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

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Sunday Afternoon Cinema

We go to the cinema on Sunday afternoon. Yes, afternoon. So it must be a Rom Com? Indeed. So why am I here? Perhaps it’s because there’s a great plot idea that comes with it. Yesterday is a collaboration between Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle.

Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is a wannabe rock star from Lowestoft, who works in a warehouse and plays the occasional gig in local pubs. Although he did once play on a minor stage at Latitude to about half a dozen passer-bys.

At the start of the film he is hit by a bus while the world is experiencing some sort of cosmic blackout... He comes to in a parallel universe where the Beatles never existed. Other things have been erased too but sadly there are very few diversions into this territory.


He finds out about the Beatles-less universe when he plays ‘Yesterday’ to his mates, who are stunned at his brilliance, having never heard the song before. It appears that he is the only one who remembers their music.

Being the only person to have the entire Beatles back catalogue in their head is only the second greatest thing that has ever happened to him. The first being that his best mate and manager by default is Ellie Appleton (Lily James) and she is totally in love with him.

Of course, as this is a Rom Com, he is oblivious to this fact and, as this is a Rom Com, he’s in love with her too but, as this is a Rom Com, neither of them are able to articulate their feelings for each other. Therefore they have apparently been stuck in this platonic stasis for the many many years since they met at school. Notwithstanding of course that a girl like Ellie would have been getting multiple alternative offers every week. Anyhow... did I mention it’s a Rom Com?


Jack now starts to painstakingly recreate as many Beatles songs as he can from memory, as Google is no help whatsoever. While Ellie, who also organised his Latitude gig, sets him up with Gavin (Alexander Arnold), a local music producer, who records a demo of his new songs.


This gets him onto local TV where he is talented spotted by none other than Ed Sheeran, who asks him to open for him in Russia. Sheeran ably demonstrates why he is a musician and not an actor but gets huge kudos for being game enough to make such a cameo performance even if he does attempt to sabotage ‘Hey Jude’.


So off Jack goes to Russia with his unreliable roadie Rocky (Joel Fry) but not Ellie who has to return to her day job as a teacher.

So far so good and so entertaining but it starts to go off the rails when the film sells its soul to the get rich quick style of the modern music industry with Jack allowing himself to be cynically packaged by Sheeran’s LA based manager Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon). Oh to have allowed his fame to grow organically in this country.


Jack does come home to launch his debut album in Norfolk with a rooftop concert in Gorleston-on-Sea. It is there that he is approached by two other people who also remember the Beatles and who thank him for saving the band’s music. They also give him the address of John Lennon (Robert Carlyle) who Jack goes to visit. It’s not really clear why this is included or what his association with the non-existent Beatles would have been. Clearly Lennon has not had a career in music and he persuades Jack not to have one either. Instead he advises him to get his woman back, who has by now run off with Gavin, the music producer.


If this is ridiculous, the ending is worse with a mortifying public declaration of love during a hastily arranged concert at Wembley Stadium where Jack also admits he stole the songs from people who don’t exist.

In reality this creates more questions than it answers. Like... so Jack can you remember any more? etc. He did also have the whole of Oasis’s catalogue to work through.

I know, I should accept it as it is.

Himesh Patel is a total star, not only with his acting but with his singing and guitar playing. As for Jack, recreating the Beatles songs musically is a massive achievement and arguably more difficult than writing them in the first place. So clearly Ed Sheeran was right, he is a better musician than him and he really had no need whatsoever to become a music teacher.

Exasperatingly enjoyable.


(Sunday 21st July)

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Badgering

While at the Tara Kinder run last night I badgered L’s sister into doing our local Parkrun this morning, that ruined her night on the wine. Well perhaps only a little but she does turn up and does Forest Rec Parkrun with us. Having been badgered into it herself she badgers her daughter into doing it too. That didn’t seem too popular.  

In the afternoon L has a coaching session at the tennis centre as a replacement for the one she missed on Thursday. It’s at 5pm so we contemplate falling into a pub afterwards but there’s always the chance her tennis racket might be deemed an offensive weapon on a Saturday night.

We could, of course, have been at Splendour or indeed doing the Thunder Run. In fact one of the reason we dumped the Thunder Run was so that we could go to Splendour again but I think it’s overpriced at £45 a ticket when the bands are either one’s I’m not bothered about or that I’ve seen countless times before and that’s with a tenner off for being a local. Although the Slow Readers Club are one of my current faves I think I’d rather stick to seeing them indoors. I’m sure it was about £20 the last time we went.

We eat at Broadway but don’t see a film. We have one in the Hockley Rebel, where there’s nothing very exciting but I do get my final stamp for a free pint. Then we have quite a session in Brew Dog with several dark beers, some very strong and one on cask but without a hand pull. They’re supposed to be returning fully to cask but they’re clearly not there yet.

