I’d walk through fire for my best friend…well, not fire. That would be dangerous. But a super humid room…..but not too humid, because, y’know, my hair’ (Word Porn)

September 21, 2017

And so dear listener, I am aware that I have been a bit of a pain in many respects recently, but hopefully I am making amends. It’s funny (?) but I have been asked that question about my ‘alcoholic gap year’ which lasted fourteen months but I am aware that I was putting my job on the line and I was looking really ill and my family and some friends were worried about me but a lot of that was put down to grief. It was actually caused by alcohol as I was drinking rather than keeping up with friends. 😦

So, a massive amount of name-checking friends today. 🙂

For example, the reason for the quote (which the Vampireslayer suggested) is that my hairdresser, Sandra, recently broke her wrist and I do hope she gets better soon. Yes. I am being selfish as there is only one other person in the entire Western world that I can trust with my hair.

So, there’s a wee bit of self-indulgence here.

For example, Jeanette at the BBC, this week, celebrated forty years of being at the Beeb and I was invited over as part of her celebrations but had to pull out because one of my new colleagues wanted to bring forward a meeting and it gave me a chance to meet more people and to find out a wee bit more about my first candidates with whom (j and e) I start work on the second anniversary of Blue Triangle’s Fortieth Anniversary and do you still play the CD? 😀

Yes, a bit convoluted but I was determined.

But back at Jeanette. Everyone will have had their own work memories of her but my own memories include the size of her ankles during her pregnancy but can I also highlight that, several days after Son Brian was born, when we were getting him organised to get him home, I had been given a list of what was needed so the nurse could dress him. I sought advice from Jeanette who spotted that there was no headgear on the list and I knew there was no hat at home and she brought one in the next day. Thanks. These things are important. 🙂

And a big well done to people like Karen and Anne who organised your big day. xx

And a big thanks to the blogmeister who helped sort out some mobile telephonic issues and I have now joined the Twenty-First Century with Twitter but no official announcement because a couple of people have already found me under one name when I thought I had another one.

It’s not the biggest big deal ever. 😉

And my thanks to the mighty Partick Thistle for their brilliant 2 – 2 draw against Rangers which was the first big game I’d attended since the anxiety kicked in and I think a definite sign it has gone. I still worry tho’. I’ll never stop worrying. After all I cause most of it.

And I think it says so much about Partick Thistle games that I spent the bulk of half time talking to Neil, a worker with the homeless in Hull, and smiling at a mail that arrived with perfect timing. 🙂

I didn’t make the League Cup game but that was because of a ticketing problem – not uncommon with me at the moment.

And my thanks to Missie K who, when I told the world that I was in the Mitchell Library to begin my reading for the SVQ Assessor role, messaged me back with the words ‘Ah. Returning to the scene of the crime?’

Which might have pleased Becky, the Miss Marple of North London. 🙂

Y’see I have been telling people about a marvellous programme I caught by chance on Sunday, 17th September at 8.30 pm on BBC 4 (BBCiPlayer info) which was called the Secret Voices of Hollywood and was about the singers who sang the songs that the actors and actresses couldn’t sing because their voices weren’t good enough. 😦

Millions of stories and the one I keep quoting involves Mark Lester (who played Oliver in Oliver) being made to wear a garland of onions to make him cry whilst the director’s daughter sang his part.

Becky, being a super sleuth, had seen it before and shared my enthusiasm. 🙂

And finally I took a train into the Mitchell (well not all the way – libraries haven’t changed that much) and I sat down next to a young lady with a large sports bag. A couple of times the bag poked into me and she apologised and then there was a wee noise so she opened the bag and a pussy cat’s head emerged followed by the cat’s body. And then it was my stop.

The book, The Girl and the Cat on the Train will be available from all good bookshops once I’ve written it.

Tioraidh, still looking for the missing bit of that badge but more than ever keeping it simple,

Iaint850 – even the cheeky wee grin is back

Aaaaargh. Again I’ve run out of words and I’ve not enough room to tell you what an SVQ Assessor does.

But a quick word about Monica Lennon MSP who I quoted last week when she was talking about the stigma attached to being an ‘alcoholic’. She also mentioned the fact that she went to AA meetings with her dad who would have described himself as an alcoholic at such a meeting.

A lot of meetings are open to the public altho’ you have to have a reason to attend. You can’t just go along for a nosey. But if you have, say, a member of your family who attends these meetings, then you have a good reason for going along. It’s a chance to see what goes on. As one of the interviewees in my Master’s said, ‘folk who go to meetings are anonymous – not invisible’.

Anyway, excuse me while I sing along to one of my favest pieces of music from a kinda musical and I CAN do the actions……but I have no idea what they’re singing about……it’s all innuendo, anyway.


‘I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.’ (Jane Austen – the full quote)

September 14, 2017

And so dear listener, some very wise words there from the very wise Jane Austen. And I wonder what she’d have made of my latest venture – all in the name of completing my latest work search. 😉

I’m back at college – well I’m not but I was in one last Wednesday and what a jolly fun experience it turned out to be. And then it might help if I told you how close I am to fulfilling my latest lifelong ambition – becoming an SVQ Assessor. 🙂 🙂

Let’s go colleging which is not an academic form of cottaging but it’s a long time since I’ve been back to that car park in Strathclyde Park but totally unconnected is the fact that three years ago, as a sixtieth birthday present, the good Dr W and I went abseiling. I wonder…..No. I don’t. We move swiftly on.

