Archive for the ‘alcoholism’ Category

I was a great student. I was good at everything. (Donald Trump)

July 12, 2018

And so dear listener, for the first time in my recent life, this week, I had to remember things from my own life of over forty years ago. It was weird. And this was nothing to with any counselling that I had planned to talk about following my reading of ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman. 😀 😀 for the book.

I was being interviewed by a Glasgow University student for her Master’s and it was about values and ethics for those taking Higher Education with an historical perspective. And Chloe done a good job.

Indeed it got off to really good start.

I had described myself as wearing glasses and looking incredibly old; her early words included, ‘you don’t look incredibly old.’ We got on well………but I ended up feeling incredibly old. 🙂

My first time at university was in 1972 – twenty-seven years after the end of World War II. My second time at university was almost forty years later.

It was a different time then and I think much of it was because so many people had survived the war and all that that had involved….from active participation to existing on rationing and indeed it was twenty-three years after the NHS came into being. But don’t worry. This isn’t going to turn into a Daily Mail/John Major rant about warm beer and respect.

For me, it was about how much my thinking and ambitions and my life had changed over these years and some of the reasons why……..but a lot of good stuff as well.

Did you know, rainforestriverman (and she’s not called Princess Kate!!!! That’s such a motire!!!!!), that the Green Gate Curry Restaurant opened in Bank Street in 1959 (boiled egg curries were 7/6 by the time we got to uny) and that England won the World Cup in 1966. Lots of people seem to forget that. Incidentally, it was in 1976 (great summer!) that the Koh-i-Noor fell into the River Kelvin?

But if I were to do the Daily Mail thang it would be the demise of the bank manager. I have long since stopped watching re-runs of Dads Army but my memory of a bank manager in a small town like Peterhead was of a man (but of course) who was heavily involved in the community and highly respected.

Now? Well, leaving aside any comparison with Fred Goodwin, do they even exist? Do banks even care? I remember my first cheque book – when did you get your first contactless card and when was it first rejected?

And amidst the other memories that were prompted that had nothing to do with Chloe’s research were tutorials in a history lecturer’s study somewhere in a cloister in a quadrant where I was offered cheap sherry but realised the best thing to do was to make an excuse and left. 😉

But this week it was a case of what might have been. I know Jenny H was telling everyone when she tweeted about a lecturer’s job at Stirling Uny (in Substance Use I think it was) but it was my second time at Uny when I realised how much academically there is to gain from relevant research.

And, apart from anything else, I went to UWS (Paisley) as a recovering alcoholic and came out just as someone who doesn’t drink. 😀 😀 😀

And finally, a woman is sitting in a church during the funeral service for her late husband. Another man comes up to her and says, ‘do you mind if I say a word?’

‘No,’ she says. ‘That’ll be nice.’

He coughs, clears his throat and says, ‘Plethora.’

‘Thank you,’ the woman says. That means a lot.’

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

Iaint850, financially better off since I cracked open the penny jar (£9.75)

And I was in conversation with a friend discussing how, emotionally, I felt after the heart scare and I was going to talk a wee bit about mentally standing up to things but one image changed my mind……well, actually, two.

The first was TV footage of all the Police outriders driving off as soon as it was confirmed that Boris Johnson had resigned as Foreign Secretary. It was as if I was watching all the pomp and circumstance as being removed from the man who refuses still to acknowledge his children born out of wedlock and who is responsible for the continued imprisonment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. The man is a buffoon and it shows the weakness of Theresa May that she felt the need to give him a major role in her government to keep him quiet. Ha!

No. The big image was the BBC’s Dan Johnson doing a piece to camera as two ambulances whizzed off behind him and he was able to say, ‘That’s the tenth and the eleventh boy being taken to the hospital.’

They got them all out!!!!!! Everyone, Thai Government and police and army and divers from all over the world combined to get thirteen frightened ‘Wild Boars’ out of all those caves and water and Goodness knows what. Everyone was very calm and just did it.

No pricked egos…….but one death. Saman Guana, a retired navy SEAL (but not that old) died from oxygen problems, but the rescuers will have learned from that.

A fantastic achievement.

No reason for this piece of music other than I like it. It’s a ‘step’ dancing tune from the unlikeliest of sources but a very appropriately named band.

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“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~ Nelson Mandela 💜

June 7, 2018

That opening quote was used by an organisation called Faces and Voices of Recovery which partly inspired my Masters.

And so dear listener, I have decided that there is too much TV on TV – or at least too small a choice. You know what I mean – cop shows (altho’ I think 24 Hours In Custody (?) is brilliant), property shows and cookery shows. I also remember the early days of cable when scrolling down through a smaller number of channels would produce gems such as Chuck Norris, Troma (sp) TV and ten pin bowling from Milton Keynes. 🙂

But every so often you find a gem and this week it was the end credits to Springwatch – BBC’s live nature programme where one of the presenters is Michaela Strachan. She once gave me her mobile number. She’s probably changed it by now. ):

Anyway, one evening, just before a smashing TV prog about Charles Rennie Mackintosh was due to start, I switched the TV on.

