"for the happy, the sad, I don't want to be, another page in your diary"

Sunday, 5 December 2021

Advent

L asks if I’m basking in post-race glory at work. I’m not sure glory is the right word. Celebrating survival more like.

Mask wearing has always been high at Sainsbury’s and on Monday, ahead of Tuesday’s compulsion, it is back up to around 90%.

In the evening Derby have a home match which they unfortunately lose 2-1 to QPR while Tuesday is dog training in sub-zero temperatures.

Sub-zero doesn’t put L off swimming in the outdoor pool in the morning, which is presumably heated, but it appears she has a hard time persuading Daughter to go alfresco when she joins her.

Daughter’s race numbers meanwhile have now arrived for last Sunday’s race. A little late perhaps.

I bike despite the cold, the wind, and a brief shower of rain.

Wednesday is the first day of December and therefore the first day of Advent. What better way to celebrate the festive season than a pair of Advent chocolate nipples (or whatever they’re supposed to be) to share with your significant other every day for 24 days.  


The dogs have their own Advent calendar which comes without nipples but with a horrendous amount of plastic packaging every day for 24 days.

On Thursday I take the bus to work which was really quiet, which surprised me, and on time, which surprised me even more. So much so I do it again on Friday. 

I get my Covid booster on Thursday at Midland House in Derby where I’m straight in and out, aside from the ten minutes you have to wait afterwards to see if you get an allergic reaction.

L has a totally different experience at Forest Rec on Friday where they are queuing around the block even if you have an appointment. They have those signs that say you ‘reached the 30 mins to wait point’ like they do at Alton Towers. She has more patience than me, I’d have come back another time.

On Saturday after Parkrunning at Alvaston and taking L’s Mum for an eye appointment we have a meal out with some friends at Anoki on the A38 near Burton. I have never been there before and this is partly to make up for the fact the dog club have arranged a night out there next week when we’re away and also because we haven’t been properly out with these friends for about 15 years!

Sunday is the dog club’s AGM which is very sparsely attended and then in the evening we have a few beers in the Borlase and the Organ Grinder.

 (Sunday 5th December)

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Locked Out

We are having a bit of a problem getting in our front door. The keys and probably the lock itself are worn out. I gave L my key because it seemed to work better than hers and then I couldn’t get back in the house with hers after taking the dogs for a walk. I have to intercept her on the way to the pool to get my key back.

Anything I can do Mark Cavendish can do better. This includes falling off in a velodrome. The difference here is that it clearly wasn’t his fault. Somebody else hit him... don’t you hate it when that happens...

On Wednesday I cycle, which went well until I got a puncture coming on to Pride Park. It’s a long time since I’ve had one of those. I walked the last bit, which isn’t easy in my new bike shoes. So now I’ve got a sore knee again. I replace the inner tube over lunch.

L bravely takes MD to the vets for his annual booster. He is a bit of wimp when it comes to the vets.

Thursday is L’s parents’ Diamond Wedding Anniversary which isn’t quite as wild a celebration as it might have been with her Dad now in the care home. It’s still moderately wild though with a meal followed by cake, sherry and wine.

Also on Thursday, at the dog club we have our first in person committee meeting since January 2020.

Then there's the news of the new Covid variant. Hot on the heels of Delta comes Omicron which is currently lurking somewhere in a departure lounge in South Africa waiting to get the next flight over.

Then again, perhaps its not so ‘hot on the heels’ as clearly Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, Mu, Nu and Xi must have turned out to be insignificant.

After her morning swim L has a mince pie muffin which clearly tells you that Christmas must be limbering up somewhere. Although, to be pedantic, surely it’s a pie or a muffin? It can’t be both.

The weather isn’t great. It clearly wasn’t cycling weather on Friday and doesn’t appear to be Parkrun weather either on Saturday. Many are cancelled due to wind and snow as we hide under the duvet.

We emerge eventually to head to the care home. L and her Mum visit while I indulge in coffee and a bacon roll at a local café.

