Archive for the ‘alcoholism’ Category

‘A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they will never sit’ … an old Greek proverb quoted by Seamus Mallon (RIP)

January 31, 2020

And so, dear listener, Brexit has been and got done and none of the claims on the side of the bus were true. But that’s Boris Johnson for you. Liam Fox did not do forty trade deals and Liz Truss does not inspire confidence. And the Home Secretary wants to separate immigrants into different types, ignoring the fact that Scotland’s basic needs are not for top class scientists but for hospitality and agricultural workers. But we can have a blue passport, a tea towel and a fifty pence piece without the Oxford Comma.

Oh, and the voices, many from south of the border, who had no idea how they would benefit from Brexit but it was good to be ‘independent again’. 😦

We move on. Without any clue where we’re going. 😦

So I met up during the week with a friend, Colin, who I had not seen for a long time and we had a very pleasant lunch in the Shish Mahal in Park Road and I’m pleased to say that they were only lunch size plates and very tasty. Two memories came back.

One was with Colin and our respective wives (a long time ago!) and we were spending a few days in a small village in Kintyre. We had access to a small boat and Colin and I went to pull it in. Except. It pulled me in. My wellies had no grip and I slipped, on my back, gently and inexorably, into the water. Think the QE2 coming off the slips into the River Clyde. So slowly was it that my life did not flash in front of my eyes but, instead, it was a graceful and slow review of my life up to that point. I even smiled. 🙂

A couple of nights later, Colin and I were out on a fishing boat overnight (pair trawlers) and I overhead one skipper say to his mate on the other boat;

‘You’ll never guess who’s on the boat tonight. Aye, that fella from Glasgow who fell in the water. Aye, I’m keeping a bloody close eye on him!’

And I’m told by Colin, who still goes down to Carradale from time to time, that I am still asked after.

The other memory came from the fact that I had parked my car at the back of the Botanic Gardens (just up from the Ha’penny Bridge) and walked along the banks of the Kelvin, a walk that Holly the Dog and I (and good friend e) have done many a time and it fits into my new health regime and all done with a smile. 😀

I walked back, kidding myself that I was walking off the curry.

I used to do this in my drinking days (but maybe not towards the end). Maybe it was a nice Friday night in the Spring so I’d take a wee walk down to the Maryhill Road, planning to nip into a hostelry, have a couple of pints and wander back up the road. 🙂

Now, such is the camaraderie that alcohol engenders, was there ever a time that I met up with people I did not know, got a wee cargo together and did all my good intentions then go west? Maybe, dear listener, maybe.

And finally, dear listener, I’d like to thank my chums on Facebook for helping me spend the first few pounds of my sister’s inheritance. I asked for advice. I posed a question. I said, ‘Dyson or Shark?’ and I got opinions. The majority said Shark.

Now, I was full of good intentions. I planned to drive to Curry’s and kinda road test the vacuum cleaners. I’d even looked out some vintage Shake’n’Vac for the occasion. But I looked out the window and it was raining.

I switched on the laptop and, yes, selected the rainforestriverbuying option and clicked, and clicked, and clicked. And two days later £169 was deducted from my bank account and I was clicking the liftaway pod into position.

And next, maybe a new camera, but I’ll take advice from Son Brian on that one.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and I’m still happy to keep smiling and to keep it simple.

Iaint850, So I tried out my new corded Shark vacuum cleaner this weekend and found £2.12 under the twp settees. 🙂

And I was interested to read that the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer has increased – ‘diagnosed’ with cancer, not ‘getting’ cancer. It means more men are coming forward but I was interested to read people like Prostate Cancer UK and Prof Karl Sikora ascribing it to the likes of Stephen Fry and Bill Turnbull who have spoken openly about their experiences.

I, however, would pay tribute to the ordinary men (and widows of other men) who do information talks and stands and who also share experiences but often do so in a one-one manner which can have such a major effect.

It’s a long time since I’ve done these (I did a lot of broadcasting about cancer) but I do have memories of ‘manning’ stands and seeing men walk past but their wives coming over to ask questions; or doing a talk somewhere and there was always someone hanging round for ‘a quick word’.

I then went on to study drink’n’drugs and I also hope that, there, I’ve helped people by sharing experiences. It’s not the easiest of things to do. But somebody I don’t know, this week, learned that I was thirteen years ‘sober’ and congratulated me. He then told me he was coming up for fourteen years sober this May. From a distance we metaphorically hugged. That was a good ‘share’.

And here’s The Jesus and Mary Chain. Again. They sure ain’t no Chamber Music outfit, are they?

‘It’s not enough to just survive something, right? That’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive, you’ve got to feel happy.’ (Duchess of Sussex)

January 10, 2020

And so, dear listener, I had actually taken a note of those words from the Duchess of Sussex (or Meg as we call her down the Elephant (and Bugle) down the Maryhill Road – a boozer with strong connections with the Highland Light Infantry whose barracks were where the Wyndford flats now are) long before she chose to announce her decision to move on and become independent and earn her own living ……..and Harry……Harry knew about it as well. He was consulted. He’s doing it as well.

It’s interesting. tho’, isn’t it?

