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

Saturday, 31 December 2016

A Night With Rodger

We parkrun at Markeaton this morning as I promised a friend of mine that we’d be there to witness his first even parkrun. He doesn’t show up.

We have a leisurely post-run coffee and bacon roll as L as no pilates today due to it allegedly still being Christmas but it’s not too leisurely as we need to fit in a late lie-in before I head off to the match this afternoon. Which turns out to be a disappointing 0-0 draw.

Then it’s a question of deciding what to do tonight and finding somewhere that doesn’t need a ticket to get in to. In the end we head off to the Horse and Jockey at Stapleford where get to rub shoulders with various Rock stars - Freddie Mercury, Meat Loaf, Axl Rose (at least we think it was him), Madonna (possibly) etc.

The dark beer range is rather impressive with Aurora Big Dark nicely strong at 5.3% and to water that down Burton Bridge XL Mild. Then I spot something nestling discretely at the end of the bar, it’s Marston's Owd Rodger. I add it to my trail although I'm not sure if it technically is a 'dark' ale but as it’s around 25 years since I've seen this in a bar on hand pump I'm including it. It takes me back to my student days when we always used to have two pints of the 7.4% Owd Rodger in the Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem before heading off to a gig at Rock City.

At around 11pm we get a bus home, yes Trent Barton are running a few, and get back in time to spend New Year with the boys along with Jools’ Hootenanny of course.

(Saturday 31st December)

Friday, 30 December 2016

No Man's Land

L makes me late. Well, in combination with the ridiculous Saturday service on the buses she makes me late. I naively thought the 8.15 bus would benefit from the light traffic and just about get me to work on time but I was so wrong. It was late, was packed and the traffic was fairly busy. They don't make it easy to work over this no man's land period.

Daughter returns to Manchester but she is considering moving back to Nottingham in March when her lease ends if a good job doesn’t drop in Manchester. That could reduce the number of Fridays in the week. I’ll have to find her a granny flat, either that or a love nest to take my fancy woman to.

L sends me her New Year Resolutions which makes an interesting list although a few are repeat offenders from previous years. I tend not to make any resolutions in the hope that life continues to treat me as well as it has been doing.

Tonight I do my third Watt Bike session in a row. Tonight its 20k before I go to meet L at Quad where she is having coffee with some friends. I had hope to get there before they left but I just miss them as they go home to their dog.

We delay going home to ours and have a few drinks in the Derby Tap (aka the Royal Standard) instead.

(Friday 30th December)

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Curled Up Asleep

Daughter joins in the park session this morning means L’s tired us all out this morning. They’ll all be curled up asleep at home while L heads off to Pilates and I have another speedy drive in to work. It’s still far too cold and icy to cycle.

By mid-afternoon, not only is it cold but it’s also really foggy. Definitely not a bike day. Instead I do an impressive 25k on the Watt Bike at the gym.

L goes off to an Aqua Fit class at Harvey Hadden with Daughter followed by a sauna. She really will wear that girl out.

(Thursday 29th December)

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

The Living Dead

Well that’s it, the Christmas break is over and we’re both back at work today. Connor meanwhile has wreaked a bit of havoc and iced everywhere over, so I don’t manage to get on the bike but with most people still off work I get to work by car in super quick time in about 15 minutes. Taking the bus would have been nice but they’re running a Saturday service which is hopeless for commuting.

Blimey Connor, it's a bit nippy in my office. Even I’ve got the heating on.

There’s not a lot of ‘real’ work to be done and what bits there are still allows enough time to complete my Tax Return. I also fill in L’s gargantuan pension transfer form. Is there any reason for this to be a huge booklet rather than a one page form?

At lunch time I go out for a few bits of shopping which is slightly traumatic as Sainsbury’s is akin to a scene from the Living Dead with folk wandering round like zombies not knowing what to do with themselves now Christmas is over.

No cycling of course means penance at the gym and a 15k Watt Bike session after work. L does her gym at the Tennis Centre as most of Nottingham’s centres are closing at 4pm all week. I pick her up from there on my way home.

