Archive for the ‘Arisaig’ Category

‘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

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.

“…the time has come when that tired old lie , ‘once an addict , always an addict ‘ will no longer be tolerated by either society or the addict themselves . We do recover”

July 12, 2019

And so, dear listeners, again thanks for birthday wishes but also for your help in spending some of my pressies; in particular what I used to describe as book tokens but which are now well and truly in the Twenty-First Century.

For example, my ex sent me an online book token from the National Books something or other which tells you to print it out and when you do you get a blankish A4 sheet of paper which contains a bar code, a pin (number) and another set of numbers.

I should mention that my ex messaged me later to see if I had worked out how to use it. Well, yes I had but it took the second member of Waterstones staff in Byres Road to run it through the till. 🙂

I would like to thank Julie, Jill and Iain for their suggestions and I’ve been nicely in the position where I’ve taken a sample book out of each of their suggestions……..I’ll keep you posted. 😀

But when am I going to read them?

This is now the start of the dissertation editing season and, yes, it gets earlier and earlier.

Many Masters have to be in by the end of August and I seem to have three on the books for the next couple of weeks and then there’s a business school at Glasgow University which pays for Christmas (and coffees).

And they’re getting younger and that shows in my caustic comments. Those of you who know Track Changes will be aware of the Comments facility.

One of mine this week read, ‘this is meant to be an academic piece of work; not an Instagram post.’ (I smiled)

And incidentally the grand-daughter of the UWS academic went on to win that Beautiful Baby contest in a shopping mall…….. 😀 😀 😀

I’ll move on.

Incidentally, I was going to talk about Recovery (hence the quote at the top but i’m glad to say that lots of other people are now talking so that’s good) 🙂

And the football season is about to start. Saturday, 13th July and it was the mighty Thistle up against the stuttering Airdrie at the end of a very wet week not long before Glasgow Fair Monday. Except it was sunny and I sat outside and read a book.

And then there’s a wee medical update this week. About me.

I had to go for an abdominal aortic aneurysm screening for men (people) aged 65 (and OMG, the men pictured on the front of the brochure look really old. I hope I don’t look as old as that when I’m 65….except……) 😦

Anyway. I went.

Now I’m sure that I mentioned last week that one of those moments of anxiety that I talk about hit me on the Monday morning I was due to leave Arisaig and I went for the train one hour before it was due.

I did the same with the taxi to Stobhill. I was appointed for 1130. The taxi picked me up at 1030. Nice guy. Knew the west coast of Scotland well and seemed quite understanding of the anxiety thing when I explained it as I’d rather wait where I’ve to be than fill in time at home. Besides which I might get taken early. 😉

I was. Lie down; t-shirt up; pregnancy gel rubbed on my stomach; and a thirty second ultrascan.

‘That’s you. You’re fine. No. You’ll never be back.’ 😀

That’s the kinda result my sister liked. Getting taken early. Or it wasn’t too busy. Or the doctor was a woman and had been to Glasgow University. Or…….well you get the idea. And what I really wanted to know was what they had said about her medically.

I never told her that one of her male doctors who’d been to Glasgow was an old drinking buddy of mine. I never actually met him when I was at the Beatson but I knew some other people from other places.

And finally here’s a wee joke for you.

My mate has a huge herb garden which is arranged in alphabetical order. I said, ‘I don’t know how you find the time.’ He said, ‘it’s over there next to the sage.’

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and patiently keeping it simple

Iaint850, still a wee bit anxious but nowhere near the hamster wheel of doom.

So I, and indeed anyone else on Facebook, was asked by a friend for a song that would add a little bit of get up and go and I suggested a couple (both by Walk the Moon) but that was as much for the videos as anything else.

Somebody else suggested Mr Brightside by the Killers which is a song about a stalker watching his his ex-girlfriend being intimate with another man.

Apparently it’s very popular at weddings!!!!!

Mind you, Delilah as sung by Tom Jones and/or Alex Harvey is on the same theme only people get knifed to death in it.

The joke came from the inspirational Milo Castandea; this piece of music (and dance) also comes from Milo. Enjoy.

And I bet you’re still dancing 😀

When you wake up every day, it’s like a new birthday: it’s a new chance to be great again and make great decisions. (Poo Bear)

July 5, 2019

And so, dear listener, my thanks to all those who marked my birthday in so many ways after my big hint. 😉

But it was a quiet one. The 2nd of July coincides with the first week of the school holidays and a few folk I might have met up with were away on various Scottish islands. 🙂

And, of course, this was my first birthday without my big sister being around to organise something.

