Archive for March, 2020

“If people did not love one another, I really don’t see what use there would be in having any spring.” ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

March 28, 2020

And so dear listener, I must confess to some cheating even in these difficult times. I am leaving the house twice a day for good long walks. I justify one of them by combining it with some hunting and foraging down the Lifestyle Express in the middle of the scheme where I buy newspapers and any foodstuffs or other shopping that I need for that day.

Later, in the day, say about 1700, I will go out for another walk, possibly in the graveyard across the road. That’s where the dogwalkers go but there’s room enough to avoid them if necessary. 🙂

However, all over Summerston the streets are quiet. Many people travel by car or by train but even the world famous 61 bus (Eric the Floodstalker’s favourite) is empty when I see it, although I suspect it picks up passengers once it gets past the ASDA. Summerston is the terminus for one or two buses and that’s showing at the moment.

But, yes, I’m reasonably well stocked at the moment and that’s not a boast. It’s the result of harsh health reality in recent years. Two years ago, I had a ‘mild to moderate’ heart attack and one of the brilliant things my son did was to keep an eye on the contents of the fridge and sell by dates 🙂 something I’ve been doing a lot recently.

When I came out of hospital the cupboard was bare and my sister very kindly took me for a large supermarket shopping. A few weeks later came the Beast from the East and that brought home to me how important it was to have a full larder and freezer – if possible. Maybe it’s a freelance thing.

And then last year, my sister was ill with the cancer and passed away. Again I’d allowed things to run down on the food front and this time it was good friend e who took me supermarket shopping. She is amazingly good at packing supermarket bags. 🙂

But I do know this is not possible for everyone. People with families, folk who are self-isolating and folk with limited incomes, amongst others, will be struggling. I am in conversation with some folk…….

I’m also up to date with medication and my hair has still a long way to go before I’d be getting it cut anyway. I’m also still editing which gives me a focus and a student with whom I am working on her PhD and who lives in America tells me she has had a negative Covid-19 test. She works in social care.

And my thoughts are with my former colleagues who work in supported accommodation for the homeless, and a member of my family who is a nurse in Intensive Care, and someone I know who is a volunteer with a telephone helpline, and so many others and I look forward to us all meeting again.

I have spoken to my grandchildren via videophone and an SDF colleague who sent me a link to Microsoft Teams and I will have another go at either Skype or Zoom but I am open to any suggestion if people want to contact me.

So, I have read and re-read the words above a few times now and I do hope that I don’t come across as smug. It’s a realistic appraisal of where I stand just now. I would ask people to read them in the context of everything I have written over the years. Like many people I am scared about the future, but I do believe there is one and am looking forward to enjoying it.

I do realise how fortunate I am at the moment.

I would also like to say that I paid my first visit (in several days) to my local supermarket and things were looking reasonably good. There was a five-in and five-out queuing system; the shelves were well enough stacked; and the staff were fantastic – as always. There is a long way to go but that is at least a positive sign.

I shall now stop for a moment before moving on. There’s a couple of light bulbs need replacing in the kitchen.

Right, with Steve Earle on Spotify in the background, there is something else I want to talk about.

I think that BBC Scotland and other broadcast organisations are playing a blinder at the moment, but I have one question. What the hell have they done to BBC’s The Great British Menu?

It used to be a nice wee competition cookery programme leading the successful chefs towards a major banquet at somewhere prestigious to celebrate a significant but meaningful anniversary e.g. the anniversary of the founding of the National Health Service, but it has lost its direction hopelessly. 😦

There are too many chef contestants and they have to come up with too many dishes. What the hell is a pre-dessert dessert? And the food takes second place to the fancy decoration that it is served in.

And it does not need a presenter, particularly one who feels she is part of the show. This is not a dig at Sue Calman and I know she has fans who listen to this blog (Ann and maybe others) but in previous series, the food spoke for itself and was aided and abetted by a voice over.

But the biggest crime of all? The anniversary is to help them to give a theme to their cooking. It’s tenuous enough that it’s ‘writing for children’ based on ‘It’s almost (sic) two hundred years since Oliver Twist was written.’

Dear listener, according to Google Oliver Twist was published in 1837!!!!!!!!

That is 183 years ago!!!!!!!!

Thank heavens for Masterchef where one day someone may cook scallops or try a chocolate fondant (LOL) Just a thought.

So I said last week that I’d just play some music that meant something to me. This was a first date in my first time at university with someone called Moira C. I was a wee bit nervous and we were meeting at Queen Margaret Union as she was a board member there. This was already one of my favest songs and as I turned the corner to QMU, this was what I heard being played and I knew things would be okay. And they were. 🙂

And this is what my hair will look like in six weeks time.



‘These are dark clouds’, said the boy. ‘Yes, but they will move on,’ said the horse. ‘The blue sky above never leaves.’

