Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Once More Unto The Breach

Really must bike today. No sound of rain on the window. Radio suggests the only rain is in the east and heading further eastwards. Sounds good. There are however warnings of strong winds. I go for it.

The radio is wrong. Once I'm kitted up it starts raining but I don't bottle it. Its true what they say. Once you've taken the step in getting your kit on you're unlikely to change your mind. I don't. In any case before I've done the first mile the rain has ceased. It is however 'a touch' windy.

Ecstatic when I make it to work in one piece. Was a rubbish time, so I must have taken it easy? L will be pleased I was so careful. However when I tell her she merely remarks that I must be very brave or mad. I prefer mad.

L's had an exciting morning too. Oh their run, she and Doggo bumped into a woman running with a mongrel and GSD. Apparently they sort of speak but Doggo always growls at the GSD. So they aren't getting to become friends.

He's not keen on GSDs. They are number five on his hit list I believe. After, in reverse order: - Dalmatians, Belgian Shepherds, Weimaraners and top of the list Poodles. Although L thinks there's a good case for ankle-biting shiatsu's to be in there. We don't come across too many shiatsus when we do agility, which is a shame because it would be great to see.

Apparently Son has got to take in a baby photo for the school year book. That'll be a hoot. Unfortunately he needs it today and as usually only mentions it as he's getting his coat on to leave. Erm a tad short notice. This will now result in a delay to the printing of the whole yearbook.

Unlike my friend from Leeds, who's permanently depressed, my friend from Scunthorpe is on cloud nine. Scunthorpe United have won thirteen games in a row and are walking away with Division 3 (or League One as apparently some people now call it). They are nine points clear at the top. Four wins from their remaining eleven games should guarantee them promotion. They could get those before the end of March. This is a team that have spent last thirty years apart from two in the base division. The last time they reached such dizzy height was in 1958 when they were the last team to be Third Division North champions.

All bad news for poor old Nottingham Forest who are now left scrapping over the remaining automatic promotion place. I doubt they have the stomach for the play offs, so if they don’t get in those top two places, I can’t see them going up.

L emails to say it's bloody windy in Nottingham. Hmmm only a slight breeze here. Ideal cycling weather.

L emails again to say the weather's now totally foul in Nottingham and raining quite a lot. Hmmm not raining here, well perhaps the slightest of drizzle, it was quite heavy earlier but the gale force winds must have blown it over to Nottingham. Conditions now ideal for cycling.

With my loving partner totally reassured, I step outside. "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more" as Henry V once said (via Shakespeare), "imitate the action of the tiger, stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood" etc etc

Had a cracking wind assisted ride home, although the odd sideways gust was a bit interesting. Cracking time too. 51:14 which is almost a whole minute quicker than my best. Can't be right, can't believe the wind was behind me all the way, on wet roads too. Bike computer says I hit a top speed of 50kph? Surely not. Oh well who am I to argue with technology.

Daughter not going to guides tonight. I don't ask why, assume Hollyoaks is just too good to miss tonight. Cook a rather odd but tasty frankfurter bolognaise. Then head off to dog class. Which goes amazingly well. Doggo does everything I tell him to, perfectly, even when I tell him to do the wrong things!

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Head Butt

It's raining. I can hear it. The radio forecast is for more of the stuff. Reluctantly I decide not to bike, as I have nowhere at work to dry my wet gear. Could do the bus but then I get a wet walk! So it’s car again. The journey was very good again, roads quiet.

L's not so happy; she got soaked on the park with doggo and then soaked again on her way to work. Yep, I'm glad I didn’t bike. Just got to decide now whether to bike or swim tomorrow! Decisions decisions.

The rain appears to have fallen as snow all over the ski areas in Scotland. Whether it’ll be enough to ski on at The Lecht, I’m not sure. Cairngorm seems optimistic it will at least put them back to where they were when we went.

Son could be in mega-trouble today because he hasn't done a project that should be handed in today and its part of his GCSE coursework. Apparently he's going to do it in his lunch break. So perhaps he won't be getting a very good grade for that then. I doubt he'll have a problem. Son always falls on his feet. Knowing him he'll get an extension, probably until the end of May. After all the school does have to think of its exam results and its league table position.

Daughter's a very unhappy bunny. Her planned cinema trip has been cancelled because her friend is off ill. How inconsiderate of her friend. Then again they were planning to go see Epic Movie. So she's had a lucky escape.

To make matters worse she also got soaked this morning and then missed the bus and had to walk in, so she got a detention for being late. My first thought was, great, think of all the calories she walked off.

Then she almost got another detention for going into school without a tie. She'd left it at her ill friend's house. Hmmm don't quite understand that. We have a house full of school ties, most of which are on her bedroom floor. If children had eyes they'd be dangerous.

Got home and did a very muddy pond run with L and Doggo. Far too muddy and because it was dark I couldn't see where to put my feet. I nearly got my new trainers muddy.

Then we swim which kind of makes my mind up for tomorrow. I'll have to bike now. It was a public session but with two lanes both of which were full. So I made an unofficial third lane along side them. This worked well until L, who was swimming further down, shunted two women who were probably discussing the latest edition of Hollyoaks down out of her way and into mine. I think they finally got the hint that they were in my way when I kept doing my turns by touching the wall over one of the women shoulders. Eventually they got out.

I might have intimidated them out of the pool but the girl in lane 2 is certainly intimidating me. She is doing all four strokes in rotation: - Breast stroke, front crawl, backstroke, and butterfly. Even when she's swimming butterfly she's faster than me. I'd like to see her be so cocky on a Wednesday when the Iceberg is parked in lane 2! My one consolation is that at least she can’t do flip turns but then just to rub it in she does one. Show off.

I try a flip turn of my own but soon pack in that silly idea. Far too embarrassing. I can see the attendants glaring at me, imploring me to please not drown on their shift.

Despite all these distractions I think I manage seven, yes SEVEN lengths of front crawl without stopping. Progress.

Back home L cooks again and then we retire to bed. Unfortunately in the bedroom Doggo head butts L as she tried to pull the blanket off the bed before he can shag it. The collision leaves her with a cut lip. She’s not happy with the dog and I’m not happy with the dog because that means no BJ tonight.

Oh and Son's project doesn't even have to be in yet. He got the wrong date. Which means we'll have the same panic all over again when it's finally due in.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Transvestite Vest

Back to the grind today. Back to work. Back to the traffic, of which surprisingly there is very little. Cones still there though. See what it's like when I leave.

Doggo didn't seem to want to be left today. Bit of a come down for him after a week of our company. Bit of a come down for all of us! It's back to work for him today as well. He's got dog class tonight.

Very busy at work, a ton of work emails to deal with.

Managed to get time over lunch to watch the highlights of Derby v Sunderland on the internet. I'm more enthusiastic now for the rest of the season. It was a very good performance by both sides. A better game you will not see anywhere this season. Premiership? What's that then?

Daughter has got into Fall Out Boy. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. Anyhow I find out that they've covered Joy Division’s 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', so I download it to my Ipod. Needless to say it’s terrible. I had planned to play it to Daughter and then play her the original but it's so bad that I daren’t in case she likes it. I delete it. Shame its in digital form, in the old days if you didn't like a record you got the joy of burning the vinyl!

