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

Sunday 26 March 2023

An Injection Or Three

On Monday I am at the Velodrome. Which means that on Tuesday my exercise routine consists of a hobble\walk with the Lad and then a one legged gym session. Perhaps I should stick to leaving a day’s gap before I hit the gym after cycling. L meanwhile is getting Physio on her back.

The Lad now seems to have got a hang of his two beds, the one in my office and the one in the hall, and now does a relay between the two while I work. Of course he also has the large king size upstairs.

After spending most of the week avoiding our new lodger by Thursday we catch him on her bed. I think it had something to do with food but it looks like they might be bonding.

L’s Mum gets a letter to say she gets an increase in her pension now that she is 80. An extra 25p a week. Wow. I couldn’t believe this was a thing and must have been due to some factors such as her not paying enough NI or something like that but actually no, everyone gets the 25p regardless. It was introduced in 1971 but for various political reasons it has not been increased since and now just gives people a laugh. I sadly will never get it as it has now finally been discontinued but only for those reaching pension age after 2016.

On Friday we go out to celebrate. Her birthday that is, not the 25p. All the family visit L’s Dad’s in the care home and then we all go for lunch at Binary in Mickleover. 

I have to leave slightly early as conveniently, with me already having the day off, my Dad has an appointment to have his knee looked at. He is offered an injection or three which he accepts without really knowing what he’s accepted because his ears are full of wax and he can’t hear a thing.

They put a needle in his knee to drain it, then inject painkillers and steroids. Almost immediately afterwards he thinks he’s totally cured and contemplates running home. Now to sort out his hearing.

Sunday was supposed to be the Derby 10k but L isn’t fit enough and obviously I’m nowhere near fit enough. L does do a small run and runs to us on the park. It’s not Derby 10k but they send her a congratulations email anyway.

In the afternoon I take my Dad to watch Derby County Ladies play Nottingham Forest Ladies on Pride Park which league leaders Forest win. Then we come over to Nottingham, pick up L and attempt to get Sunday Lunch in the Nurseryman but it is full to bursting. We head back over my Dad’s way to the always reliable Clock Warehouse where they let me down with no beef so I have to go with the pork. My Dad is still very deaf and L comes up with the inspired idea of writing messages on her phone to show him, thereby communicating that way.

(Sunday 26th March)

Sunday 19 March 2023

New Lodger

After pointing out that our ski trip was not the world cruise that would have been her preferred holiday, L sends me her Bucket List. This has 42 things on it but is an ever growing list. Sadly it appears that I’ve only chalked 7 off it in the 27 years we’ve been together. So that’s not very good but, hey, just 35 to go (at the moment). 

There are several places on the list I haven’t even heard of and actually no ‘world cruise’ per se. Although a cruise would, I suppose, link up many of the places that are on the list which presumably would all need a local parkrun too.

The Lad has a few ‘stomach’ issues post-kennels. Hence I needed three poo bags on his walk. I think he’s struggling with the kennel food a bit.

I get an email from Identipet asking me to check MD’s microchip details are up to date. Which was quite sad as I had to then update his details to say he was no longer with us. As a mark of respect the lad finally decides to give MD’s old bed, now in my new office, a go.

Someone turns up with a seven month old tiny collie cross at training which would fit L’s small dog brief perfectly. Sadly there’s not many around and this is a collector’s edition because the owner’s collie was accidentally bred with a rescued Romanian Chihuahua which probably isn’t easily done.

My Dad and I visit the new Notsa bar in Aston. It’s very nice with nice beer and dog friend. It could become a regular haunt.

As one new venture opens another one closes as the Totally Brewed brewery announce they are closing down. They blame the current economic climate which I’m sure is true but there’s also the case that not enough people actually liked their beers.

There is no parkrun on Saturday as L is taking a month off but Wollaton Parkrun is cancelled anyway, they have the National Schools Cross Country Championship on which I would have watched but we have a home match.

Before which we have a hospitality event with Colin Todd who is interviewed by Roger Davies and Roy McFarland. It’s enjoyable and packed. My Dad loves it along with the sausage and mash for lunch with chocolate tart to follow.

