Saturday, 31 March 2007

On Holiday (Again). Back Next Week.

Friday, 30 March 2007

Austria Bound

Wake up without a hangover, which is a miracle. Must be the spam. L goes out for a run, although she doesn’t look terribly keen but when she comes back she looks positively refreshed. Her boss says you should work out after a night on the beer. Seems to work for her this morning.

Not much to report today, trying to get stuff down at work before my week off next week. L is quiet on the email; assume she's doing the same.

She does admit to pining for a full cooked breakfast to help with that post-night on the beer feeling.

Son's at school doing his project but Daughter isn't. L did Son some sausage sandwiches for lunch because the school canteen won't be open but of course he forgot them, along with his door key. Daughter is in town meeting L for lunch so he'll be sat outside the door when she gets home.

I will exercise the dog tonight and then despatch him to his minders for the week (my parents). Unfortunately this is one trip he can't join us on.

As I'm away they'll be no blog for a week.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Making Rivers

The alarm goes off and I feel quite fresh despite my 'double bricking'. L is awake too and looking particularly shaggable. It would be rude not to, wouldn't it and I have plenty of time as I'm in the car today. I can't claim it was a warm-up as I'm not biking today but what the hell. Once atop my gorgeous girl I realise that the old legs are perhaps not as 'fresh' as I would have liked but all the same I get through it. You have to don't you.

Traffic awful, would have been much easier by bike

L's had the school on the phone asking her permission for Son to go in tomorrow on his INSET day to complete a project. The teacher isn't pleased that he'll have to come into school tomorrow himself and hence give up a day of his holiday. Hmmm. Holiday? It's an INSET day. You know a teacher-training day when all the staff are supposed to be in school. Definitely not a holiday. That's the official line anyway. We all know its sham.

Go into town at lunch to get Euros for our ski trip and a 'go faster' haircut. It’s not exactly radical but no one will beat me down that mountain (cue maniacal laughter).

No pub today and no squash either because we're going to the PotFest tonight.

Take doggo for a run and ball mini brick session on the park. Give Son a nudge about working on his project. Quick bowl of soup. Then I catch the same Red Arrow that L should have caught out of town. Thankfully we do get on the same bus.

PotFest is pretty good. Although all L's drinks are better than mine. As usual. I reckon I have six halves of strong stuff and two quarters (we split two ales that are 9.0% and a 12.5%).

We leave early to catch the 10.50 Red Arrow. We arrive five minutes early but it still doesn't turn up. Gone early again we assume. We get the slow bus through Long Eaton instead. This is a particularly slow torture when we're both bursting for the loo. Once off the bus we both make a dash for the cover of the bushes on Adams Hill. Not for any midnight romantising you understand. We avail ourselves of the limited facilities there, outside the posh houses, both making impressive rivers down the road.

Get home. Daughter told us not to get wrecked before we went out. We are both wrecked.

In a drunken stupor I cook up a quick spam curry and serve it with naan. Then I catch up on the first day of the World Track Championships in Mallorca. The GB team only delivered two of the hoped for three gold medals. Which is still pretty good! As expected Bradley Wiggins won the individual pursuit final easily. He caught his German opponent inside the third of the four kilometres.



Victoria Pendleton and Shanaze Reade won the women's team sprint title but the men's team sprint trio had to settle for silver, despite clocking the best time in qualifying they were beaten by defending champions France by just two-thousandths of a second in the final. Bradley goes for gold again tomorrow in the team pursuit and then again on Saturday in the Madison.

Get to bed around 1.30. Not great preparation for an early morning and a long journey on Saturday.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Howl

I'm awoken in the middle of the night by a very high-pitched howl. I sit up and look at L (phoar!) who is sat bolt upright. She claims it wasn't her. Doggo looks positively serene, so he's pretending it wasn't him. Could have been an animal outside I suppose.

L reckons it could have been me, dreaming of being overtaken by women cyclists. Dream? That would be a nightmare.

Get back to sleep. Alarm goes off. Bugger. Forgot to move the alarm forwards but then again I'm so knackered I'm glad of the extra sleep. I wonder if L will mind if we don't warm-up together this morning. I crawl out of bed and onto the bike. Whose idea was it to do back-to-back sessions? What do they call this? Double bricking? Or just stupidity?

The first few miles were really hard but after a while my legs start to improve. Overall quite enjoyable. Rubbish time. Think I overdid the taking it easy bit. Then again perhaps not, as I sit in my chair at work I can feel the condition of my legs deteriorating, solidifying.

Last night I fitted a bike computer to L's bike. She reports that she did a grand 4.56K on her way into work. Every little counts as they say. She's changed her route away from Derby Road where there are fewer carcinogens. Carcinogens? I had to look that one up.

Of course L had the advantage of doing a 'reverse brick', run-bike. As her and Doggo went out for their morning run, where they were accompanied by a herd of rather stupid deer. Is there any other kind of deer? L says there are two kinds of deer - those that take no notice and those that take a fancy to you. How very human of them.

Protégé still hasn't ran, he went to Tesco instead. Now there was an opportunity, he could have ran there. Would have been quicker than taking the car.

Ride home taking a detour through Draycott for a change of scenery. A different VIEW to look at. It was flatter, slightly longer but only slightly more scenic. It wasn't my first choice of detour but when I mapped the profile of my first choice it put me off totally. It was even hillier than my usual route. Next time. Maybe.

Our pampered, overpaid, lazy footballers, who couldn't be bothered to run around against Israel are playing again tonight against the mighty Andorra. A cunning change of strategy by Mr MacClaren as he actually decides to play some left sided players on the left and some right sided plays on the right. Complicated matter this football management, no wonder they get paid so much. They win. Eventually.

Protégé texts me to say he's done 3k! Blimey. Must reassess his schedule.

Feel too knackered to go to dog class but Doggo is being a pain. Don't know if he's keen to go or just wants to play. So in the end we go. Excellent. Even extract a bit of speed out of the old codger.

Get home and L needs alcohol, so I keep her company. I have a bottle of Shepherd Neame Master Brew and we share an Old Jock.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Well And Truly Bricked

I wake up early but regret not setting the alarm even earlier as I have a girl in black to unwrap and I like to take my time with these things.

Nicely warmed up, I cycle to work. As usual I worry about bumping into L and Doggo but there's no sign of them.

I have a very good ride in but annoyingly I'm a mere 6 seconds off my best time but that gives me something to work on. I'll either have to cut back on the 'enjoying the view' bit or perhaps I should do a more thorough warm-up. I make a mental note to set the alarm for fifteen minutes earlier, L won't notice.

When I tell her, L seems more pleased that I am with my time and she's glad that my morning warm up wasn't a waste of time. In my opinion warm-ups are never a waste of time, even if there’s nothing to warm-up for. L's 220 Tri Magazine that I was looking through last night, just flicking through the pictures you understand, was very keen to stress how I’m important a good warm-up is.

L too is on her bike today, although she regretted cycling up Derby Road. The heavy traffic on that road can prevent you putting in any right turns. She worries about me cycling to Derby but her route is more treacherous than mine. It should be me worrying about her.

Doggo's in trouble. Allegedly he was a brute this morning. Someone tried to walk in between L and Doggo while he was having a casual spray up the footpath. Doggo jumped up and growled at him. He got a slap around the ears for his efforts. Bless him, I'm sure he was only protecting her, and he got in trouble for it.

My protégé, who still hasn’t got around to his training run, reckons he knows why I've started doing Madathons. He reckons it's my last hurrah before I accept the inevitable, give up the running lark and take up golf. Golf? Golf is the last hurrah. There’s nowhere to go once you get to golf, apart from perhaps Bowls. Then he tells me he used to play bowls. He's such an old man. He'll be getting a cloth cap and a whippet next. He's already entered the 'antechamber to death' as John Peel famously described golf. Peel said that when his mates told him they've started playing golf, he mentally crossed them off his Christmas card list. Mind you, look what happened to John Peel.

Cycle home, taking it easy and my time reflects this, 3 minutes off the pace but I have a cunning plan. I do a quick transition, although it's not really that quick. Although I already have my Ron Hills on I have to strip to get my cycling shorts off before I can put my Ron Hills back on over something more appropriate. Then I take the dog from a quick brick session. Note the impressive bit of Tri lingo there. It's a session where you do two disciplines back to back, most commonly bike to run. It is supposed to get your muscles used to transitioning, as biking and running use different groups of muscles. According to the immensely unreliable Wikipedia the term 'brick' has multiple claims of origination/derivation.

One claim is that the term originates from a New Zealand athlete by the name of Matt Brick or it could just be a partial anagram of Bike-Run. Another idea is that it’s "Just another brick in the wall"... Or it maybe it's simply a descriptive term for how my legs feel now that's I'm out running because they feel like they're made of bricks. That's not to mention that it also feels like I’m carrying a ton of bricks on my shoulders.

Bet not many people do their bricks sessions with a collie and while kicking his football at the same time. Beat that Tim Don.



L meets us on the park just as my legs are giving up the will to live. Which means I now have to run home as well. Consolation is that when we get home Doggo looks well and truly bricked, far worse than I do.

L and Daughter go to the gym and we get to chill out for a while. Daughter has cooked us all tea again.

There's still time to do my internet chess and fit in a warm-down with L. I need all the warming up and down that I can get, I intend to do back to back bikes and cycle to work again tomorrow.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Damage Report

I actually don't feel too bad this morning. Although my left thigh is a bit tight and sore. I also have a bit of a dodgy right knee but that's not too bad either. Also my old war wound, the left ankle, is playing up. So all in all the damage report not too bad.

L says she's also got dodgy knee syndrome which, being female, she puts down to her weight. I put mine down to my clapped out trainers and the fact I've been doing crazy things all weekend.

The good news is, L says she feels spurred on and will up her training. Starting tonight. She has booked a run with some friends. I can’t up my training today because another of the dog's hobbies will be taking up my evening.

I recommend to my protégé Cancer Research's Run For Moore who rejects it as being suspiciously related to football, which he's trying to give up. If you check out the link, he does have a point.

