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

Tuesday 28 February 2017

Under New Management?

It looks cold out this morning but there doesn't appear to be any ice around, so I bike. L goes for another swim, just not at 6am this time.

You may remember I reported that Run For All had been told they couldn’t use Nottingham city centre for their 10k and I said they probably end up at Holme Pierrepoint... Well here’s the new route. At least it’s not the usual two loops of the lake.

Dog training tonight with a pint in the Masons afterwards with L and the new lodger. I am stunned when L texts through that there is a choice of two new beers on the bar, Naylor’s Pinnacle Mild and Stonehenge Danish Dynamite IPA. Are they under new management? I give the IPA a go.

(Tuesday 28th February)

Monday 27 February 2017

The 6am Swim

Up at 6am and off with L for an early morning swim in the 50m pool at Harvey Hadden. The boys come too and then I drop the three of them back at Harrow Road for their morning walk and ball chuck.

It seemed to work quite well, although L did get home to find that next door’s builders had cheekily parked on our drive. They did at least have the decency to be apologetic about it and she let them stay put.  I make it to work on time, just. As everyone is off ill, there is at least room in the car park.

It's back to the grind for both of us. L dealing with all the work her office junior has diligently saved up for her and me with all the work nobody’s even looked at.

The much anticipated and much dreaded A52\Pride Park junction roadworks start today with a month of pre-works, mainly tree felling I believe, which won’t apparently affect the A52 itself but still manages to lock up Sainsbury’s at lunchtime.

After work, L and the new lodger head off to the gym while I go for a quickie myself.

The Oscars have been presented, again before we have managed to see all of the candidates. For saying the boost the awards season gives to film going they don’t seem to manage is very well in the UK. Most of the films were out in America late last year but don’t tend to be released over here until about now, at the point they’re already handing the awards out. Surely it would be beneficial to either get the films out here earlier or push the awards ceremonies back a month or so?

(Monday 27th February)

Sunday 26 February 2017

New Lodger

Back home, we have a new lodger of course. Daughter has moved back in and is now a week into her new job in Nottingham.

We’re straight back on the film trail tonight.

Fences is an adaptation of an award winning play by August Wilson and even on the big screen it still feels very much like a play being very dialogue driven. There is a very small cast and very few scene changes, in fact very few scenes at all but those that are there are quite long. So perhaps it could have been more concise but if people standing out in the yard talking about not much of consequence is your thing, then this is for you.

It’s the sort of thing that some directors, say like Quentin Tarantino, are fond of doing, so how will Denzel Washington get on? This is very much his baby (excuse the pun, that bit comes later) as he is both the director and the lead actor.

It is 1950's Pittsburgh, Troy Maxson (Washington) is a former baseball player and an ex-con who now works as a dustman along with his friend, Bono (Stephen Henderson), the only white face in the film. Every evening Troy comes home to his wife Rose (Viola Davis) and his son Cory (Jovan Adepo). While on payday, Troy's son by his first wife, Lyons (Russell Hornsby), drops in for a loan to prop up his ‘career’ as a musician, a loan which Troy always resists.

Then there is Troy's brother Gabriel (Mykelti Williamson), whose house they are living in because Gabriel, who suffered a head injury in the war, is too busy battling imaginary hellhounds in his head. Oh, and Troy’s building a fence either to keep something out or to keep something in.

The film drip feeds us bits of his life story as we go along. Troy is a bitter man, resentful that he feels his baseball career stalled because of his colour but unwilling to acknowledge that times are changing and so he prevents his son from taking up a place on the college football team because, he says, the same thing will happen to him.

Troy is a complex character but thoroughly selfish and unlikable, ironically the prejudices that once held him back he now seems determined to keep alive and to inflict on everyone else. Yet his wife stands by him throughout even when it is revealed he’s had an affair and is soon to be a father all over again. In fact, everyone holds him up as being a great man except his son. After having had all other avenues to better himself closed off by his father, he leaves home to explore the only career left open to him in the Marines.

