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

Friday, 31 March 2017

All Bright Electric

Finally, on the best bike. Yes, I’ve not fixed my other bike yet although I have ordered a new wheel for it.

Things don’t start off too well and nearly end in disaster. I get to the end of the road and no front brake! For some reason it had jammed but I soon manage to fix it.

Tonight I am up in Sheffield, at the Leadmill for the second leg of Feeder’s All Bright Electric tour. I miss tonight’s football game for that, which is annoying as when I booked tickets the match was still on the Saturday. Bloody TV games. 

Is it just my age or are lead singers getting ever younger? Once singer\guitarist Fin O’Brien announces that The Jacques are from Bristol I find myself wondering what time he had to bunk off school in order to make it to Sheffield in good time. A bit unfair really, The Jacques are not new and have being going since early 2014. 

They play a Strokes-ish indie pop that they may well have discovered at school... The fact that they've been around a while now and, despite some critical acclaim, haven't broken through is perhaps because there isn't really anything about them that stands out. They're pleasant enough but struggle to command the attention of a Feeder focused audience tonight.


At the end of their set, I mishear and I think they're about to play a cover of 'Eleanor Rigby' but it's actually one of their singles called 'Eleanor Ring Me'. Yes, it must be my age.

Age is at least something I have in common with Feeder and none of us are getting any younger. This year it's twenty years since their début album 'Polythene' and therefore roughly twenty years since I discovered them. They've aged well, probably better than me.


Despite their longevity they have always maintained that they are not a band for the nostalgia circuit but sometimes I have wondered. Yes, when they come out on tour it is always to promote a new album. So it's never just the hits but the stuff that is not new really is 'just the hits' and the post-2001 Buck Rogers breakthrough hits at that.

As someone who has invested a lot of years in the band this is frustrating and from the feedback they get on social media it's not just me tearing hair out that I can't afford to lose. So this time we hoped things might be a little, shall we say, more varied from a band who have a back catalogue of nine albums, an early EP that has acquired cult status and literally dozens of classy b-sides. Promises have been made and set list votes put up, so excitement builds.

Then the tour starts in Liverpool with the set list almost exactly the same and in exactly the same order as on the tour they did before Christmas. So excitement declines...

But then Feeder do often get more daring as they find their feet on a tour and tonight we are at Sheffield's Leadmill. My second favourite venue of all time after Nottingham’s Rock City. The Leadmill has a generous curfew for bands and tonight Feeder are about to make good use of it.


The first cause for excitement is the reinstatement of 'Shatter', last sighted in 2008 on the Silent Cry tour. It's sounding very different tonight, less meaty perhaps with a quiet build up rather than them smashing straight into it but it’s slightly more elegant I would say. Very nice.

Next surprise, the inclusion of 'Sentimental' off the Renegades album. I have nothing against 'Sentimental' but this really must be a Grant Nicholas favourite as it does crop up more often than you would expect. It wouldn't have been my choice as a surprise but any surprises are very welcome.


Then I sort of settle in and enjoy the rest of the set, not really expecting anything else to surprise me until the encore, if at all. Of the usual suspects the back to back trio of 'Come Back Around', 'Insomnia' and 'Borders' all sound rather fine tonight. The epic newbie 'Eskimo' is particularly epic and there is a surprisingly strong 'Lost and Found', it's not usually one of my favourites.


Then we're half way through the closing double of 'Just the Way I'm Feeling' and 'Buck Rogers' when there is suspicious whispering amongst the band. Nicholas announces that there has been a lot of requests for the next track on Facebook, it's an oldie off 'Echo Park', we haven't played it for ages etc, etc... and I'm think stop being a f****** tease, we all know you're just going to play 'Buck Rogers' and then leg it... but then suddenly it isn't. It's 'Turn' which they have occasionally, shall I say rarely, been playing in the encore. Now it's in the set and the evening has suddenly got rather wonderful.


Well after that, he can do what he likes with the encore. He can even play 'Tumble and Fall' if he wants but the entertainment isn’t done yet, not by a long way. I’m obviously just expecting the excellent but incredibly populous finale of 'Seven Days in the Sun' and 'Just a Day' but first the band play the rather gorgeous 'Infrared-Ultraviolet' off the new album.

So value for money then but still we aren’t done. That intro he’s playing doesn’t sound much like 'Seven Days' to me, it sounds very like 'Sweet 16'. You crafty bastard Mr Nicholas, awesome stuff. You now have one very happy punter who’ll still be smiling about this next week.

While stood at the front of the gig, a couple of friends who I haven't seen for ages appear beside me. We have a good chat at the gig and afterwards over a beer in the Sheffield Tap.