So I’d to meet a man at the relatively new City of Glasgow College to enrol for a Personal Development Award in Assessing. He told me that the main entrance was up the side of the building – two floors up.

I was early. It’s a train time thing. There’s a Costa Coffee on the ground floor and I went in. And there they sat, glistening at me, begging me to have them…….yes, I gave into temptation. I had a roll and links. Meat links. Sausages. And they were nice. It’s not an ethical or medical thing. I do not feel ashamed. I felt better for it. I left the café and made my way up to the main entrance and reception.

What a bloody climb that was. Next time (?) it’s the internal staircase. Anyway, I made it and I’d to wait a few minutes and I just kept bursting out laughing. Forty-five years ago I matriculated in Latin at Glasgow University and now here I was at an FE College preparing for the next stage in my life. I couldn’t stop smiling. 🙂 🙂 🙂

The rest of the business was carried out dead quick and both the invoice and my latest student card (think student discount again) are in the post. Altho’ he did suggest that I get a new USB stick special for the SVQ Assessment stuff. After my nose stopped bleeding and my face returned from its ghostly white to its normal hot flush red, I mumbled agreement.

Not sure when I’ll start earning and I could do without the debt I owe a previous employer but it was my decision to leave and my head is soooooo much happier. I have a focus and I was badly needing one.

So I had said to a few people that I’d wait until the end of September before considering agency or relief work.

No. I’m going to concentrate on this. Once my printer concedes defeat and prints off the PDF that tells me what I’m supposed to be doing.

The main memory that came back on Wednesday was that day, six and a half year ago, when I wandered out to UWS (Paisley) to meet a man called Ken Barrie who, after about twenty minutes, told me I was on the Post Grad course starting a few months later, subject to satisfactory references. 🙂

I went across a foyer thing to the Library Foyer which no longer exists (it’s an Information Hub) and I sat on a comfy seat for ‘I don’t know how long’ with a massive smile on my face. 🙂 🙂 🙂

And just thought…..Wow.

And later, on Wednesday, I was at Glasgow University. I’d to see the blogmeister about a couple of things and it was Freshers’ Week and you could see the look of indecision before they approached me. And I did get goodies. I’m not sure if I’ve ever eaten a piece of Domino’s pizza before….but I have now. Basic Margarita (sp?) since you ask.

And then the next day it happened again…….being recognised by someone from many years ago; only this time I wasn’t holding a bag of chips. I was sitting at one of the gates at the Botanic Gardens where the dinosaurs had roamed.

And again a good looking woman (ages with me) walked up to me and said, ‘jt850?’ but this time I knew her name and we chatted. Not a former girlfriend this time but someone who, with her male partner, had been good friends with me and my then wife. Pleasantries were pursued and she moved on.

Incidentally, when did the unicorn become Scotland’s national animal?

And I do know how popular our long running series looking at library assistants through the ages has been and Skippy has found a brilliant PhD thesis called A History of Women Workers in English Libraries 1871 – 1974. It’s a fascinating read but I’d be grateful if you could resist tearing into it until you’ve finished the blog. Thank you

The URL is (and you have to copy and paste this week) file:///C:/Users/John%20Thomson/Downloads/DX210274.pdf

tioraidh, and still wearing that badge altho’ the holding pin fell off in a Byres Road coffee shop and still keeping it friendly, simple and focussed.

Iaint850, assessor candidate and proud of it

And I’m sorry but the Word-Count-Ometerhas just sounded and I’ll need to wait until next week before I tell you what the job involves. And I did want to highlight MSP Monica Lennon’s comments about the stigma attached ti ‘coming out’ as ‘an alcoholic’. I did a wee bit of writing about that during the Master’s but I did notice her saying something about people being put off going to AA by having to say ‘My name is John and I am an alcoholic’ when they feel they’re not that bad. Sorry, Monica, but that’s more or less the only criterion for membership. Maybe that’s what the PhD should have been about.

And I think there are some people out there who are still perplexed about the meaning of Six Degrees of Separation. I think this explains everything.

I think it’s well known that it was j, still the blog’s favest librarian, who turned me on. To country music (and seeing Kris Kristofferson with her was really special) and this got me listening to a former BBC colleague John Collins on his country music show on Clyde 2 on Sunday evenings. And it was John who pointed me in the direction of Chris Country Music but jc no longer does his Sunday night show but he does the breakfast show on both Saturday and Sunday on Clyde 2 and related stations. But John turned up on Chris Country on Monday which is where I heard this.

Thanks for listening y’all.

To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all of the mysteries of life (W. Somerset Maughan)

September 7, 2017

And so dear listener, welcome to a much more relaxed and revitalised, but unfortunately no leaner, jt850. Aye, at the time of the USB stick incident and the other stuff, I was telling folk ‘I was anxious but not depressed’. I now realise that I was becoming depressed and this affected how I was dealing with folk in a way I’d never felt before.

Getting my head round all that has made a big difference as have some shopping, a visit to a college* next week and getting thrown out of a well-known Charing Cross sandwich deli last week. 😀

*some students go back to where they studied and become teachers; with me, it has to be the reverse.

