I get really drunk off that old book smell in the library……. Hammered? ……No. Grammared!

December 2, 2016

And so dear listener, I have a confession to make. In fact, I have several. And to me they’re important.  But maybe to you the reader, they’re not. After all, I was very surprised earlier this year when I reported the loss of an unencrypted memory stick which eventually led to the anxiety and depression month (and I’ll tell the full story in the Gaelic drama-doc I’ve started) and a number of people (some of them pillars of the community) said that they would never have reported its going missing. Their identities will remain secret until such time as I translate them into Gaelic.😉

Maybe I believe in honesty too much.😦

First confession;

When me and Debs and Caroline and the others do our fortnightly SVQ training, we break for lunch and go to a place called Boadicea (or similar) which is now closed on Saturdays but the Hillington shop remains open.  They do good soup e.g. cauliflower and cream cheese. They offer a veggie option.🙂

So this week I chose potato and leek and took it back to the training centre and opened the carton. Somewhere on the journey back from Boadicea to my bit of the training table, it had transmorgified into Cock a Leekie…….what to do?

I ate it. And then I poured a gallon (or so it felt) of Lucozade down my throat to take the taste away. But nothing else happened. It is, after all, nothing medical or ethical and I still believe pea and ham to be veggie for some reason*. It can be a confusing world. But it does pay to be careful.😉

I once met a woman who claimed to be the actress in that famous ad and I believed her. It makes for a much better story.🙂

And I spent some time on Thursday explaining the existence of gluten-free soy sauce to Cathcart Minor and he sounded very appreciative.  How’s the facial hair, James?

But I do feel for vegans (and some others) with the animal fat in existence on the new £5 notes. Why did nobody think?

But it was pleasing to see top News Anchor Kay Burley being honest (on Sky News) about her ignorance of the subject and asking ‘the expert’ how to pronounce tallow. The expert was not caught out and pronounced it tallow.

I’ll miss Kay when I go to dayshift.😦

Second confession?

The tree is ‘up’ almost but it is more than just ‘assembled’. The built in lights do work but are at their best in total darkness; so, dear listener, do I buy new lights for the daylight hours? (And anyone want to come and see them in complete darkness?)

And for those who know Summerston in darkness at this time of year, my next door neighbour has put up ‘those lights’ but has not yet switched them on. Over ten years ago, they guided me home at this time of year.  And if they ever extend the runway at Cumbernauld Airport……..🙂

And one of my own Christmas (never Xmas and I even read/hear Christians spelling it that way) traditions is to shout at the radio when it’s playing Band Aid that many of them actually do know it’s Christmastime ‘cos they’re actually Christians (and not Xtians).

My own religious beliefs? I’m not sure but I doubt whether I’m agnostic.

And finally, I was in the hairdresser’s the other day getting some of my hair cut and my hairdresser said that she had seen in the blog that I was going to the podiatrist and she asked how I’d got on cos she had had a twisted nerve in her back for some time and wondered what had been said to me.

Well, the choice I was given was either surgery or built insoles and wide toed shoes. J suggested I go with the latter and not for the first time I agreed with her. My concern had been that the damage was going up my legs and could permanently lead to damage. I walk a lot and I don’t to stop as I’m growing fatter and fatter. But it’s nice when this show leads to discussion.  :)

(e, I too have a thirty day programme in mind but my latest new life will happen when I move to daytime working…….new beginnings)

Cya, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, looking forward to a Gaelic Christmas – this Thursday🙂

So in one week’s time I will be acknowledging the fact that it’s ten years since Cold Turkey Weekend so most of the blog will be given over to that and it may appear a wee bit early e.g. Saturday.

It means a lot to me and it’s been great to have been able to share much off the last ten years through the blog as well as talking to people personally. I’ve never intended to sermonise or preach from this particular pulpit but have always been pleased when people have made contact (and their comments have often been removed) and I’ve been able to pass on some of my story.

It’s never about how I did it unless asked. It’s about sharing and trusting you, the listener, to make up your mind.😀

Oh. And to all those people who say I should have put it all behind me, not only is there a soap opera on in the background where one of the main characters has alcohol problems, but in my Gaelic class this week, I was asked if I like beer?  My reply was Cha toil leam leann …..and you should have seen the look on the questioner’s face. What is the Gaelic for ‘it’s a long story?’

This week the music is from Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus and Pentatonix (maybe next week it’ll be Alabama 3….watch this space) with a stunning version of Jolene from the American version of The Voice and not an instrument in site!!!!!

Well, that’s the overseas cards posted so it’s defo started (me)

November 25, 2016

And so dear listener, this week I missed a golden opportunity. I was in Debenham’s in Glasgow (and there are no other stores that I know that sell Rocha jeans in my size as a boot cut but just not this week) when a store anno went out. Was this some kind of call to arms, some amazing consumer opportunity? Well, kinda.

What was on offer was a (free) five inch kitchen peeler and you could get it on the fifth floor, but be aware, ‘numbers are limited.’ So I didn’t go. At this time of year, you’ve got to think of others. I have a peeler and it’s not as big but I’m ‘just about managing’ with what I’ve got………..😦

And I turned down another offer this week and it was a bit of a strange one.

As you know, my secondary work is editing and proof-reading essays and dissertations, most of which come from foreign students of whom the majority are Chinese.


So I got a mail from an organisation (Chinese based) talking of ‘collaboration’ without going too much into full financial details but a pretty impressive volume of work. But leaving aside my happiness at being my own boss, enjoying the intellectual challenge offered and the very nice feeling that you get from helping people AND getting paid for it, I had concerns. This was the sentence that worried me.

‘We deals mostly with paraphrasing works but also required to add some personal touch based on the comments provided.’

Now leaving aside the grammatical errors and the boring font it came in, my suspicion (and I can’t prove it) is that what is being offered is writing/re-writing essays which pays well and only requires the need to write to a range of stock answers and to personalise it. And I won’t do it.

