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

Wednesday 31 May 2017

Tarting Around

I’m on the bike today, so obviously I have a good start to the day. When I ask L how her day is so far, she replies ‘Ok, if you like dogs’. Which she obviously does. Sometimes.

I go for a pub lunch while L does a much healthier lunch time swim.

In the evening it’s dog training where Doggo overdoes it a touch with the tarting around. As it was hot they had the Arena door wide open and he obviously noticed that. So he was out of the boot in a flash and quickly doing his finest Linford Christie impression in an attempt to get inside to disrupt the class before I got chance to stop him. He's regretting it now, I think he’s pulled one of his ageing muscles.

I meet L in the Masons afterwards, where they still haven’t changed the beers. So I’m on the Pedigree again.

(Wednesday 31st May)

Tuesday 30 May 2017

The Unrelenting Pace Of It All

Back in swim training this morning and it was horrific but then I expected it to be. Tuesday’s always are as they only have two lanes open at Harvey Hadden, so no lane for a mid-paced plodder like me.

There was just the six of us in my lane so it could have been worse, although not much, and it was all the flippers, paddles, floats etc. There were so many of them piled up at the end of the lane along with drinks bottles, training plans etc that I almost didn’t know where to get in... and then, of course, there was the unrelenting pace of it all. I will be asleep under my desk in a bit.

Of course L swims at John Carroll and gets a lane to herself. 

(Tuesday 30th May)

Monday 29 May 2017

A Small Hollow Victory Of Sorts

I have booked another dog show today but my schedule permits me a late start and a lie in of sorts.

The event is over in Solihull and when I arrive I get to walk two courses but don’t get to do a run before lunch. When we do run them our run of bad form, Crufts qualification aside, continues. Neither of them are clear then it rains, hard. Our final course takes place in a paddy field and because everyone else bottles out of running it we come 3rd. A small hollow victory of sorts, then we head home to dry out.

(Monday 29th May)

Sunday 28 May 2017

Reluctant Gardening

I spend the morning cuddling my hangover then cuddling my life partner (the two legged one) before doing a spot of reluctant gardening.

In the evening I do a track session at Derby Velodrome. There are only seven of us which is truly knackering but thankfully none of the really speedy psychos are there. There must be an event for psychos on somewhere. My Dad doesn’t make it either, so we do the Horse and Jockey afterwards rather than the Exeter Arms. 

(Sunday 28th May)

Saturday 27 May 2017

An Unexpected Success

After another night of hearing weird alien-like noises, we get up and head off to our Crufts qualifier in Newark. I track the noises towards the Uni. Students?

At the dog show we mess up the seesaw on run one but that was better than runs two and three which were pretty much a total disaster. The problem is run three was the all important team run in the Crufts qualifier. Not only did MD have faults, he self-started before the baton change had been done and got the team 20 changeover faults too. With only one of our three dogs clear and 55 faults, which is practically a cricket score, that’s surely that for the day.

I think it may have been too hot for him or it was because now after a few showers it’s blowing a gale.

Having said we’re having a bad day, everyone else is having a worse one. Our team, despite it’s cricket score, is currently in second place albeit with a long way to go though. Even the leaders picked up 20 changeover faults. It was a pretty tough course.

Bizarrely, after all 43 teams have run, only two managed to not get at least one dog eliminated (which scores 100 faults) and we were one of them, so we came second. What is even funnier is that it turns out that the first placed team had already qualified for Crufts at a previous heat. Which means the qualifying place goes to the second placed team... which was us. So… OMG. We have qualified for Crufts. 

Time to celebrate...

After having offered to show my tennis opponent how the pubs of Canning Circus have changed since the 1990s we are not surprised when it doesn’t happen. We go anyway and spend the evening in first the Hand and Heart, then the Blue Monkey.
(Saturday 27th May)

Friday 26 May 2017

Alien Attack

After two days cycling and one game of tennis, today I am resting on bus again. Hardly the elite athlete.