The weather is still cold but at least fine for the Derby Half Marathon on Sunday. While I do the half L, Daughter and Daughter’s +1 do the 5 miler. We take advantage of a non-existent £2 parking offer that Chapel Street car park won’t accept and therefore ending up paying a further £3.90. Bargain. Daughter is still awaiting her race number so she has to go to the desk to get that sorted.

The run itself goes surprisingly well as my knee holds out until the nine mile point meaning I only have to hobble less than a third of the distance. My time of 1:57 is my best for a while. Progress at last.

The biggest challenge of the day is reserved for after the race. They have stored everyone’s bags in a tiny baggage tent that is about the size of that used by a family of four to go camping. It takes 25 minutes queuing to get my bag back and therefore to put some warm clothes on, by which time I’m turning a nice shade of blue.

In the evening we head to Stapleford on bus for a few pints in the Horse & Jockey. Despite the Government announcing that compulsory mask wearing on buses is coming back in from Tuesday but there is no sign of many on the bus wanting to be proactive in starting right now.

(Sunday 28th November)

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Haphazard Training Regime

I continue my haphazard training regime this week. Cycling on Tuesday and running from work on Wednesday where I manage ten miles which disappointingly isn’t to the centre of Long Eaton which was my target. That was only nine miles so I had to keep going a bit further.

The dogs don’t have any mercy on me as we hobble around our walk the next morning where we meet two dogs we don’t like and two cats as well. There are no cats that we like.

I add to our Commonwealth Games tickets with some for the England v New Zealand netball game.

The car goes in for its MOT on Thursday and just like last year I hear nothing from the garage all day and then they ring me about 4pm with a list that I don’t get time to think about. This actually does them out of money as I just get the bare minimum done.

On Friday we chaperone Daughter (and her car) up to Ashbourne which gives us a brief night out up there. Although to my horror I see that there isn’t a single Good Beer Guide listed pub in Ashbourne. The best they appear to have is a craft beer bar called the House Of Beer that has ten keg lines. Thankfully it turns out to be excellent. 



Not so excellent is the Mango app which locks me out again just as we're trying to get the bus home.

On Saturday we go to Alvaston parkrun for the first time since the initial lockdown and where I know they’ve really missed the Lad.

On Sunday Derby impressively defeat league leaders Bournemouth. 

(Sunday 21st November)

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Off The Cuff

My shoulder injury, from my minor tumble on the velodrome, seems to be getting worse and L advises me to google Rotator Cuff injuries. Of course you should never google a medical issue as you’re sure to find you’ve got whatever it is.

Sure enough, a Rotator Cuff injury ticks most of the boxes except for the fact that it hurts the most when I cough or sneeze but I can’t find anywhere that says that’s a symptom. It then goes on to say that it usually needs an injection or surgery. Looks like I might have to call my GP again... 

At work I am chucked out of my own office for someone else’s meeting and I have to hot desk in another office. I should have probably worked from home, it would have been much easier.

In other news Daughter is now qualified to drive a marked or unmarked police car but not under blue lights (yet) and I run eight miles after work before getting the Indigo the rest of the way home.

On Saturday L and Daughter are at Parkrun while the boys and I are at a dog show. I have to say, credit where credit’s due, the Lad did a really good first run. We missed a jump out so still got E’d but everything else was perfect.

Of course we’ve not done so well since. Somehow we managed to avoid queuing for his first run which seemed to make a difference because having to queue for his other runs clearly wound him up and he was hopeless.

He gets a double dose of competing because on Sunday we hold a Members' Fun Day at our training venue. L offers to sit with my Mum while my Dad attends which, of course, gets us all worried when he gets lost but he makes it to us eventually.

It’s all good for the Lad though, who manages to do two runs without getting eliminated. 

(Sunday 14th November)

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Just Wrong

L says she’s not counting (although she does have a spreadsheet) but it’s 2738 days to retirement. I assume that’s to the state date as she’s on about going part time from May this year. That’s just 181 days away.

I see some mince pie flavoured chocolate digestives in Sainsbury’s, which is just wrong.


On Sunday I was on call for some testing one of our customers was doing but they never contacted me, so I assumed it either didn’t happen or it went well. Then on Tuesday when I get in the office it is to find loads of emails from the same people after something went wrong when they started testing it on Monday night. Nothing like thorough planning.

