Archive for October, 2019

‘It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential to the eye.’ (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

October 26, 2019

And so, dear listener, in the same way that Sky News now have a Brexit-free news channel on 523 on my TV, this is, this week, a will settlement-free zone other than to say, I /we are happy with progress but (and how do you know when an opera has come to an end these days?) it ain’t over until it’s over.

Instead let’s talk Christmas. 😦

Sorry. It’s not my fault. There’s already been discussions about where the media communications department of the SDF (there’s two of us) is going to have its Christmas lunch.

I have already received a whatsapp message (from one of my grandchildren – or was it his dad) to a link for a pressie he fancies but that’s okay by me. It means that everything else can come from a run into Waterstone’s for books and similar – which I’ll enjoy. 😀

And for me the traditional sign of Christmas is when St Margaret’s Hospice in Clydebank contact me to see if I’d like to sponsor a light on the hospice tree for someone no longer with us. Well, this year, for obvious reasons, there’s one fewer to contribute to sponsoring a light in memory of my mum and dad, and one more person to be remembered. So, I’ll get that organised soon.

And there’s a rumour that that flat in Crow Road has Christmas lights on – altho’ someone else said it’s Hallowe’en lights. Hallowe’een lights? Since when? My dad would get a turnip, take ages to hollow it out and make some eyes. Shove a couple of small candles in it and place it in the kitchen at the back of house and switch the lights off. Altho’ that might have been to pretend we weren’t in. 😉

And if you don’t understand the reference, that flat is usually the first in the west end, anyway, to be well lit up.

But it could have been a difficult start to Christmas for me. I went into the ASDA to get  some money before a train journey into town but as I was about to leave, I heard an announcement;

‘A credit card has been handed into Customer Services. If there’s a Mr iaint850 in the store can he come to Customer Services?’

‘Denice. It’s me. It’s mine.’

‘Do you have any identification, iaint850?’

Which is a proper store security question and I had no problem in showing my driving licence. I’d left it in the machine and a young lady, whom I thanked profusely, but who didn’t want coffee as a thank you, had handed it in. Luckily, there was no-one else in the store that I knew who could see my embarrassment – well there was……..

So where were good friend e and I going that morning?

The Foreign News Editor of the Sunday Herald is a man called David Pratt and he is an amazing photographer and war correspondent. I’ve worked with him in the past and know how well travelled he is (in various war zones). You’ll see people like Orla Guerin and Lindsay Hilsum and Martin Patience in places like that or up hills and mountains in Afghanistan or in Kurdish areas watching their brave fight against Daesh and you’ll also see civilians whose lives are torn apart by conflicts over which they have no control.

David’s portraits and panoramic views of life and death are well worth going to see and are in a new gallery down Glasgow’s Saltmarket called Sogos in an area where there is now a tremendous range of galleries and opening times are on Twitter but if anyone fancies going on a Thursday when it’s open ‘til 6.30 let me know as I’d go back and it’s there until 8th November. 🙂

Tioriadh, still wearing that badge, and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, who actually enjoys being early cos I see more when I’m out than I do at home.

And I’ve been going recently, on Monday afternoons, to Strathclyde University for a series of talks on Old Glasgow. They’re well illustrated and the guy doing the talking knows his subject and I’m pleased to say that there is no-one trying to dominate by asking questions from the floor (as it were) and develop their own ways of thinking and pet theories. 😉

It reminds me. At one point, I was considering researching and writing a book looking at the Scottish fascination with alcohol and our ways of controlling that. It would be particularly apposite at the moment when, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, there is so much debate about recovery but primarily on the drugs side in a city where deals are done in public………

Alcohol has always been the main cause of problems in Scotland and the story of how drink has been served through its various hostelries and so on is fascinating. He’s touched on Granny Gibb’s Cottage of the late 1790s (in Thornwood) where drouthy drovers stayed (with their cattle) and slaked their thirst but I wonder if we might return to the subject of Glasgow’s hostelries.

