There’s never been any money in the budget for expensive furniture and neither of us enjoys trudging round shops for the sake of it, so our table, like so much of our furniture, comes from Ikea. It’s plain, solid and seats eight people. We bought it for our first home when we could finally afford to upgrade from the tiny, circular garden table that four of us had been squeezing round. Since then it’s been dismantled and reassembled for three moves and is now in its fourth home where I hope it’ll remain for many years to come.
It’s the place where we sit to eat every meal and has been the starting point for so many memorable family occasions. My daughters have grown from little girls to young women here; we’ve laughed, cried, argued and made up, seen boyfriends come and go and partners arrive. I watched my dad’s life ebb away here, as he slowly lost his appetite for food, but never for the chance of a family gathering. We’ve laid out our wedding buffet on this table, food for my parents-in-law’s golden wedding anniversary celebrations, and cut and sewed curtain fabric here. It’s only a table, yet every meal we eat here, every new face that joins us here, adds to the kaleidoscope of memories this simple rectangle holds.
And after festive season of sitting round our table, I decided it was time to eat less and move more. With the posterior vitreous detachment on-going in my left eye, I still can’t run or skip or do any high-impact exercise, but then I read Karen's blog about hula-hooping and was inspired to have a go myself. A low-impact, vigorous workout – what’s not to love? Well, for a start, there’s getting the hang of it! You need a large, weighted hoop and lots of space and then, like learning how to ride a bike, it’s something you just have to feel. Those YouTube videos are all very well, but seeing and doing are different skills. I particularly liked one response to the instructor’s casual, ‘it’s okay if your hoop drops!’ where the frustrated commenter had replied, ‘it’s NOT okay – that’s why we’re watching this!’
With a lot of practise and much gritting of teeth, I can now keep my hoop up and spinning for four minutes. Not quite the forty minutes I’d fondly imagined I might be doing, but that’s part of the challenge. A new year and a new circle to turn.