Well, it's grim. At the moment there appear to be two kinds of people down the gym.
The Impossibly Hot
I have no idea where they've all come from, but nearly every time I go down there, someone utterly stunning is strutting around, yoinking the heaviest dumbbells around on their pinky finger while jogging merrily away. Please, some of us still have mince pies at home. It's maddening of you to be so perfect. Also, annoyingly, they split into "Straight" and "Gay, but puh-lease, way out of your league, honey". So it's just me in the corner with Radio Four.
The New People
Welcome. We know you won't be around in February, but you do make the next four weeks that extra bit awful. Yes, the gym has free towels - but you're not supposed to take them home with you. And, if you must, please not an entire armful.
Also, why are you so demanding? Yesterday I was busy struggling away (the weights have got heavier over the Christmas break, too) and realised a woman was staring at me. She looked impatient. She was waving her arms at me. She wanted my attention, clearly. Realising she had it, she put her hands on her hips and started to talk to me.
I held up my hand - truth to tell, I had just got to a bit in Northanger Abbey where Catherine Morland was having a most interesting turn around the room, so had to press pause. While I fumbled with my ipod, the woman actually rolled her eyes.
"Hello," I said, "How can I help?"
"I've just joined. Can you show me how to work the treadmill?"
We go over to the treadmill. The woman glares at me accusingly. "It's different from the ones I am used to."
"I mean, how does it start?"
I press the large button labelled "Start".
"Fine. [huffy noise] How do I control the speed?"
I press the Up arrow. The treadmill goes faster. She watches the empty belt go round and round, critically. "That's a bit fast for me, wouldn't you say? I prefer a walking pace and 7.5 kilometers is not my walking pace."
Wondering vaguely how Catherine Morland would deal with this, I slow it down for her.
She nods. "But how do I stop it?"
I point to the large red switch labelled "Quick Stop."
"Oh," she says. She then turns around and marches into the changing room.
Curiously, there wasn't an ounce of fat on her. On balance, I think Catherine Morland would have jumped up and down on her twigletty neck until it snapped and then danced Sir Roger de Coverley on her twitching corpse. But that's just a guess.
PS: Relationship still going. Boyfriend wailing that he is now totally obese. In practice this means that half of his twelve-pack has vanished for a week. Disaster.