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

Sunday 29 January 2023


The Lad finds a tennis ball and carries it all the way around his morning walk meaning he forgot to lurch around as much as usual which was better for my knees. Perhaps this is the way forwards for our walks and my knees although he mislaid the ball in the end. 

I skive off work early on Friday to help set up our Championship dog agility show which is over towards Grantham. Saturday is the show itself which goes well. I leave the Lad at home with L who parkruns at Wollaton.

L once wanted to be the 10k Queen, then she abdicated, then she changed her mind, then once again she was going to knock the 10Ks on the head, now she’s reconsidering that idea once again. There’s a brand new Sinfin 5 race in May on her old childhood stomping ground. All hail the 5 Mile Queen.

Then later on Saturday they do Birdwatch which overruns because they have to wait for a Robin to show up. He clearly didn’t get the memo from Birdwatch.  

(Sunday 29th January)

Wednesday 25 January 2023


On Wednesday I am at Rock City to see Editors with support from KVB.

KVB were new to me despite not being new at all, starting out in fact in 2010. They are officially an ‘audio\visual’ act consisting of Nicholas Wood on guitar and Kat Day on keyboards who stand in front of a big screen on which they project the visual part of the deal.


The audio bit is very electronic but perhaps with a touch of Jesus and Mary Chain. It’s rather atmospheric but not that exciting and with there being just the two of them and no drummer they seemed quite reliant on backing tracks particularly the drum track which frequently drowned out the guitar. So reliant in fact that I successfully Shazam-ed several of their tracks which is always a bit of a giveaway but they were a pleasant enough warm up act.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen the Editors and I’ve only just discovered their excellent new album 'EBM' from which no less than seven of the nine songs are played tonight. Their sound has changed over time and they lost me a bit at some point around album five. The new record has a different feel to their earlier ones but it still sounds very much like an Editors record.

They open with a double salvo from 'EBM' with ‘Heart Attack’ and ‘Strawberry Lemonade’ and then after a brief divert into ‘Bones’ we get the wonderful ‘Karma Climb’ and ‘Picturesque’. 

While it’s great to hear ‘The Boxer’ from ‘In This Light And On This Evening’ it is also only one of two, the other being ‘Papillon’ of course, but then clearly they can’t play everything.

One chap down the front doesn’t think they should be playing everything; in fact he heckles only for the first two albums. So the wonderful ‘Sugar’ doesn’t shut him up but then when the band deliver a mid set triple from ‘The Back Room’ - ‘Fingers In The Factories’, ‘Blood’ and ‘Bullets’ that takes absolutely no prisoners. Surely he’s going to be happy? No. He probably needs to buy more music.

By now I’m hooked on ‘Magazine’ from 2018’s ‘Violence’ which I didn’t know. After which the band disappears and Tom Smith does an acoustic double of ‘Nothing’ the only other track off ‘The Weight of Your Love’ bar ‘Sugar’ and an acoustic ‘Lights’ leading us into the band doing the ‘Silence’ off ‘EBM’.

The set could well have ended after the double from ‘An End Has a Start’ - ‘Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors’ and ‘Racing Rats’ but they kept going with two more from 'EBM' ‘Kiss’ and closing ‘Strange Intimacy’ wrapped around ‘Violence’ and ‘No Harm’ from their later albums.

The encore is very predictable but still punchy - ‘An End Has A Start’ and ‘Munich’ before ‘Papillon’ sends us home.  

(Wednesday 25th January)

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Progress But Slow Progress

Monday is a busy day in the home office as I have to keep going to the front door to accept packages for L. Not one but three package arrive in quick succession in the morning. One is clearly a book; another looks like a shoe box but the third one is massive and turns out to be a gigantic jigsaw. Thankfully they have all arrived before my afternoon video call which the Lad joins me on. L is out on the razz later and we pick her up from Pierre's in Derby. 

Tuesday is another busy day for the Lad with a trip to the gym over lunch and another video call in the afternoon.

My Dad gets the same letter from the NHS two days running inviting him to book an appointment for his knee. The letters give a a web link that offers the choice of three nearby clinics, none of which have any appointments available.

