Archive for March, 2018

“Life is like chocolate: you should enjoy it piece for piece and let it slowly melt on your tongue.”

March 29, 2018

And so dear listener this is Easter Weekend and as I sit here and type out these words (Friday afternoon), the words of doom uttered by Thomas Schaffeneker (sp) have not yet come to fruition. It was he, a few days ago, who elaborated at great length about the 6 to 10 days forecast and how cold it might be for us this particular few days. It is, it seems, about to happen but I much prefer people like Gillian Smart and a very tall guy called Chris Fawkes/Fox who appreciate how fed up we have become with the weather and who emphasise words like ‘milder’ and ‘snow over the highest of hills.’ 🙂 I think I’m still happier with the next day forecast.

But I do accept that change in weather forecasting can happen very quickly. It’s maybe that speed of change and how it reaches us that affects my feelings about the way it’s presented. And I shall, forever, apportion part of the blame for my ‘cardiac event’ on the cold weather. And the paper cut to my right index finger.

And, yes, I too have noticed the demise of the word ‘Easter’ on various chocolate egg containers but I’ve also been guilty of eating the contents. I’m way overweight and whilst it’s good that I’m doing the walking I do I reckon I could easily lose half a stone in old money. I’ve let too many people tell me I look fine. It’s time to do something about it. Once I’ve had that last toffee crisp that’s in the fridge just now. 😉

And even more frightening is the fact that I recently looked in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw (seriously, Debbie). I felt I had aged dreadfully – more 45 than 42.

But it’s easy putting things off just now. In a couple of weeks’ time I have some heart tests e.g. an ECG, and a conversation with the heart failure (!) consultant and I’ve a few questions to ask. The only residual I have is some tiredness and breathlessness at times – particularly in the house (?). I’ve only used that spray twice and the second time was in the house. OMG! It’s bitter and powerful and the pharmacist warned me against mixing it with some other stuff.

And I need to think about getting out of the house on a more regular and meaningful basis. Don’t get me wrong. I’m enjoying catching up with folk even if some things do get cancelled at short notice for jolly interesting reasons.

But I need something more;

An appropriate regular part-time job; or

Appropriate voluntary work; or

Serious writing but for whom?; or

An appropriate course……..

Someone suggested learning to play the guitar or studying Italian painting. Have I ever shown interest in those?

But mine is not a closed mind. But regular listeners know where my interests lie.

Any and every suggestion will be considered and there is a prize.

This is not a competition on Facebook offering a new mobile home as a prize by a company which has no profile on Facebook or real Google presence. I would have said something but why shatter the dreams of the nine and a half thousand people who had already entered. This was not Facebook’s fault.

But what job could I do?

For example, there’s a well-known D-I-Y chain which is known to employ ‘slightly’ older people but I’m not the world’s greatest D-I-Yer. If I was asked anything, I’d have to excuse myself and phone Kenny the Shed Pimp.

But on the workfront well done on promotion, or new job, to Ann from Prostate Cancer and Missie K. The furthest I ever got at the BBC was acting Senior Producer but I did know Viv Lumsden and Alan Douglas long before they became an item. I didn’t work on Rep Scot but knew the newsroom from when I worked on Nationwide. I was always made welcome there. I did get a lift up the road from Paddie on one occasion and was always part of the battle to open the door for Mary. 😀

And Ann, did you know that the building in which the bar Stereo lives was designed by Rennie Mackintosh and was home to the Daily Record for a while?

I could become a tour guide and bore for Scotland.

And finally, I was a wee bit distressed that numeracy standards have fallen so much that we’re to have a National Numeracy Day (16th May). I think we’ve had them before but tbh, I’ve not been counting.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and it’s always nice to get a wee wave.

Iaint850, described by one academic as a ‘serial recoverer’.

So (sorry Rosie) I saw Jeremy Kyle on TV the other night and he was doing some kind of bish bosh bash investigative reporting series in which he found Class A dealers within seconds and the anonymity they were granted was on condition they wore stupid masks and had their voices slo-mo’d down.

He spoke to a former policeman who is now involved with LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) and he (Kyle) seemed surprised when the polis suggested legalisation of the drugs trade. Not liberalisation or relaxation or giving the stuff away. Legalisation.

The very word ‘legalisation’ suggests legal controls and how can that be bad? Maybe a system similar to licensing the sale of alcohol with minimum age limits, control of premises and control of quality of what is sold? Is that such a bad notion?

