Nothing is pleasant that is not spiced with variety (Francis Bacon)

May 19, 2018

And so, dear listener, as some of you know, I had applied for a gig as a volunteer. I won’t name the organisation but suffice to say that they are a council based within Scotland who look after refugees and have a festival coming up at the end of June for which they required volunteers for a range of roles. 🙂

There was no individual interview but we were observed during an ice breaker exercise and breaking into groups with a flip-chart sheet. I asked for, and received, feedback. This is part of it.

‘In terms of feedback, you were a pleasure to get to know, and of course more than qualified and experienced to carry out a volunteer role in the third sector – however often decisions to select volunteers are taken on the basis of what the role has to offer to the particular candidate, at least that is a factor we consider at XXX. This is true particularly with regards to this role, which does not require advanced English or computer skills, and is therefore one of our more inclusive roles for someone who would find it hard to get into a volunteer role in an office setting. I’m not saying that you are over-qualified for the role, rather that other people in the room would benefit more from this development opportunity.
The only, and very slight, feedback I would give you is that while it was great to see your clear enthusiasm to spend time with people and your energy, we did also feel that your natural gregariousness meant that people around you ended up being very quiet both in the group work and the presentation afterwards.’

Is that me as you know me? I am young. I can only learn. 😉

I wish them the best of luck and that’s filled a fair amount of my word count for this week. I did say to some people afterwards that I may have come across as a mouthy Glaswegian – which I’m not. I’m originally from Peterhead. 😀

Which reminds me……I’m doing a Prostate Cancer Information talk in Kilmarnock Job Centre later this month. My friend, the rainforestriverman, does inspirational talks as well. His latest was in Sao Paulo. A previous visit to Kilmarnock saw me at the Sheriff Court bailing three people out. Their ‘Not Guilty’ plea was accepted at a later date. (icon for phew!!!!!)

I remember one Saturday morning at the Sauchiehall Street project being in the laundry room when a big Orange Walk was going past. It seemed to be the pit stop where they replaced the lambeg drummer with a fresh lambeg drummer and I was asked to explain what was happening by two refugees. I did my best but failed.

Anyway, can you excuse me for fifteen minutes while I walk very slowly downstairs and sit in a very relaxed fashion before I take my blood pressure. The evening score is about 130 over stuff but it’s between 150 and 160 in the morning but that is oh so much better than it was a wee while ago. 🙂

And I’ve got this dreadful feeling that this might come across as a seriously serious blog and I’m no fun. I mean, I occasionally put a bet on in what are deserted bookies’ shops these days cos so many folk do it online these days (just like Ray Winston suggests we do) and it’s only the FOBT machines that are being used and I don’t know how they work. And, yes, I did once see a homeless person put a £100 note, which he said he’d ‘found’, into a machine in one punt. He lost it. Twenty seconds and it was gone. ):

But what do I know? Four (?) years ago I put £10 on Scotland to vote for Independence. It’ll be many years before that appears on my Fixed Odds coupon again. And at least one policy for Independence would be good. And a strong leader.

And finally, Mao Tse Tung was the Long March – not the long walk. I’ve been feeding people duff info about Windsor’s Communist credentials all week.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple, even if it’s not.

Iaint850, I mean me – ‘gregarious’? Chance would be a fine thing.

So, as I write this, I don’t know what division Partick Thistle will be in next season but you, reading this, probably do. I’ve been to very few games this season for a combination of reasons; periodic depression and the cardiac event at the turn of the year.

I will be buying a season ticket and I will make my return at the start of the season. A couple of seasons ago I went to the first game of the season with e and AJ and we were in the Jackie Husband Stand and very relaxing it was. Maybe I should do that again. Just to get started. 😀 😀 😀

Take a mum and her child. No. Not a random mum off the streets. No. One I know…….Skippy! Draw up a list. Under 16s go free.

And this, musically, is a special request for the rainforestriverman (I know. Who’d have thought?) who came very close to giving me away at my wedding – it’s a long a story and Johnny Walker Black Label played a part. It’s the ‘legendary’ Iron Maiden.

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‘At the height of my drinking, my life was in a delicate balance between wilful delusion and procrastination. Sometimes it still is.’ (Darren ‘Loki’ McGarvey)

May 10, 2018

Sums me up these days. Without the drinking. It’s all so quiet. I wonder what I said. Oooops. Light’s on. Mic’s live. Let’s go.

And so, dear listener, the deep cleaners have been, deep cleaned and have gone. And what an excellent job they have done…..but it was such a strange feeling. For the second half of the day, I was at home; they had ‘done’ the upstairs and were ‘doing’ the downstairs half of the house. And I could hear the hoover, sorry, the vacuum cleaner, and cupboards being emptied and re-stocked and water running as basins were being filled and I couldn’t help but notice how shiny and sparkly the bathroom shower cabinet was compared to what I had left that morning and the fronts of all the kitchen cabinets and behind the washing machine (altho’ they had switched off a spur switch which caused a mild panic but I only had to switch it back on and everything was fine) and so much else. 😀

They took some piles of papers and made bigger piles and it took me all day to find the hair dryer and small things like that but it was all done with the best intentions and you should see (if you’re passing) how clean the kitchen door is on the inside. 😀 😀

And now all I have to do is to keep it tidy. Or get them back in, in a year’s time……naw…..I’ll do more than keep it tidy; I’ll keep it clean. 😉

I don’t really want to advertise their services that much but let’s just say they were Jolly Maids from Paisley……where lots of good things come from. 🙂

And I celebrated with dairy-free ice cream which was very nice (particularly given the current vanilla crisis) and Morrisons’ strawberries but if we were to get a decent run of sun, then I might be picking my own fruit. (And I still have the Earl Grey tea)

You can learn from folk coming over for their tea. I’m still using the gluten free soy sauce.