As a film it is powerful and engaging, what it lacks in actual story it makes up for with some very strong performances. Denzel Washington really inhabits his role and is very good but Viola Davis is even better.

Good but not great.

(Sunday 26th February)

Saturday 25 February 2017

The Old Dog’s Road Trip

This holiday has basically become known as ‘Doggo’s Road Trip’. He loves all of our holidays (except the one’s he ends up in kennels for the duration of) but he does seem particularly fond of our winter jaunts to Scotland. Therefore, as we’re not sure how many more trips the old dog has in him, this one’s for him.

After a 9.30am departure from home (which is early for us) it is an eight hour trip, seven if you discount stops, up to our cottage at Ballachluish which is just past Glencoe. The chosen audiobook is ‘The Girl Who Fell from the Sky’ by Simon Mawer about a British girl flown out to France to work with the resistance during World War II. Totally my sort of thing.

It is raining when we arrive, so typical Scottish weather. There is also very little snow on the peaks and the next fall isn’t forecast until Wednesday, so skiing isn’t looking very likely.

Doggo seems less than impressed with things so far and squats in the middle of the lounge. I suppose it’s his holiday so he can do what he wants to but I think his day improves. The highlight of his evening being a trip to the local Co-Op and the chippy. We crack open a bottle of red to go with our fish n chips and spend a night in watching Citizen Four.

We have brought a few videos with us, as we can’t do any films whilst in Scotland as the nearest cinema is in Oban. Although they do have occasional screenings at the Nevis Centre and a mobile cinema comes round sometimes. Somehow, I doubt we’ll watch many.

Sunday we get up late, as ever, and head to the Co-Op to pick up the necessary to do a Full Scottish, which includes haggis and Lorne sausage but the Sunday paper come without all the supplements. We must be out in the wilds or something.

Later we walk round the lake at Lochran for old times sake and then do it again as MD’s ball is pinched by a four legged young filly who takes a bit of a shine to MD and he to her.

After that, it’s nearly 5pm, so pub time. We have a couple of dark ones, Loch Lomond Stramash and Strathaven Ebony, in a very busy Clachaig Inn before returning to Ballachluish for an excellent meal in the Laroch Bar. Sadly, they only have Deuchars IPA on the bar so we have a bottle of Rioja instead. Camra’s WhatPub site has the place down as closed, so when we get back I email to update them. The cottage comes without Wi-Fi, so I have brought my own mobile internet, which seems to work well. They get straight back to me and swiftly update the entry before I’ve even finished watching SS-GB on TV.

Monday and Tuesday follow the same pattern, get up late and do our own Full Scottish, then a walk around the local trails. Monday evening we do the pub quiz in the Clachaig where we come an impressive 5th of about 20 teams. If only I could have remembered all four corners of the Monopoly board then we’d have been in a tie for third. First and second come from a group of 20 sat together. Hmmm, teamwork or cheating, depending on your point of view.

We celebrate with Ben Nevis/Loch Lomond/Clachaig whiskies. The origins of the Clachaig’s own malt is apparently a closely guarded secret, so probably from the Co-op then.

On Tuesday evening, we visit the Glencoe Gathering which is the bar next to and part of the Glencoe Inn. The Inn is open midweek this time, it wasn’t the last time we were up here and the Gathering was boarded up. The Gathering is now open and really nice. It also sells River Leven ales, two of them IPA and Blonde, which are brewed at the old Atlas Brewery in Kinlochleven as we later find out. Atlas first merged with the Orkney Brewery before both were taken over by Sinclair Breweries and the Atlas Brewery was closed.

We have a few problems at the Gathering though. First, the barman serves me a very short measure, which he says is fine but then after continued whinging by me he eventually grudgingly tops it up but then charges us over a tenner for one pint plus a 175ml of wine. Then he tells us all the food is off unless its battered e.g. comes from their onsite Fish and Chip shop, although we may get it on a plate I suppose.