I ask him how his training run was; he says it'll be be fine when he does it tonight.

Daughter has cooked a pasta dish at school which should feed her, Son and me. She serves it up for herself and for son, leaving mine in the pan for later, as time is short. Then we both spend several minutes screaming upstairs to the uncommunicative one (Son) without response.

I drive over to dog class where they are resurfacing the indoor horse arena that we train in. It will be interesting to see what the new surface is and how well it blends in with our duvet when Doggo brings samples of it home. It also means that tonight we have to train in the outdoor arena under floodlights. The ground is much softer out there and pot holed with hoof marks, which doesn't do my ankle any good. It's also bloody freezing.

Afterwards I collect a semi-inebriated L from Derby; although she swears she's only had half a pint. I follow the correct protocol for when an inebriated young women gets in your car by giving her a quick grope and then taking her home with me.

Get home and have my pasta of which there is approximately half what I left in the pan. Someone's had seconds. It couldn't have been Son because his portion is still on the table, absolutely stone cold. Can't begrudge Daughter seconds really as she did cook it but now I'm going to have to top mine up with cheese.

L goes to bed wearing a very sexy all black combo, talk about temptation but I'm told in no uncertain terms that they'll be no frivolity tonight. Although an early morning work-out might well be on the cards. Absolutely essential I would say, all being well I'll be on my bike tomorrow.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Thirty-One Seconds

It's very tempting to stay in bed but we are strong and get up and head to Ratby Woodlands for the orienteering. I reckon that orienteering will be less painful than taking Doggo round the park with his football. I fancy doing the Long-O that they have put on but at 15km it's a touch too far after yesterdays exertions and I'm sure it'll be a tricky course.

Doggo and I do our usual Blue. It goes well but Doggo keeps seeming to pick up L's scent and is itching to go find her. I manage to keep him with me most of the time but then suddenly the pillock is gone. Luckily she must be quiet close because he returns quite quickly which makes a change. We finish 23rd out 43. Not bad.

L however, out does us. She does a Red and although there's only ten in it, she comes third but more to the point she's only 31 seconds off winning it. She'd have been unliveable with had she won it. We celebrate in the usual way with coffee and yet more cake.

We check the map for the 15Km and it doesn't look too hard. Next time.

Reward time! We delay the hot bath because Daughter is going out to a party. Unfortunately she's only going to be out for less than a couple of hours and by the time we emerge from the bath our deadline is down to 40 minutes. We’re both too weary for too much athleticism but a Daughter free afternoon is so rare that we have to commerate it with a shag.

For tea, L does terrific brisket with beer, shallots, garlic, and carrots. Served with cheese/Dijon mustard on bread, mash, and green beans. A fantastic feast. We have a glass of white with it.

We watch the final Wainwright Walk which takes an incredibly long route up Scafell Pike. Julia Bradbury takes nearly ten hours to get to the top, she starts at 8am and reaches the summit around 6pm as the sun is setting. Yes it's a good walk BUT how did she get down.



Did she walk back to her car? Another 10 hours or so, meaning she was driving home at 4am! Or did she go the quick way down to the Wasdale Head and get slaughtered on the real ale? That’s probably only an hour or more down but even that would finish in the dark. Or did she, together with her film crew, get helicoptered off? We have a right to know, and where's the disclaimer, saying don't try this at home. They'll be parties of school kids trying this themselves and calling mountain rescue out.

Great weekend. Two good runs. Three great sex sessions. A good night on the ale and an reasonable meal out.

23 units for the week.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Hot Bath, Hot Sex, Shame About The Curry

It's the run today. The Charnwood Marathon at Quorn. There's a full marathon option of 26 miles but we are doing the shortened version of 15 miles. Doggo is very very excited. L is very very nervous. I’m just thinking of my reward for completing the distance - Hot bath, hot sex, hot Thai curry.

We are supplied with tea and biscuits before we start. Some of us have more than we should, e.g. the four-legged member of our team wolfs down three custard creams to prepare himself. We consider starting early because you can do that at these ‘friendly’ events but in the end we start at 9am with the masses. We intend to tag along at the back so Doggo doesn't leg anyone down. Well we try to. We are still walking out to the start line when the starter, who is the local town crier, signals the ‘go’. There's no rush so we don't react but Doggo does. Worried that the rest of the field is about to leave him behind, all four of his paws are off the ground and spinning furiously. He forces us to follow. We do so but accompanied by so much tumultuous barking that he gets warned about this language.

There are five checkpoints on route but only two are cake stops, which is disappointing. Neither is very impressively equipped with refreshments. Tea at one, only blackcurrant at another. Other races like this, do it better, with as much cake as you can eat. Some even have cheese. We get lost once, looking for a Leicester round sign, that didn’t exist. Either that or we missed the pun. We complete the event is 3.40ish. L will have the exact time; I'm not so precise. It was however slower than last year but as L considers herself an unfit, injured person it's not too bad. Soup and a better selection of cakes are supplied at the finish.

We drive home and then its reward time. The bath is good and hot; the sex is positively scorching. Just hope the Thai curry can continue the tempo.

Daughter is bored and wants to cook for all of us. So while we are holed up in the bedroom, she cooks a terrific risotto with ham, white wine and cheese. Only problem is we don't want any because we have booked the Thai restaurant for the final part of our reward. We daren’t tell her this; they'd be risotto up the walls. In the end we are so starving that we both have a portion and luckily Daughter always follows the quantities on her recipes, which means that a meal for four rarely stretches anywhere near that far.

We head out into town and sample Everards new stout called Pitch Black, which is rather nice. Then we head across town to Broadway where we have a Leffe in their café bar. On the way we stop off in the market square for our paddle but as predicted the 'water feature' is off and its hard to see what it’s supposed to be. All is not lost though because to celebrate our achievements today they have laid on a fireworks display for us.



Or maybe it's something to do with opening the new square.

After Broadway we end up at the Thai which is a new big, dining room style restaurant. A bit like a school dining hall but with water features. The water features are probably more impressive than the one in our new square and they are at least in working order. However they must be expensive to run because they have had to cut back on the lighting or perhaps they've just dimmed it romantically low. They hand us some very decorative menus which are printed in white italics on black paper. We very chic but unfortunately in such poor light, totally illegible. As I head out to the bar area to read my menu in the better light there, an irate waiter goes to haul me back. Presumably thinking I’m about to escape or perhaps he's just an usherette, like they used to have in the cinemas, sent to guide me back to my seat by torchlight. After I complain, he momentarily lifts the lights for us but eyestrain has already set in and our patience has been exhausted. Against better judgement we opt for the £14 for 2 platter as a starter when knew better options were there, if only we could have read them. We do manage to pick a few curries for our main course, purely because they are conveniently marked with a chilli symbol.

I think the platter is quite good but L thinks something that came wrapped in green leaves is inedible. As for the main courses my duck red curry is superb, if a little too mild. L's chicken jungle is definitely too mild, a jungle curry is supposed to be really hot. We have two Singas to wash it all down. Overall the food is not too bad but we don't like the place much, so we probably won't return.

We head home but stop off for a night cap, another Leffe at Scruffys on the way.

A good day. I enjoyed the run and I enjoyed the rewards, it's just a shame about the curry.

Friday, 23 March 2007

Banished

Helped myself this morning. L still looked tired but she didn't object.

Drove in, still no traffic. Although I think I wound Doggo up by driving past him as he was heading home from the paper round with Son and L. Well I suppose he could have come with me and sat in our car park all day. He’d probably have loved that.

Sounds like they had an exciting time on their run. They came across someone lying prostate in the middle of the road. Neither L nor the dog could elicit a response. Fearing the person was dead or close to it they went to the nearest house where they dragged a woman away from her cornflakes. She was just about to summon an ambulance when all of a sudden the woman stood up and got quite stroppy with them. L tried to give her bag back to her but she just stormed off saying it wasn't hers. All very odd but par for the course in Nottingham. Doggo wasn't fazed, he took it all in his stride.

My legs are struggling after biking on Wednesday and squash last night. Don't know how I'm going to survive 15 miles tomorrow. I go to see a colleague about a project and he doesn't have any spare chairs to sit on. My legs hurt that much that I have to lean against the wall.

Seems Bob Woolmer has been strangled. More match fixing controversy perhaps?

L emails to say that the new 'water feature', which is its official title, has been switched off.



The pressure was faulty. So it doesn't look as if I'll get my paddle tomorrow after all. I was so looking forward to getting tanked up and joining everyone else for a mass paddle.

After work I drive to the pool to meet L. She is doing a session in the gym first, trying to out-fit me. When I get there she is waiting in the ‘café’. The swim goes ok although I feel that I hold up a couple of male psychos. I feel a bit guilty at first but eventually I see them off, so a victory to me I suppose.

We go home but Daughter has the lounge and the TV booked for the night, as usual. So we eat our pre-run pasta meal in the servants quarters (the kitchen). We toy with the prospect of being AF but eventually have a couple of small glasses of red.

Unable to do what any sane person would do on a Friday night because of tomorrows run, e.g. go to the pub and without the facility of the lounge to crash out in; we banish ourselves to the bedroom. Exiled, we have to amuse ourselves as best we can. Riotous sex with lots of foreplay ensues, absolutely wonderful. Hope we get banished more often.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Knackered

On bus the bus today and it is packed. The traffic is also very slow, so suppose I’m glad I didn’t drive. Annoyingly my ipod seems to be reordered all its tracks into a random order.

Daughter seems to have recovered and went off to school like a lamb, all bright and breezy.

We have a fifteen mile 'cake' run on Saturday and as part of our post event celebration we have booked ourselves into a new Thai restaurant that has opened in Nottingham. I shall look forward to that, after the bath and sex of course.

Unfortunately I think I might be going down with a cold, I imagine this is courtesy of Daughter. Just have to hope I can survive the run, and then afterwards I can indulge the cold with the hot and spicy dishes in the Thai restaurant.