Daughter's already in a bit of a huff because I’ve put some eighties stuff on her Ipod – Tears For Fears and Transvision Vamp. She didn’t seem pleased. However she must have tried to play them because she's complained that the Transvestite Vest doesn't work. I think we're talking about the same thing. So I'll have to redo those tracks. She had a new style nano for Christmas and Apple seem to have booby trapped it. It refuses to play a good percentage of mp3's although once you rerecord them in Apples preferred AAC format it is perfectly willing to play them. Hmmm suspicious. Likewise a mains charger (not an apple one) that I bought and that works with all our old style nano's won't work with hers. In fact rather than charge it, it totally discharges it instead.

It’s our anniversary this Saturday. Eleven years with L and no time out for good behaviour. Only joking Dearest. XXXX. We'll have to celebrate in style. There’s orienteering at Blair Atholl this weekend, which is near where we stayed in Scotland. We could nip back up for that, it would certainly send the kids running for cover and give us a childfree weekend! Although L doubts they'll leave the house at all until we leave for Austria at Easter.

Talking of Austria. Having looked at the webcam where we're going it's currently snowing like mad which is good news. Not so good news in Scotland. The Lecht has lost the snow off all its main runs. Only the nursery slopes remain now.

When I leave work it turns out they've actually improved the cone layout on the A52. Now there's a first. Begs the question why they didn't do that in the first place. Still takes me ten minutes longer than usual to get off Pride Park but that's an improvement on the 30 minutes that it was taking.

I get home and collect the dog and take him for his weekly Weimaraner bating session. It goes quite well. He manages to not upset anyone and performs pretty well.

Back home L welcomes me with a stir-fry and an offer of wild sex. That's my girl. Well I wouldn't say it was wild but it was certainly top draw and she didn't cough or splutter once. It must be the Lockets, just hope she's not addicted to them.

Sunday, 25 February 2007

Back In the Swing Of Things

Had a lie in and some none squeaky fun. Then we got back in the swing of things with a pond and park run. Found that all my aches and injuries appear to have cleared up, which is good news.

In the afternoon we went for a swim, although L was reluctant as she still felt a bit off it. Once there I discovered the down side of having a week off. I can now only manage three lengths of front crawl non-stop. It was four before the holiday. The session we went to was a standard public session without any lanes; therefore I collided with several swimmers and a few 'walkers' - those ‘swimmers’ that don't lift their feet of the pool floor. Generally though it was a good work out.

Watched some TV! Because Britain's most successful sport was on and had been all this weekend. Well our most successful sport apart from ones like darts, snooker, squash etc which don’t have Olympic status, although obviously squash should have.

I’m talking cycling again, World Cup Cycling. Britain topped the medal table yet again with eight goal medals. Three individual gold's for our new star Vicky Pendleton.

Two each for Chris Hoy and a black-eyed Bradley Wiggins. He fell off a treadmill. Hoy then went on to win a third race, although not a medal, in the final non-World Cup Keirin.

Terrific stuff. Get into your cycling.

In the evening I did a lamb curry for all of us and spend a lot of time trawling through emails and catching up on the internet. We also watched a profile of Wainwright on BBC4. Very good. It was actually quite a sad and moving tale.

I haven't mentioned the Fratellis that I went to see last Friday. The first thing to say is that as they walked on stage they were accompanied by the biggest rainstorm of lager that I've every seen as everyone's plastic glasses went up in the air. This lager chucking phase it something new, that the gig going youth of today have invented, that was pretty much absent when I first started going to gigs. It's not pleasant and it's certainly not clever. The only thing that was worse was the punk era and it's even more repulsive spitting.

As usual they opened with Henrietta and they were good, they can certainly play. Although it was all very formulistic, even the set list seemed identical to what I'd heard they were playing six months ago. Most of it was pretty much flawless but it all seemed very predictable and I hadn't even seen them live before. Chelsea Dagger though, despite being the lager boys' clear favourite, was a huge disappointment, having less energy live than it does on record. It was a proper professional job but that's not really what you want from a gig, you just might as well buy the record. They'll need to come up with something more varied if they don't want to fade away very quickly.

The best track was the last one of the encore and it wasn't even one of theirs, they finished with a rocking version of Goldfrapps 'Ohh La La'. I don't like Goldfrapp but I liked this version.

Too much alcohol to count this week, so I'm not going to bother. Although I don't think it was as bad as when we usually go away.

Saturday, 24 February 2007

A Week In Review

Back from Scotland today. Took us seven and three quarter hours driving there last week but nine coming back today courtesy of the closure of M80 near Perth for road works.

Mind you last Saturday we did get up at 4.30am. Of course Son still hadn’t packed the few things that we’d asked him to, so that delayed us but we still got away by 6.00. Had breakfast in Carlisle.

We had a great cottage in a really quiet area. Doggo loved it. Daughter loved it. Son was nonplussed by it.

Well when I say Doggo loved it, he loved it apart from the fact that he couldn't go in the kitchen because the timer on the cooker beeped at him. He couldn't go in the lounge because the real fire spat sparks at him. He couldn't go in the conservatory because the heater in there blew hot air at him. He couldn't go in the bedroom because we shouted at him. Other than that he loved it.

Because Daughter slept in the lounge where the fire was, it was always a bonus to wake up with the house still intact around us.

Oh and our bed was very squeaky. What with the area being so quiet, the whole street could probably hear it and guess what we were up to. Very off putting. Had to stand up instead. Even tried it against the wardrobe. Far too wobbly, thought the whole thing was going to fall over. Next door had a different problem. They had very noisy stairs. Either they do a lot of going up and down them or perhaps they have a squeaky bed too and they’d found the stairs to be a better option.

The skiing was a little hit and miss because there wasn't much snow. We skied at The Lecht on Monday, which will be a really nice place if they had a decent dump of snow. Four runs and a nursery area were open when we went. This had been reduced to one run by the end of the week. The kids did approximately six (short) ski runs and then crashed in the coffee shop where they burned off £20 on hot chocolate and cake. We even took Doggo up on to the piste.

Cairngorm was better when we went there on Wednesday. Plenty of runs at the top on the Ptarmigan Bowl but they were packed with people. On the other side, The White Lady was good but only just skiable. I had to scramble through the rocks to complete it. The traverse run down on to the Cas and down to the Gun Barrel was the best, did that loads of times. Again by the end of the week the bottom of these runs had gone.

It was all good practice but with the lack of runs, it wasn't worth the money to ski any more days. It’s £21 for a half day at Cairngorm. So we had plenty of squeaky lie-ins and took Doggo loads of excellent walks in the woods instead. Threw hundreds of sticks over the week for Doggo, who looked progressively worse (e.g. more knackered) as the week went on. He is not a dog with stamina. For once though he was a dog with an appetite.

Tried all the local pubs. Nothing special about most of them but the Old Bridge Inn at Aviemore is worth a mention. The Cairngorm Wildcat 5.1% went down a storm. They’ve got a nice covered over outside area where we could take Doggo. We had a nice romantic beer in the rain there. This was about the only time it rained.

Son and Daughter only left the house the once. That was to ski with us on the Monday. They didn’t come to ski on Cairngorm. Their loss. The whole area was glorious, the scenery breathtaking. Every day we got back from our exploring to find that they hadn’t moved.

Daughter already had a heavy TV addiction before the holiday and the cottage provided her with a free upgrade to the really hard stuff. Sky TV. Now she's back home, she has to go cold turkey. It won't be pretty until she's totally off it. She's already requested it for her birthday.

Son and Daughter had an argument over Hollyoaks on Tuesday. Son never came out of his room again after that, only for meals. We cooked all our own meals. Only make one mistake. White Pudding. Don’t go there.

The only way we could distract Daughter from the TV in the evening was with increasingly painful games of Scrabble. So finally we played her at her own game and got our own back by having the TV on what we wanted to watch. Which was World Cup Track Cycling and eighties music. To be honest it wasn’t very good eighties music but it annoyed Daughter so it served its purpose.

