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

Thursday, 20 July 2017

A Frustrating Dog

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

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

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

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

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

(Thursday 20th July)

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

A Liberal Use Of Disinfectant

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

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

(Wednesday 19th July)

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

With Much Fanfare

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

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

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

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

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

(Tuesday 18th July)

Monday, 17 July 2017

Light Manoeuvres

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

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

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

(Monday 17th July)

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Under Orders

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

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

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

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

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

(Sunday 16th July)

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Back In The Angel

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

(Saturday 15th July)

Friday, 14 July 2017

Before Sunrise

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

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

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

(Friday 14th July)

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Numbers Are Back

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

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

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

Afterwards we retire to the Crown where L meets us.

(Thursday 13th July)

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Doing Nothing For Seven And A Half Hours

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

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

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

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

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

(Wednesday 12th July)

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Not Chocolate At All

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

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

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

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

(Tuesday 11th July)

Monday, 10 July 2017

An Unexpected Excursion

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

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

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

(Monday 10th July)

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Double The Numbers

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

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

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

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

(Sunday 9th July)

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Gentle Manoeuvres

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

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

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

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

(Saturday 8th July)

Friday, 7 July 2017

Phillippa York

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Friday 7th July)

Thursday, 6 July 2017

The Red Mist Masks All

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

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

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

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

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

(Thursday 6th July)

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

A Book At Bedtime

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

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

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

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

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

(Wednesday 5th July)

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Alphabetti Spaghetti

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

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

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

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

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

(Tuesday 4th July)

Monday, 3 July 2017

Top Secret Gym Membership

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dogging tonight up in Codnor.

(Monday 3rd July)

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Just The Two Of Us

Nothing on today other than nursing a hangover and then later an SQT Session at Derby Velodrome. Which obviously is enough to totally finish me off on a normal night but when only two people turn up...

After a warm up we do a session that includes various bursts of 250m, 500m or 1000m flat out with three lap warm downs and off track rests in between. It's exhausting.

It takes two pints in the Exeter afterwards to recover. 

(Sunday 2nd July)

Saturday, 1 July 2017

An Overstatement

Today the boys and I are at a new dog show, run by a new organisation called Whizz Dogs at a new venue of Ashover Showground in Derbyshire. Showground is a bit of an overstatement, it’s a field and a very rutted one at that.

Our first run is good until we messed up the weaves, which was probably a bit of both our faults. Then we had a tunnel problem in run two which MD can solely take the blame for. It sort of goes on like that. Four runs, no clears. We were close a few times but no cigar.

L returns to parkrunning this morning and actually runs rather than being a tailrunner, a  role that has now been renamed to reflect more what is involved. e.g. It now called ‘tailwalker’.

She finds out that after so many different parkruns you’re eligible for a buff. She only has 43, so is in need of a few more. 

They are not official but a company called Giraffe are selling them to anyone who is on their ‘Most Events’ table. I had no idea such a think existed.  

The ‘Most Events’ table shows those who have done more than 20 different parkruns and L is on it. Later we sort her out with one of the buffs which have cows on them, we know not why.

We have a night out in Canning Circus namely the Falcon, the Blue Monkey and the Borlase.

(Saturday 1st July)