(Saturday 20th July)

Friday, 19 July 2019

We Know Where He Is

Olympics ticket go on sale in the Republic of Ireland this week, so I nip in quick and add an Athletics session and the final round of the Men’s Golf to our collection. One of the many great things about being in the European Economic Area is being able to purchase tickets like this from any other country who is also a member. It’s such a shame that we are trying to leave it and will they still send me my tickets if we do...

Monday sees L out on the town in Derby while I’m dog training as usual.

Tuesday is the only day I manage to cycle this week. Which is also when L has her health check. They tell her she has raised blood pressure which she pleads is due to her rushing to her appointment after having been for a swim and then walked back. 

They didn’t even tell me what my blood pressure was this time as they didn’t really seem interested in any of my results or in fact me being there at all even though they had invited me. To be honest, it does seem an odd waste of time when everyone is struggling to get doctors appointments and especially if they’re not going to take it seriously. 

L’s Dad is now allowed trips home from the hospital including some overnight stays as they plan ahead for him coming home. Which is good news.

On Wednesday I am out with my friends from school which involves us being dragged to another pseudo cafĂ© bar, the Carnero Lounge, that does food e.g. burgers and stuff but no beer. Think I’d rather have decent beer and no food really.

Thursday, I am out again as L’s sister has booked a table at The Yard to celebrate her Daughter leaving Uni. L, Daughter and I go along with L’s brother’s family, her sister’s family and her Mum and Dad, who will be staying at home tonight. It does mean there’s no tennis for either of us this week.

On Friday, we appear to be a dog missing and the barricade is down... We know where he is. Time for Plan F. Plan F may be a cage.

In the evening L, Daughter and L’s sister run the Tara Kinder 10k on Elvaston Park. It’s not one of my favourite events so I opt to come watch and chuck balls.  

(Friday 19th July)

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Project Tokyo

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After successfully attending the London Olympics in 2012 we were inspired to visit Sochi for the 2014 Winter ones. After which we prevaricated badly over Rio and PyeongChang and ended up not going to either. So we decided that Tokyo 2020 was a must but then I missed the initial ticket ballot. 

Luckily the remaining tickets went on sale this week on a ‘first come first served’ basis and I quickly dived in to snag tickets for the Women’s Cycling Road Race as well as some for Taekwondo and Archery. Project Tokyo is go.

Then after catching my breath I went back to get some more for Weightlifting and Rugby Sevens. That was when I realised that the Cycling and possibly the Taekwondo clashes with next year’s dog show. It might not be popular if one of the chief organisers fails to turn up for that. So I probably have tickets to sell, which shouldn't be a problem.

I manage two days dog training this week, Monday and Wednesday, going to my Club’s session both days, rather than Monday's at Codnor, to sort out the errant payers in the Beginners Classes. I cycle twice, Wednesday and Thursday, but there is no tennis. There are no courts available as there is a Junior Tournament on.

On Saturday we are again at Alvaston parkrun, my new favourite. I feel that if I’m going break my PB with the Lad it’s going to be there.

In the evening, L has another run as her new running club has asked for volunteers to participate in a dress rehearsal of the 5 Mile race they hope to put on from next year. The race starts near Smalley and covers a lot of the area around Shipley Park. It’s largely off road, so I opt to hold her coat and the dogs while she does it along with Daughter.

On Sunday I am at a Crufts Team Qualifier which is my first visit to the new venue at Royle Farm near Drakelow. The event is run by Rugby Dog Training Club and yes, it is still nowhere near Rugby. I don’t have a dog in the event, or even in any class at the show, MD is no longer up to the jump height and the Lad simply isn’t ‘up to it’ no matter what he thinks. Our two teams give their all but we won’t be going to Crufts next year. 

It is all over very quickly and I am home for lunch.

(Sunday 14th July)

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Festivals Of Hills And Acappella

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Today I am up in Chesterfield for the Spire 10 Miler which is organised by North Derbyshire Running Club. The race starts and ends at Holmebrook Valley Park. It’s not flat.

In fact the climbing starts almost immediately, this is then followed by more climbing but they do say it's worth it for the great views. Not that I was looking anywhere other than at my feet and the road in front of me. It does also go down in places. This is, I suppose, what you call proper old school road running. A race against the course, rather than against the other runners. Which is a good excuse for not being as good as I once was. I enjoyed it.

The race is sponsored by Brampton Brewery and for the second time in a week I am handed a bottle of beer at the end. I enjoyed that too.

My time of 1:25:35 is two minutes slower than in the Notts 10 but then it was a little more undulating.


In the evening we are off for a wild night out in West Bridgford. We have been invited to AcappellaFest at the Lutterell Hall, which is basically Glastonbury for Acappella choirs but indoors, for one evening only and without the food and the alcohol. 

