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Sunday 24 September 2023

Any More Sets

Back at home we do Parkrun at Clifton. I again run  with the Lad which is probably asking for trouble particularly as when warming up my knee was so painful I nearly didn’t start at all but it is better when I get going and we get round. 

Then it’s the match where Derby draw 1-1 with Portsmouth. Saturday night is spent at the Gym which leaves L dripping wet with sweat after a heavy cardio session. Nice. Meanwhile there’s me looking like a haggard old man doing a one legged weights session as my right knee proclaims that it did enough at parkrun this morning thank you very much.

On Sunday we’re back on the Colwick swim and walk but my walk is shorter than usual due to my dodgy knee. We skip the Daleside café and head home for coffee. I cut the lawn and then join L later at the gym where I do some upper body exercises as my legs have shot it. Monday morning’s walk is also a bit of a hobble.

The knee copes better with the cycling in the evening and the netball league is back on which is always good to watch when the actual cycling gets a bit boring.

My physio is on Tuesday this week and we do upper body because of my knee. Surprisingly I can still type afterwards considering he upped some of the weights.

L in is work but without any work, just keeping her boss company, still catching up on this blog, scrolling through Instagram and drinking lots of tea. 

Derby have a match in the totally pointless EFL Trophy formerly known as the Papa John’s Trophy aka the Pizza Cup but even they can’t be bothered to sponsor it any more. They play Exeter and win. Afterwards we go to the Silk Mill.

By Wednesday my knee is getting stiffer and it’s a tough morning walk. Later I do a light gym session, just half an hour of my greatest hits. The ones that aren’t too hard on the knee.

People do keep talking to me in the gym. Which is kind of scary, like I fit in. Although it’s mostly just everyone’s favourite catchphrase ‘you got any more sets’ or variations on that theme. This basically translates as ‘get off that piece of equipment, I want to use it’. When a girl with a foreign accent asks you about ‘sets’ it can sound like she’s asking you something else but no, she’s just after your leg press. Later it’s our first dog training session since the summer break.

Thursday is my Dad’s birthday and he freaks Daughter out by giving her a video call, an accidental one I assume. Most of us just got back what looked like a standard reply when we messaged him birthday wishes.

He was going to celebrate with a physio session but that has been cancelled. So rather than going around to see him in the afternoon to take him to that, I drop around in the evening with L. We take a cake with some candles on it but we don’t stay long as we’ve seen at lot him recently and I can’t face another evening finishing his chips for him.

We head to the gym and do a joint session although the new entry gates aren’t keen to let L in for a second visit of the day.

The Lad and I struggle to get in the park gates on Friday as there is chaos at the local Secondary School because their gates are locked and there is a massive tailback of kids with many climbing the fence to get in to school. They used to climb the gate to get out in my day.

The National Madison Championships, which was due to be at Derby Velodrome on Friday, are cancelled due to lack of entries after British Cycling refused to support their own event by providing some riders. It’s a shame as I was going to take my Dad.

L has drawn up a list of some possible tourist Parkruns listing those within an hour’s drive. Our first stop on the list is Belvoir Castle. I decide to watch and not run but have to boot the Lad while they start so that they call all hear the briefing. We then walk part of the course when everyone else has started. There’s a nice café for afterwards.

I then go to cut my Dad’s lawn even though he’s not there as he’s at a Classic Motorbike event at Cadwell park with my brother. Then I head home to listen to Derby win at Carlisle.

L returns home from her trip into Derby with her Mum with her usual headache. I take her to the gym to work out her frustration on the dumbbells. We had considered the cinema later but surmise that we both might fall asleep if we did. Instead we walk down to the Wollaton pub with the Lad. The beer is Lincoln Green’s Hood which is not too shabby and the Prosecco comes in smaller bite size portions from a large bottle. Although we have to send the first one back as it’s flat.

On Sunday we go watch the Robin Hood Half Marathon. I have my deferred entry but obviously attempting to run it wouldn’t be a great idea. I am very jealous of everyone while L is not jealous at all. We are slightly shocked how long the roads stay closed for some seriously slow walkers at the back. It’s one thing to walk it, it’s another thing to walk it that slowly.