Oh, and are any of my friends out there fans of the Pretenders – Chrissie Hynd’n’that?

And as well as it being International Dawn Chorus Day during the week (thanks Ann) it was also Teacher Appreciation Day and I think the teacher that had the greatest influence on me was a history teacher called Ian Hall who recognised that I had ambitions beyond Peterhead, in journalism and maybe politics, and who would argue with me and force me to argue back – logically. This was before the disaster that is social media when it comes to respecting other people’s viewpoints.

And there was an English teacher called Hugh McLeod who drunkenly introduced me to Irish nationalism and the writings of James Connolly when I was in First Year in Secondary School. Mr Hall was against Irish nationalism and read the Telegraph.

Mr McLeod also gave me a copy of Ring of Bright Water.

And finally, just a wee word about International Birdsong Day. I did pass on one story about an early morning in Charing Cross when I’d to leave the project where I was working after a twelve hour shift finished at five in the morning.

But there was another occasion about half past four in the morning when I’d taken a taxi up the road (not sure why I finished at that time) but it was bit icey and the taxi wasn’t sure about the hill up to my house. So I walked.
Just me. And a couple of foxes. And a very still night. With dying street lights. And some stars in the sky. And some birdsong from over the graveyard. It was one of those mornings when I was in no hurry to get home.

I kinda miss the twilight hours.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (and a wee story that I’ll maybe tell next week) and keeping it simple. And why not?

Iaint850, who’s a wee bit worried he may have come over as a mouthy Scot earlier this week. Only time will tell.

And the odd person still asks, from time to time, how my health is. Mentally, I think Loki got it right.

Physically, I’m fine and may not be doing a triathlon this year but I’m in pretty good nick. And good fun to be with!

And then there’s the medication.

The brilliant rapping consultant Dr J and my equally brilliant health centre pharmacist have spoken. To each other.

And basically we’re looking at cutting back on my large list of prescribed drugs, especially anything that is left over from Cold Turkey days. And some from the immediate aftermath of the cardiac event. It’s about making a new balance work.

Already gone are the Vitamin B and Thiamine which are usually the first thing you get to help you through post alcohol dependency and to build you up. Your immune system has taken ‘one helluva beating’ and there’s some short term stuff as well.

I never had anything post cancer.

And amongst other stuff to go from post-cardiac event medication is ticagrelor; and then I’ve to give it two – three weeks and come off Omeprazole – which sounds as if it might be ‘very unpleasant’. In fact the way it’s been described to me, it’s like coming off heroin which is pretty horrible but not as bad (or so I’m told) as coming off of alcohol. But it could last a lot longer.

But I’d like to know your views. Anonymity guaranteed. BUT I do know it’s going to be tough. After all it’s there to control stomach problems, so if it’s not there………..

So what makes a good Eurovision winner? This previous winner has everything. A pleasant ballad with a catchy chorus and a wee dance routine.

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance (Erma Bombeck)

May 3, 2018

And so dear listener, this week I read The Long Drop by Denise Mina. It’s a fictional account of a strange but true event when a man called William Watt spent an afternoon and evening drinking in the company of a man called Peter Manuel who was later found guilty of murdering the Watt family but not William who happened to be out of the house that night. But what I found fascinating was the insight into a Glasgow that was having difficulty in thinking of changing – when motorways were a doodle on someone’s foolscap pad and when, at times, there was not much to choose between crooks and cops. 😉

And the Daily Record had an amazing character called Pat Roller (say it out loud) who must have been the last man to leave the office as he had to make the final calls round all the police stations for that last story from whoever happened to answer the phone. No press officers then.

All these things happened a long time before I came to university in Glasgow. And stayed. But my family had connections. In the Milton*. And we came down on holiday.

*Maybe, j, that’s where the ‘the’ in the ASDA came from.

Loads of memories;

Possibly, having just attained double figures in years, walking back with my dad through Cowcaddens – a dark and dismal place then – on a Saturday night and buying Sunday’s papers.

And, probably the same age, being on the subway (Glaswegians do not call it the Clockwork Orange) and seeing a young girl of South Asian origin and thinking how beautiful she looked. Where was she from I wondered? She got off at Kelvinbridge.

Ah memories but much more recent was my own (successful) treatment for prostate cancer, so it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I sat down to watch The Cancer Hospital – BBC Scotland’s look at the work of Glasgow’s Beatson Hospital which this week looked at prostate cancer. It was an excellent programme and brought back a lot of memories – most of them good. 😀 😀 😀

As I mentioned on Facebook it is now ten years since I was halfway through my own radiotherapy which was preceded by several months of hormone injections and, yes, as one of the guys said in the programme, it was like the menopause (according to my ex-wife) and I put my current hot flushes and weight gain down to that. ):

But my memories of the actual treatment are still strong; that small sheet which was intended as a modesty cover which we gave up on after two or three days cos, at that point, I couldn’t even raise a smile. And occasionally the radiotheraper had to use a felt pen to highlight the tattoos and as one nurse said, ‘we can’t see the wood for the trees.’ But the trees were zapped out of the way quite quickly and that’s how they’ve stayed. And then the nuclear klaxon would go and the radiotherapers would run out of the room and I’d be left for ten minutes – rigid – to let the machine do its best. It worked. 😀 😀 😀

And then that moment (and I can feel the tears starting now) when, three months after the treatment finished, my son and his kinda step-dad came down with me to the Beatson and met the consultant and I was given the All Clear. 😀 😀 😀

We know that not everyone can be that fortunate but the one thing that everyone (almost) who goes through the cancer experience agrees on is the dedication of the NHS staff who do such a brilliant job. That’s why I get annoyed every time a Health Secretary or Shadow Health Secretary or publicity seeking co*kwomble goes to a hospital looking for a photo-op. I wonder how many lives could be saved if the doctors and nurses could get back on the wards.

