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

Sunday 28 March 2021

Tape Cassettes

Our Monday nights have because Deli night which is either pate or a meat platter with fresh bread. This is as opposed to Delhi night which is Fridays.

Tuesday is the first anniversary of the first lockdown and there is a minute’s silence at noon.

Our Ashby 20 hoodies arrive. They are not quite as light coloured as last year but still not terribly paw friendly.

A new piece of ‘art’ appears in place of the departed Banksy.

The contents of the packages being delivered to our house seem to have changed from being predominantly books to being predominantly jigsaws, which is L’s new hobby.

Early this month a chap called Lou Ottens died. In 1963 he invented the next big thing in electronics - the tape cassette. To commemorate his death people have been sharing their mixtapes of which I received and sent out dozens in the 1980s and 1990s.

I dig all of my cassettes out of the loft. Many contains tracks that can no longer be bought in any format. Some of the members of the defunct bands, that I have tapes of, admit they would love to put out mp3s of their stuff but have no idea where the master tapes are, their music never got put out on CD and all they have to work with are old scratchy vinyl and people's mouldy tapes.

Apparently sales figures for cassettes are now on the increase. Nostalgia eh? because even in their heyday cassettes were a bit rubbish and had a habit of getting chewed up by your player. This was why I never bought originals on tape. Always buy the vinyl, copy it and then play the tape to preserve your vinyl. Of course it was also a means of making your vinyl portable or to make a copy of someone else’s. 

Then of course there is the tradition of taping the top 40 off the radio as I did in 1982. 

Work contact me to say that they are starting to get staff back in the office full time from after Easter. That came as a shock and the Lad will be distraught.

Sunday starts with me squinting at my alarm clock wondering if it has automatically adjusted itself to British Summer Time (e.g. clocks go forward) or not and whether the Lad, who was sitting on me, was right that it was breakfast time.

Once up, L and I go for our now semi-regular Sunday run\walk. This time managing 8k which was on top of the 6.75k we did with Daughter, who has now had her Covid jab thanks to the police, on Saturday at Forest Rec. Couch to 5k has now become Couch to Marathon, with a bad knee, by October.

(Sunday 28th March)

Sunday 21 March 2021

The Virtual Ashby

By Wednesday my symptoms are abating although I still have a very sore arm. Luckily we have quite a serene morning walk. No cats or squirrels and all the dogs we saw were on the approved list. Although MD was a little freaked out when a man in a dressing gown waved at us. L says he was probably just watering his plants, as if that explains it.

Daughter finishes her Police training, which means no more driving through the city centre which will be a relief to us all. She has her passing out parade on Friday which hopefully involves no actual passing out.

In honour of St Patrick's Day, we decide to have an Irish coffee albeit a day late. L goes off in search of ‘lightly whipped’ cream which is apparently required. I think we supposed to do the whipping ourselves, so L buys some double.

At the weekend we do the Virtual Ashby 20 which can be done over three days. L Couch to 32k’s the whole 20 miles over five sessions in three days. Wow. That’s very impressive from an almost standing start.

I run 7k on both Saturday and Sunday with L, doing run/walk, then do a count back through my previous runs to make up the rest of the 20 miles. I have to go back to 20th February. Which might be classed as cheating.

We celebrate on Sunday with a meal from Chao Chao, who describe themselves as an urban oriental kitchen e.g. overpriced but very nice. It’s our second week ordering from their new branch just down the road from us. 

(Sunday 21st March)

Monday 15 March 2021


The lad was a tad annoyed on Monday morning when we got passed by a dog out for a run with his owner. It’s been a while since he been taken out for a run and it’ll be a while longer yet.

As I arrive home the NHS text to say they are now vaccinating the over 40s! Get in there. I do indeed and manage to book a same day appointment at the old Lenton TV studios at 3:30. It seems a bit odd that Nottingham has gone from not having enough vaccine a week ago to now inviting everyone over 40.

A few hours later Nottingham NHS admit they got it wrong and the message should have been for over 50s only. Oops. At least it still means me but I wonder how many others got in before they corrected it. Seemingly not many because when I go down at 3:30 it isn’t busy at all.

I am stopped at the door by one person with a laptop who takes my details while another person gives me the ‘do you or anyone in your household have symptoms’ talk and asks me if I’m ok with needles. I tell them I’m not and that I might faint.

They don’t seem fazed and I am then sent to queue up outside the TV studio that we were last in for Question Time in 1998. There are just two of us in the queue.

Then I am sent to a second person with a laptop who check me in again, gives me loads of leaflets and another talk, again asking me if I’m ok to go ahead. Not sure what they’d do if I said no.

Next will be one of two nurses administering the injections, neither of which look old enough to wield a needle. One is 5 foot 2, about 7 stone, blonde, with a ponytail (female). The other 6 foot 5, about 15 stone, brunette, with a ponytail (male). I know which way this is going to go.

Then out of nowhere another person appears, older with a reassuring motherly smile, although far younger than both me and my mother, as if handpicked for the person who might fainy. She has a laptop too, she checks me in again, asks me if I want to back out again and then when I’m not looking jabs me in the arm.

I am then directed to a seat where I am supposed to sit for 15 minutes but I abort after 5. Yet another person with a laptop, the IT contract must be worth some serious money, checks me out and lets me escape.

The next day I wake up with a sore arm and a temperature. I think someone may have injected me with virus. I read all the vaccine leaflets they gave me to see if I can pass it on or whether I need to self-isolate but there’s nothing about that in the leaflets, so I take the boys of for their walk.

