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

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Life's What You Make It

On Monday, an apple and a slice of toast mysteriously disappear off the worktop. On Tuesday, an apple and a tomato mysteriously disappear off the worktop. I’m really not sure L feeds that dog. By Wednesday, L seems to have learnt her lesson.

On Monday I meet a chap from Nottingham City Homes to chat about the damage their lack of gardening next door has caused to our fence. He says it’s our fault for only telling them a year ago rather than two years ago when the problem first became apparent. As they did nothing when I told them anyway, I can’t see how this is a get out clause.

The boys are thrilled to have two people to turn up and kick balls but not so thrilled when we don’t stay long.

Derby are at Forest in the evening and lose. I don’t waste my money by paying to watch it on TV.

On Tuesday Mark Hollis of Talk Talk fame dies. Oh no. That’s very sad and ends my hopes of them reforming. Which was admittedly a distant hope given that he’d given it up performing for his family over 20 years ago.

“Life's what you make it, celebrate it, anticipate it, yesterday's faded, nothing can change it, life's what you make it.”

On Wednesday, I cycle for what is the first time in ages, I’m such a waster. There’s no Dogging in the evening because I go Tuesday instead so that after work on Wednesday we can duct tape the cheese and hide the cake before heading down to Luton Airport where we are staying in the Holiday Inn overnight before flying to Warsaw in the morning.

(Wednesday 27th February)

Sunday, 24 February 2019

The Battle Of Naseby

Today I take part in the Battle of Naseby, originally held on the 14th June 1645 as the finale to the Civil War between Oliver Cromwell’s lot and King Charles I’s lot. Now re-enacted, of sorts, across 16.45 miles of rolling Northamptonshire countryside. They call it ideal marathon preparation.

The all road route takes in numerous memorials and viewpoints of the battle but as I haven’t packed by guidebook a lot of it passes me by. Anyhow this is all about getting the ideal marathon preparation in.

I record 2:21:51 for the unusual distance, an average of 8:40 per mile. Way below my 8:00 pace at Prestwold but inside my intended 9:00 marathon pace, so probably about where I need to be. Just need to add another 10 miles to it.

It was a pleasant little event despite the orange race t-shirt.

Back at home I book wrong the flights for Norway, getting the return date wrong by 24 hours. Oops. It takes a phone call to sort it out and surprisingly it doesn’t cost me anything.

In the evening we go to Harts Restaurant in Nottingham which is somewhere I’ve never been although L is close to being a regular there through her boss. It is possibly our last chance to experience the restaurant itself which is closing although there will be a new smaller restaurant inside the hotel.

Things don’t start off that well when they leave us loitering in the foyer for ages and then tell us the Seabream is off and has been replaced by cod, which isn’t quite the same. It’s a decent meal though which I round off with a cheeseboard and we share a bottle of red.

Afterwards we pop into the Borlase where they have Buttermuch on.

(Sunday 24th February)

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Self-Deprecating Humour

L responds to my query about whether she enjoyed herself at the gym on Friday morning by saying she did but she felt less gym bunny and more gym bag. Ha ha. I do love the self-deprecating humour.

In the evening I offer her a run. Yes, with me! Like the old days, a retro one around our old loop. The Derby Road loop circa 1997. She says she's happy to take the dogs. I say I’m happy to not take the dogs...

We go dog free and it seems to go well. Just like the old days we end up in bed afterwards where we finally break open the bottle of Grey Goose from Christmas.

On Saturday we head over and do Leamington parkrun. L’s done it a few times but it’s the first time Daughter and I have done it. The off road course isn’t as bad as I feared because the ground is very firm. Afterwards we meet Son and his gf for breakfast in the delightfully named Fat Birds Café.

In the evening we do our second Beer Festival in eight days as we head over to the Derby Beer Festival for a ‘moderate’ session. I do have a sixteen and a half mile run tomorrow but this strategy seemed to work quite well at Prestwold last weekend. 

