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

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Positive Spin

Sustrans, the bike path people, send me a joyful email says that ‘winter is coming and we’re in for wind, rain and mud-filled commuting fun’. Nothing like putting a positive spin on it. However today on the bike, it’s more like spring. Very pleasant.

L swims and then gets the train down to London for work. First class of course, she seems to be getting the bug. I just hope she goes easy on the biscuits. She claims she does and keeps the mugs of tea down to a respectable four, each way.

On the way back she’s worried she’ll nod off and end up in Leeds. She doesn’t want to end up there, there’s a match on tonight. Derby are in town and winning as it happens. Which mean there's an eerie silence from my friend from Leeds.

I listen to the first half on the radio but miss the second as I’m dog training, although again without the traditional pint of something dull at the end of it. 

(Tuesday 31st October)

Monday, 30 October 2017

Wash Your Mouth Out

I walk the dogs as L is at the dentist this morning. Afterwards I ask her how the alcohol lecture went. Apparently she didn’t get one, so it must just be that looks like an alcoholic. She did get the lecture about not washing your mouth out after you’ve brushed your teeth and leaving the toothpaste in there, so that it can continue its good work until it gets to mutate with your lunch.

Dog training is actually on tonight and L goes to her new book club at... wait for it... Waterstones.

(Monday 30th October)

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Role Play

After a late night out it proves useful that the clocks go back this weekend. I think they actually went back before we got to bed, so I’m not sure whether we can say we had an extra hour in bed or not.

When we’re all finally up, Doggo and I go fetch the Sunday paper while MD and L go on the park. We used to then meet up on the park but now we’re all getting older, it takes longer for us to fetch the paper and MD can’t keep going as long on the park. Today, despite leaving first we don’t make it to the park and bump into them on their way home.

In the afternoon I head over to watch the Veteran’s Cycling Championships at Derby Velodrome. They’re all older than me... and they’re all faster than me...

In evening we’re at Broadway with Daughter and several police role play scripts.

Armando Iannucci’s ‘Death of Stalin’, adapted from a graphic novel, shows the aftershocks of Josef Stalin’s (Adrian Mcloughlin) death in 1953 through decidedly British and comedic eyes. Indeed the Central Committee of the Communist Party is portrayed as about as well run as the worst of the worst of British’s Councils back in the 1970s, only more violent. 

The film opens before Stalin’s death with the authorities having to restage a piano concerto because Stalin has asked for a recording of it after the fact. So rather than tell Stalin it’s not possible, the producer (Paddy Considine) forces the orchestra and the audience to stay put while they do it all over again. This involves bribing the pianist (Olga Kurylenko) and finding a new conductor, who turns up in his dressing gown.

Then Stalin has the audacity to die which causes chaos. For a start they can’t summon a competent doctor to confirm his death or to ascertain the cause of it because Stalin has imprisoned or executed them all.

Meanwhile the jockeying to succeed him has already begun. Georgi Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor) temporarily and controversially assumes control but he will have to battle to hold onto the leadership as Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) and Vyacheslav Molotov (Michael Palin) state their cases. While Khrushchev is the semi-decent reformer and tries to take a more measured path to the top job, Molotov would remove anyone who got in his way. His approach is mild though compared with Lavrentiy Beria (Simon Russell Beale), who is the head of the secret police, but he doesn’t have many supporters and is messily executed for treason. 

The only people to say anything good about Stalin, perhaps not surprisingly, are his daughter, Svetlana (Andrea Riseborough) and his hot-headed son, Vasily (Rupert Friend). Things then liven up further when Marshal Zhukov (Jason Isaacs) turns up. Nothing portrays this more as a British spoof that Zhukov who appears to be a Yorkshireman with a very broad accent.

Depending on how good your knowledge of Russian history is it can be difficult to follow everything as the film is more focussed on it’s comedic angle than about walking you through the history. Although it is still informative in this way and appears to be highly accurate. You just might have to hit Wikipedia to fill in the gaps.