This will be my thirteenth Christmas since Cold Turkey Weekend and I have a C’mas list on my old computer……….I’ll leave it for a few more weeks before I transfer it across.

And here’s a link to the Zac Brown with their winter forecast and I will do something about the link thing soon. Honest. Oh. Hang on……And Keywords – I can’t find where to add keywords.

“Home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there any more.” ― Robin Hobb, Fool’s Fate

October 19, 2019

And so, dear listener, another stage in the settlement process has been encountered and partially overcome. I have mentioned the collection of my sister’s ashes but now we have been doing things to my sister’s homes.

And that’s as far as I’ve got with this blog. Excuse me while I take a break and collect my thoughts. It’s not an emotional thing (much).

As some of you know there have been legal issues so let’s just ignore them and get on with the tales of house clearance – except, technically, they’re not clearances.

The flat in Maryhill, for example is small and the person buying that (hopefully) has said what he wants left. So I got in touch with a charity called who told me exactly what they could and couldn’t take and were true to their word. It’s a charity that helps the homeless which is still a group in society in whom I still have a (slightly more distant) interest.

I was told they’d be between 0930 and 1530 and they were there at 1030 and were very efficient.

The two beds were flame resistant and there was a dining room table and chairs. Bedding was bagged up as were pillows and towels. One bedside cabinet but not the other. I’d not boxed up crockery and cutlery and pots and pans and casserole dishes so they weren’t taken – if anyone has any interest in these things – and I’ve also been left with a large number of rugs…….

I’ll have a wee think about what to do with them.

The flat was bought before my sister retired from her job in London and I was given the task of finding it – although what really happened was that I was sent details of various properties in which she might be interested and I arranged to go and look at them. It was to be reasonably close to where I live (but not too close).

By this time our parents’ house had been sold and cleared (some going to storage and some going to McTears) and my sister had plans for a house in a part of the West of Scotland she loved but she needed a base.

For me this was the first task I had taken on since Cold Turkey weekend and I have this amazing memory of, for the first time in many years, eating a fish supper whilst sober. It was also a strange experience in that my sister put a bid in and got it without seeing it beforehand and then, when she saw it, I was worried as to what she’d think of it. She liked and that was her Glasgow ‘during the week home’.

She then bought a house about an hour out of Glasgow (no location given here for obvious reasons) and this is where I was on Saturday with Kenny the Shed Pimp and his van. This is slightly different as I’ve been told the purchasers (hopefully) want the furniture and stuff left but that’s as specific as they’ve been,

Clothes were removed some time ago and given to charity; all the empty boxes my sister had collected over the years were disposed of as rubbish; and various personal articles were removed.

From my point of view (and this may seem harsh) I didn’t think I’d have any difficulty in moving stuff but I am aware that, over the last few months when people came down to help me, I moved very slowly compared to the others with the bin bags.

And at this point I’d like to say a big thank you to Son Brian, Son Brian’s dad-in-law, Kenny the shed pimp, good friend e and Friend Rosie – all of whom helped in many and different ways……..or multiple ways as I think it would be described these days.

The new owners have been left the furniture and other stuff and they have the choice of what they want to keep. I have no idea what they already have and am happy doing it this way. The house looks uncluttered and it is also obvious that much space has been cleared for them and their possessions.

However, we (see above) know how much has gone to the various skips in the West of Scotland and to many charity shops as well. In addition, I have various plastic bags of various cleaning materials et al that my sister seems to have started and not finished before she moved onto another one. That’ll keep me out of mischief.

I’m satisfied with what we’ve done and I think my sister would approve of my choice of team and what we have achieved. Some of you know why it has taken so long. It would have been nice if it had all been done before the clocks change next week but such is life. And death.

And there’s a takeaway coffee shop on the front at Helensburgh where it costs £3.40 for two coffees and a roll and square.



