Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person (anon I think)

February 22, 2018

And so dear listener, I now know what the Tyre Pressure light looks like on my car’s dashboard. And what it does.

And it stays on despite switching the car on and off four times. 😦

It tells me that I have a screw impaled in the tyre on the driver’s side and I ain’t going anywhere. 😦

I phoned the AA (Automobile Association) and they came out and asked if I had a spare tyre and I said no I had a kit (cos new cars don’t have spare tyres) and we just looked at each other and it was a Sunday morning and so he drove me down to a well-known tyre and exhaust centre in Anniesland and they were very good (and you didn’t expect me to say that, did you?).

Now it may have helped that I was their first customer on a Sunday morning and I told them exactly what I wanted and I did not leave the place until it was all done and it only took twenty minutes and it was a wee bit more expensive that I’d like to have paid at the moment but, hey, it’s done. 🙂

And I remained calm and sanguine for the whole morning which I think was good. And that was one of the most pleasing aspects of the whole incident. And went home and ate oat cakes and humous. 😀

But I am quite calm about the whole heart assault affair. I’ve now been to my GP and discussed various aspects of it all and now have an amazing list of repeat prescriptions BUT can I stress it is a very boring list and there are no benzos or opiates amongst them? And the only legal psychoactive drug I take is caffeinated coffee. The other legal psychoactive drugs are alcohol and tobacco and amyl nitrate poppers. It was the Queen who decided. Except she didn’t actually mention amyl nitrate poppers in that particular Queen’s Speech. But they are legal.

And I did see pictures of former Rangers player Nacho Novo who had bad heart attacks and now wears a defibrillator vest in case his heart stops and it can start again. I have a spray which I should maybe explain to people. And start carrying with me.

But I’ve started flyering again for the business side of my life and it’s been good cos I’m making it part of my walking regime and Glasgow is dead hilly. As in the Adam Smith Building is up a hill but I did do Glasgow Caledonian University and it’s not but thought I’d save Strathclyde for another day. But there are two UWSs to do and a lot more of Glasgow University and maybe one day, I’ll daytrip Embra. Anybody want to come with me?

Maybe after the lecturers’ strike when students might see them?

http://www.thewordprocess.net

And finally, I have been and gone and went into the Royal Concert Hall and bought some tickets for Aye Write but I’m not going to say for whom – as in who I am going to go and see.

However, if you have recommended someone to me in any way at all and you attend the event, I intend to sit behind you. You have been warned. 😉

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and wondering if I am still keeping it simple

Iaint850, and all is subject to the weather as I have no idea what the next day forecasts are these days as the weather forecasters are too busy competing with each other to predict what’s happening next week.

So (and that’s a great broadcasting word), as I’ve already explained, I’m making attempts to get out more but in the meantime I’m watching more TV in the evenings than I normally would and I have to pay full credit to some real TV last Monday.

BBC’s Reporting Scotland led the way with an interview with Neil Lennon who recalled playing for Crewe alongside some of those who had been abused by Barry Bennell and a caravan at the bottom of someone’s garden which seemed to mean more now than it did at the time. Neil had been Andy Woodward’s best man at Andy’s first wedding.

Channel 4’s Despatches put an experienced mental health worker into a private medical facility used by the NHS as they just don’t have enough beds. She lasted just six days; I found it hard to last more than six minutes cos of the screams from the patients as they reacted to their treatment from staff. But I did.

On the other side tho’…..when I worked in social care, if I pressed my alarm button I was not looking for a colleague to come to my aid, but a goodly number of police officers. And they did.

A horrific programme.

And then there was one of these police reality programmes which had been well trailed so it came as no real surprise when the blackmailer turned out to be one of the policemen on the case but the surprise was that the cameras kept rolling. None of the police people objected.

Fascinating TV and a sign of the issues that are out there that are being faced by people who keep saying to each other, ‘I couldn’t do your job.’ But they do their own. And I wouldn’t.

So tonight’s choice of music is for anyone out there in social or health care who had hoped for a quick handover to the next shift but then all hell broke loose or someone’s life was at risk and you’d to stay on and help keep your colleagues safe.

It’s Black Lace and it’s the Christmas night out (or maybe there’s another reason);

I’m sorry. This was up next. The Zombie night at M & Ds! What a pelvic thrust she had!!!!!!!! No. I still don’t know what happened. But you’ll be up dancing! I know I will be! And it was also how Saturday nights finished at Clydebank Football Club Social Club upstairs in the Hampden Lounge

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Love is not as important as good health. You cannot be in love if you’re not healthy. You can’t appreciate it. (Bryan Cranston)

February 15, 2018

And so dear listener, this week I started driving.

Well, tbh, I’ve actually been driving for many years altho’ I did fail my test three times when I was seventeen.

No, with the heart scare, I’ve erred on the side of caution and waited the legal four weeks I needed to wait if indeed I did have a heart attack. Plus I think I did need some time to prepare myself for such a journey and I did so by a couple of sneaky wee journeys around Summerston. I adjusted mirrors and seating and stuff like that and I took pleasure in the fact that it had a full tank which it must have had since the beginning of January. And it may be a few days before I try night driving.

I was ready. I did think about driving to Paisley which I think was where I travelled to on my most recent trip outside Glasgow – to Storie Street for coffee to be exact, but instead I decided to travel to the far and distant land called Bearsden (or G61 as some of us know it and I live in G23 and Postcodes are important).