I know too many students who have achieved what they have achieved through their own hard work – no matter where they come from – and I don’t like students who believe that money will buy them success. I have had approaches before.  Any re-writing I do is based on what is supplied to me and is to help get the student’s message across.🙂

Earlier this year, a good friend used the word ‘integrity’ in relation to me in connection with the situation that caused my anxiety and depression. I don’t cheat and I don’t help others to cheat……but as I say, it’s only a suspicion.

(And I make a small monthly donation to Glasgow University to a Scholarship Fund to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds)

Anyway, Christmas is getting closer and I am planning to assemble my new Christmas Tree. No. I’m not ‘putting it up.’ It seems to be a real cheeser of a tree with built in lights and I want to be sure they work. Obviously, I’ll take it back down once I’m sure. Honest  ;)

(‘integrity, jt, integrity.’ ‘Yes, Skippy, yes’)

And I too have found it icy and cold this week and have not yet found the best setting for heating and de-icing my car, but I did get a wee fright going home the other morning – ‘bout half past seven? – when  my tired eyes in the half-light had to work hard to ensure that I knew what I was driving on – something to be aware of when I start day shifts come mid-January.😦

But I did have a very pleasant Monday morning when, despite my tiredness, I went into town for a training course in the Wheatley Building in Ingram Street next to the lovely Hutchesons’ Hall (and my thanks to Debs who’s done lot of training with me this week). When I arrived, film group people were rigging lights for a movie called My Wife starring Glenn Close and Christian Slater but I didn’t see them.😦

Bur I do remember about five years ago when World War Z was filmed in that area and the good Dr W was an office worker extra based in the Bam Building. Her biggest memory was the smell of Febreze in the morning before she put on her ‘extra’ clothes.🙂

And finally, big thanks to Son Brian, not only for buying me lunch in Sartis’ the other day (yes, it’s your kinda place, rainforestriverman) but helping me to ‘obtain’ a new phone.  It’s a Samsung Galaxy (hopefully black) and apparently my existing Blackberry is a closed phone and I can’t just ‘transfer’ My Contacts. I have to sit down and write them out and then manually input them. It’s a bit of a nuisance but maybe erasing some names may prove therapeutic.  I mean, can anyone tell me who Katie (mark) is but I have remembered who Carmen is but will I ever need that number again?

And also a big thanks to e, not only for buying the coffees on Thursday morning but taking me (window) shopping whilst she bought birthday stuff. I have got some really good ideas for Christmas presents.  And I might not get my grand-daughter that giant pink fluffy unicorn – there was a woman in Fopp who had a baby (plastic) deer she had bought in a charity shop. Mind you, the same woman bought a Pink Floyd doormat…….mmmmm

Plus, thank you, e, for telling me how to pronounce podiatrist.

Cya, still wearing that badge and I will continue to keep it simple

Iaint850, just a wee bit worried…….mmmmmm

It’s now three years since I graduated (MSc) from UWS (Paisley) and I openly acknowledge that I made lots of friends and friendships both with students and members of staff e.g. lecturers and library people. But there was another friendship which kinda came out of that period.🙂

Jenny H has just graduated with her PhD which was a smashing piece of work both to read and to edit (and I charged for that). Altho’ we’d never met, when I approached her for help about four years ago, having read some of her work, she said ‘no problem’ and we met over coffee and have done so regularly since, altho’ she has now moved to Cardiff to lecture.

When I talk about students achieving so much through their own work, Jenny H is one of those.🙂

(And my apologies to someone else whose name begins with the letter ‘J’ who received a congratulatory fb msg and must have wondered if I’d lapsed)

So almost exactly one year ago I was introduced (under interesting circumstances) to the music of Brandi Carlile. This is she;




‘Post-truth’ – relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief (OED)

November 18, 2016

And so dear listener, last week was a wee bit of a rant but I’ve seen a few folk saying similar things but rather than concentrate too much on that side of my life, I want to look on the bright side of life – but I’d rather not always do that.  But a big thanks to President Obama and  Mark Zuckerberg to lending their, and Facebook’s support, to what might end up as a campaign and giving it a name – ‘false news’ leading to….


Y’see good things can and do happen to me; we are approaching Christmas and some other important anniversaries in my life.

It is exactly three years since I graduated with a Master’s degree – a brilliant day and I’ve not worn Highland dress since. Will there be another opportunity? It’d be nice. But I don’t think there’s much of a ceremony attached to the awarding of an SVQ3 should I be lucky enough to get it. And who would I invite?😉

But as you know, soontime sees the Annual Blog Personality of the Year Awards and they don’t bear that much resemblance to other awards. The first ever award was the only one that ever went to a person – the then three year old Ruby – and last year they went to the Little House on the Prairie Incense Burner that J brought back from Canada  :D  and in between the award, for example,  has gone to a glass of whisky and a phone call from an Italian bar, amongst other things, so given the effect and influence that the SVQ had on me at one point this year, maybe it should be the winner.😦

Anyway both the Award and the annual Christmas Cracker Joke Edition will be a few days earlier than previous years but for all sorts of reasons, including the fact that I am working twelve hour shifts on the nights of the 31st December and 1st and 2nd of January and then it’s almost daytime working time. It will be like a new job and I’m treating it like that. My hours are really strange over the next few weeks so if you want a copy of my rota please just ask.  :)

Especially as the week before Christmas is also pretty busy.

Elsewhere on the nice stuff, despite what I said about the PSA being only a rough guide to the state of my prostate’s health, it was nice when Dr Fiona highlighted it when I walked in with my foot the other day. ‘Brilliant news’ was how she described it. And I smiled.

Could my 0.9 be down to my diet and clean living?

The foot? It would have been difficult to have left it at home.