This evening we have the delayed Squash Club Annual Meal. We try out a brand new Indian restaurant on Trent Bridge called Chakh Le India. We park on the Embankment and walk across. The management seem very keen to make an impression and even offer us free drinks. It’s a decent meal and even my squash colleague finds very little to complain about.

(Wednesday 28th December)


Tuesday, 27 December 2016

There’s Life In The Old Goat Yet

Storm Connor has elbowed Storm Barbara out of the way bringing cold, windy but dry weather.

Today it’s the Aston on Trent village walk. Aston on Trent is where I was brought up so I’ve done this walk many times and now only return when my old friend from way back at nursery school is back in the area and doing it too. We really ought to meet up at other times of the year rather than rely on meeting up here, which only happens every other year or so when we’re both not working. Perhaps this year we will.

The full walk is just over four miles although there are four escape routes off it that offer short cuts. Having both dogs with me, one of which is the fifteen year old Doggo, I have my eye on these but Doggo impressively manages the full distance. There’s life in the old goat yet.

I have to rush off a bit afterwards as there is a match. The Boxing Day fixture arrives a day late as Derby face a Rowett-less Birmingham City. I think everyone will be pleased that we scraped a 1-0 win leaving new manager Gianfranco Zola still searching for his first point.

(Tuesday 27th December)

Monday, 26 December 2016

The Boxing Day Tradition

Today we do run, at the traditional Boxing Day run at the Furnace Inn in Derby which has a sublime 11am start. One of my ex-school drinking partners makes his d├ębut. He says he's never heard of the run before. I've been coming to this event to run or watch for about 20 years... I run with MD and we do a decent time for what is approximately 4.5km.

L then takes Daughter over to her father’s while I have a pint with my Dad, who has come to watch as he does every year.

Sadly there is no football match today, rarely do we get one on Boxing Day these days. Sky TV are making us play tomorrow.

In the evening we get the bus over to Beeston, as Trent buses are running, and go for a drink at the Star and then the Crown. Both pubs are busy and it’s an excellent evening.

(Monday 26th December)

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Some Sort Of Exercise

The big day arrives... and we could have kicked it off with a parkrun as they always put on extra ones on Christmas Day. However the brutal 9am start is a good reason not to, along with the persuasive argument provided by the several pints of Gorilla that were consumed last night, then there's the weight of dog across my ankles and finally there’s the inviting female body beside me. Best stay in bed me thinks.

Later we open some more presents before heading off to meet my folks for a lunchtime pint in the Admiral Rodney. L walks MD there, chucking balls as they go. The two old men, Doggo and I, take the car.

After a couple of drinks we head back home for Christmas lunch where Daughter awaits and Son and his girlfriend soon join us.

Some juggling and oven rotation is always required for cooking large meals and this year even more so as we also have a veggie option to cook but I think we pull it off.

Its Stilton pate to start, then goose and\or Quorn substitute with Sage and Onion stuffing for main. This is my first attempt at Sage and Onion, as I usually make the stuffing with sausage meat, but it seems to be a success. L has done homemade Christmas Pudding and Apple Crumble for afters.

Naturally once the dinner is all done we all sit around not quite knowing what to with ourselves, as is the way on Christmas Day.

Son is on a bit of a tour, having spent last night and this morning at his father’s. He had intended to stay over with us tonight before heading to his girlfriend’s parent’s in Stoke in the morning. However, in the end the pull of a longer lie-in if they go to Stoke this evening prevails and they leave us early evening. They leave armed with full squash and badminton sets as his gf is desperate to get him involved in some sort of exercise. We wish her every success. 

(Sunday 25th December)

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Fits Like A Glove

It’s Saturday, so it must be parkrun. You see, even I’m getting into the routine of things now.

Today MD and I do our first run at Beeston. This is one I’ve avoided so far due to the narrowness of the course and we start on the main field adjacent to everyone else. This means we are disadvantaged straight away because we have an uphill start simply to get onto the same level as everyone else. Which we do manage without wiping anyone else out.

Thereafter the run is complete mudfest, so neither of us will be allowed on the bed later. Our time is good though and we are only 17 seconds outside our PB. I've no idea how that happened.

