Never make fun of people for mispronouncing a word. It means they learned it by reading (The Literary Shed)

January 18, 2019

And so dear listener, this blog has never, ever been afraid to take on contentious issues and today I want to address the subject of that Gillette advert – the one that urges men to cast aside toxicity and stereotyping and become less toxic and stereotyped.

I have one question.

Why, given it’s an advert for razors, are so many of them badly shaved? ‘Father to son, it’s what we’ve always done’ What? You think so much of the razor blade that you leave large chunks of hair on your face?

Anyway most razor blade companies just shove another sharp piece of metal into the blade and call it progress……. 🙂

And then there’s the latest batch of adverts for the army, trying to attract snowflakes and zombies after that last half-hearted attempt on radio trying to convince women that if they joined the army they wouldn’t have to get their hair shaved off or if they’d problems with push ups someone would help.

Whatever happened to offering people a trade, ski-ing tuition in Norway and if they happened to be a psychopath, well, worry not, cos they would find a role for you?

Hi there…… 😀

As many people know I’m not the tekkiest of people so when I got a message on my phone telling me I’d reached my limit for mails (5,000) I then realised that there was only one thing to do and that was to start deleting them but that ain’t easy. I mean the process is, but it became a wee bit like that moment when I’ve tried to sort out all my uny stuff and I just start to read all the articles again. There’s something about drink’n’drugs which gives me a real buzz. 😉

(Skippy, there may be a better way of putting that)

But anyway, many of them brought back memories and, whilst there was never too much said….about anything…….friendly times can be good times as well………maybe better move on……but at one point I hit the wrong button and deleted a whole wedge of November and December from last year as well as the stuff from over two years ago.

I was devastated but maybe it was no bad thing. Some of the more recent stuff is still there in Trash and some of the other stuff will always remain in my head…….and the blog with only the initials there to protect the, well it was all pretty innocent anyway…… :p

But I am having storage problems but more interestingly (eh?) is how the switch to the Patient Wi Fi at the Beatson seems to knock out my email and I’ve got to remove the account and reinstate it but then, there’s the password. No. No memories. As I found when I phoned 789 the other night. What a stupid prompting question 😦

Another reason to move on. 😉

Let’s talk Parliament. No. Not Brexit. Let’s talk Tory Vicky Ford’s attempts to introduce a new bill to ban low-level letterboxes in new-build properties. It’s ‘to prevent back injuries among postal workers, paper boys and girls, and other delivery people.’

How nice to hear of an MP thinking of people other than themselves – but it’s unlikely to become law because of a lack of parliamentary time. Shame. 😦

And finally, I had seen a trailer for a series of six on BBC One Scotland called Fish Town which was about the town I grew up in – Peterhead – and I did tell people but I was very disappointed.

More fish than town…….

Tioraidh, still wearing the badge and still keeping it simple (that was the phrase!!!!!!)

Iaint850, enjoying the memories

And a big thanks to all those who have been asking after my health recently. As I say, I am completely fine. And have you read the book yet Rainforestriverman? 😉

Cos it was exactly twelve months ago that I had my heart scare and it was in weather like this (and I’m taking my car for its MOT on Monday so I hope it’s not too bad) and some memories come back and there will always be fears for the future…….

But no, the marvellous NHS were in touch this week and there’s a slight change in medication and they will also be inviting me down to the Health Centre in a couple of weeks for some tests and the only disappointment there is that I’m not meeting the consultant Dr J for whom I have an incredibly high regard but then I do for all the NHS staff.

Particularly those to whom I’ve not been formally introduced but call me by my first name. It makes some things easier. 🙂

This is not me these days. This is Tim McGraw with Neon Church


“Autobiography is usually honest but it is never truthful.” ― Robert A. Heinlein, Friday

January 11, 2019

And so, dear listener, I want to clear up a wee misunderstanding.

What I was trying to get across last week was that I don’t feel I can call myself pescatarian after I ate meat last year and I gave the example of eating hospital food exactly twelve months ago. The non-meat alternative was a baked potato and, whilst I’m not averse to one at home when in a hurry, it was nice to have something else to eat. 🙂

It’s never been ethical or medical but I will continue to look for more options than just meat and I will continue to try more things. Last word ever. Honest injun. Eight years since you ask. 😉

I think this is particularly relevant in Veganuary (sp?) and Dry January (I think it’s called) where people are being tempted to take on an eating and non-drinking lifestyle which will find them without a lot of their usual foods for a month or bevvy for a month when they are used to a lot of drinking e.g. going for a drink or two after work.

How about just trying some of the vegan alternatives that’ll be around just now and just cutting back on the bevvy for a while?

And, incidentally, if you do have a problem with the latter, I’m easy enough to find and will do what I can to help.

And, no, so far, I have not tried a vegan sausage roll. They’d have to have built a Gregg’s somewhere near the Beatson for me to be able to do that but the response to what has been a brilliant PR campaign is that they’re quite nice but there’s a lot of pastry.