We decline, sup up (it was a nice pint) and then head back for another night at the excellent Laroch. We round off our meals with Macallan and Auchentoshan Glasgow whiskies.

Wednesday we head out for breakfast and find a nice café at Onich, then walk a 6k trail above the waterfalls at Inchree, which sadly comes back along the busy A82, but it’s still a nice walk and in sunshine for the first time this week. In the evening, we basically walk across the road for tea at the Isles Of Glencoe hotel.

Thursday is supposedly ‘Doris Day’ but Storm Doris doesn’t really materialise. Not up here anyhow. There is snow up on the hills but it’s still raining in the village. We head up to Glen Nevis and walk the trails from the Braveheart car park then go for hot chocolate in Cobbs Café underneath Nevisport in Fort William. In the evening, we drink and eat in the Clachaig where another dark beer has appeared, Orkney Dragonhead, along with the excellent 5.1% Cairngorm Wild Cat that we enjoyed in the summer.

There is more snow up high overnight, which means that the ski areas do open on Friday but there’s not really enough to bother getting the skis out for. We go up to Glencoe ski centre anyway and support the café before taking another walk around Lochran and a couple of late afternoon Wild Cat’s back in the Clachaig. Then it’s back over to the Isles of Glencoe for tea where I hit their bottled beer collection.  

Then Saturday dawns, wet and blustery of course, as we head home stopping off just before the Erskine Bridge for breakfast, again making the 11:30am cut off by the skin of our teeth.

(Saturday 25th February)

Friday 17 February 2017

Natural Remedies

It’s very warm on the bike today and I get a right sweat on. Meanwhile L bunks off work and meets her folks in Derby for mid-morning coffee.

She says her health is improving, 50% better already and it'll be 75% better by tomorrow then 100% once we get out in that pure Scottish air. Ah yes, and the purifying effect of the Scottish rain of course. Then there will be plenty of natural remedies available from the local distilleries too.

It should be a nice chilled week although it doesn’t look like the weather will be chilled, so there doesn’t look much chance of doing any skiing.

At the same time as we move temporarily out, Daughter will be moving in. She starts her new job in Nottingham on Monday. I hope everything goes well as we’re not really in range to assist with anything and we’ll have dubious phone reception but as L says she's 23 and her new job is in Arnold not Saudi Arabia where L was working at her age.

First another decadent night in, assisted again by Curry Busters. 

(Friday 17th February)

Thursday 16 February 2017

Dangerous Things Beds

Doggo refuses his breakfast this morning; I imagine he’s protesting that there is no leftover cottage pie in his dish. This is because there was no leftover cottage pie.

I have an extra day in the car today because my new computer has arrived at work and it’s probably best not to try to cycle it home. Obviously, this means I have gym penance to do first.

Last year the Jane Tomlinson charity ‘Run For All’ brought a 10k into Nottingham city centre. It was the first time that I can remember the City Council allowing a race to start or finish in the city centre and very successful it was too. I think we all hoped that this would be the first of many but sadly no. It appears now that this was perhaps an administrative lapse on the council’s part and the organisers have been told that no routes in the city centre would be considered for this year. Instead, I worry that they’ll end up going to the ‘go to’ venue for everything... Holme Pierrepoint.

Squash is cancelled again; my opponent says he’s injured himself getting out of bed. Dangerous things beds. So it’s the gym again and then the pub again, MD will be pleased.

(Thursday 16th February)

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Moral Dilemma

Finally, I’m on the bike. Then later it’s dog training but without the pub afterwards as L cancels in order to quarantine her germs at home.

This creates quite a moral dilemma, namely what to do with the chicken ‘Shepherds’ pie that L has made to take over to her parents, I believe we have no mince in the house. Well, I suppose it has to be eaten although obviously it is a bit non-standard but after a very wet bike home anything hot is very welcome.

