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

Friday, 1 September 2017

Old Punks Never Die

On the bike again and now everything aches, thankfully the calf no more than anything else, but I’m not as badly off as L.

Her boss advises her to sit back and do nothing all weekend, although she’s has just had a fortnight of doing practically nothing. It seems that going back to work that was her downfall.

Of course she kicks off her ‘do nothing’ weekend by mowing the lawn. That’s not exactly doing nothing but it desperately needed doing. MD could barely find his ball.

After which I hope she doesn’t collapse on me, as we’re at a gig tonight and one that L talked me into.

They say that old punks never die and as if to prove that statement we are at Rock City tonight to welcome back the Skids, the latest of that generation to reform. They have dabbled with minor reformation in the past but this time it’s for real, with a full UK tour to celebrate their 40th anniversary and there’s even a new album ‘Burning Cities’ in the offing.

Also still around, and from the same era, are support act Angelic Upstarts. We only catch the end of their set, so it would be unfair to comment on them really, only to say that they went down very well with the crowd.

Of course there is one old punk who sadly disproves that statement. Obviously Stuart Adamson can’t be here but original members Richard Jobson and William Simpson are, along with drummer Mike Baillie who joined the band a few albums in.

As the band opening with ‘Animation’ one thing was absolutely clear, that Jobson had certainly not lost the desire to not only throw himself into every song but around the stage too.

The question was could he last the distance. As he windmilled his way through ‘Of One Skin’ and ‘Melancholy Soldiers’ it was clear that he was certainly going to give it a damn good go.

Thereby followed an all-inclusive run through of the band’s singles and better known album tracks, with the likes of ‘Working For The Yankee Dollar’ and ‘The Saints Are Coming’ going down particularly well.

Stepping into Adamson’s very large shoes tonight was, rather appropriately, his former Big Country band mate Bruce Watson. As Jobson paid tribute to Adamson prior to ‘Scared to Dance’, Rock City erupted in a huge round of applause in his memory.

Watson had brought with him his son, Jamie, to play rhythm guitar and also to become target of a mid-set sing along of ‘Ed Sheeran is a wanker’, as he does bear a passing resemblance.

Back to the music and there was little you could think of that the band didn’t play, from début single ‘Charles’ through to the epic ‘The Olympian’ with Jobson still going strong. I was sort of worried he would collapse and I think he was too, admitting he was knackered and not quite his old younger self any more. Then he was off into motion again with another one legged scissor kick, only occasionally grabbing a sneaky rest as he delivered one of his engaging but often unfathomable anecdotes about the band.

The finale was stunning. The excellent ‘A Woman In Winter’ lead into ‘Circus Games’, then ‘Masquerade’ before they finished with ‘Into the Valley’.

They return quickly to play ‘Charade’ and then the song that Jobson threatened not to play if anyone badgered him for it. Namely ‘TV Stars’, the original flipside to ‘Into The Valley’, revamped slightly with Boris Johnson and Theresa May included in the lyrics but still (obviously) with it’s singalong ‘Albert Tatlock’ chorus.

They return for a second time and reprise 'Of One Skin' claiming they’ve run out of material. It’s perhaps slightly odd that they refrain from previewing anything from their new album but I suppose tonight is really all about the last 40 years.

Now I am no hard core Skids fan but tonight was pretty special. Welcome back to the best (and only) punk band from Scotland, so says Jobson’s mother anyway.

Afterwards L talks me into crafty drink at Blue Monkey, she really is a bad influence. It’s a good call as they have Chocolate Gorilla on. 

(Friday 1st September)

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Ninety Minutes And A Discount

I’m on the bike and L’s in the pool. So ‘projects’ going well, sort of.

My computer is up and running or rather crawling. It’s working but it’s slow. I left it on overnight as I didn’t dare turn it off in case it wouldn’t come back on after I finally got it to start up yesterday.

L says the technical term is ‘lagging’. Not around here, the technical term they use here begins with an F.

I have booked a sports massage tonight with one of L’s ‘other’ men. He comes to the house and gives me a good pasting for almost ninety minutes then gives me a discount off the price, so I think he must have enjoyed it.

My squash/tennis opponent asks if I’m excited about Transfer Deadline Day. Ha ha. Only if Derby have a fire sale of all the dross we have but I can’t see it happening. We definitely don’t want any more signings.

(Thursday 31st August)

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Welcome Home

Welcome home... The boiler is playing up and has turned itself off while we were away, the car won’t start despite it being impeccably behaved throughout almost two weeks of constant use in Scotland and when I get to work my computer won’t boot up.

The only bright spot so far is that I don’t have my headphones with me so I can’t listen to the rest of Andrew Gross’s ridiculous book on the bus.

L suggests we go back to the Hebrides. It’s tempting despite the strict two hour window for food.

L then launches Project Goddess, her latest health and fitness campaign. Only two weeks to the Great North Run... I'm feeling so unexercised myself I’ll be starting my own project at this rate. However I think Project God, might be blasphemous. 

(Wednesday 30th August)

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

The Highland Games And Other Scottish Jigs

Things don’t get off to a great start with the closure of the Thelwall Viaduct on the M6 causing traffic chaos. We try to drive round it and end up on the M56 which eventually leads us to Widnes which seems to be undergoing a complete rebuild. So we get stuck there instead. It’s a change of scenery I suppose.

So it’s a good job that I have got a new gadget for the car to play audiobooks, one that connects via Bluetooth to my new phone. It works a treat and we listen to Fatherland by Robert Harris which seems to do a god job masking all the car’s rattles.

All this means we don’t travel as far as we had hoped on the first day and end up at the C&C Club site Moffat again. As I’ve also booked one of their sites for tomorrow night we should perhaps have joined up but we say that every year.

The Black Bull pub, which was boarded up last time we visited, has reopened but seems to do only pies, albeit a wide range, and Theakston’s ales. So not very Scottish but it will have to do.

After breakfast in Moffat at the Green Frog, which is a sort of garden centre café, we continue our trip north and make it to Nairn where we camp at another C&C site at Delnies Wood.

The Braeval Hotel’s Bandstand bar seems to be the go to destination for food and beer. On it’s board outside it claims to have nine hand pumps but inside I can only see four pumps serving three beers. Trade descriptions act?

The next day we head to Elgin, around thirty minutes away, so that L can chalk up another parkrun where she beats Olympic rower Heather Stanning on TeamParkrun day. Heather, it has to be said, doesn’t try too hard and tailwalks.