The alternative is what we have just now where the drugs trade is outside the law, run by criminals for profit who will sell anything to anyone of any age and mental stability without any quality control.

The result? 867 deaths last year related to the use of street Valium or blues or fake diazepam…….Legal or illegal?

I know which saves lives.

This is Joan Baez right up to date and proving she still has an amazing voice and a social conscience

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Procrastination is the, is the, eh, I’ll look it up later (t850 2018)

March 22, 2018

And so dear listener, I had considered talking a wee bit about how nothing I’ve learned this week about Social Media has surprised me and what steps I take to avoid problems but that’s smug and tempting fate.

So all I’ll say is that, in a world

where, when I walk past Network Tyres, Facebook suggests I take a photo cos lots of my friends ‘like’ Network Tyres;

where sane and sensible people think that airlines are giving away free flights cos it’s a very strange anniversary but it’s not advertised on TV or mentioned on their website other than to warn you against this false promo; and

where you have only to request a friendship with somebody you already know for tons of new friends to be offered to you,

should any of this come as a surprise?

I like Facebook but am cautious. It was brilliant when I was in hospital not just at being able to let me post progress (or otherwise) on the heart thing but it saved me from being bored; and it was nice the other day when I was asked for another Tale from the Cul-de-Sac on that snowy Sunday, but you’ve got to ask yourself who is asking the questions (on Facebook) and what exactly are you sharing and why.

And I don’t get involved in political arguments; there’s a limit to the number of times you can tell people, for example, that there’s no chance of an independence referendum this year because of the Scotland Act (1999) and Westminster’s a bit busy at the moment. And then you get abuse for being a unionist (which I’m not) or, worse still, a former BBC journalist. 😦

Incidentally, have you got one of those devices that you tell to add things to your shopping list? What else is it hearing? (Alexa?)

I’ll move on.

Actually, it was a real pain on Wednesday afternoon, when the television stations were discussing Facebook and data, that Virgin decided to upgrade maintenance work (or similar) and the internet went down. TV came back on quickly so, ironically, I could hear people talk about Facebook. I just couldn’t access it. 😦

And when it did come back on, it was only for a weather forecaster to tell us that the Beast from the East could return at Easter but maybe more from the North and the East but it was ten days away and computer models could change overnight……..so why tell us?

Am I the only one beginning to blame the forecasters for the weather and whilst rain and snow are not the only reasons why I’ve not ventured out so much this year, I was hoping for a run of decent weather once the clocks have gone forward. Instead I’m sitting here typing these words listening to the wind outside and it’s a dry day. So far.

And I’ve got storage issues with my mobile phone……I’m not very tekkie am I?

But I did get an interesting phone call that afternoon. It was the Kaye Adams Show on BBC Radio Scotland. They were doing a feature the next day on men who had had significant illnesses and the effect on their sex life. The researcher/producer seemed to lose interest when I said it was nine or ten years ago and it had had little effect. 😉

But, I was asked the same question by the Daily Record a wee while back and with the Internet down I couldn’t Google the article but I was able to lay my hands on a hard (!) copy.

Gosh…….that was a bit indiscrete, jt.

Pages 28 – 29 of the Daily Record 18th April 2011, if you’re interested. And on the preceding page there’s a pic of me next to then Kate Middleton. On the page. Not in person.

Interestingly enough, within minutes that person (the Kaye Adams producer – not Princess Katie) was being offered to me by Facebook as a potential friend.

And social media is free to most of us. I mean I’m about to launch a major marketing campaign on behalf of http://www.thewordprocess.net and I’m going to run it for a whole fortnight at a cost of £56. I mean that doesn’t pay for a lot of doggie pictures, does it? I’m not justifying what seems to have happened but I remember a time when unions and other organisations, wrongly, sold on address lists of their membership. 😦

But in the meantime, I’m taking any editing that’s going which is playing havoc with my amazing social life.

This is not to condone anything that may or may not have happened and I am beginning to go round the unies again with actual sheets of paper to stick on noticeboards where I can. Some clear boards pretty quickly unless there’s an official stamp.

Others? In one Glasgow Uny building I came across a very old and faded flyer that must have been one of the first I ever put up. 😀

This week’s targets? GCal, Strathclyde Uny and UWS (Paisley) before the snow comes and whilst some students are still around but have I left it all a bit late? Only time will tell. And if you’re around any of those…….just say 🙂

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, still not too sure when this year will start and annoyed at myself. Long story.

