It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)

September 14, 2018

And so, dear listener, I need your help. I would like to sleep longer in the morning. I think I’m still in hospital time from earlier in the year but it’s just my head. Much the rest of me stays in that one semi-asleep position but my head and my brain are wide awake. It sometimes helps if I keep saying ‘drift’ over and over again in my head and I drift off but then my neighbours who work night shift come home but I’d my car radio on loud as well when I came home from night shift. 😉

And there’s a couple of folks who get picked up; quite a few dog walkers; but I do resist the temptation to look at my phone and see what messages there are.

(Who am I kidding? I’ve just finished writing a blues song called ‘If it wasn’t for Groupon, I wouldn’t get no mail at all.’)

We’re talking about a totally unnecessary 0530 here. Funnily enough I slept much better when I worked funny shifts. 🙂

(And the day after I drafted this, I woke up at five to six and fell immediately back to sleep until 0723)

Let’s move on. Swiftly.

And a quick Happy Birthday to Son Brian. Amongst other things was a lunch at a place called Las Iguanas in Glasgow City Centre. I’d the Veggie Chilli. And then I’d to go to work.

I’d almost a disaster. I was convinced my breath was honking and I felt the spray tube in my pocket. I almost reached for it but, of course, it wasn’t Gold Diamond Spearmint Spray; it was Heart Failure Bring-You-Back-Alive Spray with those lovely blue flashing lights and a kind of feeling where the ceiling seems very close – or is that just me?

And Happy Wedding to Audrey and Paul. 😀

Oh, and I’ve got to go to the dentist this week. With my fillings. Actually without them. That’s why I’ve got to go. 😦

And finally, Serena Williams, whose behaviour was appalling and resembled a very very spoiled brat who was threatening to scweam and scweam and scweam until she was awarded the match. It was nothing to do with racism or sexism.

This was not her chaining herself to the railings knowing a prison sentence was beckoning like women did one hundred years ago nor was this her crossing a line of Alabama National Guard to get into a segregated school.

This was a woman so used to getting her own way that she actually said to the umpire, ‘You will never umpire on my court again.’ She has loads of previous.

The winner was a twenty-year old Japanese woman called Naomi Osaka who also some Haitian blood in her whose day was completely ruined.

Well done to Partick Thistle who, despite Kris Doolan’s perfectly good goal being chalked off the previous week, still gave him his goal scoring bonus which he straightaway donated to a Beatson Cancer Fund. 🙂

And Happy First Day to good friend e on her, well, first day. Maybe one day I’ll give her a guest spot and she can tell you all about it herself. 😀 😀 😀

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still looking at the sky whilst keeping it simple.

Iaint850, still dancin’ on the hood in the middle of the wood.

But before I do the serious bit, nice bumping into @soulboydaveybee in the toilets at Queen Street Station and I do know there is one day of the week when he is actually in town so it was with great delight I was able to say to him,

‘Is this Wednesday?’

To which he replied,

‘No. It’s Thursday.’

And then we both said,

‘So am I. Let’s go for a drink.’

There was some applause from inside one of the cubicles but sometimes it’s better to make an excuse and leave.

So last week saw Suicide Prevention Week but I’ve not been trained to use the word prevention.
Intervention’s a good word.

In Social Care you get training in this area and one of the first things you get told is we no longer talk about ‘committing suicide.’ It’s not a crime.

First of all, thanks to Alternatives down in Clydebank and Dumbarton I did Safetalk which helps you to identify someone at risk and to point them towards an appropriate person. I have used it once. Successfully.

Then, thanks to Alternatives and Blue Triangle I did ASIST training which helps to recognise the signs of someone seriously close to taking their own lives – bridge-jumpingly close – and intervening enough to stop them doing it by knowing how to talk to them. I have used it once. Also successfully.

Obviously then there is longer term work which needs to be done by more skilled and experienced and better qualified people.

We all know people who have done First Aid at Work Certificates (and I got my two latest last week). Check with the folk you work for as to whether they can also put you forward for something like these two forms of training.

Here’s Big Country with Stuart Adamson who took his own life in 2001. His daughter was talking about it earlier this week.

Advertisements

There’s never a right time to go, but there could be a wrong time to go (Terry Wogan)

September 6, 2018

And so dear listener, this week, for the first time in a long time, I suffered from first day nerves at a new job…..except it’s not like a full-time job with a wage and stuff. And it’s not as if I’ve had a first day recently. 😦

As many people know, I’ve started to do some voluntary work with the Scottish Drugs Forum on the social media side and attended a very successful conference last week. This week saw my first day in the office and all I will say is that it went very well indeed. They seem to be a very nice bunch of people and I knew some of them already which always helps. 🙂

But I was reminded of some other first days as I washed behind my ears and sharpened my pencils the night before.

Like my first relief shift with Blue Triangle. I’d been inducted for various projects and done shadow shifts in various places but a text had come in offering an 11 – 7 n/s in Clydebank on Sunday and I got straight back and said Yes. I got it.

So I turned up at 11 on Sunday morning only to be told that n/s actually stood for night shift…..so I came back home and got a wee disco nap.

