Archive for the ‘Bees’ Category

We would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright (Hemingway)

November 30, 2017

And so dear listener, I’ve found it really cold. Have you? Oh, no – inside as well as outside. And to be honest, whilst there are some things I do miss about my previous job, I do not miss getting up and out just after six in the morning to be in for a shift starting at seven on mornings like these have been – especially at the weekend when often I was the first car on the road. And that includes coming home after a night shift. On a couple of times I parked at the bottom of the main road cos it’s a bit of a hill (I live in a cul-de-sac off the main road) and it wouldn’t be the first time a taxi has refused to make that trip. 😦

(The last time was approximately a year ago when I finished work at 4.30 in the morning and it was a brilliant walk up the hill – streetlights and the snow and the foxes) 😀

It was 2010/11 when we did have people, well cars, having a tough time getting out of Summerston and trains couldn’t get through. Now, it’s more ice and frost on the road until you get to Maryhill Road – especially where the sun has not got through.

There was a time when ours were amongst the first roads to be gritted but then we did have a Lord Provost living nearby.

Now, as some of you know, I have a fairly reasonably sized semi – with a couple of rooms and bathroom upstairs and kitchen and living room downstairs. Well, unfortunately the heating upstairs died. It’s not been too big a deal. I moved the laptop out of the back room and on to the table downstairs; the bathroom has a heated towel rail and I did a lot of reading there; and the only real annoyance was the Master Bedroom…….It was cold. 😦

However, help came in the shape of a new electrician on Wednesday who knew what he was doing and who sent me a picture of the job he was doing in Kilmacolm to explain why he’d be late. But he did turn up and he did fix the heating and told me not to worry about the odd bang – he knew what he was doing. And sure enough fifteen minutes later heat was making its way through my upstairs.

I’m not mad keen on leaving my house too often at the moment but I put that down to the cold rather than residual depression, so I did feel the cold. But the reason for not going out on Thursday night was the temptation of staying in a warm house. I missed a talk about the Necropolis – once the dead centre of Glasgow. 😀

But I have watched more TV than I normally would and saw a smashing wee programme about the development of Scotland’s police people – when it was a number of different police forces and much better as there was more accountability.

There was a fair chunk about what it was like when you left the force and what your last day was like. Some of theirs were a bit more exciting than mine (other than that meeting in Queen Street Station) but I noticed that they have the same habit that I have although in their cases it’s understandable because they were there for twenty-five years. I lasted four and a half in the project for the homeless where I was working but I still talk about ‘we’ and in the present tense. 🙂

I also saw the lovely ‘From Scotland with Love’ – a TV prog but I think the video is still available from Fopp (probably a couple of quid by now) and e and I saw King Creosote play the soundtrack live at Kelvingrove Bandstand a few years ago and the video was played on large screens……just an amazing show. And well worth the re-run. 😀 😀

And whilst I’ve started eating some meat again, I was staggered at BBC’s Landward last week which followed a fascinating item about helping badgers to cross a new road by showing the man, who is now Scotland’s National Chef (Gary McLean), strapping on a powerful shotgun to go shooting deer for venison.

Now I’m not daft – and I do originally come from a farming and fishing community in the North East of Scotland – but I just felt there should have been something between the two items. Arlene Stuart, a beautiful lady to work with on Saturday mornings years ago,* had earlier presented an item on nurdles (which sounds like something Rambling Sid Rumple would have come up with). Could that not have been dropped in between the badgers and the deer killing?

The Saturday morning prog that I worked on with Arlene was called, I think, Something for the Weekend and was about doing stuff at the weekend, which obviously involved eating and drinking. Once every few weeks we had a wine expert, Paul Somebody, with wine and once every few weeks we had Nick Nairn cooking in the studio……..and every so often we had them both.

Sportsound had to throw us out of Studio Six with our empties and our dishes.

And finally I read this on da Internet from a drug rehab organisation that I have a lot of time for,

‘Viagra will be available over the counter in UK, says medicines regulator.’ – This is specifically in order to close down the lucrative criminal market in it. So why not do the same for other drugs, like cannabis, for the same reason? It’s not hard!’

Cracking payoff line.

tioraidh, still wearing both badges and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, and maybe we should use the word gluttony more often. Stop us eating so much.

So, there used to be very strict rules at the BBC about what Christmas music you could play and when. It was something like only new stuff for the first two weeks of December and then open door for the rest of the month.

So I’m not sure if I’m breaking the rules by playing this but many thanks to j, one of the blog’s top pop pickers, for suggesting this.

This is/these are the Futureheads with Christmas was Better in the Eighties.

Actually the setting looks like upstairs in my house earlier this week……


I myself am made entirely of flaws stitched together with good intentions (Augusten Burroughs)

November 2, 2017

And so dear listener, it is over a week since the clocks changed but I am still feeling the effects. 😦

I cope with the actual mechanics of the change okay. I copy my dad from many years ago who changed all the clocks and watches in the house the night before and everything was run by clockwork (in every sense of the word) 🙂 I do some of that.

