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

Thursday 30 November 2023

It's a HIIT

Monday is my cycling and for a variety afterwards my Dad and I go in the Dolphin. In my pub going experiences of the last 35 years, despite being Grade II and dating from the late 16th century, the pub has never been much good. I pop in once very few years and always find it a bit scruffy with dubious beer but then that’s just my opinion.

Tuesday is dog training with my ever-so-slightly improved dog while L starts the day, as ever, with her PT but this time she sends me an Instagram link of her doing her weights. A link I can’t find as I don’t really do Instagram... and for some reason these things disappear after 24 hours?

The morning walks have been frosty and pleasant all week, e.g. we didn’t upset anyone and no one upset us, until Wednesday when we got deer blocked and had to return back the way we came. 

Wednesday is my first HIIT session with my physio. This is basically cardio with dumbbells but no music. There are limits. It consists of 10 exercises for 30 seconds each with 30 seconds rest in between. Repeated three times. It is quite taxing and I even take a drink in with me.

On Thursday, as I’m snowed under with work, L takes my Dad to his physio session aka his social event. He does love a trip out.

(Thursday 30th November)


Tom Robinson

Tonight I am at Nottingham’s Old Cold Store to see Tom Robinson. The Old Cold Store is part of the Vat and Fiddle pub owned by Castle Rock Brewery so the audience is at least assured a good pint.

The Cold Store is also really cold. This is partly because it’s late November but also because it appears that the venue is just the pub’s backyard that they’ve (sort of) put a roof on. This is also (sort of) a seated gig and they’ve put chairs out for us old folks. Although you can stand at the back if you’re hardcore and/or you want to jump around to keep warm. Note to self: bring gloves next time.


Support comes from a chap called Rob Green who is originally from Nottingham. As always with a Tom Robinson show the support artist has been featured on his 6 Music Show and is introduced by the man himself. Green plays a short 20 minute set which only consists of three songs, a poem and a medley of covers but then he is hauled back on stage for one more called ‘I’ll Be Around’ which is the best one he does. He’s decent and hits some amazingly high notes with his voice.

After giving us a chance to get another beer, Robinson comes on stage, rolls his sleeves up, and launches into the first of two 45 minutes sets with a track I didn’t know ‘You Tattooed Me’ from his 1986 album ‘Still Loving You’. One of several songs that he plays tonight that I’ve not heard before.


This evening it is just him, without his band, and 'up close and personal' is the title of the show and that is what we get. Just Tom, his guitar and his keyboard.

The two sets will have an intermission in between. This is presumably another innovation along with the chairs for us oldies and for himself, a sprightly 73 year old.

During his reworking of ‘Fifty’ as in ‘what if we live to be fifty’ that he has now called ‘Eighty’ out of necessity as he’s now obviously way past being fifty, he tells of the three things getting older has changed in his performances. Firstly that he has to write down any new song lyrics or else he’ll forget then. Secondly, that having written them down he can’t actually read them. The third thing slips his memory.

His memory is strong though concerning his former TRB band colleague Danny Kustow to which he dedicates ‘Too Good To Be True’. A tale about Kustow is just one of his many recollections about his songs he tells tonight.


Robinson is also still a vocal critic of everything wrong in the world and also of abuses of power hence one of his newer songs ‘The Mighty Sword of Justice’. Then after ‘Atmospherics: Listen to the Radio’ he takes a break, so that we can all have a lie down.

Part two includes such classics as ‘Grey Cortina’, ‘War Baby’, ‘Glad to Be Gay’ and ‘Up Against the Wall’ before he closes with a ‘short medley of my greatest hit’ i.e. ‘2-4-6-8 Motorway’.

He treats us to one more which is the rather poignant ‘Only the Now’. It’s a personal favourite of his about the reality that the past is the past but that the future is always unknown and we all have to live in the moment. Sound advice and an excellent night.

Sunday 26 November 2023

Ford Capri

L has a busy day on Friday. A swim and gym at Lenton and then the frequently stressful trip to Mickleover. I have a Committee meeting in the evening. Not really the thing you want on a Friday but finding a mutually convenient date for these meetings is always hard.

