Archive for June, 2017

There’s a lot of optimism in changing scenery, in seeing what’s down the road. (Conor Oberst)

June 23, 2017

And so, dear listener, an interesting reaction to last week’s show which, for at least one reader, saw a tear being shed. I had written briefly about my son’s likelihood of getting prostate cancer being greater as I had had it but he knows this. What I had not considered in writing this was that many people read the blog on a Sunday, as that is when Facebook, and other social media, publishes it, and this Sunday just past was Father’s Day – it was a complete contrast to how many others were using social media to talk about their dads and relationships with sons and daughters; so today is happy blog day. :D:D:D

For example, and continuing the Prostate Cancer theme, I wear the awareness badge that many top football managers and the brilliant Jeff Stelling wear on several of my jackets. One advantage is that I can be down Byres Road and be approached by chuggers and I show them the badge and ask if they know what it is and then I start explaining and it’s them making an excuse to leave me. Except on this occasion……

When I asked if she knew what it was she said ‘Yes.’ And told me what it was, that she gave money to them and told me why. Let’s just say it was a father-daughter thing and leave it at that but it’s been a long time since I’ve had that broad a smile. 🙂 🙂 🙂

And one of the other things I mentioned last week was the need to think about the need to find something else (academically?) in my life. One thing that is on the list is Distance Learning Tuition and Marking. Distance Learning (using online resources) is a growing market for universities and I think there were eight on my Post Grad doing it at a distance and I also noticed that Edinburgh Uny has something like 2,500 online users of all its educational services but the downsides are twofold;

I could end up never leaving the house and I’m not sure what subjects I could be offering…..mmmm

(Rainforestriverman, what was the name of that place where I tried a correspondence course all those years ago?)

And so, there’s a wee bit of spring cleaning going on but not with the aim of ‘unfriending people’ but rather taking the opportunity of freshening things up a wee bit whilst I’m still young. 😉

And the other thing I mentioned in last week’s blog was Fèis Spòrs Ghlaschu 2017 (No. I haven’t just copied and pasted it, Skippy. What makes you think that?)

Yes. I did the tuckshop and it was really good. People seemed to believe me when I said that I was selling really healthy Haribos specially developed in the laboratories of sabhal mòr ostaig in Skye (they did, didn’t they, e?) and the only thing that didn’t sell was chocolate which melted almost as soon as it was brought out the Cool Box but the ice lollies went down well. 😀

My only observation on the day (and e and c and some others know what I’m going to say) related to those parents who give their offspring a ten pound note to start the day and all they wanted was a can of ginger* at seventy pence and that’s the float gone straight away.

But the vegan hot dogs were good (but maybe in the way that I had to check on the soy sauce for J, the blog’s discerning diner, I should check out the ingredients in brown sauce)

*Becky, a ‘can of ginger’ encompasses all cans of fizzy soft drinks in the West of Scotland and I have no idea what the North London equivalent is.

And another direct result of the feis is that I’ve had my hair cut short(er). I just got fed up with it. So, if you’ve not seen me for some time, I’d be interested to know what you think.

And finally, the Proclaimers and my part in their success…or at least Margo McDonald’s part in their success.

It was ’86 or ’87 and I was asked to produce (in a couple of weeks) a series of five radio programmes with Margo which were to go out almost immediately (the next week) Monday to Friday (5 x 30’) and it was really rough and ready stuff with tapes (!) turning up at BBC reception, or my home, of Margo interviewing people. It was called something like Snapshots of Scotland and it was Margo interviewing people like Sammy Gilmore of UCS fame (lovely man) and Margo also suggested some music (which was unusual for Margo) and it was this new band – the Proclaimers – and there was no doubt the music added a lot to what we were doing with the programmes. Letter from America, for example, was a natural follow on to some of the things Sammy said.

It was only a few weeks later that l learned that Margo’s daughter, Zoe, was going out with one of them and later married him. She didn’t miss a trick, did she? 🙂

I miss Margo.

Tioraidh, and still wearing that badge (with pride) and still keeping it simple

iaint850, going for the world record of Friendzones.

So, in keeping with the rest of the show, here’s an optimistic end.