“Karl Marx: “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” Carrie Fisher: “I did masses of opiates religiously.”

October 11, 2019

And so, dear listener, as some of you know, I went and collected my sister’s ashes the other day. I’m quite happy to name the firm of undertakers as Harvey’s have been the family undertakers since my parents moved down to Glasgow many years ago (my mother was from Springburn and my dad was from Peterhead) and they decided to retire to the city where they met. xx

I assume they’ll look after me when the time comes but that’s my son’s decision.

There’s no reason for doing it just now other than we’re a wee bit more hopeful about settlement than we were a few months ago but let’s not tempt fate. There’s a wee bit of tidying up in properties (like you do) in the hope that some things come to a conclusion quite soon and there’s associated paperwork being done.

But back to my sister……Sheila.

There’s a couple of places the ashes have to be scattered according to her instructions but, as I say, there’s no hurry.

Tbh, I’ve not actually looked in the bags in which they have come and also, tbh, I won’t do that until I/we need to. And I’d like the weather to be a bit better. Trust me. You need to take the wind into account when you do this plus both will involve scattering into water.

I’ll keep you posted.

(And, yes, I did put the bag on the back seat and secure her in with a seat belt and did ask if she was okay and then realised what I’d just done. Still with Harvey’s you can park round the back so no-one saw me and I don’t think anyone would have bothered anyway)

But it has been pretty awful weather hasn’t it?

It affected me last Sunday about half past seven in the morning when I was driving north on the Maryhill Road. I have this thing about being up and about before eight which is a throwback to my initial recovery when I had to build in a routine.

I was going to the garage to get petrol and papers and was just past the chapel on the left and the allotments were coming up on the other side. (I don’t mean they were actually moving, coming out in sympathy with XRebellion, but am using this to establish my position).

I became aware that a couple of cars, proceeding in a southerly direction, were driving through really deep water. ‘Fools’, I thought and then realised I was doing exactly the same but in a different direction. You can’t stop and you don’t think. You keep your foot on the accelerator and just keep it at the speed you were doing and begin to press a wee bit more as the car begins to feel that it’s struggling – and you emerge on the other side saying to yourself that you will never swear at people on the TV driving through deep water again. Maybe, like me, they were in it before they knew it.

And the other weather related incident took place at the top of Byres Road where you emerge from the Botanic Gardens and there’s a wee crowd of studently people waiting for the wee green man and there’s one young lady in front of me and she’s trying to get her anorak on and she hasn’t got her right arm in properly and she has no chance with her left arm and she reminds me so much of my son when he was about six and she really needs help but in this day and age…….. 😦

So, I said, in a loud voice, ‘Here. Let me help….’ and unentangled the left sleeve and held her jacket open for her to get her arm in and then pulled the jacket up and she was fine.

(I’m thoughtful and single and here all week, y’know, and next week and next week and the week after…..)

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple but maybe it’s time to be realistic

Iaint850, which is very appropriate this week as the Gaelic Mod is in Glasgow.

And I don’t think I’ve left myself enough words to do justice to what I want to write about so I will return to it later – but first a hint.

I researched, wrote and passed my Master’s in 2012/13 and it was about advocacy on behalf of people in alcohol addiction treatment and rehab but the advocacy was to be by professional workers and it was interesting to see that some of the workers had never considered that as part of their job.

As well as talking to a couple of women who went to AA meetings, I also spoke to some workers who themselves had come through substance issues but it had never occurred to me to talk solely to people in recovery. Many were members of a fellowship and had to adhere to the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, of which Number 11 is;

‘Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need to always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.’

But there is a wee change taking place and organisations like Faces and Voices of Recovery and Recovering Justice are making themselves heard. Yes, many of their members go to meetings (‘abstention recovery’) but they talk, not about those, but about their continued recovery and the need to have their lived experience listened to.

By whom?

By politicians who think they know best. After all, these politicians have ignored experts and academics up to now; so why should they listen to ‘ordinary people’ now.