It has an ASDA (G61) which is absolutely nothing like my ASDA (G23) but it also has arrogant white-haired old men who drive cars across the zebra crossings as I try to cross them and then park in Parents’ and Childrens’ bays and when I shout wa*ker at them (guess the missing letter) and give them the finger they pretend to ignore me or look for a possible other victim.

I will never be white haired or ignorant or old. Maybe it comes with perceived material success. I will never have material success but at least I have my health. Well, to a certain extent……. 😉

There is just such a wider range of goods available to shoppers in ASDA G61 as opposed to ASDA G23 and I think if I had access to that range of fresh(ish) fish, recent doubts about pescetarianism would soon disappear.

Don’t get me wrong. I have family and friends who live in Bearsden and I have a lot of time for them and at one point I was a Beaver Leader for the 183rd Scout Group and stuff like that but maybe recent experiences of hospitals have reintroduced a compare and contrast of so many things into my life – but it’s not the buildings that are important – it’s the people who work in them. 🙂

And finally, the latest sitrep on my health is as follows;

Physically much better and pushing himself helps; mentally the driving went well and the house is tidy-ish which makes him feel better; and mentally he realises how lucky he is compared with so many other people. Still tires towards the end of the day but getting better.

Will now be making contact with many people but not sure yet about a return to Firhill as yet. Plans to spend one afternoon standing at an open back door from 2.30 to 3.45, drink some weak coffee, and then return to that position from 4.00 to 4.45 and will make up his mind then. 😉

And my social life does show signs of improving. At the beginning of March I have a couple of workshops scheduled to attend with the Scottish Drugs Forum on alcohol and drugs awareness (it’s how I relax) and my first outpatient attendance with a ‘generic cardiac heart failure consultant'(gulp!!!!!!) at Yorkhill; and at the beginning of April I return to the Royal for an ECG for which I will ‘be given a gown and asked to undress from the waist up’; and, most important of all, in a few weeks’ time my grandson will celebrate his first birthday and I will be there.

That’s why I keep going.

Oh, and also looking at Aye Write. Any suggestions?

One person I might go and see is a man called David Donnison. In 1979 (tbc) his book The Politics of Poverty was turned into a four part documentary series for BBC 2 UK and I was the series researcher – but I was very young. I wonder whatever became of me?

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and hoping it’s simple for others

Iaint850, happy to kneecap anyone who ever accuses me of growing old.

So, yes, I occasionally buy the Scottish Daily Mail. After all, if I didn’t, how would I know whether or not I disagree with their views on various things?

So, yes, I did on Tuesday this week. Coincidentally (?) their health section carried a Q & A session on leaky heart valves. I seem to have one and obviously I wanted a right wing fascist view of what that means. Much of it discussed the monitoring of such things (and I’m waiting to hear for even more detail of my own observation) but I was grateful to read this;

‘Surgery to replace or repair a valve is a major operation, so is only appropriate when the condition is severe.’

It was also quite reassuring about pain and breathlessness……..Tory bastards!!!!!!!

The other reason is that friend and former colleague Siobhan Synnot has a very entertaining column on a Tuesday. I don’t have enough words left to explain why, but this is a brilliant suggestion for a new national anthem. My only complaint is that Scotdisc didn’t have enough money to actually show us the pipers walking across the screen.

“I attribute my success to this; I never gave nor took any excuse.” —Florence Nightingale

February 10, 2018

And so, dear listener, I’m still not sure what happened in the first four or five weeks of 2018 but before I go any further can I just say mega thanks to all those who passed on best wishes throughout that period and also said nice things about last week’s blog. It’s produced on the basis that the majority of those who read it can be classed as friends and I’m sharing my news with you. 😀

It gives me a certain amount of freedom in what I say. Maybe one day I’ll have the courage to discuss teacake advertising…….or what is known as ‘period poverty’ amongst homeless women.

Anyway, those nice people from Cardiac Rehabilitation have been in touch and I do not need to make use of their services. I have still to receive the definitive letter from the heart consultants telling me what happened but after the various tests in the Jubilee there was no sense of urgency and I was told I’d be discussed at a conference/meeting, so the decision comes as no surprise. 🙂

But I don’t usually suffer from two nights of chest pains, breathlessness and giddiness before phoning 999 and getting paramedics who patch me through to the Jubilee who say ‘take him to the coronary unit in the Royal………’ and so on. (see last week’s blog for the story)

Instead my very high blood pressure and leaky aortic valve can be managed by medication, my GP and occasional observation.:)

I’m also, until I hear otherwise, sticking closely, and ironically, to the instructions I received from Cardiac Rehab and cannot legally drive for another few days yet, doing exercise and taking all my medications.

And I’m also sticking very closely to the clichéd and stereotyped script. If it was ‘only’ a scare, as far as I’m concerned it was a real seismic shock and I’m reviewing much of my life (writing things down on an A4 pad as I drink a decaff coffee).

Anyway, moving on……..

But before I do, can I say thanks to Rosie from doon the watter (who is skilled in these matters) for asking appropriate medical questions, to Sandra from Bearsden (who is skilled in these matters) for coming over and cutting my hair and to a couple of people who wanted me to edit their (PhD) work and, on being told I was in hospital, said ‘we are willing to wait if that helps.’ 😀

http://www.thewordprocess.net

Oh, and to Kenny the Shed Pimp who came to visit, brought HobNobs and ate them. And to my mentor Craig W, what do you think of my imaginal realm so far?