On Saturday we take Parkrun on the road to Belton House near Grantham and even I join in. Then we are both in Derby, L’s in the Derbion and I’m at the match. My Dad has spent the morning driving an old Ford Capri up at Ambergate which was last year’s Christmas present from my brother. Now he wants his own Capri, just to sit on his drive so that he can look at it. That’s a bit indulgent but before thinking about that he needs a new freezer as his old one has just packed up.

In the evening we are out for a curry with friends. L and I have a drink first in the Good Fellow George then we meet them down at the Laguna Tandoori. This was once our favourite Indian Restaurant and I’ve been going here, off and on, since 1992. Unfortunately we haven’t been that impressed the last few times we’ve been and tonight it is again very average. There is also a long wait for our main course.

On Sunday the Lad and I have one of our vanishingly rare dog shows. That’s his fault not mine or at least that’s the story I’m sticking to. This means L again has to do the Sunday run without us.

The show goes a lot better than I expected. ‘We' are still crap obviously but not as crap as I expected ‘we’ would be. His weaving was good although never at the first attempt and his Steeplechase course was outstanding apart from the extra tunnel he slotted in when he though no one was looking. The problem was that the judge certainly was looking. Overall though we’re still speaking and I’m slightly enthused.

Later I do the gym with L and then raise a glass to Terry Venables who sadly died this weekend. 

(Sunday 26th November)

Thursday 23 November 2023


We are now officially in the Christmas build up because the Christmas lights are up at the house across the road from us.

Monday night cycling is a bit mad with a full complement of 28 riders on the track and at one point they had to stop the session to tell everyone to calm down.

When I get home, as ever, the Lad refuses to greet me and stays upstairs because I am arm in arm with my trusty steed. Which is otherwise known as the evil bike that hisses at him when I blow up its tyres.

L is at PT on Tuesday while I also brave the gym. Which was hard work as the day after cycling always is. It's not really the best day to go.

Our next door neighbours are having a porch or something similar built. Either that or they are having very permanent Christmas decorations to upstage those across the road. If it’s a porch it’s going to be a very small one person one.

On Wednesday the Lad gets a double training session at tunnel night. He sleeps well after that.

On Thursday L and I do a post-work gym session together at 5pm. It is busy but not horrific as we thought it might be. Then we head off to a gig together as I take L to see one of her faves of back in the day - Big Country.

(Thursday 23rd November)

Big Country

Tonight’s gig with Big Country at the Flowerpot in Derby is a bit of an odd one. It is part of the band’s 40th anniversary tour for their 1983 début album ‘The Crossing’. Yet the Flowerpot is not a big venue and nor does it have a large stage so tonight’s gig is a semi-acoustic, semi-electric affair and there are chairs set up on stage for the band to rest their ageing limbs. That's a good idea. Us in the crowd could do with them too. 

There is also no support band so a pint from the Flowerpot's real ale bar does the warming up instead. 

They open with an outlier ‘King Of Emotion’ which isn’t from the record we are here to celebrate and nor is the second track which their big hit ‘Look Away’ but then we get down to it with the next five all coming from their acclaimed first album. Although I'm not been a Big Country aficionado and a lot of the album's lesser er known tracks were fairly unfamiliar to me. 

The band, who do indeed stay seated throughout the night, now consist of founding members Bruce Watson on guitar and Mark Brzezicki on drums. Simon Hough is the vocalist while Bruce's son Jamie also plays guitar. After a six year hiatus following original lead singer Stuart Adamson’s death in 2001 the band have been back on the road ever since. 

 A short thirteen song set was rounded off with three songs I was very much familiar with, the big hits that were ‘Chance’, ‘Wonderland’ and ‘Fields Of Fire’.

 They do vacate their seats to briefly leave the stage before returning to close with a rousing ‘In A Big Country’. Now I’m off for a sit down.