(Friday 31st March)

Thursday, 30 March 2017

A Tall Order

While we were away Doggo seemed to eat every meal for Daughter, although every meal probably did involve chicken. Now that we’re back, he’s being selective again. This morning his breakfast is served ‘avec croûtons’ e.g. with chunks of leftover bread on top. Which he eats without picking up a single morsel of dog food. Awkward old git.

Allegedly squash is back on from next week, although this still means he has a whole week to try not to get injured again, which could be a tall order. This week, I’m in the gym.

After which, L wants to power walk to the Dispensary. So the plan is to meet me off the bus and then she can continue on with MD as we have done before. This plan is hatched before L spots the Red Arrow on Ilkeston Road, never a good sign. I sure know how to pick my bus days.

It turns out that the road closed outside Wollaton Park on Derby Road and all the buses are having to divert. At Derby Bus Station, the electronic signs shows that the nearest bus is thirty minutes away... e.g. still in Nottingham. The tracking thing on their website is slightly more helpful but contradictory saying that their nearest bus is in Bramcote, a mere twenty minutes away. Then seconds later one turns up... Good technology this tracking business.

The upshot of all this is, we are late after a bit of a detour but not disastrously so. We still get there before last orders and as Daughter is home by then, so she joins us too. 

(Thursday 30th March)

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Spokeless

I had spent yesterday evening dusting down my best bike in preparation of riding it to work today. That is literally dusting it down, as it’s been a while since it’s been out, and my normal bike is spokeless. Then I spent half the night listening to the rain pounding against the bedroom window. This would have been romantic had L not being on an extended holiday in the land of nod.

The morning is no drier. So, as I’m not getting the best bike wet, I’m on the bus.

L is still stressed, so the holiday didn’t work then, and she launches a ‘calmness project’ which involves only reading one book at a time rather than her usual half a dozen. Personally, I say, if reading is so stressful then don’t do it but I am happy to help. We can put all her books in a locked room and I will feed them to her, one at a time.

Dogging tonight but without L, so no pub.

(Wednesday 29th March)

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Better In The 80’s?

So we take a lunch time flight out of Birmingham to Geneva. The only problems being the car park that I have booked is about half an hour away, but that still works ok, and some eye watering ski carriage charges on Easyjet.

The first task on arrival in Geneva is to find France, as in the French side of the airport which is basically a badly signposted broom cupboard up two flights of escalators. This is to get a French plated car for driving into France where they are now heavily taxing Swiss cars because they are non-EU, a taste of what’s to come post-Brexit I suppose.

Then of course we have to downgrade our upgrade because the car hire companies always upgrade you whether you want to be upgraded or not. They are offering us a Nissan X-Trail which is practically a coach, when I turn this down they give us a Nissan Juke. Which personally I think is still too big but I don’t think they make anything smaller these days.

Then we have to queue to get out of France and into Switzerland before queuing to get back into France from Switzerland. Border controls you see, a taste of what’s to come post-Brexit I suppose. The French side of Geneva airport ought to build a flyover over Switzerland to avoid this problem.

It isn't long before the Nissan Juke develops behavioural issues and an irritating phobia about white lines. Every time I cross one without using the indicators it cries in pain with an annoying ‘bleep’. This makes driving up the switchbacks that are immensely common on mountain roads far more challenging than it should have been.

Do you remember the day when cars were just cars and you just drove them? Seems a long time ago now.

Eventually we arrive and book in to Chalet Stella, although mine host does not look much like a Stella but he’s a nice enough chap. Having checked out our room, we head out to explore Les Gets and to also see if we can get our lift passes sorted tonight.


We do get the passes, from a vending machine which after taking our money only give us one pass rather than two because we fail to remove the first one from the dispenser in time and the second one gets stuck behind it. The dilemma is now what to do, one can hardly leaving a plastic card valued at around £100 unguarded but nor can we sit here until morning.

I was just starting to consider trying to flush it out by buying another cheaper pass, but at more cost, when it pops out of it’s own accord. Relief.

Now we are just about sorted because tomorrow we have a ski lesson. Yes, a lesson. L wanted one so that she can learn how to keep up with me. Plainly my advice to simply ski faster hasn’t been taken on board. So I have booked her a three hour private lesson on our first morning and I will tag along. This will be the first time I have looked a ski instructor in the eye in thirty three years.

Such profligacy on passes, lessons etc means we may have to live on bread and water all weekend. Fortunately this year we’re not in Switzerland, although it is only a stone throw away, so things aren’t quite so expensive. So it’s more a case of cheap French plonk, strong French coffee, crusty bread and maybe the odd sliver of cheese.