And I’ve read/seen rumours that Piers Morgan and Gregg’s share the same PR company but I’ve yet to check them out, but if you do want something tasty can I recommend the caramel shortcake at Epicures of Hyndland which is not middle class in the slightest despite its name.

And I did pay a visit to Wetherspoons this week and they’re not too middle class either but you do get a seat, no music and relatively cheap food’n’drink which is a slight difference from Epicures………but, hey, I’m young. Roll with the flow and so on. 😀

But the charity shop next to Epicures (Marie Curie?) was defo a different level from even Byres Road. There were no prices on the CDs and if you’ve got to ask the price of something, then you can’t afford it.

And just a quick word about my own health. It’s fine. 🙂

No. Some of you may remember that a wee while back I’d an MRI scan for my heart. Yes. It was exactly one year ago that I posted on Facebook that ‘there would be no blog this week as I was in the Cardiology Unit of Glasgow Royal’. Maybe that was a wee bit underplayed but I was still knocked out by the reaction I got.

Well, there was no blocked artery requiring stents and stuff but it’s more of watch’n’wait and the MRI is part of that. Well, I’ve still not had the results and when I phoned my consultant Dr J, I was told that a letter had been written but not yet signed and it was to go to my doctor. As long as it stays unseasonably mild, I’m okay. 🙂 (the weather that is)

But it was also nice to start back at the Scottish Drugs Forum and it was a real pleasure to walk in on Wednesday afternoon to ‘my office’ (on Wednesday afternoons) and to go over to ‘my desk’ (on Wednesday afternoons) to find a ‘Certificate of Appreciation for my work (so far) as a Media Volunteer and it was signed by Jason Wallace, Senior Development Officer, Volunteering and Engagement and what’s that, dear listener, you’d like to find out a wee bit more about the work that Jason does?

Well, what about this?

And finally, people are saying I should get out more. So in just over a week’s time I’m going to a book launch in a pub in Glasgow. Friend and former colleague and former Head of BBC Radio Scotland has written a book. Details of at least one place to buy it are given below but basically it’s the tale of Jeff’s life in radio broadcasting which is something of a passion in Jeff’s life. 😀

Jeff started in Moray Firth Radio and History tells of a competition in his early days there with a prize for spelling his name correctly. Apparently it took five days. History does not say whether Jeff himself took part in the competition.

See you a week on Thursday if I’m still invited 😉

tioraodh, still completely fine and still keeping it simple (I am a patient man)

iaint850, who can be a cheeky git at times.

Just a brief word here about Sir Andrew Murray and his decision that retirement is imminent after a very distinguished career in tennis. A sad moment.

However it took only minutes before the small minds opened up on social media saying, basically, ‘I bet he’s called Scottish now rather than British.’

FFS, Let’s just call him Sir Andrew Murray and thank him for all the pleasure he’s given us and recognise the heartache that must have been involved in his decision.

Is it me or do we have a greater number of small minds than ever before?

This is a fantastic cover version of Jolene by Janet Devlin. I must have heard it on Chris Country Radio and I suspect it was played by drivetime deejay and former colleague John Collins. Was it?

Anyone else out there that I know who’d like a plug? Both well deserved.

I didn’t see any TV on Hogmanay so I can’t comment (iant850)

January 4, 2019

And so dear listener, belated Happy New Year and I also hope Santa was good to you. I did okay as I did get a wee bit more than the badge which shared the Blog Personality of the Year Award with the book with almost the same title. See last week if you’re confused. 😀

I did well for books. I am slowly working my way through The Ladybird Book of the Shed as some people think I am obsessed by sheds. I only have the one; my neighbours on one side have two and the neighbours on the other side have three (although one seems to be a toy store for their grandchildren.

I received a box with nine different chutneys (is that the plural?) and they will be eaten. 😉

And then there was the posh notebook with posh pens and the various homemade cards and similar from various children whom I know (and their parents) but no toiletries.

And I did receive a gift voucher for Glasgow Music City Tours 🙂

At first I thought it allowed me two goes as an individual on two tours but, no, it’s me and a Plus One on one of the two tours they run. There is no hurry. They run from April to October.

Please form an orderly queue.

(And, yes, my daily visiting to the Beatson is still taking place. Individual updates to some of you soon and, yes, I’m completely fine. Bingham’s Pond from which the adjacent hotel gets its name is a veritable treasure trove of wildlife and I’m amazed that in my days as a radio producer of Jimmie Macgregor me and him and a wildlife expert and a tape recorder never came down to record stuff)

But I met a professor I know. Bob Jones. He was in the radio documentary I made about prostate cancer a wee while back and we did #GoodMorningScotland a couple of times together; he was the expert and I was the ‘human experience’ but one of my big memories of him was attending a couple of Powerpoint presentations that he did where every seventh slide seemed to be of his holiday locations. Boy, did you stay awake and boy, if I thought that would impress the nurse, I was sadly mistaken 😦

Oh, and there’s a long story attached to this but I also got a last year’s Partick Thistle strip with some of last year’s players’ autographs. It will go up. Somewhere. 😀

And I’d like to pay a big thanks to Holly the Dog for standing outside Waitrose with me the other day while good friend e went and done a shopping late on Hogmanay. The comments were interesting.