Other than the skiing and the walking we didn’t do any fitness training other than a short run on our last day, so I’ll be fit for nothing now. Though L has been a bit rough all week. Her coughing and spluttering interrupted many a squeaky session. In the end she even had to take my advice and go for the Lockets.

Derby are missing me. They lost to a last minute goal at Sunderland today. A game apparently they should have won. This follows a home defeat to Stoke in midweek and defeat in the cup at Plymouth last Saturday. A bit of a wobble? Or maybe just too much squad rotation Mr Davies? Resting players is all very well but when the replacements haven't played much football (and we haven't a reserve team) you can't expect them to perform as well. Predictably Plymouth got the cup draw we would have wanted, home to Watford. Yep this really was our year! Oh well. Good luck to the Pilgrims.

When we got home we fobbed the kids off with chips while L and I dumped them and Doggo to head off into town to top up our alcohol levels. Had some very nice 5.0% IPA, 2 pints of. Then we had a curry in the Mogul for the first time in almost a decade. They had some very different dishes. I had an Albi, which had potatoes in it. Not bad. Nice sauce, not enough potato. Keema naan quite good. Mushroom rice good too. L's was better as usual; the dish she chose had huge garlic gloves in it. Had a Singapore Tiger with it.

Then we popped in Scruffys for a Dark Leffe.

Saturday, 17 February 2007

On Holiday. Back Next Week.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Scotland Bound

Wake up to find that I have lost the use of my right shoulder. Think I ran into the wall at some point last night while playing squash. That's in addition to the bruise I have one on the back of my neck from where the ball hit me. L is still looking quite ill.

Not biking today, as I want to be fairly fresh for the drive up to Scotland tomorrow. So disgracefully I have not biked at all this week.

Journey in on the bus was ok and I was at work nice and early.

Seems I got off lightly last night. Everyone is complaining about last night's traffic. Good job I wasn't heading into town, it took them all at least an hour to get off PCP that way.

As I say off to Scotland tonight. Feel we might look a bit silly taking the skis up there on the roof of the car, as there's very little snow there at the moment. As you can see below: -

There's likely to be none at all by the time we get there. However if we don't take them we're bound to regret it.

Not really bothered about whether there's snow or not. Our main skiing trip comes at Easter in Austria; anything in Scotland would be a bonus. Just looking forward to a week chilling out in the Cairngorms. Doggo's going to love the walking.

As I'm away they'll be no blog for a week. When I get back I'll round up tonight's Fratellis gig, Derby in the FA Cup and everything about the holiday.

Thursday, 15 February 2007


L's looking better but far from 100%. She seems keen to pay me back for her romantic muddy treat yesterday and indulge in some sex. I figure its best not to turn her down in case she expires before I next get chance.

In car again because I'm doing the pub run.

Lunchtime and the Farmers Blonde goes down a treat, very tasty (Bradfield's 4.0%). As was the Steak And Kidney Pie. The new kitchen looks the same as the old one.

Daughter wants to go to the gym tonight. L says "We'll see". That’s Sonspeak. I'm still waiting for him to finish 'seeing' about some things I asked him last year including compiling his Christmas list.

Talking of Son. He's sent L on another wild goose chase, into town for a new computer game. She's not learnt her lesson from last time. After she'd queued for ages she found out that they've not even set a release date for it yet. Bless him. He falls for all the advance marketing etc in his magazines and assumes these things exist. It's like on the music channels just because they're playing the video, you can’t assume you can buy it. These marketing people like to build up huge anticipation before they even think about releasing these products. In some cases if they don't get that, then they decline to release the stuff at all. In the good old days things used to sell on their own merits!

My Editor, L, points out that the hyperlink that I put in yesterday's blog hasn't worked. Good job they're not paying me to promote their service.

Daughter (who apparently is now my new science adviser) informs us that when you cremate your dog you can have the ashes turned into a diamond. I did know that. It was in the news that some woman had three pets made into one diamond but think it’s a total con as it's so bloody expensive. It costs thousands of pounds to have it done. So L's not going to get Doggo on her finger once he’s shagged his last fleece.

In any case she says she'll settle for turning him into a rug or preferably have him turned into a fleece. That would be funny when our next dog shags that fleece. Although as L wants our next dog to be a girl lap dog, she doesn't think that this would be an issue as they don't shag. Although if we got one, I'm sure it would, just to be different.

My squash opponent checks in to let me know that he is 'unfit' enough for tonight's game. Says he's done no exercise, drank last night, one week older, so count him in.

Come out of work in the car and can't even get out of our road for ten minutes such is the gridlock on Pride 'Car' Park. In this sort of situation I would sometimes take a right and go through Alvaston but that way is jammed solid too. So stick with my usual route. Forty minutes and one mile later I finally get off PCP and find out what the problem is. Some joker has coned off one lane of the A52. What’s worse is they've put up a sign saying that they're not removing them for six weeks. Bus tomorrow then. Not that that'll be any quicker but at least I can read the paper and catch up on the East Enders gossip.

Finally get home. In all it takes over an hour, twice the usual amount of time. The phone lines on local radio are busy as people who are stuck on PCP ring in and complain. Some of them have been there for an hour or more, so I seem to have got off lightly.

Start doing a spot of packing. Then L and I take Doggo for a walk and a bit of a stick session. L is looking a little better than she was. Her, Daughter, and Doggo even go for a run later.

Squash again goes pretty much to form. I win one game. Adnams Broadside 4.7% in the pub, which wasn't really as good as it should have been.

Home and L has done a very wonderful Balti, which we have with Naan and Chapattis, as well as some red wine.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007


Alarm goes off at 6am. Doggo and I are soon up, L is less keen but soon follows. In to running gear and off we go for a circuit of the pond. Doggo's light appears to be low on power, so hope we don't lose him.

Five minutes in I realise my mistake. Running on a Madras isn't a very good idea. Spend a lot of time clenching buttocks together. Doggo does two dumps. I'm very tempted to deposit one of my own around the pond. L says she wouldn't pick it up like she does Doggo's but to go ahead. I resist. End up walking a lot. Eventually get home and relief. Must be easier ways to start the day.

L though seems thrilled with her VD (Valentine's Day) treat. The way to a girl's heart (and other important areas) is a muddy run. Trust me; I know how to show a girl a good time. She promises to think of something equally romantic and non-commercialised for me later. I can give her a few suggestions if she's struggling for ideas on how to reciprocate on my generous gift.

In the car and a good trip in. I'm early for work which makes a nice change. Have skipped biking in favour of going for a swim tonight.

It's good to have my Ipod back. An excellent fast service from . It's as good as new, well apart from the fact that it's still very scratched. Spend the whole day at work plugged in, catching up on a whole list of 'must listen to' new bands. Mostly rubbish, delete nearly all of them. One of the few that stay on my Ipod are 'Blood Red Shoes' who are ok. Decide to re-listen to 'Hot Chip' after no end of people gave it album of the year for 2006. Nah. Still not impressed. Delete.

The snow in Scotland is fast disappearing. All the ski areas are open for skiing but it all does look a bit thin on the webcams. The forecast for the week ahead isn’t promising either, warm, and wet. Never mind, L is looking forward to a romantic week, strolling hand in hand through the woods with our wayward collie. Although the way things are going Daughter will have us all out fitness training.

Apparently Daughter's latest career plan is to a psychiatrist or psychologist. Hmmm. She can't be any worse than the people that I know who are already in that field.

