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

Friday, 30 November 2012

St Andrews Day

L persuasively talks me out of cycling, with the help of a -3 temperature on the thermometer. I don't really want any more cracked ribs at this stage of my recovery from injury.

Today is St Andrews Day.

So we ought to do something Scottish tonight, perhaps I’ll get my kilt out and open the whisky or perhaps not. We do actually have a haggis in the fridge, although it was intended as a gift for Son and it’s now also out of date.

We must be able to come up with something else that’s Scottish. L suggests venison but she’s just desperate for a piece of the local deer, who aren't, I don't think, Scottish. Scotch broth? Scotch egg? Scotch pancakes?

In the end L suggests a Celtic Thai Curry which is a good compromise. I cook it using actual Scottish salmon. L herself does ‘Scottish Mist’ for dessert but apologises in advance for having to use Moroccan fruit and West Country cream but she's hopefully that she can add some whisky to it that is actually Scottish. Actually, I think it’s a choice of Jameson or Brandy...

We watch TOTP as usual, although we probably shouldn’t unless the Krankies are on it or the Bay City Rollers I suppose, but I think one of them is under investigation, so they’re probably banned.

(Friday 30th November)

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Quicker By Car

There's an article on the BBC saying that cycle and walking 'must be norm' for short journeys. I didn't think that would go well but I was particularly amazed by a lot of comments that seemed to think it’s quicker to go places by car. Clearly they don’t live in Nottingham or Derby.

Or Birmingham for that matter, which is where I crawl to after work for another gig.

These dates looked like they may never happen. The ones in Europe had been cancelled because Juliana Hatfield was unable to make them, so Evan Dando did one on his own, which didn't go down that well, so they scrapped the rest.

The UK ones don't seem to be that well organised either. The Institute’s Facebook said this morning that stage times would be up later. They were, at about 7.30pm, half an hour after the doors had opened and I’d already arrived there straight from work.

Now we learn that the guys are on at 9pm, which would be fine but there’s no support. So two hours to kick one’s heels with only some really bad lager for company. No support is unforgivable really. How many local artists would have played for nothing? Plenty I’m sure.

The show has also been moved from 'The Library' to the smaller and cosier upstairs 'Temple' which is packed. Actually I think we're all here now, we’re just missing two people... I look at my watch, an hour to go... This better be good.

Evan and Juliana come on just after nine and spent the next five minutes tuning up while the PA continues to play. Couldn’t they have done that earlier...

16 years ago I stood Juliana up, well I didn't buy a ticket. I'd had what I hoped was a better offer and I'm still with that better offer, so it's looking like I made the right call. She and I had met up just the once before in October 1993 at Sheffield Poly or was it already Sheffield Hallam by then? But it’s a long time ago and I've not seen her since until tonight. We were both much younger then of course. Not that she seems to have changed much.

Finally tuning up is done and we’re off. Into Evan’s 'All My Life'.

The two of them are old pals as well as musical collaborators. Juliana played bass and provided backing vocals for the Lemonheads back in the day while Evan briefly returned the favour by filling in on bass for Hatfield’s The Blake Babies. So there’s some crossover as they produce a selection of songs from both of their extensive back catalogues.

Occasionally they share the lead, such as when they cover The Velvet Underground’s 'Pale Blue Eyes' but usually they just back each other or as often happens simply let the other one get on with it and take centre stage. It’s an off-the-cuff format that works well.

In fact it’s so off-the-cuff that both ,but particularly Evan, have a plethora of crib notes scattered on the floor in front of him. Occasionally this off-the-cuff-ness degenerates something a bit disjointed and rambling but the evening is probably all the better for that. It’s a really relaxed evening unless you’re Juliana who does seem a bit nervous at times. I get the impression they haven’t practised together much, if at all, since they last toured together over a year ago.

It’s a lot of fun with some very good natured banter between the two, making fun of Evan’s university days or lack of them, among other things.

The crowd throw multiple requests at the stage and they do their best to meet some of them. A shout for ‘$1,000 Wedding’ though, which is a Gram Parsons song they’ve covered before, is a step too far for Juliana. She recoils in horror, reveals a dislike of Gram Parsons and complains that she can never get Evan to take his records off her stereo. Then someone yells ‘Streets of Baltimore’ another Gram Parsons song. ‘Yeah, I’ll do that’ cries Evan, I think Juliana gives up at that point and disappears.

They seem to be totally making this up as they go along but I’m not complaining as Juliana chucks in ‘Ugly’ having previously given us ‘My Sister’. Playing it doesn’t go that smoothly though. She blames her guitar which she found in her mother’s garage and then apologises for blaming her tools, hating people who make excuses.

Then Evan was taking another request off the crowd with Juliana just telling him to give the people what they want while she puts her feet up. Cue ‘Laying Up With Linda’

The audience is pretty much split into two camps, Juliana fans and Ewan fans, with a bit of crossover. Evan’s ‘Into Your Arms’ and ‘The Outdoor Type’ win the singalong contest but Juliana offers some great highs too, ‘Candy Wrappers’, ‘Waiting For Heaven’ and a great cover of Teenage Fan Club’s ‘Cells’.

After a slightly shaky start, they seem to bring the best out of each other and what really shines through is that both have excellent voices. The only problem with the venue is the very subdued lighting. It’s not good for photography and I hate using flash. However Juliana likes it and complains when they turn it up, so back down it goes.

Then after a closing ‘My Drug Buddy’ they go off and the house PA comes back on. No encore?

After raucous protests from the crowd Evan reappears briefly before heading off to drag Juliana back. She appears alone and plays a slightly stumbling version of ‘Nirvana’ but she sees it through and then launches into ‘I Picked You Up’ all with Evan nowhere to be seen.

Then she goes and he appears to round off the night with a rousing ‘Big Gay Heart’. Then sadly it really is all over but a 24 song night, so all in all, a bit special.

