“Treat yourself.”

Smiling at the familiar handwriting, I opened the pretty scented envelope that had slipped out from inside the card. A gift voucher for a Spa treatment in a grandiose hotel. Waow! Later, my two friends contacted me to see if I had received it and wanted to know when I was going. I was delighted to tell them I had already booked! I never thought another thing about it until I was escorted into the Spa’s dressing room where my two friends were sitting up like two Cheshire cats, robed and slippered, and drinking something green.

After I recovered from surprise and laughter the assistant handed me a heated robe, slippers and what looked like a shower cap. Chatting away, I quickly undressed and went to put the shower cap on my head only to find there were two holes in it. On closer examination I realised the shower cap wasn’t a shower cap but a pair of disposable knickknacks that woke up some long distance memory of my experience in a labour ward.  Of course, my friends new this already! Laugher ensued again and we all immediately give thanks that we were in a Spa instead. Like a gaggle of geese we flip-flopped our way into the darkened ambiance of the treatment area, no doubt to re-appear swan-like and serene. But first we were presented with a clip board, pen and a four page questionnaire each.  Not only did it test our eye sight, it ran the risk of testing our anxiety levels. The list included a number of conditions I didn’t know where conditions. I didn’t take it too seriously—I was there for a back rub, not open heart surgery— so I quickly ticked the NO boxes, placed the form aside and sank deeper into the Spa couch. While listening to my friends question and consider symptoms (in between the giggles and innuendos) it did cross my mind however, if one wasn’t a hypochondriac before the form filling task, there was a risk of becoming one after the exercise.

My friends eventually finished up their questionnaires. Time passed, not that we minded—we were in blissful heaven—but when a few other clients came and went we decided to check in at reception. Turns out, it was the receptionist’s first day and somehow or other she forgot we were waiting! (Is ‘invisible’ a condition?) Promptly, three therapists appeared from nowhere and whisked us off to our designated treatment rooms. In a soft voice, my therapist informed me of the treatment plan. That’s the last thing I remember. I know there was a heated bed, fluffy towels, soft music, candle light, hot oils and an aroma of delicious indulgence but I wasn’t really there. I think I floated off to some other plane because when the soft voice spoke again to advise me my treatment was completed, and to get up slowly while she fetched me some cool water, it was like a voice from another world, our world, practical, functional, business like, fun spoiler, ‘time’s up like’ world.

I arrived back in the treatment room first before my two friends wandered in half asleep, water in hand, to whittle away the rest of the morning and I highly recommend it. If a spa treatment isn’t your thing, pick something that helps you relax and grab a few friends to go too. The company of friends is a wonderful thing even if you are invisible to everyone else! Allow the world to turn on its axis without you for a while. You’ll be glad you did.