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

Friday 31 August 2012

Morning Alarm Call

Somebody put potatoes in MD’s bowl and this is a sure way for somebody to get an early morning alarm call. In this case L, as I’ve already gone off to work. Although to be fair, I thought I’d put them in Doggo's bowl... It’s not really my fault if MD can’t differentiate and they had been there all night... So he's slipping, if he’s only just noticed.

Nobody has done any gardening around our work place for about two years despite the fact this is included in our rent. The car park particularly is an overgrown mess and we all have to walk around the tree that's grown in front of the front door. Today a man turns up with a chainsaw.

L and I decide to meet up straight from work, and head into Nottingham. We start in the Major Oak before moving on to eat in the Keans Head, which is something we’re been meaning to do since it opened years and years ago.

However we cannot resist the lure of the Old P in the Peacock and end up there again.

(Friday 31st August)

Thursday 30 August 2012

Season Finale

They say exercising on tired legs is beneficial, so I drag myself on to the bike today. It was either than or a 4-5 mile ‘recovery’ run and personally I’d rather bike.

Then there’s the little matter of tennis to negotiate. Which my opponent has billed as the ‘season finale’, which I think means I can finally put away my racquet until next summer.

It looks like there could be a nice cross court breeze tonight, it's actually quite cold as well, but it should stay dry. Which is a shame really. Sometimes I enjoy drying the court out with the squeegee gadget more than the tennis.

I’m so pleased to get to 5-5 in the first set and particularly to come back from 0-2 0-40 down to lead 3-2, that everything else after that passes me by, including the eventual straight sets defeat. That come back from 0-40 down was very enjoyable, winning five points in a row and containing, as it did, some high memorable double faults from my opponent.

Afterwards he proposes another ‘season finale’ next week, oh no, oh alright then, if we must.

I quick mention of the Paralympics, mainly because cycling is one of my things, so I have to mention Sarah Storey’s very impressive defence of her Individual Pursuit title. Of course we already knew Storey was pretty useful and she has won titles with the full GB squad but tonight she caught her opponent with almost half of the 3km distance still to ride.

Not only that, her time in qualifying of 3:32.170 was a track record for any woman, beating Jo Rowsell’s winning ride at the World Cup event there in February. Though it’s still some serious distance off Sarah Hammer’s world record. It’ll be interesting to see if Storey, at 34, can beat off the younger competition and get a ride in the upcoming World Cup series and maybe even next year’s World Championship.

(Thursday 30th August)

Wednesday 29 August 2012

A Deliberate Protest?

I get the bus to work and dodge the rain, just. A colleague arrives ten minutes later drenched.

There after it rains pretty much all day, which is good for L’s working from home, as both dogs pretend to be asleep in case she decides to chuck a ball or two. She tells me all this via email which now come from her Blackberry smartphone, she’s such a Gadget Girl these days.

She proposes one of her favourite meals tonight, liver and bacon. Which is admittedly not to everyone’s tastes. Son decides to go out for the night, all night. It’s not clear whether this was pre-planned or a deliberate protest.

It's still raining... I'm really looking forward to my run... I may need a wetsuit by 5pm. Finally, around 4pm, it stops. Although it’s probably just waiting around the corner for me.

In the end it’s not too bad a run, at least it stays dry, and another 18km done. So I'm feeling really fit for Sunday’s race, unless I’m confusing fit with feeling knackered.

(Wednesday 29th August)

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Pretty Exhausting Dog Napping

L is mostly working from home this week, so by the time I get home the dogs are already knackered. Having spent time catching up on all the barking on the park, fetching balls to be kicked on the lawn and of course doing some pretty exhausting dog napping.

So I join them in the garden, rather than take them out, and cut the lawn. Which is a slow process with MD throwing himself in front of the lawn mower at every opportunity.

L regales tales of a neighbour whose lad has returned from Uni to take up from where he left off three years previous, e.g. the settee. She’s given him a year before she makes him register himself homeless. Which I think is being a bit generous. I’m thinking more in terms of a fortnight when ours return.

(Tuesday 28th August)

Monday 27 August 2012

The Lance Armstrong Witch Hunt

The rain is back; well I suppose it is a bank holiday.

Eventually we give up sheltering from it and take the tent down in the rain. The rain turns out to be not as bad as it sounds once you’re out in it but it was a good excuse for a lie in. Then we head off to find breakfast.

Everywhere seems shut; well I suppose it is a bank holiday.

Eventually we have breakfast at around 1pm in a branch of Booths in Garstang. Then home to catch up with the Vuelta and the Lance Armstrong saga.

I don't like Lance Armstrong and I don't think he's innocence. I mean how could anybody defeat all the top cyclists in the world, for seven years in a row, and not only defeat them but also defeat all the top performance enhancing drugs in the world that these top cyclists have pretty much all freely admitted (eventually) that they were on.

Drugs or not, Armstrong was still the best rider in those races because he won on a playing field levelled by those drugs. I suppose it’s possible, but unlikely, that he had better drugs than the others. Maybe he was just the better athlete. Sure it's frustrating for anybody who was clean but reality means they almost certainly finished well outside the top twenty.

