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

Monday, 28 February 2011

(Almost) Great Things

L has suddenly been struck down by some sort of virus. At first I thought it was some adverse reaction to Yorkshire hills but no it appears to be more of a flue sort of thing. So we didn’t get to celebrate our Huddersfield survival yesterday and she’s not looking too good today either. I step in and do dog duty again.

L stays off work which confuses the dogs, who are a bit shocked to have her at home. That is, in case she ruins their restful day by making them go for a walk or something equally strenuous. They're safe. L alternates her time between the computer and collapsing back into bed. Which these days, I believe, is the typical weekday of choice for a lot of the population although L does at least spend her computer time doing some work. This arrangement also suits the dogs just fine, that’s their sort of day, just without the computer bit.

After all that rest I’ll be expecting great things from MD tonight. Finally we have some dog training to go to, it seems ages since we last did any.

A quick peruse of the Oscars awards doesn’t reveal many surprises. As much as I liked ‘The King’s Speech’, it wasn’t, in my opinion, the best film and Colin Firth wasn’t the best actor but that’s Americans and royalty for you. I’m pleased ‘The Fighter’ got a couple of awards and I’m pleased for our Nat, even if that lithe ballet figure is now carrying a bit of extra weight. Apparently it was one of the choreographers on the set of 'Black Swan' that did it. I don’t mean actually ‘on the set’ but, then again, who knows. They were doing 16-17 hour days.

L’s well enough to check the frocks out (that's not work) and gives the award for the best to my mate Mila.

Yeah perhaps, I did look at the photos but didn’t really look at what they were all wearing.

I get home to find our wheelie bin in a right state, rubbish hanging out of it and all over the floor, whilst the bin itself is still a quarter full. I’d like to say this situation is a one off but it isn’t. I snap a few photos and email them to the council.

MD does indeed turn out to be well rested and is manic at class. That’s no bad thing and he (almost) achieves some great things. We’re still working on them. Doggo doesn’t get to train. Instead he gets a brief ten minutes walk. Time enough to wee n sniff, do his number twos and wee n sniff some more. Most of life’s little pleasures.

(Monday 28th February)

Sunday, 27 February 2011

PW Potential

Our second trip to Huddersfield in less than a week. We drive past the Uni, and therefore get to see it in daylight this time, on the way to the start at the rugby club. Yep, another race.

The Huddersfield 10k starts in the large shadow cast by the Lockwood viaduct, not that there's any sun, and which thankfully they don’t ask us to run over. I’m sure L would have refused anyway, she doesn’t do bridges. I daren't ask about viaducts.

It may not take us a train dodging route over the viaduct but the course is still testing. It is, as advertised, undulating. Bloody undulating. It is a course with considerable PW potential. That’s 'personal worst' by the way.

There are three very challenging (and I’m being polite there) proper Yorkshire hills and several shorter ones. I manage the first with relative ease but struggle on the next two and even resort to a short walk near the top of each, which isn’t going to do much for my time.

They have promised a 'fast' finish and the last mile or so is easier but there’s not enough left in my legs to make it anything like fast.

The marshalling was good but overall I think the organisation could have been a lot better, the start and the finish were both chaotic, and they put out the dreaded mile markers. Which for a 10k is a cardinal sin.

So yes, a PW is achieved and with some ease.

I let L drive home and sulk with the Sunday paper in the passenger seat, which is where I stumbled across an interesting bit of trivia. Apparently today is the 12th anniversary of the last time a Premiership football team fielded an all English line-up, which was Aston Villa by the way in 1999 and they lost.

(Sunday 27th February)

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Something Light Hearted

We have a race tomorrow so what’s tonight’s entertainment... Paul, Yogi, Gnomeo or maybe something light hearted like Animal Kingdom? Hmmm. I’ll ponder... whilst I suffer the football.

Well actually, Derby for once win a game. Not sure how that happened. Last time I looked the team had given up, the manager had given up, the crowd had given up and as for the board... I’m not sure they’ve ever been that interested.

I feel kind of sorry for our manager, who keeps tinkering with a team, he can’t add to, hoping to stumble across something that works. Well perhaps he stumbled in the right direction today or perhaps we’ve just found someone worse than us.

As it happens L and Daughter go see the legendary Gnomeo in the afternoon and in the evening we decide on ‘The Fighter’.

You can't say that Marky Mark isn't diverse. From the ‘Funky Bunch’ to Calvin Klein underwear to ‘Boogie Nights’ and an acting career. Now Mark Wahlberg is even producing films and in the case of ‘The Fighter’ both starring in them as well as producing.

‘The Fighter’ is actually based on a true story. It is the tale of ‘Irish’ Micky Ward (Wahlberg) a fighter trying to make a go of it in the ring. One of his coaches is his half-brother, Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale). Dicky was a boxer himself in the 1970’s and 80’s. His main claim to fame being his 1978 bout with Sugar Ray Leonard which made him somewhat of a local legend. Dicky still tells the tale of that fight, over and over again, where he knocked down Sugar Ray. Even though Sugar Ray may have tripped... and went on to win the fight.

Now years on, Eklund is being followed by a film crew, who he believes are making a documentary about his possible boxing comeback. In truth though, Dicky is now a shadow of his former self and the film crew are more interested in his drug addiction.

This habit makes Dicky an unreliable coach and he’s always late for training sessions. Micky’s manager would probably fire him; that is if his manager wasn’t his domineering mother Alice (Melissa Leo). Dicky and Alice organise all Micky’s fights for him but things have not gone well recently. Micky has become known simply as a stepping stone for other boxers on their way up to better fights.

The opening of the film is slightly annoying as we are introduced to the close knit but slightly dysfunctional family headed by the overbearing mother and with half a dozen or so even more annoying sisters. Once the film gets going though, it’s rather good.

After losing four consecutive bouts and being pushed, by Alice and Dicky because they all needed the money, into an unwinnable fight against a fighter from a higher weight division, Micky come to a realisation. He has tried to remain loyal to his family but it is costing him his career. They are holding him back and he knows it. If he wants to get anywhere in the boxing world, something needs to change.

When Micky hooks up with local barmaid Charlene (Amy Adams), she gives him the impetuous to do it and helps him pull free from his suffocating family. Which, of course, they don't thank her for. Adams is way out of her usual comfort zone in this film, this being a far more serious role than anything I’ve seen her do before and she does brilliantly.

