Archive for February, 2016

Post Early for Christmas (but maybe the end of February is a bit soon)

February 26, 2016

And so dear listener, this has been a week of learning, Christmas continuing and a wee cancer fright….so let’s get started.

Let’s talk SVQs and a nice wee start to the months ahead and worry not, dear listener, you will not get a blow-by-blow account of  how I/we dealt with assignments and units and so on. Let us just say that I am looking forward to it and I need some structure in my life and in recent years, education has provided it as well as qualifications, good friendships, a job and so much else. 🙂

Without that structure, sometimes I act ‘on impulse’. I don’t always think through the consequences of an action. I may not look impulsive but you are listening to a man who, some forty years ago, played shinty for a Glasgow University team one Saturday afternoon just cos they were short of a player and my hockey game had been cancelled and it’s not that long since I said yes to abseiling and zipwiring…….without thinking. Much. (Let’s ignore the drink and stuff for once) And look where it’s got me.

I don’t think I would Go Ape again cos I would now know what to expect but I have been to IKAEA twice so ‘never say never’.

Anyway, the SVQ3 Induction was good and, as someone who taught at HNC and HND level it’s quite interesting to see things from the other side but I was truly seriously horrified to see that the Scottish Qualifications Authority believe that the abbreviation for Performance Criteria is


Sometimes I despair and maybe there are other organisations that need the services of as well as universities and colleges. 🙂

(Incidentally, I got the gig of part-time subject tutor cos I was asked if I would do a guest lecture to which I said, ‘Yes. What about?’)

And then I had my third Christmas Night Out. With e. (Incidentally have I missed anyone out from that time before Christmas itself?) It began by walking Holly the Dog – with other dogs – on a cold Mugdock Country Park early one morning and finished with a late lunch in a pub type place in the, now, very fashionable Finnieston.

In between? A flat tyre but e did what every liberated woman does these days when faced with this problem. She phoned c, her husband. Who turned up with a large squad of men seriously tooled up and clad in Hi-Vis jackets…….okay. It was one guy who knew what he was doing but it felt like a SWAT team  😉

But the next day, I was getting my hair cut (but not that much) and my hairdresser told me that when she recently had a flat tyre (and all the usual places were shut) she used her husband’s Twitter account to ask for help and cos he’s high up in Pro rugby circles, she was overwhelmed by offers of assistance from hunky rugby warriors. However, as she was tweating, a mature taxi driver had made an offer she couldn’t refuse and the tyre was done in seconds. 🙂

Me? I’d have phoned AA. The one skilled in mechanical breakdowns – not the other.

And finally, can I say thanks to e for pointing me and j in the direction of The Bees by Laline Paull – one of the best books I’ve read in years but maybe stay away from any of us during the summer if we’re in the proximity of bees or their hive outside or, indeed, in the Kelvingrove Art Galleries. But it does need you to use your imagination so maybe it’s not for all.

But I know my recommendations are not always acted upon. RRM, have you bought ‘From Scotland with Love’ yet? 😦

Cya, still wearing that badge and keeping it simple (and there’s so much in that little phrase.

Johnt850, and suitably chastised. For my impulsiveness.

So, as many of you may know, the test for people of a certain age for bowel cancer is mass screening by mail in which you send samples of your ‘poo’ (their word, not mine) to an address in Dundee. Which I did over Christmas.

And they got back to me pretty quickly and said ‘There was some blood. Can you do another sample and get it back to us dead quick?’ and I had known there was and I knew why it was and I told them that in a letter I sent to them as well as the new sample.

And I waited. And waited. And waited. And nothing……so I contacted them and they’d not received my sample. So I sent another and very quickly they came back and gave me an All Clear. Phew. But at no time was I concerned cos I had no symptoms other than the blood (which was a one-off)….. 🙂

And that’s why I told no-one cos there was nothing to tell……and I didn’t want people to worry.

Cos, in my dealings with cancer, most times it’s not the person with the cancer who worries but family and friends. I remember someone telling me that a friend had got the Big C but she wasn’t going to let it stop her from helping. Which is nice but as soon as you don’t call a cancer by its proper name, then you’re giving into it.

(The so-called Islamic State hate being called Daesh, btw)

But maybe I should have told people………I’m a creature of impulse……..and in reasonably good health and with a full head of hair and a lot of learning still to do. I will continue to make mistakes and I will not always learn from them. 😦

I think, j, I’ve about run out of artistes from that Celtic Connections gig but if I’ve missed any, let me know. This is Anderson East with The Devil In Me…..interesting lyrics.

