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

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Commonwealth Games



We have set up camp on the quiet side of Loch Lomond at a place called Cashel. This was actually as close to Glasgow as we could get, most campsites already being booked up due to the Commonwealth Games.

This is the side of Loch Lomond you can’t drive up as the narrow road runs out a bit further up the road at Rowardennan. We’ve visited Rowardennan once before, thirteen years ago, when we got a boat over from the other side of the Loch where we were camping and climbed Ben Lomond in the rain with the two kids. Afterwards we dried out, warmed up and waited for the return boat in the Clansman bar of the Rowardennan Hotel. I recall us drinking coffee with whiskey chasers which was probably because the beer wasn’t any good. Thirteen years on the beer still isn’t any good, the thriving Scottish real ale scene hasn’t penetrated Rowardennan yet and Belhaven Best on keg was the best they could offer. It was awful and I swore not to have another one this week.

On the day of our Commonwealth Games trip we drive south and drop the boys at a kennels close to a place called Bearsden. Sadly they are to be interned overnight whilst we enjoy ourselves without them. 


We manage to find a train station close by, where we park up and head to Scotstoun Sports Complex where the squash is taking place. All public transport costs are included in the games ticket prices.

We see several games of doubles on the glass show court which they have made bigger for the doubles. That’s an odd thing to do as all the other games are taking place on normal squash courts around the centre which cannot be resized without taking down a few walls.


The games we see are first round games and are largely one sided. Australia beat Jersey 2-0, England beat Malta 2-0 and Scotland beat Trinidad & Tobago 2-0 in the men’s doubles. Then in the mixed doubles Australia lose the first game to the Cayman Islands but then cruise through the other games to win 2-1 before England beat Trinidad and Tobago 2-0. It’s interesting to see the tactics the pairs use with England and Australia both pairing a right hander with a left hander. In the mixed the girls always get to play on their forehand.

After the squash is over we head to the centre of Glasgow for some lunch which we have at one of those cheap sandwich places that aren’t actually very cheap before we head to Hampden Park for the athletics.

When we get there we are pleased to find that our randomly selected (by the internet) row G seats are actually on the front row until we discover out that a TV camera has sat in our seats and we will have to be seated elsewhere. We are offered seats right at the back. Naturally I am inconsolable at this and protest profusely. We are sent to the ‘ticket resolution centre’ where a very nice young lady swaps our tickets for front row ones right at the start of the 100m straight. 


These are better even than our original ones which were much further back around the track. We have a great evening.


In the stadium I was sort of expecting a very pro-Scottish crowd baying for independence as well as a Scottish victory but not a bit of it.


The English, Welsh and Northern Irish athletes all get massive cheers from the Scots and even the English cheer the Scottish Athletes.




Better together perhaps, certainly if it’s medals everyone one wants.

(Tuesday 29th July)

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Encamped



Since Thursday I’ve been encamped at Catton Hall for my club’s annual dog show and generally it’s gone rather well, at least on the organisational front. I did have a major disaster when our main sponsor didn’t show up. I rang their head office to find out what was happening and they told me the person had left the company two weeks ago, clearly without telling them she was due at our show to hand out 24 bags of dog feed in prizes. The company came up trumps though and couriered the feed to us by 8am the next day. Bravo.

We also had a Special General Meeting on the Saturday night when a step up in status for the club was debated and defeated, for now. I won’t bore you with the reasons for both this proposal and for the result. This one will run and run. It has actually already been running for a while but still has good legs to continue running I think.

Oh and our club Chairperson may have quit but I’m not too sure.

Performance wise there was only one clear from MD over three days and that came in the team event where the team as a whole weren’t clear. It is however hard to concentrate on competing with your own dog when you’re also running the show, especially when your dog is as wayward as mine.

It was however two clear rounds out of two for Doggo. Unfortunately he didn’t get his third run on the last day as we had to leave early to go to a wedding reception. At least that got me out of packing up.

That was at Risley Hall, just a short bus ride from home. It was a pleasant evening and got us a night back in our own bed after spending the last two in the tent.

Tomorrow thought its back on the road as we head up first to the Commonwealth Games before heading to the island of Islay and other such remote places. We’ve stocked Daughter up on Mugshots, so all should be well at home.

(Sunday 27th July)

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Light Relief



It’s my final day at work for two weeks and I’m in car as I’m expecting a delivery. Well, I’m hoping. One of the sponsors for my club's dog show is leaving it a bit late to send their stuff out but two huge boxes of dog treats duly arrive. I’ve no idea how I’m going to get those along with all the other show stuff including four hundred trophies to Catton Hall for the show.