Something seems to have moved a bone in a toe and pressure is being put on my foot and I’ve to go to a bio-mechanic at a podiatrist to get new insoles …or something. I have an appointment somewhere in Dumbarton Road next week at 2.30.🙂

And then there are various traditions to follow such as the annual Word Process nights out, which seem to get moved into the early months of the next year. Looking forward to those already. And present exchanges. But before Christmas. And indeed present buying. Look out, De Courcy’s I’m coming to get you – especially after the success of the last gift I got there…..

And maybe upstairs in a book shop in Glasgow where I bought nothing at the time but I returned the next day and spent a lot of money🙂

And we’re already talking Christmas Ceilidh at the Gaelic class (and yes, the Gaelic for ceilidh is ceilidh) and my homework for next week is to look at the train station sign for Summerston and see what the Gaelic is for Summerston. Some scorn was poured on my suggestion that all I needed was the Gaelic for the Town of the Summer. Hey, we have the ASDA!!!!

Many of my visitors over the years had never visited Summerston before and have been impressed. In the Summer. Okay, Christmas Lights leave a lot to be desired but, hey……

And, yes, I am counting down the days to the end of my life as an established part-time nightworker, altho’ I may still do some as overtime. Will I miss anything? Loads. In the early days of my withdrawal I may go out at five in the morning to empty my own bins into the big bin down the side of the house in complete darkness other than the street lights and then pause to ask the taxi-drivers how their nights have been before washing the steps at the front of the house.

And finally, I will continue to take on challenges and I will continue to be disappointed. But in about three weeks’ time……..No.  Let’s just see what happens. At the time.

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

Iaint850, wondering what my new tree looks like (it’s still in the box) and wondering if I should get a metre long pink fluffy unicorn for my granddaughter…….🙂

BBC Breakfast has been running some features on cancer, including prostate cancer, and it was eight years ago just now that I was starting the first part of my treatment. I feel slightly removed from the whole cancer experience now but there is always one moment when it comes home.

There’s a thing called cancer guilt. It’s when someone dies and you think ‘why them…why not me?’ It’s usually, in my case, when it’s a child or teenager or, well, just someone with their life ahead of them. In a ‘gratitude’ list like the one above, my major gratitude is that I am alive to say there is always hope. I don’t know if people who come through heart attacks, strokes or car crashes or other life threatening events feel the same…….I just know I do.🙂

Or when I see stories of those young people who have had to turn to the Teenage Cancer Trust for help on top of what the brilliant NHS* offers.

*Other health providers are available – ours happens to reflect a caring society which is maybe why the Tories are running it down.

And this was filmed at my Gaelic class. Mannequin Challenge it ain’t. It’s Walk the Moon and Work This Body.

Librarians create the readers of the Future; save our libraries (Chris Riddell – who should be Googled by every parent or grandparent who reads this blog)

November 10, 2016

And so dear listener, if you don’t like it when I do reflective blogs, look away now. But various things that have happened, including Donald Trump’s election, have prompted this.

Y’see I was brought up to read. The first ‘serious’ book I can remember (age of 5) was an unabridged version of Treasure Island and it was some form of school prize. Of course, those were simpler times – two black and white channels on TV and the rumour that if you stuck a knitting needle down the back of your TV you could get BBC 2.😀

Our parents encouraged us to read and I think my sister was a wee bit more of a bookworm than me and she went on to be a part-time library assistant after school before going to university in Glasgow – which, from Peterhead, was revolutionary. Indeed, I have known four women who are, or have been, library assistants and all have been incredibly influential in my life.🙂

We did watch TV and I listened to the radio a lot – Hilversum, the Light Programme and Radio Luxemburg, thus giving away my age.🙂 And there were external influences – an English teacher called McLeod who took a wee bit of a shine to me (and that was all) and who turned up on our doorstep one Hogmanay (UTI) and invited me and my dad around to his the next day where he played Irish Republican records, introduced me to independence and gave me a copy of Ring of Bright Water.

But he wasn’t the only teacher to encourage debate and indeed we had a debating society which did just that – listening to other people’s points of views and, when there was a vote, accepting the result.😦

(However, as many people know, I have remained shy and reticent all my life)

And this continued all the way, up to about fifteen years ago, all the way through my growing up life and I am still growing up. I say and do and write stupid and naïve things but can be told off without taking a huff that lasts more than ten seconds.

At one stage in my life I produced daily discussion programmes on BBC Radio Scotland, presented by Colin Bell, and our standing joke was that we needed someone for, someone against and someone who had studied the subject. All the issues, all the opinions were examined. And we did a lot of background reading and researching.

Ah, yes, people who had studied the subject. What, once upon a time, might have been known as ‘experts’ or, at the very least, people who had studied the subject and knew what they were talking about, although another ‘expert’ might disagree with them but there would be general respect for their right to disagree.

Now we live in times where a (then) leading Government minister and leading Brexiter (Michael Gove) said that “people in this country have had enough of experts.”  This was echoed by Ian Duncan Smith, who is a man in whom I have little trust because of his ways of dealing with the truth and his ignorance of an organisation called Alcoholics’ Anonymous but I do accept his right to be a total cretin.

But it was during the Brexit Referendum and IndyRef that I became aware of something which my journalistic (boo, hiss and I worked for the BBC, so even more boo hiss!) background found difficult to accept.  Somebody on your side would make an unsubstantiated claim and you would accept it without question; someone on the other side would make a claim and it would immediately have scorn poured upon it. On social media, things are accepted, in many cases, without being challenged. And therein lies the problem; we have greater access to the media (no bad thing) but we seem not to accept that there are responsibilities which go with that.😦


At the time of IndyRef someone re-posted a music website which claimed that the BBC had banned saltires at T in the Park and everyone who read this went ‘boo, hiss’. I actually went into the site and found a tremendous number of comments, saying ‘NO, this had not happened.’….but the people who spread this lie about the BBC did not bother reading the original piece; after all it might disagreed with their viewpoint of life.

