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

Friday 25 September 2020

Join The Club

Tennis is off because my opponent has gone and injured himself again. Something about setting fire to his arm but I daren’t ask for details. It was probably too sunny to play anyway. So I spend my lunchtime chucking balls.

Wednesday brings dog training while Thursday is an extra trip to Asda for my folks before handing over to my brother while we’re away for two weeks. Meanwhile L goes for a trial session at David Lloyds and she will start there after our holiday. Our TV watching continues with 'Des' about Dennis Nilson and starting David Tennant.

Friday is traumatic after MD falls down the stairs. Well he was pushed. He was stood at the top and the Lad went underneath him causing MD to lose his balance. He then barrel rolled all the way down to the bottom. It was well scary but no harm has been done it seems as he got up right away. The Lad stood at the top and watched the whole thing but didn’t look particularly concerned.

The Government pivots on its Covid strategy again. From telling us at the start of August that there was now no excuse not to go back to the office, then at the end of August to go back to the office or risk losing our jobs to now telling us to work from home again.Confused? Join the club.

You can still go to the pub, at the moment, but they have to have table service and mask wearing by staff is now compulsory. Two things that most of us thought was compulsory from day but apparently wasn’t. At least the NHS App has now finally been released.

L purchases Troubled Blood, the new Robert Galbraith, for our holiday. All 31 hours of it!

(Friday 25th September)

Monday 21 September 2020


Our second weekend away is without the dogs and Daughter is dog sitting. We head to Brighton for the non-Marathon. I felt guilty to keep moving the hotel booking every time the Marathon is cancelled and felt we should go to support the hotel.

I head to Nottingham train station on the tram, which is fairly quiet, and meet L there. As we usually do when we head south through London, we have a stop off in the Big Smoke. Although it’s not so smoky at the moment and Friday night is really quiet. Our hotel, The Crestfield, only seems to have a few rooms taken and we have booked a table at the Parcel Yard but probably didn’t need to because that is quiet too. So it's a evening with several very peaceful pints of both Fullers ESB and HSB.

We have breakfast near King's Cross which I have to order on an App. Then we get the Thames Link to Brighton although the electronic signs on the train keep insisting that we’re in Kings Lynn, they are incorrect.

Mask wearing is widespread in Brighton, however the centre of town is uncomfortably busy when we arrive but not too bad when we get down to the sea front where our hotel, which is called Nineteen, is. We have a person free check in and a nice posh room. The dogs would have approved.

On Saturday we walk up to Hove, taking in parts of the Marathon route. A lot of people seem to be running the Marathon virtually but on the same course on the same weekend. It’s oddly inspiring. For me anyway, L seems unmoved.

We have a couple of pints in a pub called The Southern Belle in Hove, but not so many that we start seeing upside down houses. 

Then we head back to what would have been my pre-race meal as we honour our booking in The Coal Shed which is a expensive steak joint but also very good.

After a trendy breakfast at Red Roasters on Sunday we walk in the opposite direction up to Saltdean. There is method to L’s madness here as we are heading to Saltdean Lido. L was desperate to swim at the Lido but we have missed the last session of the year by a week unless you’re a dog that is because it’s their annual dogs only weekend. Sadly we are without the dogs but they wouldn’t have been allowed in while we were there because it’s been booked out by the local Labrador club.

A very nice mid-afternoon pint outside the Hand Brew Pub (no inside allowed) before an evening of a few pints in the Mucky Duck and a post non-race curry at the Pavel Indian Restaurant.

Then on Monday there’s time for breakfast at Wolfox Avenue before an amble on the pier and then the train home. There are a few renegade youngsters on the train who break the social distancing that everyone else is adhering too but that is nothing to how uncomfortably busy the Nottingham Tram is. I won’t be using that again for a while.

 (Monday 21st September)

Thursday 17 September 2020

Et Voilà

On Tuesday morning, back home, we wake up without the Lad. Somehow he’s managed to get himself locked in computer room in the middle of the night.

I cycle to work and with L now back in work full time, the boys are on their own at home. She even risks a gym session.  I have to miss tennis but it would probably have been too sunny anyway.

L takes my watch, a Christmas present from her, in to Nottingham to get the battery replaced. Swatch do them for free but she is informed that it’s not the battery that's failed but the mechanism that has stopped working. It is under guarantee but L tells the man that she has shredded all her receipts from that Christmas. Ah but not the one for my watch, which she gave to me and I have kept. Et voilà. I have a new watch.

(Thursday 17th September)

Monday 14 September 2020

Vertical Take Off And Landing

Saturday sees us head off on our first trip away since our visit to Berlin in February, which was just as world was starting to panic about Covid-19. Everybody else seems have gone away, so we thought we might as well too and this is the first of five consecutive weekends away.

We head up to the Lake District and stay at the Lodge In The Vale which is on Thirlmere between Grasmere and Keswick, practically at the foot of Helvelyn. We are there for two nights, Saturday and Sunday. It’s dog friendly, so the boys are with us, although MD is non too impressed with the room's wooden floor which means he can’t get enough traction to jump on to the bed and has to be lifted on. The Lad has no problem but then he can still do a vertical take off and landing.

The bed is smaller than ours so with both dogs on, not that they’re allowed on the soft furnishings, there is barely enough room to breathe. At times L and I are forced to decamp to the single bed in the room for some privacy.

