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

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Life Without Garmin

Garmin's servers have been down since Thursday after an alleged Ransomware attack and their services are only just now coming back online. That is for some people but clearly not for me. I’ve recently received a replacement watch from Garmin but I still can’t use it. Well, I can use it but the data's not going anywhere. A bit like my training really. 

The London Marathon still fails to make a decision on whether to go ahead on their new date of  4th October or not. They are allegedly still working on how they can socially distance the race. Give it up guys, it's not going to happen.

Anything London can do, Brighton of course can top it. Especially for vagueness. Brighton send out an email admitting that it is not feasible to stage the marathon 'as we had hoped', yet they tell us they are planning to stage 'part' of the Brighton Marathon Weekend in a 'unique and revised socially distanced, COVID-19 compliant format'. They just don’t say what...

It’s as clear as mud and their Facebook page is instantly on fire with abuse. Both races should have sorted all this out months ago.

Tennis goes ahead on Tuesday with the Tennis Centre now back open and the booking system reverted to the long winded rubbish one. I have spent most of the week watching the Battle of the Brits Team Tennis tournament which has been awesome but doesn’t seem to have done anything for my own game. The match itself turns out to be possibly the windiest of games ever.

As all the Council’s Leisure Centres start to reopen, they announce they won’t be taking any membership payments until 7th September. So everything will be free until then. No wonder they’re asking the Government for more money.

L and Daughter go out on a run and prove that Green's Windmill is not a hoax. It does actually exist. We’ve been in Nottingham all these years and have never seen it.

On Wednesday Bosch send out an engineer to look at our useless new vacuum cleaner. The chap unblocks it with a nifty gadget that doesn’t come in the box, then checked the motor and proclaimed it fine. He wasn’t very interested when I showed him how poor the suction was even after he’d unblocked it. Instead he told me to return the machine to the retailer, who isn’t interested.

(Wednesday 29th July)

Sunday, 26 July 2020

As If It's 2019

From Friday face coverings become compulsory in all the shops which all comes too late to help the first cat to catch the virus.

I bike to work and while I’m out Hermes sneak round and actually deliver a parcel rather than their usual tactic of just pretending they’ve delivered it. They send me a photo of it hanging half in half out of our letterbox which is slightly worrying but, hopefully, it’ll still be there when I get home. The thing is, it was definitely our letterbox which is significant progress for them and, in another twist for the better, when I get home it turns out the driver had actually pushed the parcel through the letterbox once they’d photographed it. So good Hermes drivers do exist.

Saturday was the day that probably no one was begging for, the day you could finally get back on the treadmill at your local gym.

In the evening we have our first Saturday night out since March in the Organ Grinder and on Sunday we take my Parents out for lunch in the Dog and Duck at Shardlow. The Dog and Duck is the first place we’re been where they aren’t doing table service and they ask you to queue at the bar old style as if it's 2019. The difference being that this now has to be at two metres distance, which stretches half way around the pub. To me they seem to be applying the shopping rules and not the pub rules but no one appears to be checking.

Meanwhile Daughter reveals the exciting news that she’s been for a Covid test. It was negative.

(Sunday 26th July)

Thursday, 23 July 2020

The Dandy Highwayman

This is the week that L starts keeping a hammer by her bedside. I ask if it’s something I’ve said but apparently it’s a workout thing.

On Monday I head to Sainsbury’s wearing my mask. Personally, I find it all quite exciting, like a kid playing at being Dick Turpin, either that or Adam Ant. The dandy highwayman who you were too scared to mention. He, however, was spending the cash on looking flash and grabbing your attention rather than alcohol free Prosecco, a fresh coriander and the rest of the week shop.

Apparently it's a ‘bit too sunny’ for tennis are Tuesday, there really is no pleasing some people, but we play anyway.

After work I head over to Derby to meet a friend in the Exeter, which was one of the few pubs that was open on a Tuesday. At the Exeter you use a QR code to sign up to their Track And Trace then you’re supposed to use their website to order your drinks and food. The second bit however proves to be an almighty faff and we hail a member of staff instead.

On the way over the Red Arrow is really busy with all but one person wearing a mask and the driver in his special Trent Barton branded one. The Red Arrow isn’t running in the evenings at the moment so I have to get the i4 back which is a lot quieter with very few masks in use.