Y’see in the same way I confessed last week to reading the Daily Mail from time to time cos I get bored with reading things that I agree with, I have another peccadillo (sp?) to ‘fess up to. 😉

I am fascinated by stories about the Royals.

I mean, I’m not one of those people who still has a Charles’n’Di mug or wants to be on the streets of Windsor when there’s a wedding or cries when one child or another starts school.

I love the behind-the-scenes TV docs on Channel 4 or 5. 🙂

It can be a look back at Mrs Wallis Simpson and her love affair with Thingy (I can never remember the men’s names) or why the current Queen loves Balmoral or, and this was the most recent, a look at how they prepare for a banquet at Windsor which I saw a few days ago.

They get through one helluva lot of bevvy if the number of glasses at each setting is anything to go by and do you know they even have two men with a big stick so that they make sure that every seat is exactly the same distance from the table?

It’s stuff like that that fascinates me and they, even the servants, seem to live in some kind of existence that is totally cocooned from life as you and I know it and I’m never sure quite what to make of that except to wonder why the Queen Mum was allowed to build up such a massive overdraft at Coutts and I have heard some good stories about her and some others which have made it onto these programmes but the Royals have good lawyers (as do I but they’re maybe not that experienced in these matters) so I won’t say too much openly.

See me in the Elephant (and Bugle) and I’ll tell you but I trust the former SAS officer who told me about what happened on the old Royal Train when it was parked overnight in Central Station a few years ago.

And none of the above should be taken as approval of the Family or certain members of it, especially Andrew…..except, maybe, Anne……..

And if we’re talking about people for whom we have respect, can I just highlight Son Brian who, as well as helping me so much over the last year or so, found time to undertake some kind of challenge which saw him running a distance of 5k on a daily basis for the month of December.

I don’t think it was ever seen as a fundraising exercise but funds were raised and I know a reasonable donation was made to Prostate Cancer UK. No. No reason. 😀

And finally, the ‘proof reading’ is back up and running. The reason for the quote marks is because I don’t actually read proofs; I, and business partner, my good friend e, copy edit. But I, cos I’m the main man, am getting a wee bit unhappy. In fact, it’s a wee bit of a dilemma. What is acceptable short notice?

So, what I’ve started to do is to give students deadlines so I get work in in in plenty of time and it is realistically do-able but I did say no to someone who sent me stuff late Thursday night (so I didn’t see it until Friday morning) and wanted it back by two o’clock on Sunday afternoon. I turned that one down. I felt bad. 😦

And then I think about trying to book my car into a busy garage for its MOT, or me to a busy dentist (not ‘til 3rd Feb cos I want early morning), and then I don’t feel so bad. 🙂

Tioraidh (and I’m considering duolingo), still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple but with a smile.

Iaint850, and don’t worry. I think that’s enough personal outing for one year.

So I’ve spoken a wee bit recently about some of the debate currently raging within the world of addiction (or dependency) and abstinence (or harm-reduction) and how do you recover – if ever.

I’m not going to say too much tonight, and there is a danger it might become too academic and this blog was never meant to be that, was it, Skippy?

But there’s a number of politicians making lots of statements at the moment and they’re coming in for lots of criticism for doing so but not everyone who talks the talk will have walked the walk. Do you always need that lived experience in order to make good suggestions or is it possible to bring everyone together? My addiction worker did not have lived experience but had the skills and expertise to help me considerably – motivational interviewing – and it worked.

It used to be said that there are many roads to recovery and one of them will be the right one for you……….

So, as you know, Ted Danson (and it’s not his birthday) is married to Mary Steenburgen who wrote Glasgow which was sung by Jessie Buckley in the film, Wild Rose

Okay. So someone has asked. 2020? I plan to go back to smiling a lot (me, 31st December 2019)

January 3, 2020

And so, dear listener, that is indeed my revolution for the new year and I did broadcast it to the world on Hogmanay. ‘Revolution’ was used by one of Thomas the Tank Engine’s friends (Gordon?) and indeed, for some strange reason, Thomas was discussed by grandparents in a get together just before Christmas. Grandchildren looked on bemused and said things like, ‘Grandpa iaint850. Play’ and I did. 😀

The revolution is nice and simple and doesn’t involve going to the gym (altho’ I’m beginning to walk round the graveyard again) or watching too much what I’m eating and drinking (a sensible range and orange juice) or, well anything like that. It is, in fact, going back to the proper meaning of Keeping it Simple and looking for the smile first – just like I used to. 😀 😀 😀

Now it could take various forms. A New Year’s Day call from grandchildren helped and I don’t mean just before midnight and I don’t think they pressed the numbers but you know what I mean.

And here’s another example. Yes, eventually, I will come into enough money to enable me to consider an extension to my semi* but one of the nicest things over the Christmas period was getting book gift tokens – or whatever they’re called these days – and having the ability to go into a bookshop (guess!) and spend what is basically surprise money on something that gives me a fair amount of pleasure. 🙂

*and everyone tells me to make sure I get a downstairs toilet………why?

And it’s that time of year again, isn’t it? That marvellous moment when you take something out of the freezer which has no label on it, allowing it to defrost and find something that you’re happy to eat. So far, so good. 😉

And 2020, is this the year when Mad Dog comes of age?

And my car passed its MoT without any problem and I actually own it later this year.