Now I'm off home to that better offer.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


I hobble for the bus on the thighs that are clearly not mine. It’s going to be a long road back to 1:40 half marathons. As I inched my way along I could hear MD saying good morning to everyone. He's so socialite.

This evening I’m out with a couple of old school friends, only yet again one of them cancels at the last minute. That’s becoming a bit of a habit, although he’s probably just trying to keep a wide berth from the reunion my other friend is trying to plan. I should be doing the same but I’m not sure how this internet phobic friend of mine is going to organise a successful reunion without modern technology.

We have a few beers in the Brunswick and then something unhealthy and pizza shaped from Antibo. We finish and I’m a bit too early for the bus, so I wait in Quad with a coffee. A coffee that’s scalding real hot, a real rarity these days, and I struggle to down it in time to get my bus.

(Wednesday 28th November)

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

An Unfit Person’s Thighs

I was late this morning because for some reason I had a problem getting out of bed. Then I was even later because the traffic was terrible even at that time. Borrowash, bizarrely, was totally gridlocked. So I ended parked up at my Mum’s at 8.05, due at work at 8.45 and it takes 40 minutes to do the run, for a fit person.

This was my first run for five weeks and the knee throbbed at first but then seemed to settle down ok. It probably helped that I stopped a couple of times for a good cough. Then there was the bit where I had to ease up and teeter along the river bank where it was flooded. So quite eventful really, although I was late for work. L has offered to shove me out of bed next time but that won’t be necessary.

The nominations for Sports Personality of the Year have been announced and why you can’t argue (much) with who’s been included, one can ask where’s Laura Trott’s name? Not only double Olympic champion but also double world champion in the same year, which is a better CV this year than most of the nominees including a certain Mr Hoy. No Alistair Brownlee either, ok so he was injured most of the year and didn’t bag the world title but it was some comeback to win the Olympic medal instead.

The run in this morning was from my parents’ house with the problem being I’ve now got to get back there. So another five miles in the opposite direction, after which my knee is still fine but I’m coughing well and my thighs hurt like an unfit person’s thighs.

There’s a match tonight against league leaders Cardiff which finishes 1-1. Cardiff were poor, which shows what a poor league this is. They seemed to come for a point and were only intent on stopping us playing by whatever means. I felt a bit sorry for the player they had sent off because they had two or three who deserved to go and to be honest, he wasn’t one of them. Cardiff may well go up, they are well organised side and that might be enough this year.

I head home, after a pint with my folks, keeping an eye out for Doggo. Whom L has said she will be tying to a lamppost at the end of our street. I take it he’s been a bit of a pain tonight.

(Tuesday 27th November)

Monday, 26 November 2012

Late But Stood Up Anyway

I attempt to hurtle back from work to meet the floor man at 5.30 but it’s not easy to hurtle anywhere by car these days. A gridlocked A52 means it’s nearly 6.00 by the time I get home. Not surprisingly he’s not there but then when I ring up to apologise, I find he stood me up anyway. We need to reschedule.

Also not happening tonight is dog training which is hardly surprising considering the rain we’ve had.

Like yesterday’s race though, running goes ahead and L heads off to Derby to run with friends from where I can now pick her up later.

(Monday 26th November)

Sunday, 25 November 2012

A Dose Of The Unusual

Today we’re in the grounds of the 13th century Coombe Abbey. I’m well wrapped up in my waterproof, walking boots and have just been handed a bag of sweets. They look after the supporters around here. L meanwhile is in running gear and stood practically ankle deep in a waterlogged field, probably debating with herself whether to take her coat off or not. Some others have decided on ‘not’.

Previous comments on this race include the words bomb craters, frozen molehills and hurdles only this year you can delete frozen and replace it with wet, very wet. One does like to read the small print before one enters a race. Not that L will be fazed; she likes a dose of the unusual. It also looks like they’re selling bacon butties over there, where would you rather be?

The hurdlers turn out to be just bales of hay, and just the one bale high, so nothing of Survival Of The Fittest proportions. The bomb craters are also apparently not too bad but then there’s the water... there’s plenty of that with the footpaths and bridges flooded to the extent that I would be well over my boots should I have ventured in that direction. So I think I’ll stay put.

They all seemed to enjoy themselves though and the hot soup they are handed at the end.

Afterwards we head into Leamington for lunch with Son, which is harder than it looks as both the Wetherspoons pubs are heaving. We get a space eventually.

In the evening, we pop into town to the Hand & Heart briefly before I drag L towards the Old Peculiar at the Peacock. Which is very nice although surprisingly L stays on the wine all night.

(Sunday 25th November)

Saturday, 24 November 2012


An odd day mainly due to Derby having a game moved to 5.20pm. At least it means we can laze in bed, I can take the dogs out and then we can continue the quest to find some suitable flooring for our lounge, now that we’ve been told we can’t have wood. We arrange for a chap to come see us about some vinyl flooring on Monday.

I also get chance to fix the bathroom light which inexplicably decided to stop working last week. So now we can ditch the candles, which are not just nicely decorative but also necessary for having a pee.

Wednesday’s Feeder gig may have been the best they’ve done in years but it seems the last night of their tour in Brixton topped even that. A five song encore including a threesome from 1996 - Sweet 16, Descend and Shade. Things do not get any better than that if you’re a Feeder old git.

The late game turns out to be quite good and Derby win a ‘sort of thriller’ over Birmingham 3-2.

Later we watch the first episode of ‘Hunted’, yes we’re a bit late to the party on this one.

(Saturday 24th November)

Friday, 23 November 2012

Playing Safe

Cough cough. So, no bike again, I think it’s best to play it safe. I’m certainly not going anywhere near the car though, not with the current traffic problems. Then the bus glides serenely through because there’s no traffic today. Bizarre.

