Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Testing The Water

On Bike. One lorry teased me by seeming to wave me through then pulling out. Hmmm not funny but I didn't fall for it. Then almost had an embarrassing moment and fell off when I forgot to unclip my shoes coming up to a junction because a juggernaut put me off. I managed to get my shoes unclipped just as I was tottering.

L says I'm getting so good at surviving that I won't need my 'lucky routine' soon. Not sure about that. I would like to reinstate my ‘lucky routine’. The problem is I moved the alarm from 6.15 to 6.30 around Xmas when the traffic was lighter and haven’t moved it back yet. I need that extra fifteen minutes in order to get 'lucky'. Will sort it out.

L says she's feeling rough after pigging out on the cake on her night out. She got off lightly, I've just had cake myself purely to replace some calories lost cycling you understand. Toffee Tiffin cake it was and it was vile.

Get home safe and sound. Then after some football with Doggo, the two of us walk with Daughter to guides. L is trying to fit some swimming in tonight but the pool closes at 7.30. It’s a case of either we swim and let Daughter get herself to guides and possibly get murdered on the way or I get her there and be too late for swimming, even if I took the car. So we end up skipping swimming. L says she'll do a 'dog free' run instead so that she gets a workout.

On the way to guides, I indulge in some stick throwing for Doggo and have a sinking feeling that I may be taking too much of an edge off him. Meaning he'll be crap at training tonight.

Of all sports apparently cycling is the one that makes men the horniest. This doesn't work for women, where apparently it's the Gym that does it for them. Naturally after my cycle home I feel in the mood for sex but of course L would say that's always the case. It looks like she's going to be home for around 7.15, so we have an hour or so before she has to collect Daughter and I go to agility. Have a mega sexual thought and wonder if L could be persuaded to transfer her workout to the bedroom rather than do her planned run.

In the end I bump into L just before we get home. Once home she seems in a great mood, very lively and affectionate. I wonder if this means she's horny too. I test the water by removing her jeans. Although it would have been more romantic had I remembered to remove her shoes first. No complaints so far. Having gone this far it would be rude to stop so I carry on as I suppose a dutiful and caring male should.

It's fair to say that my third ride of the day was the best of the three, although the other two did have the disadvantage of being on the bike. Though perhaps it was not such a good idea to decide to turn L over and finish off with me standing up. My calves were screaming blue murder by this point, which perversely added to the thrill of it.

Drag my aching body and Doggo to dog class. The trainer sets up a succession of very difficult courses. We surprise her by turning in a stunningly near perfect performance on the first one.

Then we are summoned to have Doggo measured. Some student (female = brief sexual thought) is doing a dissertation on grade 5 dogs. Who knows why. I expect her to be just measuring his height which is what they do when they categorise the agility dogs but no. She measures his ears, nose, nostrils, knees, thighs... in fact almost everything a girl can lay her hands on, within reason and within the law. Had L not taken the edges off me I might have been jealous. Doggo isn't impressed and at one point he tries to bite her. Although I suppose he may have been trying to bite me because I was holding him back.

Anyhow once this has been done his agility goes totally to pot. Basically he's rubbish and spends all his time sniffing the sand for horse wee or sniffing the bottom of a little white terrier, who only lets him because she fancies Doggo. She'll be lucky; he's only after her bottom. He's so human.

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Six Points Clear

Have to drive in today because there's a match tonight. Derby are torturing Burnley. The traffic has been so bad that I decided to change my route and go through Ilkeston. It wasn't too bad that way.

The biggest match of the night is most probably the relegation six pointer between Hull and Leeds. I’ll certainly have half an eye on that via the BBC Wap site. After all I need something to keep me occupied while Billy shuffles his chess pieces for the first hour of Derby's game as he waits for the end game to come around.

I keep thinking that one week we’ll put four or five goals past someone because the team are capable of it but think I’m deluding myself.

Back at home, someone has dragged all the covers off the bed. Tell L I'm sorry about that but I just fancied a quickie and she wasn't there. The things I do to protect that collie. Hope L was convinced.

Sad news, L informs me that our neighbour Dennis died yesterday.

At the match Derby score after only three minutes. Bugger. That's not in the script we only ever score late in the game. For a while Derby play some wonderful football and I wonder whether my dream of a four or five goal score line might come true but as time passes it becomes more and more obvious that this isn't going to happen. Yep it finishes 1-0 again. Amazingly Birmingham and Preston both lose and so Derby go six points clear at the top.

Of course the star of the show was whistle-happy referee Mike Riley. He did his best to get noticed by stopping the game as often as possible and in the process managed to anger most of the people in the ground. Premiership officials often appear to be out of their depth when they drop down from the sterile Premiership to take charge of the more passionate lower leagues. For the second time in four days there was an unfair sending off at Pride Park because the second yellow card shown to Eric Djemba-Djemba was clearly not warranted. In all Riley showed seven yellow cards and sent off three, which included a rare double of sending off the managers from both sides.

Leeds win the 'match of the day' at Hull, yet still slip to the bottom on goal difference as Southend win by more goals at Birmingham.

After the match I go for a couple of pints of Bass with my parents. Then home to L. L's was not impressed with her night out with two friends of hers. Apparently she couldn't get a word in edgeways.

Daughter's been out running again.

Monday, 29 January 2007

My Kind Of Girl

In the car today so get a bit of a lay in. Take advantage of the new improved L.

L aches from her fitness regime last week: - yoga, pilates, gym, swimming, running but probably most critically the cani-cross with Doggo. So she and Doggo opt for a plod (her word) around the paper round rather than a run. Doggo sees me drive off and nearly pulls L into the middle of the road.

Lunchtime and it's the FA Cup draw. Lucky Billy does it again. Plymouth away in the next round of the cup. 1-0 yawn, as my mate puts it.

In a way though, it's an interesting draw and brings back memories of the quarter-final in 1984. In that tie Derby clung on for a 0-0 draw at Home Park and then went out to a goal direct from a corner in the replay. Steve Cherry's finest hour, not. 23 years ago. Gosh I'm old.

I may have mentioned that my boss's son started working with us before Christmas. Well he has never worn a tie to work. Instead he sports a tank top over his work shirt. I have no problem with what anyone wears to work but the odd thing is his father has now started 'dressing down' too. He is now tie-free and has developed a nice line in pullovers. Including some stripy ones. L would approve, she likes stripes on a man.

Get home and give Doggo a bit of a kick (with his ball) and do the washing up. Daughter is cooking tea and she likes a clean slate before she makes a mess. L is out running, eating and probably drinking with friends in Derby.

After dog class I pick up some totty outside the Silk Mill in Derby and take her back to my place. I had to do my own tea, sausage sandwiches but she delivered on the sex front. In fact she helped herself. My kind of girl.

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Running With Dogs

We have to skip the lie-in and the sex this morning to get up early to head over to Cannock for a Cani-cross event. Cani-cross is a competition for people who run attached to a dog. This is what L and I do all the time but it seems that we aren't the only odd people who do this and now they've started putting on events for nutters like us. L and Doggo did one last year in Cheltenham and came 3rd, so hopes are kind of high that she can get another good result. L is therefore nervous. Not that this means much, she often gets nervous sometimes even when I take her out for a training run. I've no idea why. I tell her that these 'nerves' are a good thing because all athletes thrive on adrenaline and that is what this is but I don't think I've managed to convince her.

We do our usual trick and get there only just in time and it's a rush to get Doggo primed and raring to go e.g. he needs to spray up 15 assorted trees/bushes/other inanimate objects and have a dump before he starts.

There are sixty entrants and L is not looking particularly confident. Not so Doggo, he looks raring to go. For once, as he stands there squeaking and shaking in anticipation, he doesn't look the most ridiculous of the dogs, there is actually one dog that is worse!

Each dog starts at 15 seconds intervals and soon Doggo is off in hot pursuit of the dog in front with L being towed along behind.

The event is over 5K, although there is a shortened course of 2K as well, through the forest tracks. I wonder off into the forest to watch the action.

My team appear to do quite well but we're not sure if they've done well enough to get a top three place. It’s a two hour wait for the prize giving and we are undecided whether to stay behind and wait or not but in the end we do. As we wait for the prizes to be given out some poor chaps' dog starts howling pathetically. I look round to see which particular mutt is embarrassing their owner. Then I realise its Doggo. He's never done that before. How embarrassing.

Despite that, staying for the prize giving is a good call as L and Doggo again bag third place in their category. Bravo.

Drive home and both my travelling companions sleep most of the way. I head for the leisure centre and the ideal way to wake L up. An ice-cold swimming pool.

We have a good swim session. My front crawl is improving all the time. Whether I'll be able to swim 500m by May, which is when my next Tri is likely to be is debatable but who knows. Stranger things have happened.

Get home and book our Scottish cottage over the internet. Unfortunately my Dad can't join us. My mother has pulled rank on him.

Then I knock up a curry. L adds a chickpea side dish. Teamwork. The curry is fairly hot but not painfully so, although Daughter disagrees.

We are tired but the new super rampant L is up for sex, so we retire to bed at 9pm. After quenching her sexual thirst, I return to the computer at 10pm and try to book an apartment in Austria too. I send a few emails but can see that language problems may arise with the out of the way village I am trying to book us in to.

26 units for the week - good.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Day Of Thought

L says she's changed her diet and cut down on the amount of yeasty foods that she's eating. The benefit of this (for me) seems to be an almost instant increase in her libido. Not that it's normally low or anything. Just that it needs to be high to keep up with me! This morning L is rampant and takes revenge for me taking advantage of her last night. Not that I'm complaining.

Disappointingly the lie in isn't quite as long as we would have liked. We're hoping for a DFN (Dog Free Night), so it's best to give Doggo a run on the park. I get up and do this, spending an hour or so kicking his ball around the park.

Daughter appears to be in training. Not only has she been out for a run, she's also done a bike ride. L is worried 'how much' this will cost her.

When I get back from the park we nip to our local farm shop to stock up the freezer with meat and stuff. Then I head off to the match. It's the FA Cup 4th Round today against the mighty Pirates of Bristol Rovers and their 6,000 strong army of supporters. L asks me if I'll clock up any sexual thoughts at the match. It's unlikely. L reckons she might though, if she went. That is if Paul Peschisolido is one of the subs and does his warm-up in front of her.