And as I said last week, immense admiration for the nurses and auxiliaries who have to cope with things in the middle of the night that you never see in Holby City or Casualty. I don’t watch these programmes these days (not since the episode that opened with a chip pan looking rather over full) but do large sample bottles feature in them?

But some things will never go away. You get medication at certain times and it’s basically one nurse with a set of keys altho’ there’s two when it’s something interesting like morphine. I had several shots and did not become addicted altho’ by the end of my stay in both hospitals I had become addicted to toast. 😦

I was like a little boy at times when it was my turn for pills. I was sooooo proud of the fact that, after my first two days, I was able to sleep for most of the night without using my sleeping pill. It was still in that small shot glass in which it had been dispensed at 9.30 pm……. 😀

And my delight when I didn’t have to wear the mobile tracking device and could have a shower and wear t-shirts and denims.

And finally, I think it’s delightful how there is always a new generation who have never heard some of the classic jokes that I’ve told for years. What’s that Skippy? Give you an example?

So, there I was at the recent European Athletics’ Championships when I went up to this very athletic looking gentleman and said, ‘are you a pole vaulter?’

To which he replied, ‘No I am actually a Czech but how did you know my name was Walter?’

And can I, before anyone complains, apologise for any distress caused to people, mostly Eastern Europeans, who may feel that I am poking fun at their inability to pronounce Ws not as W but as Vs, but I used to live in a society where people knew when to smile. It was a much nicer place.

tioraidh, still wearing that badge and keeping it simple for all sorts of reasons.

iaint850 unindependent on no-one.

So, I have made a good start to my latest recovery and am doing a lot of walking and did some social stuff as well on Friday. Would it come as any surprise if I tell you me and my friend had two coffees, a chocolate brownie and a chocolate tiffin? We shared them and had a half of each each. That makes it a balanced diet. In Finnieston.

And the only reason for playing this next piece of music is that I caught it on Chris Country Radio the other night and have always loved it.

‘A friend is what the heart needs all the time’ (Henry Van Dyke)

February 2, 2018

And so dear listener, this ain’t the usual blog. Apart from anything else it’s not as structured as usual. 🙂

Seriously. I know that in many years from now some literature academic will stumble over these shows and give them the credit they deserve as an exceptional piece of writing.

That and the Facebook postings of 2018 when in a matter of days I charted a journey from antibiotics that I thought I was allergic to but I was actually having a ‘small heart attack’ and back out the other end with more tests ahead of me. Thanks to all who followed the action and responded.

Basically it was a slow heart attack but it can kill and altho’ I’ve been trained to perform CPR and mouth to mouth I don’t know how to do it to myself over a period of time (and I don’t think that sentence says what I wanted it to)

And tonight as I looked at the metaphorical blank sheet of paper in the typewriter I just burst into tears. You forget the emotional side of recovery, don’t you? Here I go again. The physical begins with a walk around the graveyard and the mental, for me, is dealt with by hammering out 1,000 words on a weekly basis and talking (or rambling) to friends. Well it worked for prostate cancer and alcohol dependency.

But this time it’s been a wee bit different. Oh, my 999 call early morning was there again and I slightly surprised the call handler by having the front door open for the ambulance folk and having my prescriptions to hand and, and, and so on and I was driven to the Royal Infirmary after the ambulance folk had done tests and I stayed there for a few days in a ward I can never forget and I’ll tell you about that in a few weeks and then transferred to the Golden Jubilee and then that moment when I was told by the consultant that I could go home (twelve days on) and I kept looking over his shoulder at the nurse who kept nodding assent but with a smile on her face.

So my arteries are fine, the leak in my aortic valve is a mild to moderate risk but the blood pressure needs to be watched. I have a cardiac rehabilitation programme to follow and some outpatienting to do.

But I’m sleeping so much better.

Oh and those sample bottles full of urine and the toast at nine o’clock at night and the blood tests at 6.30 morning and night and those gowns that I had to wear until they no longer needed easy access to my body (eh?) and that mobile tracking device I had to wear even when I went to the loo.

And I think it’s worth saying that it’s been a wee while since I’ve been in the company of mostly women and not fallen in love at least once.

And I told folk I am going to write a Rom Com set in a Coronary Care Unit and fellow blogger Jill came up with a very simple plot which I think would work. And I wrote down some amazing quotes. And I witnessed some amazing patience (and that’s the correct spelling) where incontinence and possible dementia were concerned and I have no criticism of any individual, system or institution – just amazement at how nurses and auxiliaries just wipe things down and get on with it.

I mean I did ten or so days in a detox ward in Gartnavel about eleven years ago and that was pretty scary and the thirty-seven days I did as a Cancer outpatient getting daily radiotherapy were pretty straightforward which is not to diminish cancer treatment but I got to drive home at speed after each treatment. Here I’ve got to wait four weeks before I can drive again. And then I can get a much needed haircut.

So if you’re mobile and in the area – I do need some help with shopping and getting out for walks.

(Yes, I’ve been alcoholically dependent, had bad prostate cancer and now a heart attack……..and I’m still here)

But, yet again, people are helping and yet again I will get on with it because I am young and still have a lot of living to do and a lot to learn. The invites are in the post even as I write.…….and should you ever find yourself in Summerston, please get in touch but bring your own bottle – sample or otherwise.