L says that although it's Friday, can we break with tradition ever so slightly? If she can get a DVD cheaply will I watch ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ with her. She’s needs to do her Tudors research, but more specifically the Boleyns, for her latest read.

She’s asking me to substitute David Soul singing Silver Lady on TOPT 1977 for Natalie Portman? She drives a hard bargain. I’m sure I’ll cope though, Natalie and I go way back.

Although as she plays Anne, she’ll probably get beheaded and I don’t think I’m spoiling the ending too much by revealing that. Unless they’ve written history of course... wouldn’t be the first time.

Apparently The Other Boleyn Girl called Mary isn't beheaded. I bet that’s the part played by Scarlet Johanssen. Bloody typical. Anne was also said to be flat chested and unattractive unlike her sister. Natalie really ought to have words with her agent.

L finds it on sale for £3 and comes home with that as well as two skirts and some black tights that I’ve bought for her. I have such good taste. Prodigious use of the joint credit card it seems which is ok, I did offer. All I require as recompense is a fashion show later.

(Friday 23rd November)

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Two Dogs, One Locked Gate, Conundrum

Too ill to bike, too late to bus, So I’m in the car, banging the head against the steering wheel in frustration. At least we’re at the pub at lunchtime, I just hope the chef turns up this time.

Then it’s squash. I was a bit late trying to book and have been unable to get our usual court and 8.15 is the earliest I could get. I fear this is past my opponent’s bedtime but he grudgingly agrees.

On these ground I almost sense victory, if only it wasn’t for this cough. L vows to run there, if I force her out of the door, and then go for a late swim. She wants me to force her out of the door and into the deluge? Even I’m not that cruel, well not often.

I get home to find one dog one side of the dog gate and one the other side. The dog gate is shut. WTF as Daughter would say. What’s even odder is its Doggo, the 11 year old, who has lept for freedom and probably banged his head on the front door in the process. In 11 years he’s never done that before and this is the old man who I retired from agility because he couldn't jump a two foot hurdle but can now apparently jump a much higher dog gate.

I go upstairs to find out he has ‘dug’ both mattresses causing not inconsiderable damage. He will not be popular when L sees that. Actually, he’s not popular with me either.

So to squash, where the later start seems to suit me. I’m more awake at that sort of time unlike my opponent. I start like a train but then quickly run out of energy. Damn that cough.

(Thursday 22nd November)

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Flask Packed, Off To Gig

L heads down to London for work at the crack of dawn. Well 7am, which is actually pre-dawn this time of year. So I walk the boys, in the dark and in the rain. They enjoy it more than I do. Then I leave them bedraggled and still in the dark to go to work.

Then I only just get the bus, a totally full Red Arrow. The girl after me got the last seat, so we almost had to share. It’s getting ridiculously busy on that service. It would be nice if the bus company noticed, got wise to the fact they could actually make even more money and put another bus or two on?

I finish at lunchtime and take the afternoon off to break up the dogs' day because I’ve got a gig in Wolverhampton tonight. As it’s finally stopped raining we do the park, which is mainly one big lake now. This makes ball kicking/throwing rather traumatic.

At least MD got chips, twice, once on the way there and then again on the way back. There’s still some left for his breakfast tomorrow unless some other dog tidies them up first.

Then I make myself a flask to take for after the gig... didn’t used to do that when I was 18.

Thanks to the M6, why is it always the M6? I only catch the last two minutes of the Dakota Beats. So I can’t really comment guys. Except to say, of what I saw, you were noisy, animated and got a good round of applause when you went off, so you may have been quite good.

Then the Virginmarys come on to Jay Z, which is not how to get me on side. It's the second time I've seen them and the first time, about 18 months ago, they didn’t leave much of an impression. This time they do.

They are the best kind of a three piece; just drums, bass and guitar. They open powerfully with ‘Bang Bang Bang’ and don’t really let up.

I like lead singer Ally Dickaty’s raspy vocals, even if he does tell us he’s ‘Out of (my fucking) mind’ before moving seamlessly on to the next number ‘My Little Girl’, which is perhaps not as sweet as the title suggests. I’ll get back to you on the finer lyrical points of that one.

‘Dressed to Kill’ is as close to a ballad as they get and even that's got serious balls. It’s a top tune, which I try to find on the CD’s they’re selling post-gig but I don’t think it’s been released yet.

In terms of pure entertainment you could actually just watch the drummer, Danny Dolan, who is ace and have a great evening. He’s a man with loads of energy and knows how to batter a drumkit, which half the time he’s out of his seat doing.

I recommend you catch them but I would do so smartish if I was you because the way Mr Dickaty sings I’m not sure how long his voice will last.

There's a huge gap between the crowd and the stage here at the Civic. Is that really necessary? Stage diving will require a most impressive leap of Olympic proportions. So unless Greg Rutherford is in tonight it ain't gonna happen.

So to Feeder. You may ask if this blog needs another Feeder review? I've seen them so many times it must be getting monotonous and what with me whinging more about what they don't play rather than commenting on what they do play... but they're one of the few bands that I got into from the start and that are still going 15 years on. So it’s personal, we have affinity.

That said, I almost skipped this tour because Wolverhampton is a fair trek on a Wednesday night and there's nowhere closer. It's also a fairly large unintimate venue and having seen them twice earlier this year in smaller venues, could it really be any better? They did say they would chuck in some real oldies on this tour... but then they always says that... then don't... either way, I promise not to whinge tonight.

As they’re setting up the stage, they're taping down around four sheets of paper for lead singer Grant Nicholas. That’s more than just a set list, has he forgotten the words of some of the stuff he intends to play?

Then the lights are down and is that Grant’s dulcet tones I can hear them playing over the PA? Are Feeder going to come on to their own backing track? I know this song... but can’t place it... quick, Shazam it! Ahhh, ‘20th Century Trip’, the last track or ‘outro’ on Polythene, their first album. Nice touch. Hope that’s not the extent of the oldies.