Sunday 19 November 2023

Avoiding All Huskies

Apparently we have both a new Home Secretary and a Foreign Secretary. The latter is someone called Cameron which is seriously weird. Talk about jobs for the boys. Didn’t he resign in disgrace last time he was in Government? 

I skip my Monday cycling as I’m still coughing. Staying at home with a steak and a glass of red wine is more fun.

On Tuesday as L rushes home to get half an hour of raking leaves in which with exercise the Lad, for which she may need floodlights, I head off to Derby’s FA Cup replay at home to Crewe under floodlights. Which they rather embarrassingly lose.

The Lad has a busy Wednesday morning as he got to snarl at his favourite Husky as well as at the Dalmatian and one of the Labradors. Although I would say they all started it and we did have a nice social with some doodles.

My Physio offers to let me skip his evil cardio finale given my poor health but I went for it and then descended into a ten minute coughing fit.

In order to keep extracting money from me he asked, now that my knees aren’t so bad, if I fancied trying a HIIT workout. So I said I’d give that a go and then I came home to Google what a HIIT workout was.

L’s work today takes her back to her old office on Regent Street. Which must have been a bit strange. I’m out in Derby later for a (not so) wild night out with my friend. We don’t venture far having food in the Brunswick and then a last drink in the Alexandra.

The husky has the good sense to hide behind a tree on Thursday which makes the walk a little less confrontational. L swims in the evening while I manage to get in a lunchtime gym.

Obviously I fail to get Glastonbury coach tickets when they go on sale that evening and then I completely forget to try for the main release on Sunday. So we’re not going Glastonbury again.

I am at the Hygienist on Friday morning and then in the evening we’re at Derby Book Festival to see an impressive Wes Streeting telling us about his life so far. He’s only 40. There is, as always, a very old demographic in Quad and presumably those attending to see the Shadow Health Secretary are the ones that aren’t going to vote Tory. We grab a drink afterwards in the Exeter.

On Saturday we skip parkrun because L has a season ticket for the Book Festival and will be heading back there for the day. We walk the Lad together instead. Avoiding all huskies.

I join L later for a session with the brilliant Steve Richards, that's after I’ve squeezed in a game of squash with Daughter. I get the bus over so that we can have a proper debrief over a few drinks in the Flowerpot. I meet L in somewhere called Boo Burger. Richards' latest book is about the turning points in political history. He is very informative about Suez and hilarious a point in history known as 'Truss'.

I don’t join L at at the Book Festival on Sunday as I am meeting an old friend from University who is up to see the Sisters of Mercy tonight at Rock City. We meet in the Lincolnshire Poacher at 5pm which was one of our old hang outs and then move to Langtrys. These are two of the few places that we used to frequent that are still in existence. We return to Langtrys for a night cap after the gig. 

(Sunday 19th November)

Sisters Of Mercy

I have seen the VirginMarys a few times live always as a support band but not for some time, so it's no surprise to learn that it's now ten years since the guitarist-drummer twosome of Ally Dickaty and Danny Dolan's first album and they were together a while before that.

They are just as I remember. Lively and... loud. Particularly those drums but they are also hugely impressive as they literally blow us away with their grunge/punk tunes.

Then for those with any eardrums left. It's time for the Sisters.

It's also been a while since I saw the Sisters of Mercy. Far too long I think. I stopped going because they seemed to have become almost a parody of themselves. The last time I saw them at Rock City the sound was really poor, the best days of Andrew Eldritch's vocal cords seemed well behind him while the stage was so utterly drenched in dry ice that you were left wondering if there was actually a band there on stage at all and you had fallen for some elaborate scam.

So yes, I've been away too long, because tonight was nothing like that. Tonight the Sisters rocked up at Rock City and rocked out, putting on an amazing stage show and the assembled masses loved it. The sound was top notch, Eldritch's voice problems seemed in remission while not only was the dry ice in moderation but they even have a decent light show going on.


