Being homeless is like living in a post-apocalyptic world. You’re on the outskirts of society. (Frank Dillane)

May 25, 2017

And so dear listener, this will be a short blog as it has been on several occasions before – ranging from the day after the Clutha tragedy through to Charlie Hebdo. Much has already been said and I’m not long since from watching the Queen visiting Manchester hospitals through to a SKY News corr telling us the latest word from MI6 and 5 about the latest terrorist threat.

Nor will I say yet again, why oh why does the egotism of politicians mean that we get involved in regime change in places like Libya and Iraq without thinking through the consequences? That’s why reading books is good.

So nothing this week about my job interview, my first walk with Holly the dog for some time and some really happy smiley Communion pics.

Instead two things;

One, ever since Hillsborough and Bradford Park Avenue many of us have been fearful about leaving a venue; not cos of a bomb threat but because it can be so difficult to get out. I’ve not been to Cappielow, for example, for some time but at one point away fans (unless you were Old Firm fans and you needed space to let off flares) were stuck in a pokey, wee stand with two enclosed narrow stairways which, if someone was coming up the way, you could not get down.

The fear was always fire and as new venues developed with large concourses and proper sized exits, that fear disappeared. Slowly. There can still be bottlenecks at the end of a game or a gig or a film but these are fewer. e and aj came to a Thistle game at the start of last season and leaving the Jackie Husband stand is much easier than the North Stand but there’s not feeling of panic. No feeling of bombs.

But in a world where an Islamic State terrorist is willing to join mums and dads picking up kids from an Ariane Grande concert before detonating a bomb, then anywhere is a target – even more than before.

Secondly, there’s been lots of headlines and social media praise for ‘homeless heroes’ helping the wounded and injured and I know people are well-meaning, but what would you expect them to do? Ask for spare change from the ambulance crews?

I work (part-time, paid) in a project which offers supported accommodation to the homeless in order to get them ready for a new tenancy. They can get used to all sorts of things, including living in their own room and other communal facilities, getting proper benefits, and support to find work. Some have various issues and we do what we can to help there.

Some make it; some don’t but at no time do we forget that these are people with feelings like you and me.

Maybe if I’d been there and helped, the headline could have started with ‘ex-alkie’……..

Or if my downward spiral hadn’t been stopped with so much help from professionals, friends and family, then maybe, ‘homeless’ would have applied to me.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but stereotyping can be a real bummer.

iaint850

This is Stone Roses and did I ever tell you that I got drunk once with Ian Brown?

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Avoid adverbs. “The adverb is not your friend.” (Stephen King) “Goodly Good” (Ned Flanders)

May 19, 2017

And so dear listener, by the time you’ve seen this, I may or may not have been in a meeting which could have a profound influence on me for the next nine months of my life. Or not. If it doesn’t go the way I want it to. 😦

Basically there’s a job come up that I fancy, kinda within the organisation I work for and I’ve applied for it (but I don’t want to be too specific about it) and a large number of people seem to think I’m suited for it and I’d like to say thanks to many folk for all their good wishes, including the telephonic trial run between me and R, and J’s sane and sensible advice, which has acted as a nice calming influence.

But I so needed someone to tell me I’d be rubbish at it and get my feet back on the ground so a massive thanks to #soulboydaviebee who, at first, told me I’d be good at it and then very kindly added, ‘you’re rubbish at everything else, but you’d be good at this job.’ 😀 😀 😀

We’ll see.

(Incidentally, J, in a wheen of tidying up recently, I found my Sconul card. Now, telling me how that worked seriously tested your sane and sensible approach to borrowers)

Elsewhere I attended a refresher First Aid course for work. People seemed to delight in putting me forward as a volunteer for all sorts of things, many of which seemed to see me ending up lying on the floor wrapped in a blanket or similar. At one stage I staggered to my feet and the very good trainer asked if I was okay.

‘Do you have vertigo?’ she asked as I paused to take breath.

‘No’, I said. ‘It’s that seat over there.’

So much of what we refreshed is relevant to what we do in our job (I’ve never had to administer CPR but these days Staying Alive is too slow) but I do remember once trying to get someone into the recovery position but had to make do with keeping him on his side so violently was he trashing about. Didn’t stop him spewing on me, tho’.

Moving on.

Oh, and I did get a badge to add to the collection (‘I am a trained First Aider’) but I’m not sure if I’ll wear it as, if there is an incident in the street where someone is hurt, I may be expected to help. And whilst it occurs to me, can I just say to Caroline how much more relaxed I felt bandaging up someone I know (saved potential embarrassment) which could prove to be a real nuisance for injured strangers in the future. 🙂

And finally, there was another training course I went to. This one was about establishing and maintaining relationships and, whilst most of it was work-related, some of it I may use in my personal life. As some of you may know, I’ve never really understood why the Good Dr W stopped talking to me and I don’t ever want to go through that again without knowing what caused it…….but maybe more of that another time.