Holly is a labradoodle and a lovely and friendly dog.

Two come to mind;

Little Boy; ‘Is that dog a Spanish Waterdog?’

Me; ‘No. She’s a Labradoodle.’

Little Boy; ‘But my mum says she’s a Spanish Waterdog.’

Me (thinks); ‘But I’m standing attached to the dog by a lead. Do you not think I know what kind of dog I’m holding onto? Your mum’s an idiot.’

Me (says); ‘No. Trust me. She’s a labradoodle.’

And, after a conversation with a woman who looked sensible, I was asked, ‘And is her mum in the shop?’ to which I wanted to reply,’ Yes. That’s her standing in the queue for sushi (Waitrose) behind the Cockapoo and the Beagle.’

And finally, it is a wee bit shorter than usual – the blog. I’ve actually got quite a lot of editing on at the moment. What happens is that students are quite happy, before Christmas, that work does not need to go in until, say, 7th January, but it’s only after the Bells (or international equivalent) that they realise how close the 7th January actually is. Still it keeps my mind occupied. 🙂

Tioraidh, still completely fine and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, and thanks to all those……..

So I watched some TV over the holidays. The most poignant was ‘In Sight of Home:the Iolaire’

‘On New Year’s Eve 1918, the Royal Navy Yacht, Iolaire, sailed from Kyle of Lochalsh bearing nearly 300 servicemen returning from WW1. In the darkness she ran onto rocks a mile from Stornoway Harbour and 181 veterans of war and 20 crew were drowned in sight of home. Only 79 crawled ashore and came home to Lewis alive.’ (words from Torcuil Crichton in the Daily Record).

I come from a fishing town in the North-east of Scotland and know how cruel rocks can be but the poignancy for me lay in the fact that we have just finished a year looking back at the end of WW1 and what that meant for the people involved.

These people were going home. For them the war was over and then this……..

I’ve had a special request for Jacques Brel. So here he is. Could it be Django Reinhardt next week or maybe Johnny Halliday?

“Many years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to never make New Year’s resolutions. Hell, it’s been the only resolution I’ve ever kept!” ― D.S. Mixell

December 29, 2018

And so dear listener, this is the Annual Blog Review of the Year where you, the listener, have the opportunity to look back at what has been an eventful year in soooo many ways and looks like it will continue to be so in 2019. 🙂 OR 😦 ?

Your votes have been counted and objectively invigilated so thank you for taking the time and trouble to vote.

However, before we look at the various categories and see who you’ve voted for, can I clear up a misunderstanding? I am no longer able to describe myself as pescatarian. It’s not been a conscious decision. It’s just that there have been times this year when I’ve eaten meat for a range of reasons.

For example, I was in hospital for a few days at the start of the year and there was not really much of a non-meat alternative and I did enjoy being reunited with food I hadn’t eaten for some time. It lifted my spirits. It made something of mealtimes as well. 😉

And there have been other similar occasions. Christmas Day for example and the contents of the doggy bag I was given were wolfed down immediately after I got in through my front door. 🙂

However, I am now much more aware of alternatives to meat and the importance of sourcing what I eat and I have introduced myself to lots of new tastes and so on. I have no intention of returning to the meat and two veg option and most of what I eat will continue to be non-meat. It was never ethical or medical; it was a lifestyle thing.

Let’s move on. Swiftly.

The Track of the Year comes from that period earlier this year when I was a patient at both the Royal Infirmary and the Golden Jubilee and when I say it’s the Undertones, well, then, you know exactly what it is but tied in with that is the award for Lifetime Achievement which must go to the National Health Service which celebrated its seventieth anniversary this year. I’ve also been to Stobhill as an outpatient and have been visiting someone in both the Beatson (still am)and the Queen Elizabeth and am knocked out by the dedication of all those who work, in some form, for the NHS. 😀

(A small point. When I talk about visiting the Beatson, that is not a euphemism for going there as a patient. This blog started life almost twelve years ago to inform, educate and entertain people about my own successful treatment for prostate cancer. Let’s never forget that and I will never use euphemisms for anything related to me but not everyone is as willing to share or feels the need)

And this year I’m not awarding a Team of the Year and it’s nothing to do with those disgraceful scenes at the BBC equivalent #SPOTY . I have high hopes for the Scottish Drugs Forum but I had to cancel a few things that I was supposed to do with them….maybe next year?