Before I worry about that a bit of light relief in the shape of the Notts 5 Mile race on the Embankment. My injured knee flares up during my warm-up but that seems to get the pain out of the way for the race which goes ok, at least on that front. My pace however does feel rather slow and laborious but looking at my times after the event, I was up on last year’s time all the way to mile 4. Then I slowed over the last mile and hobbled home about 40 seconds down on last year.Not bad I suppose, on no training.

Afterwards we have a few pints in the Navigation.

(Wednesday 23rd July)

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Super Safe



Today I’m at a dog show which is being held at Newark Rugby Club, the same place that which banned dogs completely last week, when it held the 10k, is awash with them this week.

This is MD’s last show at Grade 3 and to celebrate I've even got my shorts on, it’s so hot. We start with a clear round from each of the boys.

L attempts to cycle over to us. Now it’s not the most straightforward of routes, unless you use the dual carriageway for at least part of it, which I would have done. Super safe L won’t do that of course and the text message says she is ‘utterly lost’. So she’s turning round and heading home, having already achieved her aim of a three hour workout.

MD bags a second place and we get a nice agility styled trophy. His other runs aren’t bad but none of them are clear. Not bad for our last show at this level though.

(Sunday 20th July)

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Splendour In The Rain



L truncates a rare lie-in day by booking to go to pilates at 11am, although I guess this is hardly early. I also need to get the boys on the park swiftish before the festivities start and the torrential rain that is predicted.

The festivities are the Splendour Festival which once our old pals Scouting for Girls were added to the line up became unmissable obviously... well, not really. It’s becoming a bit of a tradition to go to Splendour even if, like this year, there is absolutely nothing on the main stage I fancy but the second stage looks ok, so here we are.

There are actually five different stages, but we don’t really go a wandering, and a visit from boxer Carl Froch but we don’t see him either.

The Beat are playing as we walk up, after delaying our departure due to one of the many cloudbursts. They are oddly way down the bill.


Amber Run are the first band we catch in the flesh on the Confetti second stage, just one of thirteen Nottinghamshire acts on the bill today and the first of many cut and paste indie outfits.

Saint Raymond is another local and is next up on the main stage. Singer Callum Burrows has upgraded himself to ‘Saint’ and this year Splendour have upgraded him from second stage to main but we’re in the beer tent from most of it...

And here’s another Notts act, A Plastic Rose are up on the Confetti stage. More cut and paste indie but certainly a cut above stage’s previous occupants.


Then the next downpour came, it must be something the Foxes said up on main as most of their crowd run for cover. The bouncers block the entrance to the allegedly full beer tent, which it isn't. L nips in the exit, her second most heinous festival crime after she got caught smuggling a bottle of orange squash into the Leeds festival one year and I follow. I’ve no idea why they have separate entrances to the beer tent, perhaps this is the reason.

The rain abates a bit as The Rifles take to the second stage. I saw this band eons ago and I’ve always felt I should see more of them but they don’t do anything to particularly stand out today.


You can hear Scouting For Girls quite clearly from the second stage, so there’s no need for us to move closer, even if we wanted to. In fact, there’s plenty of need to move further away but we await Reverend and the Makers who are late due to technical problems or perhaps due to a late running Scouting for Girls. The Makers arrive and launch into the irritatingly lively Bassline.

The Makers pull out everybody’s favourite tunes and put on a slick show. Unfortunately for them all those favourites hark mostly back to their debut record. Their new album provides just two tunes tonight. Still, theirs is probably the best set of the day.

I've always felt I should see The Happy Mondays before I die (or they do). Not that they're my sort of thing because they're not, just because they are sort of 'legendary'. So I try, briefly, to like them but soon decide that they are still nothing like my thing.

Along with Reverend and the Makers, tonight’s second stage headliners the Boomtown Rats are the reason I’m here. Although I’m sure The Rats couldn’t possibly top their amazing performance at Rock City last year but, to be fair, they come close. A truncated version of that set, including the same stage banter and Geldof in the same suit, goes down exceptionally well even if the crowd do ignore Sir Bob's instructions to take off their clothes.


Most of the crowd depart after the set closing Rat Trap which is a shame because Diamond Smiles in the encore probably steals the show and the Rats push the Makers close for performance of the day. McClure and co just shade it though, with the real ale tent coming in at third, as for the first time ever it lasts well into the evening this year.


Finally to close the evening there’s Tom Odell, who I don't really know and he looks about 15 although he's actually 23. So I can't even say he's a young person’s Jake Bugg, who’s not my thing either but by now we’re heading for home.


