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

Sunday 28 July 2019

First And Last

I return to Locko Park on Thursday for more dog show preparation and I even have sun cream on. Although this doesn’t seem to stop the insect bites. Bizarrely after two days of setting up in the heat, it then rains for most of the weekend when the event is actually on.

L arrives late on Thursday and complains she can’t find our motor home. She’s such a card. I have three kegs of beer and plenty of bottles of wine to take her mind off the camping.

Foodwise the club are laying on meals for Friday (steak and salad) and Saturday (Thai buffet). We manage to get a local Indian Restaurant to deliver us a curry on the Thursday.

The show goes very well from the club’s point of view and also very well for the Lad. It was his first proper show and I was worried he would be too distracted by all the other dogs there. I had my doubts about whether he would stay in his competition ring but he was brilliant. He had six runs in the 'baby' class and in one of them he set the fastest time but had a pole down so came 11th. Then in another he got a trophy for 3rd place. If we hadn’t done a massively wide turn on the last jump I think he would have won it.

Conversely it was MD’s last show before moving into the Veteran class. He was running at a height lower than what he should be jumping at, a practice which will be outlawed from next year, and he got a rosette for 2nd place.

(Sunday 28th July)

Wednesday 24 July 2019

An Embarrassing Moment

Checking this year’s Thunder Run results ‘our’ team of five seems to have gone ahead with only four of them and they did 14 laps. There was a big gap in the middle overnight where I assume no one went round. I think we were well out of that.

On Tuesday, L is working in London where there are so many police around. She seems quite pleased to have been searched by a very cute police dog. I assume they were checking she wasn’t off to bomb Boris.

It’s very hot and sweaty on the bike when I cycle in to work. It’s also very embarrassing on the way home when I couldn’t unclip my foot from my pedal at QMC Island and had to opt to topple sideways onto the grass verge. It seems one of the bolts securing the cleat to my shoe has come out meaning the cleat now just spins, leaving my shoe stuck on the pedal.

It was a right pain to prize it off the pedal when I get home but I manage it eventually without damaging anything.

I am then off work for the rest of the week and spend the whole of Wednesday at Locko Park, getting sunburnt and insect bitten, where we setting up for our dog show this weekend.
I manage to get away early evening because L and Daughter have talked me into doing
‘The Run’ with them. We have done this several times before. Four years in a row in fact from 2008 to 2011 but not since. It starts from the Navigation Inn in Breaston and is a 4 mile run.

We used to get a mug for doing it, in the first three years, and it still seems a rather retro venture by only having a postal entry form. Which they seem to have photocopied and uploaded upside down.

Unfortunately L can barely walk so doesn’t run and Daughter is injured too, so I end up doing a run I was only doing this because those two were but I enjoy it. At 29:32 I was only a minute slower than my 2011 time when I recall I was injured, although a full four minutes slower than my best in 2010.

(Wednesday 24th July)

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


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

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

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)