Also as part of our night out L promises to take me for a paddle with the drunks in Nottingham's new 'ornamental lake'. She's pencilled it into our pub crawl round town. She describes it as paving slabs covered in water, like you used to get outside a fishmongers. No idea what she means by that!

She says it's an accident waiting to happen; a 'lets sue the Council' sort of job. Look forward to it. Not sure it will help my cold though.

Had a good pub lunch. The cottage pie was on as promised and I had a beer called First Foot from the Bare Foot brewery in Morpeth.

No calls from the school today.

I manage to sort by Ipod out and get my music back in order before I head for home on the bus. Doggo and L have been for a run round the park. Then L and Daughter drop me at squash and go off to the Gym.

Three games in and I wonder why I bother. Having lost all three only one of them close and it doesn't look as if I'm going to get a look in. Then he runs out of steam and we spilt the last four games 2-2. More satisfying.

Have a beer called Bee Smoked in the pub. A dark ale with slightly smoked taste. Nothing special. L picks me up and takes me home before I get chance to sample the 6% beer they have on. Which is a shame but very wise. We do have a glass of wine at home.

Due to all this 'sport' we're not getting up to much mischief in the bedroom and tonight L is knackered, so it's not on offer. I try and look devastated despite the fact that I'm too knackered myself! Roll on our nice gentle weekend.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Bring On 'The Pulse'

Up really early, having got my warm-up in early last night. Obviously it's tempting to go through the routine again particularly as it says -0.5 degrees on the thermometer. They always stress that you should make sure you're thoroughly warmed up before doing any sport.

It's cold but sunny. Wind not too bad. Really nice ride on the bike. Having read some tips in Cycling Weekly I opt to try out a faster cadence today (pedalling quicker!) rather than pushing a big gear all the time. Does seem to make the hills easier, although overall it's a bit slower.

L says it snowed while they were on the park. I didn’t see any snow, must have been too busy looking at the view.

Bob Woolmer's post mortem proves inconclusive. His death is now being treated as suspicious. Rumours abound of murder or suicide as everyone awaits the final pathologist's report.

Find out that my squash colleague who I'm trying to coach up to a mammoth 5K once did the Southwell 10k. He kept that very quiet. He retorts that it was a very long time ago and he nearly died doing it.

Daughter tried hard to get another day off school this morning, although apart from a small cough there didn't seem to be much wrong with her. TV must have been good yesterday. Anyhow this morning the school contacts L to say that Daughter has reported herself as ill and wants to come home before being being well enough to go back into class. There was little point L going to fetch her as it would take her an hour or more to get there. Then at 2pm Daughter does sign herself out of school and come home.

Budget Day and Gordon Brown seems to admit he got it wrong in 1999 when he introduced the 10p tax rate to help the poorest in society. Today he abolishes it and takes 2p off the basic rate of tax instead.

I bike home, over the Ilkeston hills for the first time in months, now that the light is good enough. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Time wasn't too bad either.

Just in case Daughter really is ill we keep her away from the Guides Gang Show she was due to go to. Can hardly send her if she's signed herself off school as sick.

Dog class. We are again brilliant. We even get a round of applause for a particularly flawless clear round. Some of the others struggle. Mind you it helps that I have a more sedate dog. The other handlers struggle to control their faster dogs. If only they set courses like that in the events, then we'd have a chance.

Doggo's rival, a red and white collie, is in an unruly mood and has a go not only at Doggo but some of the other dogs as well. Though it serves Doggo right for bating him by barking as he does his round. I can just imagine the abuse that he is shouting at him.

Tonight we arrange my 40th Birthday Treat and sign up for the Heart Of England Duathlon at Stoneleigh Park. There are two events oddly called The Big Beat and The Pulse. We opt for The Pulse (5km Run - 25km Bike - 2.5km Run). I thought as it’s my birthday I’d invite all my friends along to do it with me. They could hardly refuse, as it's my birthday. Could they? L is so enthusiastic that she's booked the following day off work to recover. I will only allow myself the day off if I beat that girl with the wobbly bottom.

L hits the Pelforth but I am good I don't. I had 37 units last week.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Motivation

The council are now generously leaving our park gate unlocked until 6pm, so I opt to drive in today, so hopefully I'll be back in time to give Doggo a brief run. The drive in is fine. No problems, I'm getting to work really early, it’s just getting home that’s a problem. It's very windy, so in a way I'm glad I didn't bike. Daughter is off school today with a cold, she tells us that we're already a fence panel down.

My squash colleague is on email, asking me to motivate him to run. It’s not easy trying to motivate someone to run on a treadmill, when I wouldn't dream of running on one myself. Whenever I invite him out for an outdoor run he says he’s washing his hair.

He reckons he was too knackered to do his planned 2.4K last night. Too knackered from getting up at 7am to go to work and two 1am nights over the weekend. Must be his age. 7am isn’t early, and 1am isn’t Looks like it’s either get fit or start saving for that zimmer frame. Isn't that motivation enough?

He tell him he needs to enter an event, so that he has a target to train for. Once I’ve physically been parted from my money for something, it guarantees that I’ll do the event. Doubt this will work for him.

So I have recommended the Nottingham Jog on 18th April to him, although I didn't mention the 'jog' word. I have even written him a training plan. Just hope there’s no t-shirt, I wouldn't want one with the J word on it.

I also explain that once L and I have completed an event we have a whole range of treats with which we indulge ourselves. I mention that we have a night out on the beer in town and a posh meal. Although again I doubt that this will work for him as he doesn’t do pubs or restaurants. I omit the fact that before the night out we usually share a hot bath and then follow that with equally hot sex. I doubt he does hot sex either! They say physical activity makes you more rampant. Well it certainly works for me but then L will say that most things do.

He says he prefers champagne as a reward. Now we’re getting somewhere. I tell him that Champagne is banned, until he's done his first event. If he gets his race distance up to five miles I’ll even buy the champagne.

Get home and take Doggo for his joint run/football session. L tags along with us and as usual extends the route.

After that we go for a swim. L wants to do a gym session first. I can't join her as I haven't been induced yet and I can't find an induction session at a time of the day that I can make. So I swim while she pumps iron. I do a lot of lengths although I have to keep lane hopping to avoid the psychos. Two particularly annoying ones, keep swimming two length at breakneck pace but then stopping which is really annoying as it totally breaks up my rhythm. Generally though my swimming goes well. I feel more confident about managing 20 lengths in the pool, all I have to do now it to work out a way to count them. By the time L makes it to the pool I'm shattered and suffering from leg cramps, so I leave her to it and go for a coffee.

Get home and we finish off Mansfield Park or more correctly it finishes us off. It didn't get any better, apart from the chests (e.g. Hayley Atwell below).



I've started playing internet chess again which is actually as dull as it sounds but I like the challenge. Chess of course is never very exciting, unless you're Steve McQueen, who managed to seduce Faye Dunaway out of her knickers just by playing chess in The Thomas Crown Affair.



We retire to bed and it's got nothing to do with the heaving bosoms in Mansfield Park or seduction by internet chess but tonight I get to seduce my girl anyway. Tomorrow's pre-cycling warm-up session arrives early. Scrumptious.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Lunch With Ann Widdecombe

Drive in to work. Still no traffic. No sign of the forecast snow but perhaps all the schools have shut again, just in case.

Once at work I find I have an email inviting me to lunch with Ann Widdecombe. Think I'll have to turn her down; she's not really my type. Apparently she's doing a gig at Pride Park in July.

Hurray the blizzards arrive. I might struggle to get home. L says they've got glorious sunshine in Nottingham

False alarm, the blizzards stop. Sunny again. So I should be ok driving home, as long as they’ve not closed all the roads as a precaution. L says they're now having the 'blizzard' in Nottingham.

L says the new ornamental lake in our all new £8M Market Square is very popular. Any idea what was wrong with the old one? There were two truanting kids and an OAP with a zimmer frame paddling in it at lunchtime. Hope the kids hadn't thrown her in.

As I leave the office it's hailing. What bizarre whether we're having. Doggo will be in hiding in case I try and take him out. For once I'm glad I'm not on my bike. The traffic is so bad it takes me 45 minutes to get off Pride Park. I wish I was on my bike.

L goes to the Gym. Doggo and I go to dog class. It's been coming for some time and tonight it finally happened. Doggo and the Weimaraner both got free at the same time and squared up to each other. Everyone closed their eyes expecting a flurry of blood and fur as they tore into each other but no. Nothing. Not a thing. Nothing happens at all. Dogs! Talk about all gob and no action.

Go home and L has done a spot-on Chilli. Then we watch the first hour of Billie Piper in Mansfield Park. As it happens an hour is far too long. I know little about Jane Austen but L assures me that they'd basically thrown away the essence story of Mansfield Park and started again. That was probably why none of it made sense. I've no idea whether JA intended the outcome of the story to be clear after thirty seconds but with this production is clearly was. Then followed a two hour (less advert breaks, luckily we had it on video) mishmash of a story that rarely seemed to fit together.

It was also supposed to be a period drama, so I was surprised to see most of the young cast wearing make-up and costumes more appropriate to a night out in Nottingham City Centre. Billie Piper's bleached-blonde look was particularly out of place. I have absolutely nothing against heaving bosoms and pouting lips but if ITV thinks that's enough to make a good story, they are mistaken. Now if they'd gone for a totally sexed up, Dangerous Liasons-ish, full tits-out, shag-fest of a modern day version then that might have worked, it might even have been fun but this half way house clearly didn't work. With period drama, no one does it like the BBC. Unfortunately we have another hour to watch tomorrow.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

My Beard

I feel queasy; think I've overdone the cake. The really bad news is that L has had second thoughts about bringing the chocolate cake home for Daughter. She's asked me if I could 'dispose' of it. It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it.

We have a lie in till noon with all the trappings that entails. Then Doggo and I have a footie jaunt on the park. L tells me this is a rest day for me, so no training.