And so this is Day 10 of 10 for Missie K and this is for her

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can succeed at (Hawking)

March 16, 2018

And so dear listener, as I open the mics for this week’s show, the clouds are gathering and the weather forecasters are not giving us good news. I just want something reasonably settled and warm but really hate the way some of them break the news to us. The more unsettled the weather, the happier they seem to be in explaining it to us.

Not for the first time this year, I feel marooned – hospital or house? I’m looking longingly out of windows.

But I have other things to talk about – the biggest of which is that the ‘s’ key on my keyboard ha given up so that any time s occurs it’s there courtesy of copy’n’paste. The laptop is not happy. Is it time for a new one down by the bank of the Mi i ipee near the American city of Ma achu ette ? 😦

Probably.

But http://www.laptopandpcdoctor.co.uk has just lent me an old USB keyboard and I’m off and running. And they dell laptops. Sorry. ‘sell laptops’…….But they will want theirs back and in the meantime……..does anyone have a spare one i can borrow longer term?

Actually, I’m working off two keyboards at the moment and feel like I’m auditioning for Kraftwerk…….. 😉

Incidentally, much of today’s show is dedicated to great comedians (as in a male joke teller as opposed to a comedienne which is etc……..why is it equality and diversity mean the need for fewer descriptive words?)

So I never thought I’d ever be able to use this.

Ken Dodd died the other day.

Did he?

No. Doddy.

But there are some genuine gags from the great man himself later in the show. 😀

It’s just that Sir Ken Dodd and also the late Jim Bowen had a greater influence on me than ever Stephen Hawking did. I understood what “Stay out of the black and into the red, nothing in this game for two in a bed.” meant but to this day I have no idea what a black hole is.

But Stephen had a sense of humour. I like the story of him when he’d been recording a big filmed interview with a big film crew and the electrician went round unplugging things and suddenly there was a massive scream and sigh and slump from Stephen and a look of panic on the face of everyone. ’What the hell has the electrician unplugged?’ ……..at which point the distinguished physicist did his equivalent of ‘Fooled You!!!’ and got a round of applause. 🙂

‘I have kleptomania but when it gets bad I take something for it’ (Dodd)

So, a wee and possible final word about my health. I’m fine. The biggest fright was in the four or five days leading up to the 999 phone call when I felt really bad. Once I was in NHS hands I felt safe. It has revealed a minor heart problem. It doesn’t stop me getting out and about but the weather does. I need the fresh air. It does for me what the morphine did. And caffeine. And I’m about to shop for non-dairy ingredients.

I am more than capable of doing what I did before this scare. Just a wee bit more aware of my chest and capable of giving many people a good run for their money – well a power walk for their pennies and tuppeny bits. 🙂

And thank to those folk who have commented on how much they enjoyed my (thankfully) short Facebook series during the bad weather – Tales from the Cul-de-sac.

‘How many men does it take to change a toilet roll? Nobody knows. It’s never been done before’ (Dodd)

And finally, in a moment of seriousness, I have decided that in the short term I need to get more out of http://www.thewordprocess.net and friend Tricia has helped with some Facebook Business Group stuff and there’s still time to get flyers up before the busy part of March happens. There has been a university workers’ strike at some of the unies I go to with flyers (N.B. not just lecturers but workers and I don’t cross picket lines) and I’m trying to combine meeting up with some people at some of the others – and Embra is a contender.

Let’s see how much the new equipment costs.

‘I just read a book about Stockholm Syndrome – it started off badly but by the end I really liked it’ (Dodd)

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, and the new haircut is in keeping with the new approach to life.

Eight years ago, I, along with Nick Low of Demus Productions, produced a radio documentary (presented by John Ross Beattie) which was about Prostate Cancer, describing it as ‘the silent killer’ as men wouldn’t talk about it.

Obvs I got a lot of men (six?) and two wives and a consultant and a nurse to talk about it otherwise it would have been a lot of silence. Nowadays you can’t open a newspaper without someone talking about it. Which is good.

I’m not going to get involved in some of the discussions about PSA testing (yes regularly it’s a good idea – but on its own it’s not enough) but there is something that Bill Turnbull said that I’d like to pick up on. He said that he had pains and urological issues but put these down to old age.

Never, ever put anything down to old age or for other cancers, ‘it’s just women’s problems’ and please be aware of cancer symptoms and whatever your age, go and talk to the doctor about them if you’re worried.

