Archive for the ‘anxiety’ Category

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

April 3, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**or orange juice if you prefer.

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

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

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

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

Tioraidh, keeping it simple

Iant850, keeping it fun and keeping it at homw

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

Take care and stay safe.

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

March 21, 2020

And so, dear listener, welcome………

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tioraidh

Iaint850, keeping it simple and fun.

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

(How do you spell unrequited, Skippy?)

This is New Rose by The Damned

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

March 13, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Abandoned Engineering on the Yesterday Channel is amazingly good.

And you will add weight. Guaranteed 😦

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

So, how are people I know coping?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 6, 2020

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

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

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

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

Thankfully no.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Sue, you’re shouting at tea!’ (trending on social media earlier this week)

February 28, 2020

And so, dear listener, let me take you back to North East Scotland in 1964. I was nine, approaching ten, and becoming aware of world events. 1961 saw the building of the Berlin Wall, 1962 saw the Cuban Missile Crisis and 1963 was the Great Train Robbery and the Profumo Affair and I took all these things in. It’s where I developed my interest in news and stuff like that 😉

In 1964 something happened that was much closer to home – a case of typhoid was discovered in Aberdeen and it spread.

The first case was identified in May 1964 and eventually there was a total of over 400 cases before it was brought under control. We lived thirty-two miles up the road from Aberdeen and it was as if the city was locked down but I’m sure that’s not totally true.

The city’s reputation as a safe and nice place to visit, live and work was harmed. Eventually it was all brought under control and that was marked by a visit from the Queen (the same queen as now but a bit younger).

Apparently, the cause was a contaminated tin of corned beef sold in William Low’s (whatever happened to?) which had originated from Uruguay where, apparently, these tins were kept in a river and one got contaminated with contaminated water entering through a small hole in the tin. 😦

The infected meat then contaminated a meat slicing machine in a William Low shop but, hey, nobody died. So, we were brought up to wash our hands a lot and regularly. And still do.

And a few years ago, I had a week’s gainful employment as a freelance trainer working with some unemployed people who were hoping to gain jobs as nursing assistants. It was a week long session in basic hygiene with a lot of time spent on washing hands and putting them through the machine that then shows you the blue marks that indicate whether you’ve washed them properly. One of my personal contributions was to talk about the number of times I’ve seen men wash their hands in the loo, put them through, or under, a dryer and then wipe them on their jeans.

And I was recently on a commuter train where lots of people, it seemed to me, were coughing and spluttering and it seemed to me to be all through the carriage but maybe I’m getting old.

Now I’m sure that many people of a certain age will be expecting me to play that clip from Tony Hancock’s the Blood Donor with a very young and attractive June Whitfield but I’ve found one from even further back; possibly the original ‘Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases’…… 🙂

Watch for the boat going down the slipway 😉

Let’s be careful out there.

And finally, and nothing to do with the above, I have done drag twice in my life; both times were during my first time at university first time around. One was in connection with a successful Rectorial campaign (and no, I’m not sure of the connection either) and the other was part of some students’ charity event, which makes a wee bit more sense.

I did both properly and with the assistance of some female friends, I was given some training in walking in high heels and was given some gentle and subtle make-up and a couple of very nice dresses.

And I had no beard or any other visible hair and I’m not sure where the wig came from. But, on both occasions, I seem to remember visiting the ladies loos in the Queen Margaret Union and, no, I don’t remember how much I raised for charity. 🙂

On neither occasion did it feel like what I’d imagine being a pantomime dame would feel like and I have never bought anyone Grand Theft Auto – any of them. One day, we’ll think before we rush to social media. Or consider the possible consequence of our actions in advance. ;0

Keeping it fun and simple and still wearing those badges…..was that what I used to say?

Iaint850, fed up with the weather but I suppose everyone is.

So, away from the world of social media, I’m thinking of planning this year’s weekend away. I mean, it’s never been planned that way, but that’s how its been with Lisbon, where drug taking is decriminalised but I was offered so much on the streets, Oban, where the sun shone beautifully on the Saturday but on the Sunday, the heavens opened and I was delighted to find both the Chocolate Factory and the local museum, and, last year, Arisaig which I had confused with Morar……..so I’m looking for suggestions and just to show that my week’s not been totally social media dominated here’s a band from long before the Internet existed. I found them on Youtube.

