Move over Mr Motivator…..I’ve discovered Sulu!

(Apologies if you saw this earlier – I deleted the earlier version because i thought I was wittering on about the wrong person – but I wasn’t!)

When I hit 60 (coo…a while ago now) my New Years resolution was to try as many new things as possible – so went to the Zumba classes at Winchester Discovery Centre offered by the awesome Silvia and Max, I LOVED it – but every week my hips hurt a little more so after three sessions I reluctantly quit.

With hindsight this was the first glimpse of arthritis – but the pain went and I forgot about it…….although the pain was back with a vengeance when I tripped on a paving slab a couple of years later and boom – I certainly knew about it then!

As the arthritis got worse the only exercise I could do was in the pool – oh and Pilates! So I signed up for Aquafit a couple of times a week, Pilates with Lou of Tiptop Pilates in Southampton.

What I learnt is that, whilst exercise is one of the most important things we can do, it doesn’t stop arthritis in its tracks (but by heck it’s important to keep your body as strong as you can, particularly if you are facing surgery).

When Pilates ended a couple of years ago, it was Aqua three times a week. I was back a month after my first hip replacement, yup, three times a week. It was great but lockdown in March 2020 meant it didn’t restart till late November, 2020 and just three classes were squeezed in before Christmas when Lockdown 3 happened!!

But NOW I’ve discovered Sulu!!!

I’m fourteen weeks into my second new hip (I know, very greedy and VERY lucky) and to may amazement I can do this!!

I have to be grateful to Covid for something – and I think it’s this! Without lockdowns I’d have gone back to the pool and probably never thought of doing something else. However, bouncing around to a Latin beat, feeling the blood flow and spirits rise, and having a BIG grin on my face is possibly addictive!

Of course I’ll go back to Aqua – partly because there’s company there!

But oh my gosh – it’s Sulu I’ll be spending my early mornings with for quite a while to come (apologies to Alun Newman, BBC Radio Solent).

20 year old sofa cover to um, slightly wonky bag!

For almost two years, the covers from our twenty year old suite have been taunting me! Too much fabric to throw away – but what the heck to do with it!

Experiment number one, a tote bag!

Step one, covers:

Step two, select an embroidery design for the front. Had a lazy moment, could have created something, but cheated – Urban Threads designs rock!

Step three, get the scissors (and lining, interlining and stabiliser) out:

Step four, get sewing:

Step five, decide it’s definitely a prototype:

Too long, a bit wonky, probably a 7/10!

Never expected to be sharing my morning routine with Mr Motivator!!

Lockdown, March 2020, and my three Aquafit sessions a week that I’d been doing for three years (the only exercise I could manage with severe arthritis) disappeared into the pale blue yonder – and so too, very quickly, did my muscle tone! Boy, did I get cross with all those folk telling us to “get fit, go for a walk” …..I shouted quite a lot at the telly and radio!

Aquafit only restarted, once a week, at the end of November, 2020 – three sessions in and it’s closed again. The joy for me of the second lockdown, though, was I had a glorious new hip and could actually walk!! Yay!! What walking doesn’t do is help with muscle tone throughout your body. So….I asked Santa for four 1kg weights….

Then….what was I going to actually do! Mr Motivator to the rescue!!! Thought I’d try out a sitting routine in case it’s something you might need or like……the You Tube one posted on 14th December, 2020 is perfect! Sitting on the sofa wasn’t, though, you do need to be on a chair and to be able to stretch out your leg fully… table was in my way for a few of the routines.

Bloomin heck it’s a good work out! You don’t need the weights but if building muscle tone is your aim, they really help.

Go Mr M!!!! (and Mrs G!)….

Equilibrium restored!

Realised, thanks to all your generous comments and support, that by 6.00am this morning I had expected to have the house clean, tidy and clear of forty years of, um, stuff (polite phrase!), exercised and lost a stone, tamed my lockdown hair into some sort of style and be sitting relaxing in the perfect lounge wear I’m planning on making! Went back to bed…had a snooze….have started again!

As the sort of person that rushes into the future without a thought, having to redefine it felt unexpectedly hard- even though redundancy was my choice, unlike the situation for far too many people at the moment. When I was unexpectedly made redundant from a job I adored many, many years ago, it did feel like a bereavement, but making the choice myself would, I thought, redefine things. Silly old bat!

Oh well, Christmas sherry beckons and then maybe some sewing…..then a bubble lunch….it’s going to be a good one!

Day 3 of retirement – anyone got a map!

Oh my gosh – after the adrenaline rush of the last morning at work, then Christmas Eve present deliveries and a glorious Christmas Day in a smaller than usual family bubble, reality’s hit home with a vengeance! Feel REALLY lost! Up at 5.30am and now, a couple of hours later, wondering what on earth to do. Oddly nostalgic and very much aware of all that has been lost in the years of being distracted by work. Loved ones no longer with us; children very much grown up and, quite rightly, living their own lives; forgotten skills and hobbies (which to pick up again – now thats a challenge); a house full of memories that are suddenly flooding in. It’s very, very, weird!

Come to my on-air retirement party oh – and drop me a line to tell me how YOU coped!

06.00-10.00, GMT, on BBC Radio Solent will be quite a morning – feels a bit like a wake without the sausage rolls, but I get to hear the memories, blush and cry. Although what I really want to hear (privately, not on-air although I might ask if I can share your story on my website) is the truth from you about the first 6 months or so of your retirement. No cliches, no “you’ll wonder how you had time to go to work”, but how you coped without the structure of work and seeing colleagues and being home all day. Drop me a line at

One more sleep and I’m unemployed!

Getting a bit emotional – such wonderful messages today from listeners of BBC Radio Solent – it’s very humbling. Made me wonder what the point of the website is!! It’s not a business but I’m hoping it will become a community to chat, share stories, challenge perceptions of retirement and old age, help us all understand the world we live in a little better, whatever our age and circumstances. I always felt folk should never retire in case the brain cell got lazy – lets stay curious together!

Things that touch my heart

Sometimes you read something that makes you go “woah”! The story of the Burnley parish, so deprived, supported by their two pastors, and now the world. PLEASE read this – from BBC News