And what did Ken Dodd have in common with Charles de Gaulle’s wife? Happiness. On the basis that no-one will understand the context, here’s the Black Holes Song by Jam Campus.

You can cut all the flowers but you cannot stop Spring from coming (Pablo Neruda)

March 9, 2018

And so dear listener, what did you do when the Polar Vortex became the Beast from the East? Me? I cooried in and relied on neighbours to keep me supplied with bread and milk. As a consequence I still have a giant two litres of milk which is best before 23rd March. 🙂

My own back-up plan for when things went bad was a pack of six petit pains – y’know, you splash water over them and shove them in the oven and they come put piping hot and you just slice them open and put some form of spread in them and then just let it all drip down your lips and, and (What, Skippy, I’m not reading anything into what I’ve just written) 😉

Anyway, you also become quite inspirational in a Ready, Steady, Cook kinda way. My favourite was a couple of leerdammer slices in an omelette. Very pleasant.

My own situation?

Well I was supposed to meet up with a heart ‘temporary suspension of normal service’ consultant last week (and thanks to friend Carrie for the description – much better, if slightly longer than ‘failure’) but it was postponed for various weather related-issues and will be re-scheduled. In a way that’s reassuring. 🙂

In the four or five days before I made my own 999 call I had chest pains, breathlessness, giddiness and all that kinda stuff and then as soon as I popped the four aspirin that the call handler told me to, and the three shots of morphine that were jagged into me at the Royal, I began to settle. 😀

It’s high blood pressure and a leaky aortic valve; it’ll be medication and observation. I’ll be fine. I’ve had a shock and it’s time (yet again) to take stock. I have a spray which is to be used if I have pains or breathlessness and if it doesn’t work after a couple of uses then I phone 999. (I should maybe tell people and take it with me)

I’ll pick up on the walking again (and there is snow still lying in my cul-de-sac) and there’s nothing left to give up on the food and drink front. I know people who drink alcohol who tell me I should drink de-caffinated coffee.

Eh?

The pescatarianism has taken a wee bit of a knock. Apart from anything else you need fish – something lacking in the shops near me at the best of times – and I do appreciate NHS food and chose fish when it was available but I’ve been down the baked potato route as the regular vegetarian option before. 🙂

So my treat to myself on my first shopping after the hospital, and outwith Summerston, saw me buy scallops. And I bought a vegan cook book recently. I plan to do some vegan cooking but not as a lifelong commitment but as a way of varying my diet. But in the way that I once didn’t realise that soy sauce contained glutens, I didn’t realise how much of my diet currently involves dairy products. Maybe, now the snow’s done, I should go to a vegan fair and see what’s on offer. 😀

And finally, and I’m going to treat this as an early birthday present from my sister, I’m going to indulge myself in the warmer weather. I’m currently hoovering the grit off the living room floor, the kitchen floor is caked in dirt but I’ll move it and why are there so many mushrooms on the patio table?

I’m going to make enquiries and engage a firm of cleaners for a one-off deep clean of the house. Any recommendations? And I stress it’s a one-off and it’s a birthday pressie.

Cya, still wearing that badge and still intending to continue to keep it simple.

Iaint850, looking for that list of revolutions for 2018 that I did at the start of the year.

And, so, two things made me laugh in Morrison’s Car Park on Tuesday morning.

The first came from friend Nessa, who was part of that amazing Post Grad Alcohol Studies group that made me the man I am today and whose honorary members include e, j, Dr W and Debs……and probably Carrie as well.

Nessa, you need to get out more (lol)

She was saying that every time she watches Taggart on STV 2, whenever she gets to the football episode set in Maryhill and Taggart (Mark McManus) says the immortal words, ‘There’s a murder every second Saturday at Firhill’, she thinks of me.

I’ve not been for some time but that is incentive to go back.

But the biggest laugh of the last few days came on the George Bowie Breakfast Show when a woman (from Falkirk) posed the question that Nicola Sturgeon (and other politicians) has never dared ask; ‘See when the weather’s bad, instead of stocking up on bread and milk, why don’t we stock up on Pot Noodles? After all, they just need hot water and last for ages.’

You can’t argue with that, can you?

So in tribute to George’s amazing show, we all know that Bits & Pieces is an official Scotland anthem. I dance to it all the time when sober. Therefore, I dance to it all the time. Like this.

