Attempting pilates with a broken ankle was a necessity. My back has been killing this week as I grumpily hobble over my crutches, moaning, complaining and making far too much use of my – now rather more comfortable – bottom. In fact, as I write this I am distracted by the muffin top rolling over my trousers, just at the edge of my computer keyboard. So, I thought I had better make an effort. As I left the house, there were a number of raised eyebrows as pedestrians surveyed the woman in her bright yellow lycra gym gear, trainers, and crutches.
“Just off to aerobics, “ I called to a giggling teenager, waving a crutch enthusiastically.

As I walked in, the room dissolved into laughter.
“What on earth have you done?” asked Carolyn.
“I tried to do an outdoor activity in the Peak District with children and fell off a ledge. I have concluded that children are clearly bad for the health and I am currently advertising them on Ebay. Well, for parts, actually. I figured I’d make more money that way.”

The group found their places on their mats. A motley crew we are, being generally dysfunctional, and all having back problems. Many of us have had operations and various things poked around with too. Carolyn is quite frankly, satan’s apprentice, although she pretends to be a teacher. She looks all nice, kind and smiles when you first meet her, but she openly enjoys our pain. She accompanies our well meaning attempts at her commands with, “Do you want me to stand on you? Get those ribs down” or “Seriously, Im going to slap you”.

“Can I say how nice your nails look matching with the pink weights”, said Carolyn, as she assisted the lovely granny, Margaret, and had a moment of weakness.
“Um… you wait,” I said’ “She’s building up to the leopardskin lycra”. Sniggers accompanied the heavy puffing. I mean breathing.

“Come on, you. I want that tummy pulled in tighter”. Carolyn stood over another lady.
“ I can’t. It’s too fat. The muscles underneath are like a bagful of ferrets”.

“I don’t know why you are laughing,” Carolyn said to the woman on my left. “I can’t see that you are doing anything”.
“I’m rubbish, aren’t I?” the lady replied, throwing Carolyn entirely and, instantly dismissing her Guantanemo Bay training, she let her guilt ridden inner kitten emerge. “No, you really are good” she said in her special appeasing voice. “You are just. ..secretive in your exercising”.

She turned her attention to the lame.
“Sit ups. You can still do those”. 200 later and I’m marginally regretting my attendance. It hurts and I start to pull my sulking face. The sympathy was not forthcoming. Shocked that she didn’t react, I persist in earnest. “It hurts” I burst out. The look was enough. I withered into a pile of petulant goo and stuck out my bottom lip.

The alternate rhythm of foot and crutches swinging to my friend’s car distracted me slightly from the pain in my abs. At least now I have something else to moan about.