And going back to my days doing a Youth and Community Post Grad and I’d a placement in a community centre in Hamilton (Fairhill known as Whisky Valley) and on my first night in the café I’d to stop a fight between two girls – always the worst.

So we’ll see how the volunteering works out.

The possible working with homeless refugees may have been put on hold as I have enough to be concentrating on.

I’ve also not done too badly financially out of the late Summer rush of editing, including, intriguingly, three International Relations dissertations from Durham University. Let’s just say, challenges were offered by their English.

But there was also a retro moment when myself and good friend C went to TGIFs just opposite the blue police telephone box in Buchanan Street. It has been a long time since I was there. I’d forgotten how much it lacks non-meat options but it still bangs a lot of balloons for birthday parties even early evening. 😀

And what do you do if you give someone a surprise present and leave it in the boot of their car but they don’t get back to you? Do you drop hints in some way or just come out and say something? No. No reason. But it worked out okay.

No such problem with my son and his birthday (this week) where (often) you get the idea, and the link, sent to you but I’m not sure he’d suit a butterfly cape (see last week’s blog for details)

And some news on my own health front. I’ve now got to be tagged for twenty-four hours so that my blood pressure can be measured and recorded over that period but I’m also not allowed to shower or have a bath either over that same period…….

And I’ve been asked to take part in some heart failure clinical research. I do wish we could find a better phrase than heart failure but I’ll read it closely and maybe check with Dr J, my consultant. and it pays.

And finally, a big well done to the Scotland Women’s football team – not for being the first Scottish team to reach a World Cup Finals since the men did in 1998 but, quite simply, for reaching a World Cup Finals. 😀

BBC Scotland’s Reporting Scotland did a nice wee feature on this and then a couple of minutes later talked about ‘the Scotland team manager’ Alex McLeish. Know your place, Shelley Kerr.

(This blog was written well before Friday night’s defeat to Belgium)

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and a couple of others as well and still happy enough keeping it simple.

Iaint850, feeling very indecisive at the moment.

So a lot of discussion about adverts for a Gin Society which were not appreciated by Aberdeenshire Alcohol and Drugs Partnership. I didn’t think they were too bad.

But I was reminded of a very famous cartoon from the New Yorker of the fifties and a woman shouting down the phone, ‘But I’m not an alcoholic. They’re anonymous and go to meetings. I’m a drunk and go to parties.’

It was at the time that AA and the basic theory that ‘alcoholism’ was an untreatable disease was taking off – that the actual problem lay with people being allergic to alcohol and it was ‘the drink that done it’ as Scottish lawyers used to say in defence of their clients.

It was the early seventies before it came to be realised that ‘addiction’ was much more a case of learned behaviours and there might be other ways of helping people, including a life changing event or a basic change of circumstances ….for which me, and all those GIs who came home from Vietnam (stoned in Saigon but clean and clear in Smalltown Arizona), are eternally grateful. 😀

And this is the best song ever written about working and it has the most amazing intro for any song written about working and it has Dolly Parton:)

‘I’m entering the world’s tightest hat competition. I just hope I can pull it off. (William Andrews)

September 1, 2018

And so dear listener I watched World War Z and thought it was awful. I didn’t even stick it to the end. Shame, really, as long term listeners will remember that the Good Dr W was an extra in the film, playing an office worker.

I didn’t apply for an audition for this movie but was turned down for the Scarlett Johannesson (sp) one where she cruised the streets of Glasgow, and similar places, picking up men. 😦

I have two memories of W’s time there. One was her second audition. Many people had been told to come back dressed as office workers to see how they would suit the role. Many people did not have appropriate clothing so what they did was to go to Primark in Argyle Street, buy an outfit, and return it an hour later, saying they’d changed their minds (but they’d got the part). 😉

Long before the days of ATMs, I am told, if you needed cash you went to M & S and bought something, paying by cheque, and returned it an hour later, getting an immediate refund.

W’s other memory (and, no, I’ve not seen her for a very long while) was of the smell of Fabreze. For continuity reasons, the extras had to wear the same outfit over eight or nine days, so every night the wardrobe staff sprayed the clothes with Fabreze….I’m told it stopped helping quite early on.

But the movie was still rubbish.

We did work together on Lip Service (the Glaswegian based lesbian drama set in the Merchant City) but we never made it past the cutting room floor (or the offline editing suite) but W did go on to do the Fast and Furious that was shot in Glasgow as well as a Virgin Trains ad……..

Moving on. 🙂

But I did like the Adrian Chiles doc where he tried to work out whether or not he was an ‘alcoholic’. Less and less and less, that word is used in professional treatment and recovery. There is one obvious group where it is the key to ‘membership’ but mostly we talk of problem drinking or alcohol dependency and trying to help with the motivation to give up but, yes, many are too far gone and giving up on the drink is one very big ask.

But I was delighted to see that Adrian and another drinker attended a group called Smart Recovery which is much more like the groups you see on TV and has a flip chart and a leader and everyone is encouraged to talk. At the majority of AA meetings, with the exception of the chairman, they tend to be One Singer, One Song.

But Adrian, I’m sorry, and you already know it, you have a problem.

