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

Sunday 26 June 2022

Guardians Of Lime Tree Avenue

L and the Lad get rammed by one of the deer on Wollaton Park. Part of some vigilante group known as ‘The Guardians of Lime Tree Avenue’, or something like that, that she says she was warned about the other week. Battered and bruised she spends the week WFH. The Lad is fine but I think he hid behind L. 

Tuesday is tennis and then Wednesday is our Civil Partnership with Daughter and Son as witnesses but sadly Covid strikes and Son can’t make it. My Dad is a very willing stand in and has a great morning out in Nottingham especially as we bring him into the city centre on the tram all the way from Toton. Which is a first for me as well as for him.

Then I have a Committee Meeting in Shardlow on Thursday as we complete preparations for our Summer Show.

I visit my Mum in hospital every other day with my Dad insisting on the calming influence of a pint in a pub afterwards. On the Friday L comes over to do some cleaning for my Dad and meets us in his local White Hart afterwards with the Lad of course.

Sadly my Mum’s Covid has now progressed to pneumonia. She isn’t responding to the antibiotics and as my Mum is so weak they have started end of life care.

On Saturday L and Daughter parkrun at Colwick where they also eye up the post-parkrun open water swimming. They decide to return the next day for the Sunday morning swim. The Lad and I again support.

On Saturday evening we go for a curry with some friends of mine who we haven’t seen properly since before the pandemic apart from me doorstepping them one evening and last month’s Feeder gig. We meet in the new, but now dwindling in favour with us because it is too noisy, Whistle and Flute. Then we go to Mem Saab where we meet up with Daughter, whose birthday it is today. Afterwards we discover that both the Royal Children and the Ned Ludd no longer have any real ale which is disappointing.

After Sunday’s visit to the hospital the four of us, my Dad, L, the Lad and me go for Roast beef cobs in Exeter. Where we also get an offer to swap the Lad for two rabbits. It’s considered but declined.

(Sunday 26th June)

Sunday 19 June 2022

Humongous Efforts

I take my Dad to visit my Mum in hospital at least every other day which usually ends up with him insisting on a pint somewhere. I am seriously being led astray. We don’t revisit the Nags Head but he quite likes the Hole In The Wall in Mickleover although we also try the Masons. He’s also a big fan of the Exeter in Derby itself. The Masons is now under new Management and when we go there it is packed, which is good obviously but have they improved the beer range? No. Still as dull as ever. 

On Tuesday L does Wordle in 1. That’s just luck.

Tuesday is dog training, Thursday is tennis and Friday I am in work for, yes you guessed it, yet another leaving do. I am unreliably informed that it will just be pizza at lunch time, so at first I plan to cycle there but then it becomes clear it will involve some after work drinks in the Brunswick as well. So I ditch that idea but I do manage a lunchtime gym session after which a couple of slices of pizza is a decent way to refuel from my humongous efforts.

Meanwhile L is at home with the Lad, having to keep him indoors as our neighbour has their four legged lodger over again. It’s way too hot for them both to be hurling themselves at the fence that separates them. Which means he won’t be practicing his tunnels in readiness for Saturday's dog show.

Which may have paid dividends as he does one run that isn’t an Elimination and despite clocking up 20 faults gets a rosette for 5th place. Don’t tell him but this is the benefits of a small and inexperienced field. Meanwhile, while we are out, L goes off fraternising with the enemy lodger.

The really bad news is that my Mum has now caught Covid and has had to go into an isolation ward. We can still visit her but now need to wear full PPE of masks, visor, apron and gloves. They had been talking of moving her out of hospital to a more appropriate place for her recovery but now they can’t move her for another ten days.

On Sunday it is the Derby Half Marathon and weather conditions are much better for this year’s race but then last year’s had been put back to November where I nearly died of hypothermia waiting to get my bag back from the baggage tent. This year they have also restored the Ramathon name after needlessly removing it when they took over the running of the race in 2018. Unfortunately they've also added the name Derbion to the front of it, Derbion being this week's name for Derby's main shopping centre.

I am of course nowhere near fit enough for this race but I struggle on regardless. L is again doing the 5 miler and my Dad has come to support. We have dropped him off in the Market Place with a chair and instructions of where best to watch us both start and finish.

When I start he is in position but by the time L starts ten minutes later he’s gone AWOL. L retrieves him later from a café from where he’d headed to for a Full English. Which I’m sure was much enjoyable than watching us run.

The route is the same as usual. Out along the main roads to Elvaston, then through the Castle grounds before heading back along the river and through Pride Park.

I was relatively pleased with November’s run where I went from 8:30ish miles to 9:30ish miles and finished in 1:57. Here I start in the 9s and degrade into the 10s, struggling home in 2:04. Not the best. 

(Sunday 19th June)

Sunday 12 June 2022

Simply No Staying Power

I am out for a few drinks in Derby with my pal from school on Tuesday and then on Wednesday I am in work to take the car in for its annual Car service. They promise me it will be done by lunchtime and for once they are actually right. Which catches me out a bit because I was in the gym at the time. 

In the evening it’s dog training and the first one I’ve been to for a very long time with only one dog in the car. It is also not one of the Lad’s better nights but then he’s had a traumatic week.

On Thursday we all go to collect MD from the crematorium. Along with his ashes they provide a paw print in plaster and a rather nice lock of his fur.

In between all this I visit my Mum in hospital when I can. She is still very confused by everything but her operation, which was cancelled twice, finally went ahead on Wednesday. Meanwhile the woman in the next bed is trying to escape and has to have a nurse permanently guarding her. I just hope they don’t try to gang up.

