Archive for April, 2012

And there’s nothing wrong with me. This is how I’m supposed to be. In a land of make believe that don’t believe in me.

April 30, 2012

Every so often there is a reflective blog and this is about to be one. Regular listeners will have guessed that by the choice of Green Day that something like this was about to happen but don’t worry – Boulevard of Broken Dreams it ain’t. No. I’ve come to the end of six months at uny and eleven weeks at a placement in Easterhouse and I wish I could tell you some of the stories from there. But I won’t in public. Maybe over a cup of coffee and some invites are out there. 🙂

I’ve still a lot of writing to do but I’d mixed emotions last week. And still have. About many things. But it was weird. Many, many years ago I left the BBC. For the first of many times. And I was sad. But that particular Friday night I had my son come to stay with me. What’s it called? Access? Or is it contact? Whatever. For twenty-four hours you are, if you don’t hand the child back at four in the morning, a single parent. And then you hand him back to his mum at four the next afternoon. 😦

And then you go to the pub. Even when I was a practising alkie I was good at it. Showed promise. But regular listeners know that part of the story. It has moved on. Two Saturdays ago my son and, it seemed like, seventeen million others were admitted to the Institute of Chartered Accountants. Five of us (call me Gooseberry t850) went for a meal afterwards and Son Brian and step dad both knew where the restaurant was. And walked off in different directions. I smiled. And then cried in Queen Street Station when we got back to Glasgow. Some things I never thought I’d see.

And then Saturday just past he came to my house to sort out my printer problem, uninstall stuff from the laptop, synch my blackberry to the laptop and do something with the camera. The initial payment? Scrambled egg rolls and they should have been good. Six bloody eggs and a whole lot of butter. They were. But I paid the full price that afternoon. The Scout 5k around Mugdock. (Yes, Doctor W….that one!) No I wasn’t running. I ended up in charge of registrations! And fell out with a man from the 204th cos nobody had told me that ‘to pay’ on their piece of paper meant that someone else had collected their money and had still ‘to pay’it. But I was sooooo glad just to be part of his life after all I’d put him through…….

Not much to say after that except……..

Study Buddie Fi (every week a voyage of discovery) made it to a local cattle show with Jay the boy wonder (she is an expert on all types of sheep) and we all went to a swing park up the road but, I’m sorry to say that we’ve done ASDA in Linwood….can’t tick that one off again; to the Good Doctor W… that wasn’t the episode of Lip Service we feature in. Maybe this week; to e and AJ, nice catching up; and to the Vampire Slayer and Missie K…just say when.

And finally, a few weeks ago me and Study Buddie Fi were in the ASDA Summerston and she was looking for the Beauty Counter. ‘Where is the Beauty Counter?’ she asked. ‘In Bearsden,’ she was told….aaaaah see living in one of Glasgow’s roughest areas (according to recent Daily Records)

Cya, keep(ing)it fun and still wearing that badge? Yes and it almost got me thrown out of the Edinburgh Conference Centre but some of the scouts’ mums liked it……..and I can hear Sharon shouting, ‘Thin Ice!’

Johnt850, who can do humility now and again.

So nothing serious below the line except a friend of mine moved to a new house and found a plant growing in his garden that he’d never seen before.  He looked at the books and decided it was either a strange form of parsley or cannabis. So he called in a horticulturalist who wasn’t sure either. So he suggested that he cut off some of it, dry it and roll it up in a Rizla and smoke it. And , if after that he was still worried, then it was definitely parsley.

This is Son Brian’s favourite band (kinda…altho I think it’s really KT’s)…Skerryvore that is. The track’s called Call of the Sea/Wit’s End….mmmm….. food for thought there.

Just like moons and just like suns, with the certainty of tides, just like hopes springing high, still I’ll rise (Maya Angelou)

April 21, 2012

And yes, it’s been a wee while since there’s been a blog. Much has happened since the last one and I now have to cast my brain back to remember it all. There’s never been a break in the blog’s life of more than a week and those who’ve been with it since the start will remember when it was twice weekly and there’s lots of things that used to be twice weekly….