On a lighter note, one of my grandchildren celebrated her fourth birthday the other day and I did buy some pressies for her. Indeed I’ve been buying so many recently that my downstairs room looks like Christmas but one of the things I bought her was a cape you made up into a set of butterfly wings and the next day I got a couple of pics from my son of her wearing those self-same wings. 😀 😀

(I have yet to tell Son Brian that I do not have over fifties life assurance but he is getting the house, the pension pot, and I have yet to decide what to do with the business as the website is currently no longer)

And that, dear listener, is a kinda example of the Oxford Comma……kinda. It was an answer on The Chase the other night.

And finally, the pics fair cheered me up as the next day I took my car to the garage for its final service before the Warranty expired and it was not good news. I know coil springs are important so they need to get fixed. It was a bad shunt at an obscure angle into the pavement, thankfully missing any pedestrians and other cars, about seven years ago that convinced me of that.

I so hate being a grown up.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, and then a certain record was played on the car’s stereo.

And then a day or so later, things got worse. Scottish Water had shoved a card through my door asking me to arrange access for them (‘but I was told you would phone me the day before’) but they turned up the next day anyway but despite the call centre giving out my home number to Goodness know who, it’s not yet finished; an attempted meeting with the rainforestriverman was delayed cos the concierge in a fancy Glasgow hotel seemed not to pass on a message; I got home with toothache; Arnold Clark’s told me that my car might not be ready at 0800 the next day when we had agreed a day or so earlier it would be (but It was at 0900); TSB online wouldn’t recognise my password; and good news, of a fashion, in that I have got dates for some consultations with regard to the heart condition.
And a neighbour chose to tell me that he’d put my bin back in my drive cos it was blocking his drive after the binmen had been. Big effing deal!!!!! I’ve done that for you tons of time and not made a big sodding deal of it!!!!!!

But things were better after a good night’s sleep.

So the island of Iona has always held a special fascination for me ever since BBC Religious Broadcasting paid for me to spend a couple of days there in the company of the amazing Lord George MacLeod and it was when I was watching a TV prog the other night with Neil Oliver (he is sooooo much smaller in real life) that I remembered a band I saw many years ago (I think in QMU). This was one of the other places Neil visited in the same prog.

I bet you recognise it as soon as you hear it;

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad (various)

August 24, 2018

And so dear listener, I’m back. Well, not totally back and not too sure that I actually went away but I’ve had to think long and hard as to what I actually do when Skippy and I sit down to do this show every week*. It’s not (yet) the blog of old, but the blog, oh the blog, yes the blog is back. Stone cold sober as a matter of fact. 😀

*but does it have to be every week? 😉

I stopped for a number of reasons. I was tired of writing it. The sun was shining. I knew the heavy editing period was coming up and that I’d get tired of the screen. And then there are the memories. Two years ago was the loss of that USB stick and that still kinda hangs over me – for all sorts of reasons as was discussed on the balcony of Tinderbox a few weeks ago. Thanks C….and I think you’re doing really well. 🙂

Altho’ I’ve been told my old project has a certificate for me so I’d better make arrangements to go and collect it, I suppose………

And I still owe some people a gig (as it were) but it was good fun to go and see the Pretenders with former student and one of the Sticky Toffee Pudding Gang of Four from way back – Missie K. 🙂

And I didn’t stop writing. I wrote this a week ago but it’s not bloggy style but that doesn’t mean I didn’t mean every word of it

‘I have only, in the last day or so, become aware of C4’s Born Famous (Michelle Mone and daughter) but I am old enough to remember Kay Carmichael filming under cover in Lilybank in Glasgow next to Dalmarnock (1977). Four years later, BBC Scotland (David Martin) sold the idea to BBC 2 to produce a series based on a book (The Politics of Poverty) being written by David Donnison, who was the chairman of the then Supplementary Benefits Commission and Kay’s partner, and I was on board as researcher. My job? Long before filming started I travelled the UK talking to folk involved in working with ‘poor people’ – many of whom were involved in self-help groups and more than able to speak for themselves. They were happy to help. Others like the Child Poverty Action Group got involved and the then Department of Social Security let us film and talk to employees and claimants in Doncaster. The idea was for David to talk to folk dependent on benefits and working in that field as to how the system could be changed so that it helped people, rather than demonise them e.g. single mums were a popular political target and not just at the hands of the Tories. Did it make any difference? It was thirty-seven years ago (1981). You tell me, but I can take pride in four half hours that were anything but poverty porn.’

And I’m going to be doing some voluntary work with the Scottish Drugs Forum but some other (paid) stuff doesn’t look as if it’s going to happen (yet) but I’d like to thank good friend e and her very sophisticated children for the good luck charm which helped me to get the SDF gig. 😀

And finally, I seem to have a leak. In the road outside but at first the Scottish Water said it might be in my drive but their supervisor came along with a metal dowser and found it in the street. But I’m still slightly worried. I hate being a grown up. 😦

tioraidh, still wearing that badge (and I have a new one that says #stopthedeaths) and still keeping it simple (and why not?)

Iaint850, and getting used to my hair being shorter.

Oh, and I did get a letter from the Origami Academy rejecting my application but I didn’t know what to make of it.

It was good writing that. The blog that is. Thanks for reading it.

And tonight’s music is by a band of which I was reminded by good friend Ann from Prostate Cancer HQ. The band is The Hold Steady and the track is the mission statement for the blog (and me and Skippy) from now on – ‘Stay Positive’.