Some folks hate the whites Who hate the Blacks Who hate the Klan. Most of us hate anything that we don’t understand.(Kristofferson)

February 19, 2016

And so dear listener, it was one year ago that I became aware that my PhD ambitions were on thin ice. My erstwhile supervisor had gone from ‘what an exciting idea’ to ‘I don’t understand what you’re talking about’ – which was a clue, I think, that I’d reached my heights of academia with the Masters (and I still have some pics of me in a kilt from the day I graduated if anybody wants one). 🙂

I still think my idea was a good one and the book idea has never gone away, but as someone recently said to me, you need permission from someone to write a book – that ‘someone’ has to be yourself.

No. It all came back to me to this week when I did a wee tour of the universities (other than Glasgow) and flyered them with details of my services but it’s getting harder. The number of open notice boards is getting smaller. And I do worry about the number of my old posters that still exist. 😦

But it can be difficult. I had thought, long and hard, about getting into the Storie Street Residences in Paisley (buzzer entry) and I have a colleague who will attempt a similar manoeuvre on a Glasgow Uni-residence (won’t you, e?)…….so I went up and pressed the buzzer and got no reply so I didn’t have to say, ‘Delivery’. Instead I got in one door where there was a noticeboard but before I could attempt the next door, Security came out and asked me if I was affiliated to the University, so I said, ‘Yes,’ smiled, put up a poster and left making my excuses. 😉

No. It was a good morning and I caught up with some folk (tutors and a Phd student) I’d not seen for a while……and Princess Anne had been there only days before…… the Royals ever visit the toilets that are specially cleaned for their visits?

And J, the blog’s favourite car passenger after last week’s incident, you’ll be pleased to hear that I had a look at that traffic island as I drove home. It seemed much more docile that it had been a few days ago. So I got home safe. Hope you’re enjoying 5338.

And ‘fear’ is a word that has different levels and meanings. But that is a good looking tin. 🙂

But I’m pleased to announce that I’m about to return to some form of studying in the shape of my SVQ3 in Social Care which is on a similar level to an HNC in College. This will be of tremendous help in my next career……….whatever that is. I’ll keep you posted. I’m told I’ll find it easy. No. My danger is I’ll be too elaborate in my answers. Another reason to ‘keep it simple’, which I think is a reasonable philosophy. In all walks of life.

And it will help me in my current job where the shifts are so busy that on a recent twelve hour night shift, I was unable to eat the excellent homemade soup provided by my co-worker Debs, with the words, ‘Don’t worry jt, no animals were hurt in the making of this soup’ until a quarter to seven in the morning. 🙂

I am pescatarian, not for ethical reasons, but for lifestyle reasons but I know vegans such as Ann, Rosie, the good Dr W and Ginger Tart, the burlesque dancer who I have actually yet to meet, but all of them have made me more aware of what’s involved in meat production and yes, that does include chickens…….and indeed our treatment of other species including the dolphin on the Argentinian beach.

And finally, it was interesting being out at UWS (Paisley) and sitting in the tutors’ rooms. (Makes it sound like Oxbridge a wee bit). There’s a lot of the books they have on their shelves that I have and that I’ve only recently stopped looking at. There are times when I do wonder if I’m getting the best out of my experience, expertise and learning.

Now, I know there’s a few folk that I work with that read this and they shouldn’t worry. I have no plans to walk………just yet. When I used to go out to Paisley by train, I had this strange ambition to just stay on the train and go to Ardrossan Harbour. I am now using my pass thing on trains (but not buses cos I’ve no idea where buses go). Maybe one day I should stay on that train and get some fresh air about me and brainstorm using my new tablet to jot ideas down….anybody want to some with me and act as scribe? 🙂

Cya, still wearing that badge and keeping it simple

Johnt850, delighted that the man across the road has finally decided to park in his drive.

So on Wednesday of last week I met up with Shona, a former BBC colleague who is setting up on her own representing and promoting jazz and other musicians. We met in a place called Cup in Renfield Street which is a very nice place. Had I known I’d have brushed my shoes. But this is the place that at 6 o’clock at night completely transforms itself into a gin palace selling some 71 different flavours of gin! It felt like I was in some form of speakeasy where, when the Feds banged on the door, the walls swung round and it became a tearoom again.

Whilst there’s much I welcome in the New Psychoactive Substances Bill coming up soon if there’s one thing that that period of American history shows, it’s that prohibition does not work. Oh, that, one day, ‘drugs’ could be treated the same way as alcohol, tobacco and coffee – all of them are exempt under the terms of the bill. Just thought you should know. Enjoy your gin and whatever.

Great word that – ‘whatever’.

