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

Sunday 30 July 2023

Canned It

After another session at the velodrome I ponder that perhaps I’m getting a bit fitter. Perhaps. Problem is now that I need to upgrade my gearing again. Almost everyone is using at least a 96 teeth chain ring and he’s me on a little old 91. A touch underpowered.

I have my physio on Tuesday rather than Wednesday ahead of five straight days at my club’s dog show. He ups my dumbbells from 8kg to 10kg, of course he does, and get me working on the 24 inch box jumps.

In the evening I’m out with my old school pal doing the usual thing. Beer in the Alexandra and food in the Exeter.

L’s brother emigrates to Columbia on Wednesday which we knew was coming but has all happened so quickly. It’s also all caused a bit of a family upset but then what’s a family without one.

Preparations go well at the dog show with the marquee arriving on time at 9:30 on the first day of set up. Despite the recent rain there is no muddy ground but there is a nice big puddle that the Lad would have liked but sadly he isn’t joining me at all this week and nor is L. The Lad finds the whole dog show thing too stressful as does L or did she saying too boring. Not having the Lad does make my job at the show much easier. He has his knees up last weekend.

I am struggling to fit in a night out with my Dad so after I finish on the Wednesday I swing past his place, bring him over to ours and then collect the Lad before we go to the Horse & Jockey in Stapleford for a swift one.

Thursday is another successful set up day. L says it’s grey and miserable at home. I’m not sure if she means the weather or work but she still manages a run before the downpour that comes later. We also manage a romantic night out at the gym together.

The Lad gets a ridiculously early walk on Friday before I abandon his to go to the first day of competition at the show. L is doing her regular Friday swim but can take over walking the monster for the rest of the weekend.

My brother manages to take my Dad to the Golden Rams coffee afternoon as I’m too busy at the dog show and he gets his photo taken on the pitch. He comes to the dog show on Sunday and helps out with the free pizza. I come home with new dog mats and a new tuggy lead for the uninvited one.

As suspected we’ve been doing a bit too much drinking and L has called time on it, deciding to take a break from it all. So that’s canned the canned beer nights which is no bad thing as even I was really fed up with it.

(Sunday 30th July)

Sunday 23 July 2023

A New Policy

L has a new policy at work. If her boss doesn’t come into the office then she comes home. She’s home on Monday by 10:30. I tell her to pick up some milk if she’s coming home, as we’ll need it. The kettle is already quaking in its boots.

While I may or may not be enjoying my Monday Cycling sessions, I’m not sure L is enjoying me leaving her in charge of ‘bloody walk time’. The lead biter is not such a poppet when it comes to walk times, at least with L.

On Tuesday L has her PT but I take a day off my workout as my knees aren’t great after a heavy knee day of gym and run on Sunday and cycling on Monday. Tuesday is our last dog training night before our summer break.

Daughter gets a parking fine outside our house.

This week three stages of the Tour De France are centred around Combloux where we stayed for skiing this year. You didn’t see a lot of Combloux as they had barriered it all off but they did seem to have a camera right outside our hotel because I spotted the recycle bins across the road! as well as the roundabout but not the hotel itself.

My physio ups the Sledge push to 60kg. L says that’s almost as much as she weighs. He did in fact say that a good target is always to get someone to stand on it. He’s also got me doing box jumps but the smallest one in the gym is 20 inches which I’m struggling with as it’s only 18 inches at physio. Although he wants me to work on 24.

We take my Dad swimming on Wednesday but only I swim with him and L comes along to walk the Lad. The swimming is a bit frustrating e.g. just Dad minding and this way the Lad gets to come too. We go to Notsa afterwards.

L has one of her mad Fridays. Swim with her friend, then head over on the bus to visit her Dad and then have lunch in town with her Mum. What no gardening? She’s slacking.

On Friday evening I go to the gym with L and work on my box jumps finally achieving the not so holy grail of 20 inches.

We wake up to a message that L’s Mum is in A&E with leg pain but thankfully she is soon sent home. As there’s nothing we can do we head to Colwick. Yes on a Saturday rather than a Sunday this week for parkrun and then L swims followed by a Daleside breakfast.

In the afternoon Derby have a pre-season friendly with Stoke City that doubles as a testimonial for Craig Forsyth who has been at the club for ten years. This also gives L and her Mum a break from our company in Derby.