(Saturday 19th July)

Friday, 18 July 2014

Just A Normal Sort Of Wedding



After having fixed a puncture yesterday, this morning I attempt to top the air up in it but it goes down instead. Some of the valves on these modern tubes are well dodgy but it serves me right, I should have left well alone. Eventually I get it up but now I’m running well late. Particularly as I’ve got some rain clouds to race.

L has been trying to source an appropriate card for the gay wedding reception we are going to tonight. One that doesn’t feature the words ‘have a gay day’ or a picture of two sailors snogging on it.  Eventually it's mission accomplished.

We drive to the wedding reception at Prestwold Hall. The 20 mile trip has provoked some amazingly expensive quotes from Taxi firms on Cabmania, so we take our own car.

The reception itself is fine but is disappointingly like a normal heterosexual wedding reception. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I had hoped for something ‘different’. I certainly don’t want a normal wedding reception if this fate ever befalls me. L seems to imply it might.

There’s no draught real ale obviously but they do have some decent local bottled beers, so kudos to Prestwold Hall for that.

(Friday 18th July)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Best Piped Music Ever



Our fibre optic broadband has gone down at work, so we now back on the more traditional mouse running around a little wheel sort of internet. My boss is just about to board a plane to Tenerife as his phone rings with the good news, so good timing obviously. Of course if he’d told anyone else how it all hangs together we wouldn’t have had to bother him.

We venture to a different pub for our lunch, the VictoriaInn on Midland Road, where they have all the gigs. The beer is decent, the food ok and probably unsurprisingly they have the best piped music ever.

Tennis is off as the Tennis Centre is shut again due to them hosting the British Wheelchair Open and the Senior Tennis GB Grass Court Tournament. It’s great that they get to host all these tournaments but you’d think they’d keep some courts open for the public because about the only time you’re guaranteed to get a court is in the winter. Which isn’t great obviously.

I have a puncture on the way home and an impressive five people stop to help. I put this down to the pleasant summer weather as this never happens when it's raining or snowing. There’s one person in a van and four on bikes. One of the cyclists was even a girl who asked if there was ‘anything I can do for you’ before probably realising what she’d said could be misconstrued and quickly pedalled off again.

(Thursday 17th July)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Tentative Harmony In The Swimming Pool



I am (seriously) contemplating the Sundowner Half Ironman in September, so I think I best do a swim this week. I take the car to work and then afterwards risk the Wednesday laned session which is always hell because they cram everyone into three lanes whilst swimming lessons take place in the other half of the pool.

It is as bad as a I remember. The non-swimmers seem to have spilled over into the first lane as all are swimming with floats. The other two lanes both have a token back-stroker along with a couple of breast-strokers who are getting held up by then.That's something in itself.

I attempt to swim a length and fail. It’s not possible to front crawl for a whole length without having to stop or overtake someone. Another chap gets in the next lane and attempts the same thing. He fails too. Then someone starts doing butterfly. That clears one of the lanes but starts an argument and almost a fight. One chaps storms out, another moves lanes. The attendants look at their feet. Eventually there is a bit of shuffling of personnel in the lanes and a tentative harmony breaks out.

Having at first feared I would struggle to get 10 lengths in I eventually manage 80 before meeting L for a mocha.

(Wednesday 16th July)

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Breakfast Roll



Today I give L that morning roll (or would that be called a breakfast roll?) with the foam roller, then get on the bike. It’s a busy morning.

At home Daughter has a second visit in a week from someone to read the meter. I’m not convinced, I think she’s just having fancy men round. Nobody’s billed me on the last reading yet and the electric have just sent an estimated bill.

I have to put this in print... L has agreed to go to Zumba with Daughter. I advise her to wear the most serious race t-shirt that she has but she disregards my advice. I hope someone got a video of the experience.

Dog training again.

(Tuesday 15th July)

Monday, 14 July 2014

Athletically Taped Up



L has been for physio and has come back all athletically taped up and asking to use by foam roller. Of course she can and I even offer to administer the treatment myself. In fact I shall look forward to it.

In the evening, dog training then home to catch up on Le Tour. It’s still raining in France by the way.

(Monday 14th July)

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Not Fast



We have been attempting to do the Notfast 10k near Newark for a number of years but one of my vital dog qualifiers always clashed. This year there was no clash, so here we are at Newark Rugby Club. We have left the boys at home as it’s hot.

The race can best be described as no frills. It’s cheap and cheerful but not the most exciting of courses with a section down a busy main road. It’s well marshalled though with distance markers, three water stations and sponges. I do love a good sponge. There is just one hill at just over halfway but not a particularly bad one.