Go straight from work to the swimming pool. It's very quiet but the iceberg is there again, occupying the whole of lane 2. She's probably been there all week, refusing to move. I go in lane 5 (slow) as it is the only totally free lane. I swim on my own in there for a while. Even have enough space to try a few unsuccessful flip turns.

Eventually the pool fills up and with other slow swimmers now in my lane I decide it’s time to move lanes. I notice that lane 1 (fast) is now empty so I promote myself to there.

The Iceberg proves as immovable as ever, many people try and share a lane with it. All are repelled and forced to find another lane. Then one chap, a psycho, has a go and he seems determined to shift the unshiftable. As he powers up and down I see the iceberg has to weigh anchor occasionally to let him past, a victory of sorts. Later I notice that this man too has gone, however the iceberg was still afloat in her lane.

I spend the rest of the session unopposed in lane 1. I try another flip turn but the lifeguard gives me a worried look as if I'm trying to drown myself, so I give it up as a bad job. At least for now.

Major crisis when I get home. Daughter can't get the video programmed for the two programmes she'll miss while she's at guides. This is because someone has filled up all eight programs on the video. Wonder who that was. She's no longer keen to go to guides, as she can't bear to risk missing bloody Hollyoaks. Eventually managed to get her out the house and we walk to guides.

L texts to say she's been ill and is about to 'crawl' home. Doggo and me decide to walk towards her in case she passes out in the street. Turns out L has been practically fainting at work. Hopefully not bird flu.

Have an unhealthy tea and then take Doggo to class. Reluctantly leaving a very unwell looking L.

As it happens, Doggo is pretty good tonight, although as disobedient as ever. We even seem to have a touch of speed. Not many there so we finish early.

Get home. L hasn't expired, although she is still looking rather off colour. Despite that we have a couple of glasses of wine to commemorate VD.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

08.05 from London St Pancras

No cycling today and no good luck routine either. Although I suppose I did get to indulge last night. I'm on the bus because I'm off out in Derby for beer and curry tonight. The bus used the scenic route, through Borrowash, Spondon and Chadd, didn’t help though. I was still late for work.

My mate is giving up football (again) at the end of the season. I think mainly due to Leeds imminent relegation but also bizarrely because of Sky's withdrawal of Sky Sports News as a free channel. Awful channel, good riddance.

He also whinges about blind referees, overpaid footballers, inflated prices, poor quality football etc etc.

He does have a point but I point out that he doesn't in fact pay the inflated prices because he doesn't actually go to games! I think it's also a myth that football has ever been high quality and I quite like the blind refs, as it annoys all the overpaid footballers.

After work, I meet up with a couple of friends from my now distant school days in Derby. Have a couple of Triple Hop's 4.0% in the Brunswick. Then we go to the Shalimar for a curry. We have some money off vouchers. Have Lamb Madras, nice and spicy but rather tasteless. Cheese Naan is good. Have a pint of Cobra 5.0%. We spend a good night reminiscing. I have no watch at the moment and forget the time. End up running for the bus.

Get to the bus stop and the bus isn't there, so either it's late or I've missed it. Then, as I walk to the stop, I see it, skulking two stops back. Break into a run again and just as I get there it pulls off. Naturally everyone on the bus acknowledges me except the driver.

I have an hour to wait, in the rain, for the next one. A note on the stop informs me that the bus stops have changed. So the double bus shelter that they put in for the huge Red Arrow queue is now in the wrong place.

Decide to get the slower Rainbow 5. Will have to sit on the bus for an hour. Apparently my repaired Ipod has been delivered at home, oh to have it with me now. It would save me from the drongos on the bus. This women, seemingly a little drunk, keeps getting up and ringing the bell to stop the bus, then apologising, saying that was the wrong stop and sitting back down. She does this four times over a period of about twenty minutes before finally getting off.

An attractive young girl, looking well bedraggled because she's inappropriately dressed for the rainy conditions e.g. half-naked, gets on the bus. For some reason, known only to her, she sits next to this train spotter. Train spotter can't believe his luck as he gets to diversify into a bit of nipple spotting and spends the next five stops looking down her cleavage until she gets off. At least he'll have something other than the 08.05 from London St Pancras to fantasise about tonight.

Which reminds me. Lyric of the day: - "You weren't the first girl that I ever kissed with tongues but you were the best, you let me touch your chest" - 'This Must Be Love' (Little Man Tate)

Eventually get home. L and Daughter have been to the gym again. They're becoming quite a pair of gym groupies.

Later when we're snuggled up in bed L drops it on me that she'd like to run in the morning, round the pond and would I join her. This means moving the alarm earlier to 6am. For some reason, the three pints probably, I agree. She doesn't even have to spread-eagle herself naked on the bed or anything to persuade me. I'm slipping.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Customer Service

It's Monday, so I'm in the car. The trip was not too bad but not as easy as I expected bearing in mind its half term in Derby.

L is still deaf from the gig last night.

The car brakes have developed a grating noise, which sounds like I need new pads. So I drop it off at ‘Rapid Fit’. They say it shouldn’t be a problem getting it ready for 5pm. I'm hoping they live up to their name. Fingers crossed.

L's been to see her GP about her ongoing injury. The muscle was suspected to be ‘off the bone’ or something. She's been referred to a Musculoskeletal Clinic, which sounds impressive.

Another gripe. Why does everyone make half-full cups of tea except me? Both the other people in my office have made me half-full cups today. What's the hassle in filling a mug up? What happened to customer service?

L's yoga tonight is off. Presumably the staff are still off after the shock of the snow on Thursday.

The garage rang, the car's ready. Didn’t need new pads, apparently there’s corrosion on the discs that was causing the grating noise. They say they’ve cleaned them up and it's fine now. What's more it's free of charge as part of a free brake check. Blimey, a lot of garages would have gone ahead and put new pads on anyway. Faith in customer service kind of restored.

Get an email from Powergen; they are crediting our account with £36 for putting us on the wrong tariff. Aside from the fact that it was their fault in the first place, that I had to spot, it's still not too bad a day for customer service.

Dog Class. Doggo manages to snap his new North Face lead and get away from me. He runs up and confronts the Weimaraner. I haul him away. We are no longer speaking. So much for North Face. They might be able to make decent walking gear but they obviously can't make dog leads strong enough to restrain a collie. Kind of puts you off buying a climbing rope from them. Doesn't it.

In our absence L and our new Daughter, the fitness freak version, do a long DFR (Dog Free Run).

Get home and L's cooked up some excellent veggie pasta. Bed. No PJs tonight but it still ends in sex.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

Hunting For Witches

We get a lie in and for once I have a hangover which is odd as I stuck to English beer all night rather than mix it with Belgian or wine. Still manage quite a bit of sex with my pyjama-ed one.

More astonishing news from Australia. England have actually won the tri nations series after they beat World Champions Australia in the second leg of final. Taking it 2-0. Who would have thought that two weeks ago.

Get up and take the kids to Decathlon to kit them out in ski boots. We are hoping that their feet have now stopped growing, so it should be a long-term investment and will save us hiring in Scotland next week. If we are lucky enough to get snow that is. The prices are that good, that we end up buying skis too. So all systems go. We just need snow.

Take Doggo on park for a ball session. Daughter goes out for a run.

L cooks a really good chilli and then we go out gigging. Bloc Party are at Rock City. It's a rare treat to get to see a band in the week after their new album is released, whilst their new material still feels fresh, rather than waiting months for them to perform.