On Sunday L has a family gathering for her Dad’s birthday and I take the Lad to his first dog show in almost a year. He is thrilled. His stress levels are high but he has a great time and does better than last time although he still lands four Es. I’m not sure I’ll ever get him calm enough to be any better.

Rather poignantly the last time I was at this venue it was May last year and I was feeding MD chips and curry from the van because he wasn’t eating at home. Which is a sad memory.

In the evening we watch ‘Operation Mincemeat’, an odd but interesting film, at the end of another week of bit too much drinking despite not going out anywhere. 

(Sunday 23rd July)

Sunday 16 July 2023

In Town With The Shopaholics

At work we have a week of events to kick off what is our new work year. Actual work is, it appears, optional. The events consist of a number of talks from people within our organisation but also some celebrity guests.

My usual Monday progress meeting for my latest project gets moved to Tuesday because, I assume, everyone wants to the cook-along with the celebrity chef I’ve not heard of. They are cooking Tostadas for which I don’t have the ingredients and it all looks a bit of an expensive faff so I give it a miss.

Later in the week we have Kelly Holmes leading us through a workout with two tins of beans and a towel. I kid you not. She does however give a very interesting interview about teamwork.

I accidentally lock the lodger out and find her sat on the doorstep when I get back from doing the shopping (not for the Tostadas).

L inspired me to get a physio after the success she had with hers. Now that my physio is masquerading as a personal trainer, and also because I think she liked the workout he’s given me, she’s signed up for one herself. Hopefully this person won’t quit their job like all her others have, I’m sure it’s not her, and she’ll get to stick at it. I’ve even offered to pay for it but she’s declined.

On Tuesday I have sent someone round to cut my Dad’s hedges while at home I take delivery of our washing machine. Meanwhile L is off with a walk with her friends and ending up at the Carpenters Arms in Dale Abbey. Very nice.

Our neighbours have an allotment and so they keep us topped up with fresh veg. Unfortunately, and I don’t wish to feel ungrateful, this seems to be mainly courgettes but we do also get some cucumbers, tomatoes, runner beans and beetroot. Not that we really know what to do with the beetroot.

I survive another physio session on Wednesday and L asks if he’s pleased with my progress. Funnily enough it’s not something we ever discuss. He’s just ups my weights each week e.g. this week my dumbbells increased from 6kg to 8kg despite the fact I’ve complained that my arms are already quite a bit longer than when we started. He didn’t mention being pleased.

I get tickets for the two of us to see Depeche Mode in Birmingham in January. L says she’s tempted to ask for a granny seat but we’re going to be standing as I don’t want to be as far away as we were when we went there to see Arcade Fire. If she keeps up her gym work she’ll be fine.

Thursday was going alright until I spoilt it by going to the gym. Whereas L always says going to the gym is the highlight of her day but then she doesn’t have my workout.

My Dad was promised a follow up appointment three months after he had his knee looked at in March. It’s now July so I chased it, rang the hospital and got straight through to someone. I almost fell off my chair. He’s booked in for 18th August.

L is having problems tracking down a missing parcel for work. The only way to contact the Royal Mail seems to be through online chat with no real person on the end e.g. it’s one of them AI Chat Bots that’s going to take over the world but it still won’t be able to help you find your parcel.

After four days of events with work they give us Friday off as a Wellbeing Day. I go to the gym with L which is a questionable place for my wellbeing but at least I get to spend it in good company. The stormy night meanwhile is not good for the Lad’s wellbeing as nobody fancied taking him for a walk in it. It’s a good background for a ‘Friday Night’ though, we haven’t had one of those for a while so a stormy one is a bonus.

Parkrun is at Long Eaton for the first time since New Year’s Day 2019 when we also did Markeaton as park of the New Year double.

Then it’s another Saturday in town with the Shopaholics. That’s my Dad and L’s Mum, I don’t think it’s fair to include L in that and certainly not me. The café tour reaches Café Caruso. Where we debate the loss of the Ice Factory in a blaze 48 years ago because three of us remember it happening. I do not as I was only eight.

I notice that Sainsbury’s in Derby are selling plant based tomato soup. What other kind is there? I find out later that they’ve replaced the cream with fermented soy but plant based is still surely misleading as both versions are 80% tomatoes. How big a base do you need?

L and I gym together again on Sunday and then do a short 2k run together.