A couple of lads in the street are overusing the 'in phrase' of the moment 'My Bad'. Daughter uses it all the time, except that when she says it, it sounds like ‘My Beard’. Which is kind of appropriate for someone who mishears things on such a regular basis. Apparently the term is used to admit an error but not to apologise for it.

Do a bit of chauffeuring for Son, to Hobbycraft and to Quaser. He needs Hobbycraft to get some stuff for his Graphics project and get this; it's not due in tomorrow. A bit of forward planning for once.

Daughter comes home around 4pm; when we were expecting her around 8pm. The lengths her father will go to avoid spending more money than necessary on feeding the kids. This causes panic because I haven't as yet disposed of her portion of birthday cake. Therefore I have to rush eat it which is no easy feat when she's present. I end up hiding it under my newspaper until she is out of the room.

Catch up with Wainwright and then L sits me down to watch part one of Bleak House. It's interesting but confusing and very dark or is that 'bleak'. I don't think it's running backwards (I can't follow things that run backwards) but I'm not 100% sure. I await part two with interest.

Birmingham and West Brom draw, keeping Derby top of the league.

Another shock at the cricket world cup but not one anyone was expecting. Bob Woolmer was found unconscious in his hotel room and later died in hospital. He was 58. A heart attack is suspected. He was currently coach of Pakistan, who exited the World Cup on Saturday after their surprise defeat by Ireland. He previously coached South Africa and was of course a former England player. He had been hotly tipped to be the next England coach.

37 units for this week, which is really bad. 'My bad' as they say in the suburbs.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Anyone For Clachnacuddin

We get up early-ish to nip to our local farm shop. Then we drop Daughter at the gym and head off for our run around the nature reserve. Strangely there was no sign of the demonic Dalmatian.

Instead we got Gemma the female collie. Not sure if it was her or Doggo who was on heat but he just wouldn't leave her alone. Sniffing and licking whatever he could get his snout on. In the end I had to pull him away. Doggo was terribly miffed, obviously she smells and tastes good. L says I would be the same if it was girl in a short skirt and boots. I would like to make it clear that I do not go around sniffing girls in short skirt and boots. Not often anyway. That would be a very good way of getting punched.

It’s a busy day. We drive Daughter over to Derby and then back home for a quick lunch. After lunch I'm back over to Derby on the bus for the match. I'm using the bus because my zigzag ticket should get me up to Belper for a party tonight.

A young chap gets on the bus with his dog. Which sits by his feet in the aisle but the bus is packed so he moves the dog, a spaniel, on to his knee. The next time I look the dog is sat beside him, on the seat, looking out of the window. He loved it, having the time of his life. L texts me to say we have a dog the same at home, loving it, asleep on my pillow.

Derby put in their usual dire first half performance but are gifted a penalty which enables them to take the lead before some static defending gives Cardiff an equalizer. Billy Davies obviously gives the team a roasting at half time because they come out a different side for the second half. They score two terrific goals and come out 3-1 winners. This takes us back to the top as Birmingham don't play until Sunday. Worryingly Sunderland are back to winning ways.

I haven't mentioned the cricket world cup, mainly because of the 'fixed' draw that means that the first two weeks of the tournament should have been largely irrelevant. Well today two shocks as Ireland beat Pakistan and Bangladesh beat India. It's suddenly got interesting. The defeat put Pakistan out and should hopefully get Ireland through in their place.

I meet L in Derby and we head up to Belper. An old school friend of mine, who I haven't seen for around ten years, has booked a coffee shop for her 40th birthday party. Apparently the cakes are excellent. Although she is cheekily charging a tenner for admittance.

We have a couple of pints, two pints of Milestone, in one of the local pubs before we hit the pre-party event in a different pub. I have a Lancaster Bomber there. Then we get bubbly at the party, so we are already well oiled and worryingly they have a terrific selection of Belgian beers. Regrettably these are not included in the admission price. L has a Rodenbach Grand Cru and I have one of my favourites Rochfort. This is a beer you don't see around very often. I have the middle strength one, the 8, a mere 9.2% I thought the 10, at 11% might be pushing it a touch. They're so good we both go back for seconds.

We meet some strange people including a scary female psycho who runs marathon and her husband who was a runner but is now a professional drinker and obscure football game follower; he likes nothing better than to pop up to Inverness to watch Clachnacuddin in the Highland League.

The buffet is good but I overdo the cake. Unfortunately I make sure that I get my tenners worth. Having pavlova, cheesecake and chocolate cake is probably over the top. We are handed birthday cake as we leave but we take that home, as well as extra portions for the kids.

It wasn't a wise move to eat the birthday cake when I got home.

Friday, 16 March 2007

Someone Else's Legs

Wake up with someone else's legs, they certainly don't feel like mine. Ought to bike today but also need to swim. Such is the dilemma for us 'athletes'. In the end I wimp out of bike and snuggled up to L instead.

Get up and pay L £1.60 for school dinners/bus fare or was it for services rendered.

Many moons ago I went to Rock City with a mate of mine and his then girlfriend, who I seem to remember was a particularly ferocious piece of skirt, to see the Levellers. At that gig I bought a red tour t-shirt. Today is Red Nose Day and the kids have gone to school wearing something red. Well Son is wearing a jumper that's got a bit of red trim on it. Daughter is wearing that t-shirt. I noticed as she was leaving that the t-shirt is older than she is. The year – 1992! How time flies.

It's also options D-Day for Daughter and everyone seems to be trying to push her into doing music. It is one of her best subjects, she has flute to grade 4 and as such is almost a shoe-in for a grade A but she's not keen. In the end it goes down as first reserve. L wonders whether the school might be cunning and put her in music anyway. I would say it's a possibility. Results are everything these days. However I assume the health and social care course that she's opted for has been invented to boost their results anyway. Only 1 out of 18 failed it last year. Whoops can't say the word failed. I meant didn’t get a C or above.

We're rapidly running out of toilets at work. Upstairs was declared unusable yesterday, now the downstairs one is playing up. Everyone's got one eye on the car park, checking to see where the quietest corner might be. It's a good job L didn't cook one of her hot curries last night. Apparently the plumber who works for the contractors who built the building doesn't do toilets. Must be nice to pick and choose what projects to take on. Dynarod have been summoned.

Nipped into town at lunch and bought a watch from a market stall. It's a bit naff but what do you expect for a fiver.

Dynarod come to our rescue.

I drive to the pool to meet L, who is walking up with Doggo. Oddly there's no traffic and I’m 20 minutes early. They arrive and Doggo gets to guard the car again. Leisure centre car parks are becoming a speciality of his.

I manage to do race distance in a sprint tri (20 lengths), twice. This is much better than last week. Despite this blinding performance other swimmers are still trying to undermine me. There's a girl is our lane who is front crawling slowly to try and put me off. Not only that, she swims half a length underwater before taking a breath. Now that's just silly. I struggle to complete one stroke without breathing.

After that we take Doggo out for a run. This is the first time I've taken him out with his new lights. To be honest I'm embarrassed to be seen with him. In fact Doggo looks embarrassed to be seen with himself. What we put him through in the interests of safety. Keep checking the sky for aeroplanes; it is possible that aircraft might mistake him for the runway at East Midlands.

We end up at the Plough and I have three pints. Although L isn't impressed with the beer. The beers at the Plough are all a bit samey and an acquired taste. So she doesn't drink much, I think she's saving her units for a blow out tomorrow.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Strong Wills

Wimp out of my planned morning run. Enjoy some pain free sex instead.

Cheered myself up by sending yet another stroppy email to the manager of Wollaton Park about the opening times and the fact that I had to rescue people last night. L says the park was packed this morning even though it wasn't open.

Apparently L's been inspired by Ryan Giggs who she's heard on the radio discussing how he copes with chocolate and alcohol. She says he's terribly strong willed, which is why he is a professional athlete and she's not. I don't think he can be all that strong willed if he still partakes of chocolate and alcohol.

She says that if she had been stronger willed she would have leapt out of bed this morning as soon as the alarm went off, as she'd promised herself she would do. I would have been very impressed with her inner strength if she had, considering what I was doing at the time.

Had a Horny Little Devil at lunch. Which is a 4.0% ale from The Houston Brewery in Scotland. I was good and didn't opt for the 8.6% Durham Ale as I didn't think that would be beneficial for my squash. Also had corned beef hash. We're on a promise for cottage pie next week.

The Blonde Business Analyst on my project gets in touch demanding more documentation and generally worrying about project deadlines. She obviously still hasn't found anything to do with all that spare time she has on her hands. For Gods sake girl, you need to find something better do with your time. Get out more, get drunk, have wild sex. Either that or go train for a Duathlon.

L is working late so Doggo is on his own. Well he's with the kids but it's almost the same thing. So I take him to squash with me. He has to sit in the car but he can come to the pub with us afterwards.

I lose the first two games of squash 15-4 15-4. So not good. My legs won't move, think I've been training for the wrong event. The ease of his victories unsettles my opponent and he loses his concentration. This inspires me to come roaring back. I get my legs moving and win the third game 15-8. I should also have won the fourth but run out of steam going down 15-12 in the end. Nothing left in the tank and I go 7-0 down in the fifth but have a bit of a recovery so when someone hammers on the door to indicate time up I was only 11-8 down. So technically I only lost 3-1.

Damson Porter 4.5. Then home. L cooks up another wonder meal. We have a glass of nice red wine and then a glass of awful freebee Ocado red wine. I take the taste away with a glass of port.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Oh For The College Life

Warm-up. Then on bike. A nice morning, cold but dry and sunny. I take the Ilkeston route again. I took it very carefully but at the same time I managed to go a bit quicker, so my time wasn’t as disappointing as it was last week. Three minutes quicker in fact but still a good two minutes outside my best. So there’s still room for improvement. L tells me that in her books careful and quicker don't go hand in hand.

Son has an interview at six-form college today at 2.10. L wants him to dress up. Not sure this is a good idea as everybody else will be in jeans and t-shirts. He'd look terribly uncool and out of place.

At 1.45 Son is still typing his personal statement on his computer that he has to take with him. As you can see he is a great believer in preparing well in advance. L is by now getting very frustrated.