I am in need of extra rest from a lack of sleep due to what we can only assume was an alien attack. A constant ‘whooshing’ sound, like a hot air balloon lifting off disturbed L, MD and me. Dogging slept straight through obviously. Thankfully there are no signs of aliens on the bus. So they haven’t totally taken over, just yet.

L is having a day off today and ends up in the Scribblers. It's the daytime and she doesn’t even like the place! Apparently it’s next door to Daughter’s hairdressers and she’s only on diet coke. For a minute there I was worried she’d started the weekend without me.

(Friday 26th May)

Thursday 25 May 2017

Dogging Injury

My dogging injury doesn’t prevent me getting on the bike today.

There is an exciting announcement from the Nottingham Half... drum roll… a T-Shirt. About time! This however throws into doubt whether going VIP will still be worth it or not.

It’s National Wine Day today, although I’m not sure which bright spark picked a Thursday but then we do always start our weekend on a Thursday. As I’m sure everybody does.

Suddenly it is hot. I have a sweaty bike home and then we have to cope with the prospect of a distinct lack of rain for tennis. It will be very disconcerting if the ball actually bounces.

Amazingly I get the last available court. Where were they all last week, some of us played through the light shower.

For the after match drinks, L is again thwarted by trams which are not running through town because one has been derailed. So she doesn’t make it to the pub at all this week.
(Thursday 25th May)

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Regular Canine Foes

Back on the bike and the legs not too bad. It’s also nice weather for once.

L updates me on her morning. MD didn't upset too many people but had a bit of a wrangle with one of his regular canine foes. Doggo ate. L did the gym and spent it on the bike doing the St Bernard Descent complete with snow. She went downhill? With snow on the ground? I hope she held the brakes on. It all sounds very like last night’s Giro d'Italia which was in Bormio with snow piled high either side of the road.

Then she goes for a lunchtime swim. She’s training harder than me at the moment. I ask if she had any pain. She said no, not once she stopped. Hmmm.

Then it’s dog training, where I do develop a new injury but just a minor one I hope. So I needed something better than the same four beers in the Masons again.

MD is off it a bit as well, perhaps he’s fed up with agility. I hope not, not with the Crufts Team qualifier this weekend.

(Wednesday 24th May)

Tuesday 23 May 2017

In Need Of A Shopping Trolley

On the bus today, still resting, still not moving totally freely but not too bad. I sound a bit like L but unfortunately she hasn’t just done a full 70.3.

Given the problems she’s having with her back I feel I should have perhaps got her one of those shopping trolley things for her birthday rather than a new rucksack, it can’t help. She vows to do a very gently session at the gym tonight, just a really tiny session and promises to barely raise a sweat. Then she fires up Google maps to show her the way. It's been so long.

Daughter comes around for tea and her fitness campaign rules out chorizo and coconut milk which still leaves me plenty of scope to go wild.

(Tuesday 23rd May)

Monday 22 May 2017

A Man In Total Pain

There is no swim this morning as I simply wouldn’t have been capable, so I drive to work and despite struggling with stairs, I’m otherwise fine. I even manage to successfully hobble around Sainsburys to get the shopping.

L thanks me for providing the entertainment over the weekend and says she’s ready for her weekend now. Ah, she doesn’t feel like she’d had a weekend then! No, me neither and it’s quite a few days until the next one. The dogs do seems to have had a weekend and don't seem to mind not going out this morning.

The Half Outlaw photos show me as man in total pain and that was taken before I found out that the partner of our new dog club member, who dabbles herself in swim-bike-run, did it in 5:10. Ouch! He was only that slow because he was taking it easy because it was just part of his training for the Lakesman Ironman in a month’s time. I just hope his photos were equally ugly but somehow I doubt it.

I also hobble off to dog training where there are just the two of us. Thankfully we finished early because we’re both knackered but my training partner didn’t have anywhere near as good an excuse as me.

(Monday 22nd May)

Sunday 21 May 2017

Eight Seconds

So today I return to Holme Pierrepont for my third Outlaw Half in four years, having taken last year off. After being slightly injured in 2015, and desperately trying to not get more seriously injured so that I could do the Ramathon the following weekend, I recorded a slow-ish 6:07 that year.