The first timepiece to be changed is my £9.99 Casio watch which keeps good time and is the official stopwatch for one part of the North Stand (red’n’yellow) at Partick Thistle. It’s one of the many skills I developed as radio producer and within one second I can tell you how long there is to go to the end of a football match whilst diving to a depth of 50 metres which is remarkable as I can’t swim but anything is possible with a Casio. 😀

I have a friend with a real Rolex which runs slow and when he took it to a well known jeweller to get it fixed, he was told, ‘It’s a Rolex. They run slow.’ Go Casio! Go!

The last timepiece to be touched is the Impossible Task: the Car Clock. I don’t understand why it doesn’t change itself. It’s on a DAB radio like the one in my bedroom and it changes itself – altho’ tbh it’s only tuned to one radio station.

I could read the instructions but I’m terrified that I muck up my existing selection and then I’ll need to invent a reason to go to Arnold Clark’s to get someone there to reset them for me. No, for the next six months, I will have to look at my watch before I look at the car clock to see what time it is.

And then there’s the effect it has on my sleep pattern. I have recovered from the daytime shift system that I was working under just before I left but I do wake up too early and my mind (and indeed my body) is fully functioning at about 6. Most mornings these days I don’t need to get up until back of 7 if not later.

I could read but these days there are no books on my bedside cabinet as I don’t read in bed. I am asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow (I live alone. I don’t know if people know that)…..I’ll work something out.

One of the nice things about night shifts was going home on a Monday morning (07.30) as all the stereotypes from Bearsden and Milngavie were ending their fun-filled weekends. I was going home to bed and, if it was a frosty morning, I would put the blanket on while I washed my clothes from the night before and showered. By nine I’d be toasty and fast asleep whilst the businesspeople of Glasgow were beginning to make an assault on the weekend’s emails. 😀

But some things in my life are returning to normal.

Partick Thistle are picking up points again and I overheard a conversation outside a lift where Rangers’ fans were discussing a possible new manager and the name Alan Archibald came up; Celtic did really well in Europe and the star players were those that Gordon Strachan ignored in favour of an English Championship reserve; and I may not see a game this coming month. There’s only two and they’re both away. I am open to suggestions. 😉

I may do some work on my SVQ stuff and I’ve found a marvellous website telling me some things I was frightened to ask about after a recent meeting. I’ll be fine.

The editing’s beginning to happen again and, as ever, my thanks go to the Chinese community of Glasgow for spreading my name around. Aren’t they nice people? 🙂

And finally, I’m beginning to attend my psychology evening class regularly. I have an essay coming up soon and if there’s one thing I do know it’s how to structure an essay. What the difference is between schema and heuristics I’m not too sure but again I’m sure I’ll be fine.

Tioraidh, and currently wearing a poppy instead of my usual badge but still keeping it simple

Iaint850, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

So eleven months ago I came to a decision. It happened as I took the train back up the road (eh?) having been to see an amazing gig in the company of J who very bravely 🙂 had volunteered (eh?) to come with me to see a band called Alabama 3.

The occasion? It was exactly ten years to the day and date since I’d cold turkeyed and A3 had been a big part of that recovery.

The decision? To stop thinking how long it had been – to quite happily accept that it was ten years and I was simply a guy who did not drink. Never to mention the anniversary again.

The other day I was out at UWS in Paisley an educational institute with which I have been associated for just over six years. So much has happened over those eleven years – much of it good; some of it not so good – but enough to make me realise that it is worth continuing getting the message across. It is not an incurable disease – it needs basic behavioural change, some things worth staying sober for and friends and family who help you think about other things. 🙂

So come 10th December this year, I will say ‘eleven years’ in various places and smile enigmatically.

Did they play this, j?

It’s like you have to be strong for everyone else but they forget to ask if you’re okay.

October 26, 2017

And so dear listener, this week I experienced a feeling I have not experienced for some time but is it right that a man, my age, should experience that feeling. Sorry? Oh, first day nerves, that’s what I mean. I have now seriously started as an SVQ assessor-candidate who is to get assessed as an assessor assessing candidates.

Some people, such as j, seemed to pick it up straightaway but others, like me, have to keep everything in a separate pile in my head and it’s not easy, having piles in your head. 😦

And I don’t think I ever told you, dear listener, what an SVQ assessor does.

NVQ/SVQ assessors help and assess people who are working towards National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) or Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). In doing so, they make sure that the candidates meet the required standards.

And, yes, that is Copy and Paste. Did you notice? Any questions?

Yes. I am looking forward to yet another new career. In order to get it all on my CV I am now using font size 8.5 and A3 paper. And have I finished yet? What would be nice would be to get my income back up to pre-resignation levels but with the same free time I had before.

And there are some signs that the editing might be kicking off again and my thanks go to the marketing team for their sparkling efforts. 😀

Ah, that lovely word ‘team’. I have met people who say things like ‘there’s no ‘I’ in team.’

To which I reply, ‘Yeah, but there’s a ‘me’.’