Donald Trump, at one point making some weird economic claims, said he’d read them ‘in a report this week….. a very good report.’ And to this day I have no idea what that report was. There is no way of checking what he claimed.

My head cleared ten years ago and we are but four weeks away from Saturday, 10th December and I’m maybe getting a wee bit jittery about the celebrations (see me, with two orange juices inside me), but my most recent time at a university (the wonderful UWS in Paisley and I do enjoy going back for all sorts of reasons) showed me the importance of evidence for any claim because I was questioned by my supervisor about it. And it’s the same for my SVQ3. Evidence for any claim!

And it’s the same when I read/edit any piece of work academically – telling students that there are other points of view and that you need evidence for any claim.


Freedom of speech doesn’t just mean you being allowed to speak, but more importantly, the person, with whom you disagree, getting a chance to speak. Even Katie Hopkins.

And, yes, there are a few children for whom I buy presents at this time of year (in at least one case, for a group of grandkids) but they will be bookily related but, worry not dear (grand)parents, they will not contain sheets of paper saying, ‘but where did the Gruffalo get evidence for this?’


Cya, wearing a poppy this week and still keeping it simple – with respect.

Iaint850, who enjoyed an evening in Tennent’s this week with the Blogmeister, where I started to explore some of these thoughts. Soberly.

And in other news this week, Donald Trump got elected and America will just have to get used to it; I’ve not heard back about my foot x-ray yet altho’ I have phoned; I bought a Christmas Tree and a shredder (No. No connection); my annual donation has gone to the Hospice so that’s defo Christmas started; and a BBC TV journalist annoyed me when talking about units of alcohol over a week, when he said the Government’s recommended amount was fourteen units. Eh, no. That’s the recommended maximum amount.

So, is Armageddon about to hit us? Well, reports are coming in of disturbances around the world. This is Half Man, Half Biscuit reporting on the riots in Trumpton.


Midway along the journey of our life I awoke to find myself in a dark wood (Dante’s Inferno, quoted in Shaw’s The Trees – the next one for the Book Club

November 4, 2016

And so dear listener, there will be a slight football influence to the show this week and I make no apologies for it. For all sorts of reasons I’ve not been to that many games this season. In fact I’ve yet to use my PT season ticket for the bit where I go at Firhill – which is to stand amongst the seats of the North Stand.😦

I made the Jackie Husband earlier with e and AJ but I’m doing not too bad with away matches – like Perth last Saturday. And as I tried to explain to a couple of folk, you can watch all the world class football you want and all the world class footballers in the world but when Abdul Osman scores the winner in the second minute of extra time, then he becomes the greatest player in the world – for that weekend.😀

And then comes the journey home – in #soulboydaviebee’s new (?) M reg Volkswagen (not Scirocco but name me another wind). It never helps when the Perth police point you in the opposite direction from Glasgow and you find yourself driving through Perth towards Inverness (and I like Perth –as a day out).

Anyway, I was in the back – like a young boy. No. Correction. I was in the back with a young boy (Sam) who was reading his comic books with the aid of the torch on his mobile games playing machine and who only asked once ‘are we nearly there yet?’ and we were. Bean, he’s a credit to you and Julia.

Moving on.

So I mentioned last week that the PSA test for continuing problems with the prostate was at best a rough indicator of a potential problem and shouldn’t be given too much credence. So I got mine back and it’s 0.9.

(Booyakasha! FIST PUMP…FIST PUMP! Bring it on!)

And I have, possibly, a new fave place to go to in Glasgow and it’s a new library. It’s the Moving Image Archive (‘moving’ in at least two senses) and it’s in the Kelvin Hall, which like the rest of the West End of Glasgow has been taken over by the University of Glasgow. It’s a brilliant collection of video and film and almost any moving image which is a mirror of Scottish life, past and present. And I only had five minutes there and I will be back very soon.🙂

It would be a really brilliant combined day out with Kelvingrove Art Gallery, which apart from being a brilliant attraction in its own, has got a smashing shop with loads of stuff (including good toys) which would make good Chrissie pressies.

But the really bestest thing? One pound can get you parking for up to four hours!!!!!

(Booyakasha! FIST PUMP…FIST PUMP! Bring it on!)

And a big thanks to e for her present of the book of Speaking Our Language (STV Gaelic course from 1993) which some of us have already discovered on YoutTube. (You should see the lapels on the suits) But now I have the book there will be no stopping me (in a nice way).🙂

Tapadh leibh, e, tapadh leibh.

And finally, I am about to enter the world of getting a new mobile phone. I currently own a Blackberry ZX10 and pay about £18 per month which I’m happy with BUT apparently there’s been some kind of fallout between Blackberry and What’s App and I need a new phone.

And for those of you who don’t know, What’s App is the means by which my two year old grand-daughter sends me all her selfies and videos that she takes and I’d hate to lose them. Any thoughts or offers of taking me to a Carphone Warehouse or similar gratefully received.🙂

Cya, still wearing that badge (altho’ it’s been replaced by something else this week) and it’s because I keep it simple, I don’t worry that much.

Iaint850, and I may be old fashioned but never call me old.

And now a word about the poppy and, yes, I see no reason for it not to be worn at Wembley. Its symbol as a sign of remembrance far outdates the existence of FIFA and is not a political symbol.

Except when Britain First use it to create division in British society by using it as crude propaganda and telling lies …but this is an organisation that continues to use the death of Lee Rigby in their propaganda despite his mum asking them not to.

And I’m not sure about its use as a piece of designer jewellery (Dianne Abbott, I’m looking at you). Are we sure that the companies making them are donating all their profits to the British Legion and other similar organisations?

About two to three years ago, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month I was in the UWS (Paisley) café (now a food court) next to the library (now upstairs and much smaller) and I made the decision to stand, head bowed, for two minutes, as other people were doing all over the country and then sat down again. It was a small gesture but worth doing.

