Archive for March, 2017

‘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


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.

“Let us read and let us dance: these two amusements will never do any harm to the world” (Voltaire)

March 17, 2017

And so dear listener, this week saw the final Gaelic (Gaelic 1) class of this academic year. It’s been good fun and I’ve learned a lot. It’s been more of an introduction than anything else but I was pleased, on enquiry to the Gaelic College in Skye, (where I might go in July for five days) that I could probably do Gaelic 2. 🙂

No. What I need is immersion in Gaelic 1 and then maybe think about doing Gaelic 2 next year.

And Sabhal Mor Ostaig (to give the college its Gaelic name)? Well……….there’s a wee uncertainty or two. I need to make decisions and sometimes it’s a wee bit hard. We’ll see. I have all the material here but it’d get the wind through me and maybe that’s what I need. There’s always Ardrossan Harbour. 😀

Or indeed Helensburgh, where I was earlier this week, and a big thinks to R from Cardross for the coffee. 🙂 I went down by train and even going through places like Clydebank and Partick – which I thought I knew well – you see things you’ve never seen before. Well not for a long time. And then the River Clyde opens up on a windy day and then there’s the mysteries of the Bowling basin. Shame the windows needed cleaned ):

But, anyway, I’d like to thank AJ and RJ for their help in finding me a wee party piece for the end of term Gaelic party*. But it wasn’t used. Instead we pretended to be weather forecasters telling the weather in Gaelic and we sang a song about a man who liked potatoes, butter and the girls from the village (maybe I should use that as my profile on dating sites)

However, I am aware that there was a great deal of interest in the epic poem, Tunnagan Beaga, and here is a rough translation;

Little ducks, one, two, three

Little yellow feet, four, five six.

Little ducks, waddle, waddle, waddle.

Down to the pond, quack, quack, quack.

And there are actions. Just use your imagination. 😀

And if anyone wants a copy (in Gaelic but phonetically) just ask.

And, for the second year in a row, I didn’t go to the pub after the final class of the session. And I feel this gives the wrong impression. I may go weak in the presence of beauty, but I’m comfortable in a pub. After all, it’s not a disease is it?

And why couldn’t I make it?

aiste deasachadh. 😀

*eventful piece of babysitting with them this week. Once the ringing noise has gone away, I will share it with the world.

And also a quick plug for my BBC friend Catriona NicLeod and Beag air Bheag on BBC Radio nan Gaidheal. She does a wee section Blasadan Beaga for beginners. The new series with John Urquhart starts on 26th March. 🙂

So moving on

And whilst my attendance at Firhill has been a wee bit limited this season, I was reminded during the week of the moment when I found out what was really involved in being red and yellow. It was a wet Sunday afternoon in Cowdenbeath when I found myself (with others and an orange juice) in a pub called The Goth (and yes I do know how it got its name) and we were all huddled around a number of electric fires knowing we had to go out there and walk across the road to the stock car racing circuit that masquerades as a football stadium and we won and we won well. 🙂

(And I remember another occasion there when John Hegley joined us at the same ground in Cowdenbeath and I spent most of the game doing colouring-in with the children of a woman whose company made gourmet soup in Glasgow’s West End)

And Muirfield Golf Club did not vote (in their second vote on the matter) to allow lady members out of a belief in equality and decency but (for some anyway) out of greed.

And I’m going to risk moving all the de-icer and the gritting salt back into the shed soon.

And finally, I feel I let someone down earlier this week by suggesting a change in arrangements at short notice.


Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple (and I see no reason not to)

iaint850, sàmhach romansach

So my plan over the next few years is to keep the show as #indyref2 and Brexit-free as possible. All I want to say here is how sad I am that the democratic process is so little respected these days and I despair at a lot of what I read on social media.

Indeed, not only do people on social media not respect people such as Thomas Paine and his work in making the world a more democratic place all those years ago, it seems they do not respect the other person’s viewpoint – and I think that’s sad.

Free speech is not about you being allowed to speak but the person with whom you violently disagree.

In my younger day, you put leaflets through doors, got people to actually sign petitions and took part in hustings. I was a student politician, a member of the now deceased Scottish Labour Party (1976 – 1981) and of CND and walked through streets carrying banners – like real serious banners like the Trade Unions have. I engaged in dialogue.

Now? I’m not even sure people read the stuff they re-post.

Last word. Ever.

So all last week I played a Steve Earle track each night on Facebook because Steve wrote Galway Girl but it seemed like people had never heard of him and they thought that Ed Sheeran had found some obscure Irish folk song and made it popular. Similarities other than the title? You decide.