March 21, 2020

And so, dear listener, welcome………

Again a slightly shorter version of the show as every time I start to record the intro, there’s another piece of the Covid-19 jigsaw that falls into place and they tend to come from sensible high heid politicians like Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney and the new Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and lots of tremendous medical and scientific people like Jason and Catherine but not the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who looks as if he has changed his mind about the job and Donald Trump, who looks and sounds ill. 😦

Boris tried to equate current testing techniques with a pregnancy kit which is crap if he meant it as a joke and is also crap if he didn’t and Donald lost the plot when an American reporter offered him the opportunity to reassure the American public. 😦

Me? I’m fine. No symptoms as yet. I’m reasonably okay for food and non-food stuff. Things are relatively settled in the ASDA other than toilet rolls and soap and sometimes I buy based on what’s there so when I get home, I empty my bag and shout, ‘What’s in the green pepper bag today?’. To myself.

The corner shop is a Lifestyle Express standalone in the middle of the scheme and it’s also got stuff.

I have a wee routine which sees me go for a walk as well and on Friday I was joined by good friend e and Holly the Dog and we went for a walk in the graveyard. Social dancing was observed all the way round. (What’s that, Skippy? Social distancing? Hey, you weren’t there. I know what I’m talking about)

Oh, and Holly became a mum a few weeks ago to seven puppies whom I haven’t seen now for a few weeks and may not see again but, hey, I have memories. And photographs. 😀

So I’m pretty much keeping myself to myself and will tell people when I’m self-isolating. So things are reasonably okay but I don’t suppose this is the best of times to start online dating again. Mind you……’Have toilet roll. Will travel.’ could be a good opening line. 😉

And it’s a few weeks before I need to think about my hair. Well, I never stop thinking about my hair………I mean getting it cut.

And I’m getting nowhere with trying to get Skype set up. But I’ll give it another go soon time.

And another group of people that are having problems (but not insurmountable) are those people in recovery from drink and drugs and who go to meetings which involve hugging and shaking hands and being able to share. However, I know from someone else’s experience that there are meetings online these days and they may help in the short term (?)

And then, of course, with the pubs closing social media was full of people getting in big cargoes of drink and how this was going to help get them through the months ahead. Different strokes for different folks……..

I went for a walk around the streets of Summerston on Saturday night. Very quiet with the exception of one ‘street party’ but the buses going into town were totally empty.

But on the downside, I know of two people who have had their cancer confirmed and another two who are uncertain about their own treatment continuing. I know of two grans; one of whom has been allowed out of hospital and the other who has been kept in. What I don’t know is what visiting is allowed for those families. I hope things work out for all involved.

And I know of one wedding that has been cancelled. But it will happen. 😀

We will get through it, but even once the downward curve starts it will be a long time before things get anywhere near what we currently regard as normal. Indeed, think of all the controls that will need to be lifted if that is ever to happen, but I did see a very optimistic piece from China where the brilliant Stephen McDonald (worth the licence fee alone) was talking to first Chinese families who felt confident about leaving their homes again – albeit with masks still on. His grasp of the Chinese language was amazing. You don’t get that on any website 🙂


Iaint850, keeping it simple and fun.

And for the next few weeks or months or whatever, I’m just going to play you a piece of music that played a significant part in my life at some point but I’m not going to tell you what it was but I suspect there’s a common theme.

(How do you spell unrequited, Skippy?)

This is New Rose by The Damned

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – A. A. Milne

March 13, 2020

And so, dear listener, again this might be a slightly shorter version of the show. Obviously Covid-19 is part of the reason for that, particularly as the story is changing all the time and I think that is part of the problem when it comes to panic buying. 😦

I think people are thinking they’re going to catch it now. And that’s the wrong message.

I mean, I fully believe I will get it but maybe not for a few days or weeks (and then hopefully mild to moderate for seven or so days) so until then my life is about managing things in preparation but trying to keep my life as normal as possible. 🙂

(Mind you, I think the world just changed this weekend. Apart from anything else. sporting and literary organisations made decisions that the Scottish Government were going to announce on Monday and the UK Government have published in the Telegraph. I may have to make some other decisions over the next day or so – taking not just myself into account but others who may have greater priorities.

The house is always well stocked with stuff (but not necessarily what it used to be stocked with) and it’s just a question of keeping it topped up.

However, I have seen two examples of panic buying in the ASDA – none of which had anything to do with toilet rolls – of which there are several. One man walked past with a trolley with, I think, ten x 2 litre bottles of Cola and another couple, at least, had some other shopping in it, but this time I think it was ten x 2 litre bottles of Irn Bru.

Maybe that’s the answer. Instead of all these daft Facebook postings recommending drinking lots of water from unnamed Japanese doctors quoting some unnamed Taiwanese doctors, ginger is the answer……..drinking ginger from the old Alpine lorries going round the streets.

And so, some tips on working from home if you’ve not done it for some time. The new format for Bargain Hunt is rubbish; the postman never brings surprises these days and because of the worries about catching something doesn’t even ring once, let alone twice; and, no matter how much you’re tempted, forget that Amazon even exists. It is not the ‘best pal’ that you want to go shopping with. 🙂

And Abandoned Engineering on the Yesterday Channel is amazingly good.