Whereas last time I though the band just seemed to be going through the motions this time that certainly isn't the case. The band’s two guitarists long-time collaborator Ben Christo and newbie 'Sister' Kai, a replacement for Dylan Smith who was dispensed with earlier in the tour, are fully engaged tonight and throwing old skool rock poses all over the stage. While Chris Catalyst man’s Doktor Avalanche the drum machine, whatever that involves.  

Then there's Eldritch, and yes his voice isn’t what it was but he more than gets by tonight for a man of 64.

You could be a cynic and say the show involves a lot of karaoke. Doktor Avalanche the drum machine has, of course, always been a thing for them but now it's all the keyboard parts and also all the bass lines as the band have long since dispensed with a bass guitarist. 

The band power through a set routed in 1990's 'Vision Thing' album with 'Doctor Jeep', 'Ribbons', a truly thumping 'More' and 'I Was Wrong' featuring along with the classic that is 'Alice', 'Marian' and the Sisterhood's 'Giving Ground' which are interspersed with numerous unreleased songs before they end the main set with another classic in the 'Temple of Love'.   


The 'new' songs are controversial and always have been because the Sisters have released zilch since 'Vision Thing' apart from the 1993 'Under The Gun' single, which doesn't feature tonight, but they still keep performing new tracks. Tonight’s set consists of no less than eight of these but it has to be said that most of them are pretty good. This wasn't the case when they first started adding new tracks a couple of decades ago but then they've obviously had plenty of time to refine them.

Eldritch long ago said he saw no reason to release a new record and seems to abhor the prospect of entering a recording studio, employing the necessary people and then paying them both for time and royalties. Why bother, he says, when people can just come to a gig. Problem with that is, despite their prodigious touring record, most fans are probably only attending one gig a year and then when Eldritch eventually stops touring all you will be left with are the dodgy YouTube clips recorded on someone's phone. 

He really needs to sort this and to be fair to him he didn't entirely rule out a new release in recent interviews. As I'm sure he knows, the music industry has evolved and we now live in an era of self-published music and the likes of Bandcamp.

Of course he may be worried that a new record wouldn't be able to live up to the older ones and it probably won't but that's missing the point.

While the set is fantastic, the encore is something else. They have a saxophone up on stage for the instrumental 'Sandstorm' but then it's the fantastic threesome from 'Floodland' of ‘Dominion / Mother Russia', a truly bombastic 'Lucretia My Reflection' and then to close the Hey now! Hey now now! singalong of 'This Corrosion'. Top night.

On the basis of the reaction tonight, and the band's enduring popularity as demonstrated by practically every venue on this tour hanging up the 'sold out' signs, a new record would sell rather well. I think he is missing an open goal here. Get it sorted.

Sunday 12 November 2023


I’m still ill on Monday so the last thing I needed was an unplanned extension to our morning walk when I found the exit gate from the park at Sutton Passeys still locked. Meaning I had to go all the way back where I came in on Harrow Road. 

I’m feeling too weak for cycling so I skip that and even take L’s advice to go to bed early, now there's a first, while she goes for a swim.

I’m a bit better by Tuesday but L still runs off to work to escape my germs where she finds her boss is full of cold, as was her PT when she saw him earlier. She’s surrounded by ill people.

Obviously she is feeling left out because that evening, halfway through our regular session listening to Cormoran Strike, L gets up to go to the bathroom and vomits. Then she comes back and we carry on. She blames a satsuma. I’m surrounded by ill people and I run off to dog training to escape.

I may have managed dog training but I feel a session with my evil physio will be a step too far, so I move him back a week.

Wednesday’s match in the EFL Trophy, now officially known as the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, results in a 4-1 victory over a Wolverhampton Wanderers Under 21 side in front of just 1,972 people. No one really cares about this much until we get to Wembley.

On Thursday Daughter tests positive for Covid and has to WFH. I’m surrounded by ill people.

On Friday the car is in for its MOT which means a trip over to Derby as even that is easier than getting to VW in Nottingham. I take it and L picks it up after lunch. She then heads over the Mickleover and is understandably distraught when another car runs into her. It turns out to be just a minor dint that cleans up ok but we have to break open a large bottle of Leffe to help us get over it.