Switching the TV on does help if you’re going to watch a TV programme altho’ I didn’t know it was going to be smashing.

And I caught the end credits of Springwatch and I saw a credit for nestfinders! How brilliant! I still watch end credits to see if I still know anybody and I also remember the excitement when my name was up there as Researcher or Assistant Producer…..and my short career as a co-presenter.

And I also remember going to see the ‘Scottish Film’ at the Phoenix in Linwood with J and we both, without discussing it, did not leave our seats until the credits had run. Respect for the people who worked on the film.

There were only about eight people in the cinema to begin with and so mumbly were the accents in the film that I had to confess that I was glad I already knew the plot. 🙂

Anyway. Springwatch credits. I was determined to see what other gems there might be – like nestfinders. There were none. It was all the usual stuff – and no less worthy of being up there. But I was a wee bit disappointed.

And then there was the mysterious case of Celtic Street in Maryhill not being where I thought it was. At one time it was the shortest street in Glasgow with a Corpie bus garage at the end of it (or was it the shortest in Britain? Or Europe? Or, well you get the picture). Well the bus garage had been knocked down many years since and a wall had replaced it. Celtic Street was no more. It had become a place where people could park their cars.

So UPS had tried to deliver a parcel to my sister and were unsuccessful but it could be collected from 3 Celtic Street but where was that? Google showed that what had once been a lane beside the Ram’s Head had now taken on the name of Celtic Street and it has a lot of houses built to well past the pub. Celtic Street was no longer the proud bearer of that Shortest Street title. ):

But Number 3? There was no giant warehouse to be seen and whilst I started buzzing tenement numbers randomly, my sister had the good sense to go into the newsagents next door and Lo and Behold, it was Number 3. It looks as if UPS might have a policy of lots of wee stores so that if they can’t deliver, then they do have a collecting point that is not a massive warehouse way on the other side of town

And finally, thanks to those who ask after my health. With the help of the NHS, I continue to cut back on medication but the latest one is tricky. For over eleven years I have used Omeprazole to control stomach reflux but I’ve to cut back on it gradually (no cold turkey) to let some other stuff do their jobs properly but it’s six weeks before I need to go and see a nurse again. And I’m due to see the rapping Dr J in about four weeks’ time. So, that’s good. 😀

Yes, I occasionally get tired after not much effort and yes, I occasionally am aware of my heart in a way I never was before but often I am still full of ‘get up and go’ after some really stressful occasions (putting the duvet cover on the duvet) and I’ve only had to use the spray on three occasions and even then one puff was enough.

Note to Skippy…..on 16th June I’m helping out at the Gaelic Sports Day in Pollok Park. Let’s pack one of the small seats and make sure I look out the team baseball cap and lots of water.

And next week I’ll tell you good my grand-daughter was in her first ever dance show at Clydebank Town Hall.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, still worrying why Love Island rejected me.

And I do believe the terminology in how we report and discuss health matters is important. That’s why I’m delighted to be going to ‘Health in the News: Fact or Fiction?’ this coming Thursday in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall. If anyone else is interested, then I think tickets are still available.

Having been labelled, I don’t like seeing others labelled. And the worry is that you begin to believe the label if enough people repeat it.

But I’m happy enough to ignore Loki’s references to ‘jakebaws’ just this once cos of his other remarks on BBC Question Time about how important Minimum Unit Pricing is for the Common Good.

Anyway, last week I played Charlie Daniels appearing on the Marty Stuart Show in the Grand Ol’ Oprey in Nashville and John Collins, a friend of mine who’s the drive time jock on Chris Country Radio, contacted me to say that Marty himself was possibly the best live act he’d ever seen.

Funnily enough J, still the blog’s favest librarian, said the same a wee while back after she’d seen him in Glasgow.

Ladies and gentlemen, for J and J, and everyone else, here’s Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives singing El Paso from Oran Mor in Byres Road Glasgow in 2017. I knew I had it somewhere 😀

‘At the height of my drinking, my life was in a delicate balance between wilful delusion and procrastination. Sometimes it still is.’ (Darren ‘Loki’ McGarvey)

May 10, 2018

Sums me up these days. Without the drinking. It’s all so quiet. I wonder what I said. Oooops. Light’s on. Mic’s live. Let’s go.