This year I feel in much better shape, so it’s chance to get back under six hours and hopefully somewhere close to my 2014 time of 5:52.

The 1.9km swim immediately dashes my hopes of a new PB. With a time of 46:27, that’s over seven minutes off 2014 and three off 2015. So a PB isn’t going to happen. Unhelpfully they have also moved the swim exit this year which means there’s quite a long run to transition on tarmac, which has shades of last year’s Leeds ITU debacle. Can we have some matting please for next year.

The bike is better, much better, although I still can’t get it under three hours. My bike time for the 90km is 3:04:17, better than last time but just behind 2014. It would probably have been a PB had I not gone wrong in the final km and overshot the turn into Holme Pierrepont Hall with the help of some inefficient marshalling.

So to the run and that is where I do nail it. My 2:01:20 half marathon is better than both previous years and even two minutes up on my uninjured efforts in 2014. Yet still I pace it a touch wrong as I come in an agonising eight seconds over six hours.

EIGHT seconds. OMG. I blame that marshal, I mean I blame myself for overshooting, and that lengthened run in from the swim can’t have helped either. Oh well, there’s always near year. Did I really say that? I better not have done. It is an amazingly well put together event, better than any of the other 70.3s I’ve done but I must focus elsewhere next year.

The post-race rubdown is gratefully received along with the lashings of Erdinger Alkoholfrei, then it’s off for the post-race food which is posher than ever.

Throughout L and the boys offered outstanding and vocal support as ever while my Dad is also there to catch the run.

In the evening we head to the Crafty Crow for some recovery drinks but it’s not that great in there this week so we head across to the Trip To Jerusalem, where we haven’t been for a while, and they have some cracking dark beers on. Then we pick up a takeaway from the Park Tandoori, the four legged supporters deserve a recovery naan.

Saturday 20 May 2017

Gallows Humour

L skips her Pilates so all four of us head off to the Outlaw Half registration. We do have the added excitement of taking some stuff to the tip on the way.

It’s another foul day and the rain is hammering on the roof of the registration tent as they give out the pre-race briefing. I am sure you can imagine the gallows humour. I just hope it's better tomorrow.

L appears to have the perfect ‘take you mind off your uber-event’ idea, a good old weepie. A Dog's Purpose is out. The latest showing is at Cineworld is 4:40pm but we get a move on and make it in time and of course this means we can all be tucked up nice and early in bed afterwards. Wa-Hey. 

A Dog's Purpose is all about the finding the meaning of life for dogs, yes really. It is based on the book by W Bruce Cameron.

Our canine star is first a homeless puppy on the streets who is caught, taken to the dog pound and euthanised. Nice start. He is then born into a second life where initially it doesn’t look like he’s going to fair much better when a couple of bin men leave him to cook in their vehicle. He is rescued by a young boy called Ethan (Bryce Gheisar) and his mother (Juliet Rylance). It is at their house that our hero, now called Bailey, makes his home despite the reluctance of the boy’s miserable and alcoholic father (Luke Kirby).

With his paws under the table Bailey (voiced by Josh Gad) has a good long life while all the time trying to work out why he’s here and how entertaining he can be with a flat leather football.

Of course his owner Ethan (now played by KJ Apa) has to go and self destruct as people always do in this sort of film. Ethan’s football career goes awry due to injury so he thinks why not make myself even more miserable by sacking my girlfriend, the lovely Hannah (Britt Robertson), for no good reason. Oh go on then. We can always get back together at the end of the film.

Bailey sadly dies of old age and be warned, by the very nature of its plot there's an awful lot of doggie death in this film.

Then Bailey, or whatever he’s called now, is back again and again. Each time as a different breed, sometimes with a different gender but always with the same off-camera voice. He becomes a police dog before being owned by a lonely student, neglected by a young couple and then as a faithful companion to a farmer.

Each rebirth is with decreasing effect, cheesier jokes and shorter storylines. Ultimately this makes the film a complete mish-mash as there is never enough time spent in each of the dogs’ or humans’, not that you'd want to. However, none of this is important because the whole point is to take the dog eventually back to the beginning. 