Then it’s to The Last Post aka Wetherspoon’s for breakfast where we meet L’s parents and Daughter. They only seem to be serving half breakfasts today as they miss things off several of our meals but do bring out assorted extras when I complain.

Then it’s back home to see if our goose will fit in the roasting tin and/or the oven. The answer, after one big shove, is yes. Fits like a glove.

In the evening we walk into Nottingham to see if anything is open. It is Christmas Eve after all, formerly known as the best night in town of the year.

The Scribblers is open although they say they are closing at 8pm but as people keep flooding in perhaps they’ll reconsider. We consider stopping for a second drink but we are summoned to meet Daughter and her two friends. This we do in the Blue Monkey where we participate in a highly competitive game of Jenga. Not done that for a while. It's an excellent evening.

At the end of the evening we all walk home, due to the lack of buses, and then do the traditional midnight present opening.

(Saturday 24th December)

Friday, 23 December 2016

One Of Life’s Essentials

I offer to walk the boys this morning and that, together with the expectation of quieter roads, means we all get longer in bed. Then as I take the boys out L gets a decent swim. She needs to make the most of it as the pools will be opening as little as possible over the festive period.

She asks if the boys missed her... Well MD definitely missed something, I assume it was L but it may have been the ball chucker as they just got a good old fashioned walk with me. Quite a long one too, so even Doggo ate breakfast afterwards.

I’m in the car today as our goose is being dropped off at work. Cycling may not have been a very good idea anyway as Storm Barbara is in town and gusting up to 60mph.

The roads may have been quiet this morning but they are not quiet at lunchtime. The queue for Sainsbury’s stretches all the way around Pride Park. I’ve no idea what they are all so desperate to buy and they probably have no idea either. So I walk to M&S as we are out of one of life’s essentials - Bonios. I’m also still looking for a Quorn Loaf. M&S don’t have one either but I find a Quorn ‘substitute’ Loaf at Holland & Barrett. I hate to think what’s in that.

There is no festive spirit at work and hence no early release from captivity. So my festive gym session has to wait until 5pm.

L has also requested some posh tonic water which get on my way home from Waitrose. It’s by Fever-Tree and its bark flavoured. Naturally I couldn’t resist that. 

(Friday 23rd December)

Thursday, 22 December 2016

The One

We have always supported our local milkman so we decide to get our additional Christmas supplies from him but when I look at their website, all the cream is out of stock. That’s not very organised of them and not very good for his Christmas tip either.

I have lunch with my brother at Peacock which is quite good despite us having to drive there.

While L’s having yet another Christmas lunch although this appears to be ‘the one’ and not just another fuddle. L is impressed although her boss apparently isn’t. From her description it sounds a lot better than my meal on Friday.

Daughter is on her way over for a week or so. So she’ll be able to join us at a few parkruns.

After work I head off to the gym for a quick 15k wattbike then it’s home to kick off one of the festive traditions and make some Stilton pate.

(Thursday 22nd December)

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Long Service

I'm on the bus because I’m out on the pre-Santamas lash tonight.

What I didn’t expect was to be dragged off to the pub, well the Harvester, for a leaving do at lunchtime. The person who is leaving is the same age as me but has been at the company for a staggering 32 years. Wow. Her leaving bumps me up the long service list.

I wouldn’t have minded but I wanted to go to M&S to look for a Quorn Roast. All part of the extra excitement that Christmas brings.

L says she wishes someone would drag her to the pub. She knows I’m always happy to drag her to the pub. So much so that I think sometimes she gets sick of me dragging her to the pub. No pleasing some people.

My evening is spent in the Brunswick struggling with the sea of dark beers that are available e.g. Barlow Ebenezer's Christmas Porter, Bradfield Farmer's Stout and Crate Porter plus their own beers.

I’m with four friends I’ve known since school although one of them is two hours late due to having gone out carol singing. All part of the extra excitement that Christmas brings.

(Wednesday 21st December)

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

World's Worst Fuddle

I’m on the bike but, as I’m running a bit late, I miss out on this morning's joint dog walk.