The icebreaker was to give name and project and to say the best thing that had happened in the last two weeks. For some it was mundane things like a first grandson or passing an exam or coming back from an exotic holiday. For me?

It was that first bee entering the bee backpacker hostel. 🙂

I am used to the strange looks.

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

Iaint80, aka as Primo One Found

So I’ve said I’m keeping the show election free and I will continue to do so until maybe the week before elections to the UK Parliament which actually have very little to do with education, health and social care as so much of them are devolved to Holyrood.

But reading the vitriol on social media is depressing.

We know I am old but is there really a world out there that doesn’t know the thrill of a school hall hustings with all four (!) candidates and a Lord Sutch lookalike; being canvassed for your opinions and engaging the canvasser in an hour long debate; stuffing leaflets through letterboxes and into envelopes; and driving a potential voter to the polling booth just so that (secretly) they can vote for the opposition?

I got so excited the other day when I saw (stereotyping here) two very obvious Labour Party people and I rushed downstairs to ask them why Jeremy Corbyn was so loyal to Diane Abbott and Emily Thornberry (who had the floor wiped with her by Kay Burley)

Sadly it was not the case, unless out there, there is a party called Mademoiselles Hair and Beauty offering Infrared Sauna Blanket Cocoon – Detox and Calorie Burner with Cellulite Reduction Treatment. I’d vote for them.

This is a band called Hayseed Dixie who specialise in doing country versions of mainstream rock standards. This is Bohemian Rhapsody as you’ve never heard it before.

“Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it.” ― John Muir

May 11, 2017

And so dear listener, this week I had the visitor I’d been waiting ages for. To be honest, I’d almost given up expecting the arrival and I was almost caught by surprise but I do have several cameras so I was instantly able to record their arrival – but not their departure.

Let me explain.

A few months ago, J very kindly officially opened my back garden. Some slabs had been laid, some plants planted and some new garden furniture was there for the purposes of being sat upon. J brought a small bee house to the party.

This is not a beehive; it is a resting house for busy bees on their journeys hither and, indeed, thither. In fact, Facebook conversation decided that it had the potential to become a Bee Backpackers Hostel with bees cooking beans, singing songs, playing guitars and washing their dishes once they’d finished 🙂 . Except, none came.

So, a few days ago, I was planting some herbs and doing the tidying up of the garden that I like to do before my grass-cutter comes to, well, cut my grass and I heard buzzing. You hear lots of things in my part of Summerston but bees buzzing…….and there it was. 🙂

There was a single bee hovering around the house….the beehouse that is……and I ran upstairs to get one of my cameras. It was still there when I got back out and I got it hovering and I got it entering and I missed it coming back out as I’d put the camera down. Quite amazing seeing it come out as all its wings are slicked back and then as soon as it has cleared the hole, the wings come straight back and it’s away. 🙂

Okay, it ain’t wildlife photography like Gordon Buchanan but I was really excited at what I saw and it generated a lot of activity on Facebook when I posted the pics.

So, J, thank you for all that excitement and that is the first contender for the Blog Personality of the Year and it’s only May!!!

(Last year it was won by a book called The Bees by Laline Paull and the Book Club still recommend it as a brilliant book)

Incidentally, I’m just in from the ASDA and whilst I was in the car park I noticed that my phone was telling me that I was in the ASDA and that all my friends would like to see my photos of the ASDA. Leave it with me, friends, and I will do what I can.

I was actually going to lede with something else. Not bees.

Last Saturday I went to the Mitchell Library. Now listeners who have been with me for some time will need no reminding of the chain of events that started on a previous visit to the library some time back……..so there was a wee gulp when I crossed the threshold.

I ordered the same as I did that time – a black coffee and a roll and a fried egg and potato scone and sat in the same seat as before and proceeded to do what I’d gone there to do. I find I study better in a library environment and that was one of the reasons I did so much of the Master’s at UWS (Paisley) Library all those years ago.

My heart was slightly in my mouth, particularly as the wi-fi was working but not on Virgin Mail. Yes. I know there’s no real connection but ask my son about how tekky-illiterate I am altho’ I am okay when walked and talked through it. But I did what I had to do and left. WITH EVERYTHING I’D GONE IN WITH!!!!!!!!!

I then went for a walk down to Finnieston, quickly rolling my hair into a hipster bun and growing a beard in which crows could roost, and almost took another photo.

There’s a wee path which takes you past what is known as the Gaelic School and if you keep looking behind you, as all good snappers do, you see the tops of the very beautiful Sikh temple shimmering over the school – true diversity before that word became associated with a dance troupe currently performing at Butlin’s.

Paisley Uny library has been refurbished and my favest seat has gone. It was one floor up, beside a large window where you could overlook a major entrance area and see who was coming and going who might fancy a coffee but also you could keep an eye on the comings and goings in the library itself. 😉

The Mitchell Library ain’t quite the same but it has its compensations.