It’s odd afterwards with no L, no pub and no pint of Wainwrights to look forward to . Who else are they going to find to drink it for them?

(Wednesday 15th February)

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Valentines, The Traditional Way

I’m in the car today, so I first provide backup support to this morning’s dog walking by bringing up the rear with Doggo whilst the athletic ones have a game of ball.

My ‘little bit’ of a cold now seems to have manifested itself as a bigger one but I’d already passed it on to L by then. Either that or she’s making a meal of it. She still swims though but she should really be hanging from a bar somewhere.

We spend Valentine’s night the traditional way e.g I’m at the match and L’s at book club. The matches seem to have come in pairs all season and this one's another goal fest as Derby lose 4-3 to Cardiff thereby banging a few more nails in the promotion coffin.

I do bring a couple of large medicinal whiskies to bed with me to try to breathe some life into my cold struck life partner.

(Tuesday 14th February)

Monday 13 February 2017

Meeting For Meeting's Sake

I’m in London today, for work, for a largely pointless meeting organised by someone whose job is to organise meetings. We go on the train. Nobody really has much to say to each other as we only met just before Christmas and little has moved on since then therefore the meeting finishes very early, as we suspected it would.

This leaves us with several hours to kill, as moving to an earlier train will cost 60 quid each. I’m really not sure where the logic is in that, as we are offering to free up seats on a peak time train where spaces are scarce in favour of a mid-afternoon off peak train that will be half empty. They should be paying us.

Once back home, we have an early night as L says she’s shattered and needs her bed, not too shattered I hope. Then we get up again later to eat.

(Monday 13th February)

Sunday 12 February 2017

An Embarrassment Of Riches

We get a lie in until noon then we head to the Homemade Café on Forest Rec for ball chucks and Sunday lunch. Lunch is ok although slightly minuscule and a bit overcooked. Whether this will be enough to get me through an intense two hour track session remains to be seen.

In the afternoon L heads off for a session at Puregym in Beeston before I pick her up on the way to the track. The cycling is as intense as usual and really busy tonight.

I survive and we head afterwards to the Horse and Jockey where they have an embarrassment of riches on the dark beer front with no less than three new ones although I only mange two of them. These are Ferry Stout from Lincoln and Law Man’s Onyx from Glasgow. We can pop in for one of those when we pass next weekend.

Back at home later, we’re just snuggling up in bed for a bit of late night romance when Doggo decides to have the most intense and prolonged coughing and choking fit. He keeps us all up most of the night and just when I thought I’d pulled. 

(Sunday 12th February)

Saturday 11 February 2017


We skip parkrun this morning as I still have a ‘bit’ of a cough and I would like to save myself for Sunday’s cycling, whereas L is theoretically banned from running completely. So instead, it’s an unscheduled lie-in.

Then L goes to Pilates while I take dogs on park with their balls, although Doggo has just the one ball chuck while MD has several. Then I go off to the match where Derby draw 3-3 with Bristol City after being 3-0 down. This effectively knocks them out of the promotion race after being knocked out of the cup on Wednesday. I bet they wished they’d took that one more seriously now.

There’s not a huge amount of choice for films tonight. Fences and Moonlight are not out until next weekend, with Hidden Figures the week after. So it’s basically T2 Trainspotting or Toni Erdmann which sounds interesting, if in German and a bit long but we give it a go.

The film examines the father-daughter relationship by way of a German comedy of sorts, when we didn’t really think such things existed.

Ines Conradi (Sandra Hüller) is a workaholic businesswoman who, in her father’s (Peter Simonischek) view, is neglecting not only her family but herself too. All that counts to her is her career but he wants to spend time with his daughter. Therefore, after the death of his ancient dog, he heads off to visit her in Bucharest where she is a management consultant specialising in 'outsourcing', basically firing people on behalf of their clients.

