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

Monday 30 June 2014

Basking In The Glory

L asks if I’m basking in the glory after our performance yesterday or do we not talk about dogging at work. It is true that some folk take an interest in my weekend hobbies but I haven’t spoken to any of them today.

It is a different matter at training later and we take the traditional celebratory cakes to training with us. Savour them guys, it could be a while until our next one.

(Monday 30th June)

Sunday 29 June 2014

Promotion At Last

We’re at a dog show called Dogs Unleashed today at Bakewell. L is with us, supporting but secretly coming to clear the place out of Bakewell pudding. The puddings may, of course, be world famous but you know they’re just not going to be anything like the one she made at Christmas.

MD has four runs today but sadly there’s nothing for Doggo. The entries are quite small, so if ever there’s a chance for MD to get that vital promotion winning run, it is today. Mind you, we’ve been to several small shows before and said exactly the same thing. Famous last words.

We get five faults in our first run but with a small field struggling to get around a tough course, we still come third. It wasn’t even a very good run. Our second run is better and clear. It puts us in the lead and then as dog after dog fails to beat us, we win. Blimey. At last we will move up to Grade 4. The boy done good, finally.

Our remaining two runs are forgettable and not clear. Although I find our later that our final one was still good enough for a rosette for 11th. We are long gone by the time the presentation is made, off to start the celebrations.

(Sunday 29th June)

Saturday 28 June 2014

High Pollen Count

Today we have nothing on so, wa-hey, a lie in. If we can remember what they're all about.

Then late afternoon we head off to the cinema. I’ve seen the ‘Fault in Our Stars’ coming over the horizon for quite a while, so when L says ‘what are the chances of you taking me to see this?’ I’m ready for it. How bad can it be?

Quite bad. Based on a best selling book by John Greene, our ‘heroine’ is Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodly), a teenager with terminal thyroid cancer and part-time grenade. Her lungs no longer work and so she carries an oxygen tank around with her in a handy backpack.

She’s also your typical surly teenage grenade, so she has to be coerced into attending a cancer support group. You do feel for her though when the group leader, a testicular cancer survivor, turns out to be religious nut that rolls out a large rug of Jesus at the start of ever session.

At this group she meets Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), a fellow teenager who has lost the lower part of his leg to cancer. Augustus, or should I say Gus, is with his friend Isaac who has eye cancer. Everyone knows that Isaac’s attractive big-chested girlfriend is going to dump him the minute he goes blind but he doesn’t see it coming. Notwithstanding that, Isaac is by far the best character in the film and is seriously underused.

Hazel and Gus immediately fall in love, they don’t know it obviously but we do. Now in true romantic fiction style, we just have to wait a couple of hours for them to get it together. Yes, it’s the same old format where boy gets girl, eventually.

Gus is seriously odd. He carries around a pack of cigarettes and occasionally puts one in his mouth saying ‘they don't kill you unless you light them’. It's a metaphor apparently as well as being ridiculous. Surely most girls would have dumped him on the spot.

She lends him her favourite book, he lends her his. We never find out what she thought of his but we do launch off into a rather random sub-plot where they track down the author of her book, which takes them all the way to Amsterdam where the author breaks his reclusiveness just for them. This then allows for an even more random visit to Anne Frank’s house where their first kiss is applauded by the general public. Not that anyone would have dared clap or kiss in such a sombre place.

This spurs them on to spend one night of passion together, although of course if they both hadn’t prevaricated and lived life for the minute they could have been at it for months. The message of the film seems to be to value every minute but these two don’t.

Back in America, it is revealed that Gus’s cancer has returned, his number is up and he asks Hazel to write a eulogy for him. Which is sort of sweet.

When Gus dies he could have been hit by bus, choked on his beef burger or even killed by aliens rather than dying of cancer. Any of these would have only required a minor script rewrite. Sadly this is a film about romance with a side portion of cancer as opposed to what it could have been, a film about cancer with a bit of romance.

Hazel goes on about ‘pain deserves to be felt’ but I think she means the pain of a teenage romance not the pain of cancer because the film never gets into what it’s like to live with cancer and they both look so damn well throughout.

So it’s hard to buy into the constant sniffling in the cinema which I at first put down to the high pollen count today but clearly it moved some people. As you can perhaps tell, this film clearly wasn’t made with me in mind.  

I do occasionally shed a tear at films, well I did at Marley and Me, but this film was seriously lacking in dog.

Of course Hazel could have perhaps saved the whole film if she’d quoted Ade Edmondson in her eulogy. Poor Gus, now he's died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard.

After eating at Broadway we have a few Old Peculiars in the Peacock where Daughter joins us after a shift at her new job in a restaurant in Ruddington.

(Saturday 28th June)

Friday 27 June 2014

Tax Dodging

There is a young boy in our bathroom this morning who is being paid £50 in used bank notes. So he’s tax dodging obviously but he’s bringing our flushing mechanism into the 21st Century, so it should be worth it.