Although very well acted, I’m not sure the film is actually that funny and, for me, the history of it is easily the most fascinating aspect. An out and out drama might have been more effective but then would anybody else have watched it.

(Sunday 29th October)

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Day Of The Dead

Today Daughter is at some rehearsals for her upcoming police interview. These are being held locally by ex-coppers, who are hopefully not exs for the wrong reasons. She says it goes well but comes back with loads to practice.

As Daughter isn’t parkrunning, we don’t either and indulge in a rare Saturday lie in.

L is then at Pilates, ‘mostly’ pain free apparently, then she’s off on one of her non-shopping trips in town while I take the boys on a long walk on the park. Well, it’s long for Doggo.

Derby win at Norwich in what is turning in to, what is known locally as, a Billy Davies season. Billy Davies famously secured promotion to the Premier League for an exceedingly average Derby County side in 2007 by grinding out results week in week out in front of a largely somnolent crowd. I’m really not sure I can go through all that again particularly considering what happened the following season.

In the evening we are out with some friends at El Capo on Broad Street. El Capo specialises in Mexican and Latin American dishes in a trendy atmosphere and with subdued lighting. Which means non of us old folk can read the menu. It is also supposed to be fancy dress, as it is their Day of the Dead evening, but we don’t participate. The food is good but nothing revolutionary.

We have drinks before and after in the Lord Roberts.

(Saturday 28th October)

Friday, 27 October 2017

Softening The Blow

I have an early start as I’m down in London for the day for work. This means L has an early start too because once I’m up and gone, MD won’t let her dally in bed. So I soften the blow by taking her up a cup of tea, which just winds him up even more.

My trip goes well, so well in fact that at first I think I’ll be done by 10.30 but they manage to find a few issues to detain me but nothing major. They were also surprisingly nice to me considering the problems they've had but I’m still forced to dine out at Tesco Express for lunch.

I do finish in time to grab a pint in the Parcel Yard before I pop into the First Class lounge at St Pancras. Sadly there is no champagne on offer in there, only the same biscuits and coffee you get on the train.

(Friday 27th October)

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Difficult Questions

I’m feeling a bit knackered, so I take the bus to work and I will do the gym later, by which point hopefully the rest of my body will have woken up.

L asks me the sort of difficult questions that all couples have to deal with a some point. Can you show me how to set up a Paypal account? and How do I charge my bike lights? I’m here for her.

While reading someone else’s blog and I find out about The Parkrun Alphabet Challenge. Which basically means you have to run 26 different parkruns that all start with a different letter. Well it’s actually only 25 as there is no ‘X’. Yet. Oh, and ‘Z’ is Zary in Poland which I assume L’s response of ‘Poland here we come!’ was all about but that’s Z. There’s plenty more to go at before we get there. I’m such a killjoy.

My friend’s funeral is announced with donations invited for 'Rethink'. ‘Rethink’ are a mental illness charity, which seems to tell us something we didn't know.

Squash is off again and will be for a few weeks as my opponent has had a bout of shingles.

(Thursday 26th October)

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Fast, Flat And Insomnia Curing

I’m on the bike today and L’s in the pool, even though I thought she was banned.

Then she’s emailing me running dates. Namely next year’s Hairy Helmet and a new Leicestershire Half Marathon that seems to be several laps of those runways near Prestwold Hall. Fast, flat and insomnia curing. I'm not sure I fancy it but then again there’s not much else in February, so I’ll pencil it very lightly in the diary.

Our dog trainer tonight is stuck in Cambridge, so we have reshuffle all the training sessions and cut the late class completely. L is delighted at this development as it means I can pick her up from her folks’ an hour earlier than normal. It also saves me from a pint of the usual at the Masons.

(Wednesday 25th October)

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Her Words

I bike into work in not too bad conditions but then it starts to deteriorate and gets very windy outside. However it’s not rained yet and I’m worried that it’s waiting for me to start the ride home. Somehow though, I seem to escape it.

Daughter turns down a meal at ours. She says she's staying at home to aggressively practice her maths ahead of her interview. Her words.