There’s also a phone number but it says not to call the number if you have internet access because the people on the end of the phone can only see what you can see online. So you are left to leave a message online with your preferred clinic to say please call me. This may be progress but it’s slow progress.

The morning walks are fresh and frosty all this week but also full of detours due to unsociable herds of deer and on Wednesday the feared little white terrier. The afternoons are a bit warmer so the Lad gets out in the garden to practise for birdwatch which is at the weekend. We have downloaded our guide. 

(Tuesday 24th January)

Sunday 22 January 2023

Cold Snap

The week starts very cold. We even have a very brief snow shower, Wollaton Park lake ices over and the birds are going through the bird seed and fat balls like it's going out of fashion. 

The morning walk is a bit fresh but maybe the cold has stopped the washer leaking. Perhaps something has frozen as there’s usually a mini stream going out under the door.

It’s also very cold at the 70’s gym where there are lots of people working out in puffa jackets and presumably L had her usual three jumpers on when she went earlier but there were also still plenty of people in next to nothing. Tattoos do after all have to flaunted.

We have a spot of traffic chaos with Derby Road outbound closed for 12 weeks due to them upgrading pre-World War Two gas pipes. The detours, the official one and the unofficial one, get very snarled up.

My Dad now seems to be back to normal after his own dice with Covid and he feels up to a trip to the pub. L offers to come over and do his cleaning for him but I’m sure she’s got better things to do. She says she’ll probably just end up going to bed to read, which she says is her favourite place. At least when I'm not there to disturb her. In the end she opts for online yoga while the Lad isn’t there to interfere. Meanwhile we’re in the pub, my Dad’s favourite place and probably mine too, and the Lad’s on the crisps. Not missing his yoga.

I've been chasing his X-ray result that he had done before New Year which obviously involves waiting a long time queuing on the phone each time I ring, only to be told they’ll ring me back when they know something.

Then they surprise me and ring back on Thursday to say he has arthritis, fluid and loose bone fragments in his knee. They refer him to a specialist who will get back to us before the end of the year, probably.

Also on Thursday I also have an Openreach engineer over to upgrade us to full fibre broadband which means I get to spend the whole evening and most of Friday reconfiguring all our wi-fi devices to work on the new system.

On Saturday L makes her Parkrun return at Wollaton and then the Lad snaps his haltie on his evening walk with L while I am at the match with my Dad. I order him a new one, can’t have a halite less dog.

In the meantime he has to make do with an older, very frayed one that could snap at any minute as we support L in her race at Sherwood Pines on Sunday which due to her Covid enforced training break she’s opted for a speedy 5k rather than the slower grind of the 10k.

(Sunday 22nd January)

Sunday 15 January 2023


While I now feel almost 100% again, L seems to have got it much worse than me. My Dad is also struggling and summons me over in the middle of the night which isn’t ideal as I may still be infectious. So I go over masked up. 

He is unable to get into bed as his legs are very weak, so I help him get into bed. I give him a Covid test which comes up positive but only with a very faint line.

I try to stay away from him after that but as he keeps calling me over for things it’s not really possible but I keep up the mask wearing.

L stays off work all week while I'm obviously working from home anyway as I no longer have an office to go to. I go to dog training on Wednesday and to our committee meeting on Friday figuring it’s been longer than the recommended five days. I even visit the 70s gym again.

Meanwhile my 'old' gym membership in Derby seems to have ended itself in October after a year despite the fact I did visit in November. Perhaps they knew I was leaving. Freaky.

It also turns out that my office isn’t the only place to have closed on Pride Park recently. Apparently the Soccerdome is no more and it is now a Padel Tennis centre. I had no idea they’d taken out all of the football pitches. I wonder what it’ll be in six months’ time once the Padel Tennis has failed.

(Sunday 15th January)

Sunday 8 January 2023

One Of Those Resolution Things

It’s the New Year Bank Holiday but I am not one for those Resolution things so L gets slightly aggressive and puts me in an arm lock (sort of), forcing me to sign up online to her gym before she’ll grant me any passion this morning. Sneaky. Then before I can cancel the Direct Debit she marches me down there for my first session. 

The gym turns out to be a retro affair from circa 1970s where all the equipment is marked up in pounds and miles. Jacob Rees-Mogg would have wholeheartedly approved of such imperialism and you half expect to see the Mogg himself behind the counter but sadly not.