I’m now going into the back garden to read Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Yes, I do have an interesting reason for doing so. Hopefully more soon time.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, at times amazingly patient when I know why (Skippy, that’s a bit deep even for me)

And so tonight’s music is from a very new album where the songs of Brandi Carlile are sung by such diverse talents as Pearl Jam, Adele and Old Crow Medicine Show. I actually have two copies of the album and have one to give away but rather than offer it up as a competition prize, I know who’s getting the other copy. This is taking me longer than usual to type as I keep looking at the bee house.

‘Proceeds all go to benefit children living in conflict zones.’

This is Dolly Parton with ‘The Story’. Watch it without crying – I defy you.

Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever. (Keri Russell)

May 5, 2017

And so dear listener, I am a man of my word. But I do need your assistance. I do need help – as I suggested last week. After all, in many ways, I am offering you an opportunity to help direct someone’s life in a way you might not otherwise get. I do, however, reserve the caveat that I decide what I do but maybe you should carpe the diem before anyone else does. I still need pushed in the right direction. 😉

Or am I still trying to work out the ending of Line of Duty?

So, yes, I have booked a B & B in Oban for a few days in July. The way my part-time rota works means that I can, if I chose the right days, be off work (for good reasons) for about a fortnight whilst only using up twenty-one hours of my annual leave. This I have done. 😀

And I shall also book my train tickets in the next few days. At the moment I have no plans for whilst I’m up there but some of the small isles off Oban have tearooms that do lunch – including Sundays – and at night, I am assured it is great for seafood and the B & B is at the end of the Esplanade. And, yes, the organisation for which I work does have a project in Oban but I may not necessarily visit. Gannavan (sp) Sands is more of an attraction as is fresh air. 🙂

And one of the other things I said I‘d do I’ve done. I’ve signed up for a morning’s walk around the Forth and Clyde Canal in Ruchill organised by Glasgow University. It’s a historical walk but it’s an area I used to know well (don’t ask me about Frampton’s or the Viking bar and my old Addiction Centre used to be up there and it’s not that long since they found a cannabis farm there as well) ……..and I well remember e coming with me to Maryhill Health Centre, when it was in that area, so that I could get my PSA result after my prostate cancer treatment. I defo needed a friend to help with that and the PSA result was a good one. 😀

And, in fact, it was my (former) cancer that saw me talking on BBC Radio Scotland the other day. I’d seen on Facebook that they were talking about the Digital Rectal Examination Test (or finger up the bum as I was once asked not to say on STV. And didn’t.) and tagged someone at the BBC so they mentioned the radio prog it was on and I listened and I phoned in and it was as if I was expected.

‘This is jt850 and I’d like to comment……..’

‘Hi jt. This is Karen McK. How are you?’

‘I’m fine Karen. How are you?’

‘Fine and I’ll just check. Is your radio off?’

‘It is.’

‘Right. I’ll just put you through now.’

And I was not asked what I wanted to say. It was as if I was expected. And they knew what I’d say. And somebody else phoned from Pacific Quay today, asking if I’d used any alternative medicines in my cancer care to which I answered ‘no’. And the conversation ended.

But let’s go back to Line of Duty and one of the most discussed TV progs for a long time and the theme of ‘spoilers’ – knowing what happened before you actually see it happening. Yes, I had heard this and that about her and her lawyer and the balaclava men and all that stuff but actually seeing it? Nothing could have prepared me for that moment when she turned round and arrested the lawyer. WOW!!!!!!!!!!

(I know someone who uses a lot of exclamation marks. Is she’s not seen the final episode she will realise how wow making it was!!!!!!!!!)

Good, well-acted drama wins every time. Sometimes you even need to know the plot already before you can appreciate what has happened – as I said to a good friend after we’d watched Fassbender’s Macbeth at the Phoenix, Linwood a couple of years back. 🙂

But what hold did the DCC have over the WPC (do we still call them that?) that made her hand over all those documents? And given my recent nose allergy/infection it was a wee bit worrying to hear that MRSA grows up your nose. And why, every time someone mentioned the name of the Forensic Scientist – Tim Ifield – did I start singing ‘I remember you’?

(Line of Duty. Not Macbeth)

And finally, I have a sleeping problem.

Some of my early shifts see me starting at seven or thereabouts and whilst I’ve changed my medication so that I’m not as sleepy as I was with the previous stuff, it still makes me sleep real well so when the alarm goes off at 5.45 it is a real struggle to get up to go to work and get a parking space twenty minutes from the project. I just want to turn over and go back to sleep.

However, and I suspect most people know what’s coming, on those mornings when I don’t have to go to work, I still wake at 5.30 and check the alarm and lie there – unable to get back to sleep. What, dear listener, can I do? Your help is appreciated.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple until I’m told not to.

Iaint850, sensing a new challenge. More anon.

Growing up in Peterhead, there wasn’t much of a chance to see live bands (altho’ I have very vague memories of an early Bay City Rollers gig in Maud Village Hall) and the closest place for gigs was the Music Hall in Aberdeen.

