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

Sunday, 25 February 2018

More Laps Of Holme Pierrepont

Today it's the second running of the East Midlands 10k at Holme Pierrepont and I'm doing it again. So I really must have enjoyed it last year...

The organisers sell it as a 'flat and fast course set with minimal twists and turns' that has 'breath taking views around this facility' of the regatta lake and the canoe slalom course water rapids which is 'home to some of Great Britain’s Olympic athletes'. Although I don't see any today on either of my two laps.
Last year L implied she'd rather gouge her own eyeballs out than do multiple laps of Holme Pierrepont but here she is on the start line with me. Truth is, there's very little choice of races at this time of year. At least it's not as wet as last year but it is very windy.

We both survive it.
In the evening, we go see I, Tonya. Which is a mockumentary type film based on the true story of US figure skater Tonya Harding.

In 1994 Harding was convicted for her part in the attack on her bitter rival Nancy Kerrigan. She, at the very least, attempted to cover up the attack which was carried out by her ex-husband Jeff and some hired thugs. This film however paints Harding as the victim, rather than Kerrigan who barely gets a mention, let alone any sympathy.

In its defence the film doesn’t pretend to be accurate, it is the account of those involved on Harding’s side. The film instead shows Harding (Margot Robbie) as a victim of life, fighting her way to the top of the figure skating world against the odds and despite the 'help' of her chain-smoking mother, LaVona (Allison Janney) who believes in the motivational power of abuse. 

She gets slapped around all the time, first by her mother and then by husband (Sebastian Stan). However Harding’s aggressively style and technical brilliance get results on the rink but although her approach is tolerated it is not loved. She feels she is constantly discriminated against by the judges because she came from the wrong side of the tracks and couldn’t afford a smart dress to skate in.

With her likely to be outshone by Kerrigan at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Jeff and his drinking buddy Shawn (Paul Walter Hauser) make plans to intimidate her rival.

Though the men ultimately get prison time for what they did, Tonya’s life ban from skating to her was possibly worse.

It’s a decent film but in a slightly tiresome style. Margot Robbie is excellent in a role that I don’t think really suits her and perhaps because of that it is Allison Janney who is getting all the plaudits.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

The Lad On Tour

This morning we head over to Bedworth Parkrun, which is Nuneaton way. We are on our way to visit Son, to introduce him to the Lad. His GF seems terribly enthusiastic to meet him, she’s probably hoping it might help her twist Son’s arm to get their own little bundle of furry joy. We make a mental note to take our own coffee... and milk. Do they even have a kettle?

We had considered the parkrun at War Memorial Park in Coventry but we’re still traumatised by the many races we’ve done that consist of multiple loops of War Memorial Park, even though the last time we visited must be about ten years ago now.

Bedworth is actually a new Parkrun and this is only the second running. It goes well, as does the visiting. Then it’s back home for a night in, we both have loops of Holme Pierrepoint to do tomorrow.
(Saturday 24th February)

Friday, 23 February 2018

Licence To Roam

Sunday I’m at the Velodrome again and then afterwards in the Exeter Arms with the Lad. Naturally he's a babe magnet, well not just a babe magnet an everyone magnet because it’s not just the girls, all the boys are going gooey eyed over him as well.

Monday, I’m back in London again. This time it’s Islington and I’m on my own, so it’s by train. It was supposed to be routine visit to upgrade their computers but it took far longer than I expected. I ended up having to leg it for my 4pm train, with little or no time to crash out in the First Class Lounge let alone the Parcel Yard bar. L thinks I’m just pretending to be in London to grab an extra couple of quiet hours away from the new puppy.

Tuesday, it’s L turn to hit The Smoke. She is chaperoning her boss, which in the current climate seems essential whoever his patient is. So I walk MD, which is a bit of a change of pace after only walking Doggo for the last few weeks. Then I take all three dogs to dog training in the evening. Perhaps I should accuse L of pretending to be in London to grab an extra couple of quiet hours away from the new puppy.

She says her stress levels are puppified to a new level now and she’s fantasising about sitting on a beach sipping a cocktail. I bet the Lad would absolutely love the beach.

On Wednesday, I go home after work to mop up the puddles and to de-cage the Lad before heading back to pick up my Dad for the match. Derby play Leeds and it was all Derby. The game should have been all over by half time and we should have been at least four up but of course it was Leeds who went ahead. Derby did equalise but then the same thing happened in the second half. It finished 2-2. This season is slowly going down the pan.

