Archive for the ‘alcoholism’ Category

‘Do not be shy to share your thoughts. Do not think they will look stupid. Imagine you are talking to a friend and proving your point of view.’ (Tips on Reflective Writing)

June 26, 2020

And so, dear listener, we live in interesting times – which are well documented through social media. Amongst the more endearing aspects of Facebook are its reminders of what you were doing this time a year ago, two years ago and so on.

It also tells you when your friends’ birthdays are. 🙂

Maybe it should tell you that now is a good time to go through a period of reflection which is what I’m going to do.

(Don’t panic. It’s not a ‘poor me’ rant but if I can’t use the show to share these things with people, then there’s not much point in having a show, is there? And I do worry about the same people getting landed with my strange thoughts when they might have thoughts of their own that they’d like to share. Proper sharing is good. I’m here.)

Y’see, last year, at this time, it had been about five months since my sister had passed away and I had got over that.

We were in that phase of settling the estate and I was getting full support from Son Brian, and friends such as Kenny the shedpimp and good friend e were doing wonders with their help but I was a bit down. 😦

So I walked into Queen Street Station (will I ever have the courage to do that again?) and looked at the destination board, and at the stations for Mallaig and decided that Arisaig was the place to go. Actually it was Morar that I was thinking of but sometimes I leave my brain in the kitchen.

It was a pretty good weekend and I ‘bumped’ into friends Sharon and Kenny when I was up there, just across from the Spar. 😀

Anyway, I did some thinking and I realised that I was unhappy with the lack of action, it seemed to me, on the legal front. My lawyer was a friend from my first time at university and had legalled for me for years but there was something that was not right. 😦

Another couple of meetings seemed to go nowhere and a chat with my inner circle led to a decision; I made contact with a firm of solicitors in Paisley and they took over. And things picked up. And it’s that that I miss. A definitive moment.

In a way I’m slightly jealous of folk with dates to go back to shops and offices and also schools ALTHO’ I know teachers and classroom assistants who have been looking after the children of keyworkers and are involved in setting things up for (maybe) mid-August. It’s been more or less the same faces working at ASDA and I seem accepted in the local Lifestyle Express and I do know folk with no job to go back to.

It’s an advantage of being self-employed that you assume no work is going to come in and the last few weeks have been zilch – but I’ve just taken on two small pieces of work which is good. 🙂

I know that, for me, the definitive moment will be when I can, without worrying, get on to a train from Summerston into Glasgow Queen Street and go to a couple of non-essential shops (Love Music and Waterstones) and then take the train home. 😀 😀 😀

In the meantime, it’s my XXth birthday this week. This time last year, I was driving up and down to Garelochead every second Sunday to check on my sister’s house before it was sold. Oh, and her Glasgow flat.

Maybe I should take another trip down the A82 and call in somewhere where I can get a cup of takeway coffee and just sit there with a pen and a pad, and brainstorm. Somewhere picturesque with a good view. Maybe the Quay, Dumbarton, overlooking the River Leven, just along from Alternatives Community Rehab……good memories as a volunteer worker – we’ll see. And it doesn’t have to be that day itself. 😉

For my 60th I abseiled down the Titan Crane in Clydebank and zip-wired over Aberfoyle. Now I just want to sit down with a cup of coffee and plan my future. How times have changed. But I have one. A future. Hopefully. And that is the big thing. And patience.

And finally, speaking of futures, the grandchildren were over for Father’s Day (with their dad – my son who got married seven years ago this week……busy week over the years) and I have a Tassimo coffee maker so I was given a selection box of coffees for that. It’s interesting. Just over fourteen years ago I might be given a range of German lagers from M & S. These days, I’m still getting psychoactive drugs as pressies. 🙂

And it seems I make my instant coffee cups too strong and that maybe explains a lot. If we think back a few years. You get to a stage where you need to up the quantity to get the desired effect.

Tioraidh, keeping it simple and fun.

Iaint850, did you know that the public toilets in Arisaig were looked after by local volunteers. Would that work in
Kelvingrove Park? Answers please.

So I played a wee bit of Rhiannon Giddens last week but she’s also a member of a band called the Carolina Chocolate Drops (and I’ve not checked its derivation) and this is from the album ‘leaving eden’ and it’s Country Girl.

But before I do, my thoughts are with (as much as they can be) all the people caught up in the ‘incident’, in one way or another, in Glasgow City Centre on Friday. Maybe next week when we know a little more about what happened I may say a little about my own experience of working with the homeless, some of whom were refugees.

Football fans who won’t recognise the gross unfairness of Thistle’s situation are not worthy of the label.’ (The Guardian)

June 19, 2020

And so, dear listener, let me start with a tale of the unexpected, of something so shonky, that I still remain uncertain as to whether it happened or not – which may be typical of much of what happens in night-time Pandemic-land.