When Dicky winds up in jail, both brothers eventually start to get their respective acts together. Dicky finally kicks the drug habit while Micky gets new management involved and starts boxing again. Mickey O'Keefe is now his sole coach. O'Keefe is a sergeant in the Police and in real life was the mentor of Micky Ward. O'Keefe plays himself, as in fact does Sugar Ray Leonard, who has a small part.

Micky moves up the ranks but still there in the background are his family, his brother still offering advice even from his prison cell. Then Micky gets a shot at the World Welterweight title against Shea Neary. Problem is, with Dicky now released from prison, can he reconcile his family with his girlfriend and his coach and get everyone on side for the biggest fight of his life?

Underneath it all Dicky turns out to be a nice guy, someone you'd actually want in your corner. Though, I’m still not sure about the mother. I didn't really know Melissa Leo before this. Her character is so annoying Leo must have done a really good job.

The cast are the real strength of this film, in which Bale is outstanding. It is much more than just a film about boxing and the main 'fighting’ take place not in the ring but outside it. Another good film, in a good year so far.

(Saturday 26th February)

Friday, 25 February 2011


I take the dogs out again this morning and L will be pleased to know one of them was a bit gobby. So he doesn’t just save it for her.

L was at the gym, where she is convinced that someone has been going around tightening the treadmills. Sabotage? I’m not sure that I understand what she means.

She says they’ve become harder to run on. Perhaps she’s just having a mini fitness crisis. Me too! I think we’re both still reeling from our Sleaford ‘training’ run. I did consider running myself this morning but I wasn't sure that the old legs would have been up for it. It must have been all that Lincolnshire mud.

It is Derby’s Winter Beer Festival tonight, which has been moved to the Roundhouse College from it's old home in the Darwin Suite of the Assembly Rooms.

I go straight from work and arrange to meet L inside. The Roundhouse is a good venue for a beer festival except for the fact that with it being round in shape there are no corners to slump in after you’ve had too many 8%ers.

According to the beer list there’s an 11%er from Burton Bridge. L likes to start with a good one, perhaps I’ll get her one in. Then again, perhaps we best leave that until last.

I’m 2-0 up by the time L arrives but she soon sets about reducing the deficit. Good job she eased herself back in with a glass of wine the other night after going temporarily teetotal after Scotland.

My father pops down to join us, except he can’t get in. It’s only just after 8.00 and the venue is full. Instead we talk through the iron railings. If you’ve ever been to the Roundhouse, it's a bit like a prison with its high fences and security controlled gates. Presumably its all to stop the students escaping. Good to see the college is taking education seriously. It’s a shame he can’t get in but good for his wallet. Its £5 to get in and no reduction for OAP’s, yet if you’re under 26 you get in free.

We leave just after 9.30 because the beer range is already starting to reduce alarmingly quickly. If you were planning to come down Saturday... sorry, we drank all the good stuff.

(Friday 25th February)

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Such A Thing As A Free Lunch

I have a very pleasant morning on dog duty with Doggo and the one L calls the vicious brute. The park was open, which was a pleasant shock, and we had it to ourselves. So VB had a wild time chasing imaginary squirrels and birds, with the occasional bit of foot biting which forced me to throw a stick for him. Meanwhile Doggo did Doggo sort of things. Sniff, sniff, sniff etc etc. Doggo got his nose out of a molehill long enough to try to take a stick off VB who wouldn’t let him have it and Doggo, the old git, couldn’t catch him. There were plenty of other sticks but of course he only wanted the one VB had or perhaps, maybe, they were simply playing together. Awwww.

VB did manage to get a few vicious barks in on the way back, so his ears are now a little sore where I reprimanded him.

As I drive to work and around the corner into Pride Park I’m greeted by the sight of two horses grazing on the grass verge. Hmmm. Closer inspection shows there is a gypsy infestation in Toys r Us car park. The owners seem to have locked the gates to keep everyone else out, unless it's to keep the gypsies in. Bad call though. It’s half term, they should have just left the car park open as usual. Loads of parents and their screaming kids arriving to shop, whilst poking the horses on the way past, would soon have convinced them to move on.

I have a pub lunch but only a liquid one because there’s been a meeting on at work e.g. loads of leftovers and there’s no such thing as a free lunch... except when there is.

My second committee meeting at the dog club tonight and I arrive armed with enough ammunition to cause quite a stir, with requests for plenty of changes to the format of our summer show. I don’t expect revolution. Revolutions take time but I do get a few of my proposals passed.

L has a nice hot chilli ready for when I get home, but hopefully not made with Infinity Chillies, hotter apparently than chillies used in warfare. Not that I knew chillies were used in warfare until I read that!

(Thursday 24th February)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Extinguish All Hope

A day out and a trip up to Newcastle for Northumbria Uni with Daughter. Northumbria was born out of Newcastle Polytechnic in 1992 and, as folklore has it, was originally going to be called the City University of Newcastle upon Tyne. However, concerns over the new name's initials saw the name University of Northumbria selected instead.

Nice uni, nice accommodation. The course to me sounds good too, not that I know anything about it, but the woman who gives the talk on it tries to make it sound as boring as possible. At four applications for each place they’re perhaps trying to put a few off. We leave just after 2pm and need to be in Huddersfield for 5pm. Do-able but an half an hour traffic jam in Newcastle doesn’t help and then an hour+ hold-up on the M62 extinguishes all hope. We arrive a mere 90 minutes late. Not a problem... we tag on to the end of a passing tour which is a smooth move but then we end up in the wrong talk, although it’s mostly relevant it’s still the wrong one.

Again the person taking the talk has the wrong idea, it’s like being in a lesson and she tries to sell the subject to us. Shouldn't she be selling the Uni to us? Everyone has already selected their subject.

It's a long, hard day with lots of motorway miles but still very interesting.

(Wednesday 23rd February)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Bigger Uglier Picture

I feel a bit ill, another cold perhaps. I don’t understand this; I don’t have one for around ten years and then suddenly get several in one winter. It’s not on really. Who do I complain to? I decide to cancel my planned run but then after getting up, I start to feel a bit more human. Making myself ill-er might stuff my performance at Huddersfield on Sunday, if we’re in it, but then again the ‘undulating’ course will probably do that anyway. I need to think of the bigger, uglier picture, e.g. the Reading Half Marathon next month.

So I run and it’s a horrible run but I did it all and didn’t feel too unwell at the end of it. Problem is now that I’ve left my car five miles away, so I need to run back to it as well.

You’re never too old. Even 83 year olds drink Jagerbombs.