Then it’s back to Nairn for the Highland Games where I am one of the attractions in the Half Marathon. Sadly I injury myself (calf again) during my warm up. I decide that the best thing to do would be to pull out completely. Then as things improve slightly after a few stretches I decide to jog the first mile. The first mile is uncomfortable but bearable, so I give the next mile a go, then I give the other eleven a go. My conclusion, as I hobble home home in two hours exactly and then can’t walk afterwards, is that I should have pulled out.

In the evening, we head to nearby Cawdor and have a really good meal at the Cawdor Tavern, along with beers from Orkney.

Then we move camp to Ullapool on the west coast and Broomfield Holiday Park close to the town which enables a tour of the local pubs on foot. We sample the Seaforth, the Ferry Boat Inn and the Argyll Hotel. We get local ales in two of them but the Ferry Boat serves us beers from Nottingham and Devon. Then we head back to the almost on site Indian Restaurant for a very good curry.

Monday sees us get the Caledonian Macbrayne ferry over to Stornoway on the Isle Of Lewis. We plan to stay two nights at Laxdale Holiday Park just outside Stornoway but this turns into three due to the wet overnight weather which kept leaving the tent soaked and the lack of anywhere else exciting to go.

Lewis is pleasant but, compared with the rest of the Hebrides, rather dull. Once you’ve done the standing stones at Callanish and the Blackhouse village at Gearrannan, there’s not really a lot else to see.

Stornoway is also rather limited for food options and horrific for beer, aside from the Hebridean Brewery Tap called the ‘Edge O' the World’ bar but even their beers are a bit of an acquired taste. L does acquire the taste for their Berzerker strong ale at 7.5%.

The first night we eat at the very nice, but terribly named and also terribly slow, Digby Chick. Good food though. The next night, the Crown Inn doesn’t want us and nor do many other places but in the end we get an excellent meal at The Lido. On the third night all that is left really is the Thai Café, so we go there. Meal times seem to be strictly until 9pm every night and this seems not negotiable, you wouldn’t even get a coffee after 9pm. If they think you’re likely to loiter beyond 9pm you won’t get in in the first place.

Road trips to Port of Ness and the island of Bernera yield good scenery and a beach session for the dogs but not a lot else. Port of Ness is famous for the Peter May books but they’re hardly living off his name.

Another road trip, this time to Uig, yields more Peter May associations with some of his chessmen dotting the landscape. We take in two coffee shops, a museum and the Abhainn Dearg Distillery (Red River in English). From where we take away a bottle of ‘spirit’, which is a whiskey under three years old.
This is a new distillery, only founded in 2008, and it looks just like a collection of disparate farm buildings which is why we drove straight past it (several times) without a second glance. It is the first distillery on the Outer Hebrides for almost 200 years and apparently the first legal one.

On Thursday we move camp to Harris and stay at the same camp site at Horgaboost as on our previous trip a few years ago, where you leave payment in a brown paper envelope. We eat at the Harris Hotel in Tarbet where they have Skye beers in bottles but not on draft. There used to be a pub next door called the Isle Of Harris Inn that did sell them on draft but this has now gone and looks like it is being turned into a house.

After yesterday discovering the first distillery in the Outer Hebrides for almost 200 years we now stumble across a second one. Build in the what I think was the ferry terminal car park at Tarbet is the Harris Distillery. It was only opened in 2015, so they haven’t yet managed to produce even a spirit let alone a whiskey. They do however have gin and why not, I’m getting quite into my gins.

The next day we take the ferry across to North Uist, via Berneray, and head to our usual camp site, Moorcroft near Carinish. Where we promptly come under midge attack, which is actually a first on these islands.

We stumble across the Harvest Food & Writing Festival which is being held across the three islands of North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist. Unfortunately it is not well publicised and hardly anyone else stumbles across it. It does include a beer festival (all bottles) at the Westford Inn but not Saturday’s half marathon, which could have done with any extra publicity it could get.

We had always intended to hit the Westford for food, as we have been there before, but the new owners struggle to fit us in or so they say. We eventually get a table at 8:15pm, hardly late and the place is emptying fast but as I’ve already mentioned, everyone around here turns into a pumpkin at 9pm. They insist we book for 6pm tomorrow.

The next day we head to Lochmaddy for the finish of the Two Islands Half Marathon which I wanted to do but I haven’t yet fully regained the use of my calves after Nairn. The race has been hastily rerouted this year due to the tragic death of an islander on Berneray. The whole race now stays entirely on North Uist with apparently a midge affected start in the middle of nowhere. So perhaps a good one to miss.

Later we head down to Benbecula to check out the literary offering of the festival but it isn’t that exciting. So we are incredibly punctual for our 6pm booking at the Westford Inn but no one else is. We could have had the 7pm table or the 7.30pm table... They need to stop taking so many bookings.

On Sunday it’s back to Lockmaddy to get the ferry to the other Uig on Skye. We tentatively drive off the ferry expecting the campervan gridlock and ‘Skye is Full’ signs that the media have warned us of. We drive along the very quiet north coastal road to see if there is anywhere to stay. Dunvegan with its castle looks a possibility but it’s not the ‘full’ signs that drive us away, as there aren’t any. There just isn’t really much there at all, so we keep on driving until arriving, as usual, at Sligachan.

We don’t feel the Sligachan Hotel it’s quite the cosy place it was back in the day but any port in a storm as they say and stormy it is certainly becoming. We pitch up and the pub actually appears less busy than usual. Their beers are now from their own Cuillin Brewery rather than the Skye Brewery. I try a few, a Harris Gin and a special 'non peaty' Talisker whisky. So all in all a very Scottish night.

The next day, the high winds make packing up quite interesting but at least it keeps the midges away.

After we've packed up we revisit Broadford for a full Scottish. Where, once settled in the café, I sort of forget what time the ferry from Armadale is probably because I was doubting whether it would be running, due to the wind, anyway. There is always the bridge but the half hour crossing to Mallaig does cut quite a bit of driving time out.

In the end we make it there with a few minutes to spare and the ferry is running on time. Back on the mainland we head for Roy Bridge and Bunroy Park camping where we stayed two years ago. The Stronlossit Inn is just across the road and the Caledonian Stag goes down very well.

Then we’re heading home via the Green Welly stop at Tyndrum where I get hold of a bottle of Benromach whiskey which was the one local to Nairn, from Forres, that I didn’t get hold of when we were there.

By now we’ve finished the excellent Fatherland and are onto a second book, Andrew Gross’s The One Man, but the less said about that the better.

(Tuesday 29th August)

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Sleep Patterns

On the bike today, a finally spin of the legs before the holiday.