Anyway, I cried at some of the stories…..well, all of them..

And finally, Minimum Unit Pricing policy has arrived in Scotland after a long fight against vested interests. It may not be the ‘silver bullet’ which was bandied about this week (I don’t see how increasing the price of Frostie Jack will kill vampires but who knows) but research (for example, University of Sheffield, the Finnish (sp) Government and the World Health Organisation) suggests it will.

What difference would it have made to me? I do know that I was easily getting through a bottle of whisky each day and had started to move to much cheaper brands…….Price does make a difference.

I cried at some of the stories on the news programmes that night. Worthwhile photo-ops I thought

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and trying hard to keep it simple.

Iaint850, been doing a lot of crying this week. It’s what happens when the prostate cancer menopause finally hits you.

Some listeners may remember a few weeks back that I explained that my sister was treating me to a deep clean of my house as an early birthday present. Since I came out of hospital, I’ve maybe not given it the attention it deserves……and I live on my own (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that before) and there has been lack of, how can I put it nicely, ‘temporary visitors’ but fostering a dog has been mentioned.

So (oops) I contacted a company and someone came round at the agreed time and looked my house over. OMG! What an unnerving experience! She was good and professional but,

‘we’ll need to see what we can do.’ and ‘when was the cooker last cleaned?’ and ‘do you want the kitchen cupboards cleaned? I think we should.’….I mean she was very pleasant and they bring their own vacuum cleaner (cos mine’s rubbish) and there will be three of them and then – after she’d gone – I’d another wee look around. Surely it’s not that long since I cleaned the shower cubicle, is it? Skippy?

I’ll get that done tonight.

She also asked if I’d had the place deep cleaned before.

When I was in hospital eleven and a bit years ago, the family and friends who were tidying up parts of my life, arranged for some folk to come in to clean and tidy the house. I’ve never asked why. Maybe it was something to do with my fight with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It took place over the entire house. And I won. 🙂

This is Meghan Linsey’s cover version of the One Republic track – Counting Stars – and it’s brilliant.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. (Marcus Tullius Cicero)

April 26, 2018

And so dear listener, I feel a wee bit this week as if I’ve been playing Doctors and Nurses……but on my own.

Skippy! I can explain!

It was explained to me by the rapping Dr J that my cardiac problem may be something to do with high blood pressure so on Monday just past I got the call to go down to my health centre (altho’ I let all of Maryhill use it) and get my blood pressure tested. It’s high but let’s not rush into anything. ):

So I was lent a blood pressure monitor (and I genuinely did tell a couple of people that I was doing my own blood transfusion. I got confused) and I have been carrying out my own blood tests. They’re even higher! And then I started to make sure I was calm and collected before I did a test and they were just high. Phew…..

Mind you, given the problems from my bank of all my life (TSB) I realised that it is best to choose relaxed times of day to do these tests (two) and ignore the landline phone when it rings. I would say that 50/50 it’s still a real call and worth answering.

I won’t quote figures publicly but if you do have a nursing background and are interested let me know. You are more than welcome and I’m happy with any opinions. 🙂

Y’know recovering from the alcohol and the cancer was an awful lot easier.

And it is a wee bit like previous times in that I need to get out much more than I’m doing just now although one reason for that is a good wee run of editing but, leaving aside the blood pressure, I am in good nick now that it’s good weather (that was hail the other afternoon!) But I’m past being ‘on the mend’; I’m good to go. 😀

Mind you, with the cold turkey recovery, I had a job to go back to and I had an amazing addiction worker; in the case of the cancer my thirty-seven daily radiotherapy sessions were made so much easier by my fellow patients and NHS staff who were such a good laugh over that time. 😀 😀 😀

Ach, I’m just feeling sorry for myself. I still have that ‘stuck in the house/hospital’ feeling that I’ve had since the start of 2018 altho’ I have done a lot of brilliant walking in the West End of Glasgow with, and without, Holly the Dog. And e. Any other offers? I remember doing Millport a couple of years ago. 🙂

The reason I’m in that mood is cos I watched The Cancer Hospital on the BBC the other night. It was one of the few docs I’ve seen in recent years where the lack of a presenter worked as Dougie Henshall’s v/over was essentially underplayed so that the voices of the women had to be listened to.

Obviously I know those corridors altho’ my treatment happened in the Thomas Wheldon building next door and the other thing I remember is arriving early so I could go for a walk around Bingham’s Pond before my treatment – just to calm down. That was when I started to grow my hair slightly longer. 😉

This coming week it’s prostate cancer.

I should watch more comedy.

I did, however, watch the prog about Harold Shipman. Remember the good Doctor W? That was where her interest in medico-crime came from. She did write a book on the subject. I helped. A little. I wonder if it was ever published?

Should I maybe try and find out?

And finally, atm I have no idea as to whether TSB online is working properly and full-time and nor, I suspect. do they.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (how long is that now?) and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, I don’t have much money but I’ve never looked at my bank accounts as much as I’ve done recently.