Walking to work the other day, whilst passing through a lane in Glasgow City Centre, I was hailed by someone ‘begging’. It was only when I got closer I realised I knew him. He was someone I’d worked with before (a really nice guy with a lot of potential) and his main problem had been ‘legal highs’ and then the Queen went and banned all psychoactive substances, except coffee, alcohol and tobacco, so his problem became ‘illegal highs’.
(She also failed to ban amyl nitrate poppers)

He’d moved around but was now sleeping rough. I chatted for a while and, obviously, gave him no money whatsoever so he could get a bed for at least that night and as I was walking away he shouted, ‘John Boy, I’m going to get clean and I’m going to stay clean. You know me.’

And, yes, I do believe him.

There is only one song I can play and it’s up there (when I first saw them perform it) with the first time I saw ‘The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black, Black Oil.’

Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, Certainly, I can! Then get busy and find out how to do it. (Theodore Roosevelt)

June 15, 2017

And so dear listener, the No News is over and, as some people know, I didn’t get the job I went for. For very obvious reasons, I’ve got to be careful what I say but it was loosely tied in with the homeless charity for which I work and it was working as a literacy/numeracy tutor with roughly the same client group I already work with and yes, I thought I would be good at it but I did always say that if someone better qualified or more experienced was in for it then they stood a better chance.

And that’s what seems to have happened. 😦

And it does mean that that question goes back to being the most asked question and I think this week has reflected that.

But it was fun prepping for it. For example, I had forgotten that I had a teaching qualification – an Introduction to Teaching Further Education – and I’d done a lot of teaching basic core skills. I have even had the experience of teaching wall and floor tilers who’d never used a computer and seen the Daniel Blake thing of asking someone to drag the mouse across the screen and for them to actually lift the mouse to the computer screen – and how do you turn the page on a computer when writing something? Good question. 🙂

So, along with the blessed Nicola, I think a period of reflection is called for, but I do make the point that I enjoy doing what I’m doing. I will rush nothing. I am young.

My thanks to all those who supported me and major thanks to a lady friend who, in a textual conversation, after I’d said ‘maybe time to move on’, replied ‘move in immediately!’…….seconds later came the correction……’move on. I meant, move on……’

(Skippy, can we maybe check to see if there are any other qualifications I’ve forgotten?)

But I’m going through one of those weeks when, if I take one day off as Annual Leave, than I have about seven off-rota days. And that’s what I’ve done. The reason? Well, I’m going to be helping to do the tuckshop (again) at a Gaelic Sports Day at Pollok Park. Now, some of you will read this after the Day is over so I’ll leave it until next week before talking about it. It’s e’s influence that I get involved and this contributed to me going to Gaelic this year but I’ve forgotten a lot so we’ll see.

But e, have you ever seen a TV programme called Eat Well For Less? It’s roughly about a couple of people who go supermarket shopping without a list. Not that we did but Costco can be such an inviting place – with their tempting coffee and cake on the way in. And their trolley searches on the way out.

My tuck shop is well stocked. (No, Skippy, I am quite happy with that as a euphemisim)

But I was slightly worried, given the part of Glasgow we were in, that I might see people for whom I know a warrant is out. But I didn’t.

And finally, I was back out at UWS (Paisley) last week and met lots of people I knew (about seven but the campus was sooooo quiet) and I finally found the new way into the library and flyered lots of noticeboards and caught up on some gossip (of all sorts) but my favest bit was when some schoolchildren asked where D Block was ….and I remembered….happy daze and that may be part of the problem.

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

Iaint850, my mind’s in a bit of a tumbril at the moment. 😉

So my son and I have discussed my death a few times and he has Power of Attorney for when the dementia kicks in and gets what little savings I have and the house with its smashing big garden and the picture of the Sea Lion (or walrus) that he has coveted since I moved into this house and that there are arrangements for the funeral and some people will get VIP/Access to all Areas Tickets and my lawyer has the details of the music to be played.

But there is one thing I’d rather I wasn’t leaving him – but he does know this.

He knows that he is 2.5 times more likely to develop prostate cancer because I had it but he, also, is aware that more and more ways of treating it (should it happen) are being developed all the time.

But recent research by Prostate Cancer UK shows that 66 per cent of men in this position do not know of this increased risk and apocryphal evidence from me in the days when I did talks and information stands is that many men who are aware of these risks do nothing about it. Even when there’s been a death in the family ‘cos of it.