Daughter comes round for a run with L and then tea.

She tells us all about her sleep patterns or lack of them thanks to the Sleep App that she is using. She's decided that she snores, the App has told her so. I could have told her that, I’ve heard her. In any case, everybody snores.

(Wednesday 16th August)

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Wall To Wall Tudors

I had forgotten that I was supposed to be shopping yesterday after I’d picked the car up from the garage, hence I have no breakfast this morning.

I then forgot that I hadn’t shopped yesterday and forget to go in my lunch hour today. I do finally go after work on my way to my parents' place, there is another match tonight. Derby are at home to Preston.

Back in the day games seemed to be largely alternate, one at home then one away. These days it always seems to be two at home then two away and that's really annoying. It means like this week you get two games in four days and then the next game will be 9th September, over three weeks away.

L is at Broadway tonight where the author Philippa Gregory is doing a gig. I’m assured it’s wall to wall Tudors and G&T. That makes it sound a bit like a fancy dress party and I assume you have to buy your own G&T.

(Tuesday 15th August)

Monday, 14 August 2017

False Economy

I take the car in to the garage this morning for a pre-holiday check up. It passed it’s MOT at the end of June but the exhaust only got through by the skin of its teeth and the whole car is rattling somewhat...

However the garage say everything is fine. Yes, the exhaust is a bit cracked and a bit noisy but it would be false economy to have it fixed now. The chap says it would be much better to wait until the whole thing gives up the ghost. 

Like half way up the M6 on Thursday?’ I ask. 

He does one of those shrugs that mechanics are quite good at. He says he doesn’t want to take my money off me unnecessarily. Really? He’s in the wrong job.

But...’ he says. Ah, there is always a but. ‘You could do with two new tyres’.

So the car is all sorted but I was nearly looking for another co-pilot for the trip.

Due to her recently acquired criminal record, Hastings Direct have decided that they will not insure L any more. Why they couldn’t have told me this last week, when I first raised the issue with them, I have no idea.

Anyhow I quickly did an on-line search for a new insurer and it produced a list of 70 who were willing to take our custom. So we have now jumped ship to Swinton and the entire premium with them is less than it was at Hastings. So, result. Hastings must lose a lot of customers this way.

L says she feels bad for causing so much hassle. Hassle? She means excitement. I’ve never lived with a criminal before.

(Monday 14th August)

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Injury Meltdown

The original Newark Half Marathon ran for many years until 2011 when it ceased to exist. It seemed the organisers had had enough of the endless hassle of organising it. Then in 2016 it returned, albeit without much Newark in it and certainly not the town centre start and finish.

The new race starts in the Sconce Park, on the outskirts of Newark, and the site of many civil war battles which are now being exchanged for battles of another variety. From there the race heads further outwards and despite it being advertised as the dreaded flat and fast, meaning its probably going to be dull, I decide to give it a go this year as part of my Marathon Project.

There is no car parking, so we park in the street and then walk to the start which is buried deep in the park.

The course is almost totally on closed county lanes, if you don’t count farm vehicles. One of which tries a massive reversing manoeuvre mid-race at about the ten mile point. It was sort of all on road as well, if you discount a few minor thoroughfares that hadn’t see a layer of tarmac in twenty plus years and had grass growing through them. Oh, and the entire last mile was a lap of Sconce Park itself, on the grass. Other than that... no complaints about the course.

I set out determined to take this (relatively) easily and quickly put aside the fact that one of my former Thunder Run team mates is currently ahead of me. I know he can’t maintain that pace and true enough I soon ease past him without doing anything.

What is more worrying is that another (occasional) rival of mine, shoots past me about six miles in as if his shoes are on fire. That has NEVER happened before. I hope he can’t maintain that pace but just in case he can, I up mine a little. This is probably my undoing.

I am correct in that he can’t maintain that pace and soon I get back in front of him, leaving him far behind until... disaster strikes. At ten miles my calf locks up and I start to walk, race over. Both of my ‘rivals’ come past me. Oh, the shame but I suppose I was in good company today.

Later, Usain Bolt pulled up injured in his last ever race while Mo Farah also messed up his finale. Mo is now apparently giving up the track to focus on racing against me full time on the road. Not sure I’ll give him much trouble.

I have my phone with me, specifically for an injury meltdown just like this, so I text L that I’ll be a while and to put her feet up/have a beer/get her knitting out etc etc.

She is somewhat appalled that I’m not. I sort of run/walk/jog/shuffle the last three miles and finish in 1:58. Not bad I suppose and at least I finished unlike Usain but it’s not a good omen for my future plans.

The goodie bag proved to be interesting, red t-shirt aside, with a few decent snacks, a medal and some weird plastic thing that I mistook for a dog toy but someone else said was perhaps a massage tool but could just as well have been a sex aid. There were no takers in our household to research this further, even the dogs weren’t interested.

We spend the evening in the Crafty Crow.

(Sunday 13th August)

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Intended Endeavours

Today I decide to test my latest calf injury, which is the same as my old calf injury, at Markeaton Parkrun ahead of doing the Newark Half Marathon tomorrow. MD runs with me and keeps my pace in check. Calf wise everything seems if not fine, well ok. Good enough to give it a go tomorrow.

Rather bizarrely, L and Daughter, who also run and cross the line side by side, are given times forty seconds apart.

It’s the first home match of the season in the afternoon which Derby lose convincing to Wolves. So another good season in prospect then. While L heads over to see her folks and then we have an evening in ahead of my intended endeavours tomorrow. 

(Saturday 12th August)

Friday, 11 August 2017

A Week In The Caribbean

I bike, basically hoping that cycling will do something good to my calf.

L has recommended some calf exercises to me and has even sent me pictures/diagrams. They involved wedging a ball between your ankles and standing on a step. I’d need to get the ball back from the dogs but it also looks dangerous to me. I’m sure I would fall off the step and injure myself.

L is also fretting about her own injuries and is again pushing for a campervan and/or a week on a beach in the Caribbean, which was her boss’s original prescription. I best cancel the Hebrides then. 

(Friday 11th August)

Thursday, 10 August 2017

National Spoil Your Dog Day

Supposedly today is National Spoil Your Dog Day, although I thought every day was spoil your dog day, and it is also Doggo’s birthday. How appropriate. He is sweet sixteen today.

I make a rare voyage onto Facebook and post a picture of his custom made birthday card with him in a cowboy hat. He promptly goes viral.

I bike today and then later it’s tennis, followed by a beer afterwards at the Crown in Beeston.

L runs to us from the other side of town after a pump class at Djanogly.