With regard to the latter, when you think about it, 3.30 in the afternoon is a reasonable time to be washing floors and piling up chairs. 🙂

With regard to the middle, I am making good progress on the worksearch front and, whilst it might be some time before money arrives, I feel happy about what I’m doing. 😀

With regard to the one at the front, I do shop in Love Music on my own, but the experience of Waterstone’s is always much better with a companion – be it pre-Christmas or early September. Some ideas for the World’s smallest book club. 😀

And it was nice to spend some time in the company of jc – another blogger – earlier this week. It can be a solitary pastime……..and then someone asks you about something you wrote a couple of weeks ago and the smile becomes sooooooo big. 😀 😀

And I should also mention that my grandson was baptised this weekend and my grand-daughter became three. It is well known that their privacy is well respected by me in public ventures and social media but to the small number of you who receive the occasional pic, I have got a wee bit confused in my relaxed state and am not sure to whom I’ve sent pics or, indeed, in what format. So, if you’re on the ‘mailing list’and you’ve not heard, please give me a shout.

And cutting back on general expenditure does not mean cutting back on varied eating. For example, I can have toasted cheese one night with red sauce and toasted cheese one night with brown sauce – maybe even throw a chopped spring onion or some chives over it for variety.

But in all seriousness, I’m considering re-introducing some meat into my diet. There are limits to the number of prawn stir-fries one man can have and that was the problem the last time – a lack of variety. We’ll see. I’m rushing into nothing.

And I think I did my skills down a bit last week. I’m a pretty good cook (anything from scallops to freestyle poached eggs and a fish bake thing (my ex-wife once asked me for the recipe so I can’t be that bad)) – and I seem to be a reasonably good editor of academic work at all levels – a niche market which many still believe doesn’t exist.

It should be gentle and straightforward and usually is but I mentioned to a couple of folk last weekend that I had an ethical dilemna – a supervisor had suggested doing something major differently from what Olga and I had been doing since we’d been working together – with two days to go to submission.

Now my advice (when asked) in those circumstances (and I never tell people what to do) is usually ‘just accept what the supervisor says’ (and that’s what I said) but I also explained why the supervisor was wrong. I got a mail from Olga on Monday. She and I had worked together for two years and she trusted me. She had accepted all my suggestions and it looked so much better.

My fingers are crossed.


And please tell the world that TheWordProcess exists. There is more money going out than coming in just now and an undergrad essay or a wee PhD could help provide a different flavour of cheese.

And finally, my evening class of choice for this year is An Introduction to Psychology. The Gaelic last year was fun and Joy was a brilliant teacher but my ear never really picked it up. I’ve got a lot of Gaelic stuff sitting there so there’s no reason why I couldn’t do Gaelic One myself – once I know what I’ve let myself in for.

tioraidh, still wearing the badge and keeping it simple – but in a more relaxed manner.

Iaint850, pretty happy and enjoying the challenges

And now for the latest in our long running series; Interesting Stories About Library Assistants through The Ages.


There I hope you enjoyed that. No doubt there will be more next week. Skippy is my main archivist in this matter and she does an excellent job.

And tonight’s Musical Motif is supplied by the late, the great Leon Russell who I was fortunate enough to see at the Glasgow Jazz Festival a few years ago. It was playing Joe Cocker last week that suggested it and it makes me regret I didn’t stick in at those piano lessons all those years ago. I wanted guitar lessons. I was not allowed.

Here we go!!!!!!!

And The Light At The End Of The Tunnel is The Light Of An Oncoming Train (Half Man, Half Biscuit) I hope not (Johnt850)

September 1, 2017

And so dear listener, I was talking to this good looking woman at a funeral (as I do) and I was gently introducing myself and she said, ‘I know’. So I tried another opening gambit, and she said, ‘I know’……..and I said, ‘But how?’and she replied, ‘I read it in your blog.’

And I noticed a facebook friend had highlighted that she recently stayed in a hotel in Peterhead. And I mentioned on facebook that that was just along the road from where I was brought up. In Peterhead, and she said, ‘I know. I read it in your blog.’

I shall now publish my N.I. number and my bank details. 😀

But good progress on the worksearch front and I may be able to make an announcement soon. What I do know is that I thoroughly enjoyed my four and a half years working in social care, working with homeless people in Glasgow, which followed on from my drink’n’drugs studies at UWS (Paisley).

Some recent conversations with others in that field were good fun, altho’ the events discussed maybe weren’t at the time. I’ll never forget the guy with the pineapple and I’m not sure the police people present at the time ever will. 🙂

And there were days the alarm buzzer was necessary.

But I now know what drove my decision to leave BTHA – or at least in terms I can understand. Longer term listeners will be aware that it’s been some time since I mentioned the two line managers at the Glasgow Metropolitan College who, when I returned to teaching after my Cold Turkey, kept saying nasty things about ‘alcoholics’ and how they were bound to lapse and couldn’t be trusted, but always in the third person and when no-one else was around. But, unknowingly, they encouraged me to prove them wrong. And I did, and in some respects I’d just like them to see me now and how good I look – if fat. I turned it to my advantage. 🙂

And that’s where I was thrown recently with the Blue Triangle affair. There were several issues – some small, some large – where I felt my honesty and integrity were being called into question by Head Office people who I would not want at my side if they were on a shift with me and something kicked off……..I didn’t think much of them but yet, I let them get to me. I’m annoyed at myself and I think it’s shown recently.

I am as good as anyone.

Mind you, I’m not sure what I’ve achieved in life. I know nothing about cars, I can’t play a musical instrument, it’s years since I hill-walked and I’m certainly not rich altho’ I have helped talk people out of suicide a couple of times, but it’s not really the kind of thing you can put down on an online dating site profile (for example – altho’ it’s ages since I looked) but I have a brilliant, if strangely extended, family and some amazing friends. 😀 😀 😀

And if things like the blog and my big mouth mean people feel they can ask me questions about mental health, substance issues and cancer, for example, without feeling bothered, then maybe I have done something. Good job I’m getting cremated* cos you’d never get that on my tombstone.

