Sunday, 31 May 2009

Mock mock

A morning of revision was broken up by a brief turn out to Clare's for an hour at her barbecue. Woody and Clare, Ollie and Z-Box, Chubb and Steve, Max and Wallis, and Paul were there. I hadn't seen anybody in ages - studies before buddies, right? - and I was a little overwhelmed to be faced with so many all at once. Only Milney was missing from five-seven. What a sweltering day. It wasn't easy to tear myself away, but I did, and pedalled off home.

My mock mock exam went pretty well. I wrote about sampling, and about evaluating a research proposal. Checking through the model answers was reassuring. I think I'll do okay tomorrow in my real mock.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

I once was lost, but now am found

My 'lost' keys are on my desk. Fans of logic will deduce this means I got in. Fans of telepathy will know how.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Cycling, Miriam, Beer, Beer, Beer

I went to a cycling conference with ALF. The audience’s attire was mixed: a suit here; a short-sleeved shirt, smart shorts and loafers combo there; several in a polo shirt and khakis; one or two hardcore types in neon and lycra.

Afterwards I met up with Miriam, who I hadn’t seen for ages. It was brilliant to see her. We talked about cycling, about running, about work, and about chewing gum. Nothing much, but much more than nothing too. We pulled into Stockport, and hooked up with Thom and Al before the Beer Festival. Thom was being weird again, as he has been for the last six months since he moved out of Withington. Distant, disinterested, elusive. Where’s his appetite for fun gone?

At the beer festival I drank…

Crown Wheat Beer 5.5%
Ulverston Harvest Moon 3.9%
Salopian Barry's light Mild 4.0%
Marble Bee 4.8 %
Farmhouse medium 5.8%
Janet’s Jungle Juice at 6%
A pint of something else strong

…and thought I’d lost my keys. Hammered.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Champions League-a-phobe

For the second year running, I slipped off to meet a friend for a few drinks rather than watch the Champions League final. Not particularly macho. But hey, that’s me all over. We went to Art of Tea on the edge of the Badlands, aka Didsbury Village. As I walked there, I passed a car full of teenagers blazing pot, and it stank. The Champions League commentary drifted from open windows in every house. Every so often, a wailing police van passed me. Kids eh? I arrived early, sat at an outside table, and pretended not to overhear two oh-so-liberal ladies gasping at inequality of Dubai. A teenager walked past swearing loudly.

Lucinda is a legend

The temporary cap on my chipped teeth fell off last night, after eight years. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I texted Lucinda to ask for some advice.

- Would you like me to have a look at them?
- That’d be great, can I come round now?"
- I meant look at them at work. Tomorrow maybe?"
- Wow! Yes please that’d be amazing, thank you!"

I popped to Thorntons to pick up a little something to show my appreciation, and then headed out via the magnificent Victoria Station towards Bolton.

On the train to Bolton, an old lady comes over to explain a landmark we'd passed. She wears bright pink lipstick, like neon.

I think I must have copied down the postcode wrongly, as I found myself exploring 5LU rather than 4LU. Lost! In Bolton! Fuck! I was being squeezed in as a favour, and I was going to be late. I felt like I was in a mediocre sitcom. Opposite a co-op, by a pharmacy Lucinda had said.

Picture message: Do you work here?

Answer: No. Then I found out where it was, and I ran. And ran. And ran. In my shirt, in my tie, in my shoes and work trousers, I ran. I wonder if Lucinda has ever had a sweatier patient.

And, fountain of kindness that Lucinda is, my treatment was far more than the look she'd offered. An x-ray, a burr-ing, a sort of cap on one tooth, root canal work on the other, a temporary dressing, and a Spiderman sticker. And, above all, a complete absence of my normal knotting stomach of fear. I felt so relaxed. What a brilliant dentist. I'm so very grateful. Thanks a million Lucinda.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Megan's Farewell Pizza Party

It was going to take something pretty special to top the last pizza party (no pun intended with 'top' there!) and Megan's farewell pizza party sure was special!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Reebok Sale 5 miler

It was a hot, hot morning. Durex picked me up at 10ish, and we drove down. It was packed out with running club members in matching vests and shorts, quite a serious bunch. "We're the fattest people here," said Durex. "Speak for yourself mate," I replied. But he was right, there were some lean machines on show. We lingered at the back of the pack at the start.

