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

Friday, 12 January 2018

Away With The Fairies

Doggo and I continue our morning ambles together this week and with my bad ankle we are now both walking at the roughly the same pace. My ankle doesn’t seem to getting much better, perhaps L is right and it is broken.

L states she on the diet and go to the extremes of requesting Kale from Sainsbury’s. I start researching Kale curries.

The ongoing roadworks on Pride Park, and traffic reduced to one lane, makes driving to work even more of a chore. So I hide in the gym on Monday until it has gone down a bit.

On the same day, L starts a 10-week course on Fairies at Broadway that a friend of hers is running. I think it’s actually about Fairy Tales in movies or something like that. She was intrigued when she was asked to proofread the course content. Now she’s worried, naturally, that she’ll nod off and embarrass herself. Sort of away with the fairies.

Tuesday I bike and it’s sooooooooooo good to be back.

Tuesday is also when Run For All take over the Ramathon which is sort of good news as they are excellent at the organisational side of things but unfortunately, and I’m no great fan of the race, they are changing the name to the Derby Half Marathon. Which is just plain wrong. I though the whole point of the race was resurrecting the historic Ramathon name, now someone else has got to do it all over again.

Wednesday we are thwarted at the Brunswick where my colleague and I go for a non-working lunch. They have a 90 minute wait for food despite the pub being empty because apparently the function room is full. So it’s the Waterfall for toasted sandwiches and awfully cold Doom Bar. Not much to fortify myself for dog training in the evening.

Thursday I’m in London again for work. Then when I’m back, as there’s still no squash because my opponent is still too fat (his words), L and I have a Friday night in.. Not that I would played squash anyway, what with being in London and still having a dodgy ankle but he doesn’t need to know any of that.

On the real Friday, Nottingham Train Station catches fire which gridlocks the whole of Nottingham. Thankfully I’m on the bike again.

(Friday 12th January)

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Blooming Marvelous

Tonight we are at Broadway.

Molly’s Game is a true story based on the autobiography of Molly Bloom who ran high stakes poker games in Los Angeles and New York before finding herself subject to an FBI investigation, standing accused of illegal gambling and colluding with organised crime gangs.

The film opens with Bloom (Jessica Chastain) trying to convince a lawyer, Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba), to take on her case. We then see the rest of the story through flashbacks.

Bloom was a decent freestyle mogul skier, albeit pushed by her overbearing father (Kevin Costner), who didn’t quite make the Olympic team for Salt Lake City in 2002. She ends up severely injured which terminates her skiing career. However her competitive instinct serves her well in later life.

She skips law school to becomes a waitress at a club in Los Angeles where she meets Dean Keith (Jeremy Strong), a real estate developer and she becomes his personal assistant. He has a side-job running underground poker games and he soon involves her in that.

Molly quickly learns how to appeal to the players, whom include many famous and wealthy individuals including film stars, to gain tips. This include the terribly un-PC approach of the ever lowering of the necklines and lifting of the hemlines of her dresses, until you think they’re going to meet in middle. As a career move it works and she runs rings around all of the men but she is smart too.

Her boss feels threatened by her popularity with the players and fires her but Bloom is
now well known enough to strike out on her own, which she does and steal Dean Keith’s players from him.

It all goes well until a few of her players start to run up unmanageable debts and then when she falls out with her number one player, known as Player X (Michael Cera), she is sidelined. However, instead of giving up she moves to New York to set up a new game.

Despite more success, she is again unable to cope with the players who cannot pay and she starts illegally taking a percentage of the pot to cover her losses. The mafia kindly offer to ‘help out’ with the bad payers and after she declines she is beaten up in her home. Then when one of her players is charged with running a Ponzi scheme everything begins to collapses and Molly herself becomes under investigation. 

I do love a real story and this is a good one, entertaining and well told. It cracks along at a speedy pace and boasts a marvellous performance from Chastain. She is phenomenal and she owns this film as much as Bloom herself owned the poker game. Highly recommended.

