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Colette Fitzpatrick: Quit that Orca whale music and keep those tickly fingers to yourself. Spas? Relaxing? Pah!

One of the great urban myths of the boom was how relaxing a weekend away at a spa was. During the Celtic Tiger years, health farms up and down the country took us hook, line and sinker. On dry land.

If you like spas, you like someone other than your significant other copping a feel. You believe that a €100 facial will transport you to Tir na nOg.

And you also readily accept the observations of an 18-year-old with no qualifications, that you have lots of knots in your shoulders and must be stressed. This is stressful. Am I on Planet Rip-Off?

Massages. Too tickly, too rough, too embarrassing for words when they massage above the knee. And can someone turn off that Orca whale music? It can't drown out my thoughts of 'when will this end?' A massage with hot stones? A stone is a stone is a stone. Sticking the word Indian or Ayurvedic before it does not make it any less of a stone.

I've been in spas where 'the relaxation area' was essentially a through road to the treatment rooms. Close your eyes. How calming to hear someone tear the back off her mother-in-law-to-be. Aren't my troubles meant to be melting away? Should I not be filled with wellness by now? She does sound like a bitch, though.

Open-toed sandals and a muslin wrap-around do not a therapist make. When I told one that the oil she was using was burning my skin, she said "Not possible. It's just tingling and that means it's working. Sure, they're natural."

"Toxic chemicals occur naturally," I reminded her. More protestations. More rebuttals. The oils came off but not soon enough to avoid a bright red complexion for a few days.

There are unwritten rules for spas. Just like the unwritten rule that men don't comment on another man's body in a communal shower, in spas you must never get into a jacuzzi if it's just you in a bikini and a man old enough to be your dad. Scratch that. You shouldn't be wearing a bikini; an all-in-one Speedo number is appropriate spa attire.

Then comes the hard sell to buy oils and creams that you don't need, to soothe, invigorate and renew.

Broke and red-faced, all you want is to curl up in bed. Forget about sleep. The hum coming from the aircon unit in your hotel room will put paid to that. Has someone got an Orca cd?

I want to be pampered. I really do. It's just that 'wellness centres' aren't going to do that for me. Where are my bad books? I need to jot the word 'spas' in them.

If your mobile feels like this, you're not alone

My pal says she's going to stage a mobile phone intervention with me. Her iPhone can pretty much do anything except take her on a date. It will show her how, though. It has a dating app.

Anyone else still using a regular mobile? One with a screen that you can't pinch? Or view 5,000 photos? Like Dom Joly's phone, mine is big, plastic and old. It can do nothing except send and receive texts and calls. No one will bother robbing it and I'm pretty sure it'll be characterised as 'vintage' very soon.

And there's nothing cooler than having an original ...

Winter Olympics - hurray! Now where's our 'driving on ungritted roads' team?

The Winter Olympics is the new black.

Two weeks of sports such as luge, bobsleigh, skeleton, curling and tight, bright Lycra finishes.

This is hardcore sport.

There's been a death in the luge, talk about cheating in figure skating, illegal German sleds and mouthy snowboarders. Who knew we had an Irish bobsleigh team?

Just getting them to Canada was an Olympian task in itself.

Some of the lesser known Winter Olympics sports include the skeleton, which is like the luge but participants go down the track headfirst.

This slightly alters the Doppler effect of the noise from the competitor at 80mph.

The biathlon combines cross-country skiing and a target rifle shooting event.

I kid you not.

My only brush with physical activity in the snow was a skiing trip to Andorra.

(M)Andorra we renamed it after a week more dedicated to apres ski than getting down a black slope.

You would think after our recent spell of bad weather we'll be able to field a strong team for the Winter Olympics 2014.

How about a 'driving on ungritted roads' event?

Surely Amhran na bhFiann would ring out across the stadium as we bagged the gold and lapped up Olympic glory.


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