The dog walk is getting problematic as the earlier we go, in order to get to work/gym/etc on time, the darker it is which means the harder it is to see MD’s ball. L keeps saying she’s going to sort it and get something more brightly coloured even if MD has to put up with something in dayglow pink. Still, it’s always good to have your balls sorted.

Santamas means L is railroaded into (allegedly) the world's worst fuddle with chips and pizza ordered but arriving several hours apart. I suppose Deliveroo are a bit stretched this time of year. Whatever happened to sausage rolls and mince pies.

Tonight it’s the last dog training and the last pint of Directors of the year.

(Tuesday 20th December)

Monday, 19 December 2016

Shock Treatment

L asks if there’s a program that she can install that gives someone an electric shock when they ping an email off to her. Not that I’m aware of!

She sends me for some paint for the guest bedroom, something biscuit coloured. Which was far too wide a definition for me particularly as all the biscuit flavoured ones were more of a dog paw colour e.g. dark and muddy. So I got almond which isn’t terribly biscuit related but, as its still food associated, I’m sure it’ll be fine. 

I also head off in search of a Quorn Roast for our vegetarian Christmas guest but fail miserably as it’s probably a bit too eclectic for Sainbury’s in Chaddesden. I will have to try elsewhere.

(Monday 19th December)

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Rare Thing

It’s that rare thing the Sunday lie-in today and then later we head over to Leamington to see Son.

We load the car up with boxes of his old belongings that are still hanging around the house. He seems thrilled to receive them.

In Leamington we revisit the Five Rivers for a curry and very good it is too. 

(Sunday 18th December)

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Choices

Today is apparently my lucky day. My choice of parkrun and my choice of film.

To be honest, there isn’t much choice in films at the moment. In fact, at Broadway, there is no choice. Fantastic Beasts and United Kingdom are on, both of which we’ve seen. Star Wars is also on and Felicity Jones is cute but not that cute. So that leave Tom Hanks in Sully. Which is what L was going to suggest but didn’t because it was my choice...

My choice of parkrun is Markeaton but we are slow. Maybe because I had my work’s Christmas party last night or maybe because MD just isn’t up for it and stops for too many comfort breaks.

Then L has Pilates which we hot foot to via the sorting office to pick up a parcel.

I am then at home attempting to polish the unpolishable bathroom floor when we have a present delivery from L’s sister’s family.

Then it’s film time.

In January 2009 Captain Chesley Sullenberger (otherwise known as Sully) crash landed US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River after colliding with a flock of birds which knocked out both engines just thirty seconds after take-off. Incredibly the aircraft stayed afloat long enough for all 155 people on board to be rescued amidst very cold conditions.


From the moment the plane lost power there were only 208 seconds before it crashed. That’s not a lot of time to work with if you want to make a film. So director Clint Eastwood mainly focusses on the aftermath as Sully (Tom Hanks) deals with the resulting media attention and then, along with his co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles (Aaron Eckhart), faces goes the National Transportation Safety Board who are investigating the incident. Although Eastwood also struggles to make a story out of that.


Oddly the investigation seems to take place immediately after the incident and we don’t even see Sully go home to his wife, Lorraine (Laura Linney), who we never actually see without a telephone attached to her ear. Neither she nor Sully seem very fazed by the fact he’d just been involved in a place crash.


The flight was bound from New York's LaGuardia Airport for Charlotte and the investigation asks whether the plane could have made it back to LaGuardia or to nearby Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. Flight simulations allege that the plane could have successfully landed at both LaGuardia and Teterboro.


Sully however disputes this and argues that the ‘human element’ needs to be taken into consideration. This causes an immediate sea change in the investigation as if they’d never thought of something so bleedingly obvious. 35 seconds human reaction time is then allocated, the simulations are rerun, the planes crash and now Sully can officially be declared a hero. I’m sure it didn’t quite happen like that.

There is nothing particularly wrong with the film except that there isn't really a story here to tell. I’m also sure the NTSB’s investigation was more to ascertain the cause of the accident and to ensure it wouldn’t happen again rather than the total witch hunt against Sully as is portrayed here.