Whilst she seems efficient at her job, he quickly realises that she is far from happy with her life even though she pretends to be fine. He ends up telling a business contact of hers that he's hired a replacement daughter because his real daughter is too busy to spend time with him.

Having been shocked to see him in the first place and with not really having time to entertain him, she is relived when he is persuaded to return home after only a few days. Only for her to run into him again at a city bar while she is out with some friends. Except only this time he is in 'disguise', he is Toni Erdmann.

At this point, as things gradually get ever more bizarre, I’m not sure if Toni is for real or whether she has ‘Toni’, or more perhaps accurately an imaginary father, inside her head.

Either way ‘Toni’ worms his way into her life, handcuffing himself to his daughter making her feel even more trapped by life than she already feels. Yet after this, she still takes him to work with her where he tells outlandish tales to her clients and even introduces himself as the German Ambassador to Romania.

Yet, wherever she goes, she presents the same deadpan face to everyone. From her business clients, to her father and even to her secret lover\work colleague Tim (Trystan Pütter) where we get the most emotionless non-love scene on the planet that ends in a threesome of sorts with a plate of petit fours. 

Then she throws a nude party perhaps symbolic of how exposed she feels in her job. It doesn’t really go down well with anyone except her subservient Romanian assistant Anca (Ingrid Bisu) who would do almost anything to please her boss. Even there though she cannot escape her father who turns up as a furry Bulgarian ‘Kukeri’ creature.

It’s certainly a different sort of film and I liked it. Now stand by for Hollywood to make a real mess of a remake.

Afterwards we end up in the Hand & Heart where they have Old Rasputin Stout before heading to the Organ Grinder.

(Saturday 11th February)

Friday 10 February 2017


I have, perhaps, still a touch of cold and it’s pretty nippy out so I get the bus again. In fact, apparently it’s so nippy that L is reporting walking the boys in the snow. Personally, I think she is hallucinating as there is none here at all.

As Daughter prepares to start her new job, she asks what our starting salaries were. I recall starting on £3000 a year in 1986, which works out at about £57 a week but L reckons she can top that (or bottom it) as she started on just £22 a week.

Then we are both in the gym after work, warming up for the athletic-ness of a Friday night. Hopefully L has found somewhere to hang.

(Friday 10th February)

Thursday 9 February 2017

Go Hang

I take the bus to work today, as I feel I have a touch of cold and a touch is how it’s staying, if that’s what it is. I’m not sure because I’m not used to having colds, so wouldn’t really recognise one.

L meanwhile is positively glowing after a swim and Pilates this morning until she visits her physio who tells her she isn’t done with her yet but that is what they all say. She has also told her that she need to ‘go hang’ somewhere to strengthen her back. The only question is where? We do have a tree in the garden.

Daughter meanwhile is off to a farewell high tea in a Manchester Skyscraper.
There is no squash tonight because I haven’t booked a court. Two weeks ago my opponent turned up with more bandages than the invisible man and could barely walk, so naturally I haven’t booked anything as it’s so much hassle booking, cancelling then rebooking. Sadly, the Portland Centre haven't discovered the internet yet.

Then he declares himself fit at about three hours notice. Surprisingly there is a court available but tough; I’ve booked the pub now although I do book a court for next week. I do a quick gym session first and then L meets me off the bus with the boys. She then carries on walking with MD all the way to the Dispensary. Doggo and I return home and then drive there where I get to add another stout to the list.

(Thursday 9th February)

Wednesday 8 February 2017

Weakened Teams

On the bike today and then its home to watch the FA Cup replay between Derby and Leicester.

I’ve cancelled dog training for this so it’s a touch annoying to see weakened teams from both sides. Particularly from Derby who are dreaming if they think they have a chance of going up this year and should really be focusing 100% on this. 

L puts her usual curse on matters, having failed to stay in the gym beyond the conclusion of ‘Pointless’.

As it is both sides play as well, if not better, than they did in the first game with full strength sides but Derby, as usual, have trouble scoring and lose in extra time.

