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

Sunday 29 August 2021

Mary Celeste

L persuades me to put my running sessions with the Lad on hold until after the Great North Hobble is done and dusted. It’s probably wise but I feel sorry for him, he'll get unfit and out of shape. He might even end up like me.

Our race numbers arrive and L sounds pleased or was that an ironic Woohoo? Meanwhile her sister seems set to pull out through injury. Which is tempting but I shall grim and bear it because it’s the 40th even if I have to crawl it. It’ll be nice to do the one off course and particularly great not having to do the bus trip back from South Shields. I’m also looking forward to the weekend away.

Then probably not returning until the 50th when I could well be a wheelchair entry and maybe they’ll allow me an assistance dog.

L takes the plunge and books a personal training session. She’s handpicked her chap, apparently not because of his six-pack but because he looks old. I’m sure he’ll be delighted at that. Anyhow, when she meets him it turns out that he doesn't look that old in the flesh. 

She’s told him that she wants to become a weightlifter. Which I hope he hasn’t taken too literally because she’s only up to about 10kg at the moment.

In an effort not to be outdone, I return to the gym on Tuesday where they've forgotten they’re supposed to be giving me a card to get in. Then they don’t give me a card, they give me a wrist band instead which I can’t work.

At least I get a session this time although it’s not terribly productive as I spend most of the time trying to sort the machines out. What I do get done makes my knees ache. I’m not sure if that was the intention.

I feel I’ve earnt my recover pints later in the Brunswick and the Alexandra with my old mate from school.

I bike on Wednesday and Thursday as well as going to the gym on both days where suddenly on Thursday all the vaccination people have gone. On Wednesday they were there and then suddenly the next day it’s the Mary Celeste. They’ve all cleared their desks, then come back and taken their desks as well.

L asks how it was? It was the gym. Isn’t it always the same? 

After three gym sessions in a row and two bike rides in a row my knees are gone by the time it comes to tennis on Thursday. So I don’t offer up much of a game.

The Lad gets a walk with my opponent’s partner and both dogs celebrate what is National Dog Day by sharing a pack of Quavers in the pub.

This is the dog that absconds over the gate again this week and then disappears, presumably upstairs to bed. Looking back at the video, it looks like the postman upset him again. He nearly landed on his head but I’m not sure that will discourage him from doing it again.

My knees haven’t recovered by Friday so I skip the Friday run and L does it solo. Then I also skip Parkrun to exercise the dogs while L and Daughter run the new Forest Rec course which seems a distinct improvement on the old one. I shall do it with the Lad sometime post Great North Hobble.

I do run over 10k with them both on Sunday with Daughter joining our route from around halfway at Forest Rec. We hit Stapleford in the evening.

(Sunday 29th August)

Sunday 22 August 2021

Blink And You Would Have Missed Them

My colleague who has been cycling into work with me but only after he’s driven to our place first, starts biking all the way from his home. Adding another five miles and becoming yet another person who is outdoing me.

On Wednesday I work from home because I have another Physio session at the Mary Potter Centre and which means I have to work with a dog on my knee. I meet with a very enthusiastic young chap in their ‘gym’ which he was very embarrassed about because all they had was a treadmill, exercise bike and a few exercise balls.

We don’t use any of that stuff but he gives me a gym programme based mainly on leg weights and he also wants me to use the cross trainer. So I will renew my Derby gym membership where I can go for some lunch time sessions.

I owned up to him that I’d done a 'few short' runs and that I’d got a marathon booked for April. He wasn’t fazed by that and seemed up for the challenge.

L, of course, outdoes my day by revelling that she’s been to the Nottingham Knife Amnesty, getting rid of a knife collection that had been gathering dust at her parents’ house. What we need now is the Nottingham Fish Tank Amnesty as we have one of those gathering rain in our garden.

Tennis is off as they have the Junior National Championships on this week although, predictably, my opponent is injured again. I’m permanently injured but was still available. I take the boys on the park instead.

Thursday is the fortnightly trauma of trying to get a shopping list out of my Dad, then the extreme suffering that is Asda where I end up having his card declined again. As a pick me up L says she’ll put a flake in my beer and then ruminates on when they'll invent dark flakes.

They already have! but blink and you would have missed them.

On Friday I attempt to follow my physio’s advice and go to the gym but after having spent 45 minutes in reception signing up I had no lunch hour left to actually go in the gym. Even after 45 minutes they still didn’t manage to issue me with a card to get in and I will need to pick that up when I next go. 

After causing a big stink last month by saying that the Goose Fair would go ahead but with an entrance fee, the Council have now cancelled it altogether. I guess they are worried they’re going to get loads of grief again like they did with the Christmas market.