It's packed and mainly with regulars who seem very possessive and won't even give us a seat to sit on. Eventually after kicking up a minor incident they do relent and give is a chair each.

I actually find it to be a mildly entertaining despite the lack of fluids and the hyperactive leader of the choirs, who keeps us entertained between tunes. However L insists we do a runner during the interval, which we do, but only as far as the Stratford Haven where we spend the rest of the evening. 

(Sunday 7th July)

Saturday, 6 July 2019

A Promising Debut

Today we, because L joins us for this momentous occasion, go up to a small local dog agility show at Bilsthorpe where the Lad will make his competitive debut.

He gets just one run, right at the start of the day and in the rain. It is a simple course of just jumps and tunnels which he will be able to do, just not necessarily in the right order. The main reason I have chosen this venue for his first event is the completely fenced in rings which should stop him absconding which is my main worry if he sees something more exciting in the next ring. Although it has been known for some dogs to jump the whole caboodle. So who knows what will happen.

He does have a good look around when I attempt to get him to sit on the start line but his focus is all on me and on his course. He gets eliminated but he doesn’t care and nor do I. It's mission accomplished as he didn't abscond and it was in fact quite a promising debut. Now for the more daunting prospect of the six runs in three days I have entered him for at my own club’s show at the end of the month where the rings are not fenced.

I should also mention that MD is here too and he has three runs. He is clear in one of them but not placed.

As I am running the Chesterfield 10 tomorrow, the evening is an AF one but we have a new treat having discovered alcohol free Leffe Blonde and it ain't bad at all.

(Saturday 6th July)

Friday, 5 July 2019

All The Drama I Need

The week starts with the garage letting me down. Despite them saying they’d get the windscreen washer part for the Astra ordered in advance, they haven’t done so. So I won’t have the car back for lunchtime and therefore have to defer my shopping until Tuesday.

The Lad knocks the barricade down and absconds upstairs, again. I must get a replacement sorted. It's also not going to be easy getting in the front door tonight. 

L has a tennis match but is hoping it is rained off as she still has Sunday’s Round Sheffield Run in her legs. For once there looks to be no chance whatsoever of rain, so the game goes ahead and although her partner and her lose the doubles game, it was close and went to a tie break. While all this drama is taking place I’m at dog training where the Lad is all the drama I need.

I am dogging again on Wednesday which is also the day that Derby County finally lose Frank Lampard and swiftly appoint former Dutch international Phillip Cocu as their new manager. Cocu was also manager of PSV Eindhoven manager for five years, winning the title three times.

To be honest I’m a bit confused as to why he isn’t at Chelsea as he’s a better choice for them that Lampard.

I get in two bike sessions in this week, on Wednesday and Thursday. Now I just have to stay awake on the tennis court.

On Friday L gets me up at 4am (again) for another Sunrise 5k. She says she is only doing it because Daughter is doing it with someone from her work and L hates being outdone. FOMO as Daughter calls it, just before Daughter herself bails out when she doesn’t make it make back from Manchester.

L makes it up to me by offering a post-work pint in the Exeter. This is almost becoming a regular bad (but welcome) habit. I daren’t indulge too much because tomorrow is the day of the Lad’s competitive debut. Stand by for more drama.

(Friday 5th July)

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Round And Up Sheffield

We managed to get places in the legendary (I believe, not that we’d heard of it until last year) Round Sheffield Run by way of their ballot, which digitally collapsed but still worked out for us. So here we are at Endcliffe Park faced with the usual enormous queue but in this case not just for the toilets but also to actually cross the start line. Not that you could actually start until your colour came up and we were in the last start wave anyway at 10:15. So no great rush for us.

Round Sheffield is a 20km run broken up into eleven stages. You carry a 'dibber' like we do with Orienteering and 'dib' in at the start and end of each stage. The stages have recovery breaks between them which total a further 4.5km of walking\collapsing on the grass gasping for breath. Which means it’s pretty much a half marathon where you have full permission to walk bits of it and\or grab a quick nap. Easy peasy then. It is based on the popular 14 mile Sheffield Round Walk and was launched in 2014.

The longest stage was the first one at 2.9km and this was a slightly uphill jog out of Endcliffe Park to somewhere called Forge Dam (I don't know these areas of Sheffield). The start of the second stage was almost straight after the first and I was straight on to it. This was said to be the toughest stage and it was certainly nearly all uphill. It was up Ringinglow, so mirrored the Sheffield Half Marathon but via an off road route. It also brought us to the first of two feed stations although this felt a bit too soon, so most people didn’t seem to bother.

Then we had two downhill stages, one of which was termed the Limb Valley Descent no less, and this took us down to Dore.

Stage Five was interesting. First it was a long walk, so you felt something serious was coming... then we had to climb a long set of steep steps to get to the start point. Personally I'd have started the stage at the bottom of steps but I can understand why they didn't. This was also where I started to get frustrated at being in the last start group because as soon as anything got remotely difficult people started walking and there often wasn't much opportunity to overtake.