They open the set as they do the new album with 'Song For Clay'. A lot of thought seems to have been given to the sequence of the songs on A Weekend In The City and it works well on the CD. As if the album is a story told chronologically. It works equally well live as tonight the tracks are played in the same order, albeit with songs from Silent Alarm, interspersed but even those tracks seemed to be picked specifically to blend in.

Like the album, the first half of the show is spiky. New songs such as ‘Hunting For Witches’ and the single ‘The Prayer’ are very much full of energy. Pulling no punches, telling a depressing tale of Britain today.

The end of Banquet is 'ruined' when Kele breaks a guitar string. No one seemed to mind, if anything it adds to the roughness of the sound.

A lively and surprisingly young crowd lap it all up even when Kele digs at youth culture. The song 'Uniform' questions their willingness to conform to a stereotype whilst thinking its rebellion. Tonight the masses hold up their camera phones and conform.

Again following the path of the album the gloom of the first half gives way to a calmer, steadier second half where (on the album) Kele goes on about his childhood and his loves. Not all of the new record is played and I particularly would have liked to have heard the superb 'I still remember'. Was it omitted because it may be a gay love song?

It’s an energetic if slightly dishevelled performance but as a gig going experience it's pretty damn near perfect. I haven't seen Bloc Party live before so I have no comparison but tonight they are quite stunning.

As for the record, the band have produced a wonderful, thought provoking, although slightly paranoid, album. Just as The Killers grew up with Sam's Town, so too now have Bloc Party.

AF tonight but 33 units for the week

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Baseball Bats At The Ready

Daughter is off to her gym again at Chilwell. Unfortunately it starts at 9.30. So again we don't get a lie in but we do wake up early enough for me to show L the correct way that a girl should wear her PJs. Which is lowered to her knees.

We drop Daughter off and again go for a run around Attenborough Nature Reserve. Doggo seems a bit cautious, perhaps because of the demonic Dalmatian. It doesn't take him long to perk up and he is soon off ahead. Too far ahead, he is an ambush waiting to happen. Perhaps he's looking forward to getting his own back on the Dalmatian. L is too. She keeps talking about getting hold of a baseball bat. Not sure if this is for the Dalmatian or its owners.

We do a shorter route this time, partly because it'll be quicker but also because I can barely walk after my cycling. At least this time we know the route, so we don't get lost.

We do meet the Dalmatian again. So its baseball bats at the ready. This time the owners get hold of it and Doggo even comes back to me when he's called, he must be worried. So no skirmishes occur this time.

In the afternoon, I go off to the match. Derby are on the verge of equalling two long standing club records for nine consecutive wins (held by Brian Cloughs 1969 promotion winning team) and for six consecutive clean sheets (held since 1912). Neither happens as for once Derby get a taste of their own medicine and concede an equaliser three minutes from time. Finishes 2-2. Former Derby boss Phil Brown, who is now in charge at Hull, is ecstatic. Results elsewhere mean that Derby actually stretch their lead at the top to seven points.

Get home. Quick cheese on toast. Then we walk to the Victoria. We meet up with my squash opponent and his partner. He is pleased to find out that he's surpassed himself this time. Rather than the usual bruise his racquet seems to have brought up a lump on my back instead. He wonders what the next step up from a lump is. He reckons it might be concussion; he's going to compile a chart. I tell him about rule 16 (Bleeding, injury and illness on court). As this states that if any bleeding is caused solely by the opponent’s action, the injured player wins the match. Of course he will say that me being in the way means it wasn't solely his fault. Another interesting part of the rule is that if a player vomits on court, the opponent wins the match.

Have five pints, three of them Damson Porter.

We go home and snack on keema and peas, which L prepared earlier.

Friday, 9 February 2007


Had a very enjoyable warm up with L before I even checked to see whether the weather was conducive to cycling. Had to bike after I’d done that really. It's certainly cold but it doesn't look too bad from the bedroom window. The main roads turn out to be fine but the side roads are a bit interesting. I practically had to walk the bike down to the end of our road.

L will be pleased to know I took it very easy. I had time to enjoy the views; all the snow on the hills looked very decorative. I even took the long way round when I got to Derby to avoid the minor roads in case they were icy. So I was being very sensible. The hardest bit was crossing the icy footbridge over into Pride Park which isn't easy in cycling shoes. Good news is that I still did a pretty good time.

Also had a minor success and got an old chap on a bike to say good morning to me. Normally all the older cyclists are right grumpy sods and won't acknowledge you at all.

L gets in touch and says she wishes she'd talked me out of cycling. She herself slipped over as she was crossing the road on her way to work. Glad I didn’t get the bus, didn’t fancy walking on those pavements.

Mr Frisky, our dog had a great time on the park, where there is actually still quite a lot of snow around on the grass; he ate most of it. He was so absorbed in the snow he even skipped merrily past the deer without seeing them.

I tell L to pack her thermals for Scotland next week. Its -5 degrees at Cairngorm today, -25 degrees with wind chill. Good job she's got her PJs. She's trying to talk me into getting some. If this is a fantasy of hers then I'm happy to indulge her as long as she doesn't expect me to actually sleep in them. I would be far too hot and sweaty.

Our previously hopeless cricket team beat Australia in the first of the three-legged final. Amazing.

Finally sent my Ipod off for repair.

It rains most of the afternoon which isn't good news as it means I'm going to get soaked on the way home. Then things get worse and it turns to snow.

It's not too bad at first, apart from the flakes getting in my eyes. The roads are that wet and salty it's not settling but then as I get on the hillier parts it is starting to settle particularly in the gutter where us cyclists have to ride. Luckily the cars seem to give this madman on the bike a wide berth. Can someone ring Radio Derby and tell them it's snowing.

I often sing to myself as I bike, today for some reason the words "Tonight make me unstoppable" spring to mind from Bloc Party's new single 'The Prayer'.

Get home without any mishaps although the last bit, getting to our house, is tricky as the quieter roads do have a covering of snow. Decide it's easier to ride the bike than walk and slip in cycling shoes. Get home but there's only Doggo and a dark house to greet me after my heroic journey. L is being induced into Daughter's Gym and has taken Daughter with her. Son is presumably away somewhere in the dark reaches of cyberspace.

Strip almost naked in the kitchen, there is snow everywhere. Doggo has a field day, not knowing whether to drink from the puddles on the floor or lick my blue feet. Put the gas fire on and run a hot bath. Decide I can't thaw out in front of the fire yet as my feet are just too cold and painful. I rub one foot with a towel while Doggo licks the other, then we swap. He can be a useful dog. I text L to ask if she's noticed that it's snowing. Apparently she has.

Then I lounge in the bath with a hot protein shake and muffins with jam. L did say I should be adventurous and make my own mini pizzas or something. However having just cycled home in a blizzard, I’m not sure I can take any more adventure today.

By the time they get home, I'm curled up in my dressing gown in front of the fire with Doggo. L makes hot soup and 'adventurous' cheese and ham toasties. We have this with some mulled wine that has been languishing in the wine rack for the past year. Very warming.

I think the mulled wine quickly goes to L's head and with me sitting there in just my dressing gown I think I may have managed to get all my aches thoroughly dealt with there and then in front of the fire had Daughter now been in the house. As it was L pops her new PJs on and we retire to bed with a beer at 9pm. Neither my dressing gown nor her PJs stay on for very long. Aches all sorted. A very pleasant evening.

Thursday, 8 February 2007

Snow Joke

Something strange happened this morning or was it last night. Woke up with my 23-year-old again but it was still dark outside and the alarm hadn't gone off. Oddly we were both awake. Things kind of took off from there. Half an hour or so later, the alarm still hadn't gone off. Looked across at the alarm and it was 2.30am. Hmmm. My girl didn't complain that I'd disturbed her sleep. So she must have enjoyed our nocturnal exploits or maybe even she instigated it!