Were I to do it again this week, I’d be thinking about those service people fighting for our freedom from fascism but also the people of Aleppo and Mosel. also fighting for freedom from fascism.

Gosh. What a rant!

Anyway, here they are. Beyonce and the Dixie Chicks covering Daddy Lessons at the CMAs this week!


Don’t step out of this house if that’s the clothes you’re gonna wear. I’ll kick you out of my home if you don’t cut that hair (Beastie Boys)

October 28, 2016

And so dear listener, there’s a bit of a medical feel to today’s show and there’s also the long-awaited conversation with the Vampire Slayer but more of that later.🙂

Aye. I was back at the doctor’s this week. For various reasons. And not just because of those amazing windows in the floor that let you look at an amazing miniature world and make you feel like you’re in an episode of The Borrowers.🙂

Doctor David and I discussed many things. Anxiety? Mmmmmm… a very small bit. And I declined the offer of a flu jab as I’m not 65 or over; pregnant; or have any underlying health problems. He took my PSA (and I’ll say a wee bit more about that later) as a simple blood test and I’ll get that back next week.

Basically we concentrated on my feet, well the left one, and it appears that I may have a neuroma which is not a character on CBBC but a painful inflammation of the foot in the area of the toes. According to Google (and I very rarely use Google for medical stuff but I wanted to check the spelling. Honest) it mostly affects women in their middle age who wore high heels a lot.

Now I have a big memory loss regarding much of what I did in the period before Cold Turkey Weekend started (Sat, 10th December 2006 weirdly) but the high heels has got me beat.😦

Anyway, I have been x-rayed at Gartnavel General – a hospital in which I have spent so much of my life in recent years and I get the results in a couple of weeks’ time. #hirlpingtoacoffeebarnearyousoon

And I must remember and bring you up to date with what’s happening with the Vampire Slayer later.

Ach tha mu sgith……

I mean there’s all the studying I’ve been doing lately. Or Thursday as most people know it. I did a lot on the SVQ front in the afternoon but it was Gaelic at night. Gaelic’s going well – thanks for asking. I’ve reached the grammatical stage known as ‘big, fat, motherly paws’ and I’m in a position to describe myself a follows;

Is mise Iain. Tha car agam; tha taigh agam; ach, chan eil bean agam.

If I’ve got that right, it may well be a contender for Gaelic online dating site. If I haven’t………😦

And can I recommend watching a documentary about the Glasgow Gaelic Gospel Choir on Hallowe’en at 8.30 pm. Plenty of reasons. Our teacher is in it and it was produced by Demus Productions.

But I now have a GU student card and access to GU Moodle……. What fun.

And finally, I do have male friends and I tend to meet them in town for lunch as most of them are still working but have given up five o’clock debauchery and just want to go home (I have five o’clock debauchery with the blogmeister coming up soon) and that is no problem but when we do meet, I kinda expect them to have an idea of where to go. But they don’t.

Now, going to the same place each time I meet someone is not a big deal and, indeed, in at least one case, it works well – but these guys are successful in their professions and I’d like to find new places to go…….but, hey, the VS and I went back to a certain coffee shop and it was good…….and I’ll tell you a wee bit more about that conversation later.

Cya, still wearing that badge and determined to keep it simple.

Iaint850, and I’ve signed the contract that will see me working part-time days come the new year🙂

So I mentioned the PSA at the start of the show and it’s basically a poor – but the only -indicator of possible problems with your prostate. It’s a blood test and I get mine tested once a year but I do know folk who get it tested much more than that. We’re about to go into Movember where people will raise money for men’s health in a range of ways – including growing facial hair. Some of the money raised will go to finding a better way of testing for prostate cancer, so, on behalf of my son, who is now more likely to get it because of me, thanks.

No. I don’t grow facial hair. I don’t think I suit it. But I do grow my hair a wee bit longer and get it cut every four to five weeks but it’s more than just vanity (despite the suggestion that the lights on the wing mirrors on the new car are to allow me to see myself when doing my hair of an evening) and it’s more than the fact that I can.

Some time back, just after I’d started the second half of my treatment, I went back to the college, where I had taught, to see someone. I bumped into a (now) former colleague who asked me when my treatment was due to start. I explained it already had.

‘But you’ve got all your hair, John.’

So I found myself explaining where the prostate was, where the nuclear particles were hitting my body and the fact that I was in process of losing all the hair from that area and did. An assumption challenged and, yes,  ever since…….

So it was then that I decided that my hair was a kinda sign of being open about things and that I refused to be a stereotype…..and, hopefully, that’s still the case. But, yes, I do enjoy drawing attention to it. I could have worse affectations, after all😉

But to everyone who raises funds for men’s health, on behalf of every one of us who has benefited….thanks🙂🙂🙂

Oh, gosh, I meant to tell you about the conversation with the Vampire Slayer but I’ve run out of space…..so, basically, just the usual…..drink, drugs, sex, rock and roll. Enjoy YOUR Hallowe’en and stay safe.

“You need to really believe in what you’ve got to offer, what your talent is — and if you believe, that gives you strength.” (Dolly Parton)

October 20, 2016

And so dear listener, I’m not seeing a lot of Partick Thistle this season for both grandfatherly and work reasons but I made up for it this week (Schools week). AJ and RJ have been taking part in a football coaching week at Scotstoun and I popped down a couple of times to see their progress in the company of their mum.🙂

(And how, e, did you know I’d be early)

And it was really smashing to see their progress. One is a promising Julie Fleeting and the other is a promising Kris Doolan. It was sooooo good to see soooooo much enthusiasm and the problems the coaches had in telling them what to do reminded me of my brief tenure (one year but no warrant) as a Beavers Leader – which for some reason always got a laugh when I mentioned it to HND journalists.😀😀😀

And it was also nice to start practising my Gaelic with e (‘you’ve just wished AJ Goodnight and it’s only eleven o’clock in the morning!’) and I’m enjoying the class and I’m ignoring the grammatical stuff like broad and slender vowels but concentrating on getting used to just saying the words. I’ll keep you posted.

