Friday, 31 August 2007

Massive Night

Today my bike in to work, is positively 'storming'. L, however, doesn't understand how a bike ride can possibly be storming but then she's a girl. Storming possibly because it was windy, a head wind naturally e.g. hard work. Hopefully it will blow me home but I'm not counting on that, the wind will turn round just to spite me. Also storming because I easily dealt with my usual two combatants, who are two chaps on commuter bikes. I’ve totally sussed them both out now and they've both given up fighting me. I now regularly burn them both of, fly past them with a sneer, a wave, and sometime a cheery 'hello'. Bit sad really as one of them is over 60.

Anyhow today I spotted a new kid in town but hello, what’s this, is that a female figure I see all decked out in full lycra gear and dark glasses. What's more she's blasting along at full-clip. Despite the fact she's also on a commuter bike, she takes a bit of catching. I try not to sound out of breath as I pass her and mutter ‘hi’ with my customary wave of the hand. I don't think she even noticed me, so stern was her concentration. I arrive at work knackered and all 'stormed' out.

In the evening I take the long way home through Kegworth. A nice ride, as it doesn't seem to be as windy that way. Very quite too, I don't see many people and there's no one frolicking in the lay-bys this week.

When I get home there isn't any time for any warm downs or anything like that because we have a gig tonight. For the last few weeks I've been grooving to the new The Hold Steady CD, which L has lent me. I don't know how I managed to let this band slip through my fingers; their new album is terrific. L's getting quite good with her music; they're just one of a few bands she's introduced me to recently.

We head off into town; L's even in skirt, looking very swish. We have some munchies and a Burton ale at Cast. Then we head off to the Rescue Rooms. It's packed. Which is a surprise; we didn’t expect this sort of turn out. The view isn’t brilliant and I’m not at all sure whether L can see anything. So far it's hardly her ideal gig. We have already missed the support band, which is a shame because I would like to have seen a bit of them, if only to see what a band called 'Cat The Dog' looked like.

At 9pm the band come on and launch into 'Hot Soft Light' from the new album. Like all their songs, it is full of power chords and fist-pumping choruses mangled together with lead singer Craig Finn's downbeat lyrics about drink, drugs, and girls.

‘It started recreational, it ended kind of medical’

They seem to be very keen on their drink, their drugs, and their girls in Minnesota.

The audience is quickly divided into those who know what the Hold Steady are about and those that don't. It seems that a lot of people have come along just because it's Friday night and it's only a tenner to get in. Quite quickly space appears as a lot of people nip out for a cigarette. Instantly the gig is more comfortable, perhaps even L can see. Why leave? Ok, so the Hold Steady may not exactly sound or look fashionable. For a start Craig Finn is 35 (still on life's up slope) and looks more like a schoolteacher than a rock star but the most important thing is the great sound that they make. Their songs may be almost pub songs but they are well-written, very catchy, and great fun.

Most of the set is culled from their latest album which is presumably what the audience came to hear but surprisingly the best-known tracks come early. Finn shows us what a well-read chap he is. ‘Stuck Between Stations’ is about the poet John Berryman. The line 'Boys and Girls in America have such a sad time together' is from Jack Kerouac's, 'On the Road'.

'This is another song about a boy and a girl, and a horse.' Finn says as he introduces the excellent ‘Chips Ahoy’, which is the other side of the creative coin. The song takes place at a horse race, about a couple who despite winning just can’t find the happiness they desire. Finn swings his arms around a lot as he sings, as if trying to expand on the words.

'This is a drinking song' he tells us but then he corrects himself, 'well they’re all drinking songs'.

Finn sings stories about characters to care about. I wonder if his own youth was misspent (or well spent) in the manner he describes, that is getting high or getting drunk or probably both.

Some older tracks come later. ‘Your Little Hoodrat Friend’ from their second album goes down well and for the encore after a couple of slowies in 'Citrus', for which out comes the accordion and the xylophone and 'First Night', they play 'Everyone's A Critic But Most People Are DJs' and 'Killer Parties' both from their debut. I think at one point the lead guitarist fell off the stage but I’m not sure.

Overall the band put in a gritty yet professional performance to a crowd of mixed ages. Some young, some as old as Finn, some even older than ancient old me. In the end the venue is about right, the band's sound is probably best suited to the smaller venues but I think their increasing fame may see them round the corner at Rock City next time.

He thanks the crowd and says what a joy it is to be here. He's clearly stoked to be up on stage, enjoying himself and enjoying the fact that the audience were loving it too. It's great to see a band that has as good a time on stage as the crowd are having off it. You can’t help being buoyed by the band's boundless enthusiasm and infectious personality but it's not the performances that make the band so good, it's the songs.

'We had a massive night, every song was right'

Afterwards we go for a couple of beers at the Ropewalk, avoiding Scruffys. Two pints of Smiles. L enjoyed the gig too and managed to see most of it. Wonder if she thought it was 'storming'.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Good Morning (Not)

On the bus today. No gossip to report but I'm fascinated by the t-shirt that this heavy metal chap, he’s a regular arrower, is wearing. It was a t-shirt from some festival in America. Some of the band names were amazing, it's a shame I can't remember them all. I'm intrigued by the Alabama Motherfuckers, they sound a nice bunch of boys.

Another witty email from my good lady entitled 'Good morning (Not)' starts the day. She really should have her own blog.

She and Doggo got attacked by their favourite deer that hovers around the corner of the golf course. A female obviously, the 'bloody thug' as L calls her. She's been having a go at them all summer. Doggo, bless him, did his best to protect her. I think.

The park is closed every morning next week, which means it's the annual deer shoot again., when they cull the deer down to more reasonable numbers. L's looking forward to it. She says she's going in tomorrow with a can of red spray paint and is going to paint a red cross on it's arse in the hope that it will be the first target. Although you wouldn't trust the council to be able to hit anything, least of all a target. They're very good at missing even the governments poxy ones.

L goes out at lunch and gets us theatre tickets for War & Peace, which is so long, like the book, that it's in two parts over two days. Sounds like another Anna Karenina but without the sex. I figure it's the only way I'll get to 'read' the book. I reckon reading War & Peace is possibly one of those things you should do before you die and as I've explained, I'm already on the descent down the other side of the hill of life.

L sees things differently of course, she's a woman, and she's bought the book and intends to read it before we see the play, which isn't until February. So it's a tight schedule. As she says, that's her weekend sorted, in fact that's many weekends sorted. So Harry and me have to make room in the bedroom for Tolstoy now. Hope she's not on her bike; it could be tricky carrying that home.

She's also got Felini for tea tonight and she says it’s a big one. So it's a good job I'll be hungry after squash. Felini? Hmmm, I quite liked a couple of his films, but didn’t know he'd branched out into cooking too.

I get home to find something phallic on the bed. She's right it is a big one. It seems a Felini is a sausage.

Squash. I win the first game; lose the second. The third is key, I give away a big lead and lose it 17-15. Somehow I come back and level by winning the fourth but then play badly in the decider, losing the match 3-2. Then mentally exhausted I lose the two games after that.

In the pub we have some awful Archers Beer, so bad that I have to have a second pint to wash away the taste of the first but I retreat onto the Nottingham EPA. L texts to say she's nipping out for a bottle of gin. Either she's had a really bad pilates session or she's started the sloe gin.

Back home we munch on the Felini, with cheese and have a glass of red.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

How To Deal With Kitty

I make it to work today on my bike and in one piece, despite my brakes or lack of them.

L criticises the grammar on this blog and I am forced to make a few alterations, although I'm sure it's not that bad. Microsoft Word said it was ok. She blames too many gadgets ruining my sleep, ah but we don’t have them in the bedroom.

Terrific stuff in Osaka and we are all gripped to our radios at work as Christine Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders clinch World Championship gold and silver in the 400m final.

After work I cycle to the pool and bump into L again, who's just come from the gym. So her needle zone must be recovering. She's in psycho blue today and not in the sexy yellow of last week.

L has a huge amount of stuff with her; so it's a good job she's not on her bike. She asks for a hand. I don’t think she means the sort of hand the gamekeeper gave to Lady C. I AM on my bike but still come home with a rucksack full of damsons and plums. I let L carry the chive plant. L says she going to knock up some damson gin, a sort of sloe gin, good old Mother's Ruin, ready for Christmas, to go with our traditional eggnog.

Apparently the plums are dead sour. Just like her, L says. So I'll love them. No doubt they'll be nice smothered in a little of one of those yoghurts I got her yesterday, just like...

Get home to find some of Daughter's friends hiding in the garden, waiting for her to come bowling. I ask them if she knows they're here? No. I ask if they've tried knocking? No. Odd bunch.