I even smiled at short notice editing this weekend altho’ it did mean I couldn’t take up a short notice invitation……at short notice. 😦

And a big well done to Greta Thunberg for going along with the Sharon gag………that put a smile on my face……..and the vegans I know and meet for lunch also smile a lot, care about both people and animals, and are part of the real world.

And finally, maybe this is the year when I should improve my handwriting. I woke up to a note from myself that seemed to say ‘didn’t’. Some of the notes I left to myself during my drinking days made much less sense than this but ‘didn’t’ seemed to be a denial. What didn’t I do?

Had I become some kind of Jekyll and Hyde character – or a justified sinner? I worried. 😦

Until later in the day it hit me. It said ‘dentist’. I lost two fillings over the holiday period. I blame myself for keeping Wine Gums in the fridge so that they become harder. 😦

So first thing on Monday, I will make a phone call to the dentist; after all, there’s no point in smiling if your teeth ain’t good.

Tioraidh, keeping it simple and still wearing the badges

Iaint850, grizzly as heck (Skippy, have I got that right?)

But smiling a lot doesn’t mean I’ll stop talking about the serious stuff as well……..and highlighting idiots as well. For example, Tory MSP Brian Whittle who, in an article in the Scottish Daily Mail which I read from time to time because I don’t understand the need to read newspapers or websites where you agree with everything without questioning it, was talking about ‘alcohol addiction’ and used a lot of stereotypical terms which showed a complete lack of empathy and understanding.

He attended an ‘addiction meeting’ in Kilmarnock organised by Addaction – a smashing organisation – which was attended by ‘what are euphemistically called ‘service users’ – alcoholics to the rest of us’* and it’s when I read something like that that I worry.

*service users are people who use a service – no euphemism at all.

Yes. There is a well-known self-help group which does use the word ‘alcoholics’ but that does take us down a road where people are deemed to have a problem for life. I don’t but I do understand the problems other have. Let’s look at why people use alcohol and offer an alternative.

He says that ‘only three elements are required for a healthy lifestyle; a good diet, being physically active and easy access to a support network like a club with instructors, facilities and information.’ Mens sana in mens corpore as the Prime Minister might say.

To which I can only say, food banks, poverty caused by Tory austerity and a need for more support workers – Monica Lennon for First Minister!

And in fairness (?) to the Scottish Daily Mail the next day they published a well researched article on the same subject By Prof. David Nutt; Whittle admitted he’d used ‘anecdotal evidence’ for some of his.

So, let’s go back to smiling!!!!!

I saw this on TV and it made me smile

To those of you who received honours, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be President of the United States. George W. Bush

December 26, 2019

And so dear listener, it is with great pleasure that Skippy and I present the blog’s Annual Awards Ceremony – something that started way back in the early days of the blog when we (Skippy and me) felt that the people and events who make this blog the worldwide success that it is deserved some form of recognition. 😀

I’ve never ever taken any records of the music played on the show or who has won what or whatever but the first couple of announcements may see some eyebrows rising.

We know it’s not been the best of years for me for many reasons but I must always stress that I do not compare myself with other people – or at least I try not to. I am not of the fellowships but one of the things I did learn in the early years of my own recovery was not to compare myself with anyone or to comment on their situation……….’there but for the grace of God go I’ and if you don’t recognise a God, you may still understand what I’m getting at……. 😉

And, yes, in answer to one criticism that I had this year, there are reasons why I didn’t enjoy my regular trips down to Garelochead to check up on my sister’s house but by no means was I having a go at people who make that A82 trip regularly. They choose to do so. I was checking for mail and dead wasps………but this house was sold to people happy to make that journey.

So, I’ve got that out of the way…….

Lifetime Achievement Award goes to my late sister, Sheila.

Now I’ve checked the Rules and Regulations, Terms and Conditions and the Constitution and there are no rules against this………up to 23rd January is good. In addition, much of what we (and that’s a large ‘we’ which includes Son Brian, good friend e , Rosie from Cardross and Kenny the Shed Pimp) did was influenced by my sister…….or done in her name. Our work is almost done here and we move on, like a granddaughter on a new scooter paid for by all the grandparents. 🙂

And the Team of the Year Award goes to the Beatson staff – not just for what they did in the first month of the year but the help they gave to three others I know – either directly or through some form of Beatson Outreach.

But there were lots of good moments as well, including hearing my grandchildren, on being asked by their dad, what the best part of Christmas Day was, they replied Grandpa iaint850…….I suspect it would have been Santa Clause earlier in the day.

We will play ourselves out with the Track of the Year later but first, let’s do the actual Personality, which doesn’t have to be a person……and in Third Place is Holly the Dog.

Now, Holly may have news of her own later, and I will keep you posted but she was instrumental in changing my mind about something. I was looking after her and the two children with whom she lives – AJ and RJ – and it was about four days before Guy Fawkes night and I could only just see and hear them, but she was terrified by the fireworks. I had seen dogs scared before but that was when they had to be kept in the house when fireworks were in the garden. This was different and was a reminder to always think of others……..

In Second Place is the Decision to Change Lawyers.

It may seem an odd choice but that decision to replace my existing lawyer, prompted by my son, who is aware that I do get moments of depression, made a big difference to how I viewed the estate settlement and the effect that the seeming lack of action by my first lawyer was having on me.

