OK, first things first. I think some apologies are in order. It’s been a teeny bit of time since I last posted…alright, alright. It was April. But much has happened since then. Well, actually, literally nothing has happened since then. Thanks to my current toe-to-toe with evil Count Fatigue, I’ve been mostly sleeping. Or sitting. Or sleeping some more. And whilst I’m sure some of you would find my warbling on about having less energy than a Duracell bunny fitted with non-branded eco batteries powered by rainbows and yeti dandruff highly entertaining (you weird lot!), I’ve been too flippin’ knackered. Even writing that little lot has me reaching for the Lucozade Sport! So April and May slipped by without a new “something”. Aww :(. But there was no need to be concerned, silly reader :). It’s me, remember? OCD, forward planning; it’s kinda my thing, yeah? So you must have known I’d have some of my “somethings” already booked in, sofa-dwelling mollusc status or not? No? Oh, silly reader indeed! Well I had got my June thing already booked in, months ago. One that I’ve been looking forward to since I first decided to do the “somethings”. And one, as it would turn out, was pretty ideally timed, given my under-the-weather-ness.
One familiar train ride, followed by a magical mystery tour round the back streets of the Ton (with the friendliest bus driver ever!), and the wheeziest of walks up a piddling incline of a hill – seriously fitness levels, where have you gone?! – and I’d arrived, first naturally, for a day of learning, laughing, laying down and lubricating. Yup, get excited people. I was about to learn the art of… body massage!
I have been ridiculously excited about this since I booked it up a few months back. I’ve wanted to take a course for years. And I love a good massage (who doesn’t, right?! ). Weirdly though, I’ve only ever had a professional one once. I’m not sure why that is exactly. I don’t have an issue with strangers touching me without so much as a how do you do. You know, in a massagey way (honestly, minds in the gutter much!). Which was lucky, given that the next 6 hours was gonna revolve around several strangers touching me, with oils and everything. It was gonna be an interesting day :).
The course, an Introduction to Body Massage, run by Brighton based College of Classical Massage, and taught on the day by the excellent Mike, was brilliant! The set up for the day is great. Once you have partnered up, you are taught the techniques for three types of massage during the course of the day – back, face and feet – which you do directly onto your partner (you know, the person you just met about 30 minutes ago, who’s probably already forgotten your name, and who’s naked skin you’re manipulating with grapeseed oil), following the visual and verbal instructions being given by the teacher. After a few minutes, any awkwardness is gone as you concentrate on the movements and the pressure, and your lucky partner enjoys their massage! And after you’re done learning the technique, you switch places and get an awesome massage yourself! WIN!
Nine other excited, and slightly nervous looking people, arrived – my massage buddies for the day – ready to get on tables, get naked and get rubbed up (hopefully not the wrong way) by people they’d barely spent 30 minutes with. Now there’s an ice-breaker for you! “Hi, I’m Paula”. “Hi, I’m Davina” “Now, get your clothes off so I can start poking at you”. It all could have been very awkward, but our teacher Mike has done this before, with countless groups of strangers, and he’s definitely mastered the technique of putting people at ease quickly :). Attending on my own, I was a little anxious about how the partnering up would work. Would they be assigned, like a lab partner in a science lesson? Would the cool kids in the class get to pick who they wanted, leaving the scrawniest, palest kid (that’d be me then) to be the boobie prize? Nah. Half the class were people on their own, and I was lucky. I got chatting to super cool Davina over tea and biscuits, discussing the possibilities of massage and hypnotherapy as a combined force – Me: “Imagine if you did them together. I’d massage them into a coma, nick their wallet, and then plant a trigger word into them, making them drop to their knees and bark like a dog every time they heard the word ‘kumquat’. It’d be hilarious!'”. Davina: “Yeah, I’m pretty sure you’d be struck off for that… and remind me never to come to you for a massage!” – and after that, she still wanted to team up with me (glutton for punishment much) for lesson one – the back massage.
Davina took to the table, putting her back in my exceedingly cold (sorry!) hands and off we went. Me, watching Mike’s instruction and attempting to recreate them without cracking bones or putting muscles into spasm, and Davina, drifting off into a relaxed stupor, with only my descriptions of my ridiculous Tai-Chi looking dance moves to get the right angle and movement for the various strokes and my hair-dresser toned inquiries of “is the pressure ok for you?” harshing her massage buzz. After 35 minutes, my first massage was complete. And, how was it? Well, as the ‘Practioner’ I really enjoyed it, and thought it had gone well. No bruises, no death screams. But what about my guinea pig? Had she survived intact, still able to move her spine and supporting limbs? Why, yes she had! And apparently, it was really rather good :). I took the fact that she felt a little woozy upon sitting up as a good thing; that what I’d done had been so relaxing as to have knocked her equilibrium out of kilter for a couple of minutes (and not that I had accidentally given her the sleeper hold whilst massaging her neck…). So now it was my turn for the table. Off with some clothes, on with some towels and relaxation in 3, 2, 1… GO! And. It. Was. Awesome! I was so relaxed at one point I think I was drooling. Yup, there’s a lovely mental picture for you right there! Having just practised the same techniques that were now being carried out on me, it was cool to feel the difference between how it felt doing them on someone to how it felt having them done on you. The actual sensation didn’t always match what I had thought they would feel like when I was doing them, which I found really interesting. Regardless, it all still felt pretty awesome :). After lunch, we swapped partners for the the remaining lessons – face and feet – and more awesomeness was had by all. I managed to send my face partner to sleep with my silky massage skills, and successfully got through an amazing foot massage without kicking my partner in the face once (I have extremely ticklish feet you see). 6 hours of excellent teaching, great people, lots of laughing, new skills bagged up and ready to use, AND three massages! Now that’s what I call a good day :).
I am, however, now anticipating suddenly become very popular with my friends and family. Out of nowhere it’ll become apparent that they haven’t seen me in ages, and that they desperately need to ‘pop round’ or ‘catch up’. Yeah, yeah. I’m on to your shenanigans you lot. You wanna see me? Fine. It’s been such a long time, hasn’t it? Sure. Ohhhh, and you’ve been a little bit stressed lately have you? You’ve got quite a lot of tension in your shoulders you say? Would I mind, just for 30 minutes or so…? Oh no. I wouldn’t mind. I wouldn’t mind a bit. Come straight over. Just leave your wallet on the side. Oh, and afterwards, can you go to the supermarket for me? I need ‘kumquats’… 😉