Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The Final Straw

Today is the day. The last day of 2008 couldn't come soon enough and the last day of me taking Provera feels equally long overdue.

Technically as I was due to take provera for a quarter of a year, or 3 months, or 12 weeks or 84 days (however you look at it, that's a goodly proportion of the year spent popping the pills), so the last day should be tomorrow. But there is something so auspicious about finishing the course of drugs with the finishing the old, shitty, year that I figured, its not an exact science a day either side isn't going to make a massive difference.

So I've stocked up for the period to end all ... no, wait a minute this period is supposed to kick start all periods (unless I get pregnant of course).

I've got my Dracular's tea bags all ready:
  • Tampax* super plus
  • Tampax multi pack mixed absorbency

And 'cause it might be a heavy one, and I'd rather not set my alarm at two hour intervals
  • Always Ultra night
To try and ensure that I don't spend a week howling with pain and being unable to stand upright:
  • Feminax Ultra - taking the pain killing to the max
All of them a rather pleasing and complimentary shade of blue, I guess the manufacturers figured that red was too obvious. Or they are targeting these products at the more discerning, blue-blooded consumer.

  • Big, old pants - not pictured I do have to draw the line somewhere, admittedly the line is somewhat wobbly
  • Hot water bottle
  • Stack of books, for any convalescing
If it is anything like last time I took provera I should expect to be surfing the crimson tide on Sunday - but that was after a mere week on the hard stuff. So it might be that having taken it for so much longer the progesterone will take longer to leave my body so I should expect a further delay, or maybe my womb is so stuffed with blood and gunk it is straining to get out and the merest hint of a reprieve will bring a flood of blood of biblical proportions.

Whatever happens, rest assured I will (over) share.

Happy New Year kids! This one is ours.

* No brand names were harmed during the writing of this post

Sunday, 28 December 2008


The lovely Secret Diary of an Infertile has tagged me, charging me with writing 7 random things about myself. I started this tag a while ago but wasn't sure whether it was appropriate to write just about me the person rather than me the infertile so didn't go all the way. By now I figure if you are reading this blog then you'll know I've had three months of not being able to even try to get up the duff and I've managed to stay pretty much on message so bear with me over this festive period if I go a tad off topic. I've already done one here are the other 6:

2) I spent most of my childhood living abroad. My Dad was in the Army so I lived in Germany, Nepal and Hong Kong as well as less exotic places around the UK. Loved it, starting to get itchy feet again ...

3) As a result of the above I missed many of the formative televisual experiences of my peers - missed Joey Deacon, Monkey, Grange Hill, Family Fortunes, Generation Game as well as other cultural zeitgeists - care bears, my little ponies, transformers. But I was raised on a diet of of Carry On films, Frankie Howard and Benny Hill. Hence I can spot a double entendre at 50 paces, which can be embarrassing when I start sniggering in meetings.

4) But I've had to teach myself many of these things that I have missed retrospectively because ... I love quizzes. Love, love, love them. I felt a bit guilty in my last post when I implied trivial pursuit had had its day. And as for a pub quiz, well, my idea of heaven. Pint of beer, salt and vinegar McCoys, and a heap of questions (though, in typical girly fashion, I pass on the sports questions).

5) I hate tropical fruit. I'm not a fussy eater, at all. But bananas, mangos, coconuts, papya, pineapple - all give me the dry heave. Shame considering the abundance of them when I lived abroad. Lychees though, I like lychees.

6) I was brought up a Catholic, an inquisitive Catholic. As an overly innocent 8 year old I asked my teacher "You keep talking about the virgin Mary, but what exactly is a virgin?". The response was a rather bland talking about it being a woman who wasn't married and hurriedly changing the subject when I started pointing out that she was married to Joseph. I also asked what the difference between a Catholic and a Prostitute was - still haven't received a satisfactory answer to that one. Today I've held onto the Catholic guilt but not a lot else.

7) I studied Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at University. An interest that was first piqued by watching the magnificent Clash of the Titans. To date it has proved almost entirely useless in my professional life, although it still reaps dividends during a pub quiz.

So that's me. Help yourself to the tag if you fancy it.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Barren Bingo

Bored of board games?

Trivial pursuit too trivial?

Monopoly not got the monopoly on fun?

Just has you going through the motions with Charades?