On Tuesday afternoon I have my latest physio which was a bit pointless really. The ‘main’ physio didn’t really know why I’d been referred back to him from ‘movement’ physio and nor did I. He offered to refer me back to again but I declined. I’m beginning to feel as if I’m the ball in a game of ping-pong.

He did offer me a painkilling injection which I also declined, so instead he gave me yet more exercises but mostly variations on the current ones. I’ve just got to keep building up gently, which is code for not running with the Lad. They will keep my case open for six months then it will be closed if I don’t request another appointment.

I’m on the bike on Wednesday which is the same day L’s Dad moves into the care home.

(Wednesday 10th November)

The Hunna

There are two support acts Kelsey Karter with her band and Idolising Nova. Unfortunately Karter is on at 6:45 which isn't conducive to those of us who work. This also enables those that don’t and/or the students to get there first and grab all the best spots. So I am unusually a fair way back for this gig and for once feeling a bit old amongst a very young crowd.

Idolising Nova are Jack Fulton Smith and Kyle O’Sullivan, they hail from Peterborough, have some decent indie tunes and fancy light show. They are pleasant enough but probably aren't what most of us have come here for tonight.

 

They're certainly not like the Hunna, who open with just front man Ryan Potter and drummer Jack Metcalfe on stage. Potter sits wearing a balaclava in front of a door positioned in the centre of the stage. This is ‘One Hell of a Gory Story’ and that eases us into ‘I Wanna Know’ which is accompanied by copious amounts limb flailing from the crowd. Not with my knees sadly. As I say, feeling a bit old tonight.

The energy of the opening never wanes and neither do Potter’s lungs, which are highly impressive. An honourable mention too to guitarist Dan Dorney who matches Potter bounce for bounce but the whole band are true performers and clearly love being up on stage while Potter is a real old school front man.

 

This is another of those tours that never was, so it’s the first time this four piece from Watford have had chance to play the songs from the band’s third album ‘I’d Rather Die Than Let You In’ live.

Although, as with many bands during lockdown, they have already moved on and showed off two brand new songs tonight. One of which is their collaboration with Kelsey Karter, who I missed earlier, called ‘I Don’t Like You, Okay’.

There is still plenty from their latest album, although some of which I find a little bit too plodding... by their standards unlike the explosiveness of their earlier stuff. That said two of the best moments tonight are slower (but older) songs - a sublime version of ‘Sycamore Tree’ and the always excellent ‘Piece By Piece’.

 
Then of course there's ‘Bonfire’, an awesome ‘Babe, Can I Call?’ and a closing 'She's Casual' with the first verse sung exclusively by the crowd. By the end both Potter and Dorney are shirtless to the delight of most of the girls in the crowd, for some reason.
 

Sunday, 7 November 2021

Ignoring Advice

For the second Monday running the morning shower is rather painful due to my freshly acquired injuries from the velodrome.

Then I head off into some awful traffic, the roads were absolutely mad. Half term has ended and I think that anybody who was working from home now seems to have returned to the office.

In the evening L is out at Seven and I pick her up afterwards.

On Tuesday, I manage to cycle despite my bruises. It is cold but sunny. Then go to dog training in the evening.

While L finds out that her latest personal trainer has quit. That’s three of them she’s seen off now. She says that, on the plus side, at least she can stop feeling guilty for not doing his workout. Which is probably why he’s quit because his clients are ignoring his advice.

On Wednesday I go to the gym and do my leg weights workout before heading into Derby later where I undo all the fitness work with several pints and a meal in the Exeter where it’s chips with almost everything.

The penance, of course, is a run after work on Thursday which amounts to 8.5k. After which I’m knackered and the shoulder I fell on is getting considerably worse no better, so I don’t cycle as planned on Friday.

Although I do parkrun on Saturday where we are back at the scene of my other injury at Wollaton. I don’t repeat the feat.

Then L heads off to Quad where she’s going to a Derby Book Festival event to see Wendy Moore. In the evening we’re out in Canning Circus again at the Good Fellow George and The Organ Grinder.

On Sunday after a 6k run with L we attempt to get a Sunday Roast at the Nurseryman, which is always a safe bet, but they let us down and have run out.