'Oh My' opens the show, it’s the opener to the new album and a great opener, the only question is why it's taken so long for it to get to that spot for the gigs.

'Sentimental' is the selected extra from the ‘Renegades’ album tonight which wouldn't have been my choice but perhaps serves a warning to the crowd that this is going to get heavier.

Previous nights have got either 'Yesterday Went Too Soon' or 'Hey Johnny'. Hell I want both, they are both great tracks. YWTS is a must in any Feeder set for me. A track that still gives me goose bumps every time I hear it live, which obviously isn't often enough. It's a song about not realising what you've got until it's gone. A bit like one’s back catalogue... Damn I promised not to whinge.

Grant seems undecided about which guitar to pick up next, as if weighing up what song to play. Finally the distinctive intro to YWTS tumbles forth from the stage. Good choice. I’m a happy man already. Then later we get ‘Hey Johnny’ as well, bonus. It’s a special song for anyone who knows their Feeder history.

I'm happy to see 'Tender' appear because it's a change and any change is good. Grant recently played it acoustic at the London Guitar show, where it went down well. Tonight, it’s full band and it sounds pretty ace actually. Another good choice mate.

Grant jokes that he’s lost the coin toss yet again about whether to include the next track in the set. This is met with a chorus of cries for ‘Tangerine’.

It’s always Tangerine’ he complains.

A track he claims to dislike and has tried to retire for good more than once. Yes it's always ‘Tangerine’ and probably always will be. I don’t understand it either.

You write two of the most ridiculous throwaway pop songs on the planet, one is a success and one isn’t, you grow to hate both of them but both haunt you forever. The band plays the other, more successful one, ‘Buck Rogers’. The crowd go predictably ape.

‘Buck Rogers’ actually brings to the end a sequence of seven consecutive singles played back to back tonight of which only 2010’s ‘Renegades’ didn’t chart. An impressive collection. Then four of the last five tracks showcase the new album ending with the epic title track of ‘Generation Freakshow’.

Encore time. Starting with 'Children of the Sun' with just Grant on guitar and CC on keyboards but then the rest of the band join until it’s full band part way through, as it is on the album, and it sounds better for it.

Then something for the ‘old skool’. It’s back to the early ‘Swim’ EP for ‘Sweet 16’ which is simply amazing and this ‘old skool’ reviewer is one very happy bunny. Then without a break straight into ‘Descend’. ‘Descend’ has certainly been toned down a touch, possibly to try and appeal to the newer fans who may find its original format a bit too heavy. Although I still thought it sounded absolutely immense as it echoed around the Civic Hall and probably down the street.

Grant looks a happy bunny too playing this and who wouldn't be, it’s such a colossal tune. Much better than a throwaway pop song eh? I would be more than happy for this ‘new’ version to become a permanent fixture.

Then as it comes to its conclusion and so too the night, the long jump competition starts with ‘Just A Day’ and there’s a lot of entrants. Despite that though, no one makes the stage. Clearly if Mr Rutherford is here, he's on the balcony.

Then its back to ‘20th Century Trip’ to play us out of what has been an awesome night. See what happens when you shake the set list up a bit. More please.

People who know better than me say the band’s manager wants Grant to ‘man up’ and play more of the old classics and is apparently twisting the thumbscrews for a Swim/Polythene/B-sides tour. I like their manager, whoever he is.

(Wednesday 21st November)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Comeback Delayed

I’m a bit ill. So hard training will have to wait and I scrap my planned bike to work. It also means I will now have to delay my running comeback for a few days.

I’m soon recovering and improving as the day goes along, although my sceptical partner clearly does not believe by 99.9% recovered statement.

L is back in training though but I haven’t asked whether it hard training or not but says she’s not feeling any fitter yet. Fitter than Laura though, who isn’t due in Australia until Wednesday.

(Tuesday 20th November)

Monday, 19 November 2012

Waterlogged Pitch

So it’s time to hit training hard for all of us this week. That’s L, me and Laura Trott of course. Who claims to be so unfit after her post-Olympic holiday. This is the sort of winning two World Cup Gold medals type unfitness that I’m unfamiliar with. She's off to training camp in Australia for a month, we're... not.

I await the usual 5.30 dogging report, that’s the weather report from the venue as to whether dog training can go ahead. It’s off, waterlogged pitch. So it’s training in the garden instead, which isn’t quite as waterlogged.

In between that and ball kicks for Doggo, I attempt to dispose of Son’s souvenir For Sale sign. Unfortunately it proves more resilient to being binned than I expected as it’s made of very tough plastic. I need to source something equally resilient to cut it up with.

I also recycle a few books. Won’t be needing this one, a complete work of fiction.

There’s no understanding them.

(Monday 19th November)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Mission Accomplished

We don’t have tickets for today’s velodrome programme so we head home and don’t see Trotty clinch Omnium victory by the skin of her teeth. That is until we get home and watch the recording of it.

Oddly the M6 is again fine... I’m sure it’ll bite back at some stage.

We spend a pleasant night in with Daughter before she heads off back to Sheffield tomorrow, having completed her dog sitting assignment. They seems to have enjoyed it, I think she may have done as well despite claims to the contrary.

(Sunday 18th November)

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Skin Abrasions

L reckons she ought to run this weekend even though we're away. My opinion is that she didn’t ought to run, no, not at all. She should put her feet up and have a debaucherous weekend where she eats loads, drinks loads and lets herself get led astray by me as often as possible, persistent concierges permitting. She can always hit training hard on Monday.

Clearly a bit knackered from so much debauchery, in this case mainly watching cycling and late night bars, we oversleep and nearly miss breakfast. Which turns out to be a bit naff anyway. Scrambled eggs, sausages and beans does not a full English (or Scottish) make. Oh well, it is only a Holiday Inn I suppose. Then back to bed I think.