Watch this space and I’ll suggest why………

I still haven’t cracked the video problem . However, it just takes a second to click on Kris Kristofferson singing Sunday Morning Coming Down but it’s song that defines me at a time in my life and reminds me that I saw him perform it about two and a half years ago. Nice memory….the night I saw him…….not the Sunday mornings. Or, indeed, every day of the week.

“Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.” ― Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

October 4, 2019

And so dear listener, can I clarify something I said last week which worried at least one listener? When I talked about hibernating, I’m not going to become a recluse with my only contact with the world being the odd word emerging by social media.

Altho’ I do have various tins of potatoes and beans and long life milk and those breads that last for several months and then  you put them in the oven, heat them up, cut them in half and spread butter and jam over them…..or I’ll maybe do that when I finish tonight’s show. 😀

No. It’s just that last couple of winters have not been that good. Two Januaries ago I had the heart problem that saw me in the Royal Infirmary and then the Golden Jubilee and particularly, when I was in the Royal, the snow fell and I looked out at it and welcomed my visitors who made it through the snow to see me. 🙂

A few weeks later and it was the Beast from the East but social care people still made it into work and it’s funny (and I never ever had, I think, anything as bad as that to overcome on my way into work) but I always made it, which is particularly important when you’re relieving someone on a shift looking after vulnerable people.

And then, just last year, I and some others, had the regular, almost daily, visiting of my sister in the Beatson until she passed away and every night I’d go to sleep with a final listen to the radio weather forecast and all the way through – even up to the cremation – the weather stayed cold but it didn’t snow. 🙂

I was reminded of all this earlier this week when I met up for a cup of coffee with the blogmeister in the late afternoon in Byres Road (he works flexi-time) and I then wandered back to my car (miles on the other side of where I used to park cos of Glasgow City Council) and did so in a lovely setting October sun and was so relaxed that I almost was stuck in the Botanic Gardens in that lovely setting sun. I didn’t realise the gates close at 7. 😦

And then the next morning, I had to scrape ice off the car windscreen and did so with a CD cover. Aye. There’s a limit to what you can do with a download isn’t there?

It’s a period of strange weather but it always is in October. And I must stop looking at long term forecasts from random weather forecasters in tabloid newspapers and maybe just keep it one day at a time.

And maybe I’m just a wee bit annoyed. As many people know, a few months ago, I decided to legally change solicitors for all sorts of reasons, and maybe I’d had a wee hope that, by now, I’d be living in a small fisherman’s cottage in the Algarve and a small fisherman from the Algarve would be living in a semi in Summerston.

But progress is now being made and I just have to be patient. And cold.

And finally, I saw a chameleon this week. Not very good at its job, is it?

Tioraidh (which is very appropriate as we’re about to host the Mod here in Glasgow where I’m sure there will be lots of badges but will anyone be keeping it simple and will I go to anything?)

Iaint850, and JOMO ain’t so bad at the moment.

And earlier this week, I was approached on Facebook by someone from the BBC, I kinda knew, to be his friend on Facebook (and fb users know what I mean by that). Fair enough. Altho’ I didn’t know him that well, I have something like eighteen BBC (past and present) on my Facebook so I said yes……..

Two days later I was a recipient of a largish Facebook message telling me all about his new book that was about to be published…….Fair play I thought and a mystery solved.

And I’d like to thank Ann I for her suggestion for music for tonight’s show and there is a wee story behind the song and if you click on the link you will get the story on the Youtube page……..and this is a wee problem which has emerged since I started to use the new computer. Things like WordPress have updated my blog page and my wee tricks have disappeared.

Previously I was able to let you straight into the video but for some reason I can’t and I’m not sure why. It’s not the biggest of big deals, is it, for you just to click the link but it’s a presentation thing. Any thoughts?

Tenille Townes with Jersey on the Wall (I’m just asking)……enjoy