I get the 'pleasure' of doing an extra Asda shop this week as my brother is away. For some reason he felt the need to join all the hordes already down on the south coast. I take the shopping over to my parents and stay to watch Derby win 3-1 at Birmingham City in what was the final match of the season.

(Thursday 23rd July)

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Seventeen Years Of ‘Hurt’

I bike to work. It was a touch warm and only likely to get warmer for my ride back.

Our Great Leader keeps shouting at everyone to go back to work but I’m not sure many people are listening. There's little evidence of it here on Pride Park and the traffic is wonderfully light. The thing is most of us have been wanting to work from home for years and generally haven’t been trusted to do so. Now finally we’ve got our wish and our companies seem quite happy about it. I have settled into a routine now of going in every Friday, weather permitting e.g. so that I can cycle.

L cricks her back doing yoga to add to the problem of her not-quite-fractured elbow. Yet she plans to take the dogs for a yomp around the park later which probably isn’t going to help much.

Nottingham’s 40th Anniversary Robin Hood Half Marathon is cancelled.

Derby’s bad run continues on Saturday with defeat to already promoted Leeds which has ended seventeen years of ‘hurt’ for them since they were relegated from the Premier League back in 2003. I hope they don’t find it too painful being back up there. Although I might not mean that.

We spend Sunday night in a very chilled out Borlase, I do really like this table service idea.

(Sunday 19th July)

Thursday, 16 July 2020

All Be Over In Time For Christmas

Monday I run 10k with the Lad, over the bridge by the University and then across the park picking up MD for the final sprint to the line.

L has now started into a routine of going out in the real world (aka into work) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Leaving me alone with the boys who spend most of their time trying to look bored but I don’t think they are really.

Derby lose again on Tuesday, this time at Cardiff.

On Wednesday I play Tennis for the first time this year and over lunch which is just so metropolitan. Not that the Tennis Centre has given us much choice as they are only open until 6pm which seems jobist but then it’s the council, so what do you expect. I emailed them a couple of weeks ago and asked why they weren’t open later given we have light nights at the moment and that some of us are still at work but got no response.

That said they’ve contracted the booking out to the LTA’s Spark Tennis which has a much easier booking system than the council. Two clicks rather than twenty-two and because the rest of the centre is closed they even email you the exit code for the car park barrier. L has the car so I bike down to the courts which is so easy, literally taking five minutes across the university.

Thursday is my fortnightly trip to Mordor aka Asda on behalf of my parents. It is tempting to go in full scrubs and a little comforting that shopping in a mask will be compulsory from next Friday. Why they are not being made compulsory immediately and we are being given such a long period to get used to the idea is anyone’s guess. As I suppose is why they weren’t made compulsory back in March.

Despite these new measures our Great Leader reckons it’ll ‘all be over in time for Christmas’. Didn’t they say that about the First World War?

(Thursday 16th July)

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Covid And Rice

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor and the only member of the Government that anyone likes, announces that the state will paying for 50% of our food bill if we eat out mid-week during August. Err, Ok, I think we can handle a bit of Covid and rice to get the economy going.

He is also going to pay your boss £1000 if he brings you back from Furlough. This all will, of course, further enhance his likeability until he, inevitably, asks for this money back at some point.

I bike to work on Friday and tackle the new ‘improved’ roundabout on the Wyvern that now seems to be complete. The roundabout now has traffic lights on it, it didn’t before, and unfortunately they are not bike friendly. It proves impossible to cycle between the sets of lights before they change. I guess I’m supposed to get back on the cycle path\pavement where I belong.

In other news we now have a water cooler at work, L has been for that novelty knows a haircut, Daughter’s been for a drug test (for her new job) and Friday nights at home are back. Oh and my Brother’s puppy has eaten a sock, ending up at the vets to have it removed. How we remember those days, although we usually didn't know something has been eaten until it emerged from the other end.

On Saturday Derby lose again, at home to Brentford, and on Sunday we have a pleasant night out at the Borlase, enjoying their table service.

(Sunday 12th July)

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Five Miles Naked

I run on Sunday but my watch chucks in the towel before I do. It just won’t charge up over 25% at the moment and I will attempt to get Garmin to replace it.

We take our first post Lockdown trip to the pub after they reopened on Saturday. We go to the Scribblers and the Organ Grinder after walk past Rock City's new car park garden. Blue Monkey were really on the money at the Organ Grinder where we have our temperature checked on entry and the staff were in full PPE. It was a bit more relaxed at the Scribblers but both could do with taking arrival\departure times and party size to be more helpful to Track and Trace.
On Tuesday I attempt to put another foot into the new normal with a game of tennis but this, just like in the old normal, is cancelled by the weather. We will try again next week.