Stage Six was a mere 0.8km of undulating terrain which was then followed by a short walk to Graves Park where Stage Seven was pretty much all uphill. This brought us to the second feed station which this time was very welcome.

What comes up must come down and both Stages Eight and Nine were downhill, one alongside a golf course and the other in Meersbrook Park which was only 0.8km long and seriously steep, downwards, with a great view of Sheffield.

The penultimate stage was initially a road stage and started in the street but it didn’t stay there as we were soon into more woodland and obviously none of it was flat.

We were back in Endcliffe Park for the final stage which was termed as a 04.km sprint back to the race village. Not that I really bothered to sprint, I could already see that the queue for the beer tent was huge. Which I then joined as I waited for L.

The other problem with being late starters was that the food stalls had hardly anything left to eat that didn’t include tofu.

It was certainly a different running experience because stopping mid race is normally avoided. I did like the concept but I would probably have preferred less but longer stages. I am now more into my longer distances and none of the stages were long enough for me to get my teeth into. Stop-start is not really my thing. In fact it didn't really feel like a race at all, it was more like interval training. I suppose you could have done it all non-stop or even ran the whole 24.5km but that didn't seem in the spirit of the things or indeed very wise.

I completed the distance in 1:49:34 which made me 629th overall out of 2067. My best stages were Stages Two and Seven, the hilliest ones, where I broke into the top 400. My slowest stages were Nine and Eleven, showing I’m a hopeless descender and that I couldn’t be ***ed to sprint at the end!

It was a good experience but I'm not sure I'd be too bothered about doing it again.

We hadn't taken the dogs with us, so we felt duty bound to take them out with us later. So we take a trip to the Plough where we haven't been for many years. It hasn't changed much although they do at least seem to have a dark beer on again, Foundry Mild which is a pleasant strong mild.

(Sunday 30th June)

Saturday, 29 June 2019

29 Years... And Not Much Has Changed

There are multiple parkrun cancellations this week - Alvaston, Markeaton and Clumber are all off for various reasons. Daughter isn’t around again, so it’s basically where will best suit my ankles and the Lad’s tendency to get overexcited. L says we’ll see how we feel when we get up. We don’t get up.

This may be a wise choice as we the Round Sheffield Run on Sunday.

The rest of Saturday is spent sneering at those who are where we aren't, namely Glastonbury, but then in the evening I do get to see some live music as I go to Rock City to reacquaint myself with the Fields of the Nephilim.

Support comes from Red Sun Revival, who I didn't know before tonight but they seemed a good choice for the evening as they brought their own brand of Gothic style indie to the table. They aren't new, having been going since 2011 which probably explains why Rob Leydon comes over as a very accomplished front man.


They make good use of Christina Emery's violin which isn't drowned out by the rest of the instruments and gives a certain uniqueness to their sound. It also helps that they are clearly very happy to be here and are given a generous 45 minute set which goes down very well with the crowd.

I’m not sure what the Fields of the Nephilim think to pretty much the entirety of The Mission’s ‘First Chapter’ being played as a prelude to them coming on stage but then I suppose those feuds amongst the various Gothic bands were a long time ago now.

The last time I saw the Nephilim was almost exactly 29 years ago... although after the original band broke up in 1991, I did see Carl McCoy’s short lived variant The Nefilim only 23 years ago ... So, on many levels, as one by one the members of the band emerge out of the haze of dry ice dressed in their trademark Spaghetti Western outrider outfits it is reassuring that not much has changed.

That they emerge to their version of Ennio Morricone’s ‘The Harmonica Man’ from ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’, the track that opened the ‘Dawnrazor’ album back in 1987, it is reassuring that not much has changed.

Yes, the line-up has changed over the years but not McCoy himself, for it seems to have always been his band, as he leans into the mic stand and lets loose with his distinctive voice as we move into the magnificence that is ‘Preacher Man’. A track that over three decades since its release still has the ability to raise the hairs on the back of your neck when they play it live.

From that moment I am totally on board, or back on board if you prefer, as the band deliver an enthralling hour and a half of gothic rock theatre or whatever you want to categorise it as. Whatever you do categorise it as, it's pretty unique.

The lighting is fantastic, the sound is fantastic, the dry ice is irritating for this cameraman.

The only other original member aside from McCoy is Tony Pettitt, who returned to the fold a few years ago, and who stubbornly seems to refuse to adhere to the memo that governs the dress code. So no cowboy hat for him which makes him standout like a sore thumb which is perhaps his intention and perhaps the only way he could steal some attention away from the lead singer.

The setlist pulls on their theatrical masterpieces largely from ‘The Nephilim’ album which means ‘Endemoniada’ becomes ‘Love Under Will’ before we turn to ‘Dawnrazor’ itself, which is epic in so many ways.