I’m still being careful in what I say, but my first meeting with my new lawyers and the first piece of written action saw me sighing relief – and then again and again and again……. 🙂

And in First Place (and cue the Fanfare of Strumpets, Skippy) is a very latecomer – Scottish Water. My toby was leaking and once the innuendo was over, Scottish Water stepped in (not quite glug, glug, glug) and the biggest thing was that they kept telling me what was happening and they fixed it and reinstated things and I have recommended the entire team for something called a Gem Award so I hope they win it.

They’ve won this Award and I hope they do well with Gem. 🙂

So that’s it from me, Iaint850, and I am about to look forward to the new year. I almost have a list of ideas and some of them do affect other people – but positively. There have been other people (and you’ll have seen their initials) who have helped and I want to thank them.

I’ll maybe try and go to Morar for a weekend (and get it right this time) and maybe somewhere else and I need something more in my life – something, well something, but I always will keep it simple. Someone taught me that and I’ll never forget that……..even if……..

And I will continue to keep you, the listener, informed and involved……. 😀

Track of the Year?

It’s the Highwomen with Highwomen………have a wee listen to the words and then have a Happy New Year.

Who’s Rudolph’s favourite singer? Beyon-sleigh

December 19, 2019

And so dear listener, the tone is set. It’s the world famous Christmas Cracker edition of the blog…….and while you might groan now, you may be reading these in a few days’ time. 😀

But first some items of news.

Missives have been exchanged on my late sister’s second property – the flat in Gilsochill – so it seems that one year on, or thereabouts, I have no properties other than my own to worry about. It was all completed as lawyers’ offices settled down for Christmas holidays. I have money to receive but that will happen. It’s almost Christmas and I well remember what was happening with regard to my sister twelve months ago. We move on.

Q What did Adam say the day before Christmas?

A It’s Christmas, Eve.

(and see how important the apostrophe is in making that gag work)

And my toby has been fixed – and the ground around it has been reinstated so well done to Scottish Water and their sub-contractors all of whom have done a fantastic job including removing the barriers when they said they would. There is a scheme called GEM awards and I will be recommending the entire squad (from helpline to foremen) for that award – and maybe one other closer to home.

One of the workers is called Billy Graham and I said to his mate (both of whom looked too young to know that I was talking about……..

‘Famous name, eh?’

‘Aye, preacher man, we call him….’

I was flabbergasted.

Q What do you sing at a snowman’s birthday party?

A Freeze he’s a jolly good fella.

But Scottish Water showed what can be done when a publicly owned utility puts its mind to it. Maybe something like that can be done for Scotrail in the future – keeping people informed is good and that’s what Scottish Water did. 😀

Scotrail on the other hand? I was going into town for Christmas lunch with my SDF mentor, Andy, and I wanted to catch the 1111 train into Queen Street which would give me time to go into the office before going for lunch in an Italian restaurant in Glasgow city centre. Except when I got to the station, the noticeboard said the train going up to Anniesland was running late. Fine. It had gone up so it must come back down. Except the noticeboard said coming back down was now cancelled…….but, but, but……..and then it came through at 1111 but didn’t stop.
😦 😦 😦

There are various possible reasons for that but I never made it to the SDF office but welcome how much all the folk there have helped me through the last twelve months or so.

Q What carol do they sing in the desert?

A Oh camel you faithful

And the annual exchange of pressies between good friend e on behalf of her family, and me, on behalf of me, very nearly took place in the graveyard opposite my house with festive Holly the Dog……blame the barriers around my toby and one day all the cards I send to that household will arrive at the one time. One day. 🙂

Q What do you get if you cross a snowman with a vampire?

A Frostbite

And finally, a very pleasant trip out to UWS (Paisley) to catch up with a couple of folk (No, before, some of you ask that question………) but it always brings back nice memories and, whilst part of me would like to return to academia, I think I’ll limit myself to writing for the SDF. Have a look at their website to see examples of what I do.

So, one more week until the long awaited Personality of the Year Award and it’s not too late to nominate something for that award or one of the others.

In the meantime from me, iaint850…….Nollaig Chridheil and here are Peat and Diesel with Fairytale of Stornoway including the reference to Donny Dotaman.

‘What doesn’t kill you gives you a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms and a really dark sense of humour.’ (Monica Lewinsky)

December 13, 2019

And so, dear listener, I feel that I should make some kind of political statement after Thursday night but I’m not sure what to say.

Except……….

More than ever before, I feel that, politically, Scotland is a separate nation from England. I’m still not sure about Independence but was appalled during the various leaders’ broadcasts how little was appreciated of the devolved nature of Scotland and issues such as the NHS in the Scotland. I voted SNP as I believe they offer the best opportunity to protect things like health, education and legal rights against the Boris Johnsons of this world…… 🙂

And it didn’t do Boris Johnson any harm to say ‘no’ to going up against Andrew Neil. I think all leaders will question these invites in times to come. I think political journalists will also question their ‘sources’ and may slow down their responses when posting on Twitter. :p

And it might do Labour activists some good to look at life outwith London. 😉

(And I chose the word ‘outwith’ deliberately because it is not a recognised English word. If you don’t believe me, then do a ‘fact check’. Google it.…………there are academics who will not recognise the word, in the way that many political activists do not understand life beyond the M25)

That’s enough!!!!!