We move on. To Arisaig, where I was for a weekend and when I tell people it was very quiet, they say to me, ‘well, what did you expect?’ I’m not sure, but can I stress I’m not complaining. I often observe but rarely complain. Maybe an extra walk or maybe a slightly better choice of eating places but there was much I did enjoy. 😀

The train journey was smashing – well, on the way up it was, after Fort William. I think they had problems at Queen Street Station cos it was late in and it had the feeling of coach parties being shoved onboard so that they could get it out and so I didn’t get my reserved window seat.

(I’d have had to take on the entire coach party)

After Fort William, I was fine and was soon happily posting pics of the Jacobite steam train and the Harry Potter viaduct and the scenery. On the way down I got the reserved seat and enjoyed it all. Dalmuir looks so nice in the sunshine…..as did Rannoch Moor. 😀

The walks that I did were smashing and do-able even to a man who does get a wee bit breathless but who came home to find an appointment booked for an aortic scan this coming week cos I have a leaky aortic valve.

The hotel was good; the menu was limited (the Chef’s special was the same three nights running); and the public bar was the village’s social life but I had no problems sitting with my book on a bench across from the Spar which was where I bumped into friends, Sharon and Kenny, who were in a caravan in the area.

But nice wee touch in the bar, as they delivered my fresh orange to me, was the offer of a small glass of that week’s guest ale. I declined.

And the peace and quiet was amazing. It was not just peaceful; it was totally noiseless at times. 😀 😀

A wee bit frightening and that maybe led to a wee feeling of anxiety as the weekend came to close.

‘What if the train to Glasgow is cancelled? What do I do then?’ 😦

So, dear listener, do you know what I did? The train was due at about 1025; I was in the station at 0925 believing it was better to be there than in the hotel on the basis that if the train was cancelled then that’s where the bus would pick us up from. This is how I deal with those odd moments of anxiety I get. I feel as if I’m doing something about it and I’m happier.

I saw the train going up to Mallaig and rather than look a complete tube, I pretended to be a train-spotter and took its picture but I did relax at that point. (Or do trains ‘go up’ to London?)

And just to say, I am glad I went. I may do another weekend away soon. Suggestions welcome.

And my favest present (out of very few, but at my age……..) was a Tassimo coffee maker which I look forward to playing with, altho’ I may need a friend or family member to help with the instructions. Any tips?

And finally, I’m taking a Summer gap month away from volunteering with the Scottish Drugs Forum, for no real reason other than I can, although I’ve given myself a wee project over the next four weeks. I’m going to draw up a guide that’ll be a practical guide to iMovie editing on a Macbook.

Now I’ve never used a Mac before and the last time I did video-editing was offline with original material copied to VHS; so how long ago was that. Panasonic Blue anyone? So far, much of what I’ve been doing for the SDF has been writing, so this is a chance to learn a new skill. At 65. 😉

Here’s the SDF’s annual review. It’s a good chance to find out what they do and I’m in there somewhere

http://www.sdf.org.uk/what-is-it-sdf-do-find-out-in-our-annual-review/?fbclid=IwAR3h8aQORJ_t0dTfITSHctfvpbTwq65oMmoN0v2zSfDawH5e6HSZ1ye7kkA

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges and still keeping it simple but sometimes I wonder why.

Iaint850, who is now 65 and aware of his own mortality and the forthcoming football season and the fact that he has quite a lot of books still to read and strange online book tokens to spend so plans to hang around for a wee while yet.

And all I’d like to do here is to reproduce the Daily Record front page of 4th July 2019.

‘Scotland is gripped by the worst drug crisis in Europe. It’s killing people and wrecking communities. Our investigation has shown tough justice is not the cure. We must target dealers but it’s time to stop treating vulnerable citizens as criminals. Our country needs powers to treat addiction as a health problem not a crime. It’s time to

DECRIMINALISE DRUG USE’

(and to wish Professor Catriona Matheson of Stirling University all the best as the Chair of the new Drug Deaths Taskforce just announced in Scotland)

And the Highwaymen seemed to prove a popular choice last week so here they are again with Ghost Riders in the Sky.