And we all know the question I’m asked most often and, of course, the second most asked question is whether I still get cravings (and I think people mean for alcohol and not meat) and whilst I say no, sometimes I am tested but in a really strange way. There is something about a glass of whisky being poured out on TV and I watched David Hayman’s documentary about whisky the other night and whilst the programme itself was good I kept imagining the heat of the whisky going down the back of my throat – a decent measure, mind you – and that feeling must have lasted all of one second but there were tales of people investing tens of thousands of pounds in whisky but my fave was that of a man who spent £50,000 on ten (?) bottles and drank them with his pals……

Incidentally, I’ve told a few people about rota changes. Can I just mention that I am already on part-time nights and I’m merely shifting to part-time days – and looking forward to it – and the new rota does not take effect until January 2016, so I can now properly plan the run-up to Christmas and all that goes with it but expect to be working Hogmanay night and New Year’s Day night.

I am making plans, planning offers, offering shortbread even as we speak and speaking of present buying, last year’s visit to Waterstone’s with j proved inspirational in terms of buying book-related presents.🙂 We’ll see.

One of the biggest changes will involve greater use of public transport and my Concession Card – if for no other reason than the cost of daytime parking as opposed to no charge night-time parking – but I have so little experience of these on buses cos I don’t know where they go…….now who could I ask?

But, speaking as someone who travels on trains, can someone please explain why some people get on a train and stand even tho’ there are seats available (Hyndland to Charing Cross) and it’s not cos they’re only on for one stop cos they stand by the exit and block it for other people trying to get off?😦

And now for this week’s Tip of The Month for fancy entertaining. Your dining table presentation can be sooooo much improved by the addition of a nice piece of cloth stretched across the existing tablecloth but merely from side to side across the middle. I genuinely did not know these were called runners. I am young. I have so much to learn about life.

And finally, I am aware that there has been a bit of a cloud hanging over the blog in the last few months and that, dear listener, has been a reflection of me and how I’ve felt but anyone who has spoken to me in the last few days (e.g. j and e and some others) will have been aware of an enthusiasm for life coming back…..I know. Worrying, isn’t it? Let the good times rock and roll.  🙂

Cya, still wearing that badge and there are good reasons for keeping it simple

Iaint850, who is delighted that John Swinney has said more money will be spent on Gaelic.

So a good friend suggested, after I’d told him about the anxiety issue resolution, that I should put it behind me and I had no intention to say anything about it this week but  I CAN’T ignore the experience of what I’ve gone through. Hopefully, it will help me understand the feelings of people who go through a bad experience having owned up to a genuine mistake who then find themselves treated unfairly.

I have mentioned before, for example, when I was working at the college all those years ago, that some line managers said that alcoholics were ‘scum’ and were ‘bound to relapse’ but always when there were no witnesses…..oh, and alcoholics couldn’t be trusted. Maybe one day I’ll meet them but I certainly don’t miss them

Words can hurt and give people a false identity and low self-esteem. I’m not perfect but I do my best. It’s by learning through experience that we can be better people in our dealings with others. They may not want advice, but a willing ear and a willingness to ask appropriate questions can make all the difference.🙂

This is Donnie Munro and Eric Cloughley singing Michael Marra’s inspirational ‘Mother Glasgow’.

Mountains are more than just fun; they are hill areas (stolen from Facebook but funny)

October 14, 2016

And so dear listener, the issue that was causing me anxiety has been resolved. I can’t say too much but I had acknowledged my initial responsibility. It was what happened after that that caused the problem. I shall say no more and leave it there.

But some good, well, interesting news on the work front in that I am moving from working part-time night shifts to working part-time days (early and late) and I’m not too sure when that will happen. It will be a strange feeling as it means quite a change in lifestyle. We talk about the financial aspects of zero hours contracts, agency and part-time working but it has a major impact on lifestyles which does not seem to have been researched yet.

(I’d a quick look at Google Scholar which is much more academic and reliable than Google and I could find little research in this area. On occasions, when researching my Master’s, I was, on typing in a keyword, offered a link to this blog….worrying that someone on the other side of the world, for example, may be quoting me in an academic piece of work)😦

And a good reader’s eye catches not just abused spelling and missing apostrophes but worries for former Spice Girl, Geri, when it’s announced in a tabloid that she’s ‘expecting her second child aged 44’. I’ve never given birth but that does not sound too comfortable.😦

And I read with interest that an actor called John Thomson, star (?) of Cold Feet, has received some interesting things through the post. Em, I don’t know how to put this. Yes. I do.

Many years ago there was a man with the same name who worked for the BBC in Glasgow who occasionally received mail, in that name, with a photo of the other John Thomson and the writer asking for an autograph on the photo. Well, the Glasgow John Thomson does not like to disappoint, so the photo was duly autographed and returned. C’mon, no animals were harmed, were they?

BUT, talking of television personalities…….I was down at my mate Nick’s the other afternoon and Nick is the Chief Executive (and most other things) for Demus Productions who currently produce the SSPCA programmes for STV but also do a lot of music stuff for BBC Radio Scotland. When I showed up he was in studio so I’d a black coffee (I’d been on nightshifts the two nights before) until he came out with THE Natasha Rasken – star of daytime TV antiques shows – and she was really lovely to talk to…..and brightened my day up in a way coffee could never do.🙂

Natasha will be presenting an edition of Friday night’s The Music Match quite soon for BBC Radio Scotland). This week it’s comedian Ashley Storrie and it’s always well worth a listen (10.05 pm to 1.00 a.m.)