Apart from the fact that I notice that every losing politician and political party is now about to go through a period of reflection…….Don’t effing reflect!!!!!!! Effing act!!!!!!!

But I’ve been doing a wee bit of reflection as well…….a wee bit of counting blessings as we approach Christmas and the Christmas Cracker edition of the blog (next week).

For example, Scottish Water have been and they are going to excavate my driveway next week to fix my seeping toby without any question but I have running water unlike some of the people from Lancefield Quay who have no homes after the fire. 😦

Legally there’s still a wee issue with regard to the settlement of my sister’s will but I do feel you folk have lived through much of the legal process but it must be recognised that the need for a settlement only came about because of the passing away of my sister. She had a house in Garelochead and a flat in Glasgow but she had worked hard during her life and she loved that part of the Clyde……..

I can now begin to make some plans for myself.

I may extend my semi. I may buy a new Casio. And, and, and………..I’m not too sure after that. Any ideas?

But I have started to catch up on meeting up with folk. For example, I’d a wee catch up with Missie K in Princes Square the other night and whilst the whole place was busy we managed to find a comfy seat in D’Arcy’s and we discussed the environment.

Can I just say that I learned the word ‘bio-degradable’ in the seventies and think that organisations like Greenpeace, FofE and WWF have worked really hard for the environment and should be recognised as such? They may not do New Age dancing but I do feel that being ‘woke’ may be a little bit more difficult in the years ahead. There are difficult times ahead under what could well described as a ‘no-nonsense’ government……. 😦

And I grew up in the North East of Scotland where it was almost impossible to do anything other than buy locally and eat seasonally…..Tricky in Summerston, mind you but that’s no excuse.

And finally, I’d like to say thanks to all those who made contact in one way or another when I highlighted the fact that it is now thirteen years since I ‘cold-turkeyed’ and I just don’t drink these days but there are so many people who I have to thank. And did. 😀

Incidentally I’ve been trying to explain to people how I perceive the difference between being ‘in recovery’ and someone like me who quite happily says ‘I don’t drink these days’ and all the roads that exist on that road to recovery. Another time.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges but always looking out for more and always keeping it simple.

Iaint850, who went to bed not long after he heard the Exit Poll.

And just a brief word to say thanks to all those who’ve been in touch about the Blog Personality of the Year Award with suggestions for the actual personality (which doesn’t have to be a person); we’ve had good suggestions for both the track of the year and team of the year but I’m short of suggestions for Lifetime Achievement Award. Any thoughts?

This seems to be very popular at the moment. It’s David Bowie and Bing Crosby.

But when you’re in zugzwang, one possible strategy is just not to make a move. But, in the end, the game has to end. (One view of where we are with Brexit negotiations)

September 19, 2019

And so, dear listener, last week’s show reflected a Government minister’s unwillingness (cowardice?) to voice his own views so he did it in a slimey and snidey way. This week is totally in my voice and all the feelings are mine but I am going to speak about a lot of other folk but mostly in a nice way……. 😀

Let’s start with Son Brian who has been a tremendous help in so many ways in recent months and who has recently set up my new PC altho’ I have not yet made a full transition from the old one (this one) to the new one as I’m trying to stay a wee bit away from computer screens after all the editing and writing I’ve been doing recently.

Anyway Happy Birthday Son Brian (and RJ as well)……. 😀

(and can I be a wee bit editorially geekish here and say there’s an amazing range of templates on Word 365…….I spent an afternoon going through them). 😀

So I’m going to talk about people like Rod Stewart, and I’ll finish with a wee story about him later, but I don’t share the view that it’s ‘good’ when a celeb tells their story about their cancer*. I just think it’s great when anyone tells that story. Sharing is brilliant and if you’re telling that story it’s cos you survived that experience. But well done Rod……..and d’you remember that time when….but later…… 😉

(And a personal hero on the Prostate Cancer front was a guy called Roy Stewart who, despite being seriously ill, was an amazing man to do Information Stands with. ‘Back off Roy, let them get in through the door first’ (lol))

*and I instinctively used third person plural pronouns, Sam, because we already do in certain circumstances. I mean I have no issue with gender transition, but, as an editor, I’m not sure why you still use first person singular pronouns when talking about yourself. Why not third person plural for consistency?

But this week it doesn’t have to be a health thing.

Last week the European Ladies Golf team (under the captaincy of Scot, Catriona Matthew, who played a major part in my PR career many years ago) beat the Americans with the final putt on the final hole in the final match of the Solheim Cup. It was sunk by Suzann Petterson who had hardly played in the last two years, was something like 630th in the World and was a personal pick by Catriona……… 😀

Everyone was a heroine (deliberate use of female of hero) in the team but to be have been written off and then to have written her own chapter in sporting history was amazing….wasn’t it?