I survive the run back to the car, which is at my parent’s house because there’s a football match tonight.

It’s a much improved performance but with the same result, which doesn’t bode well. We actually had several shots on target second half, more than we’ve probably had since Christmas, even if you add all the games together. We were for once the better side but still we lost the game.

In the end an injury to our goalkeeper cost us the game, as our nineteen year old substitute keeper misjudged a corner. Too much cost cutting you see, we no longer have an experienced reserve keeper.

We’ve had a call from Huddersfield. I'm afraid we're in. Oh goodie.

(Tuesday 22nd February)

Monday, 21 February 2011

Immortal Words

I get a great message from L, who is leafing through YouTube looking up her new favourite Feeder track which is ‘Insomnia’. Hardly new I know, well, I guess it was 12 years ago.

OMG he was so young and Taka Daal (I’ll have words later) was blonde and slim.

We were all young in 1999, even me, though never blonde.

We have a 10k on Sunday in Huddersfield, only they don’t seem to want us. Either that or yet another item of post has gone missing because we haven’t received our numbers yet. I imagine they’re at the house on the next street with the same house number as ours. We currently have three letters of theirs to pass on, so I imagine they must have a similar quantity of ours.

Might be a good thing really, I’ve been reading horror stories about the course. Last year lots of people uttered those immortal words ‘never again’. This one is actually described as ‘undulating (Yorkshire style)’. So I guess if Barnsley was classed as ‘fairly flat’ then ‘undulating’ translates as ‘bloody hilly’.

Later I pick L up from a night out in Derby and take her home to see my exciting new purchase. We have a new kettle and it lights up, it's so exciting. It’s the small things in life that make a difference.

(Monday 21st February)

Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Coldest Place On Earth

I don’t recall much enjoying last year’s Sleaford Half Marathon but there’s little else on this weekend and I needed something to remind me of what a half marathon felt like. L assured me there was no way she’d be joining me in running it, which was fine. Not even when they sent out an email reassuring everybody that they’d replaced the two mile cross country section with ‘just one mile of good quality farm track'. Remember those words. Anyhow L was unmoved; she even said she liked the off road bit. So her response remained the same. No. No way.

So here I am, on the start line, back at the site of my first ever half marathon, in Sleaford, the coldest most desolate place on earth. It can’t be a coincidence that for two years running they supply the iciest, coldest wind you’ll ever find on the most open sports field you’ll ever be asked to run across.

Obviously here with me is L, on the start line, with a number pinned to her chest. Suddenly whilst we were in Scotland she changed her mind. Can’t face being outdone I reckon.

We start and despite starting nowhere near the front the pace is horrifyingly quick. First mile, 6.45. Too quick. It’s everyone else’s fault because they all sprinted away from me. I was worried about getting left behind and ending up last. Second mile, 7.10. Still too quick. By mile three, I’m over 7.30 pace and I don’t see it again, save for an incorrectly placed mile marker. Mile ten was well short.

I was also surprised at how much off road there was, I don’t recall there being this much last year and this year there’s supposed to be less. We don’t see any tarmac until after four miles. The ‘good quality farm track’ is as muddy and as treacherous as last year’s not good quality one. Improved route? No.

Apparently it takes us past the famous Temple Bruer... not that I knew what that was but it was in the farm yard we passed through. At the time I was distracted by a van full of barking dogs and didn’t see it. Though it should have been quite obvious as it looked like this...

It’s a horrid run. I can’t get back anywhere near 7.30 pace, the timing chip chews up my ankle and I have blisters on the soles of both feet. I even turn the jelly babies down, I nearly choked on one last year and the way things were going today, it would probably have finished me off. Death by jelly baby, what a way to go.

Whilst I finish three minutes slower than last year, L is three minutes quicker. I’m in awe.

There’s no massage this year but there is very welcome hot tea. It’s so cold I eschew the supplied bottled water; they’d probably be ice floating in it anyway and go for the hot tea. The goody bag is fairly good and the t-shirt again decent. It’s the same as last year only white not black.

Looking back now, I was actually ahead of last year pace until 10 miles. So perhaps I was being too ambitious or perhaps I should simply have done some training or at least more than I did.

So I’ve reminded myself of how a half marathon feels and it’s not pleasant. Twice is as often as I’ll usually do an event and I think it’s time to move on here.

In the evening, more cinema. Thankfully there are still some quality films around to save me from the likes of Gnomeo... Paul... and Yogi... Yep, they’ve made a film about Yogi Bear. Yogi, Paul and Gnomeo... if that was the name of a band, they’d win a BRIT award for sure.

Quality films such as ‘True Grit’ remade by the Coen Brothers, which becomes the second remake I've seen this year and it’s only February. I hate remakes almost as much as I hate sequels. The Coens have attempted to justify their new film by saying they wanted to 'go back to the source material' of Charlie Portis' novel and do a more faithful adaptation rather than a remake of the 1969 film starring John Wayne. Which I think was a pretty good film first time around... wasn't it? It’s just a hazy memory and I haven’t read the book either, unlike L who took it to Scotland on holiday with us.

The Great Lebowski himself, Jeff Bridges, plays Rooster Cogburn and Matt Damon is Texas Ranger ‘La Beef’ or LaBoeuf even. The undoubted star though is young Hailee Steinfeld, who is outstanding as a headstrong teenager, 14-year-old Mattie Ross. A stubborn girl who will stop at nothing to revenge her father's death. Not difficult casting though, just get a stubborn teenager to play a stubborn teenager, there's plenty around.

As she continually proves throughout the film she is well capable of taking care of herself, except perhaps when guns are involved. In her pursuit of the man who murdered her father, Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), she seeks out Cogburn. Cogburn is a Federal Marshall with a reputation for not bringing in his prisoners alive, which endears him to Mattie. Unfortunately he is as equally effective at getting drunk as he is at killing.

I have a problem with one aspect of Rooster. At times you need subtitles to understand what he’s saying because his rambling is totally incoherent at times. The Coen's are big on accents, so I've no doubt they got the accent they wanted but when you add in that he’s a drunk as well... subtitles please. That's not something I usually say. I’m not into subtitles, despite the fact our new TV at home seems to automatically default to subtitles being on or so it would appear, at least after Daughter’s been using it. The young are so hard of hearing these days.

Beefy too is looking for Chaney but for another crime he committed, so he and Cogburn team up and set off in pursuit but refuse to take a ‘girl’ into Indian territory. Mattie is having none of that and she chases them down. They reluctantly accept her and set off across terrain where it always seems to be snowing, just like Sheffield.