(Thursday 10th August)

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Will They Remember Me?

It’s still raining this morning so again I don’t bike but I do grab my gym stuff (yes really) before I get the bus. I wonder if they’ll remember me?

The calf seems to have settled down now but all the same I treat it with a rather nice Tiramisu beer in the pub at lunch time. Feels almost as good as new now.

After a quick half an hour in the gym after work, just on the bike and without pulling anything, I head home. L is out, running round Wollaton Park with Daughter. Naturally.

(Wednesday 9th August)

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Oh No, Here We Go Again

I get the bus into work, somehow dodging the worst of the rain. Not so L, apparently.

My plan is to run after work, which I do, with the rain now reduced to just an annoying drizzle but I change my route to avoid the river path which will probably be flooded. Instead I try to cut though the industrial estate on Raynesway but this just seems to take ages.

Then after only 8km, I have to abort my run after my calf tightens up. Oh no, here we go again. Walking loosens it but then when I run again it goes tight again. So I get the bus home.

Once home, I then head out again to collect L from her own ‘not running’ session. Her running partners are just eating at the Royal Oak in Ockbrook and I meet them there. It was worth the trip to get the rarity of Worthington White Shield on draft.

(Tuesday 8th August)

Monday, 7 August 2017

Some Shocking News

We’ve all had some shocking news this morning. The twentysomething daughter of a colleague at work died on the A38 on Thursday night. They were on holiday in North West Scotland and without mobile reception, so didn't even find out about it for a few days.

L and Daughter have now started running with one of the local clubs on a Monday evening. I just hope no one there tries to give Daughter any advice, we need to get her one of those ‘I Need Space’ bibs for when she’s running.

It’s glorious sunshine tonight, so dog training is on. The rain is saving itself for my run tomorrow.

(Monday 7th August)

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The London Way

On Saturday we get up early-ish and head off to the Parkrun at nearby Mile End. Well, what else do you do on a Saturday morning. There’s no café but an enterprising coffee van fills the void. We then head for breakfast at somewhere stylishly called La Verde at Riverside near Limehouse DLR station. Then it’s back to hotel to put the do not disturb sign on door.

Later we do some sightseeing and check out a pub called the Good Samaritan, which was L’s boss's old haunt when he was a lad studying at the hospital in Whitechapel. There we drink reinvented Watney’s Pale Ale in the shadow of the old brewery that stands in nearby Brick Lane.

Then it’s a trip to the Jack the Ripper museum, which is ok but it really isn’t based on anything substantial. From there we stumble across the Tower of London where they are preparing for tomorrow’s marathon.

Evening drinks are firstly in the White Hart which boasts beers from the One Mile End brewery, sort of. Not many of them are on, so we move on to The Pride of Spitalfields which a real traditional pub, just off Brick Lane, which serves a good pint of ESB or three. Completely flat of course as is the London way.

We had always intended to do a curry on Brick Lane but are completely railroaded into making a choice by the on street sales tactics of one of the restaurants, Monsoon. Not knowing any of these places we decide to take the plunge but naturally the free drink offer they promised didn’t apply to what I wanted to drink.

The next day we again take in breakfast somewhere near Limehouse but this time at a café called Silvia’s before we head back to St Pancras, via the Tower of London again, where we see a bit of the marathon.

(Saturday 5th August)

Friday, 4 August 2017

Dirty Weekend In Whitechapel

I’m in London, again, by train, again, in First Class, again, only this time it’s not business but pleasure and a dirty weekend in Whitechapel with L and Mo Farah.

It has to be said that First Class just isn’t the same when you’re too late for breakfast and as we find out on the way home the perks are practically non existent on Sundays. If you want a drink, fetch it yourself from the buffet card, four coaches away. Thanks for that.

We do live it up a little on the way there, before we even get on the train, with wine and Prosecco at Nottingham Station which costs almost as such as the train tickets.

The Holiday Inn at Whitechapel turns out to be very swish and not at all seedy, shame. Then we head to the Olympic Stadium on the DLR where we join the huge security queues to get in. While we queue it gets me thinking that if someone wanted to detonate something for maximum effect then in the queue would be quite an effective option. Scary!

Of course these checks would be a hell of a lot quicker if practically everyone didn’t need to bring a huge rucksack with them. It’s a three hour athletics session folks, what can you possibly need to get through that?

I suppose the food options aren’t great and nor are the beer choices. The velodrome, just across the way, is much better so there’s no excuse really. We have a massive pasty thing and then pork roll afterwards. 

We arrive in time for the Opening Ceremony, which doesn’t really exist, then we see Mo win the 10k and everyone go ape for Bolt in the 100m heats. I’ve never quite understood this Bolt thing myself but then I’ve never really understood the attraction of the 100m either. 

We also see Laura Muir looking impressive in 1500m heats and get totally confused by the Pole Vault qualifying. It is one of my favourite events but they don’t make it easy to follow and, just to add to the confusion, there are three field events going on at once.

However it’s an excellent evening and it’s good to finally get inside the stadium. It's only took me five years. Then afterwards we are herded back towards the station down closed off streets whether we wanted to go there or not. We couldn’t get to a bar, which was all we wanted to do, and eventually ended up back in the hotel bar instead.

(Friday 4th August)

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Strangely Therapeutic

After last night’s run the bike into work was hard work although I think my legs found tt strangely therapeutic. However, they soon start seizing up once I’m at work.

No tennis tonight as the centre is closed again, this time for the British Open Wheelchair Championships. So, I shall do some proper exercise instead. Well, I shall cycle home.

As does L, who runs to meet us at the Dispensary.

(Thursday 3rd August)

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

First In The Queue

L and Daughter go for a run (again) tonight. Those are words that have rarely been spoken in the past but are now fast becoming second nature to us. They are being used almost as much as phrases like ‘ball chucking’, well perhaps not quite.

I go off for a plod of my own after work and run 16.7km, according to my watch, before getting the bus the rest of the way home. I was almost tempted to run all the way but didn’t want to overdo it and twang something or get attacked by bird of prey like some bloke was.

L and I apologise to each other for being late home and I offer to kiss and make up but MD says he’s first in the queue for recompense.

(Wednesday 2nd August)

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Tortuous And Pointless

Today I’m in Croydon for work, this is south London of course so requires a 6:30am train in order to get there for a 10am meeting. First class naturally, which means breakfast, juice and two coffees. In fact I might have a third.

L meanwhile is living it up at home, seemingly not missing me, sitting in bed with a mug of tea, trying to talk the dogs into a walk but not too forcefully it seems.