The 'odd sliver of cheese' bit goes out of the window on day one in a restaurant known as Le Var No. We both go wildly off-piste with our menu choices and L’s turns out to be 80% cheese and mine 90’s cheese. Then the following night in La Taniere the soup of the day comes not with a bread roll on the side but a chunk of cheese. Cholesterol heaven.

Anyhow back to the skiing and as I mentioned we have a lesson. As we await our instructor, who will be decked out in all green, two such characters appear from a nearby hut. A hunky man and a blonde ponytailed woman. Obviously the hunky man is ours.

He seems a likeable chap until he sees me ski. Apparently nobody has skied like that since the 1980’s which incidentally, he practically points out, is also the decade that my boots hail from and my skis aren’t much newer. Yes, I know but they work don’t they? At least he hasn’t started on my clothing, that’s even older and anyhow, didn’t the Futureheads once say skiing was better in the 80’s?

Apparently I have been leaning way too far back for the last thirty years, you are not meant to ski as if you’re lying on the sofa. Why not exactly?

Character assassination apart the lesson goes quite well and I spend the rest of our three day break touching my knee, to get my weight more forward and bend-ze-knees, as they don’t say in France. No more sofa skiing for me. That's so, well 1980's.

L? Oh yes, L. It was her lesson wasn’t it. I think she got something out of it as well. It didn't help that Les Gets and Morzine next to it both had quite straightforward, relatively easy skiing which L could cope with just fine. It was the harder, steeper stuff she needed advice on. Typically, on day three we drive over to the other side of Morzine and get the lift up to Avoriaz and Chatel, where the skiing turns out to be much more evil. You can ski into Switzerland from there, if you brave the ‘Swiss Wall’. 


We don't and after a couple of attempts of skiing round it accompanied by some rather evil looks from L, I abort that idea and we stay in France.

One thing I didn’t expect in France was beer. Yes, they have Pelforth Brune and... exactly, that’s it for proper beers but seemingly not in Les Gets. To my beer trail I add the excellent Licorne Black and the almost as good Léman Brune, which we sip in a mountain restaurant above Chatel. Then in Les Gets itself there is an Irish Pub or Le Pub Irlandais, if you prefer. 


Of course Irish pubs are nothing to get excited about unless, like this one, they brew their own beer. It’s mainly keg stuff but includes a porter but they also do a hand pulled real ale which isn’t too bad at all.


Sadly the holiday is over too soon and at the end of Monday’s skiing we take the annoying car back to Geneva and attempt to find the Holiday Inn for our last night. This is easier said than done but done it is. You think they’d be able to serve us a meal after our ordeal but sadly not. Their catering is provided by a Perch and Chips van that is parked in the car park. We’ll give anything a go.

(Tuesday 28th March)

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Limping Home Together

I’m on the bike this morning but running too late to assist with the dog walking. So I apologise to MD, who I’m sure was pulling his ears off in frustration at the slowness of having Doggo accompanying them.

L is pulling her ears off in frustration at feeling so unexercised even though she did swim this morning but I best make her walk to the pub tonight.

Just as I’m riding across Pride Park on why way home I hear a loud crack and think something has broken on my bike. Although it still appears to be working... hang on, the rear brake is now rubbing... because the wheel is seriously buckled... because I have snapped two spokes and buckled a few others. How did that happen? Must have ran over something. My bike and I limp home together. 

Later we head to the Dispensary and dark ale number 163, Black Iris’s Rise And Shine.

(Thursday 23rd March)

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Not Really My Forte

This is L.


I may need to book myself into a different resort for the weekend?

Daughter gets her first pay cheque from her new job and asks me to do her a budget. So I adapt my own ‘financials’ spreadsheet. All I need to do then is to follow orders and make it funky. There is colour in it but clearly not enough, she says it needs the odd picture of a cat or something. Not really my forte.

We thought we’d lost Doggo’s brother this morning who has seemingly been struggling with his back legs more than Doggo has but he seemed to rally as soon as he got within sniffing distance of the vets. Good for him.

We have our second dogging session of the week today, this is because it’s our favourite trainer again. L doesn’t come this time but she has promised Doggo a nice chicken breast when he gets home. No wonder that dog is giving up dog food.

(Wednesday 22nd March)

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Meeting Myself Coming Back

Very occasionally we both wake up before the alarm, meaning there's time for a romantic kick start to the day before walking the dogs whilst still making it to the pool for a few lengths. Well, not the pool bit for me obviously but everything else went swimmingly .

Getting in the car spoils it. The traffic is pretty bad which makes me late but bizarrely there are still several free car parking places, so everyone else must be stuck somewhere as well.

This morning, I received the following email...