I take Doggo on the park; we get through the gate just in time, to get locked in.

L cooks Ho Fan Noodles for tea, from a cookbook called 'Cook Yourself Slim', a contradiction in terms.

We watch part two of Anna Karenina. Anna is hugely pregnant and consequently Vronsky seems to have gone off jumping her, so it's not racy like the first episode. At least Constantine gets to have his Kitty, well she agrees to marry him, but he really missed a trick. In a one scene he falls off the roof he is repairing but then hides, missing the chance to play the injured male card and hence get inside Kitty's knickers without marrying her. So I've lost all empathy with him. I have however started to feel sympathy for Karenin, Anna's husband. He would have been entitled to be feeling a little smug when Anna gets ill and almost dies but he's very supportive through the whole thing. However I'm sure he'll be punching the air with glee when he finds out that Vronsky has shot himself.

So not the rampant sex fest of the first episode but ok. I take L to bed and show her how Constantine should have dealt with Kitty.


L is very chipper this morning, not. She got locked in what is now known as TBP (that bloody park) this morning. She feels disenfranchised because the gap in the gate wasn't wide enough to squeeze through, although Doggo managed, and she couldn't climb over because of her gammy leg. There were the usual queues outside the gate waiting for someone to turn up and let them in. She had to double all the way back through the golf course.

I encourage her to complain. She says she'll request that they stretch the holes in the fences a little wider so everyone can get through. After all, it is preventing the old and anyone who isn't incredibly slim getting on the park. She says that must be an "ism", some form of discrimination. I like that, I shall use that as the basis of my next complaint to them.

The TV and the radio are on about that kids shouldn’t have gadgets in their rooms, like adults do, because it's meaning they're not getting enough sleep. I thought that was that’s last years news, talk about recycling. We have living (wrong phrase) proof at our house but there's no realistic alternative. If kids don't have the gadgets upstairs, then they'll want them downstairs, which means we'll all have to share in the 'fun'.

L goes to her physio and gets the needle literally. Acupuncture. She says this is to cause a micro-trauma which will activate the healing process. Hmmm. She says she didn't feel a thing at the time but says she didn't dare sit down on her bike on the way back. Mind you standing up on the bike will do wonders for her thighs.

For some reason tonight, me and 8,600 other hardy souls pay £15 to watch Derby County Reserves lose to Blackpool Reserves. Which is a bit silly as reserves games cost £2 and this year for your two quid you could get to see a bunch of foreigners in Chelsea’s reserves rather than Blackpool but this is the crazy crazy world of the League Cup.

We know we’re going to lose before the outset because we always lose cup games, seemingly on purpose, no matter who our manager is and it's almost always to a team beginning with the letter 'B'. Add to this, the fact that Blackpool are now a half decent Championship side, e.g. the sort of side we’d possibly have scrapped a 1-0 win against last season but we’re not yet in any sort of form yet. So Blackpool are pretty much odds on favourites.

As it happens, Derby dominate most of the game, playing stuff up to last years standards, not high but usually good enough to win at that level. So when Mo Camara scores early in the second half, with what was probably a cross, it could well have been game over. So in the usual style of TBM (that bloody manager), it's all 11 men behind the ball defending the 1-0 lead, despite the fact it's only Blackpool. TBM gradually removes our forward thinking players for more defensive ones. His tactic, when it works, usually sends everyone, including the opposition, to sleep but sometimes it doesn’t work and the lads haven’t quite mastered it yet this season. So in the last minute with all 11 Derby players in their own penalty area Blackpool head an equaliser.

So to extra time, which follows the same pattern. Derby again start to boss the game and after 10 minutes retake the lead and then job done, they drop deeper and deeper. We have two corners, yet send no one up. We have a free kick on the edge of their penalty area but no one is interested. The tactics dictate that extending the lead is not permitted. Hence with Derby retreated to their own goal line, Blackpool who had yet to muster any sort of shot in extra time, head an identical equaliser in the dieing seconds.

We lose on penalties. It’s even too late to go to the pub. A miserable night. Cheers Billy.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Chav And Me Go To Vegas

Off to Scunthorpe today for the oddly named Dog Vegas Agility Show. Money is sometimes up for grabs at Dog Vegas shows but we don't expect to come back with a fist full of fivers.

L has a lie-in without me and doesn't even reply to my texts until gone 11.00. Obviously all this Lady C induced rampantness has worn her out.

As it happens Doggo is up for it and runs really well. I make a mess up of a tricky weave entry on the first course but after that we clock up three consecutive clear rounds. All in times of 26 seconds. Doggo is Mr Consistency. One of his runs in Grade 5 Jumping lands us a rosette for 7th. That in itself isn't bad but our time would have been good enough to win Grade 4 by over a second, so that shows that we're in the right grade at least.

So I'm quite pleased with the old codger and I won't be sacking him just yet. In fact I even bought him a new lead. A royal blue one, to go with his red collar. So he clashes with himself. L says we now have a chav dog.

Go to the pub and have two celebratory pints of Caledonian Rebus. Then later two glass of red wine with L and a little more rampantness.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Married Women, At It Again

There’s a felling of déjà vu about this morning but Doggo and I just shrug and get on with it, as our lie-in is truncated and we go for an early morning run around the park with L. Of course it’s not that early, the park isn’t unlocked until 9am but after a night on the beer, it can still be termed as such.

Once back, for some reason I decide to postpone the already postponed important part of our lie-in in order to watch our two British girls go for medals in the Heptathlon at the World Athletics Championship. This is harder than you would imagine because the BBC are naturally ignoring a British medal prospect in order to spend two hours debating which North American is going to win the 100m. Kelly Sotherton gets bronze by the way, just ahead of Jessica Ennis.

We come sixth in the 100m; a North American wins and comes second and third.

The BBC do at least interview Sotherton who at the end of the interview says hi to her boyfriend on air. The interviewer is then heard to say 'lucky guy'. Should BBC staff really be lusting after our athletes? I wouldn't go there in Sotherton's case if her moods swing as much as her form does, not a safe place to go.

I finally come to my senses and take L back to bed, then more déjà vu as we go to the Gym. Another 2k, this time cranking it up to 15kph. Then my nemesis, the 2K row. That machine took one hell of a beating but I did it this time. 8.27.7. So to the pool. The same two chaps are there again in my lane, doing a lot of standing and doggie paddling.

L cooks up an excellent Sunday roast and then we head to Broadway for the second day running this time to see a French version of Lady Chatterley.

Something I didn’t know was that DH Lawrence wrote three versions of Lady Chatterley, of which only the third is widely published and filmed. The books are 'The First Lady Chatterley', 'John Thomas and Lady Jane', and 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'. In the third version, the gamekeeper embarks on a purely physical relationship with Lady Chatterley but the second version is supposed to be more romantic. It is this version that the French have filmed.

The film takes its time to get going, and even longer to get into my consciousness, due to the French language and subtitles. It is also not far off three hours long.

I don’t quite see the film as romantic but L does, so perhaps it is. I also don’t see the gamekeeper as particularly fancible but L does. Shows what I know. I just had Lady C down as another married woman, who isn’t getting it and fancied a bit of rough.

I don’t think it’s romantic because there’s no sexual tension in the relationship. Lady C is attractive, the gamekeeper fancies his chances, and he isn't afraid to go for it. So one day he puts his hand on Lady C’s chest and asks her if she’d like to join him inside his hut. She does and seconds later he's trying to find out whether there's a real person under all those clothes. Before you know it they're at it regularly on the wooden floor of his hut.

The sex starts out a bit dull, possibly because she's probably never had it, her husband is disabled, and his wife has left him, so presumably he's no good at it. Seems a gamekeeper wasn't rough enough for his wife because she ran off with a miner.

Eventually they get the hang of it and it livens up, as does Lady C.

They have sex against a tree but fully clothed and in a position that is near on impossible to achieve. I will check this at some stage. Then later, they frolic in the rain and do it in the mud.

All in all, I quite enjoyed. I even care about the characters and what happens to them.

The film is a turn on, in a way, but L rebuffs my amorous advances but oddly her resistance wilts after about 0.3 of a second and she consents to some late sex. Perhaps she liked the film too.

36 units, not bad considering.

Sunday, 26 August 2007


Not much of a hangover, which is surprising. Obviously a night of dodgy lager doesn't do your head in as much as decent beer does. Double sex, then off to farm shop to stock the freezer up with meat.

Football. Derby are totally awful and back to their dull worst of last season. Last season though it was good enough to beat most of the teams in the Championship. One notable exception was Birmingham, so it's no great surprise that we again fail to beat them and lose 2-1. Unfortunately on paper this is the easiest game of our season. Doesn't bode well.

