Archive for April, 2020

‘The most powerful drug in the world is kindness. It works for everyone, it’s very hard to get the dose wrong and it’s free at the point of delivery.’ (a GP trainer quoted in Private Eye)

April 24, 2020

And so, dear listener, we didn’t get an exit strategy, but we did get an honest and straightforward appraisal of the possible way ahead from Nicola………..without any mention of hairdressers that I could see. 😉

The girl done good and what pleased me, particularly in an emotional interview on BBC Scotland’s The Nine, was that she talked of family and friends (and grandparents) and the mental health benefits that meeting up, under social distancing restrictions, would have for people.

Nicola has no children, but when she talked about her mum getting to see her (Nicola’s) nieces and nephews, there was an emotional pause.

And Martin Guissler seemed a wee bit emotional as well when talking about grandparents wanting to see grandchildren.

I’d love that as well PLUS I’d love to meet up with some friends in a park or other open space or along the front at Helensburgh, *he said randomly*. Soon time. 🙂

However, I can live without B&Q being open. And Five Guys?

But I am lucky in many ways. For example, I’m still editing. It may be just an hour or it could be four hours each day but it does give me a focus and some self-employed income and it means I don’t feel so guilty when I go into the living room and slouch on the couch before watching Celebrity Antique Hunters go Property Hunting in the Benidorm Countryside.

But it is slowing down and there are very few enquiries at the moment. And those that do come in are greeted by what good friend e calls my ‘Sod Off’ message……..I do get back to some of them. 🙂 but if a natural break happens, then I won’t complain.

And I parted company with a PhD student for whom I’d worked for a couple of years. I mean, I don’t comment on content, so why the hell does his supervisor think it’s okay to suggest changes to layout and the way that he uses quotations that make the thesis look crap. In a situation like that there’s only one winner – the supervisor, even when horribly wrong. 😦

And I’m not taking part in any of these Social Media challenges. I make a right pig’s ear of them. But I did come up with rather a novel idea for one.

Like many people, I have a notepad by the bed and if anything occurs to me during the night, I write it down and go back to sleep. I’d some really strange ones during my alcoholic gap years…….but I’d another strange one this week; did it say ‘online dentist’ or ‘online denim’?

And that gave me an idea. 😀

What about, ‘What are the six strangest things you’ve ever woken up next to?’

And then I wrote my own six down and decided this was not a good idea.

And in the world of getting back to normal, I’ve received a refund of some evening class fees and am waiting for my Aye Write refund and I’m waiting to see what happens to the Jesus and Mary Chain gig at the bandstand but I can’t see it happening and what’s the point of going to a gig if you and your friend have to sit two metres apart and how can the musicians keep that distance as well?

Anyway once the refunds are in I plan to round then up and, on the basis that I’ve already kinda deducted them from my bank balance, send an old fashioned cheque to Prostate Cancer UK.

One refund I’ve knocked back is the one from Partick Thistle who, despite being unfairly relegated, have contacted season ticket holders and said ‘you were due five home games. Do you want your money back?’ and most folk, I think, are just saying NO. 😀

And I’ll be honest. I am very close to doing more and/or longer walks or even driving down to the Botanic Gardens or similar and walk up and down Byres Road….. Tempted am I.

And finally there’s Donald Trump recommending that people inject disinfectant; his VP saying the warm and sunny weather will fix everything; and his fixer Rudy Guiliani (sp) saying we don’t do contact tracing for obesity and cancer. Yes, cos they’re not contagious you thicko!!!!!!!.

Dominic Raab, you are a giant amongst men compared with your American counterparts.

Incidentally, when I worked with the homeless, I was aware of a guy who ‘buzzed gas’. Basically what he did was to spray gas lighter refill fuel directly into the back of his throat to get high. Drinking disinfectant? Just be careful who you suggest it to.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, living in a household of one, with no-one to cut my hair and sagging now and again.

So, here’s the last in my recent series of music that means something to me but this week I’ll just play it. And say nothing.

Next week I start a new series called ‘Bands I’d forgotten about until I found some cassettes in a box at the back of the shed.’

‘The sun will shine on you again; the clouds will go away.’

April 17, 2020

The words there of Captain Tom Moore who has raised so much money for NHS charities and, by the way, the money cannot be used as a replacement for NHS funding. There are rules about these things. I’m not sure what they’ll do with all those millions. If it was just hundreds, then it’s jigsaws for childrens’ hospitals.

I would also like to suggest that Captain Tom be promoted to Major Tom. After all, he’s really made the grade. 😉

And so dear listener, how are you doing with another, and not unexpected, three weeks of lockdown ahead of us AND a few more #ClapforCarers events coming up? (Is that the right hashtag or have I made one up?)