Tioraidh, so, possibly adding to the badges but so glad I keep it simple.

Iaint850 and much humbled by what I’ve seen.

And after all that there is only one piece of music I can play even if it is badly lip synched. Here’s Feargal Sharkey (and just click on the YouTube bit)

Butterflies cannot see their wings. But the rest of the world can. (Meghan Markle)

January 12, 2018

And so dear listener I have succumbed. No. Not to alcohol (but I will confess, Rosie and Ann, to some meat when someone came to my house to eat) but to the throat lurgy I had previously mentioned. At one point it was merely annoying and not too intrusive.

For example, I had a very enjoyable cup of coffee and a very enjoyable conversation in a café at the top of Storie Street in Paisley last week – once I’d found it – and there’s a guy I know who lives outside of Glasgow who, when he comes in, likes to pack a lot in. So I meet him for breakfast. Last Saturday it was the famous North Star café in Queen Margaret Drive. With avocado. I had the scrambled eggs.

But then, on Monday morning, I felt ill. I had planned to make the start to 2018 that I’d promised by going flyering to GCal and Strathclyde and I’d two SVQ related meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was all I could do to find the switch on button on the DAB radio.

(It’s actually the middle of three but I did find myself counting down until I was sure that there were still three buttons and went back up one and pressed it. I was right.)

The weather forecast was not great so I postponed the start of 2018 (just for myself – not you) and put some clothes on and walked down to the ASDA. That was fine. Walking back up was hell. My throat kept drying on me and I felt the need to keep walking up the hill on the basis that if I stopped I’d be frozen solid. In Summerston. 😦

So I cancelled some stuff and on Tuesday I went to the doctor. He’s a friend and we chatted about various things and then, ‘What is it today, jt?’ and when I replied, ‘It’s the throat’, he said, ‘Not again?’ But it was. 😦

It was red and raw. And he prescribed antibiotics (and not as I told some people – amphetamines) and I’ve never had them before and I know that Maryhill Health Centre is very careful about what they prescribe. 🙂

Aye, despite all my problems in recent years I’ve never had antibiotics. It’s not something I’ve come across before and it occurs to me that I know more about what were called, until recently, legal highs. I had proper blue Valium in the immediate days after Cold Turkey and I’d sleeping pills at one point but they were too effective so I stopped and we don’t count anything I may, or may not, have taken over eleven years ago – but never antibiotics.

OMG! They’re powerful! I had two on the Tuesday night and the TV stopped working! Strange messages came up on the screen about my TIVO box and calling 150 but I made the mistake of using my remote control as my phone and that seemed to make matters worse.

A site on Facebook told me I was not the only one so I listened to the radio through the computer (as opposed to through the TV) and read and then OMG! (again!) I heard people downstairs discussing Korea. Had the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse returned? (Well three cos one of them is still stuck in the jersey I was wearing the night of Cold Turkey). Bravely, I went downstairs with my fingers in the sign of a cross (No. I don’t know why) and the TV had come back to life. It was a news programme. I went to bed and had nightmares – one of which included Tony Blair. 😦

Wednesday, we’ll ignore cos the antibiotics worked their way through my system and I don’t want to talk about it (but that explains the smell of nag champa in the bathroom) and I cancelled more stuff. Still getting strange dreams.

Thursday, signs were slightly better but it’s only recently that I have realised how cold my house is, cos I’m spending much more time here at the moment than was ever intended and I’m not well. I also keep wanting to sleep but feel I should keep all that for night-time. I have also realised that I am hungry but with little appetite.

And finally, on Friday, I did what any sensible person living on their own would do; I used Google and Facebook to find out if how I felt was usual with antibiotics. It is. It is like living with the hangover from hell for five days 😦 Is there no end to this suffering?

And then my bowel cancer testing kit arrived!!!!!! 😦

And I was going to say a few things about cancer this week but one health thing at a time I always say.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and, to whom it may concern, quite happy keeping it simple.

Iaint850, glad I took j’s advice about getting the flu jab or else I’d be in one helluva mess.

And so I couldn’t help but notice that the new Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock, is a big fan of Ed Sheeran’s Galway Girl. Now, Ed, as we know, knows a good tune when he hears one (and that’s all I’ll say for very good legal reasons) but is an incredibly inoffensive person. Indeed, I suspect Matt is a big fan of Michael McIntyre as well and his appointment does not bode well for broadcasting in the UK (many of his other powers are devolved)

Steve Earle, on the other hand, has been married seven times, including twice to the same woman and is a recovering cocaine and heroin user. What he thinks of Michael McIntyre is unknown but this is Steve’s Galway Girl

and cos one Steve Earle track is never enough here’s Copperhead Road AND wait for the tempo change!!!!

No, John, there is no Blue Lagoon car park in Paisley (anon)

January 5, 2018

And so, dear listener, a Guid New Year to ane’n’aw. I didn’t get the chance to do that in a blogilly manner because I had to broadcast the traditional Blog Personality Award of the Year on the Sunday. Which was also Hogmanay and people had better things to do.

So, once you’ve read this, read the blog below this one. Did you get an award? Holly the dog did.