On Saturday we Parkrun again at Wollaton Park, where I manage to take not far off two minutes off my time, which is some sort of progress, but the bar was set very low. Then there’s a match in the afternoon. 

On Sunday after getting an expensive quote for cutting my Dad’s hedge I meet a couple of gym bunnies, L and Daugher, in the Borlase for a drink.

(Sunday 22nd August)

Monday 16 August 2021

200 Up

On Saturday L does her 200th Parkrun and I join in the revelries at Wollaton Park, running myself in a ‘not as rubbish as I expected but still rubbish’ 27:52. The Lad was not invited to join me.

On Sunday he is invited to join me as we’re at a dog show at Catton Hall. To be fair our first run wasn’t too bad but we still got eliminated. The second one however... it was clear that one of us hadn’t got their head in the right place yet. That didn’t improve as runs three and four were also eliminations. Meanwhile L is out doing our Sunday training run on her own.

Checking in remotely on the boys on Monday I see a very sad face looking back at me from the wrong side of the dog gate. I hope he hasn’t chewed the post but then looking back at the footage it was clearly the post, or rather the postman, that inspired him to jump the gate in the first place.

When I get home I see he’s tried to rip up the newly delivered Kennel Club Rule Book. If he’s trying to exact revenge for his four eliminations on Sunday that’s not really the way to do it and, in any case, the vast tomb that is the Kennel Club Rule Book is pretty much indestructible.

If my discovery of the day is a chewed up Kennel Club Rule Book, L’s is far more exciting as she finds someone's credit card and driving licence on her way to the pool. You can go on a right splurge with those two bits of id. However she does a bit of detective work involving social media and manages to reunite them with their owner.

The shortages at Sainsbury’s are getting more ridiculous by the week and it’s all our ‘middle class' stuff! This week no Markies, Curly Fries, coffee beans, washing up liquid, oyster sauce, stewing beef... got the last box of Soleros though.

(Monday 16th August)

Friday 13 August 2021

China Crisis

Its been seventeen months since I was waiting to hear whether Frank Turner’s gig at Rock City on 21st March 2020 was going to go ahead. It didn’t and was cancelled a few days before. Meaning I haven’t been to a gig since December 2019 which was We Are Scientists in Leicester. It’s been a long old wait and it’s a bit emotional when old stagers China Crises take the stage at a busy but not full Rescue Rooms to huge applause. It’s not really clear who’s applauding who for being here, probably a large dose of both.

Talking of old stagers, I'm pleased to say I think I’ve aged better than most people here tonight. My knees certainly aren’t the worst ones in attendance.

They open with the gorgeous ‘Arizona Sky’ from their seriously underrated fourth album ‘What Price Paradise’, released a mere 35 years ago but probably filed under their ‘newer’ stuff. The majority of the set is 'older', as they constantly refer to when they were 17, with a set that seems to roughly divide into two sections, ‘what they want to play’ and ‘the hits’. 

What they want to play seems to be no less than six tracks off their debut album ‘Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms’ from 1982, I’m guessing that they wrote when they were 17, making it easily the most pulled from album tonight and way ahead of their more famous records.


There’s room also for a newbie ‘Fool’, a youngster aged just six and a recent treat from their 2015 ‘Autumn in the Neighbourhood’ album which was their first new recording in 21 years and a B-side ‘It's Never Too Late’ which only appeared on the limited edition 12" of ‘Black Man Ray’. Which appears itself later in the brief ‘hits’ section. Sadly they didn’t have too many of such things.

Throughout Gary banters about other eighties bands, some of which may have gone on to world domination to his slight annoyance, but none of which he stresses is to be repeated on Twitter ever.


The end of the set seems to come several times but they never leave the stage. Protesting that the dressing rooms are too far and they’re up against a 10pm curfew anyway so that the Rescue Rooms can let the youngsters in.

They finally finish for good with ‘Here Comes a Raincloud’ before inviting everyone down to the oldest pub in England later. Although, as there’s some dispute about this, I’m not sure if they mean Ye Olde Trip or Ye Olde Salutation. Some would even say it’s Ye Olde Bell. So I don’t join them, as I head off to meet L in the Borlase, but I do hear they did indulge in a bit of Karaoke in the Sally. I’ll catch them next time around.

Thursday 12 August 2021

Unsurprisingly Rubbish

Doggo’s birthday would have been this week on Tuesday. He would have been 20 and a Facebook memory pops up of 4 years ago when he was 16.

