He has a chic designer unitard, I have sloppy, floppy, threadbare pants. He has a matching hat, I don’t. He has a co-ordinating bum bag, I have a 15-year-old rucksack with a 14-year-old banana assimilated into the fabric, it doesn’t smell too good, I don’t smell too good. He’s Mr Motivator, I’m Mrs Rotavator.
In lockdown Britain we’re having to get our exercise as best we can, with online becoming the new norm. The inspirational Mr Motivator, real name Derrick Evans, was all over our TV screens in the 1990s with a keep fit slot on GMTV breakfast TV. He’s been asked to come back to take part in BBC1’s Healthcheck TV to help us through this coronavirus crisis hopefully fitter, both physically and mentally.
M is 67, but looks and acts a lot younger, he’s also a very nice guy indeed. Many years ago he came to an Ageing Well event I’d organised aimed at keeping older people active. He turned up wearing a snazzy shell suit and a big smile, carrying a ghetto blaster and set to work motivating and charming us all.
His lockdown workout takes what are now everyday themes, such as standing in supermarket queues two metres apart, leaning on shopping trolleys, juggling toilet rolls, and bending over and grabbing the last bag of flour and holding it aloft’ alternating arms. They make a fun routine with added lycra.
My daily #staysafe exercise requires special kit, you can’t wear just anything to do Anne’s Allotment Workout. There’s the aforementioned threadbare pants and non-matching, equally threadbare hoodie and the cap to keep the flies away and prevent glare from my whiter than Dulux’s Brilliant White arms.
It starts with a warm-up, a five-minute walk to the allotment, socially distancing, hopping on and off the pavement and doing a twirl in the middle of the empty road even when there’s no-one around, because I can.
There’s a few hill reps as I head down the slope and then I’m into the routine, Radio 6 Music trickling from my tiny DAB radio. My current workout has a definite core strength focus, forking, digging, bending, planting, the falling over is optional, though in my case obligatory.
I’m getting so good at this, what with all the practice and all, that I’ve named myself after my new piece of kit and plan to market myself as a kind of dress-down personal fitness coach, with added vegetables.
The manual rotavator looks like a set of cowboy spurs on a pole. They make a satisfying jangling noise as they hit the soil and I move them backwards and forwards to break up the heavy soil. I am Mrs Rotavator™ . Thanks to this new piece of kit, I may even have abs of steel, or if not steel, some other metal, possibly lead, they certainly feel like that.
While I trip lightly to the allotment, I practically crawl back, that’s some workout.The jangling is soon drowned out by my heavy breathing and occasional exclamation to the assembled crowds of wood pigeons, crows, robins, deer, badgers, fox and the allotment cat, all waiting for me to unearth something they might eat. I dug up an egg the other day, a hen’s egg, fully intact and buried by the fox for later. I reburied it, you don’t take the fox’s egg, he may poo on your potatoes.
Yes, I think Mrs Rotavator™ could have legs, maybe I could market it as new kind of workout for those fortunate enough to have gardens and allotments. It’ll be an intense activity for the summer months followed by a harvest of fresh veg and fruit to be enjoyed while balancing something alcoholic on those abs of steel. Working on my business plan as we speak….