This was the first band I ever saw there. Blodwyn Pig. Now, I’m not so sure why, but when you’re about sixteen……….and, yes, it does finish abruptly.

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” ― Oscar Wilde

April 27, 2017

And so, dear listener, I wish to give plenty of notice that this show may turn out to be a bit of a moan. I don’t know for sure as the blog is never properly planned but a lot of it goes through my head and I’ve just had a sleepless night but not for good creative reasons. 😦

So beware before you step any further.

But at the same time don’t worry. This is nothing to do with depression as a mental health issue; I suspect this may come down to my butt needing kicked and I may be looking for volunteers to help to do that. Depression as a mental health issue is getting a fair amount of publicity at the moment but, from personal experience, I do know the difference.

The origins of the current mood do lie, though, in the anxiety and depression of last year which was work related but I’m handling that and I did emerge with an SVQ3 and I am enjoying the shift to days but the early starts are really early and an opportunity has come up, which, well I’ll know more in May. But the anxiety did slow me down and stop me going out – even to football matches. 😦

And this virus/allergy/infection is proving harder to deal with than expected and the original medication was really debilitating; gave me plenty of sleep but left me tired a lot of the time. I’ve been to see the doc and I have new tablets but in the three days between stopping the old pills and starting the new, my sleeping patterns were awful and I’m not sleeping, which gives me too much time to think.

And what these have all done is to cause the serious medical problem of ooomphless. I need ooooomph. I’m going to play a piece of music while you take all that in.

My Gaelic teacher, Joy Dunlop. 🙂

So yes, let’s take one example and on this occasion offer a positive solution. Gaelic.

The first block was great but I missed a lot of classes and a Gaelic night out (sorry e) in the second block because of the virus and I never really caught up. I’ve been talking about going to the Gaelic College but the solution is a lot simpler – after this very busy work weekend, I intend to go to the Mitchell Library (spiritual home of missing USB sticks) one morning a week and do the work. 🙂

So I’m not going to Skye for my holidays but again, after this weekend (and I’m not prevaricating. One shift sees me getting home at 11 at night and back in again at 7 the next morning) I plan to select a week at random in the Summer (watching out for an existing Gaelic commitment and a gig), book that week off from the project and devise a trip possibly based on Oban. 🙂

And let’s take on the elephant in the room – companionship. I am carp at computer dating. (plenty of fish gag in the typo) and can’t start an e-conversation to save myself. But I can talk to people. My friendship with R from Cardross started at a suicide intervention course and the friendship with J, the blog’s favest librarian, started over an Inter-Library Loan. 😀

If it’s that big a deal, then set me upon a blind date. I will go.

And I’ve spoken about friendship before and I know I can be a pain but I can be told and take that telling.

After all, I am the man who, on returning to the college after Cold Turkey, was told by some line managers that alcoholics were scum, couldn’t be trusted and were bound to lapse. A few months later I was diagnosed with cancer.

Don’t hold back about telling me things. 😉

But so many friendships have added so much to my life; be it a change in my eating habits to introducing me to new music (and the world of the Inukshuk) to being aware of other peoples’ issues and babysitting……and indeed, going to Partick Thistle came out of an existing friendship and helped to create new ones.

(How are we doing for word count, Skippy?)

I have purchased my PT season ticket (the £308 has been deducted from my bank account this year) and I intend to be more of a full-timer than I was this season and will try and persuade other people to come; I will cut back on the editing because I did so this year and made more money and even in the last few weeks, when an Out of Office sign was up, I have done okay; and I have a brochure of Glw Uny short courses beside me and will pick a couple.

And then there’s the pencils. At Christmas I became the proud owner of twelve pencils which came ready sharpened and I’ve been using them, but when they became less than sharp, I put them aside and used another one.
Now they’ve all been re-sharpened. Once upon a time that would have been procrastination; now it’s a positive move. 🙂

And I needed to cut my toenails. This was a real frightener. My head was saying ‘why do you need to get up? You’re not working until the afternoon’; whereas my toenails were saying ‘Howard Hughes’.

Again after the weekend, please ask me how I’m getting on with these promises (maybe not the toenails) and I’m serious about the blind date idea…….

But I come to the end of tonight’s show with a positive vibe and a declared intention to stay in touch.

I genuinely would not be here today if it were not for various folk and the things I have been encouraged to do. 🙂

That is the biggest debt of gratitude I can pay and I say that with a lot based on much of my current job.

Iaint850, keeping it simple with one of my most favourite up-beat pop songs of all time;

I’m dancing already

In light of Teresa May’s announcement…we’ll just keep on playing country music (Chris Country Radio)

April 20, 2017

And so, dear listener, I intend to take Chris Country Radio’s words literally and devote much of tonight’s show to country music and the part it has played in my life (or at least the last eighteen months). As much as is possible I intend to ignore the elections other than to say, how can anyone plan running this country or council when it has now become the easiest thing in the world to ignore the fact that people did vote and didn’t expect to vote again until appropriate time (or a generation) had lapsed.