I finally get on my bike on Thursday which is a nice (almost) spring day but we’re not fooled. Winter isn’t done with us yet. Thursday is also squash and my opponent tells me about his No-C Diet – which means no Cakes, Carbonated drinks, Carry Out (aka Takeaways), Chips, Cheese, Chocolate, Cookies (aka Biscuits), Commercial Wine, Commercial Beer, Crisps, Confectionery (including Puddings and Desserts), Cream and Custard.

See what he did there? Commercial Wine and Commercial Beer e.g. licence to roam.

Taking on board his carefully worded exemption, as I don’t have a sweet tooth, the list isn’t too challenging. Apart from cheese that is, which I have bucket loads of.

(Friday 23rd February)

Saturday, 17 February 2018

A Strange Romance

L and I parkrun up at Rother Valley, adding another new venue to our ever lengthening list. After that we pop in and see Doggo's brother's owners. They recently lost him but they are pleased to see Doggo and of course to meet The Lad. Everyone's pleased to meet The Lad but not as pleased as he is to meet them.

Then we're at Broadway in the evening.

Everybody is raving about Guillermo del Toro at the moment but I'm not that familiar with him. His films range generally from Spanish language horror films such as the acclaimed 'Pan’s Labyrinth' to weird action affairs such as 'Hellboy'. So the 'Shape Of Water' is already being acclaimed as a masterpiece.

Del Toro calls it a fairy tale and everyone says its based on ‘Beauty And The Beast’, which I suppose, tenuously, it could be but personally as I watched it I was thinking 'Splash' only without Daryl Hannah or maybe the 'Creature From the Black Lagoon'. 

This is probably why it's up for so many Oscars, the Academy does like a bit of cross pollination with old films and this, like ‘La La Land’,  name checks many, features a cinema and also a man obsessed with old movies.

Then again the Academy aren't going to like the plagiarism allegations surrounding the play ‘Let Me Hear You Whisper’ which is a love story between a cleaner and dolphin that is held in a laboratory.

The cleaner in this story is Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) who is a mute and has been since she was found by a river one day with odd scars on her neck. She lives above the Orpheum cinema which somehow survives on its minuscule audiences and next door to Giles (Richard Jenkins), an out of work artist who watches old TV movies all day long while having the hots for the waiter at the nearby pie emporium.

Elisa’s cleaning job is at a ‘top secret research facility’ where she works alongside Zelda (Octavia Spencer). The research facility has a new project, having come across an amphibious creature somewhere in the Amazon. Despite the top secret-ness of the facility the two cleaners stumble across it while doing the hoovering.

Elisa is immediately mitten but then she is a strange one. She hard boils eggs every morning while masturbating in the bath to her water fuelled fantasies. I'm not sure these scenes were strictly necessary but I suppose when you've got a film based on bestiality I guess you think 'what the hell'. 

Elisa then shares her eggs with the creature, plays him music and dances for him. He seems smitten too and she devises a plan to save the creature from the clutches of the film’s bad guy Colonel Strickland (Michael Shannon) and his boss General Hoyt (Nick Searcy).

She talks Giles into helping her and they are assisted by the sympathetic scientist Dr Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg), who wants to study the creature which he says was once revered by the Amazon tribes as a god. Neither of these men nor her colleague Zelda appear to think her romance with the creature is at all strange. 

Back at her apartment, she keeps the creature alive in her bath which she fills with salt water but things don’t take a good turn when he dines savagely on the cat and then Hoffstetler turns out to be a Russian spy. This is the cold war by the way and Russian Agents have already infiltrated the facility with the soul purpose of killing the creature. 

The creature does she to get on with Giles because as well as being able to heal bodily wounds, he can also restore hair to a bald man. Elisa is happy as well because she now gets to consummate her relationship with the creature in her bathroom, Which we find out will hold ten feet of water simply by closing the door and putting a towel under it. Well, apart from a few leaks into the cinema below.

So all that is left is to complete the plan. The plan being that once the river is at full tide, the creature can be set loose to find the ocean. What can possibly go wrong...

Well... it is indeed a good film but bloody weird too. Best Film? Probably not.

(Saturday 17th February)

Friday, 16 February 2018

Enter The Yorkshire Lad

We go to work this morning and leave our little Yorkshire Lad in a large cage next to the two other dogs so they can all be together. L will come home at lunch time to give the Lad a mad romp round the garden, let him destroy a few things and then put him back in his cage for the afternoon.

By Tuesday MD has an upset stomach which we put down to the stress of having his ear continually bitten by the new puppy but he won’t tell him off, so it’s really his own fault. Doggo has no such qualms about taking the Lad down a peg or two.

Feeding three dogs who eat at very different speeds is interesting. Doggo needs absolutely no distractions from anyone to digest his ham and cheese omelette and certainly not the Lad bolting down his own food before working his way round everyone else’s. I suppose being in a litter of nine can make you competitive.