And so, dear listener, the deep cleaners have been, deep cleaned and have gone. And what an excellent job they have done…..but it was such a strange feeling. For the second half of the day, I was at home; they had ‘done’ the upstairs and were ‘doing’ the downstairs half of the house. And I could hear the hoover, sorry, the vacuum cleaner, and cupboards being emptied and re-stocked and water running as basins were being filled and I couldn’t help but notice how shiny and sparkly the bathroom shower cabinet was compared to what I had left that morning and the fronts of all the kitchen cabinets and behind the washing machine (altho’ they had switched off a spur switch which caused a mild panic but I only had to switch it back on and everything was fine) and so much else. 😀

They took some piles of papers and made bigger piles and it took me all day to find the hair dryer and small things like that but it was all done with the best intentions and you should see (if you’re passing) how clean the kitchen door is on the inside. 😀 😀

And now all I have to do is to keep it tidy. Or get them back in, in a year’s time……naw…..I’ll do more than keep it tidy; I’ll keep it clean. 😉

I don’t really want to advertise their services that much but let’s just say they were Jolly Maids from Paisley……where lots of good things come from. 🙂

And I celebrated with dairy-free ice cream which was very nice (particularly given the current vanilla crisis) and Morrisons’ strawberries but if we were to get a decent run of sun, then I might be picking my own fruit. (And I still have the Earl Grey tea)

You can learn from folk coming over for their tea. I’m still using the gluten free soy sauce.

Oh, and are any of my friends out there fans of the Pretenders – Chrissie Hynd’n’that?

And as well as it being International Dawn Chorus Day during the week (thanks Ann) it was also Teacher Appreciation Day and I think the teacher that had the greatest influence on me was a history teacher called Ian Hall who recognised that I had ambitions beyond Peterhead, in journalism and maybe politics, and who would argue with me and force me to argue back – logically. This was before the disaster that is social media when it comes to respecting other people’s viewpoints.

And there was an English teacher called Hugh McLeod who drunkenly introduced me to Irish nationalism and the writings of James Connolly when I was in First Year in Secondary School. Mr Hall was against Irish nationalism and read the Telegraph.

Mr McLeod also gave me a copy of Ring of Bright Water.

And finally, just a wee word about International Birdsong Day. I did pass on one story about an early morning in Charing Cross when I’d to leave the project where I was working after a twelve hour shift finished at five in the morning.

But there was another occasion about half past four in the morning when I’d taken a taxi up the road (not sure why I finished at that time) but it was bit icey and the taxi wasn’t sure about the hill up to my house. So I walked.
Just me. And a couple of foxes. And a very still night. With dying street lights. And some stars in the sky. And some birdsong from over the graveyard. It was one of those mornings when I was in no hurry to get home.

I kinda miss the twilight hours.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (and a wee story that I’ll maybe tell next week) and keeping it simple. And why not?

Iaint850, who’s a wee bit worried he may have come over as a mouthy Scot earlier this week. Only time will tell.

And the odd person still asks, from time to time, how my health is. Mentally, I think Loki got it right.

Physically, I’m fine and may not be doing a triathlon this year but I’m in pretty good nick. And good fun to be with!

And then there’s the medication.

The brilliant rapping consultant Dr J and my equally brilliant health centre pharmacist have spoken. To each other.

And basically we’re looking at cutting back on my large list of prescribed drugs, especially anything that is left over from Cold Turkey days. And some from the immediate aftermath of the cardiac event. It’s about making a new balance work.

Already gone are the Vitamin B and Thiamine which are usually the first thing you get to help you through post alcohol dependency and to build you up. Your immune system has taken ‘one helluva beating’ and there’s some short term stuff as well.

I never had anything post cancer.

And amongst other stuff to go from post-cardiac event medication is ticagrelor; and then I’ve to give it two – three weeks and come off Omeprazole – which sounds as if it might be ‘very unpleasant’. In fact the way it’s been described to me, it’s like coming off heroin which is pretty horrible but not as bad (or so I’m told) as coming off of alcohol. But it could last a lot longer.

But I’d like to know your views. Anonymity guaranteed. BUT I do know it’s going to be tough. After all it’s there to control stomach problems, so if it’s not there………..

So what makes a good Eurovision winner? This previous winner has everything. A pleasant ballad with a catchy chorus and a wee dance routine.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. (Marcus Tullius Cicero)

April 26, 2018

And so dear listener, I feel a wee bit this week as if I’ve been playing Doctors and Nurses……but on my own.

Skippy! I can explain!

It was explained to me by the rapping Dr J that my cardiac problem may be something to do with high blood pressure so on Monday just past I got the call to go down to my health centre (altho’ I let all of Maryhill use it) and get my blood pressure tested. It’s high but let’s not rush into anything. ):

So I was lent a blood pressure monitor (and I genuinely did tell a couple of people that I was doing my own blood transfusion. I got confused) and I have been carrying out my own blood tests. They’re even higher! And then I started to make sure I was calm and collected before I did a test and they were just high. Phew…..

Mind you, given the problems from my bank of all my life (TSB) I realised that it is best to choose relaxed times of day to do these tests (two) and ignore the landline phone when it rings. I would say that 50/50 it’s still a real call and worth answering.