Except you don’t see them; what you do see are lots of pictures of ducks, dogs, cats and other farmyard animals,,,,and there’s a wee message in the intro and outro. 🙂

Enjoy

‘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.

Great crisis produce great men and great deeds of courage. John F Kennedy

September 6, 2019

And so dear listener, this week’s show starts with a warning for the faint hearted. It involves lots of blood and me cutting my toe-nails………which, without going into too much detail, involves sharp scissors and an old towel which gets put into the washing machine immediately afterwards – on a very long cycle.

I think it’s also worth saying that one question I tend to get asked in connection with my heart condition is ‘how breathless do you get?’ and the answer is ‘not very’ cos I can do most physical exercise without any problem – unless it’s bending down a lot, like to get a book from a lower shelf or cleaning the oven (and one of those is hypothetical)…….or cutting toe-nails and the left foot was fine but I overstretched as it were for the right foot and felt the scissors and saw the blood and breathed out……….but didn’t panic. 🙂

Now those of you who live on their own (like I do and I don’t if you know that) will already be aware of potential problems. The elastoplasts (and other plasters are available but not at that time of night) are at the other side of the bathroom. It’s not that big a bathroom but even the two steps it takes to reach that cabinet sees deep red blood dripping all over the floor.

And then you’ve got to get them out of the packets without tearing them in half (and why do I have luminous coloured plasters?) and then I’m not sure which toes are bleeding. I get them round two toes but there’s still blood. 😦

At this point, dear listener, I’d like you to take your socks off, stand up, stand on your left foot and look at the sole of your right foot and work out how closely you can see all of your toes. I put a third plaster, opened with my mouth (cos’ I was using one hand to balance myself on the edge of the sink) and to put it over the edge of some toes.

I breathed out (the breathlessness thing is getting to me at this point) and I hopped through to the bedroom and got some socks (and I don’t know why I felt the need to get clean socks) and put them on. I paused.

I breathed in. There was blood all over the bathroom but nothing seemed to be seeping into the sock. I got a mop and mopped up most of the blood (and I got the rest the next day) and settled down. Later I slept….zzzzzz

The next morning I took my left sock off and had a shower with my right socked foot sticking out of the shower. I was in a hurry. I changed my socks but left the plasters on.

That night, I filled a basin with cold water and tea tree oil and took my socks off, plunged my feet in and then took the plasters off. There was little dried blood on them. There was none on my toes. I dried my feet and put a long socks washing on. I had survived. 🙂

I breathed both in and out.

And finally, with what few words I have left myself, I was in Paisley on Tuesday. I had a good meeting with my new lawyers and progress is being made.

I then went to the university where I was meeting a drink’n’drugs lecturer for a chat…..and then it hit me as I walked into the refurbished café area under the library stairs. It was now eight years since I, and several others, had arrived for our inductions into the post grad drink’n’drugs class. Some were slightly older than fresh faced students and had only just graduated; some were like me, returning after many, many years away from higher education.

You’ll know their initials. C, S, E, F, J, J and A are some names that leap to mind but I didn’t speak to that many people as I filled out forms and got my photo taken for my ID card and then I took the train home – having realised that I was committed to a year’s study, which became two years and almost became six.

I paused for breath; something dear listener I still do today and am delighted to be able, still, to do that. We tend to take breathing for granted. 😀

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges and still keeping it simple – even from a distance

Iaint850, I keep thinking the editing season is about to finish but it doesn’t*. I have spread some of the workload elsewhere in the boardroom.

*having said that……… 😦

And as some of you know, I am not the tekkiest of people and am very reliant on Son Brian for his help and so I dropped my new laptop off at his house (he’s busy young (!) man) so that he could instal stuff and get it working and then I’d get it home and all I’d have to do would be to wi-fi it and remember my passwords or get new ones.

Obviously I took the precaution of deleting my browser history.

I got a message from him.

Was I given any detail when (cos it was mail order) of a code or similar for the new Microsoft Office?

No, I said. He had everything.

Five minutes later I received a reply. He had found the code on my Amazon account.

I will let that sink in, dear listener. My son has access to my Amazon name and password. It’s his birthday next week. Will he resist the temptation?

I keep breathing in and out.

A couple of folk said last week how delighted they were to hear Dolly Parton. This is one of Dolly’s most famous songs and there is no truth in the rumour that this was a message that was left on Jolene’s voice mail. 😉

This is Melissa Etheridge but, first, let Dolly set the scene.

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……..