*once I’m dead. Please. Not before.

And, so, once again my apologies in a couple of directions but someone helped me to draw this parallel between what happened at the college and what happened recently and I owe her big time and to those people to whom I’ve been a pain recently, I owe you big time as well……….the positive vibe has returned. 🙂

Iaint850 – the laugh is back. Thanks to Shirley, Debbie and Caroline

Next week we will return to normal with tales of a meal in a Chinese buffet in Motherwell; the world record that is owned by the Jimmy Mack programme and we knew nothing about it; and why myself and two friends overstayed our welcome one lunchtime in the seated area of a well known sandwich takeaway in the Charing Cross area of Glasgow.

But before I finish, it’s time for this week’s Red Face of the Month competition, the winner of which, as ever, is me. (I blame all the oestrogen that was pumped into me as the first part of the cancer treatment. The hot flushes have been with me ever since – particularly when I drink coffee)

Y’see what happened was……

My car had to go in for a service. No cost cos it’s a new car and I had extended the service warranty. So, time to collect it and I got a Network taxi to take me to collect. The car arrived and I got into it. And just as I was about to give the driver directions, my phone rang and I answered it but first, I said to the driver,

‘Yes. The Arnold Clark garage in Milngavie. Aye. Next to the Homebase. Aye, Arnold Clark, well he’s dead now. Well anyway, anyway, Arnold Clark and Marks and Spencer, they’re taking over the world, aren’t they?’

And the phone line was dead

And then I got to the garage and did the business of not paying for it cos there was nothing to pay. And then Norrie, the service manager took me out to the car and said,

‘By the way, Mr Thomson, it was me on the phone to you – just in case you were wondering. I knew it was you cos I recognised your voice Just as you were giving the driver directions and then there was something else……something about Marks and Spencer taking over the World.’

Dear listener, one of the reddest ever and, to whom it may concern, I can muck up phone calls as well as e-mails.

Joe Cocker and some of the words speak for themselves.

To reminisce with my old friends, a chance to share some memories, and play our songs again. (Ricky Nelson)

August 24, 2017

And so dear listener, last week I mentioned (quietly) that a former BBC colleague of mine, Christine Kinnear, had passed away. I thought little of the mention. This blog is just a personal ramble that was started to tell the world about my cancer treatment, my alcohol breakdown, a wee bit about mental health and a chance for me to send cryptic messages to people – mostly women. Is this week’s choice of music an example or just a memory of a smashing gig a couple of weeks ago? 😉

But a friend and another former BBC colleague (John Cavanagh) picked it up and shared some of it (and it’s sometimes better that way) and suddenly the airwaves opened up like a good phone-in hosted by Austin Lafferty and memories were shared of an amazing woman who was liked by all even if many of her technical skills left a lot to be desired…….but she would ask you to fix something in such an appealing way.

And her daughter got in touch to say how much she appreciated it all. I can ask no more 🙂

And I also remember going to see John in a rather interesting show at the Arches one night some time before it was closed down.

Moving on.

So nothing this week about Worksearch other than to say that a monthly payslip with 0.00 as the bottom line is quite a dispiriting experience (they’re deducting what I owe them) but my thanks to all the Chinese students who obviously enjoyed the Glasgow University’s Summer Business School and who pay within hours of getting their Paypal payment request so http://www.thewordprocess.net is putting food on my table. 🙂

And some things were paid for some time ago anyway; fortuitous planning rather than forward planning.

Oh, and I may have a direction in which to go..……worksearchly. But I’m saying nothing.

And basically I’ve been a bit of a moany git recently (after all it was my decision to leave with no paying gig to go to – nobody else’s fault) and nobody else I know has moaned this week and if they did then they had every right to moan cos I can be a right pain at times………and I have a craving for a chicken supper out of a chip shop which won’t go away. 😦 To whom it may concern – sorry.

So let’s do some happy stuff. Let’s talk about a very important mail I got during the week and what it led to.

Twenty years ago my son was at primary school. Of course children bloody grow up, so stop looking at pictures of children every year and say ‘don’t they grow up quick?’ No, they grow up at the same rate as….sorry, sorry, sorry….moan, moan, moan. 😦

It was a brand new school In Bearsden and a couple of years previously, when they had started to build it, he had played a significant role in cutting the first sod (which had a totally different meaning when I worked in PR).

‘In two weeks’ time the school is going to have an exhibition’ – did I still have photos of him doing that?

So, of course, I got the scrap box out………I found two of the pics he’s looking for but I found so much else. These were genuinely the first items to tumble out;

A badge and a season ticket to the Empire Exhibition from 1938 that had belonged to mum;

A picture of my dad shaking hands with people in a bank in Peterhead (his retirement?);

A word processed magazine put together by my son a long time ago. It was about sport and from a time he wanted to be a sports journo and came with me to Clydebank games in the days when people like Jim Gallacher played for them and I was the tannoy announcer but I was also on Big Gal’s Testimonial Committee. (Brian also gave the Radio Clyde man covering one game the wrong info about who scored the goal but Tommy Gemmell won’t have known until the next day) The magazine was called the Brian Herald, Issue 1 January 1995;

A birthday card with a man falling down a mine hole and telling a dog, ‘Lassie go get some help.’ And in the next picture Lassie’s lying on her back on a psychiatrists’ couch;

My Master’s degree results and my son’s BA Accounting results (my parents would have been so proud that he ended up a CA and somewhere in the box must be his CA graduation photos as well);

A picture painted by RJ on the occasion of my most recent birthday;

My parents’ World War II ID cards?;

Gig tickets that include Alabama 3, Kris Kristofferson (altho’ it’s called something else) the Waterboys and Rory Gallagher;

And, finally, cos this is pure self-indulgence, my Primary School Dux medal which somehow involved the local MP Baron Boothby of Buchan and Rattray Head who also impregnated the wife of the then Prime Minister (Harold McMillan) and was very friendly with the Krays but I didn’t know this when I was twelve although I had seen pictures of Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice Davies – well I would have, wouldn’t I?