We needn't have worried about what he was going to wear because in the end he goes in his school uniform, now that really is uncool. Particularly so compared with the young babe he went in with who looked smart in her pink t-shirt and jeans.

L says there were lads practising guitars in the picnic area. 'Wonderwall' she believes. Very cliché. Apparently a girl in a short dress and boots joins them and it all goes a bit twangy. Well it would wouldn't it, the lads aren't going to be able to maintain a good rhythm with that sort of distraction. Anyhow it doesn't matter how the band sounds as long as you've got the obligatory girl in a short dress and boots in the ensemble.

It all sounds like a really good afternoon out, wish I’d gone along for the ride. Oh for the college life, although I fear it's all going to be a bit wasted on Son.

Anyhow he got a place. Now there's a surprise. Not sure they would actually refuse anyone on interview grounds. L doesn't mention whether the girl in the pink t-shirt got in.

Before I leave for home L tells me to be careful and to not worry about my speed. As it only gives me nightmares. Think she's referring to a bad dream I had last night. Which I think she reckons has something to do with post Duathlon disorder.

As I was cycling home past the entrance to Wollaton Park I saw that two young girls on bikes were trapped inside the park. The park was locked up already, despite the fact it was still light and would still be light for another half an hour or so. The light was so good in fact that I hadn't even bothered to switch my bike lights on. I would guess they were 12 or 13 years old and close to tears. Well there was nothing I could do to release them but I did my best to explain to them how to get out via the golf course. They were a bit worried about cycling such a long way round, so I hope they managed it. If they didn't I do hope one of the park attendants managed to thaw them out ok this morning.

Then after they had cycled off down the path and I'd got back on my bike, I heard someone else rattling the gate. Two joggers had come across the grass and they were locked in too. Fortunately the school gate was still open, so they could squeeze through the fence to the school and out of the school gate, an option not available to the two young girls with their bikes.

Unfortunately this sort of situation happens day in, day out at this time of year and it must be hugely embarrassing for the Park Manager and for the council. Which makes it all the more unbelievable that the council persists in shutting Wollaton Park a full hour before it gets dark. People expect the park to be open and therefore do not look at the signs. The signs themselves may be artistically pleasing but functionally they are useless.

In a week or so, when the gate times change again I will at long last be able to get on the park myself after work to exercise Doggo. Then I will be able to rescue even more people on behalf of the council.

Get home and take Doggo to class. L is worried that she's done him in as she has taken him for two runs today. She's worried I'll curse her if he's rubbish. I had to give her an assurance in writing that I wouldn't, before they went out on the second one. It's only a TYOD (Train Your Own Dog), so I'm not too bothered what state he’s in. In fact he's pretty good (again), although he does tire more quickly. I curse him instead but that's more because he's been particularly gobby tonight.

We are decadent tonight and take a glass of red wine to bed.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

The World Has A Right To Know

Set the alarm for 'early' and I take Doggo for a run round the pond. Glorious sunshine, nice crisp frost, thoroughly enjoyed my three miles. I need to do more running if I’m going to improve my Duathlon time. It’s a total dog frenzy, canines everywhere today.

Despite my run I managed to stay awake on the drive in this morning. So must be getting fitter, I’ll get into those play off spots somehow.

Think I've upset my friend. He was on the email this morning bragging about his 2K treadmill run last night, so told him about my morning run and it's all gone a bit quiet since then.

L's annoyed because some so-and-so has put two huge bars of dark Australian chocolate in the coffee room. Apparently one portion of 25g contains 132 calories but there are 36 chunks in the bar. So a portion is 3.6 cubes. Now she can't decide whether she should have three or four cubes. Life must be so complicated when you're female!

My solution was simple. She should break off seven chunks and bring them home, and then when we have our bedtime chocolate we can share them. I shall manly bite a chunk in half for her. I’ve never had Australian dark chocolate.

L says my account of Saturday gives the impression that I enjoyed it. Well I suppose I did try and put a positive spin on it all, wouldn’t make a very good blog if it was all doom and gloom. She's even bought me '220 Triathlon' magazine so that I can fine-tune my training. Think I need more of a re-tune than a fine tune but I’ll have a glance at HER magazine all the same.

She's also concerned that the poor girl with the wobbly bottom might read this blog and recognise herself. Well, it’s her own fault she shouldn’t have overtook me. In truth it wasn’t a bad bottom but not in the same league as L's. L hopes that no-one's blogged about hers. If no one’s blogged about hers then I shall have to be the first. The world has a right to know.

Later I'm at the match. Losing at Birmingham last weekend is no great disaster for Derby as long as we beat QPR tonight. I reckon we can still finish above Birmingham as we have a much easier run-in than they do. I'm still very worried about Sunderland though.

The match doesn't go well. Derby's defence makes a huge mess up and QPR score first. They clearly know how to stifle Derby's midfield play and when Derby result to playing it long, that doesn't work either as QPR have the biggest collection of six-foot tall brutes I've seen in years.

At half time, John Gregory delays the restart by keeping his team off the pitch longer than necessary. He's probably trying to wind up the opposition and it works but is that really what he wants to do. As he's wound the crowd up too. Derby lay siege to QPR for most of the second half, although none of it is pretty. Eventually with only a couple of minutes to spare Derby finally get the equaliser. With luck like that perhaps our name is on promotion after all. Although we are out lucked by Sunderland, who get an equaliser even later than ours to get a point at home to Stoke. Amazingly Birmingham lose at Norwich. At the other end of the table the fat lady is well into her warm up for Leeds.

Couple of pints in the Harrington then home. So all in all the night goes well. Joint top now with Birmingham but I’ve still not had any Australian dark chocolate

Monday, 12 March 2007

Mid-table ?

Start the day with more painful sex. Then I take the car to work, which is a wise move as I'm currently still in the process of having to relearn how to walk. Not sure I could manage the long walk that taking the bus involves, let alone come on the bike. Luckily due to Derby playing at home on Tuesday the earliest I can bike is Wednesday. Hopefully I'll have recovered by then.

L is working at home today as her office is being redecorated. I hope this doesn't disrupt Doggo's routine too much; I need him in good shape for tonight. He’s got a lot of Weimaraner bating to do.

L emails me and it doesn't sound promising. First Doggo had to see a deliveryman off. Unfortunately for him, L reckons he was a dog owner himself because he wasn't in the least bit impressed by Doggo's efforts. Most people aren’t. Don’t know why he bothers really.

It is fortunate that L is at home because I am expecting a surveyor round to value the house. I was going to have to nip home to let him in, apologise for the mess and restrain the dog but L being at home has saved me a trip. When I ask her if she'll do the honours, she queries what dog I would like her to restrain? Apparently the only dog we have is the one flat out on the settee.

True enough the surveyor gets away without being savaged. Apparently L managed to persuade our ferocious dog to nap on the bed while the chap did his stuff. Doggo didn't seem to mind, it's such a hard life being a dog.

I book squash for Thursday, although unless my legs improve I may be a little off the pace. I email my opponent to tell him and also drop in a few details about my magnificent 26th place. He seems fairly impressed but describes my position as mid-table. Mid-table? I was better than that. Not that I’m touchy about this or anything but 26th out of 72 equates to roughly 8th place out of 24, so it’s actually on the verge of the playoffs e.g. I’m Southampton. If we’re talking Premier League I’d be 7th and probably in the Intertoto cup next season. People should be more technically accurate with their compliments.

The bad news is that if I'd doubled my time on the full Duathlon, I'd have come 214th out of 265. Not so impressive. If I'd slowed down by 30 mins, I'd have been last.

Get home and take Doggo to training which again goes well. Things are going so well that you just know that his first event of the season is going to be a total disaster.

Back at home we watch the second of Wainwright's walks on Blencathra. We are a week behind, this was last weeks walk. We set the video to tape this week's walk.

Sunday, 11 March 2007

No Gain Without Pain

Decided to stay in bed and not go to the orienteering that is on quite locally this morning. I apologise to Doggo but my legs are just too painful. I would hold him up. Have painful sex instead. No gain without pain as they say.

When we finally get up L and I take Doggo on the park for a ball session. More pain.

In the afternoon there’s an event on in the Industrial Museum at Wollaton Park. It's a talk on the History of Raleigh Cycles. It sounds quite interesting so L and I head over for that. It is interesting although the chap goes on a bit, he reminds me of my father. Pays far too much attention to the lugs on his castings.

L and Daughter go off to the gym to watch some TV. Well Daughter does anyway; doubt L will be. This leaves me free to catch up on Crufts at home.

L's been working on trying to get Son to join them at the gym, so that he can get fit for skiing. She's got no hope. Anyhow he's convinced he'll cope. We know he won't, each successive skiing holiday has been wiping him out more and more as he's metamorphosed from a reasonably active junior to a sedentary teenager. Anyhow his solution to not being fit enough for skiing is to spend more time in the cafes. I think he's more than happy with that compromise. Just hope he takes his own money with him.

We have Chilli in the evening and catch up with the last part of 'Kill it, cook it, eat it' which does actually feature chickens but no great surprises.

18 alcohol units for the week, which is some kind of record low. However it did include a binge of 13 units last night. Just shows what happens when you have 5 AF nights in one week. I suppose doing a Duathlon does have benefits after all.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

How Can That Be?

The alarm goes off at 06.00 again. This is because we are doing something very silly today. L seems petrified; oddly I’m not nervous. Doggo's excited, wa-hey a day out. We put the bikes on the roof, the dog in the boot and the rest of the kit on the back seat. Then we head off to Clumber Park.

When we arrive L still looks worried. I'm still quite calm. Doggo is quivering with anticipation, he's really up for it. It's going to be such a disappointment to him when he realises he's got to stay in the car.

We head off to queue for registration with all the psychos and a large swan. Turns out that the large swan isn't competing, it's not happy about there not being a swim. It is just checking out these mad men and women.