In the evening, L and I head off to Broadway to see the Flying Scotsman, a film about the cyclist Graeme Obree. We have some beers and a meal first. The meal is excellent value when taken with a film ticket and we even get cut price drinks, although I think this is more to do with bar staff error rather than any special offer. I have two very nice Elsie Mo’s.

Sporting films are not usually very good but the Flying Scotsman was very entertaining. Graeme Obree is the amateur cyclist who built his own bike, partly using washing machine parts (he has a very understanding wife) but not only could he build a decent bike but he was an excellent and drug-free athlete as well. He went on to win two world titles and twice hold the world one hour record despite being under-funded and seemingly having the cycling authorities against both his bike designs and his cycling methods. I think the film simplifies events a little, as cinema usually does, but it was still an excellent film. I hope Graeme, who never really made much money from his cycling, benefits from its release.

My only criticism would be that Jonny Lee Miller didn’t look totally convincing during some of the close-ups of Obree on the track. A fact confirmed by watching footage of the real Obree on YouTube but generally Jonny Lee Miller was superb as are Bill Boyd and Brian Cox. Now I'm very much looking forward to reading Obree’s book.

Another Elsie Mo in the bar and then we head to Scruffys for the traditional night cap of a Leffe Brune. Except that Scruffys isn’t there anymore. There’s a bar/restaurant where it used to stand and it’s even called Scruffys but scruffy it is not. It’s a well lit posh bar, with posh chairs, an open plan layout, wallpaper, no blackboards, no traffic cones and the like, and no Leffe Brune. Even the decent music has gone. We have a Leffe Blonde and sulk into it. All very depressing. We retreat to the Ropewalk where they have a Theakston’s guest ale on. Nothing special but at least the place has some dark corners for us to chat in, like Scruffys used to. RIP.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

The Things You Learn When It’s Too Late To Matter

Start the day with a rare early morning quickie then onto the bus. No bike today as I have a company night out tonight.

Son armed with his GCSE results goes with L to enrol on his A level course. Apparently it was a good job she went with him because the forms were so complex that you needed an A Level in form filling to complete them. One of the advisors tried to talk Son out of chemistry, which we had already tried to do without success but this woman had more success and talked him into English Literature instead. The persuasive power of a female.

Of course he'll be totally oblivious to the opportunities this presents to him because when you're male and sixteen you are. Totally blind. The English Literature course should be 80% female and full of smart, sophisticated, intellectual totty. So not only should he be able to pull but it’ll be cultured piece to boot. So he ought to reconsider our offer to come and see War And Peace with us. Originally he speedily declined but that was before he had a harem of cultured classmates to impress.

Now if I redid my A levels, I'd pick Literature and other girl friendly courses and have a whale of a time. Oh, the things you learn about life when it’s too late to matter. Life's cruel rich tapestry.

Unaware that he has inadvertently hit the jackpot, Son heads home to tuck into a breakfast of celebratory treacle tart, which L bought him for dessert last night.
Daughter obviously gets wind of this treat, because in one of her ROFL emails to L, I'm afraid I taught her the ROFL abbreviation, she queries Son’s breakfast. She asks whether a tart is the same as a prostitute and would he be paying for it. I think L was a little shocked that Daughter's young mind has wandered so far into the deep dark depths of life but that's what watching ‘Skins’ does for you.

After work I meet up with the rest of my work colleagues and we go out for a curry and a few pints. L tells me not to run off with any girlies or pension salesmen because they both only want my money. She doesn't even speculate what a girlie pension salesperson would want. Could be fun finding out.

The curry is ok but I’m a bit miffed we don’t get starters. All my colleagues are keen to hit the bars, rather than hang around in a restaurant. Everyone argues about where to go. Eventually we head for some young trendy bar that is predictably full of old people like me. A couple of flat pints of Everards Tiger, some Cobra and some Singapore Tiger straight from the bottle (naturally). It’s not a terribly memorable night. I get the bus home to L and we split a 12% Bush beer.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Impressive For A Girl

GCSE results are dished out today at 10.30. L has made Son promise to let us know. My breath is bated.

Son does as he promises and he rings us. He comes out with 12 which is far more than you were even allowed to take in my day. 9 of which are useful e.g. grade C or above. It’s impressive all round but particularly in the subjects he wasn’t supposed to do well in, such as English and French. Then in IT, his, so far, chosen career, in which were already prepared for only a double C or a double D, which sound very like bra sizes. He comes out with a double E. Impressive for a girl, if we're talking about her chest, but perhaps not for a career in IT.

L’s having a nightmare day; her boss has turned up late, and she is threatening to eat herself to death. This probably has something to do with the fact that he’s already not popular because he told her she looked a bit ‘Porky’ yesterday. Naturally that didn’t go down well. So she was already talking about immersing herself in cake to try and get herself over that hurt. Personally, I though she looked very svelte when I saw her at the pool. She was going to be AF tonight bit I fear that may no longer be the case.

Had a good pub lunch, a giant Yorkshire pudding full of sausage, croquettes and peas. Washed down with Amber Stout, which thankfully isn’t a pale coloured stout but is a normal coloured one brewed in the Amber Valley

I get home and take Doggo on park, after which he’s totally knackered. L says she'll perk him up with a sausage. Then to squash. I win the first game but then go 2-1 down. As I’m winning the fourth game, he starts to struggle with his back. I have no sympathy and easily win the decider to claim another famous victory. Wonder if I'll get a sausage for that. In the bar afterwards, Oldershaws beer from Grantham 3.9%.

L has only just left work and texts to say that she’s up to her old Good Samaritan tricks again. She’s found a wino lying in the street and is helping him home.

L cooks and despite the fact that she had threatened to serve up a healthy meal of alcohol and cake, we have spam curry instead. We do have wine though; two large glasses of white wine, L poured them. Then one small glass of red, I poured that.


Cycled in again today. It was so cold that I put two tops on. It was bloody windy too. L says there were loads of ambulances tanking up the road where I cycle. I think she was worried about me.

L's been on the bike too and swam. She's also hoping to hit the gym later. She got that much gear with her that I think she's struggling to carry it all. She has the nerve to have a whinge at single sport people like me. Single sport! Swim and cycle is two sports.

She's also having a bad day at work. She has all women patients today and she hates women patients. Apparently one women's medical records are that huge that the receptionist refused to carry them upstairs.

I get home and attempt to fit some hurdle practice and a ball game in with Doggo, while checking my emails and cooking up gourmet cheese on toast. I could do without my financial advisor popping round checking how my remortgage went and touting for business but at least he is quick. Luckily he misses L, who hates all things financial.

After all those jobs are done I head into Nottingham to the Social to see a band called Voxtrot, who are a very British sounding Indie Band from Austin, Texas.

When I arrive just after 8pm, I appear to be the only one there. I have to double check that I'm in the right place. I check my ticket. It seems I am in the right place. More worrying my ticket is number 2. So at least one other person should be arriving. Then I notice, in the gloom, that there are other people here. There are three chaps sat drinking right at the back of the room. I suspect, though, that they might be the band. Oh well if no one else turns, at least I'll get a good view.

I check out the merchandising stall, unmanned at present. The CDs are cheap so I'll buy some later because they're very expensive normally as they're all US imports. Daughter wants me to get her a badge but there aren't any. Posters are free though, I'll get one later for her. It doesn't look as they'll run out. She'll be upset though when she sees I haven't been to see Foxtrot after all.

I feel compelled to get a drink, for something to do. I buy a Newcastle Brown, which is just the right temperature and I thoroughly enjoy it. It's been a long time since I last had one. I go downstairs to the other bar, where there are other people, to drink it.

Eventually I see some other people go upstairs, so I follow them. Soon some more people do start arriving. A group of five students go to the bar and share a pint of lager between them.

It's filling up now. In addition to me, the three 'band' members and the five students. There are a couple of couples, all older than me. Another chap who's even older and looks vaguely familiar. I'm sure he travels on the Red Arrow and reads the Daily Telegraph every day. I had him down as Rachmaninoff man, not into obscure US Indie Bands. There are two girls chatting away in American accents, so presumably jet-setting groupies. So in all, not counting the chap who is now on the merchandising stall and the barmaid there's 15 of us.

Action at last. A very strange support band takes the stage. They are called Sleeping States and are a bit like Lovers Electric, that odd couple who supported OMD, but without the girl. They are two guys with guitars and another of those weird synthesizers that they blow into. Very weird but not bad.

After they're finished, a few more people arrive and the crowd swells to around thirty people. Then Voxtrot take the stage and the 'audience' respond enthusiastically. The band are over here to promote their first album. They've been around for around four years, so they've taken their time releasing one, opting instead to release a string of singles and EPs. A bit like bands used to do in the good old early eighties. These singles though, a mix of catchy pop gems and disarming ballads, have made quite a name for them in the blogosphere, without probably selling anything. They offer a lot of their tracks as free downloads.