So it’s now thirty years since the Glasgow Garden festival but my interest in garden festivals was aroused four years earlier when my then wife and I were taken by friends to the Liverpool Garden Festival and I thought it was brill. 🙂

A few weeks later I took BBC Radio Scotland’s Jimmy Mack Show with presenter Jimmy Mack and production assistant Jeanette down to Liverpool to do the show from there but Jimmy was late in arriving for a slot on BBC Merseyside and I had to stand in for him. I was good but remained a producer. 😉

I then spoke ‘informally’ to people from the Scottish Development Agency about getting the BBC involved in the Glasgow event but I was too ‘informal’ and was quite shocked when a senior producer later said that he had had the first contact with the organisers but ‘they seemed well organised for BBC broadcasting ideas.’

When it comes to ‘informal’ where I was concerned, then read ‘lights well hidden under a bushel’. However, I did okay for season tickets and was offered a job by the PR consultancy that the Festival PR people all went and joined. I turned it down and later, the building in which that office was located became the home for the Blue Triangle Head Office and there’s a wee memory just come back. Knowing smile icon. 😉

Anyway, I had the immense pleasure of producing the (for radio) Royal Opening with Charles and Diana with my presenters (Jimmy Mack and Mary Marquis), reporters Lesley Riddoch, Christine Kinnear and Kevin Ruane (?) and production team of me, Max, Jayne and Amanda.

And I got a Pringle sweater with the Garden Festival logo and my name on it. Wore it once.

Live broadcasting and the memories, eh? 🙂

But here’s a John Martyn cover from an up and coming band of whom I think highly. If they turn up in your neck of the woods, go see them. What? No. I don’t know any of them. Honest guv! The Rain Kings featuring Neil Turner.

I wear black because I’m comfortable in it. But then in the summertime when it’s hot I’m comfortable in light blue (Johnny Cash)

April 20, 2018

And so, dear listener, we almost had some sun. In Glasgow. Tbh I’ve been poised like a poised thing to enjoy the weather ever since various weather forecasters said we had a mini heatwave coming up. But it’s not happened. ):

Which is a shame cos I was in that kinda mood. Don’t worry cos the tap wisnae going to cam off. No’ wi a belly like mine. ):

But I’d been cheered up by the wise words of Rapper J, sorry, Dr J, my consultant of last week….the latest in a reasonably long line of highly influential professional women who have had such an effect on my life.

GP Fiona, who told me that I had too much alcohol in my blood system and not to cold turkey (but I did) and my addiction worker Moira who had me for longer than I was expected cos of the cancer and cos it’s often post cancer treatment where the problems arise, a big thanks goes to the clinical psychologist, Claire, who put me through some tough stuff and who made me realise that I can’t stop the cancer coming back but I have total control over alcohol.

N.B. to some long term listeners. Claire was different from Clr. Know what I mean? (But also a major hand to all those other women whose initials are well known to you who have also been major helps)

And what does all that mean in practice?

Well, my problem seems to be linked to high blood pressure and I’m getting that checked on Monday but one newspaper says that the old method of taking blood pressure can actually get it wrong……….I’d like to say thanks to Mark in 151 who helped sort out a TV rather than a Virgin box problem for me……..I’ve had my hair cut much shorter but my face looks much fatter and I wonder if that could be medication…….and I’ve done some good walks this week usually with coffee (and one piece of chocolate cake) somewhere in the mix………..and that’s the quorn mince cooked to keep me going for a wee while…….and I’m now at the stage where I can draw together all the post-its I have with jobs (paid or voluntary) on them and create quite a list…….I would do it outside but there is little or no sun………and I’ve been attempting to flyer my editing services but got thrown out of one S’clyde Uny building by a hi-vis security guard but there were no students behind which I could hide…….but the big thing is that a sense of normality has returned and there are many reasons for that. 😀

And I’d lunch with uni-Sharon in a café in Paisley but I won’t say which one – other than to say it’s one where they serve goat’s cheese quiche but it’s not on the menu. Y’know, like those special Starbuck’s drinks that you’re not supposed to know about unless you know the code. It’s the same in the Paisley café. 😉

Interesting conversation. We seemed to tour – in words – Paisley, Beith, Linwood and Kilbirnie, with its amazing Radio City Community Centre. And Tesco’s. There was a time (six/seven years ago?) when the blog seemed to visit a different supermarket every week.

And finally, I did send off ‘stuff’ to the Bowel Cancer people (and I’d hate to be their postie) and I got a reply pretty damn quick. Currently clear. When you’re starting the rest of your life (yet again) that’s good news. 😀 😀 😀

And for all of you who went to see Arcade Fire this week and saw Jim Kerr, this is/these are Simple Minds with words which are now my own personal theme as I return to society. Not that Jim Kerr is ever over the top……..

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (and the smile it brings) and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, the kind of guy who, if a picture finds itself at an angle, is happy to leave it.

So (you can actually tell people who’ve been media trained by their use of that word in their answers) I became aware during the week that there are primary school kids who have become increasingly concerned about the possibility of WW3 and how it could affect us. CBBC Newsround does a good job with these things and there’s a site but a memory came back.

When I worked with the homeless we had (at that time) a number of refugees who were being allowed to live in this country but under strict rules. Some came from Syria. And the memory?

Seeing them phone home (to Syria) and the pleasure when their mum or dad answered the phone. But, in one case, I was shown photos of the neighbours who had died the previous night during the bombing and what the street had looked like.

This could be a long list.

Last week’s tune was a bit take it or leave it much as me and at least one other like Walk The Moon. I had run out of time. This is a much more considered choice. This is/these are the Shires with Guilty and, yes, rules are made to be broken.