At 09.10 I am stood on the start line and I’m still not nervous. How weird. Must be denial. I look across at L, who isn't looking my way. The look on her face is either that of a very focussed athlete or a very nervous one. We start and off we go on the 5k run. I try and force myself to take it steady knowing there is the bike ride to come next. As the pace settles down I tuck in behind three other guys, one of them strikes a remarkable resemblance to the chap in the 'View From The Back' article that L sent me. So I certainly won't be letting him beat me.

The leaders are still in sight, albeit up the road, so we must be doing ok. Our group becomes three as our 'hot' pace causes one guy to get dropped. All in all the run goes remarkably well. So much so that with a quarter of the distance to go I feel so good that move to the front of our mini group. With a blinding acceleration of pace (ha ha) I leave the other two behind and pull away. 21.10 for 5K, just under seven minute mile pace, not bad.

I move into transition and on to my bike. I take longer than I would have liked when in my rush I get the tongue of cycle shoe trapped inside. Once sorted, having wasted vital seconds, it's away onto the bike course. I power away and get nowhere fast, as I'm cycling head first into the wind. It didn't mention that on the course plan. Because of the head wind, the first part is tough although I immediately gain a place but then almost as quickly lose it to someone else, all in the first kilometre.

The 20k bike route is a four-sided square and as we make the first turn the wind goes and the course is mainly downhill. The bad news of course is that what goes down must come back up. We turn again and now the wind is behind us and I’m flying along but still I lose another place. How can that be? Finally I catch someone and pass them but that still means there's no change in my overall position. The road is a bit dangerous as there are lots of potholes. I pass a chap stood at the side of the road with his bike; perhaps he's caught one. On to the final section and now it’s the predicted up hill bit and it’s hard work. There's not much life left in my legs. The Classic distance male psychos, who had done a 10k run first, albeit with a ten-minute head start, are now coming past me. How can that be? I could never be that fast on run or bike. I catch one of them back up; a hollow victory, he’s taking it that easy he must be retiring.

Round the final turn and now it’s against the wind again as we head back to transition. My target is to get to transition before any Classic distance female psychos; they only had five-minute head start but they have also ran 10K, come past me. Two girls do come past me but, horror of horrors, they are in my event. How can that be? I can't hang on to the first one but the second one looks pretty appealing from the rear which is just the incentive I need to tail her. Focusing on a certain part of her anatomy gets me through the last kilometre. We even catch a chap on a mountain bike. Blimey. How can that be? How the hell has he managed to stay ahead of me on that? He must have had a very good run or he's cheated. The 'nice rear' sails past him but I decide to stay behind him but it’s further to go that I thought, so eventually I go past him as well. Then suddenly transition is upon me. In my haste to stay ahead I nearly lose it at the dismount line. The marshal shouts "Go easy, it’s slippery" after I’ve completed my impressive slide. The MTB chap hops off his bike and sprints past me on the run in to transition. 40.48 for 20K, not bad but clearly not good enough.

The final run is tough and it’s more plod than run. Thankfully it’s only 2.5K. MTB man has gone, long gone, I know I have no hope of catching him but I soon catch the girl with the rear. I tuck in behind, thinking I’ll let the view carry me through the run as well. I hatch a dastardly plan to pass her on the downhill after the half way turn. Unfortunately she’s running slower than I thought and her bottom which looked so impressive on the bike is now wobbling around that much it’s making me queasy. So I simply have to push on past her.

After the turn at the half way point I catch up on the other girl who went past me on the bike. Revenge, I think, will be mine but she’s moving just a little too quick for me. I’m almost right behind her as we approach the line but I’m not sure if I have a sprint left in me. At this point I'm willing to let her go and have her moment of glory. I trail in a mere four seconds adrift. 4.16 for 2.5K, which is actually a fraction faster than my first run.

The girl with the view comes in a huge forty seconds behind me. Hah, serves her right for overtaking me. A chap in yellow follows her in and shakes me by the hand. I don’t remember seeing him at all, if I've been racing him I obviously haven't noticed. If he'd been female or on a MTB I'm sure I would have done but hopefully he’s been busting a gut to catch me for the last hour and quarter. 01:15:24 for the whole event. 26th overall. I've got to be pleased with that. I'm less than pleased with the horrible t-shirt which is a mock up of the Coca-cola logo. 01:15:24 and you give me that?

After a drink of water I stagger, and it is a stagger, to the car, which is inconveniently uphill, to fetch Doggo. Who is exceptionally pleased to see me. He must have heard how well I've done. We head back to see if we can see L. Luckily I can have him off lead because if he tugged me I'd fall over. Just as we come down the hill, L is racking her bike and she’s off on the run. Not bad for an unfit injured person. We go and wait by the finish. Doggo welcomes her in, in his usual frenzied style.

L comes in 67th in 01:42:17. We have coffee and somehow I manage a ball session with Doggo. I'm not so good at throwing sticks for him though, bending down is not possible.

There's no point in doing an event like this unless you get to take a female athlete home with you. Much better than a t-shirt, particularly a coca-cola one. Disappointingly I only get one offer, which is from L. Of course this is the offer I wanted, but it would have been nice to turn a few others down. So we head home and driving is not as painful as I expected. We indulge in a hot bath and then relax in bed with hot tea and double sex. Best to get the sex in before my body sets solid.

In the evening we get the bus over to Derby. Free entertainment is laid on for us on the bus. The warm-up act is a comedian wearing surgical latex gloves, for what purpose we were not sure. The main entertainment is a group of lads who entertain us with their coco the clown baggy jeans that keep falling down as they run to get off the bus. Hilarious.

We have some very good beer at Flowerpot. Snecklifter. Roosters. Jaipur. 5 pints in all. Then we return to Nottingham for a very good curry at the Savera. The Savera used to be one of our favourite Indians but it's declined. Tonight it is back on form, they have a new menu, with some new dishes. It's all excellent, although my starter is too big and fills me up. Although having lunch at 4pm was probably a bad idea, mind you without it I'd be even more drunk that I am. Anyhow I couldn't do my curry justice and ended up bringing most of the naan home for Doggo.

An interesting day.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Gone To The Dogs

Up early to go to Crufts but L tempts me in to sex, and I'm weak willed when it comes to that sort of temptation, so I’m not as early as I intended. I pick up my parents and luckily we have a good drive there, much quicker than when we went there last year.

We have a good day watching the interesting stuff, the agility and the flyball not the poncy show dogs which is all the TV seems bothered about.

One of my trainers gets second in the main agility event of the day but the amazing Toni Dawkins wins again. She has a blue merle collie just as we do. Although hers, which is called Kite, is a damn sight quicker than ours.

In the evening it's first versus second in the football as Derby play at Birmingham. I though this was a game we might win. All we have to do is defend as stubbornly as we usually do, wait until the crowd gets on Steve Bruce's back, e.g. 10 mins in, then pick em off. We owe them one for beating us at Derby with a ridiculous three times deflected goal. Unfortunately it doesn't work out quite like that and Derby lose 1-0. They slip back to second in the table.

There's hundreds in the Duathlon tomorrow. The longer distance starts ten minutes before we do, which means we'll get ahead of them only for them to have to come past us again. They'll end up having to overtake us in transition or on the bike course. It could well be carnage.

I’ve mapped the bike course with my mapping software and it’s NOT FLAT, it’s undulating with a couple of short sharp climbs like my ‘favourite’ in Risley but nothing too serious.

L is reassured that we get our t-shirts before we start. She's not very confident about the event. She's not sure that she can stand on the start-line without being attached to a collie. In my opinion, she wouldn’t want to be attached to a collie at the start line, he’d be so excited, quivering, and he’d go off like a rocket!

L accuses me of taking the event very seriously just because I've bought new kit for it. I’ve only bought new kit because I didn’t have anything suitable to wear. I often buy new kit, cycle shorts for the Nottinghamshire bike, new trainers for the Etwall Triathlon last year.

I'm tempted to do a spot of race prep in the Victoria but in the end stay AF. Am really creased so we have an early night. To sleep. Then I struggle to get to sleep.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Power Cut

L's watch alarm goes off, which is wrong. I look across at my alarm. The digits are flashing. Oh no, panic, there's been a power cut. I'm too late to take Doggo out now because I'm cycling today. A last training session before Saturday's event. L's going to have to do Doggo now, which could aggravate one of her injuries.

As it's a nice day and the light is good, I decide to revert back to my old route over the Ilkeston hills. The scenic route. I have bought some new triathlon shorts for Saturday's event. They are padded so that you can cycle in them but not to the same extent as cycle shorts so that you can swim in them as well. Tried them out this morning. They are certainly more comfortable. They must be a better fit than my cycle shorts because as I was out of my seat going up the hills more female car drivers than usual looked across to check out the madman on the bike. Unless of course they were just admiring my new rear mudguard. They're all older women over 50s naturally; the sexually frustrated ones and they all lose interest once they check out the view from the front.

Not a bad ride but it was hard. I don’t feel fit. Frustratingly I didn’t do a very good time either. I thought, compared with when I last did that route back in October, I would have improved but I haven’t.

L says that having to take Doggo out this morning hasn’t set her recovery back. Doggo's knackered though, he went straight to bed when he got home, cuddling up to L's PJs. I'm so jealous of that dog.

L criticises him for being snobby. Apparently Titch's owner gave him a biscuit which he spat it out. So L kept the biscuit and he ate it later. I ask what Titch is? Sounds like a good name for a Rottweiler but no he's a ball of fluff. Apparently the ball of fluff adores Doggo but gets on his nerves. He hates all dogs that adore him. We have a few clingy ones at Agility; he has no time for them at all.

Bizarrely, now that, thanks to the BBC, the dog might not have pork scratchings in his diet anymore, L is feeding him oatcakes. She claims it was by accident, when she dropped some on the floor but I'm not so sure. At least there's no fat, salt or sugar in them but just think how many oat kernels had been needlessly slaughtered to make them.
*link*
My company has joined the Government's cycle to work scheme. I’ve known about the scheme for a while but thought it too complex to mention it to the company but that was before one of our directors started cycling to work. He must be thinking of using the scheme. In fact suddenly everyone at our place is looking a brochures of new bikes.