So, and this is where Skippy gets excited, to the actual Personality of the Year. A drum roll and a fanfare of strumpets please;

In Third place is Glasgow favourite Lulu. Seriously. Y’see I’m still not sure why but good friend e had got two tickets but seemed to be short of someone to go with and she has helped me out on similar occasions before and I’m glad I went because not only did I get to see Lulu sing Shout in the Kelvingrove Bandstand but I witnessed the longest ever tea break taken by a celebrity in my life. The beer sales did really well (it seems) but, hey, I’m glad I went. 🙂

I notice that Lulu is doing (possibly) exactly the same show (I suspect but maybe without the David Bowie mention) on STV at Hogmanay. I also notice that the current Radio Times (page 200) suggests that she will be ‘hyping up the bongs’ in Glasgow. Please feel free to copy and paste that exact phrase into Google and see what you get. 😉

In Second place is a young (anonymous) lady for whom I child-sat one night along with her brother.

Some of you know what happened after I got home that night and the phrase that helped me cope through that night was that young lady saying to me;

‘thank you for looking after us.’ 😀

It got me through a few days.

And in First place is a book and a badge; the book is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and is a lovely tale of humour, sadness and what can be obtained by having good friends. It sold 800,000 copies in 2018.

The badge? Well it fell out of a Christmas Card envelope and says simply, ‘I’m Completely Fine’. I read nothing into it other than my coping mechanisms these days come in different forms but are all so welcome. 😀 x 😀 x

Bliadhna Mhath Ùr agus tha mi an dòchas gu bheil deagh chuairt agad ann an 2019


“Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends.” ―Margaret Thatcher

December 20, 2018

And so, dear listener, sorry for the lack of a blog last week but I’ve been heavy with the cold and my brain’s not been in gear. I spoke to pharmacists about what I could do to get better but because I’m on blood pressure pills, I am restricted in what I can take.

So, I’d like to thank young AJ who, realising that there was still one week to go before this very special edition of the blog – the Christmas Cracker edition of the blog – stepped in last week with this gag which sets the scene for today’s show.

q) Why did the teddy bear not eat any ice cream at his school party?

a) He was already completely stuffed.

Get the idea?

And can I also make a point about having the very sneezy cold I had? Don’t stuff a large amount of crisps in your mouth if you’re just about to sneeze……….what a mess. Moving swiftly on and still hoovering it all up.

q) What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations?

a) Tinsilitis.

And I think that at one point in my life I’d have enjoyed staying in the original Pottersville. Ah, what would this time of year be without obscure cinematic references?

And indeed without Christmas music. A couple of years back, j my favourite chooser of Christmas tracks, gave me a CD with lot of ‘weird’ Christmas music but I don’t think that this was one of them but it is Christmassy with its very sweet reference to Christmas tree lights. It’s the Sensational Alex Harvey Band with added John Peel…..

Ah, the wrapped present that remains under the tree waiting to be delivered. Do we all have one?

q) Why don’t penguins fly?

a) They’re not tall enough to be pilots.

And my thanks to all those who made suggestions about parking at the QE Hospital. I got told about the multi-storey car parks (crime in a multi-storey….wrong on so many levels) and taking a bus was recommended. My response? Son Brian offered to take me and I said yes.

And now I’m back to visiting at the Beatson.

q) So what happened to the man who stole an Advent Calendar?

a) He got twenty-five days.

And whilst next week sees the Blog Annual Review of the Year, I’ve been doing a wee review of my own. Since 2010 I have been pescatarian but this year I’ve been more flexitarian (I think it’s called). It’s been a combination of things. At the start of the year I was in hospital and the only non-meat alternative was a baked potato. I ate meat.

The beast from the east saw me reliant on my neighbours getting me food or what was in my freezer. I ate meat.

And it’s been a wee bit like that in the last few weeks. Grabbing food rather than planning menus. I’ve enjoyed the eight years cos I feel I’ve experimented a wee bit and I’m more aware of alternatives to meat and the importance of sourcing. I need to do a wee bit of thinking.

Time for more music. It’s country and it’s Charlie Worsham.

And finally, there were two biscuits on a plate, all ready for Santa to eat. One biscuit decided to go and hide in the biscuit tin as it didn’t want to get eaten. As it was going to the kitchen, Santa came in and stood on it and all the other biscuit could say was ‘Crumbs!’

Tioraidh, and I have a new badge to wear and yes, I’m completely fine 🙂 x

Nollaig Chridheil


So, here’s unexpurgated Pogues and a song about immigration to a land that wants to bar immigrants and the dreadful fade at the end is nothing to do with me but it’s not my favourite Christmas song but I’d rather you discussed ideas, and why words might be inappropriate now but not then, rather than just ban them, and it’s 18 years since Kirsty passed away. Her dad Ewan was a brilliant man and his Radio Ballads were instrumental in encouraging my own early love of radio once I’d discovered them and I have this memory of him living in Wilton Street for a short while but hasn’t everyone? Lived in Wilton Street or partied there, I mean. Snow Patrol did for a while as well.