In the afternoon I visit my Dad and take him to Notsa. Then in the evening my gym buddy and I are at the gym again. After months of trying to edge my barbell squat up to 20kg on each end I finally manage it. 60kg in total with the bar weight. 

(Sunday 24th September)

Friday 15 September 2023

September in Scotland (Part 2)

Week two kicks off as week one did with Parkrun. This time at Alness. It’s a really nice course out onto a land/sand spit with a 180 degree turn around a human dressed as a cone. I run with the Lad, starting at a walk after everyone else has gone. We gradually catch up and increase our pace. Somehow we stay friends. 

We have a nice coffee with other parkrunners at the Commercial Hotel then we drive to Dornoch beach via Tain where we allow the Lad back into the sea. We have a beer at a pub in Dornoch. In the evening we walk from the hotel to nearly Saltburn Woods. We have a nice meal back at the Ship Inn apart from the fact that both the ice cream and the orange juice are too cold for my Dad. Thank God for the Wild cat and it’s driven L to the Prosecco.

After hitting the breakfast buffet we drive along the length of Loch Ness to Oban with apples, bananas and other snacks rolling around in the car as my Dad has insisted on getting his money’s worth from the breakfast buffet. After a very hot first week the weather has now turned and today it rains most of the day. We pop into Nevis Range for a coffee and it would have been nice to have taken my Dad up in the cable car but at £25 each not cheap.

We reach Oban and check into the Great Western. L and I go for a walk and I check out the Fyne Ales in the Oban Inn. Back at the hotel L does her weights workout while I dabble and the Lad disrupts. We eat in the hotel and I find a very nice 14 year old Oban whiskey.

An ambulance rocks up later but it isn’t for me or my Dad but there are clearly a lot of potential ‘customers’ in the hotel who have had too many chips or there ice cream may have been too cold. Must happen all the time.

On Monday we spend a day in Oban without moving the car. L and I walk up to Dunollie Castle past a rocky outcrop known as the Dog Stone. Then we walk my Dad into Oban centre as far as the Oban Inn for first coffee and then beer. Unfortunately the Oban Bay Brewery that served us well last time is no more. After returning him to the hotel we then walk up to McCaig’s Tower. In the evening we go for a curry at Spice World which appears to have nothing to do with the Spice Girls. My Dad eats everything for only the second time, the other time being the curry in Stornoway when again there were no chips on offer. The owner bribes us with free whiskeys to encourage us to write a review online. I oblige as it was a decent curry. We have another whiskey back at the hotel.

We start Tuesday with a morning run. I am feeling my knee a bit so I only do 2.5k but L does 4k. Then we drive to Tarbert on Loch Fyne (the Tarbet with an extra r). We get the ferry across then head to Colintraive where we grab a coffee at the Colintraive Hotel before getting on the ferry to Bute. Retracing our steps of what was the Lad’s first trip to Scotland but in reverse. We grab an ice cream in the centre of Bute then head to our hotel, the Glenburn in Rothesay, which is mightily impressive place.

With the weather dropping colder having to warm L up between the sheets in the late afternoon has become a regular and rather pleasant ritual. On this occasion though we then have to head back into town to get the Lad some dog food, a dog cannot survive on chips alone, then we have what has become another regular ritual, a pre-Dad drink in bar. They have no beer obviously but do have Schiehallion lager in bottles which is at least Scottish. Sadly just like the Oban Bay Brewery, the Bute Brewery has shut down and overall there are far less bars serving real ale in most of the places we’ve visited compared to what it was when we last came up here.

Amazingly we manage another meal without chips and my Dad doesn’t get a dessert either as the staff seem to lose interest in serving us. We have a few whiskeys but L opts out, leaves us drunks to it and goes to bed.

Wednesday sees us do a car tour of Bute following the tour bus route that we didn’t think would take the Lad. He gets on the beach at Ettrick Bay, we have coffee at Kilchattan Bay, visit a book shop in a phone box and then have a beer (a real one, Jarl on handful) at the community owned Anchor at Port Ballantyne. L insists on again being warmed up in bed later that afternoon. In the evening my Dad finds another motorcyclist to talk to in the bar which makes for a long night as only one person in the conversation knows what he’s talking about but L manages to escape early again. 

