Archive for November, 2016

Well, that’s the overseas cards posted so it’s defo started (me)

November 25, 2016

And so dear listener, this week I missed a golden opportunity. I was in Debenham’s in Glasgow (and there are no other stores that I know that sell Rocha jeans in my size as a boot cut but just not this week) when a store anno went out. Was this some kind of call to arms, some amazing consumer opportunity? Well, kinda.

What was on offer was a (free) five inch kitchen peeler and you could get it on the fifth floor, but be aware, ‘numbers are limited.’ So I didn’t go. At this time of year, you’ve got to think of others. I have a peeler and it’s not as big but I’m ‘just about managing’ with what I’ve got……….. 😦

And I turned down another offer this week and it was a bit of a strange one.

As you know, my secondary work is editing and proof-reading essays and dissertations, most of which come from foreign students of whom the majority are Chinese.

So I got a mail from an organisation (Chinese based) talking of ‘collaboration’ without going too much into full financial details but a pretty impressive volume of work. But leaving aside my happiness at being my own boss, enjoying the intellectual challenge offered and the very nice feeling that you get from helping people AND getting paid for it, I had concerns. This was the sentence that worried me.

‘We deals mostly with paraphrasing works but also required to add some personal touch based on the comments provided.’

Now leaving aside the grammatical errors and the boring font it came in, my suspicion (and I can’t prove it) is that what is being offered is writing/re-writing essays which pays well and only requires the need to write to a range of stock answers and to personalise it. And I won’t do it.

I know too many students who have achieved what they have achieved through their own hard work – no matter where they come from – and I don’t like students who believe that money will buy them success. I have had approaches before.  Any re-writing I do is based on what is supplied to me and is to help get the student’s message across. 🙂

Earlier this year, a good friend used the word ‘integrity’ in relation to me in connection with the situation that caused my anxiety and depression. I don’t cheat and I don’t help others to cheat……but as I say, it’s only a suspicion.

(And I make a small monthly donation to Glasgow University to a Scholarship Fund to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds)

Anyway, Christmas is getting closer and I am planning to assemble my new Christmas Tree. No. I’m not ‘putting it up.’ It seems to be a real cheeser of a tree with built in lights and I want to be sure they work. Obviously, I’ll take it back down once I’m sure. Honest  😉

(‘integrity, jt, integrity.’ ‘Yes, Skippy, yes’)

And I too have found it icy and cold this week and have not yet found the best setting for heating and de-icing my car, but I did get a wee fright going home the other morning – ‘bout half past seven? – when  my tired eyes in the half-light had to work hard to ensure that I knew what I was driving on – something to be aware of when I start day shifts come mid-January. 😦

But I did have a very pleasant Monday morning when, despite my tiredness, I went into town for a training course in the Wheatley Building in Ingram Street next to the lovely Hutchesons’ Hall (and my thanks to Debs who’s done lot of training with me this week). When I arrived, film group people were rigging lights for a movie called My Wife starring Glenn Close and Christian Slater but I didn’t see them. 😦

Bur I do remember about five years ago when World War Z was filmed in that area and the good Dr W was an office worker extra based in the Bam Building. Her biggest memory was the smell of Febreze in the morning before she put on her ‘extra’ clothes. 🙂

And finally, big thanks to Son Brian, not only for buying me lunch in Sartis’ the other day (yes, it’s your kinda place, rainforestriverman) but helping me to ‘obtain’ a new phone.  It’s a Samsung Galaxy (hopefully black) and apparently my existing Blackberry is a closed phone and I can’t just ‘transfer’ My Contacts. I have to sit down and write them out and then manually input them. It’s a bit of a nuisance but maybe erasing some names may prove therapeutic.  I mean, can anyone tell me who Katie (mark) is but I have remembered who Carmen is but will I ever need that number again?