‘Thank you for looking after us’ (anon)

December 6, 2018

And so dear listener, I suspect this may be a wee bit shorter than usual. Not the first to be cut down a touch but does size really matter? I’ll go make myself a cup of coffee while you debate that age old question but can I also say thanks for nice comments (and good audience figures) re last week’s blog. I enjoy writing them all but it had been a wee while since I’d just sat down and written from the hip – so to speak. 🙂

I also had the strange experience of sitting next to one of my new colleagues at the Scottish Drugs Forum whilst he read it and he seemed to enjoy it and it led to a rather interesting discussion about old Glasgow and the changes to it in recent years and one of my favourite websites The Glasgow Motorway Archive

I’ll now go and make myself another cup of coffee whilst you peruse this website and if I could travel back in time just once it would be to Glasgow just as they were beginning the motorway and all that was involved and the dark, Siamese twin-like tenements that hung so closely together until the bulldozers moved in.

Just one day and with a guide/bodyguard.

This was part of our discussion as three of us made our way towards the Glasgow Drug Crisis Centre in the Tradeston area of Glasgow – a strange part of the city which is where the Kingston Bridge pours out the traffic that is heading for the south side of the city which is not a part of Glasgow I know that well. ‘Through the tunnel’, yes; the southside. No.

It’s the bit across the squinty bridge where they’re starting to build a big bank but it’s also home to a large number of warehouses and cash and carries and, indeed, homeless shelters and projects.

The event was an HIV Education Event organised by Turning Point Scotland following World AIDS Day on 1st December and SDF were presenting there. I may write more about the event for elsewhere but it was good to see a mixture of workers and what I still refer to as service users, including a couple I knew from my days at Blue Triangle who were both doing well. 😀

I think that, during the summer, if it’s anywhere as near as nice as it was last year, I may take one of my own cameras, with buttons that I know so well, and spend the day in the area and see what I can come back with. 😉

And what would I have for lunch?

Well, dear listener, the area is awash with curry restaurants – almost as many as Gibson Street had in its heyday before the Kohn-i-Noor fell into the river.

And then later that night, this week’s favourite night out of the month. I babysat AJ and RJ. I won’t say too much as they are entitled to their privacy but I watched, bemused, as they played a boardgame called Dragonwood. And strangely enough it came to an end just as it was time for their milk and biscuits before getting ready for bed and a wee bit of reading. 🙂

And finally, I won’t tell you what they said, just before they fell asleep, but I felt appreciated.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge #stopthedeaths and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, who quite happily admits to putting up his Christmas tree last weekend. It fair cheered me up 😀 Self care isn’t selfish.

And this weekend is an anniversary.

It is now twelve years since I cold turkeyed (alcohol) – an unplanned event which saved my life and was the making of me.

(I sometimes worry that new listeners may get confused but in the time since then I’ve also had bad prostate cancer sorted and we’ll see what last week’s MRI scan for my heart brings about. The depression? I’ve no reason to expect it to return to any great extent but you never know)

Anyway, I think, probably over the years, that I’ve said as much as I can about it but one thing does come to mind. Whilst there may be the odd time that I think that a drink would help me to cope with a situation, I just think of one of the many people who have helped me to cope in other ways.

Over the years, there’s been an entire alphabet of them who have passed through this show – and some others beside – and whilst some have drifted away, every one of them has contributed, or contributes to, whatever it is I am today. The blame lies with you. 😀 X 😀 X

So, AJ and RJ’s mum and dad returned a CD to me that I’d forgotten I let them borrow. I’d happily go and see this man again, particularly if he had his backing band The Dukes with him. I have no idea how often I’ve played this track but, hey, it’s my blog!

‘Cabbage is very resilient. You can always trust a cabbage.’

November 30, 2018

Tremendously deep thoughts there from a programme I caught on the VICE Channel about the changes for young people in Romania since the end of the Communist regime. Yes. I do need to get out more. Yes. I do. 😀

And so dear listener, as far as I am concerned there is only one story in town this week. I had an MRI scan at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. For new listeners, here’s a quick re-cap.

2018 has not been a good year for me and it’s not that long until the Annual Blog Personality of the Year Awards and I’m struggling to find enough events to talk about. The year started with a heart scare/event/whatever and that’s why I was sent for the MRI scan.

And the Royal Infirmary, for those who don’t know it, is in the oldest and most historical part of Glasgow next to the graveyard – the Necropolis, which is the ‘dead centre’ of town – and up from where Duke Street Prison used to be with its last hanging in 1928 but when the wind blows from the West you can still hear the Gallows thud – and, well, you get the picture.

Told you it would be quick. 😉

Anyway, it started simply enough. I took the train into town and a taxi from the station up to the Royal. I could have walked but it was Thursday and it was wet and windy. I didn’t want to arrive ruffled. 😦

And I was dropped off at the Queen Elizabeth Entrance and that’s where it all went Pete Tong, didn’t it? I did ask where the MRI Department is, but once I’m past that WH Smith I’m lost. So a man saw that I was lost and pointed out that if I followed the green band on the wall – the one that said if you want the MRI Department follow the green band – I’d find it and I found it.