The run goes alright, although I’m slow as I suffer first with my dodgy knee then with my dodgy fitness. I come in in just under 49 minutes, shoot me now. L comes in 62 something, for which she’ll be doing cartwheels.

We spend the evening in the Horse & Jockey in Stapleford whilst keeping an eye on the World Cup final. I reckon if we get home in time for extra time and penalties we’ll get most of the action.

We get home with about 80 minutes on the clock. The game is still 0-0 but is settled seven minutes from the end of extra time, so I was nearly right.

(Sunday 13th July)

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Of Course It Matters



MD and I have two more dog shows with him at Grade 3. The first of them is today. L says he’ll win now it doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter? Of course it matters. A win is still a win even if it takes us nowhere bit it’ll be hard today, every man and his dog(s) are here from miles around.

Run one is decent, just a pole down and time wise it was looking top 5. Next up is the Crufts Team qualifier. Which is also decent and our team of 4 records 20 faults, which isn’t bad. Sadly MD and I got half of them.

He was unlucky though. He jumped straight through the first pole and consequently missed the next obstacle (the see-saw) completely. Which I thought was really just one cock up but the judge disagreed.

MD misses his weave entry on his next run but again it’s not a bad run. The final one isn’t great though, two errors caused by MD messing me around. Finally there’s a clear round from the Old Master on what is a very long course for an old dog, and for Doggo.

We stay in tonight. We have a run tomorrow, I think I can remember what one of those is.

(Saturday 12th July)

Friday, 11 July 2014

The 37th Derby Camra Summer Beer Festival



L misses her swim, I miss my bus. We oversleep, I can’t even offer a more interesting excuse. At least we can slag each other off over a beer tonight at the Derby Beer Festival.

It’s Derby’s 37th annual Summer Beer Festival and I’ve been to most of them. I meet L in Derby and we head there straight from work.

This year, due to the closure of Derby’s Assembly Rooms, the whole thing will take place in a marquee on the market square. This is fine apart from a chronic lack of seating.

Every year has a theme and this year’s is 50 years of Derby Mountain Rescue. They also claim to have at least one beer from every Derbyshire brewery, of which at last count there were 28. We stall try a few of them

Me (all halves)
1 Townes Pynot Porter 4.5%
2 Cornish Crown Porter 5.2%
3 Castle Rock Midnight Owl 5.5%
4 4Ts Chocolate Stout 5.5%
5 Fullers ESB 5.0%
6 Caveman Clovis Point Brown 5.2%
7 Cornish Crown Porter 5.2%
8 Fullers ESB 5.0%

L (all thirds)
1 Raw Dark Peak Stout 4.5%
2 Deventio Cleopatra 5.0%
3 Deventio Cleopatra 5.0%
4 4T's Master Forever 4.2%
5 Fullers ESB 5.0%
6 Ashover Liquorice Alesort 5.0%
7 Deventio Cleopatra 5.0%
8 Bollywood??? (not on the menu)

(Friday 11th July)

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Just Eat



Perhaps yesterday’s brick cum reverse duathlon session was a bit too much for my delicate limbs. The knees are well sore today so I take the bus. There’s no sign of the soon to be axed Citylink, which tells you everything you need to know about why it’s failed.

Derby County reveal their new kits for the forthcoming season, they are refreshing simple and retro. Although the simple colourings of the kits are spoilt by the striking red logo of the new sponsor ‘Just Eat’. 
It’ll be interesting what effect that has on sales, considering that a proportion of the potential market may not want those two words spread across their sizeable waistline...

The council are on strike (not sure why) which disrupts L’s fitness schedule although probably not mine. It doesn’t really matter if the tennis centre is open or not as all the courts are outside anyway.

Doesn't matter anyhow, Tennis is off as my opponent is still injured. So as I'm at a loose end, and we're out tomorrow, maybe Friday night could come a day early.

(Thursday 10th July)

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Cobbles



The CityLink bus service is being scrapped at the end of July. I can’t say I’m surprised but it is all down to their own incompetence. The rival Red Arrow will be able to put away their comfy cushions and free snacks now that they’ve seen off the competition.

Not that I need either bus today, as I’m on the bike again.

Cav is already out of the Tour de France of course but now Chris Froome has joined him. Today’s day on the cobbles did for him, although actually it was today’s rain that did for him before he even reached the cobbles.

Dogging again tonight.