We have a much saner week on the beer and a very pleasant night out in the Canning Circus pubs on Sunday. Interesting Tiny Rebel have reinvented Theakston’s timeless classis Old Peculiar and made a chocolate version of it. Unfortunately this will be impossible to get hold of, so no sign of this in Canning Circus.

(Sunday 16th July)

Sunday 9 July 2023

Walk Right Back

L has got a removal man in to clear their old office. Anyone and any price will do she’s not choosy, she’s not paying and just wants it done. Although he is apparently such a nice man and he can do it tomorrow.

I cycle on Monday at the velodrome and Daughter joins L for an early swim on Tuesday while the Lad and I hobble around the park as my knees complain loudly about the previous night’s cycling.

With her boss not around and her old office now cleared, L ‘works from home’ for the rest of the week. There is after all a lonely jigsaw that needs company. Although Friday is for visiting her Dad and gardening for her Mum.

On Wednesday I get tortured once again by my physio and then in the evening by a trip to the Royal Concert Hall to see a musical. It’s called ‘Walk Right Back’ and is about the Everly Brothers. I know I can cope as I survived Jersey Boys.

As it happens it’s not much of a musical, it’s more of a night with a covers band and it’s not just Everly Brothers songs either as Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran also feature. I was actually hoping for a bit of a story and we do get a little background info but there is no plot as such. The artists are perfectly fine, so it’s an ok night for something that isn’t my era.

On Thursday L and I gym together and then L runs with Daughter to her work.

Saturday’s Parkrun is at Beeston from where, after a coffee at the Boathouse café, L gets the bus to Derby to meet her Mum. My Dad and I join them later at Café Villabella as we continue our café tour of Derby. Then L, seemingly getting really into her gardening, does our lawn while I do my Dad’s.

We were supposed to be at a bats’ walk in the evening, the Brilliant Bats Walk no less at Sherwood Pines but it is cancelled due to the expected storm.

Sunday is of course swimming at Colwick where the Lad and I attempt to walk all the way around the outside of the racecourse. This takes a bit longer than we expected.

L and I are back at the gym on Sunday and doing my physio’s routine together. I even manage to persuade L to put some weight on the gym sledge rather than just pushing it unladen.

We end up staying in all weekend. I’m always one for going out for a drink but L’s more for staying in, at least when places are busy on a Friday and Saturday as we also like to take the Lad but it can be a bit much to go out on a Sunday as we decide this week. 

(Sunday 9nd July)

Sunday 2 July 2023


On Friday we walk the Lad in the morning  as usual and we abandon him for the weekend with the Lodger. It will be really interesting to see how they get on.

The service to Bath by train is pretty more and absolutely shocking on the Sunday when we are coming back but we give it a go. We have to change at Nottingham  and Bristol on the way there but it goes pretty smoothly apart from the seat reservations… there’s always an issue with the seat reservations.

We are staying at the Royal Hotel near the Railway Station which is pleasant old style hotel. As we are too early to check in we pay the nominal fee to go on to the Parade Gardens where we have lunch.

In the evening we have dinner at the hotel, where we are the only ones in their restaurant. They had insisted we eat before 6:30, so we assumed it would be busy. This proves not to be the case. Then we head off to find a decent pub but don’t find one as it’s raining quite heavy and we basically just need to shelter somewhere average. L has a bout of palpitations while we are in the pub either from the restaurant meal or the glass of wine she had with it as she’s on water in the pub.

On Saturday morning we hike out of town up something called Widecombe Hill which leads us to where Bath Skyline Parkrun is being held. This is possibly one of nicest places to have a parkrun even if it is booby trapped with hundreds of trip hazards. Despite that, and in thy absence of a dog, I am determined to test out my knee so I jump in past the worst of the ground and run 2k with her. It goes quite well for me, L seems to have a blast.

We grab a coffee on the way back at the bottom of Widecombe Hill and the head back to the hotel for a cream team that was included in the hotel deal and will make up for us missing breakfast.

Then in the afternoon we do the sights of Bath which aren’t all that many really but then we don’t pay for anything. We also do the bookshops and the Bath Brewery pub with L being a saint on the water again. We eat in the evening at the Bengal Brasserie.

On Sunday our short stay comes to an end and after a hotel breakfast we brave the trains. Getting to Bristol is easy but then there are plenty of delays, cancellation and rerouting. We are sent to Newport to make the connection back to Nottingham. It all takes an hour longer but we get there eventually. 

(Sunday 2nd July)