So eventually he returns to Ethan (now Dennis Quaid), who still has the same flat leather football in his garage, and surprise surprise he is still down on his luck. I might as well spell it out because you will, no doubt, have already gathered what this particular dog’s purpose is. Namely to get Ethan and Hannah (now Peggy Lipton) back together.

Mission accomplished then. Many tears will be shed and not just over such a terrible plot, holding onto your lunch may not be so easy.

A nice idea for a film maybe, but poorly executed and to be honest a bit of an insult to dogs and their owners.

(Saturday 20th May)

Friday 19 May 2017

Fixed Penalty Notice

On the bus again, still tapering, not that cycling would have been much fun anyway as it still hasn’t stopped raining since it sabotaged our tennis last night. The forecast says it might carry on until next Thursday's game.

I get an official looking later through the post which turns out to be a fixed penalty notice for red light jumping. I don’t remember doing that, in fact I don’t even remember being in the car that night. L confesses. Oops.

(Friday 19th May)

Thursday 18 May 2017

Can’t Knock It, Never Tried It

In the car today, which is sort of tapering but I do have tennis later. This gives me time to walk Doggo as the youngsters have fun on the park.

L is quickly in touch to tell me about her day so far, chocolate for breakfast etc because she’s getting stressed at work and that's after all the time I spent on stress relief first thing this morning.

Hope she doesn’t drown herself at Aquarobics tonight. Yes, I know. Aquarobics? What’s that all about but I can’t knock it, never tried it. She tells me it’s a bit like bobbing up and down at the Outlaw Half swim warm up but without a bunch of over trained nutters and psychos about to mow you down and in nice clean warm water with the added security of a life jacket. 

I could have done with that life jacket myself as we indulge in some comedy tennis in the rain. It is odd that we are the only one’s still playing as the threatened drizzle proves more resilient than expected. When we try and move into the dryness of the empty ‘bubble’ courts we suddenly find them fully booked. Funny that.

We manage two sets then dry out in the Victoria. L is delayed trying to join us when her tram is stopped so that they can arrest someone. I’m on my second pint by the time she arrives, not that this is a problem.

(Thursday 18th May)

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Injury Prevention

I’m on the bus today and feeling good ahead of Sunday’s Outlaw Half although I’ve probably over tapered or, as it’s known in my case, injury prevention.

To which ends there shouldn’t be much chance of picking up any injuries in the pub where we go for lunch.

L had hoped to start the Colwick 5k series tonight, which was going to be a birthday present from me, but although she’s improving she says she’s not that good yet. Her back pain is now apparently just an ache, rather than two drawing pins stuck in her back, which was better than the 6" nail a couple of months ago.

It’s a shame because I thought I might give it a go. I even thought I might try it without dog power.

Instead she heads off to visit her folks.

(Wednesday 17th May)

Tuesday 16 May 2017

Terribly Unpopular

On the bike but tapering, sort of. I take it so gently that pedestrians are overtaking me.

L swims with the aid of a pull buoy, this lessens the pain threshold apparently. As does backstroke but obviously this makes you terribly unpopular if there’s anyone else in your lane.

Then I go dog training but L goes socialising with Daughter, so no pub tonight.

(Tuesday 16th May)

Monday 15 May 2017

The World On Your Shoulders

While I go for my morning fifty metres, L assists MD in clearing the local area of other dogs, cats, paper boys... anyone and anything basically. It’s tough having the world on your shoulders. Particularly if you’re carrying an injury, as we suspect MD may be. How many times did he miss the bed last night when he tried to jump on to it? Not a good sign. Mind you, he was still in the garden wanting his ball this morning.

It rains all day, so I decide to skip dog training. I don’t want either MD or myself slipping over on the wet grass and aggravating injuries as we both have events coming up. Instead we offer to pick L up from Royal Oak in Ockbrook, where she hasn’t been running but others have... I even have time for a swift one. 

(Monday 15th May)

Sunday 14 May 2017

Out For A Duck

So a whole day in, tapering.