The crash landing into the Hudson was the story but they seemed to go out of their way not to make a disaster movie which is fair enough, we have had more than enough of them. Instead the story is so flimsy that the film wraps up in 90 minutes and that’s after they have needlessly shown the whole crash landing sequence twice.

I didn't know that much about this story beforehand so I went in hoping for more insight but didn’t learnt much. However there are some nice shots of the real Chesley Sullenberger at the end as they show film of the flight's reunion.

Afterwards it’s drinks in the Scribblers and Blue Monkey.

(Saturday 17th December)

Friday, 16 December 2016

Secret Book Sender

Doggo has been eating his breakfast recently but then spitting out his Bonio biscuit. Which is great news for MD who tends to mop up. Perhaps Doggo does have a painful mouth but we can’t really soften his Bonio with water. If this persists he might have to go onto porridge.

L’s boss gives her a whooping great voucher for Christmas. Oh yes. For Waterstones. Oh no. The book pile never endeth. Does he know how much trouble that will get her in to? We already have random books arriving through the post that L claims to have no knowledge of.

Tonight is our company's night out at the Roundhouse in Derby for the fifth time in six years. Yawn. Beforehand four of us go down the pub with £30 from petty cash. That won't go far.

The Roundhouse event isn’t great in my opinion but then it’s never really been my thing. The meal has been exactly the same every year and that’s chicken not turkey, in fact there’s nothing festive about it all. Not even Christmas Pud for dessert. Everything else seems to get cheaper every year except presumably the ticket price. It’s also so loud ion there that you can’t talk to anybody which makes the post-works drinks the best party of the night because you can at least socialise properly.

L picks me up just after eleven by which time I have finished digging the escape tunnel. Over half the guests seem to have already gone by then anyway. 

(Friday 16th December)

Thursday, 15 December 2016

2000 Up For Frank

I really wish my friend would stop sending me links to the Daily Mail as I have to ask everyone to leave the room before I click on it. It’s a story about Derby County which is unlikely to be true just like every other article they’ve printed about Derby County in the last twenty years or so. I suppose that also applies to pretty much any article that they’ve printed about anything in the last twenty years.

I’m on the bike again today, so I have to get shift on when I'm heading home as it’s an early start for Frank Turner 2000th tonight. L is at the gym, so I take the car, the boys and a home made cottage pie to her then she drops me off in town.

I best explain about the cottage pie. This is for her parents and she’s heading straight there while I’m with Frank. She’ll pick me up again afterwards.

Clearly the numbers matter to Frank Turner. He knows exactly how many gigs he’s played and they’re all there listed in the ‘Live Archive’ section on his website going right back to 2004. If you’ve been to one of his gigs you’ll know he proudly announces what number the one you’re witnessing is and now the man himself, who admits that he’s forever on tour, has now reached his 2000th gig. Yes that works out at one practically every other day over those 12 years.

Even better than that, he’s chosen my favourite UK venue as the place to hold this hallowed event because it’s also his favourite and of course it’s proudly independent as well, just like him. 

Despite it being a hometown gig for me getting tickets was clearly going to be hell and Frank launched a ballot as the fairest way to get tickets out there. He even put names on the tickets which he hoped would avoid the scourge of touting. 

Of course I never get anything in a ballot unless you count the beginners luck I exhibited in 2014 when I successfully bought Glastonbury tickets at my very first attempt with little fuss and without an entire network of computer equipment pointed at Seetickets. Lightning doesn’t strike twice though and I failed miserably in the massively oversubscribed ballot. 

That was until last week... when I got an email saying we have some extra tickets... want one? Erm... Yes please.

So here I am, proving who I am to pick up my ticket on the door and rushing inside to catch The Tailors who have a stage time of 6:25! Next time Frank please pick a night when there isn’t a 10pm curfew. 

When I get in it’s already rammed. Folk have come from all over the world for this you know and unlike me they’ve come mega early.



The Tailors are a country band who were apparently on one of FT’s biggest influences. They have been inactive for some time but have agreed to reform for one night only. Although someone clearly didn’t get the memo as they’ve had to find someone to stand in on guitar. Looks suspiciously like Frank.

