Just what is needed after a hard day's gardening - a long hot soak in the bath!!!

So it’s that time of year again when my body wonders what has hit it. When joints ache and muscles that went into hibernation over winter are rediscovered. As the garden and allotment start to come to life and demand some attention my body too, creaks and groans back into action.

Its not like I have spent the winter sat on the sofa. I swim twice a week and do a lot of walking but for some reason the first couple of months back in the garden do take some getting used to. All that bending and stretching for a couple of hours to weed and prune certainly gives me a good workout.

On Monday I thought I would make the most of the strangely mild and dry weather for January and tackle the back garden, cutting back dead foliage and seedheads but within hours of finishing I could feel my back stiffening up. After sitting on the sofa for a while it took some effort and a push from Wellyman to stand up. Fortunately a soak in the bath helped, although I did groan when I got out of bed yesterday morning.

This time last year I was making my paths at the allotment. It was pretty hard work manoeuvring 6ft planks of wood into place (I’m not quite 5ft myself) and digging the trenches to hold the wood and weed membrane in place. I would return home aching, exhausted and looking a right mess in my scruffy clothes that were covered in soil. The only thing I wanted to do was jump in the bath, well it was more of a crawl actually, I didn’t have the energy for jumping into anything. It took a couple of months for my body to get used to the effort but by April I felt really fit, what became known in the Welly household as ‘allotment fit’.

I love my swims but I have never been a fan of gyms. Years ago my friend Judi and I signed up to the gym at University and only made it as far as the changing rooms. We were put off by the supremely fit looking men strutting their stuff, so we made a quick exit and ended up in the pub opposite. We never returned and I have never joined a gym since. The thought of being stuck inside, doing repetitive exercises whilst watching tv monitors showing programmes I have no desire to watch cannot compete with being outdoors in the fresh air, listening to the birds sing and getting exercise whilst doing something useful. My green gym wins every time.