Fear not! This Christmas I have the game all the un-familied can enjoy.

Just print out the bingo* card below and check off each phrase that is said to you over the festive period.

Just relax!Christmas is really for the childrenDon't leave it too late
It'll be you nextA friend of a friend got pregnant by ...I would've thought you'd be pregnant by now
Feeling broody?Enjoy not having children, I'd kill for a lie inExciting news! We're pregnant!

This year I'm putting the vent back into advent.

Let me know how many you check off. (Even if you aren't hanging out with the tactless this festive season don't give up, this is a game that can be played all year round).

Have a very Happy Christmas everyone.

*Do you have bingo anywhere other than the UK? If not, it is a game where you have a card with numbers which you cross off as they are called out - simple really. If you need to further understand this fine British institution all is explained here. Anyway, this time you play it with words, 'cause we did numbers already. So as someone says one of the phrases to you tick 'em off.

Monday, 22 December 2008

You do the math* (or, How to prepare for Christmas**)

Christmas - traditionally a time for a coming together of extended families, excessive eating and, for many of us, fielding questions from the less tactful amongst your relatives about when you are going to start a family.

But, as Baden-Powell knew, the way to deal with everything is to ‘Be prepared’. So my dears, because I am here but to serve you I have spent at least seven minutes concocting a complex and fool-proof formula to enable you to ascertain exactly how much of an ear-bashing you are going to get from the in-laws this festive season. A simple calculation will enable you to go into the festivities armed with the appropriate number of conversation changers, witty retorts and, if required, hankies and Valium stuffed into your suitcase.

So here it is:
Σ = Ψ ÷ (Ω+1) x 10


What? You need more?

Ok, so where Σ equals the amount that your parent/ in-laws want kids. (And I use the term in-laws loosely, I'm not suggesting you need to be married but if you had to get married to acquire in-laws the marriage rate would crash, as it is they seem to adopt you even before you tie the knot).

Ψ is the number of years you and your partner have been together and, Ω equals the number of existing grandchildren already enjoying the attentions of their doting Nana and Poppa. (The reason you have to do the plus one on the grandkids is for those with no grandchildren, you can’t divide something by 0.) And you times it by 10 just to make it a more percentagey looking figure – I know, technical stuff here.

So to put it into context and bring it back to me (because we all know, it is always all about me).

The husband and I have been together 14 years (we are back to the gross figure again as no one ever remembers the blip on our path to marital bliss).

My Dad and Stepmother have 4 grandchildren between them, therefore:
14 ÷ (4+1) x10 = 28% DOGS (using the Desirious Of a Grandchild Scale***)

So not too bad, but there are still going to be some questions to field. You’d think because I have come out to them about the difficulties we are having this amount would be lessened. Not so. Instead the energy that would have previously been expended on, “Don’t leave it too long” and “I would have thought you two would have had a child by now” is transposed to; “So what exactly are you taking these pills for?”, “How long is the waiting list for this, … um … what is it? Test tube babies?” and “Are you sure you shouldn’t just go private?"

Up in Dundee the husband’s parents have no grandchildren so when we are there for the New Year festivities the formula is:
14 ÷ (0+1) x10 = 140% DOGS

Now I know some of you mathematicians are thinking ‘hang about love, you can’t have over 100%’ – but if that is your train of thought then you clearly have no idea how much some folk want grandkids. If footballers can give it a hundred and ten percent on the field so too can the parents of the barren put defy maths when it comes to wanted their progeny to have progeny.

To be fair the husband’s parents are pretty good. They don’t know what is going on with us (but we’ll probably talk through with them when we see them this time, we last saw them this time last yearn - so much to say, so little concrete results). So we probably won’t have masses of inappropriate questions to deal with. That 140% of wanting a grandkid will just be manifested in the slight slump of shoulders when they offer, and I accept, my first glass of wine.

So, in the comments, I want your scores for what you are going to have to contend with over the yuletide season. And if any of you are feeling particularly ambitious you can add the variables to the formula e.g. your age (the older you are the higher the outcome as your parent / in-laws biological clock ticks as loudly as any of ours), how much they like your partner (if they don’t want their genes to mix you are looking in a significant reduction on the DOGS scale), and how to do the calculation if you are single.