“Congratulations on finishing the Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon 2017. Despite the weather, we hope you had a good race and day? Please fill in our race survey below.”


Then this afternoon, I received the following email...

“We are really sorry if you just received the Cambridge Half Marathon Survey email and you didn't actually take part. This was a mistake and should have only gone to participants.”

My mother has always said that one day I will meet myself coming back and I thought for a minute there I’d managed it and achieved the elusive being in two places at once trick. Oh well, I shall keep trying. It is an ambition of mine.

Tonight there is a meeting about the new Derby County website and I’m on the testing team, so I go straight there from work. It’s just a brief session but I’m not that impressed. The proposed new website is very flash of course but when their ‘fixture list’ option can only fit one fixture on the screen at once you know it’s all style over substance. Unfortunately this is what they think people want these days and obviously some people do but not me.

It’s dogging later and afterwards at the Mason where it’s still same beers despite the fact I’ve missed a week off.

(Tuesday 21st March)

Monday, 20 March 2017

Responsible Kids?

Harvey Hadden are thankfully back to three lanes for our 6am morning swim. The swim is good apart from all the half marathon induced aches.

Doggo seems to be constipated which most likely means he’s eaten something he shouldn’t have. So we’re all waiting (eagerly) for whatever it is to come out. I have checked all my clothes for missing sleeves etc but they all seem to be intact. So wonder what it will be? It’s almost exciting. I just hope the surprise isn't waiting for us in the kitchen when we get home tonight.

Daughter’s new job have signed her up into a pension scheme, Son’s new job have signed him up into a pension scheme. What’s the world coming to? (Almost) responsible kids paying into pension funds.

It’s the dog club committee meeting tonight and these meetings seem to get longer and longer now that we have got rid of the people who used to drag things out. Hmmm.

(Monday 20th March)

Sunday, 19 March 2017

An End To Heckling

.

Today I am entered in the Coventry Half Marathon. We head over without the dogs and once the race has been started by no less than Coventry Olympian Dave Moorcroft, L heads across the road to the local Puregym. 

Her Puregym membership apparently enables her to use any of their gyms across the country which will save her having to bide her time heckling me when she’s not running. Unfortunately no one had told the computer at Puregym and it takes her a bit of time to gain access. By then I’m well on my way around the sights of Coventry.

Coventry turns out to be hillier than I thought, much hillier, but at least my legs lasted as long as Mile 5 this time. Progress. I did try to hold my pace back a touch to save something for the end and was more successful in keeping to something approaching eight minute mile pace throughout. I ended up beating last week’s time by 37 seconds despite the hillier terrain.

Afterwards we head over to Leamington where we pick up Son, his GF and her Mum and go for Sunday lunch, along with a few drinks, at the White Horse.

We stay in later but Daughter is out, running, in the rain. Blimey. Impressive stuff.

(Sunday 19th March)

Saturday, 18 March 2017

A Man With A Van

The four of us. That’s L, myself and the boys head up to Manchester this morning to move Daughter home. She has moved several times in the past and the first time we moved her stuff a wheelbarrow would almost have been sufficient, the second time it required a car, then several cars, then a small van and this time a large van. Presumably next time we’ll require a HGV.

We meet our man with a van, my old pal from school, around 12 noon. We fill the car and almost fill the van. So, yes, I do need to start looking at HGV prices for next time.

Other than that, things go well. Her landlord comes round and doesn’t spot the subtle damage in the bathroom but he probably will later, after we’ve legged it.

Once back in Nottingham the problem is storing the stuff as she’s not ready to move into her new place yet. It’s amazing how inventive you can be.

Tonight an AF night preparing for the Coventry Half Marathon with the film ‘Elle’ at Broadway.

The film opens with a violent rape. The victim of which is Michèle (Isabelle Huppert), the co-owner of a video game company which seem to specialize in particularly violent video games and she gets an unwanted dose of her own genre. Her assailant is dressed all in black and wearing a mask. After doing the deed, he is quickly gone.


After a few moments, Michèle gets up, blames the cat and then cleans up the crime scene before getting in the bath with a glass of wine in her hand. She doesn't call the police but instead orders a takeaway. It isn't until much later, when she is out with a group of friends that she tells anyone.

It's safe to say, that this isn't your typical film about rape. The film asks you to figure out Michèle and while you’re at it, her oddball collection of friends, relatives and work colleagues.

These include her ex-husband Richard (Charles Berling), whom she still seems to fancy although he is now seeing a young student of whom Michèle is very jealous. Then there’s her mother Irène (Judith Magre) who has hired a gigolo called Ralph and her son Vincent (Jonas Bloquet) who is moving into a new apartment, that Michèle is expected to pay for, with his domineering girlfriend Josie (Alice Isaaz). Josie is pregnant by another man but Vincent claims it is his, even after it is born and is of mixed race.