After arriving at St Pancras, I take a Thameslink train across London and then attempt to call a cab to get me the last mile or so. The Speedy Taxi service that is advertised on the wall of the station proves to be anything but. When the chap finally turns up he claims not have heard of the huge new waste processing plant they are building in the area. Really? I though taxi drivers were supposed to know everything. It really is huge and as soon as we turn on to the road that it is on, it towers above us. ‘Oh that’ he says.

I hate meetings and this one was one of the most tortuous and pointless. Lots is still left undecided, I just hope they don’t want another meeting.

Thankfully it’s all over by lunchtime, not that they offer me any but I do get chance for a sandwich and a pint back at the Parcel Yard at Kings Cross.

Once home, I cut the grass for the dog sitter. We’re away this weekend and this will make the ball throwing easier.

(Tuesday 1st August)

Monday, 31 July 2017

A Forest Of Dead Wood

Amazingly the new football season is rapidly approaching and I’m not sure anybody is ready for it. Certainly not Derby County who were promising a clear out of their forest (could be dual meaning there) of ‘dead wood’. Well there’s been a net loss of two so far, they need to lose at least another ten.

L heads out in the rain for a run tonight, although I think it may have stopped just in time for her. It did for us at dog training.

(Monday 31st July)

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Stir Crazy

This weekend saw three days running and competing at my own club's dog show.

The running of the show bit goes really well, the competing bit not so well, although it is very difficult to successfully combine the two. Meanwhile L goes stir crazy and can’t wait to get demobbed at the end of the weekend. I did take a whole mini-keg of Hobgoblin as way of a survival kit but I'm not sure it worked.

MD and I get one clear round on the Friday and that’s it for the rest of the weekend. Apart from clears in both team and pairs on Saturday but neither our team mates or our pairs partner reciprocated. The highlight however was actually Sunday’s 7th place, but with five faults, on a really testing agility course.

The other highlight was, naturally, the eating and drinking. After the Last Heretic and a curry on Friday we book into a Thai restaurant called Nipa on Saturday, after a drink in the local White Swan at Walton on Trent first. The Thai is on Barton Marina in Barton Under Needwood.

We return to the Marina again on Saturday night where we meet my parents for a meal at The Waterfront which is a bit rowdy and the meals are a bit weird. Two of our meals had curry sauces (one Thai, one Indian) but were generally 'English' style dishes and I'm not sure it worked. Still a decent meal though.

(Sunday 30th July)

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Nothing Like Last Weekend

Off work now and setting up the dog show.

Our own tent is soon up, then it’s a case of putting up the ten ring tents up and setting up all the agility equipment.

The sun out, then in again, then out again, then there’s the occasional heavy downpour to contend with but at least there’s no mud. At least nothing like last weekend.

L texts to say she’ll be in the Last Heretic at 7.30 but not to rush as she has three books and G&T money. I rush over to save her from herself but find her on the Oatmeal Stout rather than the G&Ts. Then we go to the nearby Indian for food. 

(Thursday 27th July)

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

One Rush Around Too Far

No training today as I’m in the car again, so that I can help collect stuff from storage at our training venue tonight to take to the show site for the weekend. Before that, my colleague and I do a pub lunch.

I had thought about rushing through the transporting of the show stuff to get to The Run at Breaston but it really is just one rush around too far.

As it happens I get delayed anyway, as I end up driving someone’s rickety old car over to the show site while they drive the Land Rover than is pulling our trailer of show stuff.

(Wednesday 26th July)

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

A Puncture Waiting To Happen

Back on the bike and on my best bike. This is because when I accidentally ran over some glass on Friday on my not-so-best bike and stopped to check that nothing was lurking in my tyre, I saw how bald the front tyre was. A puncture waiting to happen, with or without glass. So I needed to change the tyre, which I haven’t done yet.

The update on breakfast-watch is that Doggo loved his ‘cottage pie’ and licked his bowl clean. 

L emails to say she’s been for a swim, so presumably she got in and out of the pool ok as she now appears to be in work. So limbs seems to be healing ok there.

L and Daughter head over to visit L’s Dad as it’s his birthday today while I stay at home churning out paperwork for this weekend’s dog show, while chucking balls.

(Tuesday 25th July)

Monday, 24 July 2017

Eating Disorders

My legs are ok this morning, so I must be relatively fit but then I haven’t been forbidden from running by half a dozen different medically qualified experts... L has a bit of a hobble today.

She asks if my colleagues were impressed? If headshaking means they were impressed then yes, very.

Doggo obviously enjoyed his weekend as he didn't eat a scrap of food this morning despite a sprinkling of cheddar on his breakfast but then it wasn’t the tinned dog food like we got him at the weekend. While shopping for ourselves for the Thunder Run we had this bit of a brain wave and came up with a novel way to break his fasting, buy him some tinned dog food! Genius. It’s was an inspired idea that, if it worked, could save us a small fortune on fresh chicken, best cheddar, wholemeal basmati rice and goodness knows what else. He loved it.

So at lunchtime, after getting the shopping and while I was picking up our sponsor’s dog food for our show this weekend from Kennelgate, I bought him some really buy posh tinned dog food. Well, something that actually has real meat in it. It’s so posh that it’s not tinned, it comes on a tray and looks a bit like Shepherd Pie.

He loves this even more than the tinned stuff and so too, by the jealous look on his face would MD, given the chance. So expect him to develop his own eating disorders some time soon.

(Monday 24th July)

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Twenty Four Hours In The Sun

Last year L and I did the Thunder Run as part of a team of eight and the team as a whole managed 21 laps of the 10k course which worked out at three or less each. This year we attempted it again but with a team of five, which hopefully should get us at least four laps each.

If that wasn’t enough of an epic challenge, we hadn’t reckoned on the weather. I kicked the team off with the opening lap at midday with an impressive 48:27 but then four hours later it started to rain and kept raining through to about 7am the following morning. Summer? Summer in the UK always has been merely a notional period on the calendar rather than an actual indicator of nice weather.

Consequently the off road course because an absolute quagmire becoming not just a stern physical challenge but also a test of mental toughness. I loved it and thought this new, unexpected, side to it merely added to the enjoyment. However most people seemed to disagree with me.

Last year both L and I went into the event with questionable fitness, this year I’m possibly in as good as shape as I could be on the back of two 70.3 triathlons. L however has been advised by practically every doctor and physio on the planet to stay at home, so naturally here she is and fully intending to do her four laps.

As I headed out for my second lap at around 5:20pm, I felt that I had the right footwear for the necessary mud skiing that a lap now mostly involved and my time of 51:23 perhaps confirmed this.