We started with a couple of laps of the track. Once we'd got out of the complex, I looked down at my watch. 00:00:00 What? I looked again. 00:00:00 Shit, I'd forgotten to start my watch at the beginning of the race. Fucksocks! As I passed the 1 mile mark, my watch said the time was 11:12. What? Wasn't the race supposed to start at 11:00? Had I really just run a 12 minute mile? That's pretty much walking pace, isn't it? I'd better get a move on! So I kicked on, targeting people ahead of me to catch up with and then pass. Two miles, 11:20, three miles, 11:28, that's more like it, four miles, 11:36, good stuff, maybe I'll make it in under 44 minutes if I kick on even harder for this last mile. So I pushed even more. My shoulder ached, my stomach was tense, my calves stabbed, my lungs burned. I could see the track complex. One last lap. I was close to dropping as I came down the final straight. With about 30 yards to go I could see the big clock by the finish line... what?

38:50 age passed before the second changed to..


...I could hear the timekeeper calling out the seconds...

"...fifty-two, fifty-three..."

I crossed the line. 38:53 or 38:54. What? My watch said it was 11:44. I guess it's a little fast. Wow. My average pace per mile was 7.46. Great stuff! That equates to a 1hr42 half marathon. God I love running!

Photo via Mick Hall Photography, tyvm!

Guess which famous psychologist I saw in the race? Check out the results, and look who finished in 101st place? Wow!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Spending warm summer days indoors

I woke up today wearing a pair of tracksuit bottoms. I’d gone to bed naked, so it was rather a surprise. Quite an interesting development – shorts yesterday, tracksuit bottoms today – perhaps I’ll wake up to find myself in full kit tomorrow. Fingers crossed I’ll wake up tomorrow wearing those shinpads I’ve lost. That’d be a treat.

I started studying at 8.30, and apart from lunch, I kept at it until about 5.30. I’m hammering through the coursework now I’ve got my head around how to structure the methodology section in relation to the logistics section. I think I’ll be able to finish up this stage on Monday and get it in to my tutor on Tuesday, as we agreed. Then it’s a week until the mock. Revision time!

I was eating mushrooms, spinach and pasta as fuel for tomorrow’s run when Lewis called. He’s engaged. He took Ange out to Bakewell, and then to Chatsworth House, and proposed over a picnic. I’m over the moon. I hope he tells Zoe before she reads this blog post. Zoe, sorry if not, but wow, what good news eh!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Studies before buddies*

I woke up with a pair of football shorts in my bed. I’d put them there during the night, in a half-dreaming half-waking state. I knew why I was doing it at the time, but I don’t remember why any more.

The rest of my day was spent studying. I turned down the Tiger Lounge for it, and I think I’ll turn down Eurocultured tomorrow too. Even if it’s really sunny – getting a good mark in this course really matters to me. Studies before buddies, I’m afraid pals.

*it's a crappier version of Broes before Hoes, only with more note-taking.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Running, man

I’ve entered the Reebok Sale Five Miler. It’s on Monday, my first race since school. How exciting!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Company and a crowd

I met Liz after work. We went for noodles, then met Ryan for a few drinks in Dulcimer.

It was an odd evening. I think you have a different kind of conversation when there are three of you. Its intimacy retreats to the level of the least well acquainted member of the party. It would have been rude for Liz and I to talk about anything too personal in Ryan’s company, and definitely awkward for Ryan. For that reason, it was a little unsatisfying. On the other hand, it was very nice to see her. I was balancing what was going on in my head, when Liz decided it was home time for her.

She stood. I didn’t get up fast enough to hug her goodbye, and it must have seemed to her like I wasn’t going to get up at all. She looked a little hurt, and came over. We hugged. I felt sad.


Via: and Pervy. Thanks both!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Top tip for a school night

If your inventory includes all of the following…

Lass O Gowrie
Kro 2

…it’s probably a good idea to eat something before you start to drink, no matter how frustrated you are with work.

We’d booked a team meeting in the afternoon to go over some project management procedures, and I was really excited about it. I love project management. Project management is my middle name. When I sleep, I dream project management. My favourite cocktail is project management with a twist of lime. My goldfish are called Management and Project. If you cut me, I bleed project management in carefully controlled stages that have managed boundaries.

I prepared hard for the meeting. Flowcharts. Terms and definitions. Outlines on how I thought we could help the _________ that we work with adopt a distilled version of some project management fundamentals, rather than the watered-down flim-flam that currently passes for good enough. Not in my opinion. I came home from last night Irish poetry evening and put in another two hours. I was buzzed.