Was I fully asleep or merely drifting off when I heard it? The noise? A door creaking somewhere in the darkness but the doors in my house – a straightforward Barrett’s semi – don’t creak and, as I mention from time to time, I live alone. 😦

I was now awake and there was a pattering noise. Birds on the roof maybe? I realised that I was stock still in bed and had gooseberries running up and down my body. Then, as happens, I needed the toilet. Was all this connected? I made it to the toilet and sat down on the loo – with the bathroom door wide open. This was to keep my eyes on the stairs as much as anything else.

I just sat and stared at that bit of the stair where a head would appear before the rest of the murderer’s body (OMG! Can you imagine seeing that?)……….but nothing. I finished and washed my face and hands and stared at the bathroom mirror (OMG! What if a strange face appeared then?) and I risked the walk back to the bedroom. 😦

I switched the light on and looked in the wardrobe and under the bedclothes and I risked it. I shouted out. ‘If there’s anyone in this house I have just dialled the first two numbers for the police and it just needs one more nine.’

But nothing. I lay down and drifted off and woke up the next morning. Alive. Obviously. 😀

Apart from that it’s been a quiet week. I must stop watching programmes like Evil Killers and Killer In My Village at weird times just cos I’m bored. That may have contributed to my midnight caller. The worst ever was The Human Centipede.

I once watched this at about 3 in the morning. OMG! It is awful. How could any movie show such degradation and horror I wondered? It is the pits. Apart from any plot inconsistencies.

There is actually a sequel. It is called The Human Centipede 2. No. I haven’t and I don’t intend to.

So, not a lot has happened this week. Like a lot of people I’m slightly disappointed with some of what the First Minister had to say and it looks like I may be meeting people for coffee in the middle of the Botanic Gardens rather than the pavement on Highburgh Road next to Tinderbox. Fine. I prefer the picnic benches next to what used to be the Herb Garden there anyway. 🙂

And I know I’m not the only one who has already let people (my grandkids) use the toilet in my house – two weeks ago – although technically I wasn’t allowed to and I did nip into someone’s kitchen last week, whilst visiting them in their back garden, to wash my hands. There has to be an element of common sense, of taking responsibility for ourselves and our actions.

And the NHS continues to function efficiently and effectively as far as I am concerned. Not only did I receive my usual two-monthly repeat drugs but I did get a letter from the delightful Dr Shona who is the heart specialist I see once a year at Stobhill. Except I’m not going to this year. Instead it’s all going to be done by phone.

But how are they going to ultrasound test my heart this year? Will someone be sent round to my house with all the kit and that jelly. Who knows, dear listener, who knows? I make no apology for the fact that the last few months, for me, have been about me staying alive. I have lost too many months over the years. I have much still to achieve.

Dominic Raab, that sounds like a line from Game of Thrones. Is it?

And finally, there’s been a certain amount of chat about the Scottish Government’s adoption of ‘Stay Safe’ as opposed to ‘Stay Home’ and the English ‘Stay Alert’; some people asking what does it really mean and others saying, ‘Well I’ve been using it for three months’ and both are pretty valid points of view.

I’ve been using it for almost fourteen years now and first became aware of it after Cold Turkey when I started to go to an addiction worker called Moira and met more folk in recovery (see blogs passim) and it’s a way of saying cheerio to someone and hoping that they stay safe (sober or clean or whatever) until the next time you meet and that somehow they, and you, manage to chart a path through various lifestyle issues.

You’ll hear me use it, for example, when I give money to someone in the street and it may have connotations of me knowing what you’re going through but it also suggests that you have got to work hard to stay safe.

These are still challenging times; staying safe is a challenge and we need to continue to abide by government guidelines for a wee while longer yet.

Please.

Tioraidh, still keeping it fun and simple and looking forward to Coffee in the Gardens (available on pre-order from the Rainforestriver)

Iaint850, astounded at every parent who still has smiling children after all this time. Well done.

A wee while back someone mentioned a black singer and musician to me called Rhiannon Giddens; she has appeared in a television programme called Wayfaring Stranger presented by Phil Cunningham; and she plays a prominent part in a very long but well researched box set on country music with Ken Burns explaining the links between black music and country music……….

She also recently took part in a facebook live performance (thanks Ann) from Carnegie Hall which looked at the roots of much of American music over the years (and that does not do the performance justice).