Stripping him of his seven titles is just pointless. Who does that leave as winners of those Tours? The confessed dopers Jan Ulrich, Alex Zulle, Joseba Beloki and Ivan Basso, that’s who. Along with the deeply suspicious Andreas Kloden.

It’s time to draw a line under this all this and move on. As Armstrong says, it’s now simply a witch-hunt. This is all ancient history. We have new heroes now.

(Monday 27th August)

Sunday 26 August 2012

Not Even Usain Bolt

Today is actually a glorious day, nothing like a Bank Holiday weekend and it’s a good day for a run as we head up to the YMCA Leisure Centre in Fleetwood. L grabs our numbers, whilst I find somewhere shady to park the boys.

The race route starts off very dull and boring, as we meander through a housing estate or two, heading roughly in the direction of Blackpool. Which is good, because with nothing to look at, I can concentrate on the run.

The course consists of two differing loops and as we complete the housing estate tour we turn and head back to Fleetwood, along the sea front road. We pass the 11 and 12 mile markers but we’re only approaching the half way point. Then they turn us left before we reach the Leisure Centre and onto the Esplanade pointing us again towards Blackpool.

Now it’s more scenic and dare I say it enjoyable. There is a slight headwind along the Esplanade but nothing to be too concerned about and, sadly, not enough to noticeably propel us home again after we turn for home. This turn comes after a short out and back, that enabled you to size up those just ahead and pick a few targets. An old man with a limp, a guy who looks about twelve, a banana and a girl in an impossibly brief pair of shorts were my disparate selection.

Then it’s the repeat of those last two miles, which I like, as it gives me a nice cosy feeling to be on familiar territory. I reel in 50% of my targets, although sadly not the lightweight racing banana nor, even more sadly, the girl in the impossibly brief pair of shorts, who both prove elusive. e.g. too fast. Aided no doubt by a course that has been mega-flat throughout, so despite aiming for 1:45, I do 1:42. Which is very satisfying, as is whipping past the man with the limp and the twelve year old.

It could have been better... as someone shouts to me to sprint to break 1:42 as the clock clicks over 1:41:55... 56... 57... with thirty metres to go. Hmmm. Who do they think I am? Usain Bolt? Even Usain Bolt couldn’t run thirty metres in three seconds, especially not after running a half marathon. 1:42:08 is fine with me.

Then I am handed a medal (ugh), a banana (ugh) and a Wagon Wheel (ugh ugh). Shouldn’t complain really. I simply cannot face food at a time like this anyway but to be fair to Wagon Wheels, I’ve never been able to face them full stop. They tell us to only take one each, this isn’t a problem. There’s also a guy handing out promotional sachets of recovery drink, which I do make use of.

I’m sort of surprised not to see L waiting for me. She’s injured but not injured enough to admit the full details to me. She had threatened to jog round to the 10K mark and then stop at the ice cream van. Can’t see her in the queue though.

Overall it was a good event. Lots of water out on the course, in bottles as well and nice small bottles at that. Which I powered myself round with, along with three energy gels. Excellent weather and a good all round vibe to the event.

A vibe that is aided by a very pleasant sea front cafe selling tea and bacon cobs. Which is a good way to start a refuelling operation, which is continued with a beer on the way back to Caton and then a meal outside the Ship in the village later that evening.

(Sunday 26th August)

Saturday 25 August 2012

Race Friendly

Daughter is working at the Belfry Hotel this morning and has to wear a white shirt and a black tie. So somebody likes a school theme for their wedding.

Having dispatched her we head up to the North West again, camping once more in Caton. Which is a good base and its far enough from the tourist areas not to be too busy.

Unfortunately the bank holiday whether seems to have arrived already, so rather than a nice summer's evening outside the local pub, we head into Lancaster to find out what delights that fair city holds.

The Three Mariners, which dates from the 1400's, is ok. They have a beer, which at 3.6% is not only race friendly but actually quite tasty. Naturally my food choice, Lasagne for pasta-power is off. My back up choice of steak pudding may well hold me back, as may the syrup sponge dessert, which L made me eat.

(Saturday 25th August)

Friday 24 August 2012

Life’s A Riot

Daughter is back again. At least we think she is, unless she gets offered another interview or something. She’s becoming a job junkie. No bad thing really...

She arrives and before you can say 'cocktail', Daughter and L are having a ‘quick’ 2-for-1 in the Ropewalk. ‘2-for-1’ means half the price for the same quantity, not the same price for double the quantity. Does it not?

L is already sloshed by the time she gets home, she never could cope with afternoon drinking.
Talking of which. In the wake of 'those' photos, the BBC poses the question ‘Is it normal to drink and end up naked?

Of course, Men have been using this technique on women for years, it just looks like this time someone’s turned the tables on poor Harry.

In the evening, everyone is out, well we’re not actually sure where Son is, so we stay in. We can do what we like, get drunk, order a takeaway, take naked pictures of each other on our mobile phones and send them to The Sun, anything really. Life’s a riot.

(Friday 24th August)

Thursday 23 August 2012

The Art Of Bugger All

Daughter spends the day bossing new arrivals at the university around. She’s good at that sort of thing. Although she complains that mostly this involves doing bugger all and wants to go home and sleep instead e.g. do bugger all. Hmmm, she’s getting paid for this particular brand of 'bugger all' and anyway I would have though doing bugger all for money would appeal to a student.