And then rub me down with the entire contents of a jar of warm molasses if I didn’t see that guy again, asking someone else for directions, himself. I turned my head so he didn’t see my smirk. 😉

A young man (James) came out to ask questions of me. I think he skipped on the section about whether I was pregnant. I’m not, anyway.

But he did ask me whether I’d had a tattoo recently to which I said ‘No, but I had considered it but I’d probably left it too late.’ To which he said, ‘There was a 93 year old lady in a few days ago and she had just had one done.’

Mmmmmmm, food for thought or what? 😉

Anyway, James took away my CD to play (The Pistol Annies) but he came back and gave me instructions about what was going to happen. Basically, for me, an ECG was plugged up to my heart and a heavy thing was laid across me – not that I planned to run away – and I entered the coffin. ‘Cos that’s what it feels like to me – a roomy coffin – and once I was in I was given breathing exercises to do. As if I planned to stop breathing?

And my mindfulness training came back to me and I didn’t panic altho’ I may have had a tear in my eye as Christmases past floated past. 🙂

And then I was done. Now I have no idea whether I was taken on time, how long I was in for or anything like that. About an hour? It’s a hospital. It’s full of sick people. They don’t keep to time. And it’s the NHS staff who deal brilliantly with each individual they work with – as do everyone who works in social care. We deal with people – not Key Performance Indicators.

(Wee reminder there of the initial fall out with a member of management that ultimately led to my demise and depression)

But I was done and I could go. I asked again for the Way Out and was given directions. I turned a corner and looked puzzled and a member of staff asked if I was looking for the Way Out and pointed at a door which opened automatically. She cackled and I left the building.

I went through it and ruffle me truffles with a jar of warm fromage frais that’s been roasting on someone’s chestnuts.

It was as if I’d walked straight into the Necropolis itself. Was that the cadavers’ door I’d walked through – the short cut that meant the grave robbers could get the bodies while they were still warm? The wind blew and the rain cascaded and my grummets shrank with fear.

I ran. And ran past two men who said, ‘Looks like we got ourselves a live one here.’

And I ran. Past the Cathedral House Hotel which is the most haunted place in Glasgow.

And I ran. Past the Provand’s Lordship which is the oldest house in Glasgow….and the College Bar…..and, and, and……..I reached the railway station and caught the 1656 up the road and got home, safely, only to find that the binmen had not emptied my green bin but they’d emptied all the others in the street. Apart from that, it was all pretty uneventful. 😀 😀 😀

Toraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple (I could always post it)

Iaint850, whose latest ambition is to be ‘a vegan condom influencer on Instagram’. Go on, Google it, I dare you.

Here, for the second week in a row, is/are the Pistol Annies and Takin’ Pills.


‘TV gives everyone an image, but radio gives birth to a million images in a million brains’ (Peggy Noonan)

November 23, 2018

And so, dear listener, this week I celebrated, for me, a significant anniversary. Five years ago, I graduated with an MSc in Alcohol and Drug Studies, something which would never have occurred to me some twelve years ago when my alcohol dependency was not recognised at all but I was off work with ‘exhaustion’. 😦

I’ve spoken muchly in the past about the friendships that resulted from my time as a Post Grad student – not just with fellow students- but other folk, particularly in that small area that was the library, café and lecture rooms, and one day I’ll tell you about Loud Peter. 😉

A lot of fun and memories and the transition from ‘recovering alcoholic’ to ‘someone who doesn’t drink’ and yet no matter how often I tell that, there are still people who think I avoided a university dinner this week, cos of the need to avoid alcohol.

I just have no interest in alcohol and I have no cravings to fight and sometimes an event no longer holds interest for me.

On the other hand, a few weeks ago, myself, good friend Debbie and one of my new SDF pals had a jolly interesting chat about substance use in residential settings; trust me – just a wee bit different from some of the things that get discussed at one of these reunion dinners after the port has been passed. 😉

And yes, the SDF is going well and I do not apologise for yet again drawing attention to something co-written by someone with a name not dissimilar to my own.

but in the blog all of the views expressed, unless otherwise stated, are my own.

Actually maybe I should write a movie screenplay or TV drama called Brief Intervention to show the world of alcohol treatment since the seventies instead of the version that gets trotted out every so often.

But in the real world, if it works for you, then it works.

So, one or two people I miss from the last five years, but people know who they are and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without all those people……sitting here on my own in my own back bedroom hammering out one thousand words read by goodness know who. But thank you 🙂 x

Let’s move on. Swiftly.

Well done, Missie K….two major steps in your life in one go….you’re getting further away from Glasgow each time but my diary remains flexible and they haven’t announced the acts for the Bandstand yet.

Or, Missie K, Aye Write? I had loads of tickets for things earlier this year, but a combo of a leaky aortic valve and the cold weather (and the Beast from the East was on its way) put me off.

Or just coffee?