Even in my student politics days I never voted as early and as often; altho’ if this quote from a friend of a friend’s Facebook page is anything to go by, then increasing academic standards should be high on the list;

‘Tory’s are literary scum of the earth’

The bastards! They don’t even read good books!

So basically I want to play some music interspersed with some serious stuff. Some of you will recognise the musical choice and your connection with it but I won’t name you. For example,

The lovely Brandi Carlile

Or you may have been with me when we saw someone

Sharon Shannon and Steve Earle

And I spent some time this week talking to a friend from my first time at university who starts treatment for prostate cancer (chemotherapy) not long after the council elections (Sorry. It slipped out). It wasn’t so much discussing treatments and stuff but support and care and where that comes from. Around this time eight years ago I was reaching the end of my treatment and I’d had a twenty-first birthday and a wedding to look forward to and I made one but not the other, but I’m still here annoying the sh*t out of people.

And there’s no prizes for guessing the right word.

This is Blue Rose Code and Karine Polwart (country-ish?)

So my Samsung tablet wasn’t charging properly; in fact I could watch the battery decrease before my very eyes (well, the paint had dried)

Someone suggested blowing into the socket where I inserted the charger and onto the charger itself. It has gone back up from 40% (ish) to 100%. I can now stay totally election free with catch-up TV on the tablet.

But the manifestos will be out soon. That’s when my determination will be tested.

And whilst it’s good to see the Royal Family (jr) talk about depression in the context of their late mum (and indeed others) and it’s all about raising awareness, and I try to do the same through this show, we do need more money to treat mental health. We now acknowledge things like depression as real mental health issues but there are people out there with more specific mental health issues (maybe living on their own or in supported accommodation) who deserve better treatment and many of whom end up in Police cells cos there’s nowhere else for them to go.

My anxiety issues of last were recently described as a reaction to things that were happening at that time and I’ll go along with that but much of what I went through post-recoveries was coping with depression.

And I’d like to thank John Collins, who has a rather nice Country music show on Clyde 2 on a Sunday night (and other Bauer radio stations) for the next piece of music. John and I worked at the BBC some time back and amongst other things he’d a show called BPM – which was absolutely nothing like the country tunes he currently spins. I asked him for a tune for tonight.

This is Little Big Town

And finally, if there’s anything that comes out of tonight’s show, it’s that I owe so much to so many people, but they have good tastes in music.

So here’s a wee joke just to lighten things;

‘I went on a once in a lifetime holiday. Never again.’

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and I owe a lot of tonight’s show to keeping it simple

Iaint850 and beginning to think I have become invisible……maybe it’s my medication that’s given me a cloak of invisibility cos it’s doing lots of other stuff to me as well as sorting out the allergy.

So before I played country, I already used music to help me through the dark times. I’ve spoken about Alabama 3 and Steve Earle and Kris Kristofferson and so on and it was good to see the Waterboys and I’m looking forward to seeing Texas but there’s always been one piece of music that’s been there for me. There was one occasion post-cancer treatment when I felt really down (and as long serving listeners will remember it involved a former Miss Scotland) and I went for a walk not sure where I was going and when I came out of the reverie this was playing somewhere.

This is Green Day (and, J, watch for the tyre kicking)

‘A vain, outlandish, anti-immigrant, fear-mongering demagogue runs for President of the United States – and wins.’

April 13, 2017

And that, dear listener, is the blurb for a fictional book written in 1935 called It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis and I think it’s more about the rise of Hitler than Trump altho’ so much of it does apply to Trump’s America. However, it’s been written in a very strange style and I’m doing, like, one chapter per night.

But it does mean that events register in a way they might not otherwise have done.

For example, I was reading about the concentration camps (or Holocaust Centers as Sean Spicer describes them) that American President Berzelius Windrip had introduced for dissidents when, low and behold, it was reported that Chechnya had introduced them for gay men.

And United Airlines’ way of removing that overbooked doctor from one of their plans seemed to stop just short of the firing squad as described in the book when they took away someone who was a bit belligerent, although I think they were justified as they knew a firing squad awaited them (in the book).

As yet, as I say I’m reading it slowly, I’ve still to reach a bit where the President is eating dessert cake (‘really beautiful dessert cake’) when he’s told that his country has dropped 59 (‘unmanned’ as in no pilots) missiles on some country in the Middle East but he gets the wrong one, but there’s a bit to go.

It could be a while before it ends up on the book club shelves.

[Oh, and I a quick word to j, if I may……No I don’t think I’m excluded and I was reasonably happy with what I wrote. I just got a shock.]