And whatever monkey that was on my back He jumped off just like that Right into the deep blue sea (David Lee Murphy)

April 12, 2018

And so, dear listener, some of you may remember that a few months back I had what, in some quarters, is known as a bit of a heart attack and, thanks to that nice Mr Zuckerberg and his Facebook apparatus, I was able to tell people about it. 🙂

He helped me to share it – as I believe young people describe it. And sharing is good. Mind you, I saw one young lady (using this device) complain that Facebook had shared the date of her birthday – which she claimed was her personal property. So, she won’t feel hurt if it’s totally ignored next year. Or will she?

It wasn’t the most serious of cardiac arrests but it was pretty frightening at the time. I wanted to learn more and so good is the NHS that they wanted to tell me more but the Beast from the East (in its various guises) prevented them from doing so ): …….until this week.

I was down for two appearances; the first was an echo scan in Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary and the other was a meeting with the Heart Failure (!) Consultant in what used to be Yorkhill (Sick Kids and Queen Mum’s and so on).

So, on Tuesday, I re-created the route that many of my visitors had taken when they came to visit me – except I cheated a wee bit cos it was raining. I took a taxi from Queen Street Station to the Queen Elizabeth Building.

Bloody Hell!!!!!!! I never ever visited East Berlin at the height of the Cold War but if W H Smith’s had had a shop there at the time this is what it would have looked like. I fully expected George Smiley to be swopping spies in there. What a sad looking place that entrance area is. ):

And Debbie, not only was that a long walk for you and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to guide you in, but directions meant nothing to me. So much easier arriving in an ambulance and being jagged up with morphine. 😀 😀 😀

Anyway, I found where I was going for the scan and it’s exactly the same procedure as pregnant women get but it was a doctor doing it and he kept shouting out medical things to a doctor on the other side of the curtain.

Occasionally she shouted back. He spoke to me once. He said, ‘Sniff’ so I did. I’m sure it meant something.

Anyway, it was over after about thirty minutes and it was horrible. I am so fat and I spent all that time looking at my stomach. Yeugh! ):

The female doctor came round from the other side and we’ll call her Doctor J (and I wonder if she’s on Facebook lol!) and she was brilliant. I do remember her as one of the consultants who paid me a visit on a previous occasion and I remember her as asking questions but also answering them. She seemed to remember me but my ego is not so inflated as to think she really did. I just think she’s really good at reading medical notes.

And this is what she said (gulp, and serious voice);

My left ventricle is normal so blood is going round and round alright.

The extreme cold I was feeling with blue fingers and blue hands and other blue extremities with some tiredness and breathing hiccups may well have been caused by the beta blockers I’ve been taking and I’ve to gradually cut back on them (Nae beta blocker cold turkey).

The leaky aortic valve is still there but it’s not mega and Dr J (must get her first name) is going to request an MRI scan for me and she will arrange a clinic appointment for me as well but probably about six months. So warmed up fingers crossed, I may be sorted.

So the heart failure (!) consultant got cancelled. 😀 😀

And finally, I have now done the Bowel Cancer test, so with a slight feeling of dread, it’s been posted.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (ah, the things it’s seen) and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, 2018 can now start for me! After all, yolo!

I know some folk think I talk too much about my health matters but the aim has never been to say ‘do things my way’ and you’ll be fine, but to help folk raise questions in a way they might not feel able to do elsewhere. I may not have answers but I’ll help you to rephrase your questions. That does help. Trust me.

Things like telling students about cancer who’d no idea what the prostate was; talking to a conference of doctors about my feelings about what had happened to me alcoholically and after I’d finished I noticed a man hanging around and he just wanted to talk; and someone asking me whether you dealt with the anxiety and depression first or the drinking. Time and reassurance can help.

Sorry, if that didn’t make sense but I was talking to my legal the other day in Stereo, where the jackfish was nice but filling, and without going too deeply into the conversation, I came away thinking how lucky I have been, particularly in the last eleven years. I have been very lucky.

And my thanks to those people who have shared with me that they have leaky aortic valves and I know that they lead what can be described as ‘normal lives’. Sharing is good. Just wish sometimes I could share my luck a little more.

Which reminds me… I need a third piece of music for my funeral.

Yours, in a happy, smiley mood.:D

So, (ooops, sorry Rosie) none of the music I wanted was available to me online. ‘Withdrawn at artists’ request’ or similar so I’ve gone to old favourites Walk The Moon and Shiver Shiver which is something I’ll now stop doing once I come off the beta blockers and I regain the feelings in my fingers.

One of my favorite things is to have a three-hour conversation over coffee with someone (Andy Grammer)

April 6, 2018

And so dear listener, there are some moments when you wish you were part of a TV drama rather than grim reality, aren’t there? Well, there are for me. See me, see fantasies. 😉

I happened to be seated in Central Station the other day when a woman (mid-thirties?) sat two seats down from me with hood pulled down and scarf pulled up. A few minutes later a man with beard, two cases and two young children with rucksacks turned up and stood next to woman who says nothing. Man with beard says something and woman lowers scarf and single word replies. Children say nothing but you can see by their silent eyes they are aware that something is not right.

Man with beard takes son away somewhere but young girl just looks at mum and then it’s time for me to go. See if I did live in a TV drama, I’d have lent over and said to the wee girl, ‘Give your mum a hug. She needs one.’

Except, I’d probably have been arrested. 😦

The fact that I do live in a very real world at the moment was emphasised by an aborted train trip to Helensburgh. Which is a smashing train journey – particularly Bowling. 🙂

However, the bit between me parking my car at the tennis club and actually getting to Hyndland Railway Station saw me hit by horrible windy rainy wet snowy snow and I was shivering by the time I got to the ticket bit. I made the decision to cancel the trip, bought newspapers from the kiosk there and then drove gently home – not a problem.