And a big well done to the Scottish men’s football team, almost doing as well as their female counterparts, and I wonder how Scotland would have done in the World Cup qualification if Gordon Strachan had played either Calum McGregor or James Forrest form the sub’s bench instead of the West Brom reserve Chris Iwelumo……said no Patrick Thistle fan ever.

And my Christmas tree is down from the attic but I have promised my next door neighbour, Mary, that I won’t put it up just yet. But I’d like to. 😀

And it looks like I’m looking for a new grass cutter for next year. He and his two mates have not finished it off for the year like they said they would which means I can’t post the final set of pics on social media. Sorry. 😦

And finally, as some of you know, I’ve been visiting a patient in the Beatson recently but the other day I went in via the Tom Wheldon Building where I had had my own radiotherapy over thirty-seven days a wee while back. Some of it hasn’t changed and the seats where I, and some others, sat were filled by a fresh set of men and some women.

But they weren’t laughing. We had lots of wee in-jokes and that kind of gallows humour that accompanies these things where there’s sometimes a wee hint of serious illness.

Lots of good memories and the odd tear.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badge and still keeping it simple or whatever.

Iaint850, who had a vegetable curry in Masala Twist the other night and was tempted by the haggis pakora but didn’t succumb.

So BBC Radio Scotland has just celebrated its fortieth anniversary and I’m proud to have been part of its history. And I did listen to a show on Friday afternoon that was supposed to be celebrating it but had some well known names telling a few anecdotes…….but not very well. In the first hour.

I mean I wasn’t looking for anyone to reprise the story of the night drink was taken and only a sharp and sober news announcer realised that the message he had just received that the Queen was dead was perhaps not true…..

The same news announcer was also the last man to read a news bulletin from the Edinburgh studios before they moved to Glasgow and managed to keep reading when a young and buxom lady began to remove her clothes in front of him but she may still be working there so she shall remain nameless.

The reporter in the Oban studio who was supposed to give an update on the Mod but was obviously still enjoying it and the afternoon presenter whose final words, on his last programme in the last minute, were, ‘It’s your BBC.’

But, no, these are figments of the imagination. These never happened.

But in my own early days, amongst other things, I presented church services until the, then, Head of Radio, Scotland (Chris Irwin) decided he didn’t like my voice. And that dear listener was that.

Here’s the Pistol Annies with Hell on Heels

We see people brand new people They’re something to see When we’re nightclubbing Bright-white clubbing Oh isn’t it wild? (Iggy Pop)

November 16, 2018

And I managed to get that track into a Radio 5 documentary I once did about what was happening to Glasgow post Year of Culture. 😀

And so dear listener, this may well be a shorter blog again this week.

Various things are happening and occasionally my attention is elsewhere. But that does not mean that good things are not happening. 😉

For example…….

Recently I, and the other member of the book club, read a smashing book called ‘our house’ by Louise Candlish. Now whilst I have Twitter, I’m not the biggest fan of it (JohnTho64114434 since you ask) but I do follow @OrkneyLibrary.

About a week ago, I couldn’t help but notice that their own book club had selected ‘our house’ as their book of the month, so I quickly tweeted how good a book it was and how much I’d enjoyed it. Ten minutes later I got a ‘like’ from @LouiseCandlish…….the author!!!!!!! 😀 😀 😀

I’d not noticed her name in the thread (as we call it). My legs went giddy.

Sometimes there is a reason for social media. 🙂

And the editing’s going well at the moment and people are actually getting back to me and saying how pleased they are with what I’ve done for them…..and they pay pretty quickly…….and there is an Out of Office up on my mail altho’ I’m not but if I can, I will.

And whilst I appreciated much of the coverage by the BBC and other broadcasters of all the Remembrance Day stuff, I am annoyed at one piece.

Brilliant portraits on beaches of people who were involved in conflict and described on the BBC Website as eleven soldiers. At least one was a medical person.

I’m talking about St Andrew’s Beach and the portrait of Dr Elsie Maud Inglis (Aug 16 1864 to November 26 1917). Described as ‘a suffragist and campaogner’ Indian-born Elsie trained as a surgeon and was sent to Serbia and Russia, but died from a terminal illness. At least the Daily Record got it right and I think the Northern Ireland beach portrait was a nurse……..

But then I’ve got a lot of time for medical people just now as, apart from anything else, the nurses at Maryhill Health Centre still ask to see me from time to time. Yes. My blood pressure is still a bit high at the moment but thanks for asking. 🙂

Breaking News: I have an MRI Scan at the Royal at the end of this month.

And I’ve been down the Beatson Cancer Centre quite a lot recently, doing some visiting, and some of you may have seen me post, on Facebook, a wee pic of Bingham’s Pond (to give it its official name) around which I walked before my own successful treatment of about ten years ago and still do a wee bit now as well……..settling, so it is. 🙂

And then I go in and sit for a while and on this occasion I was sat next to a nurse who was wearing a lanyard with the word ‘Catwalk’ on it. So I asked her what it was.