(Sunday 7th January)

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Town Street Tap

I observe parkrun at Forest Rec this morning due my on going 'broken' ankle problem. Afterwards we go to Jukebox Café on Hartley Road for coffee and bacon rolls eschewing the Homemade Café which is getting a bit up itself now they’re insisting I have my bacon on ciabatta.

In the evening we head over to Duffield to my brother’s house. They are feeding us and then we go to their local micro pub, the Town Street Tap, which is very nice. We bus over and bus back, although my brother insists on picking us up in Derby on the way there which takes far longer than getting the bus. It’s a good night out though.

(Saturday 6th January)

Friday, 5 January 2018

Office Companions

I’m the car today, which L thinks is because I can't walk due to my allegedly broken ankle. She does have a point. I don’t think walking for the bus is helping my ankle, mainly because I’m always rushing at both ends.

However the main reason I'mon the bus is in case I was going to book the vets for MD, as he still has diarrhoea and seems a bit off colour. He is eating but only chicken, sausage, rice and Doggo’s posh food but not his own dog food. 

I read somewhere that if a dog is ill then they might develop a phobia about their current dog food, thinking that is what may have caused it. So we might have to switch him to something else to see if that works. In the end, we don’t take him to the vets.

Both L and I seem to have the same problem with our office companions. Her seventy-something one is often snoring away before 10 o'clock in the morning while the twenty-something in my office is usually doing the same. Today he went outside to his car for a smoke and fell asleep while he was there. I think there might also be a potential fire risk there.

Derby have rather unfairly had their FA Cup 3rd Round tie with Manchester United shifted to tonight because they are Manchester United and that is what they wanted. It’s not even on TV. After a 13 year run of 58 consecutive televised FA Cup matches this one hasn’t been chosen. 

The reason for the shift? They were supposed to have the League Cup Semi Final on Tuesday... only now they haven’t because Bristol City knocked them out in the Quarter Finals. Oh how we laughed, not that it helped us as it was too late to shift the game back. Derby give a good account of themselves but lose to two late goals.

 (Friday 5th January)

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Maybe Fractured, Maybe Not

Both boys are improved and MD is back on the Bonios, he's still not quite 100% though. Doggo has found a solution to his wobbly old legs and now props himself up against the kitchen cupboards while eating. He’ll be after a table and chairs next.

I hobble to the bus, last night’s gym session doesn’t appear to have helped my ankle. Which L says is almost certainly fractured. I'm sure she exaggerates.

There’s no squash as my opponent is still recovering from his Christmas break so I don’t need to tell him that I’m injured.

He’s needs to make a Resolution and join the Januarites in the gym, or perhaps not. I mean, is there any wonder that people don’t stick at it when they decide to get fit at the time of year when the weather is at it’s foulest and which inevitably means they end up with the misery that is the dreadmill.

Now if they made their Resolution to get fit in the spring then they’d have nicer weather and longer days with lighter evenings. So then they could do something outside and they'd perhaps stick at it.

Instead they do it in January and at the same time give up all the other things they enjoy doing, like drinking alcohol and eating chocolate. It’s no wonder people continually vote January as the most depressing month of the year.

Personally it’s one of my favourites along with February and\or March, as these months are when we do most of our best trips away.

(Thursday 4th January)

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

A Stormy Affair

Storm Dylan and Storm Eleanor seem to be getting it on together this morning, having a riotous affair and letting the whole world know about the resulting row. So I’m on the bus as it’s far too windy to cycle.

This of course means going to the gym after work but when I get there it is to find that my Metro membership covering the gyms of both Nottingham and Derby has expired. I have to fill in a new form to kick start it off again for another six months. This is despite the fact both cities already have all my details in their computer systems. Red tape hell.

That wastes ten vital minutes of gym time. L says I’m not on a deadline but Trent Barton say different, that is if I don’t want to slip into hourly Red Arrow territory.

The gym is packed with Januarites, attempting to fulfil rashly made resolutions. There is a queue for the treadmills, the Watt Bikes and even for the weighing scales.