Cogburn’s general behaviour and particularly his drinking soon cause Mattie to lose faith in him. She is right to be disillusioned as the trail to finding Chaney goes cold and only by chance do they eventually find him.

The film is actually a bit simple for the Coens. You keep looking for the hidden meanings but there aren't any. It’s just a straightforward, decent film and it’s much funnier than I expected. Rooster even turns out to be a bit of a hero in the end.

Good film but... I'm still not sure why they made it.

(Sunday 20th February)

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Land Of The Farmers

Today is part one of our UK tour visiting Daughter’s prospective universities. Well, UK is perhaps a bit over the top, it’s mainly Yorkshire or as Daughter now, not quite accurately, puts it ‘the land of the farmers’. Apparently I didn’t tell her three out of the five were in Yorkshire and of course they don’t do Geography at school these days.

First up, Sheffield Hallam, where it’s snowing. Which is nice but doesn’t help disperse the image of us being in the back of beyond. The university seems ok, although it’s not the main city campus but the course appears interesting. Well it does to me but I’m not the one studying. The accommodation is wonderful, certainly not back of beyond stuff and not a tractor in sight. Just the Leadmill (next door!), the Academy, the Plug, dozens of bars, the city centre... L and I are sorely tempted to take one of those cosy rooms and send Daughter elsewhere.

We stay in tonight, another bloody race tomorrow and I watch day two of the cycling. The highlight obviously is Chris Hoy’s convincing victory in the Keirin but the 'entertainment' comes in the carnage that unfolds behind him as the other five riders all fall.

A race to the line involving the walking wounded ensued, mainly on foot not bike, in an attempt to gain valuable Olympic qualification points.

Malaysian rider Azizulhasni Awang is helped back onto his bike by his coach and carries on to win bronze. Neither he, not his coach, noticed that his calf had been impaled on a 20cm ‘splinter’ of wood from the track. Ugh.

After crossing the line he was stretchered away and was unable to receive his bronze medal on the podium. Apparently the medics left it in all night, ugh again, and removed it the next morning.

(Saturday 19th February)

Friday, 18 February 2011

Up The Blondes

L goes into work for a few hours whilst I take the dogs for a game of footie on the park. When I drive up to meet her later I notice that there is a lad on almost every road junction wearing a pizza box. There’s nothing unusual in that actually but they all seem to have scarves over faces and some even have balaclavas. Sinister.

We collect my parents and head up to Manchester for the Track Cycling. I’ve thought for some time that my father would enjoy a day out at the cycling, although it’ll be exhausting for me explaining all the various different competitions. What I didn’t expect was my mother to be so keen to join us. The more the merrier.

It’s an exciting days racing but a long one, especially for my parents, we don’t drop them back at home until 1.30am. It doesn’t help that they decide to close the velodrome between the day and evening sessions this year, evicting all the supporters into an area of Manchester where there is nothing to see or do except go to Asda for tea. Unfortunately Asda are yet again woefully unprepared for the deluge of hungry cycling fans. This event has been on the calendar for many a year now, so you’d have thought they’d have got the hang of it by now.

As for the cycling, the Women’s Pursuit Team go very close to the world record in winning Great Britain's first gold medal of the weekend.

Sarah Storey, Wendy Houvenaghel and Joanna Rowsell

Then Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny clash in an all-British semi-final in the sprint and Kenny impressively defeats Hoy. Unfortunately Frenchman Kevin Sireau has too much for Kenny in the final. Hoy recovers to take bronze.

Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny

Geraint Thomas gets the crowd going in the individual pursuit final, storms off into a huge lead over his opponent Australia’s Rohan Dennis and is on course for a world record... Unfortunately he’s gone off too fast, fades and Dennis overhauls him with only a few laps to go.

We’re still hungry 4 Vicky’ proclaims a banner, they’re referring to Victoria Pendleton of course, who with Shanaze Reade makes up our potential Olympic sprint team pairing. I’m not sure about Vicky myself, so let’s talk about two young blondes instead. Pendleton and Reade are surprisingly under par and only qualify eighth, and are soundly beaten by our other British pairing of Jess Varnish and Becky James, who qualify fourth quickest and get to race for bronze. Yay, up the blondes. Unfortunately they lose to France.

Jess Varnish

We nearly didn’t stay for the last event, the third part of the Omnium, cycling answer to athletics’ decathlon but with six events. In the elimination race, last place is knocked out every two laps and it was well worth staying for. It’s one thing trying to stay in the lead of a race, quite another to avoid being last. The whole idea was an accident waiting to happen, which thankfully didn’t happen, but was great to watch. With two left GB’s Ben Swift was still there before finally being beaten into second place on the last lap.

Now just for the long drive home.

(Friday 18th February)

Thursday, 17 February 2011

A Right Couple Of Groupies

L heads out early this morning for a run. Don’t how she managed it but she did. I’m impressed. It’s a dog free run of course, so I’m stuck with Doggo and Groucho. Actually it’s a pleasure to go for a walk in such angelic company. Kind of.

Tonight, Feeder for the second time in four days. We’re in Leamington Spa, which is a very pleasant old town. So nice in fact, that it makes you wonder why they let the students invade. The venue is called ‘The Assembly’, which opened its doors as a concert venue only in 2008 after a multi-million pound redevelopment that was designed by Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen but we won't hold that against it.

Originally built in 1926, and called The Bath Assembly Hall, it was the place to go for your Foxtrot, your Waltz or your Quickstep. I only half know what they are, I read it on their website. It was later renamed ‘The Palais de Danseand’ and claims to have invented ‘The Palais Glide’. Now I’ve heard of that. We always referred to doing the ‘The Palais Glide’ when we pogo-ed around to assorted new wave tracks at Student Night at the Nottingham Palais in the mid 1980’s but I’ve no idea where we heard the term.

Like a lot of old dance halls and theatres it had most recently been a bingo hall. It’s good to see it now being put to better use, although it seems very quiet tonight compared with Rock City on Monday, although also sold out.

Love Amongst Ruin are first to take to the salubrious Art-Deco surroundings. Love Amongst Ruin were founded by Steve Hewitt, former drummer and songwriter with Placebo. He has teamed up with Julian Cope’s former right hand man Donald Ross Skinner, so this five-piece has something going for it already and interest for me.

The results, however, are nothing like Placebo or Cope’s music for that matter. Their sound is quite heavy, the songs quite sad or perhaps it’s just that Hewitt has a sad anguished sort of face.

