Three times a week I do the 50 km round trip to Ganges to spend 30 minutes in warm water doing shoulder exercises, followed by a shoulder massage.
It’s quite a pleasant, roomy pool, with rarely more than about four people in it. Some are walking back and forth, often with paddles under their feet, clearly trying to establish balance. Others are flexing and bending knees. And I am stretching my right arm in all directions, some more painful than others.
Apart from one young man who sits in his corner, replying at best monosyllabically, there is a relaxed atmosphere with the odd conversation. I haven’t recently seen the woman whose idea of conversation is that it should be totally one-sided. Maybe she has come to the end of her treatment, as has the pleasant enough farmer’s wife from the hills between Ganges and le Vigan. I still see the woman who has admired my tankini (two part swimming costume) from Lands End. Only people of my size could admire it … I have given her various internet clothes catalogues, so we are now friends.
I enjoy the conversations which are not exchanging recipes or ailments. So I’m sorry that the Latin teacher from the local collège no longer comes. Still, I enjoy a daily chat with the young woman who comes in daily. When not dealing with injuries (caused by old skiing accidents) she commutes daily to Montpellier, where she is an architect specialising in harbour constructions.
A newcomer to the group is a construction engineer who was engaged in an energetic denunciation of Macron’s libérale policies when I arrived in the water. In five years, he said gloomily, Mme Le Pen will be back. It turned out that he has taken to reading up on economics and we had an aimable discussion about the importance of keynesian economics.
Most come from round Ganges (there is a pool in le Vigan which I have failed regularly to obtain a place) so I was surprised to meet a man, of about my age, who came from near le Vigan. Even more surprised when I learnt that he came from the next commune, Mars – he in fact lives on the hill above my house, which he knows about from Jacky (who built my pool). And he also employs my friend, Arnard, who built the handsome curved steps above our original house. He is maire adjoint on the council.
I was looking forward to more conversations with him, but haven’t seen him this week. That is something I have learnt from my extensive experience of rééducation: there are the characters who make a brief appearance – and then get better – and then there are us long-termers.
My doctor has just renewed my prescription for the piscine sessions. She and my physio, Joceline, have both expressed their frustration at not managing to establish what to do to make these **** tendons heal. At their request I have made an appointment to see the surgeon again, in September, though nobody is very optimistic that she has the magic solution either.
Thank goodness any rate for my little car with no gears to change, a light steering which really only requires one hand, and the freedom of a roof that opens, making these regular journeys a pleasure.