I had toyed with the idea of doing a run as the Bosworth Half Marathon were taking entries on the day but perhaps something shorter than a half marathon might have been better but entries had closed for the Sinfin 10k. The Holymoorside 10k was a bit too far to go and then there was the Wymeswold Waddle. Five miles and a red t-shirt with ducks on it... what’s not to like? Plenty. Even if there is usually a homemade cake stall for the supporters.

Track cycling was my backup plan but it turns out that the track is closed for essential lighting maintenance.

(Sunday 14th May)

Saturday 13 May 2017

Not On It

Another dog show today and back at Catton again. This time we don’t have the best of starts and he misses his dog walk contact.

His contacts are perfect in our second run but we get a refusal on one jump. Hmmm. Then another refusal on our third course, so one of us is clearly not on it today. He’s probably all Catton-ed out, we both are and its only May.

Finally, we get a clear round on our last run of the day but we are outside the rosettes. Then I pop in to see my parents on the way home. Well the dogs do, I’m just the chauffeur.At least the chauffeur gets a biscuit this time.

Today would have been L's 90th Parkrun but... sadly, instead she’s giving crochet lessons to Daughter. She’ll be back on it soon.

She also been shopping and, apparently, I’ve bought her a dress. I’m good like that, I just hope I have good taste. Not that L will keep it, she’ll bring it home and decide she doesn’t like it...

We spend the evening in the Crafty Crow.

(Saturday 13th May)

Friday 12 May 2017

Time For Another City Break

I crawl into work, knackered after a hard week's training and late. I took the bus to work but yet again the 7.40 came at 7:35, which I missed, and the 7.50 at 7.55. Which isn’t helpful.

L crawls into work too or says she would have done, if she could have got down that low. Clearly things are not improving that quickly. That’s not good with the Thunder Run only ten weeks away but she could walk the Thunder Run if need be. I think the rest of us in the team would be pleased to get the extra rest time.

Meanwhile the Track Cycling World Cup is returning to Manchester in November, which means it’s time for another city break and a wild weekend in Manchester. Just need to sort a dog sitter. 

(Friday 12th May)

Thursday 11 May 2017

In Theory

A third day in a row on the bike. So in theory I should be fighting fit and ready to blast out a good time at the Outlaw. In theory.

It’s tennis tonight, that is if I can summon the energy for it. L meanwhile hopes to be following doctor's orders and heading off to lie in the sauna to pretend it’s the Bahamas. Although the sauna might make her book go a bit soggy and I'm not sure they allow wine in there.

Then afterwards its drinks in the Victoria.

L has been listening to ‘The Power’ by Naomi Alderman which I have already listened to it but now it is on the list for the Bailey's (Women’s Only) Prize which spiked L’s interest. She appears to like it whereas, although I was intrigued by the concept if it, in the end I ended up loathing the book. So perhaps it's time for a rare book review.

It’s basically a work of speculative fiction where women have evolved genetically and suddenly they have become the more powerful sex. This results in uprisings in parts of the world where women are currently suppressed and other righting of wrongs such as the victims of sex trafficking turning on the traffickers themselves. So far so good.

Well, not quite. In Saudi Arabia, where women have been suppressed for the generations, they are suddenly throwing off their robes, rioting in the streets and indulging in casual sex. I think not.

While in the West, a new female religious leader rewrites the bible along with it's associated history and feminises religion. Really? Would anybody be that bothered?

Obviously, the world would change but the subsequent large scale changes are hugely oversimplified. Sadly, there is very little about what effects it would have had in the civilised Western world where equality is closest. That would have been interesting but was presumably too difficult for the author to get their head around.

The book could have explored so many more 'what ifs' but instead ducked most of the big issues and instead had the women mostly going on a power crazed rampage. In today's world, a man (or a woman) would be arrested for the crimes they commit but in the new world of ‘The Power’ no one ever is, not even for murder.

In the end rather than empowering women, the book sells women a bad deal. It suggests that if they did become the more powerful sex, then rather than build a better world, all they would do is demonstrate that they can be far more horrific and brutal than men currently are or possibly ever have been. It's a pretty miserable idea that sets history back thousands of years.

