Tag Archives: rehabilitation

My 15 Minutes of Fame (that never was)

I’ve had quite a lot of “tell me more” type comments in response to my #SilentSunday picture this week, so I’ve decided to write a proper explanation of what it was all about.

Withington Baths NW Tonight Interview

Me being interviewed for BBC NorthWest Tonight

Last week I wrote this about me starting swimming again at my local pool, Withington Baths. My post was shared around my local community and picked up a pretty decent amount of hits (thanks guys). The good people at LoveWithyBaths shared it, loved it; and when the BBC wanted to do a piece about the consultation regarding the community taking over the running of the leisure centre, they gave me a call and asked if I’d be interviewed for the telly.

On Saturday just gone, I went to Withington Leisure Centre and met with Sian and Paul from LoveWithyBaths and BBC North West tonight presenter, Naomi Cornwell and her lovely cameraman Andrew to be interviewed for that nights bulletin.

I was horribly nervous and probably made a right monkey of myself. They interviewed Sian by the pool. Then me outside the pool and Paul outside the dance studio. It was a brilliant, if nerve racking experience. I am not a natural in front of the camera, that’s for sure!

In the event my interview wasn’t included, neither was Paul’s. But Sian’s interview was centre stage and she got all the relevant points across.

So my 15 minutes of fame ended up on the cutting room floor and I’m left to continue my life in relative obscurity. Though autographs are still available upon request.

Withington Leisure Centre

Withington Baths is currently under threat of closure due to funding cuts. If you, like me would like to see South Manchester keep this excellent facility, please show your support here.


Swimming – (hopefully) from Fatness to Fitness

After the hell that was 2013 and all the physical rehabilitation I had I’m very aware that I’ve got to maintain and improve my current level of fitness.

During the summer and into the autumn I would go on daily, long, fast-paced walks. Each week I would see an improvement in my time and my fitness. I’d noticed a reduction in the level of pain I was in and I felt good.

Autumn swung into winter and it became too parky for me and I stopped. A little bit of winter weight crept up and I started to miss my happy endorphins. So on the advice of my therapist I started swimming again.

As a child I was a brilliant competitive swimmer. I swam for several teams. I trained with people who went on to be Olympians and I was among the very best in the county. I usually swam backstroke or front crawl. I have strong, strong legs which made these the perfect strokes for me.

I stopped swimming when I hit puberty; I was very conscious of all my lady lumps and bumps and couldn’t face it anymore. In hindsight that was a massive shame because, you know, I could’ve been a contender.

So about a month or so ago I slipped into my swimming costume and literally took the plunge. I’d not swum properly for years but I found myself in a pool where I used to do some competitive swimming, Withington Baths. It’s an old Victorian pool, but the water is warm and it’s cheap and close by. I have clear and fond memories of swimming there and collecting my hard-swum for medals afterwards. Glory days.

The first time I swam, knowing how unfit I was I mentally set a target of 10 lengths. I’d bashed those out in no time so decided to continue, by the end of the session I’d done 25 lengths, but I was seriously sore and limping the next day. Undeterred I returned the following week and did another 25 lengths and I’ve been back every week since to do another 25 lengths each time. Each session I feel stronger and fitter and my time improves.

Over Christmas I went to Cheadle Baths a few times, another one of my competitive childhood haunts. Theirs is an Olympic size pool and a nice facility. I like that an area is roped off for those who want to swim lengths so it’s easier to swim without dodging people. There I swam 18 lengths, just short of a kilometre. I was pretty chuffed with that.

It’s too early to see how swimming weekly and now twice weekly is changing me. I feel stronger in my arms and shoulders. The bingo wings are fractionally less and there is more definition in my legs, the squishy middle bit could do with buggering off but it will do in time. But I feel better. I feel stronger and happier. It gives me a routine and a goal and I like it.

Next week I think I’ll up it to 30 lengths! Go me!

Withington baths

Withington Baths @lovewithybaths