I won’t quote figures publicly but if you do have a nursing background and are interested let me know. You are more than welcome and I’m happy with any opinions. 🙂

Y’know recovering from the alcohol and the cancer was an awful lot easier.

And it is a wee bit like previous times in that I need to get out much more than I’m doing just now although one reason for that is a good wee run of editing but, leaving aside the blood pressure, I am in good nick now that it’s good weather (that was hail the other afternoon!) But I’m past being ‘on the mend’; I’m good to go. 😀

Mind you, with the cold turkey recovery, I had a job to go back to and I had an amazing addiction worker; in the case of the cancer my thirty-seven daily radiotherapy sessions were made so much easier by my fellow patients and NHS staff who were such a good laugh over that time. 😀 😀 😀

Ach, I’m just feeling sorry for myself. I still have that ‘stuck in the house/hospital’ feeling that I’ve had since the start of 2018 altho’ I have done a lot of brilliant walking in the West End of Glasgow with, and without, Holly the Dog. And e. Any other offers? I remember doing Millport a couple of years ago. 🙂

The reason I’m in that mood is cos I watched The Cancer Hospital on the BBC the other night. It was one of the few docs I’ve seen in recent years where the lack of a presenter worked as Dougie Henshall’s v/over was essentially underplayed so that the voices of the women had to be listened to.

Obviously I know those corridors altho’ my treatment happened in the Thomas Wheldon building next door and the other thing I remember is arriving early so I could go for a walk around Bingham’s Pond before my treatment – just to calm down. That was when I started to grow my hair slightly longer. 😉

This coming week it’s prostate cancer.

I should watch more comedy.

I did, however, watch the prog about Harold Shipman. Remember the good Doctor W? That was where her interest in medico-crime came from. She did write a book on the subject. I helped. A little. I wonder if it was ever published?

Should I maybe try and find out?

And finally, atm I have no idea as to whether TSB online is working properly and full-time and nor, I suspect. do they.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (how long is that now?) and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, I don’t have much money but I’ve never looked at my bank accounts as much as I’ve done recently.

So it’s now thirty years since the Glasgow Garden festival but my interest in garden festivals was aroused four years earlier when my then wife and I were taken by friends to the Liverpool Garden Festival and I thought it was brill. 🙂

A few weeks later I took BBC Radio Scotland’s Jimmy Mack Show with presenter Jimmy Mack and production assistant Jeanette down to Liverpool to do the show from there but Jimmy was late in arriving for a slot on BBC Merseyside and I had to stand in for him. I was good but remained a producer. 😉

I then spoke ‘informally’ to people from the Scottish Development Agency about getting the BBC involved in the Glasgow event but I was too ‘informal’ and was quite shocked when a senior producer later said that he had had the first contact with the organisers but ‘they seemed well organised for BBC broadcasting ideas.’

When it comes to ‘informal’ where I was concerned, then read ‘lights well hidden under a bushel’. However, I did okay for season tickets and was offered a job by the PR consultancy that the Festival PR people all went and joined. I turned it down and later, the building in which that office was located became the home for the Blue Triangle Head Office and there’s a wee memory just come back. Knowing smile icon. 😉

Anyway, I had the immense pleasure of producing the (for radio) Royal Opening with Charles and Diana with my presenters (Jimmy Mack and Mary Marquis), reporters Lesley Riddoch, Christine Kinnear and Kevin Ruane (?) and production team of me, Max, Jayne and Amanda.

And I got a Pringle sweater with the Garden Festival logo and my name on it. Wore it once.

Live broadcasting and the memories, eh? 🙂

But here’s a John Martyn cover from an up and coming band of whom I think highly. If they turn up in your neck of the woods, go see them. What? No. I don’t know any of them. Honest guv! The Rain Kings featuring Neil Turner.

And whatever monkey that was on my back He jumped off just like that Right into the deep blue sea (David Lee Murphy)

April 12, 2018

And so, dear listener, some of you may remember that a few months back I had what, in some quarters, is known as a bit of a heart attack and, thanks to that nice Mr Zuckerberg and his Facebook apparatus, I was able to tell people about it. 🙂

He helped me to share it – as I believe young people describe it. And sharing is good. Mind you, I saw one young lady (using this device) complain that Facebook had shared the date of her birthday – which she claimed was her personal property. So, she won’t feel hurt if it’s totally ignored next year. Or will she?

It wasn’t the most serious of cardiac arrests but it was pretty frightening at the time. I wanted to learn more and so good is the NHS that they wanted to tell me more but the Beast from the East (in its various guises) prevented them from doing so ): …….until this week.

I was down for two appearances; the first was an echo scan in Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary and the other was a meeting with the Heart Failure (!) Consultant in what used to be Yorkhill (Sick Kids and Queen Mum’s and so on).