Their cover of Thin Lizzy's ‘Got To Give It Up’ is dedicated to the deceased Lynott and Moore and no longer to ‘an ex-friend of mine’ he tells us. Oooh is that a dig at his former band? He was sacked from Placebo. That it is their best moment perhaps isn't surprising.

Hewitt refers to ‘the mighty Feeder’ after every song. I’m not sure if he’s trying to be ironic or not. I mean Placebo were pretty big themselves.

When they finish with a track called ‘Home’ I wonder if there could be some kind of weird symmetry about to happen here...

And so it proves as Feeder tonight open with ‘Home’. 'Home' makes a good opener. In fact I would go as far to say it sounds better there. Then I realise I owe apologises to ‘Insomnia’, which I dissed a bit on Monday. It was deadly tonight.

A change of opener isn’t the only flirtation with the set list tonight. Shock horror. Feeder shuffle set list. A bit. ‘This Town’ and ‘Sentimental’ swap positions, which is daring stuff for Feeder. Who says they don’t vary the set list enough? Oh yeah. It was me wasn’t it.

Grant aborts ‘Feeling A Moment’ and then restarts it. Not totally sure why, it sounded ok first time to me.

‘Renegades’ is again ace but then I reckon the sound is really good here, better than Rock City even but my partner disagree. So perhaps it’s just me. It’s a good venue though with a really high stage.

There are shouts again from the crowd for ‘Turn’, maybe one day.

Of the singles, ‘Seven Days In The Sun’ again stands out. ‘Buck Rogers’, which precedes it, again gets worked over by its bigger brasher ‘Echo Park’ brother.

There’s good news in that ‘White Lines’ is back; it has been missed and is the best of the ‘Renegades’ stuff tonight. Then Grant announces ‘one for the old school....’ which is only ‘High’, of course.

The encore remains the same. I reckon ‘Tumble And Fall’ is in to show off Damon’s drumming. He does do a great intro to it. He is again resplendent in shorts and something that looks like a dog collar but not much else.

At the end after another cracking rendition of ‘Breed’, L catches a plectrum and I, finally, after 25 years of trying, get a drum stick. What a pair of groupies.

(Thursday 17th February)

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Not Off The Hook

I finally get chance to get the bike out today. A pleasant ride in during which I managed to stay awake despite a disrupted night. L questions whether I fell off on the ice? Can’t say I even noticed any. A touch of frost that’s all. The pavements did look worse.

Which is where L and the boys collided with a cyclist, who was avoiding the 'icy' roads. Hmmm. Any old excuse. MD was too busy to give him a damn good telling off because someone with a suitcase on wheels was also trying to dodge the cyclist and obviously he went for the suitcase. Poor MD, what a decision to have to make. Cyclist or Suitcase?

L delightedly tells me that ‘Gnomeo and Juliet’ is out.

Obviously the likes of ‘The King’s Speech’, ‘Black Swan’, ‘The Social Network’ etc needn’t bother writing their acceptance speeches for the Oscars because Gnomeo’s coming to sweep the board. What do mean they’re too late to get nominated? Shameful.

L might even be at the cinema with Daughter tonight to see it... hopefully. That’ll get me off the hook.

Seems I should have been out in the pub tonight with a couple of old school friends, because I get a text saying they are in our usual watering hole waiting for me... and I’m on the squash court. There’s obviously been a breakdown in communications somewhere. I wasn’t aware I could have been in the pub instead.

L’s had a bad gym session and is off home to unpick her knitting... yes, I have a girl who knits, though thankfully not in the cinema like Daughter.

It must have been a really bad gym session. Probably almost as bad as my squash session. If I’d got knitting to unpick, I’d be unpicking it right now.

Damn, if she’s unpicking knitting it would appear that they’re not doing the cinema tonight after all and that means I’m no longer off the hook as far as Gnomeo is concerned.

(Wednesday 16th February)

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A Lesson In Common Sense

On the radio this morning is a chap who L and I have both raced in triathlons. He is spreading the tale of how he took up triathlon, got fit and lost weight. A quick google tells me radio it’s the only place he’s put himself about, he’s been in several newspapers, even national ones like the Daily Mail. Now apparently he’s a qualified triathlon coach. Well if he can do it, so can I. Not triathlon though... all that swimming. Ugh.

So hopefully my city council coaching course will be on tonight. This is the third time they’ve tried to schedule ‘Disability Awareness’.

This week’s shopping challenge - Cider Vinegar. Doubt it’ll be with the cider, although you never know. It should be, perhaps, with the vinegar but I’m taking nothing for granted, it could be somewhere else entirely...

‘Disability Awareness’, which I figure is something I need to know about, is on. Although, they ring round because they’re struggling for numbers. I was only their third positive response...

In the end there are seven of us and there we get up to all sort of high jinks. Being blind, mute, deaf, being wheelchair bound etc. They condense down a five hour course into three hours for us. It's a good job they did, it is really just a course in common sense and we don’t really learn much new. Apparently council employees have to sit through this every two years. Blimey.

(Tuesday 15th February)

Monday, 14 February 2011

Panic Stations

Panic stations. I have a half marathon on Sunday, so need to top load some training this week. I ran yesterday and get up early today to run the last four miles to work. Having now finished ‘The Firm’ I had to run to music. It went well until a desperate call of nature with about half a mile to go, you don’t need details but, it totally ruined my pace.

L meanwhile sends me an email about April’s Derby 10k which has the word ‘seriously’ in it. Blimey. Must be, for want of a better word, serious.

I intend to do another four or five miles on the way home, so naturally it chucks it down at 5pm. Soon passes though and eventually I get my run.

I get home socialise with the dogs for a bit then collect L from work. I escort her down to Rock City for a romantic Valentine’s Day evening.

Is there something going on between Morning Parade and Feeder. The only other time I’ve seen Morning Parade is supporting Feeder (playing as Renegades) in Sheffield last year. The Essex boys, lead by a man called Sparrow, Steve Sparrow, seem to have honed their sound since then and have become the ‘next big thing’ or one of them. Probably the kiss of death really.

They have a range of styles but seem to have cut back on the keyboards a touch and the guitars are a bit more prominent tonight, although some of their tracks do still border on dance rhythms. Technically they are a very capable band but for a new band they come over as perhaps a bit too polished. Lacking in rough edges if you like, this oddly makes them less interesting.