And finally, I did watch the first episode of Still Game but did not find it out-and-out laugh aloud funny.  It was very cleverly written, which may have been a sensible thing to do, and it can build up now we’ve been re-introduced to the characters. However, the beauty of that opening sequence, when Ford was looking at his watch and counting down the seconds to Jack coming through the door was immense (the waiting finally was over)…… and the fallout over the newspaper? Was that an oblique reference to their own falling out? Or am I reading too much into these things?

And keeping the name dropping going…I worked with Ford and the man of many voices, Lewis Macleod, many years ago on the pre-recorded material for Off the Ball and I am amazed anything was recorded there was so laughter.

(And Greg Hemphill was Off the Ball’s first ever presenter and I worked with him as well and still have a t-shirt from the first ever series which has a picture of  naked Greg on it with his privates covered by an extremely large ball)

Gosh, it’s a long time since I’ve done so much showbiz gossip and it feels weird……but that’s it for a long time. I’m not mad keen on name-dropping as I said to Kanye West the other day in the ASDA…..at least he claimed to be Kanye. Lives in the high flats. In Acre Road. With Kim. He said.

But Happy Birthday to the Vampire Slayer X

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

Iaint850, agus tha mi toilechte.

The reason I was down at Nick’s was that I’d lost the only CD copy I’d had of my last ever radio documentary which was about prostate cancer and I’d co-produced it with Demus Productions. I wanted a copy for myself but I also want to lend a copy to someone to show them what I used to do.

Listening to it brought back memories. It’s a positive programme with lots of optimism and altho’ you don’t hear me, well, I wrote the script, did a lot of the interviews and found the guests and that kinda stuff.

The weekend of 10th, 11th and 12th December this year is my tenth anniversary of ‘Cold Turkey weekend’ and I’m keen to celebrate it (one idea already in place) and the memories of that weekend will never disappear – even if I describe them with humour.😀

But my treatment for my cancer was not difficult. The NHS is brilliant when it comes to illnesses like this as they so know what they’re doing.  That makes it easy BUT Channel 4’s Stand Up For Cancer and Movember will also bring back memories for me……..people are brilliant when it comes to events like these  and so much of the money goes to research which may never eradicate cancer but it help so much with the treatment.🙂

The radio documentary started by talking of a time when castration was the prescription for my cancer. Thankfully we had moved on by the time I’d my radiotherapy (37 days worth) and, yes, everything in working order. Still.

This was the first ever Bob Dylan track I was aware of and I think it was cos of the name. It was only in later years I realised that the man in the background was Allan Ginsberg.

‘Words, when they’ve been said aloud, have a way of falling apart and dissolving afterwards, becoming lost and left behind in ways that thoughts set down on paper never do.’ (Jones 2010)

October 7, 2016

And so dear listener, these are words from the latest book I’m reading and it’s a story that’s told in a rather interesting form with e-mails, texts, transcripts of recordings and extracts from police logs. It tells us of a time in the future where a government shows little concern for the rights of people and imposes restrictions on people’s movements.

(A joke about the Tory Party conference would be too easy but it would help if the Home Secretary did not tell lies about factories in her own constituency)

People emerge from shadows and carry out horrible acts (in the book); heroic endeavours end up unheroic; and I’m not optimistic about the end of it all. The only reservation I have is its title which, I feel, somewhat gives the game away – Zombie Apocalypse – and, later, I’ll say a wee bit about the return of the killer clowns.

Y’see I was going to start tonight by talking about language as I went to my first Gaelic evening class this week so I’ll maybe just move myself on and do so.

It was good. It was the first class of any description I’d been to where it was delayed by half an hour ‘cos, according to the jannie, the teacher had just landed at Glasgow Airport and would be with us as soon as possible and she was and she was good.😀

But it’s been a long time since I’d learned a language and I’d forgotten about how the whole class mumble when asked to repeat a pronunciation and the fear when the teacher asks you.😦

And such is the power of Facebook it was really nice when I popped into the ASDA the next day to buy some ASDA stuff only to be asked how I’d got on….and Danni, enjoy your paranormal investigation in Govan.

I will go back.🙂

And earlier this week I was meeting my lawyer at nine o’clock on Monday morning and he happened to have a young German work experience student in his office and I found myself chatting in basic German to her without really thinking about it. ‘Where,’ my legal wondered, ‘did this unexpected skill come from?’

‘It was just some German I picked up some time ago, ‘I replied, trying desperately to remember her name.😉

And can I make the point that this was the first time ever I have been hanging around outside a lawyer’s office in Glasgow City Centre at nine o’clock on a Monday morning? Honest.

And the latest news on my car is as follows.

I was driving it out of the driveway the other morning – a cold and a damp kinda day – and I saw a light come on on the dashboard which I’ve never seen before anywhere and then it went off and back on and so on. Maybe a loose connection I thought and I can maybe get away with it until I check the manual. So I did.

It’s a light that tells you when the temperature is 5 degrees centigrade or less. Why?!?! I already have a temperature gauge that tells me that……..

And the radio’s been re-tuned. But not by me.😦

But some news on the health front. No. Something slightly different this time.

I’d been aware of a sore foot for some time. I’d done a lot of walking during the Anxiety/Depression phase and thought I’d done something to it and arranged to see a doctor in the new Maryhill Health Centre – just recently opened.

What a brilliant experience – the Health Centre, and not the visit to the doctor (and it turns out I have a deep blister). The Health Centre has become home to many, many worlds. There are, in the floor, small glass windows (about one foot by six inches) and if you happen to be on your knees (don’t ask) you can see into a land with buses, trees, trains and little people. If it’s just for small children then somehow their parents need to be told because you know what it’s like in a GP surgery; everyone looks straight ahead until their name is called. Magical but without a kick.😀

And finally, as we approach Movember, it’s interesting to hear Ben Stiller talk of the moment when he learned he had prostate cancer following a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test. It may be unreliable but it’s one of the best signs we have. Maybe the money raised in Movember can go to finding something more reliable.