Basically you can save 40-50% off the cost of a new bike because you get an Income Tax and National Insurance rebate for the cost of the bike. So now might be a good time to go for that £1000 bike I've been pining for.

No pub today as my colleague is away and no squash, he is away too.

I have a good ride home going the Sandiacre route. Came across a rear view of my own on the way home. Blocking the cycle lane coming down into Risley were two of them, one a top the other. Both with matching braided blonde ponytails. Quite what the horse was doing in my cycle lane I’m not sure. I’ve never overtaken a horse and was not sure of the protocols. Will my incessant panting upset the horse? What kind of berth should I give it; I can’t pull out too wide because the traffic will wipe me out. Luckily at the last minute horse and rider pull over on the grass verge and I wizz by.

In the evening L does a training ride on her bike, a quick whizz around the block.

Daughter goes off to the Showcase Cinema to watch Epic Movie. We take advantage of her absence and L and I run Doggo down to the local, John Smiths Magnet 4.0% and Landlord. Oddly it starts raining while we are in there and we get soaked on the way back.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Enjoying The Views

Another 'blast' with Doggo this morning. Although it doesn't seem to be a quick as yesterdays. Doggo didn't help our time when he headed off the wrong way around the pond just so he could go chat to another collie. Then I had to wait for him to catch up at the exit because he was dragging his paws. However back home Doggo and me are still both collapsed and barely conscious in the bedroom afterwards, so it couldn't have been too slow.

As I lay half-naked and sweaty on the bed, it's nice to have a tongue licking the sweat off me. It's just a shame its Doggo doing it. I would be completely helpless if L tried to ravish me, but she's busy getting ready for work. These early morning runs are playing havoc with my sex life.

Wasn't too tired driving in this morning. So it WAS slow after all. Either that or I'm getting used to the new regime. I only dozed off the once this time. Note - I was stationary at the time, those queues are so boring.

Hope Doggo’s resting up, he's got a busy evening of agility again tonight.

L's highlight of the morning was someone trying to cadge 50p out of her. She's say she felt guilty for turning her down but she reckons it was probably for drugs. Not sure drugs have come down that much in price. More likely she'd have blown it on a can of Fosters or something equally disgusting. So L's done her good turn for the day and done the girl an almighty favour.

I meet L at the pool for a post work swim. Apparently swimming is beneficial for a bad back but only if you do 45 minutes. I shall wait for her to finish then, my shoulders can’t cope with that much swimming.

L is keen to meet the Iceberg but she's not here tonight. This means that all the other swimmers have six lanes to share rather than the usual five which is good. Psycho girl is in lane 2 tonight, so I keep my distance and join a chap in lane 1. Apart from Psycho girl there's quite a few babes in tonight, which is nice. Many sporting vest tops and bikini bottoms, very stylish. Although one girl seems to be wearing a t-shirt which doesn't quite work. L will be pleased I've noticed these things, she always accuses me of taking my sport too seriously and not taking time to look around me and take in the view. Well it's simply not true.

My swimming is rubbish for most of the night, bad breathing technique mainly. By the time I get it sorted it's almost time to get out.

A couple get in my lane. He is a slow breaststroker; she is a psycho front crawler. So totally incompatible if they're partners. When she does a flip turn and swims under me, I decide to call it a night.

Go to agility for an hour or so. Doggo gets plenty of chance to air his vocal chords. We manage to fit in a bit of training too.

We watch part three of the slaughter-fest. I think even Doggo has an eye on the programme because depending on tonight's instalment he might never be given a sausage again. No sausages, no pork scratching, no pigs ears – a dogs life wouldn’t be worth living.

The programme's a bit dull really; a repeat of the sheep one with pigs in it instead. Think they should have quit after doing the first one. Nothing about sausages. Doggo breathes a sigh of relief.

L takes me to bed for an early night. I'm afraid to offer her sex in case I aggravate one of her injuries. However she seems keen to indulge, so I get to work off what few reserves of energy I have left.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Ram’s Testicles

Get up early to run the dog. L has injured her back and this is adding to her worry about Saturday. So I take Doggo for 'blast' round the pond. I'm sure it must be killing L to let me run without her, usually if I go out training without her she worries that I’ll be fitter than her. So I guess that shows that her back must be quite bad.

Doggo is a bit surprised that we are doing a 'blast', he seemed to prefer his runs quite leisurely. Well I'm sorry mate but I don't have time and we would have done quite a good time had he not stopped for a 'social' with some shaggy thing (a dog that is). Back at home I'm not sure who's in the worst state Doggo or me. It's a long time since I've done a 'blast'. Worrying thing is that the distance is less than what I have to run on Saturday but then I have to get on a bike rather than collapse in the bedroom.

As I drive into work, I remember why I gave up running in the mornings. This is because after an early morning run I struggle to stay awake in the car. Luckily I was awake when I encountered the burst water main flooding the road near the Wyvern.

L asks it I had the radio on this morning because something has happened on Ilkeston Road. Four houses were taped off and there were loads of police cars around. There were policemen, arm-in-arm, combing the pavements. I had the radio on but obviously on wrong channel, didn’t have Radio Nottingham on today. It turns out a man has been injured after a chemical was thrown at him when he answered his door.

L gets her back checked out with her boss. He tells her that she won't be fit enough to compete on Saturday. L tells him she will be. My girl's a bit obstinate you know. Apparently she shouldn't have trained while she had a virus. L's illogical diagnosis was that it was just her age but it's got nothing to do with that. He said he hoped it would get better because he would be embarrassed if he ended up treating her. Well I hope he’d give her preferential rates. We can’t afford his usual fees.

L sent me this article entitled View from the back

I smell a trap. Although it’s reassuring to see that there’s somebody who’s as bad a swimmer as I am. He too can only manage about 100m of front crawl before he has swallowed too much water to continue. Mind you I best get my skates on because if he improves by another 8 minutes this year at Derby, he’ll just beat my time from last year.

It's also nice to learn that "It’s very difficult to drown in a wetsuit", not that getting in one is anywhere near being on my agenda. Not for an outdoor swim anyway, I've never seen anyone use one indoors but it's worth a thought. I could always be the first.

L reckons she did 400 + minutes of exercise last week, that's not counting walking. Not bad for someone who claims to be unfit and injured.

Its Daughters parents evening tonight. She comes along with us, as we have to discuss her options for her GCSE subjects. She not happy about it though, she's distressed at the amount of TV we are making her miss, and I thought it was her future we were sorting out.

We arrive five minutes early for our first appointment but the Maths teacher gives the people before us 25 minutes (it's supposed to be 5 mins each) which makes us late for all out other appointments.

We spend ages trying to get to see the science teacher who always has someone with him and of course we're late for our slot. We keep popping back but he's always busy. The last time we pop back we see him running out of the door towards his car. More great customer service.

Another teacher who is running a display for a new subject also decides to throw the towel in early. Luckily not all the staff are so unhelpful, many stop past their allotted finish time to speak to us. Although I'm not actually sure we sort anything out as regards her options.

Get home and listen to the match. Derby ride their luck to come from behind and win 2-1 at Norwich. Which takes them back to the top of the league again.

Tonight's slaughter-fest is on lamb and it is pretty much the same as the one on beef, just on a smaller scale. The programme is clearly another of these identikit programmes. The first ten minutes are the same a yesterday's programme, the set and all the personnel involved are all exactly the same. The only thing that has changed are the animals and a different audience has been trawled in. The only addition was they served the audience stomach and testicles to munch on. Must nip down Sainsbury's and get some.

Tomorrow it's "sausages and bacon under the spotlight". Not that most sausages have been anywhere near a pig. L says Doggo might have munched on his last pork scratching.

Perhaps we could switch him to Ram’s testicles. They could even be the secret ingredient that I’ve been looking for to add a bit of zip to his agility. L is distressed at that suggestion because on the programme they seemed to come battered and fried. We have to think of Doggo's cholesterol. Mind you, they couldn’t possibly be unhealthier than pork scratchings. We already know how disgusting pork scratching are, they often still have bits of fur on them.

Monday, 5 March 2007

Slaughtered

Had a stroke of luck on my journey in by car today. I had decided to go the most direct A52 route and not through Ilkeston because the traffic had been so light recently. Then, as I was coming through Bramcote, I heard on radio that a car had broken down on the A52 at Ockbrook and they were now queuing all the way back to the M1 junction. So just in time I turned right and went through Ilkeston after all. Got to work on time but suspect I wouldn’t have done had I not heard that on the radio.

Needed to be on time today because I had an important project meeting this morning. A couple of people from a new customer of ours had travelled some considerable distance for this meeting. I quickly began to wonder why they had bothered. The meeting could have been over inside ten minutes but we manage to pad it out to around ninety minutes by talking about the weather, football etc. but basically we had little to discuss, as they could not answer any of our questions. At least we have now found out whom we can email those questions to.

Some people just have to do meetings, you know this is going to be the case when their job titles contain too frequent use of the words 'Business', 'Manager' and 'Analyst'. You just know that they've been swallowing textbooks for breakfast rather than corn flakes. Luckily the Business Analyst was female, blonde and attractive (nice eyes, not that I noticed), so the meeting wasn't too arduous. However she has clearly got too much time on her hands. We shall be able to sleep easy tonight in the knowledge that we will have the most comprehensive project plans and schedules, even before we've decided on what the project is.

Somebody who has been making use of her time outside work is a teacher who has been barred from working at an Oldham school after a picture of her pursuing her outside interests appeared in a newspaper. Parents complained, worried that her actions might cause their innocent sons to have the sort of dirty thoughts that all teenage lads minds are full of anyway. The pupil's fathers were presumably a but miffed because Miss Crolla is the kind of teacher they would have liked to have seen bending over in front of class to pick up some stray chalk when they were at school.