Then, once I got indoors, I started breathing heavily (No. There was no-one there to greet me). I’d made it home safely so relaxing means breathlessness kicks in. So I had some of my spray. They are very nice blue lights that seem to accompany each whiff. I felt settled. 😀

Cos my heart’s not pumping properly (but it’s not dangerous) then there is a circulation problem. Strange. In my days as a PR person, I used to be able speak to everyone in a room in just a matter of minutes – and make sure their drinks were topped up. No problems with circulation then.

So I have heart tests and a consultant’s consultation next week. I have four basic questions to ask and the standby question is, ‘why do so many of my medications (two out of fourteen pills) warn against me taking grapefruit juice?’

But I do reckon a wee spell of dry, sunny weather would make such a big difference – not just to me but to everyone. 😀

I think a combo of an honest appraisal of my heart and better weather is the psychological boost I need.

Mind you, in some ways, I think this is harder than the cancer and the alcohol. It is also why I’ve not been making it to Partick Thistle. A couple of hours standing in the rain. I can’t mention the football cos I’ve not seen it.

Also, in the real world, my washing machine seems a bit unhappy and I’ll never trust a weather forecaster again…….or maybe it gets ‘milder’ when I’m not looking.

People whom I trust in the Facebook community – Tricia and Debbie – suggest it’s the filter which according to the YouTube community is hidden by a panel at the front. I think it would be sensible to get someone in to help me move the machine….a neighbour maybe. Except, since I started writing this, I’ve done a washing and it was okay………maybe cos it was a smaller washing?

But it’d be nice to show the neighbour the flowers I was given for Easter. 🙂

I can also show them my mobile phone which is back up and working thanks to my son who fixed it whilst I was across playing with my grandchildren on Easter Monday. 😀

But congrats to the rainforestriverman on the birth of a second grandchild – a granddaughter this time. 😀 😀 😀

And I also had an interesting chat with someone from UWS (Paisley) in UWS (Paisley) which gave me some good ideas and I also had an interesting chat with someone else from UWS (Paisley) in Tinderbox in Prince’s Square which offered some interesting food for thought. My friend, that is; not Tinderbox which does do cakes but we passed.

Right. That’s the happy stuff out of the way.

And finally, thanks for the suggestions as to what I should do next in my life. A couple of people suggested a return to residential care through relief banks and whilst there was much I enjoyed in doing that, I think the days of me charging out of the office to go settle an issue elsewhere in the project have long since gone.

To recap;
I’m looking for ideas for appropriate paid part-time work, or appropriate voluntary work, or an appropriate course.

And that’s the basic rules of the game.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still a great believer in keeping it simple 😉

Iaint850, still not sure what has happened to me

So this month’s favourite story of the week? 😀

It’s the one where the wee primary schoolgirl in Kilmarnock did a lovely wee picture of her mum – lying in bed suffering from a Prosecco hangover – sorry, ‘horrible juice’ hangover. And the teacher had even corrected the wee girl’s grammar before adding,

‘Oh I hope she feels better soon’

And a further quote from the mum;

‘It could have been worse. She (the daughter not the teacher) kept walking in on me with my head over the toilet so at least that wasn’t in the picture.’

All I will say, as an estranged dad who continued to attend parents’ nights even after the separation, it’s amazing what could be learned from a primary schoolchild’s diary of the week.

And that’s all I’m saying.

So I recently bought five CDs of Bonnie Raitt for a tenner. Raitt has received 10 Grammy Awards. She is listed as number 50 in Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” and number 89 on the magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.

This is she

“Life is like chocolate: you should enjoy it piece for piece and let it slowly melt on your tongue.”

March 29, 2018

And so dear listener this is Easter Weekend and as I sit here and type out these words (Friday afternoon), the words of doom uttered by Thomas Schaffeneker (sp) have not yet come to fruition. It was he, a few days ago, who elaborated at great length about the 6 to 10 days forecast and how cold it might be for us this particular few days. It is, it seems, about to happen but I much prefer people like Gillian Smart and a very tall guy called Chris Fawkes/Fox who appreciate how fed up we have become with the weather and who emphasise words like ‘milder’ and ‘snow over the highest of hills.’ 🙂 I think I’m still happier with the next day forecast.

But I do accept that change in weather forecasting can happen very quickly. It’s maybe that speed of change and how it reaches us that affects my feelings about the way it’s presented. And I shall, forever, apportion part of the blame for my ‘cardiac event’ on the cold weather. And the paper cut to my right index finger.

And, yes, I too have noticed the demise of the word ‘Easter’ on various chocolate egg containers but I’ve also been guilty of eating the contents. I’m way overweight and whilst it’s good that I’m doing the walking I do I reckon I could easily lose half a stone in old money. I’ve let too many people tell me I look fine. It’s time to do something about it. Once I’ve had that last toffee crisp that’s in the fridge just now. 😉

And even more frightening is the fact that I recently looked in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw (seriously, Debbie). I felt I had aged dreadfully – more 45 than 42.

But it’s easy putting things off just now. In a couple of weeks’ time I have some heart tests e.g. an ECG, and a conversation with the heart failure (!) consultant and I’ve a few questions to ask. The only residual I have is some tiredness and breathlessness at times – particularly in the house (?). I’ve only used that spray twice and the second time was in the house. OMG! It’s bitter and powerful and the pharmacist warned me against mixing it with some other stuff.

And I need to think about getting out of the house on a more regular and meaningful basis. Don’t get me wrong. I’m enjoying catching up with folk even if some things do get cancelled at short notice for jolly interesting reasons.

