“The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word.” Mata Hari
So I was stirring my porridge for breakfast and I decided I would use the time (while stirring) to do some exercises. There are limits (and safety issues) when cooking so I wasn’t intending to do star jumps or anything too risky. No, I thought I’d do some hip rotations pretending I had a hula hoop and I had to keep it from falling. I kept stirring the porridge while gyrating my hips with my invisible hula hoop and I had a little tune going round in my head to keep me motivated.
Other than hip gyrations I also pretend that I’m pole dancing in a seedy nightclub somewhere. I do a sort of squat movement where I crouch down a little bit – I can’t go too low because I’ll end up with a pan full of porridge over me – but I try to do squats. I have to confess to never having danced with a pole before unless you count that one time I danced with Piotr Stanislav in a dodgy club in Ibiza back in the 80s.
Casey and Gibbs – my cats – came in from wherever they’d been outside and glanced at me as they walked past the cooker to their food bowls and began eating their breakfast. I continued gyrating and they both looked a bit perplexed. They haven’t actually seen me do this before. Sometimes on the Wii Fit I do the hula hoop exercise but I’m not usually stirring porridge at the same time.
I do, actually, have a hula hoop and I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, on many occasions to master it. One of the reasons I have trouble with it is that my rooms are quite small and I probably have, although quite unintentionally, the largest hula hoop in the world. You see, I live in a Victorian cottage, built in 1901 for the workers in the orchards in my area of Kent. The Earl Haig, Lord Raglan and Lord Eardley, (all pubs as well as proper people!) and a few other noble bods had orchards and farms and they built workers’ cottages on their land so that their employees all had somewhere to live as well as somewhere to work.
The cottages were very basic: usually two up, two down with an outside toilet (if they were lucky). Over the years as people have bought them they’ve added bits to them, put the toilets inside, created a bathroom and kitchen and generally brought them up to habitable standards. Only not accommodating enough to have a hula hoop.
As they’re Victorian cottages, built towards the end of Queen Victoria’s reign, I have mused that she would not probably have fitted into my front room – which other than the miniscule bathroom – is the smallest room in the house. Her skirts would have swept the floors as she walked from room to room which would have been quite handy for housework purposes but I do think, had she tried to master the hula hoop, she would not have been amused.
Cats are pretty clever animals. They nap a lot, conserving their energy for dawn and dusk which coincides with when their prey are most active so it’s no secret to anyone that cats will sleep probably for 18 – 20 hours in a day. It’s what they do when they wake up that is of interest to me. They stretch. First the front half of them, then the back half. I never think of stretching when I get up out of bed. But it makes sense. The spine compresses when we’re asleep which is why, when we first get up – or even while we’re still in bed – it is a sensible idea to stretch up and make ourselves as tall as possible.
On days when the weather has been too foul to go out (and I do draw the line at going out in torrential rain with thunder and lightning!) I put a CD on and pick out a track I like to dance to and I get in the groove. I pretend I’m in a nightclub or at a party. To make it authentic I put my handbag in the middle of the room and dance round it. I don’t go as far as wearing white high heeled stilettos though – that WOULD be silly!
Casey and Gibbs sit on the sofa shaking their heads wondering how they can find somewhere else to live where the woman of the house isn’t quite as mad as this woman. They weren’t around in the 70’s so don’t understand the concept of dancing round your handbag in a nightclub. Gibbs gets up and despite the rain, heads for the catflap. He’s had enough. He doesn’t get the hip thrusts and bum wiggles and hands in the air as this middle-aged woman with a red face circumnavigates her handbag in the centre of a tiny living room.
Casey, loyal to a ‘t’, stays resolutely on the sofa. He is relieved, when eventually, said red-faced middle-aged woman finally stops making a fool of herself and plonks herself next to him on the sofa. Face glistening she leans over to him: ‘that was good, Casey. You should try it,’ she says as she flops back against the cushions clutching her chest.