And also a big thanks to e, not only for buying the coffees on Thursday morning but taking me (window) shopping whilst she bought birthday stuff. I have got some really good ideas for Christmas presents.  And I might not get my grand-daughter that giant pink fluffy unicorn – there was a woman in Fopp who had a baby (plastic) deer she had bought in a charity shop. Mind you, the same woman bought a Pink Floyd doormat…….mmmmm

Plus, thank you, e, for telling me how to pronounce podiatrist.

Cya, still wearing that badge and I will continue to keep it simple

Iaint850, just a wee bit worried…….mmmmmm

It’s now three years since I graduated (MSc) from UWS (Paisley) and I openly acknowledge that I made lots of friends and friendships both with students and members of staff e.g. lecturers and library people. But there was another friendship which kinda came out of that period. 🙂

Jenny H has just graduated with her PhD which was a smashing piece of work both to read and to edit (and I charged for that). Altho’ we’d never met, when I approached her for help about four years ago, having read some of her work, she said ‘no problem’ and we met over coffee and have done so regularly since, altho’ she has now moved to Cardiff to lecture.

When I talk about students achieving so much through their own work, Jenny H is one of those. 🙂

(And my apologies to someone else whose name begins with the letter ‘J’ who received a congratulatory fb msg and must have wondered if I’d lapsed)

So almost exactly one year ago I was introduced (under interesting circumstances) to the music of Brandi Carlile. This is she;




‘Post-truth’ – relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief (OED)

November 18, 2016

And so dear listener, last week was a wee bit of a rant but I’ve seen a few folk saying similar things but rather than concentrate too much on that side of my life, I want to look on the bright side of life – but I’d rather not always do that.  But a big thanks to President Obama and  Mark Zuckerberg to lending their, and Facebook’s support, to what might end up as a campaign and giving it a name – ‘false news’ leading to….


Y’see good things can and do happen to me; we are approaching Christmas and some other important anniversaries in my life.

It is exactly three years since I graduated with a Master’s degree – a brilliant day and I’ve not worn Highland dress since. Will there be another opportunity? It’d be nice. But I don’t think there’s much of a ceremony attached to the awarding of an SVQ3 should I be lucky enough to get it. And who would I invite? 😉

But as you know, soontime sees the Annual Blog Personality of the Year Awards and they don’t bear that much resemblance to other awards. The first ever award was the only one that ever went to a person – the then three year old Ruby – and last year they went to the Little House on the Prairie Incense Burner that J brought back from Canada  😀  and in between the award, for example,  has gone to a glass of whisky and a phone call from an Italian bar, amongst other things, so given the effect and influence that the SVQ had on me at one point this year, maybe it should be the winner. 😦

Anyway both the Award and the annual Christmas Cracker Joke Edition will be a few days earlier than previous years but for all sorts of reasons, including the fact that I am working twelve hour shifts on the nights of the 31st December and 1st and 2nd of January and then it’s almost daytime working time. It will be like a new job and I’m treating it like that. My hours are really strange over the next few weeks so if you want a copy of my rota please just ask.  🙂

Especially as the week before Christmas is also pretty busy.

Elsewhere on the nice stuff, despite what I said about the PSA being only a rough guide to the state of my prostate’s health, it was nice when Dr Fiona highlighted it when I walked in with my foot the other day. ‘Brilliant news’ was how she described it. And I smiled.

Could my 0.9 be down to my diet and clean living?

The foot? It would have been difficult to have left it at home.

Something seems to have moved a bone in a toe and pressure is being put on my foot and I’ve to go to a bio-mechanic at a podiatrist to get new insoles …or something. I have an appointment somewhere in Dumbarton Road next week at 2.30. 🙂

And then there are various traditions to follow such as the annual Word Process nights out, which seem to get moved into the early months of the next year. Looking forward to those already. And present exchanges. But before Christmas. And indeed present buying. Look out, De Courcy’s I’m coming to get you – especially after the success of the last gift I got there…..