And, as a special Christmas treat to me, I want ALL of you to put your scores in the comments. Even if you only ever lurk and never comment, or if you already have 13 children (cause as far as Grandparents are concerned they can never have enough), even if you are reading this a week or 8 too late.

*There is always something we Brits find deliciously wrong about writing or saying maths without the ‘s’... It’s exotic, innit.

** Taking my cue here from Shakespere who fancied the duel title, Twelfth Night, or What You Will. Getting big headed? Moi?

*** Hey, at least it more self-explanatory (and easier to spell) than Fahrenheit.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Analyzed that

It was good and bad.

Good because it was genuinely useful and not overly emotional or too touchy-feely. She, the counsellor, seemed just like a really nice, straight-forward, eminently practical woman.

She started by asking us to tell her where we were in the process and how we'd ended up coming to see her. I explained, as succinctly as I could, about the initial year of trying, the referral and then the last year of tests, confusing diagnosises, delays, more tests. And how the resulting farce left me upset not by by the whole inability to have a baby thing but because I was confused and having to deal with really, really poor communication. But the Doctor couldn't accept responsibility for upsetting me so decided that I needed to see a counsellor. And here I was.

Just being able to say all of that to someone within the clinic was fantastic. I wanted someone there to know how frustrating it was and to be able to pour it all out to at least a colleague was very satisfying.

She asked if we hadn't requested the referral, why we had come. Honestly, it was partly my up-bringing you get an official letter telling you to be somewhere on a certain date. You go. But I didn't say that. Instead I gave the other reason, I wanted to talk to someone in the hospital to actually find out what was going to happen next year, because all I knew was that I have an appointment to "start treatment" on the 19 of Feb and that, thanks to a letter, I'm due to have interuterine insemination (IUI) sometime. But how, when, where, what's the waiting list like?

She seemed gratifyingly shocked at the minimal information we had been given and the general fuck-ups we'd had to contend with.

And then she was brilliant. I knew the basics of what IUI involved through web research but each fertility clinic in the UK has slightly different proceedures. I wanted to know what would happen to us, how long the waiting list was, how many 'chances' we'd have. It looks like, assuming the provera worked (and I'm not making that assumption), we can actually start treatment in February.

In this clinic, and for my other UK readers I really have to stress it does vary across the country so don't take this as gospel, I get three goes at IUI, usually with a month between each failed go. If that doesn't work my case will get reviewed and she certainly knew of several couples who have gone on to one funded cycle of IVF. Which was a massive relief as I had read it was one strike of either IUI or IVF and you had to start pulling the cheque book out.

Obviously I hope I never have to take the full entitlement of treatment but it is comforting to know. All this the French Doc could have told us, but she was such a whirlwind of efficiency we'd be in and out before we had a chance even to formulate the questions.

She asked one really pertinent question that I have been mulling over ever since. "Did I feel I could move on from the past year when I start the next round of treatment". Dunno. Have to think about that one a bit more. I trust the science, but not the system.

But it wasn't all good. It was bad, because there wasn't a lot of material for humorous anecdotalage.
  • There wasn't a whiff of hemp about her
  • Her feet were suitably clad, no sock and sandal combo
  • And a worrying lack of ethnic beads bought whilst discovering hereself in Goa/ the Himalyas/Amazon (delete as applicable).
  • She didn't repeat the last three words I said turning it into a question.
Into a question? Yeah, its a technique some counsellors use to make you keep talking without leading the conversat... Damn hoisted by my own petard.

Oh, there was one point. I was saying how I didn't feel over-whelmed by the whole thing because I had outlets and people to talk to. At which point the husband says, "Yeah and you write about it a lot." Turning to the counsellor, "she writes a lot" (just in case she didn't hear the first time). I'm cringing repeating in my head the mantra 'don't mention the blog, don't mention the blog'. The counsellor looks concerned - "How does that make you feel?" She asks the husband. The husband looks surprised she even asked. "Good." So that's a relief I'm not going to have to choose between you and the husband just yet.

We haven't got any plans to go back just yet. We don't think it is necessary. But if things go wrong and it gets harder I can call her and make an appointment. Which is good to know.
And anyone who is thinking about it I would say, judging from my own experience, give it a whirl it might help, its not an admission of failure, its not scarey, and in the immortal words of Bob Hoskins "It's good to talk".

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Analyze This

Add ImageI have a temper.