The Lakes isn’t too busy but it’s still difficult to get a drink in the evenings, let alone a meal, due to everywhere operating at reduced capacity. After a short walk on the banks of Derwent Water on Saturday, we manage to book into the Keswick Park Hotel through Opentable and it proves a good choice as we have an excellent meal.

On Sunday, our walk around Thirlmere is largely aborted by our lack of walking boots and no great idea of where we’re supposed to be going. We end up having an afternoon drink in the Kings Head Hotel, which is just down the road from the hotel, and book in there for a meal later.

We check out on Monday and after coffee in the café at our hotel, we have breakfast on the jetty at Ambleside. This comes on disposal plates and with disposal cutlery which is a bit naff. I’m not sure if it’s a Covid thing but there’s no such requirement to do this as far as I’m aware and it’s really bad for the environment.

A ‘one for the road’ at the Hawkshead Brewery would have been nice but it’s too full, so we head home. 

(Monday 14th September)

Friday 11 September 2020

Pipes And Wires

Monday is the first time I have to queue to gain access to Sainsbury’s for quite a while as I return to the Wyvern after last week’s failed experiment with Castle Marina.

Tennis happens on Tuesday, which surprised me as I was quite looking forward to hearing what this week’s injury was. The game finishes in a one set all draw.

On Wednesday, the Government holds its first Covid-19 Press Conference since July, although as Nicola will tell you they’ve never stopped in Scotland. This is to refine the ‘rule of six’ rule as we ramp up for ride the long expected second wave. What nobody seems to realise, because everyone’s been ignoring it including the Government, is that what they are doing is actually relaxing the rule. Previously meeting up was supposed to be restricted to just two households of up to six people in total, now it’s six of any household.

Pubs are also now be legally required to take contact details rather than it being 'advisory', as it should have been before. If we were capable of getting things right first time around rather than months later we’d be rather good at all this by now.

It looks bleak for sports events which is why I haven't renewed my season ticket. My Dad gets access to all the TV Games with his free season ticket so there's little point me renewing.

On Thursday I take my Mum to Derby Royal hospital where she is to be strapped to a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours. This is to see if/when her blood pressure drops. She was in and out in 20 minutes, which was good, but she’s not happy because she is now covered in pipes and wires. My Dad is so going to enjoy fiddling with them and it probably won’t be working by the time they get it back tomorrow.

I again take her to hospital for them to do this, so I don’t go into work, and therefore don’t bike.

(Friday 11th September)

Sunday 6 September 2020

Declining Popularity

The country continues with its Covid-19 half-arsed-ness. Please wear a face covering but don’t worry we won’t tell you off if you don’t. Please quarantine if you’ve been away on holiday but don’t worry we won’t check if you don’t. Please give your details to Test and Trace when you visit the pub but don’t worry if you don’t, we probably won’t call you anyway and that’s assuming we can read your scrawl.

The council are perhaps being a little more serious about it all because on Saturday, when L goes to Pilates, she is made to socially distance in the rain, which may or may not kill the virus.

The new football season starts with Derby playing Barrow in the first road of the League Cup. The match goes to penalties, which Derby win. Sadly the game has no programme but that would be understandable as they didn’t have a crowd either but the club have actually decided to stop producing match day programmes due to declining popularity.

It’s sad because I have a near complete collection of them since I started going to games in 1977. I also have some from before then that my Dad had collected. Quite why they needed to make a decision on this when we aren’t going to be going to any games any time soon I don’t know.

Most people won’t have even noticed this decision and won’t until they start attending games again when, hopefully, the backlash will mean they will get reinstated. They have replaced the programme with a monthly magazine which will be even less popular as they should know having launched several such magazines over the decades, none of which lasted very long.

Saturday evening is spent in the Blue Monkey and the Borlase while on Sunday I run with the Lad.

(Sunday 6th September)

Friday 4 September 2020

There’s Always Something

Monday is a bank holiday, so shopping is deferred to Tuesday or it would be if it wasn’t for tennis but... of course tennis is off because my opponent has injured his hand. There’s always something but then, as regards injuries, I'm the same. Must be our age.

So I shop after all but decide to go to Nottingham Sainsbury’s on Castle Marina. This was a big mistake. It was far busier than the one at Derby’s Wyvern, so it wasn’t particularly Covid safe, everything was in different places and therefore I couldn’t find anything and then to top it all they still have trolleys where you have to put a £1 coin in. I thought those went out of existence in about 1990 but obviously not. 

Of course I didn’t have a £1 coin and the store wouldn’t give me one because that wouldn’t have been Covid safe, so someone had to unlock the trolley for me. I think I’ll stick to Wyvern in future.

The dog club finally restarts although we now have a maximum group size of six and follow social distancing which means we will continue to lose money but at least we’re operating again.

The Watford Half in 2021 is cancelled and that was until February, don’t tell Brighton.

L’s Mum is tearing her hair out about being stuck at home, so on Wednesday L goes over to watch Jason Bourne films with her Dad while her Mum goes wild in Intu.

I go into work on Friday and go on the bike which is my first cycle ride in three weeks. I celebrate with a bacon roll while L can celebrate her getting to work with a now refiled chocolate machine for which she is the only customer in the building. 

(Friday 4th September)