As time trundles on there are a few things that don’t come as easy as they once did.
At the weekend I had a couple of reminders of my irretrievable descent into middle-aged limitation (and middle-aged moaning) with a visit to another gym in Freedom Leisure’s Brighton and Hove stable.
On a balmy but cloudy Sunday, the type reminiscent of baking Mediterranean beach holidays, where it’s a blessed relief to step into largely refrigerated supermarkets, I made the curious decision to yomp to Portslade Sports Centre.
The 4.6-mile route would have, once upon a time, been a nice warm-up to the gym session but this time around it left me felling like one of those amateur marathon runners who go all wobbly agonisingly close to the finishing line and need to be helped by their kindly fellow runners.
Hove to Mile Oak (the gym is, bizarrely, in Mile Oak rather Portslade) isn’t quite up there with Land’s End to John o’ Groats, but it was further than I imagined in my mind’s eye.
It’s good gym. As per all of the B&H Freedom Leisure gyms I’ve visited (now four and counting), it makes remarkably good use of space and packs a lot into a relatively small space, as the photo shows, and it’s been brightened up with a fetching lime-green paintjob since that image was captured. And like every other Freedom gym there were a surprisingly high number of free weights. It seems that these days people are more keen on being beefcakes than they are being lean.
The gym also has an astoundingly loud sound system. The second moment of middle-aged dufferism of the day came when I realised couldn’t listen to the cricket on my portable DAB radio (don’t mock, it’s more reliable than listening to it on a phone) because of the pounding beats from above.
Obviously, I could have trotted back to reception and asked them to turn it down, but that felt like only one step away from asking for a blanket and a mug of Ovaltine.
A TV was showing the UK’s top ten most downloaded tunes and pumping them out from speakers all over the gym.
The most positive thing that could said from such heavy exposure to those tunes was that at least I now have an more of an idea what the misguided young folk are listening to and downloading.
During the numerous limp efforts from whiny baby-faced singer-songwriters I felt like the much-missed art critic Brian Sewell being forced to look at a succession of appalling GCSE coursework. While the noisier beatier songs elicited belated sympathy for the late erstwhile Panamanian dictator, Manuel Noriega, who was blasted out of his embassy bolt-hole by American soldiers with round-the-clock wall-of-sound rock music. As someone almost once said on the big screen, I think I’m going to need a louder radio.
To find out more about the gym visit