Oh, and her father is a convicted serial killer, which caused her to have a somewhat difficult childhood and this is given as the reason she doesn’t trust the police as well as perhaps an explanation for her chosen profession in violent video games. It could also explain why she is fantasizing about a return visit from her attacker who has been sending her text messages.

She does at least change the locks and arm herself with pepper spray before getting back to work on the latest release from her company. Where she finds that one of her employees has made her a feature of the new game. She incorrectly links this to her attack and gets another employer to investigate his colleagues as well as getting him to drop his trousers to rule him out as a suspect. 


Meanwhile Michèle is having an affair with her best friend and business partner Anna’s (Anne Consigny) husband Robert (Christian Berkel) but who she really has the hots for is her neighbour Patrick (Laurent Lafitte), whom she watches through binoculars with her hand down her knickers pleasuring herself.


She’s a bit mixed up perhaps and when the identity of the rapist is revealed it gives this cocktail another stir. Is it all a consensual S&M relationship? Whatever, she still seems to want revenge on her assailant for igniting such traits in her.

Director Paul Verhoeven has created a dark satire on relationships and I rather liked it. There is plenty here to get you thinking, if you can see through the un-PC-ness of it all. It's rumoured that no major American actress would take on the role of Michèle, which was good news of course because Isabelle Huppert is terrific and well backed by her supporting cast.
(Saturday 18th March)

Friday, 17 March 2017

Time To Pretend

L has day off, does the gym and some shopping. After an attempted but aborted run on the dreadmill, it seems the injury is obviously still feeling a bit too ‘fine’.

Now that she’s back home comes the problem of trying to persuade MD to pretend that she’s not there. Apparently, it's not working. 

Recording of the new series of Later With Jools Holland starts on the 11th April, so we bang in an application for tickets. It's a ballot and I’m usually hopeless at ballots, unless it comes to winning free places in triathlons, so I don’t hold out much hope. The recordings are also in Maidstone, so it will require some holiday to go.

Our lodger also has the day off today as she heads up to Manchester to say some goodbyes and to get reading for the big move tomorrow. So, we have the house to ourselves tonight. Party time!

(Friday 17th March)

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Being Fine

On the bike today after a brief walk with Doggo.

L’s war wound is apparently getting better although she has always maintains to me that she’s ‘fine’. Now she says that this time last week she felt as though she’d been stabbed with a six-inch nail but now she feels like she’s been stabbed with a small penknife. Which is presumably progress. It’s amazing what the word ‘fine’ covers isn’t it?

With no squash again, Thursdays have become a choice between a romantic night in or a romantic night out (in the pub). I suppose it’s a case of whatever gets the injured one the most exercise. We say in, the lodger is out.

In fact, Daughter has today paid the admin fee (an eye watering one, no wonder they’re trying to ban them) for one of the flat’s we looked a yesterday. 

(Thursday 16th March)

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Easy Come, Easy Go

L has now been to her GP about her ongoing injury problems. She has now been told to exercise as much as possible and she's been given some extra strong drugs so that she can do so. They’re also sending her for physio, the free NHS variety.

It’s a rather nice surprise when Wimbledon tickets arrive through the post this morning but then just as I’m getting all excited and planning my outfit, L tells me they’re not for us. Apparently she has applied on behalf of her sister. Easy come, easy go.

Tonight we do actually get a flat viewing in, in fact two in the same block. Both seem promising, one more so than the other.

Then we head over to visit L’s parents. I actually get to join her for a change as I’m not dog training this week. However, this also means that there isn’t really any excuse for a pint. 

(Wednesday 15th March)

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Joint Aid

Yay, on the bike today after a slow morning amble with Doggo where we just do a short loop around the streets to save time.

A couple of things we won’t be doing this year are the Salford swim which appears to have completed disappeared from the Great Swim schedule and also a birthday run in Vienna.

L isn’t back up and running yet and I’m a birthday run in Vienna just wouldn’t be the same if only one of us was running. Personally, I’d rather defer it and do it later in the year. Malmo is September is calling to me.

Instead we could always do a short birthday break somewhere in the UK where we can take the dogs. Although L might make the sign of the cross at that but, then again, she would be ok with it if it was in a nice cosy cottage for the old man’s joints. Doggo's joints that is, not mine.

L is out again tonight, at her book club. She was also out on the razz last night and she says I'm never in. I will have my feet up for most of this week as I have no dogging at all.