Their new single ‘A&E’ is a good example; it’s powerful and catchy but still lacking in a certain something. They’re certainly not sparing in the effort they put in but after forty minutes of them, it feels like overkill and I’m ready for the main event.

Enthused by the re-emergence of 'Yesterday Went Too Soon' and latterly 'My Perfect Day' on the last tour before Christmas, together with Taka twittering that some 'Silent Cry' stuff could appear on this tour and also Grant appearing to be up for playing something like 'Turn' after it got requested last year, once they'd practiced it, made this a tour not to be missed. So tickets were purchased for two gigs, my home town Nottingham and for Son's university abode of Leamington. So, all set up for disappointment then.

Feeder are without doubt a brilliant live band, one of the best, but also, sadly, one of the most predictable. So it actually kind of looked promising when a roadie came out a few minutes before showtime and started manually altering the setlist with a pencil. Indecision in the ranks? Perhaps they'd suddenly remembered something and were about to revive one of the many underperformed classics they have buried in their hugely impressive back catalogue.

As the ‘The Good, The Bad And The Ugly’ fades out we soon find out what the alteration was. Fears 'Barking Dogs' may have barked its last are unfounded as it is reinstated as the show opener after giving way to ‘Home’ for most of the tour dates so far. This, in fact, transpires as a bonus for the Nottingham public, as ‘Home’, a particular favourite of mine, still appears later in the set.

'Insomnia' is next, still a belter, although I thought a little off colour tonight. Perhaps it needs a holiday. They could always play one of the other belters from the same album.

Did I mention Feeder were a bit predictable... The first ten tracks arrive in exactly the same order as this did during the last tour back in October. So no freshening up there then. Five of those are ‘Renegades’ tracks, tracks which continue to sound great live, and the crowd do seem to appreciate them. There are no substitutions for ‘Silent Cry’ tracks, which would have made no difference to the majority of the crowd who probably haven't got either album.

Buried in amongst them are some of the hits from the ‘Comfort In Sound’ and ‘Pushing The Senses’ eras, odd bed fellows amongst the likes of ‘This Town’, for which Taka’s heavy bass reverberates across the floor towards us.

We do have a change behind the drum kit. Karl Brazil has gone AWOL, or rather he’s on tour with James Blunt, who apparently gets first call and probably, no offence guys, pays more. His replacement is session drummer, Damon Wilson and he's seems to mean business with his shirt off from the start. In fact, if anything, he possibly tries too hard at times. I just hope he’s got a good supply of the free water, like we have. Saves paying £4 a pint.

'Seven Days In The Sun' finally breaks the familiar sequence and makes it into the main set, which means at least the encore has been refreshed. Grant likes his teasing intros and seems to be introducing them to most tracks these days... ‘Buck Rogers’... ‘Renegades’... ‘Seven Days’ has one of the best. ‘Come Back Around’ follows and deserves a mention for sounding particularly awesome tonight.

The only ‘Renegades’ track to go out is 'White Lines', back in comes 'We Can't Rewind', which must surely be a family favourite or something. It’s the only old non-single they seem to play.

'High' which often flits in and out of the sets, is in on this tour. I’ve not actually heard ‘High’ for ages, so it’s good to hear it tonight.

The refreshed encore kicks off with (holds head in hands) ‘Tumble And Fall’. An oldie, true but not an inspired one. Then, nicely, a new track called 'Borders'. Which sounds, ironically, kind of 'Silent Cry' era-ish if you ask me...

The obligatory ‘Just A Day’ is followed by a terrific cover of Nirvana’s ‘Breed’. Obviously a personal favourite of Mr Nicholas’s but still obviously not a patch on how a certain underperformed classic from the first album used to close sets.

So no 'Yesterday Went Too Soon' or 'My Perfect Day' then but still a nine out of ten gig, with brownie points included for a decent t-shirt. Not enough bands do a tour t-shirt complete with dates these days, so that was enthusiastically purchased. See you in Leamington and, Grant, you know what you have to do for a ten.

(Monday 14th February)

Sunday, 13 February 2011

The End Of A Cultured Week

L outdoes me this morning and runs, whilst I lounge in bed. Though she returns later with the Sunday paper and coffee. Bless her.

After I’ve exercised the boys, I get my own back and run myself. Predominately with the aim of finishing my latest audio book, John Grisham’s ‘The Firm’, which we’ve both been gripped by on the journey to and from Scotland.

To finish it I’m forced to not only lap the outside of the park, my original aim, but also the inside as well. Knackered afterwards but it’s done now. Another book read, well listened to. This rounded off a cultured week. We watched three films last week including Grisham’s ‘The Pelican Brief’.

We both enjoyed it immensely on audio but knew that casting Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington in the lead roles was miscasting of the highest order and so it proved. The director also clearly failed to get his head around the intricate plot surrounding the story. Disappointing, as expected. It also oddly came on a DVD that we had to turn over half way through, never had to do that before.

The ‘Memory Keeper’s Daughter’ was much better.

About a chap whose wife had twins, one of which is disabled and he gives it away whilst not telling his wife she’d even had twins. He keeps the secret until he dies, at which point his by then ex-wife finds out. Implausible and I didn’t expect much but it was actually quite good.

Then there was the original 1947 version of ‘Brighton Rock’.

It was good, Richard Attenborough was excellent, although I found the whole thing a bit confusing. All that darkness perhaps. Anyhow that brings me onto tonight’s cinema trip.

I hate remakes of anything and a remake of a film that is highly regarded as a classic of its time, such as ‘Brighton Rock’, should really be avoided at all costs. I haven’t, shamefully, read Graham Greene's book, nor had I, until last week, seen the original 1947 film and perhaps that is why I rather liked this remake.

The book and the film were set in the 1930’s but this remake by Rowan Joffe has shifted the action to 1964 and makes a few slight plot changes. This was bound to upset the purists, just like modernized versions of Shakespeare do but I kind of like those too. Personally I think if you're going to do a remake, at least do something a bit different with it. Straight copies are pointless.

So out goes the mob era and in comes a backdrop out of Quadrophenia. e.g. mods on mopeds on Brighton promenade, only it’s not. We had to go see this film because 1960’s Brighton has been recreated in Eastbourne and we were there when they filmed it. The dogs, well one particular dog, barked all the way through the filming, so there we sit in the cinema straining our ears trying to see if they’ve edited him out or not.

