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The Olympic Torch

It was in Greece, but finally the holy flame of the Olympic Games arrived in Bromley, today – just as summer arrives!

A spoof advert for a bison trainer

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Picking a gym

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Finding the right gym is something of an artform. I'm not sure I've mastered it though. I spent a good week or so investigating the local gyms, ended up joining one in London Bridge and I'm not sure I made the right decision.

Virgin Active - Strand
Very nice. Very shiny. Lots of machines. Has a relatively small pool. Most of the free weights were available. Just hideously expensive, not quite as easy to get to for me as ones near London Bridge and the membership person wasn't very helpful. You also have to fill out a whole lot of forms to even get a trial. Towel service extra. Men's toilets were a bit nasty.

Fitness First - Beckenham
Good equipment. Good use of space. Helpful membership person. Towel service extra. Just a little bit soulless and very hard to get to by train and public transport.

Virgin Active - Bickley
Easy to get to if you're going by train from Victoria, since it's near Bickley station. Great facilities. Lovely pool. Massive number of machines and free weights, including the fabled power plates. Has a good café. Nicely priced too. If it had been better located, I would have joined this one (and still might).

Fitness First - Cottons (London Bridge)
The one I actually joined. Reasonably priced (compared to Virgin Active - Strand anyway). Has a smallish pool. However, it's always busy; the front of counter staff and membership staff don't seem to care; they messed up my health check-up booking so I never got it; the pool flooded the lower levels; I've been turfed out once because they were closing the gym at 3.00pm to connect it back up to the National Gird; almost all the doors have been taken off the men's lockers (I don't know why); they gave me someone to set up a training programme who had never used half the machines; and it closes at 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays (I was turned away at 5.30pm). And all that in only the last fortnight. Towel service included though.

I must be mad

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My brother-in-law lives just round the corner from us. Which is nice. He and my wife hatched this cunning plan a month or so ago.

"Let's go running at 6.30am every morning!" they said. "We're both morning people. It'll be great!"

I hate mornings.

Then they said, "Why don't you come with us? It will help support us in this tremendous endeavour."

I hate mornings.

But I agreed.

So it all works quite well for a couple of weeks. Occasionally, one of them will bail for some reason or the other, but we're all doing quite well, thank you.

Then there's a patch when almost everyone - except me - bails.

So they get together. "I can't take mornings," says my wife. "It's so hard getting up early. How about we run in the evenings?"

That works fine for a day. "I can't take evenings," says my brother-in-law. "I get too tired during the day. I prefer mornings."

So they agree. Sarah will run in the evenings, my brother-in-law will run in the mornings.

Guess what I'll be doing, in addition to going to the gym three times a week.

Yes, I'm running in both the mornings and the evenings.

I must be mad.

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