And Fernando Ricksen? A hero. Not my favourite as a player altho’ I’ve no real views about Old Firm players but in recent years, he played a blinder spreading the word about MND. And his wife and the rest of his family. There’s an amazing shot of Fernando on his super dooper wheelchair going into some event and his wife leans over and adjusts his head so it’s up and looking forward and looking cool and commanding and not slumped…… 😀

And Gareth Thomas…… Now, I’m not 100 per cent sure why he spoke when he did. The documentary was more or less recorded and about to be broadcast and he was going to talk about being HIV in that and that was one of the reasons why he had done the Ironman Triathlon challenge to show that being HIV did not mean being a wimp….he just hadn’t told his parents and then had to go public because it was about to become public.

I though Gareth came out of it with grace and courage and it may make more people think about overcoming stigma. Well done….. 😀

And I was asked recently…….’wouldn’t it mean more to people if you described yourself as a recovered alcoholic….give more people hope of recovery?’

Seven years ago, I set myself a target of just being someone who ‘doesn’t drink’…….I think I’ve been pretty open about the reasons why I don’t drink and am more than happy to discuss those reasons but it’ll soon be thirteen years so I’m quite happy with the way I’ve done it.

Plus I think there are still too many connotations and stigma that still surround the word ‘alcoholic’. Lapsing is not inevitable.

And I did see one journo on TV saying that David Cameron’s depression wasn’t clinical because he had never taken anti-depressants. Nor have I but that doesn’t mean that my moments of anxiety and depression aren’t real.

And a new GP that I discussed this with last week shared my views. She was good…..’but there was a letter from your urologist in 2014 that said such and such but you never tried it……..I think we should give it a go…….peppermint or aniseed?’ 😉

#copingmechanisms

And finally a wee word about the furore (eh?) surrounding some Head of a Fire Brigade (Lincolnshire?) who thought that Fireman Sam being white and male put people off. So I wonder if he (of course it’s a he) has ever seen Flora the Firefighter who is a real person and this should be standard viewing everywhere.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07cdm4x

tioraidh, still wearing the badges (with pride) and still keeping it simple but I may send a birthday card

iaint850 who’s nobody’s hero but is happy waking up every morning.

And many years ago, at the age of 12 or so I was allowed into the adult, let’s call it the grown up, section of Peterhead Library cos I’d read all the kiddies’ books; and I seemed to be heavily into World War II books. I picked out one about Arnhem (seventy-five years ago) and happened to go into the newsagent that my dad used and the man behind the counter asked to see it and he looked at it, especially the photos.

‘Why?’ I asked my dad later.

‘Because he was at Arnhem and he survived but he doesn’t talk a lot about it.’

That night I stopped reading books by generals as I realised who the real heroes were. Many of mine over the last few days are listed above.

The Rod Stewart (and rainforestriverman) story can wait until next week.

Here’s Chumbwamba and their famous appearance on TV in the states and a song that is appropriate for so many people in today’s blog. If I’ve missed anyone out, for once let me know.

“That’s how the first lady got involved. She’s got a son, together, that is a beautiful young man and she feels very, very strongly about it. She’s seen it. We’re both reading it, a lot of people are reading it. But people are dying with vaping so we’re looking at it very, very closely.” (Donald Trump and I think the ‘she’ is his wife and the ‘young man’ is their son)

September 13, 2019

And so dear listener, many people are asking – I’m not saying this – but many people are asking how my toes are after last week’s bloody interlude and I’m just saying what they’re saying.…..and so, I’m just saying what people are saying in the style of snidey and cowardly Government minister, Kwasi Kwarteng*, who didn’t have the guts to actually say what he felt………(I can’t remember what about tho’…….Brexit?)

One Sunday newspaper described him as having ‘slimed into action.’

And then I saw his boss, Boris Johnson, being heckled and you realised that he, and they, can’t handle criticism. They have lived such privileged existences that they don’t understand what it’s like to be challenged. 😀

And I learned the art of handling hecklers when I debated at Glasgow University Union, where if someone heckled me, I’d say something like ‘If brains were taxed then my honourable friend is due a rebate.’ 😀 😀 😀

It was often said that I was a master debater.

Sorry. Where was I?

Oh, yes.

I was going to use that style of ‘some people say’ to talk a little about gender transition but not about people but about penguins and Fireman Sam and someone else but Piers Morgan and TV chef, James Martin, and someone else all got involved and it became a bit of a slanging match on social media and then my washing machine began to behave erratically and a cheque for £702 came in from my new solicitor but before I add two and two together and buy a new machine I will contact AS Electrics at Charing Cross and they will tell me if my very old washing machine is dead. 😦

And then I breathed out (see last week for details of my breathing) and reached for a pack of Thorntons Triple Chocolate Caramel Shortcake Bites available from the ASDA for 99p and ate three.

(They’re quite sickly, aren’t they?)

And all I’ll say is that I don’t think penguins give a toss about gender identity as long as they get plenty of fish and I love it when they jump feet first into the Antarctic and I was told that, during the Falklands War, never having seen helicopters before, as they flew overhead, the penguins would lean further and further back and land on their backs long before David Jason did it in Only Fools And Horses. 🙂

I also think Fireman Sam, Postman Pat and Colin the Coastguard (an idea I had from long ago that never made it out of my head into a programme proposal and only works if you say it out loud…….go on. Try it.) are all animated characters from some time back but should be used not be used as part of an argument in which they cannot take part but as props for conversation….discussing situations……….I think we’re in danger of rushing into so much cos we’re scared of being seen to be non-caring without thinking what we’re caring about.