I head off to do ‘that thing’ again tonight. You know, hitting those silly yellow balls about on those ridiculously small courts with the ridiculously high nets.

Then L proposes that we cancel our respective evenings of Tennis and Pump and paint the town red instead. Tempting.

Actually, she finds that her Pump class is cancelled for her. It’s just me who lets the side down. I actually win seven games tonight, pleased with that.

(Thursday 23rd August)

Wednesday 22 August 2012

The Morning After The Night Before

Blimey that was hard. 62 minutes to cycle to work. Shoot me now.

L refers to the gym as excellent. She must be cheering up.

Daughter has arrived at her job interview in Sheffield. I know because I’m getting texted all the questions. She gets the job, serving in a hotel and then gets asked if she minds travelling to Nottingham for her first assignment. For once something is going to be convenient. It’s on Saturday, the morning after the night before, which is a friend’s birthday. I hope she wasn’t planning on getting too wrecked.

I decide to go for a swim. Purely financial, just for the end of year cashback. I doubt my legs will be up to more than about ten lengths.

It’s very very quiet in the pool, eerily quiet, normally there’s barely enough room to doggie paddle. Tonight there are only eight folk across the six lanes. All men, well apart from one but strictly no totty. So no distractions, no excuses, best swim then.

The post-cycling leg cramps hit me somewhere between 20-24 lengths and at about the same time someone comes to share my lane, so I stop. It’s actually filled up quite a bit. Twenty or so folk now. Still no totty though, might as well get out.

Doggo has a restless night, complete with vomiting, so we all have a restless night. Well apart from MD, he can sleep through anything.

(Wednesday 22nd August)

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Good Working Conditions

L works from home again. The dogs will be thrilled. This means unlimited bedroom as opposed to unlimited settee, when only Son is at home. Of course they’re allowed neither but they’re all soft.

Anyone who thinks being at home with two students and two dogs isn’t conducive to good working conditions obviously doesn’t realise that none of them will be up before 1pm. Oh to be young and dynamic again, or a dog.

I run home and it’s possibly the most disrupted run ever. Firstly, I get multiple texts from Daughter. She’s been so desperate to come home for a break but now she has to return to Sheffield pronto for a job interview tomorrow. It’ll pay off for her when she finishes Uni I’m sure, her CV is getting more impressive by the day at the moment.

I also get texts from the dog club, which I reply to from a bus shelter just as it starts raining, torrentially. Where I stay until the rain abates. Then I get a call from L, offering to rescue me. Apparently its thunder and lightning where she is. It’s just stopped here, so I decline and start running again. Rather impressively I eventually stagger my way to around 18km.

Just in time, as it's starting to rain again. I head into my usual shop to get myself a drink where the two shop assistants fight over the right to not serve this man who is dripping water on the floor in front of them. They probably assume its all rain but actually it’s mostly sweat. I’ve had a bit of a charmed life as regards dodging the elements.

A fact that is reinforced when I come out of the shop and its bucketing it down. I edge along the side of the building under the edge of the roof and then leg it the short distance to the bus stop. By now it’s thundering. I don’t lean against the bus shelter in case it conducts something. A girl runs up and stops a few feet away from me, clearly struggling with the difficult choice of standing under the shelter and having me drip on her or standing in the deluge itself and possibly being struck by lightning. I’m pleased to say, she chose me.

The bus arrives but once on I’m dreading getting off. The rain isn’t easing. I text L. She’s still at the Tennis Centre gym, more importantly she has the car. I get off outside the Tennis Centre and leg it inside. Saved.

(Tuesday 21st August)

Monday 20 August 2012

Olympic Cold Turkey

Little to report today. No cycling, no running and no dog class. Just ball chucking on the park with the boys during with Doggo must have forgotten in which particular patch of long grass he dropped his ball at least half a dozen times. It was a very long walk. Thank heavens for MD, who repeatedly sniffed out Doggo’s ball for him.

Thank heavens too for ITV4 and their coverage of la Vuelta a España, ideal for anyone who’s struggling with being Olympic cold turkey.

(Monday 20th August)

Sunday 19 August 2012

At The Races

Today we're at the races. Well, we have a dog show at Uttoxeter Racecourse today. I suppose they could have amalgamated some of the horse jumps into the course to make it even more interesting but they don’t.

After our first run, MD and I are already not speaking. L reckons he’s just ‘warming up’.

After our second run, we’re still not speaking. Obviously still ‘warming up’.

Into the afternoon and things aren’t getting any better, MD seems to have forgotten about his contact points and he gets his third elimination in a row. Meanwhile the old master shows him how it’s done, as Doggo gets a clear round in Veterans Jumping.

MD’s fourth and final run is actually rather good, perhaps because there are no contact points to hit as it’s a jumping course, until, ah, he goes the wrong way. I really don’t think he’s heard a word I’ve said to him all day. The red mist seems to have descended so far today that it's engulfed his ears.

So four eliminations out of four for MD. Consistent at least.

We still come home with a rosette though because today Doggo has a second run and an agility run at that. Shows don’t often put a full agility course on for the Vets, usually there's just a simple jumping course. Today they do and Doggo gets third place. He is good at his agility. The judge even complimented us on our run and his perfect contact points. MD take note.