In this version, we get more of an intro and a bit more background to the characters. Not that this makes any different to the likeability of teenage sociopath and wannabe gangster, Pinkie Brown. Richard Attenborough was brilliantly sinister as Pinkie in the original, here Sam Riley (you know Ian Curtis) takes on the scowl but somehow he doesn’t seem as menacing as Attenborough. He's more moody teenager with an attitude problem than a gangster. The effect is much the same though. We feel zero sympathy for his character. Not that we feel any either for Rose (Andrea Riseborough), the nice Catholic waitress who falls for this moody Catholic thug.

Pinkie has murdered ‘Fred’ Hale, a man from a rival gang, and is prepared to cover his tracks by any means necessary. Rose is a potential witness to his crime, so in a bid to shut her up he pushes her into a sham relationship with him. Romancing her is not hard, the poor deluded girl immediately falls for him, hook, line and sinker even though he ignores her most of the time. What does she see him? Though suppose that’s a question we often ask ourselves of people today.

An explanation of sorts is offered when they visit the tower block where Rose lives. A tower block that looks very rundown, particularly considering tower blocks were a bright new idea in the 60’s. Rose lives with her father, a man who is as controlling as Pinkie is. So at least she’ll feel at home with him. Pinkie barters with her father for her hand in marriage, which will prevent her being forced to testify against him until he can find the moment to dispense with her permanently. In the end her father effectively sells her for £150.

Amidst all these crazy Catholics comes the level headed Ida Arnold (Helen Mirren) who is determined to unearth the truth and rescue Rose from the nutter she has betroved herself to.

It was a difficult film to remake but having bothered, I think they made a pretty good fist of it. Very enjoyable. Riley is good enough as Pinkie, as is Riseborough as Rose, well pathetic enough at least. It all ends in tragedy of course and I do love an unhappy ending. The classic scene remains, as in the original, when Rose cajoles him into making a record of his voice in a recording booth on the pier. On record he makes it pitifully clear that he despises her and her failure to ever find out what he said on that record makes a touching finale...

Did I mention Son is home? He has a ‘reading week’, when he doesn't have to attend lectures, so he’s come home for the week via a torturous train journey where every other train seemed to get cancelled. In the end, when he’s facing his third long wait of the day for a train, we nip over and collect him from Derby station to save him the hassle. This enables us to have a pleasant family meal out at the local eatery ‘The Wollaton’ and a chance to try and extract all the university gossip that we can.

(Sunday 13th February)

Saturday, 12 February 2011

North Of The Border

We head up to Scotland this morning via some incredibly pot holed roads, even on M74. In fact especially on the M74, which seems a bit of a dangerous place to have them to me.

It’s a bit warm in Glencoe village when we arrive, although there is snow up on the higher mountains but even the Pap is snow-free.

After eight hours in the car we stay in Saturday night, eat steak and open some wine. Although L has imported Leffe to north of the border, so very unScottish, as is my wine. After the long journey, L threatens to walk the paws off the dogs on Sunday and succeeds. It was only 10k across Glen Nevis but we almost have to carry MD back after he ripped a chunk of flesh off his paw. Whilst by Monday morning Doggo, the old git, has stiffened up after his puppy-like antics skipping up and down the glen.

Luckily for them, they get Monday off as we wake up to snow on the hills. The Pap is now white over.

There’s apparently six inches of ‘fresh’ up on Glencoe Mountain. So we go up to check it out and leave the limping two in the car. The snow is good but it’s very windy up there and the runs largely unpisted, so hard on the legs.

After the skiing, we try and spend some more money at the ski resort by supporting their coffee shop but it’s closing at 4pm so I have to come down the slopes early. Then we try and spend our cash at the Kingshouse Hotel but their walkers bar is shut. There’s a nice roaring fire in their lounge but we can’t take the dogs in there. We’d already discovered that the recently refurbished Glencoe Hotel is closed Monday to Thursday and the Ben Nevis Inn is closed Monday to Wednesday. Everything seems to be closed this week. It’s not easy trying to pump money into the Scottish economy.

The Clachaig Inn is open though and we spend many an evening in there. There a beer from Caledonian called ‘Double Dark’ which surely has to be dark and is, as well as very tasty. There’s also a beer tasting on from the Glenfinnan Brewery. Which we actually skip because all their beers are on the bar anyway but we miss out on the freebies. Instead we finish off with the house whiskey, at 58% probably not the best idea but very nice.

I think it disagrees with me a bit the next day but not as much as Doggo’s diet of sticks and grass disagrees with him. Which he kindly vomits up overnight.

Tuesday, we risk taking the dogs for a run along the Caledonian canal. Only 12k according to my gadget girl’s new GPS watch. A Christmas present don’t you know. MD doesn’t seem to notice or care that he has a bad paw and unfortunately blisters the other front one. Still he doesn’t notice. Tough cookie. Even so we drive to pub and sit in the posh bit, leaving the boys to rest up in the car.

Wednesday is wet all day and the rain is no doubt causing serious damage to the nice snow we had a few days ago. When we do finally drag ourselves out of the house it's for a long wet meander along footpaths on a very indirect route to the pub. Where most of the beer has run out. No more ‘Double Dark’ and we decide it’s best to leave before the whiskey tasting evening starts.

Thursday is another day off for MD’s paws, which he keeps licking. A skill he has honed by licking my feet whenever he gets the chance, not that you wanted to know that. It’s something both dogs, oddly, seem to enjoy or convincingly endure, perhaps out of a ‘man’s best friend’ sort of loyalty thing. I drag L up Nevis Range for some skiing. The snow is good in places but concrete hard snow in others, with icy bobbles on top which makes it like skiing on marbles at times and, yes, the coffee shop again shuts a 4pm. So I don't get one.

We eat at the posh-ish Isles of Glencoe hotel. Why is this place busy whilst the Glencoe Hotel is shut because it has no bookings?

On our last day we walk the Ben Nevis pony track for a mile or so whilst easily resisting the trek to the top and looping back through the Glen along the river.

We pop into the now open and very pleasant Ben Nevis Inn for hot choc and a beer. There’s plenty of very interesting info in there about the annual Ben Nevis run. It’s only 12 miles to the top and back. I’m sort of tempted.

Tonight, we finally make the Glencoe Hotel for a meal.

We leave Glencoe early on Saturday morning because I, for some unknown reason, would like to get back in time for the match, which has kind of conveniently been moved to a 5.20pm kick-off for TV. The kick-off change is very odd. Originally the police had insisted on a 1.00pm KO because as it was a local derby, we’re playing Leicester, they wanted to limit the amount of time supporters had to get tanked up in the pub. That was until Sky started waving money around, and then it became acceptable to give everyone the entire afternoon in the pub. Bizarre. It just shows who’s actually in charge.