Fittingly enough, they open with 'Introduction', which is also the first track on the album. The band have tons of energy and show it. The opener is full of their bouncy sound and jangly guitars, the band bounce along with it. The drumming is impressive too, Matt Simon's pounding drums carrying the songs along.

The guitarist breaks a guitar string during the second song but they don't have any spare guitars and they have to borrow one off the support band. They ask if anyone in the audience could change the string for them. Life at the bottom, eh. Very Rock n roll. Someone takes it off him but I think it's the chap from the merchandising stall.

Three tracks in and they play their 'big' internet 'hit' - 'Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives'. Everyone in the audience knows it, cue a lot of singing and foot-tapping. A group of five are bouncing around at the back. The band say 'hi' to them and thank them for travelling four hours to be here. Is everybody here with the band? This troupe of groupies are four parts male, one part female. The girl keeps a safe distance from the lads, seemingly not wishing to be seen as if she's with any of them. I wonder which of the band members she's shagging.

Then they shift gear, lead vocalist Ramesh Srivastava putting aside his guitar, to take a turn at the keyboard for two piano-driven numbers.

In all, it's a short set and the band stick to their allotted 45 minutes. Earlier, on the track 'Kid Gloves', Srivastava asked us to 'Cheer me up, cheer me up, I'm a miserable fuck.' So obviously we failed because after playing another of their early 'hits' - 'The Start of Something', which has the groupies at the back jumping with excitement, they leave the stage.

'If I die clutching your photograph, don't call me boring' Srivastava sings.

Hmmmm. They don't encore, despite the histrionic cries of Daily Telegraph man. No, not boring, not miserable either, in fact a very good gig, just a bit too brief mate.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007


It’s good to be back on the bike today, although I do try and take it slightly easy because I’ve forgotten to get some new brake blocks. The weather though is starting to get quite nippy. Although L has been saying this for a while, well actually she always says it but at the moment I’m inclined to agree with her.

First email from her is entitled ‘Un-good morning’ which is possibly a small step in the right direction but then when I read the email I realise that perhaps I’m being a bit hasty. She’s has an eventful, albeit frustrating morning. After a few weeks of being able to get on the park in the mornings she found it locked this morning. The original prison warden seems to be back again. Going round the long way made her late, so Son didn’t get his alarm call for his paper round. Mind you he ought to be able to get himself up, he does after all have about four working alarm clocks in his room.

Things didn’t get any better, her new bike basket means that she can no longer activate her brakes so she ended up walking to work and therefore not swimming. She could have ‘wing and a prayered’ without brakes, after all I made it to Derby without any.

When I don’t get any further emails from her, I wonder if she’s topped herself. She confirms she hasn’t but appears to be contemplating eating herself to death. Odd concept, must be a girl thing.

I bike home, straight to the pool. There are a couple of teenagers in the centre asking if they have a cigarette machine. I am relieved to hear that they don’t but you can never be too sure with the council.

The pool is very quiet, which is unusual for a Tuesday. Everybody must be in the gym because they were saying that it was full, apparently it only holds 20 people.

I share a lane briefly with a girl in a bikini and one of those huge, silly, hieroglyphic tattoos on her back. It’ll take more than that to intimidate me love. She soon gets out. I do thirty or so lengths and then get out myself. Just as I’m stripping my Speedos off, L texts me. Apparently she’s just arrived and is getting changed, ready to go in. I slip back into my wet trunks and go say hi. She’s still very much alive and looks very striking in her yellow swimsuit. I’m glad it’s yellow tonight; it’s my favourite of her swim suits. It was well worth getting back into wet trunks for.

I bike home to find that Daughter is out, gone to the cinema apparently. I go out in the garden with Doggo. He’s a bit surprised and a bit miffed when I set the agility jumps up but we need to practice. He’s annoyingly paw perfect. I think he knows he’s on trial or more probably he knows I’ll make him do it again if he messes up. I’m sure he won’t be so perfect in our next event at the weekend.

After that we head to the park for a spot of football but when we get there it is locked. It’s only 7.40. The curse of the morning seems to have struck the evening too. Last week they locked it at 8.30, this week it’s 7.30. Bizarre. Infuriating. Un-good. We manage to get in by squeezing through the gate because they never lock it properly.

For saying that even the main gate will close at 8.00, it’s pretty busy on the park and when the attendant tries to lock up, he has to go round dozens of people trying to get them to leave. He doesn’t have much success. In fact he can’t find the owner of one of the cars and by the time he does its gone 8.30. So it makes you wonder why they try and bother to lock it earlier. Doggo and I, like most of the others go out through the golf course which they cannot lock. Other people are still coming in through that way. We head down the road to meet L who is on the way back from the gym.

L cooks up some Hake for tea, which is fish by the way and very nice, while I fetch Daughter from the cinema. L says that for fetching Daughter L says she will go on top again tonight. Again. That’s two nights in a row, she must be feeling fitter.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Perhaps It’s Arthur Weasley?

I wake up still feeling a bit wounded from the brutal killer insect attack on me on Friday but I think it’s starting to improve now. L is hoping it’ll come to a nice head so that she can burst it but I think she'll be disappointed.

Drive in to work today. Work is still hectic. Email is quiet. L says she’s having problems with her email but she does manage to pass on the news that Daughter and Doggo are gardening. In Daughter's own words ‘faffing about with her vegetables and alien strawberries’. Not sure what she means by that but I don’t think its good news. The garden was already a bit like a bad day at the Glastonbury Festival when I went out there this morning. So it’s worrying how much mud I’ll find when I get home and how much will have been traipsed inside the house on feet and paws.

Talking of Daughter she wants to go see Mindless Self Indulgence, which for the uninitiated are an industrial, jungle, rock, punk, techno band (delete as applicable) from New York. Probably not quite my thing but I’ll give it go. An open mind and all that.

My plot with multiple fantasy league teams has been rumbled and all my duplicate teams (as they call them) have been evicted.

Get home and the mud isn’t too bad. All the same I edge and fence in Daughter’s vegetable patch just to stop it spreading as it is threatening to do and to keep Doggo and the football of it. Then I cut the grass, which exercises Doggo nicely.

L is off running, or rather not running, in Derby with a friend. They opt to walk instead. I think perhaps my run with her yesterday has ruined her run tonight. Doggo and I walk to the bus stop to meet her.

While I blog, L watches some Harry Potter on DVD with Daughter. Then she takes Harry, in book form, to bed. I'm getting concerned that they have a thing going or perhaps it’s not Harry, perhaps it's someone else, perhaps it’s Arthur Weasley?

When I come to bed later, L manoeuvres me to the middle of the bed and straddles me. It's more Anna Karenina than Harry Potter, but then again I haven't read the last book. I try and resist... very briefly... if at all.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

That's Married Women For You

It’s early. We’re still in bed. L wants to run. Doggo looks shocked. I look shocked. I can see Doggo thinking ‘surely they’re going to get passionate first’ and really hoping that we do because then he can get another half an hour or so extra kip before facing the day. Nope. Sorry, not today. Into lyrca. Thirty minutes run round the park. Out of lyrca. Then we get passionate (at last).

Then bizarrely it's back in to lyrca and off to the gym. I do 2K on the treadmill, working up to a speed of 14.5kph, which seems pretty fast to me. I daren’t crank it up anymore in case I fall off. If I did at that speed I’m sure it could get messy. It would catapult me backwards across the room where I would collide with the girl on the exercise bike behind me. She looks like a soft landing but not an attractive one.

I follow my run with a 2K row. Last time I beat my target time of nine minutes, this time I go for eight and a half. I start off racing the ‘pace boat’ but it doesn’t put up much of a fight so I switch the display back to just raw numbers. I think perhaps I’m a tad over ambitious with my target this time and I time my effort all wrong. I end up trying to sprint the last 50m which doesn't seem to be possible in a boat. I come in at 8.30.3. A whopping three hundredths of a second outside my target. I'm distraught. Close but no cigar as they say.

I retreat to the pool to lick my wounds, where I do thirty-ish lengths. No psychos around today, in fact the pool seem to be full of ‘leisure’ swimmers. All the serious athletes must be out doing an event somewhere. Which begs the question, why aren't I?

There are two men in my lane but both do little more than stand at either end. Occasionally they swap ends but it takes them both an age to Doggie paddle to the other end. One of them annoyingly keeps stopping halfway to talk to the attendant and I have to swim round him.