(Sunday 19th August)

Saturday 18 August 2012


It’s the first match of the new football season tonight. Derby start well and get themselves into position to throw away a two goal lead, which of course they do, but it’s fair to say that they’re improving. It was a three goal lead they threw away on Tuesday and at least this time we couldn’t lose on penalties.

On the plus side, we have a swanky new video screen and they’ve restored the traditional badge to the shirts. On the negative side we have electronic advertising boards around the ground, which are immensely distracting from the game - obviously this could be seen as a good thing. They also cut the programme in half, presumably to save money. Only they haven’t reduced the number of pages, they’ve simply guillotined it in half. We must be seriously broke to have to do that.

Afterwards I head straight up to Sheffield on the train to meet Daughter and L. Which is rather bad planning as we’ve been playing Sheffield Wednesday, so I have to close my ears to the partying on the train.

We tour round the same pubs as last time. Eating in the Devonshire Cat, before stopping for one in the Old House before finishing in the Sheffield Tap, which is the right way round I think. The range in The Tap is so good, if we’d started there I don’t think I could have left.

(Saturday 18th August)

Friday 17 August 2012

Mid-Life Crisis

I cycle again and get away with it a bit weather wise. There’s a bit of drizzle in both directions but it never comes to much.

L is having a mid-life crisis. So she says. She reckons she needs a new ‘me’. Although I quite like the current one. I hope she isn’t planning on running off with someone in lycra with a ponytail. She says not, reassuring me that the male mid-life crisis is different to the female one and then tells me she’s put in for a part-time job at Waterstones. Yep, that's different. Where I’m sure she’d work for free as long as there’s a staff discount.

L skives off the whole day; that is unless she’s moonlighting in Waterstones.

In fact she ends up at the cinema with Son, watching ‘Ted’, which is not a film that was on my radar but may have had its moments and Mila Kunis.

A night out at the Wollaton pub with some friends tonight and then a night cap at the Wheelhouse where the ale is better.

(Friday 17th August)

Thursday 16 August 2012

Unpalatable Language

The ride into work went well apart from the fact I had some parasite hitching a lift on my rear wheel all the way to Derby. He was dawdling along so slowly I had no choice but to pass him but then miraculously he found enough momentum to hide in my slipstream. No apologies but a cheery wave when he finally pulled off.

It was almost as bad on the way home. I saw a chap trying to catch me, so I put on a bit of a spurt. Which meant, when we both had to stop at the lights, he ended up collapsed at my feet, uttering some rather unpalatable language concerning my sudden acceleration. At least he was chatty, when he got his breath back, and apologised for using me as a hare.

Daughter is on the university helplines today dealing with enquiries about clearing. I think she’s loving the power she has over people lives, telling them whether they meet the criteria for a place at the Uni or not.

Full of Olympic spirit, I decide to treat L to a weekend away... in Glasgow. She likes cities. The first event at the brand new Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome is a round of the Track Cycling World Cup, which doubles as a test event prior to the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Still scarred by the brutal experience of Olympic ticket buying, I get my strategy right this time and velodrome tickets for Friday and Saturday night are purchased and a hotel. All I need now is train tickets... at £120 each return with two changes, perhaps not.

Tennis tonight is truly horrible. I really do not like playing tennis, the courts are far too small these days...

(Thursday 16th August)

Wednesday 15 August 2012

The Wrong Socks

My feet as well blistered after last night’s run. The wrong socks I think (again). The socks I used are only good for 10k. 13k is clearly beyond them.

L has surprised me by purchasing a Blackberry. Which she may already be regretting, as it’s a frustrating little thing. I don’t think I’ll be getting one. I’m sure she’ll get the hang of it though and then she’ll be able to show Son how to answer his.

I meet up with the old-school crowd after work and we have a night of comparing Olympic moments as we’ve all been down to London. For saying none of us got tickets in the initial ballot, we’ve all been resourceful enough to snag some for something in the later sales.

(Wednesday 15th August)

Tuesday 14 August 2012

You Couldn’t Make It Up

I run after work. It doesn’t go as well as last week's but it’s not too bad. 13km done. Better than nothing.

A meagre 4,700 turn up for Derby’s League Cup game tonight. A new ground record by some margin. Even I’m not among them, I’m not ready to taint the Olympic vibe with football yet and we always lose in the 1st round of the League Cup no matter who we play. This year the team to receive a bye are Scunthorpe United but boy, do we make them work for it.

We lead 3-0 at half time, 4-1 on the hour and then 5-3 with 90 minutes on the clock, having missed a penalty to make it six. The final score however is 5-5 after Scunthorpe score twice in injury time and then, after a scoreless half an hour of extra time, win on penalties. You just couldn’t make it up.

(Tuesday 14th August)

Monday 13 August 2012

Only 1452 days To Rio

No medals today, what's going on? Oh yes, it's finished hasn't it. Damn. Still, it's only 1452 days to Rio.

It all went very well though, didn't it, apart from the Korean flags thing. The best two weeks this country has seen for many years, which caught the imagination of practically everybody. Even people who I thought were sport-phobic fell in love with the Games. London did itself, and the country, proud. It’s such a shame it’s all over. Even though, for me at least, the closing ceremony was best forgotten.