And so, dear listener, that was a pretty heavy start to the show so let’s go lighter. Let’s talk about my first ever media appearance. 🙂

I was reminded of it when I noticed a couple of weeks ago that Songs of Praise was coming from my hometown of Peterhead. Many years ago, when the world was black and white, it came twice from there in the space of a few months and I appeared in both – well I did and I didn’t.

Was I in primary school or early years secondary? It matters not, but I was in a choir (and somewhere in my house there is proof of a very fresh-faced young man but with a wee bit more hair than was usual at that age. It’s an early version of a screen grab where a professional photographer took photos of the TV screen)

Anyway, Peterhead played a blinder in the first one (no doubt due to my charms) and the BBC came back and the choir was also invited back. Now were you ever to see this prog, you would notice me at the start, in position next to the font, and marvel at my good looks. However, when the camera next returned to that position I was gone – I had fainted and had to be got out, without being spotted by the cameras, down an aisle to the side. But I was smitten by broadcasting. And as regular listeners know, I am often smitten, but by ‘eck, they’re quality smites. 🙂

And some other good newses in that the Queen Street to Summerston railway line (or as some may know the West Highland Line to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig – and that’s just given me an idea) has re-opened following the landslide somewhere along the line near Possilpark and Parkhouse. 🙂

And my gardener is due to do the first work of the season very soon and the shed has been tidied and this will be the first full season of the garden furniture and patio with plants, so who knows what that might lead to.:)

And finally, obviously delighted to see Partick Thistle make it into the top six and I just wonder if, mathematically, we can get into Eorpa if results go the right way; also delighted that we are going to spend £4 million on a new training ground. Shame we don’t where it’s going to be – just yet.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and always glad to see other people doing so and – still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, who can’t stop worrying, especially when he’s not sure what he’s worrying about.

And so, dear listener, I was supposed to be meeting uni-Sharon on Wednesday but the installation of a new washing machine took precedence (much more useful than me I would suggest) but I had additional reasons to be in town.

However having discharged those duties I happened to bump into my PT (Partick Thistle, the Harry Wraggs, the Maryhill Magyars) mate #soulboydaviebee (Tamla discos’r’us) who works part-time (p-t) in the brilliant indie record shop, Love Music, who persuaded me to give him £10 and allowed me to take away four CDs of my choice but based solely on the covers. 😀 😀 😀

One of the CDs is from a band called House of Fools. It takes a wee bit of getting into, as does this viewing of them but give it time.

“Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” ― (the great) Walter Cronkite

April 6, 2017

And so dear listeners, some of you may remember some time ago that, after a very poor team bonding day, I happily left the others and took a train up the road. On that train was a young lady reading a book – as opposed to a kindle – and I congratulated her, as I left, as everyone else had their noses in their tablets. The book?

Appropriately it was The Girl on the Train. 🙂

The other night I met another girl on the same train. 🙂

It was the ten o’clock coming out of Queen Street and I had not long finished my shift. A couple of tables down was a young lady (20ish), wearing railway workers’ clothes and with a book in hard covers. She also had a quarter/half bottle of Buckfast secreted in a bag. 😉

She smiled as I grunted into my seat and had a swig. Our eyes met a couple of other times and she had a couple of other swigs and then, just after Possilpark and Parkhouse, she got up to go but there is a wee gap between P & P and Gilshochill (or Gilshiehill as it’s known locally) and she paused at my table to show me the book. It was about the Dead Sea Scrolls and the photos were sepia-tinged black and white and she explained the significance of the signs on the copper-plated scrolls.

She also said that she loved books 🙂 and that she’d given her one year old god-daughter a huge pile of books and spent time reading with her 🙂 . And then the train pulled into the station and she was gone. Summerston’s the next station down the line and I was looking forward to home going. In terms of the shift, it had not been a long time in hours, but long in never getting a minute to yourself and never getting the chance to log why you’d never got a minute to yourself.

A few days previously I’d spoken to a grown-up man who had never read a book – other than what he needed to read for any qualification.

So I’ve lent him a book by Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book. I look forward, with interest, to his comments.

(Incidentally, the day after that chance encounter with the Book Lady of Gilshochill, there was a landslip outside Possilpark and Parkhouse and the line has been closed ever since – a bit of a nuisance if you want to get to Oban)

And a final word about words if I may. I am currently taking very powerful anti-histamines (altho’ I have a bad habit of referring to them as amphetamines) and whilst I can gauge their useage in a day when I’m project working I am loathe to take them in connection with other activities .e.g. editing and so, there is an Out Of Office up there and I’m not even acknowledging any mail as I know I’ll just say yes. Somebody has just put money in my Paypal account to persuade me to do their essay.

Later today, I will return it.

And the amphetamines are working but there are times when I leave my brain in the kitchen when I go through to the front room. Sorry if I am coming across a bit stranger than usual at the moment. But I can feel them working so that must be good.

And finally, a final, final word about words, particularly those spoken by football managers.

And this happened a wee while back and it was for one of those radio documentaries where I did all the interviewing and someone else presented – and on this occasion it was the smashing Ian Archer. He arranged for me to interview the then Rangers manager Jock Wallace.