When the alarm finally does go off, I get out of bed and draw the curtains to inspect the expected whiteout. Nothing. Not a flake. Although admittedly it does, rather apologetically, start snowing a little later. Gently.

Take the car to work. Heaviest snow for years according to the BBC weather. This must be particularly devious heavy snow, as it sneakily disguises itself as a light dusting. Bugger. Forgot to pack a spade.

Very easy getting in to work, cruised in, got to work a lot earlier than usual. It helps no end with all the schools being off. Radio Derby read out a list of 32 schools that are shut. This includes many hard to get to city centre schools where the kids really only have to cross the road to get there.

When I was a lad we used to get proper snow, six foot deep and we still went to school in it, sometimes by foot because the bus didn’t turn up. If you didn't arrive at school they'd want to know why and if the snow wasn't up to your neck you couldn't use that as an excuse.

The whole of the country seems to have ground to a halt despite the fact that round here there's not a single flake on the roads. L's had three patients cancel. Well at least she'll be home early tonight.

It's must all be to do with our 'can't be bothered culture'. In reality the snow is a total washout, the odd flake is still falling but not settling. This country can't do anything right, it doesn't even snow properly here.

Surprisingly the council staff had managed to battle through all the drifts to get the leisure centre open so that L could get her morning swim. Was worried that we would get to the leisure centre for our squash tonight and find it locked, more hopeful now.

End up not going to the pub. My drinking partner has brought a packed lunch. He assumed it would be too horrible to go out in. Has everyone gone soft? Obviously he has more faith in the British weather than I do. None of the sandwich vans turn up, so I go to Sainsbury's in the car on immaculate roads. It is packed to rafters. Luckily no one has been panic buying the sandwiches and I manage to get some lunch.

The radio continues the pretence as I drive home. The number of closed schools in Derbyshire now stands at 70. Nationwide it's 2000. Local radio advises people to keep off the roads, don't make any journeys unless absolutely necessary and drive carefully if they do. Yet there is absolutely nothing remotely snowy on the roads! I have the huskies primed and ready to get me to squash but now I'm going to have to tell them they're not needed.

Walk Doggo. Although I'm not too sure why. Taking him out in this weather just seems to make him friskier. L gets home. Together with Daughter, she takes him for a run but he's still lively. Daughter seems to have recovered from her school avoidance phase. L blames it on PMT. Is that PMT as in Permanently Moody Teenager?

Squash is a bit of a wash out. I don't play well and he does. I win one game. The pub is better. Grantham Stout 4.3% is back on. I have two.

Get home and L has done her beans dish, have a couple of glasses of red wine with it. Knackered again, go to sleep dreaming of being awoken at 2am again.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007


This morning, as I woke up and the fog of sleep cleared from my mind. I realised that there was a very attractive and youthful lass curled up against me. At a rough guess I'd put her age at about 23. Since she was awake and of course not wishing to be impolite, I embrace her affectionately. Very affectionately. She didn't seem to mind. In fact she seemed very grateful. Glad to be of service.

Once I had untangled myself from the young girl. I had to decide on car or bus. Bus was tempting although it'll be a cold cold walk at either end. The thermometer said -5 degrees. The local weather forecast says we’re getting 10cm of snow tomorrow. They seem pretty definite, snow starts at 5am prompt.

In the end plump for the car. Then I can go for a post work swim, which was L's suggestion. I should still be back in time to chauffeur Daughter to her women's institute, sorry Guides meeting. Daughter apparently does still not want to go to school and chucked all her toys out of the pram again this morning.

Lecht ski area, just down the road from our cottage in Scotland, has opened today, as they’ve had snow. So good news there. Just hope they can hold on to it for the next fortnight.

Dudley council announces that they are not opening any of their schools tomorrow in ‘anticipation of the snow’ even before a single flake had fallen. Oh for gods sake. How pathetic. Whoever made that decision should be dismissed immediately.

After work I head straight for the swimming pool, as planned. It's not as busy as last time I came and the clientele are certainly not as good on the eye. Where are all the babes?

Anyway down to the serious stuff, I'm here to swim. I decide to be assertive and go into one of the two fast lanes. There are two female psychos in the end lane, powering up and down, so I decide to go in the second lane, hoping it would be more relaxed.

As I swim up and down, I realise my mistake. The only other occupant of the lane is certainly no babe. I end up pondering on the wonders of nature as this mass of white flesh floats along, reminiscent of an iceberg. How can something so big float? Amazing. Suppose jumbo jets fly but they are a least streamlined and powered by big engines not stubby little arms and legs.

She also certainly shouldn't be in the fast lane. She swims one length breaststroke (slowly) then she turns over and does the next length backstroke (at a snail's pace). By now I've been joined by another woman in the lane. The two of us keep colliding as we try and stay behind the slow moving obstruction, the lane is just too narrow to overtake safely. It's reminiscent of when you get stuck behind a tractor on a narrow country lane.

I look enviously across at the other fast lane. Not only are the women more attractive over there, they can swim. I study one of the girl's techniques and try to pick it up. I'm studying her so closely I'm worried she might notice and slot me one for ogling her body. Nice though her figure is it's her technique I'm after but I'm sure my excuse wouldn't wash.

The iceberg sees us all off and eventually she is alone in the lane again. I head home to escort Daughter to guides. Something seems to have happened to my arms; I can't lift them. Must have been a good workout.

Get Doggo all ready for the walk to guides. I kit him out in his new collar that I've bought off the internet and which has arrived today. It's red; almost the same colour as his running jacket. L will love it; she'll say it looks smart on him. I think it's a bit poncy; Doggo seems to agree.

Then Daughter decides she isn't going to guides, which is fine with me. She gives some excuse that she hasn't got the full uniform and they're clamping down on that. Unlikely. She also says that she doesn't want to miss Hollyoaks. More likely. Sad.

‘TV taught me how to sulk and love nothing’ - That's a quote from 'Uniform' a track off the new Bloc Party album.

L gets home and is keen to run. So Doggo and I decide to join her rather than go to dog class. It will do Doggo good to have a run round the pond. I also manage to talk L into a swift one. She's suspicious as to whether I mean sex or alcohol. I was thinking of the pub but I'm not fussy, either or preferably both.

L extends the run route yet again. 'It'll only add ten minutes to it' she says. Half an hour later we finally reach the sanctuary of the pub.

I have an Everards Tiger, which is very nice. L tastes mine and decides she wants one on the second round. It's so nice in fact that, as is usual with anything I like, they take it off the bar before I can have another one. Resort to Taylors Landlord. Two pints on a Wednesday. Naughty.

Get Home. Knackered. I sleep. What happened to 'both'.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

My Glaring Omission

Son is off on a school history trip this morning, so L has to do the paper round. I offer to help out by taking the dog out because doing the whole round with him might be difficult but she declines. She reckons she can cope with him. Well I suppose he knows the routine by now. I think she is worried that if I take him for a run/walk then that might leave me in a weakened state for my cycle to work. She thinks about me you see, doesn't want me toppling off in an exhausted state. I think.

Was wondering whether to indulge in some 'good luck tricks', as L has started calling them (Tricks? Me?), when the decision was taken out of my hands. Perhaps L is getting a superstitious as I am.

