This evening is one of those times that needs to be recorded purely for the sheer randomness of the situation.
A few weeks back following a consultation with the physio I was online trying to find a Pilates class I could get to. I was also trying to find somewhere that did Gait analysis that wasn’t a sport shop / running store. I was after neutral advice not a reason to sell me a pair a trainers.
After several Google sessions I found somewhere that did both and booked online without any hassle. It would be a few miles walk from work but doable.
The first session booked was Pilates, having gathered by kit the night before and failing to place it in my bag that morning there was a detour trip to Sweatshop on the way in! Oops! I left work on time and with Google maps assisting I made it St James’ Square!
I knew that given the location it may not be your average gym so upon arrival at the location I was a little concerned that was nothing to indicate ‘the gym you’re looking for is here’ sign! I noticed ‘in’ and ‘out’ marked on the columns either side of the no.4 doorway and walked into the entrance! But got no further due to a card swipe entrance! Hmm! Then as if by magic a doorman walked up to the front entrance and enquired into my visit! He stated that the gym is via the back entrance but he’s check with the doorman (err, who are you then?!) to see if they could usher me through without being seen! ‘Where the hell am?’, I thought and ‘i’lI go find the back entrance if I’ve come to the wrong door!’ But before I could say anything I was escorted through one door to a red carpeted outdoor space, and pointed towards a small black door on the other side! I quickly, head down whilst trying to leak around, made it to the doorway!
Once through I was in a small way entrance room with a staircase up and down, a sign for the gym but no indication if I was to go up or down. I went up but these led to somewhere else I clearly wasn’t meant to be, so down the steep stairs I went where finally I reached the gym! Phew!
I was greeted by a gentleman and exchanged the standard new gym discussion and form filling! And I pointed out the experience using the wrong door! ‘Yes, I’m surprised they let you through dressed like that!’ It wasn’t until I’d read through the terms and conditions that it stated that you come through the back entrance not the front, and if at any time you have to use the front entrance you’ll will do in appropriate attire – suits and ties for both men and women! Noted! Keep to the back entrance!
The gym was petite but well presented! With a small pool and jacuzzi. Even the lockers were not the usual standard padlock but code punch keys! Waiting for my Pilates session to start I felt a little awkward with no clear area to wait! Then a little concerned as it seemed that no one else was turning up the session… The session prior concluded and 3 people left the room leaving the instructor! ‘It’s Cat isn’t it?’ Yes, I was about to have a one-to-one session! Awkward! Still no one mentioned payment so on I went!
The session went well and full of intermittent conversation between 10 second countdowns and changing positions. But boy was I thirsty afterwards!
Then came the issue of trying to get out of the building knowing full well I couldn’t use the front entrance. I then had to hunt down the back entrance. Once again I tried the stairs both ways this time. At one point I almost ended up in the members only bar oops! Luckily another gym member was on there way out so I managed to tag along with him phew!
Once outside I had to google where I’d just been only to discover it was a gym attached to the In and Out Club, here’s the excerpt from Wiki:-
The Naval and Military Club, also known as The In & Out, is a private members club located in St. James’s Square, London for officers and gentlemen of the British Armed Forces…and came to be known as “The In & Out” from the prominent signs on the building’s separate vehicle entrance and exit gates….a strict dress code is imposed (jacket and tie for gentlemen, and equivalent for ladies, although “military dress can, of course, also be worn”). The rear entrance in Babmaes Street, just off Jermyn Street, is less formal: it allows direct access to the business centre, gym, swimming pool and “The Goat” bar and brasserie.
So all in all an evening to remember. Not really sure if I’d want to repeat it. And half expecting to receive a hefty invoice through the post!
For those that have read this far and want to give the place a go here’s two links (why they have two websites is a tad strange…)
Also published on Medium.