Derby do it again. 1-0. Today they are again unconvincing, even by their own unconvincing standards. They survive lots of Bristol pressure, a disallowed goal (no knows why) and benefit from a dubious sending off. Then just as my mate texts me to say Peschisolido will come off the bench and score the winner in the last five minutes. Guess what? Pesch does indeed come off the bench and score the winner, albeit eight minutes from time. Job done.

As Pesch does his goal celebration, an impressive forward somersault, I think of L and whether that would be one or two sexual thoughts? Perhaps one for the warm-up and another for the goal?

When I get home, L and I head off into town on our DFN. Doggo is left at home to rest up for his 5K race tomorrow. L is very chilled for saying she's doing the race with Doggo, attached to him.

We have a Leffe Blonde and a bottle of red between us at the Ropewalk and then a couple of Leffe Brune's at Scruffys. We compare our sexual thought count for the day. Checking to see if I've managed to get my seven in and L her five. We wonder whether any of the other occupants of the pub, mainly students, affect it. Nothing much to get excited about with that lot.

My only thought all day, that is apart from the 150 I had while shagging L first thing, was when a female jogger ran past me on the park this morning. Not sure even that counts because the girl had a baggy sweatshirt covering what appeared to be no chest and no arse but you have to check, don't you.

The two extremely fat people opposite us get up and leave early. Off home to shag each other senseless no doubt. More sexual thoughts? Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall there? All that flesh flying around. Um perhaps not.

We stagger home. All in all pretty good night.

Friday, 26 January 2007

Mr Careful

Wake up. Legs don't feel too bad. Temperature gauge says a balmy two degrees. It's not raining. Doesn't look icy. So there's no excuse for not going on my bike, although L looks very very tempting lying there in bed. I ought to go through my lucky routine but need to leave in good time in case it's icy and I have to go slowly.

I could wimp out and go in the car which would give me an extra twenty minutes or so in bed which would be enough time to do something about my first dirty thought of the day but no I am strong. I briefly wonder whether it would be too unromantic to try and do my lucky routine while shaving at the same time but no, I get up. I get ready to face the elements and the kamikaze traffic.

L tells me to be careful. Me? I am Mr Careful.

It's a good ride, not at all icy on the roads, although the pavements look like they might be. Only problem with the kamikazes today, was with a cyclist. An old bloke held me up. He was 102 but his racer looked older than him.

L doesn't believe me when I tell her how not icy the roads were. She says she had to smash several puddles for the dog because they were frozen. Don't know how she managed to find some frozen puddles, I didn't see any as I whizzed along with my head down. Ice worries her, as does anything cycling related, so the combination of the two must be nightmare for her. So it's a good job I'm Mr Careful.

Swimming has been scuppered both tonight and tomorrow morning because the only pool with sensible sessions is Noel Street and the pool is going to be closed for two months for roof repairs. Bugger that means extended pub session tonight and extended sex session tomorrow morning. Life is tough.

Been trying to get L to go to the gym more often and tonight she promises she'll go and be a gym bunny (her words). Not too sure what a gym bunny is but having one in the house sounds great fun. Hope she comes home in the outfit. Do they still call them gymslips? In which case we might not make it to the pub tonight. Which would be good for the alcohol units.

Things get more bizarre when she mentions she's shopping for yoga trousers and a sticky mat. Now I've no idea what a sticky mat is but I like the sound of it. I wonder where she's shopping for all this stuff? Ann Summers?

Cycle home wearing all the layers that I needed to ward off the morning chill. However it is now about 10 degrees warmer and I am a sweaty mess when I get home. Regrettably L isn't there to towel me down. I get a text message; my bunny has now hopped along from the Gym and is now in Sainsburys. I get changed and go pick her up.

We get home and take Doggo out for some exercise. A nice walk to the pub to stretch his legs. I have Two Sooty Stouts and a Supreme. L gets sloshed on two huge glasses of red wine. I take advantage of her weakened state when we get home and sneak a quick shag.

Thursday, 25 January 2007


Traffic horrible again. Bus slow again. Late for work again. Pavements are icy again and I slither into work. I had contemplated getting the earlier bus but this means leaving the house at 7.15. So I opt to be late instead!

I do like the bus because sometimes you get to overhear so great conversations. This is when people are talking about real life and not about unreal stuff like Eastenders and 'reality' rubbish like Big Brother. I even switched my Ipod off for this one. This girl, early twenties I suppose, had just got back from being treated to a city break in Barcelona by her new boyfriend. She was telling her friend all about it. Unfortunately for her, she had a very loud voice and the whole bus went quiet as everyone listened in to her tale of woe. Apparently the city was very nice but she was very surprised that she'd seen as much of it as she had. It was the first time any boyfriend had taken her away and she'd assumed that the reason he was taking her away to a posh hotel in romantic setting was because he intended to have his wicked way with her at every opportunity. She'd even said words to that effect to him before they went but he'd denied he had any hidden agenda. Of course she didn't believe him and in fact she was really looking forward to him taking full advantage of her. She'd even packed all her sexist underwear specially but no, apparently he was true to his word. They'd spent long days sightseeing. After which he'd insisted on a late afternoon kip. She thought her luck was in when after they'd had an evening meal he turned down the opportunity to hit the bars and they'd gone back to their room instead but once there he'd gone straight to sleep saying he was bushed.

She was well pissed off because she'd fully expected to have been ravished so much that she'd be unable to walk for the rest of the week but they'd only had sex once all weekend. She couldn't understand why he'd gone to all that trouble and then ignored her. She asked her friend what was wrong with her? Did she smell? Wasn't she attractive? Her friend thought about it for a few seconds before telling her he was obviously gay and that she should dump him.

Morning dog report tells me he had a great run with plenty of rolling. L shudders at the thought, wouldn't catch her rolling in the ice, not without a pair of skis on her feet in any case.

There's a planning notice up that says Wollaton Park have applied for an alcohol licence and a late licence. Interesting stuff. I knew they were adding a restaurant/function room but didn’t think it would be that sort of place. You know the kind that might be open at times of the day that people might want to use it. The council usually only open things 10am to 4pm, while everyone is at work, just so that they don't have to deal with any customers.

I know I'm seriously jumping the gun here and they're probably only planning for the odd wedding reception but if they did open late regularly then they’ll not be able to lock the gates at 4pm and we'll be able to exercise Doggo on the park.

Pub Day. Cottage pie and a beer called something like 'Wren's Ale'. Was OK. 4.2%

Get home and have a ball session with Doggo, then it's off to squash. I consider taking Doggo with me to squash, he loves sitting in leisure centre car parks and then on to the pub. This would enable L to get a DFR (Dog Free Run) but L is worried he'll be cold and wants me to wrap the 'poor little thing' up. In what I'm not sure. If you try and wrap him in a blanket, all he wants to do is shag the blanket. Anyhow he’s a dog; he should be used to hardship. I’m sure he’ll put up with the squalor if it gets him pork scratchings.

Squash is close. Should have won game one but throw it away and lose 15-13. I do win the second and my opponent is so demoralised he throws away the third. So I'm 2-1 up but I know he's just saving himself so that he can win the next two, which he does although the fifth set is close. Someone else has the nerve to demand the court after our 45 minutes are up, so we only get five games in this week.

L runs to the pub with Doggo and meets us there.

It's Burns Night and there are loads of Scottish beers on. Two pints of a Stout called Vital Spark from the Fyne Brewery (4.4%) go down very very well.

We have no 'real' food in so I combine 3 tins: - one of veggie chilli, one of lentils, and one of spam, into a rather nice chilli dish. L is impressed with my culinary skills. We have a glass of red wine with it. Then we have an early night but regrettably I'm too knackered to take advantage of L.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007


Wake up to a nice covering of snow. Opt for the bus. The traffic is bound to be horrendous. People panic when it rains let alone when we have a millimetre of the white stuff on the ground.

Surprisingly the bus was on time. Although we all had to wade out into the middle of the road to get on it because the bus stop was full. Two buses were parked in it, one had broken down, and another was assisting it.

As predicted the traffic was horrific, even though the snow’s all a bit crap, there nowhere near enough of it. The ice is bad though and walking from Derby was treacherous, like other essential services the gritters also haven't yet discovered Pride Park. Five mins late for work.

The dog loves the snow and ice; it makes him frisky. I sent L out with him but it doesn't have the same effect on her. Apparently he had a whale of a time this morning chasing imaginary squirrels.

Saturday's cup match is looking more and more ominous. Bloody Bristol Rovers are bringing 6,000 supporters to Derby. The crowd at their home game last Saturday was only 5,600! Part time fans or what. If only we can scrape through this round, then we night get someone easy in the next round, like Chelsea!

Mid-afternoon it starts raining, washing the remains of the snow away. That's it. Winter's over with for another year.

Get home and we (Doggo and me) escort Daughter to guides. She carries an armful of make-up with her, make up practice this week apparently. I'm sure Baden-Powell would approve.

Seems Daughter has caught on that someone keeps emptying the change from her bus fare out of the pockets of her school coat each day. It’s a fair cop. I have been recycling it back into bus fare. This also stops it being turned into chocolate. Although most of it isn't in her pockets because when she get home she hurls her coat on the floor and most of it ends up scattered across the hall floor. It's odd that children can be capable of passing hundreds of GCSE's but have no idea how to use a coat hook. Suppose that proves how easy the GCSE's are these days.

Cook tea, although the cupboard is almost bare, so it's corned beef hash.

More dog training. TYOD. He's not too bad when I manage to get his attention. Unfortunately my collie has the attention span of a flea, with all due respect to fleas.

Get home and L offers an early night. Ought to be on the internet booking that cottage for skiing but a man's got to do what a man's got to do...

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

They're Out To Get Me

L instigates some early sex again this morning. It's a cycling day and a quick shag used to be my good luck charm but now it appears that L's the one who's getting superstitious. Either that or she really does suspect that I might fall under a juggernaut.