On Wednesday after wins against a load of mid table teams who had nothing to play for, Derby come unstuck when they play second placed West Bromwich Albion and lose 2-0. Unfortunately, they now have to play quite a few of the top sides before the end of the season.

On Thursday L goes for an x-ray on her fractured elbow at her GP's insistence which is almost as exciting as being locked down but it comes up negative. The good news is she won’t be put in plaster but the bad news is there’s no cure other than rest and self physio.

We have the painters in this week, painting the hall and an upstairs bedroom, which curtails our movements around the house somewhat but the dogs seem to have adapted quite well to kipping in their baskets which are now my home office.

The Lad is up for run after spending all day stuck in an office with me and we go out on Thursday to run five miles naked, as in without my Garmin which has gone back to be replaced.

(Thursday 9th July)

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Joan Of Arc

Derby keep their unbeaten run going with a very late equaliser in a 1-1 against local rivals Nottingham Forest. It comes so late that apparently one Forest supporter had already chucked himself in the canal in celebration.

In the evening we watch (well, I did) a film about Joan of Arc in French with subtitles with 50% of the rental price going to Broadway Cinema.

It is 1429 and the Hundred Years War between France and England for the French throne had already got over one hundred years von the clock. Believing herself to be chosen by God, Joan of Arc (Lise Leplat Prudhomme), leads the army of the King Charles VII of France.

In the aftermath of several victories including the lifting of the siege of Orléans, Joan was eager to continue her mission of killing the English but the French King was less keen. He was pretty much happy to settle for what he'd got, leaving Joan and her followers basically standing around in a sand dune talking long windily about what they'd rather do. The budget was clearly not that great.

One would perhaps have liked to see a spot of medieval warfare at this point but there is none or indeed a bit more background on the situation in England and France at the time but it is assumed you already know this. Instead the film leaps to Joan’s capture, imprisonment, and trial by the pro-English nobility on charges of heresy.

The scenes of her trial in Rouen are even more long winded than those in the dunes, as her accuses constantly try to force a confession out of her while she constantly refuses to deviate from her line that she is God's chosen one.

This stalemate produces an endlessly slow crawl to the conclusion that we all know is coming and it is only sort of broken up by the occasional surreal musical number and some deadpan comedy by the two guards outside Joan’s prison cell. A cell that looks like a concrete bunker left over from World War II and probably is.

The idea of the film is perhaps to highlight the preposterousness of it all, with a lead actress who looks about twelve not only leading an army but being on trial by the French state. Not too sure why it had to be done in such an alienating style though. It’s an experiment that I think I wished I hadn't been part of and perhaps invites comparisons with being burnt at the stake. Comparisons that I won’t make.

Friday, 3 July 2020

The IT Man

L is out there in the Covid infected big wild world this week, at work, ploughing through hundreds of neglected emails. Where she claims to have hardly seen anyone except for those clearing out the office across the corridor from her, emptying their desks, taking their computers home, and waving goodbye to L as they pass.

It will save that company a fortune in office space and it'll save the staff a fortune in travel, parking fees and childcare. This new normal is going to be quite interesting. There won’t even be an IT man on site anymore, so it’s a good job L has her own IT man on tap.

I’m not too sure I like the new normal at Sainsburys. Although I can now buy some things again that haven’t been on the shelves for a while, there are still at least twenty things I usually buy that are still not available. When, for instance, are curried beans coming back?

Nottingham City Council Leisure aka Active Nottingham Online launch their online exercise classes. You would say that they are perhaps, as ever, a little late to the party but at least they’re here now.

Derby win again on Wednesday, 1-0 at Preston, launching perhaps a improbable late tilt at the Play Offs.

The Lad is missing the still at work L and frustrated at my refusal to play with him constantly. He keeps emphasising his displeasure by jabbing his really sharp nose into my stomach while I’m trying to work.

On Friday I bike to work which I said I would only do if the weather was good. So naturally I have light drizzle in the morning and more persistent rain when I cycle home later. With L in work too in the morning and then visiting her parents in the afternoon the dogs are home alone for a whole day for the first time in months. That’s a shock to their system.

(Friday 3rd July)