So, on Tuesday, I re-created the route that many of my visitors had taken when they came to visit me – except I cheated a wee bit cos it was raining. I took a taxi from Queen Street Station to the Queen Elizabeth Building.

Bloody Hell!!!!!!! I never ever visited East Berlin at the height of the Cold War but if W H Smith’s had had a shop there at the time this is what it would have looked like. I fully expected George Smiley to be swopping spies in there. What a sad looking place that entrance area is. ):

And Debbie, not only was that a long walk for you and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to guide you in, but directions meant nothing to me. So much easier arriving in an ambulance and being jagged up with morphine. 😀 😀 😀

Anyway, I found where I was going for the scan and it’s exactly the same procedure as pregnant women get but it was a doctor doing it and he kept shouting out medical things to a doctor on the other side of the curtain.

Occasionally she shouted back. He spoke to me once. He said, ‘Sniff’ so I did. I’m sure it meant something.

Anyway, it was over after about thirty minutes and it was horrible. I am so fat and I spent all that time looking at my stomach. Yeugh! ):

The female doctor came round from the other side and we’ll call her Doctor J (and I wonder if she’s on Facebook lol!) and she was brilliant. I do remember her as one of the consultants who paid me a visit on a previous occasion and I remember her as asking questions but also answering them. She seemed to remember me but my ego is not so inflated as to think she really did. I just think she’s really good at reading medical notes.

And this is what she said (gulp, and serious voice);

My left ventricle is normal so blood is going round and round alright.

The extreme cold I was feeling with blue fingers and blue hands and other blue extremities with some tiredness and breathing hiccups may well have been caused by the beta blockers I’ve been taking and I’ve to gradually cut back on them (Nae beta blocker cold turkey).

The leaky aortic valve is still there but it’s not mega and Dr J (must get her first name) is going to request an MRI scan for me and she will arrange a clinic appointment for me as well but probably about six months. So warmed up fingers crossed, I may be sorted.

So the heart failure (!) consultant got cancelled. 😀 😀

And finally, I have now done the Bowel Cancer test, so with a slight feeling of dread, it’s been posted.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (ah, the things it’s seen) and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, 2018 can now start for me! After all, yolo!

I know some folk think I talk too much about my health matters but the aim has never been to say ‘do things my way’ and you’ll be fine, but to help folk raise questions in a way they might not feel able to do elsewhere. I may not have answers but I’ll help you to rephrase your questions. That does help. Trust me.

Things like telling students about cancer who’d no idea what the prostate was; talking to a conference of doctors about my feelings about what had happened to me alcoholically and after I’d finished I noticed a man hanging around and he just wanted to talk; and someone asking me whether you dealt with the anxiety and depression first or the drinking. Time and reassurance can help.

Sorry, if that didn’t make sense but I was talking to my legal the other day in Stereo, where the jackfish was nice but filling, and without going too deeply into the conversation, I came away thinking how lucky I have been, particularly in the last eleven years. I have been very lucky.

And my thanks to those people who have shared with me that they have leaky aortic valves and I know that they lead what can be described as ‘normal lives’. Sharing is good. Just wish sometimes I could share my luck a little more.

Which reminds me… I need a third piece of music for my funeral.

Yours, in a happy, smiley mood.:D

So, (ooops, sorry Rosie) none of the music I wanted was available to me online. ‘Withdrawn at artists’ request’ or similar so I’ve gone to old favourites Walk The Moon and Shiver Shiver which is something I’ll now stop doing once I come off the beta blockers and I regain the feelings in my fingers.

“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

“I attribute my success to this; I never gave nor took any excuse.” —Florence Nightingale

February 10, 2018

And so, dear listener, I’m still not sure what happened in the first four or five weeks of 2018 but before I go any further can I just say mega thanks to all those who passed on best wishes throughout that period and also said nice things about last week’s blog. It’s produced on the basis that the majority of those who read it can be classed as friends and I’m sharing my news with you. 😀

It gives me a certain amount of freedom in what I say. Maybe one day I’ll have the courage to discuss teacake advertising…….or what is known as ‘period poverty’ amongst homeless women.

Anyway, those nice people from Cardiac Rehabilitation have been in touch and I do not need to make use of their services. I have still to receive the definitive letter from the heart consultants telling me what happened but after the various tests in the Jubilee there was no sense of urgency and I was told I’d be discussed at a conference/meeting, so the decision comes as no surprise. 🙂

But I don’t usually suffer from two nights of chest pains, breathlessness and giddiness before phoning 999 and getting paramedics who patch me through to the Jubilee who say ‘take him to the coronary unit in the Royal………’ and so on. (see last week’s blog for the story)

Instead my very high blood pressure and leaky aortic valve can be managed by medication, my GP and occasional observation.:)

I’m also, until I hear otherwise, sticking closely, and ironically, to the instructions I received from Cardiac Rehab and cannot legally drive for another few days yet, doing exercise and taking all my medications.