So we have a spot of Handmaid's Tale, which is proving to be a bit of a long winded drag despite its many accolades. I also feel I should watch this Gunpowder thing that everyone is complaining about. Apparently someone was hung drawn and quartered on it, which isn’t something you get everyday on the BBC. L's reaction... is there a book?

(Tuesday 24th October)

Monday, 23 October 2017

Mrs Mop

L adds a mop and bucket to this morning’s shopping list and seems to get really excited by it when I get her one.

It’s still five months away but we book a practice session for Crufts. The session isn’t until January but there are very few venues with a carpet surface like they use at Crufts and you have to get in early. We’ll be going down to Daventry for this one. There is an indoor centre there with a carpet surface. L immediately starts check out the area for Parkruns.

No dog training tonight.

(Monday 23rd October)

Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Final Cut

It’s nice having a break from running, it means we get a lie in until lunch time. Then Doggo and I fetch the Sunday paper along with the ingredients for a Full English, while MD and L are on park.

In the afternoon I check out the Yorkshire Marathon on TV, sizing it up for next year. It looks ok but I think they’re better marathon fish to fry.

Then amazingly the weather lets me give the lawn one final cut before garden waste collections are abandoned for the winter this Wednesday. They of course assume everyone stops cutting their grass when they do, which I believe is August going by the length of the grass on Wollaton Park. I’ve started to now lose MD in the long grass rather than just his ball.

A break from running also means I can make a return to the velodrome and I go this evening. If the rest of the group were pleased to see me back they didn’t show and they certainly didn’t go easy on me.

L goes in the gym, seeing as it's now free due to the little know Notts-Derby Metro Partnership. Then afterwards it’s a couple of pints in Stapleford. 

(Sunday 22nd October)

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Running Embargo

Although L still proclaims that her back is much better, thankfully she doesn’t intend to test it out at Parkrun today. She’s put herself on a running embargo for the whole of October, which is nice and sensible.

In the afternoon Derby make incredibly hard work of beating a Sheffield Wednesday team who gift Derby a penalty and a one man advantage as early as the 5th minute but they crawl home to a 2-0 win eventually.

In the evening Daughter joins us at Broadway to see a film. 

Jo Nesbø’s book ‘The Snowman’ made for a weirdly complicated read, so how will it transfer to the big screen? Unless they’re simplified it probably badly, if they’ve made it even more complicated then very badly.

Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) is the man chasing the Snowman, a serial killer who has the time to make an actual snowman at the scene of all his crimes. As a detective, Hole is a loose-cannon and an alcoholic who probably wouldn’t have had a hope of detecting anything had the killer not chosen to send clues personally addressed to him.

The Snowman has issues from childhood when his mother drove intentionally into a frozen lake and drowned while he escaped. Hole has issues too, his drunken behaviour has broken up his relationship with Rakel (Charlotte Gainsbourg) but they remain 'friends' largely because Harry gets on so well with her teenage son Oleg (Michael Yates) not that effective childcare seems to be a particular forte of his either.

Hole’s newbie detective partner Katrine (Rebecca Ferguson) has issues too (of course) centring around her father, another unconventional boozed up cop (Val Kilmer), who we see in flashbacks.

Her big moment is springing a honey trap for publishing mogul editor Arve Støp (JK Simmons). A man who has a disturbing habit of photographing women he’s only just met. Yet while the film contains the contractual obligation of a full frontal Michael Fassbender topless scene, the female topless scene photographed by Støp seems to have been cut during the editing. Which is disgracefully unPC. 

Needless to say the crime eventually gets solved, only after considerably bloodshed and with no great thanks to a fascinating piece of police kit known as the EviSync, which seems to do everything for the police bar actually solve the case. The only problem is it's about as portable as a tumble drier.

It’s a watchable thriller, if a largely nonsensical one where it’s difficult to keep track of who’s chasing who and why. To be fair to Fassbender, he makes a good drunk but the real stars of the film are the wintery landscapes of Oslo and Bergen.