(Sunday 7th November)

Sunday, 31 October 2021

A Bruising Week

L and I do a Sunday morning 7k run. This comes after doing Parkrun on Saturday at Wollaton where I took a tumble down by the lake where either a rock or a tree root felled me. The Lad appeared not to notice and attempted to keep dragging me along. He’s no Doggo, who would have immediately administered mouth to mouth resuscitation. I crossed the line with a gashed knee, grazed elbow and, as L points out later, a grazed back of my shoulder as well. I have no idea how I did that. The Run Director had to add me to their race report.

In the evening we hit Stapleford for a few beers

On Monday we discover that we didn’t do very well in the ticket ballot for the Commonwealth Games but we did however get tickets for the finals of the Lawn Bowls. L is very excited about that and says it’s on her list of things to try in retirement. This is, I understand, a long list.

So we’ve spent the princely sum of £44 whereas L’s sister has apparently spent over £800 but she doesn’t have Lawn Bowls! We did only apply for finals and we can add other events later.

L’s mum escapes from self isolate after a mild bout of Covid and promptly head off into town as usual. 

I attend the gym on Tuesday which will either enhance or hinder my run tonight. At least Derby Arena seem to have sorted my gym membership out now. My run is only 7.5k but that’s a start as I build up to the Derby Half.

On the back of that, I cycle on Wednesday which wasn’t quite as much hard work as I was expecting. It’s just me cycling this week as my colleague is having a week on the Cornish ales. When I get back home, in a fit of jealousy, I book us a week on the Cumbrian ales.

Wednesday is also dog training, while L does the Pumpkin Trail, and Thursday is the horrible Asda trip.

I work from home on Friday because I want to and almost no one is in the office.

On Saturday, we parkrun at Forest Rec and Derby lose at home to Blackburn. Then on Sunday I go on the velodrome where I make a schoolboy error, cycle too slowly on the banking, fall off and (the worse bit) bring someone else down with me. So now I have more bruises, knee/hip/shoulder, to add to the ones from Parkrun.

(Sunday 31st October)

Saturday, 23 October 2021

Sea Power

On Saturday evening I am in Derby at The Venue for a gig.

The support band Pale Blue Eyes probably need to chill out a bit more. Perhaps wear their guitars a bit lower, the short guitar strap is always a bit of a red flag for me, and the drummer needs to take her coat off or something. They are undeniably pleasant and make a nice enough sound but I just find them a bit lacking that is apart from the outstanding use of the dry ice. Sorry. 


The band formerly known as British Sea Power play their first gigs in two years on a tour delayed from 2020 that I made sure I bought a ticket for to help support tonight’s venue through lockdown as well as contributing to the Save Our Venues campaign.

 

The band are never predictable and they certainly aren’t with tonight’s opening which is the long meandering (in a nice way) prog rock-ish instrumental Heavenly Waters that appeared as a b-side on the 2003 single for Carrion. From there on things are slightly more predictable with welcome airings for the likes of ‘The Lonely’ and ‘North Hanging Rock’ among others.

There is plenty from the new album, ‘Everything Was Forever’ due out in February 2022, in the form of the rocky Doppelgänger, the more sing-along Two Fingers, We Only Want To Make You Happy and Folly, their current single.

 

Along with the name change, they have dropped the ‘British’, apparently the bear has been retired, although the foliage strewn stage clearly hasn’t and nor has violinist Abi despite her absence tonight.

She is stuck sheep sitting on the remote croft on the Isle of Skye that she shares with Neil where they have had three new-borns this year. Probably the best excuse ever.

 

The encore features Waving Flags, their pro-immigration and open borders anthem, a song which would probably get the right wing press’ backs up (if they knew about it) as much as the name change did (they noticed that). It also explains why they did it, what with people getting the wrong idea about the politics of a band who are far from nationalistic.

 After that and after a two hour set, in a bizarre ending, but then aren’t they always, Yan and Martin are in the crowd. Yan is crowd surfing and Martin climbing on the beams (again) amid an impromptu (not on the set list) The Spirit of St. Louis. I wonder if they have to stress test the beams beforehand.