I make a note to myself to somehow nurture that speed when I start his Agility training. Sticking a food bowl down at the end of the course is apparently against the rules.

The Lad has his first visit to vets and he loves it. He loves everything at the moment. I take him to dog training with me, which he also loves. It looks like he can’t wait to get started. While L is looking forward to taking the Lad on the park with her and MD. He’ll love that too but will she? Two lively dogs to cope with at once.

At home he does seem to be developing an unhealthy liking for pebbles and we keep having to scrape them out of his mouth. That needs to stop.

On Thursday I take the Lad to squash, well he waits in the car but then comes in the pub afterwards where he pulls all the women and most of the blokes too. L walks there with MD.

On Friday Daughter has her interview with police, we all have everything crossed, while the Lad goes visiting L’s folks in Mickleover.

(Friday 16th February)

Sunday, 11 February 2018

The He-Devil

Saturday is Doggo’s 16 1/2th birthday. We have a quiet low key celebration.

L and I parkrun at Long Eaton but Daughter decides to give it a miss, volunteering to sit with Doggo or more likely volunteering to sit with our new addition. The little Yorkshire Lad goes down a storm in the café afterwards.

In the afternoon it’s the match against Norwich and then it’s time to catch some Winter Olympics start as the games start in Pyeongchang. We had hoped to be there but getting accommodation just proved impossible, that is until recently when they desperately started emailing me with offers. Too late chaps but it’s a good job we hadn’t booked considering how Doggo is.

On Sunday I’m at the Velodrome with my excellent new cog. I raise a pint to L’s Christmas present when I’m sat in the pub afterwards totally exhausted. Although L seems jealous of my pub based relaxing and says she might have to kill me. At home they’re all hiding from the puppy aka the he-devil but then she’s said that about all the dogs.

Apparently she’s leaving for Orkney shortly.

(Sunday 11th February)

Friday, 9 February 2018

Puppy Shopping

We did have plans to run on Sunday but in the end we don’t, having both overdone it a bit yesterday.

Doggo is struggling with one of his legs and he doesn’t make it to the paper shop with me this morning. Which is a slightly distressing first. I have to take him back home and go back without him. He continues to struggle throughout the day and we both cancel our evening gym\velodrome plans to stay with him. Daughter comes over to stay with us, fearing the worst.

Then Doggo improves slightly overnight, manages his normal morning walk and his now usual breakfast of sausage and boiled egg. We all go to work as normal but L comes home at lunchtime to find that the old man is doing ok.
On Tuesday it snows, a little, and so I get the bus into work. Typically there is no snow at all in Derby when I get there. Naturally we’re all still very worried about Doggo although he does seem a bit perkier and he enjoys his snow eating on his morning walk but L again goes home after lunch.

MD needs training, for both his growing waist line and the fact we have Crufts in a month. So L stays at home with Doggo, who misses out on possibly his first ever night of dog training but it’s really too cold for him. He is waiting by the front door for us when we get home after having feasted on his Fray Bentos steak pie.

On Wednesday it's omelette for breakfast, for Doggo . I ask whether it was cheese and mushroom or cheese and ham? Neither apparently because he’s a dog. Who’d have known.

L again goes home in the afternoon, taking her work with her. All is well but the new mop is getting plenty of use and the problem with working from home in February is you have to do so in your coat as MD always wants the back door open, no matter what the weather.

I make an enquired about a puppy but it’s gone, there will be others I’m sure.In the evening I'm out with my friend from school.

By Thursday L is compiling a shopping list for the new addition, that we haven’t got yet. Then I get a message from a chap in Sheffield who has a eight week Tri-Colour Border Collie which we arrange to go see on Friday evening.

Back home, Doggo turns down the dog pate we bought him when he sees the word 'dog' on the label and probably the fact it was Lidl's own brand didn't help as he always has been a bit of a snob. Instead I serve him corned beef for tea so that he doesn’t just fill up on crisps in the pub after squash. L skips squash as she is out in Derby instead.

On Friday we head up to Sheffield to meet our potential new puppy although nobody is under any illusions. I’m assuming he'll be coming home with us no matter what given the amount of stuff that has already been bought in his honour. L’s even bought the tonic for the very large G and T she has a feeling she'll be needing later.

Daughter is full of cold but still insists on coming with us. I hope she’s not going to infect the puppy, if that is even possible which I’m sure it isn’t.

As expected the little Yorkshire lad with no tail, well a bob tail, comes home with us.

(Friday 9th February)

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Relationship Advice From Daniel Day-Lewis

This morning we all parkrun at Long Eaton. Daughter decimates her PB and L is quicker too. MD and I do a solid 24.12.