But Son Brian knows and I’m sorry about that. Still at least you’ve got the fun of all my CDs and downloads to listen to……..aw, come on. There must be one you fancy.

This is William Matheney. (I saw a shop in Paisley High Street which offered to teach me to play guitar, get me in a band and get me on stage……I am so tempted)

‘Brexit is the basis of everything else.’ (Theresa May)

June 9, 2017

I still don’t know what you mean by that, Theresa, but my money is now on October for a General Election and, maybe, just maybe after that, politicians will start thinking about running our various countries again. 😉

(Right, Skippy, back to normal)

And so, dear listener, for those of you who know what I’m talking about (and indeed for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about) at the time of writing this, I still have no news. And I do leave the house not long before the postman is due but that old trick doesn’t work.

(Yup. Copied and pasted from last week and it shows. I blame Brexit which is the basis of everything else)

My General Election highlights? Seeing Theresa May looking like a startled rabbit when Colin Mackay asked her about VAT on Police Scotland and she had to start an answer with, ‘Well in England and Wales.’; actually seeing a candidate in my constituency (Pam Duncan-Glancy); and a very nice checked shirt with hood that I bought from a charity shop in Byres Road for £8.99. 🙂

But, yes, you’re right, Theresa. Running through the wheatfields was the worst thing I ever did as well…………well, that and the odd lie. Altho’ I did once throw a piece of wood that hit a teacher and, boy did I pay for it.

But, I have to say, that practically every broadcaster and practically every politician needs to think seriously about existing devolution and how they report UK matters and politics and how they explain their policies.

Policing is devolved; dealing with terrorists isn’t (for example)

So I saw a lovely programme about the Coats threadmills in Paisley the other night. I’m an adopted Glaswegian (a weegie) but I think Paisley runs Glasgow close in many ways and for many reasons (and certainly more than Peterhead where I’m originally from). I mean, when you’re watching something on your own but yet you still call out ‘that’s the CIba-Geigy club’ then it must mean something to you. 🙂 🙂 🙂

And, yes, the beautiful Coats Memorial Church where I have attended two graduations – mine and uni-Sharon’s. I won’t compare graduations with the one I did at Glasgow a wee while back but I do remember marching behind a piper at the one in Glasgow (which we also did at Charles Kennedy’s Memorial Service two years ago) but I think doing it at the advanced age of XX at Paisley added a certain something to it. 😀 😀 😀

And a big thanks to e and RJ for treating me to a birthday lunch this week (not ‘til 2nd July since you ask but we all lead such busy lives) and an exclusive and exquisite original painting from RJ, who moves up to Primary in a few months, with its vivid pink tree with large blue spots. Very relaxing it is. 🙂

And I will be helping (again) to run the tuckshop at the Gaelic Sports Day in Pollok Park this coming Saturday (17th) afternoon and look forward to seeing some of you there.

And also a wee thanks to Colin S who did the same (treated me; not gave me a picture he’d painted himself) and who would be my stockbroker if I had any stocks but they’re in an attic somewhere and I can’t be bothered getting them back.

And finally, on General Election Day, there was some news about a suggestion that a facility should be made available at music festivals, initially, where people can test drugs if they’re not sure where they came from and see if there’s anything dodgy in them. There’s no recommendation or encouragement about taking them – simply knowing that they’re safe to use ‘cos most of deaths are from taking dodgy stuff.

At the moment one of the biggest concerns out there is dodgy Chinese Valium and has been for some time. We all know people who have died from that (trust me….. you do) and you all want your sons and daughters to be safe, don’t you?

Well, at least as safe as you when you look at the label on a bottle of whisky or gin or that very fancy wine.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, in birthday mood but will it last when the news finally arrives?

And so I was on an early last Sunday morning when I heard the news about London, but that meant I was able to watch most of the Ariana Grande/Manchester concert – particularly the second half. Slightly disappointed to hear/read comments from some old people (over 29) who weren’t too taken with the music.

Well, I was brought up listening to Radio 1 and have continued listening to Radio 1 with occasional forays into other stations (for example, Clyde 2 on a Sunday evening when John Collins plays country) and, at the very least, I recognised most of the music; loved the stripped back Coldplay and Liam’s swagger; and even warmed to Justin Bieber.