And I’m also sticking very closely to the clichéd and stereotyped script. If it was ‘only’ a scare, as far as I’m concerned it was a real seismic shock and I’m reviewing much of my life (writing things down on an A4 pad as I drink a decaff coffee).

Anyway, moving on……..

But before I do, can I say thanks to Rosie from doon the watter (who is skilled in these matters) for asking appropriate medical questions, to Sandra from Bearsden (who is skilled in these matters) for coming over and cutting my hair and to a couple of people who wanted me to edit their (PhD) work and, on being told I was in hospital, said ‘we are willing to wait if that helps.’ 😀

http://www.thewordprocess.net

Oh, and to Kenny the Shed Pimp who came to visit, brought HobNobs and ate them. And to my mentor Craig W, what do you think of my imaginal realm so far?

And as I said last week, immense admiration for the nurses and auxiliaries who have to cope with things in the middle of the night that you never see in Holby City or Casualty. I don’t watch these programmes these days (not since the episode that opened with a chip pan looking rather over full) but do large sample bottles feature in them?

But some things will never go away. You get medication at certain times and it’s basically one nurse with a set of keys altho’ there’s two when it’s something interesting like morphine. I had several shots and did not become addicted altho’ by the end of my stay in both hospitals I had become addicted to toast. 😦

I was like a little boy at times when it was my turn for pills. I was sooooo proud of the fact that, after my first two days, I was able to sleep for most of the night without using my sleeping pill. It was still in that small shot glass in which it had been dispensed at 9.30 pm……. 😀

And my delight when I didn’t have to wear the mobile tracking device and could have a shower and wear t-shirts and denims.

And finally, I think it’s delightful how there is always a new generation who have never heard some of the classic jokes that I’ve told for years. What’s that Skippy? Give you an example?

So, there I was at the recent European Athletics’ Championships when I went up to this very athletic looking gentleman and said, ‘are you a pole vaulter?’

To which he replied, ‘No I am actually a Czech but how did you know my name was Walter?’

And can I, before anyone complains, apologise for any distress caused to people, mostly Eastern Europeans, who may feel that I am poking fun at their inability to pronounce Ws not as W but as Vs, but I used to live in a society where people knew when to smile. It was a much nicer place.

tioraidh, still wearing that badge and keeping it simple for all sorts of reasons.

iaint850 unindependent on no-one.

So, I have made a good start to my latest recovery and am doing a lot of walking and did some social stuff as well on Friday. Would it come as any surprise if I tell you me and my friend had two coffees, a chocolate brownie and a chocolate tiffin? We shared them and had a half of each each. That makes it a balanced diet. In Finnieston.

And the only reason for playing this next piece of music is that I caught it on Chris Country Radio the other night and have always loved it.

‘A friend is what the heart needs all the time’ (Henry Van Dyke)

February 2, 2018

And so dear listener, this ain’t the usual blog. Apart from anything else it’s not as structured as usual. 🙂

Seriously. I know that in many years from now some literature academic will stumble over these shows and give them the credit they deserve as an exceptional piece of writing.

That and the Facebook postings of 2018 when in a matter of days I charted a journey from antibiotics that I thought I was allergic to but I was actually having a ‘small heart attack’ and back out the other end with more tests ahead of me. Thanks to all who followed the action and responded.

Basically it was a slow heart attack but it can kill and altho’ I’ve been trained to perform CPR and mouth to mouth I don’t know how to do it to myself over a period of time (and I don’t think that sentence says what I wanted it to)

And tonight as I looked at the metaphorical blank sheet of paper in the typewriter I just burst into tears. You forget the emotional side of recovery, don’t you? Here I go again. The physical begins with a walk around the graveyard and the mental, for me, is dealt with by hammering out 1,000 words on a weekly basis and talking (or rambling) to friends. Well it worked for prostate cancer and alcohol dependency.

But this time it’s been a wee bit different. Oh, my 999 call early morning was there again and I slightly surprised the call handler by having the front door open for the ambulance folk and having my prescriptions to hand and, and, and so on and I was driven to the Royal Infirmary after the ambulance folk had done tests and I stayed there for a few days in a ward I can never forget and I’ll tell you about that in a few weeks and then transferred to the Golden Jubilee and then that moment when I was told by the consultant that I could go home (twelve days on) and I kept looking over his shoulder at the nurse who kept nodding assent but with a smile on her face.

So my arteries are fine, the leak in my aortic valve is a mild to moderate risk but the blood pressure needs to be watched. I have a cardiac rehabilitation programme to follow and some outpatienting to do.

But I’m sleeping so much better.

Oh and those sample bottles full of urine and the toast at nine o’clock at night and the blood tests at 6.30 morning and night and those gowns that I had to wear until they no longer needed easy access to my body (eh?) and that mobile tracking device I had to wear even when I went to the loo.