This is a definitive version of Galway Girl with Steve Earle and Sharon Shannon.

‘I put a bag full of Your Cheatin’ Heart drafts on the scales – 12 and a half stone it was!’ (John Byrne)

March 10, 2017

And so dear listener, there’s a lot happened this week but there’s probably not much that’s not already on wikileaks. And I was intrigued to hear a good friend using the phrase ‘in the old days’. Not a phrase that I use much. Indeed, I sometimes surprise myself by doing technical things without realising how………and I suppose this blog is a good example of taking on something (which was a way of telling people about how my cancer treatment was going) which is now surprisingly dated as I don’t vlog, I play at anonymity and I have no sponsors. Of any sort. And nobody corrupts me by paying to advertise or sending me freebies to plug. But I wouldn’t anyway. 🙂

(And in other big news – somebody’s taken my brown bin from the side of my house!!!!!!) ):

But I’ll tell you something else, if I may……six years ago I received a written invitation to join up with the Alcohol and Drugs team at UWS (Paisley) subject to certain references and proof of qualifications. I also remember going out there a few months previously to be interviewed informally by Ken Barrie who told me I was ‘in’ subject to those same reservations. 🙂

I left his room and went across to the library which, then, had comfy seats and texted e and the Good Doctor w and told them…….oh, and the family got phone calls later. And something happened this week that I never ever thought I’d see – ten years ago – and I’ll tell people individually – so if I haven’t been in touch contact me.

But one thing I don’t do is to re-post things on Facebook that say ‘do you remember when?’ and list all the children’s games from years ago or aspects of life from years ago and then slag off young people for spending all that on their phones or other devices.

Don’t they realise the irony of telling us that by using their mobile phones and telling us through a social media platform?

(Yes. I’m still using up a lot of leave between now and the end of March. How did you know?)

But something else happened seven years ago this week. My last ever (probably) radio documentary what I produced was transmitted. It was called ‘Prostate Cancer – the hidden killer’ and it went out in the investigation slot and was basically an examination of why men, at that time, were reluctant to speak out about prostate cancer and featured men and their wives – all of whom were willing to speak out about prostate cancer.

But, yes, I do occasionally miss live broadcasting but at least I left before they started using skype. This is worth a fifteenth look……watch the mum/nanny come dashing in!!!!!!!

And let’s not analyse it too much. It’s just a bit of fun.

But there is the news that the CIA is spying on me through my Samsung smart TV which doesn’t even switch on properly. I have to ‘wake’ it up – but why?

(Dear CIA, I am a single man, living alone and what I get up to hurts no-one…..antique shows just happen to be on immediately before news programmes)

But the main point of this blog is to highlight my return to good old values and the value of a good entertainer and storyteller. There are people who tell stories and there are people who tell stories well. I was once involved in a comedy workshop which involved Susan Calman and Maggies Cancer Care Centre, then in Dumbarton Road, where these two guys claimed their wives thought they were the funniest things ever when they told their stories and they should be on stage and TV cos they were as funny as Billy Connolly, but, aye, I said, “Billy can keep it up for an hour. Can you?”

And then I have a friend who can drop a wee Peppa Pig snort (not a euphemism) into a wee story and you’re hooked (still not a euphemism) with that tremendous anticipation for what happens next. 🙂

The storyteller I went to see was the lovely John Byrne who was at the Glasgow Concert Hall to talk to the lovely Clare English (another BBC talent tossed aside – and indeed I sat with some BBC/ex-BBC people and it was a good night) about five books that were important to him but he started off talking about being born in Barshaw Hospital in Paisley and going to primary school at St Mary’s and at one stage it sounded as if all his classmates from St Mirin’s Academy had all died violent deaths later in their years.

And I loved his description of a room so small you could fit a coffin in and little else.

And all the newspapers and magazines that came into his parents’ house including two copies of the Sunday Post – one of which was to send to Canada.

Such a pleasant evening’s entertainment. 🙂

And finally, since I started writing this, the brown bin has been returned!!!!! 😀

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, still smiling as I write some things. Because.

And so because of an event which I can’t tell you about I missed an event I could have told you about which was the fiftieth birthday of the legendary PT fan known as Bean (and no, I have never asked why. I might be disappointed) but anyway some of the music was provided by these folk whose appearance, I think, was arranged well in advance rather than just picked up in Buchanan Street where these pics are from and if you do see them say, ‘Bean sent you.’ Or not. Maybe I’d better ask.