A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water. (Reiner)

March 1, 2018

And so dear listener, I was going to write about this being the tenth anniversary of me starting my radiotherapy and how it worked for me, and prostate cancer. But I’ve calmed down a wee bit since I heard Stephen Fry say this;

‘One (option) was for radiotherapy but that was a really long and difficult process. I mean it’s fine for some people but there are a number of issues with it for me.’

And he did not explain what those issues were. 😦

Jeffery Archer, Michael Parkinson and friend and media academic Ken Garner did explain their reasons this week for not choosing radiotherapy and that’s cool. The trust in your consultant was also important for me. And radiotherapy does take a long time but I was only 52/53 and had plans for my prostate. 🙂

I chose to go NHS (and met a brilliant bunch of men and women) and I chose radiotherapy; Stephen chose a different route and a different treatment.

And incidentally, Stephen, the word is ‘penis’ – not ‘todger’. I had to look that up.

Best wishes, Stephen, and I hope it all goes well for you. And I take great hope from the fact that you married someone thirty years younger than you. Well, I’m not so sure about the marriage bit but other than that, thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

Naw, there are much more interesting people to write about – people who contribute much more to society. 😀

Selfishly, for example, how would the ambulance and paramedics have got to me the other early morning in the conditions we’ve had this week? I suspect they would have managed. 🙂

And my neighbour across the road who is a home help has just walked down the road to join the Cordia cars (an arm’s length organisation from the council who provide peripatetic social care) to see what they can do to help despite the bad weather.

And Carol who works in an old folks home who seems to have just stayed there and continued to look after the folk in her care. 🙂 As did many people in health and social care or who worked in a different project from usual but closer to home.

I used to park my car at the bottom of the hill so at least I could get in. And there was one lovely winter’s morning when I finally got away at 4.30 but the taxi I got couldn’t take me up the hill but it was such a lovely walk – just me and the foxes and the street lamps reflecting in the snow. 😀

And I realised just how bad the weather was on Wednesday when I went out to the blue bin and couldn’t get back to the house. Seriously. I turned round to go to the door and the blizzarding snow hit me full frontal and I could not see through my glasses and I started to bump into other bins amidst snow that was several feet deep cos that was how deep the wind had blown it. I have four. All different colours. 🙂

It was blue bin day on Thursday but none of my neighbours bothered – so I didn’t. The snow in the cul-de-sac was really deep. The wind has nowhere to blow the snow so it’s just piled up.

And I did have an important meeting on Thursday which I had to cancel (well a good friend I hadn’t seen for some time) but I knew it wasn’t going to happen when, on Tuesday afternoon, Scotrail told me they were cancelling Summerston trains on Wednesday and Thursday.

And I think this is where Facebook and other social media have come into their own. I saw people with 4 x 4s offering to help people if they needed to go to hospital; people whose gardens (somehow) backed on to the M80 telling people to come in for cups of tea and pizza; and of course telling the world to tell homeless people where to go for shelter but homeless people – whether they’re in B & Bs which kick them out at nine in the morning, or supported accommodation which doesn’t, or hostels which are dry and safe away from nosey social workers wanting to do good (lol), or rough sleeping – are here all year round.

And finally, a tribute to all those people at Groupon who, no matter what the weather or the time of day, stick to their task of advising me of all their offers.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, dangerously close to running out of chocolate – where is that ice cream van?

On Friday all the folk in the cul-de-sac where I live got out and started clearing the snow from the actual street and I did join them but wasn’t allowed to do any work. However, I now have a wee path from my front door to the road. So I decided to make use of the path in the afternoon and go for a wee walk with my neighbour and her wee dog who disappeared in the snow.

We had barely made it into the next street when we realised that there was a lot of slithering going on as cars tried to cope with going up and down a treacherous hill. Again I wasn’t allowed to help with pushing (I feel a fraud) but looked after the wee dog.

Later that afternoon a woman in a red anorak, who I do not know, delivered milk, bread, cold meat, soup and home made cakes. The message? ‘Mary told me to get them’ and she did the same for across the road……..What Can I say?

So here’s a wee joke to cheer you up and I’m giving credit to friend Rosie for it.

A weasel walks into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, ‘In all my years of tending bars, I’ve never, ever served a weasel. What can I get you to drink?’

‘Pop’, goes the weasel.

And just to mark how bad the weather was this week, here’s the Beach Boys with White Out

What? Seriously? Well, it’s too late now.