And I think it’s worth saying that it’s been a wee while since I’ve been in the company of mostly women and not fallen in love at least once.

And I told folk I am going to write a Rom Com set in a Coronary Care Unit and fellow blogger Jill came up with a very simple plot which I think would work. And I wrote down some amazing quotes. And I witnessed some amazing patience (and that’s the correct spelling) where incontinence and possible dementia were concerned and I have no criticism of any individual, system or institution – just amazement at how nurses and auxiliaries just wipe things down and get on with it.

I mean I did ten or so days in a detox ward in Gartnavel about eleven years ago and that was pretty scary and the thirty-seven days I did as a Cancer outpatient getting daily radiotherapy were pretty straightforward which is not to diminish cancer treatment but I got to drive home at speed after each treatment. Here I’ve got to wait four weeks before I can drive again. And then I can get a much needed haircut.

So if you’re mobile and in the area – I do need some help with shopping and getting out for walks.

(Yes, I’ve been alcoholically dependent, had bad prostate cancer and now a heart attack……..and I’m still here)

But, yet again, people are helping and yet again I will get on with it because I am young and still have a lot of living to do and a lot to learn. The invites are in the post even as I write.…….and should you ever find yourself in Summerston, please get in touch but bring your own bottle – sample or otherwise.

Tioraidh, so, possibly adding to the badges but so glad I keep it simple.

Iaint850 and much humbled by what I’ve seen.

And after all that there is only one piece of music I can play even if it is badly lip synched. Here’s Feargal Sharkey (and just click on the YouTube bit)

Leaves fall. Snow melts. Everything ends to begin again (The Vampire Slayer)

December 29, 2017

And so dear listener, it’s that time of year again when we look for the Blog Personality of the Year and remember, it’s your votes that count. I mean that most sincerely. I really do. 😉

Well, to be honest, it’s Skippy who’s been counting your votes. I’ve been slightly under the weather with a throat lurgy that I’ve managed to keep under control with the help of lots of ice cream. It is no better; it is no worse.

But it wasn’t as bad as the throat virus of 2017 which saw me off work for four weeks (when I still worked for Blue Triangle) and indeed whilst 2017 was not the worst of years it was close (2007 was pretty shitty particularly if you add the last four weeks of 2006). I am reasonably optimistic about 2018.

But some of 2017 must play a part in this year’s ceremony.

For example, about three years ago, I introduced a Musical Track of the Year category (and maybe I should introduce a Book of the Year – Diary of a Bookseller) and previous winners have included Walk the Moon’s ‘Come on and Dance’ and Jamie T’s ‘Zombie’. In mid-July I announced that I’d resigned from the BT job with nowhere to go and I did so by playing the brilliant The Story (much of which seemed so appropriate at the time) and was received as such by many people. 😀 😀 😀

But there are two versions; one by Brandi Carlile and one by my Twitter friend Dolly Parton – but which should I play at the end? The lines are still open for you to decide.

And there is only one Team of the Year. A runaway victory for those who still work at Blue Triangle that I know and not just Caroline and Debbie with whom I converse from time to time but I did get a lovely message on Christmas Day from a former Project Manager. 🙂

Maybe one day I’ll talk more about what was involved in being a project worker but the Service User looking for a knife for his pineapple still makes me smile. I keep up to date with former service users either by meeting them begging in town or through the Court Circulars in the Digger.

BT Project Workers? Simply the best. 😀 😀

So I hope you did well at Christmastime for pressies and stuff. I did well for books from my ex-wife and from good friend e but I should stress that that had no influence on the voting that gave the Lifelong Achievement Award to Holly the Dog. Holly and I didn’t get off to the greatest of starts but that changed on the couple of early occasions I took Holly for walks on my own. I sent e a selfie of me and Holly but given the lighting and the similarity in hair styles it was impossible to say which was which. Oh how Holly and I laffed! 🙂

And so to the Personality Awards. Skippy, it’s time for the Fanfare of Strumpets!

In Third place is a weekend in Oban. The Saturday saw a beautiful sunny day and a brilliant walk along Ganavan Sands; the Sunday it poured and I spent the day in a museum called War and Peace and then a brilliant hot chocolate in a chocolate shop next to it. It was more or less where and when I decided to resign and final thinking took place a few days later after a very pleasant day in Barshaw Park, Paisley. It was only then I realised that the anxiety and depression of the previous year had never really lifted. It has now.

And whilst some things have not worked out quite as I’d hoped, something will turn up (Micawber)

Second place is tied in with that. It was the night of what was to be my last ever shift altho’ I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t work in the best of clothes; I know I smelt but for a number of reasons including the one where well trained police people would look for my spliff; and I was eating chips BUT I was still recognised by a former girlfriend of xx years ago.

Jan, you boosted my ego at a time when it was definitely needed. Thank you. 🙂

And finally, this year the Award goes to something that had nothing to do with resignations.