I skip Tuesday’s League Cup match against Salford City deciding midweek games could be a bit difficult parents wise. In any case they’ll probably play the reserves and lose. In the end they play the reserves, it’s a 3-3 thriller and they scrape through on penalties.

On Wednesday I meet my now retired ex-colleague for lunch and bring him up to date with what little developments there’s been. Then it’s dog training.

L is having to do Daughter’s shopping for her while she isolates. On Thursday she tests positive herself which extends her isolation. I’m not sure if it’s bad luck or good luck that this has all hit her before the Government scraps the self-isolation rules next Monday. If she’d been pinged ten days later than she was she would have been free to go into work for almost a week to infect as many colleagues as possible.

I cycle on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. That’s three days in a row. Ta da. Then drag myself to tennis where I am unsurprisingly rubbish. 

(Thursday 12th August)

Sunday 8 August 2021

Perhaps Not The Greatest Of Ideas

At the Olympics we get loads more gold medals and there’s a silver medal for Bulwell in the weightlifting. Emily Campbell’s 283kg lift makes all our gym efforts look piddly. Mind you we’re not from Bulwell, they build them tough in Bulwell.

The Kennel Club issues a ‘Why Does My Dog?’ guide. We all go straight to the Eat Poo section where we find out that MD is apparently normal. Who knew?

Tuesday I bike and then dog train, leaving L to her skipping which, for some reason, she’ll only do once the Lad has left the building.

With my ongoing knee problems I think, sensibly, that going through with the Manchester Marathon in October is perhaps not the greatest of ideas. I can defer to the 2022 race which is in April and the week before Brighton... also perhaps not the greatest of ideas... or downgrade to the Half which is what I go for.

On Wednesday we are the vets to get the boys Kennel Cough jabbed so that we can dump them when we do the Great North Run. We were expecting quite struggle again as it’s such an unpleasant procedure but the vet does it outside and manages it brilliantly.

On Friday Daughter’s partner tests positive for Covid and the next day she gets pinged to self-isolate as he records his test.

 Saturday sees L doing her 199th parkrun. I support her at Wollaton Park with the dogs which probably does my knees more damage than running it would have done.

It’s also the first match of the football season as Derby play Huddersfield. My Dad is absolutely thrilled to be back at the football even more so when we manage to get a much closer parking spot than before.

On Sunday we go for a few beers at the Organ Grinder.

(Sunday 8th August)

Sunday 1 August 2021


On Monday I am due at our office down south for some training with an 8:30am start e.g. I get up at 4am! That makes L’s early morning workout class look civilised.

I have no idea how I would get a train at that time so I have to drive down. Thankfully the Olympics are in full flow and the time difference to Tokyo means there’s plenty to keep me entertained and awake including three gold medals.

The training is held off site at some countryside complex they have hired and we get a conference room with a view and a nice lunch provided.

I stay overnight so that I can go into our office down there on Tuesday. When I arrive at the hotel I end up in the bar being plied with free drinks because my room isn't ready. They aren’t doing food in the hotel either so although I find a nice pub to spend the evening in they also aren’t doing food. So I take a pizza back to the room and settle down to watch the Women’s Tri live from Tokyo which is due at 10:30 but is delayed because of the bad weather. At least they don’t nearly get wiped out by a boat like the men did.

Back up in Derby for Wednesday I cycle in to work along with a colleague who is now living in Nottingham. He drives to our place and then rides in with me with is four miles longer than his previous ten mile commute when he was in Derby.

He has a very nice VW camper that he parks on our drive and everyone is asking if we like our new camper van. I wish and it is on the ‘to do’ list. We obviously look like camper van people.

The empty house next door to us is now being worked on and cleared out. Hopefully they’ll sort the garden out as well which is again growing up our fence.

L stays at home to protect the boys from the upcoming thunderstorm which the BBC Weather App keeps rescheduling for later and later in the day. Clearly they are waiting for me to get on my bike but then the App says it’s passed over just north of Nottingham which disappoints L who was so looking forward to it.

On Thursday and Friday I am off work and at Locko Park setting up our club’s dog show which is smaller this year and running over two days rather than three. It’s not small enough not to need a marquee though but ours due at 10am on Thursday still hasn’t arrived when I go home at 6pm.

It has thankfully arrived by Friday and is actually better than one’s we’ve had before. The rest of the setting up is done in the rain the weekend remains dry for the actual event.

On Saturday L completes her 31 day running challenge and demands sponsorship money from me.

The lad has an ok weekend competing although with lots of eliminations apart from one class on Sunday when we gets a brilliant 7th place rosette even with five faults. We celebrate with Sunday Lunch at the Nurseryman with Daughter but without him.

(Sunday 1st August)