This is Lady Antebellum with Need You Now. They’re a trio from Nashville and they’re really good. And apparently they’re playing soon at the Calgary Stampede. Now there’s a road trip and a half. Anyone interested?

Christmas has come early this year.

February 13, 2016

And so dear listener, the other night I had a dram….sorry, a dream (apologies for that slip but it is strangely apposite). It was strange in that I remembered it which I don’t usually do. It did involve people I know but as they were arguing I won’t name them. And the action took place in a pub.

And I ordered a vodka and orange. No. Read that again, please. Not a vodka and fresh orange but a vodka and orange which was my under-age spirits drink many, many years ago. It was basically a shot of vodka and diluting orange and it was horrible and you knocked it back in a oner and this was long before Jagerbombs and other shots existed. But like those drinks, it got you drunk. Quick. And at the age of 16 in a village called Ellon or Maud just outside your home town of Peterhead that was what you wanted. …unless you were incredibly lucky. And I wasn’t. 😦

And it wasn’t until I got to university that I realised you could drink lager without lime.

I did under-age drink in Peterhead but got grassed up once and got told off by my folks, well my mum…… dad hid behind a newspaper.

And then there was the time (I was 17) when I’d been staying in Perth for a couple of days with a friend and his girlfriend (my folks thought her folks were there but they weren’t) and I took the train back up to Aberdeen and missed the bus connection to Peterhead by five minutes and had to wait an hour for the next bus. So I went to a pub in the Aberdeen harbour area for a couple of pints, caught the bus which was just over an hour’s journey and walked up the road, eating a fish supper on the way.

And my mother’s first words to me?

‘You’ve been drinking,’ 😦

It’s amazing the memories a dream can provoke.

And then there was the following night. I’ve not actually taken a pipe’n’slippers approach to my life. Apart from anything else the only pipe in my house has a matching grinder to go with it and some nice pictures of an exotic herb (?) on it. Not quite the type of pipe that is meant by ‘pipe’n’slippers’ I think.

But I am back to reading books of all sorts and am doing so in bed and I recently bought a DAB radio and tablet to add to the pleasure (Trust me Skippy. I know where I’m going with this altho’ it’s not reading too comfortably at the moment) So far the radio’s tuned to one station but give me time. 🙂

Anyway this was my plan when the phone rang and it was my work. The SFA had taken over responsibility for the rota and someone had found themselves working on their own – could I come in? So, I did and arrived at 10.30. I stayed until 2 by which time things seemed quiet and some of the chores had been done. It was safe to go home. 🙂

But I was hungry. The project is at the nice’n’sleazy end of Sauchiehall Street and across the road is a chip shop called The Bistro which is more chips, cheese and curry sauce that cordon bleu. I went in and just asked for a bag of chips.

‘£1.60,’ said the man behind the counter, ‘but you get staff discount and a free bottle of water.’ Eh? But I took it and made my way to my car and to that place of nocturnal bliss called ‘up the road.’ I know when I’m accepted in the neighbourhood. 😀

And even when you’re totally sober you can still have that moment the next morning when you don’t recognise the channel numbers on the Virgin box.

And finally, J and I finally managed to have the Christmas Meal out we’d been promising ourselves since Christmas. (I must get someone else to keep my diary other than Skippy). We went to an eaterie in the west end of Glasgow but to add to the Christmas spirit I had brought along two Christmas crackers for the occasion. They were in the glove drawer along with some other stuff. 😉

However, on the way there, I decided to make a right turn by going across a traffic island rather than round it. 😦  Minutes later we parked, looked at the wheels and tyres, kicked them and shrugged. And made our way to the restaurant – leaving the crackers in the car…..but hey, we pulled them later (a notebook and set of screwdrivers since you ask)

But at least, dear listener, until that moment, there was still one cracker at my table………………(I’m hear all week and the sea bass is to die for)

Cya, still wearing that badge and it’s all down to keeping it simple.

Johnt850, simply awesome.

Ann, I’m keeping the broccoli floret burlesque dancer until such time as I have viewed her performance. Instead a serious bit.

I was interested to read the Scottish Chief Superintendent who said a couple of weeks ago,

‘One of the challenges in relation to drugs and serious violent crime (at T in the Park) was the presence of what was assessed to be a particular type of hallucinogenic ecstacy/MDMA although the impact of this is anecdotal rather than definitively evidenced.’

In other words, they have no real proof; they’d rather proceed in an ambiguous direction without evidence.

When I played Kris Kristofferson’s Sunday Morning Coming Down the other week, some folk contacted me to say that that was the best hangover song ever. No. This is Bob Newman and this the best hangover song ever.