It's a bit nippy on the bike but the roads do not appear to be icy. The only icy patches were a few iced over puddles but not until I got on to Pride Park. I keep an eye out for L and Doggo but don't see them. They're not even in the Police Station car park having a dump. Enjoyed the ride but it was cold and it took ages to thaw my feet out once I got to work. We don't have heating, we have air-conditioning which is no use if you want to get warm quick.

L had the bright idea of me taking the remaining flapjacks from the weekend into work. I munch on these and they're a nice pick-me-up but I suspect very unhealthy.

As I bike home, there are two attempts on my life. First a car pulls out of a side street right in front of me. I know he saw me! Then he pulls over immediately and parks on the left causing me to break hard twice.

Then a little further down the road another car accelerates past me but then breaks hard for a speed bump, cutting across my path and blocking my route between the humps, causing me to almost take-off as I am forced over the largest part of it instead. Today, they're clearly out to get me.

Eventually get home in one piece. Bit disappointed with my time, I had been really powering it through Spondon and Borrowash. However this had been counteracted by being held up on the cycle paths by two teenagers on a couple of those small BMX bikes, you know the ones that look like they'be been designed and built for six year olds. You know the routine, furious pedalling and wobbling for 10 seconds then two minutes free wheeling and wobbling as they try and get their breath back, then off they go again. Hellishly difficult to overtake. Shame their parents didn't buy them proper bikes for Christmas.

Change into running kit. I'm going to attempt to run down to meet L from her Pilates class but first Son is waiting for me and I help him install his graphics card in his new PC. Then the phone goes.

Eventually I leave, strapped to Doggo. It's still icy and I have to smash puddles for Doggo so that he can have a drink. As we run down the road there's a third attempt on my life (and Doggo's too) as without warning someone turns off the ring road with no indication whatsoever and without even slowing down. Somehow I manage to pull Doggo to a stop before they wipe us out.

L has already left Pilates so we should pass her on route but we don't. We get there and have to turn back. L phones, she is nearly back at home. How did we miss her? We eventually catch her up. L has bought one of the yoga outfits, so I have seeing her in that to look forward to.

Now for part three of tonight's hectic training routine. We go off for a quick swim at Beechdale. Big mistake. It's uncomfortably packed, standing room only. I'm sure the council likes it like this because they think they are making lots of money but in reality of course they aren't. The more serious swimmers won't come back, they'll try elsewhere but with little other options on a Tuesday, that amounts to lost business.

After having my first eight lengths aborted, I eventually take the plunge into one of the two lanes. Although both these are also packed. This is the first time that I can recall that I have gone into a lane and L hasn't. There is this infuriating woman in my lane who insists on backstroking, very slowly. Then I realise that this is also pissing everyone else off and, slowly one by one, they vacate her lane. Now if only I can get rid of her. I start trying to swim aggressively, trying to bully her out of the lane. I don’t think I'm convincing, I'm afraid my front crawl isn't very intimidating. Then the cavalry arrives and L joins us. A few lengths later the women gets out, proving who's the more intimidating of L and me.

Get home totally knackered. I've done a full tri training session, although not in the right order.

L revives me with her sausage & beans pasta dish.

Outside its started snowing. Hurrah.

Wasn't sure whether I'd sleep well or not be able to sleep at all because of all my aching limbs. I sleep and I forget to ask to see L in her new outfit.

Monday, 22 January 2007

The Man Who Wouldn't Die

It's 6.30 and oddly for this time of day L seems to be not only wide-awake but also quite lively. So we indulge in some quick but wonderful sex. Things seem to be on a roll on the sex front at the moment and I have been struggling to fit in my seven thoughts.

Saw L, Doggo, and Son on the paper round as I drove to work. Don't think any of them saw me. They all looked very busy. The collie in particular seemed to be extremely industrious and thoroughly enjoying himself. Hope he catches up on his sleep when he gets home because I expect a lively performance from him this evening at his agility and I don't mean just from his gob.

We’ve been pondering on the possibility of going up to Scotland at half term for a spot of skiing, walking, and general chilling out (mainly drinking). We've also been thinking of inviting my Dad, who's always been a keen skier but is now in his late 70's and hasn't skied for nearly 10 years. We can't take him abroad because, rather selfishly, we need him to dog sit!

Rang him up for a brief word. A brief word with my Dad takes around 30 minutes. As I put the phone down after the call he was about to go in the loft to check out his ski gear. So I think he's keen. I said to him that he should discuss it with my Mother first. So while he was on the phone to me he went downstairs and said ‘We’re going to Scotland for a week’. So that’s sorted then. Although that wasn't really my idea of a discussion.

Unfortunately the cottage we have our eye on, only allows small well-behaved dogs. So, as we don’t have such a pet, I need to check with them if they will allow a large hairy badly behaved one instead. That's the dog by the way not Son. Could be a stumbling block.

Dog class goes well. It's a frantic session and afterwards both Doggo and I are creased.

L is at yoga and we pick her up on the way home. I suspect she's only going because she tells me she likes the outfits. Hopefully she'll model one of them for me.

Finally we get around to watching part two, and thankfully there is no part three, of Catherine Bloody Cookson's The Man Who Cried. The woman seems to specialise in writing stuff in which you wish all the characters die instantly. I know it's from a bygone age and attitudes were different then but for God's sake didn't people have common sense. Not that they do now I suppose, perhaps things haven't changed much.

In part two, war breaks out and with all the air raids you end up hoping they all get buried under a pile of rubble but they all keep surviving. When one of them does get bombed, they dig her out, and at first she survives, although not for long.

Unbelievably reviews of the film on the internet seem favourable!

"Great performances and great writing. Ciaran Hinds is extraordinary. This story is complex, difficult, and compassionate. The screenplay is outstanding. This movie moved me. Ciaran Hinds is the best actor working today. See it and open your heart. "

Err No.

It's bloody awful. None of it makes any sense. The Man Who Cried? It's the audience who cried, in frustration. Even L hasn't liked either of the Cookson's we've watched. No more L. Please.

Somehow we stay AF. We deserve a medal for that.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

Freak Snow Showers

Another cosy lie in, sheltering from the elements in our tent. Together with some more cracking sex.

Eventually we get up, shower, have breakfast, and take the tent down. The heavy rain overnight hasn't flooded us out but has brought a wonderful covering of snow on the hills but none in the valley where we are.

We decide to drive up to Elterwater and do a shortened circuit of yesterdays walk. We stop for a nice posh coffee at Skelwith Bridge. We only walk for about two hours but this just about finishes Doggo off.

Before long its 4pm and time to head home down the motorway. It's been a very good weekend.

Heading down the M6 I am knackered and L insists I pull over and let her drive. This we do. I'm never too happy letting L drive. She is not the most confident driver and hates driving in any case. I suspect that she never actually 'wants' to drive but in this case she is more awake than me.

Also what always happens when L drives is that we hit some traffic jam of some sort almost as soon as she gets behind the wheel and today is no exception. The road signs soon tell us to slow to 50mph, then it say 20mph but there's no obvious reason why. This is no surprise as the motorway signs usually seem to be days out of date and can usually be taken with a pinch of salt. We see signs saying 'gritting in progress' all the way down the motorway but see no evidence of it.

Anyhow this time the 20mph is right as suddenly the motorway is covered in deep snowy slush. It appears some freak storm has turned the motorway into a skating rink. L, to her credit, copes brilliantly.

Near Stoke, we stop for a coffee, which as usual is pretty awful and I take us the rest of the way home, picking the kids up on the way.

Once home, L cooks a good Chicken Vindaloo from the Brit Spice book. It's a struggle but we stay AF. 37 for the week. If I hadn't gone out Tuesday then it would have been a more reasonable 29.

We are all tired but Doggo is the first in bed. Although there's nothing unusual in that.

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Emergency Tent Repairs

We have a cosy lie in the tent. Just L and me, our trusty collie and the wind and the rain outside. I have my quota of seven sexual thoughts all in one go, all courtesy of L and some more fantastic sex under canvas.

Around 10.30 we get up, shower and have a little breakfast. Then we go off for a four hour hike round the valley. We avoid the hills as the forecast is not terribly good.

Doggo has a wonderful time and gets a lot of off-lead, a rarity in the Lakes due to the large amount of sheep, whom he just can't resist 'playing' with. When he is on the lead he manages to tug us along, that is until he breaks his collar again, finishing off the one he partly destroyed orienteering last week. At first I take off my belt and try putting that round his neck but that doesn't work. In the end I reverse his lead putting the adjustable handle end round his neck and threading the hoop with his tags on it onto my belt and then attaching the clip end to it. I now have dog tags round my waist and I now chink as I walk. Think I catch Doggo grinning at me.

'Regrettably' we end up in a pub close to the end of our walk at only 3.45. Whitby Black Dog Bitter 4.1%. Find out that Derby are winning and poised to go top of the league.

We are still a few miles from camp and by the time we have walked down the road to a pub nearer to the campsite Derby have proved my prediction correct and cantered home 1-0.

We have more beer - Old Peculiar again, 3 pints of and a Jennings Cumberland. The Cumberland is again poor and confirms that it has declined so much, that it is now beyond recognition as the beer it once was. I won't bother with it again.

I have some delightful garlic mushrooms as a starter, that are a meal in themselves and then a wonderful Goulash and rice. We call a halt at five pints and stagger out into the rain and back to camp. It is only 8.30.

Despite our drunken state we notice that the tent is listing slightly. On closer inspection I see that the wind has snapped one of the poles. Luckily it is a good quality tent and it is still strong even without all its poles. I simply pad the broken pole with a plastic ground sheet to prevent it ripping the tent and hope the wind doesn't do any more damage.

Once inside our cosy abode we have more coffee and chocolate but tonight I think we are both beyond sex. Looking at the state of our knackered collie, he appears almost beyond life itself. We end up feeding him by hand just to make sure he eats something. Then we crash, I think, I can't remember!

Friday, 19 January 2007

Our Own Private Thunderstorm.

By this morning yesterday's winds seem to have dropped completely. As I drive to work the traffic is not bad at all. I think all the lorries must be off the road after getting turned over yesterday.

Never really thought about this thinking about sex seven times a day before but suppose its right. In fact seven is definitely on the low side. I decide I must start counting; it could be a whole new blog. I'm up to four already and I've only just got to work.

