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

Sunday, 29 November 2020


Sunday is our third run in the Nottingham Six Pack Challenge, this time it’s the ‘Trentside Trundle 7K’ from Stoke Bardolph. L runs it while I walk with both dogs and she then runs back up the course to meet us. Of course we get lost again but the good news is my knee is at last showing some signs of slight improvement.

A good test of our new TV is the film Possessor which is streamed from Broadway Cinema via Modern Films. It is directed by David Cronenberg’s son Brandon and it certainly shows influences of his father’s work.

Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is employed by a company that offers remote assassinations. Basically they kidnap and drug someone who has access to the person they want to get rid of, imped a microchip in their skull and then allow one of their staff to take control of their mind and body via super-bluetooth (or something). Just like a computer game.

Tasya is the company’s top assassin but she's been working too hard and needs a break from her job. Too many long hours, killed too many people, you know how it is and she’s begun losing touch with own life. She’s so used to being other people, she has to rehearse being herself before she goes home at nights to her husband and son. She isn’t going to get a break though because her boss (Jennifer Jason Leigh) needs her for the biggest job the Company has ever had.

Her next job to take out John Parse (Sean Bean), the CEO of some mega company, along with his daughter Ava (Tuppence Middleton) using her boyfriend Colin Tate (Christopher Abbott) as the weapon of choice, making it look like some massive mental breakdown on Colin’s part. This is at the request of Ava’s step-brother who would gain by inheriting the business.

The assassination is only a partial success as Colin seems resistant to being fully taken over. Ava is killed but Parse escapes. When Tasya attempts to cut her losses and flee by forcing Colin to shoot himself she finds that she can’t make him do it.

Meanwhile a shocked Colin cannot understand why he’s killed his girlfriend or why he is suddenly getting memories of another person life, that of Tasya’s. Confused, he kills a friend of his before tracking down Tasya’s family and confronting her husband at gunpoint, demanding answers he isn't going to get.

Personally, I was disappointed that the film drifted off its more straightforward assassination plot line and into everyone’s weakening grip on reality. Something which vastly accelerated the body count and where it’s not always entirely clear what is going on and who was in control of who.

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Groundhog Day

After the practice sessions with L on Saturday, Daughter makes it up to Nottingham Police HQ on Monday in her new car despite the weather throwing an extra challenge in her way and becoming a little icy. It was difficult enough staying upright walking the boys this morning but then I did have the Lad, which is always a problem.

In the afternoon she has to get down to their training centre in West Bridgford which she also adeptly manages and successfully parks. This might have been four foot from the kerb of course but who’s counting.

On Tuesday, she and some colleagues fail the temperature gun test but they are still allowed at work. Although they wouldn’t have got in the Organ Grinder, the ex-military chap there is very forceful with his gun test. Yet a few days later she has to self isolate for fourteen days after coming into contact with a colleague who has since tested positive.

Steve McClaren is back at Derby for the fifth time. First as a player, then assistant manager, then manager twice and now he’s technical director as Wayne Rooney rakes sole charge of managing the team itself after Derby lose again, staying rooted to the bottom of the league.

Size isn’t everything but we have now gone large and boast a 55 inch TV. Even the Lad approves although the squirrels look much larger and menacing on it.

It is announced that at the end of the current lockdown almost the entire Midlands including the whole of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire will go into Tier 3 but it’s a different Tier 3 to last time. Last month’s Tier 3 is now called Tier 2. We will have shops, hairdressers, and gyms open but no pubs, theatres, cinemas, restaurants, coffee shops or cafes. If your hobby is shopping you’re ok but if it’s anything else you’re basically still locked down.

After another death defying trip to Asda I head over to deliver the shopping to my folks, so we miss our walk with L but the boys seem to forget they’ve missed out on a walk when the ginger biscuits come out.

On Saturday L requests that we watch Groundhog Day which neither of us can remember ever seeing. It is entirely appropriate in these Lockdown times when one day is pretty much like the previous one. The weekends differ from the week slightly in that Sunday is a Groundhog Day of Saturday for us with two consecutive lie-ins until noon. Which is all the Lad’s fault for Groundhog Daying us every morning all week by getting us up pre-dawn.

(Saturday 28th November)

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Cutting Edge

Monday sees visit number three from the Bosch Man, after which the vacuum cleaner still isn’t working. He says he’ll order some more parts and come back. In the evening MD is at the Vets for his annual booster. Due to their Covid rules he has to go in on his own while I have to wait in the street in the cold. I hope he can work the card machine or else they won’t get paid. After that I have another Committee Meeting, which is again held online.

