Catching up.

It’s been a while. It’s not like I’ve been that busy except in the field of prevarication, where I’ve been rushed off my feet.

I had a week off last week. Wendy was told she had to use her holidays so took a week off, thought I might as well join her.

My sister, Lisa, and I went to Wales on the Sunday at the start of my hols to see the parents. It turns out they had not buggered off back to Bulgaria as I thought, merely gone to their rural retreat.

It was my first time there, looked like a lovely place to go in Summer. Very quiet and scenic. Loads of lovely, fitness improving hills. Mmmm, hills.

Then on the Monday, I texted my timesheet in to work, with the accompanying message saying “don’t forget I’m off this week.” I started to say to Wendy, “Give it a few minutes to check I’m in the clear.” I hadn’t even finished the sentence and my ‘phone was going.

They were saying they had someone to cover the rest of the week but could I go in today. In other words the lazy bastards had got my email saying I wasn’t working, done Jack about it and expected me to drag them out of the shit.

The thing is, it would have looked bad on me, not the agency, if I hadn’t gone in. Or possibly both. But I have to think about paying my bills.

Anywho, I went in. On my hols, on short notice. Not a happy bunny. I picked up my truck and trailer and drove to Crewe (50 minutes away). When I got there they said they had nothing for me, so I should go home. Are you having a laugh?

So that was that day ruined for bugger all. Thanks for that. The only bright side is I get paid a minimum of 8 hours if I start a shift.


I went for my first real swim since the Outlaw last year while I was off.  I went for some sea swims when we were in Cornwall, but they weren’t very long or many. I had been putting it off as, well, I hate it, to be frank. I just don’t like swimming. I’m bad at it, it’s hard work and if you get it wrong you can die.

The longer you leave it the stronger the aversion gets. In the end it was only because I’ve joined Warrington Tri for swimming lessons and wanted to be sure I wasn’t going to make an arse out of myself by drowning that I went. Turns out it was a big fuss over nothing. I knocked out an hour’s swim without much of a problem. It was slow work but at that pace I could have kept it up all day. Or that’s how it felt at the time.

Since I last went swimming in Warrington they’ve opened up a new leisure centre and handed over the running of the all to a not-for-profit organization. This new one is not attached to a school so the swimming baths are open in the day time! Woo-hoo!

I was so impressed with the facility I went back the same afternoon and signed up for the (rolling, monthly) membership. As I work from 2pm I just got the Mon-Fri 7- 5 package (£18 per month). This means I can train during the week before work. In theory. This week it just hasn’t happened. I will have to be more disciplined. I can swim three times a week, and use the gym facilities. Then it works out as pence per visit. Also it gets me fit.  It’s just so hard, in practice, to get up when you’re bog-eyed with two or three hours before you start work, get a coffee, do an hour’s swim, an hour’s gym, come home, have breakfast, make dinner for work, then straight out.

Discipline. Have to apply it.

Perhaps if I promise myself a full-on lie-in on the days in between? Easier said than done. I got to bed at 2 ish one morning last week and was woken at 05.45 by the neighbour’s yappy dog. It was only out for fifteen minutes, but I was awake for an hour.

Anyway, I’ll just have to knuckle down and get on with it. The trouble being; if you are knackered and sat still for hours in a boring truck you can end up very dead. Which renders training pointless. And disbars one from gainful employment.

Also on the training front, I’ve been running and dieting. I had let my greed and sloth get the better of me, but then I broke the 11 stones barrier again and got a grip. I blame Sainsbury’s. Their scones are more addictive than crack. Not that they are, in and of themselves massively fattening. It’s the half pound of butter you have to put on them that does it. I dropped 8 pounds in 6 days, but then missed two days exercise and troughed out on Cox’s apples so put a pound back on. Had a day of weakness today, but back on it from Monday.

The running is, well, not great. To fit in with the races (as part of my training) I should be starting the training schedule on Monday. This means by Saturday I should be able to run 3 miles in 18 minutes. I have my doubts. I’ve been running that 1½ mile sprint and by the end of it I’ve been half dead. And still not up to pace. Today I manned-up and did it as a there-and-back, making it 3 miles.

My main problem has been breathing. I just can’t get enough air into me at that pace, and don’t have the second to spare to spit. Today I did the mile in 6.09, the half in 3.23, which is dire. Then I forced myself to turn around and carry on. I noticed the wind was now behind me and I could still breathe so I picked up the pace, did the half in 3.14, and the final mile in 6.30. Totalling 19.17. Still bad, but I was breathing through it. If I can breathe I can force myself to keep up the pace.

I’m thinking of a quick-ish 10 miler tomorrow then go to the gym on Monday morning, get warmed up, then set it for 10mph, grit my teeth and tough it out. It’s only 18 minutes. At a constant pace. That is the other thing; I set off at more or less a sprint, run out of steam within two minutes, slow down as I catch my breath, then speed up again. I then have to try to run to the maximum but not so fast that I can’t keep it up, if you follow me?  If I do it on the running machine the pace is set. I just have to keep up. And not die from heat exhaustion. They should have one running machine in a refrigerated zone. Even a cool/ chilly gym is too damn hot after even half a mile at that pace (for me).

Alistair Brownlea ran the 10k at the end of his Olympic Triathlon (gold winning) race (1500 metre swim, 37 k ride, 10k run, whatever the hell that is in English) in 29.07, after jogging in the last 200m.  Which is to say he swam flat out for roughly a mile, sprinted a 23 mile course on the bike, *THEN* ran 6.2 miles at 4.45 minute/mile. Well, he is the best in the world, but even so it puts my attempts into perspective.