I catch the end of their set and what I hear sounds pretty good to me but the hot news is that this gig is no longer a one off for the Tailors. They will be back.


Another big influence on FT and the man who apparently convinced him to start playing solo acoustic shows in the first place is his pal Jay a.k.a. Beans On Toast. Now I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of Mr Toast but he’s certainly an entertainer and his opening track intrigued me as it was all about 2016 (probably called ‘2016’). It documented the events of the year and he says he’s been playing it all year. So presumably it’s got longer and longer and longer. It seems to take up most of his set tonight and he seems a little hurt when he’s told his time’s up sooner than he thought because it’s time for the birthday boy.

So only six days since he played Rock City on his UK tour proper, which I couldn’t get a ticket for, the man himself is back in Nottingham. The stage crew are decked out in great commemorative t-shirts that I believe have been provided by Rock City so aren’t generally available, which is a shame. 


Showtime.

So I suppose you want to know about the gig itself? Well, what’s to tell? It’s a Frank Turner show, so what do you expect? The man’s a legend and the show was brilliant. 2000 shows is a lot of quantity but feel the quality too.


From the opening ‘Prufrock’ to the closing ‘Four Simple Words’ via an acoustic ‘Mittens’, a very appropriate ‘The Ballad of Me and My Friends’, an amazing ‘I Am Disappeared’ and many other highlights too numerous to mention.



Although I ought to mention the serious disregard for Rock City’s 'No Crowdsurfing' rule during ‘If Ever I Stray’ where he wheeled out Beans On Toast and asked him to crowdsurf to the bar to get two shots of whiskey, then to head to sound desk where he had to high five the two guys there before sharing the shots with a random guy on the other side of the arena before heading back to the stage. He managed it before the song had finished but I’m sure he was supposed to go around one of the pillars and didn’t. They should have made him do it again.


Overall, an astonishing brilliant night and here’s to the next 2000, which will be in 2028 I guess. Not that long to wait.



(Thursday 15th December)

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Perfect Sense

On the bike today while L rushes off to Manchester. I’m owed sex apparently which is obviously the best kind of debt to be owed. I really must update the Standing Order or perhaps consider starting a Direct Debit.

My colleague and I try to get lunch in the Brunswick but it is rammed and they are not taking any food orders that haven’t been pre-booked. I do love the way they don’t look after their regulars. The backup option, and always a very poor one, is the Waterfall. Their only beer is very poor quality Doom Bar, which is a very poor ale anyway even before they get their hands on it. Lunch is a toasted sandwich.

L rubs it in my texting from Manchester where she is having lunch with Daughter and drinking Lees Christmas Plum Porter.

Birmingham City sack Gary Rowett, the best manager they’ve had in a very long time and who currently has them one point outside the play off zone. Makes perfect sense. At least that’s one less rival for promotion that we have to worry.

Then it’s dogging but, as L is in Manchester, it’s dogging without a beer at the end of it.

(Wednesday 14th December)

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Definitely Not A Fuddle

On the bus, my legs are still refusing to come out and play.

Squash is tonight having been moved forward because of Frank's 2000th on Thursday. Apparently this will be the final one of the year so my opponent can start his Christmas festivities. A bit early!

I offered to let him play next week in fancy dress with tinsel wrapped around his racquet and wine in his sports bottle but he isn’t interested in those sort of festivities. Apparently exercise levels have to be reduced to zero for the entire festive period. Personally I see it as a chance to up them but each to their own.

L misses the post-game social as she’s at her Book Club’s Annual Meal aka Fuddle. She hates fuddles so I daren’t ask how the sausage rolls were. She has taken grapes. So proud. We still have the Squash Club’s Annual Meal (definitely not a fuddle) to organise. 

The boys and I walk up to meet her on her way home. 

(Tuesday 13th December)

Monday, 12 December 2016

The Worst Enemy

It’s a good job I’m in the car today as my legs are very stiff after yesterday’s hill session.
 
L recites the mantra ‘I need to paint, I need to keep fit, I need to see my folks, I need to bake, I need to read, I need to stop driving myself mad, I'm my own worst enemy’.

Well that’s a relief, I thought I was her worst enemy.

