A day off work but this isn't going to be a relaxing day off. Alarm goes off at the usual time and I accompany L and Doggo on an extended version of their morning run, taking in the pond and the park. We then meet Son to do a few papers.
By 8.30 we are at the swimming pool and I do 20 odd lengths of assorted strokes: - front crawl, breath stroke, doggy paddle, and freestyle drowning. The pool is very quiet, in fact for the last 15 minutes it's just L and me. The calm waters help my floundering and I feel that maybe I might, one day, crack the front crawl.
L is learning how to breathe bilaterally. Sounds a bit advanced to me and I know I'll regret asking but I do nonetheless enquire what this involves. L says she currently only breathes on one side, every other stroke. Apparently you are supposed to breathe every third stroke therefore alternating the side you breathe on. This, apparently, is useful in case you get some psycho splashing about at the side of you. I think this is something I'll save for another day. At the moment remembering to breathe without consuming half the pool is enough for me.
L warns me about the showers at this pool, there are only two of them in the Ladies. There used to be four but for some odd council reason, when they 'did up' the leisure centre they removed two of them. I find out that it is exactly the same situation in the Mens. There are two very posh showers but even with only three of us getting changed, there was a queue.
Then we go into town because I have promised to get L a sexy new dress for Christmas. As we cruise around the more upmarket dress shops we both cringe at the price tags and disagree a little on what we think suits her best but generally find common ground. One bonus is that I can legally check out other women to see what they are wearing and then relay this to L if I think their outfits would look good on her.
L tries some things on, which is good because I get to see her strip down to underwear several times. Well in some shops we do, in others they won't let me anywhere near the changing rooms. When this happens we go elsewhere, if L's modelling for me and I'm paying there's little point if I can't be involved. What are they afraid of, that we might shag in the changing rooms. Well yes of course we might but that's not to say they would probably still get the sale, isn't that what shops want, for you to spend money there. In the end, as we more of less expected, we do not come back with anything. Well that's not strictly true because L decides she wants me to show her the cycling shoes and pedals I want for Xmas. You see guys ask for simple outfits as presents. In the end we end up buying them, so that's me sorted for Xmas then.
Home and we have an hour and a half before we have to pick the kids up from school and then head north for our Lakeland weekend. It's 2pm, on a day off and shamefully we haven't found time to have sex yet. We hurriedly pack for our trip and have eggs on toast for lunch. Then we have a frantic half hour in the bedroom.
We collect the kids and then head up the M6 via traffic jams in Nottingham and Stoke and it's only 3.30. The kids are naturally bored in the car, Son's ipod is flat, and Daughter, who does not yet have her own ipod, has flattened L's. So they both take turns at reducing my fully charged ipod to the same state. Son repeatedly plays the few tracks familiar to him whereas Daughter probes the murkier depths of my playlists and skilfully homes in on all the tracks that would have been labelled 'Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics'.
We get to our cottage, as expected, before our friends who were leaving at lunchtime, hours before us, but obviously didn't. We didn't believe they would.
The weekend forecast for the Lakes is Thunder, Heavy Rain, Gales, Wind Chill and sleet or snow possible at altitude. Hope it is correct because then it'll be a nice cosy romantic weekend, just L and me, the collie, Daughter, computer boy and our two friends.
I whip up a quick mixed bean chilli to feed us all, and then after our friends turn up we head to the local pub, where we'll be safe from the ping ping ping of computer games, and they have a roaring fire.
One thing I've been looking forward to for the past year, unfortunately it's been that long since we last managed to get up to the Lakes, is several pints of Jennings Snecklifter. When we get there the pub informs us they no longer sell any Jennings beers, the quality has been so poor since they were taken over by Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries that they have stopped selling it. Bugger. 2 x Barngates Gold, 1 x some Scouse beer brewed in some chaps garage and 1 x Thwaites Lancaster Bomber have to do instead.