I was offered £45 for a one-off one-hour Taijiquan Class at the David Lloyd Leisure Centre (a chain of gyms owned by Whitbread) located with the grounds of the Nonsuch School for Girls (near Cheam Village). This was because the Manager wanted to see if I was competent enough to hold a regular Taijiquan class at David Lloyd – Epsom. March 5th, was a Saturday and I spent the earlier part of the day travelling Warwick with Gee and Sue-ling with Liz driving - to attend a meeting held by the Buddhist Prison Chaplaincy Service at the Forest Hermitage (a Buddhist Temple) situated within the Warwickshire countryside. The effort turn-out to be worthwhile as it led to regular work at David Lloyd – Epsom.
I taught a peak of three one-hour Taijiquan lessons a week (at £35 per lesson) at this leisure centre which now occupies part of the land used by the old ‘Horton Hospital’ (1902-1997). This David LLoyd Gym was opened in 2002 in a countryside setting (adjacent to the popular ‘Horton Farm’). I used to teach Taijiquan on Wednesday afternoon between 1pm – 2pm. My next Taijiquan class was held on Friday evenings between 630pm – 730pm. For a short-time an experimental third lesson of Taijiquan was added for a Monday between 1pm – 2pm – but was soon discontinued due to lack of interest. I think I started teaching around June, 2005, but I am not sure of the exact date at this juncture (although a document might turn up to clarify at some point). My last Taijiquan lesson for David Lloyd – Epsom, however, was held on Wednesday, April 8th, 2009. I then travelled with Gee and my eldest daughter – Sue-Ling - to my parental home in Torquay (by train). Gee and Myself were married the next day (9.4.2009) at the Oldway Mansion, Torquay – with Sue-Ling acting as ‘Witness’.
By far the worst conditions I worked under. It was difficult to get to and/or find – so poor had been is locating - and the Manager was dishonest in her dealings with myself. She offered just £20 per hour for each class of 45 minutes duration (this was the agreement). This single class of Taijiquan was held on Thursday evenings between 745pm – 830pm. When I submitted my invoice to claim the ‘princely’ sum of ‘£20’ the Manager in question ‘crossed-out’ my claim and wrote in its place ‘£20 for one-hour - £15 for 45 minutes.’ Giving the impression that it was I (the worker) and not her (the Manager) who was being corrupt! I kept up this work for about a year before I terminated the agreement.
This was a very good working environment with the Manager - ‘Christine’ - being very professional. I was originally booked for six-weeks to teach a class of retired and elderly people Taijiquan for one-hour (10am – 11 am) held regularly on a Tuesday morning (attracting a £30 per hour fee). However, as matters transpired, I spent three-full years teaching at this centre – often assisted by my partner Gee – who is a gongfu Master of our family style in her own right! We found the people of Leatherhead to be very accommodating, thoughtful and encouraging. Fairfield Centre was administered by Mole Valley District Council.
A number of residents from this centre had attended one of my Taijiquan classes held at nearby Fairfield Centra – and had approached me to see if I could teach a class of Taijiquan at Ashcroft – an invitation I immediately accepted. I taught one-hour a week on Thursday mornings between 1030am – 1130am (for a £30 hourly fee). This arrangement lasted one very enjoyable year. Elderly people prefer (and should receive) a fifteen minute-break within each hourly session. This is only right and proper for the maintenance of dignity and respect. I enjoyed teaching the venerable members of our community – particularly as I am rapidly approaching this time of life myself!
The management of one of the fitness centres in Leatherhead had been taken-over by a woman named ‘Claire’ who used to work at David Lloyd – Epsom – and who knew me because she happened to have been my previous line-manager. Claire enquired as to whether I could teach a class of Taijiquan at this fitness centre – but they wanted me to hold it on the same day and time that I was already teaching at the Fairfield Centre – and so I declined.
I was also contacted by the Manager of the Virgin Gym near Abbey Mills – but his idea of a) a reasonable fee, and b) proper working conditions were worse than those held by the Management of LA Fitness – and so I declined.