I came back from lunch, and found out that the meeting was cancelled. Ten minutes before it was about to start, it was cancelled. Cancelled. I’d prepared handouts. Cancelled. I’d already photocopied the handouts. Cancelled. I’d prepared a commentary. Cancelled.

“Can you go through this finance spreadsheet zzzzzzzz decipher the unlabelled line entries against zzzzzzz expenditure code *yawn* last two fiscal periods zzzzzzzz suppliers and reconcile outstanding zzzzzzzzzzzzz…..”

On Tuesday next week, I will have been here for a year. Even so, I should have eaten something first…

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Room to rhyme

After a lovely tea of chicken, spinach, mushrooms and apple amber, Louise and I went to the Chorlton Irish Association Club to watch “Room to Rhyme,” an evening of Irish poetry and folk song. Sounds shit, I thought, I’d much rather go to see the Tempest. How wrong I was! The poetry came in two sections. The first saw each of the women taking on characters from a traditional time in Irish life – the post-mistress, the layer-outer of the dead, the travelling tinker – and the second saw them each tell their own tale of how they moved to Manchester. The first half was entertaining, funny, whimsical, but the second part was really emotive. Moving in the 1950s and 1960s as children or young girls from the countryside to the smoggy brickwork of a dark and grim place was traumatic as described in their mouths, but wonderful too. All of them missed Ireland. None of them wanted to leave. The fear that change brings, and the opportunity. Very moving.

The poems were interspersed with beautiful folk songs. The other people in the room, old, Irish, all sang along.

Monday, 18 May 2009

First run since injury

My groin was pretty good, and there wasn't any knee pain either. I got round in 1.01.45, which is slow, but that's two weeks off for you, I guess.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Sunday Blues

At about 9pm, something happened that hasn’t happened for a while. A bout of the Sunday blues. Mild, but there nonetheless. Not so much the dread of having to go back to work tomorrow, but a mild downer at the thought. And another thing - I miss Paul. The stubbornness in me faded, and I wished he was there. *sigh*

Saturday, 16 May 2009

“Maybe she’s not a keeper.”

"Maybe she is."

As I arrived at the Sand Bar, Ed was chatting to some strangers about Kraftwerk. He looked well, all smiles and little boy haircut, and collar sticking out of his jumper. When was the last time I’d seen him? For some football in the Vic, maybe three months ago? Wow. We had a couple of beers, and caught up. The saga of Ed and Miriam goes on. I think it will go on and on, and I believe it will end in a good way too. A few words of wisdom really got me thinking about some things to do with me. I bloody love Ed Padmore.

Ride on time

After a really good morning of studying, I dropped a banana and a Snickers round to Liz's as a good luck token for the Great Manchester Run tomorrow, then zipped round this route on my bike. It started to rain pretty hard as I pulled through West Didsbury, and by the time I got to the section between Palatine Rd and Hardy Lane I was soaked. Fuck it, I thought, I'm already wet - so I'm going to take on every puddle on this side of the river. Fun fun fun.

The cargo pants didn't cope too well with the mud. Nor the yellow hoody. I had a big dirty stripe down the middle of my back. It smelt like victory.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Signed, sealed, delivered…

…well, signed at least. I went to Sherlock Homes (OMG I love a cheesy pun!) to sort out the contract for my new house. They weren’t as competent as JP Brimelow, but they made Ben look like the fool he really is. I handed over copies of various documents, signed contracts and paid for my background checks. Fingers crossed!

Kate and I went to Electrik for a couple of drinks. She’s very excited about her new job at Oddest, and was talking about the different possibilities that it held for her. “So this place is the competition?” I asked. “No,” she replied, “this place is part of the community.” I’m sure she’ll do very well.

We picked up mushrooms, mushrooms, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and more mushrooms, and went back to Great Stone to make Simon Rimmer’s Oriental Pie. It was very tasty. Chaw and Matt arrived later on, and we sat around the table chatting as they ate. Kate whipped out an apple pie. With cinnamon cream. Yum! We plotted my arrival, and what to do with my dining table. One word kept on coming up… BANQUET!

Monday, 11 May 2009

I'm a criminal

Wrapped up in studying, I nip out to the shop for a Crème Egg and some cigs, then get back to the front door and realise I’ve left my keys at home. Shit! I look up, and see my bedroom window open. Can I get in? Hmmm. Best not risk it, I think. I’ll go and see if Dunk’s in, and then ask him to call Ryan and get in that way.

