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

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Storm Francis

Storm Francis scuppers Tennis while L trudgers to work in the heavy rain and even the dogs won’t go outside but they still insist on having the back door wide open. In revenge I force them out on a wild and windy walk when it calms down a bit.

More things are opening up post-lockdown and John Carroll release their swimming guidelines which require you to shower before you swim but they’re not providing the shower. I think they mean you’re supposed to shower at home before you arrive. If you go after work, as L is, does the shower you had in the morning count?

With everybody else seeming to be having a holiday I start looking at cottages for us to have a break once the schools go back, if they do go back, and things are a bit quieter.

Brighton confirm the cancellation of September’s Marathon and I roll my entry over to April, even though I strongly suspect that won't go ahead either.

On Wednesday I do a 'Eat Out To Help Out' with my old school chum. We have drinks in the Alexandra then a meal in the Exeter.

On Friday I go in to work again but as the weather is still so foul I opt to go in the car.

Saturday sees the start of the Tour de France that has been postponed from July. It starts in Nice and it’s anybody’s guess whether it will make it all the way to Paris in three weeks’ time given the current Covid situation in France. L’s boss is still in France and has now decided to stay even longer because the race goes through his village on Monday.

We go to a pub in the centre of Nottingham on Saturday night for the first time since they reopened. We visit the Six Barrel Drafthouse at Victoria where they aren’t doing table service and they make you queue at the bar. It's old fashioned and not terribly sensible, so I'm not sure we’ll revisit. We have a couple then pop in at the Borlase on the way back home.

We start another ‘boxset’ and watch the first of the 26 episodes that make up The Killing. We plump for the US version which is probably a mistake, as we should probably have opted for the original Danish series Forbrydelsen, but we’ll stick with it.

Probably more to our liking is Lethal White, which is just four parts over this weekend and next.

 (Sunday 30th August)

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Alfresco Dining

Friday has become my day to cycle into the office but Storm Emma, at least I think that’s what this one is called, and 45mph winds means cycling to work isn’t really advisable so I take the car instead. Rather worryingly about 80% of our staff seem to be back in the office, which makes social distancing a bit tricky. Luckily in the broom cupboard, my new office, it’s just me.

On Saturday after her Pilates, L meets some friends at Elvaston Park and I meet them there later with the dogs. Unfortunately just as I arrive everyone else is running for cover when the rain that has been threatening all morning arrives in style.

In the evening we have booked a table in Derby Market Place’s new outdoor bar/beer garden. Given the unpredictable weather it's good that I had the forethought to book us own personal ‘shed’. They have these covered tables in huts around the perimeter which provides us with a romantic sanctuary from the rain. Some friends of mine also have their own hut.


There is a bar from the Derby Brewery and we order food from the Exeter which they bring across. They also have an interesting approach to measuring social distancing.


Afterwards we pop into the Silk Mill for a few extra beers.

On Sunday with have lunch with my Mum and Dad at the Clock Warehouse having abandoned the annoyingly busy, unsafe and dubious pricing policies of the Dog & Duck. The Clock Warehouse is much better and with table service too.

(Sunday 23rd August)

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Flea Infestation

At Sainsburys on Monday their Smartshop self scanning system isn’t working so I have to try to remember how to do the shopping old style.

Tuesday is effectively a day off with the internet going down at work meaning I can’t log in to do any work. This would have been an opportunity for a more relaxed tennis session but my opponent cancels after injuring his back tidying his garage or it could just be an excuse because the weather is looking like it could turn wet. As predicted last week.

In the evening we Eat Out To Help Out with Daughter at the Sarangbang Korean Food Café which is really good and we have a cheeky pint afterwards in the very well organised Lincolnshire Poacher.

On Wednesday, Daughter is fitted for a stab vest and other police clothing but they have delayed her start date until November. At least we think that’s what’s going to happen. They are checking for availability in the November cohort. L says it sounds more like she trying to book a table at a restaurant than start a new career.

It’s quiet in L's office particularly with her boss away in France and the rule now is that you have to quarantine for 14 days when you return from France. So he’s decided he’s staying out there a bit longer.