It was that moment in May when I was fortunate enough to see a bee entering the small bee backpackers’ hostel that sits on a fence in my garden. The hostel itself badly needs more protection against the elements (j) but that bee was the best moment of last year and thanks very much for voting for it. The photo brought a lot of smiles to a lot of faces. 😀

So, a mixed year. I do have plans for something called Project Getting Out a Lot More and if you’ve already been approached, then please do not read anything into it that’s not there. I am working on it. It’s about…….but you’ve guessed, haven’t you?

Y’see, as I’ve explained to others, 2017 lacked a zombie moment for me. I must say Yes more often

So before I say the usual pay off line, can I just say the votes are in and it’s Brandi’s version that has gained the most votes.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (but of course) and still keeping it simple.

“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!” ― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

December 14, 2017

And so dear listener can I just say a big thanks to all those who commented in some way on last week’s blog. Most people offered some variation of ‘Well done’ and some updated me on their own roads to recovery. I am proud of what I’ve achieved but am never arrogant. Too many people have been involved in my recovery to allow that and I can never forget that. 🙂

Thanks.

And the weather’s been a real pain hasn’t it? Forecasts are too accurate and too fast moving – they change so quickly – so what I do (on either BBC Scotland or STV) is just to stare at the bit that is Glasgow or Paisley and watch while Judith or Gillian or Kawser (or Sean) tells us what’s happening as the clock and the wind move. That’s good enough for me.

But stuff all those people earning money for their opinions on the weather in the papers. None of them can ever replicate or beat the words of the master poet Bud Neil;

Winter’s come, the snow has fell

Wee Josie’s nose is froze as well

Wee Josie’s frozen nose is skintit

Winter’s diabolic, intit?

But it shouldn’t affect me too much should it? After all my current work/lifestyle is based on earnings from the editing I do but that’s been presenting problems. Let’s leave the question of me working in Latex for a moment.

It’s the person who approached me at the weekend with 80,000 words (not all written yet) and who, when I told him what my fee was, suggested reducing it by about 50% because of the number of words and he thought they were good ones. 😦

Aye, but they weren’t in the right order or they were made up or were too complicated AND the second sentence was about nine lines long with an amazing number of clauses. It was appalling and you got a sense that he was not expecting that many changes cos it was ‘a good piece of writing’. Yet this person’s doing a PhD. 😦

I made an excuse and left.

But did I actually want to do a PhD? No. No really (which is still my favourite knockback of all time – well the last eleven years). Actually, I did. I just get annoyed when I see money talking like that. Bitter. And twisted.

But I have started eating a little meat. I had some chicken recently. Somebody told me it was fowl but I thought it tasted okay.;)

But back to the weather. Yup. I miss summer.

This gratuitous piece of music reminds me of summers in my home town of Peterhead when I was much, much younger.

But still talking of the weather, I took a delivery, like many, from the Rainforestriverpeople and thought nothing of going out in the rain to collect it. Ten minutes later I had collected all the wrapping (seriously….. just ten minutes) and went out to the bin and OMG, Son Brian came very close to collecting his inheritance a wee bit before I intended it – it was that icy!

And I hate that Beagle Street advert – the one where the wimp stops sorting out the kitchen in their new flat just cos his girlfriend wants him to sort out life insurance cos Emma (!) says so! Don’t be such a wimp! Finish the kitchen first! Or has she booby-trapped it?

And finally, on behalf of all those doing things to help all those skippering out there, can I just say that numbers actually reduce at this time of year cos of brilliant places like the Glasgow City Mission who run a night shelter from the beginning of December until the end of March, but the homeless are with us fifty-two weeks of the year. Either as rough sleepers, living with their kids in B & Bs, staying in projects like the Blue Triangle where I worked or in hostels and shelters on a nightly basis where, altho’ these places sometimes get a bad press, they feel really safe. Fifty-two weeks of the year.

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

Iaint850, about to start my revolutions for 2018

So the next two blogs are the special ones for this time of year and I may have to put them out early cos one’s due on Christmas Eve and one’s due on Hogmanay (which, for the first time in four years will not be spent (by me) in a homeless project in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow).

The first is the annual Christmas Cracker edition of the blog.

For example;

My dad used to be a road worker and had been accused of stealing from his job. Obviously I didn’t believe all the accusers but, when I got home, all the signs were there.

(RIP Keith Chegwin)

And the final one of the year is the Annual Blog Personality of the Year and nominations for all the various prizes are open to anyone and everyone – regardless of how well you know me – but that was a good shout, e.

And many newspapers and broadcasters have been pulling together the best Christmas songs of all time – but it’s all been Slade or Bing Crosby and David Bowie or the Pogues. This is much more traditional and has always been one of my favourites. The tempo change quite early in and reminds me of Steve Earle and Copperhead Road. 🙂

Listeners, this is Annie Lennox, GCU’s first female chancellor.