Ageing’s alright; better than the alternative which is not being here. (George H. W. Bush)

June 28, 2019

And so dear listener, in two days I celebrate my 65th birthday and, like many people, I never really thought about what it would be like being 65 when I was only 20 as, after all, I was at university (first time) and hadn’t even started real work.

Or 30, when I was happily married but without child at the time altho’ Son Brian wasn’t that far away and I was working for the BBC as an established radio producer.

Or 40, divorced and back at the BBC (contract and casual) having had a career break in the wonderful world of public relations but living in what the wonderful Tom Shields once described as the independent republic of Summerston.

Or 50, when I’d left the BBC (or had it left me?) and I was beginning life as a subject tutor at Glasgow Metropolitan College and trying to teach potential young wordsmiths in an atmosphere where teaching wasn’t necessarily everyone’s main reason for being there but administrative ambitions came first for some management people (of which I’ve never been one)

Or……. well no, by the time I was approaching 60, the shit had already hit the fan and I was going through a period of ‘what the hell was that all about?’ and hoping that I was about to settle down again and maybe write a much better version of the book that I had already written about the alcohol dependency and the cancer.

The ‘Cold Turkey’ I talk about (unplanned withdrawal from alcohol over one weekend) had seen me being visited in the old Western Hospital by close family and friends who did not expect me to make it through the night – but I did; and when I was receiving radiotherapy (thirty-seven daily sessions) I attended the funeral of a friend’s mum only for the ‘mutual friend’ standing next to me to say ‘to be honest, I was expecting you to be the next’ – but I wasn’t….or ‘haven’t been’ to be grammatically pedantic.

But then, just a couple of years before the sixtieth I made one of the greatest decisions of my life; I went to UWS (Paisley) to study drink and drugs for two years. There were some who said, ‘Well if you want to go back to university and become a student again (sic), then why not do American Literature or something like that?’ but now I felt I had something to offer in the field of addiction treatment but also wanted to learn more about the part drink and drugs had played in my life.

And by chance I made some amazing friendships amongst fellow students and staff – including recently Instagram voting for a member of staff’s grand-daughter in some shopping centre competition and any grand-daughter named after (wrong spelling) a rock drummer of the sixties and seventies deserves my vote.

And the months around the actual sixtieth birthday saw me abseiling for charity, zip-wiring for fun, being a zombie (at a well know theme park near Motherwell) for devilment…….and a few years later saw some anxiety and depression and a heart scare.

The anxiety and depression still hang around but I do know people who have considered taking their own life and there are times I talk to them – about all sorts of things AND I also meet an NHS nurse (a different one each time) every six weeks to get my bloods taken and I have an AAA Screening Ultrasound Scan in a few days’ time in Stobhill Hospital so lots of people still look after me. So, it’s the least I can do for others.

I noticed the other day that Holly the Dog’s mum had written ‘Iaint850=65’ on a kitchen calendar which I though was an optimistic view of the future and then we discussed non-alcoholic drinks including a new one called Slipknot (that’s not quite right, is it Skippy?)

And I’m not long back from a long weekend in Arisaig of which I shall talk more at a later date but a wee bit of the anxiety showed on the morning of the day I was due to return when I worried about the train back down from Arisaig being cancelled and I’d be stranded. It wasn’t and I wasn’t.

But along the way there’s been graduations (me, Son Brian, the lovely KT and my grand-daughter from nursery with grand-son to follow) and there was a wedding six years ago and all the usual ups and downs associated with being alive……..

And I’ve spoken lots about the people who have helped so much over the years, the majority of whom are women………but maybe they’re more understanding than men who, in many cases, may feel threatened by some of the things I talk about. Many don’t believe, for example, that I am now simply someone who doesn’t drink alcohol; for many I am still a recovered alcoholic which is good in itself I suppose but may prevent others from recognising their own problems.

Mind you, in many ways, I am my own worst enemy. I’m not a great one for re-unions with people with whom I’ve lost contact and some organisations (e.g. the BBC) don’t seem to be great ones for re-unions. I was, however, supposed to attend one that was a celebration for someone who had worked (and still does) with the Beeb for forty years but a job opportunity got in the way. Or did it?

Anxiety maybe kicked in.

But if I’ve learned anything from the last few years it’s that there’s more to happen in the years to come. My (now) late sister made it to sixty-nine and she had supplied a great deal of material support for me in recent years. Indeed, once the will is finally settled she will continue to do so both for me and the rest of the family.

