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

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Internet Sensation

I don’t parkrun as I have the Retford Half Marathon tomorrow, which of course means MD doesn’t get to run either and nor does L, as she’s still injured. She marshals while I chuck balls for the boys.

L is marshalling up on the hill where it is imperative the runners go the right sides of the right trees to get the distance right. Despite running the route herself, week in week out, she’s not convinced she’s put the cones in the right place.

Of course, if she gets it wrong all hell will break loose and she’ll be an internet sensation by this evening. No pressure.

As we’re having our ball chuck, MD hears the klaxon thing that they use to get everybody to assemble for the briefing and promptly runs off to join them. I think he’s missing it you know. I have to physically restrain him when they actually start.

Although it’s not him but Doggo who joins in when they come past us for a second lap. He probably thinks he’s running alongside his Mum but his eyesight’s not the best.

L then has Pilates before heading into town and then off to Puregym at Beeston. Phew. The boys and I just slob out at home.

Later we have a romantic night in, albeit an AF one, and it’s not even Friday. 

(Saturday 11th March)

Friday, 10 March 2017

The Butcher Of Midland Road

On the bus today because I’m out in Derby tonight. It’s a belated leaving meal for someone who left our company just before Christmas after being at our place since she was sixteen, thirty-three years ago. Tonight it’s just a select few of us who have known her for the majority of that time, I qualify despite a mere 20 years’ service. The meal is at the Bella Mora Italian Restaurant on London Road but doesn’t start until 7:30 so I chance for a gym session first, as you do.

The evening is excellent in an Italian Restaurant that, to it’s credit, doesn’t serve pizza and has very little pasta. The evening is only spoilt by going in the Mansion bar on Midland Road afterwards courtesy of its dreadful pub singer, who looked way older than me, murdering 80’s classics. He was butchering ‘Enola Gay’ when we arrived but thankfully by the time he got around to assaulting ‘Just Can't Get Enough’ we’d had enough as it was bus time.

(Friday 10th March)

Thursday, 9 March 2017

The Kale Muffin Diet

The weather has turned very mild and its hot work on the bike this morning. Largely because I have too much kit on.

L meanwhile goes out with not enough kit and forgets her swimming goggles. So, that would have been a breaststroke laden session then. She said she did feel a bit poncy but breaststroke is actually a pretty tough workout.

It’s a rare game of squash tonight and my opponent has been preparing hard with his kale muffin diet. Apparently, this will make his constant colds a thing of the past although probably to be replaced by malnutrition.
Before the game, I jokingly ask if he has picked up this week’s injury yet. It turns out he has and has now pulled a calf muscle. He hobbles around the court but still wins. However, it looks like we’re headed for a few more weeks off.

In our first trip to the Navigation for ages, they have three dark ales on the bar as it’s the Stout and Porter Trail. Quite a mouth-watering selection.

(Thursday 9th March)

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Fitter Than Me

I’m in the car tonight because Daughter has a flat viewing tonight or at least she had, until it was cancelled because someone had put a deposit down for it. L and Daughter are off for a weights session instead as part of their police training. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to bring my gym kit with me. They’ll both be fitter than me at this rate.

This missing RAF man is strange and is causing a bit of a debate at work because they reckon he was carried off in a dustbin lorry. This is what our company does you see, many waste companies run our computer software which monitors the weight of these things.

Dogging tonight and afterwards the pub has the same beers as last week. So, I go the IPA route again.

(Wednesday 8th March)

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Oddity

There’s a match tonight, so I’m in the car again but not in the gym. I shall let my ageing body have a day off.

L is still miffed that they are closing a lane at John Carroll pool, presumably to save money on lifeguards. However according to the HSE’s website, it appears that they are under no obligation to have anyone present all. It will be up to the council’s own H&S policy, which presumably they will have tied themselves in knots with.

While I am out tonight, the oddity that is Chicken Shepherds Pie is being served at home by special request. Meanwhile I’ll be on the microwave meals at my Mum's. L and Daughter will have earned their oddity after a night of flat hunting, unpleasant flats that is that are not as at all as advertised. The hunt goes on.

Derby meanwhile draw 1-1 with Preston. 

(Tuesday 7th March)

Monday, 6 March 2017

There Is No Logic

This morning my training partner and I repeat the early morning swim at Harvey Hadden then I drop L and the boys at park again. I even get a parking space at work. Despite leaving later, I was actually earlier to work. There is no logic...