First I woke up next to the gorgeous L. Very tempting. I have time as I'm in the car today but she looks knackered, I let her rest.

Second and I wouldn't have given this a thought had I not been counting but there's that women on breakfast TV, the one who's not particularly attractive but has that through-a-hedge-backwards look that makes you think that she must have had one hell of an orgasm that morning, possibly seconds before she came on set.

Three, as I stop at a pedestrian crossing and a young girl walks across, I try and guess what (or who) would set off her five thoughts for the day and what those thoughts would be.

Four. Stop for petrol and as I watch the girl opposite filling up her car, I realise now that trying to count now that I'm aware I'm trying to count is impossible.

Relief to get to work. L says she had a great time running with the dog in the remains of the woodland around Martins Pond. They had to crawl under some trees and over others. All sounds like quite an assault course and of course Doggo would have had to spray up every tree/bush thing that had come down.

Went to Sainsbury's for some shopping and some lunch. Lunch wise it was a disaster. They had no sandwiches. Apparently the lorries could not get through due to the extreme weather. I had to make do with Chinese spring rolls and chicken pakoras that were reduced in price. Nice but not healthy.

In the queue at the checkout in front of me was a lad who was obviously planning a wild night. I didn't wish to be nosey but he was buying eight packs of mints, a pot noodle, a cheesecake, two snickers bars, a bottle of vodka and a three pack of condoms. Quite a seduction kit.

The checkout girl stopped him dead in his tracks when she asked him if he had any id. From the look on his face he was thinking what I was thinking - the condoms! Then it dawned on him, the vodka. He did have id, turned out he was 20 but didn't look it.

What's worrying for the girl he's planning on seducing this weekend is why does he need eight packs of mints. Is his breath that bad? Suppose that's why he only went for a three pack of condoms.

Drive home. Hurriedly pack car. We have to practically crowbar Daughter away from the TV. The next gap in her TV schedule is 7.30; we need to be away by 6.00.

Once we have dropped the kids off at their father's, we tear up the M6 to the Lake District. This is a routine we used to go through once a month September through May each year but the kid's social lives and their unpredictable father have meant it's been 15 months since we last did this.

We arrive at out usual haunt, the campsite at Great Langdale and thrown up the tent in a howling gale, it's 9.20. A personal best. We are in the bar of the Old Dungeon Ghyll for 9.45. Hawkshead Red 4.1%, Yates Bitter 3.7% and Old Peculiar 5.6%. Excellent stuff.

Regrettably the bar closes at 11.00 and we go back to the tent for coffee and dark chocolate. The wind seems to be getting stronger and is soon ominously battering against the sides of tent. It's also starts raining quite heavily. It all adds to the romance of the situation. Rain. Wind. Under canvas. We couldn't have picked a more perfect setting. It's our own private thunderstorm.

L's strips down to her vest which hopefully means that my seduction technique is working. It is, despite the late hour, we indulge in some tumultuous sex and there's no need to worry about disturbing any of the other campers as the wind and the rain will surely drown us out. Then again I'm sure every couple on the campsite will be doing the same thing.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Seven Thoughts

I'm in the car today. It's very windy. Thursday is not a day I would bike anyway, as I have squash at night but I would have been seriously worried had I biked; think I’d still be out there now battling against the wind or as L points out, lying in a ditch somewhere. Although often she worries about me more in the car than on the bike.

Despite the high winds it's pretty safe in the car as maximum speed in the traffic is about 15mph these days. Suppose a lorry could topple over into the queue I'm in.

L had to be at work early, so we left the kids in charge of locking up and shutting all the internal doors to keep the dog out of the lounge and the bedrooms. It's all down to frontal-brain immaturity you know. The human brain is not fully mature until age 25, this is why teenagers reason, plan and make decisions so badly. So it's not bloody-mindedness after all. Mind you waiting until they are 25 before we can trust them to look after the house is pushing it a touch.

So we fully expect the collie to have a very nice day curled up on the settee watching the TV. Either that or he'll be having tea and biscuits with whoever has walked in through the open front door and walked off with said TV.

L says the wind sounds great from her attic office. She sends through at photo of Sandside in South Cumbria where the coast road is flooded. Looks great, I think we’ve driven down that very road, looking for beach for Doggo.

Of course we're off to Cumbria this weekend. The weekend forecast predicts snow, blizzards and white out conditions on the peaks, unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be the prospect of snow in the valleys. Will still be windy though. All the same don’t think we’ll be up in the hills but it all sounds very romantic. With any luck we might end up not being able to walk at all and might have to amuse ourselves in the tent for most of day. I will look forward to that.

Apparently Wollaton Park is shut due to high winds. How barmy is that. Assume it's some health and safety thing and they're worried that someone might get hit on the head with a stray twig.

Pub lunch. Not bad but not much good beer on, Flowerdew 4.0%, but excellent giant Yorkshire filled with spicy mince.

Get home and L goes out for a run, fighting against the wind with the dog. Should give them both a good workout.

I go off to squash. My opponent is complaining of a bad back, I'm struggling with my shoulder, so it's not a very good game. I lose heavily in the first game but win the second with room to space. Then I pick up another bruise across my back courtesy of his racquet when I get in the way of one of his shots. Later I return the favour. 1-1 . At which point his back is so bad that he can't bend down, so he changes his game and slows his play down. Frustratingly this actually seems to improve the accuracy of his shots. I don't win another game. We only play six this week. 5-1.

Grantham Stout 4.3% in the pub.

Tonight there's a good-looking girl behind the bar and this again brings to my mind the article that I briefly mentioned yesterday. The article was about the fact that on average, men experience seven sexual fantasies every day. I have heard this before but not sure if they actually meant fantasies or just thoughts. To me sexual fantasies are what usually inhabit my dreams when I'm asleep, although sometimes when I'm awake too. I have five particular favourites that regularly reoccur!

Anyhow most of these fantasies (or thoughts), or five out of seven are supposedly triggered by circumstantial events, like the appearance of an attractive woman and the other two just arise spontaneously.

Apparently women have an average of five fantasies a day; three from external cues (although doesn't say what! Must ask L) and two from within.

I'd heard that women were only supposed to have one sexy thought a day not five but who am I to argue with new research. Perhaps women are just being more honest and owning up to having them.

Anyhow, the girl behind the bar sets my mind off in a particular direction, so I suppose that's what they mean. Although almost immediately it's not her in my thoughts as my mind quickly replaces her with my own sexy girl who is waiting at home.

Later the girl collects our empty glasses and off goes my mind again. Now really fired up I head for home, hoping that L might be up for some fun tonight. Although perhaps not as I didn't leave her in the best of moods when I left. My fault I think. However you never know, perhaps she's been having one of her five sexy thoughts for the day.

In the end L retires to bed early. I stay up late setting up Sons new computer for him. My hamstring, my shoulder and now my back wouldn't make sleep easy anyhow. When I finish the job there are still three computers logged on to our network, so Son must still be up on his old computer, either that or he's fallen asleep at the keyboard.

Retire to bed but still can't sleep. Eventually get about three hours sleep, which isn't good news when I've got a drive up to the Lakes tomorrow night.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

The Receptionist's Desk

On the bus today. Although I was tempted to bike. I won't get my Friday ride in this week before we are going straight up to the Lakes after work. L is pleased I'm not biking, she says it will do me good to have a rest as I've only got dogging tonight, squash tomorrow, a long drive on Friday, and a killer walk in the Lakes on Saturday. A rest? What's a rest? Although we have a lie-in diarised for next Saturday.

Journey in was awful and I was 15 mins late for work. Glad I wasn’t in the car though!

Sit at work and realise what a wreck I am. Shoulders aching, presumably from yesterdays biking. That's as well as my two throbbing hamstrings. A swim would perhaps do me good but I've sabotaged that by coming on the bus. L had even given me permission to frequent the Wednesday night babes session without being chaperoned. Think she assumes, probably correctly, that none of those women will want to share a lane with an old crock like me.

Talking of swimming, L is not happy that she only managed 20 lengths this morning and apparently it was all Doggo's fault. It seems that he had a bit of a disruptive shag fest this morning and humped everything he could lay his paws on.

My mate confidently predicts that Leeds will be bottom of the league by the weekend. The problem with that plan is that the only team below them is Southend and they are playing us this weekend. Unless Southend have worked out that we only attack in injury time then it's bound to be 1-0 to Derby. Their fans might as well not bother going and go down the bookies instead and put all their savings on 1-0 to Derby.

He's also training hard and going for a massive 2.3K on the treadmill tonight. I am very encouraging but he just thinks I'm trying to soften him up for squash tomorrow. Absolutely. Of course I am. Want him as knackered as possible.

I walk into Derby to catch the bus home. When I get there I see they have tacked another bus shelter on to the end of the existing one for the Red Arrow. This is quite an admittance of failure. As the only time there is a queue for the Red Arrow is when the 5.20 bus doesn't turn up, which happens every day. So rather than cure that problem they've put up another bus shelter instead so everyone can wait in 'comfort'.

Once I get home, Doggo and I walk Daughter to guides. Lots of whinging about how it'll be warmer in the car, well maybe but only once the heater has got warmed up e.g. after we've got there! So walk we do. Daughter wearing a Snoopy apron. Don't ask. What's worse is I leant it to her. Don't ask.

Get back from Guides and we get straight in the car. Don't tell Daughter. It's nice and warm in the car, now that we're out of the wind. Don't tell Daughter that either. We drive down to pick up L and the new computer, which has finally arrived, from her work.

She comes to the door dressed in her work stuff, looking very professional and a total turn-on in her black tights and skirt. I'm reminded of what Jeremy Clarkson wrote in one of his articles recently. He was on about how 'real men' are no longer appreciated and all women want is a 'new men'. He says 'real men', and I assume Jeremy must regard himself as one, are designed to kill foxes and bend every woman they meet over the nearest piece of furniture and give them a damn good seeing-to.

Well I'm not thinking about harming any animals but I think I've just had one of my allocation of seven sexual thoughts for the day (that's another article by the way which I'll blog about some other time).

Unfortunately I am extremely short of time; have a collie waiting in the car and to top it all her boss is still hanging around. So the chances of me stepping inside and ravishing her there and then across the receptionist's desk are a tad remote. Oh well. Some other time perhaps.