After the expected defeat I briefly join the protesters who have assembled outside the ground. They are protesting about our illustrious American owners who are running the club on a ‘sustainable model’ e.g. a shoestring. They’ve done a very good job of reducing the overdraft but I just wish they’d stop costing cutting now. Unfortunately they don’t realise that their ‘sustainable model’ isn’t sustainable at Championship level and it’s looking increasingly likely that it's going to take a trip down to League One to make them realise this.

(Saturday 12th February)

Friday, 4 February 2011


I decide it’s possibly too windy to cycle, although I have this nagging feeling I’m actually wimping out a bit. I will get the bus and attempt a run later. Once I get outside, it’s a case of battling against the wind, even on foot and then during the journey to work the bus is rocking around from side to side. So I guess it must have been windy. Perhaps I made the right choice not to cycle.

After work I’m not too optimistic about having a good run. I think the 'good' bit depends on which direction the wind is blowing. The right way so it seems. I have a good run and kind of fun running through the deep drifts of leaves.

Then it's home to pack for Scotland where hopefully they'll be drifts of a different sort.

Back in a week or so.

(Friday 4th February)

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Expected Headhunting Doesn't Happen

On the bike again today despite the winds continuing to be quite strong. Though it’s nothing compared with the weather up in the Scottish mountains at the moment, which is where we’re headed at the weekend. Winds of around 100mph and heavy snow in places. So at the moment, when it dies down, we'll have fresh snow to play in. Maybe. Increasing temperatures over the next few days may bring a lot of rain which would then wash it all away. So I'm biting my fingernails over the weather forecast.

I get a membership renewal form emailed to me from the running club I joined last year. I delay rejoining and wait for the glut of offers from other clubs to arrive, who will have seen my results and will naturally be headhunting me... or perhaps not. Still no complaints with the current club. Apparently I keep getting mentions at club night, which I have yet to attend. I’ll have to sneak in and listen one night, in disguise.

Talking of running, I sign up for a nice treat for when I get back from Scotland, the Sleaford Half Marathon. It was moderately annoying last year but I loved the t-shirt and the post race massage, so why not. The annoying bit was two miles of cross country, which in the middle of what was otherwise a road race was a bit offbeat. Anyhow, it was obviously not just me who disapproved because they have revised the route and replaced the muddy bit with a stretch of ‘good quality farm track’ (their words and rest assured guys, I’ll be checking).

Seems I’ll be doing it on my own. L’s not swayed by the farm track and anyway says the muddy bit was her favourite bit. Each to their own.

With no squash tonight I can have a guilt free pub lunch which consists of something ‘game’ in a pie. I couldn’t tell you want. Might have been deer. Then I head to the leisure centre for a bit of a paddle, well thirty odd lengths. The still increasing winds blow me nicely dry on the way home and induce a bit of a ‘sideways moment’, all part of the fun, just not on Nottingham’s ring road.

L and Daughter are out at the cinema, so I take the dogs out to suffer in the wind as well.

(Thursday 3rd February)

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

National Cancelling Week

I’m on the bike on the day that the BBC runs an article about helmet cameras capturing bad driving. Fascinating. Perhaps I should get one.

Although L points out that I’ll be on the lookout for trouble to blog. As if.

Today’s ride was uneventful, well just the usual close shaves, so yes uneventful. I suppose I could have filmed the two cars that had crammed themselves into the advance area for cyclists at the lights in Spondon. Although I’m so used to this, I expect it and don’t really take any notice any more.

A fellow cyclist though, wasn’t going to take this lying down and he had tried to place himself in front of both of the cars at the same time. Not an easy task and not a safe one, because there’s no guarantee they will have seen him and his antics. After all they’d ignored pretty much everything else around them so far.

It must be national cancelling week. Squash tomorrow is now off. Opponent attempted his own triathlon the other night - Run/Cycle/Badminton and has done his knee in. I was actually impressed and complimented him on his efforts but he’s not supposed to injure himself.

It has become very windy by the time I cycle home. I left work straight into an extreme head wind but then there’s nearly always an extreme head wind on Pride Park, which seems to have has its own weather system. Thereafter I didn’t really notice the wind and the fact that it only took me only fifty minutes to get home explains why. I take it the wind was behind me.

Dog training goes well but it's quite a sombre affair. One totally healthy dog died in its sleep at the weekend and I learn of another that’s just gone blind. A good reason to give both the boys a big hug tonight, even the gobby one.

(Wednesday 2nd February)

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Soon Be Christmas

Blimey 1st February. Another month gone. How times flies. It’ll soon be Christmas won’t it.

I walk the boys again and again have no problems with MD. I do though have an issue with number one dog, who ponces off across the road to see another dog, then stands in the middle of the road with his nose in the air. He thinks he’s so superior that dog. Getting run over would wipe the smile off his face, as well as off mine. Thankfully it was only a very quiet side road.

L’s had some new dog tags made for MD. She’s redesigned them and put my mobile number on them rather than our home phone number. Note she didn’t consider putting her own number on.

I’m back on my coaching course tonight, ‘Disability Awareness’ this week, which was supposed to be before Christmas but got cancelled. I guess it’s going to useful these days now that over 27% of the UK population regard themselves as disabled but don’t get me started on that one. Anyhow I’m sure it’ll be interesting and I’m skipping the match for it, which is kind of a blessed relief.

Over the entire January Transfer Window we have sold two decent players and bought one as yet unproven one. A squad that was already light on numbers is now down by another one. Damn good business, not.

Oh no. ‘Disability Awareness’ has been cancelled, again. They’ve rescheduled it for the 15th. Which luckily I can make. What’s worse is that now I’ve got no excuse not to go to the match.

It’s the return of the much maligned Paul Jewell, who is now in charge at Ipswich. He resigned from Derby in December 2008 after a not very impressive spell in charge. He did however get us to the League Cup Semis, which is the most exciting thing to happen in recent years, and the players we are now up in arms about him offloading are mostly ones he signed.

There are a few isolated protests against the directors, cries of ‘sack the board’ and ‘stand up if you hate the yanks’ but it’s mainly resigned acceptance to another defeat, after taking the lead as well.

The highlight is undoubtedly when a spectator runs onto the pitch in just his boxer shorts and socks. Not a pretty sight but amusing.

(Tuesday 1st February)