(Wednesday 9th July)

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

That Never Happens To Me



I cycle to work and I’m disappointed to not find hordes of people lining the roads cheering me on. Perhaps that only happens in Yorkshire.

Oddly the moment the Tour de France crosses into France it starts raining. It never rained in the Costa del Yorkshire, did it?

At lunch, I head out for my first run since the Outlaw Half. Partly enthused by my 5k I bang in an entry for Sunday’s NotFast 10k, for which I will drag L along with me.

As 5pm approaches it goes very black outside and then dutifully chucks it down as I ride home. Soaked.

Good job L has got a family sized bag of Maltesers waiting for me to aid my recovery. Apparently they were handing them out for free at Tesco because the self checkouts were broken. That never happens to me. 
(Tuesday 8th July)

Monday, 7 July 2014

Running Hen



L is off on a running hen night tonight complete with bridal outfit for the bride to be. Who I understand isn’t terribly keen to model it. Can’t say I blame her and it could all go a bit limp in this rain.

The boys and I are, of course, dogging up on the hill for which it stays dry. We divert afterwards and collect L from her post-run festivities in Borrowash.

(Monday 7th July)

Sunday, 6 July 2014

The Grandest Grand Depart

It’s another glorious day both weather side and Le Tour wise.


Today’s route actually passes the camp site. So we get a lie in and Doggo’s paws get a rest.



Yesterday we watched them go up the slight incline in Addingham, today it’s all downhill In Silsden so they come past us much faster.


Once the race has come through we try and head for home but with most of the roads still shut we drive around in circles for a while, before stopping at a pub. Which doesn’t do food obviously.

After driving in a few more circles we finally manage to get to Bradford and then down on to the M1. We pass Sheffield just as the peloton are crawling up the Jenkin Road and on to the the finishing line where Daughter will be doing her stuff as part of the Hallam Uni team.

It’s been excellent. Millions have lined the route and it’s been the grandest Grand Depart ever according to the race director. That is unless you're Mark Cavendish.


(Sunday 6th July)

Saturday, 5 July 2014

A Reet Good Yorkshire Welcome


The tent is battered overnight my persistent Yorkshire rain, in the morning though it brightens up and soon turns in to a glorious day contradicting the gloomy forecast.

We are on the route of the race tomorrow and today just four miles off it. So we walk those four miles, along with plenty of other folk, to Addingham. Even Doggo seems up for it.

Addingham has the unique honour of being on the route both days. We set up outside one of the local pubs, watch the publicity vehicles go through and then a couple of hours later the race itself. Some of the women watch the Lancaster Uni Water Polo team in their Speedos instead.


There are masses of people out on the route saying ey up to Le Tour and give it a reet good Yorkshire welcome.

After the race has gone through and they’ve all headed off to scale the Cote de Buttertubs, we watch some of the action on a big screen that a farmer has put up in his barn before heading back to the campsite where I watch Cav’s terminal crash on the tv there.

In the evening we check out the remaining two of Silsen’s four pubs and can confirm that not one of them serves food in the evenings. Not even when the place is awash with Tour de France tourists = opportunity missed.

(Saturday 5th July)

Friday, 4 July 2014

I'm Outta Of Here



Absolutely mad at work today. We did a huge data conversion for a customer last night and its gone totally t*** up. Good job I've got the afternoon off.... I’m out of here as they say.

Le Weekend is to be spent camping at Silsden in West Yorkshire which is on the route of Sunday’s 2nd stage of the Tour de France. So a weekend chilling, sipping wine and watching some cyclists wizz by.

Typically as soon as we hit the M1 we land in a queue for the now infamous roadworks south of Sheffield. Doesn’t bode well for the rest of the journey.


Still we reach out campsite in decent time and set off to explore the village. 


You have to say they have certainly embraced the Tour de France here and the colour yellow, the polka dots etc... We’re even drinking specially brewed beer, Le IPA.


(Friday 4th July)

Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Things I Have To Do



Le Daughter is home and we are trying to steer her onto a cheaper living project, so that we can all afford to see her through her Master’s Degree at Manchester University.

This isn’t easy when she needs le full MOT. Le opticians, le dentist, le hairdresser... well that can be cheap and cheerful surely. In fact can’t she have her hair cut really short so that it lasts for the full year?

Anyone for ****** tennis? Sadly the weather looks good, so I won’t be able to get out of it any longer.

I meet L at the tennis centre and we do a dog swap, she's also asked me to slap her if she tries to have alcohol tonight. The things I have to do.

In the end it’s a short game. My opponent turns up pre-injured and collapses in a heap during game 8. We adjourn to the pub.

(Thursday 3rd July)