But, yes, this was the first Hogmanay and New Year’s Day that I didn’t spend the nights with the homeless and refugees. And the family party I used to attend (not my actual family) no longer happens. Ah, the influence of having grandchildren staying with you. 😉

I watched some TV. Quite liked the Saturday night out prog but one day people will realise that the success of Flicks in Brechin was what the sign (in block capitals) actually seemed to spell out when seen from a distance. And no mention of Bonkers – a bar and club just along the road from where I worked in PR – and Clatty Pat’s – just along the road from the BBC…..places I used for a wee while after separation. 🙂

And this hints at an interesting question, which I shall call the Gus McKinnon Question.

Y’see, one of the books I received at Christmas was called ‘Close Quarters’ and is about a murder in a tenement just off Byres Road. One of the characters is a legal person called Gus McKinnon who spends his nights in bar called The Centurion and often staggers home drunk. It’s not a spoiler; it’s a recurring theme.

So, without going into any detail of the separation, I bought a house in Summerston – and then we told people.

That’s all I will say.

But a number of people then said, ‘why didn’t you buy a flat in Partick – close to the action?’ Now the house I actually bought has a large garden (and tbh, I had no idea how big a garden until I bought it as my one and only look had been in the dark before deciding to buy) and that has turned out to be a big factor in continuing to stay here.

The house is a bit idiosyncratic and has a semi-spiral staircase which looks slightly nautical and it’s only in the last few years that I’ve done any work to it with the kitchen still looking pretty naff – partly due to my duff painting – and whilst I’d quite have liked a Partick tenement flat my neighbours here are pretty good.

There was that incident when a neighbour’s daughter crashed her car into mine; the Sunday afternoon when Big Peter attempted to murder his mum; and the Sunday night when a Strathclyde Police task force attempted to bludgeon their way into one of the houses across the road, spent a couple of hours inside and then withdrew.

But apart from that it’s been pretty quiet. 😀

But reading that book did make me think – which I’ve been doing a lot of recently – and my thoughts are pure fantasy but what would I have made of a life in the West End – rather than being a regular visitor? Still thinking.

And finally, and this is the last time I’ll say this, 2017 did not really work out for me in many ways. Much of the depression has lifted but I do feel there is a residual mentally and physically. Indeed, one of the typical symptoms of being reluctant to leave the house has applied at times – continually rationalising with myself about going out.

BUT

I have plans for 2018. Let’s make them happen and if Mohammed won’t come to the mountain, then the mountain has to start knocking on doors. And UWS (Paisley) will get flyered amazingly soon cos there’s none on the noticeboards. 😦

And then the other three. I need the work.

http://www.thewordprocess.net

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

Iaint850, a very stable genius but only just 🙂

So, all a bit heavy, so can I tell you about my favest programme of the last two weeks?

It was The Story of Scotdisc – the label that did so much for the careers of Lena Martell (nee Thomson), Tommy Scott and Stuart Henderson jr – oh, and Sydney Devine.

In the late seventies I did my (first) Post Grad placement in Easterhouse (and I did my second Post Grad placement in Easterhouse as well) and one day the women were all really chirpy. They were going to see Sydney at the Pavilion that night and the next day they came in with a glazed look. I knew Sydney as a radio host and didn’t understand his pull as a country’n’western star. I’m still not sure.

The Scotdisc prog featured Sydney’s Line Dancing video and of course it featured Achey Breaky Heart (sp) – not necessarily serious line dancers’ favest piece of music.

For me, one of the biggest thrills was to hear the distinctive voice of Jim Symon. Clyde through the night was brilliant (and I did do a couple of features for them live from the studios above Anderston Bus Station) and Ian Anderson emerged from there.

A lot of good memories and well done to Nick, Linda and Russell from Demus Productions and well worth a look on BBC iPlayer (9 pm, Wednesday, 3rd January BBC1 Scotland) and here’s Lena. I have no idea who Dave is but this is the version with the importantly changed lyric – she is a woman, not ‘just’ a woman. One hundred years on from women (of a certain age) getting the vote, I think that was a change well ahead of its time.

Leaves fall. Snow melts. Everything ends to begin again (The Vampire Slayer)

December 29, 2017

And so dear listener, it’s that time of year again when we look for the Blog Personality of the Year and remember, it’s your votes that count. I mean that most sincerely. I really do. 😉

Well, to be honest, it’s Skippy who’s been counting your votes. I’ve been slightly under the weather with a throat lurgy that I’ve managed to keep under control with the help of lots of ice cream. It is no better; it is no worse.

But it wasn’t as bad as the throat virus of 2017 which saw me off work for four weeks (when I still worked for Blue Triangle) and indeed whilst 2017 was not the worst of years it was close (2007 was pretty shitty particularly if you add the last four weeks of 2006). I am reasonably optimistic about 2018.

But some of 2017 must play a part in this year’s ceremony.

For example, about three years ago, I introduced a Musical Track of the Year category (and maybe I should introduce a Book of the Year – Diary of a Bookseller) and previous winners have included Walk the Moon’s ‘Come on and Dance’ and Jamie T’s ‘Zombie’. In mid-July I announced that I’d resigned from the BT job with nowhere to go and I did so by playing the brilliant The Story (much of which seemed so appropriate at the time) and was received as such by many people. 😀 😀 😀

But there are two versions; one by Brandi Carlile and one by my Twitter friend Dolly Parton – but which should I play at the end? The lines are still open for you to decide.