Older listeners, do you remember the Catwalk Rock Lounge at the bottom of Union Street? For that was the Catwalk being referred to.

It was in Union Street and was a sibling of the Cathouse and the Garage. I talked about a place called the Solid Rock Café in Hope Street. She met that with Volcano and a place called Inferno’s – she thought it was called. Was that the converted church in Pitt Street? I threw in Clatty Pat’s and Bonkers Show Bar but I don’t think she was too impressed by Bonkers. And no, there is no payoff or punchline…….I don’t think, but she was called Irene……… 😉

And finally, Doctor Who is doing my head in. I do not watch it for nice wee dramas about the partition of India in 1947. I watch it for running up and down corridors and monster/aliens/whatevers that won’t let me sleep, like the Weeping Angels, not those very nice Demons of the Punjab who look after those who die alone. They were supposed to be assassins, fgs (for goodness sake – it’s a new TLA, I’ve invented)

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (altho’ I almost lost one) and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, and Joanna’s was just before my time and well before hers.

And just a wee quick word on the PM’s Brexit plan.

It was a plan, wasn’t it? All I’ll say is that, a few weeks after my divorce, I gave back some of the CDs. A wee bit of give, a wee bit of take and a little compromise is all we need and we’re there.

So Irene was more a rock chick and I’m more of a country boy these days so let’s go with the Pretenders – in case there was any misunderstanding.

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes.” Maya Angelou

November 9, 2018

And so dear listener, a wee word about fireworks at this time of year.

From the bedroom at the front of the house I can see for miles and miles and miles and could see a million of them; from the back of the house I can see a lot of back gardens and could see hundreds and thousands of them; and if I stood in the porch I could see the man across the road stand out in his back garden – alone – setting fireworks off with his two kids and their mum standing behind the french doors watching the action. 🙂

Son Brian, this may be you next year. 😀

And as one tweeter said, ‘you don’t know fear until the Catherine Wheel has set itself loose from the nail your da’ used to pin it to the fence – now he’s shouting ‘get in the hoose, get back in the f**king hoose.’’

And it was Dwali the next night which accounted for more fireworks.

My other favourite tweet of the week this month was ‘Ma ma’s no talking’ to ma da coz she caught him googling that woman that does the BBC weather forecast’.

But which one? There are so many. 😉

And before, I move swiftly on ……I know there are tidier versions of this out there, but this is for every parent who has taken their son or daughter to play in a football match on a Saturday morning.

Just click on the link and it’s worth the wait……..altho’ the URL does give it away a wee bit.

And it was good (but for sad reasons) to see BBC Reporting Scotland pick up on last week’s call in the blog for more personal service in the High Street.

Here’s another example.

I wanted to book my car in for a free winter health check knowing that if anything was found needing done, I’d have to pay for it. I was put through to a call centre who arranged my booking for Milngavie, which was where I called initially. I was told by the call centre that no such promotion existed……..the next day Milngavie phoned to say, ‘eh, yes it did.’

I took my car in on Monday at 0800 as agreed and sat down and waited. At 0830 I got a text from the workshop, saying my car was done and was being washed and vacuumed and in the meantime, on my phone, were the details of my free health check. The whole thing cost me nothing. So, personal service or someone reading a script in a call centre? which do you prefer?

And finally, for a number of reasons, this is a shorter show than usual, but I’d like to say a wee word about Doctor Who. I don’t care about how politically correct the programme is but not if it’s at the cost of the Doctor running up and down corridors and can we, please, have proper monsters and not one that looks like a metal version of Casper the Friendly Ghost?

Tioraidh, still wearing that poppy and still keeping it simple,

Iaint850, who seems to be very attractive to various dogs in the Botanic Gardens.

Aye, the poppy. It’s that’s time of year.

I’ve seen many different shapes and forms including the very distinctive and very small Iolaire poppy and some others as well the bog standard poppy, of which I have lost two. Oh, for the days when you got a safety pin.

The Iolaire poppy commemorates the loss of 201 servicemen returning home to Lewis after the war and I know of one young man who can tell you that story as the ferry reaches Stornoway.

People will wear the poppy for different reasons but if you disagree why not choose another time of year to do so, if it means that much to you. Let people have their memories and thoughts. They, after all, have to live with the deaths of a loved one for the rest of their lives; you choose to jump on a bandwagon once a year.

The journalist Torcuil Crichton taught me a new Gaelic word this week which he heard from ‘former Downing Street spinner, Alastair Campbell’ – clusterburach. Apologies for the missed accent and I’m not sure if it’s made Google Translator yet.

I met Alastair at Charles Kennedy’s Memorial Service at Glasgow University.

His dad is from Tiree. I know other people with family there and love the sands there.

Torcuil also told the world that he’d be wearing his badge on Sunday at the eleventh hour in Parliament Square. My own house will certainly be quiet at that time.

For a totally different reason, I have found this to be a very gentle and relaxing piece of music this week. The opening was filmed in North Kelvin Meadow just off Wilton Street.