(Tuesday 14th March)

Monday, 13 March 2017

Flat Hunting Or Not

We do the 6am morning swim again, which goes well although oddly they only initially open two lanes rather than the usual three and they are rammed. Eventually, when most people have already given up and gone, they open the third.

Last night Derby County sacked Steve McClaren again. Frankly, I’m speechless and it seems utterly ridiculous to me. Although I haven’t yet gotten my head around why they reappointed him in the first place. Actually I’ve still not gotten my head around exactly why they sacked Paul Clement, which was only last February but is now four managers ago. Next up apparently is Gary Rowett.Good luck Gary.

We were all keyed up for a flat viewing with Daughter tonight but that has now been put back to Wednesday. Luckily, this time I made sure to bring my gym kit just in case... I didn’t when the other one was cancelled last week.

So I do a session on the Watt Bike and then get home in time for another viewing which is scheduled for 7:30. However it appears that no one has told the tenant that they need to be there to let us in because they don't show up. Therefore, it’s a wasted journey. This flat hunting business isn’t going well so far.

(Monday 13th March)

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Some Serious Work To Do

Today I run the Retford Half Marathon which starts at Retford Oaks Academy. L and the boys come along to offer vocal support.

Some folk from Sheffield Running Club described what is to come as pan flat which, as there is nothing anywhere near ‘pan flat’ for them to compare it with in Yorkshire, could mean anything. As it turns out the course is remarkably flat for the first five miles but then becomes quite undulating thereafter with several long but gradual inclines.

The race is well organised, on closed roads, but very low key e.g. somewhat lacking in atmosphere. Outside of Retford itself, it’s a case of spot the spectator and it’s also not hugely scenic, which I don’t mind at all.

As is the way with races early in the year there are not many slow runners so the pace is brisk. I make a good start but after three miles my thighs stiffen up and I gradually get slower and slower. This is where actually doing some training might have helped.

My time of almost 1:49 leaves a lot of room for improvement although, being very early in the season, there is plenty of time for that. If I was to ever get among the awards here I have some serious work to do. First 40+ Male clocked 1:14, first 50+ Male 1:18 and first 60+ Male 1:23. Ouch. So, just half an hour to knock off my time to get first 50+ Male next year. I suppose I did want a challenge for my 50th year.

I also entered the Nottinghamshire Amateur Athletics Association Half Marathon County Championships which was part of the race, and I didn’t win that either.

There is no goody bag, just a bottle of water and an orange t-shirt. It was ominous at registration, that they gave me a pile of leaflets with my race number as this is the sort of tat that usually weighs down the goody bag. T-shirt wise, as orange t-shirts go, it’s not too bad.

If I found the lack of a goody back disappointing then MD found it positively soul destroying. He is so upset at the lack of crisps and/or biscuits that he starts to eat my race number in frustration.

Later L and I have a drink in Lord Roberts before taking a pint of Supreme into tonight’s film which is Moonlight. It’s disappointing to see that there is nothing from the Stout and Porter Trail in either the Roberts or Broadway itself. 

Moonlight takes place in Liberty City, Miami and shows three snippets of a young man’s life as he grows up black and gay in what is a  tough neighbourhood.



First we meet a young Chiron (Alex Hibbert) nicknamed Little. His lone parent is his crack-addicted mother Paula (Naomie Harris). Basically he is fending for himself and eventually he runs away from home. Typically, it is a crack dealer named Juan (Mahershala Ali) who finds him inside an abandoned house and takes him home to the place he shares with his girlfriend, Theresa (Janelle Monáe). Both Juan and Theresa form a bond with him despite hostility from his mother.


Then we meet Chiron as a teenager (Ashton Sanders), withdrawn and just about coping with his still addicted mother but he is bullied by his peers who regard him as a ‘faggot’ but it isn’t until he hooks up with an old friend, Kevin (Jharrel Jerome), on a beach that he has his first sexual encounter.


In the end though, Chiron cracks under the weight of the bullying when Kevin is put up to attacking him and he smashes a chair over the ringleader Terrel (Patrick Decile), which means he ends up in a juvenile detention centre.


Finally, we see Chiron (Trevante Rhodes) ten years on, now known as Black. He's now a drug dealer himself living in Atlanta and has basically turned in to Juan, showing what a big influence he had on him. Although, Juan himself is no longer alive. Chiron’s mother is now in a home. After getting a phone call from Kevin (André Holland), who is now a cook in Miami, he goes to visit him. Kevin is still his only sexual encounter and he still has feelings for Chiron despite now having a child of his own.


'Moonlight' is one of those films that just drifts along, following a life, but in a mesmerizing way. It's not the sort of film that gives you answers, it just shows you the way things are and lets you draw your own conclusions. A bit of thinker’s film if you like. Ultimately it chronicles how much a part drugs can play in the lives of some people.