On Tuesday, deciding against Zoom for now, L has her latest virtual meeting at work using WhatsApp with one phone wedged up in between a stapler, recording the meeting on another phone wedged up on a mug. Which, in my experience, is a fairly standard set up. They’re actually more cutting edge than they think.

Meanwhile some workmen have turned up next door to hack down the Amazon Rain Forest that has grown there and which is threatening to scale the fence to invade our own garden. They have quite a job on, so much so that they are at it for two days.

L appears to have left a pear out on the worktop for the Lad. At least he thinks she did, I’m not so sure, but it’s just out of his reach so it’s been quite entertaining watching him try to get it.

On Friday I go into work purely because the car has to go in for it’s MOT and the VW garage is close to work. At least close enough for me to hobble there with my doggy knee. The dogs aren’t happy at me deserting them and I spend most of my day looking at their sad faces on Dog TV.

While L now seems to be getting the hang of Zoom I’m not keen to head over to give my Dad a lesson. Derby County, in their infinite wisdom, have organised a Christmas Party for the Over-85s on Zoom. What could possibly go wrong? I decide I’d rather not find out and thankfully my Dad seems to have forgotten about it.

On Sunday we do the second run in the Nottingham Six Pack Challenge. This one is called the ‘Leaky Hollow 5K’ and is in Cotgrave Country Park formerly famous for the Paws 10k that I ran once with MD. L and Daughter run it with the Lad while I walk it with MD. We all get lost.

(Sunday 22nd November)

Sunday, 15 November 2020

Bonnie And Clyde

After doing our ‘essential’ food shopping at Sainsbury, which was fairly quiet, I discover rather bizarrely that Homebase is still open and they let me buy a totally non-essential paintbrush. This makes me feel like a total criminal but L reassures me that she has been allowed to buy non-essential chocolate biscuits. So basically we’re Bonnie and Clyde, that is... unless everyone’s at it?

The Government announces that Nottingham and Nottinghamshire are among 67 areas that are going to be targeted with mass testing. Each will receive 10,000 test kits which is a bit of a misuse of the word ‘mass’ as that’s just one test for every 30 people in Nottingham. Much less than that in Nottinghamshire. Perhaps it's just for the hypochondriacs and those who don’t mind being told to self-isolate.

This is even though our numbers are now coming down fast but then I suppose you wouldn’t want to mass test somewhere where infections were going up because then you’d find lots of cases which would make the figures look really bad. It's much safer to test somewhere where they’re going down.

I put my illegal paintbrush to use and paint our new bench. L is looking forward to it being finished so that we can sit outside with a glass of wine, in between rain showers. 

Somewhere between doing my usual Sunday 10k with the Lad and Wednesday my knee seems to have completely given up the ghost. It is so bad I’m practically having to crawl up the stairs which is definitely an escalation from the ongoing issue with my knee I had before.

On Friday L comes home from work in the outside world, armed with a mini bottle of Prosecco and asks me to give her a Zoom lesson. I tell her I think we’ll need a bigger bottle.

On Saturday, after their appalling start to the season, Derby sack Phillip Cocu. We’re now all worried that Wayne Rooney will get the job.

Also on Saturday I end up doing a four and half hour shift at work, working from home, that I wasn't planning on doing at a customer's request. At least the overtime will be good.

On Sunday we start the Nottingham Six Pack Challenge, which is six ‘do any time’ runs in local parks that in total add up to a full marathon. Due to my knee injury we start with the shortest which is a 5k jaunt around Bramcote Hills that they call ‘What's Your Poison?’. As I can barely run, L is strapped to the Lad, something I don't think she enjoys. 

‘Barely run’ turns out to be a bit over optimistic and it takes me 45 minutes to hobble round. The Six Pack website warns us of a ‘technical glitch’ with the route on the Rungo App which you use to navigate. The glitch appears to be it not knowing where the finish is.

(Sunday 15th November)

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Make Up

Derby County lose again and slump to bottom of the league. With the pubs closed I can't even go out to drown my sorrows. So we stay in and I rent a moody British film called Make Up which probably doesn't help. It was made in Cornwall and rented through BFI Player\Broadway Cinema.

Young Ruth (Molly Windsor) get more than she bargained for when arrives at a windswept caravan park in St Ives as the season draws to a close. Her boyfriend Tom (Joseph Quinn) works there and the caravan park's manager Shirley (Lisa Palfrey) takes Ruth on as well to assist with the winter maintenance. 

Although initially pleased to be with her boyfriend, things start to go wrong for Ruth when she finds strands of red hair in their bed and lipstick on the caravan’s mirror. With Tom regularly disappearing for long periods, supposedly working, she suspects he is having an affair but she doesn’t know anyone with long red hair. Let alone someone who is seriously moulting. Perhaps he’s secretly hiding a Red Setter or an Afghan hound? When she goes for a shower and hears someone having sex in the next stall, she suspects it's him and his mystery woman. 