On Thursday, after our visit, I take my Dad to the Nags Head in Mickleover. It’s nice to occasionally live life on the edge and experience a bit of rough plus it has a handy car park.

L has a massive falling out with Dyson, her other man. She complains that despite having him on charge for the whole of the afternoon, he dies on her after only ten minutes in the bedroom. Simply no staying power.

I promise to get her a new toy to play with but she does seem to fall out with all of them. Well apart from the Miele, she remained on good terms with that one until Son blew it up hoovering up a bath leak. She does also get on well with my Dad's vacuum. That one has a cable, so she says she can be spontaneous with him, just plug and play without having to charge him up all afternoon.

On Saturday L Parkuns at Alvaston and again the Lad and I support. It must have been very frustrating for him because Alvaston has been the scene of all our best times.

On Saturday we go to a BBQ held at my nomadic friend's house after their latest house move takes them to Scalford near Melton Mowbray. They had invited the dogs which wasn’t a goer while MD was ill but now we can take the Lad. Who has a wild time intimidating another friend’s dog.

It’s not a heavy night of drinking, we have to drive anyway, because on Sunday the Lad and I are running 10k at the Grimsthorpe Gallop. Whether this is good training or not for next week’s Ramathon I’m not sure but it seems to be the only training I'm doing.

It’s a chaotic start with an all dog field but this could have been much worse as there's only 20 of us. L gets to start later in the saner human field. The dogs are doing one of three distances. Four do 10 miles, nine do 5k and seven do 10k. 

The route is mostly off road with lots of grit paths which aren't really my forte. There's even a river crossing which we avoid and take the bridge but the photographer gets a really good photo of us that ends up on the results email. Pace wise the Lad keeps me at a 'reasonable' nine minute mile pace and stops me slacking.We finish 4th in our category which obviously sounds good but is very mid table when there's only seven of you..

(Sunday 12th June)

Monday 6 June 2022

A Subdued Boy

On Saturday L and Daughter parkrun at Gedling with the Lad and I on vocal support but with one less voice raised in support obviously. In the evening we had planned a long delayed meal out at the Corinthian but we cancel it. Opting to stay in with the Lad with a curry, plenty of beer and the Queen's Jubilee concert. Which isn’t as bad as you’d expect, tacky at times but still quite good. 

On Sunday we take the Lad for a walk on the park and end up in the park café where he is totally cool with all the dogs that are in there. MD was always on edge in situations like that and the Lad always seemed to want to have his back but now he doesn’t have to. He can be himself although he’s quite a subdued boy at the moment. The dog he always pretended not to notice is now not there and he’s really noticed that. We console him with a Puppachino.

On Sunday evening my Mum has a fall and dislocates her hip. The wait for a ‘non-emergency’ ambulance is six hours. My brother goes round to help and eventually gets one to come for her in only three hours.

They plan to rush her into surgery on Monday afternoon but then cancel it, so I take my Dad to visit her in hospital. She’s not very coherent as you might expect at her age, with dementia and a broken hip, so they ask me to go with her while they gave her a head scan in case she’s banged it. That didn’t go down very well with her, what with being lifted on and off a trolley with a broken hip.

The first few day walking the Lad post-MD are strange with him seemingly eager to head home from his walk with L to see if MD and I are walking up to meet them. Only to be met by just me. The sad little boy lays morosely in his bed for a while after that.

When I go to Sainsbury’s, I close the gate wondering if he might jump it but he just stays in his bed.

On his next walk he takes his frustrations out on a cat that was perched on the fence by the golf course. I hadn’t seen it but the Lad jumped up and pushed if off the fence with his front paws. The cat fell on to the golf course and looked a bit stunned at what has just happened.

(Monday 6th June)

Friday 3 June 2022


Monday’s shopping list includes minced chicken and liver for MD. His diet is currently a fast moving target.

I have started walking him up to catch the end of L and the Lad's morning walk, when she takes him, so that gets him out of the house and makes him sleep for the rest of morning even though it’s hardly gargantuan distances. That said, I do have to keep hauling him in from the garden. He just doesn't know what's good for him.

Tuesday is dog training and on Wednesday tennis is back, sadly, and tennis in the rain at that.

It’s not particularly nice cycling weather so I don’t bother going into work this week. It is only a three day week anyway.

On Thursday, four days of jubilee celebrations and holiday start with MD eating a full breakfast but then as I cut the hedge he has another funny turn. He totally loses his balance and his eyeballs are twitching which Google says is a classic symptom of Vestibular disease of which he could recover but if it’s caused by something in his brain, say like a tumour he won’t.

Given what happened a month ago and the fact he’s not back to anywhere near like he was after that, the prognosis isn’t good.

We have a very iffy night with him and when he can barely walk or seemingly see straight in the morning we contact the out of hours vet at Priory as yet again he’s ill on a bank holiday. The vet offers treatment for the Vestibular disease but obviously with no guarantees. Sadly though we’ve already decided to end his obvious distress.

Daughter, L and I say a tearful goodbye as he visibly relaxes in my arms, his eyeballs stop twitching and he properly chills out in my arms for the first time in a while and for the very last time.

That’s the end of fourteen years with my Crufts silver medallist, 50 parkrun partner and the sweetest oddball dog who never achieved the heights of being the alpha dog in our pack but never actually wanted to. We’ll scatter him on Wollaton Park so he can be with Doggo and from where on a quiet day I’m sure we’ll be able to hear him barking at nothing.  

We head round to my parents to pass on the sad news. Then we take the Lad down to a couple of pubs in Beeston, Pottle of Blues and the Crown, to drown our sorrows.

(Friday 3rd June)