The film is full of strong performances from the likes of Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris as well as others, which is why it has been heavily nominated for awards this year. It also has three actors playing the lead character, as well as for the likes of Kevin, which is a bold move.

Is it the best film of the year as decided by the Academy? Probably not but it's still pretty good.



Afterwards, unlike our earlier watering holes, the Blue Monkey does seem to be embracing the Stout and Porter Trail with three beers to choose from.

(Sunday 12th March)

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Internet Sensation

I don’t parkrun as I have the Retford Half Marathon tomorrow, which of course means MD doesn’t get to run either and nor does L, as she’s still injured. She marshals while I chuck balls for the boys.

L is marshalling up on the hill where it is imperative the runners go the right sides of the right trees to get the distance right. Despite running the route herself, week in week out, she’s not convinced she’s put the cones in the right place.

Of course, if she gets it wrong all hell will break loose and she’ll be an internet sensation by this evening. No pressure.

As we’re having our ball chuck, MD hears the klaxon thing that they use to get everybody to assemble for the briefing and promptly runs off to join them. I think he’s missing it you know. I have to physically restrain him when they actually start.

Although it’s not him but Doggo who joins in when they come past us for a second lap. He probably thinks he’s running alongside his Mum but his eyesight’s not the best.

L then has Pilates before heading into town and then off to Puregym at Beeston. Phew. The boys and I just slob out at home.

Later we have a romantic night in, albeit an AF one, and it’s not even Friday. 

(Saturday 11th March)

Friday, 10 March 2017

The Butcher Of Midland Road

On the bus today because I’m out in Derby tonight. It’s a belated leaving meal for someone who left our company just before Christmas after being at our place since she was sixteen, thirty-three years ago. Tonight it’s just a select few of us who have known her for the majority of that time, I qualify despite a mere 20 years’ service. The meal is at the Bella Mora Italian Restaurant on London Road but doesn’t start until 7:30 so I chance for a gym session first, as you do.

The evening is excellent in an Italian Restaurant that, to it’s credit, doesn’t serve pizza and has very little pasta. The evening is only spoilt by going in the Mansion bar on Midland Road afterwards courtesy of its dreadful pub singer, who looked way older than me, murdering 80’s classics. He was butchering ‘Enola Gay’ when we arrived but thankfully by the time he got around to assaulting ‘Just Can't Get Enough’ we’d had enough as it was bus time.

(Friday 10th March)

Thursday, 9 March 2017

The Kale Muffin Diet

The weather has turned very mild and its hot work on the bike this morning. Largely because I have too much kit on.

L meanwhile goes out with not enough kit and forgets her swimming goggles. So, that would have been a breaststroke laden session then. She said she did feel a bit poncy but breaststroke is actually a pretty tough workout.

It’s a rare game of squash tonight and my opponent has been preparing hard with his kale muffin diet. Apparently, this will make his constant colds a thing of the past although probably to be replaced by malnutrition.
Before the game, I jokingly ask if he has picked up this week’s injury yet. It turns out he has and has now pulled a calf muscle. He hobbles around the court but still wins. However, it looks like we’re headed for a few more weeks off.

In our first trip to the Navigation for ages, they have three dark ales on the bar as it’s the Stout and Porter Trail. Quite a mouth-watering selection.


(Thursday 9th March)

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Fitter Than Me

I’m in the car tonight because Daughter has a flat viewing tonight or at least she had, until it was cancelled because someone had put a deposit down for it. L and Daughter are off for a weights session instead as part of their police training. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to bring my gym kit with me. They’ll both be fitter than me at this rate.

This missing RAF man is strange and is causing a bit of a debate at work because they reckon he was carried off in a dustbin lorry. This is what our company does you see, many waste companies run our computer software which monitors the weight of these things.

Dogging tonight and afterwards the pub has the same beers as last week. So, I go the IPA route again.

(Wednesday 8th March)

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Oddity

There’s a match tonight, so I’m in the car again but not in the gym. I shall let my ageing body have a day off.

L is still miffed that they are closing a lane at John Carroll pool, presumably to save money on lifeguards. However according to the HSE’s website, it appears that they are under no obligation to have anyone present all. It will be up to the council’s own H&S policy, which presumably they will have tied themselves in knots with.

While I am out tonight, the oddity that is Chicken Shepherds Pie is being served at home by special request. Meanwhile I’ll be on the microwave meals at my Mum's. L and Daughter will have earned their oddity after a night of flat hunting, unpleasant flats that is that are not as at all as advertised. The hunt goes on.