The shopping list arrives asking for a ‘load of bread’. Freudian slip perhaps. I hope she means loaf. Perhaps she is her own worst enemy.

Tonight is the Dog Club’s annual meal at the Chinese Restaurant opposite training and very good it is too. It’s nice to see everybody dressed.

(Monday 12th December)

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Finally Doing The Turkey Trot



It’s a relaxed 10:30am start for today’s Turkey Trot Half Marathon. L thinks I’m probably a little too relaxed.

The only problem with the 10:30am start is that it means I’ve had to choose between the run and Derby v Forest which kicks off at noon. Obviously it didn’t kick off at noon when I booked the race but that’s Sky TV for you. The run wins though, as I’ve been waiting for years to get an entry in to this sold out race.

The start is at the South Wolds School in Keyworth where they have t-shirts for sale with everyone’s name on the back. Which is a cunning ploy and obviously I have to have one. I assume that means there isn’t one at the finish but apparently they have different mementos each year.

The course is a big loop through what I believe is known as the South Nottinghamshire Wolds taking in the villages of Wysall, Willoughby-on-the-Wolds and Widmerpool with a few undulations on the way.

The biggest undulation is the one at three miles just before Wysall, the rest is pleasantly teasing and I enjoy the terrain. Obviously it’s not going to be a fast course but I’m still a little disappointed with my time of 1:46 but then I haven’t done any training other than a few parkruns. I'm probably more annoyed with it because the race seems to have pulled a very fast field.

This year’s memento turns out to be a medal, trust me to pick this year. Then it’s mince pies and a cuppa before being reunited with my loyal supporters, L and the boys.

My brother enjoys my match ticket as Derby defeat Forest 3-0.

In the evening we were due to visit Son in Leamington but he’s in bed ill so we decide to do a film and a pint instead. I’m picking the film though. Even L seems fed up with her own choices although they have all been talking points. So after some food a Broadway and two pints of Centurion it’s Snowden.


Snowden tells the story of the events that led Edward Snowden to becoming one of the most wanted men in the world.

Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was a computer expert who got his dream job with the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). As a strong believer in his country it was the perfect job for him, helping to track the spies and terrorists that wish to cause damage to this country.


The film tracks his rise through the ranks of the intelligence community from his military service, his stationing in Geneva and Japan, then finally his employment with the NSA (National Security Agency) in Hawaii. Where they have a facility that is right out of any James Bond film.

At first he loves he job but then his conscience started bothering him when he discovers that besides spying on other countries and terrorist organizations around the world, the government also has a massive espionage network in place in the USA itself. In fact twice as much data is being taken from the USA as it is from Russia.

What's mind-blowing is the sheer scope of everything the surveillance program comprised. How the NSA can link up computer to computer and therefore person to person using all their available technological devices. If you believe it, and this film is telling you believe it, then it is chilling. So do what Snowden does and always put a sticking plaster over your laptop’s webcam when you’re having sex with your girlfriend.

 

His girlfriend is Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley) and she is alongside him all the way, being shunted all around the world, yet she has little idea what he is up to most of the time and naturally he can’t tell her.


She stays impressively by his side throughout even he downloads evidence of the surveillance program and flies to Hong Kong with it. It is from a hotel there that much of the story is told in flashbacks as he reveals all to documentary filmmaker Laura Poitros (Melissa Leo) and journalists Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto) and Ewan MacAskill (Tom Wilkinson) of The Guardian.


When they publish his revelations he has to go on the run and winds up at Moscow International Airport, where he becomes a fugitive charged under the Espionage Act for revealing classified information. The government and the media initially portrayed him as a spy but as everyone took in the information he had revealed public opinion generally swung behind him but the government’s stance remains the same and he remains in Russia, although not at the airport, to this day.

It’s a very well made film, informative and riveting which keeps you engaged and more importantly gets you thinking. It’s also well acted and well directed by Oliver Stone, a man well known for his critiques of the American government. Consequently the film perhaps does try a little too hard to paint Snowden as a hero but then, perhaps he was.



We dissect the film afterwards in the Lord Roberts.

(Sunday 11th December)