Later we wander around Glasgow which is a mix of lovely old buildings, a few new ones and quite a bit of dereliction. The overall impression is very positive though and it’s a much friendlier place than I expected. Compared with London say, that’s assuming the Olympic glow has worn off down there, during which it was really friendly.

We find a pub called the ‘Pot Still’ and where Scotland are getting stuffed in the rugby on the big screen. The locals all seem to be ignoring it or pretending to ignore it. We have a pleasant drink or two and then it’s back to the velodrome for Day 2.

Our two blondes get silver and bronze in the individual sprint. They met in the semi-finals where Jess Varnish won a close battle 2-1 before losing out to the super human thighs of Germany’s Kristina Vogel in the final.

There are crashes galore elsewhere. While Olympic sprint champion Jason Kenny looked totally untroubled in his Keirin semi-final, Lewis Oliva left his on a stretcher after crashing on the final corner which left him with concussion and skin abrasions. We were to see a lot of impressive skin abrasions over the weekend.

Then in the final it was Kenny's turn. When Kenny clipped the back wheel of another rider it was goodbye to a medal and hello to those skin abrasions. He did pick himself up to finish the race fourth on a road bike.

Then it's time to settle down for the Laura Trott show, the Elimination Race. Which early on featured another crash, as a German girl went down hard. First they had to neutralise the race and then stop it completely as she is stretchered off. Then it’s back to Trott for the usual master class and victory. It not hard to see where the bragging rights are in the Trott/Kenny household tonight.

(Saturday 17th November)

Friday, 16 November 2012


This morning we head up the M6 and the M74 to the Gorbals. Yes, glorious Glasgow. For once it’s an easy passage up the motorway and a reasonable five hour trip.

We’re staying at the Holiday Inn, which is adequate, if unspectacular. Its right next to the Winter Gardens and the River Clyde, which makes a pleasant evening walk as we attempt to find the extremely unsignposted new velodrome. The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome that is, for the inaugural Glasgow World Cup. We get there eventually. Now if they’d said it was right next to Celtic's football ground then that would have made things a lot easier.

The racing is a spectacular as ever, although we miss the biggest crash of the day which came in the afternoon session for which we didn’t have tickets. It came courtesy of our own men’s team pursuit squad, which featured none of the Olympic winning quartet, and who fell off, spectacularly. So no chance of a medal there then.

Elsewhere there was more success. The two blondes on bikes, our Women’s team sprint duo of Jess Varnish and Becky James, didn’t fall off and beat Spain for gold.

There was also no falling off either for the women’s pursuit team, featuring A Level student Elinor Barker rather than the virus struck Jo Rowsell alongside Olympic champions Dani King and Laura Trott as they beat Australia to Gold.

There was an experiment in the team sprint, where Olympic team pursuit champion Ed Clancy debuted at the shorter distance alongside Olympic champions/world record holders Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes, as a replacement for Chris Hoy, in the Chris Hoy Velodrome. So no pressure then. They got silver. Which surely counts as a success.

Afterwards, and before as it happens, we frequent the Blackfriars bar, a rather pleasant Glasgow ale house with some rather quaffable beers.

(Friday 16th November)

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Warranting Further Investigation

I saw a lad carrying a For Sale sign up Ilkeston Road last night. Now that brings back memories and reminds me that we must get rid of the one sitting in Son’s room.

We are at a wine tasting this evening and I try to get the bus direct there from work but while L lounges in Cast cafe bar waiting for me, I lounge in Derby bus station.

I lounge for a very long time; there isn't a bus for 40 minutes, so much for the every 10 minutes service.

L describes the wine tasting as ‘an*l’. Well, I think she’s describing the people, who spend more time trying to impress the wine company reps that drinking the wine. I think they’ve got the wrong end of the stick, we drink the wine.

There’s nothing outstanding but nothing awful either. I highlight two out of the dozen or so I try as warranting further investigation. Things perk up immensely when the cheese counter opens, which produces the biggest scrum of the night.

Afterwards we amble up to the Savera curry house where we meet Daughter, can’t be bothered to go home and cook. My curry is excellent although evilly hot.

(Thursday 15th November)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Sociological Study

I have a bit of a problem with a little man in a BMW, that is as big as our bungalow, trying to squeeze me off the road. Not that he had a lot of choice seeing as his vehicle was wider than the road. There was still no reason to overtake me though and I gleefully take him back when he gets stuck in the traffic seconds later. Then just for extra annoyance I block him at the lights to get my own back. He wasn’t happy. Good.

Son has requested photos of the dogs for an ‘animals’ seminar tomorrow. Probably the last time he was asked to talk about his pets was at infant school...

If he’s doing a sociological study of our dogs he’ll be there all day and he won’t even get onto MD. L reckons I’m confusing sociological with psychological, which in Doggo's case is a complete and utter mishmash.

Daughter is coming home tonight because she says her flatmates are annoying her again. Then she's dog sitting for us this weekend.

Dog training goes well, MD wise. He is absolutely brilliant tonight and does a passable impression of a dog who’s listening to me. That is unless somebody’s swapped dogs on me when I wasn’t looking.

The psychologically mishmashed one however, is a bit embarrassing. He arrives whining and hyped up but with one of his famous limps. This makes a mockery of turning up early to let him have a go.

(Wednesday 14th November)

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Underwater Cycling

We’ve always wanted a house in the Lake District and today I’ve has an offer accepted on one. Just got to find someone to lend me the money now...

We intend to let it, until we’re ready to use it. L says I’m now officially a property magnate. Hmmm, not quite.

Nottingham Christmas tree has disappeared. Ha. Some students have nicked it, haven’t they?

They’ll find it wedged in the foyer of the student flats at Opal, after they failed to get it up the stairs.

and then, it gets sillier.

Hydro Bikes? How bizarre. So I’m going to turn up at the pool for my swim to find one of the lanes full of bikes. Great.