When I get out I do see a more serious swimmer in the changing rooms. Well he’s got the full kit, you know lyrca shorts, ‘terminator’ goggles, two drinks bottles, assorted floats, paddles and other numerous aids which look sexual but probably aren't. Well I assume he’s taking that lot swimming. He should at least be able to shift the doggie paddlers.

A while ago I got one of those emails from L that started with the word ‘Darling’. Now whenever she starts an email with the ‘D’ word, she wants something. Well in this case, it was just a simple request. She wanted to know that if she hired ‘Anna Karenina’, you know by Tolstoy, would I watch it with her. Apparently it’s a fabulously mushy film set in old Russia. Well I’ve coped with Catherine Cookson so I figured it couldn’t be that difficult, and L has promised me that it doesn't have a happy ending, which sounds promising, so I agreed.

I was a little worried though when I looked it up on the internet and saw that Sean Bean was in it but L corrected me, it wasn't that version that she had ordered. The one she wanted to see had got Mark Strong in it, who apparently she fancies but, she says, only for a dinner date. Hmmm, we men all know how dinner dates are supposed to finish up.

This version is an adaptation that Channel 4 serialised into four parts. I wonder how long the episodes are? The film version was only 1 hour 40 in total. I could cope with that, no problem.

We watch the whole of episode one and it does start promisingly with a fairly gory train accident. I'm not sure about fabulously mushy, there's hardly any fluffy stuff so far. In fact, quite the opposite, Anna is hot to trot and doesn't wait around to be romanced. She is very quickly throwing herself into a bit of hard and fast with her Russian soldier, Alexey Vronsky, but that's married women for you.

I take L to bed with every intention of re-enacting the best bits of episode one.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

How Not To Run A Dog Show

I get up early for a dog show today. Doggo appears keen but I'm not fooled; appearances can be deceptive. The show is run by a club called Dogs On Top, which conjures up interesting connotations, possibly.

I get there a little late because my event isn't first up but the first event only has 24 dogs in it, so it should be over in less than half an hour. However they start half an hour late, then take an age, then the timing system breaks. Everyone is slowly losing the will to live. I should have stayed in bed.

Two and a half hours after I've arrived, we finally get to do an event. Doggo's keenness seems to have worn off already, if that's what it was. We are eliminated in both our first two events. I know we haven't done any agility for a while but he simply isn't paying attention to me. My next dog will not have a nose then he won't be able to spend all day sniffing the ground. I tell L to nip to the dog's home and pick up a replacement.

The woman who bred Doggo is there and she keeps popping up out of nowhere and talking to me, when I least want her to. What's worse is she's running a Pug in the agility and at the moment they're doing better than us.

The organisation of the show, having started badly, goes downhill. They manage to put all the results for one event down against the wrong competitors, so they have to rerun all 90 dogs. Frankly this lot couldn't organize a piss-up in a brewery, on second thought perhaps they could, they look like they can drink a bit.

Luckily they only have to rerun those dogs belonging to the owners who haven't yet gone home in disgust. To make matters worse it's now raining. L and Daughter have gone off to the cinema to see something romantic, I'm almost jealous.

A bad day gets worse as Derby lose 4-0 at Spurs. At least Malbranque scores two of the goals and therefore does the business for my fantasy team. Leeds score four against Southend. Although it was 1-1 with five minutes to go. Jammy gits.

At least Doggo and I manage to salvage something. He pays a little attention to me and we win a lump of cheap plastic for second place on the jumping course. Not terribly impressive because the standard is depressingly low. Just like the organisation.

I stick it out at the show despite the fact most people have gone home long ago and it's still raining. I also have a headache and a gash in my side from being attacked yesterday. I'm determined to get my moneys worth and get my last run in. Things are running so slowly though, that there's only one thing for it, that's to take over one of the disorganised rings and run it myself.

Once I get involved I gain a little sympathy for the people attempting to run the ring in such difficult circumstances. The final course was supposed to be a Power & Speed but has been reduced to a 'Speed' course because they haven't got enough agility equipment to set up the 'Power' bit. Then we discover that the list of entrants we have been given is for a show next week and not this show at all. Honestly they couldn't organize a shag in a Brothel but then if you saw the women who were doing the disorganising, you wouldn't want them to.

We do the 'Speed' event and bearing in mind that Doggo doesn't do 'speed' at the best of times, we both deserve credit for achieving 5th place, particularly as the rain was almost torrential at the time.

The woman who is 'in charge' of the ring has brought three dogs with her and she's had to talk her husband in to coming with her to keep the dogs company. She says he hates dogs, dog shows and her. Makes you wonder why he married her. They've been here since 8am, it's now nearly 6pm. So he deserves a long service medal for a stint like that or as she suggests he'll probably want sex from her as compensation when they get home. That's probably the least he deserves; perhaps she should get that Brothel organised.

The powers that be would like agility to be taken seriously and classified as a sport. On days like this they're clearly having a laugh. Possibly the worst event I've ever been to.

Get home and badly need alcohol, despite the fact that I really had enough last night. L and I go to a beer festival at a local pub, which turns out to be surprisingly good. Ptarmigan, St Austell Tribute, Mordue IPA 5.1%. A very good selection.

Neither of us fancy cooking so we go for a curry. Channa Puri. Chicken Tawaa, veg rice, Keema naan and a Stella. Good stuff.

Friday, 17 August 2007


The first email of the day from L isn't entitled 'Good Morning'. This is, she says, because it is such a hypocritical statement. Oh Dear. This doesn't bode well.

I'm sure she wouldn't be on a downer about mornings if she'd cycled to work in the beautiful sunshine and had exchanged pleasantries with as many of my friendly comrades (the motorists) as I had. Yes I'm on the bike today. In fact no one tried to knock me off at all today but a poor chap on a zebra crossing nearly wasn't so lucky. I really must get my brakes sorted.

Avoiding the 'M' word, I tentatively enquire as to how the first segment of her day was. She describes it as 'Carcinogenic' which sounds a bundle of laughs.

I've decided against the Saddleworth triathlon next week. The journey is probably just too far to be worthwhile particularly as the bike course is an out and back along an 'A road' and looks a tad dull, if hilly. So that's probably it for triathlons for the season. So I could even give up the swimming for six months and save myself those 'drowning' nightmares.

Instead I may return to my former 'worst' sport - orienteering, and attempt the Lincoln Street O event. Might even be able to tempt L. Now do I go for the full 8k event or opt for the 'veterans' event, a miserly 5k. Yep folks, the least satisfied members of society, us blokes over 40, the ones imminently, if not already, over that hill, can now enter events as 'veterans'. Oh the shame. Oh the opportunities...

In fact, I notice that's there's now a series of these street events, six this year with more possible for next year. Now there's a thought.

I cycle home the long route via Kegworth and Clifton. Very pleasant. One of the best bits is cycling down the lane that bypasses the M1 Junction. It's not the official cycle route, although it should be, the official route makes you cross the M1 junction. There's logic for you. The lane also appears to provide several nice secluded spots for a bit of 'sport'. I've often seen cars parked there but no one in them. Today however a female occupant appears to be giving the driver of one of these cars a full MOT in one of the pull-ins. She'd probably be horrified if she'd noticed how many cyclists pass this way but I think she was too busy. The chap noticed me passing but he'd just got a smile on his face and obviously didn't care. I push on. Hoping to do some servicing of my own when I get home.

The rest of the ride goes well until I'm cycling along the ring road, nearly home, when I am suddenly attacked. It feels like something has stuck a knife in my side or perhaps I've been shot. I resist the temptation to stop and check the damage. Instead I push on home so that if I collapse at least someone will know about it.

At home, the dog offers no sympathy, in fact barely a greeting from him as he sits by his ball, waiting for it to move. L is a little more concerned, at least she is when I show her my wound. So it must be quite impressive although it appears that I have been bit and not stabbed or shot.

I mistakenly assume that L has stayed in her lycra shorts as a sexual tease to me, when really she's hoping I'll take her out for a run. I had offered to do this. Easy mistake to make but not pointed out to me until it was too late.

So no run but we do amble to the Victoria and have an excellent beer night. Full Mash 4.3%, Jaipur 5.9%, Grantham Stout 4.5% and Broadside 4.8%.

Home for late food.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Training Tips For Errant Collies

Opt to drive in today. Traffic surprisingly heavy. L opts for the bike and it rains. She tried a new route, got a bit lost, and ended up being out for 35 minutes which is a decent workout.

Doggo seems to have recovered a bit. At least he managed a toy throwing session before he overdid it and had to go back to bed.

In the news today that men in their late 30s and early 40s are the least satisfied members of society. This is, of course, according to another of those surveys. Apparently us chaps, who are just tottering to the top of the hill of life (See Now Where's That Entry Form... - Sunday 5th August), are even more dissatisfied than teenagers. Oh come on.