Then it’s the gym after work although L wants the car for 6.50, so she can get to her fitness class, which speeds things up a touch. We’re all currently training for the fitness test that you have to pass to get into the police after Daughter brought home some information about it the other day. 

(Monday 6th March)

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Inclement Conditions

Today I needed a 10k purely as training for next week’s Retford Half Marathon. Yes, it may be a bit late to start training for a half marathon but I always get injured training so perhaps not training is the best way...

The day dawns damp and gets damper as we join an impressively long queue to get into the car park at Holme Pierrepoint. I don’t recall anyone ever having charged for car parking at Holme Pierrepoint before and we have been here dozens of times but they are charging £5 to park, which has manufactured the queue.

As start time approaches I jump out of the car and leave L to park up, just in case they don’t delay the start but sensibly, they do. Now I have the problem of having excess clothes to dump which I hide behind one of the porta cabins in front of the main buildings.

As I said I needed a 10k and any 10k would do...

Question: What’s worse than one laps of the rowing strip at Holme Pierrepoint?
Answer: Two laps.

Question: What’s worse than two laps of the rowing strip at Holme Pierrepoint?
Answer: Two laps in driving wind and heavy rain.

Yes, it’s not pleasant but then the omens have never been good for this race right from the moment they sent me my race number ‘666’.

My time is unsurprisingly unimpressive but it’s only training. Isn't it? The bonus is that despite the inclement conditions nothing snaps.

Afterwards we head to Wetherspoons in Beeston for a bacon roll and a hot coffee to warm up. My dedicated supporters are as wet and cold as I am. Then L’s at Puregym where she doesn’t relish having to put wet clothes back on afterwards. She best get herself home as quickly as possible and get them off again.

In the evening we’re back at Broadway. 

It is 1947 and Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) has been sent to Delhi as the last Viceroy of India with the task of handing India back to its people within twelve months. After 300 years, British rule is coming to a close.

The story takes place mainly inside the walls of the Viceroy's House where ‘Dickie’ Mountbatten resides with his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson) and daughter Lady Pamela (Lily Travers) along with their many many Hindu, Muslim and Sikh servants.

The political elite, namely Nehru (Tanveer Ghani) of the Indian Congress, Jinnah (Denzil Smith) of the Muslim League, Mahatma Gandhi (Neeraj Kabi) the revered leader of the independence movement and others, all visit the House for meetings as they wrangle over the terms of independence whilst in the country as a whole riots erupt.

Gandhi, Nehru and Mountbatten (initially) all wanted a single nation of two faiths but the London Government, for its own political reasons, preferred to partition the country along religious lines. Namely to create a new Muslim nation of Pakistan with a downsized India populated mostly by Hindus. It was this ‘Mountbatten Plan’ that was eventually agreed and with the British army too war weary to cope with the continued rioting, Mountbatten advanced the date for the transfer of power by six months.

The actual border for partition was decided by a London barrister called Cyril Radcliffe (Simon Callow) but what Mountbatten didn't know, was that he had been well and truly stitched up by London. The whole partition plan had already been put together years ago by Winston Churchill and he was simply sent there as the fall guy to deliver it.

Partition led to the uprooting of 14 million people and millions more were killed in the resulting turmoil. Real newspaper headlines and archive footage give weight to the story creating an educating docu-drama. 

The Mountbattens to their credit stay on in India to try to help in any way they could while the consequences of partition still reverberate to this day, seven decades later.

Sadly, to give the film a bit more general appeal, there is also a love story between a Hindu servant Jeet (Manish Dayal) and his intended Muslim bride Aalia (Huma Qureshi). They quickly find themselves in conflict with their own communities. This diversion is a shame, as it takes screen time away from the main story and leaves the film perhaps not as punchy as it could have been.

That said, the film is still a fascinating watch about an important piece of post-war history albeit mainly from the British perspective.

The film is directed by Gurinder Chadha whose own family were caught up in the events that unfolded.

We eat in Broadway after the film, that is when they remember us. It takes the consumption of three Leffe Brunes until they finally serve us despite the place being almost empty. At least one of them is a freebie for the delay. This doesn’t leave us enough time to get to the pubs on Canning Circus so we nip into the new Six Barrel Drafthouse for the second time but again we don’t stay, not being impressed by the offering and we end up in Major Oak for a Titanic Stout instead.

(Sunday 5th March)

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The Usual

L says she ‘bloody park running’ this weekend, if I am.  We toy with doing the new one at Bestwood but in the end make the short trip to the ‘usual’ at Forest Rec. Although it’s only really been my ‘usual’ running wise, as opposed to ball chucking, for a few weeks.