My beers - Brass Castle Saltwater Taffy Brown Bitter 4.5% (N. Yorks), Yeovil Night Train Porter 6.0% (Somerset), Downlands Devils Dyke Porter 5.0% (West Sussex), Double Top Madhouse Porter 5.2% (Notts) and Harbour Puppy Porter 4.6% (Cornwall).

L’s beers - Brass Castle Quench Pale Ale 3.2% (N. Yorks), Black Storm Porter 5.2% (Tyne & Wear) and Brass Castle Saltwater Taffy Brown Bitter 4.5% (N. Yorks).

(Saturday 23rd February)

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Useful For The Female In Your Life

On Monday morning the park is still locked when we get there. The boys and I walk aimlessly up and down the street for fifteen minutes but no one turns up to unlock it. It’s Half Term, the world goes mad.

L sends me shopping for mincemeat and I am laughed out of Sainsbury’s because it’s February. So, you can buy hot crossed buns all year round but apparently you can only buy mincemeat in December.

L and Daughter go to running club for a spot of intimidation. L has seen that they’ve been putting stuff on Facebook about running nine minute miles tonight and thinks they will try to lose them. I tell her not to be so pessimistic but she turns out to be right, they get dumped. I’m not sure they’ll be going back again.

Thankfully on Tuesday the park in open as usual. So, the boys are relieved. I get to cycle to work in the quiet half term traffic while L looks after the carpet fitters who are doing our back room. In the evening it’s dogging and L also heads over to Derby to see her folks but on the bus. Naturally the three of us don’t think she’s avoiding us.

On Wednesday, my colleague and I take advantage of the usual ‘Wednesday Wow’ at the Yard (2 for 1 pizzas) but find out they have revamped the menu. There’s now a lot more choice but there are also way too many random vegetables chucked into the mix for no good reason. Do artichokes, aubergine, avocado, spinach etc really go well on a pizza?

Derby have a game on Wednesday evening but lose a dire match 1-0 to Millwall. Meanwhile L and Daughter attempt a dog run but abort it when the Lad legs Daughter down. It’s not been a very good running week for them.

Thursday is my long run day and I run home from work again. I have been looking at getting a new Garmin but I’ve not made a decision yet. By the time I’ve decided what I want my marathon will be done and dusted. I do see they now do a watch that tells you how stressed you are... very useful for the female in your life. 
After our various activities, L is again at tennis, we crack open a few cans of Guinness Mid-Strength. At 2.8% ABV the 660ml cans work out at 1.8 alcohol units each. So hardly alcohol free but actually rather pleasant. Perhaps a slight upgrade on the Mackeson, which is also 2.8%.

(Thursday 21st February)

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Inventive Looping

Today I do the Leicestershire Half Marathon which is the rather curious name they have given to a race that starts and finishes at Prestwold Hall. Which is, granted, in Leicestershire but then so are countless other places…
It is organised by RunThrough who specialise in events that make you run through places repeatedly. This one is centred on Prestwold Driving Centre which is right next door to the hall and is just ripe for doing laps of.

It actually turns out better than I expected with the start\finish in front of the hall and even a trip out on to real roads, the only issue there was we had to do a short cross country section to get there. Then we finished off with some inventive looping of the Driving Centre e.g. they didn’t just make us go round. They were quite cunning and made us double back on ourselves and stuff like that.

Anyhow I must have done ok because my time of 01:44:57 can only be bettered in the last twelve month by my Robin Hood time. I even, sort of, enjoyed it. Not so L who seemed to have a traumatic time with the boys. Which makes her take the Lad out on a ‘training’ walk once we get home.

In the evening we are at Broadway where I stumble across Vanilla Gorilla, which wasn’t available at the beer festival last night. We watch 'A Private War' which is the story Marie Colvin (Rosamund Pike), the long time Sunday Times war correspondent of whom I was an occasional avid reader (now there's a contradiction).

Colvin, as with most war correspondents, risked her life to report from the front line but she often went where others feared to tread. Over the years she became a legendary figure who lost an eye to shrapnel in Sri Lanka in 2001 but, once she’d recovered, went back to reporting wearing an eyepatch like a badge of honour.