Something to look forward to though, our retirement years are apparently the happiest period of our lives or does that only apply to those who have retired now, with a pension, rather than us lot who won't get one.

Daughter arrives home from France in buoyant mood. We'll see how long this lasts, perhaps she hasn't discovered that L has ransacked her bedroom whilst she was away.

Not only does it rain on L on her bike into work, it rains on her way home too. I try and motivate her by telling her how cycling in the rain is fun. It doesn't work; she doesn't believe me.

I find out mid afternoon that tonight's duel on the squash court is off. He’s ill. Bugger. Typical. I thought he was quiet on email today. If I'd known that this morning I would have cycled into work. Looks like Doggo will have to forgo his ball session in favour of a run.

L goes off to Pilates and tells me to have a good run. Which isn't possible if I’m taking the dog.

Doggo dawdles as much as usual but oddly about halfway around our route he stops dragging his paws at the back and moves to the front. Then head down, ears back, he starts to set the pace. It’s as if he’s suddenly had enough and was saying ‘right then let’s get this over with’. He runs about six feet in front of me for the rest of the route, rarely stopping.

We get stopped by a lad with an errant collie. You know the sort, on the lead, pulling in four directions at once, none of them where you want to go. He enquires how I got Doggo so well trained. After I stop laughing, I don’t tell him that on the lead Doggo would be the same as his dog. I also don’t point out that Doggo is currently behaving because he is too knackered to do otherwise. A 10k run would take the edges off his dog but the lad doesn’t look capable of running ten feet let alone 10k. I give him a few tips on rewarding good behaviour with treats and then we push on. Doggo doesn’t even stop at the puddles for a drink. We do an hour so we must have done at least 5k, hopefully more. My legs ache so perhaps we did around 10k after all.

More fish tonight as L cooks up a superb salmon curry.

I spend ages on the internet trying to find the Carling Cup 2nd Round draw. I have a sneaking suspicion a Derby v Leeds cup draw is coming out of the bag tonight but Sky are keeping it to themselves, either that or no one else cares.

Eventually I find it. Disappointedly we get Blackpool. I assume we'll try and lose to concentrate on the league by playing our reserves in that game. They're in the championship now and our first team was only just good enough last year, so we won’t get past them. That’s us out for another season.

Go to bed where L is surprisingly lively. No complaints about that.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007


Back today from a short, three nights break in Norfolk. Very pleasant it was too. Doggo loved the walks along the beach and the dips in the sea. We preferred the walk along the cliff tops because Doggo repeatedly ran down the cliffs to the sea and back. Consequently he was therefore wrecked most evenings. He looked progressively worse as the days went by. So much so it was a good job we came home today, for his own good.

The food and drink on our hols was good too. Both our local pubs were a little posh but they both let Doggo in and unlike in Durham, we got local beer every night. Woodforde's, Humpty Dumpty, and Wolf. We even discovered an excellent bottle of white wine, yes white wine. French though, not local. The food was excellent, I had loads of fish and a decent steak on the last night. We also got local cheese, in abundance. The first two nights I couldn't sleep on my front due to a rounded stomach because the cheeseboards were so superb. One was that big it fed Doggo and me dessert and then fed both of us at breakfast too. Although I must admit, on the second night it was the cheesecake that did for me.

Lie-ins were long, until at least 11am, and we had some great storms while we were in the tent but inconveniently not at the right passionate moments. The campsite even had shared showers, with lots of room in them, but we didn't do them justice. We're getting old you know.

Got home in time to do a gym and swim session. I did 2K on treadmill, which was more than enough. Then I did 2k on the rowing machine, which was much more fun. I can almost feel a new sporting challenge coming on. Mind you, my arms and stomach ached that much afterwards that I struggled to swim.

I cook up a curry whilst I listen to Derby on the radio, as they lose 1-0 to Manchester City. They have started playing some brilliant football, which makes them unrecognisable from the dour team of last season. Unfortunately if Billy doesn’t put a stop to it soon they’ll be lucky to have even 10 points by the end of the season.

As for good old Leeds, I'm very disappointed. Two wins out of two is not what their public wanted.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Saturday, 11 August 2007

It’s Good To Have It Back

I must have tried fairly hard last night because it’s gone 9.00 before I awake. It’s going to be a busy day and although I’ve probably already had a refund for the yoghurt's, I still slip into my gorgeous girl next to me. No harm being in credit is there.

When we eventually get up, we drive over to Newark to pick up the keys to my property investment. We have quick look around the house and then head back to Nottingham to rescue L’s bike. The lock won’t budge and we have to resort to the hack saw. Amazingly no one questions us sawing a bike free from its parking place. Once we’ve freed the bike, L says she owes me. Wa-hey, more payment in kind. She bikes home while I head off to the match.

I’m looking forward to the new season. Not really for the football, more for the fantasy league. It’s good to have it back. Then of course there’s Leeds, who’ve lost their appeal over their fifteen point penalty. It was never going to happen once the league said they’d let the clubs decide. Suppose some Championship clubs would have voted for them but no one else. No one in League 1 is going to vote to give another club points and the League 2 clubs will all be hoping Leeds come down.

Derby actually put in a storming performance against Portsmouth and are unlucky not to win. It finishes 2-2. Most of the new signings play well. Perhaps we won’t finish bottom after all.

In the evening we share a bottle of Chilean Merlot at the Willougby.

Tomorrow we’re off away for a few days. Yes again. So no blog until later next week.

Friday, 10 August 2007

The Winning Of The Towel

I have to resort to the worst option this morning and drive in. It’s the only way I can get home quickly enough for tonight’s entertainment, the ‘run’.

A couple of momentous occasions today. Firstly it’s Doggo's Birthday, his 6th. Secondly, I’ve just filled in the form for the Electoral Role and I’ve had to put Son’s name on it, even though he can't vote for another two years.

When I tell L, in an email called ‘A Momentous Occasion’, she immediately expects the occasion to be something silly like me entering an open water tri. I tell her to wash her mouth out.

Taking of Son, he’s been really struggling to get up for his paper round this week. The holiday and all those lie-ins to lunchtime seem to have stuffed his body clock. Thinks he’s suffering with some form of jet lag now.

L’s the one who had cycled in today and she’s pleased not to get squashed. She’s on the bike because she wants to get back in time from her physio to see me ‘run’. She’s back having treatment because her injury hasn’t improved. She been told to do plenty of exercise to ensure it is particularly bad when she goes. So she’s gives it a good hammering at the gym first to try and flare it up.

She sends me to Sainsbury’s at lunchtime for what she calls ‘crap yoghurts’. Would you believe it: - Sticky Toffee Pudding, Cherry Bakewell or Apple Pie & Cinnamon. She says she’ll pay me back in kind, if I have the energy after my ‘run’. Paying me back in kind could be very expensive, so she could be a busy girl. It'll be good for her fitness though.

She says I’ll thank her when she’s powering along on a run, or wearing my slinky stuff but not at the same time. I think powering along in her slinky stuff would be a great idea. She’d get more of a thanking if she did. It’s something I will discuss with her after six pints tonight.

My squash opponent from last night moans about the blisters and the sore back he's picked up from last night. He can count himself lucky he doesn’t have a 10k race tonight. He says he’ll raise a glass to me if I complete it. So will I, several of them. He’s more concerned that I beat the 'girlies'. So am I. It’ll be all the same ones as before, I’m getting to know them by now. There are five of the buggers that I can’t beat and as I’ve not trained for this, I'm unlikely to do so this time either. His advice is a bit of light tripping might do the trick. That could be tricky taking out five of them at the start because if I don’t get them then I’ll never catch the.

L has a problem with her bike at the physio and it won’t unlock, so she has to walk home. I pick her up on my way home. We’ll have to rescue the bike tomorrow.

‘Run’ time. It's known as the Jagermeister but we know not why. Yet. The girl with the unnecessary ponytail is marshalling, so at least I won’t have to beat her. L says she’ll probably spit at me as I run past. I will watch out for that.

I vow to take it easy and I do. I close my eyes at the start and let people get ahead of me. Disadvantage is I don't manage to trip anyone up, so no doubt five girlies will still beat me. When I open them again we are running up the hill from the university. I can see the leaders and the lead bike up the hill not very far away. If I sprinted, perhaps I could catch them. I am sensible and don't. I enjoy a nice pleasant first lap, jogging along at a sensible pace but I worry that my time will be crap.

The girl with the unnecessary ponytail doesn’t spit at me as I pass her but her fellow marshall flashes her chest and a smile at me, I know what her game is, she’s trying to put me off. It's not going to work.