But following those comments I did have a look at my record and download collection. Apart from that one album by Black Eyed Peas that everyone has (I got a feeling) I have nothing…….except I have three albums by Imogen Heap.

Here she is from last week in Manchester and not a ripped denim in sight. Enjoy.

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. ” (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

June 2, 2017

And so, dear listener, for those of you who know what I’m talking about (and indeed for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about) at the time of writing this, I still have no news. And I do leave the house (off-rota this week) not long before the postman is due but that old trick doesn’t work.

So let’s talk about things that are actually happening. 😉

The Court Case is happening so that’s me at the Sheriff Court on Monday morning.

I am defo going to Oban in July but I won’t say exactly when just in case…… 🙂

Not only is accommodation booked but I have now booked train tickets and yes, Debbie from my work, I do realise how little (probably nothing) going by bus would have cost me, but I like going by train. It’s basically a long weekend with hopefully a couple of trips to wee islands just off Oban. And completely forget about work (altho’ we do have a project in Oban).

Now, should I take a Kindle or real books? Probably real books and just leave them for the next people who get the room. 😀

I have been to/passed through Oban many times including a visit to Iona many years ago for the BBC when I was shown around the Abbey by Lord George MacLeod himself and did my share of chores with the Community itself. His later TV obituary was called Glory to God in the High Street and I was really proud of my researcher credit on that one.

And then there was the death of John Noakes.

A wee while ago, I and the Good Dr W did Go Ape in Aberfoyle which involved zipwiring, rope-ladders up trees and rickety walkways between trees and would I do it again? Probably not, as I’d know when to be scared this time.

This is a wee clip of John going up Nelson’s Column with no harness but with his cameraman having gone on ahead. John had to do the top bit twice as the sound recordist didn’t quite get the quality he wanted. I’d do the zipwiring again but not that final rope ladder! Never! Nor the cargo net!

And finally, the blog and me on social media have remained election free but with just hours to go, I felt I should say something. So here it is;

Not only am I not sure who to vote for, I don’t know what to vote for as nobody is agreed as to why we’re having a General Election and what the issues are.

Theresa May called this election three years early because she felt we needed strong and stable leadership in Brexit talks and has said nothing other than platitudes all along; Jeremy Corbyn has done okay in the old trench/class warfare but was let down badly (on his days off) by sending along his lieutenants Diane Abbott and Emily Thornberry who spoke platitudes which they didn’t understand; SNP supporters spoke of what the SNP would do for education and health (without seeming to realise that they should already be doing something about them at Holyrood) and it must be hard for Nicola to realise that her dreams of a second indyref are drifting further and further away; the Lib-Dems are nice but much less focused than they were under Charles Kennedy at his best (62 seats) and this week sees the second anniversary of Charles’s death; and the Scottish Greens are nice locally but I have no idea why they’re standing in three seats in a UK election.

I’ll make my mind up on the day. And on the day I will decide to vote for Pam Duncan-Glancy. She’s quite recognisable. She describes herself as the ‘only wheelchair user in the election’. And she’s Labour. And I’ve seen her outside Hillhead Subway Station. And she’s the sister of the girlfriend of a former student of mine.

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

Iaint850, wishing everything in life were as simple as a General Election.

In the midst of all the campaigning you might have missed a wee report from the Care Inspectorate which looked at the work carried out by Scotland’s twenty-nine Alcohol and Drug Partnerships – made up of local authorities, health boards, police and drug and alcohol agencies.

It concluded that ‘the majority of operational staff were very positive and confident in demonstrating that they worked well together to improve outcomes for people, families and communities.

‘(However), local councils and health boards must do more to reduce the stigma and create the necessary conditions to successfully embed a recovery philosophy.’

It was an American organisation called The Faces and Voice of Recovery that was the inspiration for the subject of my Master’s – four years ago this Summer. I still have all my notes and printed off journal articles and some amazing stories from the people I interviewed for that MSc. I wonder………

One of the reasons I’m glad I don’t work nights these days is that I don’t have to listen to the busker outside the Dental Hospital and the three o’clock drunks singing along with him with this. It’s Oasis (the proper version) …what else?