Quidditch, Charleston, Elections, Reflexology and more!



Week one is over. The fruit bowl in our office has never been so full, brimming with grapes and easy peelers (which are invariably anything but). Because of this, I’ve never felt so guilty about having a packet of prawn cocktail crisps today. I felt so ashamed I smuggled it into our shared kitchen and scoffed the lot, before burying the evidence like a particularly shamed cat in a litter tray.

The Widening Participation team is running a points tally system, with ten points available per day. Point worthy behaviour includes drinking two litres of water, partaking in thirty minutes of activity and trying something new, amongst others. However, having stayed up until 5am this morning to watch the General Election unfold miserably, like a broken Christmas hat from a crap cracker, I deserved my 30 grams of Golden Wonder, even though it cost me a point. Having marched to the polls in my Lewes constituency and voted Labour nine times (one MP, two district councillors, six town councillors), which is more pointless than the Pope’s sex swing, I needed some saturated fat.

Nevertheless… The first week of Commit To Get Fit has been a resounding success, with even Zoe, our erstwhile token Essex gal who looks a mixture of perplexed and appalled when I return from an Insanity class, putting her best bee-mask forward to try fencing. Apparently, a pig was seen flying over the Falmer area. Sam is giving Cerri a Reflexology massage as we speak, turning her office into a relaxing paradise. Although instead of a massage table we’ve got a camping deckchair. It’s desperate times under the Tories!

My new sport of the week is Quidditch and what a game it was! Fast-paced, tactical, skilful. Like handball with an extra dimension. As a signed up Harry Potter geek (I would be Hufflepuff because I’m not brave enough to be Gryffindor, not clever enough to be Ravenclaw, and not sneaker enough to be Slytherin – basically, I’m an also ran) I wondered whether the magical game could be transferred to Muggle reality. And it really could! Chris D had an altercation or two with one of our opposing numbers, prompting a word of caution from the excellent Active US co-ordinator Doron. There were trips, dives and aggression not seen since the Russians looked on Ukraine and fancied a new conservatory. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Paul, Sam, Cerri, Anne-Marie and Chris D did their best jazz-hands for a Charleston session, a fast-paced dance more mentally challenging then physical due to the complicated rhythms and movements. Sam came out so red I wondered whether she’d been at the sunbeds. Laura did Zumba while we played Quidditch and came to the balcony to laugh at our shared endeavours, taking the chance to get back into her Zumba ways.

Mindfulness was also on the agenda this week, with many attendees struggling not to laugh when the group were asked to perform tasks with a grape in the Meeting House. You see, there are points for relaxation, mindfulness and/or wellbeing activities as well. Stephen, who is more sceptical than Richard Dawkins at a Nativity play, failed to get all the fuss and spent a nice half hour sitting, doing nothing. According to my YouGov poll, however, he is currently in the lead within our team, although he has been deducted points for counting an onion bhaji as one of his five a day. That reminds me of a mother in Iceland telling her son to pick up a packet of Solero – she said it counts towards one’s fruit tally.

Karen had her birthday this week and many points were lost as a gorgeous cake was passed around to general murmurs of “Oh, isn’t it naughty”, like we were in some camp 70s sitcom, before hastily shovelling the marzipan calories down our gullets with carefree abandon. Cerri even had a Hen Do in Amsterdam to contend with. “I didn't score many points” she said, sheepishly on her return. “But I did try a Prosecco bike ride” she said, hoping for points remuneration that were sadly not forthcoming.

Overall we are in fine fettle and limbering up for week two with highlights for me including fencing, handball and bouldering.

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