#stopthedeaths

I’m also a wee bit tired. There’s been a lot of editing – which is good. It’s been a difficult few months with various moments of anxiety and depression but it has helped to have those words on the screen and I enjoy it and I feel I make a difference (and I do get thanked as well as paid).

And I do understand if people don’t want to meet up with me. Don’t be pressured but don’t be pressured not to…….(eh?);)

However the 100,000 word PhD on the social issues caused by a major dam project in China as seen by a Chinese accountant was quite a challenge but my work, so far, has been well received by the author and I think any time anyone says to me,

‘Still doing the editing, iaint850? What is it? Just checking spelling and apostrophes?’

I will happily send them the original work and the finished work after two readings.

(And a big thanks to my business associate who helped with some of the editing and whose daughter, RJ, turned seven last week and Son Brian turned thirty-three. Nick Cage at the Tramway, here we come!)

Sorry, Skippy……???

Nick Cave at the Tramway here we come!!!!!

And finally, I’d like to pay credit to the Queen in this era of climatic concern, who seems to never stop planting trees and who also seems to have a wee woman’s smile on her face. I’d much rather have a wee chat with her than many of those I gloss over on social media. 🙂

Tioraidh, and I’ve lost one of the badges but I am still keeping it simple

Iaint850, and, now that I am no longer totally pescatarian, I often spend my nights binging on wine gums after a hard day’s editing.

So, there’s quite a lot on all forms of media just now about the number of drug related deaths and that something should be done but not all of them are saying what they want to see done. The SDF Conference I was at a couple of weeks ago had a number of people who had lived experience and positive contributions to make on the basis of that. I’m in the middle of writing up the Conference Report and will post a link to it eventually.

One was the high profile Garth Mullins from Canada who describes himself as a drug user activist who used to use injectable heroin but is now on methadone. He is the executive producer of the Crackdown podcast where drug users cover the drug war as war correspondents.

The other was Fiona Gilbertson who has twenty-five years of advocacy experience in HIV and sex work and who believes that the fundamental way to tackle stigma and discrimination is through policy changes. Fiona works with an organisation called Recovering Justice and is in long terms abstinence based recovery.

It was like being at a meeting in the early days of the trade union movement. The talk was of getting organised. And if there’s a common link to the eight hundred words above it’s an attempt to recognise my own rights and those that other people have. Take care.

I’m no longer a member of the NUJ but the last time I was in their offices in Union Street someone was singing this. They were good, but they weren’t no Bruce Springsteen, who’s just about to turn seventy.

Don’t forget you’re human. It’s okay to have a meltdown. Just don’t live there. Cry it out. Then re-focus on where you’re heading.

August 30, 2019

And so dear listener, apologies for the lack of a blog last week.

As some of you know there have been hiccups with regard to the settlement of my sister’s estate. I can’t say much as, by its very nature, it’s a legal process, so I can’t say much. But I have changed lawyers and I have known my previous lawyer since university days (the first time) so some decisions have been hard.

I have a new lawyer and I think we’ve found the tunnel but I’m still not sure whether that what we’re seeing is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel or the light of an oncoming train.

But I’m happier and what I refer to as moments of anxiety and depression are beginning to recede but they are real and usually the coping mechanisms that I talk about help but no amount of going for a walk can sell a house you thought was already sold altho’ it hasn’t not been sold.

But I did have to clear away a lot of dead wasps from my sister’s house last weekend AND altho’ she’s dead I don’t think I’m unusual in still thinking about her and what she would make of the various happenings.

But I did mention some of this to another friend from my first time at university and therefore of that generation. His advice was to ‘wake up and smell the flowers’. It’s funny. I’ve done suicide intervention training on two occasions, and used it successfully twice, when working for Blue Triangle.

It wasn’t easy and it might have been so much easier had I been able to say to them ‘Wake up and smell the flowers!’ No, I didn’t get thanks and I had loads of paperwork to do after it.

And then I got a message on social media from someone from whom I had not heard for years but who does seem to follow me and this show somewhere.

Here’s one quote; ‘I have to admire that you can pull out the positives and I wish I was more like that.’

So, dear listener, which of the messages had the more positive effect? Or need I ask? Thank you Chris. 🙂 🙂 🙂

And finally, it’s been a bit of a one-subject blog but there have been good things this week. It’s my grand-daughter’s fifth birthday this week and I did get her a proper card as opposed to the one that said ‘Sorry, I forgot your birthday’ that I started the week with, I was at a smashing conference organised by the Scottish Drugs Forum (#stopthedeaths), it’s been a wee while since I’d eaten at the Hanoi Bike Shop so thoroughly enjoyed eating there again , I’m slowly working my way through a 100,000 word edit and I’ve been shown the actual bin where I can drop off used coffee capsules for re-cycling.

But maybe more of that next week,

Tioraidh, and an Oxfam collector in Buchanan Street recognised the Prostate Cancer Awareness badge and let me past, and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, and what I do do is take a wee walk in the garden when it’s dark but I do have lights so it’s very pleasant and very relaxing,

Last week, when the blog didn’t happen, I had planned a political ending.