It’s busy in my home office with myself and two scratching dogs. We seem to be having our own pandemic at home as we currently appear to be experiencing a flea infestation.

Thursday is shopping at Asda for my folks and it’s not getting any more pleasant. It seems to me that the more at risk groups you belong to the greater the likelihood that you won’t be wearing a mask. Perhaps they are all exempt but then you’d hope that someone else would be doing their shopping for them.

Personally, I’m not sure what the problem with masks is and I think those black masks look damn sexy on the right people, I sort of regret getting a blue one now, or it may just be that you notice everyone’s eyes more.

It's also livened up the shopping experience because now you’ve only got the eyes to attempt to work out what people are thinking e.g. whether they’re going to make a sudden lurch for the ketchup in the condiments' aisle. If you’re going to pull a social distance busting manoeuvre like that then you might need to start wearing dark glasses.

(Thursday 20th August)

Sunday, 16 August 2020

The Broom Cupboard

I’m in work on Friday as I move into a new smaller office. There was once six of us in our large upstairs office but now there are only three of us so we are being moved into the broom cupboard downstairs. I just hope there’s a window and enough room for my bike.

We also now have a dishwasher at work because they want our cleaner to focus on cleaning rather than washing mugs etc. Can’t really see how that warrants a washing machine and I’m not sure anyone will use it. It’s pretty easy just to wash your own stuff in the sink.

Saturday sees L back doing Pilates at John Carroll with my masseuse taking the class. In the evening we go to Canning Circus where we split the evening between the Organ Grinder and the Borlase.

On Sunday, L and Daughter run the parkrun course at Bestwood which is an odd choice given that it’s the hilliest one in Nottingham. I join them but only to walk the dogs.

Having finally given up on the Bosch vacuum celaner and the saga about getting it fixed or replaced, we order a Dyson. 

(Sunday 16th August)

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Too Hot

Apparently masks are now required in all public indoor settings which shows what I know as I thought that was already the case from the moment it came in for shops. 

Nottingham City Council reopen John Carroll Leisure Centre but we’re all confused that it doesn’t open before 3pm but then we’ve suspected for some time that they are trying to phase the centre out.

On Monday we visit the Dog and Duck again with my Mum and Dad, helping out by eating out. We still think their queuing system is ridiculous and pointless, particularly as they seem so understaffed. They also seem to have put extra tables into cash in on the extra trade. I am in their huge queue for the second time when they announce they have no chips left. This causes about half the queue to immediately walk out of the pub in protest, presumably on their way to somewhere else, enabling me to jump almost up to the front. Every cloud... as they say.

It’s too hot for tennis on Tuesday, apparently. Personally, I’d have taken the opportunity to play as it’ll most likely rain now for the next few Tuesdays. I run instead even though it’s definitely too hot for running and I have to do so without the Lad. I only manage four miles.

Professional cycling resumes with the Tour, the Giro and La Vuelta all coming in quick succession. First though it the Dauphiné Libéré and I sign up to Eurosport to watch all four.

L is in work today but still do her online yoga session with Daughter. Yoga at your desk is just so metropolitan or something. However I’m sure the Lad is gutted he’s missing out.

His consolation is that he gets to run another 10k with me. Not that I’m training for anything as the Great South is officially cancelled.

This week I also check in with Jay’s quiz, the first time for ages.

( Thursday 13th August)

Sunday, 9 August 2020


Obviously I haven’t been to a gig since March but the weekend, well Thursday onwards, brings a threesome of streamed gigs in four days.

Or rather it was supposed to and first up was Ride who streamed their gig from Omeara, London Bridge on the Dice platform but we all watched as the display constantly froze and the stream buffered throughout the first four songs before they canned the whole thing part way into song five.

They ended up recording the whole thing ‘as live’ and then sending out a link to the show which I then watched on Sunday. So three gigs in three days then. When it finally came Ride’s show was worth waiting for. Fairly short at just thirteen songs and the thing it brought home to me was how good last year’s ‘This Is Not a Safe Place’ album is. I hadn’t bought it but I have now.