L is impressed anyway, ‘the loo is beautiful’ she proclaims in a huge overstatement. We are now the proud owners of a flush with no overflow, which are old hat (apparently). Unfortunately it’s not to be used by ham fisted children or men. So neither Daughter nor I are allowed to use it.

After work I visit the pool, it was about time, and do 70 lengths.

Friday night in, of course, but with no World Cup football as it’s a rest day. So just wafting fields of wheat, bottles of Leffe and perhaps Top of The Pops. The dogs will be expecting a takeaway but they’ll be disappointed as I’m cooking. They’ll bark the delivery man off anyway, even if he doesn’t exist.

(Friday 27th June)

Thursday 26 June 2014

Mob Rule

I take the car in for its MOT today. It requires a new tyre (expected), a new exhaust (sort of expected), a few bulbs and a brake cylinder which will come to about £2,000 obviously. That’s a slight exaggeration, I hope.

Luis Suarez gets four month ban from football, that’ll teach him to have a sandwich before games in future.

Tonight we finally get our ‘last’ game of squash in before we indulge in a spot of summer tennis. Obviously it will rain every week now.

In my capacity as dog club secretary I am tasked with calling a SGM today because a third of members have signed a petition demanding one. Mob rule basically. Nobody mentioned this in the job description when I agreed to the role.

(Thursday 26th June)

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Naked Picnics

Doggo seems to have a bit of an upset stomach so L cooks him white rice which is apparently a good cure. He’ll be hoping that he doesn’t recover too quickly, he’s quite partial to the odd rice dish and it must make a nice change from his usual munchies.

Nottingham City council bans naked picnics on Wollaton Park, at least my naturists. 


Can’t help feeling the council have missed a fund raising trick there.

Its Daughter’s 21st birthday today so we head up to Sheffield to help her celebrate. We visit the Lescar for probably the last time and because I have a £5 voucher. We sit outside so that the dogs have plenty to bark at. She fills us in on her various jobs, interviews for jobs and how her revision on dinosaurs is going.

(Wednesday 25th June)

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Unfulfilled Promise

L still seems enamoured by Sunday’s bike ride and is even suggesting books about cyclists now.

Tonight at 5pm its England v Costa Rica in the World Cup. Some would say a bit of a meaningless fixture because it is and subsequent hardly anybody is bothering to watch it except me. It’s a 0-0 draw but not as bad as everyone says. I think England show promise but then I’m used to watching unfulfilled promise at Derby County.

(Tuesday 24th June)

Monday 23 June 2014

The Manchester Box

This week’s shopping list includes the words ‘something for the Manchester box’. Yes we’re taking donations for the food parcel that will hopefully accompany Daughter to Manchester Uni in September.

The spy book ‘Red Sparrow’ is now infiltrating the dinner table. Tonight it’s Beef Stew Dijonnaise, one of the recipes that end every chapter.

I would say that’s very eclectic of the chef but I’m not supposed to use that word, as it’s apparently not complimentary.

(Monday 23rd June)

Sunday 22 June 2014

Great Nottinghamshire Bike Ride

Today it’s the Great Nottinghamshire Bike Ride and I pedal off at just after 6:30am to head for the start of my 100 miler. L will follow on the 50 a little later.

I queue up at the start on the Victoria Embankment and I’m away at 7:35 in glorious sunshine. So different to the wet conditions of last year. It’s a popular ride and it’s no problem finding a large group to tag along with. This enables me to bomb along and bypass the first three feed stations, which are mainly for the shorter routes anyway. I finally stop at Car Colston after 41 miles purely because I have run out of fluid although most of the group I’m with carry on. They’re hardy souls or perhaps it’s because they’re carrying two drinks bottles each to my one. They probably won’t stop until the first of the free feed stations at Norwell after 62 miles. All the feeds on the shorter rides charge but as I found out Hi-Five energy drink and gels are free even here. It’s took me only 2:06 to get here, so I’m flying.

The organisers should be commended for taking notice of people's opinions last year. Well I assume it was everyone’s opinions and not just mine. As well as the free Hi-Five and the two free feeds on the 100, as we head out on the extra loop of the 100 we find mile markers out on the full course as well as on the 50. They are nowhere near accurate, some are over two miles out, but at least they’re there.

With my group having headed off to Norwell without me, I get down on the aerobars and time trial my way there. When I arrive having taken 3:18 to do 62 miles, well up even on my Outlaw Half pace, it is to find the most awesome cake selection. I text L to tell her but she just reckons I’m trying to tempt her over to the deep dark side of 100 mile cycling. Well I reckon this lot is well worth the 15 or so mile detour off her route, particularly with the cups of tea thrown in.

I make the last stop at Wellow at 75 miles in 4:03, traditionally the best but now, after Cake City Norwell, it’s a bit of an anticlimax. I still grab a sandwich, another tea and a slice of cake.