And there is only one Team of the Year. A runaway victory for those who still work at Blue Triangle that I know and not just Caroline and Debbie with whom I converse from time to time but I did get a lovely message on Christmas Day from a former Project Manager. 🙂

Maybe one day I’ll talk more about what was involved in being a project worker but the Service User looking for a knife for his pineapple still makes me smile. I keep up to date with former service users either by meeting them begging in town or through the Court Circulars in the Digger.

BT Project Workers? Simply the best. 😀 😀

So I hope you did well at Christmastime for pressies and stuff. I did well for books from my ex-wife and from good friend e but I should stress that that had no influence on the voting that gave the Lifelong Achievement Award to Holly the Dog. Holly and I didn’t get off to the greatest of starts but that changed on the couple of early occasions I took Holly for walks on my own. I sent e a selfie of me and Holly but given the lighting and the similarity in hair styles it was impossible to say which was which. Oh how Holly and I laffed! 🙂

And so to the Personality Awards. Skippy, it’s time for the Fanfare of Strumpets!

In Third place is a weekend in Oban. The Saturday saw a beautiful sunny day and a brilliant walk along Ganavan Sands; the Sunday it poured and I spent the day in a museum called War and Peace and then a brilliant hot chocolate in a chocolate shop next to it. It was more or less where and when I decided to resign and final thinking took place a few days later after a very pleasant day in Barshaw Park, Paisley. It was only then I realised that the anxiety and depression of the previous year had never really lifted. It has now.

And whilst some things have not worked out quite as I’d hoped, something will turn up (Micawber)

Second place is tied in with that. It was the night of what was to be my last ever shift altho’ I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t work in the best of clothes; I know I smelt but for a number of reasons including the one where well trained police people would look for my spliff; and I was eating chips BUT I was still recognised by a former girlfriend of xx years ago.

Jan, you boosted my ego at a time when it was definitely needed. Thank you. 🙂

And finally, this year the Award goes to something that had nothing to do with resignations.

It was that moment in May when I was fortunate enough to see a bee entering the small bee backpackers’ hostel that sits on a fence in my garden. The hostel itself badly needs more protection against the elements (j) but that bee was the best moment of last year and thanks very much for voting for it. The photo brought a lot of smiles to a lot of faces. 😀

So, a mixed year. I do have plans for something called Project Getting Out a Lot More and if you’ve already been approached, then please do not read anything into it that’s not there. I am working on it. It’s about…….but you’ve guessed, haven’t you?

Y’see, as I’ve explained to others, 2017 lacked a zombie moment for me. I must say Yes more often

So before I say the usual pay off line, can I just say the votes are in and it’s Brandi’s version that has gained the most votes.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (but of course) and still keeping it simple.

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas. Peg Bracken

December 20, 2017

And so, dear listener, this may well be your favourite edition of the blog. It’s the one where I do little talking and just do cracker gags. Mind you, I’ve got to say that last week’s gag, attributed to Keith Chegwin, was one of the best I’ve heard this year so far. 🙂

The one about Theresa May and stable government which seemed to get lots of favourable coverage was awful. There is no such job as a nativity manager. What might have worked would have been, ‘Why shouldn’t you put Theresa May in charge of the Nativity? Because she’s not very good at stable government.’ No. It still doesn’t work.

Mind you I still prefer……

Q Why do you call your dog Metal-Worker?

A Because every time he hears a knock he makes a bolt for the door.

So I think I’m sorted for Christmas but I fully accept that much of that has been because I’m not the busiest soul in the world just now. As I write this, about the only big thing left to do are neighbours’ cards and that’s partly cos I can never remember the name of her in Number 1. So if I leave it late, maybe she’ll put in one my box and then I’ll put one in hers.

(I think there’s an unintended innuendo in there. Sorry)

Q What do you call a penguin in the Sahara Desert?

A Lost.

So I did send out loads of cards and I do hope they all arrived because I’ve heard of one that didn’t but the envelope the card was in was delivered. What a nuisance!…… And I may make arrangements to continue to do so from beyond the grave as with the final ever blog and then the one after that. Sorry, that’s a bit morbid. It’s been a funny year but there’s no excuse for morbidity.

But then I worry a bit about my sense of humour at times because I don’t put Lol after everything. Somebody posted something about their blood group and I said something like, you’ve got to be positive about it and I don’t think my joke was understood. 😦

Q How did the Vikings send secret messages?

A By Norse Code.

(And can I say a mega-thanks to the Daily Telegraph for their help with these jokes?)

So the SVQ thing is going slower than I intended (and I do realise that much depends on the candidates I work with) and on the editing front I will make a definite effort to get into Latex in the New Year but I did notice that Blue Triangle Head Office has become one of the places where they wish people Happy Holiday whereas every one of the projects will be celebrating Christmas and New Year……..and I’ll miss celebrating Ramadan next year with the refugees. Indeed I’ll miss celebrating New Year with them. 😦

We’ve become a society afraid to give offence – even where none is intended – because there are so many people out there looking for possible offence even if they’re not the group that might be offended.

Q Who invented fractions?

A Henry the 1/8th

So I’m not sure what next year holds for me, altho’ interestingly I found myself reading my Master’s dissertation the other night. By crikey, it was good. And I still enjoy writing and talking about drink and drugs. There’s thinking to be done. And revolutions to be considered for 2018. And, yes, I am no longer totally pescetarian – but it was never ethical or medical – and one consequence has been I’m eating jelly babies.