As before we fuelled ourselves with ham and cheese rolls and pasta.

At around 11:30pm I’m off on my third lap where I did take one tumble, somewhere between the 8km and 9km points, when I misjudged the slope of the hill I was running across in the dark. After sliding for half a mile or so, I picked myself up, brushed the smidgen of mud off my clothes and carried on. Sadly this ruined my time a touch but I still got in under the hour with a 59:32.

The organisers were having a few problems too, as the weather took out the generator for a while overnight and the marshals had to hold the inflatable start line up while it was fixed. They didn’t seem to mind, the general camaraderie or should that be the Dunkirk spirit between everyone was great. Which included a couple who got married on Saturday morning and then shared their on course wedding reception with all of us.

After grabbing a few hours sleep, I ran my fourth and final lap at 06:45am. By now the rain had eased, not that that made any difference to the conditions underfoot and my time was a slightly disappointing 61:15.
I did offer to do L’s fourth lap for her, which would have been my fifth but she was having none of it. I hope she doesn’t regret that tomorrow. So I head to the Bus Bar to grab a pint and watch her slither home.

We have one more runner to go after L then we’re done. Only 19 laps this year, I suppose we have to blame the weather for that.

There was only blot on the event (unless you count the rain as a blot) and that was the range of Ladies fit T shirts that none of the girls could get into. So only the lads will be in the pub tonight wearing their swanky green race t-shirts. I’m sure they’ll sort out replacements post-race.

Afterwards I pop to the site of next week’s dog show, which is only next door, to see what state the weather has left things in there, not bad as it happens. Then we drop in at my parents before a night out at the Crafty Crow followed by a curry at The Laguna.

(Saturday 22nd July/Sunday 23rd July)

Friday, 21 July 2017

Angry Clouds

I bike and beat the rain, which I’m sure is on its way as I was followed by a particularly angry looking cloud all the way to work.

L has been for her ‘hands off’ physio and has been discharged. Personally I think she discharged herself which will only encourage them to do more of this non-contact virtual sort of thing which I really don’t see the point of. The physio was apparently delighted and they’ll chalk this one up as a success story alongside the likes of that chap Lazarus.

It’s also just in time for the Thunder Run which is, erm, tomorrow. Most folk seem to be already there, just like they were last year. It’s a bit early as it doesn’t start until midday tomorrow but I think a lot of folk don’t get to go wild with a tent very often. We probably do it too often, which is why L now looks forward to going wild with a Holiday Inn.

(Friday 21st July)

Thursday, 20 July 2017

A Frustrating Dog

It’s a wet day, so I don’t bike and take the car instead. I take the opportunity to go to the local Kennelgate to try to convert the vouchers that the sponsor of our upcoming dog show has given us into dog food. Usually they courier us 24 bags of dog food but this year we just have an envelope full of paper. Saves on costs I suppose, for them at least.

Kennelgate are happy for me to purchase 24 bags of dog food with my 24 vouchers, although each one has to be a separate transaction which takes a while and they also don’t have enough in stock, so I need to come back next week to collect it but at least its all sorted (almost).

Talking of dog food... Our frustrating dog, Doggo, still will not eat on a regular basis. We know that being frustrating is his speciality but he’s starting to fade away. L is doing him chicken and rice tonight, probably curried, probably the same as what we’re having in fact with naan bread.

It’s tennis tonight and, given the weather, it’s probably a good job we’ve already practised in the wet this season. Although, they do say its supposed to be fining up and it will be a nice evening...if you believe that sort of thing.

For once, the forecast is right and we even sit outside The Crown afterwards in the sun. L runs to the pub and beats us there.

(Thursday 20th July)

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

A Liberal Use Of Disinfectant

Doggo survives the night without being ill again and even without pacing the floor all night long which means we actually get some sleep. In fact, he seems to sleep like a log himself probably secure in the knowledge that we would rescue him in his hour of need, should it occur. Although perhaps the thought of another trim with the scissors focussed his mind and made him think twice about being a pain.

I’m on bus and feeling a bit unexercised but I have a (not very) wild night out on the beer tonight, so needs must.Meanwhile  I hope L’s evening at home doesn’t involve the liberal use of disinfectant, like so many have recently.

(Wednesday 19th July)

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

With Much Fanfare

It’s time for another longish training run, so I again get the bus into work.

Then after work I do the same 14km run. It’s not really about stretching the distance out at this stage, it's more a case of upping my weekly mileage.

I get home to find that Doggo is still have rear end problems and has repainted the kitchen with his diarrhoea. It's not pleasant and quite a clean up operation.

Then we take the scissors to his matted rear end and surprisingly he lets us. He looks a lot trimmer afterwards.

The Robin Hood Marathon announce this year’s race t-shirt with much fanfare but it looks almost exactly the same as last year’s to me... It’s got a bloomin’ dear on it of course, which perhaps looks a tad more like Rudolph this time around.

(Tuesday 18th July)

Monday, 17 July 2017

Light Manoeuvres

L is still enforcing light manoeuvres on MD. He may have sat looking at her with puppy eyes and his ball at his feet but she says she didn't cave in. Doggo meanwhile is still on hunger strike and refused all attempts at food until she dropped half a softly boiled egg on to it. Then he cleaned his dish out.

This could all be down to his diarrhoea which now seems to come with chunks of blanket in it. Perhaps he's eaten his bedding in the car? I wouldn’t put it past him.

He seems to be totally fine when he does his usual supervising at dog training, which tonight is at Hilton.

(Monday 17th July)

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Under Orders

I head out early, leaving L to a solo lie-in. Today we have another Crufts Team qualifier that is unnecessary for us as we qualified at the last heat. Three of the four team members are here so we can at least have a bit of a practice.

The good news is that after aborting his parkrun yesterday, MD is showing no sign of any injury. So perhaps it was just his age... or perhaps he was cleverly saving himself for today.

We go clear in Jumping which is a good start but then we’re not clear in our two Agility runs. Which doesn’t bode well for the team run as that is Agility too and that is all we have left to do.

The team run is not a spectacular run by any means. Our stand-in team member is eliminated, which doesn’t really matter, while the rest of us amass 15 faults which is actually better than when we qualified but it’s a much easier course today.

I drop in at Aston on way home to see my folks then pick up ice creams on the way home under orders from L.

(Sunday 16th July)

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Back In The Angel

Today we all go to Forest Rec Parkrun including Daughter who brings a guest with her who’s down from Sheffield. He's training for one of the Tough Mudders, I’m not sure he’ll find Forest Rec that tough, it certainly won’t be muddy but he will get a good quality bacon butty.