I don’t know what else I would be if I wasn’t me. I am not looking from the outside, looking back. I am who I am. (Cher)

July 20, 2018

And so, dear listener, football has come home to me in Summerston following a very successful World Cup. Well, successful for me. 🙂

I did watch those scenes in Paris after the French had won the World Cup – well they were pretty febrile – whereas my own celebrations were less so but equally deserved. After all I had won £55 and the returned stake of £10 went straight on to Partick Thistle to win the Championship at 3/1. 😀 😀 😀

And I returned to Firhill during the week. Have I actually been back during the last couple of seasons with my periodic depression and heart scare? Leaving aside all the jokes about my heart (not) being up to watching the Harry Wraggs and was it (not) watching them that made me depressed, it was good to be back and to catch up with folk. I like catching up with folk. I miss social intercourse. 😦

I have no canteen for coffee breaks. But I’ve got a car that can get me to one. Or Tinderbox.

There’s a lot of people I haven’t seen for (almost) years. I have a list. But if I put a built-up sole in the left shoe, that usually sorts it. 🙂

It was funny. (But not as much as the list gag) When I was trying to explain the depression and anxiety of the last couple of years to people I’d often use the ‘What if’ question. I’d talk myself out of going to things like Firhill (and will I ever get used to calling it by its new name of the Energy Cheque Stadium?). I’d say to myself ‘What if I don’t get parked?’ FFS! It’s Partick Thistle we’re talking about – even when they were in the big league.

And on Wednesday night, I got parked in my usual space. No problem. And my usual seat. And the crowds are smaller, so if there are people out there with weans who’d like to go to a big(gish) game where under-16s get in for free, then give me a shout. I’ve done it before and it was good fun.

And I’ll go back. Again. Want to come with me? 😉

But it was a tremendous boost to my confidence and I’ve maybe got a couple of interviews coming up for part-time and/or voluntary work back in the glamourous world of social care……..maybe.

And finally, I did catch up with a couple of folk last week that I’d not seen for ages (this year anyway) and they both have new jobs since I last saw them…….how time passes.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple even if it’s pictures of sheep on a beach that prompts memories.

Iaint850, learning the difference between reflux and a heart scare pretty quickly.

And so the editing is not going well. Usually at this time I get work from a Glasgow University Summer School who find me and others on a University website called the Peer Proofreading Register but it doesn’t help when I get exasperated and annoyed at a potential client. 😦

Somebody that I had done work for in the past contacted me on Saturday morning (and ‘undisclosed recipients’) to see if we’d like to proofread his 16,000 words and return them by Wednesday. GU guidelines suggest a week’s turnaround for 15,000 words. I mailed him and told him this but said that if he couldn’t find anyone else I’d do it………a lot of coffee. A day later (and a day missed) I spoke to him on the phone and he started asking me about my relationship with GU and what my qualifications were.

‘But I’ve worked for you before and time is running out’ but he continued, so I just said, ‘I’m sure you got lots of other replies.’ and finished the conversation and let the depression kick in……..it was an attack on my professional integrity that sparked the original depression of two years ago but I realised it too late to do anything about it.

Later that day I got a phone call from another student for whom I’m enjoying working and would quite happily work with more like him. He wanted to bring forward a deadline for 40,000 words. Not a problem.

http://www.thewordprocess.net

And as far as Donald Trump’s blatant lies about giving in to the trained KGB interrogator without any preparation for that meeting. Well he would, wouldn’t he? (said the gorgeous Mandy Rice-Davies a long time ago)

Anyway, here’s a band that always cheers me up. A country band I liked before I realised I liked country. So here’s David Letterman to introduce the Jayhawks. 😀

(Oh, and I’m now short of a companion to accompany me to see the Pretenders at the Bandstand on the 30th….that sounds so sad, doesn’t it?) But first, there’s editing to finish.

I was a great student. I was good at everything. (Donald Trump)

July 12, 2018

And so dear listener, for the first time in my recent life, this week, I had to remember things from my own life of over forty years ago. It was weird. And this was nothing to with any counselling that I had planned to talk about following my reading of ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman. 😀 😀 for the book.

I was being interviewed by a Glasgow University student for her Master’s and it was about values and ethics for those taking Higher Education with an historical perspective. And Chloe done a good job.

Indeed it got off to really good start.

I had described myself as wearing glasses and looking incredibly old; her early words included, ‘you don’t look incredibly old.’ We got on well………but I ended up feeling incredibly old. 🙂

My first time at university was in 1972 – twenty-seven years after the end of World War II. My second time at university was almost forty years later.

It was a different time then and I think much of it was because so many people had survived the war and all that that had involved….from active participation to existing on rationing and indeed it was twenty-three years after the NHS came into being. But don’t worry. This isn’t going to turn into a Daily Mail/John Major rant about warm beer and respect.

For me, it was about how much my thinking and ambitions and my life had changed over these years and some of the reasons why……..but a lot of good stuff as well.