Cya, still wearing that badge (altho’ it did get some ice cream on it earlier this week) and keeping it simple

Johnt850 (but I’m not yet sure of the Gaelic equivalent)

So the killer clowns are back – certainly in the States – but thanks to the power of social media there have been sightings here but it may just be people dressing up and jumping out a wee bit like I did a couple of years ago as a zombie at M & D’s.

Or it may be nothing at all.

I wrote about this a couple of years ago. The original killer clowns were sighted in North Lanarkshire and Glasgow in the seventies and it was not unknown for headies to warn (at secondary school assemblies) their pupils of the dangers of getting into white transit vans when invited to do so by people dressed as clowns.😦

It was an urban myth like the Gorbals Vampire and the giant salamander that lived in the steel mills of Ravenscraig but with the growth of social media, these things grow much more quickly and possibly become reality.

Indirectly it also played a part in the creation of a movie called Restless Natives.

The last time I was able to play the ending to the movie but that has now been removed for copyright reasons so here’s the trailer for the movie. I would love to have been an extra at the end but my only extra experience remains that BBC 3 lesbian drama – Lip Service.

Some days you gotta dance Live it up when you get the chance ‘Cause when the world doesn’t make no sense And you’re feeling just a little too tense Gotta loosen up those chains and dance (Dixie Chicks)

September 30, 2016

And so dear listener, I’m getting bored of the one remaining issue involved in the anxiety diagnosis of a few weeks ago, so goodness knows how you feel. I hope it will be resolved soon and there is something important I need to clear up in these pages, but first….

Who was your first folk hero?

Mine was a man called Johnny Ramensky, who was born of Lithuanian parents, became a famous safecracker in the thirties, became a commando during World War II and ended up in Peterhead Prison. I grew up in Peterhead. There was a wee bit about him on STV the other night but it didn’t do him justice.😦

Y’see Peterhead Prison was supposed to be impossible to break out of, but Johnny did it, according to the TV, five times but the TV got it wrong as my dad would have told it if he was still alive. Johnny had friends in Peterhead – ex-commandos and paratroops, including the father of a school-friend of mine who had served in Arnhem (think of a bloody Bridge Too Far) – and Johnny would break out of the prison, meet these guys and go for a couple of drinks and then break back in.🙂

It was only when he couldn’t break back in that he would be reported missing but he’d give himself up a couple of days later when he was hungry. He died in 1972 with the Military Medal and with large looted Nazi treasure troves all over the UK.

So, as I say, who was your first folk hero? I’d like to know.

No, the thing I’d like to clear up is that I still like the job that I do, which is working with the homeless on a paid part-time basis, but as with any job when things change you do consider what you’re doing as a result of issues outwith the project.

So, it is time to look for an additional project but that does not mean another job. To a certain extent that was what the university involvement was or the voluntary work with Alternatives – the rehab in Clydebank and Dumbarton – and if there’s income or funding then so much the better.😉

I work an average of sixteen hours per week and that’s a good basis to build on…….and with the universities back it’s time to go flyering again but with UWS (Paisley) I may need a guide or a ball of string.

So any, and all, suggestions considered. Seriously.

And I have my first Gaelic lesson this week. And spellcheck better get used to it. There’s not a materialistic end in sight – just a desire to talk to some bi-lingual children I know – but if it leads to anything else, then there used to be a person inside me who would welcome that. And hopefully still is.🙂

Maybe at the moment, I’m still a wee bit anxious about things. I did something that I thought was for the best and now regret it. One day I will tell the world. But a big thanks to Holly the Dog for getting me out even when it’s wet and welly boot weather. Even if I do wear my jeans outside my boots.

Let’s move swiftly on.

Happy Birthday J.🙂

You certainly don’t look it but then, as you so rightly said, neither do I.

And finally, for various reasons I found myself driving down to Renfrew (Happy Birthday, Debbie…..and the Dorritos are still fine🙂  ) in my new car at midnight the other night.

Not every project has two workers on at all time – some have just the one and there had been a no-show. So I went and it was good fun, but as always, it’s nice to see the next shift at the other end of the front door camera knowing you can go home and this was when I learned how good my new car is.

I had been dreading the journey home at 7.30 – commuter gridlock time – but every other car on the M8 Eastbound seemed to know its place and gave way. As a journey it was fun – as I listened to one of the four radio channels I have programmed in the radio.

Yes. It did come with a full set of pre-programmed radio but, unfortunately my attempt to add a couple more led to my mucking up the whole cat’s crystal…and I lost everything. However, without knowing what I was doing, I have managed to tune in four channels – Gaydio, a Glasgow Celtic music channel, BBC Radio Scotland and Radio 1 – but two of those are completely new to me. Can you guess which ones, dear listener?

Cya, still wearing that badge and quietly keeping it simple.

Johnt850, still fairly confident about life but never ‘braggadocious.’

So I was never asked to audition for Glow, which is glasglow.tv’s answer to The Only Way Is Chelsea, but totally agree with comedienne Janey Godley’s comments about it;

‘No-one with ginger hair or freckles, or even someone who wears socks….where are those really hip young Asian boys that are super cool with their fancy cars?’ Indeed, it is full of white men and women trying to look brown.

It is not the Glasgow that I have come to know and love over the years (did you know I was brought up in Peterhead?); and it is not the Summerston that decided to accept me about twenty-eight years ago.

But they’re not even all from Glasgow! I see that two of the young ladies are described as ‘models and bar workers from Motherwell.’

Beginning Thursday 20th October at 7 pm on www.glasglow.tv

I only ever had one conversation with the late, great Sir Terry Wogan and it took place in a Radio 2 studio in London (Egton House?). I was introduced to him and he said ‘Hello, John.’ And I said ‘Terry.’ That meeting has lived with me for ever.

His broadcasts also introduced me Katie Melua and the ‘Closest Thing to Crazy’.