Derby meanwhile draw 1-1 with Preston. 

(Tuesday 7th March)

Monday, 6 March 2017

There Is No Logic

This morning my training partner and I repeat the early morning swim at Harvey Hadden then I drop L and the boys at park again. I even get a parking space at work. Despite leaving later, I was actually earlier to work. There is no logic...

Then it’s the gym after work although L wants the car for 6.50, so she can get to her fitness class, which speeds things up a touch. We’re all currently training for the fitness test that you have to pass to get into the police after Daughter brought home some information about it the other day. 

(Monday 6th March)

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Inclement Conditions

Today I needed a 10k purely as training for next week’s Retford Half Marathon. Yes, it may be a bit late to start training for a half marathon but I always get injured training so perhaps not training is the best way...

The day dawns damp and gets damper as we join an impressively long queue to get into the car park at Holme Pierrepoint. I don’t recall anyone ever having charged for car parking at Holme Pierrepoint before and we have been here dozens of times but they are charging £5 to park, which has manufactured the queue.

As start time approaches I jump out of the car and leave L to park up, just in case they don’t delay the start but sensibly, they do. Now I have the problem of having excess clothes to dump which I hide behind one of the porta cabins in front of the main buildings.

As I said I needed a 10k and any 10k would do...

Question: What’s worse than one laps of the rowing strip at Holme Pierrepoint?
Answer: Two laps.

Question: What’s worse than two laps of the rowing strip at Holme Pierrepoint?
Answer: Two laps in driving wind and heavy rain.

Yes, it’s not pleasant but then the omens have never been good for this race right from the moment they sent me my race number ‘666’.


My time is unsurprisingly unimpressive but it’s only training. Isn't it? The bonus is that despite the inclement conditions nothing snaps.

Afterwards we head to Wetherspoons in Beeston for a bacon roll and a hot coffee to warm up. My dedicated supporters are as wet and cold as I am. Then L’s at Puregym where she doesn’t relish having to put wet clothes back on afterwards. She best get herself home as quickly as possible and get them off again.

In the evening we’re back at Broadway. 

It is 1947 and Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) has been sent to Delhi as the last Viceroy of India with the task of handing India back to its people within twelve months. After 300 years, British rule is coming to a close.


The story takes place mainly inside the walls of the Viceroy's House where ‘Dickie’ Mountbatten resides with his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson) and daughter Lady Pamela (Lily Travers) along with their many many Hindu, Muslim and Sikh servants.

The political elite, namely Nehru (Tanveer Ghani) of the Indian Congress, Jinnah (Denzil Smith) of the Muslim League, Mahatma Gandhi (Neeraj Kabi) the revered leader of the independence movement and others, all visit the House for meetings as they wrangle over the terms of independence whilst in the country as a whole riots erupt.


Gandhi, Nehru and Mountbatten (initially) all wanted a single nation of two faiths but the London Government, for its own political reasons, preferred to partition the country along religious lines. Namely to create a new Muslim nation of Pakistan with a downsized India populated mostly by Hindus. It was this ‘Mountbatten Plan’ that was eventually agreed and with the British army too war weary to cope with the continued rioting, Mountbatten advanced the date for the transfer of power by six months.


The actual border for partition was decided by a London barrister called Cyril Radcliffe (Simon Callow) but what Mountbatten didn't know, was that he had been well and truly stitched up by London. The whole partition plan had already been put together years ago by Winston Churchill and he was simply sent there as the fall guy to deliver it.

Partition led to the uprooting of 14 million people and millions more were killed in the resulting turmoil. Real newspaper headlines and archive footage give weight to the story creating an educating docu-drama. 


The Mountbattens to their credit stay on in India to try to help in any way they could while the consequences of partition still reverberate to this day, seven decades later.

Sadly, to give the film a bit more general appeal, there is also a love story between a Hindu servant Jeet (Manish Dayal) and his intended Muslim bride Aalia (Huma Qureshi). They quickly find themselves in conflict with their own communities. This diversion is a shame, as it takes screen time away from the main story and leaves the film perhaps not as punchy as it could have been.


That said, the film is still a fascinating watch about an important piece of post-war history albeit mainly from the British perspective.

The film is directed by Gurinder Chadha whose own family were caught up in the events that unfolded.

We eat in Broadway after the film, that is when they remember us. It takes the consumption of three Leffe Brunes until they finally serve us despite the place being almost empty. At least one of them is a freebie for the delay. This doesn’t leave us enough time to get to the pubs on Canning Circus so we nip into the new Six Barrel Drafthouse for the second time but again we don’t stay, not being impressed by the offering and we end up in Major Oak for a Titanic Stout instead.

(Sunday 5th March)