Arty farty day

Today we went to the National Theatre, but we didn’t see a play. What we were up to is a surprise and will be revealed in a future post.

After lunch we headed to Somerset House to see Good Grief Charlie Brown. A celebration of Charles M. Schulz’s work in Peanuts.

From the 60’s onwards he covered issues such as diversity, women’s rights, art, war and our common insecurities. As relevant today as it was then.


Time flies

Photo: A walk in the Park. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

In the early hours of Monday morning, Rob and I were sometimes struggling to keep awake. The score was 3-0, three quarters of the way through the game. It looks like a football score, indeed it was, but American Football. We were watching Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams.

Oh how times have changed. Exactly 17 years ago to the day Rob and I watched the New England Patriots play the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI (February 2002). Then, we were in the New Orleans Superdome in person. It was a very special way to celebrate a landmark birthday for Rob. No prizes for guessing how old we were:

Super Bowl - Colin & Rob - Superdome

Super Bowl - Colin & Rob at Win

A friend of mine published a list of things that did not exist at the time of Super Bowl XXXVI:

Google Maps
iTunes Store
Nintendo Wii

17 years ago New England Patriots beat the Rams 20-17. This time, with 2:30 left in the fourth quarter the look on Sean McVay’s face (Head Coach of the Rams) said it all:


The Pats beat the Rams 13-3. The more things change the more things stay the same.


It was a great weekend with Rob and Helen catching up on so much as we’d not seen eachother for a while.

On Sunday afternoon we went on a tour of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park & Bow Back Rivers by London Walks. Having been to the athletics and water polo in 2012 it was fascinating to see how the park has developed since. Open spaces, apartments, businesses, a shopping centre and public access to sports facilities are all part of the legacy. We remember how fantastic the games were and what a wonderful atmosphere there was in London. We were impressed by the success of the legacy. It reminded us how succesful we can be if we go about it the right way. A lesson for today.



We finished off a weekend of chat, eating and drinking with lunch, courtesy of Rob and Helen, at Vinoteca in Farringdon, a place we’ve been eating at since it opened in 2005.


A wonderful weekend. A special thank you to Rob and Helen for this little beauty. They gave it to Jan to celebrate her 2018 running challenge. Gin and Liverpool. A perfect summary of Jan.



Four Men: A Farrago

Hillaire Belloc’s The Four Men: A Farrago is a novel describing a 90 mile walk through the Sussex countryside, passing Brighton on the way.

Today, we were four ICC clubmates travelling through the Sussex contryside by train to and from Brighton. The original plan was to catch the train to Brighton, collect David’s new bike and ride back to London (in my case, ride to Brighton, collect the bike and ride back).

The arctic vortex put paid to that.

We preferred not to risk the snow and ice on our bikes so we took the train and planned a spot of lunch. As Jan said “Four men going for lunch in Brighton, are you going to get a rainbow T shirt?”

Bike, beer, fish and chips, man chat and a walk along the beach.

Colin, David M, Stephen and David C. According to David C’s son we look a bit like the cast of Trainspotting 2.


We didn’t return with rainbow T shirts, but David did get his new titanium bike:


‘Birthday’ celebration

Photo: A couple of shady characters.

The celebratory dinner referred to in yesterday’s post was The Trinity Hill, New Zealand, Magnum Club Dinner at The Crypt of St. Etheldreda’s church in Ely Place. A chance to sample some of the best wines that New Zealand produce (so they said). Our host was their Wine Maker in Chief, Warren Gibson.

Jan missed out a little in the early courses. Not only is she not a fan of new world Sauvignon Blanc we had on arrival but she’s not keen on tuna either, which meant Colin had double helpings of both.

When the reds came round for the lamb we were poured a 2010 and 2017 Homage Syrah. The 2017 was very young, fresh and vibrant but in need of several more years of maturing. The 2010 smelt suspiciously of a damp cellar (Jan) or truffle (Colin). It didn’t taste any better. Jan called over the sommelier. He smelt and tasted it and proclaimed that “Madame is right” and found another bottle. Much better. He said they opened the wines at 5pm to taste and for them to breathe. The proportion of surface area exposed to oxygen is small in a bottle, let alone a magnum, so that didn’t work. Decanting would have been better.

Still, we had a really nice time in a wonderful setting.

I suspect we are now known as a couple of shady characters.



Blue Monday? Not here.

Today is Blue Monday. The most depressing day of the year. Apparently.

It’s not science but a wheeze dreamed up by a travel company. It only applies to the Northern hemisphere as the weather contributes towards the formula to calculate the date.

No Blue Monday in this household. Today is the 5th anniversary of my skiing accident that broke my back and prompted our retirement. It’s a date to celebrate as my legs still work. So much so I completed a 200k ride in the cold and rain on Saturday as part of my attempt to qualify for the 1,200km Paris Brest Paris audax in August.

We’re going out for a celebratory dinner* tomorrow evening to mark the occasion.

As Dr. Broger, the surgeon who operated on me in Switzerland said at the time:

“You are so lucky, you should consider the 21st of January your new birthday”

I do. It’s Magic Monday.


*23rd January update – click here for the dinner blog entry.

Another nice mess


We went to see Stan and Ollie this evening. A gentle film about love and frienship. We both really enjoyed it.

The nice mess started a few days before the film. We received notification that the film had been moved from Cinema 1 to the smaller Cinema 2 in the Barbican. We would all be re-seated. Armed with fresh tickets we found our seats, no problem.

With nothing on the screen the entertainment started. A lady stood near us trying to read her new ticket. “I don’t have my glasses”. She couldn’t find the row letters either. She then went down the isle on the other side and tried to persuade some people that they were in her seats, to no avail. Back to the centre isle. She then walks along the row in front of us. She looked at two empty seats and walks back to the isle mentioning seats “three and four”. The couple in front of us point out that the two empty seats she was looking at were indeed “three and four”. She didn’t react. Back to same people on the other side, the seat occupiers produce their phones to show they have booked those seats. The poor lady had no choice but to seek help from the cinema staff.

For the third time the sitters are challenged. The staff member explains something to them discretely and they get up. To their credit they announce to the rest of us “We’re in the wrong cinema”. The lady was right all along.

It didn’t stop there. We sat through the adverts. When the BBFC certificate came up with “Stan and Ollie” a couple ran out as they too realised they were in the wrong cinema. Laurel and Hardy was acted out right in front of us.

The acting on the screen was excellent. Steve Cougan caught Stan Laurel’s mannerisms brilliantly. A lovely film. Recommended.

You’re having a laugh

Last night I went to see my friend Mark to support him at one of his stand up comedy gigs. It was great to see him, especially as he’s had a hard time of it of late. Here’s hoping 2019 is much better for him.

We met on our stand up comedy course, which he reminded me was two years ago. Ouch. I can’t believe that two years had passed already. I thought it was only one.

Just like all the acts last night, I took way more time than my allocated five mintes on my debut. I managed eleven minutes and loved it. It’s got me thinking. Perhaps I might give it another go. If I can find the time that is. Maybe that’s next winter’s project, though I have been working on a set in Italian to perform there one day. Now there’s a challenge.

On the way home I spotted some random slogans on the steps of Hoxton station. For some reason, one of them caught my eye. I’d like to think you won’t follow the advice as far as our blogs are concerned:



My ‘five’ minute debut two years ago.