Then on the way to the match I collect my bike, ahead of a session on the track on Sunday. At the match Derby beat Brentford 3-0 but aided by a sending off.

In the evening we're at Broadway to get some relationship advice from Daniel Day-Lewis in 'Phantom Thread'.

Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a celebrated dressmaker in 1950s London, dressing the rich and famous but now feeling under pressure from new fashion influences coming across the Channel. 

The well established bachelor and general misery appeared to uncharacteristically on holiday when he meets Alma (Vicky Krieps), a German waitress who appears to be about thirty years his junior. He appears to falls in love with her (or what he calls in love) and she seems to reciprocate. What he sees in her and more particularly what she sees in him is never really made clear. However, smitten (of sorts) she moves in with the work-obsessed Woodcock where she becomes his muse cum live-in human mannequin/occasional companion, that is on the very rare occasions he needs one.

Once she is living with him she comes up against the strict regime run by Woodcock and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) and has to cope with a man who, if he has any emotions at all, keeps them very well hidden. She clearly wants much more from their relationship than she is currently getting, which appears to be next to nothing, but he won’t have his carefully constructed life disrupted for anything, not even an attractive young woman half his age. It is not even suggested that they might be lovers.

So leave you think... but she doesn’t. Instead she serves up a surprise romantic meal to a man who clearly does not like surprises or romance. Domestic war breaks out with asparagus chosen as the weapon of choice.

Alma is right about one thing though. The solution to her problem was to be found in the kitchen. When she cooks him up an omelette containing poisonous mushrooms he promptly falls proper near death ill after eating it. Now she is finally happy because she can indulge herself in nursing him back to full health, openly relishing his reliance on her, and for a time they have a normal-ish relationship.

Until he reverts back to being a miserable bastard. So she does it again.... and he knowingly lets her... and she says she will do it again and again if it makes him need her. Now call me old fashioned but any relationship which relies on one party being poisoned regularly to bring out their good side is not a great basis for a long lasting future together. Perhaps they should have gone for counselling instead but what do I know?

It’s a decent film by the way with Day-Lewis in a Day-Lewis role that couldn't be a more appropriate one for him to end his career on, that is if he now retires as he has suggested he will do.

We have a drink afterwards in the Borlase but just the one as we get driven away because the pub is so very noisy, well one particular girl is. Daniel won't have put up with that and nor do we, we don’t stay.and head to the Blue Monkey instead. The new pub on Canning Circus isn’t open yet but will apparently open in two weeks time.
(Saturday 3rd February)

Friday, 2 February 2018

Feeding Time

The weekend finishes with a leg sapping session at Derby's Velodrome followed by a reviving few pints and a takeaway curry. Which the boys enjoy too.

So it's probably no great surprise that Doggo doesn’t want his breakfast in the morning, having eaten late and having, as I recall, sausage rolls and crisps as well as his naan bread. Not healthy but we’re beyond that. There is already chicken roasting in the oven for his tea and hopefully there might even be some for the rest of us as well.

Monday evening is my post-show Committee Meeting and then Tuesday, we’re puppy hunting. Looking after Doggo has sorted of grounded our holiday plans, so we might as well be disrupted by a puppy at the same time.

It had started out as spaniel shopping but after being knocked out by the price they ask for them we’ve reverted to looking at collie puppies. Even they are getting expensive but we’re happy with cheap as chips, if we can find one. All there seems to be in the paper are Chuahapoos, whatever they are.

L heads off to Mickleover visiting, leaving Salmon cooking in the oven for Doggo.

Wednesday and Doggo is now turning down most food that isn’t salmon, chicken, best steak or today, cheese and crackers. The solution may be to order him a take away every night, as he seems to like them. Problem is we’d all be the size of a house, MD is already heading that way as he is getting all Doggo’s leftovers.
I’m on the bike, dodging the weather. The wind blows me to work but luckily the horrendous hailstorm happens at lunchtime, leaving relatively benign conditions for the ride home.

Thursday I’m in the car with my track bike in the back. I take it in to the bike shop to have my new super cog, a Christmas present from L, installed. I tried to do it myself but the chain was too short, so thought I best leave it to the experts.

Doggo moves on to sausages and boiled eggs, now one small step away from a Full English. That dog is better fed than me and despite his cranky eating, his dodgy legs and dodgy bladder he still seems to enjoying his morning walks with me.

Squash is on, sadly, because L had tended a better offer. So instead L and MD walk power walk there before joining us and Doggo in the pub.

On Friday I have another day in London but I'm home in time to accept the deferred better offer from L. 

(Friday 2nd February)