With Ruth also seeing things around the park, like things inside caravans that are supposed to be empty, and also confessing she is scared of the sea and cannot swim, there is a sense that something awful is about to happen.

What does happen is she finds a friend in Jade (Stefanie Martini), who is a fellow park resident, and who offers Ruth a makeover. Ruth doesn’t suspect Jade of having designs on Tom but quickly realises that she might have designs on her but initially she’s far from keen.

As the film goes on she cures herself of her fear of the sea and having convinced herself that her boyfriend is cheating on her, cures herself of any qualms she may have had about indulging in a spot of cheating on him with another woman.

It’s an odd film, a relationship drama but one where we never really get to know the main character so never really understand her insecurities or for that matter are convinced enough by her relationship with her boyfriend to care if she runs off with someone else, male or female.

Its plus point is its wonderful atmospheric setting of an out of season caravan park with its motley collection of residents.

Friday, 6 November 2020

Local Legend

Having only just joined Strava I am somewhat surprised to be told that I have already claimed the title of ‘Local Legend’ on the esteemed ‘Meadow Lane to A52 Bridge via Walton Road and Ordish Avenue’ route. Cool title eh? I have bagged this coveted crown because I have ran this 0.7km segment five times in the past 90 days which is more than anyone else but, of course, why would you? However it’s a title, so I’ll take it.

Tuesday brings a triple dose of excitement. First there’s another visit from the Bosch repair man who fixes the vacuum cleaner. I leave it on charge for a few hours, then turn it on and it immediately stops working again. So I call Bosch and the whole cycle starts again.

Then we drive Daughter over to Colwick to collect her car from the garage after she snapped a track rod whilst out rallying.

Finally it’s our last dog training session before Lockdown 2.0 is upon us.

I could have mentioned a quadruple dose of excitement as I stay up late to watch some of the US Election but it immediately becomes clear that this will be a bit of a slow burn as Trump does a lot better than anyone expected.

It does becomes clear over the next few days that he has lost and lost substantially, although he doesn’t see it like that and claims it’s all rigged against him. Funny that as I'd have though if there was any rigging to be done, he’d be behind it.

Lockdown 2.0 starts on Thursday but L's work continues to open as normal. She says this is good for her sanity and mine. Unlike the first lockdown there are plenty of people and cars about with the trams\buses still very busy.

The boys take it all very seriously and stay in bed for most of the day. While with the pubs shut again I go back on the kegs of Lockdown Ale and order ‘Mi’ld man’s a dustman’ a 5.4% mild from Lenton Lane.

On Friday I’m in the office myself as I need to use some of the equipment there. There are six of us in the building, three downstairs and three upstairs. I escape at 4:30 so that I can walk the boys up to meet L from work to ruin her peaceful walk home, something we’ve been doing since the park started shutting early.

Friday is also PC Daughter’s first day in the Police.

(Friday 6th November)

Sunday, 1 November 2020

A Substantial Meal

I wake up fleeing rough on Friday. I’m blaming something I ate, like the last of the week old clotted cream on one of L’s excellent scones.

On Saturday evening we ‘celebrate’ Halloween by watching Nightmare on Elm Street from 1984. It has to be said that the film hasn’t aged well and the acting is truly terrible but it’s still an enjoyable watch. It features Johnny Depp making his film debut, Johnny hasn’t aged well either. Just ask Amber Heard.

On Sunday, the Lad and I head out to run Fix Events' Going Barking Mad Great Global Dog Run 10k Challenge. MD joins us, as usual, for the last kilometre.

Just as we're preparing to support our local pubs in their first weekend of Tier 3, the Government announces that it will also be our last weekend in Tier 3 as a new National lockdown will be introduced from Thursday. Of course we had been told repeatedly that another lockdown wouldn't be necessary, so obviously it was only a matter of time before yet another screeching u-turn happened. The good news is that our Leffe order has arrived, so we're stocked up.

We still head out to support the pubs meaning we need to have a ‘substantial meal’ with our drinks. The Organ Grinder are offering their usual pork pies and sausage rolls but now with salad while the Borlase have their range of pizzas. L is dreading either option.

However when we get there, the Borlase tell us they are closing early due to lack of trade and direct us to the newly reopened Overdraught instead. Now renamed as The Good Fellow George, it is being run by the former landlord of the Borlase and a chap who was formerly a TV star alongside Daughter.