I was, either, going to have a go (as I have done before) at Iain Duncan Smith whose think tank has proposed setting the date for your pension at 75, or Harry, Meghan and Sir Reg Dwight.

IDS is the idiot who approached Alcoholics Anonymous in 2011 or 2102 and suggested that convicted drunk drivers should be compelled to attend AA meetings. What he didn’t realise was that AA meetings are voluntary and the word ‘Anonymous’ means you don’t have to give your name and so there is no record of attendance. What an idiot!

As is Sir Reg Dwight who felt that paying for H & M’s private jet AFTER the event (and I’m saying nothing about the ecological impact) would stop the criticism of them taking a freebie rather than a commercial flight.

Have you ever been on the Glasgow to Edinburgh train (on quieter times than last weekend) and decided to chance your luck in First Class but you only have a normal off-peak return and the conductor comes in and you offer to pay the difference but he says ‘no’ and he chucks you off at Linlithgow saying, ‘try it on the next train’ (a friend, honest, and a long time ago).

Where’s Sir Reg when you need him?

So, in the real world, I note that there are concerns that children no longer have invisible friends but they have friends they ‘make’ through computers.

Skippy’s doing fine thank you. She’s travelling the world at the moment and sends postcards from time to time – invisible postcards of course. She seems happy and I’ll pass on your best wishes.

Skippy is/was a coping mechanism but you’d guessed that a long time ago, didn’t you?

Maybe so are you, dear listener, and I thank you for listening.

So, in the latest in the well received series of good looking women in country music, here’s Dolly, Lind and EmmyLou……..

‘Methadone, for example, is associated with many deaths but we know that when closely monitored and prescribed, methadone works and people who are on it have a longer life expectancy.’ (Prof Roy Robertson in the Sunday Mail, 21st July 2019)

July 27, 2019

‘Robertson witnessed the explosion in heroin abuse during the early eighties from the clinic in Edinburgh’s Muirhouse where he still works.’

And so, dear listener, hopefully, this will be the last health update for a while but I was at the very pleasant and very sunny Stobhill Hospital the other day. I’d forgotten that my heart consultant, Dr J, had arranged to meet me something like a year previously, to discuss matters pertaining to my heart. 🙂

I say I’d forgotten but luckily those nice people at @nhsscotland hadn’t and I’d been sent a text to remind me. 🙂

It went well. It is now about a year and a half since I’d had the heart scare and I’m glad to say that over that period, thanks to careful monitoring of medication, my blood pressure is slowly coming down. Medical people say that 130 over 54 is good. 😉

She asked if I was had any problem running for buses. I had to explain no as I don’t use buses anyway as they don’t go where I want them to.

‘Good point’, she said, ‘nor do I. What about running up and down stairs?’

And I can certainly go up and down stairs e.g. some of those belters from the River Kelvin up to the Botanic Gardens or Belmont Street.

I was also echoe’d (not sure how to spell that but it seems to be how medical people say it; it’s that ultrasound echo test which bounces pictures of that heart area and gives some details of how leaky my aortic valve is)

Moderate is the answer in a gentle voice. 😀 😀 😀

I was told, and I may have mis-heard this, that the leaflets on my valve should be 1.2mm but that I had 1.3mm on 1.4mm on the other.

‘I can live with that,’ I said.

‘better than the alternative, jt,’ she said.

And we fixed a date for a year’s time. 😀 😀 😀

And Friday night saw me and good friend e going to see Burt Bacharach and his band at the Kelvingrove Bandstand (one violin as opposed to a string section and so on) but they did the business as did the backing singers but the real star is Burt himself.

He tells stories without name dropping (unlike Lulu last year) and he did a full two hours (unlike Lulu last year) and there was the odd wee political hint about his feelings towards Boris and Donald (unlike Lulu who was a great fan of Maggie Thatcher but did sing Shout so she was forgiven)

Burt – you’re a legend. And we even had a sneaky wee Justin Currie thrown in as the support act just in case ‘nothing ever happens.’

Let’s move on.

And one of my neighbours, basically at right angles to me, is building what appears to be a shed or summer house against the fence between us, which is not a problem, but he has covered it with a blue tarpaulin while he constructs it in case it rains.

All well and good, but for all the world it looks like one of those forensic science tents and people on the flight path into Glasgow airport must think there’s been a murder, next door to me.

And finally, there’s been a lot of chat about banning the sale of alcohol at family events such as fairs and highland games (no capitals needed as it’s the generic and not a specific games)….anyway……….the idea apparently is stop children being exposed to the abuse of alcohol.

No. Let’s not prohibit anything unthinkingly but look at our own attitudes. Is it better for children to see pints of lager bout next to soft drinks for children or for them to turn corners and find people surreptitiously bevvying from half bottles?

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges but will maybe transfer them to another jacket and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, not the man who shot Liberty Vallance

So I had a difficult meeting ahead of me in Paisley on Thursday, one that would normally have worried me, and I took the train there, but it was hi-jacked at Hillington East by a Mad Dog 20/20 squad of teens using the train to get to Troon.

Neither bothered me.

Y’see there’s a few pieces of music which, if I hear them by chance put a smile on my face and in my head. This is one of them and is possibly one of the most played pieces on the show. It has good memories and meaning attached to it. 😀

As I drove to the railway station, a deejay played it on the radio station