It goes alright and is an education as to how they did things in decades past e.g. the ellipticals and the exercise bikes have no power source. Which means you are the power source which I suppose is very environmentally friendly but means you can’t free wheel or rest on these as it promptly turns off. They do however have the mythical prone leg curl which Derby didn’t have. So that’s a bonus.

After that I head off to our Bank Holiday match. Then on Tuesday we’re back to work, having had the whole of Christmas off for the first time in decades.

It takes a couple of days and few hobbling walks with the Lad before my knees have recovered enough from their shock gym session for me to start considering going again. L’s sage advice is ‘lower the weights, keep it fairly gentle, build up slowly’. Which obviously I was doing anyway. So on Wednesday I give it another go.

By Thursday I have a splitting headache and a bit of a cough. Not exactly the classic symptoms but on Friday I do an LFT and it turns out that Covid has finally caught up with me. By Saturday it is clear that I’ve passed it on to L who also tests positive and has to miss Parkrun which I believe is a divorceable offence. Although it’s rather romantic to have Covid together and to have ‘his and hers’ matching positive tests. 

I had been invited out to my friend’s birthday in Derby, so it does get me out of that. It was pizza so not really my thing.

By Sunday I am pretty much back to normal but have to miss Derby’s 3rd Round FA Cup game with Barnsley as I certainly don’t want to infect my Dad. Who is fine with missing it as he’s not feeling that great himself. Oh no. This means I may have infected him too.

(Sunday 8th January)

Sunday 1 January 2023

Cold Cold Christmas

On Boxing Day we run my Dad over to my Brother’s and stay for a Prosecco, even me, before heading back home for a quiet day on our own after spending the past few days sorting Christmas for everyone else. We ponder going but there are not that many places open. 

Then, of course, our central heating packs up.

Luckily, sort of, we are out for most of the next day. I drop L with my Dad and then I walk the Lad down to the Aston Walk where we do the short route. This is about 2.3 miles and takes us about 40 minutes. We do it while avoiding my Brother and his dog, overtaking them at one point by crossing to the opposite side of a big field. The two dogs wished each other a brief Happy Christmas earlier and that was more than enough socialisation.

We then meet L and my Dad at the Memorial Hall because he is keen to go down for a coffee and to eat a few mince pies. He also wants to see if he knows anyone to chat to. To which the answer is largely no, mainly and sadly because he’s outlived most of them.

We then all go for lunch at Dog & Duck. Which is a last resort (obviously) because the New Inn is fully booked and the Shakespeare have decided not to do food today. Meanwhile the Dog & Duck is very quiet (as usual) but there is still a long wait to be served (as usual). It is amazing how you can run a place (or not run a place) on so few staff but they’re been doing it successfully\unsuccessfully for years.

Then it’s back to my Dad to catch Derby’s game with Bolton on Sky.

Surprisingly our heating gets fixed the next day and a day earlier than they had said. It was just a five minute job to replace a valve and then viola we have heat again.

I suppose having it broken has saved us a few pounds given the price of gas at the moment although all the money the Government has been throwing at us means our bills are far less than they were last year.

Pensioners get even more help so my Dad has been cranking his up but L’s Mum has done the opposite and practically turned hers off for good. L takes her to see her GP with a chest infection today. I hope the two things aren’t related.

In the evening I’m out with my friend in Derby. First in the Flowerpot (not what it used to be a few years ago) and then the Dolphin (still nowhere near what it used to be a several decades ago). Then we eat in the Exeter from where L picks me up. 

On Thursday we go over to Leamington to see Son and his wife We take my Dad with us and we eat in the White Horse and exchange presents.

On Friday Derby’s crap Christmas schedule has us playing in the evening despite all the days off everyone has had. Yet again we get no games on Boxing Day or New Years Day as was once the tradition.

L volunteers at Wollaton Parkrun on New Year's Eve and then both of us (yes both) run Forest Rec Parkrun on New Year's Day.

For New Year's Eve evening we take my Dad (who’s having a wild Christmas) to Miller & Carter then we all fall asleep, as is tradition, in front of Hootenanny. He stays over again.

(Sunday 1st January)