Son has to be at school for 7.30. At 7.15 he's still not ready. He has absolutely no chance of getting the bus and being there on time. Not that he looks bothered. He hasn't grasped the concept of bus timetables and certainly not 'council run' bus timetables. He seems to assume that he just has to turn up at the bus stop, at any time, and the correct bus will magically show up. Which amazingly is how it always seems to happen for him, never works for me though. In this case though L has to rescue him and takes him to school in the car.

Good trip in on the bike today. Although it's a bit on the cold side but not icy. Once at work I discover that they haven’t enough milk for me to make my protein shake. So had to make do with some nuts and orange juice instead.

L's had a rough day so far. I think she regretted taking on the whole of the paper round with Doggo. In his enthusiasm he yanked her all the way round and now she's got lead-burns on her hands. Add to that the fact that Daughter seems to be trying to avoid school. She unilaterally decided that she was far too ill to go to school and threw the traditional wobbly. She went in the end but L had to thoroughly check the house in case she'd hidden somewhere instead.

L's off shopping to cheer herself up or perhaps its to cheer me up. She's after PJs for Scotland and some new vests. Sounds like quite a seduction kit. Hope it's me she's trying to pull. Will look forward to the fashion show tonight.

Amazingly England defeat New Zealand and victory is enough to knock New Zealand out of the triangular series and put England through to the final, where they'll play Australia.

Bike home. Have an energy drink and a banana. Meet my pension's man, who has brought family photos with him, of his Rottweiler. Then Doggo and I run down to meet L from her latest limb busting exercise class. Pilates this time, I think. As is now becoming traditional, I choose a different route to L and we miss her again. By the time we catch up with her, she is almost home. Well at least we got a good run out of it.

I have been pulled up by L for a glaring omission in this blog. She was miffed that I didn’t mention that Craig, for that was his name, the drunk from Friday night mistook her for a 23-year-old babe. I told you he thought his luck was in! Anyhow I didn't think it was worth mentioning. With her youthful looks it must happen all the time. It's so easy to forget that she isn’t quite that young. I forget all the time. Apology over, might even get me a night of passion if I'm lucky.

Monday, 5 February 2007

Harley's Back

Today moving the alarm to 6.20 seems to work and I get back into my routine. Only problem is I'm not cycling today. So don't really need my good luck routine but what the hell. It won't do any harm. Then again perhaps it's just as relevant when I'm in the car.

L complains that she was just a bit too late getting up to get a run in this morning. Don’t know what held her up. She really should get out of bed earlier. I think she suspects that I've been tweaking the alarm.

Bizarrely the traffic is quite light.

It seems the heroine of my student days; the decidedly uncool Belinda Carlisle has a new album out. To be honest I’m a bit of a lapsed groupie, haven't bought one of her LPs for a while. On closer inspection its called 'Voila' and it's all in French. Hmmm tempted now. How cool.

Before Christmas I wrote to Nottingham City Council and requested their leisure centre attendance figures under the Freedom of Information Act. This was because whenever we suggest to the council that they open at different times or do different sessions they always hit back that historically when they've tried that it hasn't worked. So I wanted to see this historical data that they are so fond of quoting back at me.

Now it appears that Information Governance office is telling me that this historical data does not exist and to compile it for me is going to cost me £103,583.00 Which is hysterical. So seems the data never has existed after all.

Go to agility. Which goes ok. Apart from the fact that the Harley the Weimaraner is back and Doggo is not at all happy about it. Seems he's learnt nothing from his nip on the ear by the Dalmation.

We collect L from yoga, who still hasn’t been able to get hold of any yoga trousers, so she's been inappropriately dressed again at her session tonight.

Its bloody cold. They're forecasting snow for Thursday which would be good but I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

Spreewald Pickles

Daughter needs collecting at noon which means we can't make the orienteering in Wakefield. Disappointing but it means we can have a lie in. Which is excellent, we even manage to arrange for the paperboy to bring us a newspaper. So we have an excellent morning, fresh coffee, juice, the newspaper and double sex.

Take Doggo for a ball session on the park. He survives without getting mugged by any dogs but we have a dodgy moment with the deer. We take a wide detour because a pack of male deer complete with antlers are pacing across the park towards us. Unfortunately before we get a safe distance away from them a rather fragrant smelling pile of leaves calls to Doggo and he spends ages getting better acquainted with them. I stand there bellowing at him while all the time the lynch mob of deer move closer. When he's finally done, what does he do, he sits down and does a dump on the leaves. Dogs. Somehow he gets home without sustaining any damage to his other ear. Either from the deer or via a clip round the lughole from me.

Daughter gets home and is very concerned that we might have pigged out on a take away while she was away. L tells her very truthfully that we have not.

Spend the afternoon actually doing some jobs. Clean and vacuum the car. Test the new roof rack. Tidy up a bit in the garden. Get on the computer and finally book the accommodation in Austria.

In the evening we watched Goodbye Lenin. This is a German film set in East Berlin in 1989. The story is of Alex, whose mother, a devoted member of the Communist Party, suffers a heart attack and falls into a coma on the eve of the fall of the Berlin wall. In the meantime a tide of Western goods and values comes flooding eastwards. Eight months later, when she regains consciousness, Doctors, fearing that the shock of finding such a radically changed world will lead to a second heart attack, warn Alex not to cause his mother any anxiety or excitement. He therefore, goes to ludicrously lengths to keep her convinced that communism in East Berlin is still alive, right down to making sure that her pickles appear to come from Spreewald, a now defunct manufacturer.

As the situation becomes more and more impossible Alex creates false newscasts to explain the increasingly Westernised elements of the society that his mother now observes. Alex in effect recreates history to suit his needs. He creates a form of reverse capitalism where West German refugees, oppressed under capitalism, flee the West and seek refuge in the cosy communist East. He even explains that coca-cola was invented by the communists.

I think the film was supposed to be comedy but I think perhaps some of that was lost to us non-Germans. Although it does show a near satirical view of East German society rushing madly to embrace the coca-cola culture. It is still though a very good film that gave a good insight in to the changes in Germany's at that time and it includes some good actual news footage.

27 units for the week.

Saturday, 3 February 2007

Mugged (Again)

We have booked daughter in for a gym induction at Chilwell. Unfortunately it starts at 9.30. So we don't get a lie in and we don't get sex. Instead we drop her off and go for a run round Attenborough Nature Reserve. They have a marked trail of 5.5km which is ideal, as we need to be back to collect Daughter within an hour. Unfortunately the trail is as badly marked, as you would expect for something the council has put together and we get lost. Then Doggo gets mugged, again. This is becoming a distressingly frequent occurrence. A Dalmatian attacked him and pinned him to the ground by his ear, clearly hurting him. L and I had to pounce on the Dalmatian to wrench its teeth off Doggo's ear. No apology from the elderly owners, just an 'Oh he hasn't done that before'. Luckily the physical damage isn't too bad and Doggo gets away with a bleeding ear. Psychologically who knows, he is certainly well traumatised immediately after the attack.

With all these happenings the run took us well over an hour. Although I do doubt the councils measuring skills. Knackered now.

Get home and settle down with the radio to hear Derby's game at Southampton. Should be an interesting encounter. George Burley doesn't normally bother picking a defence; Billy Davies doesn't pick an attack. Reckon our good run might end and it'll be a draw could be a 0-0 or hey who knows 4-4.

In the end it's all Southampton and it should be 4-0 to them but the all-new resilient Derby hang in there and it looks like it's going to finish up 0-0, which would be a good point for us. Then with seven minutes to go Steve Howard pops in the winner. 1-0 Derby. Game Over as they say. They've done it again. Still six points clear.