We get home and I just have time for some soup and bread before it's off to Doggo's hobby again. Yep another agility class. It goes quite well apart from when Doggo sees his least favourite 'mate' wee up a bit of wall. Doggo then spends the next hour sniffing and licking it (ugh) and weeing over it. Not just once you understand but for the whole bloody hour.

Back home and L is keen for an 'early' night which is good as I'm still thinking about the receptionist's desk and therefore feeling pretty rampant.

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Bit Of Bully

Get up determined to bike in today. I even made up a sports drink the night before. Electrolytes for breakfast, yum yum. Can't hear any wind or rain so perhaps the weather isn’t too bad. It's been foul for the past few weeks now. I'm so intent on cycling that I forget to go through my ‘lucky’ pre-cycling routine of jumping L. This doesn't go unnoticed. L says I must be feeling confident that I will survive the journey. I know its early morning and she's still half asleep but if you ask me she doesn't sound disappointed enough!

Was worried about cycling past L and Doggo on their run, as they went off in my direction but I didn't see them. Although I find out later that I did pass them but fortunately they were in mid-dump outside the Police station so Doggo didn't notice me. Doggo certainly picks his spots, outside the police station for Christ's sake. He is such an exhibitionist.

The change of routine prays on my mind as I cycle, perhaps I'm getting superstitious. All the same I make it to work in one piece. My legs feel good and I enjoyed it, even though it started raining half way through.

Apparently I overtook a work colleague coming through Spondon; who was in his car. We both arrived at work at more of less the same time and my route from Spondon is longer than his is. So that shows how bad the traffic was.

L says it rained heavily in Nottingham. Don't remember it raining heavy when I was cycling but perhaps I just didn’t notice. The rain was actually quite welcome.

She says would have got soaked walking to work had some young babe not offered to share an umbrella with her. Hmmm. No babe has ever offered to walk me to work. Hope L got her phone number. Says it made her feel like an old lady and people will be offering her seats on buses next. Hmmm that happens to me all the time.

England actually win a cricket match in Australia. Regrettably it's not against Australia but against New Zealand but beggars can't be choosers.

Stop off to get FA Cup tickets on the way home. The mighty Bristol Rovers visit next week.

Have a good ride home, despite more rain. Had considered doing a run when I get back but am so knackered I decide against it. I leave L in charge of taking Doggo out for his canter and, considerate male that I am, instead head off to the pub with a mate of mine.

First we go for a pizza. Normally we order too much food but today I'm that starving I could eat the meal twice over. Have two bottles of Stella. Afterwards we retire to the pub where we indulge in two pints of Flowers and a bit of bully. You know that silly TV quiz Bullseye but computerised. It's been a while since we hit the quiz machine, it is usually broken, or in use but tonight we get to chance our arm. One question has me totally stumped 'Which manager guided Leeds United to European Cup triumph?' because Leeds have never won it! Realised later that as one of the answers was Brian Clough, then the question should probably have referred to Nottingham Forest but we didn't work that out at the time and it costs us a £5 win!

We do achieve quite a few wins but put most it back. We have sussed the tactics of the game now though, so next time we should clean up. Keep out the black and in the red, you get nothing in this game for two in a bed. Although by the next we play it they'll have probably replaced the game by a different one.

Head home to L, I'm looking forward to catching up with her and perhaps giving her a bit of a ravishing but my body aches that much, I had to stand up at the quiz machine as well, and I'm so tired that ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Monday, 15 January 2007

Dogs And Yoga

Get up and my sprained ankle is really quite bad but after a bit of hobbling around and a hot shower it starts to loosen up. Hamstring still sore.

Drive in and the journey is not quite as awful as it could have been.

I work out my units for the previous week and at first I'm ecstatic that I've keep it down to 19. Smugly I let L know of this fact. She is distraught when I tell her because she says she had 21. Oh dear, that can't be right. Double check and it seems I can’t count. It's 23. That's still not too bad. L feels much better knowing she had less than me.

L has started addressing her emails to "Hey old man". Hmmm think she needs taking down a peg or two.

For some reason there is absolutely no traffic coming off Pride Park tonight. Bizarre.

In the evening L goes off to a yoga class which would piss the dog off if he knew. He’d have liked to have gone to that, he likes a spot of yoga. He loves helping out when people are doing anything down on his level. You just can't stretch out on the floor to do anything in our house: - watching TV, exercises, yoga, sex... he has to join in with everything.

Anyhow he's not free tonight; he’s got an agility class. It's a shame because he’d be knackered if he had to go round 'helping' an entire yoga class, we wouldn’t have to take him out afterwards. Doubt he’d be terribly popular though.

Dog class. I'm worried when we arrive because it looks like a chap from the next group is going to be training with us tonight. I'm worried because his dog was the one Doggo had the disagreement with last week. In the end it turns out that he has a new dog, so it's not the same one from last week. Bad news is it's another dotty merle, just like Doggo.

Class goes well apart from Doggo doing a turd on the finish line. All the time he was depositing it another dog was going round the course; he finished it just as the dog was coming down the finishing straight, leaving me no time to pick it up. I just had to hope that the dog didn't land in it.

From leaving class we went straight to yoga to pick up L. Saving her from the Radford murderers etc.

Unhealthy burgers for tea, Daughters lemon meringue pie fresh from school cookery and mango.

Sunday, 14 January 2007

My 'Trusty' Collie

Again we ought to be up early this morning because we are planning to orienteer for the first time since Christmas. We've opted to miss out on what would most probably be an excellent street event in Lincoln in order to run round a muddy wood somewhere near Barnsley. All for Doggo's sake. That's not to say he wouldn’t love a street event, because he would. All those lampposts etc to sniff out and wee up but it would simply be a nightmare and also understandably dogs are not allowed.

As we lay in bed, none of us look keen, least of all Doggo and it's all supposed to be for his benefit. Sod it, it's Sunday morning, so we shag first, we'll just have to be late for the orienteering.

A while later we are finally heading up the M1, late but not disastrously so. This rules me out of a brown (the longest course), not that I'm going to get too upset about that, but I should have time for my usual blue.

Get there and it doesn't look terribly dog friendly, lots of roads surround the woodland. Then we have a string of disasters on the start line. First Doggo gets tangled up in the start line, but there's nothing unusual in that. Then they hand us a map which seems to be a blank piece of paper, all white with just a few dashes on it. All white in orienteering means widely spaced trees with no variation, e.g. featureless = I get lost. The dashes correspond to paths but as usual there are more paths than dashes, it takes a while for me to discover what they regard as a path and what they don't.

Then to cap it all, just as we set off, Doggo snaps his collar. Too much excitement, too much pulling. He doesn't look fussed. He was expecting to be let off anyway so he can't see what the problem is. Who needs a collar anyway? I take 5 minutes or so fixing his collar, I'm determined not to have him off the lead until he's calmed down a bit.

The course is a bit of a stinker, although I've done worse. I even have to climb down a cliff face to punch one control. Doggo rubs it in by sitting at the bottom of said cliff face next to the control, smiling, smug, as he watches me clamber down. If only he could punch it for me.

Things go from bad to worse. I twist my ankle on one of the many broken branches. I sit down until the pain subsides and the world stop spinning. I realise that I have lost my 'trusty' collie. Then I see him, miles away, running with another group of orienteers. I call him back. He comes reluctantly, looking well pissed off, he'd much rather be up front with the 'proper' runners. He gives me a 'I didn't realise you were injured look' but it's not convincing. I hobble round the rest of the course.

We come well down the bottom of the results, which is disappointing after some mid table finishes recently.

On the way home we decide to cook a family meal, so we drop in at Sainsbury's and get all the stuff to do a three course Chinese. Soup, platter and three main courses. It all goes down very well and even keeps Son in our company for twenty minutes or so, which is a rare treat. After quite a good alcohol week we even treat ourselves to a glass of white wine, leftovers from New Year you understand.

Just to spoil the day we embark on another Catherine Cookson, this time 'The Man Who Cried'. We make it to the end of part one, without committing suicide, just. L offers an early night. I'm not convinced its sex she's after though, she's just trying to get out of watching part two. I hope it's only in two parts.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Strung Up By The Nipples

We managed to haul ourselves out of bed to go for a swim. Although it wasn't that early because we indulged in a good hour or so of sex first. The two-hour laned session started at 8am and we got there around 9.40 but you do have to get your priorities right. Don’t you.

It was a pretty good session (the swimming) although this pool has ultra long lengths that seem to go on forever.

L talked me into using her float, which is one of those that you put between your thighs to deactivate your legs. It's allegedly good for your arms and is also supposed to help you practice your breathing. Not sure it worked on me; I will certainly need more practice. Both my stroke and breathing immediately went to pieces. As a consequence I wasn't concentrating on where I was swimming and almost collided with this poor chap who was in my lane. He was so traumatised that he not only got out of my lane but left the pool entirely.

Get home and we run with Doggo. Pond and park again.

Then I head off to the match. It's a good game and Derby play well, well after another dull first half they do. Both sides play some good football and as Derby up their tempo in the last 20 minutes (as usual) it looks like they are the only side that can win it. Just when we think they've run out of time, David Jones fires in a wonderful free kick in the fourth minute of injury time. With luck like this; I'm afraid; we're going up.

In the evening Daughter goes off for a night of lycra and legwarmers at the theatre production of Fame. So L and I head off for a night with Idi Amin and James McAvoy aka The Last King of Scotland.

We grab a beer, Hadrian Brewery Legion 4.3%, in the bar before hand.

It's a good film, although a little improbable. Yet again the plot catches me out, I'm not good with plots as you may have gathered, as I keep expecting Gillian Anderson to reappear as his love interest but she doesn't.

The ending is rather good. There is something rather beautiful about seeing Mr McAvoy strung up by his nipples, serves him right for the soppy ending in Starter For Ten. I turn to L to point that out but she has her eyes closed, hands over her face and her head buried in the seat. How women can take the cringe worthy mushy bits but not the gore I'll never know. All in all a nice romantic night out.

We stop off in a packed Ropewalk for a couple of Leffes before we head home.