With no Olympic commentary on Radio 5 to brighten up the work day I go to Sainsbury’s to buy a shower curtain. Oh the excitement of it. It’s the second one this month. The first one was ‘hookless’ which sounds great in principal but in reality you might as well nail it to the shower rail as without hooks it won’t slide. So in the bin it goes and welcome back hooks.

The boys have missed us and despite Son’s occasional ball kicking skills are rampant. After work I take them on the park and knock a few edges off them both.

(Monday 13th August)

Sunday 12 August 2012

Exclusive Rights

This morning we ride on the new Thames Cable Car which goes from the nicely renamed North Greenwich Arena (that dome thing) to the ExCel centre.

We had hoped this would be a short cut but in fact, an hour later, we end up back more less where we started. Still can’t complain about the transport system, it’s been impressive and the predictions of gridlock have not materialised at all.

Eventually we make it into the centre and watch the marathon pass us close to London Bridge.

Again the atmosphere is great, the whole city is buzzing. The games are the best thing to have happened to London in years, probably ever. I've never seen London so clean or so finished. Where are all the road works and unfinished building projects?

Even Londoners are smiling, that never happens. Perhaps the attitude of the wonderful games volunteers has rubbed off on them or perhaps after having been repeatedly told it’s going to be a disaster, everyone is just so elated that hasn’t happened. In fact, everything has been superbly organised. London has not only pulled it off but done so with great style.

We ponder about whether to stay and watch the next lap of the marathon or whether to head off to get a good spot in Greenwich Park for the Modern Pentathlon for which we have tickets. We opt for the later and get a good spot we do.

We have an excellent view of everyone being thrown from their horses during the show jumping section and also a great view of the run and shoot that follows.

Even the weather is great. Perhaps too great as I sit slowing baking in the sun. At least I have a beer in my hand, which is probably one of the few things I can actually whinge about.

London brewer Fullers were in the running to be the official beer supplier which would have been great. Perhaps a rebranding of ‘London Pride’ as ‘London 2012 Pride’ and ‘ESB’ as ‘ESO’ - for Extra Special Olympics, but no. Instead the very un-British Heineken paid handsomely for the exclusive beer rights, or non beer rights, as obviously by the UK definition at least, it’s a lager.

What I’m actually drinking is something that they’ve generically called ‘ale’, totally unbranded. Although the staff openly tell you it’s John Smiths. Which is, of course, a very British name of long standing, although a shadow of its former self. Bizarrely this ‘brand’ name is actually owned by Heineken yet they choose not to market it against their parent brand...

A last gold of the games today for GB from Super-Heavyweight Anthony Joshua in the boxing but we get to witness in person the last medal of any colour, a silver from Samantha Murray.

Afterwards we celebrate a very successful Games in a nice little beer cellar called the Wheatsheaf and then we eat in the equally pleasant Southwark Tavern where they are showing the closing ceremony.

(Sunday 12th August)

Saturday 11 August 2012

Back To The Gold Rush

So as we started the gold rush when we went down to London last Wednesday, I thought we best finish it by going again this weekend.

So we take the train and then travel across the Smoke to a hotel I’ve booked, rather cheaply in Charlton. Perhaps this is because the hotel looks cheap and sort of dangerous. Well at least the bar does. You wouldn't feel safe in there and that’s before you attempt to find something worth drinking. No wonder you have to go through two security doors, with different security numbers, to reach the hotel part. Which may be to keep their own customers out, as the hotel itself was actually ok. Basic but ok.

Then we head to Stratford and the hugely impressive Olympic Park. It’s also impressively big and the whole thing actually reminds me of Alton Towers... just nicer. Perhaps it’s the food prices... the lack of generic ‘ale’, which has sold out... and the queues for the merchandise. Although actually what I want, Team GB kit, has been sold out for weeks and they don’t appear to be intending to produce any more. Why is odd because such has been the kit’s popularity and judging by the resale prices on ebay they could have practically paid for the Olympics on kit sales alone if they’d produced more of it.

The atmosphere around the park, as it is all over London, is infectious. Contrary to predictions, the nation has, by and large, totally embraced the Olympic Games. Everywhere is awash with colour, from painted faces to the flags of many nations. There are so many union flags that you wish the flag manufacturers had done the kit because they seemed to have managed to meet demand.

The ticketing ‘fiasco’ meant that hardly anybody got tickets for what they wanted and the big event seats went to those with the deepest pockets. This was perhaps a sneaky masterstroke from Locog, meaning that sports fans, not wanting to miss out, have packed out the stadia for the so called ‘minority’ sports instead and turned every venue into a cauldron of noise.

Tonight we’re at the Women’s Handball Bronze Medal match between Spain and South Korea (they have the correct flag up this time).

Spain are better looking so I’ll root for them, well they would be better looking if they weren’t all strapped up in bandages. It seems the risk of injury in handball is quite high.

The medal games have been switched to the Basketball Arena from the cosy Copper Box which had become notorious for its riotous atmosphere.

