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

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Roadmap

On Monday the Government publishes its hugely anticipated roadmap. Schools will open on the 8th March, the outdoor socialising and sport that everybody has been doing regardless becomes legal again from the 29th March, shops can open and pubs can serve outdoors from 12th April, and pubs can open indoors from 17th May. Then there is to be an absolute free for all on 21st June when all remaining restrictions will be lifted. That last bit seems wildly optimistic to me, so I thoroughly expect that day to slip, maybe by a year or so.

There is no mention of students returning to University and this is probably because around here they seem to have been trying to sneak them all back quietly without anyone really noticing since early January.

On the self checkouts at Sainsburys I am randomly selected for a 14 item rescan and because one of those items I have missed scanning, I have to take the whole £100 shop to a normal checkout put the whole lot on the belt and act nice a normal person. All seemed very draconian to me and so much for self scan being quicker.

But the highlight of Monday is when the Lad vomits up a pair of tights which I assume he devoured at my Mum’s when I wasn’t looking.

By Wednesday, Daughter has her second bus lane violation of the week, her third overall. She says none of them were when she was driving or in this latest case even in the car. I think she needs to have a word with her partner.

A nice surprise arrives on Friday, when I receive a parcel from work with two cans of beer, pork scratchings and crisps as a thank you. Very nice. Then I find out they’ve taken six and half day’s holiday off me that I’d previous been told I could keep. They do pay me for it but I’d rather have had the holiday.

On Saturday L and I go running with Daughter on Forest Rec. L is basically starting the couch to 5k that I inadvertently started a few weeks ago. We are, in theory, breaking the one-to-one meeting rule as there are three of us but Forest Rec is easily the best place to do this as the park is full of illegal football matches and groupings, not to mention that every second person who is smoking seems to be smoking something illegal. I manage a total of 3.5k.

Back at my Mum’s on Sunday, The Lad is clearly unrepentant about my Mum’s tights and tries to eat her socks. When I stop him he pees up the wall instead. For some reason they think it’s sweet and don’t ban him.

When I get home, I run-walk 4.3k across the park, my second run in two days. Only 37.9k to go for my marathon.

(Sunday 28th February)

Saturday, 20 February 2021

The Trial of The Chicago Seven

This year it is going to be even more difficult to watch the award nominees than usual even though the Oscars have been delayed until the end of April and you would have thought more of the films would be available on streaming.

So far I have only managed to track down one nominee, Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of The Chicago Seven, which was offered free on YouTube by Netflix for a limited period so that they were eligible to be nominated.

This courtroom drama covers the seven who were arrested for allegedly organising violence at the anti-Vietnam War protests at 1968 Democratic National Convention where Vietnam apologist Hubert Humphrey was set to be named the Democrats' candidate for President. These were disparate group of characters, who mostly didn’t know each other, who were charged with conspiracy and incitement to riot.

It was widely accepted at the time that the Chicago police had initiated the violence, a view backed up by attorney general, Ramsay Clark. However when Clark was replaced by John Mitchell, Mitchell set out to prove otherwise.

 

All the accused claimed to be peaceful protesters. These included students Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne) and Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp) along with David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch), who was a member of a pacifist society.

On the other hand, Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong) were well up for a bit of violence although still protested their innocence. While the two others occused, Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins) and John Froines (Danny Flaherty), seemed to have absolutely no idea why they were there. 


There was also an eighth man on trial, Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) of the notorious Black Panther party. Seale was denied the right to proper representation and his case was eventually declared a mistrial but not before he was, among other things, shackled and gagged, at the behest of the judge. 

In court, lawyer William Kunstler (Mark Rylance) fought for the men, struggling both in court and behind the scenes to hold them together as a united front in a trial that lasted five and a half months.

 

The film, of such a politically motivated trial, feels timely with both America and the UK currently struggling with culture wars and the question of just what actually constitutes freedom of speech these days.

Five of the men were eventually found guilty of inciting a riot and all seven, plus their lawyer and Seale, were sentenced to prison on multiple counts of contempt of court. All charges were reversed on appeal.

It’s an interesting and informative film but not one I’d like to see trouble the Oscars too much.

(Saturday 20th February)

Friday, 19 February 2021

New Artwork

In a bid to keep me ‘relevant’ work send me details of online courses to update my skills.

Our Banksy has disappeared, in fact the whole wall it was painted on has disappeared. The building that it was on the side of has sold the whole thing to the highest bigger. Clearly it couldn’t have stayed where it was because it was under constant threat of vandalism but it would have been nice if it had stayed in Nottingham and perhaps have ended up in Nottingham Contemporary or somewhere.

Instead we do have some other new artwork. The underpass at the roundabout near us has a new mural praising and thanking the NHS, our QMC hospital is nearby. I run past it just as they are painting it but at the time I didn’t know what they were doing and was unsure as to whether to reports the vandals or not.


That run, came after a traumatic ball session with the dogs on the park where I twisted my ankle but then thought I’d recovered enough to run a wheezing and hobbling 4k while stopping frequently to stretch my bad knee. Just another 38.2k to go to make it back up to marathon distance.