And you will add weight. Guaranteed 😦

But what has been quite reassuring for me is that on Friday morning I collected two months of repeat prescriptions for my (mild to moderate) heart condition and my blood pressure (back to normal cos of the medication). But then I got a text from the health centre on Friday night saying they were only taking consultations by phone……

So, how are people I know coping?

And I am thinking of people working in residential accommodation, for example.

So when that week of self-isolation comes I have books to read. 😀

I’ve just finished ‘Motherwell – a girlhood’ which is more than just about growing up in Motherwell and at one point, when talking to the other member of the book club (good friend e altho’ there used to be another member, but whatever happened to….?) I was a wee bit dismissive of it as a woman’s book. It was at the point when the author, Debbie Orr, was experiencing her first period and being sized for her first bra but it went on to other areas such as leaving home (but never leaving home) to go to university.

I was lucky in that my older sister had paved the way for me by coming down to Glasgow University from Peterhead, but she, certainly to our parents, was a bit of a goody-two-shoes, so when I returned to Peterhead after three years at uny to earn some money in the oil industry, it was like being back at school.

Their bedroom light was still on as I approached the house after a night out and it only went out as my key entered the lock……..

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

Iaint850, and very uncertain but I suppose everyone is – even those who are supposed to be coming up with answers.

So, one brief bit of news from me is that I am considering spending some of my sister’s legacy on a kitchen extension. An architect came round and will now go and do some drawings.

But everyone keeps me telling me to get a downstairs toilet and shower but nobody says the reason why…………..but maybe I’ll end up letting out the upstairs part of the house to a full-time carer but I’ve not told them that yet.

And this is new from the Dixie Chicks. As ever with them, listen to the lyrics. I think Debbie Orr would have liked it. It’s Gaslighter and their new album’s ordered.

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” (Toni Morrison)

March 6, 2020

And so, dear listener, I suspect this may be a shorter show than usual. Not because of Covid-19, although most of it will be taken up with some personal thoughts on the virus, but because I seem to have a number of writing and editing projects on the go, which I need to finish off – and my grandson turned three this weekend. Cue grandparents’ party…….and maybe it’s time for a company development meeting or a kitchen extension or……..

I mean, I’m pretty well sorted. I live alone and have no special, regular visitor (and that’s not a complaint); I work from home; and I only really have one group activity at the moment and that is my weekly visit to the Scottish Drugs Forum offices in Glasgow City Centre – and therein lies my slight concern at the moment. Not the SDF itself but the train journey in. 😦

Once a week I catch a commuter train to go to work and it’s not a pleasant experience at the best of times but this last couple of times I was very aware of coughing and hacking and sniffles and I do sit beside a neighbour but, really, there’s a lot of people not using paper hankies and binning them. I can catch a train about half an hour later and it will be more relaxed. 🙂

And I was on another train this week……to Helensburgh to see friend Rosie, who’d been such a help with looking after my sister’s property in Garelochead. There were two men of a certain age on the train, unable to get into the toilet as it was out of order. Were they really going to go into a corner and….. 😦

Thankfully no.

But it rather knocked my own thoughts on the head as I’d planned to wash my hands just before getting off the train; however, my knowledge of Helensburgh paid off. I have never known the toilets on the peer to be shut and, well there you go, they weren’t.

But, yes, if the current problems remain then we may have to re-think out attitude to providing public facilities for personal hygiene. People who drive through Anniesland Cross may not realise that, at one time, there was a public toilet in the middle of one of the ‘islands’ on the Glasgow High School side and when its usefulness had gone, there was talk of it being turned into a café or restaurant – not unknown in Glasgow as there’s at least two in Kelvingrove Park that were once toilets…..a long time ago. 😉

But it didn’t happen. Maybe too many cars and maybe too many traffic lights.

I mean I’m pretty clean. Sometimes a second shower at the end of the day and, of course, I have my new vacuum cleaner PLUS, dear listener, I am the kind of person who washes their clothes at 40 degrees. Do you? I always have done…….. 😉

But clothes washing relates to one of my two foibles where cleanliness is concerned. Whenever I buy clothes that are new to me, be they brand new denims from Debenhams or much loved sweatshirts from the Save the Children charity shop, they get washed. On their own. At 40 degrees. I don’t know why. I feel happier. 🙂

And the other one? I don’t have a dishwasher, so all the dishes are washed and rinsed by hand and then, once they’re on the drainage board, I boil water in the kettle and pour that over them. You can’t be too careful.

But on a very serious note, I am aware of the possible problems that support workers in social care residential work might be about to face if self-isolation does become more common. There’s a lot still to be thought about and, whilst there’s no scientific reason to believe that warmer weather will help to reduce the incidence of the disease, it would be nice to think that it would.

tioraidh, keeping it fun, keeping it simple and still wearing the badges

iaint850, who’s been preparing for the last two years for self-isolation.

In the meantime I will continue to wash my hands, including the crevices between my fingers and thumbs, whilst singing Happy Birthday. Twice. Here’s Clare from the Spaghetti Factory.