I notice that some folk have poured a wee bit of scorn on these events, worried that an English based tabloid has taken them over or that, somehow, they are being used as a substitute for paying people properly or not giving them full PPE.

They’re not.

And, for selfish reasons, they are important to me.

Y’see, at the moment, I miss being part of a community. I live alone; I already work from home; I leave the house twice a day for shopping and exercise. It’s not a community. 😦

It’s not the ‘being on the platform on Summerston Railway Station when a train is cancelled’ community; it’s not ‘being in the offices of the Scottish Drugs Forum or Prostate Cancer UK when someone says ‘I’m making a coffee. Who wants one?’’ community; and it’s most definitely not the ‘Grandpa Iaint850, ‘will you read me a story?’’ community. It’s the cul-de-sac where I live community which comes together at 8 o’clock on a Thursday night for two minutes community clapping. 🙂

And this Thursday, just past, we added something after the clapping was done. We sang Happy Birthday to Jim in number 22…….No. I haven’t a clue either.

Next week me and my immediate neighbours are doing pots rather than clapping and who lets off the firework that tells us to start?

Before you know it, or maybe more likely in a couple of years, somebody will be organising a street party but, aye, maybe not just yet.

So, contrary to what some people on social media are saying, this applause is not a replacement for advocating better PPE and pay for care workers but is a sign of our gratitude for what they’re doing. A lot of Thursday night’s applause was directed at a house across the road where ‘the lady of the house’ is now out of Coronavirus hospital and it’s good to see her back. 😀

I worked for four and a half years in supported accommodation for the homeless – not the best paid job I’ve ever had but there was a range of reasons for doing it – and I know how difficult that job can be at the best of times.

These are currently the worst of times.

Elsewhere?

I would like to thank the Barclays Practice at the Maryhill Health Centre and the Maryhill Pharmacy which is next to G23, a human grooming salon, here in Summerston for getting their act together with regard to my repeat prescriptions for my heart condition and my blood pressure and which were ready for me so I went to collect them.

A wee bit quieter at the moment as I know some people are getting a week’s supply of Methadone in one go, so I hope that works out for them, but elsewhere the quality of drugs out on the street is really poor, so that is another community out there that’s not getting the attention it needs.

Remember #StopThedeaths from 2018 when 1,187 people died of drug related deaths. What will be the figure for 2020?

Meanwhile, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, hopefully, soon there will be a time when I can go out without some freezer bags in my back pocket to act as gloves when opening strange doors.

And full credit to the staff at the ASDA where I go on a Thursday morning and most people do go in the right way round the system. And then on Sunday at about eight, I go for a wee run in my car but, whereas last year I was driving down to Garelochead to check my late sister’s house, these days it’s down the Maryhill Road, through Hyndland and back up Byres Road.

I would say I’m getting about four weeks to the gallon at the moment.

And finally, I’m staying away from twenty-four hour news and I quickly scroll through Twitter – except for one Tweet which caught my eye and made me smile. 🙂

From @Jaynesharp…….

‘Last night I drank gin and did karaoke to an audience of nobody for 3 hours. Judging by how my head feels this morning, I had a great night.’

Tioraidh, still keeping it simple and still wearing the badges and still editing.

Iaint850 and I have started snipping at my hair, particularly over the ears.

And so, I was going to finish by explaining that #PatrickThistle, despite being only two points behind Queen of the South with a game in hand and eight games still to go were now to be relegated because Dundee sent a No vote in to the @SPFL (and not the @sfpl) and then, after it arrived, were allowed to change it to Yes. But I won’t.

Watch out for me making the news at the next General Election by casting my vote and then asking to get it out of the ballot box because I’d changed my mind.

And now for this week’s music which, recently, has featured music that means something to me. This goes back to a gig I went to with the blog’s favest librarian j at the Royal Concert Hall about six years ago when Roddy Hart put together an ensemble cast of musicians. There had been rumours that this man would be appearing and he did and his song is one that means so much to me – as did the night itself.

I still cry. Various reasons.

“We do consider both the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to be essential workers but it’s a bit difficult at the moment for the bunny to perhaps get everywhere.”(the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern)

April 11, 2020

And Jacinda is a Prime Minister who is not only a human being but who seems to know what she’s doing in a country with seemingly only one death from Covid-19 the last time I looked and considering ending lockdown, whereas we have a buffoon of an after-dinner speaker as ours and that’s all I’ll say……….. 😦 😦 😦

(other than I am glad that he and others are getting better with millions of thanks to the NHS and all the others involved in care of one form or another)

And so, dear listener, how are you? Me? I’m fine at the moment. Still keeping myself to myself but not self-isolating.

Y’see, I’m old enough to remember when that was to be applied to people with coronavirus symptoms who had to shut themselves away but it seems to have extended its use to cover the rich and famous (or now infamous like Gordon Ramsey and Prince Charles) who made their run to a second home just before the regulations changed.