The Killers played the Arena last night. I didn't go but I did read a review of it this morning. Apparently it was a good gig but it seems that the Arena is just as disgusting as ever. The chap who wrote the review moans about the combination of tanked-up lads who can't have sense talked into them, and an absence of adequate security. He wasn't amused when some drunk behind him decided to join in 'This River Is Wild' by relieving himself on all and sundry.

I'm sure I've now put L off the Arena for good. Not that I was planning on going there anytime soon and that fact has just ensured it.

Did you know that prior to their recent two gigs in Nottingham the last time The Killers played Nottingham was supporting British Sea Power. Wish I'd seen that.

Get home and go off to dog class with Doggo, which again goes well. Get home and L serves up this murderously hot curry which I'm sure will cause me some painful experiences in the loo tomorrow.

Then we watch BBC3's new 'Kill It, Cook It, Eat It' programme in which participants are invited to watch animals being slaughtered in an abattoir. I'm not sure what the motive of the programme makers is. Probably just ratings but if that was the case I'm surprised they didn't make it more gruesome than it was. Certainly on the evidence of the first program on beef they don't appear to have put anyone off meat, the process came over as all very clinically efficient and performed by skilled staff. Vegetarian and TV presenter Rani Smith didn't do her cause any favours by refusing to watch and therefore removing herself from the debate.

It was, actually, all very interesting. Although the cooking and eating of the meat afterwards was all rather pointless as meat is never consumed that quickly and isn't at its best at that point either. The part I wanted to see was the butchering of the meat to know more about what cuts are what but you didn't see that.

Next up is lamb, and then pork which I imagine is a bit more gruesome as they electrocute pigs. There was apparently supposed to be a fourth on poultry but this hasn't been scheduled. It either's been binned or wasn't made in the first place. Sounds suspicious to me.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Late Lunch

We get up early this morning because Son is away and we have to do his paper round. Once that is complete we head off for an early morning swim. We try a new pool (for us) at Southglade as it advertises a laned adult's session. Doggo gets all excited as we pull into the car park, he's not been here before, and there's plenty of grass to romp on and trees to pee up. Regrettably he has to stay in the car. At least for now.

It turns out that we've been lured in under slightly false pretences as only half the pool is laned. We are not the only ones; it is packed. So not a terribly pleasant swim and there are steps that protrude into the pool and I keep catching my arms and ankles on them. Ouch.

The swim itself goes ok; I perfect a method of stopping for a five-second breath of air every length or two which enables me to keep going, more or less without stopping.

Once that is out of the way we take Doggo for a good long walk around Bestwood Park. It starts raining when we are about halfway round but it is still very pleasant. Then we head off home and back to bed. We've got a lie-in to catch up on. No, not sleep!

Post lie-in I leave L to kip and I do a few emails on the computer. Then I scrape L and Doggo out of bed and we all head out for a late lunch. Pate followed by steak in red wine gravy with mash and veg. Very good. L had a vegetarian pate that was far nicer than mine was, wish I’d had that. Have a pint and a half of Grantham stout which is a bit naughty after quite an alcoholic weekend.

In the evening the kids return and we catch up on the Wainwright programme we missed. A walk up Haystacks and then we watch the DVD of Tsotsi.

Tsotsi, which means thug, is indeed a thug who lives in the slums. His life is turned upside down when he shoots a woman and steals her car only to discover he's unknowingly kidnapped her baby.

He stuffs the baby inside a paper bag, and then takes him back to his tin hut where he makes nappies out of newspaper and slides him under his bed. He goes onto make more comical attempts at looking after the kid before he commandeers the services of a local woman at gunpoint.

I suppose the point of the film is that in the end he does the right thing and returns the baby and maybe turns his life around. Although surely he's going to jail for life? It's all rather predictable.

L has read the book and says it's nothing like the book and they've taken terrible liberties with the plot. However it's still not bad. It is well shot and well acted but is essential a pretty hollow film. It won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film.

31 units for the week. Would have been on target had it not been for the boozy lunch.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Isn’t It Amazing What You Can Find In A Hedge

Daughter is due at the Gym again this morning. Apparently she was pretty knackered last night so getting her up won't be easy. Daughter doesn’t do mornings at the best of times. So it proves. Today is not particularly a good morning. Hence we are later getting there. Although it’s not all her fault, we overindulged in a lie-in ourselves. Although it didn't have anything to do with sleeping.

While Daughter is at the gym we head off into battle with the Dalmatian again. We do our usual run but decide to go the other way around our circuit to hopefully come up behind the Dalmatian rather than run headlong into it. It doesn't work, they must do an out and back route and what with us being a little late we end up face to face with them again. However the Dalmatian has been muzzled. We survive the experience and head back home.

We have a fairly lazy afternoon. Son goes out to play with his soldiers (Warhammer) and Daughter spends most of the time upstairs. I earn a bit of pocket money doing surveys on the internet while L unwinds in the bath. After her bath, she chills out on the bed, which distracts me from my survey. I momentarily go back to my survey but it is too long and too dull, there is more fun to be had with L in the bedroom. And so it proves.

Later we all meet up with Son and put him and Daughter on the bus to Derby. They’re at their fathers tonight. Then we head off to celebrate our Anniversary. Today I have been with the wonderful L for 11 (long) years.

We don't head straight into town but instead end up in the Grove where the Broadside 4.7% is rather good. We split four and a half pints between us. Then we head up to Scruffys where we've booked a table.

When we arrive a Scruffys there's a girl wearing roller blades at the bar. I wonder if she's a member of staff and whether Scruffys have branched out into that Americanised waitresses on skates sort of thing. I experienced that when I was in the USA once, wasn't a positive experience, I recall them half filling everything so nothing got spilt. Was all a bit of a rip off. At least those girls wore very short skirts to compensate; this girl's got her jeans on. Hope she doesn't spill my chilli.

We have a combo starter thing to share which is ok but nothing special. Then L is a very bad girl and has some very unhealthy pasta smothered in blue cheese and I have chilli burritos. Both meals are very good. L is still being a bad girl and we decadently have dessert. Don't tell Daughter. I have Dime bar cheesecake; L has sticky toffee pudding. We wash it all down with a rather nice bottle of Rioja and finish off with a dark Leffe each. Thankfully no sign of waitresses on skates.

That is until we head home and find one clinging to a hedge. Isn’t it amazing what you can find in a hedge? It's the same girl and she's not a waitress. Apparently she only popped into Scruffys for a drink, just the one drink and was now making her way home. I know all this because L did her waifs and strays rescue mission again.

It's probably two hours since we first saw her in Scruffys, that's a long time for one drink. So I wonder how long she's been clinging to that hedge. Scruffys is at the top of Derby Road which is a rather steep hill. Seems she's been clinging on because she daren't let go. Probably waiting for someone to rescue her. You'd have thought lads would have been queueing up to pull her from that hedge, well they would have been in my day.

Turns out that her name is Emma and she says she's taken to going out on rollerblades to take her mind off the fact that she's given up smoking. No I couldn't quite work that one out either.

When she falls over for the third time and lies spread-eagled on the floor at my feet I ponder on what would have happened if this scenario had occurred on Thursday night instead, when I was walking home from the Brakes gig on my own. 'Why are you home late dear' L would ask when I got home. Hmmm not sure how my reply that 'I found a girl on roller blades clinging to a hedge and I rescued her and helped her get home' would go down.

Hope she's got someone to tend to those bruises for her. Not sure I'm allowed to post my phone number on here.

Friday, 2 March 2007

Spring? I don't think so!

I don’t get to bike today, as Derby are at home tonight and I need to stay in Derby after work. However I still get to do my warm-up. The match against Colchester is live on Sky TV, can't imagine why. Who's going to watch that. It's not exactly going to be pretty.

When I switch my mobile on I get L's reply to my text from last night. "Cool can I have one? Get 2! Would you shag me in it?"

'Mobile Communication' let me down, as the Brakes say in one of their songs. She's on about the t-shirt. I'm happy to lend it to her, as it sounds as if the pay back could be good.

Daughter is also impressed with the t-shirt. Well she's impressed with it having the F word on it. Would go down a storm at her father's this weekend. Unfortunately they are £15 + £2 P&P on their website. Looks like I could have two women scrapping over my t-shirt. This never used to happen when I was a lad.



Don’t know what’s up with the traffic this week, no queues again today. I left later than usual as well and I was still in work for 8.30! Very odd.

The radio keeps saying that we are now in spring, as apparently spring starts on the first day of March. Well no. The spring (or vernal as its known) equinox starts on 20th or 21st March and always has done. The equinox is when the nights are as long as the days and marks the start of the next astrological cycle e.g. spring. So as usual the BBC are wrong.

Hardly any emails today. Nobody wants to speak to me.

I checked out the start list of this Duathlon that we are doing next Saturday at Clumber. There are loads of people doing the full Classic event, which is a world championship qualifier. All have BTA (British Triathlon Association) registration numbers, which I assume means they know what they are doing. So I’m glad I'm not part of that. We're in the sprint event. This has quite a small field of mainly women and oldies like me, so I should fit in well. There's a chap born in 1937 in my category. L reckons he'll beat me. Now there's a vote of confidence from my beloved! She says he'll be out training like a psycho while we're stuck at work. She also suggests that we ought to be AF until the event is over. AF? How could anyone be AF pre-event? It’s just not possible.

L and I widely disagree on the event. She wishes there was a swim at the start like a triathlon or even instead of the bike. The event is run-bike-run. My opinion is why would anyone want a swim in there at all? My preference would be to remove the runs and made it all bike.

L goes home early and takes Doggo out but he's soon in bad books. Apparently he's attacked Bruno the Boxer. I assume that's another dog. L and Doggo are now not speaking. Again. This is a common occurrence.

Then she and Daughter go off to the gym. On the bus because I have the car. Unfortunately it's now throwing it down, so they get soaked.

Turns out Sky were right and I was wrong. Now there's a first, Sky picking a good match. The match WAS pretty. Derby scored three amazing goals and won 5-1. Back on top of the league, at least until tomorrow.

Have a couple of pints of Bass with my folks, and then home to L, where we have a little wine.