Next up on Friday were the Slow Readers Club streamed from The Met, Bury on Veeps. This was the Readers’ second live stream and they were more ambitious than Ride, playing 21 tracks.

The band have been trying to get on the road to tour their fourth album ‘The Joy Of The Return’ but have so far failed to do so with the dates now kicked back to 2021. They play plenty from that album even though it’s no longer the new kid on the block with album number five ‘91 Days In Isolation’ previewed tonight. This is material written in isolation with the band sharing compositions with each other online and it will officially be released in the Autumn.

Finally on Sunday, and now with the rescheduled Ride supporting (on my TV at least), came Frank Turner which, like Ride, was streamed on Dice but without the technical issues. He was playing at Vans for Bands, Oxford and he’d billed this as his 2500 gig after counting 14 solo shows during lockdown. Actually I think he did far more than that... but accuracy would spoil the occasion.

He’s performing with his band The Sleeping Souls for the first time in months and the proceeds will largely help them out after they took a financial hit during the pandemic.

Frank delivers of course even if it’s not quite as riotous in my lounge as it was at Rock City for his 2000th but I try my best even if it is only 16 songs from Frank.

On my night off from ‘gigging’, e.g. Saturday, we visit the Horse and Jockey in Stapleford which seems to be operating almost as normal with just a few chairs taken out of use. You’re even allowed to visit the bar. Not that I want to visit the bar as I much prefer having table service. Which means it probably won’t be top of my list to revisit.

(Sunday 9th August)

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Eat Out To Help Out

It’s time to follow the Government’s advice of losing weight and eating out to help out at the same time.

So on Monday I do a 10k run with the Lad, accompanied by MD for about the last km. Then on Tuesday we head over to meet Son in Leamington for a Rishi special. Where he informs us that his Wedding and Honeymoon have unsurprisingly been delayed again. Now scheduled for March 2021.

The powers that be will also be pleased to know I played tennis on Tuesday and nearly won a set. The second set finished 6-6 but my opponent was too knackered to play a tie break. So I imagine that will go down on his spreadsheet as a drawn set and not that he effectively conceded the whole match.

The one way system and queuing have now all gone at Asda but they have finally put plastic screens between all the self-checkouts, it’s only taken them five months. Also on the plus side mask wearing seems to have belatedly taken off although for some people this simply means that they see no need for social distancing at all.

We decide to order new parts for our garden bench. The only problem is that delivery could take up to twelve weeks as they’ve been snowed under with requests from everyone doing the same thing during Lockdown. This will at least give us more time to dismantle all the old rusty bolts off it.

The London Marathon finally admit that October’s race will be for elites only, who will have to run eighteen laps of a 1.5 miles course in St James’s Park. Nice. The mass event is cancelled and won’t run in April 2021 either. Next year’s race will be in October.

(Wednesday 5th August)

Sunday, 2 August 2020

A Trip To The Scales

Boris Johnson launches an anti-obesity drive the week before his 'Eat Out To Help Out' offer kicks into life. Advance planning does not seem to be this Government’s forte.

Fortunately Lockdown has treated my waistline well or at least I thought it had. L decides to weigh me and quickly trashes that theory. I’m now 12 stone and I’ve never been that heavy before. I can't honestly say it's Lockdown's fault as it's probably two years since I went anywhere near any scales. 

Lockdown has been good for my general health though as I’m certainly not getting coughs, sore throats, or headaches (apart from the occasional hangover) as much as I was. I reckon these things were down to exposure to bugs etc at work or on the bus.

I cycle to work on Friday, in what are hot and steamy conditions. I was well ready for my bacon roll when I arrived at work. Not that Boris or the scales would approve.

We wander up to Beeston on Saturday night and spend the evening in the newly reopened Crown. Then on Sunday L and I go for Sunday Lunch at the Nurseryman, which was the last place we ate in before Lockdown.

Daughter, meanwhile, heads to Manchester just as they put the city into a local Lockdown.

(Sunday 2nd August)