Friday, 12 January 2007

Down The Junktion

Again decide to not bike. My cold is gone but I still have the cough. I hate being sensible. Must make sure I'm back into it next week. Take the bus instead.

I don't really do 'new years resolutions' but I do make mental lists of things I would like to do. One of these things is a list of bands that I must see. Less than two weeks into 2007 and I have the possibility of chalking the first one off this list. Leeds' band Forward Russia are unexpectedly coming to Nottingham to play a one off gig at Junktion 7. The gig is tonight.

I have been undecided about going since I found out about it earlier in the week. Friday night isn't an ideal night for a gig, as I prefer to spend Friday nights snuggled up in a pub with L in one hand and something strong and dark in the other (a drink). Oh and a collie curled up at my feet.

L isn't really into gigs and certainly not ones in small, hot, and sweaty venues like this one is likely to be. However, the trooper she is, she agrees to come anyway. After all she does at least like the band. I just have to ply her with a lot of Leffe both before and after the gig. Not a problem. So I go on the internet and order the tickets.

When we get home the first things we do is a run, for Doggo's sake, although I would have rather swam. I'm very enthused about swimming at the moment although this won’t last. We postpone the swim until tomorrow, when we will attempt to schedule an early morning swim around some quality time in bed.

After the run we go to a bar, where I fortify L with three Leffes, before we then head off down the junktion for the gig. It's the first time I've been to this venue and it is even smaller than I anticipated. We can barely get in the door. The only space is down the side of the stage where the band's entire entourage seem to be. We avail ourselves of the free Jack Daniels and anchor ourselves to the bar, trying to keep out of the crush.

It seems to take an age but eventually the band takes to the tiny stage in their matching t-shirts. I want one.

They are soon hurtling out their frenzied songs, opening with 'Thirteen' and playing all the good stuff from the album. They also do two new songs which don't have numbers for names, yet. They are loud but it's not deafening like I thought it might be.

The guitarist, who I learn from the entourage, is know only as Whiskas, is equipped with the most effects pedals I've ever seen. He makes a pretty nice racket with them and his guitar. His sound is complimented by, and half obliterated by, the pounding rhythm of drums and bass guitar. The talented female drummer, Katie, is his sister.
Then there's Tom, the front man, whose yelped vocals are drowning in the noise. The synth he normally plays seems to be underused and pre-programmed most of the time, which is a shame but this leaves him free to jump about relentlessly, wailing and knotting himself up in his mic chord. He is far from the best vocalist in the world but I think this is part of his charm and the bands.

When they come back for an encore, it's a case of a pick a number as the crowd shout out random numbers between one and nineteen, irrespective of whether they played it in the set. In the end the band chose 'Four' an early track not on the album but that surfaced as the b-side to 'Twelve'. You see I know these things. It's available as a free download from

I think it is an excellent gig. They are an engaging band to watch. Energetic and fun. I like their sound, musically they are adventurous and they don't write commercial songs, but their tunes still stick in your brain.

L is less impressed and is less forgiving of Tom's performance. She tells me that I owe her a nice meal out. Not a problem. Look forward to it.

I get my t-shirt, although not in the colours I wanted.

We stop off at the pub for a couple more Leffes, dark this time before heading home to face the wrath of Daughter.

Thursday, 11 January 2007


Alarm goes off at 5.30. I have to be in Leatherhead for 10.00 which is at least a three-hour trip by car. Luckily I'm not driving. No life in L as I get up but Doggo looks quite lively but then when he realises that I haven't got up to take him out, he retreats back to bed.

I meet my MD at 6.45 at the motorway junction. It's wet and it's windy, not going to be a great trip down. We get there on time having stopped only for a motorway service station coffee. The meeting is a fit of a waste in that all we decide is that the meeting is in the wrong place and we need to do it all again in Rochester, Kent in a few weeks time. Which will be an even longer drive. We drive back. Stopping only for a motorway snack. Two sandwiches, two cakes, and two coffees. That'll be £14 please. Ouch. Good job it's on expenses.

Am home for around 4.15 which isn't bad. I beat Daughter home but not Son. Well I assume he's home, his shoes are in the hall, not sign of him though.

A few hours later, I am barely awake as I drive to squash. This shows as I sleepwalk through the first game and lose it 15-4. Things do improve and I have chances in the second and third games but still lose them before taking the fourth. Don't play particularly well for the rest of the match and it ends up a disappointing 6-1.

We retreat to the pub and I stop the car to pick up a young girl who's wondering the street of Beeston. It's L, who is accompanied by a weaving Doggo.

Sadly, in the pub, we compare alcohol units. This isn't what men are supposed to compare is it really. He did 26 last week, even though he swore last Thursday his new years resolution was to keep below 21 every week. So another resolution fails to see out the second week of January.

He also tells me that his training regime is now up to a mammoth 2.1k. He's adding an impressive 0.1k each week now. A quick calculation tells me that that won't get him up to his race distance of 5 miles by June.

A Newby Wyke Winter Session Ale 3.8% and a Broadside 4.7%, then home for L's excellent spam curry. We take a glass of red to bed. Regrettably I am falling asleep before I even finish my wine.

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Babes Only

Reserve cycling day but although I feel better I now have a cough, so again I decide not to risk biking. Hopefully I'd be able to manage it on Friday.

To compensate I'm going to meet L for a post work swim, the downside of this means I have to go in the car. Traffic predictable awful.

Take advantage of having the car and pop into town. Buy the long sleeved Berghaus base layer that was top of my Christmas list but no one took the bait on. While in town I notice that an alleyway off Irongate has been cordoned off. I find out later from the radio that the body of a 25-year-old mother of four has been found. Apparently the death is 'not suspicious'.

Looking at the FA Cup fantasy, I’ve done rather well. I'm top of our mini league by a mile but also I’m 23rd overall out of 1800 and that’s without a full squad of players. Shame I can’t do that in the main game.

Either L's email or mine is on the blink. Nothing new there. She has just received my email from yesterday. Now as I reply to her emails from today, she isn't getting them, presumably they'll show up tomorrow. Apparently she has bought a surprise for me; unfortunately she won't get my requests to tell me what it is.

Meet L at the pool as arranged for the post work swim. The surprise turns out to be some new swimming goggles, which will come in very useful, my existing ones leak.

It is a lane swim session and it's extremely popular. This really does make you wonder why the council persist in putting on a multitude of different sessions at odd times of the day when the evidence today clearly says that people want a post-work lane session. Simple really.

First though, I have to do a double take because I'm convinced I've walked into one of those 'different sessions' e.g. a ladies only. This however appears to be not your typical 'ladies only' session this appears to be a 'young, slim, fit, good-looking babes only' session which I don't remember seeing on the timetable. Wonder how they police that one. That's a job worth applying for.

Well if they've made a mistake in letting me in I'm not going to be the one to point it out. They'll have to physically pull me from the pool. I get into the nearest lane, not because it's got some good-looking female in it, although indeed it does have, but because it's the only lane that had any room in it. Am surprised when L gets into a lane at the other end of the pool, she's very trusting, was sure she wouldn't leave me alone with all these women.

L tells me later that I got into the slow lane and she went for the fast lane. As it happens the girl I share the lane with is far from slow but all the same I obviously intimidate her and soon see her off. As soon as she gets out another young babe replaces her. I wonder why I haven't been to this session before.

This girl's even faster. She swims breaststroke as quickly as I front crawl. Which means I daren't take much of a break in between my lengths. Don't want to look a wimp. Been playing 'British Sea Power' on my Ipod today and as I do my lengths I can't help humming their track 'Fear Of Drowning' to myself.

Manage to get a bit of a float session in. I do ten lengths legs only, so get quite a bit of kicking practice in. Two girls in the next lane, who are also using floats, give me a knowing smile. Unfortunately it doesn't appear to a smile of admiration, more the understanding smile of one learner swimmer to another. I feel like shouting "I'm not a beginner, I'm triathlon training" but I don't.

Then our 'fun' is spoilt by some huge woman who gets in our lane, well I suppose it is the slow lane. Faced with having to swim round that, I get out and move lanes. L, looking splendid, in her sexy suit beckons to me and I move into her lane, the fast lane. This is L's second swim session of the day and I wonder how she'd have dried her swimsuit but it turns out she is organised enough to bring two with her. She'd done her morning swim in the more intimidating blue/green one and saved the sexier translucent yellow/blue one for swimming with me. Not sure if it's deliberate or not but it's appreciated.

I notice that the girl from my old lane soon moves too, as a second huge woman gets into that lane.

Thoroughly enjoyed the session, for more than one reason and I've done around 40 lengths. Shame we can't come next week because L is working late. Wonder if she'll let me come on my own.

Drop L at home, chauffeur Daughter to guides then back home for an unhealthy snack before we and Doggo go off to TYOD (train your own dog) session at dog club. It’s quite a good session. I even get some speed out of Doggo due of the fact that we have a few new dogs in the class that's he's taken umbrage to.

Get home and knackered. Regrettably AF but I do talk L into giving me a reprise of the previous night's torture.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Aural Pain

Wimped out of biking. Well I'm being sensible, not being 100% fit, biking would not do me a lot of good. Learnt that from 'that' book. L also claims she is being sensible as regards her injury, saying that when she goes out with the dog she walks for five minutes as a warm up. That's no mean achievement because when I try and take Doggo for a walk when he thinks he's on a ‘run’, he keeps hurling himself at the end of the lead, trying to up the pace.

So therefore I'm on the bus. It's quite busy but I regret picking a seat in front of two girls whose inane conversation gets to me almost instantly. I desperately fiddle with my Ipod trying to get some music fired up to drown them out. This isn't as easy as it used to because my damaged screen is getting progressively worse and is now barely readable. Must get it fixed.

Meanwhile the aural pain the two girls are inflicting on me increases as they effortlessly switch their conversation from Big Brother to their 'inept' boyfriends and back. Their boyfriends, all their friend's boyfriends and in fact all men on the planet, just want to go out and have fun rather than settle down at home with their women, have children, do the housework and presumably hold hands while watching big brother. Hmmm yes well wouldn't anyone!

Finally find something loud, Forward Russia, and my sanity is saved.
Then I read in the paper that more women send racey text messages than men, like that girl did on the bus before Christmas (see 20/12/06). Not sure the two girls' behind me got surveyed for that one.