(Thursday 11th May)

Wednesday 10 May 2017

A Full House

On the bike again.

L’s diagnosis is that she has a disc protrusion at L5/S1 pressing on the S1 nerve. Whatever that all means... 

She’s told there’s to be no running and nothing too strenuous in the gym either. It should clear up of its own accord, if she’s sensible with it. Apparently, the best treatment would be a fortnight lying on her back in the sun with a book and several glasses of wine.

It's dog training tonight and then the pub afterwards where the beers are a near identikit dullness of Bass, Pedigree, Speckled Hen and Harvest Pale.

You see Bass is now brewed by Marstons who also make Pedigree, some say in the same vessel... While Old Speckled Hen was Greene King’s attempt to copy Pedigree... Only Harvest Pale is different but still hardly exciting.

I’m not suggesting it but if they’d had Doom Bar or Bombardier instead then they could have won a prize for a full house. 

(Wednesday 10th May)

Tuesday 9 May 2017

Deserving A Biscuit

Back on the bike this morning. L reckons I must be so well trained, which makes it sound like I deserve a biscuit or something.

Doggo is hobbling around a bit, looking a bit stiff. Perhaps we overdid the warm up on Sunday. We do keep trying to give him a hand getting in and out of the back of the car but he doesn’t like being helped. This means that sometimes he ends up doing a bit of a face plant when he gets it wrong.

L’s boss has arranging an MRI scan for her and it’s tonight after work. It’s done privately, very quickly and L is soon on her way home with the scan on a CD, saved for posterity.

In the evening, we have our ex-lodger round for tea.

(Tuesday 9th May)

Monday 8 May 2017

Given Up The Ghost

I head off to Harvey Hadden this morning despite the 50m sessions not being on their App or their website. Do I trust their App? No. Do I trust the Leisure Centre enough to just turn up? Well, I’ll have to. I need to train.

I find the pool open as normal and it wasn’t particularly quiet, so perhaps it’s a good job they don’t advertise it.

It’s L’s birthday today for which she wanted me to buy her an entry for the forthcoming Colwick Park 5k race series but she’s not running at the moment. Instead I buy her a new rucksack as her current one has given up the ghost, probably because of the huge amounts of kit she carries in it. Thing is, now that I’ve replaced it she can go back to carrying huge amounts again which probably isn’t very good for her back.

Apparently, her Google home page is wishing her "Happy Birthday", which is really creepy.

Then it’s dog training in the evening.

(Monday 8th May)

Sunday 7 May 2017

A Murderous Evening

Today we head over the Lichfield for the Half Marathon. It’s just me running with L and the boys supporting. The race starts at King Edward VI School, which is the same place that we did the 10k from. They recommend you park there and then they will bus you back from the finish which is on grass land near the town centre.

We do things the other way around and park in a car park very close to the finish. Then we walk to the start, where I warm up with both dogs and even do the aerobic warm up with MD.

Conditions are warm but the course is largely flat with a bit of an incline in the last few miles.

My race goes pretty well and I was on for a pretty good time until we reached what is known as Fine Lane Level Crossing. Apparently in the entire seven year history of the race, a train has never gone over this railway crossing during the race but it does today. Apparently a farmer’s fence not far from Lichfield got damaged and several cows wondered on to the main line, causing subsequent trains to be diverted on to this line.

I am held up for six minutes which turns my potential finishing time of around 1:42 into 1:48:41. There was one solitary marshal at the crossing attempting to take everyone’s numbers who got held up but there were far too many runners to take note of and I’ve no idea how they’d work out how long everyone was held up anyway. Many people claim they didn’t even see a marshal to give their number to.

Later, when the results go up, I see that my time hasn’t been adjusted but there isn’t really much point making an issue of it, they will really have no idea how long people were detained and everyone will have self-timed anyway. L says she would have loved a six-minute rest break mid-race.

Today it’s the last rites of the football season, thankfully for Derby it’s now finally all over.