A lot of the Januarites who are mainly female are coming in, weighing themselves, walking on the treadmill for ten minutes, reweighing themselves, shaking their heads and then leaving. To be honest they probably burnt the most calories before they even weighed themselves the first time by coming up the stairs from the changing rooms.

And Ladies... the tried and trusted men's way of seeing how hard your workout has been is to ring your shirt out and see what comes out. You could weigh the product of that I suppose but you may need paper cup.

L and Daughter are doing their workout outdoors and they run from home.

(Wednesday 3rd January)

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Health Test

We are both back at work today and L is back in the pool, hoping to increase her swim to 50 lengths a day, which may require some serious schedule juggling.

Nottingham Camra announces a change of plan and the BeerFestival will now be at the Ice Stadium rather than on Forest Rec. Probably a wise decision, there’s less winos in the Ice Stadium.
Neither dog is eating much and both are under threat of a vet trip if things don’t improve. Both are improving slowly but MD is spending a lot of time sleeping, which isn’t like him. He is still looking longingly at his ball, which is a good sign, but when he turns down a Bonio you know he isn’t quite right.

Even so, I take him dog training thinking it will be a good test of his health and he comes through that ok. L comes over too and I enjoy the first dull pint of the year in the Masons.

(Tuesday 2nd January)

Monday, 1 January 2018

New Year Round Up

I’m also at work on the Thursday and in the evening we have the annual squash club meal, which is again held at Chakh Le India on Trent Bridge. For some reason the menu doesn’t seem adventurous as it did last year. Well, I assume they’ve changed it. The food is again good but because of the unexciting menu, not spectacular.

Then on Friday we head up to the Lakes. We have a cottage booked in Staveley, somewhere we’ve always wanted to stay, on a late deal. Finding it is the first problem. It’s dark, the directions aren’t great and there’s an inch of snow on the ground. After trying to break in to several properties we finally find the right one.

We have a great first night in the Hawkshead Brewery, where we’ve never been able to manage a session before due to having to drive, with the dogs at our feet. Things start to go a bit wrong on the Saturday. First we head up to Keswick parkrun which goes ok until I badly twist my ankle on a rock and have to hobble over half the distance much to MD’s frustration. He was running with me.

Then Doggo has a funny turn and passes out on the pavement outside the cottage, I have to carry him inside thinking that this is surely the end. Then to add to our woes MD starts vomiting everywhere.

Doggo then seems to quickly recover but we don’t know whether this is just temporary and this, along with MD’s illness, somewhat ruins our Saturday night out.

We had booked a table at the Eagle & Child, which is always hard to get into and they also have Snecklifter on the bar but we are so worried about both dogs that we end up driving the very short distance there so that we can have the unwell pair close to us in the car.

The stress destroys my appetite but enhances L’s. Must be a girl thing. To be honest we also realise that the menu isn’t that great at Eagle & Child anyway, not sure we’ll be back. It does mean there are some leftovers to tempt the dogs to eat and that does work.

Sunday is New Year’s Eve and both dogs have recovered a bit more. We take them on the park in Kendal and go buy L a new walking jacket from Ambleside. I even manage to eat a full meal when we have Sunday lunch in the Watermill at Ings, then we go back to the Hawkshead Brewery for the evening.

It’s £3 to get in which is reasonable, this I assume pays for the disco which we escape from by going upstairs. We have been brave enough to leave the dogs back at the cottage, in the car parked outside, although this is still only a short stroll away.

It’s still a slightly subdued evening and we don’t stay until midnight but I’m not sure we would have done anyway. As is tradition we spend it with Jools Holland on the TV and with the dogs.

Monday we head back down the M6 as I want to be back for the New Year’s Day match but first we stop off near Wigan so that L can do a parkrun and which has a convenient 10:30 start. Sadly after my mishap in Keswick I’m unable to join her.

(Monday 1st January)

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Freak Show

I am back at work on Wednesday, just for two days, but it’s cold and a bit too icy to bike. However it is great driving in which takes just 20 minutes rather than the usual one hour plus. Which means more time snuggling up to L, who isn’t going into work at all this week.