And all this before I start looking in the photobox.

Cya, still wearing that badge and it’s much better when it’s kept simple. Y’d think I’d know by now.

Iaint850, and was my life ever straightforward?

There is no explanation for evil. It must be looked upon as a necessary part of the order of the universe. To ignore it is childish, to bewail it senseless. W. Somerset Maugham

August 17, 2017

And so, dear listener, the deed is done and there is no going back. My notice has been worked and my sick line has come to an end, but anxiety remains, albeit a different form of anxiety. What was excitement has become a wee bit more nervy. 😦

It’s not too late to have doubts but it’s too late to do anything about them.

I’ve settled financially with Blue Triangle and I now own my SVQ3 but this month’s wages paid for a lot of that and, thus, my main source of regular income has just walked out the door. There is some other income and I’m managing to sweep up some editing work from a Summer School that, fortunately, has a wee while to run but that does not replace it. Indeed, e, I think it may be time for a board meeting.

And I’m just a wee bit more aware of money going out and asking myself questions like, ‘why have I got Amazon Prime anyway?’ And telling myself that I did need that new mobile phone carrying case as the phone was making its own phone calls when it rubbed against the inside of one of my jackets. Seriously. Just the one.

And my laptop was at the Laptop Doctor’s in Bearsden this morning ‘cos there was a hiccup with the printer but it’s now fixed altho’, as the man said, ‘I don’t always know what’s wrong with them. I just fix them.’ 🙂

And as many of you know, I don’t watch that much TV but enjoy reading, and listening to music but the CD player on the micro-system downstairs has died and was integral to it all so I will get a new one soon. The one I like in the Argos catalogue would cost me 7,500 words. Sorry. It’s currently how I price things. Previously it was, ‘that’s going to cost me half a shift.’

But I’ve been here before and survived and the big thing about something like taking the laptop to get fixed is that it is now part of my working life.

Get this week out of the way and I make a start on the pile of possible work search related Post-its. 28th August seems to be the deadline for most of the essay work which has come from Glasgow University’s Summer School and next year I hope to be well enough to take on board more.

But different things are going up on the wall calendar. As well as some of the usual stuff I’m going out to Motherwell in a few days’ time to catch up with some folk, hopefully a gig at the Hydro and a talk about the Necropolis (and I’m not sure what to do about an evening class this year but more on that another time) and my granddaughter is celebrating her third birthday soon…….So I’m keeping busy with lots happening. 🙂

Now where was that cat dancing video on Facebook?

Oh, and well done to all those who returned to, or started school successfully this year. Good milestones. If nothing else, schools were where I extended my love of reading, my parents having introduced me to books – and, indeed, later to newspapers. 🙂

And this week’s Favourite Festival Gag of the month so far?

I wonder how the Village People met?

I mean they don’t look as if they’ve much in common

(Thanks Nick)

And finally, the downsizing continues and the freezer has been the latest target. Now obviously I don’t label things because of my concerns about stigmatising them but non-labelling can also have its problems. Those weren’t calimari the other night; they were onion rings. 😦

Tioraidh, still wearing the badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850 and I will bend the knee to no-one (but no, I don’t watch it)

So what seems like a long time ago (well it was) I got a six month contract as a producer on the Jimmy Mack show which was later established as a job and was the only time I was ever BBC staff (as is proved by my BBC pension…….boys and girls. You can never start too soon.)

Anyway one of the members of the team was a smashing lady called Christine Kinnear. I was never too sure what her specific role was as she seemed to do everything (but not if it was technical…… ‘is there not a man who can help me do this?’)

She was full of ideas and made some amazing programmes but travelling down to Helensburgh one night to do a talk to a Woman’s Guild or similar almost led to a near death experience. Christine was driving and I was passenger and Christine smoked. She came to the end of her cigarette and threw it out of the window. Which was shut so it bounced back into the car. We screeched to a halt in the middle of the Great Western Road and retrieved the butt. And travelled on. I have other memories.

She was also a very kind person and was always a joy, if sometimes very challenging, to work with.

As with many of my BBC colleagues and friends I lost touch with Christine…..my life over the last ten years has been well documented in these pages………and that’s maybe why I worry so much about losing friends these days

I heard last week that CK was in a hospice (cancer). I learned the next night that she had passed on.

Not sure what to do about music except to say this one’s for you CK. (The Jimmy Mack office was a great place to work)

The love of books is among the choicest gifts of the gods (Arthur Conan Doyle)

August 11, 2017

And so dear listener, I am going to have a third T-shirt printed (the first two are virtual but pose the two questions I have been asked the most in recent years) and it will have the words ‘Yes. I have no new job to go to’ and whilst I’m slightly unsure of the mix of negatives and positives there, you get the idea. 😉

I’m going to say very little about the whole saga as it seems to have taken for ages (the four weeks is almost up) but as many people know, I emptied my locker this week (Skippy, is that an innuendo? No? I must be thinking of something else) and there wasn’t much in it – spare clothes just in case and some tea bags. I hope the next person (and they were interviewing for my old job just before I went in) gets as much pleasure out of it as I did.