Did you know, rainforestriverman (and she’s not called Princess Kate!!!! That’s such a motire!!!!!), that the Green Gate Curry Restaurant opened in Bank Street in 1959 (boiled egg curries were 7/6 by the time we got to uny) and that England won the World Cup in 1966. Lots of people seem to forget that. Incidentally, it was in 1976 (great summer!) that the Koh-i-Noor fell into the River Kelvin?

But if I were to do the Daily Mail thang it would be the demise of the bank manager. I have long since stopped watching re-runs of Dads Army but my memory of a bank manager in a small town like Peterhead was of a man (but of course) who was heavily involved in the community and highly respected.

Now? Well, leaving aside any comparison with Fred Goodwin, do they even exist? Do banks even care? I remember my first cheque book – when did you get your first contactless card and when was it first rejected?

And amidst the other memories that were prompted that had nothing to do with Chloe’s research were tutorials in a history lecturer’s study somewhere in a cloister in a quadrant where I was offered cheap sherry but realised the best thing to do was to make an excuse and left. 😉

But this week it was a case of what might have been. I know Jenny H was telling everyone when she tweeted about a lecturer’s job at Stirling Uny (in Substance Use I think it was) but it was my second time at Uny when I realised how much academically there is to gain from relevant research.

And, apart from anything else, I went to UWS (Paisley) as a recovering alcoholic and came out just as someone who doesn’t drink. 😀 😀 😀

And finally, a woman is sitting in a church during the funeral service for her late husband. Another man comes up to her and says, ‘do you mind if I say a word?’

‘No,’ she says. ‘That’ll be nice.’

He coughs, clears his throat and says, ‘Plethora.’

‘Thank you,’ the woman says. That means a lot.’

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, financially better off since I cracked open the penny jar (£9.75)

And I was in conversation with a friend discussing how, emotionally, I felt after the heart scare and I was going to talk a wee bit about mentally standing up to things but one image changed my mind……well, actually, two.

The first was TV footage of all the Police outriders driving off as soon as it was confirmed that Boris Johnson had resigned as Foreign Secretary. It was as if I was watching all the pomp and circumstance as being removed from the man who refuses still to acknowledge his children born out of wedlock and who is responsible for the continued imprisonment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. The man is a buffoon and it shows the weakness of Theresa May that she felt the need to give him a major role in her government to keep him quiet. Ha!

No. The big image was the BBC’s Dan Johnson doing a piece to camera as two ambulances whizzed off behind him and he was able to say, ‘That’s the tenth and the eleventh boy being taken to the hospital.’

They got them all out!!!!!! Everyone, Thai Government and police and army and divers from all over the world combined to get thirteen frightened ‘Wild Boars’ out of all those caves and water and Goodness knows what. Everyone was very calm and just did it.

No pricked egos…….but one death. Saman Guana, a retired navy SEAL (but not that old) died from oxygen problems, but the rescuers will have learned from that.

A fantastic achievement.

No reason for this piece of music other than I like it. It’s a ‘step’ dancing tune from the unlikeliest of sources but a very appropriately named band.

‘I think….that I would rather recollect a life mis-spent on fragile things than spent avoiding moral debt.’ (Neil Gaiman 2006)

July 6, 2018

And so, dear listener, I do like a good book and I’ve just finished reading one. It’s called ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ and it’s by Gail Honeyman.

Now, dear listener, there is a fine line between reviewing a book and offering too many spoilers and I’m about to attempt it. Forgive me if I fail. Let’s just say that I’ve thought about it and I’m going to drop some comments in the blog from time to time over the next few weeks which I think it would be fair to say were prompted by Eleanor and the book: thoughts about connections (or lack thereof) and counselling (which in my own case saw some good and some bad because some of it was targeted in the wrong direction) and some other stuff including the very obvious gag based on the surname. 😀

Anyway, because of the public transport problems in my neck of the woods and also downtown Glasgow city centre, on Thursday I took the subway into town. I hate buying tickets from the machine (lack of personal contact) and I went up to the desk. The young lady was holding a tissue to her ear. ):

‘Are you okay?’ I asked.

‘No,’ she said. ‘I keep picking at my ear and it’s bleeding. It’s my own fault.’

I bought a ticket, anyway, and wondered….would Eleanor Oliphant have bought one?

Now, as regular listeners know, I’m not a great fan of 151, and when I realised that I was being asked to pay lots of money for data used on my phone, I knew there was a problem. So I phoned 151 who reassured me my payments were going through but when I tried to explain that, whilst it was good to know I’d ‘millions in my account’, that wasn’t the problem.

I had lost him at ‘millions in my account’.

So I wrote and was advised to call 789 or an 0800 number but 789 seemed very busy and I was wondering if lots of people had this problem.

Then I got a txt msg saying they would call me. But they never did.

And then I saw something on fbook about the shops that were still open in the non-cordoned off bits of Sauchiehall Street and the Virgin Media Shop was one of them. 🙂

I headed for town the next day, getting off at Charing Cross but careful not to put my hand on the arm rail up the stairs. ‘How many germs?’ Eleanor and I wondered.

I made it to the store and was the only customer. ‘Let me see your phone’ the young lady said and after a minute asked, ‘Did you know your wi-fi was switched off? Well it’s back on now.’ 😀 😀 😀

In these days of digital disruption, could personal contact be the next big thing? 😛

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and I’m sure keeping it simple is still the right thing to do.