There is more crime later when we charged £5.90 in the Lord Roberts for a bottle Leffe Blonde. These things usually sell for around £3. We are so disgusted we move on to the Peacock and the OP.

(Saturday 21st October)

Friday, 20 October 2017

Too Many Fridays

The weather hasn’t improved much and the murky damp start entices me onto the bus again, although it does fine up a bit later, but the legs are still telling me they’d appreciate more rest.

Meanwhile people are warned not to pose with their head between the antlers of the Wollaton Park stags when they take selfies. Who’s have thought that could be dangerous?

Today is apparently Friday... and I thought yesterday was Friday... still, you can never have too many Fridays. 

(Friday 20th October)

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Fainting In The Gym

I don't bike today as heavy rain has been forecast, so it’s the bus again.

They do turn out to right about the rain and I don’t even manage to get out for a sandwich at lunchtime. I’ll be fainting in the gym if I can get there without drowning because, after slowing to mere heavy drizzle, another downpour arrives at dead on 5pm. I get drenched and its only five minutes away. I have to spin my legs extra fast on the Watt Bike to dry my shoes out.

By the time I’ve done my 15km it’s fine again. So L walks to meet my bus with the boys. Then it's a bonus Friday night, a couple of beers and L cooks.

Meanwhile I’m still trying to digest the phone call I got earlier in the day to say they’ve pulled a body out of the River Trent. Not good news at all.

(Thursday 19th October)

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Guaranteed Arrival Time

The old legs are probably not quite fully recovered but it’s time to get back on the bike as this at least guarantees my arrival time at work, punctures permitting of course.

The police email me about my missing friend, asking if I know anything. Sadly, I don’t. I suppose it’s good news if they think there’s a possibility he’s voluntarily disappeared but I’m not sure that’s very likely.

It's looking very dark and wintry by the time I come to cycle home, I certainly won’t need my shades. Daughter is waiting for me when I get home and we go out to run 5k. My legs manage it quite well although the fact MD joins us does slow things down somewhat.

(Wednesday 18th October)

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

GP Fraud

I'm on the bus this morning as my legs are still not working properly after Sunday. There is an accident on the A52 so the driver takes the scenic route, meaning I’m late for work and arrive at 9.30

L reckons her back is starting to feel better and surreptitiously cancels her GP appointment. She says she couldn't go, she would feel such a fraud. That's honourable but it doesn’t stop everyone else. She goes for a ‘gentle’ gym session instead and then goes to her old book club for the first time in ages as it’s the Booker Prize tonight and they always make a big thing of it.

The dogs and I are dog training but, as L isn’t with us, without the pint afterwards. 

(Tuesday 17th October)

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Impending Apocalypse

L asks if I’m basking in the glory at work. Not really. Most of my colleagues are simply shaking their heads but a couple of folk were impressed.

I’m impressed when I bump into a chap in an Ironman UK 2017 t-shirt in Sainsburys. The only problem was, it was bright yellow. How cruel is that? All that effort for a yellow t-shirt.

This hurricane is causing a few issues, for a start it's gone all yellow outside like the apocalypse has arrived. It’s also trapped all three of our directors in Belfast where they went for a meeting today but now they’re having to stay overnight because all the flights back have been cancelled.

Both dogs are at the vets tonight for their annual MOT and the vet doesn’t even seem surprised to see Doggo again. Both dogs are given a clean bill of health, not entirely spotless in Doggo’s case as he now has plenty of age related ailments but we won’t tell him if the vet doesn’t.

Dog training is off, although apparently its not down to the impending Apocalypse. Which does seem to be clearing now, which is good because we simply haven’t got time for an unscheduled apocalypse. Instead we both go to support Daughter at her running club. L is getting really good at this supporting business. After which we have a swift pint in the pub on the Embankment, which is now a brewpub  in the Brewhouse And Kitchen family.

There is no news on my missing friend, I don’t know if that’s good news or bad.

(Monday 16th October)