I also remember washing my hands and signing Happy Birthday twice (and still do) in the hopes that that would keep the virus away. Not leaving the house that much will hopefully do the same. 😉

And, yes, I am coping okay because I live on my own and I’m used to working from home but, as I said last week, I miss Café 13 in Govan, Café Nero in Sauchiehall Street, The Canal in Paisley (how did that get in there?), Tinderbox in various places and a whole range of dog friendly coffee shops in the West End.

And a quick word about the Chief Medical Officer of Scotland who broke the rules about second houses as was highlighted in a news release by the Chief Constable of Scotland……….and breached her trust with the First Minister at the same time.

All of which made me think about my sister whose birthday it was last week. The CMO explained that she and her family were ‘checking’ their second home which was why they had to stay over. When I ‘checked’ my late sister’s house in Garelochead on a regular basis, I (sometimes on my own and sometimes I was driven cos nobody seemed to trust my driving) drove down early on a Saturday morning allowing for an hour, and then five minutes or fifty (depending on many wasps were still alive) to ‘check’ it and another hour to head back up the road………

And as I write this I expect the lockdown to be confirmed for at least another three weeks on Tuesday……..

So I’ve made a decision (almost) which might seem a very material decision but I see it as a testament to me and a positive view about the rest of my life. 😀 😀

As some of you know it took a wee while for my share of my sister’s legacy to reach me, for legal reasons, (but yet how simple life seemed last year) and I’ve spoken about extending the kitchen out the back and out the side. However, here we are in the middle of a pandemic and not only has not a single dish been washed in this connection but I’ve postponed the architect who would have made his first visit this coming Monday. No visitors here but I almost had one recently and more of that later.

My mind is veering towards losing the extension idea and putting together a whole range of projects which sees each room refurbished, especially the kitchen, including replacing incredibly old MFI furniture which is literally bursting at the seams with books and academic journals – none of which will require planning permission or even detailed plans – but will see me with my nose in an old Argos catalogue for some time. 😉

I feel it gives me a focus over the next few months and whilst there is still some editing to do (PhDs to finish and existing customers but few enquiries) and some SDF stuff, I feel a wee bit happier about doing things that way. I am starting a book of lists.

Any thoughts?

And my thanks to Son Brian, Kenny the Shed Pimp and good friend e who have made their thoughts known in a range of ways – by phone, in the middle of the street but at a suitable distance and by e-mail………..I’ll keep everyone posted.

And this needs no introduction

And then there was the almost visitor.

Some of you will know that Holly the Dog had several puppies a few weeks and they have all gone to new homes. As you will be aware, puppies poo and pee a lot and I had been in the habit of keeping newspapers for her and her owners.
(Please don’t make the obvious comment about peeing and pooing on newspapers. You are much better than that.)

But we were entering lockdown and I do not want people to make unnecessary journeys. C, however, is a key worker and it was arranged that he would detour via me after work. Two minutes extra on his journey home. Military precision.

The newspapers were in M&S carrier bags which had been sprayed beforehand (anti-bac and nothing doggy); I also anti-bac the front door handle and letter box; the front door was left open and the bag was left leaning against it and two freezer bags were left for him as gloves.

I hid behind the settee and spoke to him after he had zoomed up the driveway (in his car), rolled out in a way not seen since Bodie and Doyle in The Professionals and grabbed the ‘gloves’ and the bag, and we had a quick conversation before he was out into the night again.

And I do hope the puppies are all enjoying their new homes albeit in very strange circumstances. 😀

And finally, I enjoy reading about all these people discovering that the local corner shop is a mixture of an artisan baker with an amazing range of locally grown vegetables; my Lifestyle Express in the centre of the original scheme has a well stocked basic range of goods including every flavour of Pot Noodle known to man (and every other gender) – and a welcoming smile. 😀 😀

My hair has another two weeks to go before I start snipping bits of it but there is some kind of grooming set on order from the rainforestriverpeople and there’s also another two weeks before I need to think about repeat prescriptions; the ASDA down the road has got a good queueing and one way system and I’ve stopped using cash (and do you say spring onions or sybies?); I think I’m now Skyped up and I may be in touch soon with people but if you’d like to contact me (again) on Zoom or through Team Mates or whatever it’s called that’d be good; and I’ve just finished a disappointing John le Carre – the Argos catalogue is much more fun. 😉

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

Iaint850 missing the real human contact but I think we all are.

So let’s continue my choosing music just cos it means something to me.

My late dad was a great Glen Miller and Vera Lynn fan but in the last few years of his life he took a liking to a singer whom he described as the ‘big fella’. The minister of the church in Kelvindale who took charge at the cremation does not know how close he came to hearing this as my dad’s coffin hit the flames.