Four and a half years I worked for Blue Triangle in various places and I enjoyed it but my mission statement for life was totally different from the organisation’s head office;

I believe the person should come first – not the process.

Moving on. And to some sad news. 😦

Each year I try to grow some tomatoes and peppers in my porch with a little success with little tomatoes and peppers. This year they were slow cos of the lack of sunshine but were beginning to happen and then – out of nowhere – some form of whitefly entered the house and the porch was full and the plants were keeling over. The porch has now been cleaned and fumigated.

Some may see that as a metaphor for my new life.

I say ‘fumigated’ but it was just a basic garden fly spray which I didn’t smell but it was strong enough to kill a big fly that had found itself trapped in the porch overnight……

(And economies will have to be made – Get thee behind me, Waitrose!)

But the end of August and September – all the way through to its end – have a lot of birthdays and at least one baptism, but Waterstone’s does well out of me these days, and the jeweller down Byres Road, who is the only man in the entire world who can re-set my Casio for me after February in a leap year.

But I’ve felt a wee bit trapped in the house for the last few days and trips to Paisley have been Godsends…..they’re re-surfacing the main road at the end of my cul-de-sac and I think they’ve finished but it’s been one of those situations where you’ve had to decide whether or not to ignore a ‘Road Closed’ sign because it doesn’t look closed and you want to get home and then you hit the ramp…….I’d to take the car into the garage recently so I worry. However, the strange noise under the bonnet when the engine was switched off turned out to be the Air Con that I’d left on but I also got the DAB radio re-tuned at the same time. 🙂

So I’ve been doing some cleaning and tidying and, indeed, shredding but you’d never know as piles of things have started appearing on the various floors of the house which has always been my method when planning stuff. When I say floors I mean the living room and the back bedroom which is used as an office/clothes drying area. So it’s an incredibly tidy mess.

And finally, there was no leaving do on Wednesday morning. I was swept into the office to fill out paperwork and I didn’t even get a cup of coffee – altho’ I could hear the kettle come to the boil but nothing happening (and one metaphor for my life tonight is enough thank you).

Memories of other leavings came to mind – the several I’ve had from the BBC over the years through to the one from the College, which has since changed its name, through to a jolly interesting PR farewell at King Tut’s a wee while back……my plan is to meet up with some folk – either individually or in groups. My co-workers and local management have been brilliant and in an environment, where wearing alarm bracelets comes as standard, they have all to be people you can trust…..just in case………

tioraidh, happily wearing the badge and happily keeping it simple

iaint850, ‘powerful, good-looking and a great communicator’

And I think what has brought home to me the enormity of what I have done was the other night when I sno-paked out all my shifts, on my Banksy wall calendar, for the next few months. It all looked very empty but there’s no sense of panic. However fleeting it may be, I have some control over my life again but it may, indeed, be fleeting. Give me another couple of days and I’ll start to make sense of the Post-its in my search for work (but not necessarily a job) and, yes, j, I will make a start to the book.

Presumably, despite everything that’s happening to libraries today, the Dewey Decimal Classification System still exists. Now there’s a goal. To go to a library and request a copy of my book (by Inter library Loan, perhaps)

Incidentally I know at least four people who are or were library assistants and I was Convenor of Libraries at Glasgow University Union – now wouldn’t that be an interesting night out? No. Seriously, I think it’d be really good. 😀 😀

And this really is Brandi Carlile. Brilliant voice, smashing lyrics and a lovely vocal counterpoint.

Well I’ve just had that Norovirus but if you’re desperate, I’m sure one of the boys in the band will oblige (Sharleen Spiteri)

August 3, 2017

And so dear listener, I am now just a matter of days away from severing my ties with Blue Triangle and today, on the show, I want to talk about the fact that I have, honestly, no job to go to 😦

There is a perceived wisdom out there that you shouldn’t leave a job unless you have a job to go to. I haven’t. And altho’ I’m using the word ‘retirement’ there may be other issues about which I am not talking. Anyway, I’m going.

And the only slight concern has been raised by those who are either naturally averse to risk taking or have been brought up/trained to be risk averse. So, yes, I’m being totally random but not for the first time.

So, basically, it’s 3-2-1-Go……which brings me to this Week’s Analogy of the Month – except I’ve never done this before. Here is the analogy. You don’t have to watch it all but just some of it to get an idea.

It’s Go Ape which I visited with the good Dr W for her ‘early in her forties’ birthday present from me three years ago. She gave me the abseiling for my 60th. 😀

I did not check out what was involved before I went and looking at this YouTube I’m glad I didn’t. I’d have been terrified – and am just looking at this just now through the fingers of my hand. The zip-wiring was easy once you had done the first one; climbing up the trees was okay but the rungs did get narrower and further apart; those walkways between trees have just made me break out in a cold sweat and I would never ever attempt to do that again; and then that bloody cargo net. You’re supposed to swing in easily, bounce off and then swing in gently again. And make progress after that.

I did okay with the first one but I was tiring by the time I got to the second net and it showed. I got stuck and flustered. My thanks to the good Dr W for talking me over that wee problem (step by step) 🙂 and then the brilliance of that final zipwire over the woods of Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. If I could do that then, why should I worry now? Well, lots of reasons but I’m just going to ignore them. Just now.