So many things I miss. And you know, I wouldn’t have missed them for anything (Wogan)

February 5, 2016

And so dear listener, let us return to the question of Kris Kristofferson and his connections with Glasgow. That weel kent kenspeckle West End character #soulboydaviebee……

(Yes. I was in Waitrose. Yes. I had just been paid. A King prawn and chilli pizza, spring onions and crab pate since you ask but, e, no Yo Yos)

…..told me that Kris, a few years ago, had stayed in Glasgow, so some research was needed.

There used to be a website called something like Pat’s West End Guide to Celebrities and amidst all the Rangers reserve team players spotted in the various pubs and people obviously spotted coming out of the BBC (it was a few years ago) was this gem;

‘kris kristofferson:

i saw him last year when he was in scotland doing a film with george clooney. he was jogging in kelvingrove park one morning and stopped to talk to my dog. she barked at him she doesn’t like older gentlemen. shame as i was going to try and fix him up with my mum.’


And it was posted by Suse…… 😀

I needed more information so I turned to my collection of the Lothian Courier from 2004 and found it. The good townsfolk of Bathgate were up in arms because George Clooney, allegedly a producer of a movie called The Jacket, was not staying in Bathgate whilst filming was going on(I make no comment about Bathgate as I’ve never been there)…..and the connection with Kris? He played Doctor Fleischer in the movie. I have never seen this movie but may seek it out from the rrm’s old emporium 😉

Worry not, j, the journey is not over; my research skills finally honed (or should that be ‘finely’?) in the library of the West of Scotland University (Paisley branch) will not rest until we find Kris’s Glasgow domicile and we visit it*…..and I never did find the micro-fiche machine.

(*probably One Devonshire Gardens)

One of the other actors was Fish (from Marillion) who lived out that way and who, along with Paisley Panda (and Junior Paisley Panda) was one of the more esoteric names I used to send my, then, fourteen year old son down to the reception desk of the BBC when it was in Queen Margaret Drive (and never QMD) to advise Security that they were that Saturday’s guests on Off The Ball. (Security? He virtually had the run of the place on Saturday afternoons which for an estranged dad was brilliant. 🙂

And finally, Terry Wogan was sooooo responsible for soooooo many bad broadcasters because he did make it sound soooo easy and I’ve seen and heard too many students et al (and others who have made it on to a touch more mainstream radio) who are bad because they have put no preparation into it.

Where Terry scored (and he did pay tribute to them) was his superb backroom team (including Alan Boyd that legend amongst radio producers) who made it sooo easy for him to put his unique take on events knowing that they were well prepared for (almost) all eventualities.

I’ve told the story of the giant rabbit on stilts at the Glasgow Garden Festival too often but I have fond memories of working with tight production teams all over Scotland including opening a Woman’s Hour live on a fishing boat coming in to Portree Harbour. That Jenny Murray could run (then).

Nice memories but a lot of broadcasting is just fun and entertainment and we should never lose sight of that.

And may your God go with you (Wogan)

Cya, still wearing that badge and keeping it simple.

Johnt850, the Bernie Sanders of Summerston.

So the Rainforestriverman gave birth to a grandson on Tuesday (or at least the way he described it, it was him) but another event that day kinda f*cked up my emotions and, even more so, some others.

So it was with great delight that I was pleased to see Son Brian that evening. They’re having a new bathroom installed and he needed a shower, so mine was chosen for one night. 🙂 He also brought over a new tablet for me (No. I have not started to receive medication for my madness from members of my family. This was a Samsung Galaxy which I paid for but he had bought)

He knows me well. It is black and I have lost it three times already in my house. But it looks fun. 🙂

He is beginning to practise being my Power of Attorney. I told him of my plans (early days yet) to get a new car so he started to tell me how to do it and where to go and who to talk to and then he looked at me and then that look came over his face – the despairing look I get down the telephonic device when I tell him of my latest plans – and he said the words I really wanted to hear.

‘I’ll take you, dad.’

I also asked him a big favour. The woman who is my accountant and with whom I slept for many years is standing down from her role as Financial Controller of the multi media empire that is The Word Process and previous to her was my dad.

I asked my son if he would take on that role. He is considering it and if he does so would be the third generation of t850s to do so. His grandparents would have been so proud. As am I. Most of my family, including by marriage and by marriage once removed, ended up financial people. I have no idea how my parents would have seen me and what happened. 🙂

I said that I would continue to play music from the gig that J and I went to a couple of weeks ago.

And I’m sorry that it’s not straight into the vid like it was before.  A wee double click is all that is needed. But I’ll ask my son.

This is This Is The Kit;