At which point I am struck by the thought that not only has McCoy no right to still be able to sing like that after all these years, he also still has hair when none of the rest of us have. In fact he’s got more hair than all the men in the audience put together. Must be a wig. May have always been a wig...

‘Hit single’ ‘Moonchild’ follows and then becomes ‘The Watchman’ before they dip into ‘Elizium’ where the almost poppy ‘For Her Light’ merges, as ever, into the more sorrowful ‘At the Gates of Silent Memory’.


Then there’s ‘newer’ material in 2005’s ‘Mourning Sun’ and 2016’s ‘Prophecy’ before a magnificent ‘Last Exit for the Lost’ closes the show in some style.

The setlist isn’t short on length but is short on songs and it would have been nice to have had some of the shorter punchier songs, mainly from the really old days, thrown in. Maybe one day but for now this is what they do and they are doing it very well.

(Saturday 29th June)

Friday, 28 June 2019

The Dogcar

L has a freebie personal training session with a new chap at her gym who she describes as a muscle bound powerhouse but who turns out to be ‘quite a sweet chappie’. After he’s destroyed her to a pile of jelly he propositions her with an offer of six sessions for the price of four. She’s thinking about it.

The Astra or the Dogcar as it is now known is in for it’s MOT and Service. It failed on the windscreen wipers, a bulb, a track road end and bizarrely the handbrake needed adjusting. There’s never been anything wrong with that handbrake... All in all that’s pretty good for 215,000 miles. They fix everything and then decide it needs a new windscreen washer jet which they can't do until Monday.

It’s in the news that the long term landlord of the Victoria in Beeston and before that the Lincolnshire Poacher in Nottingham itself, Neil Kelso, has died at the age of 62. We are shocked.

(Friday 28th June)

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Favourite Cheesy Dogs

The week starts with a service of our one year old gas boiler which is needed for the warranty. It should just be a formality and it is, although it should be noted it has already broken down once since we’ve had it.

Dog training is off due to a lack of people. The Lad is gutted. Luckily both the boys are tired out anyway after all the football they had with the gasman.

Son and his gf are away on a camping holiday but they don’t know where. Neither of them are sure of the place name but somehow they manage to send us a link to the website of the place they are purported to be staying at. Which looks a bit lacking in facilities and efficient grass cutting e.g. it looks very close to nature. I’m not sure where he’d plug his games console in. There is also no sign of the swimming pool he mentioned. So they may be on holiday somewhere else. It’s so typical of Son to not to know where he's on holiday.

Tuesday is Daughter’s birthday and we send her a cheesy dog card starring her favourite cheesy dogs e.g. our two clowns. The first problem was of course getting them to pose together, which took an age. That, in the final photo, they end up looking like Laurel and Hardy is entirely appropriate. We manage to stop the Lad adding a further personal touch to the card by keeping him away from the post when it is delivered.

It is a good job Daughter’s birthday wasn’t a day or two later because on Wednesday somebody again forget to erect the barricade leaving the post (and a comfy bed) at the Lad's mercy but he doesn’t seem to notice and stays in his own bed all day.

There are three running races on locally this week. Two rounds of the Grand Prix and the Summer Series at Colwick Park but uncharacteristically we’re not doing any of them. L does go to running club in the rain. It always seems to rain on a Tuesday.

Wednesday, I bike in the rain. So it was miserable but very necessary. Wednesday is also dogging night.

I have the afternoon off on Thursday while we have the panels in our garden fence replaced but it was a waste to take the time off. They are so fast that they could have done it easily within my lunch hour. Later there is no tennis for me as my opponent is mysteriously unavailable but L plays.

(Thursday 27th June)

Saturday, 22 June 2019

A Weekend Without

Friday apart, it is a weekend without running or cycling. So no parkrunning, no races and no velodrome sessions.

The most exercise we get is pub crawling Arnold. It takes us two buses to get to a place that only really has two decent pubs but you have to try these things. One from is from Blue Monkey (called the Organ Grinder, obviously) which is a bit loud with a band on but crucially has no Gorilla and nothing you would say was a decent substitute. The other is from Lincoln Green (called the Robin Hood & Little John) which has both Tuck and Leffe, so that is obviously where we spend most of the evening.

That apart the main draw of the weekend and indeed the week has been the Women’s Football World Cup which has been excellent. Some would say the standard isn’t as high as in the men’s game but I’d certainly take several of these players into Derby’s team. You also don’t get the negative defending or the cynical diving that you get in the men’s game so the entertainment level has possibly been higher. Although I’m sure that will all come in time.

