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Saturday, 17 September 2011

The Final Meal

D-Day minus 1. Tomorrow Daughter starts Uni so we cleared the decks event wise this weekend until we knew what was happening. Then amazingly, once we knew the details of when she was required up in Sheffield, we managed to find not one but two local events we could slot in.

Tomorrow we reckon we can fit in the hastily rescheduled Notts 5, which is taking place on the Embankment now that the flood defence work is nearing completion. Today it’s the Tails n Trails 5k at Catton Park, which, as you can probably tell from the name, requires a dog. So I’m doing it with MD. There’s a 10k as well but that’s on the Sunday and it’s a bit far to go bearing in mind the maelstrom of last minute packing we’re expecting. Today's race doesn’t start until noon, so we even get a lie-in first.

L decides to enter the 5k with Doggo – the old team. We think ‘Granddad’ can manage an amble round 5k, question is, can L cope with the mental stress, 5k’s a lot of sniffing.

The publicity hasn’t been the best and there are only six entrants, consisting of three men and three women. L starts texting everybody before she starts telling them of her podium finish.

There’s also a dog agility show going on as well, one that I wasn’t aware of but I vow to support them and put MD round the practice ring before we leave. Topping all that entertainment wise, is a fun dog show. You know the kind, with categories such as ugliest dog, waggiest tail etc etc. We reckon MD has the noisiest dog category sewn up. On second thoughts we might skip that.

L takes it really seriously and borrows a proper running harness off a chap who looks like he knows what he’s doing. When we start he goes off like a rocket and I didn’t see him again. So he wins, while MD and I pursue him in second place. We probably pursue him faster than necessary and I rush MD through the many drinks stops - bowls for dogs, nothing for humans, in an attempt to defend our position. A cup of tea at half-way would have been nice; something to do while MD has one of his mega long drinking sessions. We lose by three minutes but come second by a further six minutes, so as I said, the haste was perhaps unnecessary.

Our time isn't great but the course turns out to be on the long side, 3.6 miles rather than the 3.1 miles a 5k is supposed to consist of.

Once finished we go out to the edge of the course to cheer L and Doggo along, which doesn’t quite work out. Doggo grinds to a halt when he sees us cheering him along with still around half a kilometre to run. L accuses me of sabotaging their run. So I lash MD to a nearby tree, climb over the fence and go join them for the last stretch. This gets Doggo moving again. It upsets MD though, the howling was pitiful.

We get medals, rosettes, dog biscuits etc. In fact we got a goody bag before we started and another one afterwards. It doesn’t get better than that!

Derby were playing away at Nottingham Forest today in a lunch time kick off. I had considered going but after losing our last two games couldn’t face the humiliation. This is a decision that is looking exceedingly wise when within the first few minutes of the game Derby’s goalkeeper is sent off and from the resulting penalty Forest take the lead. There’s no way we’ll come back from that... but, oddly, amazingly, we do. Derby equalise and then score a winner. Victory is achieved despite having ten men for almost the whole game. Humiliation is suddenly on the other foot. Another one of those ‘I was there’ moments, only I wasn’t.

Daughter has requested a final meal, just like a condemned prisoner has on their last day on death row before they’re finally summoned for execution. I’m surprised she can fit us in with all these goodbyes but we are glad to oblige. We’re not over enthusiastic about her choice, our local Chinese Mr Man's. It has a great reputation but we’ve never rated it. Well, at least it’s in walking distance.

One of the problems is they always seemed to rush you and it’s always uncomfortably packed. By arriving a bit later I hope we’re cracked this but we still have to fight off three requests to order drinks and then three requests to order our food before we’ve had time to properly peruse either menu.

Thereafter things get much better. It goes quieter, I think they realise it’s now too late to reuse our table and they leave us alone to enjoy ourselves. Food wise, we avoid the set menus, which is our usual choice and go a la carte. Much better, a very good meal. L even says it’s possibly the best Chinese we’ve had, although, I have to say I was trying to choose un-Chinese type meals. I have Pepper Steak and Daughter has Mongolian Lamb!

(Saturday 17th September)

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