I record a positively pedestrian 27 minutes mainly because my dog, MD, decides to become a pedestrian half way around. So either he really is struggling with injury or he’s struggling with old age.

Then we're at Broadway for the first time in ages, taking in a film for the first time in ages. Summer is a poor time for films of course...

Sofia Coppola's new film ‘The Beguiled’ is either a second adaptation of Thomas Cullinan’s novel or a remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood film of the same name, which ever you prefer.

It’s the late 19th Century in Virginia during the American Civil War. Waiting out the war in their girl’s school are the proprietor of this ‘Seminary for Young Ladies’, one teacher and five students. Everyone else has left.

One day while out in the woods, one of the students, comes across Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) of the Union Army who has been wounded in action. She brings him back with her where they lock him in one of the rooms (for his own safety presumably) while the school’s proprietor Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) tends to his wounds.

Oddly Miss Martha decides, in the name of Christian charity, that they should let his injuries heal before they hand him over to the opposition. This, obviously, has nothing to do with the fact that Martha, along with the rest of the all female household, have become immediately smitten with by their hunky find.

The room is unlocked and McBurney's presence starts to disrupt the previous calm as they all compete for his attention, giving him presents, cook meals for him and generally dress to impress. 

He repays their affection with affection, although it is mainly focussed on Martha and the school’s only other ‘adult’ teacher Edwina Morrow (Kirsten Dunst). Being younger than Martha, Edwina clearly believes that she is the most appropriate recipient of the Corporal’s attention. Although she doesn’t take into account Alicia (Elle Fanning), the oldest pupil, who is also determined to be in the running. The school quickly descends into a mini civil war of its own.

When he is fit enough to leave, he tries to stay on as their gardener but Martha, evidently sensing she is losing the war, vetoes that idea. So instead he declares undying love for Edwina. That could have worked but didn’t, when she caught him in bed with Alicia. So she pushes him down the stairs, breaking his leg which Martha then swiftly amputates.

He doesn’t take this well, as you would expect, so they again lock him in one of the rooms (for their own safety presumably) but he sweet talks Alicia into letting him out. A seemingly repentant Edwina pursues him to his room where she throws herself at him.

Martha and the others are cleared hacked off at these developments and therefore decide to murder him with poisonous mushrooms.

It all sounds quite exciting on paper but believe me, it wasn’t. It’s such a slow burn, full of  pensive ambiguous scenes, there's absolutely no chance of anything catching fire. It is far too inoffensive for its own good. Airbrushing war and sex out of a film that should seemingly be about war and sex. Not to mention racism. A 19th Century house without coloured staff?

Coppola won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival for this. Really?

After the film we visit the Old Angel in Hockley which I haven’t been to for decades and that would probably have been to see a punk band. It’s a lot quieter these days but still sort of radical, just in a different way. Then we move onto spend the rest of the night in the Kean’s Head.

(Saturday 15th July)

Friday, 14 July 2017

Before Sunrise

This morning the alarm goes at 4am, that’s earlier than a dog show, as we head to our second Sunrise City 5.30am 5k run this time in Derby. L runs with one of her friends, while the boys and I watch. She has the chance to complete the set with a run in Leicester if she wants... but that might involve an even earlier start.

I will do my own run later. L questions whether I will talk myself out of it. As if. The run is not negotiable, unless my calves cancel it of course but they haven’t done yet.

I run 14km from work to Sandiacre then get the bus home from there. That is actually the shortest run I can do and still get a regular bus service home, anything less would leave me waiting half an hour or more for a bus and with dodgy calves that wouldn’t be good.

(Friday 14th July)

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Numbers Are Back

After yesterday’s marathon car session, it’s a relief to be back on the bike this morning.

Lunch is spent in the Brunswick and then later it’s tennis where the court numbers are back and the highly confusing court names have now gone. I have no idea what that was all about but I really can’t see why they couldn’t have had both.

The numbers are even now on the nets as well although I think that might be temporary while they have the junior Nationals on.

Afterwards we retire to the Crown where L meets us.

(Thursday 13th July)

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Doing Nothing For Seven And A Half Hours

Today I’m back in London for a meeting and I meet my boss at 7am at Junction 25 of the M1. After slipping out of the house so early and leaving L asleep in bed, I later get reprimanded for neglecting my duties as an alarm clock.

Travelling to and from London is the usual traffic hell. In fact it’s probably worse. It takes us three and half hours to get down there and four hours to get back.

Then there’s the fact that no one from the actual company we’re visiting turns up for their own meeting, preferring to leave their three contractors to it, makes it all a very bizarre day.

When I finally get back home, L is out running around Forest Rec with Daughter doing a parkrun training run. Sounds like there's some serious training going on there.

I decide to skip a third night in a row dog training and go to pick L up instead. I’m actually feeling a bit shattered after all this travel (a.k.a. sitting around doing nothing for seven and a half hours), so I could have done with some sleep tonight but Doggo has other ideas with one of his choking fits.

(Wednesday 12th July)

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Not Chocolate At All

So it’s just like a Monday today with me being in the car and doing the shopping.

MD is restricted to some gentle football in the garden, in case he is actually injured but he seems to have perked up no end. So later I take him dog training again and then afterwards we meet L in the pub for a Dizzy Blonde.

L comes laden with gifts from her grateful parents for her chauffeuring duties. There are two bottles of wine and two boxes of chocolates which are easily divisible. L will have the wine and I’ll get the chocolates.

Only the chocolates don't turn out to be chocolate at all, so L has those as well.

(Tuesday 11th July)

Monday, 10 July 2017

An Unexpected Excursion

After last night’s tough velodrome session the legs are still throbbing away as they do an unexpected Monday excursion to work by bike because L needs the car today to pick her folks up from their cruise.

The bus was tempting but I have a marathon to train for and I now have two consecutive days in the car coming up.

I’m not sure who looks in the worst state tonight at dog training, myself or MD, who looks shattered (or injured) but he still gives his all at training. 

(Monday 10th July)

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Double The Numbers

After last week’s very quiet SQT session at the Velodrome this evening's is positively busy, double the numbers. Yes, four of us. So really busy. Just enough to practice the team pursuit but despite the lack of opposition, we are still rubbish and fail to keep it together.

L attempts to sign up for the gym through the new Metro membership and it actually goes swimmingly. So now she can use the Derby gyms whenever she likes. 

There is still no sign of this really good scheme being promoted anywhere, probably because they've now worked out it's going to cost them quite a lot of income. Then again, perhaps it won't if it's marketed right and it pulls new people in.