Jock had a reputation as a man of few words and most of those were four letters long but it was good to have his views. I arrived at Ibrox, was escorted up the marble staircase and was introduced to him. I got pelters from him – my jacket, my hair and my then support for Clydebank – and all of it with expletives most definitely not deleted. I was dreading the actual interview.

But it had to start and the tape did roll. And he was superb and not a single sweary word. I was editing it in my head which is always a good sign. And the tape stopped rolling. And the swearing started again – me as the target once more. I didn’t mind. I had got what I came for.

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

Iaint850, always in the market for coffee, despite the pills, and always nice to hear from people.

Anyway, at almost the very beginning of my time with the BBC I worked for a programme called Nationwide. It was whilst we were at war with Argentina and I was often called down to London for the week to work on the war desk. On one occasion I was asked by the editor to have a look at some cine footage that had been transferred to Beta (told you it was a long time ago).

It was of the sinking of the Sir Galahad and it was taken from another ship as opposed to the broadcast BBC coverage which was taken by helicopters. It was basically men burning to death and jumping from ships to save their lives. Nothing was shown at that time as far as I can remember but it left a lasting effect on me.

Which was why I was so appalled at the obvious delight on Michael Howard’s face when he discussed Margaret Thatcher’s taskforce and what it had achieved thirty-five years ago; horrible, horrible man. And this week there were signs that, more and more, the Middle East is becoming World War Three by proxy.

So by the magic of randomly picking a CD from a shelf in Fopp I became aware of a chanteuse called Rhiannon Giddens, only to discover that BBC Al, the blog’s bad taste pal and his wife, the lovely C, not only knew of her but were already going to see her in Edinburgh.

This is Rhiannon at the Grand Ole Opry

‘So long and thanks for all the fish’ (Theresa May’s real message to the EU)

March 30, 2017

And so, dear listener, many of you will be aware that, during my Post Grad diploma, I did a placement at a rehab in Easterhouse. I’ve usually mentioned it in connection with a share I did there but not a lot else – oh, and my first day there when I had to eat sausages cos I had still to ‘out’ myself as a pescatarian there and then live on a diet of baked potatoes which were brilliant. 🙂

I’d never mentioned its name as I, like most (ex) journalists, believe in confidentiality and practise that within the blog but I will now reveal all. It was called New Horizons (was) and used purpose-built premises on the Queenslie Industrial Estate.

I loved my time there. I was involved in groupworks, one-to-ones and had five pins stuck in each ear from time to time – and I did some creative writing workshops. They were good fun and the first session involved giving out cards with a single word on them and you couldn’t look and you got three and you had to make a story using the words.

The young lady sitting next to me picked her three and two of them were ‘mountains’ and ‘holidays’ – but I’m not sure what the third was. And I thought this is quite obvious but no…….one of her sentences read, ‘I’m going to go on holiday but before I do, I have mountains of ironing to get through.’ That’s a story in itself – a brilliant use of the words on the cards. 😀

I learned during the week that the place had been closed and the workers dispersed a wee while back. I contacted one of them – S. She had been my ‘best friend’ whilst there and had helped me through a difficult relationship that coincided with my time there.

She’s fine. Thanks for asking. 🙂

Moving on.

Technologically, it’s been a good week.

You will be pleased to hear, j, that I have re-set the zoom thing on my phone so I can take proper pictures and, everyone, I managed to solve a battery problem on my Samsung tablet with the help of Youtube.

You see, the battery was kinda down anyway (I tried telling it jokes and singing to it but to no avail) and I watched Line of Duty on it (OMG!!!!!! Imagine waking up to that!!!!!!) but when I tried to charge it, it went down.

A nice lady on Youtube told me to blow into the charger socket and on to the charger bit itself for 30 seconds each and then shove the charger in – and it worked. Okay – slowly – but it worked. And none of that is an innuendo.

And finally, I had been referred to an ENT specialist at the New Victoria Hospital in the south side of Glasgow.

She was very good. When she explained that the telescope she was going to put up my nose would tickle, I explained that I’d much worse in other places. She said, ‘I know’. It’s always nice when they’ve read your records, isn’t it?

And there’s a lovely view from the second floor but nobody else seemed interested in it – well, I can excuse the young lady holding a hankie to her nose and the nurse who kept replacing it – the hankie, not the nose.

tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple but smiling, 🙂 🙂 🙂

iaint850, but feeling fed up cos of this throat thing. It tires me out before the day even starts.

So I have a nasal fungal thing caused by an allergy and when I sneeze I do so with enough power to send all that lava back up Vesuvius but, by ‘eck, it hurts my throat. So I have medication and we’ll see what it does.

I rarely Google these things but I used to work with the singer Rab Noakes and he came through tonsillar cancer and has written some songs using that experience, so I Googled it. Ignoring last year’s very false alarm about bowel cancer, there is a feeling that, once you’ve come through a cancer (eight years ago I was starting the second half of my treatment) that there is still a cancer cell inside your body waiting to attack.