But I need something more;

An appropriate regular part-time job; or

Appropriate voluntary work; or

Serious writing but for whom?; or

An appropriate course……..

Someone suggested learning to play the guitar or studying Italian painting. Have I ever shown interest in those?

But mine is not a closed mind. But regular listeners know where my interests lie.

Any and every suggestion will be considered and there is a prize.

This is not a competition on Facebook offering a new mobile home as a prize by a company which has no profile on Facebook or real Google presence. I would have said something but why shatter the dreams of the nine and a half thousand people who had already entered. This was not Facebook’s fault.

But what job could I do?

For example, there’s a well-known D-I-Y chain which is known to employ ‘slightly’ older people but I’m not the world’s greatest D-I-Yer. If I was asked anything, I’d have to excuse myself and phone Kenny the Shed Pimp.

But on the workfront well done on promotion, or new job, to Ann from Prostate Cancer and Missie K. The furthest I ever got at the BBC was acting Senior Producer but I did know Viv Lumsden and Alan Douglas long before they became an item. I didn’t work on Rep Scot but knew the newsroom from when I worked on Nationwide. I was always made welcome there. I did get a lift up the road from Paddie on one occasion and was always part of the battle to open the door for Mary. 😀

And Ann, did you know that the building in which the bar Stereo lives was designed by Rennie Mackintosh and was home to the Daily Record for a while?

I could become a tour guide and bore for Scotland.

And finally, I was a wee bit distressed that numeracy standards have fallen so much that we’re to have a National Numeracy Day (16th May). I think we’ve had them before but tbh, I’ve not been counting.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and it’s always nice to get a wee wave.

Iaint850, described by one academic as a ‘serial recoverer’.

So (sorry Rosie) I saw Jeremy Kyle on TV the other night and he was doing some kind of bish bosh bash investigative reporting series in which he found Class A dealers within seconds and the anonymity they were granted was on condition they wore stupid masks and had their voices slo-mo’d down.

He spoke to a former policeman who is now involved with LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) and he (Kyle) seemed surprised when the polis suggested legalisation of the drugs trade. Not liberalisation or relaxation or giving the stuff away. Legalisation.

The very word ‘legalisation’ suggests legal controls and how can that be bad? Maybe a system similar to licensing the sale of alcohol with minimum age limits, control of premises and control of quality of what is sold? Is that such a bad notion?

The alternative is what we have just now where the drugs trade is outside the law, run by criminals for profit who will sell anything to anyone of any age and mental stability without any quality control.

The result? 867 deaths last year related to the use of street Valium or blues or fake diazepam…….Legal or illegal?

I know which saves lives.

This is Joan Baez right up to date and proving she still has an amazing voice and a social conscience

Procrastination is the, is the, eh, I’ll look it up later (t850 2018)

March 22, 2018

And so dear listener, I had considered talking a wee bit about how nothing I’ve learned this week about Social Media has surprised me and what steps I take to avoid problems but that’s smug and tempting fate.

So all I’ll say is that, in a world

where, when I walk past Network Tyres, Facebook suggests I take a photo cos lots of my friends ‘like’ Network Tyres;

where sane and sensible people think that airlines are giving away free flights cos it’s a very strange anniversary but it’s not advertised on TV or mentioned on their website other than to warn you against this false promo; and

where you have only to request a friendship with somebody you already know for tons of new friends to be offered to you,

should any of this come as a surprise?

I like Facebook but am cautious. It was brilliant when I was in hospital not just at being able to let me post progress (or otherwise) on the heart thing but it saved me from being bored; and it was nice the other day when I was asked for another Tale from the Cul-de-Sac on that snowy Sunday, but you’ve got to ask yourself who is asking the questions (on Facebook) and what exactly are you sharing and why.

And I don’t get involved in political arguments; there’s a limit to the number of times you can tell people, for example, that there’s no chance of an independence referendum this year because of the Scotland Act (1999) and Westminster’s a bit busy at the moment. And then you get abuse for being a unionist (which I’m not) or, worse still, a former BBC journalist. 😦

Incidentally, have you got one of those devices that you tell to add things to your shopping list? What else is it hearing? (Alexa?)

I’ll move on.

Actually, it was a real pain on Wednesday afternoon, when the television stations were discussing Facebook and data, that Virgin decided to upgrade maintenance work (or similar) and the internet went down. TV came back on quickly so, ironically, I could hear people talk about Facebook. I just couldn’t access it. 😦

And when it did come back on, it was only for a weather forecaster to tell us that the Beast from the East could return at Easter but maybe more from the North and the East but it was ten days away and computer models could change overnight……..so why tell us?

Am I the only one beginning to blame the forecasters for the weather and whilst rain and snow are not the only reasons why I’ve not ventured out so much this year, I was hoping for a run of decent weather once the clocks have gone forward. Instead I’m sitting here typing these words listening to the wind outside and it’s a dry day. So far.

And I’ve got storage issues with my mobile phone……I’m not very tekkie am I?

But I did get an interesting phone call that afternoon. It was the Kaye Adams Show on BBC Radio Scotland. They were doing a feature the next day on men who had had significant illnesses and the effect on their sex life. The researcher/producer seemed to lose interest when I said it was nine or ten years ago and it had had little effect. 😉

But, I was asked the same question by the Daily Record a wee while back and with the Internet down I couldn’t Google the article but I was able to lay my hands on a hard (!) copy.

Gosh…….that was a bit indiscrete, jt.

Pages 28 – 29 of the Daily Record 18th April 2011, if you’re interested. And on the preceding page there’s a pic of me next to then Kate Middleton. On the page. Not in person.

Interestingly enough, within minutes that person (the Kaye Adams producer – not Princess Katie) was being offered to me by Facebook as a potential friend.