And maybe upstairs in a book shop in Glasgow where I bought nothing at the time but I returned the next day and spent a lot of money 🙂

And we’re already talking Christmas Ceilidh at the Gaelic class (and yes, the Gaelic for ceilidh is ceilidh) and my homework for next week is to look at the train station sign for Summerston and see what the Gaelic is for Summerston. Some scorn was poured on my suggestion that all I needed was the Gaelic for the Town of the Summer. Hey, we have the ASDA!!!!

Many of my visitors over the years had never visited Summerston before and have been impressed. In the Summer. Okay, Christmas Lights leave a lot to be desired but, hey……

And, yes, I am counting down the days to the end of my life as an established part-time nightworker, altho’ I may still do some as overtime. Will I miss anything? Loads. In the early days of my withdrawal I may go out at five in the morning to empty my own bins into the big bin down the side of the house in complete darkness other than the street lights and then pause to ask the taxi-drivers how their nights have been before washing the steps at the front of the house.

And finally, I will continue to take on challenges and I will continue to be disappointed. But in about three weeks’ time……..No.  Let’s just see what happens. At the time.

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

Iaint850, wondering what my new tree looks like (it’s still in the box) and wondering if I should get a metre long pink fluffy unicorn for my granddaughter……. 🙂

BBC Breakfast has been running some features on cancer, including prostate cancer, and it was eight years ago just now that I was starting the first part of my treatment. I feel slightly removed from the whole cancer experience now but there is always one moment when it comes home.

There’s a thing called cancer guilt. It’s when someone dies and you think ‘why them…why not me?’ It’s usually, in my case, when it’s a child or teenager or, well, just someone with their life ahead of them. In a ‘gratitude’ list like the one above, my major gratitude is that I am alive to say there is always hope. I don’t know if people who come through heart attacks, strokes or car crashes or other life threatening events feel the same…….I just know I do. 🙂

Or when I see stories of those young people who have had to turn to the Teenage Cancer Trust for help on top of what the brilliant NHS* offers.

*Other health providers are available – ours happens to reflect a caring society which is maybe why the Tories are running it down.

And this was filmed at my Gaelic class. Mannequin Challenge it ain’t. It’s Walk the Moon and Work This Body.

Librarians create the readers of the Future; save our libraries (Chris Riddell – who should be Googled by every parent or grandparent who reads this blog)

November 10, 2016

And so dear listener, if you don’t like it when I do reflective blogs, look away now. But various things that have happened, including Donald Trump’s election, have prompted this.

Y’see I was brought up to read. The first ‘serious’ book I can remember (age of 5) was an unabridged version of Treasure Island and it was some form of school prize. Of course, those were simpler times – two black and white channels on TV and the rumour that if you stuck a knitting needle down the back of your TV you could get BBC 2. 😀

Our parents encouraged us to read and I think my sister was a wee bit more of a bookworm than me and she went on to be a part-time library assistant after school before going to university in Glasgow – which, from Peterhead, was revolutionary. Indeed, I have known four women who are, or have been, library assistants and all have been incredibly influential in my life. 🙂

We did watch TV and I listened to the radio a lot – Hilversum, the Light Programme and Radio Luxemburg, thus giving away my age. 🙂 And there were external influences – an English teacher called McLeod who took a wee bit of a shine to me (and that was all) and who turned up on our doorstep one Hogmanay (UTI) and invited me and my dad around to his the next day where he played Irish Republican records, introduced me to independence and gave me a copy of Ring of Bright Water.

But he wasn’t the only teacher to encourage debate and indeed we had a debating society which did just that – listening to other people’s points of views and, when there was a vote, accepting the result. 😦

(However, as many people know, I have remained shy and reticent all my life)

And this continued all the way, up to about fifteen years ago, all the way through my growing up life and I am still growing up. I say and do and write stupid and naïve things but can be told off without taking a huff that lasts more than ten seconds.