So, now do you understand what I am letting myself in for? I am worried but I’m re-building a confidence in myself which has been missing for some time. Personally I’m fine and think I’ve still got a lot to offer but I’m open to all suggestions, but for another week or so, technically, I must keep the offers to coffee, lunch or whatever.

The pile of Post-Its with ideas on them is growing but I still want to explain myself and what I’m doing to a couple of other people who are important to me who I have yet to see. (I’ve now seen them)

Anyway, I’m signed off still for another couple of weeks but I’ve calmed down – more or less – and this Wednesday sees me going in to empty my locker (spare clothes basically), sign a form, hand over a key and smash my ceremonial sword over my knee. I will miss more than you might expect……..give me a couple of weeks and I will explain. I will never get over the guy with the pineapple and the look on the faces of the police people when he chapped the door.

And finally, a quick word, if I may, with my good friend Kirsten, a former colleague from my PR days and one of the world’s greatest event organisers 🙂 xx

Kirsten, you know that job you were talking about? I’d a look at the Job Spec again and it says you have to be able to dance the Gay Gordons without falling over and pulling your partner down, as well as everyone else then having to do amazing avoiding movements. 🙂

tioraidh, waiting to break out that badge again and still keeping it simple

iaint850 this week with one of the worst riddies ever but it was in the dark 😦

So Texas, the band, were playing at the Kelvingrove Bandstand, just round the corner IN GLASGOW, from where Sharleen Spiteri was born and e and I went to see them. It’s a wee tradition we have.

It was an excellent night. e is always good company (as are so many other women that I know) and the Bandstand audience is usually a good one. A good night and Sharleen has a good rapport with the audience. Plus the music played between Support Act and Texas was a smashing microcosm of Glasgow and West of Scotland music in the eighties (Postcard Records in West Princes Street) and just slightly different, J, from the techno and the monk with the V for Vengeance mask that announced the arrival of Alabama 3. 😉

All too soon, it was over and e decided to free run (parkour) her way out over all the concrete seating. Now, in the North Stand (red’n’yellow) at Firhill you can’t do that. Proper Health and Safety.

So my knees couldn’t believe what I was about to attempt to do and refused to go with me. They were still staring at the stage. I will draw no further picture at this point but we (my knees and me) decided on a more settled withdrawal.

I felt a right planker!!!!!

I could blame new shoes but I’ve been running up and down the stairs in my house ever since as practice.

So, there is a valuable lesson to be learned here. No. Not that.

My current concern is obviously my mental health. Equally as important is my physical health. Both can be improved. And will be. 🙂

Mind you, the stairs down to Nardini’s toilet in Byres Road should have been a good rehearsal and the stairs up to my lawyer’s office in Glasgow City Centre earlier this week were a pretty good workout as well.

Well, you can say what you want But it won’t change my mind (Texas)

July 27, 2017

And so dear listener, the end is nigh. I have seen my (almost) former job advertised and it produces a strange feeling. That has never happened to me before and I hadn’t really thought about that aspect of it all. It’s final. It’s happening.

They will have no problem in replacing me. After all, I am just a part-time worker. I am signed off sick just now so my shifts will be covered by established staff and if not them, then from the relief bank, and failing them, an agency worker (mmmmm agency work?) – and I’m willing to give you even odds as to who gets my job.

It would have been nice to have had a few more days to tell colleagues in other projects that this was happening, rather than them contacting me to see if I was okay. I am – other than the ‘stress and anxiety’ it says on my sickline. 😦

It’s funny but I’m not well used to the world of jobsearch. I talk of being employed by the BBC for about twenty-five years but I wasn’t. I was employed by a number of programmes and departments within the BBC in a variety of different ways and roles and only once did I apply for a proper job in the BBC and I never got it – the rest of the time I got a phone call to see if I was available for two months or so but for only two years was I actual staff. It was from there that I left to join a PR consultancy – but I didn’t apply for the PR jobs. I was approached/head hunted/tapped to leave by two PR consultancies – the only time I ever resigned from the BBC.

One tapping took place at a southside cricket club in the southside of Glasgow and the other (for a different company) took place with an ex-Garden Festival PR who was setting up on his own (post-Festival) but still had access to Garden Festival expense accounts and access to the Buttery and (I’m glad to say) taxis.

When I left the BBC for the last time, I was being employed on a casual weekly basis and one day, I was approached in the newsroom by a high heid yin person who said, ‘not only are you not established to that job, there is no job for you to be established to.’ 😦

At which point I picked up my jacket, made no excuses and left – and told the College where I was part-timing at the time that I was available for more shifts. I later left the College to concentrate on (successful) cancer treatment and I think they just gave out my shifts to other people as well and then sat down later and planned the next academic year. 🙂

I’m just not used to seeing my job advertised and the finality of it all felt weird.

But no, I genuinely have nothing lined up and once I’m signed back on (as it were) I will start knocking on doors.

I need another line. Of income. Casual, part-time or whatever. I think my CV is good and available – suitably redacted – on request. The stamps have been bought.

The editing will needs to be increased and there needs to be something else but I am not washed up and think I am still worthy of my hire. 😉

And voluntary work will be considered – altho’ it can be demanding too. I have seen people who volunteer to help the homeless and it is a thankless task. But I do need to make sure I get out of the house but getting messages at 8 o’clock at night leading to cups of coffee down Byres Road at 9 is good. It’ll be strange having the weekends back and I have a working season ticket for Firhill which makes a big difference. 🙂

Mind you, I do have an idea re voluntary stuff, which sounds quite exciting. I’ll keep you all posted.