And social media is free to most of us. I mean I’m about to launch a major marketing campaign on behalf of http://www.thewordprocess.net and I’m going to run it for a whole fortnight at a cost of £56. I mean that doesn’t pay for a lot of doggie pictures, does it? I’m not justifying what seems to have happened but I remember a time when unions and other organisations, wrongly, sold on address lists of their membership. 😦

But in the meantime, I’m taking any editing that’s going which is playing havoc with my amazing social life.

This is not to condone anything that may or may not have happened and I am beginning to go round the unies again with actual sheets of paper to stick on noticeboards where I can. Some clear boards pretty quickly unless there’s an official stamp.

Others? In one Glasgow Uny building I came across a very old and faded flyer that must have been one of the first I ever put up. 😀

This week’s targets? GCal, Strathclyde Uny and UWS (Paisley) before the snow comes and whilst some students are still around but have I left it all a bit late? Only time will tell. And if you’re around any of those…….just say 🙂

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, still not too sure when this year will start and annoyed at myself. Long story.

And so this is Day 10 of 10 for Missie K and this is for her

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can succeed at (Hawking)

March 16, 2018

And so dear listener, as I open the mics for this week’s show, the clouds are gathering and the weather forecasters are not giving us good news. I just want something reasonably settled and warm but really hate the way some of them break the news to us. The more unsettled the weather, the happier they seem to be in explaining it to us.

Not for the first time this year, I feel marooned – hospital or house? I’m looking longingly out of windows.

But I have other things to talk about – the biggest of which is that the ‘s’ key on my keyboard ha given up so that any time s occurs it’s there courtesy of copy’n’paste. The laptop is not happy. Is it time for a new one down by the bank of the Mi i ipee near the American city of Ma achu ette ? 😦

Probably.

But http://www.laptopandpcdoctor.co.uk has just lent me an old USB keyboard and I’m off and running. And they dell laptops. Sorry. ‘sell laptops’…….But they will want theirs back and in the meantime……..does anyone have a spare one i can borrow longer term?

Actually, I’m working off two keyboards at the moment and feel like I’m auditioning for Kraftwerk…….. 😉

Incidentally, much of today’s show is dedicated to great comedians (as in a male joke teller as opposed to a comedienne which is etc……..why is it equality and diversity mean the need for fewer descriptive words?)

So I never thought I’d ever be able to use this.

Ken Dodd died the other day.

Did he?

No. Doddy.

But there are some genuine gags from the great man himself later in the show. 😀

It’s just that Sir Ken Dodd and also the late Jim Bowen had a greater influence on me than ever Stephen Hawking did. I understood what “Stay out of the black and into the red, nothing in this game for two in a bed.” meant but to this day I have no idea what a black hole is.

But Stephen had a sense of humour. I like the story of him when he’d been recording a big filmed interview with a big film crew and the electrician went round unplugging things and suddenly there was a massive scream and sigh and slump from Stephen and a look of panic on the face of everyone. ’What the hell has the electrician unplugged?’ ……..at which point the distinguished physicist did his equivalent of ‘Fooled You!!!’ and got a round of applause. 🙂

‘I have kleptomania but when it gets bad I take something for it’ (Dodd)

So, a wee and possible final word about my health. I’m fine. The biggest fright was in the four or five days leading up to the 999 phone call when I felt really bad. Once I was in NHS hands I felt safe. It has revealed a minor heart problem. It doesn’t stop me getting out and about but the weather does. I need the fresh air. It does for me what the morphine did. And caffeine. And I’m about to shop for non-dairy ingredients.

I am more than capable of doing what I did before this scare. Just a wee bit more aware of my chest and capable of giving many people a good run for their money – well a power walk for their pennies and tuppeny bits. 🙂

And thank to those folk who have commented on how much they enjoyed my (thankfully) short Facebook series during the bad weather – Tales from the Cul-de-sac.

‘How many men does it take to change a toilet roll? Nobody knows. It’s never been done before’ (Dodd)

And finally, in a moment of seriousness, I have decided that in the short term I need to get more out of http://www.thewordprocess.net and friend Tricia has helped with some Facebook Business Group stuff and there’s still time to get flyers up before the busy part of March happens. There has been a university workers’ strike at some of the unies I go to with flyers (N.B. not just lecturers but workers and I don’t cross picket lines) and I’m trying to combine meeting up with some people at some of the others – and Embra is a contender.

Let’s see how much the new equipment costs.

‘I just read a book about Stockholm Syndrome – it started off badly but by the end I really liked it’ (Dodd)

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, and the new haircut is in keeping with the new approach to life.

Eight years ago, I, along with Nick Low of Demus Productions, produced a radio documentary (presented by John Ross Beattie) which was about Prostate Cancer, describing it as ‘the silent killer’ as men wouldn’t talk about it.

Obvs I got a lot of men (six?) and two wives and a consultant and a nurse to talk about it otherwise it would have been a lot of silence. Nowadays you can’t open a newspaper without someone talking about it. Which is good.

I’m not going to get involved in some of the discussions about PSA testing (yes regularly it’s a good idea – but on its own it’s not enough) but there is something that Bill Turnbull said that I’d like to pick up on. He said that he had pains and urological issues but put these down to old age.

Never, ever put anything down to old age or for other cancers, ‘it’s just women’s problems’ and please be aware of cancer symptoms and whatever your age, go and talk to the doctor about them if you’re worried.

And what did Ken Dodd have in common with Charles de Gaulle’s wife? Happiness. On the basis that no-one will understand the context, here’s the Black Holes Song by Jam Campus.