My lovely trainers

My lovely trainers

Dear Trainers, I clearly remember the first time I saw you.

I was having a Retail Therapy Day and I saw a sports shop with all its windows covered in posters saying CLOSING DOWN SALE! EVERYTHING MUST GO!

(Three years later it was still having a Closing Down Sale and Everything Must Go!)

Sports shops aren’t in my Top 10 of favourite shops but, hey ho, I never could resist a bargain, so in I went.

In my humble opinion, trainers are the ugliest style of footwear ever invented. And the designs get worse through the years. But, as I said, I never could resist a bargain, so I walked along in front of the shelves, trying to concentrate on the reduced prices, not the hideous designs.

Then I saw you, Dear Trainers, balancing daintily on a shelf on your own. You were pink and white, and very cheap!

As I only take a size 3/36, I can often pick up a bargain, which is why I’m the Imelda Marcos of the flip-flop world.

You weren’t actually pretty, Dear Trainers, but you weren’t ugly either. In fact, you were quite feminine, so I picked you up – and oh, joy, you were as light as a feather!

I put you on and I could virtually hop across the shop! (I only had one of you on.)

So I bought you, and when I wore you to the gym, I could trot along on the treadmill effortlessly for ages, next to gasping, sweaty men in their big, chunky trainers with rippling muscles and bulging biceps….anyway, where was I?

Cuba

Cuba

When I went to Cuba, I packed you as an afterthought; after all, you didn’t weigh anything.

Walking through the hot, damp, muddy rain forest, you firmly gripped the ground, and when we crossed a fast-moving river over a fallen log, you didn’t slip at all.

After that, you became a vital addition to my luggage, Dear Trainers, and you came in useful time after time!

Austria

Austria

In Innesbruck, 26 of us went to the top of a mountain with the city far below us.

We were offered a ride on a zipwire, but only two of us were brave enough to do it.

As I scrabbled further upwards through the snow, I wondered what I’d let myself in for. But you didn’t give way at all, Dear Trainers. I was strapped in, and after a split second of terror, I was launched into space.

My advice? Do it! Do it! It’s wonderful!

Slovenia

Slovenia

Slovenia was next. It’s a lovely little country, but walking across a swinging bridge over a river was a bit disconcerting!

I clung on tightly to the ropes, but my feet were safely on the wooden planks, thanks to my faithful Trainers!

Israel

Israel

In Israel, I walked backwards down the side of a cliff.

Shuffling slowly towards the edge, I peered between my feet and said, ‘I can’t do it!’

But with encouragement from the others, I did it. And of course, my feet never lost their footing once!

Jungfraujoch in Switzerland was a memorable experience. The views are stunning!

On the way back, we got off the train halfway down and hiked the rest of the way.

There was a lot of tiny stones on the surface and once, I slipped, thinking I was going to slide all the way down the mountain. But who came to my rescue? My faithful Trainers of course!

Basilicata

Basilicata

Basilicata, in the south of Italy, really is worth visiting.

In the mountain town of Castelmezzano is a new attraction called Flying with Angels, so of course I had to try it!

Unlike the usual zipwires, your ankles are strapped up, so you really are flying!

It was scary, watching everyone in front of me soaring across the mountain. But when my turn came, I felt completely secure and safe, thanks to you, Dear Trainers.

Oh the smells of the mountain plants and herbs, and the tiny toy cars way below me! I felt really jealous of birds and their ability to enjoy experiences like that any time they fancied it!

Piedmonte

Piedmonte

Last year was my Nordic Torture Walk in the Piemonte region of Italy.

Hiking along with two sticks was my idea of Hell, but I did it – I walked six kms in a temperature of 40 degrees C, and although it wasn’t a race, I was the first to finish!

Yes, it was thanks to you, Dear Trainers!

There have been many more trips, all made easier and more enjoyable thanks to having you, my Dear Faithful Trainers, with me.

But now the time has come for us to part. Your upper soles have begun to crack, your tongue is lolling sideways and your inner soles are getting harder.

Your once pretty pink and white colour has turned a dirty brown.

How will I manage without you, Dear Trainers? The Closing Down Sale has come to an end and the shop is boarded up, and I’ve never been able to find another pair of trainers like you!

Will I lose my bounce and my stamina? Am I doomed to slow down in life?

We’ll see, but meanwhile I want to thank you for all the wonderful and exciting times we’ve shared together.

Goodbye, Dear Trainers. I’ll never forget you!