But I had very few symptoms; just a horrible rasping cough which is keeping me awake. Another false alarm, and I’ll keep taking the tablets (and blowing on them if necessary) and I need to get out more. Fresh air and sparkling conversation is good. 🙂

And coffee helps. Heat down the back of the throat brings much needed relief. 🙂

And, I’m told, it’s not infectious…….just in case.

One of the things I’m doing later this year (talking of getting out) is going with e (sorry Naomi Campbell) to see this band at the Kelvingrove Bandstand. I think, e, they’re a bit better known to you than A3 were to j. (See me, see encryption?)

People saw things – things they never expected to see in their life (Lindsay Hoyle MP , deputy speaker of the House of Commons)

March 23, 2017

And so dear listener, for most of this week, I have been without Virgin e-Mail and, indeed, still am. Now there are ways around this, such as a reserve Gmail address, but a couple of students, for whom I had hoped to do some work, must have thought it was some kind of scam and didn’t follow it through.

I was communicating with them on mail by phone but I think they thought that if I could talk to them that way, why did I need to give an alternative address? Some listeners may remember the days when I was getting radiotherapy. 🙂

I’d go to bed about nine cos I was so tired and be wide awake at about three so, instead of reading a book, I’d mail people and then go back to bed. Thankfully I’d stopped drinking before texting was so popular so I was never drunk in charge of a mobile. 😀

And after all my catching up on leave and various viruses and that, I am almost back as an established day time worker. 1st April and, hopefully, everything will fall into place. But it was nice the other day cos I’d to go a meeting in the Gorbals area and not only has that area changed considerably, even in just the last few years, but I didn’t really get to go to too many meetings on night shift – well not that kind anyway. 😉

But doing that reminded me of when I worked at the college and often had to visit campuses in places like Florence Street (a beautiful converted Victorian school with lots of light) where I taught something to do with Communication to good looking young ladies doing Graphic design who were brilliant to work with.

I also did something similar with good looking young men (Floor and Wall Tilers) in our Bridgeton campus who came close to lynching me one afternoon because they didn’t save their work to floppies or sticks; they saved it to the computer. One day a boffin from Head Office came down to Rogart Street and cleaned the computers; they lost all their work ):

We came to an informal arrangement; so if you ever find yourself with an uncommunicative tiler, he may well have been one of mine but rest assured, he passed.

And much to e’s chagrin I took taxis to those places and sneaked away early on foot (well not from Brigton) – it wasn’t the sneaking away that caused concern; it was the laziness. I have walked many miles since. With e. And others.

And it was nice to be welcomed back at the project (yet again) by some of the folk I work with including one of the refugees who asked if I’d been…..and I couldn’t quite make out what he was saying so I go him to write it down. Had I been

doginit?

he asked.

But I’m also getting to go to training again including a one day course on Understanding Relationships. No. I don’t think it’s that, ‘tho. 🙂

And I saw a copy of the Scottish Daily Mail in a local supermarket the other day. It had a headline which read;

Memory like a goldfish? Take the test to see if you should worry.

I don’t know how many times I read it.

And finally, it’s quite obvious I have avoided talking about the killings at Westminster as, by the time this hits the streets, everything will have been said. Can I, tho’, draw your attention to two images; one still and the other moving (altho’ the still one was also moving but in a slightly different way).

The still one was that of the paramedics fighting to save the life of the assailant but with a policeman with a very steady hand and a sub-machine gun, standing there – just watching….just in case.

The other? Who are these idiots who believe that a police cordon doesn’t apply to them? In this image the policeman was shouting at them not go under the ribbon and then, very graphically, he advised one of them to take his (couldn’t quite catch the word) earphones off.

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

Iaint850, and I’ll tell you more next week about my visit to the ENT unit and the new Victoria Hospital but I may sign off then as Fungus the Bogeyman…..just saying, that’s all.

So it was with interest that I read recently that three new coffee shops (UKwide) are opening each day yet four pubs are shutting their doors for good each day yet recent statistics show that alcohol consumption continues to rise. Why? It’s known as pre-loading – where people go and buy cheap alcohol and drink it before going out. One of the things I don’t miss by working days is watching chucking out time (3 a.m.) in Sauchiehall Street.

When I started drinking at the age of 16, the pub was where you went and, to a very large degree, it was the pub that decided how much you could drink before refusing to sell you and your mates any more alcohol. You matched your drinking with your peers but you were also aware that others around you, with their ‘quiet pint’, would not countenance your loutish behaviour.

There was a normal way to behave.

Maybe one day we’ll have a coherent strategy on alcohol but right now, it seems a long way off.

And I recently mentioned Leon Russell to a couple of people as one of my first musical heroes (and not just cos of the hair). This proves that rock/country stars are fallible. He’s dead now but I did get to see him a few years ago.