If as the article says they need to compete with private gyms perhaps getting some decent gym bikes might be a start rather than putting them underwater.

(Tuesday 13th November)

Monday, 12 November 2012

Taking The Rap

Daughter has yet another job and it sounds suspiciously like chugging. It also isn't going particularly well. Which is a surprise. Nagging is on of her strong points...

Well, I hope her salary isn’t dependent on how well she does. It's also raining here; I hope it isn't in Sheffield.

Here’s a first, L owes MD an apology. Having this morning caught Doggo in the act of pulling the washing off the line with his teeth; she appears to have done the younger model a huge disservice. MD has been taking the rap for this for the last four years.

L sends me to Sainsbury’s with a an unhealthy list and then apologises, saying she'd be embarrassed to be seen pushing the trolley. Never mind, I’ll hide her crap under my fruit.

Tonight’s committee meeting is off as we have insufficient people to form a quorum to make it count. Never mind, I can take the boys dog training instead.

Oh no. Back on, still without a quorum but going ahead anyway. Sorry boys, no training.

(Monday 12th November)

Sunday, 11 November 2012

A Temporary Measure

Another trip to B&Q, oh the shame.

Then I attempt a plumbing job with some success, well mixed success. I don’t get the new towel rail up and running. Only because I don’t have all the parts and now as its gone 4pm that notorious DIY centre is now closed. I do get the old radiator off though but then when I reconnect the piping as a temporary measure, using a spare piece of pipe I found in the shed, I find that the spare piece was one I’d removed after we had burst pipes and should have been thrown away... luckily, after a minor flood, I find another piece to replace it.

Not for the first time Rock City opens its doors at 7:30 for a sold out gig with the first support on at 7:45. No chance. The queue is down the street, around the corner and disappearing inside the neighbouring multi story. Then of course Jim Lockey & the Solemn Sun finish five minutes early. So I don’t catch a lot of their lively full throttle folky-country-punky-rocky mixed baggy sound all the way from Cheltenham but it was good while it lasted Jim. Sort of like Mumford and Sons on acid.

So Tim Barry, a Yank, who doesn’t like coming on to Iron Maiden (they’re playing ‘Run to the Hills’ on the PA) and who might just talk his way through his entire thirty minute slot if he’s not careful. He takes time to tell us the back story of how he met Frank Turner on the US Revival Tour in 2008 and had to take the stage after him. Tonight he's somewhat relieved to be on before him.

He also tells us that that anyone can do what he does; all they have to do is learn the same three chords. This is perhaps why he seems to play the same song all set. It’s a good job it's a good one. He’s also so nice and thankful for his upgrade from his normal bar gigs that the crowd take him to their hearts. His is an entertaining set from a chap who’s clearly as passionate about what he does as the man who’s coming up next. Right you can turn Iron Maiden back on now.

Now it’s Turner Time for, rumour has it, the 1286th time. To his huge credit, no matter how big the man gets, and he’s very big now, he still stays grounded in his venues. He’s as likely to pop up in the 450 capacity Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms, like he did last year, as the 12,000 capacity Wembley Arena as he did in April this year or anything in between for that matter such as Rock City tonight. It’s the first night of his latest UK tour, a sell out of 25 UK venues plus 3 in Ireland and one in Germany all before Christmas. Now that’s a tour. The guy could have just done half a dozen arena shows and be done with it but that’s not his style.

This is his style. We start ‘a capella’, well the crowd does, I can’t actually hear whether Frank is joining in to the opening of ‘If Ever I Stray’ because the crowd are already drowning him out before he's even opened his mouth.

Does the guy ever get sick of everybody singing almost every word back at him, often before he can even get started? Not one bit, well not that he lets on. Audience participation is the big thing here, if you’re not singing you’re not doing it right.

It's nice though when he drops in a few less frequently played numbers such as the excellent ‘Isabel’ which allows Frank to rest back control a bit, with just a few hundred backing singers on that one.

There is also a bit of understandable quiet on the new numbers he plays tonight, ‘Time Machine’, ‘Four Simple Words’ and ‘Wherefore Art Thou, Gene Simmons?’ The latter of which is an interesting ode to the man from Kiss who once claimed of having slept with 4600 women and has the photographs to prove it. It’s a piss-take not a tribute, I think.

Other highlights? Well where do you start? Pick any from the nice mix of solo acoustic and full band numbers backed by the excellent Sleeping Souls.

My own personal favourite, as ever, is ‘Substitute’ which he dedicates to his moustache. He’s not totally happy about his Movember participation but he’s doing it anyway, as it’s all in a good cause.

Then there’s the popular mostly crowd sung ‘Reasons Not To Be An Idiot’, the brilliant blasphemy of 'Glory Hallelujah', the home town tribute from the ‘Wessex Boy’ himself, ‘The Real Damage’ - the best song about a hangover ever or the hugely sad ‘Long Live The Queen’ which now seems to have metamorphosed into one of his rockiest numbers. Kind of the point I suppose, keep it upbeat.

They’re all good and we’re all having a good time. Which is why I suppose he chooses to end tonight’s session of togetherness with ‘I Still Believe’ with its message that everyone can find a song for them, ‘for every time they've lost and every time they've won’. Yep, ‘who'd have thought, that after all, something simple as rock 'n' roll would save us all’.

For the encore, there’s the stunning and heavily requested ‘Redemption’ before the usual elongated sing-along to ‘Photosynthesis’ which means then in order to cram in one more he hurtles through ‘Dan's Song’ in about one minute flat, whilst spending most of this riotous finale on his back in the mosh pit.

(Sunday 11th November)

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Rethink Time

The floor man finally comes to measure up and informs us that we can't have a wooden floor at all. Oh dear. Rethink time.

L runs, gets her bike and then cycles to pick up the car from where we abandoned it last night in Bunny. I do the park, as usual, then keep one ear on the football as Derby’s brief good run ends at Millwall. In between this we visit B&Q, just like an old married couple...