That’s a shame but the atmosphere here is still good even if the person behind us has a cow bell, from which we can ascertain that you cannot play Bohemian Rhapsody on a cow bell but they give it a go.

It’s a close game and they cannot split the teams in normal time or in extra time, so we go into sometime called double overtime, that does the trick, just and it's a good job too as both sides were running out of uninjured players. Well done Spain.

As we come out, we pass the Olympic Stadium just as the place erupts.

Mo Farah has just taken to the track before the start of the 5,000m. So along with everyone else we pretend to join a queue for one of the bars just outside the park, so that we can watch their big screen. Afterwards the queue quickly dissipates, joyously, as Farah impressively adds a second gold to the one he won in last week’s 10,000m.

Of course, as we’re in London today, it’s just one of many golds. Luke Campbell takes one in the Men’s Bantamweight Boxing and Ed McKeever kayaks his way to Gold in the K1 200m Canoe Sprint.

Later we’re in a Fuller’s pub called ‘The Pilot’, just a stone’s throw from the North Greenwich Arena, sipping pints of ESB to watch Tom Daley get his bronze medal in the Men’s 10m Platform. A good day.

(Saturday 11th August)

Friday 10 August 2012

I’ve Earned This. Haven’t I?

It’s Doggo’s birthday today, his 11th, the old git. L promises not to shout at him as he takes even longer than usual over his morning ritual of sniffs and wees. She buys some treats that resemble cheese strings and spring rolls for a birthday treat.

I toast his health as we go for a rare Friday lunch at the pub. The prospect of which had already put paid to an after work run, even before L offers a post work drink as well because she’s in Derby, which puts paid to any cycling as well.

But I’ve earned this. Haven’t I? I've trained quite hard this week. Although there’s a nagging feeling at the back of my mind that is not what Dave Brailsford says to Chris Hoy after a week of two bike rides and a run.

Talking of which. No golds today, only silvers... perhaps Team GB have been down the pub as well.

(Friday 10th August)

Thursday 9 August 2012

Drinks On A Stick

Golds today from three women you wouldn’t want to mess with. Boxer Nicola Adams who’s obviously useful with her fists, taekwondo fighter Jade Jones who’s useful with her feet and dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin. All scary sports. Even dressage, I wouldn't mess with those horses.

Another scary sport is today’s 10k Swim. All you have to do is look at the state of L’s neck, she still got some awesome wetsuit marks from Sunday, which she keeps having to explain aren’t the result of us having a domestic.

Keri-Anne Payne didn’t get a medal, she came in fourth but as L says '2 hours, bloody hell'. That says it all and she likes swimming. I prefer not to even think about it. We're both in awe of the woman. Who needs these runners that can only manage 10 seconds?

What’s even more awesome is that they have drinks stations... on the end of long sticks. I’d have surely drowned but then swallowing several pints of The Serpentine would have negated the need for these drinks in the first place.

Tennis tonight and I take the boys with me, as they are home alone. Son is missing in inaction. We were expecting him back on Wednesday but he’s proving elusive. He’s not answering texts, emails or good old fashioned telephone calls and has changed his name to Gordon on Facebook, although we don’t find this out until later. Perhaps he’s working for MI6 and has had to formally disappear. If so we can’t complain, we have been trying to get to find gainful employment.

(Thursday 9th August)

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Their Future In Her Hands

Daughter is call centre training today for a job to help students through University clearing. Their future in her hands... sounds fun, no pressure. She got the job after she gave the ‘worst interview of her life’. Which we took with a pinch of salt. We're used to her doing the ‘worse exam of her life’ and passing with flying colours.

She has a leisurely 8.45am start, which apparently will kill her. I can see who doesn’t make many 9am lectures.

Now here I am cycling to work, training hard on the bike for Rio 2016 and what are our athletes doing? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Well, except for Trotty.

It appears that an Omnium Gold medal comes with a free Jason Kenny. At least we now know where he put in the extra sessions that enabled him to out-sprint Baugé.

This may all be a smokescreen for a medal free day at the Olympics. I'm expecting the resignation of the head of UK Sport. It’s simply not good enough.

I bike home, cut the lawn and exercise the dogs. Any triathlon Alistair Brownlie can do I can do better.

(Wednesday 8th August)

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Strict Instructions

L works from home this afternoon and I give her strict instructions to keep prodding the dogs to keep them awake, as I don’t want them disrupting the cycling later.

It doesn’t sound like she’s having much success. They do like a long siesta and apparently there’s not a great deal of life in them. There won’t be in me either by the time I get home. I’m not feeling fit enough to run, but we’ll see. I need to do my bit for Team GB.

Bizarrely I have a really good run home. I just keep going and going. I do 10 miles with no stops in 1:16. Bloody good. Perhaps there was a point to doing Friday’s 10k race after all. On the downside, I stand waiting for a bus, unable to walk and considering vomiting but it was fun...

The medals continue to roll in. Alistair Brownlee becomes the first Briton to win a Gold medal in the Triathlon.

His younger brother, Jonathan, takes Bronze. Meanwhile the Equestrian team win the nation's first Olympic Dressage medal which was Gold, not that I'm even sure what Dressage is.

Then in the velodrome there was Chris Hoy recording a sixth Olympic Gold medal in the Keirin, Victoria Pendleton with Silver in the Sprint and then the Trotty Train crushing all before her in the Omnium.