As friendly as two horses’ heads (a common Gaelic idiom – apparently)

March 3, 2017

And so, dear listener, after last week’s slightly different blog (and thanks for kind wishes) it’s a return to a normal beginning with an explanation of what happened last week at Firhill (home of the mighty Partick Thistle) when I was knocked back at the gate  ):

Because of virus stuff (I had originally written ‘viral’ but there’s nothing on YouTube) and the anxiety and work and grand-daughtering and so on, I had, in fact, been to only one game and that was in a very different part of the ground where I had to pay to get in. So this was actually the first time I’d used my season ticket in the scanning machine and the red light went off….several times. I was not being allowed in. ):

Security did let me in but when I contacted the club the next day it turned out that I had not paid for this season’s season ticket. I remember doing it by phone, so, obviously, there had been a wee blip at that end and a major one at my end. Sorted in that I’ll just pay at the gate for the rest of the season and I now have a contact in the Ticket Office who will sort out my tickets for the Cup Semis and Final when we get there 😀 😀 😀

Brilliant being back with an amazing win. 😀 :D:D We are Partick Thistle, we score when we want.:D 😀 😀

But it’s nice to celebrate anniversaries and it was five years ago that I was at Spateston Bowling Club for uni-Sharon and Kenny’s wedding. Well remembered and just in time this year, Sharon (lol) 🙂

It’s also been a week when I’ve been affected by the media and technology. Let me explain.

Well not so much the stuff about being fined money and points for using your mobile whilst driving cos I also worry about people that use their mobiles for Sat Nav, look through a map for where they’re going whilst driving or try to sort out the programming on their DAB radio cos they keep losing the station.  Yes. I have been guilty of the last two but have been much more careful in recent years. 🙂

And that time J, when I bumped over a kerb on our way to Hyndland, it was cos I was trying to work out what a white van was doing in my rear view mirror. Sorry. I was trying to work out, in my rear view mirror, what a white van was doing.

No. It was the reports about the need for a different noise for smoke detectors to wake children so I went and tested mine and it wasn’t working. I had put it up about thirty years ago and a wire was now loose and wouldn’t go back in.

So I went and bought a new one expecting the backing plate to be the same size as the existing one – but obviously it’s not. So I will get my electric drill out (it’s in the shed) and drill a new hole. I can do that. Indeed any new visitor to my house is shown shelves and other stuff that I put up and that have stayed up.

Yes. I do live alone. How did you know?

And finally, I talk a lot about the coping mechanisms that my professional addiction worker introduced into my life as a way of coping with my alcohol dependency. It was about changing my behaviour rather than accepting it as an irreversible disease which meant I could keep drinking and blame it on the drink.

A major mechanism was going for a walk when things got too much for me, particularly at home. And a big helper in that respect was e who often took me for longer walks than I had planned. So, (sorry Rosie for beginning a sentence with ‘so’) all that seems very positive. 🙂

I was explaining this idea to someone who then said, ‘Aye but what if you break your leg and you can’t get out?’


So (ooooops) I paused for a second and said, ‘I’d leave the remote control over by the TV and any time I was ‘down’ I would go and change TV channels. That would be coping enough.’

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and (for one week only) still knocking at that door (lol)

Iaint850, with a quiet March ahead of him cos I’ve lots of leave to take before the end of the month. I’m available; try me.

And yes, I was in UWS (Paisley) during the week and it has changed. For example, you self-scan library books out and throw them in what looks like a big skip when you bring them back and that ain’t no way to treat books. ):

But I got some bad news. Someone well known to the library and catering staff had been really helpful to me when I had been thinking of a PhD. He’d looked out for articles about alcohol use in the newspapers. Sorry. He’d looked out for articles in the newspapers about alcohol use.

His younger brother had passed away and I was really sad.

I’d been out there to meet up with a friend, C, from post grad days and we had had a brilliant time when we were there. Sometimes the university environment seems miles away from the ‘real world’ of the homeless and refugees where I work (paid gig) but within one hour in the Hub café, as well as hearing about this death, I was talking to someone about the birth of her grand-daughter.

Maybe university life is part of the ‘real world’. It was certainly nice walking out of the multi-storey car park of blessed memory and looking at the basically unchanged frontage of the Robertson Building and that frightening automatic door where once I went through but my rucksack – with me still attached – didn’t.

No. No thoughts of returning…….mmmmm

This is a pic of my Gaelic class and a song we have been taught to sing. It’s about having a hangover.