(Sorry, I’m writing this in the tuck shop next to the school library pretending to write an essay and a girl at the table next to me has just said; ‘and she’s never had a snog since…’. If it gets really interesting I’ll let you know.  Actually one of the teachers knows all about this blog and I was in making excuses about possible late delivery which sooooo won’t happen and on the way out he gave me this advice for this week’s blog (seriously). He said ‘don’t self censor’, or did he say, ‘don’t self centre.’?

No. School finished on Monday past but we weren’t allowed to bring in games like most schools. But we had a good chat and I will be spending most of the next few weeks in the library as I have a RAT and a TAM to write (omg, I can’t even get the TLAs right….)

Also a very enjoyable placement finished in a community rehab in Easterhouse. I’ve not said much about it for obvious reasons but on one tour of the place, in the old shopping centre, it was interesting to note that the two pubs were still the same. From the outside. I’ve had some amazing discussions about Charles Dickens with centre users and been reminded about the need to buy an easter egg for a smashing wee man. I took part in a meeting where the participants were told that they could keep asking questions of the speaker, but ‘nae mair questions about jagging the eggs!’ and I’ve been shown a lot of kindness and patience and eaten a lot of baked potatoes – being a  life-long pescatarian for the last two years. (Incidentally, can I just say a big thanks to the good Doctor W, for continuing to keep the streets of North Lanarkshire safe?)

But I do say that every week is a voyage of discovery with Study Buddie Fi. Two weekends ago we visited Orkney where I did not fall off any cliffs (and my thanks to all those people who advised me to walk several feet behind Fi. No. No reason) We went to Papa Westray (soooo like the Seychelles) and then did the flight to Westray itself, which is the world’s shortest flight. We each got a certificate, which I laminated back at the placement. No. It’s not a learning outcome but a handy skill. 🙂

(They’re now talking epidurals at the next table……….)

All three of us had a great time (Jay the boy wonder was there) and Birsay is an amazing place. With a burger van for sale. We had use of a BMW (thanks to Neil of Neil and Jenni fame) and I would like to thank Fi for her useful advice when I was attempting to reverse out of a space. The Ring of Brodghar is such a nice place to calm down after a row 🙂 and if you think that sounds JK Rowlingish, there is a place in Orkney called Harrey and it actually has a potter. Also a very pleasant memory of a youth hostel which was open but empty one Sunday afternoon. Great kettle. 🙂

This week’s voyage of discovery? Morrison’s in Johnstone. Why not? We’ve done the Asda in Linwood, Morrison’s in Irvine, the Co-op in Beith and the legendary Tesco’s in Kilbirnie. And I’ve been driving.

Which brings us to this week’s Quantum Leap of Logic. Or how many steps does it take to connect the murder trial of Kevin ‘the Gerbil’ Carroll to Fi. (I may have met him once. I can’t remember………and if that obscure reference means nothing to you, then you are soooo lucky. Google Gerbil plus alien abduction.

(One of them is now telling her pals that she’s killed her dad….omg. What should I do?…oh, she’s now said, ‘and then I woke up’. Phewwwww)

So to the Leap.

Right I get my own car washed and valeted at Anniesland Valet Centre. It is owned by Fraggles Green. Fraggles was the Gerbil’s closest friend and is an astute Glasgow businessman. So astute is he that he happened to be one of the first on the scene when the Gerbil was shot and swallowed not one but two of the Gerbil’s Simcards (No. He didn’t realise that….. eventually……and has obviously never seen CSI). Well Fraggles’s boys are about to face their greatest ever challenge. For the last two weeks my rear seat passengers have been Jay and Sasha the golden retriever………the very wet golden retriever. Yes. Largs has some very bracing sea air. Now in the back of my car. As is most of Sasha’s coat.

And finally, Son Brian was formally admitted as a Chartered Accountant at the weekend. In Edinburgh. Each time he does something like this I walk away very quietly but very proud. Not just the normal father-son pride but that of someone who, if things had not worked as well as they have done for me, would never have lived to see these things. I am not the most humble of people but do believe in spreading certain messages. The Support Team who have looked after me for over five years now all made this possible. They are like no other in the world. Thanks.