Iaint850 is ‘reasonably okay’

And as many people know it was my birthday recently and I spent part of it in Stobhill Hospital in the North East of Glasgow. And what a lovely hospital it is. And what was nice was the fact that I spent it in the company of the rapping Dr J who is my NHS heart consultant and who is very good. Either she does remember me (aye, in your dreams t850) or she’s a good reader of notes or more probably somewhere in between. 😉

I had blood pressure and an ECG done on arrival and sat in a nice waiting room with a large window out of which I could see lots of women in their summer dresses as well as lots of other appropriately dressed people with lashings of suntan oil. Dress appropriate, I say.

I was called through and we chatted. Things seem good but it is the NHS so that’s to be expected. I now have an appointment to see her again in a year’s time but before then we will continue to keep a close eye on my blood pressure (by tagging me soon for twenty-four hours) and also my leaky aortic valve. At some point I will get an MRI scan, but there’s no hurry. When I needed urgent assistance, the ambulances (real and metaphorical) were there for me. They would be again. 😀 😀 😀

Had I used the ‘emergency spray’, she asked, and, if so, what effect did it have?

Three or four times, I replied, and I felt it gave me mental control, lovely blue colours in my head and a lovely glowing sensation. 😀

I think the jury may be out on that returning to my repeat prescriptions.

However, one thing she and I did agree is that the current slight breathlessness after activity could be as much to do with my current overweightness as anything else. So, I have taken appropriate measures.

My favourite seat in my house is in the kitchen with the door open, reading a newspaper or book on a breakfast bar next to the fridge. I have now stuck a notice on the fridge door which reads

GO LOOK IN THE MIRROR BEFORE YOU EAT ANYTHING OUT OF HERE!!!!!!

And I think it’s working.

And for all those folk watching the World Cup thinking that music in the background is familiar, this is what you’re hearing.

We must welcome the future, remembering that soon it will be the past; and we must respect the past, remembering that it was once all that was humanly possible. (George Santayana)

June 28, 2018

And so, dear listener, last Saturday night, good friend e and I went to see Lulu perform at the Kelvingrove Bandstand. And jolly good it was too. And interesting. 🙂

First, can I say something about the venue? It must be one of the very few venues where the performers can actually see the individual members of the audience. The roof is the sky and it’s light until late (audio curfew is 10.30pm). This creates its own demands for the artists but if you’re Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie or Sharleen Spiteri (last year), then there’s a very good chance you see friends and family and you can actually talk to them. 🙂

But maybe Lulu (who is 69 and very fit) took it too far. After thirty minutes or so, she said she was going for a wee cup of tea and for us to do what we needed to do. She was gone for about twenty-five minutes which provided a tremendous opportunity for lots of people to get another few pints and wines (good size of one-use plastic cups) inside them and for them to totter up and down the concrete steps and to fall over and bang their heads but to get up again, smiling their heads off.*

Lulu did come back and carried on in the retrospective vein that she started off in but it took a wee while to get back into that mood but her second last number was Shout – and that made it all worthwhile. 😀

I have now in recent years seen Lulu sing Shout, The Waterboys sing Purple Rain, Steve Earle sing Copperhead Road, Kris Kristofferson sing Sunday Morning and Leon Russell sing Delta Lady. The next gig is the Pretenders…….

*As you know the question I am asked almost the most is whether I get cravings for alcohol. Well no, I don’t, BUT see the last couple of weeks or so, see standing at the corner of University Avenue and Byres Road and looking directly into Tennent’s Bar with the doors wide open………..No. No interest in alcohol but a wee reminder of what pubs have to offer people…….I moved on. 😉

And my big thanks to the thirty-one people who liked a very blurred picture of my first ever strawberries from this garden. Personally, I’m now strawberried out and if you’re passing or I’ve arranged to meet you……..then I may have some for you.

And also thanks to those of you asking how my bets are doing for the World Cup.

Remember all four are ‘to win’ so I can only have one winner – if any. If it helps to follow my progress, then all four names begin with ‘B’ apart from France and Spain (who lost on penalties this afternoon).

And I and most of the folk I know (men and women just to keep it simple) have no problem with women commentators or pundits…not just in football but in most broadcast sports. Sue Barker, Jane Lewis, Hazel Irvine, Julie Welch, Rhona MacLeod, Sally McNair, Alison Walker….the list is almost endless and continues to grow. And for me the great thing is that they are not there defined by their gender. They are there because they are good at their job, not for gender balance.

Nor would they tolerate this ‘thing’ that seems to be happening in Russia where men (for want of a better word) run up to steal a kiss. There’s at least one name there who could knock someone out if pushed too far.

And my own club, Partick Thistle, the Maryhill Magyars, the Harry Wraggs, the mighty Jags have just appointed a female Chairman – Jacqui Low – who is a woman with a lot of experience in Scottish Government and political PR.

(And, yes, I remember Lockerbie as well but I wasn’t needed on the night. The newsroom had plenty of people. So I went in at six the next morning)

And finally, I think I’m more Alex than Adam (a reference for those who watch Love Island) 😀

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and it gets me past chuggers without any problem, and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850 ‘is still fine’ (a current literary reference)

So (oooops, sorry Rosie) this year is my 64th birthday which is quite a change from the days when I claimed I’d be 42 for the rest of my life. It all changed when I turned 60 and, in the company of the good Dr W, did things like abseiling down the Titan Crane in Clydebank and being a zombie at M & D’s out Motherwell way.

