Ploggers!