Cya, (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? Yup and with a mega-thanks to the Wrigley Sisters of Kirkwall and their life-saving apple and cinnamon tea.

Johnt850, who dares to be different..

So it’s not quite the end of an era as I still have about 10,000 words to write by mid-May and then jobsearch begins. If you’re anywhere near the school library, then please come and distract me. It’s been an amazing experience and I’ve met amazing people. It’s a journey I want to continue. And will. But if I had to pick out one memory of the last six or so months, it would be the second floor of the multi-storey car park next to the library. For more than one reason. And should I ever forget, then the yellow post-it on the driver’s door window reminds me.

And this reminds me of the black BMW I was driving.

Despite all the complications, you could just dance to that rock and roll station, and it was alright…it was alright, you betcha

April 1, 2012

Rock’n’roll music. You cannie whack it (eh?). Particularly when it comes from the Runaways. And not a single mention of a mosh pit. But I do need cheering up. Regular listeners will know I’m a technophobe but sometimes I surprise myself. So far. So not so good.

It’s a new printer. The old one had more or less died and enuff money had fallen into my possession to allow me to buy a new one. Which I did several months ago. But I’d put off installing it on the basis of the fact that I had a lot of ink still to go for the old one. (Always an excuse, for putting things off, eh jt)

Anyway I went for it big Friday night. And followed all the steps and it printed the calibration page and the test page and it printed off a lovely pic of Study Buddie Fi (It’s the one where she puts her gloved hand over the lens of the camera and says ‘Don’t dare take my pic!’)

And then it uninstalled itself and I installed it again and after printing one thing it uninstalled itself and then I installed it again and then….and then you begin to get the picture……..I think Son Brian may well get a fone call in which, for once, my alter ego takes over and pleads galloping mid-fifties or something similar.

It’s annoying cos uny career is almost over in terms of attendance (more on that in a couple of weeks’ time) but there’s a lot of writing (and printing) still to do. We’ll be fine. I’m cool but doing a lot of MP3 inspired walking at the moment.

So on Saturday morning I followed the government’s advice and popped out to top up. At the M&S garage next to the Pond Hotel on Great Western Road. I used to drink quite a lot in that hotel. Mind you……..

Anyway I bought £33 worth of petrol, 6 Red Bull shots, 2 prawn sandwiches, a football, a DVD of the Jungle Book and some newspapers…only to get home and find they’d changed their advice……and I hadn’t got a receipt. Nuisance. Mind you somebody defended Francis Maude’s Jerry Can advice by explaining that his garage is nearly a mile from his house anyway so he probably wouldn’t have understood the fire risk…….but I don’t do politics on this show.

Not when the sun is shining but snow is forecast in the hills and I have a full tank of petrol and the wind is in my hair…….

And finally, I’m not sure when the next blog will be. Strong possibility that I might be going to Orkney next week.  Looking forward to it and have been before. How long ago, jt? Well, let’s just say I played Space Invaders on a giant video screen on the ferry across the Pentland Firth. That’s how long ago. Failing which there’s one helluva lot of uny work to be done. Study buddie Fi working hard as well.

Cya, keep(ing) it fun and still wearing that badge? Yup but I might just leave it behind for safety’s sake.

Johnt850, the thinking woman’s thoughts…….

So I was at this event organised by the Scottish Drugs Recovery Consortium called a Recovery Talk and it was an all-day event about promoting the concept of Recovery without any great deal of definition of ‘What Is Recovery?…otherwise we’d still be there.

Except at the very end someone stood up and described himself as a ’recovering alcoholic’ and there was no such thing as a ‘recovered alcoholic’ cos you could never recover from the disease. Now, I describe myself as a ‘recovered alcoholic’ cos I am confident in my sobriety and I was going to say something until one of the folk from Moving Point Greenock I’d teamed up with said. ‘What the f**k does it matter? As long as you get clean and stay clean….that’s what f**king counts.’ Yup. That’ll do me every time. Stuff the words!  🙂

And here’s Great Expectations with Gaslight Anthem or is it Gaslight Anthem with Great Expectations….let’s dance. Rock’n’roll. Under the stars. Hey, that’s something we’ve not done yet. We’ll do it soon. 🙂 xx