On Sunday we get a new lodger as Daughter moves in. My friend brings his van and we moved some of her stuff to home with the rest going in storage in L’s Mum’s garage in Mickleover. We also let him take away the three bikes that were in our shed which includes L’s original triathlon steed and my teenage Raleigh Arena. I shed a tear, L does not. I drown my sorrows later in the Organ Grinder.

(Sunday 19th March)

Monday 13 March 2023

First Ski Trip In Four Years

The overnight snow turns out to not be as bad as forecast, as it usually isn’t, and we make it to the kennels and then on to Birmingham airport in good time. We are hoping of course that they put the heating on for the Lad during his stay. 

Then we learn of the four hour delay to our flight due to the French air traffic control strike. So we go for breakfast in Giraffe or rather brunch as they don’t do breakfast. Their brunch is everything you’d have on a breakfast plus chips but they won’t do you a breakfast, only brunch. Go figure.

We finally land in Geneva at 7pm. We have booked car hire with Hertz and they shut at 5pm although every other car hire company stays open until at least 8pm. So we know who not to book with in future but Hertz do kindly leave our keys with another company.

With the car collected we have the usual hassle escaping the airport complex in the dark, with the added complexity of being on the ‘French’ side of the airport to which the entry\exit of that side of the airport is practically a farm track, off an obscure roundabout that always has roadworks on it. Then once escaped we drive to the resort with the mad Google Maps woman in dubious charge of proceedings.

We arrive at our hotel Les Granits in Combloux at 9:15 after they close at 9.00 but again folk were nice and they waited for us. They don’t have any food though and as we doubt we’d get any at that time anyway, we go without.

Les Granits do however do a very good breakfast. Then we collect our ski gear from Skiset Ski and Bike hire shop in Combloux. We have tried hiring this year after everyone kept laughing at my out of date gear in previous years.

We may not do so again. L is horrified at how long her skis are. In fact we both much preferred our old own 'out of date' skis. We are also both horrified at how clunky the boots are. They are such a faff to do up, just like they were the last time I hired a pair in the 1980s and nothing seems to have improved since. Except that rear entry boots like mine came in and then went away again. I love my rear entry boots even if no one else does. Now I find out that rear entry boots may be making a comeback as Nordica launched a range in 2020. Might get some or I could just bring my old pair. 

Dubiously kitted up we head to the Le Princesse Gondola just outside Combloux in the rain. Sadly the weather isn’t great. Then we have to figure out how to pick up our ski passes from the automated machine. Which we do eventually. Then we finally get to ski.

Up the top of the gondola the rain turns to snow and although the visibility isn’t great we get to do some skiing.

At the end of the day we find that nowhere is open to eat before 7pm in Combloux and it’s only 5pm. Our hotel also doesn’t do evening meals. So we grab a load of cheese, meat, bread, biscuits, crisps and beer to eat in as we don’t really want to have to drive back in from where we are staying and it’s too wet to walk.

We notice that the Lad’s photo has appeared on Facebook, posted by the kennels. He seemed to boycott this service last time but this time he has participated and looks very contented with his lot. That’s not supposed to happened.

On Saturday we head to a different area and go up the Rochebrune cable car. It is slightly higher, so less rainy but more snowy. We drive into Megeve afterwards where there are also no early meal options, not that we could find. So we eat in again.

On Sunday we head to Le Princesse Gondola again and as the day goes on the weather improves and the sun finally comes out.

We even get a rainbow and joyfully we can now see where we are skiing.

In the evening with the weather improved we take a stroll out of the hotel and take the signposted shortcut into the village which really is quite a short route. If only we’d found this earlier... and the weather hadn’t been so foul.

We eat in the Au Village restaurant in Combloux. It’s the best meal of the holiday but also the only meal of the holiday. We drink a very nice beer from Mont Blanc Brewery called Le Rousse. Meanwhile another smiling photo of the Lad appears on Facebook. I’ll have words when we get home.