You may not know the name but you may recognise this song. The title is a phrase from a contemporary slave advertisement that Giddens read but she can better explain that. This is ‘At The Purchaser’s Option’

‘Dom Cummings followed the guidelines and looked after his family. End of story.’ (Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden) ‘I know ending stories and this ain’t it, chief. (JK Rowling, well known author)

May 29, 2020

And so, dear listener, a wee word if I may about blogging and, please, bear with me. I’ve been doing it now for just over twelve years and it’s basically a fun couple of hours when I hammer words into this typewriter and then re-arrange them to make sense. 🙂

I used to do it live, straight onto the WordPress template (which they’re about to change yet again) and do final editing then…….in the days of tape, razor blade and sticky tape…..but that was creating pressure so I stopped doing that and instead started drafting it during the week and did the final topping and tailing once I’ve transferred it on a Friday….and then hit the Publish button (still a thrill, not that I get………) 😦

And yes, I do wait until Sunday before I tell the world of Facebook at which time I may use the Update button. This means that if something has happened between hitting the streets on a Friday and it being read by the more sedate burghers on Facebook on a Sunday, I can make a change.

And then I leave it. It’s gone. 70-80-99-120 people read it. That’s fine. I write it for me………maybe part of my therapy?
Somebody else described it as such. 🙂

It would never, ever occur to me to go back several months and add stuff.

So, if you ever do drop into my back catalogue and discover that I wrote about my discovery of penicillin, well it’s there cos it’s true. And, yes, I was the first man on the Moon. I just didn’t say anything about it at the time but if you re-arrange the letters of iaint850 you can come up with Buzz Aldrin. That’s how we hid it.

And that night with Naomi Campbell did happen. She is one helluva a Bagetelle player. 😀

And Skippy, the invisible bush kangaroo who has been with me since this blog started does exist. Honestly.

And then there’s the car-driving thing.

I think I can safely say that during my alcoholically dependent period I did not drive while drunk but it wouldn’t have been the first Saturday morning that I woke up and realised that I had to go back into town and get my car down from a multi-storey car park where I’d left it the night before. So safe, on so many levels. 😉

I worked for a PR consultancy in Bothwell Street at the time so it would have been Waterloo Street car park – not that far from Bonkers Showbar.

However, see when you read on a packet of Lemsip (or similar) that you’re not supposed to exceed six in twenty-four hours, there’s a reason for that.

It was in the immediate period after the cold turkey, and the cancer treatment – a time when your head is clearing of so many things but you’ve still got a long way to go.

I had a bad cold. I seriously overdid the Lemsip. I got the munchies. It was a paracetamol high. I thought I’ll drive down to the ASDA and get something to eat. It’s a four minute drive.

After two minutes of that driving, I realised it was wrong and that I should turn round and go home. So, paracetemolly, I drove onto ASDA, drove in through the IN bit and back out through the OUT bit and went home.

It was only when I crunched into the drive that I realised how stupid I’d been.

Almost as stupid as Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings who claim that the best way to check your eyesight is to go for a drive. Listeners of a certain age may remember the short sighted Mr Magoo and the carnage he caused cos he couldn’t see what he was driving into. 😦

And then there’s been a smell this week – other than at Westminster. It’s been in my kitchen. Which is quite reassuring as it means I still have my sense of smell, and I can taste toothpaste.

Like a lot of people, I seem to be spending much of my time (I live on my own – have I ever mentioned that?) cleaning and tidying the house until the next time I clean and tidy the house.

I narrowed it down to the fridge which I keep tidy and I’m very careful about Use By dates.

So I washed and wiped and wiped and washed the fridge and its contents. I moved it out and washed behind it.

I used to work for Blue Triangle (supported accommodation for the homeless including refugees with ‘no recourse to public funds’) and every time I tell people that and they say ‘that must have been worthwhile’, I think of the number of nightshifts when you cleaned a room for a new service user moving in in the morning and one of the worst tasks was the fridge. 😦

Then it hit me……well thankfully not literally.

I had assumed that if it was a fridge smell, it was in the fridge. It was actually on top of the fridge. There was a box of twelve eggs on top of the fridge except two of them were cracked and had seeped through the box. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, after that. 🙂

If only all foul smells were as easy to eradicate.

tioraidh, and still keeping it all those things I like to keep it.

Iaint850, and it’s all a bit of a clusterbourach isn’t it?

So there’s a new Steve Earle album on the turntable even as we speak and thanks to a tip-off from top PT fan, Ken, I watched Steve intro many of the tracks on a Facebook live streaming session and I did do the fan thing where I sent the message ‘hi steve, I’m from Glasgow and me and good friend e saw you a few years ago at the Kelvingrove Bandstand’ and, in hindsight, I realise the phrase, ‘good friend e‘ may have sent the wrong message unless Steve is a regular reader.

None of the tracks are up visually on Youtube yet, so here’s ten minutes of Steve Earle and the Pogues. Pure genius.

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

April 24, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that gave me an idea. 😀

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple

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

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

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

‘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.