At one stage in my life I produced daily discussion programmes on BBC Radio Scotland, presented by Colin Bell, and our standing joke was that we needed someone for, someone against and someone who had studied the subject. All the issues, all the opinions were examined. And we did a lot of background reading and researching.

Ah, yes, people who had studied the subject. What, once upon a time, might have been known as ‘experts’ or, at the very least, people who had studied the subject and knew what they were talking about, although another ‘expert’ might disagree with them but there would be general respect for their right to disagree.

Now we live in times where a (then) leading Government minister and leading Brexiter (Michael Gove) said that “people in this country have had enough of experts.”  This was echoed by Ian Duncan Smith, who is a man in whom I have little trust because of his ways of dealing with the truth and his ignorance of an organisation called Alcoholics’ Anonymous but I do accept his right to be a total cretin.

But it was during the Brexit Referendum and IndyRef that I became aware of something which my journalistic (boo, hiss and I worked for the BBC, so even more boo hiss!) background found difficult to accept.  Somebody on your side would make an unsubstantiated claim and you would accept it without question; someone on the other side would make a claim and it would immediately have scorn poured upon it. On social media, things are accepted, in many cases, without being challenged. And therein lies the problem; we have greater access to the media (no bad thing) but we seem not to accept that there are responsibilities which go with that. 😦


At the time of IndyRef someone re-posted a music website which claimed that the BBC had banned saltires at T in the Park and everyone who read this went ‘boo, hiss’. I actually went into the site and found a tremendous number of comments, saying ‘NO, this had not happened.’….but the people who spread this lie about the BBC did not bother reading the original piece; after all it might disagreed with their viewpoint of life.

Donald Trump, at one point making some weird economic claims, said he’d read them ‘in a report this week….. a very good report.’ And to this day I have no idea what that report was. There is no way of checking what he claimed.

My head cleared ten years ago and we are but four weeks away from Saturday, 10th December and I’m maybe getting a wee bit jittery about the celebrations (see me, with two orange juices inside me), but my most recent time at a university (the wonderful UWS in Paisley and I do enjoy going back for all sorts of reasons) showed me the importance of evidence for any claim because I was questioned by my supervisor about it. And it’s the same for my SVQ3. Evidence for any claim!

And it’s the same when I read/edit any piece of work academically – telling students that there are other points of view and that you need evidence for any claim.

Freedom of speech doesn’t just mean you being allowed to speak, but more importantly, the person, with whom you disagree, getting a chance to speak. Even Katie Hopkins.

And, yes, there are a few children for whom I buy presents at this time of year (in at least one case, for a group of grandkids) but they will be bookily related but, worry not dear (grand)parents, they will not contain sheets of paper saying, ‘but where did the Gruffalo get evidence for this?’


Cya, wearing a poppy this week and still keeping it simple – with respect.

Iaint850, who enjoyed an evening in Tennent’s this week with the Blogmeister, where I started to explore some of these thoughts. Soberly.

And in other news this week, Donald Trump got elected and America will just have to get used to it; I’ve not heard back about my foot x-ray yet altho’ I have phoned; I bought a Christmas Tree and a shredder (No. No connection); my annual donation has gone to the Hospice so that’s defo Christmas started; and a BBC TV journalist annoyed me when talking about units of alcohol over a week, when he said the Government’s recommended amount was fourteen units. Eh, no. That’s the recommended maximum amount.

So, is Armageddon about to hit us? Well, reports are coming in of disturbances around the world. This is Half Man, Half Biscuit reporting on the riots in Trumpton.