So the track cyclists match their Beijing tally of seven Gold medals from ten events. Overall that 22 Golds now, three up on four years ago.

High Jumper Robbie Grabarz wins a three way tie for Bronze in the most boring high jump competition ever. Ten of the twelve finalists couldn't get past the third height and Grabarz ended up in a three way tie for bronze because they couldn't even split them on countback. A jump off anyone? The Russian winner was really the only one who distinguished himself.

(Tuesday 7th August)

Monday 6 August 2012

Special Wheels

The pressure was on Jason Kenny in the Sprint on the track today, having been selected ahead of HRH Chris Hoy, but he delivered a slightly surprising victory over French man mountain Grégory Baugé. I say surprising, which it was pre-Olympics, but having seen the way Kenny was going here, you just knew he was going to pull it off.

The French aren’t happy about that, which makes it all the sweeter. L'Equipe described it as ‘La sodomie’ and then went on to accuse the British of having special wheels. Wheels that are ironically made by Mavic, a French company. Team GB’s Dave Brailsford explained the only thing special about the wheels is that they are very round...

Laura Trott starts her assault on the two day six event Omnium and makes the Elimination Race look so easy, she could probably read a book at the same time.

There’s also Gold for our Showjumping team via a jump-off.

In more mundane matters, it’s the last dog training session before the summer break and L is running in Ockbrook. I shall attempt to run tomorrow.

(Monday 6th August)

Sunday 5 August 2012

Team GB In Morecambe

A leisurely 1.30 start for the Morecambe Mile swim, something to do with tide times I believe. In fact when we arrive it looks like the swim will be more of a wade in knee deep water, even I could cope with that, but eventually the beach ‘fills up’.

Again everywhere you go either the TV or the radio is on and turned to the Olympics. Which is fantastic. What will we all do when it’s over?

The Lancaster City Brass Band, who are there to serenade the swimmers, do their best to upset the boys but for once, they are both nonplussed by the noise or perhaps just more interested in the bacon sandwiches, with which we fortify ourselves for the race ahead. Watching is very energy sapping.

The water this year looks calm and they start on time. That is after a chorus of, bizarrely, ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’. A regular ritual it appears.

First to go are the 500m swimmers, then the milers. Apparently the tide will turn at 2.10 but no one mentions this until afterwards. The result is anyone taking longer than 35 minutes would have been battling against it. Which was no such problem for GB team member Sophie Casson who did it in a mere 20 minutes, quicker than some of those on the 500. Perhaps they should have reverse seeded it.

This may be why there were a lot of people who didn’t start the second lap and one who didn’t start at all, which would also have been me. All credit to L, and to everyone else, who completed it.

Doggo was initially keen to join in, quivering away in excitement on our rock from where we watched the event. That is until, what he thought was a running race disappeared into the sea and he fell off our rock in shock, getting his paws wet.

Afterwards we head back to Caton for Sunday lunch, in the now wedding free ‘Station’ before we head home.

Tonight’s Olympic highlight is the 100m, so I’m told, but I got bored with all the preamble, switched over briefly to the highlights of Andy Murray beating Roger Federer to win tennis Gold and missed it. I caught the subsequent 15 relays though. Some foreigner won in 9.63 seconds, which in my opinion is hardly worth putting your shoes on for. GB weren't even in it.

Murray meanwhile added a Silver with Laura Robson in the Mixed Doubles, whilst Ben Ainslie had to graft hard to win his fourth sailing Gold.

Then there was our Pursuit Gold medallist Ed Clancy, who deserved another medal for having spent the last two mornings stepping over his drunken Pursuit team-mates to compete in the Omnium. Now he can finally join them after snaffling a bronze.

I spend the rest of the evening watching Saturday night’s highlights back. These Olympics have been undoubtedly tough, the stamina and the late nights required to keep up with everything that is going on also requires a medal worthy performance.

(Sunday 5th August)

Saturday 4 August 2012

Now That's Real Running

This morning, after a leisurely start, our own Team GB head up to Morecambe. Dropping Son off on the way in Stoke.

We camp in the Lune Valley at Caton, which is just a few miles outside Morecambe where tomorrow L will, for the second year in a row, attempt to swim in the sea. Her loyal support staff of the boys and I are on hand to assist.

Last year the event was called off due to the presence of one too many imposing five foot high waves. I’m not sure what tomorrow’s weather forecast is like but tonight’s weather isn’t great. We are battered by thunder, lightning and then eventually rain. Scuppering any hope of a summer evening sat outside the local pub.

So the dogs have to hide in the car whilst we eat inside at ‘The Ship’ chosen in preference to the usually better ‘Station’ which has a wedding on, that it’s perhaps best we don’t disrupt.

Meanwhile momentous things are going on in London. Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking row their way to Gold, as do the Men's Four and on the track it’s the women’s three in the Team Pursuit who take the honours.

So a good day already before it's the turn of an arena not used to British success, the Athletics stadium gets in on the act. We sort of expected Jess Ennis to deliver, which she did, even winning the final 800m but Greg Rutherford’s win in the Long Jump was very unexpected.