In better news, we got Wendy’s passport sorted. She had to attend an interview in Manchester, so she booked it while we were off. She passed. Yay!

Now the onus is back on me to sort out my personal history from the age of 18. Work and home addresses for all that time. Shit.


The other thing for me at that moment is the band Elbow. I know I’m late to the party but what a revelation!

The absolute beauty and sublime subtlety of the first song, the sheer genius of the lyrics of the second. It is poetry. It is so much more more than a pop song needs to be. And good music to boot.

The second song is genius from start to finish. I was going to quote a line or two, but the whole thing needs reverence:

They’re pacing Piccadilly in packs again
And moaning for the mercy of a never come rain
The sun’s had enough and the simmering sky
Has the heave and the hue of a woman on fire

Shop shutters rattle down and I’m cutting the crowd
All scented and descending from the satellite towns
The neon is graffiti singing make a new start
So I look for a plot where I can bury my broken heart

No I know I won’t forget you but I’ll forget myself if the city will forgive me
The man on the door has a head like Mars
Like a baby born to the doors of the bars
And surrounded by steam with his folded arms
He’s got that urban genie thing going on

He’s so mercifully free of the pressures of grace
Saint Peter in satin he’s like Buddha with Mace

No I know I won’t forget you but I’ll forget myself if the city will forgive me
Do you move through the room with a glass in your hand
Thinking too hard about the way you stand
Are you watching them pair off and drinking them long?
Are you falling in love every second song?
No I know I won’t forget you but I’ll forget myself and the city will forgive me



Just take a moment to bask in the glory of those lyrics.

The bouncer; a head like Mars, surrounded by steam, arms folded, “he’s got that urban genie thing going on” Wonderful. “He’s so mercifully free of the pressures of grace” Joyous.  “Saint Peter (gatekeeper to heaven) in satin (the shiny black bomber jackets they wear) he’s like Buddha (the fat, bald, Buddha) with Mace”

What a wonderfully dense few lines with such meaning crammed into every phrase! And how witty, “so mercifully free of the pressures of grace” A total brute without even the knowledge of what he lacks. And the juxtaposition of Buddha, the ultimate pacifist, with Mace is genius.

The first song is equally brilliant. It makes me ache for a loss I don’t have.

“Running around with a juggernaut brow. Shoving commitments like cats in a sack” .

The man is a genius.

If you are already an admirer I apologize for labouring the point, but it is new to me and it has totally blown me away.

The only other thing of note is the thrice damned bloody Fox channel! They cancelled Firefly, the best sci-fi programme in the history of telly. They cancelled Dollhouse, a patchy but still worthy sci-fi show. We have just started watching Terminator, the Sarah Connor Chronicles. It is brilliant. We shot through the first series, and got straight into the second. We were really enjoying it and wondering how we’d managed to overlook it for so long. The best thing was it was several years old, so they should be on series ten by now. I googled it, cancelled after the second series! DAMN YOU FOX!


And on that sour note,



PS, Twitter update:

Sometimes I remember Fearne Cotton on Radio 1 referring to a mother as The Mummatron and I get the headache that means I will kill again

If there’s any justice, the boss’s daughters are subjecting him to a 94-slide PowerPoint about why he should take them to Twilight again

The greatest trick the devil ever played was getting us to blame it on the boogie.

Having a washbasin delivered later. I’ll let that sink in

One of my mum chums wrote: I love it when people have babies and they’re all emotional and in awe and totally in love and stuff! Give it time

Followed by : Needy little pricks

Which made me laugh.

Two years ago David Cameron claimed that "The Tories are back in the North." Last night they lost their deposit in Manchester.

Asda Employee: ‘What you want on da cake?’ Customer: ‘Best Wishes Suzanne’ and underneath that ‘We will miss you’.

Oh Edward. It’s SO complicated. I’m a girl, you’re a vampire. He’s a dog. She’s a Mermaid, that’s a cow, there’s a horse. This is bollocks

Aah, @EverydaySexism. Cold caller peeved I didn’t want their service, asked to talk to ‘the man of the house’. I gave phone to my 6 yr old

Love the letter in Guardian from man sent by wife to buy butternut squash: "I could find no such cordial." He’s from Wolverhampton.

I’ve just opened up a can of worms. That’s the last time I buy spaghetti from Lidl.

Long grey pube in my cup of tea. Do Dignitas do walk-ins or do you have to book?

This should get them off my back for a while:

On Remembrance Sunday we had this:

Genuinely a quite emotional 2 minutes of silence across all 4 platforms of Darlington station. Broken only by 3 squaddies arguing about beer

(Which I thought was perfect.)

The word ‘phonetically’ doesn’t even start with an f. Shit like this is why aliens fly straight past us

How does Batman’s mother let him know when it’s dinner time? She doesn’t, she died as a result of violent crime. It’s why he’s Batman.

Australians have a message for Republicans who threatened to leave the U.S if Obama won:

Under Top Tips: TAKE a tray & roller to paint-balling for any close up hand-to-hand combat

Cameron: "I look forward to working with (Obama) again over the next four years" Two years, Dave. Two years.

Nadine Dorries has been suspended by the Conservative Party over TV farce. I’d rather see her suspended from a lamp post.

"I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick, not wounded… dead. — Woody Allen"

Dear shaving commercials, stop shaving hairless legs. If you want impress us, please shave a gorilla.

I like how ninja turtles wear masks to hide their identity. Its not like you’re a giant fricking turtle or anything……

This woman had NO sense of humor when I pointed at her baby and whispered, "I wouldn’t get that wet or feed it after midnight."