On Thursday we manage another morning run, 4k this time before we check out. Not content with raiding the breakfast table my Dad steals all the toiletries from the hotel as well. We then get the ferry to Wemyss Bay back on the mainland. We drive done the coast to our final stop at Portpatrick stopping on the way down literally opposite Ireland at a tearoom near Turnberry.

The hotel is again impressive and has a great cliff top location, the harbour below is impressive too and on our last day delivers the best beers of the holiday where the Crown Hotel, visited on our pre-Dad trip, has hand pulls from Galloway’s Five Kingdoms Brewery. 

The best beer of the holiday comes at the very end of it. Our hotel also sells their beers in bottles and their Invisible Hand ale accompanies my evening meal. 

On Friday we depart for home via breakfast near Dumfries in the same roadside café\container that we have visited before.

The trip down the M6 is a nightmare but then what other types of M6 trips are there.

Friday 8 September 2023

September in Scotland (Part 1)

Our two week holiday starts locally in Alvaston with Parkrun. Well it does for L. Despite making my comeback last week the Lad and I support then we collect my Dad and head north. It’s a decent drive up and we arrive in Arrochar in good time. We are again staying at the Claymore Hotel along with the coach parties of overweight chain smoking tourists. The set menu delivers a decent Spag Bol but the bar has no beer, not even the Loch Lomond cans of last time, and the wine is awful. I’m almost jealous of L’s fizzy water. We decamp to the nearby Village Inn for some decent hand pulled Loch Lomond Pale Ale. 

L's PT has done her a programme to take on holiday which means we have a set of dumbbells in the car and on Sunday morning we make use of these doing a weights workout in the hotel room before breakfast. Which is then followed by a not terribly healthy cooked breakfast.

After which we drive to stop number two at Morar. On the way we stop at a cafe in Arisaig called Sound Bites where my Dad has a mid-afternoon snack of Apple Crumble with custard. We don’t join him. We have vowed not to join in these indulgent mid-afternoon treats and save ourselves for dinner. This turns out to be a very decent meal at the Morar Hotel which features for me, and what becomes a reoccurring theme, Scallops and Black Pudding. They also have most of the Skye beers in bottles.

We don’t have breakfast at the hotel and catch a relatively early ferry over to Lochboisdale on South Uist during which we have the classic Cal Mac breakfast. The Lad stays in the car for the duration of the three and half hour journey but it’s last time he does so.

On arrival we drive onto Eriskay, from where the ferry goes to Barra, to get the Lad some beach but it’s not a Dad friendly beach, so my Dad stays in the car. Then we drive up through Benbecula to the Lochmaddy Hotel at the top of North Uist, a place that’s been on the to do list for some time.

L and I do an early evening 5k on the local roads, I mean road. Then we have a decent Sunday Roast on a Monday e.g. Beef in Red Wine along with more Scallops and Stornoway Black Pudding. There are no beers to speak of, so it’s on to the whisky. 

Breakfast is Eggs Béarnaise with yet more BP. Then as we’re not moving on today we head to Clachan Sands beach which is Dad friendly. He gets his chair out on the beach while I take the Lad for a run along the beach which has mixed results as we both seem to be playing to different rules.

Then L swims and I almost join her but I have a land locked dog and an errant father to keep an eye on, who at one point absconds into the dunes for a comfort break. Afterwards we have coffee at the Berneray Bistro café and then a cliff top stop where my Dad lusts after a 900cc Triumph motorbike a chap from Barnsley has.

Back at the hotel we do another weights workout and share a hot bath. A rare treat that we can’t do at home. L is also checking out Scottish gyms although I’m not sure they have such things here on the Hebrides. Folk probably just toss cabers.

After sharing a bottle of red with the evening meal, the lad rounds a pleasant day off by vomiting up his tea. He is promptly banned from finishing my Dad’s chips, which my Dad is ordering every night but rarely eating, and temporarily from beaches.

The next morning we head to the Berneray ferry terminal to get the ferry to Leverburgh on Harris which is my favourite Hebridean island. We drive along the half marathon route that we did back in 2012 and stop to use the toilets at the campsite we stayed on. Despite being my favourite island, Harris has nowhere dog friendly to stay that has vacancies not does its capital Tarbet have any cafes open that we can stop at. While the distillery, which is launching its first malt in three weeks’ time, has only three outdoor benches. All are occupied. So we continue driving to Lewis where based on past experience we believe cafes also do not exist.