In the evening, we see the Greatest Showman or rather PT Barnum reinvented. To cut a not very well explained story short, Barnum (Hugh Jackman) launches a museum of curiosities with the support of his wife and long time sweetheart Charity (Michelle Williams). This is just the latest in a long list of money making schemes he’s tried. It bombs and even their two daughters point out how dull it is.


Hence he turns it in a circus of ‘freaks’ or rather not so elaborate hoaxes. In which he is aided by the financial clout of Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron) who invests in Barnum’s venture for reasons that aren’t made very clear.

Their circus causes an uproar but a popular one with it’s dwarves, giants, bearded ladies etc. Barnum though soon moves on as promoter to Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson), a famous Swedish singer, whom he persuades to tour America.

His ‘freaks’ freak out when he sidelines them for Lind, as does his wife, but before long Lind has walked out on him too. At this point, in a decidedly modern day twist, the film turns things on it’s head and Barnum becomes a sort of social justice warrior giving jobs and a voice to the world’s minorities.

Carlyle meanwhile is falling in love with Anne (Zendaya) who is one half of a brother and sister trapeze act who happen, not very sensationally, to be black. For our sins they treat us to a dreadful duet.

Yes, the music isn’t great. It’s like being stuck inside a long pop video of an artist you (possibly) hate.

You do feel, as with most musicals, that there is a coherent plot in there somewhere trying to get out but I couldn’t find it. I do like having to google the facts behind a film after having seen it. Just to clarify a few points you know but to have to find out the whole story, that's stretching it a touch and there does appear to have been a cracking story about Barnum but this isn't it.

Sadly it seems the world has learnt little from the success of La La Land and musicals have returned to square one. So I’m with the films own critic (Paul Sparks), who didn’t like Barnum’s show either.

They do say that musicals are escapism and yes, I wanted to escape.

(Wednesday 27th December)

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Christmas Round Up

I work almost all day on the Friday, finally finishing a little early at 3.30pm. L is off all day and we arrange to meet up at the Derby Arena for a joint festive gym session. Then, because I’m in the car, I can drive us both home.

She is a little late, or I’m a little early, and I do face the prospect of doing anything up to 100k killing time on the Watt Bike while I wait for her. After which I’d probably need mouth to mouth resuscitation but it doesn’t come to that. I'm a little disappointed.

On the Saturday we parkrun at Long Eaton but without Daughter, who has been told to rest more and only run once a week due to the injury she’s currently got. Something to do with her gluteal muscles apparently which sounds like a proper athletes injury.

Sunday, which is Christmas Eve, we meet up with L’s folks for a late breakfast at the Cosy Club. This was once the Royal gig venue and it’s odd sitting there with the ghost of Glasvegas, and other bands we saw there, loitering behind us. Son and his gf come over from Leamington for the occasion, armed with presents. The meal is decent, if not spectacular but a definite upgrade on rowdy old Spoons where we went last year and what had become the tradition.

Then it’s Christmas Day and I get my new cog for my track bike as well as a bike computer to see how slow I’m going. Along with loads of beer, wine, whiskey and chocolate. Not a bad haul all be told.

L and Daughter seem equally thrilled and appalled with their dual gifts of a 10k race entry and a taster session at the Velodrome. Along with the usual boots and trainers for L of course. Daughter seems pleased with her new GPS watch, so that she too will be able to see how fast she is going.

Christmas Day drinkies are at the Horse and Jockey again and then we go for our curry at the Haveli in Chilwell. It’s great to do something different even if the menu is a little basic and the price a little steep. I think the 10% service charge was a bit naughty on top of what we thought was an all in price. I'd certainly do it again though, it not there then somewhere else.

On Boxing Day we do the traditional run at the Furnace but this time ending up afterwards at the Nag's Head in Mickleover for post-run drinks as we drop Daughter near her Father’s. Then we head back home where we have my parents around for roast lamb.

Then, that’s it, Christmas over.

(Tuesday 26th December)