L had ideas of a film to see this weekend but I fancied something a bit more gritty, so we head over to Quad for ‘Ginger and Rosa’, although it was probably in the end more bitty than gritty.

This is the story of two girls who were born on the same day in the same hospital in 1945 as WWII ended. The film implies that this was possibly even the very day the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The pair grow up as inseparable friends until we get to 1962 when, now 17, teenage hormones have to via for attention with the Cuban missile crisis, as once again the smell of nuclear warfare hangs in the air.

Ginger (Elle Fanning) is the daughter of a conscientious objector, Roland (Alessandro Nivola). Typically he’s now a lecturer, a part-time author writing books about ‘Freedom’ and rather smugly left wing. Ginger takes this all on board, follows the politics of the Cold War and spends a lot of time worrying about how many days they all have left to live.

Meanwhile Roland’s marriage to Natalie (Christina Hendricks) is on the rocks, so it’s easy for Ginger to take sides if she wants to. She chooses her father’s more ‘bohemian’ side, she adores him but has little time for her more straightforward mother.

He’s not a great role model and nor are the other adults in the film. Oliver Platt and Annette Bening appear as an American couple who influence Ginger into joining CND, going protesting and then consequently getting arrested. At least I think they’re supposed to be American as they don’t attempt to hide their accents. Timothy Spall meanwhile, has no accent problems.

Her bestest friend though, Rosa (Alice Englert), is the complete opposite and her home is already broken. She turns to religion and boys rather than politics but adores Ginger’s father as much as Ginger herself does.

Seemingly equally charmed by Ginger’s dad, Rosa starts sleeping with him, which understandably shatters the close friendship of the girls a touch. Whether Ginger agrees with her self-indulged Father’s belief in the 60’s mantra of free love or not, perhaps even Ginger realises that practising this idealism so close to home is a tad selfish and maybe perhaps his other mantra, saving the world, could have waited until after he’d saved his family? Or it may have gone over her head.

Ginger and Rosa are basically two teenage girls that you want to slap, nothing unusual there then, and then of course there’s a husband you probably want to slap as well. Well slap might be a bit too kind.

It’s an interesting film but more of a film about growing up in turbulent times than an enlightening piece about the changes taking place in the world at that time, about which it says little.

The acting is generally pretty good though, if you ignore the annoying fact they’ve imported so many American actors and their accents into a British film. Elle Fanning, a 13 year old playing a 17 year old, is impressive.

(Saturday 10th November)

Friday, 9 November 2012

Tactical Errors

It’s kind of ironic that on the day that L cycles for the first time in months I discover an article on Cycling Deaths in Nottinghamshire... Apparently we have the highest death ratio in the country outside of London. Although there are no deaths actually in Nottingham City, they’re all in the wider county where the current policy is to remove cycle lanes and hand out free reflective clothing instead. An interesting approach which doesn’t appear to be working.

L leaves ‘the thing’ at work and walks home... although for unrelated reasons, urgent shopping or something.

Elsewhere a dog is saved by Mountain Rescue after sixteen days in a gorge in southern Scotland .

The poor thing. Bloody collie of course, suffering from red mist in his eyes. It says that Sparky is now 'quiet and subdued' that is until he sees another goat.

It’s a beer tasting, pub games and fireworks evening tonight at a friend’s place and we’re still struggling to get a decent beer to take. We go out every week and drink really good local beers but when you want a take out of one suddenly they’re all off. After work I head down to the Castle Rock Brewery tap for the acclaimed Midnight Owl but it’s not on. What’s worse is it takes not far off an hour to travel the three miles or so and back in the Nottingham traffic to find that out.

Instead I take a recommended replacement of a strong Stout from Sheffield. So not local. We drive it over in the car, which is abandoned there, we’ll taxi back.

The fireworks are good, especially the ones we brought and no one gets torched for a change. The pub games are good too. I remain unbeaten at table football but bomb out of ‘killer’ darts as all the male players annihilate each other leaving the Ladies to battle among themselves for victory. Somehow I think we all got the tactics wrong. L didn’t get chance to put any tactics in to play at all, removed from action (to her obvious relief) after just two throws as somebody repeatedly hits her number, which was next to mine, when actually aiming for mine.

Beer wise, of the eclectic four up for tasting, my replacement Stout is a bit of a let down. A bit dry and dull. The others are home brew (nice but deadly and oversweet), something that resembles Spitfire but turns out instead to be another beer by the same brewery and a pale Belgian-esk but not quite beer that turns out to be Special Brew.

Not sure which one was the winner actually.

(Friday 9th November)

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Conspiracy Theories

On the day both Bradley Wiggins and GB Cycling Coach Shane Sutton get knocked off their bikes, I ask is this a conspiracy? Is someone out to nobble our team or is it an elaborate safety campaign by our cyclists? Meanwhile I’m playing it safe on the bus.

My preparation for tonight’s squash match is knocked into turmoil with a lunchtime pub disaster. The chef is off sick e.g. no pie and chips. Can squash be played on beer and mere a sandwich? I guess I’m going to find out. Hopefully I won’t win or else I’ll have to follow that plan every week.

It’s not looking good when I win the first game but thankfully I lose 1-3. So back to pie and chips next time then.

(Thursday 8th November)

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

A Female For Christmas

A very nice day for a bike into work. Although I wore far too much and was a ball of sweat by the time I arrived. Which didn’t stop one of my colleagues wanting the heating on at full blast. It was ok for a while, that is until, even with a window open, first my eyeballs start to melt and then the race of my face turned to liquid. I suppose we should all be used to people with different thermostats, I have one at home. Although it’s usually women who feel the chill and this was a chap.