Midway along the journey of our life I awoke to find myself in a dark wood (Dante’s Inferno, quoted in Shaw’s The Trees – the next one for the Book Club

November 4, 2016

And so dear listener, there will be a slight football influence to the show this week and I make no apologies for it. For all sorts of reasons I’ve not been to that many games this season. In fact I’ve yet to use my PT season ticket for the bit where I go at Firhill – which is to stand amongst the seats of the North Stand. 😦

I made the Jackie Husband earlier with e and AJ but I’m doing not too bad with away matches – like Perth last Saturday. And as I tried to explain to a couple of folk, you can watch all the world class football you want and all the world class footballers in the world but when Abdul Osman scores the winner in the second minute of extra time, then he becomes the greatest player in the world – for that weekend. 😀

And then comes the journey home – in #soulboydaviebee’s new (?) M reg Volkswagen (not Scirocco but name me another wind). It never helps when the Perth police point you in the opposite direction from Glasgow and you find yourself driving through Perth towards Inverness (and I like Perth –as a day out).

Anyway, I was in the back – like a young boy. No. Correction. I was in the back with a young boy (Sam) who was reading his comic books with the aid of the torch on his mobile games playing machine and who only asked once ‘are we nearly there yet?’ and we were. Bean, he’s a credit to you and Julia.

Moving on.

So I mentioned last week that the PSA test for continuing problems with the prostate was at best a rough indicator of a potential problem and shouldn’t be given too much credence. So I got mine back and it’s 0.9.

(Booyakasha! FIST PUMP…FIST PUMP! Bring it on!)

And I have, possibly, a new fave place to go to in Glasgow and it’s a new library. It’s the Moving Image Archive (‘moving’ in at least two senses) and it’s in the Kelvin Hall, which like the rest of the West End of Glasgow has been taken over by the University of Glasgow. It’s a brilliant collection of video and film and almost any moving image which is a mirror of Scottish life, past and present. And I only had five minutes there and I will be back very soon. 🙂

It would be a really brilliant combined day out with Kelvingrove Art Gallery, which apart from being a brilliant attraction in its own, has got a smashing shop with loads of stuff (including good toys) which would make good Chrissie pressies.

But the really bestest thing? One pound can get you parking for up to four hours!!!!!

(Booyakasha! FIST PUMP…FIST PUMP! Bring it on!)

And a big thanks to e for her present of the book of Speaking Our Language (STV Gaelic course from 1993) which some of us have already discovered on YoutTube. (You should see the lapels on the suits) But now I have the book there will be no stopping me (in a nice way). 🙂

Tapadh leibh, e, tapadh leibh.

And finally, I am about to enter the world of getting a new mobile phone. I currently own a Blackberry ZX10 and pay about £18 per month which I’m happy with BUT apparently there’s been some kind of fallout between Blackberry and What’s App and I need a new phone.

And for those of you who don’t know, What’s App is the means by which my two year old grand-daughter sends me all her selfies and videos that she takes and I’d hate to lose them. Any thoughts or offers of taking me to a Carphone Warehouse or similar gratefully received. 🙂

Cya, still wearing that badge (altho’ it’s been replaced by something else this week) and it’s because I keep it simple, I don’t worry that much.

Iaint850, and I may be old fashioned but never call me old.

And now a word about the poppy and, yes, I see no reason for it not to be worn at Wembley. Its symbol as a sign of remembrance far outdates the existence of FIFA and is not a political symbol.

Except when Britain First use it to create division in British society by using it as crude propaganda and telling lies …but this is an organisation that continues to use the death of Lee Rigby in their propaganda despite his mum asking them not to.

And I’m not sure about its use as a piece of designer jewellery (Dianne Abbott, I’m looking at you). Are we sure that the companies making them are donating all their profits to the British Legion and other similar organisations?

About two to three years ago, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month I was in the UWS (Paisley) café (now a food court) next to the library (now upstairs and much smaller) and I made the decision to stand, head bowed, for two minutes, as other people were doing all over the country and then sat down again. It was a small gesture but worth doing.

Were I to do it again this week, I’d be thinking about those service people fighting for our freedom from fascism but also the people of Aleppo and Mosel. also fighting for freedom from fascism.

Gosh. What a rant!

Anyway, here they are. Beyonce and the Dixie Chicks covering Daddy Lessons at the CMAs this week!