I’m in a group of about six and three of them stop for a drink at half way. I spurn the drinks and push on, making three places, easy this. Someone offers a sponge, I didn’t know sponges we’re on offer, I have to swerve across the front of several runners to get one. The disruption seems to gain me another place or two. I lob the sponge at L, in what I hope is a friendly sort of way, but I miss anyway.

At the start of a second lap I join two other chaps and run at their pace. Although one of them has an annoying habit of labouring up the hills but then bombing down the other side, leaving me for dead. I mark his card. A chap in the yellow of Erewash Valley speeds past us all but he doesn’t look totally comfortable. So I mark his card too.

The 8k point is my planned point to push on. Target one, the chap I yo-yoed with on the hills is easily dealt with. Ha. The chap in yellow takes a bit more catching but I do it and pass him too. I pass quite a few others on the run in too. I’m worried that the chap in yellow might come back at me but he doesn’t. I even pass a few people still on their first lap.

The last bit is on grass which is quite hard but still no one comes past me. I come in 58th out of 363, in a time of 41.23. So not bad. Four minutes ahead of my only other 10k time. Guess how many women ahead of me. Yep five again. Distressingly not the usual five.

We head over to the Stick & Pitcher where the presentation is being held. It’s quite jovial over there. The Jagermeister girls are there, who are equipped with their Hawaiian style garlands and have flashing lights on their tits. They’re also dishing out Jagermeister for a £1. This turns out to be a liquor of some type. Apparently it’s made from a mixture of 56 roots, barks, blossoms and herbs. Cinnamon from Sri Lanka, bitter oranges from Australia, ginger roots from South Asia and saffron from Spain. Everything else is top secret.

I get nothing for my heroic 58th or my cracking time but I win a towel as a random spot prize. Amazing, I never win anything. It's only a towel but hey it's something.

Three beers. Landlord, Harvest Pale and Elgoods Cambridge. Then we head home. L does Spam Curry and we have a Leffe. Then L jumps me. She says I was asking for it but I’d only took my jeans off, I was getting ready for bed. Mind you I’m not complaining. A rampant girl is a welcome girl. Terrific stuff. Great use of the teeth. Payment in kind, in style.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

A Glorious Victory

As I get up and shower I recall another tip from yesterday’s paper which was to soap yourself the way your lover would. Hmmm always do.

I take the bus in again and read that you can now get t-shirts that summarise the entire plot of the last Harry Potter book, so that you can annoy people who haven’t read it yet. Only problem is everyone has read it except me.

L’s at the pool having more fun than I am on the bus. She’s been sharing a lane with a girl in a string bikini. Typical, I’ve never been lucky enough to get a string clad girl get in a lane with me. Something to look forward to I suppose. L reports that she overtook her in the end. Which is a good job; we can’t have upstarts like that taking over the lanes. Apparently the girl was doing breast stroke. I remember the old days, I have fond memories of the days when breaststroke was good enough. Mind you, it’s always nice to see a girl doing breaststroke, very aesthetically pleasing.

Did the pub at lunch. Corned Beef hash and a rather nice stout. Bad news though, the chef is house hunting in Yorkshire, so our cottage pie sessions may end. Assume they won’t commute down from Yorkshire just to do cottage pie for us.

I’m feeling much better today. Not that L believes me. She’s worried that I’m not well enough to run tomorrow. Not that she would let me back out. If I could get a refund, then I might cry off, but doubt they’d allow that.

All quiet in France. Assume Daughter must be out of credit and/or power.

In the evening it’s squash. I’ve been getting a bit fed up with my opponent because he can seemingly land the ball on the join between wall and floor at will, kill the ball, and win the point. I've been tempted to submit designs for a whole new court. Perhaps this is how I could make my million. I could design a totally round court, therefore no corners. It would ruin his game plan and lead to ten minute rallies. This would benefit me because he’d be knackered, or, as he puts it, dead. His partner is always telling him that he shouldn't try so hard to beat me that he has a heart attack. She has a point. It would take a little of the gloss off my victory if he was hospitalised part way through it. I'd still take the victory though, only because I figure he would do the same if rolls were reversed.

Tonight though, there is no need, squash goes well or at least it goes badly for him. I win the first two games easily and then win a close third to win our best of five game 3-0. A glorious victory. He improves after that and wins the other four games. Although the last one goes to 17-15. Pint of Silly Mid Whippet in the pub, from one of my favourite breweries Cottage.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

It's Raining In France

On the bus today because I'm on the ale in Derby tonight. It's a good journey. The A52 is now fully open again and the new lights seem to work well, although there wasn’t really any traffic so it wasn’t difficult. August is just so nice on the roads.

L's had plenty of texts from daughter. Apparently it's raining in France, she's bored, and her half brother is annoying her. Hope L told her how sunny it is here. I’m still trying to decode the text she sent me last night.

I think L must be ignoring her because Daughter’s started texting me again. I bet L's switched her phone off. Well at least at this rate Daughter's credit will soon be gone although it's not gone yet because here comes another one.

We've checked out on the internet the place she's gone to. It looks a very posh resort. Pool looks nice. Shame she forgotten her swimsuit.

I'm having another manic day and I keep getting roped into meetings. My mind drifts in this particular meeting to something I read in the paper this morning. They were giving tips on how to hold on to that rampant desire which has you shagging in cupboards at the beginning of a relationship. Apparently you have to train your brain to turn yourself on every day. The theory is the more you start thinking about sex, the more you keep thinking about sex. Problem is, I don’t have any problems thinking about sex. One tip was that when you're at work chatting to a colleague, focus on their hands, and remember what your partner did with theirs last time you had great sex. Hmmm. It had the opposite effect on me, you ought to see some of the people I work with.

My day may be manic but it's not as exciting as L's. At lunch she though someone was kerb crawling her but then she realised that there was no one in the car. Her and another chap tried to open the doors but couldn't. In the end someone put a brick under the wheel and left the car sitting in the middle of the road with the Community Police around it. Apparently the parking ticket on had only just been paid, so they have a few hours to wait until someone comes back.

Son's been cultivating a rather fetching goatee beard. He's at the stage where hair starts sprouting out of your face in random places. So it's impossible to grow a decent beard even if you wanted to. L's bought him a razor in case he can find time for any personal hygiene. Not usually high on his list. I think she was stunned at the prices. She paid only £14, which is a stunningly good deal. Only hope it's got a beard trimmer on it. If he tries to shave that lot of in one go it’s going to hurt.

Straight off for a few beers with an old school friend after work. I have two Railway Porters 4.2%. Very nice. He had seen in the paper that the year above us at school had just had a reunion to celebrate 25 years since leaving. Blimey. We start making our own plans.

Then we go for a curry and have the most expensive pint I've ever had. £3.80 for a Cobra. Disgraceful. I've been feeling a bit rough all day and had hoped that a beer might perk me up. It has a little but not much. The curry doesn't really help either, nice though it is. In the end I couldn't manage all my Jalfrezi. Doggo will be pleased though because I stash some Keema naan in my pocket for him.

L texts to say she has a lonely dog at home who is missing me. Missing me kicking his ball more like. No mention of any lonely girls at home. I get to the bus stop and there's a queue at the bus stop so perhaps for once it hasn't gone early. Seconds later is arrives and is just as quickly gone again, all before it's allotted departure time. Luckily I manage to jump on as it passed, then we hare off down the A52 at Mach 3. L says she'll wake the dog up and come and meet me. I thought she said he was lonely not asleep.

Once back home, I still feel rough, in fact even more so. The sex with my 'lonely' girl helps alleviate my suffering.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Happy Hairdressers?

The peace in our household was disturbed in the middle of the night by Daughter trying to sleepwalk out of the front door. Apparently we texted her to come down the stairs. Which is a ridiculous notion because her mobile is always flat.

I bike in again and it's a very pleasant ride without the Chelsea Tractors on the road. Just goes to prove that the theory that they are all driven by women on the school run is correct. Presumably the men only use them to drive to the garden centre at the weekend.

I've advised L to draw up a weekly training plan for herself and then stick to it. Today she tells me she's broken it already. She'd planned to cycle to work today but couldn't bring herself to do it. Tut tut. She can't afford to be a wimp if she wants to get super fit.

Apparently 'Techies', that's us folks who work in IT, have lower levels of job satisfaction than hairdressers, librarians and truck drivers despite earnings a lot more money. IT workers came 66th out of 81 professions ranked for job satisfaction. I'm not surprised but hairdressers? I can't believe that hairdressers are one of the happiest. The only happy hairdresser I ever had died of a heart attack at 50, which was inconvenient because he was very good and very cheap.

An hour from the end of the day we have a power cut at work. All the people from the other offices all seem to converge on the builders, who are working across the road, blaming them but apparently it's not their fault. Just as we were all about to go home early the power comes back on. I power my computer up again, just in time to power it down again as it now is time to go home.