On Saturday L runs at Markeaton parkrun but the Lad and I just watch. We have a coffee afterwards in the café before I drop L in Derby. I take my Dad to the match where Derby beat Barnsley 3-0. We are in the Plough later where the big question is which is better, the Coffee Porter or the Toffee Stout. I think the Coffee Porter just shades it.

Sunday is the dog club’s Members Day where we put on a day of competition for the club’s members. The Lad is, of course, in equal parts hopeless and embarrassing. On his very first run he takes off for a jump far too late and face plants into the ground, all in his haste to cram a few extra tunnels in. It is all caught embarrassingly on camera. He add two more Es later to complete a full set of three.

Back at home L runs without us again although I may have died had I gone with her as I’m still not 100% but I do manage to go with her to the Gym later. After which we have a home cooked Sunday Roast.

(Sunday 12th November)


Sunday 5 November 2023

Toughing It Out

On Friday L joins us on the morning walk. She has swapped her swim and gym days this week so there's no Friday evening gym session. She goes this morning instead when she can basically do what she wants to do without me getting in the way.

I console myself with a solo 4.4k run at lunchtime on the park. No dog, no L, Billy no mates. The park is eerily quiet, just the guy blowing the leaves off the golf greens and myself. He's been doing his blowing since 8am this morning. I daren't mention that it looks to me as if he's simply blowing them continually from one green to another.

On Saturday we Parkrun at Belvoir on their ‘winter’ course. The day starts dry and bright so I get ready to run. Then of course it rains but I tough it out and still run. No dog of course. The course has a long downhill start which I was dreading coming back up but thankfully it finishes lower down by the car park.

We have a coffee then I drop L in Derby before taking my Dad to the New Inn in Shardlow for lunch. Then I pop round to L’s Mum for a spot of DIY. It takes three of us to put a curtain rail up.

L is at the gym again later and I meet her afterwards with the Lad and we walk up to the Plough. This is despite the constant bombardment of Fireworks Night but the Lad isn't fazed by it.

On Sunday I wake up ill with a bad cough. Perhaps it was a bad pint of Norfolk Nog last night or perhaps it was a bad pint of Supreme or maybe a bad pint of the Oat Meal Stout or maybe it’s Covid. I do a test which comes up negative, for Covid that is.

I am too unwell to run so L does the Sunday run on her own but the Lad and I walk up to the Wollaton to meet her for breakfast. Then she does the gym while I lie dying on the settee watching three FA Cup games back to back. This includes Derby's game where two late goals mean they narrowly avoid an embarrassing defeat to Crewe as the game ends in a 2-2 draw. 

(Sunday 5th November)

Thursday 2 November 2023

My Need May Be Greater Than His

L starts the week in work and has a boss. He must have got his days mixed up. Then on Tuesday she is sent home because he has a problem with his car tyres.

Monday evening is my cycling and perhaps I did overdo it on Sunday because my legs aren’t as good as they usually are. The velodrome cafe is closed so my Dad has two packets of crisps and a Kit Kat for his tea. My legs do seem better by the time I get a pint inside me at the Exeter along with a Chorizo and Jalapeño scotch egg. The egg that bites back. I bet my Dad wishes he’d waited for his tea.

On Tuesday, after a walk around a swamp like park, work is accompanied by keeping an eye on the riveting Covid enquiry with a short break for lunch with my ex-colleague. 

L fills her unexpected day off by taking the Lad for a lunchtime walk which she calls practising for retirement.

The Lad gets another walk in the evening on the park which, with the clocks having gone back, is surprisingly still open at 5pm. It is also misty, spooky and Halloween-like with the added excitement of the deer lurking in the shadows. I then head to the match where Derby beat Northampton 4-0.

The following evening L and I do a 5k run along the ‘historic’ Rodney route. Which results in my knees not being great the next morning despite doing it without the lad

When I take my Dad for his physio appointment on Thursday I feel that my need may be greater than his. 

In the evening I have a gig.

(Thursday 2nd November)