Railway termini are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return. (E. M. Forster)

And so dear listener, this week saw me take part in an adventure that saw me go with five women to the island of Great Cumbrae (Millport) and come back with three……..but before I even got on the train to Largs, the adventure had started at Johnstone Railway Station.

There is a toilet there on the platform but I was unsure how to open it. I went to the ticket desk and asked. The lady behind the counter (of whom more in a minute) pressed a button and shouted ‘Run!’ to which I obviously replied, ‘It’s okay. I’m not in that much of a hurry.’ 😀

She shouted again ‘Run!’ and then I saw why. The door was already closing and I’d to throw myself at it Indiana Jones style just to get in, in time……..and when I say ‘in time’, I mean before the door closed. Nothing else. I managed to get out okay. 🙂

And the lady at the ticket counter had asked me for ID. Well, very politely, she asked if I’d any cards when I paid for my ticket. I know what she was suggesting but basically, I’d not brought my wallet……I did not have that card with me.

Anyway, I met up with Uni-Sharon, Pat, Pat, Cathie and Helen and, boy, was I worried listening to them on the train. Snippets reached my ears. Words like ‘munros’ and a walk through Glasgow that e and I would think twice about doing and then would do. They seemed professional…..but I needn’t have worried.

The eleven mile walk around the island was carried out at a good pace until we got to the capital city itself and Pat and Cathie sat down at one bench for their lunch and we sat down at another around the corner. And then it was time for us to move (I get impatient sitting, okay) and I went to get them. And they weren’t there. 😦

Now, I was worried. But no-one else was. What a cold blooded bunch I was walking with. It felt like I was taking part in that well known Agatha Christies whodunit called Ten Little Politically Correct People, where people are bumped off one by one. I decided to take up the rear position where I could see everyone…..including Helen who tried to distract my attention by removing various layers of clothing and seemed to end up in a string vest. Or was the sun getting to me? Was my Lucozade poisoned? They all seemed to be drinking a potion called Herbalife which seemed to be some form of stimulant not covered by the new Psychoactive Substances Bill (and there’s the plug for Herbalife, Uni-Sharon, altho’ I didn’t expect it to be in the same sentence as legal highs)

But we did make it back to the ferry and Largs and it was a brilliant day and I thoroughly enjoyed the day and the company and may join them on another occasion and may try to encourage a couple of others as well. 😀

‘What’s that Skippy? What happened to Pat and Cathie?’ Well, they met up with us again at Largs Station for the journey for the journey back.

They’d been and bought a vase. Uni-Sharon had a new black rucksack. Helen had put her clothes back on. And I was eating chips. A brilliant day. 🙂

Now the other event I was going to mention was J formally opening my garden. With ribbons and bows, I got for nothing from Morrisons, Anniesland. Yes. It does sound a strange fantasy but unfortunately it was heavy, heavy rain and the bands and the fly past had to be cancelled. Shame. But can I congratulate J and some of her colleagues for some superb shelf-tidying in my time at Paisley Uny.

This week’s And finally is about the report this week which some of you may have seen highlighting the resurgence in buying booze from supermarkets and whilst the Scottish Government want to bring in minimum pricing the Scottish Whisky Association continue to fight it through the European courts.

According to Alison Douglas of Alcohol Focus Scotland, ‘twenty-two Scots are dying because of alcohol every week and sales are increasing.’  And a former lecturer of mine, the silver fox, Ken Barrie, having studied the links between price, consumption and health related consequences in the international research literature concluded that ‘an increase in the price of alcohol will generally result in reduced consumption and in turn related harm. A reduction…will result in increased consumption and harm.’

It couldn’t be more simple. Except, Ken nothing must stand in the way of profit – even people’s health. Put that in a crack pipe and spark it up. 😉

Cya, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Johnt850, the man who put the John in the Johnstone Jaunters

And whilst regular listeners will know that J is the blog’s favest librarian, she is not the only one who helped me with my studies in a university somewhere in the West of Scotland. Last weekend she and her colleagues found themselves moving to a smaller library area in that university.

I made my feelings known about the demise of the importance of libraries in society in general a couple of weeks ago but from the university side of things, a friend of mine suggested that the fact that lecturers not only supply general reading lists but in many cases supply the actual online listing means there’s no need for a student to learn how to browse properly.

And from my own POV I think it’s great that some lecturers don’t bother teaching students how to use references properly either. A large portion of my income comes from doing proper Harvard Referencing for students who have not been told how to do it.


We were taught similar things by the mad Professor Marks who took several weeks to explain to me what a null hypothesis was. And then one day it struck me. In a Eureka moment, I shouted out, ‘you mean it remains the status quo.’

At which a voice behind me went, ‘what’s the status quo?’ Ah, academia how I miss you. A bit. 🙂

Anyway, this is for J and her colleagues.


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