So you know where to find me and my diary will always remain flexible.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple

Iaint850 who, having written all the above, now fully expects to get knocked down and killed by a passing bus within the next few days.

And after all I said about the importance of women in my life, here’s four guys who are kinda role models for me and the song certainly is

‘but I am still alive’……….and anything is still possible.

“Elsie Tanner’s heart is where a feller’s wallet is – and the bigger the wallet, the more heart she’s got.”

May 16, 2019

And so, dear listener, I have decided to take a wee break in a wee while and go away for a few wee days and go to wee Arisaig, where I’ve never been before, but I have booked some time in a wee hotel. I won’t say when as I suspect some of you may have links to an OCG (to quote Reevel Alderson the other night but did he say that for a bet?) 🙂

I always enjoyed working with Reevel. 🙂

I had been talking for some time of getting away now that settlement things were settling and Kyle of Lochalsh had been discussed as there’s a wee hotel just next to the wee station and just along from the wee pier but that would be quite an expedition with a possible overnight in Inverness.

Then, one afternoon last week, I was walking through Queen Street Station and I saw Arisaig on the destination board and saw that it went through some very nice places and thought….that’s the very place and went ahead and booked it. 😀

Skippy, where is Arisaig?

I discussed some of this with the blogmeister the other night in Tinderbox but I was coffeed out my nut by the time I left the coffee shop. By the time I got to my car, I was fine for driving but I decided to nip into my local Phillie for a fish supper. It wasn’t the usual young lady behind the counter and while she was wrapping up the tasty treat, she happened to comment;

‘There’s a fly, son. I hate flies. Do you know, they’re constantly regurgitating. I hate flies.’

I paid my £5.20 and left.

And then I got in and switched on the TV and it was a cooking competition programme and there was
at least two people cooking scallops in various ways. I left the fish and just ate the chips.

Sometimes, I do feel there’s something missing from my life. 🙂

And finally, I have had my first ever storm in a Twitter tea cup (and thanks Tricia W for that phrase).

It was all to do with the Natalie McGarry case and a well-known cybernat was talking rubbish about the BBC. The complaint was that the court reporter had explained that Natalie used to be an SNP MP but not that her husband was a Tory Councillor.

Well, said I, foolishly, that won’t have been mentioned in court because it won’t have had any bearing on the matter.

Aye, but she paid for a holiday for him and her.

Well, yes, that would have been mentioned but that would have been because he received that as her husband.

But he’s a Tory councillor and they never said that………..and so it continued. But not for too long as I left the house and when I looked again I had quite a lot of support including a former Daily Record editor and a couple of lawyers…………but there are times when you wonder………

And attention to the possible fraud had been drawn by two prominent female Independence supporters but that wasn’t mentioned in court either.

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges even if it is too warm for that jacket but if it means keeping it simple, then it’s worth it.

Iaint850, and not the only one who worries about drinking too much coffee. 😉

So, BAFTA recently suggested that dramas, soaps and comedies should feature more chat about climate change and I thought about recent conversations I’d had with friends and others. They included marriage break up (but in a perfectly straightforward way), cancer (similarly), drug use and homelessness (with some very funny stories in there), my grand-daughter’s dance class’s annual show (looking forward to it), house sales (those I’m involved in as well as somebody else’s), the travails of Partick Thistle (well documented)…..oh, ‘and isn’t it nice today?’

This is not to deny climate change, but if soaps, dramas and comedies are to have people discussing this, then, if it is to reflect the world out there, much of it will be denial and ill-informed and will involve people flying out to Spanish resorts for the sun. Let’s leave it to factual programmes (but drop the ill-informed Vox Pops) rather than impose an agenda on what is supposed to be fiction, reflecting life as we know it.

Therefore, I watched Corrie for the first time in ages. Ken Barlow is still alive and interfering; his son Peter is in a rehab unit which doesn’t want him to have contact with the outside world (eh?); Carla has physical and mental health issues but is portraying her character like an extra in a Hammer Horror movie (can the straitjacket be far behind?); and Steve’s taxi firm has financial problems. And, bloody hell, is that Rita’s foster daughter behind the bar at the Rover’s? BAFTA, you would have your work cut out bringing existing attitudes into 2019, let alone introducing climate change.

This was the UK’s Eurovision Song Contest entry in 2007. It’s probably still on the jukebox at Roy’s Rolls

Spot the Bucks Fizz gag and there are absolutely no innuendos.