After this longish drive we arrive at our Airbnb in Stornoway. There is a handy shop across the road from where we buy two pre-prepared curries to cook for tea. Then we go for a walk up to Stornoway Castle.

In the morning we return to Stornoway Castle this time for a 5k run and then have breakfast at Stornoway Golf Club. After which we set off to find Baltic Books for L and have a look around Stornoway which I still think is a bit of a dump. Beer wise the highlight used to be the Hebridean Brewery but that went bust in 2019. The only other bar that sells real ale and is still going appears to be The Crown Hotel but that is only selling Landlord and Deuchars. We go there for a coffee as we await the ferry to Ullapool. After his first ferry trip in the car, the Lad is now getting up on deck for each one.

Ullapool also isn’t good for beer. The Ferry Boat Inn has a hand written paper pump clip saying ‘6X’ but the bar staff don’t know what it is. I assume it’s Wadsworth 6X from Wiltshire so not really what I’m looking for. The Argyll Hotel has nothing at all. The Arch Inn saves me which has Cairngorm Stag on. I have a couple while L indulges in a Gin and Tonic. The Caledonian Hotel where we’re staying has Skye Red on keg which is better than nothing and the best Whiskey of the holiday in a 12 year old Glenmorangie called Lasanta that is matured in sherry casks. Very nice. Food is also good with the first Cullen Skink of the trip.

On Friday we have breakfast at the Bothy by the campsite we once stayed on then take a short walk along the sea front. Then we drive across the width of Scotland to Invergordon near Inverness for the only reason you’d drive across the width of Scotland. For parkrun of course and not purely for the excellent gelato some chap is serving from his van.

The Ship Inn where we’re staying has Cairngorm Wild Cat in bottles, Cairngorm Stag’s big brother, plus the local Dalmore whiskey. My Dad, seemingly intent on fattening me up, orders mac and cheese with chips and sticky toffee pudding to follow with no chance of finishing either. He then offers the leftovers to the Lad and I.

(Friday 8th September)

Friday 1 September 2023

Best Before End December 2018

Monday is a Bank Holiday so it’s a lazy morning in bed and then a not very lazy afternoon. We 5k run together on Martin’s Pond then gym together. In the evening I cook a healthy (hopefully) and high protein (hopefully) Thai Curry. 

On the healthy (hopefully) front L turns to Quinoa Porridge. The only problem is our bag of Quinoa is best before end December 2018. She doesn’t seem fazed but also doesn’t seemed impressed by her new breakfast snack and doesn’t ask for a fresh in date bag which might have made a difference.

On Tuesday I’m out with my Dad at the New Inn in Shardlow where they have Tiny Rebel’s version of Old Peculiar, that I mentioned a while ago and said I’d never see. Which is fantastic until you’re driving, which obviously I am.

L is still not well with an upset stomach, which she had prior to out of date Quinoa Porridge, and doesn’t swim or gym on Wednesday. I’m at Physio though where I am given a shiny new workout. The only problem is it’s all upper body. After which my arms ached so much that it took me three attempts to put the car in reverse to get out of the gym car park.

Quite how a humble physio session on my knee has now transcended into an upper body workout that ends with me doing something called snake wiggles on something called a battle rope followed by ten press ups, three times over, I’m not sure. Well, obviously he’s just extending his payday or he’s just an evil bastard.

I’m back at the gym on Thursday but not practicing my snake wiggles, just working on the decrepit old knees. In the evening we have tennis despite the iffy weather forecast. We can only hope that as they have brand new courts hopefully they won’t flood as much and if they do they will hopefully have brand new squeegees to mop them. In the end it doesn’t rain while we are there and they even put the lights on for us. I win three games again and celebrate with a Orange-utan (it’s a beer) in Victoria afterwards before picking L up from her own gym session.

On Friday L has brought forward her Saturday trip with her Mum and therefore leaves me to my own devices on the Friday lunchtime run. Predictably, without my pacer, I may have got a little carried away and run 6k. We do the gym later where we are both in awe of a girl reading a book on the treadmill. 

(Friday 1st September)