(Friday 19th February)

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Sharing The Love

It snows overnight just as Daughter is off to do stinger training (stopping speeding vehicles by throwing spikes at them) in the frozen north of Worksop. That could get interesting. The constabulary seem to agree and cancel it.

I have an online meeting with my bosses at work where they could have handed me my P45 and inched me towards an early retirement. However they decide to keep me on and retrain me, that is if you can teach an exceedingly old dog new tricks.

It’s long time since I’ve had L email me from work, as in actual work and not from upstairs, but it happens on Friday as she makes a rare journey into the office.

I go for another run, cranking up the distance from 2km to an awesome 2.65km. Just another 39.55km to go to make it back up to marathon distance.

The weekend had pretty much set into a pattern. Friday Night is Curry Night from the Savera. Saturday is watching the football at my Dad’s, where L drops me off on the way to see her folks and then picks me up on the way back. While, of late, Sunday night has become Chinese Take Away night. Although we have now both decided that the meals aren't actually much good. So for Valentine's Night we decide to eat 'in'. I even let L cook.

Before that we went for a romantic coffee on the park with the dogs. MD wasn’t really sharing the Valentine’s day love though and randomly attacked another dog, totally forgetting his age. He's not done that in years. The Lad was so stunned he forgot to get involved. 

(Sunday 14th February)

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Parrots And Mammoths

When driving to the supermarket on Monday, I pulled up at Bardills roundabout and a man crossed the road in front of me with a real live parrot on his shoulder. It’s not often you see that. 

One month in Brexit appears to be going swimmingly well with exports to Europe dropping by two thirds across the board but at least we have our vaccines. Happy days.

Derby’s game at Rotherham, already postponed once due to Covid, is cancelled again on Tuesday due to a waterlogged pitch. It is quickly rearranged for Wednesday which you can do these days with no fans to worry about and no policing to book. Derby probably wish it hadn’t been as they lose 3-0.

Then on Saturday it happens again as the game at Barnsley is rained off but this one cannot be quickly rescheduled.

Captain Sir Tom Moore dies and they are already talking of putting a statue up to him. I just hope they do the background checks first. I'd hate to see the next generation lobbing the guy in the river. Perhaps they should just name a hospital after him instead.

Daughter, now only about six weeks from starting the Police, sends us a photo of her modelling her stab vest. Lets hope she doesn't need it.

On Saturday we watch the Children’s Act on L’s insistence as she is Ian McEwan’s biggest fan. She says that’s me but it’s her really.

On Sunday I go out for a run and manage a mammoth 2k.

(Sunday 7th February)

Sunday, 31 January 2021

The Long Road Back

We still have snow on Monday and it’s very pleasant to walk in it even with the dogs. Sainsbury’s is even quieter than last week, so the snow has perhaps succeeded where Covid hasn’t and managed to keep people at home.

Or maybe it’s the fact that the UK hits 100,000 Covid deaths this week and that’s by the Government’s own measure which is lower than everyone else’s. The really shocking thing is it took eight months to get to the first 50,000 deaths but only three months to add the second 50,000. So we’re not really getting any better at this.

Even now the Government is prevaricating about closing the borders and may, at some point, announce a new hotel quarantine system but only for certain ‘target’ countries.

We celebrate Burns Night and why not? So we have Haggis, Tatties and Neeps with a single malt on the side.

The rain is back by Tuesday and threatens to wash away all the lovely snow. By Wednesday it has just about succeeded.

The Lad has a busy Wednesday. He de-bobbles L’d bobble hat in the morning while I’m in the shower and then rips up the washing up sponge (again) in the afternoon. It appears we’re not giving him enough attention.

The weekend arrives looking very much like the rest of the week and there is even confusion on Friday as our Friday night is somewhat compromised by a wonderfully indulgent Friday morning. At least the football is still on a Saturday this week as Derby County win their third match in a row. Then on Sunday I attempt a run, a massive 1.3k without a dog. It's a long road back.

TV wise I start watching The Bay on catch up, which is actually quite good although L isn't impressed. As I've said before she doesn't really do TV series.

(Sunday 31st January)

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Get Buzzin

The week starts with what is known as Blue Monday, which is supposedly the most depressing day of the year. Seems just like any other Monday to me.

L livens it up with ‘Get Buzzin’ With Bez’. Bez from the Happy Monday has launched a workout routine after apparently two and a half years of sitting on the sofa. He says to get fit to keep up with his personal trainer girlfriend who is 22 years his junior. More importantly to L, he has a sausage dog.

Derby aren’t feeling too blue and win two games this week beating Bournemouth and QPR.

My parents get their first dose of the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday while L’s parents get theirs on Saturday. Even L is impressed with the smoothness of the system they have going at Derby Arena. The dose takes up to three weeks to kick in, so I do hope that both sets of parents are responsible and don’t go out on a bender just because they've been vaccinated.

We stay in to have our bender, just a mini one as more Christmas Ale arrives from Lenton Lane Brewery which they have now rebadged Winter Ale. This is at L's request. She does like something with a bit of spice.