(Saturday 22nd June)

Friday, 21 June 2019

Two Glorious Laps

On Friday evening I run the Notts 10, two glorious laps of Holme Pierrepoint. What could be nicer? L opts out of said two glorious laps of Holme Pierrepoint despite claiming to like 10 milers on the grounds that’s where she’s always ready to stop in a Half Marathon. Personally I’m always ready to stop with about 10 miles to go.

However Daughter joins me and perhaps a little too literally. When I run 7:38 for the first mile, she is in hot pursuit and doing around 8:00 for hers. Perhaps I should have waited for her and paced her. Then again, as she over cooks it, aggravates an old injury and limps in, it was wise not to. It was still a very promising performance though and shows what she’s capable of.

While she is getting faster, I’m clearly going in the opposite direction. I once hurtled around here in sub 1:14 but today I’m almost at 1:24. That’s running up the down escalator of life for you. Overall I’m satisfied though and they do hand me a bottle of Nottingham EPA at end.

(Friday 21st June)

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Crunch time! ONLY 1,000 entries to go!

On Monday I have a Committee Meeting as we build up towards our Summer Show at the end of July.

Tuesday I have dog training while L goes to Running Club. She has an Agility, Balance and Coordination Session. So it sounds like the Lad and her are doing pretty much the same workout.

I have an enquiry from a Borderdoodle to join the club, well from its owner. L immediately says she wants one. Which is pretty much the standard response to any puppy photo. They are, however, a lot of money for a mongrel and it’ll only jump the dog gate to eat the post. I’d also expect a tail for that sort of money. 

Subject to what some might say, I have actually forgiven the Lad for not having a tail (sort of). I’m not sure that L has yet forgiven him for not being a spaniel. She does say she has but I'm not allowed to tell him.

I cycle to work on Wednesday. L meanwhile is in London for work. Some have called her a workaholic. In her rush to get to the free biscuits in First Class she seems to have failed to put up the barricade to dog proof the dog gate. I don’t find any postal damage when I get home but I assume the Lad spent the day upstairs.

Thursday is tennis for both L and me. She joins in our warm up before heading off to her own session.

The Brighton Marathon emails to say it’s ‘Crunch time! ONLY 1,000 entries to go!’. I’m keen to do it but I’m waiting for the girls to make up their minds. L’s sister appears to be panicking that L might be serious about entering.  
 
L then tells me ‘If you're entering, I'm entering’. That’s fighting talk. I suppose whether L enters or not is down to whether I click on the clink that is current open in my browser.

She says to ‘Go ahead and click’. So I do. Cue ‘Wow! OMG! Panic! I shall just tell my sister’. Seconds later they are both in. Now ONLY 997 entries to go

Now as she says she just got to get off her bum and train for it. Not that she’s ever sat on her bum. Slumped on her side asleep in the evenings perhaps but on her bum, never. She’s always walking, running, gyming, swimming, tennis-ing somewhere etc etc.

(Thursday 20th June)

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Retirement Reminder

We have a bit of a manic day on Saturday. Heading over to Alvaston to Parkrun before rushing back to Nottingham to see L’s sister run on Wollaton Park in the 10k. It was not a race that L or my ankles fancied.

Then we head over to Bramcote Hills for our second Orienteering session in only a few weeks. Unlike the one at Wollaton Park, that I found quite straightforward, this one reminds me why I retired from Orienteering. Mainly that they will find the most obscure places to hide the controls even when it’s supposed to be a beginner’s event like today's. Then they give you a map that was too small for my eyesight 15 years ago let alone now.

In the evening we pub crawl Beeston or at least try to. Many of the pubs are so full that we can’t get in the door.

Sunday is Father’s Day. L visits her Dad in hospital while I visit mine at home before my brother takes him off to Driving Range.

In the evening I go for a track session at the Velodrome for the first time in four months. My legs confirm that it certainly feels like four months, so I best not leave it so long next time.

(Sunday 16th June)

Friday, 14 June 2019

Not Just Hairy But Wet Too

This evening we have our third attempt at the Hairy Helmet which I’m surprised is even going ahead given the weather and local councils tendency to cancel things. Darley Park is known for being a bit of a mud bath at times and it’s done nothing but rain all week. However the organisers have assured us that the council have given them the go ahead with only minor tweaks to the course. That probably means it’s going to be laps around the car park because the grass is too muddy.

It’s actually sunny when I start walking across from work but that doesn’t last and the rain soon joins the party, naturally, but it’s not as torrential as it has been the rest of the week.

L says she’s nervous but then she’s always nervous. I tell her she’ll be fine once she’s had her free gin from the White Peak Distillery but she says she’s feeding that to MD. I'm not sure that would help his inherent nervousness.

Our team in the same as last year although we are now in the Super Vets category (combined aged 200+ as we add up to 201). I will go first, L’s friend second, Daughter third and L fourth doing the lap of honour. 

It goes well, despite the rain and at least we aren't dressed as dinosaurs as one poor team is.

We go for a debrief and a drink in the Furnace afterwards.