By which I mean I assume it is kicking around here somewhere, because I've certainly never lost it (or not before it gets out of reach anyway).

There is one person I know who is more laid back and less provokable than me. The husband.

I exaggerated a little when I said we've been together 14 years. It is actually 14 years gross. We have split up twice. I can't really remember why. But we managed to do it without arguing (though quite a lot of crying) and when we said we'd still be friends we actually meant it and remained friends for the 1 year and 3 months respectively that we weren't going out. (But we haven't split up for at least 10 years and certainly don't anticipate doing it again).

Women's Magazines all advise that to have a truly passionate honest relationship you need to scream and shout at each other. Bollocks. We never end up slamming doors, not speaking, or running off and shagging the neighbour. Although I do sometimes get a little grumpy.

There is nothing we don't discuss, and we talk a lot. We've discussed babies, and lack of the aforementioned. But never with an arbitor. I know the husband wants children, but I know a lot of that desire is because I want them. Left to his own devises, I doubt he would have got there quite yet.

So I'm intrigued by what Thursday's counselling session will throw up.

Will we get deep, incisive questions that penetrate into the very heart of why we want children and strategies to cope and help each other if it doesn't happen for years (if ever)?

Will it be the fluffy insubstantial, spouting of platitudes that makes me want to say something a bit controversial and risky just to provoke a reaction?

Will it unleash some hither-to unseen anger that has both of us cursing the unfairness of our situation, and spitting out the names of fertile friends with fury?

I just hope she doesn't start with the classic: Tell me about your mother...

Sunday, 14 December 2008

2008 - its like sooo last year, already

Just a week and a half of work before the holidays, and it can't come soon enough. It's not the prospect of a hairy, jolly, fat man sneaking around my bedroom in the wee small hours and fiddling around with my stockings that is so appealing (sorry the husband). But it marks the end of a tough year. My own personal annus horribilis.

I know it was only a few weeks ago that I was galavanting naked across Europe and even less time ago that I truffled through 4 course lunches in between siestas. But these breaks are a very distant memory.

But 2008, I am over it. Bring on 2009.

2008 for me will be remembered as the year of tests, of waiting, of confusion, of mixed messages, of jagged tubes, that became a polyps, that became a womb full-to-the-brim of gunk - certainly no place to raise an embryo. A quarter of the year will have been spent topping my my body's progesterone to fool it into thinning out my womb lining for the mother of all periods.

2008 is like all the shit you go through before the fun stuff, the cleaning the room, preparing the walls, washing them down with sugar soap, filling in all the cracks and ensuring that the furniture is covered before the real fun starts.

2009 will be proactive.

2009 is putting the paint on the wall (something bright and cheerful).

2009, has to be better.

I daren't even write what I want to be doing this time next year for fear of jinxing it. But a bit of a clue - it involves my breasts and (once again apologies the husband) there nothing sexual about the fun bag's involvement. Can you guess?

What I have to decide now, is whether this year was really that bad or if this post is a culmination of a double roll-over hangover and the prospect of another Monday morning a mere 10 hours away.


Thursday, 11 December 2008

Spit or Swallow

It's very easy to see our men as a means to an end with but one function in this whole trying to get up the duff business.

But they are worth more than that, and it may surprise you to know that his man gravy could literally be, well, man gravy.

I came across (no pun intended) this little gem the other day. Well after the success of last times Fun Food Friday post I thought I had to share it with you (only I'm not convinced this is fun, certainly have my doubts about food and it is Thursday). Barb, any regrets? Not yet? You wait.

Follow this link for more info. But before you do, you HAVE to read the reviews.

Warning! Only check it out if you aren't eating/ about to eat/ think you may eat at some point within the next 24 hours/ don't have a delicate constitution / aren't likely to sue.

NB don't worry it is not porn, well there are no graphic images.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Genetic Counselling

When I was 11, just after I started secondary school, I was leaving one class on my way to another when the Head of English came up to me. I had never spoken to him before in my life and he was a big intimidating man.

In the corridor, surrounded by hundreds of other girls running between classes he said. "I've been looking at your work and I think you are dyslexic." I'd never heard this word before, when I asked him what it was he said. "Oh, its a mental disorder when you brain and your hand don't quite match up so you make mistakes."