This year? I’m celebrating my birthday at Stobhill Hospital (still open for ambulatory care) in the company of my heart consultant – the rapping Dr J. Currently I feel I have nothing to worry about but it’s nice that the NHS cares so much. 😀

And I think I proved my current fitness at the recent Feis Spors Glaschu where I remained on my feet for four or five hours which does mean that I am more than capable of going to see Partick Thistle at home.

Life’s a bit quiet at the moment but this has been a busy time for editing in the past and I’ve at least one interview for voluntary work at the end of the month.

But I’m taking advantage of the sun and listening to some music but when you’re talking someone turning 64, there really is only one song with which to end the show, isn’t there?

Here’s Green Day with Still Breathing. I have a live version but I think the lyrics are important. Have a listen.

“I’m glad mushrooms are against the law, because I took them one time, and you know what happened to me? I laid in a field of green grass for four hours going, “My God! I love everything.” Yeah, now if that isn’t a hazard to our country … ?”― Bill Hicks

June 21, 2018

And so, dear listener, thanks for asking. Feis Spors Ghlaschu 2018 went very well, despite the rain. A pair of gazebos was purchased and it’s hoped that they will breed and the resultant offspring can be sold to raise funds. :p

No. They kept the rain off some of us and, more importantly, our goods. The tuck shop didn’t sell as much as previous years and I won’t mention the fact that the shinty people had their own crisps’n’ginger outlet. Oh. I just have.

A surprise donation of lots of boxes of Haribos was welcomed by us and Glasgow’s dentists and just the usual gripe; parents sending children over with a £10 note and all they wanted was a packet of Rainbow Drops (10p).

For me it was a good day. No anxiety or tiredness about anything (grammatically that’s a crap sentence but two weeks before my next appointment with my heart consultant, I think you know what I mean) 😀

Nice drive home via Mosspark Boulevard and into the tunnel but on the way over – at St George’s Cross as I was negotiating my way onto the correct lane for Pollok Park – there was a strong smell of smoke. From the Art School and the other buildings that were burning.

Earlier this week I tried to negotiate Sauchiehall Street – not as a rubber-necker but as someone who got off the train at Charing Cross intending to walk to Waterstone’s. That end is a mess cos of the city council’s attempts to pedestrianise it and with added extra trees and talk of tidying up the back lanes. When I worked in the two homeless projects in that area I used to visit those lanes to put the project’s rubbish in the bins at about six in the morning. Not pleasant.

Further along you encounter the cordons around the area affected by the fire. Yes, Campus and the O2 have been mentioned as well as the Art School, but rumours that Biggar’s (a music shop that’s been there for 150 years) could well be about to close are just rumours but temporary closure is bad enough for them and the hairdresser’s and several newsagents and the others and that is when you begin to understand the true extent of the damage.

I spoke to quite a few people including traders (I was the only one in the shops) and also a couple of former Art School students who used to do tours of the School. Sadness and pessimism about the future.

And they’re still slowly knocking down the buildings affected by what has come to be known as ‘the Victoria’s fire’ and there is still no decision about the future of the Pavilion.

£100 million to re-build the Art School…..or should we looking at designing a new Sauchiehall Street and its environs? Or should we seek to make safe the other Rennie Mack buildings?

And finally, if we’re going to ask complicated and ethical questions, then what should I have done about the wee girl who came up quite early on with three x 5ps and asked for a 50p bag of sweets? My solution was to tell her to come back at the end of the day. She did. 🙂

Or the boy who complained that ours was ‘sweet’ popcorn but not ‘salty’. In such circumstances then my riposte is usually, ‘Listen son, this is Pollok Park, no’ Pollok Shopping Centre.’ :p

And Jeanette, (BBC pal) do you remember the time we almost did the Jimmy Mack Show from Pollok Shopping but didn’t cos I knew Easterhouse much better. Happy daze. 😀

Cya, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple (let’s see what happens in ten days’ time)

iaint850, gu dearbh, b ‘e latha math a bh’ ann an Disathairne and thanks to the online dictionary for help with the translation.

And I think I detect the beginnings of a debate about long term legalisation of drugs beginning with the prescribed availability of cannabis oil with the THC left in.

Many people (including the PM) seem to be against the idea based on the view that if such as cannabis, heroin, LSD, illegal highs (formerly legal highs) and street Valium are illegal then they must be dangerous. Well alcohol, tobacco and explosives are also pretty dangerous but they are legal in order to control their manufacture, quality, distribution and to whom they’re sold.

All the illegal stuff is out there and relatively accessible and the ‘war against drugs’ was lost a long time ago and we have no control over it. It’s a market controlled by crooks and criminals and I’m desperately sad that so many people seem happy with this state of affairs.

There is room for an informed conversation as to how legislation could be carried out but the benefits would be good. Even getting people to come forward for help knowing they would not be prosecuted for ‘carrying’ (de-criminalisation) would be a start.