(Wednesday 8th February)

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Second Birthday?

I'm on the bike today and working on getting some fitness going as it's only three months now to my Half-Arsed Ironman.

However, L is worrying more. She worries that she will be on the sidelines for my more imminent birthday run, which is looking like it could be in Vienna. I suppose I could have a second birthday like the Queen and I do quite fancy Malmö Half in September.

She says she hopes to have the body of a builder by September. I assume she doesn't mean like the plumber who did our bathroom. Ah, body builder.

It's dog training tonight with a pint in the Masons to follow of course but there's no Wainwrights, it’s Robinson’s Dizzy Blonde instead.

(Tuesday 7th February)

Monday 6 February 2017

The Great Iceberg Lettuce Stampede

I keep nagging L about doing her physio routine and she does get in her exercises and rolling in this morning. Apparently Doggo sat patiently and watched, which is a first as he usually gets overexcited and joins in. I sympathise with him as it has the same effect on me but apparently MD just stayed downstairs and howled. I bet Jess Ennis never had these problems.

Daughter’s interview folder turns up as L revisits the café where a different chap discloses that he had found it and had put it on one side. Bravo.

I go shopping and expect to be crushed in the great iceberg lettuce stampede, what with Tesco rationing customers to just three per visit. Seriously who buys three lettuces in one go? The stampede is oddly absent.

L’s out on the lash tonight having a curry in Ockbrook although I think she is secretly jealous of me being left alone in the house with the fresh crusty loaf. She needn’t worry, I will be taking undue advantage of it. She asks me to pick her up at 8.30, it’s just a small Monday night sort of lash.

Before then I do one of them swim things, which I ought to be doing more of. I do 40 lengths of the pool but share a lane with three women, all of whom are faster than me so it’s not a relaxed session. The pool itself is rammed but then only half the pool is open to the public as two people are having lessons in the other half. I would have thought it would be more viable to have scheduled these at a quieter time perhaps?

(Monday 6th February)

Sunday 5 February 2017


We get up at lunchtime then I head to the paper shop with Doggo before meeting L and MD on the park. L then cooks up a full English while I breathe some life into the ailing computer.

I tried to get on the track this evening but apparently there isn’t a session this week as some paracycling is on. Whether this is watchable or not I’m not sure as nothing has been advertised. I have, at least, provisionally booked for next Sunday.

Instead we head over to Derby to Quad where they have Denial showing a week ahead of Broadway.

Denial is based on a 1996 legal case between Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz), an American professor of Holocaust Studies, and the historian David Irving (Timothy Spall). Irving sues Lipstadt over her book ‘Denying the Holocaust’ in which she accuses Irving of being a Holocaust denier and falsifier of history.

The trial is held in Irving’s native England where the burden of proof is with the accused not the accuser. Basically she has to prove that the Holocaust happened. Easy right. Not so.

Lipstadt, a runner and a dog lover (so you have to like her), engages a top legal team to fight her case. This actually means that she doesn't in the end have to prove anything as her legal team totally take over. So she can pretty much get back to her running and dog walking for the next few years as the process rolls along.

In fact solicitor Anthony Julius (Andrew Scott) and barrister Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson) treat her more like a naughty child than the one accused. They quarrel about how to approach the case with Lipstadt wanting to take the stand herself and bring in Holocaust survivors to testify while Julius prefers to simply present the facts. So off they go to try to find proof of the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Denial must have been a tricky film to make when you consider the topic, the potential for emotional bias and the fact the majority of the viewers either knew or could accurately guess the outcome of the trial. Which does not leave much scope to build meaningful tension but overall I think overall they did a decent job.

In court, Irving, serving as his own lawyer, has an answer for everything but not usually a very convincing one. So things progress as you would expect and hope until Mr Justice Gray (Alex Jennings) throws the defence team slightly off balance when he asks whether Irving might not actually be lying as they claim, if he genuinely believed the Holocaust didn’t happen. It is the one moment of ‘almost tension’.