Which just left Mo Farah to cap off the night, which he did, destroying the field in the 10,000m. Breaking my time from Friday by around 17 minutes.... Now that's real running, none of this 10 second dash business...

and a busy night for whoever it who prints the stamps.

(Saturday 4th August)

Friday 3 August 2012

Golden Post Boxes

L works from home to keep the boys company, and then we meet up straight from work at Nottingham University for the Jägermeister 10k. Well I try to. As I leave Derby on the bus, the driver backs into another bus from a rival company before we’re even out of the bus station. This could delay me, they’re exchanging insurance details... you wouldn’t think they’d be any need as both companies have offices at the bus station.

The bus has only received a slight flesh wound, yet we are asked to jump ship to another one anyway. At least we’re on our way now... or rather, we’re not.

We’re going back to pick up more passengers. FFS. We only have around 10 free seats and there are at least 30 waiting... so that was a fruitless exercise, as the driver tells the unsuccessful customers they’ll be another one along in a few minutes. Which is a bit of a not-so-white lie, more like half an hour.

We’re off again, if we can get out of the bus station without hitting anything else.

Finally I make it to the University, get changed and make it to the start, after queuing for the one toilet, with about five minutes to spare. Whether it's worth the rush, I don't know. I’m trying to give up 10ks but for some reason I’ve made an exception for this one. I need a run, any sort of run, even a painful one like this.

At least by the time I turn up they’ve turned the radio off which had apparently been blaring out the Team Pursuit. So thankfully I can still watch that later in ignorance of the inevitable but, hopefully still thrilling, result.

This is my fifth Jägermeister in six years and after peaking with 40:42 in 2008, I’ve declined ever since. It’s a testing course that seems get more testing with each passing year. This year’s 44:56 is 50 seconds down on last year even. Oh dear. They do say 'the older it makes you feel, the younger it makes you look'. I have my doubts and they certainly won’t be painting any post boxes in my honour.

We pop into the Social Club for the usual post-race function but don’t stay. The evening calls for something stronger, so we head to the Peacock for the Old Peculiar and then to the Noor for a late night curry.

The Men’s Pursuit Team oblige of course, as does a mightily impressive Victoria Pendleton in the Keirin, as well as rowers Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins. So we’re up to fourth in the medals table.

(Friday 3rd August)

Thursday 2 August 2012

Good Weather For Canoeists

A rare outing for the bike today followed by a rare-ish outing from work to the pub for lunch.

No tennis again tonight. My opponent has been injured by a dodgy French sofa whilst on holiday. He did actually go away this year, I think last year they just turned the lights off and pretended for a week. Which is a good tip if you’re feeling poverty struck. Not only is it cheaper, there are no language problems.

Tennis would have been a washout anyway. Obviously good weather for canoeists though. Gold and Silver, plus Gold in the shooting and we’re up to 5th in the medal table... We’ve just been toying with them and that’s even before tonight’s track cycling.

Which doesn’t quite go to plan. At least not for the girls, particularly gutted for Jess Varnish and VP of course, but at least she’s got two more rides. Time for the Men's Sprint Team to save the day, which they do of course.

Spot the 'ringer'.

(Thursday 2nd August)

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Olympic Time Trial

It’s been a steady start from Team GB in the Olympics but the natives are restless because we haven’t landed a gold yet. So L and I go down to London to sort things out. Where we find London well decked out for the games.

Almost as soon as I arrive in the capital the first gold arrives courtesy of Helen Glover and Heather Stanning in the rowing. We’re off and running.

That’s sort of taken the pressure off Wiggo I suppose. I navigate my way across London to Kingston where I get in position to watch the Individual Time Trial. L has preferred something less cultural and has headed off to the Imperial War Museum.

I’m in position, about 3k from the finish of the women’s and around 10k for the men’s. It’s busy but I have the front row and the biggest flag. All set.

Now it’s raining... but it doesn’t last long. First up the women.

Both Emma Pooley and Lizzie Armitstead put in good rides for 6th and 10th but no medals there. Too flat for Pooley, too individual for Armitstead, in fact she probably has no idea why they entered her in this. Not her discipline at all.

Now it’s the men and it’s rocking here in Kingston. Go Wiggo go.

Then deflation as he’s only '2nd' at the first check. Get a grip man. Seems he’s pacing himself and by half way he’s in front and thereafter in a different race to everyone else. Chris Froome is up to third.

Then they blaze past us. First Froome and then Wiggins, a wall of noise for both of them but not just them. The crowd dish out only slightly lower decibels for everyone else.

Then it’s time to be glued to the radios for coverage of the finish. Not that it was ever in doubt.

A mere ten days after winning the biggest race on the planet, Bradley Wiggins is an Olympic champion and with Chris Froome third, it’s job done. Gold and Bronze.

Everybody is disappearing inside the local pubs to catch the end of the TV coverage, I join them.

Then I head back to central London to find a girl to wine and dine. L is actually waiting in Waterstones. Where else, even though she’s barred. She’s actually in the bar there, who’s ever heard of Waterstones with a bar.

From there we find we find the Euston Tap, a craft beer house. Good beer but no food. Oh dear, a case of gritting ones teeth and having a sandwich on the train.

(Wednesday 1st August)