The flight back is a lot more straightforward once we find the obscure farm track into the airport. I know we ought to join this EU thing but perhaps Switzerland should too and then we wouldn’t have this ridiculous French Side-Swiss Side airport straddling the border. I guess persisting with the farm track is France’s way of twisting the Swiss arm but it doesn’t seem to be working.

There is one more cock up to come when we land back at Birmingham. I had incorrectly collected a car parking ticket when we arrived rather than relying on the ANPR to pick up our booking so the car park tried to charge us a horrifying £280 rather than the still appalling £118 I’d paid in advance but eventually they sorted it out for me. Seems they’re well used to people messing this up.

Then we collect a rather grateful Lad from his lodging and then drop in on my Dad to see how he’s coped in our absence.

(Monday 13th March)

Wednesday 8 March 2023

How To Cope With An Awkward Dog In Heavy Snow When You Have A Bad Knee

The lad appears to be very sceptical of my office move from the back bedroom to the front bedroom, thereby leaving room for the new lodger. So far he’s boycotting it and is sticking to his bed in the hall despite having a bed in my new office. It is MD's old bed so that might have something to do with it.

On Monday I am again at the Velodrome while L is at the Physio. AMR Physio on Glaisdale Drive. She is struggling with her back again and plans to take a break from running including skipping the Derby 10K. While I’m taking a break from almost everything apart from the cycling that is, which leaves me hobbling round our morning walk the next day. No pain no gain. Perhaps.

The frequent snow showers don’t help but having made it home and about to Google ‘how to cope with an awkward dog in heavy snow when you have a bad knee’ it appears not to have settled. Apparently we are due a decent dump overnight Wednesday into Thursday. Just when we don’t want it as we need to get to the airport.

Another Facebook memory appears. This time of the Paris Half Marathon in 2016 which, of course, I was also injured for or rather during. You can’t tell from the photo that I was stood on one leg, as the other one had given up the ghost after only about 4k somewhere near Bastille. I have my arm round L not just because I still managed to pull but because she’s holding me up.

On Tuesday Derby are away at Plymouth but it’s on Sky so I go over to my Dad’s to watch it and take the Lad with me, which obviously ruins the match for us because he’d rather play ball. We are probably thankful for the distraction.

Wednesday is dog training which is good for L because she can do something else that is better without a dog. Like her physio exercises. I bet she missed him really.

On other news, the care home that L’s Dad is in finally stops insisting on negative covid tests.

(Wednesday 8th March)

Sunday 5 March 2023

Character Building

On Sunday the Lad has a traumatic experience as we take him for a night out at the Horse and Jockey in Stapleford on the i4. Personally I would describe it as character building but I think L disagrees. 

Monday isn’t any better for him as our morning walk is disrupted by him getting mugged by a particularly aggressive black Labrador. 

With amazing timing, on one of my rare visits, Facebook pops ups a ‘memory’ of me with a very young MD in my arms on the Caledonian Canal back in 2010. That was the mega year when we got snowed in at the cottage we stayed in.

Also with strange timing one of my customers premises burns down somewhere near Perth just south of where we were at Pitlochry. Wasn’t me.

My lucky number comes up in the first ballot for the Paris Olympics next year giving me the option over the next 48 hours to buy tickets for three sports. Although it is a case of choose three sports from only about a eight that they still have available and that you afford without remortgaging.  

On Tuesday Derby have a first ever home match with Cheltenham Town and then another one at home on Saturday with Shrewsbury Town. Wednesday is Tunnel and Sausage night as dog training is now known.

As we both attempt to build some fitness, I manage two gym sessions this week which I’m quite proud of and a cycling track session. L of course manages twenty-two gym sessions (approximately) but her yoga class gets cancelled because there was no-one else there. It was possibly a bit too early in the moirning for the youngsters.

On Friday L isn’t working from home so I don’t get my bacon sandwich for breakfast. That’s fine, I like toast. Friday is also our Anniversary. 127 years (approximately).

L Parkruns at Beeston on Saturday despite struggling with a back injury and on Sunday we have a night out at the Organ Grinder.

(Sunday 5th March)