My Dad doesn’t come to watch this week, so the recovery session is held at the Horse and Jockey instead of at the Exeter.

(Sunday 9th July)

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Gentle Manoeuvres

Today the boys and I are at Just Dogs Live at the Peterborough's East of England Showground. I have to be careful not to aggravated my fellow athlete’s (MD) thigh or else L will put him back on gentle manoeuvres. That wouldn’t do as we have Crufts Team next week. We have already qualified but we need the practice.

Today he’s jumping well, weaving not so well but I don’t think that was injury related. In fact, our first two runs were pretty decent apart from the weaves in both.

Then we record a very nice clear round, including perfect weaves, to finish the day. We finish 2nd and take some notable scalps.The only downside is waiting ages for the rosette and trophy. Yes, we get a trophy as well and a bag of dog food.

In the evening, L and I spend all night in Crafty Crow.

(Saturday 8th July)

Friday, 7 July 2017

Phillippa York

I heroically cycle in to work this morning and then crawl up the stairs to my office.

L seems to have coped with her run, at least she didn’t seem to be grimacing as much this morning but that could have been down to the large bottle of Leffe Brune we shared last night.

She now has the paperwork for her crime (red light jumping) and questions whether this will effect our insurance premium. I have looked into this and putting her on the car insurance actually reduces the premium by about £30. Work that one out... Now with her points, it makes no difference.Work that one out...

Is today Friday? I think it is, I’m all confused with all my rescheduling this week. L heads off to the gym to limber up, just in case it is.

There’s no park for MD tonight as my fellow athlete has a very stiff left thigh which I shall get the ice pack on later.

Cyclist Robert Millar finally confesses to being a woman, about time. He ‘disappeared’ many years ago and would only give interviews by email. Although several newspapers have stalked him and produced photos of his new self. Now he’s gone public and Phillippa York will be appearing on ITV4 covering the Tour de France. I'll look forward to that. 

(Friday 7th July)

Thursday, 6 July 2017

The Red Mist Masks All

L tells me that yesterday was allegedly National Workaholics Day but she was too busy working to tell me. No idea if that’s true but it’s a good pun. Today, also allegedly, is National Kissing Day. Which I think ought to be celebrated.

I'm in the car again as it’s the final round of the GP series tonight at Colwick Racecourse. For the first time ever the race starts and finishes on the Racecourse itself before doing its usual multiple loops around Colwick Park. L isn't running the race but not to be outdone she runs there, well run-walks as she builds her fitness back up.

This has always been my least favourite of the GP races and I’m really not sure what my tired legs are going to make of it. L assures me that the red mist will mask everything.

The route is a loop of the smaller lake followed by a loop of the whole park, five miles in all, which seems a very long way and it shouldn’t as I’m supposed to be marathon training but then again I was probably going for it a tad too much. I don’t quite recreate the heroics of Tuesday but 36:14 isn’t too bad.

There’s a post-race bar but not one that offers any decent beers, so I pick up my series t-shirt even though I’ve only done half a series and we head to The Dispensary instead. 

(Thursday 6th July)

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

A Book At Bedtime

On the bike today, although I'm surprised my legs still work after last night.

My colleague at work, who has been trying to get his own 5k time under 20 minutes and writes each near (and not so near) miss up on his whiteboard, isn’t in today. So I add my own time to his list. It's not quite as fast as his but then he does have about 15 years on me.

We now have new neighbours, who are apparently a couple from down south who have moved up here to be near to their son who is at Uni here. Really? Aren’t you supposed to move in the opposite direction when your kids are at Uni?

Daughter is recommending Radio 4 programmes to me. Apparently she listens to it at work and there was program on this morning comparing the decline of golf with the rise of cycling that she thought I might like. I’ve missed the live broadcast so I get it on iplayer instead.

L has always fancied Radio 4’s A Book at Bedtime but I guess she’d never stay awake through it.

(Wednesday 5th July)

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Alphabetti Spaghetti

Doggo seems to be eating breakfast at the moment, largely because he seems to like the new food I have got him. The thing is it’s his usual stuff just in a different, more interesting shape. Like alphabetti spaghetti rather than plain ordinary spaghetti. Do they still make that? anyhow, I’m sure he’ll get bored of it soon.

Today I’m in the car and doing the shopping, just like a Monday.

The evening isn’t like a typical Monday though as we head to the Victoria Embankment for the third round of the GP series which is a 5k. I have of course missed the first two rounds due to being in London but I’m quite pleased with how this one goes.

It’s a rather dull flat route on the tarmac paths on the river side of the Embankment that takes us up to Trent Bridge from the centre of the Embankment, then up to the Toll Bridge, then back to Trent Bridge again before finishing back in the centre. 20:44. I haven’t ran that fast in years.

Something that never happens has happened. Sky have just announced the first batch of TV games and Derby’s game with Hull has been moved to the Friday. I was going to miss that one as we’re off to the Great North Run but now I can go!

(Tuesday 4th July)

Monday, 3 July 2017

Top Secret Gym Membership

I reschedule my week due to the two remaining GP runs which I should be able to make. I bike today and save doing the shopping until tomorrow.

The only problem is I’m not used to cycling on a Monday after an SQT Session and I’m slightly surprised that the legs allowed me to do it.

After plans for a ‘North Midlands’ region collapsed, Derby and Nottingham vowed to still work together on some of things that would have been united under that plan. Folk have apparently demanded integrated travel and leisure services between the two cities or that might just have been me submitting dozens of forms.

Anyhow, they have now launched their ‘Metro’ partnership, as they call it, which will now enable anyone with a Derby Leisure Card to use Nottingham’s Leisure Centres and vice versa. This was however buried half way down an obscure council email full of stuff that no one really wants to know about, so no one ever reads down that far in their emails except me obviously. So they may not have wanted anyone to know about it but I’ve told everyone.

I print off a couple of forms and we attack the situation from both angles. L takes her form into John Carroll in Nottingham, I take mine in to Derby Arena.

At John Carroll, it’s the first they've had and it flummoxes them. They’ll let L know when they’ve got it sorted.

I have a similar situation at the Arena but they were a bit more helpful and were fighting over me to see who got to do their first one. They think its sorted and they have now cancelled my gym membership in Derby, as its now unnecessary and Nottingham is not only much cheaper but includes swimming as well. So I probably won’t get in next time I try to use the gym.

In theory though, now for less money, I can swim in Derby too. If they had any pools of course. I think they still have one somewhere.

Dogging tonight up in Codnor.

(Monday 3rd July)