Have a wee think. I will return to this subject. And for every one of my generation and younger, who enjoys a spliff at the end of the day rather than a G&T, enjoy.

I looked long and hard for a piece of music for tonight and I suspect many of you will not be surprised by my choice and that it was written by a Dundonian and sung by two men from Coatbridge.

But this is they from 2009 at the ABC and I well remember my last visit there…..December 2016. Ten years on.

‘I have always loved the big stage and would often tell my friends while growing up that I’d want to help India win the World Cup one day’. (Gautam Gambhir)

June 14, 2018

Skippy! I think that’s the wrong sport!

And so, dear listener, I have placed some bets on the World Cup. With William Hill – the bookies who are currently very supportive of prostate cancer awareness. 🙂

2 x £10 bets on France and Spain (and I can live with the 3-3 draw against Ronaldo the other night) allowed me two free bets worth £5 each (Brazil and Belgium) and all are ‘to win’. I rarely place bets these days and it’s a very long time since I placed a bet on a horse race, although, as I do point out from time to time, ten years ago I did place a bet on a horse in the Grand National called ‘Comply or Die’ which came in at 7 – 1. 😀

It had seemed such an appropriate name, given that I was about to undergo treatment for cancer. My son, separately, also placed a bet on the same horse and later that day told me (eighteen months after my cold turkey) that the winning jockey was a ‘recovering alcoholic’. That acceptance meant more than the winnings. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Anyway those bets give me a reason to take an interest in the World Cup itself. Other than the first game which took place between two of the lowest ranked teams in the competition but who happen to be two of the most oppressive regimes anywhere in the world.

And I now worry about the horses more than I once did.

But I must confess I currently feel cut off from the rest of the world. It’s nothing to do with periodic depression and anxiety; it’s the fact that they’re working on the railway line at Cowlairs and so the nice wee Summerston to Queen Street trip (12 mins) is off for the next three weeks. Until 9th July!!!!!!!

Normally, it’s really smashing. A two minute drive or a ten minute walk and I’m at Summerston Railway Station; twelve minutes on the train and I’m in town; and another ten minutes I’m in the Concert Hall. Compare that with living in the country or some other parts of Glasgow.

I might check out the buses tho’. The main reason for not using them before was that they didn’t take me anywhere near my work (both projects were in the Charing Cross area above pubs) and the train was really handy for the City Centre. But they might be worth exploring. I’ll keep you posted.

But it did cause problems the other night. ‘Cos I didn’t know!!!!!!!

It was the day of wet and windy weather. Or Thursday as some people know it. I was going to go to the Concert Hall for a presentation on ‘Health in the News; Fact or Fiction?’ and normally I take an earlier train in case the trains are running late. But that day, I decided to trust Scotrail and go for exact times so that I wouldn’t get caught in the rain for too long. Arrived at the platform that is Summerston Railway Station only to find…..well,

I’ve kinda given the game away, haven’t I? And the very alternative arrangements are fine up to a point but not as a last minute fix at drive time.

Ho and hum. A good friend who is still involved in the world of studying recently described herself as feeling like a bit of a hermit at the moment. Me too, but for obviously different reasons. Railway lines for example.

Serious efforts are being made to find appropriate voluntary or part-time work and I am open to suggestions but maybe I should think about some form of further education that is not specifically work or drink and drugs related.

And almost finally, I note a story online from the actor Michael Keaton about a drunk Glaswegian getting into his car to give him directions to where Michael was supposed to be going but ending up at the Glaswegian’s home.

This happened to me once in Oban (BBC business) at about 1030 in the morning. I had arrived there to do a recce from the 100th Anniversary of the Highland Cattle Society and was looking for the Auction Mart.

I was on the Esplanade and got out of my car and shouted my request. This man came up to me and said, ‘I may be drunk but I know where I’m going’*(and got into the passenger seat. He got me to the Mart and then wandered off into the Argyll distance. 🙂

*How nearly that became my motto in 2005-6. :p

And finally, plans are now well in hand for my birthday in a couple of weeks’ time. I’ve an early afternoon meeting with my heart consultant in Stobhill Hospital.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple. You never know.

Iaint850, who will return next week with many tales of Feis Spors Ghlaschu but also my thoughts on the sad news about the School of Art.

Now some of you will know that my grand-daughter took part in a dance show last week but there has never been a named mention of her or her young brother (let alone a pic) on social media including this blog. I have been asked.

Very simple. Altho’ I’m a big user of social media I’ve been asked not to do general sharing and to give the grandweans some privacy in their early years. Which I’m happy to do, altho’ I do pass on the odd pic to some folk.

And that includes videos of my grandson and his first steps sent to me on Dad’s Day.

It’s a wee bit like the old days when you collected photos from SupaSnaps and showed them to just some folk.

And just as Kodak told us, ‘one day your prints will come’.

No. I will continue to share much about myself but am very careful about others. It could be that fact that I live alone (have I ever mentioned that?) or that I have no watercooler around which me and my work colleagues can mingle. It doesn’t mean I always get a response. It means I need work colleagues.

Or maybe, Skippy, it just means that I’m dead boring…………………………

But as the equally boring Willie Nelson says, at least, I’m ‘Still Not Dead’.