(Friday 14th June)

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Some Sort Of Record

On Monday Dog TV is missing one of its star performers. The Lad is nowhere to be seen. Panning the camera around I can see he’s not in the kitchen and both of the doors in the hall are firmly shut. I can’t see if he’s got into the lounge but I think it would be unlikely he’d got that door open. So, that leaves just one option. I imagine he’s chilling on the bed upstairs having jumped the stair gate. I guess we knew that was coming. MD doesn't look as though he's missing him in the least.

On Tuesday I put the dog cage by the gate and the Lad seems to spend all day sulking in the not-best bed, ceding possession of this to MD who is still in it come 2:30pm, which is some sort of record.

It takes him until Wednesday to finish plotting his escape. When I get home from work he meets me at the door and demonstrates just how much easier the cage makes it for him to jump over and nibble the mail. Time for another rethink.

We have a tallish shoe rack, which covered by a blanket, now becomes the barrier between the Lad and the comfy bed upstairs. It seems to be working at the moment.

Elsewhere this is a week of cancellations. Monday’s dogging is cancelled because it’s too wet although Wednesday’s goes ahead. L’s run with her friends is cancelled on Wednesday although their post-run social still goes ahead and her tennis is off on Thursday although that isn’t weather related. L goes to run club instead, in the rain. The current persistent rain is simply surreal.

(Thursday 13th June)

Saturday, 8 June 2019

The Carnival of Running Without The Carnival

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Today we travel down to Market Harborough for their Carnival of Running. This consists of four races - a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon and a fun run. All the races start from Robert Smyth Academy and finish on Symington Recreation Ground in the centre of town where they are holding a Carnival.

Well they were holding a Carnival but when we get there we find that the wet weather has put paid to that. There will be no Carnival but they aren’t letting us get out of the run.

Of the main three races the 5k is started first, then the 10k and finally the half marathon. This means I am chasing down L and Daughter who are in the 10k and have been given a head start. I am in the half. 

The route starts off by doing a three mile loop around the town centre before heading out into the countryside. Although I catch L about two miles in, I’m struggling to catch Daughter before the two routes split just after the four mile point. I catch her in time, just.

The weather has been ‘challenging’ throughout but gets worse as I get near the end of the half marathon. The last mile is all downhill but that doesn’t help much when the conditions become biblical. As I do a final lap of the field there is almost nobody left to clap me in, not even Noah and his Ark. They are all sheltering somewhere. L and Daughter text to say they are in a coffee shop. Thanks for the support girls but I’d have probably done the same.

Timewise, I run 1:50. Not great.

(Saturday 8th June)

Friday, 7 June 2019

Don't Talk To Me About Railways

June starts wet and on Sunday I dodge the showers on the park while L dodges them on the back lawn with the mower. It has set in totally by the time we play tennis at 1pm but we go ahead anyway. It is fairly treacherous. Afterwards we head over to visit L’s Dad in hospital and then stop for Sunday lunch on the way back at the Nurseryman.

Monday brings the latest bout of A52 roadworks. The access road to Pride Park from Nottingham is closed for 13 weeks and the Derby bound exit is shut for a mammoth 13 months. With Ascot Drive closed as well, I opt for the bike. It’s a good decision although even cycling to work wasn’t pleasant as Chaddesden was basically a car park.

On Tuesday I risk the bus which isn’t too bad as closing the Pride Park exit actually makes it easier getting through to Pentagon Island.

The main reason I’m on the bus is I have a night out planned with my friends from school. I meet one of them in the Alexandra, where we shelter from yet more rain, before meeting the other at the Cosy Club. Which is a novel variation for us but sadly almost everything foodwise is off, so they must have been expecting me. We got something half decent in the end.

Wednesday, I’m back on the bike which is windy but dry. L and Daughter run in the evening while I go dog training for the second time this week after already having done so on Monday.

On Thursday I finally risk the car and survive to tell the tale. The journey does take longer but it’s not excessive. Getting to Sainsbury’s at lunch time however is another matter entirely but, on the upside, when I do get there there’s hardly anyone one there and there’s loads of reduced stuff. I guess these roads works aren’t doing much for their trade.

My tennis is off because my opponent has gone for a wet and windy weekend in Wales, which sounds romantic. Although I can't imagine him doing romantic. L’s tennis is on as usual.


After work on Friday, I meet L at Quad as she gets me to a Derby Book Festival event and at my recommendation she joins me in going to a talk by Simon Jenkins. Jenkins is a Guardian columnist who has in the past been editor of both the Evening Standard and The Times. 

He writes an awful lot of sense about current affairs and politics in general but in particularly about Brexit. As he released a book called 'A Short History of Europe' in October last year I was obviously expecting a talk along those lines but no. Jenkins is introduced as apparently being sick of talking about Europe and he is going to do a talk on another of his books 'Britain's Hundred Best Railway Stations' which he released in 2017 instead. Oh. Somewhat disappointed is an understatement.