The film covers Colvin’s career up to her death in Homs in 2012 where she was in a building that the Syrian government shelled. At the time she was in Syria to prove that, despite what Assad had said, the government were targeting civilians. She proved it conclusively with her death and still got a live report in to CNN.

The film goes back a decade or more before Homs and keeps us informed of where we are with rather unnecessary nagging on-screen countdowns e.g. London, England, 10 years before Homs.

Having teamed up with photographer Paul Conroy (Jamie Dornan) she travels to Fallujah where they uncover mass graves containing victims of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Then as Colvin continues to be drawn to danger zones, we see her in Afghanistan and then interviewing Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.

Her editor Sean Ryan (Tom Hollander) constantly fears for her safety and sanity but ultimately he needs her to sell newspapers and, luckily for him, her DNA constantly drove her back to the front line.

Although we do see Colvin in civilian life it is fleeting. She struggles in her relationships (Greg Wise/Stanley Tucci), suffers nightmares, drinks a lot of alcohol, is rarely without a cigarette but she does occasionally pop home to pick up an award. The implication being that her job took a great toll on her but it's not clear if this was the extent of her personal life and it would have been nice to have known more.

Rosamund Pike throws herself into the role and does a good job. The film may be more action movie than I would have liked but I still liked the film a lot. It is pro-journalist at a time when many journalists are rightly being criticised and news itself is under suspicion. Marie Colvin was one who believed in actual facts and real news.

(Sunday 18th February)

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Hucknall, At Last

On Saturday we head down to Market Harborough for their parkrun. Not only for their parkrun but because they handing out the numbers of the Naseby run I’ve entered. Picking it up now will mean less rush on the day. Then it’s home from the 12:30 kick off of Brighton v Derby in the FA Cup on BT Sport, which Derby lose.

Strangely L mentioned the Hucknall Beer Festival the other day. This is an event I have put in my diary most years but for various reasons we’ve never made it there. L and I once went up to have a look on a Sunday lunchtime many moons ago but all the beer had sold out the night before so it was a wasted trip. I think that was at the Town Hall, now it’s at the John Godber Centre. As I recall we had nice lunch and a drink in a local pub instead.

I thought that was the first running of it, so I’m surprised to hear that this year is it’s 22nd year. Making the first one in 1997. Could it have been that long ago? Possibly.

Anyhow, it’s a bit odd to have the post-race night out before the race but we go for a visit. We take the tram there with a special event ticket for £2 return. It’s the furthest I’ve ever been on the tram and it takes an age, around 45 minutes on the actual tram plus footwork at either end.

It’s a small festival, which are the best kind, but like most it lacks seats but we get a couple eventually. With it being a Saturday a lot of the most interesting beers have already sold out, such as Blue Monkey’s all new Vanilla Gorilla.

The Champion Beer of Nottinghamshire is being held here this year after being held at the Canalhouse since it’s inception in 2013 and the winner this year is a new Stout from Shipstone’s called Krubera. It is also sold out.

I have some decent beers - Harrison’s (Retford) Stout 5.3%, Brewhouse Knight Light Oatmeal Stout 5.4%, Barlow Jolly Roger Porter 5.2%, Gun Dog (Northants) Chilly Dog 4.0% and Cat Asylum (Collingham) Imperial Baltic Stout 6.3%. L sticks to Double Top (Worksop) Nelson Mild 3.5%.

We have a few chips at the festival then we get home I cook pasta to power me round tomorrow.

(Saturday 16th February)

Friday, 15 February 2019

Young Musclebound Whippersnapper

I’ve promised L for the last ten years or so that if she finds herself a personal trainer to work with her in the gym I’d pay for it. Well now she’s finally done it and I’m more than happy to pick up the tab. She also said she didn’t want some young musclebound whippersnapper but that appears to be exactly what she has found.

This looks like it will replace her 1-to-1 tennis sessions and she goes to her last one on Friday before handing in her notice and feeling like the worst person ever.

Meanwhile I do my own gym session only without a young musclebound whippersnapper.

(Friday 15th February)