And I’ve just mucked up, with an f, my next gag.

Q What lies in a pram and wobbles?

A Yes. Obviously. No, that’s not the answer. The answer’s a jelly baby.

And finally, next week sees the Blog’s Annual Personality of the Year Award and it’s not too late to nominate anyone – even wee Joe off Strictly Come who, along with his dance partner, was still smiling as the results were announced. The other three duos were terrified. And it is entertainment. 😀

Masterchef is the only one of these I watch until the finals when the dishes become more floral tributes than food – including at least one which looked designed more for snorting than eating but what do I know?

Q What would you get if all the cars in Britain were red?

A A red carnation.

And finally, all I want to say in my own personal review of the year is that there were times when I was weird – not, hopefully, in person, but when my head was sat looking at this screen. It’s approximately eighteen months since, after a BT Sunday night shift and a couple of hours’ sleep, that I burst into tears at questions I was being asked about what to me was a simple mistake to which I’d owned up. It took some getting used to – not being believed and what felt like a witch hunt and I’m not sure I ever did.

So, despite a wee touch of morbidity at the top of the show, I am back to being cool and I have a range of ideas I wish to share with people. Need I tell you who they are? It’s called Project Getting Out More.

tioraidh, still wearing that badge(especially as the days extend) and keeping it even more simple than previously.

Iaint850

Nollaig Chridheil dhuibh uile agus Blidhna Mhath Ur

And it wouldn’t be a blog Christmas without this and all the memories (especially Otago Street) that this brings back.

“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!” ― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

December 14, 2017

And so dear listener can I just say a big thanks to all those who commented in some way on last week’s blog. Most people offered some variation of ‘Well done’ and some updated me on their own roads to recovery. I am proud of what I’ve achieved but am never arrogant. Too many people have been involved in my recovery to allow that and I can never forget that. 🙂

Thanks.

And the weather’s been a real pain hasn’t it? Forecasts are too accurate and too fast moving – they change so quickly – so what I do (on either BBC Scotland or STV) is just to stare at the bit that is Glasgow or Paisley and watch while Judith or Gillian or Kawser (or Sean) tells us what’s happening as the clock and the wind move. That’s good enough for me.

But stuff all those people earning money for their opinions on the weather in the papers. None of them can ever replicate or beat the words of the master poet Bud Neil;

Winter’s come, the snow has fell

Wee Josie’s nose is froze as well

Wee Josie’s frozen nose is skintit

Winter’s diabolic, intit?

But it shouldn’t affect me too much should it? After all my current work/lifestyle is based on earnings from the editing I do but that’s been presenting problems. Let’s leave the question of me working in Latex for a moment.

It’s the person who approached me at the weekend with 80,000 words (not all written yet) and who, when I told him what my fee was, suggested reducing it by about 50% because of the number of words and he thought they were good ones. 😦

Aye, but they weren’t in the right order or they were made up or were too complicated AND the second sentence was about nine lines long with an amazing number of clauses. It was appalling and you got a sense that he was not expecting that many changes cos it was ‘a good piece of writing’. Yet this person’s doing a PhD. 😦

I made an excuse and left.

But did I actually want to do a PhD? No. No really (which is still my favourite knockback of all time – well the last eleven years). Actually, I did. I just get annoyed when I see money talking like that. Bitter. And twisted.

But I have started eating a little meat. I had some chicken recently. Somebody told me it was fowl but I thought it tasted okay.;)

But back to the weather. Yup. I miss summer.

This gratuitous piece of music reminds me of summers in my home town of Peterhead when I was much, much younger.

But still talking of the weather, I took a delivery, like many, from the Rainforestriverpeople and thought nothing of going out in the rain to collect it. Ten minutes later I had collected all the wrapping (seriously….. just ten minutes) and went out to the bin and OMG, Son Brian came very close to collecting his inheritance a wee bit before I intended it – it was that icy!

And I hate that Beagle Street advert – the one where the wimp stops sorting out the kitchen in their new flat just cos his girlfriend wants him to sort out life insurance cos Emma (!) says so! Don’t be such a wimp! Finish the kitchen first! Or has she booby-trapped it?

And finally, on behalf of all those doing things to help all those skippering out there, can I just say that numbers actually reduce at this time of year cos of brilliant places like the Glasgow City Mission who run a night shelter from the beginning of December until the end of March, but the homeless are with us fifty-two weeks of the year. Either as rough sleepers, living with their kids in B & Bs, staying in projects like the Blue Triangle where I worked or in hostels and shelters on a nightly basis where, altho’ these places sometimes get a bad press, they feel really safe. Fifty-two weeks of the year.

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

Iaint850, about to start my revolutions for 2018

So the next two blogs are the special ones for this time of year and I may have to put them out early cos one’s due on Christmas Eve and one’s due on Hogmanay (which, for the first time in four years will not be spent (by me) in a homeless project in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow).

The first is the annual Christmas Cracker edition of the blog.

For example;

My dad used to be a road worker and had been accused of stealing from his job. Obviously I didn’t believe all the accusers but, when I got home, all the signs were there.

(RIP Keith Chegwin)

And the final one of the year is the Annual Blog Personality of the Year and nominations for all the various prizes are open to anyone and everyone – regardless of how well you know me – but that was a good shout, e.