Denial is easy to watch, informative but perhaps just lacking that vital dramatic spark that would have made it great.

Afterwards we drop into the pub formerly known as The Chequers in Stapleford which is now called the Old Rock but is normally a no go area due to its seemingly constant karaoke. They are now serving four real ales and are promoting this fact with a Real Ale Weekender. All their ales are local ones apart from their regular beer which is Doom Bar. Nought out of ten for imagination there then. 

I do have a decent pint of Scribblers but it’s nothing I can’t get elsewhere. They are going to find it very hard to compete with the constantly impressive range across the road at the Horse and Jockey but good luck to them. I will pop in again sometime.

(Sunday 5th February)

Saturday 4 February 2017

No Wonder Sundays Are Tough

I run the Forest Fields parkrun this morning with MD while L rests her injured back and marshals. She shows remarkable restraint and doesn’t heckle us or try to trip us up. We don’t have a great run as I’m carry around last night’s fiery hot curry while MD must be carrying the entire contents of his water bowl as he stops five times to lighten his load.

Afterwards we go for breakfast in the park's café and then L pops into the one on Gregory Boulevard where she met Daughter the other day. Daughter’s interview folder has gone missing but they say it’s not been left there. Oh dear.

L is then at Pilates while, after taking the dogs home and trying to get Doggo to eat, I head off to National Omnium Championships which are being held at Derby Velodrome. Olympic medallists Katie Archibald and Eleanor Barker are among the entries. Shockingly probably half of the bunch I cycle with on a Sunday night have also entered and are mixing it with them. One of them comes 5th in the Elimination Race, no wonder I find Sundays tough. 

In the evening we are at Broadway with a pint of Supreme in hand for Loving. Which is based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving who travelled to Washington, DC from their home in Virginia to get married in 1958. The reason they travelled so far was because Richard (Joel Edgerton), a bricklayer who build their home and seemingly practically everyone else's, was a white man while Mildred (Ruth Negga) was a black woman. Unfortunately their home state was one of the remaining states that still banned marriages between whites and non-whites.

Not that getting married in another state made much difference because the local Sheriff (Martin Csokas) and his deputies soon raided their house in the early hours to enforce 'God's Law'. Presumably they were hoping to catch them having sex, which was also illegal between whites and non-whites, but had to settle for them simply sleeping side by side. When they pointed out their marriage certificate on the wall they were told that the certificate had no significance in Virginia.

The Lovings were charged with 'cohabiting as man and wife' and pleaded guilty. They were sentenced to a year in prison with the sentence suspended on condition that they left the state for 25 years. So they upped sticks and moved to Columbia.

Richard was a quiet, private man of few words who just wanted to be left in peace to live his life but his wife was more feisty and she agrees to two lawyers, Bernie Cohen (Nick Kroll) and Phil Hirschkop (Jon Bass), fighting their case. 

In the meantime, feeling frustrated by being unable to visit their families, they quietly moved back to Virginia where they live on the outskirts, trying to stay below the radar but clearly not too far below the radar as their situation gets featured in Life magazine which gives their case valuable publicity.

When the local courts find against them their lawyers take the case to the federal Supreme Court where the court decides that prohibiting interracial marriage is in fact unconstitutional.

Loving is an informative and pleasant film but a bit on the slow side, it inches along at times, but at least it’s not the overtly sentimental melodrama it could have been. Some more back story would have been nice, perhaps about how they met, and although the Lovings didn’t want to attend the court case I certainly would have liked to have done. Instead, in keeping with the rest of the film, the court’s verdict is delivered in a rather low key phone call to Mildred.

Afterwards we head to the Scribblers but it’s too full to get a seat so we have a couple in the Hand and Heart instead. The H&H used to be the place that was always full but everyone seems to have moved over the road to the Scribblers now. Then we finish up in the Blue Monkey. 

(Saturday 4th February)