(Monday 15th March)

Sunday 14 March 2021

Emergency Treatment

Monday brings step one of the much anticipated Road Map.

Sadly they’ll be no more flirting with the girl upstairs who has decided to go back to the office permanently. Hopefully she’ll still be up for the blindingly good Friday nights.

The other thing that’s back is school kids. They were everywhere this morning, there was no pavement to walk on and the road was full of cars. So our morning walk was a bit fraught.

In the evening we drive Daughter out to Phoenix Park where we hand her over to a fellow WPC for motorway practice. We weren’t sure if we were supposed to wait there to guide her home as well... but we don’t and she seems to make it home ok.

Those two royals who left the limelight to blend into the background in Los Angeles, I can’t remember their names, do a low profile interview with Oprah.

L confirms her reputation as Ian McEwan’s biggest fan by reading another book of his about a robot who has an affair with its owner’s neighbour. It sounds quite good actually but I’m not sure L is that impressed.

Nottingham City Council announce they are closing John Carroll after running it down for the last ten years or so.

On Wednesday, I make another attempt to see a doctor about my knee. I ring our local surgery at precisely 10am as instructed where I join the daily queue for an appointment after listening to the long recorded message that you can’t skip. The fact I am 15th in the queue makes me think 10am is a flexible target.

The moment I reach the front of the queue the phone goes dead and I have to redial. After a reprisal of the recorded message I am back down to 12th in the queue.

When I reach the front of the queue for the second time I am told that all routine appointments for the day are now booked and can I ring back tomorrow?

Or apparently I can book an emergency appointment. I query as to what is classed as an emergency because to me an emergency would involve an ambulance with sirens blaring and blue lights flashing pulling up outside my house or at the very least getting myself to A&E.

The Receptionist says she isn’t a clinician so can’t comment on my health and obviously I can’t be put through to ask the doctor, so it’s my call. I book an emergency appointment.

At 2:30pm a very nice doctor rings me. It’s four and a half hours after I called so I’m still just as confused as to what constitutes an emergency. One suspects they deal with the routine appointments first! The doctor offers me some physio and an x ray.

The next day I ring the provided number for the x-ray and book in for the 31st March. Oddly they say they don’t send any confirmation letters, emails or texts. Which I would have thought would cause many people to forget to turn up or perhaps that the idea?

On Saturday L gets her vaccine at Derby Arena and I go round to visit my parents for the double header of their 70th Wedding Anniversary and Mother’s Day. I take cards and presents, an Easter egg and a bottle of rebadged 70th Anniversary Whisky. They have also received the card I asked the Queen to send. They seem a bit overwhelmed with all the attention and still have my brother’s brand of celebrations to come on Sunday.

On Sunday, L and I do a 3.5k run\walk. My knee’s not great but I survive it.

(Sunday 14th March)

Sunday 7 March 2021

Couch To Somewhere

L's work reopens this week but she only goes in for one day on Tuesday which means my coffee consumption, without the constant supply she offers, only dips for the one day.

She admits it’s not the same as being at home because she doesn’t have a dog accompanying her to the toilet. That’s easily solved. I can soon drop The Lad off with her if she’s missing his company.

The Robin Half launches optimistically for September. Should I be fit enough and should it look like actually going ahead then I may slot in an entry just before the closing date.

Wednesday is our 25th Non-Wedding Anniversary, that’s 175 years in dog years, but we’re rank newbies compared to my parents’ 70th Wedding Anniversary which is next week.

I go into work myself on Thursday as being there in person is probably the old way of fixing a long running problem with a printer. I bike there and cross over the new bridge into Pride Park for the first time. The ride was pretty grim knee wise and the war wound is very sore afterwards but I assume it did me some good. I find some porridge in the back of a cupboard at work and manage to make myself some breakfast.

At home I thought the Lad would be a bit upset that I’d abandoned him but he doesn’t at first seem to have noticed but then later he is on the stairs waiting for my return. Well I assume that’s what he’s waiting for, he could just be looking out for cats or something.

I do get to sort the printer out but spend more time catching up with people as work is surprisingly busy. Then I struggle home against a head wind with tired legs, a sore knee and a bad back.

Saturday was due to have been my first running ‘event’ for some time, had I been fit enough, but the Nottingham CheckPoint Challenge has gone virtual so we reschedule for the next running of it in April. Also due Saturday but cancelled is Son’s wedding attempt #3, now rescheduled for September.

Instead I bike to Aston to watch the match. It is much easier than on Thursday although there is no wind this time. My knee seems a little better which might be due to the warmup the Lad gave it with a ball session on the park.

I don't know how I ended up on Strava but their monthly emails make grim reading as they inform me how bad my running stats have become. February's summary say that I had just five active days (which is appalling enough) but then it says that’s a total of 17km (shocking) but that’s 15km more than January (atrocious) in 1h 46m (shoot me now) which 1m more than January. Must do better.

On Sunday, Daughter wants us to guide her out to Phoenix Park, somewhere we’ve never actually been, which we do and then have a kettlebell\dog session (not combined) on Forest Rec.

Then back at home L and I do a run\walk session on our Couch to 5k quest. I then jog off to do a bit more but my knee gives out a few minutes in and I have to walk back. Which isn’t promising.

L gets a notification to say she can now get her vaccination. Unfortunately, Nottingham has, temporarily we hope, ran out of vaccine and all their centres are shut. She books Derby Arena instead.

 (Sunday 7th March)