Apparently 47% of women admitted sending an explicit suggestion by text in the last fortnight but only 34% of men did. Presumably the remaining 66% forgot to text their girlfriend anything at all. Apparently when it comes to email, it's the other way round with men being more overt than women.

As I walk from the bus stop to work, I notice that our gypsy friends are back, down the road at the disused railway roundhouse.

Fairly uneventful day at work.

It's raining as I leave work and head to the bus stop. Predictably all the bus shelters are full. The number of people waiting for the Red Arrow and therefore crammed into the bus shelter tells me they're running late again.

Get home and L takes Doggo for a quick spin and then goes off to one of those expensive council badminton sessions with Daughter.

Then I have a meeting with my financial advisor. This time at home. Last time I saw him, he was half-cut in a bar in Bingham. To his credit he wasn't so drunk that he didn't remember that I wanted a meeting with him and as promised he did call me to setup a meeting. Now I bend his ear about how my pension policies, which like everyone else's, are doing nothing.

After he's gone I cook up another 'warming' Thai curry.

I think L and I are both suffering with some bug or something but as promised she delivers on an 'early night'. She inflicts some torturously slow and gentle sex on me. Wonderful.

Monday, 8 January 2007

New Year Resolutions

Feeling a bit rough this morning and even consider skipping off work. Which really isn't me. Then when I get in the car the traffic is so bad, I consider turning round and coming back home. Only the fact that it would take me longer to get home than to work keeps me going. Once at work I soon seem to perk up, although this has nothing to do with actually being there.

FA Cup draw. Derby are drawn at home again and again against fourth division opposition, this time Bristol Rovers. Who have embarrassed us in the past but this time it might be different.

You never know it might be our year for a cup run: -
1. We are so boring; no one can score against us
2. He’s not resting players for the cup, well not unless I put them in my fantasy team
3. We are having so much luck and this seems to be also happening with the cup draw 4. All the premiership teams are getting drawn against each other and therefore knocking each other out

Get home and it's off to our first Monday night dog class of the year. On the way I drop L and Daughter off at L's parents. Then just as I get within half a mile of class we come across a road closed sign and are diverted back the way we came, round the block ten miles and eventually to dog class five minutes late. Everyone else is late though and some people have to be rescued when they lose track of the diversion signs and end up marooned somewhere in the countryside.

Class goes relatively well, training wise, and I manage to keep Doggo away from the Alsatian that he's not terribly keen on.

We are asked to make New Year resolutions. Two of them. A training one, which isn't difficult as we have a lot to improve on and also a competition one. The trainer sets us the aim of getting a top three this year, which now we're in grade five, is not going to be easy. She must be talking to me because Doggo isn't listening. An almighty scrap breaks out and there's Doggo and another collie from the next class squaring up to each other. You really can't take him anywhere. Perhaps his resolution should be to get on with his classmates.

Pick up L and Daughter and go home. Once home I have a really unhealthy snack of blue cheese on French bread.

Sunday, 7 January 2007

Led Up The Cinder Path

After rather a 'binge' for the last two nights we have an even longer lie in today, past 12.00. Including more excellent sex.

Then took Doggo on park with his ball, L joined us. Park was very muddy and hence now so is Doggo.

Get home and chill out with paper for a while. Lunch. Soup and sausage sandwich. Doggo has crashed, he'll now sleep for the rest of the day.

No run today but we do swim. L does 24 lengths; think I do the same. Really enjoy it, doing alternate lengths of breaststroke and front crawl. This combination means that for once I don't feel like I'm going to suffocate to death.

When we get home L and Daughter watch a film (Splash) while I assemble my new roof rack and knock up a Caribbean curry. Well I use Caribbean curry powder and you know what, it doesn't really seem to taste any different.

In the evening L talks me into some Catherine Cookson and we watch the Cinder Path on DVD. It's not really my usual sort of thing and for once I think even L was hoping that the lead actor would die in the final scene. In fact if he'd died in the first scene is might have helped. The final scene could have gone either way but bugger you guessed it; they all lived happily ever after.

Later I book the flights for our skiing holiday at Easter. Heathrow to Munich. This ends the debate about whether we are going to attempt to drive across or not. Just need to find somewhere to stay now.

It's a hollow victory but I seem to come out top in the FA Cup fantasy this week.

AF tonight. I reckon, and Saturday night is a bit hazy, 28 units for the week. On target.

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Cup Success

Lie in until 11.30 with a double helping of rampant sex. L claims she is on a 'green' week, so it's best to stock pile.

Then we take Doggo for a circuit of park and pond, running. Doggo is brave to join us, as it's drizzling. We even manage to find the flashing light off Doggo's running jacket which he lost the previous day when out with L.

L and I plan to meet up at the beer festival later, so I get the bus over to Derby for the annual FA Cup humiliation rather than drive. The bus is predictably 5 mins early, so I miss it and have to wait for the next one. The next bus is due 15 minutes later and is predictably late.

I'm in shock as Derby actually win a cup game against lower league opposition. This really is becoming a season of firsts. They win 3-1. Lupoli, the man who doesn't get picked because he's too skilful, gets a game because Jon Stead had returned to Sunderland after his loan period finished. Lupoli scores all three goals. Would have been a easy victory had we not let them back in the game when it was 2-0 by Bob Malcolm attempting a suicidal back pass.

After the game I walk back into Derby and meet L. We go to the Winter Beer Festival where there are some excellent ales. We hadn't planned on staying for long but we stay most of the night. We don't really touch anything of less than 5% and I think we have 8 halves. Even get a decent cottage pie.

We leave around 9.30 and get the bus home. Where Son has ignored the single portion of chilli that L left for him in the oven and instead cleaned out the entire pan which had contained the double portion that L and I were going to share. Luckily L had also done some veggie chilli as well, so we topped up on that. I think she was hoping they'd be enough to freeze for another day. Afraid not.

After we eat, I struggle to stay awake during match of the day but manage to catch the highlights of Lupoli's hat-trick, just.

Friday, 5 January 2007

King Of The Mountains

Back on my bike today. It's my first ride to work for over two weeks. Before I leave I have to find it under all the mud that was amassed during my off road excursion, down Nottingham's all new cycle route, with L on Tuesday. I give it a quick wipe down with a damp cloth, making sure the lights are clean. My tyre is still up.

I have a good ride, I feel fresh but not necessarily fit. I try and attack the hills by getting out the seat rather than trying to achieve everything without getting out the saddle. A tip from 'that' book.

Then I come across the chap on the commuter bike. He's going very slowly, so it's going to be incredibly hard to stay behind him. I'm sure it's a trap but still I fall for it and go whizzing by. Then I remember he was slow on the uphills, so I go for it on the climb out of Risley. I'm knackered by the top but daren't look behind as I power down the other side. So no time to dwell on taking the King Of The Mountains points as I push on to deal with the matter of the Hot Spot Sprint in Borrowash. Oops getting carried away there. By the time I look over my shoulder, as I go round a parked car in Borrowash, he is nowhere to be seen. Victory.

L's been talking to 'my friend' the rambling salesman at the bike shop about women specific design (WSD) mountain bikes. She's decided the only thing that will induce her to cycle more is mud. E.g. more cycle paths! Hmmm The trauma I had to go through to get her to the off road Duathlon she entered last year and even then she hated it.

Apparently everyone under 5' 7" should have a WSD, different angled seat posts and handle bars, shorter pedal shanks. All to do with offsetting the hips apparently. Hmmm he certainly talks a good bike.

Also have a good ride home. Just over 52 mins, which is not far off my PB.

Once I get home, I only have a time for a quick shower and a slice of Christmas cake before we need to get getting the bus back over to Derby. Tonight is the first, in what may be a short sequence, of 40th birthday parties as my friends and myself reach that mid-life crises age.

First however Daughter drops it on us that she is going out to a friends for an all-nighter and needs a lift. Typical. I run her there while L slips into something sexy for the party.

The party is good. It's good to catch up so many old friends. Old being a key word here as it is shocking to see how many of them look far older than the 40 years they have on the clock. Also it is amazing how fat some of them have got. They're obviously not all biking to work then. I'm assuming here that I still look twenty-one. Strangely the fat ones are not devouring the buffet but I am, unappetizing though most of it is. I've not had my tea yet and I've got calories to replace.

One of my oldest male friends turns up with his male partner which comes as rather a shock and a disappointment to some of the women present.

They have photos of the chap, whose birthday it is, all over the walls, documenting his past. One of which includes a school class photo from 1979, in which I feature. I was twelve at the time. Hmmm I have changed a touch since then.

4 pints of Tiger 4.2%.

All in all is it a good night.

Thursday, 4 January 2007


On the bus again today. I quite enjoyed the journey but it was a bit too quick, not enough traffic! So I didn't get much of a read in. What I did manage to read though was that, according to a sleep council survey, women are much grumpier than men are in the morning. 86% of women wake up in a filthy mood (no regrettably not that kind of filthy) compared to 75% of men. They say women's waking thoughts are feelings of self-loathing and guilt: - why did I drink that wine; why did I eat that; why don't I have anything to wear; why didn't I cook something healthy; what's wrong with my hair etc etc. Most men however just think shower, shave and off we go. Personally I think even 75% of men being grumpy is poor. I like mornings.

When I got up today L looked quite lively, not at all grumpy and would probably have been up for some action but unfortunately I have the bus to catch. Damn.

Have you noticed I've stopped mentioning the cricket.

Three of my last five workdays have been Thursdays e.g. pub days. Today it's Steak & Kidney Pie. Very Good. Nine Lives 3.6% low alcohol ale from somewhere in Gloucestershire. Doggo would be miffed because I chose the ‘cat’ beer over the ‘dog’ one which was called ‘Headless dog’. They’d got loads of beers on as its beer festival week, Damson Porter, Snecklifter, Marleys Ghost and many others. Very tempting for a trip over at the weekend, worth skipping the beer festival for!

Had a busy afternoon at work. Multitasking between systems for sewage, medical waste and council bin collections. Wow! My mate tells me that today he is working on systems for sinks and ovens. He enquires if this is what we dreamt of doing when we were boys? Hmmm I still want to get a proper job when I grow up.