He left with me thinking what the fuck? (Yes, I was an accomplished swearer even back then). I was convinced I was an imbecile and that something was seriously wrong, I pretty much went into shock and I spent the rest of the day in tears until someone with a bit more tact and understanding sat me down and explained exactly what it meant.

My reaction to my Doctor's phone call saying they had found abnormal cells in the womb biopsy following the hysteroscopy (HSG) was the same. I regressed to being that scared, confused 11 year old. The fact that she used the word cancer (admittedly to say this wasn't normally cancerous) sent me into a flurry of panic. Combine that with the difficulties I had picking up the prescription, the confusion and the delay that was being caused, I was in a pretty bad state by the I got to speak to the Doctor face to face. The full story is here.

Rather than admit that I might be a quivering, tearful wreck because of the insensitive nature of the way she had broken the news, and the issues I had getting a straight answer out of anyone, my Doctor decided the problem was that I was teetering on the edge of depression and so signed me up for both genetics counselling (to assess my risk of breast cancer in light of my mothers death) and infertility counselling. Because its all about me, she couldn't take credit for the tears.

Today was the genetic counselling to determine how at risk I was of getting breast cancer. I took the two other folk who had a vested interest in this, my sisters (oh and the two week old baby cause apparently he couldn't entertain himself in the waiting room).

It was pretty frustrating. The Doctor went through our family history and concluded that we had a moderate risk of breast cancer because my mother was the only woman in her family who got it at a young age. What this didn't take into account was my mother was one of five children and the only girl. Her brother's kids are all at least 7 years younger than us, the generation above was so close-lipped about things like illness that we don't actually know if any of them had cancer and again in that generation there were 3 boys and just one girl.

Add that to the fact that my mother was the epitome of healthy living, she didn't smoke, was teetotal, was slim, sporty and ate a healthy fruit and veg filled diet. So it wasn't those factors that contributed to her getting the disease.

However, the doctor decided that as we were moderate risk we wouldn't be eligible for screening until we were 40. "Even though Mum was first diagnosed at 37" challenged my big sister. Yes, apparently so.

So not all fun and games. Although there were a few good moments:
  • The wombmate (the clinical psychologist) said at one point. "So I've read the nice report about breast cancer..." The nice report I cringed, don't patronise the Doctor. Turns out she meant NICE (The National Institute for Clinical Excellence) report.
  • The doctor asked whether we self-checked our breasts, I said I did and the husband helped. I probably shouldn't have said that out loud.
  • The Doctor said that oestrogen could raise our risk. I couldn't remember if the Provera I am taking was oestrogen or progesterone, as I wondered this outloud both the Doctor and the wombmate automatically reached for the manual of drugs and their side effects. The Doctor got there first and defiantly snatched it away. (Its progesterone by the way)
  • It was at this point the Doc asked the wombmate what she did for a living, maybe I'm imagining it but I thought he became a bit less condescending when he realised she knew a little bit about medical matters.
So we left not really believing that we are at moderate risk, but each has their homework. The wombmate is going to see if there are any research projects we can join, the big sister is to delve a bit more into our family history - our great-grandmother died very young but no one (including her son, our grandpa) knows what she died of. And I? Well, I have the other counselling session next week, this time for the husband and I to discover how we are coping with this whole infertility gubbins. The sisters thought this was enough just now.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Text Book Pregnancy

There aren't a finite amount of pregnant women in the world.

I doubt there is some scroll-clutching deity sat on a cloud (though if there were it'd probably be wearing a shiny black jacket, puffy, and with an orange lining), "We're operating a one in one out policy. Right, I know that we've had a birth in Cambridge in October and another in London in November so I've got space for two of you. Go implant".

But say it was. You'd think there would be some kind of queuing system. So that the ones who have been waiting longest are at the front, waiting their turn. We Brits are usually quite good at that.

So you'll excuse me if I had a bit of a cry last night when I discovered I'd been queue jumped.


The husband went out with the boys. Remember this wedding? Yup? In August. That'll be August two thousand and eight. This year. Approximately 3 months ago - give or take a couple of weeks, or as we say in the UK a fortnight.

So she is now teetering on the edge of her 12 week scan. They've done the maths (math for my north American amigos), 11 days. That's how long it took post-wedding. Eleven fucking days (I suspect quite literally they were fucking days). Knocked up before the honeymoon was over.