I set off on the last bit. It’s all downhill from her apparently but they always say that and they’re always lying. Problem is I’m now so full of cake I can hardly pedal.

L texts to say she’s finished the 50 and has set a PB by 51 minutes and says ‘Bring it on’. Blimey, she cheerful.

As I get to the end, I find that somehow the organisers have also solved the problem that is Adbolton Lane. They’ve filled the potholes in, not with tarmac but with grit yet it’s still a vast improvement.

I complete the 103 miles (?) in 5:41, that’s my first time under 6 hours having pretty much raced the whole distance. Very pleased with that.

The 100 mile ride has again proved to be pretty fantastic. The only improvements you could possibly now make are to introduce chip timing and bike numbers rather than body numbers. Only about half the 100 field wore their numbers on the front, as this is so impractical and it must drive the photographers’ nuts.

Nottingham already has the best triathlons in the country (Outlaw/Outlaw Half), now I think we have the best Sportive. I wonder if the organisers could sort the Half Marathon out for us to complete the set.

Back in the event village Castle Rock have a bar in what looks like an old burger van. With the dogs (hopefully) being entertained at home by Daughter we have a couple of Saddle Sores. Only 3.4% but not bad.

Later, after dispatching Daughter to Sheffield by train we head for a few pints at the Horse and Jockey in Stapleford before visiting the Cinnamon Indian. The Cinnamon is ok but nothing special.

(Sunday 22nd June)

Saturday 21 June 2014

Belly Flops

We’re at a dog show at Catton today. Our first run is a good one from MD but he belly flops a pole, so 5 faults. Then we have a big long wait before he has three runs back to back straight after lunch. There are no clears among them but only one shocker, which is progress. Then even Doggo gets eliminated by going in the wrong end of the tunnel, I didn’t see that one coming.

Daughter is working again, another trial shift back in Nottingham at Ruddington, so she stays overnight with us.

She always say that MD doesn’t recognise her when she comes home which isn’t true of course but we tell him to make an effort tonight. Actually I think he over does it, so I hope she noticed.

We stay in tonight, stay AF and munch on the pasta. It’s the Great Nottinghamshire Bike Ride tomorrow. 

(Saturday 21st June)

Friday 20 June 2014

You Can't Rely On Italy

You just can’t rely on the Italians. They lose to Costa Rica and England are out of the World Cup. It just won’t be the same not seeing them scrape through in the last game.

Daughter continues her UK interview tour, visiting Manchester today which is relevant because it is where she hopes to do her Masters degree.

I get home with instructions to shove L out the door to do a run before doing anything to tempt her not to. As if I would. I duly give the required shove before opening the bottles of Leffe in readiness for her return.

(Friday 20th June)

Thursday 19 June 2014

Favourite Dinosaur?

I have to cancel squash again because apparently there’s a football game on tonight.

Daughter is in town for a brace of interviews where she is asked such searching questions as what is her favourite Dinosaur. These things are important. I think she said she preferred the flappy one, like I do, but couldn’t put her finger on the name - Pterodactyl.

She meets up with L and they go to the cinema to see Maleficent. I think they’re both attempting to avoid the match.

This time the media picks the team after the manager failed to get a result against Italy despite a fine performance. The result is exactly the same but without the fine performance perhaps they should leave the manager to it next time.

(Thursday 19th June)

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Spoil Sport

I was running a bit late this morning, so had to really power it after somebody honey trapped me earlier.

L meanwhile is racing Russian dissidents and CIA agents in the pool. Probably. It's quite exciting when we decide to mix and match our audiobooks.

In the evening, I get home to find that L has finally entered into the World Cup spirit and has put a goal net up for the boys and I in the garden. Then I remember that she asked me to bring the net curtains in off the line before I start kicking footballs with the dogs. Damn. Spoil sport.

(Wednesday 18th June)

Tuesday 17 June 2014


I’m on the bike today, L’s in the pool. We’re both ahead of schedule and I end up at work well early and L gets in a full 40 lengths. I fear we must have missed something off our schedules this morning.

L is also home early but that is to meet the four hundredth plumber (slight exaggeration) who will attempt to fix our leaky bathroom toilet. The by-product of L being home is a lot of ball chucking for MD. Who is well tired and rubbish at training.

I am lumbered with a load of paperwork from the old club secretary, most of which may well be going in the recycling.

(Tuesday 17th June)

Monday 16 June 2014

On The Lively Front

Tonight’s committee meeting is sure to be a lively one with our show coming up in just over a month and finances apparently running out.

L is running in Derby this evening. So I take the boys off with me and drop them off with my Dad, so that they can exercise him.

L suggests that if I escape early and fancy a pint, we could meet up. That’s a very nice thought but an unrealistic one. The meeting overruns and doesn’t disappoint on the lively front either, only one person stormed out though. 

(Monday 16th June)