Britain announces it is thinking about shutting its borders and maybe quarantining everyone who arrives. You know like all the successful countries did back last March. 

Meanwhile we’re not even supposed to travel to Derby where they have set up a Six Pack Challenge. At least this gives my knee more time to recover.

The week that started with Blue Monday ends with White Over Sunday as we get a decent covering of snow. 

 

I take the boys on the park for a ball session and a walk while L does a one-to-one meet up with Daughter, keeping well within the rules by walking there.

 

I’m not sure many others are being as compliant judging by the groups on the park which are small but not looking particularly household-like.

 (Sunday 24th January)

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Government Mandated Walks

Heading to Sainsbury’s on Monday, the roads and the supermarket itself are both much quieter today. Perhaps the message about the current grim Covid situation is finally getting through to the public. We were told that the winter would be bad but nobody listened, least of all the Government. 

However our local Primary school seems almost as busy as normal. There seems to be far more key workers this time around.

Wollaton Park seems a lot quieter than it was. Perhaps it’s because the Police have been told to clamp down or perhaps it's the thought that if you don’t comply with the current ‘rules’ the Government will simply make them even more complicated. At the moment it appears that you can go for a walk with someone for the exercise but not for a social. So just make sure you only walk with people you don’t want to talk to.

L has been going out early every morning for her Government mandated walk. The boys and I are invited but it's a bit early for us and we also feel we'd be intruding on her 'me' time aka us-free time as well as preventing her listening to her audiobooks. To be fair she did try to take the Lad with her but the subsequent commotion woke the entire neighbourhood.

Derby Arena is now Derby’s main vaccine point but neither my parents nor L’s have heard anything about getting vaccinated yet. Hopefully they will all hear something soon.

We start watching The Serpent on L’s boss’s recommendation, which mean she feels almost compelled to watch it despite her dislike of TV series.

Later in the week we get a few flurries of snow but nothing to get excited about.

(Sunday 17th January)

Sunday, 10 January 2021

All Hail Hermes

The first week after the Christmas and New Year break opens with the revelation that the Government’s pandemic advisers had told them to call another lockdown way back on 22nd December but I guess they hadn’t wanted to ruin their own Christmases, so they call one from this Monday instead. Nearly two weeks later. Not that I think it changes much as I haven’t really been doing anything for a month or so now.

L’s office subsequently decides to immediately close, so she can’t go into work but I once again have someone in the upstairs office at home to talk to.

Wollaton Park belatedly tries to limit its superspreading capabilities by closing its external food and drink traders but keeping its own open. I’m not sure how longer queues at the two remaining ones helps? But what do I know? While, to limit numbers, the overspill car park will be closed. Although as it currently resembles a lake due to flooding I’m not sure it was usable anyway.

Derby County are hit by a Covid outbreak and are forced to play their under 18s at Chorley in the FA Cup 3rd Round. They unsurprisingly lose 2-0. Leeds United however, voluntarily opt to play a reserve side against Crawley Town and lose 3-0. I know which I thought was funnier.

America supplies a bit of drama to break up the monotony as Trump’s mob tries to seize control of the country with a riot in their Government building.

The brightest news of the week is that my beer that went AWOL before Christmas finally arrives and it is, bizarrely, Hermes to the rescue.

Hermes is the Greek god of many things. His CV says he's the god of trade, wealth, luck, fertility, animal husbandry, sleep, language, thieves, travel and he's also the patron of shepherds but he's not the god of lost parcels. So now you know. 

(Sunday 10th January)

Friday, 1 January 2021

All Is Quiet

I am back at work on Tuesday, but at home obviously, and feeling a little festive as a bit of snow falls.

As usual most of Derby’s daytime TV matches over Christmas and New Year get moved to evenings, totally trashing the point of games over the festive period. It’s not quite as annoying as when you can actually go to the matches but it’s still annoying. Particularly so because for some reason I have been locked out of my Now TV account and this is the only way I can watch tonight’s game. They tell me it will take 48 hours to fix, so no game to watch then.

With ‘The Plot Against America’ being so dull I intersperse the series with ‘Industry’ which has far more drugs, sex and alcohol as well as its fair share of odious people. They're just not as odious as in ‘The Plot Against America’.

As the vaccine roll out starts L works out that, according to the online calculator, she'll get her Covid Jab around about May/June. So she’ll be able to go to the pub again around about September. Just not with me as I’m further down the queue,

On Wednesday she gets in a final swim, and apparently it’s lovely in the outside pool, before as expected Nottingham enters Tier 4 on Thursday. Which also signals the end of Dog Training. 

I had been delaying doing the training schedule for our sessions that were due to start on 5th January because I was so sure we’d get locked down again and didn’t want to waste all that effort. It’s not nice to be proved right though.

I’m back on holiday on Thursday which is New Years Eve and of course the chance to catch with up old friends. Which in our case is Jools Holland as we spent the New Year pretty much as usual with Hootenanny..

Friday is New Year’s Day and as Bono once said ‘all is quiet on New Year’s Day’. As it is everywhere.

(Friday 1st January)