Doggo seems to be recovering after his ordeal. Might all work in his favour as L is considering reviewing the conditions of his ASBO. Although we fully expect his condition to take a dramatic turn for the worse the moment we try and head off to the pub without him.

Daughter is at a sleep over come party tonight. The Mother of the girl who is having the party must be mad. Loads of kids from 6.30, then a sleep over and then she's keeping them until noon the next day. She needs certifying.

There's an added twist because Daughter tells us that there's a rumour going round school that the girl's dad is having an affair. Well at least he won't have any problem finding something to occupy him if he needs to make himself scarce while the girls take over the house.

With Daughter gone, we head into to town, without Doggo, despite his efforts to join us. Better for him to rest up.

We stick our head into three pubs: - Falcon, Red Lion, and the Sir John Borlase Warren, to see if they have any beer worth popping in for. They haven't, so we end up in the Ropewalk as usual. Three Leffes later we decide to treat ourselves to a meal. Daughter has forbidden us from going for a meal without her but what she actually told us was not to go for a curry, so we go for a Thai instead.

The meal is very good, the best we've had there, and the others haven't been bad. Although we do seem to gatecrash a couple of birthday parties. This girl is celebrating her 22nd and a guy, who was your stereotypical gay, his 18th. Although not really, turns out she's 46 and he, well couldn't work out how old he was.

We have two bottles of Singa and then stagger home. Manage to avoid popping into Scruffys for a dark one. Ah, the will power.

On the way home we almost collide a couple of times with some chap who's had several too many. When he next lurches past us and almost onto the road L grabs hold of him. She does sometimes have this Good Samaritan streak in her. It's not the first time she rescued a drunk.

At first the chap must think his luck is in. Let's face it any male would like to be grabbed by a girl in the street and carried home by her. Problems are firstly he's totally incapable and secondly there's me on L's other arm. He's very chatty. He's trying to stumble his way the fair distance to his Mother's place in Aspley. Says he's upset his mate who he was supposed to be staying with and for some reason, which I didn't catch, he isn't staying with the mother of his child. He even offers to pay us for safe passage home or buy us a pizza. If we'd been unscrupulous we could have made a nice little sum. As it is we escort him as far as we can.

Another 'uneventful' night out.

Friday, 2 February 2007


Moved the alarm to 6.20, giving me an extra ten minutes to get back into my regular routine. Didn't work. Legs still knackered from Wednesday's cycling and last night's squash. Find I can't move at all. Then as a long pink tongue washes my face, Doggo's not L's, I realise this is because there's a great big hairy collie sat on me. Relief. I'm not paralysed after all.

Radio informs me that England as 200+ for 4 against Australia. I'm not paralysed but clearly I'm delirious.

Good ride in. No disasters. No near disasters. Bloody hard work though, always is when I cycle Wednesday rather than Tuesday. Didn’t see L and Humpalot, our shagaholic dog. Whom L has now barred from the bedroom. Oh dear, I don’t need to ask what he’s done... it'll be some inanimate object that he's shagged but no apparently the Clumber Duathlon entry forms that we need to fill in for our next bout of madness now have paw-prints all over them. It did occur to me as I left this morning that leaving those forms on the bed wasn’t a good idea. She says he now has a bedroom ASBO, which she's going to pin to his ears. Cool! Alongside his rosette?

Get to work and listen to the end of the cricket. At the 10th attempt, on this current tour, England finally beat Australia and in the end quite easily.

Go on the internet and buy tickets for Maximo Park in Nottingham. Daughter is desperate to go to a gig, any gig, but until she is 14 she can't get into any of the venues we go to. Plus we’d also have to sneak in a milk crate for her to stand on. Maximo Park come to Nottingham just two months before her 14th Birthday. I've just found out that one of her faves The Sunshine Underground are coming after that but still before her birthday. I’m afraid I'm going to have to go and she’ll probably kill me.

L's just read my blog and now she thinks she realises why I'm so very keen for her to go to the gym (see 31/01/07). Well she's off to the gym tonight, which is good because I'm cycling. Perversely she asks if we will be walking past the park gates on the way back from the pub tonight. You see! My theory about the gym is correct, just thinking about going is enough! But what does she mean 'on the way back'; I was thinking of on the way TO the pub. Either way it sounds like it could be an interesting evening.

Fairly uneventful ride home. Until I have to turn right at the Coventry Lane junction. I indicate right in plenty of time as I try and pull across the road for the traffic lights. Rather than wave me through the car behind me accelerates. Seems he’d rather drive over the top of me rather than risk the lights changing to red before he gets there. Nice.

Get home and L's prepared soup and homemade mini pizza's to perk me up after my ride. Bless. Seems I may need the energy boost because she has indeed been to the Gym.

A trip to the park gates proves unnecessary as, at long last, I get taken advantage of in my cycling shorts and Daughter only disturbs us once. Long live the Gym.

Afterwards we walk to Beeston with the ASBOed one. Now that I'm not driving, all the strong and dark beers that were on last night are now predictably off to be replaced by beers mainly with the word 'Gold' in the title. There are at least four of these on the bar. Not good. For some reason brewers now think that beers all must be 'golden' to sell, even in the depths of winter. In the good old days, summer beers looked like beer and winter beers looked like black treacle, now everything looks like lager.

Try two golden ones before going for the Stilton Porter, which is blissfully dark. If that doesn't hit the spot there's now dark Leffe which they've just started selling. Although I would feel a bit unpatriotic drinking that when there are other options available.

We sway our way home. Not just due to drunkenness; we have a dog with an erratic walking disorder. Daughter doesn't wait up so we don't get a rollicking for being late.

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Hot And Spicy

Came in the car again today. Traffic was ok but I went through Ilkeston again, it’s less stressful that way.

L says I look looked very tired both last night and this morning. Suppose I do feel a bit washed out. Don’t know why, had an easy week really. Not been eating very healthily though. I just haven’t had time to eat anything sensible or perhaps it's just this new version of L that's too much for an old man like me. Doubt my opponent will take it easy with me at squash tonight.

No pub today. Kitchen being refitted. So didn't get my cottage pie and had to make do with a beef salad baguette, on white bread I’m afraid and two bananas. Hope my squash doesn’t suffer.

Did you know that squash is another of those sports that, like cycling, the British excel at, yet no one seems to notice. Half the players in the world top 20, both male and female, are British. Our top player Peter Nicol was number one in the world rankings for five years, and won every international squash tournament that there is. Can you imagine the reaction if one of our tennis players, such as Tim Henman, achieved anything like that? He would have become a national god. Yet Nicol is still unknown.

The British public are routinely thrown into frenzy over the smallest success in sports such as football and cricket. Obviously the BBC's Sports Personality of the year awards didn't give a single mention to squash.

Anyhow whinge over, on to tonight's game. I managed to inflict an injury on my opponent, in the warm-up. Which is quite an achievement. Well if he will get in the way, what's does he expect? Game didn't go well. He got his serve in to a rhythm and I just couldn’t break him out of it. He rattled off five games in a row. Although in one of them I led 14-11 and then I served the ball out. A fatal mistake. I lost the game 20-18 in the end. Quite an epic I suppose. Finally won the last game. So it finished 5-1. He was gutted to lose the last one and was depressed all evening in the pub afterwards. Makes it all worthwhile.

Pint of Hop Back Entire Stout 4.4% Very nice. No 'circumstantial events' behind the bar tonight.

Get home and my own special sexual fantasy girl serves up an outstanding spicy three-bean chilli and then dishes up something equally hot and fiery in the bedroom for dessert.