I cycle home and head for the pool. My plan is to attempt another swim, if I can raise the energy. I don’t want a repeat of last night when I was too tired to fight L off... or perhaps I do. It was after all a glorious victory over Harry but he'd been asking for it. It was good to put him in his place.

It's total madness at the pool. Six people in the fast lane. Five in lane two. The rest of the pool is packed as well. I opt to share the unofficial third lane with a mad Chinaman who is swimming lengths breaststroke underwater. Luckily as he’s practically glued to the bottom of the pool he doesn’t get in my way much but some of the huge women floating around do. Its worse than avoiding the Chelsea Tractors on the roads and it's probably the same people. Some of the waves they are causing are horrendous. The fully clothed woman is in there again or perhaps she’s still there from last time. Eventually enough is enough and it’s calmed down enough in lane two, it's down to three people, for me to move across. The pace is very slow in there and there’s a girl in one of those vest and shorts combo that sells as nightwear. Perhaps she’s just trying to be direct.

Then, a huge wave hits me side on. Oh no, what’s this, my old the friend the iceberg is back. She's adrift in the fast lane and doing her notorious backstroke. All the others in that lane have stopped and are watching from one end, keeping well out of the way, letting her get on with it.

Get home and I've got an email asking if I'll run Doggo in a Crufts team qualifier in October. Only problem is it's in Redcar. Looks like we'll be having another short holiday.

Daughter has departed for France with her father. I send her a text in French wishing her a nice holiday. The reply says 'Er... yeah... Fromage?'. Education is just so wasted on that child.

No need to try and fight L off tonight, she doesn’t make it past her own watershed. I'm not even sure Harry gets a session. In any case I’m on the computer desperately trying to keep this blog up to date.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Back Into The Groove

Ok. Back into the groove today. The fitness groove that is. Other routines were restored in all their glory yesterday in what I may christen Super Sunday but perhaps more about that later.

So I cycle into work. The roads are wonderful for cycling this morning, so quiet, even L might have enjoyed the cycling today. Maybe. I also have my swimming stuff with me and hope to go for a dip after work.

Work though, is all a bit manic; such is the perils of having time off. On the up side we now have coffee; apparently the de-caff ran out so someone had to address the situation. Unfortunately we’re now on standard Nescafe so it’s not particularly pleasant but at least it contains caffeine. We have a very very large tub of it, so it looks like we’re stuck with it for some considerable time.

L sends me an email advertising something called the ‘The Evil Sheriff Off-Road Duathlon’. I question whether she sent it to me by mistake but no she says I was the intended recipient because they put the words ‘evil’ and ‘Duathlon’ in the same sentence and she thought of me. What she forgot to mention was that they also used the words 'off’ and ‘road' in it as well. I don’t do ‘off-road’, not without a £1000+ mountain bike. Are you listening Santa? It’s on the list just after the carbon framed road bike with the full Dura Ace group-set.

The email did mention a few runs as well; the 10K might be appealing. That is if I survive the one I’ve booked for this Friday. I had hatched a cunning plan to get out of it, when work kindly arranged a night out on the same evening. That is until they postponed it for two weeks, so now I’m free to run. Whoopee.

Leeds United have finally been given permission to start the new league season, albeit with a 15 point penalty. It just gets better. So just a simple matter of 105 points needed to win the league according to Dennis Wise. You have to admire his optimism.

I bike straight to the pool for my planned swim. It’s nice and quiet in my lane, just me and a chap with a float between his legs. Absolutely perfect because his float slows him down which means that I can swim at a leisurely pace. That is until one of the regular female psychos arrives fifteen minutes before the end of the session and starts powering up and down, presumably to make up for lost time.

I leave the pool and the sky is grumbling with thunder and exhibiting the odd flash of lightning. Head down, I pedal fast to beat the expected downpour. I don’t quite make it. Then of course the pedestrian crossings over the ring road take an age to change which means I get a right royal soaking. Doggo greets me at the door, briefly, and then goes back in his corner to hide from the storm.

It does, however, fine up very quickly and we do a quick session on the park. Well, it was supposed to be a quick session but some bright spark has shaved thirty minutes off the park opening times, so we got locked in and had to walk the long way around to get out. L, bless her, walks to meet us. She then cooks up a terrific Keema. Bless her again.

I eventually tumble into bed, exhausted but predictably horny. It’s the lyrca you know. L doesn’t take much coercing, if any at all, to indulge an old man in his hour of need. Bliss. Possibly better even that Super Sunday. Although, thinking about it, she’d come to bed in her pulling gear, a sexy black combo, so it obviously wasn’t all my idea and all at past her watershed hour too. In fact that's two watersheds in a row she's broken. Tut tut.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Now Where's That Entry Form...

We got back yesterday from a really nice week in County Durham. At least I think it was County Durham. The brochure insisted it was Yorkshire, which it wasn't. It was Teesdale, to be precise.

All went well on our romantic week away, just the two of us in our isolated cottage. Shame about dog, kids, and parents. We got quite a lot of walking in and the weather was superb. That is superb as in superb and sunny, not superb and stormy, which we also love. All a bit of a surprise, considering the rain we've had in the last month or so.

L had a great time and didn't want to come home but then she always says that. She's says it's the best place she's been to but then she always says that too. She even coped with my parents who stayed for three nights. My father entertained us, with his infuriating ways.

L and I had to sleep on the lounge floor while they stayed, and we had to kind of behave ourselves, so swinging from the chandelier was out. It was a relief to move into the bedroom, when they'd gone, where we could have a few lie-ins and not worry about rattling the headboard.

Son seemed to cope. He didn't go cold turkey without broadband. In fact he was the most animated I've seen him for some time, which isn't difficult because we don't usually see much of him. His animated spells only occurred when he was wired up to his Wii and then it was only his arm that got a work out while the rest of him remained horizontal on the settee. In fact the only time he was vertical was when he was on his way upstairs to get horizontal on his bed or to eat and he'd have probably done that lieing down if we'd let him. In fairness, we did say he could chill out for the week and he did join us on our meals out.

Daughter was almost a tourist and left the house on other occasions too. Although during one of them, her and my father did a raid on a local public garden. I had visions of her bringing a tree back with her, to plant at home, but they didn't quite go that far. At least not until the next time. She also seems to be getting over her TV addiction, although I do believe she's looking forward to the Hollyoaks weekend omnibus.

My father convinced one of the local real ale pubs to stock Bass and Boddingtons which was really embarrassing. So I won't be popping back into that pub next time we're in the area or I'll end up taking the rap for poisoning the locals. Mind you, serves them right really, because we went hunting for local beers and couldn't find any.

It goes without saying that Doggo loved every minute of it, although he looked totally shattered most of the time. He does try and live life to the full, bless him, it's just a shame he can't seem to cope with it. These collies you know, they go on for ever. Well, no, not ours.

My training has taken a bit of a back seat, well not even a back seat really; it’s been skulking under the rear bumper. No runs. No swims. I took my bike but only got it out once, which was a shame. I blame the walking, it was tiring enough. Drank far too much alcohol.

I also did a lot of reading, not proper books obviously, newspapers and magazines. In reality probably more fictional than the new Harry Potter, which L completed on holiday. Then she re-read the first book. Now apparently my Dad's going to read it. All very bizarre. I feel, that I should feel, that I'm missing out but I think I'll cope.

Best thing I read on holiday was an article by Richard Herring, the comedian, who was previewing his own comedy show that's on at the Edinburgh Fringe. It's called 'Oh Fuck I'm 40' and it kind of fits in well with my blog. This is what he says about his show:-

"I discuss the perspective that being halfway through your life suddenly gives you. It’s like getting to the top of a hill. For your first 39 years you’re struggling up the steep slopes, heading for the top as fast as possible, not even looking around you, desperate to see what’s on the other side. Finally you are at the summit and get a clear view both ahead and behind. You look back and you see a lush, fecund valley full of cavorting young people who wanted to be your friends, but ahead of you is a sheer cliff dropping into a stony, icy crevasse, littered with the bodies of the dead and dying. You want to turn round and do the climb again at a leisurely pace, but you are manhandled into a toboggan and sent whizzing down the slope. You might get thrown off at any point and die or get to the bottom and die. All that is certain is you are going to die, soon, along with all the other idiots who rushed to get over the hill only to find that the hill was what it was all about."

So he goes on to say that it is perhaps inevitable that, faced with this sudden realisation that we are over the hill, many of us make one last grasp at the green grass of youth: buying a sports car, having an affair with their secretary, desperately trying to get fit in the gym, errr perhaps even doing triathlons... oh dear... now where's that entry form...