In the evening, we go to Broadway for some food, a couple of pints of Supreme and Lady MacBeth, which is our second sex film of the week.

‘Lady Macbeth’ is an adaptation of Nikolai Leskov’s 1865 novel which was itself inspired by Shakespeare’s own Macbeth. It has also been adapted by Shostakovich in 1934 as an opera and by Andrzej Wajda in 1962 as a film. However, nobody has before moved the setting from a bleak Russian landscape to an equally bleak one in the North East of England.

Katherine (Florence Pugh) has been sold by her father as part of a package deal with some land to wealthy mine owner Boris (Christopher Fairbank), who marries her off to his middle-aged son Alexander (Paul Hilton). 

It is an arranged marriage that goes awry right from the off. Alexander, who seems less than enamoured with Katherine, totally fails to understand the concept of the wedding night, preferring to tell his new bride to strip and face the wall while he jerks off rather than consummate the marriage in the traditional way.

It is clear that Boris is in charge and he insists that Katherine is an obedient wife who will remain indoors at all times and isn’t allowed to lift a finger around the house as this is purely the job of the servants. So, she becomes bored very quickly and feels very much a prisoner in the secluded manor house.

When both Boris and Alexander are called away on business, Katherine sets about drinking the wine cellar dry but also takes the opportunity to get out more. At which point she stumbles across the stable hands stringing up the maid (Naomi Ackie) naked in the barn. Despite this, Katherine seems quite taken with one particular stable hand called Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis) who appears to be the instigator the maid’s assault.

Clearly expecting this to have serious consequences for him, I guess he figures he might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb, so later he forces himself into Katherine’s bedroom and then onto her. She resists his advances for all of thirty seconds before submitting enthusiastically and suddenly the marital bed is finally seeing some action but, oh dear, suggesting that women like to be overpowered by forceful men isn’t very PC.

So now Katherine has something to be less gloomy about, not only is she Lady of the Manor by default while her menfolk are away she has sex on tap as well. Until Boris returns.

Not willing to give up her newfound status, a murderous dodgy batch of mushrooms does for Boris but then Alexander returns. He says he knows all about her whoring ways and Katherine doesn’t deny it. In fact, she wheels out Sebastian to give her husband a demonstration first hand. After which things don't end well for Alexander either.

Peace at last or perhaps not. Out of the blue a woman appears with a child she claims is Alexander's, so he did know what to do after all. Oddly Katherine lets them both move in but soon gets fed up of her new lodgers and, if the film wasn't already un-PC enough, she suffocates the child to death.

So, this is no when Katherine met Sebastian romance, and by now he’s starting to realise it and tries to come clean but Katherine will have none of that.

It’s a fascinating film which causes you to rapidly shift allegiances. At first, it's impossible not to sympathize with Katherine, saddled in a life with two horrible older men. Until it becomes clear that Katherine is just as heartless once she gains a position of power, to the extent that she betrays the very servants she once had sympathy for.

Excellent stuff and Florence Pugh makes a magnificent psychopath.
Afterwards we walk up to Daughter’s local, The Doctors Orders and meet her there. We have a couple more drinks before getting a bus back into town and then another one home. 

(Sunday 7th May)

Saturday 6 May 2017

Class Sizes

Back to trusty Catton Park for a dog show today where, lo and behold, MD and I remain on speaking terms. We have an excellent clear first run despite me nearly falling over on the damp ground. Then we follow that up with another clear round, so most definitely, still speaking. Sadly, he came out of his weaves on his third and final run but we leave with two fourth places but just one rosette due to the different class sizes. We are even all finished by lunchtime.

L is at Forest Rec parkrun where she is actually running and avoiding all pushchairs, just in case she ends up doing the honours again. Apparently, there are plenty of volunteers to help today, they are probably all saving themselves so that they can beat me at the Lichfield Half tomorrow.

As am I. So, it’s a night in with an early night although not necessarily a sleeping one and no alcohol. 

(Saturday 6th May)

Friday 5 May 2017


On the bike today.