Squash. My opponent has started his New Year running and health kick. He's been for a 2k run no less, indoors on a treadmill of course. I wasn't terribly impressed. He is though apparently hoping to build it up gradually, over a period of weeks, to a full 3K! Then he drops in that his partner and he are intending to enter a 5K race, so he'll have to up his training for that.

L, who knows about these things, doesn't know of a 5K race where he lives but there is a 5 miler. Perhaps his partners told him its 5K, would be great if it was 5 miles. That'll kill him, particularly if I entered as well. He would never let me beat him. So it would be a bit like greyhound racing with me as the hare. He'd get a good workout out of that.

Not sure his training makes much difference to tonight's game. I won the first game, always a mistake. Lost next three. Finished 5-2 as usual. Nice racquet mark on my lower back. Pint of Funfair 3.9%.

Get home and L supplies mushroom omelette and soup. I also finish off the remains of last nights daal. I seem to have worked up quite an appetite.

I have a glass of wine; just the one, I am good.

11pm at night and I do a quick inner tube change on my bike, as I have a slow puncture in my front tyre. The chap in 'that book' does it in 8 minutes; I'm quicker than that but it's hardly race conditions.

L still looks quite lively and she breaks her watershed. Again!

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Finishing That Bloody Book

Finally back at work today and I decide to opt for the bus. I take a risk on the later one. It pays off, on time and no real traffic. Arrived in plenty of time for work.

Mid morning the new roof rack attachments arrive. Blimey. That's what I call service, less than 24 hours from order to delivery. Impressive. Let me name check The Roof Box Company

If only computer companies were as efficient. We are still waiting for Son's main Christmas present to arrive.

L bemoans this cruel world of ours. Apparently someone has left mega-chunks of Pannettone, that rather nice Christmassy type cake, in the coffee room at work. Hmmm sure she means it's a cruel world for all those people on the cake. She ought to be feeling rather smug sat there with her cup of tea and an apple. Bet they’re all jealous of her resolve and superior fitness. However I would have no objection if she put some of the cake into a doggie bag to bring home but she won't because I haven't eaten my way through the huge tin of chocolate biscuits that she brought home at Christmas. The tin is now at my work, away from the clutches of L and Daughter. Unfortunately I think everyone here is on a post-Christmas detox because I can’t give them away.

L's latest training gadget is going to be some device that beeps in her ear telling her when to do her swim stroke. Supposedly this will speed her up. Of course that depends what pace she sets the gadget to.

She sends me the link to the webpage. They have fins on the same screen. They look cool. I'm tempted with a pair of them. Wonder if they allowed in a race.

L serves up some excellent daal for tea.

Back to work for Doggo tonight. Dog class. Doesn't go terribly well, I think we have both got a bit rusty over Xmas.

Back home I finish that bloody book. He completes his Ironman and I am actually pleased for him. It’s even all a bit emotional at the end. Then he spoils it and lets on that he's done seven more since. Show off.

L is again draped over me as I read. Very 'romantic'. Unfortunately no amount of elbowing can induce any life out of her tonight.

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Now that's what I call romantic

Back to training of a sort today. Despite a day off work today, we get up around 7am with the intention of doing the pond run with Doggo. However it is raining so we wimp out and instead the three of us head off in the car for a swim instead. Doggo guards the car for us.

The council claims that it saves money on heating etc by closing leisure centres over the extended Christmas. The pool we go to has been shut since Christmas Eve but today it is like a sauna inside, so no evidence of the heating being off then over Christmas!

The pool is even worse; it's tropical inside. I'm sure those palm trees weren't there before Christmas and the water is only a few degrees off boiling point. As I slip into the water I realise that I now know how a 'boil in the bag' meal feels. I think the heat has scared everyone else away and apart from L and me there is only one other person in the pool. That is until the psychos arrive. Even they complain about the heat, so it's not just me. I quickly bail out of the lane I was in as the three of them start to simulate race conditions. Anyone stood on the poolside was in danger of being washed away as the waves from their kick turns crash against the walls. Even if I never learn to swim properly I must at least learn to kick turn.

L does 46 lengths; I must have done 30 odd? Perhaps. I'm afraid I can't count and swim at the same time, too much to think about. Mr Infuriating and his book have at least made me realise what is wrong with my swimming. I'm not kicking enough. I'm like those folks in the pool on Friday, clinically dead in the legs. Need to get myself a float and do some kicking practice.

After we leave the pool we realise that the rain has stopped, so we go home and belatedly do the run. Round the pond and across the lake. Not a bad run. Maybe 4 miles. Regrettably today there is no jumping back into bed when we get home.

Now I'm annoyed with myself. Reflecting on the contents of that infuriating book I realise that I've had two free days and not done anything! I mean training wise. A golden opportunity wasted.

L saves the day by taking me on a 10-mile bike round the 'new' Nottingham cycle route and finally a chance to try out my new shoes and pedals.

The route is only 'new' in that someone has only just drawn it onto a map. Being a cycle route there is barely any tarmac involved, lots of gravel, narrow canal tow-paths with the risk of toppling into the water, low bridges, lots of dogs and pedestrians, plenty of potholes and acres of mud. Enough to put anyone off cycling for good, which presumably is their aim. Personally I'd rather take my chances on a busy road, a lot less nerve racking and safer too. Decide I need to get a mountain bike if I'm going to do it again.

It would however have been ideal for Doggo, so it's a shame we didn't take him. Problem is it would have been hard to get him to the start of the route without using the car and since we got a new car the bike racks don't fit the roof. So get home and order new attachments for the roof rack off the internet.

Later we go see 'Stranger Than Fiction'. It’s about a novelist (Emma Thompson) struggling to complete her latest book. As the finale to her book she is trying to find a way to kill off her main character, a chap called Harold Crick. The thing is he exists in real life and can hear her words being narrated to him. So he tries to find a way to change her ending and so save his life. It's all a little too far fetched for me and, I think, rather silly but L and Daughter seem to like it.

For the second time in a week we walk out on a good tune, this time Maximo Park's Gone Missing.

I do Spaghetti Bolognaise for all and then retire to bed with a good book. Ha ha well that bloody triathlon book. L cuddles up and crashes with her body draped around me. Very sexy. Sorry, she's told me to call it 'romantic'. Have come to the conclusion that the chap is a total nutter and I'm hoping he doesn’t complete his Ironman. He's doing Lake Placid Ironman for Christ's sake. What's wrong with one in the rain in good old Blighty.

Well after about two hours sleep for L and another quarter of the book for me I put the light out. L seems fairly awake and the 'romantic holding' turns into a rather wonderful shag. Now that's what I call 'romantic'.

Monday, 1 January 2007

An Infuriating Book

Third lazy morning in a row. A long long lay in, mainly sleep, a little sex and a lot of coffee. A bit too lazy really, we could have been orienteering. Around 12.30 we get up and do a run with Doggo before heading home to watch Seabiscuit.

Now I have a rule. Don't see the film of a book you loved. Equally don't read a book of a film you liked. Follow that and you'll never be disappointed with either.
Seabiscuit is based on a true story from the 1930's about a half-blind ex-prizefighter and a car dealer who team up with a millionaire and his little horse. The horse is called Seabiscuit.

Seabiscuit is probably a good film but the book by Laura Hillenbrand is simply superb and therefore I didn't much like the film. I really didn't expect to like a book about horse racing but I did. I liked it a lot. Unfortunately the film simply can't live with the book. In fairness, with only two hours to play with, it would be difficult to do so but I'm disappointed a better attempt wasn't made.

For a start the book has a very slow meandering start and I hoped the film would dispense with most of that and just get on with the good stuff that comes later. Unfortunately it didn't and that left them struggling to cram too much into the rest of the film. There were many many things the jockey, owner, and trainer went through that made the story so compelling, and they weren't in the film. For a start the movie compressed the two major accidents that Red Pollard suffered into one, presumably for time's sake and the love story between Pollard and his nurse is never even mentioned. You can't appreciate what was really accomplished just by watching the film. It only scratches the surface. So read the book.

While watching the film I keep away from the football scores, expecting a bad fantasy day and defeat for Derby. The fantasy didn't disappoint and my team returns to (poor) form and the last of the four sides I run crashed out of the cup.

Derby however supply a surprise and seriously impress by winning 2-1 at second placed Preston. On paper it is one hell of a result but did they play any good? We move above Preston and into second place in the league and only three points off the top. FA Cup next, where we traditionally rest all our best players and lose to a lower division club. This year it's Wrexham at home, so the omens are not good. Please please please let's take it seriously this year, win, and maybe even play some football as well?

I cooked at Thai meal for all of us. A New Years resolution to try and do some new recipes. It's not bad.

Daughter has booked the lounge for a Vicar Of Dibley/Torchwood double bill, so we nick her TV again and retire to the bedroom and watch Memoirs Of A Geisha. Hmmm it's not my sort of film, too complex for my simple mind and too many foreign accents. It's about two sisters who are sold by their father to a Geisha house. One of them is not accepted and is instead sent to a brothel. She escapes from the brothel and hence from the film! But the other is left alone to become the slave of a geisha. Promising so far.

However I expect the story to revolve around finding the sister, with the girl perhaps ending up thrown in a brothel too but no, instead she learns how to become a geisha with the help of another geisha, a good geisha who is fighting against the evil geisha. This is where I got lost.

The whole point of the film, that I missed, seemed to be that the girl while still a child falls in love with a chap called The Chairman and the rest of the film is about her eventually ending up with him. L enjoyed it a lot more than I did.

In the evening L gave me a book to read about a chap who takes up Triathlon it's called 'Not Normal Behaviour'. The title says it all. It's an infuriating story. The chap is far fitter than I am even before he starts training. He hates swimming but from day one admits that he can easily swim a mile in the pool, he's already done a sprint tri and to top it all he even ran the London Marathon a few years ago. So it's hardly a novice to expert story.

He starts to do well in events without really training and even after getting plastered the night before. His target is to do an Ironman, which (if I have this correct) is a 2.4 mile swim, 96 mile bike and a full marathon run. It is an exasperating book but none the less gripping and I read half of it in one night.