Unfortunately their beer range is dire, with Harvest Pale, Bass and Doom Bar, so I have to opt for keg and Bear Island IPA to get something remotely interested. I sincerely hope this is simply down to the circumstances of their one weekend only opening and not an indication of their long term strategy. If it is, they won’t last long.

The place itself has improved though, it is much more comfortable and they served us an Antipasti of meats, cheese and bread as our substantial meal which was excellent.

Almost at the same time Scribblers have sold the Room With A Brew but new owners have quickly take over, only to also be shut down promptly. 

(Sunday 1st November)

Thursday, 29 October 2020


On Monday I head down to the University labs at QMC because I’ve been invited to take a Covid Antibody test after offering my services in the search for a vaccine. I manage not to faint as they take a sample of my blood. 

Daughter becomes a car owner as she picks up her first car while L and I are quite possibly the first people to do Middleton Primary School’s Pumpkin Trail.

Tuesday sees L fulfilling an ambition to swim in the rain at David Lloyd’s outdoor pool. Each to their own. I can’t say that I share her enthusiasm but I have already swum in the rain a few times, the Sundowner and Outlaw Half Ironman’s spring to mind, they were deeply unpleasant even in a wetsuit.

The rain means that the tennis season has now most definitely officially ended and the Covid ‘rules’ say we can’t move it indoors. I may have to go for a run instead. My opponent assures me that is something he won’t be doing. Each to their own. The rain also means that MD spends all morning sulking because he can’t have the door open.

By Wednesday Daughter has well and truly been welcomed into to car ownership with her first flat tyre. We feel that her driveway has claimed yet another victim and to her credit she now gets her landlord to remove the metalwork at the end of her drive that may have maimed many people's cars. Unfortunately, as is often the way, no one can get her wheel off and a garage will have to be called.

Nottingham, from being top of the Covid infections league, has now plummeted to 22nd and is clearly heading further downwards, yet it is belatedly confirmed that we will be moving into Tier 3 from Friday and the rest of Nottinghamshire will be joining us but not Derby. On the day it records more cases than Nottingham for the first time Derby is only required to go into Tier 2.

(Thursday 29th October)

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Making Things Disappear

Rumours are that Derby will soon be joining us in Tier 2 but, ha ha, they’ll never catch us. We’ll be in Tier 3 by then. 

The Lad has a good week making things disappear. I open a tin of beans, then after I briefly turn my back, I notice that the lid has disappeared off the worktop and is now up the garden. I’m surprised he didn’t cut his tongue given how many times I've spliced my finger on those ring pulls. Then when I lose the cardboard bit from a used toilet roll, there’s no trace at all. I think someone might have eaten it.

On Saturday we have a photo session for the dog club’s annual calendar up at Arleston. It chucks it down with rain during our time slot but the photos are still very impressive.

Our Bosch vacuum cleaner, which we have lent to my Mum and Da, stops working completely. I wonder if they’ll now, finally, take it back.

On Sunday I go for another 1Ok run with the Lad and then settle down to watch the end of the Giro d’Italia. Which finishes with yet another Brit taking a Grand Tour as Tao Geoghegan Hart is the unexpected winner. Just like the Tour de France it was settled on the final time trial but it was a much better race overall.

 (Sunday 25th October)

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Scone Addiction

On Monday I have to go into work because the internet goes down at home. Well actually our phone line is totally dead. There’s an Openreach van parked up the road so I guess that it’s something to do with them.

L puts an old duvet cover at the side of our bed where MD usually lies, to make him more comfortable. He spends the first part of the week avoiding lying in that spot completely, possibly wondering why something has been dumped there. It is only after the Lad has tried it for size that MD grudgingly, at long last, decides to lay on it but he makes a big show of not looking terribly happy about it.

L swims at David Lloyds where today it’s just like John Carroll because it’s just her in the pool. So home from home. However unlike John Carroll, they didn't shut the pool early and chuck her out.

L bakes some scones, to save us from going cold turkey after developing an addiction on holiday, which of course we smoother in jam and clotted cream.

Our internet is back working by Monday evening, so I’m working from home again from Tuesday. Which is also our final tennis game of the season. Although my opponent is a little bit annoyed about having to don full thermals on what is a damp, cold and windy day. To be honest, I expected him to say he was injured. Having unknowingly booked the wettest court, we move to a drier one but then it gets surprisingly busy and we have to change court three times because new people kept turning up, who had somehow been tipped off on how to book the driest courts.

The Brighton Marathon is cancelled. Which is a relief and the first time they have been on the ball enough to cancel early. The new date is now 12th September 2021 which sadly is the same day as the Great North Run. So I will defer instead to April 2022. There’s nothing like booking well in advance. I might even be fit by then.

(Thursday 22nd October)