I refer to my previous post about how I can deal with my mates kids (see exhibit a). But I still need a moment to get over it before I can settle into present-buying, baby-talking glee. Give me a moment.

11 days.

That's 264 hours...

It's text book, that is what is supposed to happen. But, after two years of us trying I find it hard to get my head round the fact that for some people it really is as simple as all that.

And I will be happy for them, delighted in fact.


Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Theory of Relativity

My big sister had a second baby last week. Another little boy (you remember the other one?).

I've taken a while to blog about it, mainly because I wasn't really sure what to say.

I know most of you guys aren't going to be interested in yet another baby when, mostly, we are all still trying to have our first. But we all have to cope with friends, workmates, people in the street, Hayley from the Archers giving birth. So we have to deal with it.

How do I feel? Well, delighted that you asked for a start. But actually, fine. No better than fine. Really good, really happy for her.

Why don't I feel too jealous? For some of the same reasons as I gave before. But also a few others.

Allow me to theorise.

Whatever we reasons we give for wanting a baby part of it has to be, subconciously or not, that whole wanting to pass on our genes thing (note, that's with a g not j). And this inante desire is being fulfilled by my sister. We share no physical characteristics, and have very disimilar personalities (though we aren't quite the polar opposites that my twin and I are). But somewhere, deep down, we share the odd chromosomes. So even if I fail to have progeny a bit of me'll live on in my wee nephews. So maybes that's why I don't feel jealous.

Another reason could be that when I first met him, at less than 24 hours old, he had his nappy changed. This kid had had nothing but a few fluid ounces of breast milk but the stuff that came out of his arse. Gah! It was like he'd been dipped in a peat bog. There was black viscose stuff covering him from the waist (waste) down. Apparently its meconium. If you really want to know more go here. BUT I warn you, it ain't pretty and may well make you ask yourself what the hell you were thinking and cause you to slap the condoms back on.

And finally. Well, he just looks so like my brother-in-law. Thus, in order to have that little person, I'd have to have slept with that big person. No, no, no. I am willing to make sacrifices but oof, there has to be a line.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Gym'll Fix It

I would describe myself as curvy.

By curvy I don't mean the internet euphemism for fat. I have hips, yes, lovely big boobs, of course, but smallish waist, um, thin wrists, oh and no unsightly neck rolls. Do you get the picture? I am within my BMI (top end, but I'm top heavy so I figure that's ok).

However, that whole eating my ever-increasing body weight in pasta on a daily basis during my holiday hasn’t helped. It has enhanced me to the tune of a quarter of a stone. And quite frankly, something has to go. And that something is either going to be buttons pinging off my trousers or my own flesh and blood. I’m not sentimental. The flab has to go.

Also, polycystic ovaries tend to be aggravated by being overweight. No, aggravated is not right that implies some kind of action. It is more like a bit of flubber turns ovaries into some kind of warm, duvet-like cocoon that the eggs think, "hmmm nice and cosy in here why would I want to ping out there on a monthly basis, ovulation be damned."

The daily walks with the dog are more like gentle strolls than the power-walking, fat-burning, arse-toning, hip-jiggling stuff that beach bodies are made of.

I use to be a member of a gym but, same old story, went masses, didn’t notice a change, got bored, stopped going, but kept my gym membership for a good few months – it is, after all, important to have something to waste your money on, and this was way before I started acupuncture.

So I figure this has to be a fantastic time to join a gym. What kind of moron joins a gym in December? January is gym-joining month. And with this whole global financial meltdown I reckon people must be tightening their belts round their ample stomachs and cancelling their gym memberships. There has to be some good deals going.

This is what I did. I went to my local gym. I requested to speak to the membership officer. I ensured I was hustled into an enclosed room. Just me and him, no witnesses. No one need ever know what I was confident was about to happen.

I asked how much the monthly fees were.

He told me.

I smiled. (I have a winning smile.)

“But I’m assuming,” I whispered conspiratorially, “that what with this credit crunch, there’s got to be some deals going”.

He looks me in the eye. I look back.

He smiles. My face is cracking with the amount of smile-age.



So I have the choice, live as a lard-arse or fork out £79 (note how clever they are with numbers, some people might not even realise that is just a gnat's fart off £80) a month for the privilege of sweating away in their basement, windowless, gym.

Hello, elasticated waistbands.