L tries to take some photos of our delightful children and dog eating (not proven) deer on Wollaton Park to swap for kangaroo photos with a friend in Australia. They are a bit blurred though, probably because they were chasing her at the time or because a certain little collie had nil paws on the ground while he repelling their attack with some good old fashioned yawping.

L leaps to the defence of the poor creatures. Hang on, poor creatures? The deer? Are these the same ones she’s ordered for Christmas lunch? Apparently not, these were Stags, she has no problem with the males. It’s a female she wants for Christmas. Funnily enough that was always top of my list too, when I was a teenager.

Dog training tonight. Clearly traumatised by the deer, MD’s a bit obstinate tonight. Not that that’s unusual.

(Wednesday 7th November)

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Bedraggled Bears

It's foul outside for most of the day. L proclaims she’s glad she’s not sitting at a football match tonight. She might have a point, although she will be expected to kick footballs in the mud for the dogs.

As I dodge the showers to get a sandwich at lunchtime I pass a very bedraggled looking Pudsey Bear loitering outside Pride Park stadium. Is it Children in Need time again?

I go to my Mum’s for tea and while I’m served fish she hands me a huge slab of roast beef ‘for the boys’. Now there’s nothing wrong with the fish, which is very nice, but I’d have been fine with cold beef sandwich.

The match is good, a 2-0 win. That’s two decent performances in a row for once and two wins. It’s also good to see a second consecutive away team, Barnsley tonight after Blackpool on Saturday turn up with the correct strip on. Rather than some God awful away kit, generally these days in lime green and/or purple, when there’s no colour clash.

Pudsey’s there as well. He seems to have blagged his way inside the stadium and can be seen failing to save penalties on the pitch at half time.

(Tuesday 6th November)

Monday, 5 November 2012

The Blitz

It’s dropped a bit cold today and L takes the dog’s ice skating, in preference to their morning walk. I derided the council for using grit unnecessarily the other day, perhaps today they did need it after all.

Tonight is Bonfire Night of course and I get home to be greeted by one dog. I have to free the other from the spare room. I assume the explosions had started early and somehow he had managed to batter his way into there. Once there he normally digs a hole in the carpet or tunnels his way through the cables under the computer table. At least there’s no sign of digging and he hasn’t managed to electrocute himself, not yet.

Dog training tonight would have been good for him, as we’re in the middle of nowhere, so there shouldn’t be many fireworks. Only, it’s cancelled for un-firework related reasons.

So Doggo spends the evening indoors listening to Kerrang Radio while MD spends his barking at the blitz in the garden.

(Monday 5th November)

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Things To Do Before My Knees Collapse

I’m not running this weekend, too injured. L has been hinting about the Dovedale Dash. It is on the list of things to do before my knees collapse, that is if they haven’t already. Although actually I have no idea why it’s on my list. The thought of the mud, the stepping stones and the river sends shivers down my spine. I don’t do mud, other than at dog training.

So instead of running we go out and buy a heated towel rail, why not.

Then somehow we pack Daughter’s bike in the car, cramming the two dogs in around it and head up to Sheffield. Doggo looks put out to have a bike chain in his face, whereas MD just curls up, rests his chin on a mudguard and goes to sleep. I’m not sure Daughter will use the bike but at least it’s now blocking up someone else’s house.

While there we go for lunch at the Lescar in Hunters Bar which was ok last time and is ok again, only that everything, pretty much, is off. The Sunday Roasts have all sold out, there are no lentils to put in L’s lentil salad, no strawberries for the strawberry crumble and even the coffee machine is bust. Someone heads off to find a kettle. Still they give us a free round of drinks and what we do manage to order is fine. So all’s good.

(Sunday 4th November)

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Reconnaissance Mission

After an awful performance and a total capitulation to Peterborough in midweek, losing 3-0, erratic old Derby bounce back and win 4-1 against an admittedly very poor and Ian Holloway-less Blackpool. They shouldn't even have had the '1', it was very dubious penalty decision.

We need to supply some beer for a beer tasting on Friday, so we head out on a reconnaissance mission. I would like to take something local, so we head to an old haunt of ours. The Fox and Crown, the brewery tap for the Alcazar Brewery.

It’s not a great experience. The warning signs were there when we walked in, most people drinking lager and London Pride on the bar for those that aren't. Still we were here for one of the six or so beers of their own, so we took the plunge. Ideally this would have been the legendary award winning Maple Magic but this hasn't been seen for around five years, unless we're just unlucky to keep missing it.

The old standby, known as Brush Ale was very flat, thin and too sweet. L's New Dawn was very similar. We tried two more but The Vixens Vice and Windjammer are no better. Clearly something has gone amiss with Alcazar.

So we move on down the road to the Horse and Groom. This is slightly better but there's still nothing dark and for October that's terrible. We end up drinking Old Intentional from the Derby Brewery, which is actually very good.

(Saturday 3rd November)

Friday, 2 November 2012

Self Massage

There’s a bit of a headwind on the bike this morning. Well, actually, more than a bit of one. Hopefully it’ll stay blowing that way for the journey home but I know that’s not going to happen.

L’s off for another session with the Italian sounding lass with the boots or a pummelling as L describes it. Apparently the massage treatment she got to her calves hurt so much that she got cramp in her toes.

I'm not sure what she’d make of my calves. My calves are so lively post-exercise, they can massage themselves.

Today, a Friday night in. Still no Jimmy Saville on TOTP 1977. Funnily enough.

(Friday 2nd November)

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Thinking Ahead

Daughter claims she's 92% cut out to be a lecturer. I wonder whether she needs a beard to get the last 8%. I also think she's a little ahead of herself, having only just started her second year at Uni but then she’s always wanted to be 2 or 3 years ahead of where she actually is in life. E.g. 15 certificate films at 12, night clubs at 15 etc etc. Still, it’s good to see her thinking ahead.

Squash tonight against a no longer flu ridden opponent. 0-4. Oh dear. Good game though.

(Thursday 1st November)