Roses are red, April seems grey. I hope we can get out by the start of May. (adopted from Anon)

April 3, 2020

Except, dear listener, it looks increasingly unlikely. If the lockdown does seem to be working then it makes sense to keep it going; if it’s not, then it will get tougher. The UK Government’s handling of things has been too little too late and too bloody inefficient, and whilst the Scottish Government paints a more honest picture, it is very difficult to be sure of where this is all heading.

And yes, there are too many conflicting messages coming over and that’s something I will return to, but first……last week’s show was well received despite some personal misgivings about what I was saying about myself so mega ta……. 🙂

Today’s show is a wee bit more random thoughts (some of which may apply to you) as I broadcast from home yet again.

And before I start randomising, in many respects I’m fine because I live on my own at home and am used to working from home BUT I very much miss seeing grandchildren, dog walks, coffee with people and lunches and randomly bumping into people in Byres Road……..so many things to look forward to. 😀

And when I get a wee bit lonely I play music. I hadn’t realised how many crap CDs I had. 😦

Anyway, most of the people in my street (cul-de-sac) were out on Thursday night applauding for all workers who are caring for us, ranging from the NHS to social care to supermarket workers to the paid and voluntary workers with the homeless, and the dogs seemed settled. One household, which is self-isolating (and there may be others) came to the windows and applauded. They had a delivery from a well known supermarket which was left on their doorstep and the window chapped by a well gloved hand.

We’re only now learning how unhygienic we really are. 😦

The postman still delivers (why are firms still punting junk mail?) so I anti-bac the front door handle and the letter box.

And we don’t need a letter from Boris. That isn’t going to stop those idiots who fouled up Strathclyde Park last week.
We need a new Central Office of Information (COI) that can use TikTok to talk to people.

(Aye the COI was done away with in 2011. It’s thanks to their Public Service Advertising that if my kite gets trapped halfway up an electric pylon I don’t climb after it and I don’t get into cars with strangers cos Charlie told me not to. Charlie? No. Not that Charlie)

And I was invited to take part in a conversation on Zoom and it went well. If I ever do get my act together with regard to Zoom or similar, who pays? I had slight computer problems which have been fixed remotely by a good guy in Largs (or somewhere cos it doesn’t matter where if it’s remote)

And a big well done to my local ASDA which I’m still visiting. On Thursday they had two sets of barriers to form a queuing system – one for NHS workers and the elderly (I am neither) and one for the rest of us, but the ‘five in and five out’ seemed to work and it was well stocked apart from spring onions. And I’m checking use by dates and planning rough menus. 😉

There’s no doubt in my mind that some of the early uncertainty about the social effects of the virus came from those who went out and panic bought and put everyone else in a difficult position (see me – see last week’s blog) when it came to buying stuff. I take the fact that the supermarkets are almost normal as an optimistic sign and full credit to the workers therein. 🙂

And there’s been plenty of advice about home schooling your children* but what about your parents if they still live with you (and if they don’t then you staying at your home and them staying at their home may be proving hard)….anyway, one thought if I may…….maybe plan some trips with them for when this is over. Plan to visit places that are important to them, but in detail. Why are these places important, do they have photos (my late sis had lots of photos she never got the chance to describe to people) and what do they think you’ll get from these trips……..cos you are definitely going with them, aren’t you? And maybe dress up when you do it and there’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine** or nibbles as you do it.

**or orange juice if you prefer.

*If I may…….for the children? (And I’m not sure about the phrase ‘home schooling’. It seems to put pressure on parents when all you might want to do is to keep them smiling while learning)

One idea is to watch a TV programme together; discuss it afterwards; maybe do a drawing from it; and maybe even act some of it out. It’s a thought. No more. It’s Media Studies. 😀

And so before I sign off with tonight’s music a wee word about Sir James Gordon who passed away this week and who I had met on several occasions. Much has been said about his starting Radio Clyde and all the local radio spin-offs from that and his love for Glasgow University and the students’ union where it all started, but I just see him as someone from what seems now like a golden generation, and a different era, where if you were successful in business then you felt it was important to give something back to the public good. Until a few weeks ago it seemed that many people in politics (with some exceptions) were in it for what they could get out of it. Maybe they still are.

If only we had more like Jimmy and some others now………

Tioraidh, keeping it simple

Iant850, keeping it fun and keeping it at homw

So, tonight’s music carries on with me choosing music just cos I want to. Tonight’s choice reflects on friendships and I’m not going to highlight any initial in particular but all initials and pseudonyms that have featured in the blog, but it was a good gig……..and if the lockdown does continue for another ten weeks or so, then there may be little difference between me and Mike Scott from the hair point of view.

Take care and stay safe.