Doggo is playing us for fools with his eating habits these days. This morning he mopped his bowl clean but then rice and potatoes does tend to hit the spot. Well, anything that's not dog food basically. We'll probably be the same at that age.

After some stags are rescued from the main road having escaped Wollaton Park, I have to check with L that they weren’t given a helping hand in escaping from MD. Apparently he’s blameless.

L goes to physio but it was very brief. The way things are going the NHS will be doing it all online soon to save time. She now has even more stretches to do but has been told not to stop any exercise although she didn't own up to running and having the Thunder Run looming. 

At lunch I palm my last old fiver off on Greggs.

Tonight’s Friday night is followed by curry and wine. My kind of evening.

(Friday 5th May)

Thursday 4 May 2017

The Obsolete Elizabeth Fry

L keeps asking if I would mind if she went to Thursday morning yoga and if I would take on dog duties if she did. The answer is always yes but this yoga happens at the unearthly time of 7.30am, so she’s hasn’t been yet. Her willpower is not great once she’s tucked up in bed. I would like to think it’s me she can’t be parted from but I fear it's the bed. So she heads off for her usual swim instead while I’m on the bike.

This week is the last week to spend your ‘old’ fivers and oddly, not having seen one for ages, I’ve had several this week as they have suddenly come out of the woodwork or out from down the back of sofas.

My colleague and I have lunch in the Brunswick where he pays for the drinks with a couple of almost obsolete Elizabeth Frys. Then I pay for the food and get one of them back in my change. FFS. The barmaid has a bit of a laugh at that and quotes the words ‘legal tender’. Yes for one more day.

At squash tonight I haul myself back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 by which point my opponent is dead on his feet and the deciding game is played as slow as a test match in India. He grinds out the win and oddly, unlike last week, no one knocks on the door to stop him.

Afterwards we head to the Dispensary for drinks and L runs there, as she attempts to re-engage with her training.

We are embarking on the tennis season next week, apparently. Oh no, I hate playing tennis.

(Thursday 4th May)

Wednesday 3 May 2017

Beyond My Control

I’m on the bus today and running for it after struggling to get out of bed for various reasons that were beyond my control. Luckily the traffic was oddly light, so I still made it to work on time.

Our local junior school Middleton, which is the kids' old school, has announced plans to expand by around 50%. That sounds like a very bad idea to me given the current traffic chaos around the school and the fact they’ll have to say goodbye to most of their playing fields. There’s a consultation on it, that I might have to fill in.

I’m on the bus today because I’ve got a boozy night planned tonight in the Brunswick.

(Wednesday 3rd May)

Tuesday 2 May 2017

It’s All Happening

This week the City Council’s lovely Leisure Centre App says the 50m sessions aren’t on this morning. Do I trust the App? No. Do I trust the Leisure Centre enough to just turn up? No. So I don’t.

L does get her swim at John Carroll. Just the five of them, so pretty busy for John Carroll. 

Having not got a swim, I do the gym after work instead and then head off to dog training.

Meanwhile Daughter is still shouting at her internet people who haven’t reconnected her yet and she’s getting a tad frustrated with them and also her noisy neighbours. It’s all happening in Mapperley Park. 

(Tuesday 2nd May)

Monday 1 May 2017

Good For Age

May Day Bank Holiday Monday.

This morning we both enter the London Marathon ballot, not that this means very much. Last year 247,000 people applied for one of the 17,000 places, which is a success rate of around 7%. Of course you could stump up for one of the 15,000 charity places or run fast enough to qualify for one of the 6,000 ‘Good For Age’ places, where you have to hit a particular age specific qualifying time in another marathon. This is my long term goal e.g. perhaps when I’m 70 to still be fit enough to break 5 hours, which is the qualifying time for that age. Of course they will have probably revised it downwards by then. The qualifying time for a 50 year old man is 3:20, of which I have no chance.

Tonight my parents, my brother and his family, L’s parents and Daughter join me for my birthday celebration meal at Mr Man’s Chinese in Wollaton, which is our local restaurant. It all goes well and I get a few more presents including the traditional birthday balloon. Oh no.

(Monday 1st May)