Jenkins is a bit of a railways fan, who has served on the boards of both British Rail and London Transport, and it is interesting but seriously?

(Friday 7th June)

Saturday, 1 June 2019

The Return Of Orienteering...

It’s another short week where we start back at work on a Tuesday. I go dogging on Wednesday and have a game of tennis on Tuesday, our first of the season. Of course L is an all seasons girl as regards her tennis.

She comes down and warms up with us before her own warm up with the guys and gals from her tennis class before the tennis class itself an hour later. That's plenty of tennis!

It’s very windy for our game as it was when I cycled to work earlier. Afterwards the dogs are pleased to find their Thursday pub visit reinstated.

Saturday takes us to the new Alvaston parkrun. This is their second one and our first time here. The course is a bit on the dull side because apparently the council gave them a long list of bits of the park they couldn’t use for various reasons (most of it) but the course actually works very well.

The parking is a little bit bizarre in the car park of Derby Homes, where they lock your car in while you’re running and then don’t open it again until there around 50 of you banging on the gates. They say they’ll be locking it for good at 10:30 which isn’t good news for trade in the park’s cafe. I don’t trust them and move the car, just in case.

Part two of the day sees us orienteering for the first time in over a decade. Ironically at Daughter’s request but she misses it as she’s in Manchester watching the Elton John film. I don't think that's the only reason she's gone. 

The orienteering is on Wollaton Park and I reckon I can't get lost on Wollaton Park... but who knows. The map does enlighten me to things I didn’t know existed, such as a random mini lake near one of the car parks but then when I’m there, stood on the sport, with the map in my hand, I’m still not convinced it exists.

I do two courses in the time that L does one, thanks to Lad power. I even, sort of, enjoyed it.

Then for part three L heads over to Derby Book Festival and gets home just as I head off to the Rescue Rooms.

Fatherson are not a new band, having been formed in 2010 and having recorded three albums, but they are new to me. They come from Kilmarnock and seem to have quite a following, many of whom are packed in down the front tonight.

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They open impressively, blowing everyone away with their first song but after the simplicity of the opening number they went a bit arty after that and also a touch robotic, losing a lot of the audience in the process. They’d probably grow on me in time but tonight I felt like I’ve overdosed on them a touch by the end of their half hour or perhaps I was just desperate to get on with the main event.

It’s another box ticked tonight as I finally get to see the Futureheads live, who I totally missed out on when they were in the pomp even missing them at Leicester’s Summer Sundae Festival in 2010 despite having a ticket because I went to the football... Shortly afterwards they went all Acapella on us before disappearing completely, seemingly without trace.


I wasn’t confident we'd see the four Mackems back together and on stage again but here they are, bursting into ‘Yes/No’ from the ‘News And Tributes’ album and seemingly with renewed enthusiasm, which is very infectious. Next comes ‘Area’, bizarrely a top 20 hit from 2005 on the back of a famous cover version they once did. Things are rocking now as ‘Struck Dumb’ and ‘Meantime’ furiously tumble forth. 


Then it’s a pause for breath and a new song ‘Good Night Out’ sung by Ross Millard, then it’s back to Barry Hyde for ‘Decent Days and Nights’.

Another new song ‘Listen Little Man’ and then already we seem to be hurtling towards the finale. The other Hyde, Dave on drums, clearly working from a different setlist plays ‘Radio Heart’ but everyone else plays ‘HeartBeat Song’ which is outstanding, then it’s a particular favourite of mine, the gorgeous, ‘Back to the Sea’ before a fast flowing triple whammy of ‘Skip to the End’, ‘The Beginning of the Twist’ and ‘Carnival Kids’ bring things to close.


We’re all exhausted but they’ve only been going 45 minutes. Earlier Hyde seem to know exactly how many days it was since they’d last played Nottingham, although I’ve no idea if he was correct. He promised to make up for it by making this show last three weeks, which Millard pointed out would be a bit difficult give the 10pm curfew. So, on reflection guys, 45 minutes seems.. well... a bit brief?


The encore is perhaps a little odd. Opening, fair enough, with comeback single ‘Jekyll’ but then continues with two cover versions. Firstly the Television Personalities 'A Picture of Dorian Gray' which they covered on their ‘1-2-3-Nul!’ EP back in 2003 and then yes, they do still play Kate Bush's 'Hounds Of Love'. The song which sort of made their name but you have to say they have plenty material of their own that they could have played which far surpasses it.

This stretches out the gig to an hour but they still finish 30 minutes inside the curfew. In their defence they do look drained, having put their all into it and it is so good to have them back.


I meet L afterwards for a drink in first the Overdraught and then the Blue Monkey.

(Saturday 1st June)