And many newspapers and broadcasters have been pulling together the best Christmas songs of all time – but it’s all been Slade or Bing Crosby and David Bowie or the Pogues. This is much more traditional and has always been one of my favourites. The tempo change quite early in and reminds me of Steve Earle and Copperhead Road. 🙂

Listeners, this is Annie Lennox, GCU’s first female chancellor.

“I began to think vodka was my drink at last. It didn’t taste like anything, but it went straight down into my stomach like a sword swallowers’ sword and made me feel powerful and godlike.” (Plath)

December 9, 2017

And so, dear listener, this weekend is the eleventh anniversary of my Cold Turkey when I ended up in hospital after a weekend of non-drinking – so dependent had my body become on alcohol – but last year I had made the decision to stop counting the years unless asked. I am simply someone who does not drink. 😀

The events of Saturday, 10th December 2016 (this time last year) are well known to regular listeners. My Cold Turkey weekend had started on Saturday, 10th December 2006 (and finished two days later) and Alabama 3 were in Glasgow’s O2 on that day and date in 2016 (exactly ten years on!!!!) and J, the blog’s favest librarian, had agreed to come with me and an interesting night out occurred although I still have no idea, J, what the point was of the monk with the V for Vengeance mask standing at the side of the stage. Anyway you enjoyed the gig and that was good. As did I. As did my neighbours when I got home and played all their albums into the wee small hours……… 😉

And as I went home, I thought that was it. No anniversary talk ever again.

Until the heating upstairs in my house broke down last week and I had a very cold bed. 😦

I don’t wear much in bed (if anything) so I am not well organised when I need something to get me through the night when it’s cold. The best thing I have is a freebie sweatshirt from a movie called Interview With The Vampire and it is long enough to be a nightdress and may have…….well anyway. It’s what I was wearing the night I got taken to the Western Infirmary and then to Gartnavel Ward 8 to dry out – for ten days. It’s what I wore when I was discharged. 🙂

I’ve never thrown it out cos for years I believed there was a demon in it. Daft I know but for the first few years of my recovery I used the language that everyone else uses to describe things. It was only after I’d started at uny (Post Grad and Master’s in Alcohol and Drugs Studies) that I saw things through different eyes.

But yet……..I had had a major fight that night with the Four Hallucinating Horsemen of the Apocalypse and I’m not sure they all left. (This was after the out of body experience when I think I died for a while) It must have been one helluva fight cos after I ended up in hospital, my next door neighbour organised some friends of hers to clean, tidy and basically put my house back together and they had to be paid. And then I’d to pay the person who paid them. And then my son, then a B.Acc student at Strathclyde University, took over some financial duties as my credit card and banking stuff needed sorted.

(This is why I prefer cash as it helps me keep better control of my finances and whilst the future may lie in contactless cards, I do see a lot of people who fail to keep the transaction slip)

And somebody (my sister, my ex-wife, her husband?) organised some cards from me and some presents and my ex also invited my sister and me (death warmed up and only just) for Christmas Dinner and I really appreciated that. 🙂

But this is why I still buy and send cards. I do understand why people don’t send cards but make a decision to give to charity instead but mine say something more than just Merry Christmas – they say ‘I’m still alive and don’t you forget it!’ 😀 😀 😀

And I buy them from Cancer Research UK – so a charity still gains.

And at a time when emergency call centres seem to be getting a lot of criticism, can I just say big thanks to the 999 operator who looked after me that morning when I realised I needed help. And made sure I left the front door open so the paramedics could get in. And at least three of the four horsemen went out.

And No (in answer to the second most asked question I get) I do not get cravings and I think the main reason for that is that I did/do not attend ‘meetings’ where alcohol is the main topic of conversation. With my addiction worker we basically looked at alternative behaviours so that alcohol was not my answer to everything.

In fairness, I have only ever been to four meetings – one in Maryhill on my own – one in Stevenson and at a convention in Paisley with someone known to some of the regular listeners – and one at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood. I think AA works for some people; I needed something like Cold Turkey to make me aware of what I was doing with my life.

(The answer to the most asked question I get is ‘Yes I do have male friends. Honest. Just don’t expect me to list them just now.’)

But there are times when a feeling does come back – a memory which prompts nice feelings. Alcohol advertising on TV doesn’t bother me although I know some campaigners would like to see greater controls as with tobacco.

I don’t watch much TV but sometimes I’ll see a drama and someone in it will pour a large, decent-sized drink of whisky into a glass and then take a decent gulp – and the heat will hit the back of the throat and the world will seem better. But then the other memories kick in and I remember why I’m glad I don’t drink.

Not that there’s anything to stop me. Other than me. It’s called free will.

So, no music tonight to end with. Instead I’m going out for a quiet walk and not bother about the weather. I do a lot of walking. I’ve not just discovered Fitbits.

I tell people this next bit but I’m not sure they believe me. Eleven years ago my balance was so bad I had to learn to walk all over again. Ask the people who visited me and saw me using a zimmer. Ask the physios who helped me practise walking up and down the backstairs of Gartnavel. I then progressed to walking round the graveyard and my physical recovery started then. 🙂

Indeed, whatever you may think of me, please remember it all came into being under interesting circumstances eleven years ago. I am young; I am still learning. 🙂

Next week begins the traditional run up to Christmas for the blog.

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

Iaint850