I claimed previously that Liverpool made me fat. And while this is definitely true, I'm going to have another go at Derby first. Don't worry, Liverpool, I'll get to you soon!
My first job was in Derby, and I had a flat in the amusingly named town of Belper. I drove past the Derby Municipal Baths ever day on my way to work. Every day, feeling bright as a button, I would think, "I really should go for a swim. That would set me up for the day!"
So one morning I got up a bit early to go for a swim at Derby's Municipal Baths. It was very early. A 6am start. I swam a few lengths and then went to work.
It is no exaggeration to say that every day since I have woken up exhausted. Before that bright Derbyshire morning I was a fit, active young man. Every day since - knackered. Not a single moment has gone by when I haven't felt drained of energy. All because of going for an early swim in Derby in 1995. Must have been something in the water. It put me off exercise for a long time, and I certainly didn't go back for another dawn swim.
In contrast, when I lived in Liverpool, I joined a private gym. It was fabulous! Especially the swimming pool area. Oh, it was like a pool in heaven! Hardly ever more than three people using it, 25m long, 4 feet deep all the way (so no diving but really difficult - though not impossible- to drown in if you got a bit tired) and the only slight downside was that they insisted that everybody, everybody, had to wear a swimming cap. Which is not a good look on a fat person. I did not, for example, look as cool as this...
...and, although it should not need saying, that is not at all cool.
But, apart from the head gear, the gym had another winning aspect of its 'wet' area. It had a hydrotherapy pool.
Which was awesome!
This isn't exactly what it was like but it wasn't far off. There was also a little sauna that I sometimes used.
Next to the sauna was a cold shower. Ice cold. It was essentially a bucket of iced water on a chain. You got out of the sauna, pulled the chain and were doused.
I only used the cold shower once, because I stopped breathing that time and took a while to recover from my testicles retracting into my abdomen so fast that they bruised my kidneys.
After a while, I used to just go and lie in the hydrotherapy pool and not bother with any other exercise. It had these little areas where you could lie down and have bubbles blown through a mesh under you - really really relaxing...
I used to wear a pair of shorts when I went swimming. Hard to imagine, I know, but somehow I didn't think anybody would have liked to see me in speedos.
But the trouble with these shorts, on a bed of bubbles, with me lying face up, is that the front of them used to fill up with air.
In an embarrassing 'peak'.
Yes, m'lud, it were the bubbles...
And when I tried to remove the bubbles, it may have looked a bit rude.
That's what I told the judge.
And in the end they didn't let me back into the gym...
Though I hasten to add that this was because I cancelled my membership and not being allowed into the gym is entirely normal in those circumstances.