And finally, all this does give me a chance to write the book I keep going on about and I’ve started. The other day, I wrote the word ‘Introduction’ in a range of fonts and font sizes. Don’t laugh. It’s a start.

tioraidh, still wearing that badge and really keen to show simple it can still be kept 🙂

Iaint850. And yes I did. 😉

So my mum was a nice wee wummin from Springburn who married a chartered accountant from Peterhead and moved up to Peterhead with him and I think it took her a wee while to work out why she’d done it. She had two children. I was the second one.

I think I was a bit of a disappointment to her at secondary school. I won’t list my achievements but they weren’t as academic as she would have liked and I’m not too sure what she would have made of my recent years but she’d have liked my friends – especially the female ones. I don’t know if she’d have understood the concept of the Friendzone and, tbh, I’m not too sure if my male friends do either 😉

But in later years my mum and I got only really well. 🙂

However, at no time, did my mum arrange for three supermodels to be sitting at the ‘top of our stairs’ when I got home from school and I think none of the less of her for it.

What a stupid thing to say or was it point scoring against his dad? And how is Princess Katie going to compete with that for George when he’s twelve? Alton Towers is out. Don’t want to be compared with William’s mum after all.

Sorry. Just thought it needed said.

So when you need an inspirational piece of music cos you’ve no idea what the future holds, to whom do you turn? Who else but Walk the Moon (not that track but another one)

When you can’t control what is happening around you, challenge yourself to control the way in which you respond (Snoopy)

July 20, 2017

And so, dear listener, this may be a shorter blog than usual. But I never really know until I reach the end how long it’s going to be. And I have reached the end. Of my career with Blue Triangle Housing Association – the homeless charity where I’ve worked for the last four and a half years. My letter of resignation was ‘handed in’ last Saturday with copies going by post and by e-mail so I’m in the process of working my notice.

There’s no big deal or big issue nor am I going to end up selling it. I’ve just not felt the same about some things since I was off work with anxiety and depression for a while last year. I think it’s been obvious, and working with the homeless requires a lot of strength and enthusiasm and resilience and it’s just not been there recently. But I’ve still done my job and done it pretty well. It was a decision reached literally on Friday morning last week. 🙂

For those of you who don’t know, Blue Triangle offers supported accommodation for homeless people as a kind of halfway house to getting their own tenancies – often through a local housing association. We don’t pick people up off the streets or give them soup and blankets. It’s less glamorous than that. We try and help them to cope with certain issues and help them with the skills needed to look after themselves out there in the big, bad world. Some of the folk we help are refugees.

And on one recent occasion, it was really good to take a refugee to sign all his documentation and then get the keys to his new flat in a high rise. And go and look at it again. That was a good day. And there’s the others.

And, eh, that’s all I want to say at this stage. It’s demanding work and I’m tired. Ten years ago I nearly died from alcohol and it was through the help of Moira, my addiction worker (and soooooo many others) that I learned the skills that helped me to cope with the bad cancer that followed. Now I want some time to myself.

So what am I going to do? 😦

Well, I’ve still three weeks to go and I’m still in the middle of a lot of shifts altho’ it does go quieter in a few days time.

And then it goes scary. 😉

But this is not the time for too much reflection. Or about learning what other people think of me and according to one worker who works with me occasionally – my style of working with the homeless is best described as ‘eccentric’, and it was also nice last weekend to work with an agency worker who knows Moira my former addiction worker. There’s a helluva lot of brilliant people out there in social care helping the homeless and those with addiction issues and so on. We are treated as public sector workers as well when it comes to pay rises. Or pay freezes. 😦

And finally, Doctor Who is a fictional character with two hearts who regenerates from time to time. Can we even be sure that Jodie Whittaker will even play the part as a woman (she is after all from Gallifrey) and, anyway, to those who complain about the lack of role models for boys on TV, can I say just one thing? Sylvester McCoy.

tioraidh, back to wearing that badge and keeping it simple

Iaint850, so much water and so many bridges.

And so, to this week’s Nice Moment of the Month Award.

I had a really nice shift on Tuesday night (thanks Alice) but not nice enough to make me change my mind. I walked back to Queen Street Station and on the way treated myself to chips with dripping vinegar (no time for a tea break on shift) and, tbh, I dress down for work (the guy being sick over me is an image that’s never left me)

I was not looking my best.

And then a good looking woman (aren’t they all?) maybe ages with me, came up to me and said ‘Johnt850?’ (except she didn’t, did she? She used ‘the other name’, didn’t she?) and I said yes and she gave me her maiden name and, yes we had gone out together during my first time at university and before I could say, ‘do you remember the time…….?’ she had introduced me to her husband. 😦

Now she is a lecturer at a university and given this current change in my lifestyle there are good reasons for getting in touch. And, no, she is not on Facebook under her maiden name but a few minutes after I’d got home I’d found her married name but I stopped there. 🙂

Apart from anything, I’d love to say thanks to her for bringing such a brilliant smile to my face the other night. 😀 😀 😀

And I wonder when she wiped the vinegar from her lips? Any post-shift thoughts I may have had disappeared out of the window.

What do you think, dear listener?

Next week. The Orbiston bing – its part in my attempt at the friendzoning world record.

And tonight’s music? A long time ago now, j introduced me to the music of Brandi Carlile (and I introduced her to Alabama 3 – maybe not the fairest of swops) and so it’s a piece of music from Brandi.

The lyrics apply to everyone who’s ever been there for me in even the slightest way. A wee while back I knew that I was depressed when I found myself crying over my keyboard. There’s tears again just now but for totally different reasons.