KNOCK! KNOCKKNOCK! KNOCKKNOCKKNOCKKNOCK! Nothing. Nobody in a Dunk’s. Right. Plan B. Which is… erm… which is wander back to the house, gaze up at the open window a bit longer, and then have a cig. Hmmm. This isn’t helping much. And it’s getting a bit cold.

Over the road, a door opens. It’s Alan from number 2, out for a quick tab himself. I head over, and explain what the problem is. “I don’t suppose you have a ladder? You do? Excellent!” And Alan gets the ladder, and holds it for me, as I climb in through the window. My keys are on my desk, where I left them. If they could smile, they’d be mocking me now.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Heads and Volleys

My pillow was green when I woke up. Parts of my bed were orange too. I went back to sleep.

Amongst my clouded memories of the night before lurked a plan to meet for breakfast, so I sent out a group text,

“Tank, Fly, Boss, Walk, Jam, Nitty-gritty, you’re listening to the boy from the big, bad city… this is Jam Street?”

How about the Leadstation instead, some oneasked. Deal. Ryan, still green all over the place, and I, still orange around the earholes, wandered down and met Al, Dunk and Christian there. “You’re green,” said the waitress to Ryan. Smiles all round as he explained himself. Kate, Megan, her sister and Tomos joined us, with Chaw and Matt not far behind. It was impossible to look around the table without thinking of the mayhem and fun from the night before. Every glance reminded me of a moment, and a giggle soon followed. I’m really looking forward to moving to that house, I think it’s a place where fun will be had, and lots of it.

After watching the football with Dunk and Al, the three of us played heads and volleys in Chorlton Park. I had a kebab for tea. The perfect end to a brilliant, brilliant weekend.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Escape.... the epitome of noughties naff

“If you come round at 6, I’ll cook your tea Pip.”
“That sounds great! See you then!”

Pippa popped round on her bike, having got lost around Morrison’s like she always does. She was really well. We parked up at home, then strolled to the supermarket to pick up salmon, cheats’ potatoes, salad and cheesy mushrooms. We grabbed a bottle of wine too.

Dinner was brilliant. Since Pip stopped working in town, we’ve seen quite a bit less of each other. I’d missed hanging out with such a good friend, especially with all the studying I’ve been doing recently, so it was a solid-gold joy. We talked through recent developments around moving house, romance (or the lack of it) and work. The food was amazing too. We watched the Top 60 Ghetto Names on youtube and swapped a few ringtones. Later on, as Bruce was still busy, we went around the corner to Escape for a couple of drinks. Dunk thinks the bar is the epitome of noughties naff, which I understand. Then again, for a bar so very close to home… it isn’t all that bad… just don’t look too hard at the paintings.

We sat on a sofa across a small table from another sofa. A couple asked if they could join us. Of course. We got to talking, Heat Magazine this, living in Chorlton that, spending time in Sheffield the other. They were very pleasant. We talked about running, half-marathons, about my target time. We talked about travelling, about cooking, and about buying a house. They bought us a drink. Pippa swapped numbers with the girl. And then we all left.

“While you were outside smoking,” said Pippa, “she asked me how long we’d been a couple for.” How strange. Do Pippa and I get mistaken for a couple very often? Not that I’m aware of, no. But you never know what other people are thinking, right? I put Pippa on her bike and sent her home.

As I cleaned my teeth before going to bed, I puzzled over why people might make that mistake about Pippa and me. As I rewound and replayed the conversation with the couple in my head, I remembered several occasions where I’d connected something that was said to something about Pippa – “Oh that’s interesting, Pippa lived in Australia too” – and Pip had done the same about me – “Dave studied in Sheffield” – was it that level of knowledge that misled our company? Or, more simply, is it because we’re so relaxed in each other’s company?

Bearemy scaring me

selected highlights of a volley of texts from Lucinda today

Bearemy didn’t play badminton. He got in trouble the other day, called Will a motherfucker. I think the Wire is too old for him! He has started wearing really low jeans and asked for a gun!

He likes the B-I-G notorious – I don’t know if that’s east or west side, I can’t keep up!

Bearemy is on Facebook – he is mightily offended that you called him a teddy. He says you’re a walking timebomb motherfucker. He has a gun you know David!

Don’t come over to the west side after dark – I am scared Bearemy is going to ‘pop a cap in your ass’ – he is pretty wound up!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Cycle killer, qu'est-ce c'est?