In the end though, L doesn’t run. She tries warming up, obviously struggles and instead supports with Doggo. MD and I run but it’s not a very quick one. So really none of use deserve breakfast in the café but we have it anyway.

Then I drop L at Pilates where Daughter has already done an hour and is about to do another one.

At the match, Derby actually win for a change beating Barnsley 2-1. Then, in the evening Daughter joins us at Broadway.

Hidden Figures follows three black women who worked in NASA's computing section in 1961 where they performed the calculations for the space program by hand. They were basically the computers of the day as real computers were only just being rolled out to such places as NASA. Being coloured they had their own separate toilets and dining facilities.

Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) had been managing her section for some time but is repeatedly denied a supervisory position and is instead overseen by her own supervisor Vivian Mitchell (Kirsten Dunst).

Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) meanwhile is an aspiring engineer but she cannot progress further because she doesn’t have the right qualifications, which she is barred from getting because of her colour. She goes to court to try to get this changed.

Then there is Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), who is the main focus of the film. Johnson is the most talented mathematician at NASA and once they realise this she is called upon to work in the Space Task Group under Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons) and his boss Al Harrison (Kevin Costner). Their aim is to put a man in space before the Soviet Union.

It’s not easy for her working in her new environment and not only because she had to climb a high ladder every day to write on a huge blackboard. She has to drink coffee from a pot labelled ‘Coloured’ and has to run half a mile back to her old building where the nearest toilet for coloured females is. While at home, she has three young daughters to raise.

Despite all this, through her excellent work, she earns the respect of everybody on the project including astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell). Glenn trusts her calculations above those of anyone else’s including those produced by their new IBM computer.

The aim of the film is clearly to raise the struggles that the coloured minority had to be recognised at that time. However, personally I found learning about the space race with the Soviet Union, the difficulties of getting a man into space, keeping him there and then getting him back again in one piece the most fascinating part. 

As it is ‘based on true events’, you of course rush home and immediately ‘google’ the plot. If only to check whether Katherine really need to run half a mile just to use the toilet? And... no, of course she didn't. That, and a whole lot of other things, were manufactured or overstated for dramatic effect. Sadly, that ruined the film for me.

Katherine Johnson herself states that she didn’t experience any segregation and that everyone worked brilliantly together as a team. In fact, the film seems to totally undersell what Johnson achieved. As for NASA, who are practically painted as racists, they didn’t even exist until after the types of issues raised in the film were resolved.

The real story is fascinating enough, so it’s really annoying that the filmmakers were not impressed by the quiet and efficient way these women actually conducted themselves and achieved so much.

Therefore, it’s really just an enjoyable piece of (part) fiction that is also quite informative about the space race, which I don’t think they tampered with too much.

(Saturday 4th March)

Friday, 3 March 2017

Anniversary Treat

It's our 21st today and we don’t look a day over 20. As a special treat, I get to walk the dogs while L goes for an early morning swim.

She keeps saying she wants to speed up her swim and is looking at those gadgets which set a pace for you by ‘beeping’ in your ear. I think she had one before but we can’t remember whether it got lost because it was so small or whether she sent it back judging it to be a waste of money.

In the end, she opts to buy a new sports bra instead which is a much better use of funds as we both benefit from such sexy attire and anyway, I can always swim alongside her and beep in her ear.

L’s boss keeps telling her how lovely Llandudno is, which is of course where I have my ‘free’ triathlon. He says it's a traditional old seaside town, which is a shame, as I was hoping to discover it was actually inland and therefore I wouldn’t have to face a sea swim.

(Friday 3rd March)

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Graveyard Shift

It’s cold, it’s wet, I’m such a wimp. I decide to stay dry and go to work on the bus.

There is no squash again tonight. Although my opponent is fit the only courts available were at 8.15 or later. That to him is the graveyard shift, for me it would just about be the perfect time. Plenty of time to cycle home, get my breath back, rest the legs a touch and maybe even get something to eat.

Instead, it’s Plan B, which really should be called Plan A, as it’s much more fun. L and MD do their usual walk to the Dispensary where Doggo and I meet them, having driven there. I grab a quickie in the gym first though.

In the Dispensary they have a tasty Milk Stout from the Bristol Beer Factory and something from Watneys... I do find the fashion for resurrecting old defunct breweries rather strange. Surely the use of Watneys which closed in 1979, and is famous for its much maligned Red Barrel and Party 7s, must be one of the most ironic or perhaps not?

(Thursday 2nd March)