But then I’m the kinda guy who criticises the well-known Pavlov’s dogs experiment cos no-one asked the dogs – and to me that’s a fundamental flaw. 🙂

Ah, yes… Last week a couple of photos appeared on Facebook showing the BBC Radio Scotland team who covered the Commonwealth Games of 1986. One photo showed us on our way to the closing night disco (yes, disco – and it may even have been Tom Ferrie who was the deejay) and the other was in the bunker we called home for the fortnight. 🙂

I was a producer and, in addition to everything else, was responsible for putting together a two minute sports news after the main news. With me? And I had a presenter to read it.

Except one night, at about half past ten, I was sitting with a pint in the BBC Club next to the bunker and became aware I had no reporter. I had to do it. And so dear listener, I had the amazing privilege of saying, ‘And now the moment all Scotland has been waiting for….’

And played a piece of tape that was Liz Lynch winning her Gold medal before reading out some results from the shooting at Barry Budden in Angus and then back to the hotel for my second pint of the night. This one well deserved.:D

And as I write this, speaking of matters athletic, I’ve still not heard back about my x-rays of last week. But it has not stopped me walking. One jolly interesting and recent walk was with e and Holly the Dog though the Botanic Gardens and its environs. We helped reunite a young girl with her dad; cheered on some young athletes; and remenisced (sp?) about our pasts and one shop in particular. Anyone who ever lived West-endish in the seventies and a wee bit beyond will remember Goodies – the first ever twenty-four hour dairy I had ever known; pints of milk and chocolate biscuits after two in the morning; a strange woman who seemed to sit in the same seat 24/7; and a very unhygienic cat who sat in the window, seemingly, also for a full day at a time.

Yes, we have Tesco’s in Maryhill and the Asda in Govan – both of which are also twenty-four hours a day but they lack the magic of Goodies. 🙂

And finally, I did go to see George Monbiot – a man with some very interesting ideas. I would have thought it of interest to anyone claiming to have environmental credentials or looking for original thinking. Maybe those who missed it were too busy slagging each other off on Facebook

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

Iaint850, and surely I’m not the only person who still says Bloody Norah.

And I was talking to a friend recently and she was telling me of her recent regular visit to a Costa Coffee Shop (and other chainstore coffee shops are available) and she spotted someone she hadn’t seen for some time.

‘Is everything okay?’ she asked.

‘I’m cutting back on caffeine.’

‘Well there’s plenty of good de-caff stuff out there these days.’

‘No. It’s not that. I just don’t have the money these days.’

This was in a douce, middle class town not that far from Glasgow. I had travelled there by train and before I got the train back to Glasgow I bought a newspaper. The vendor was smiling and whistling. I asked him why he was so cheery.

‘The Tory Party is falling apart at the seams. We’ve got them on the run.’

The two conversations prove nothing except to add to my sadness that so much political debate takes place online by people just shouting at each other. Politics is about real people – not sitting in front of a laptop shouting at people through your keyboard.

Why not help out at a foodbank?

There’s often a single piece of music that you hear on all the radios stations you listen to as part of your regular listening pattern – in my case Radio 1 and Clyde 1 in the car and often Chris Country at home – but often you tire of it. Not this time.

This is Pink and What About Us. Stick with the video. It gives an extra meaning to the song.

‘Ankles are nearly always neat and good-looking, but knees are nearly always not.’ (Pres Dwight D Eisenhower who also served as a US General; the current President never served and it shows)

October 19, 2017

And so dear listener, ex-hurricane Ophelia came and went and caused deaths and havoc in Ireland but by the time it got here, it had run out of puff and whilst it still did some damage it was not on the scale it might have been.

I watched it on TV and some memories came back; not of other ex-hurricanes but of my teens in Peterhead before I moved down to Glasgow and never left. 😀

If we leave aside the prison, Peterhead is best known these days as the biggest white fish port in Europe and as a base for North Sea oil and I’m pleased to have played a part in both of those – one as a regular holiday job with Peterhead Harbours as a Clerk to the Collector of Shore Dues and the other as a radio operator from BOC base to rigs and supply vessels with the call sign Barge 701. 🙂

But before Peterhead Harbours were (re-)developed they were a playground of nooks, crannies and places away from parental eyes. What was known as the North Breakwater was brilliant for guys with some cans of lager on a sunny Saturday night listening to David Symonds and John Peel on a large tranny (I’m not even going to bother explaining that) 😀

Winters were bad in Peterhead as its location meant that it was exposed to the North Sea on several sides. So when the weather was really bad and nights were dark we played a game of chicken by seeing who could climb up the steps to the top of the North Harbour sea wall and stay standing when the next wave came over.

Simple, if damp, pleasures. 😉

Once, somebody, not one of us, didn’t actually stay standing when a wave came over and we never played that game again.

Moving silently on.

And I opened a new bottle of Listerine the other day and just took the first slug from the bottle. A memory came back.

And I did make it to my Psychology evening class this week where the tutor was discussing altruism and gave us a brilliant example by explaining how supremely altruistic bees were as they had no hesitation in giving up their lives to save the hives by stinging aggressors knowing they would die by doing that but those of us who had read Laline Paull’s The BEES (either on kindle or as a book) knew that anyway.

Anyway, I was at the doctor’s this week. Went there with my knees. Well it would have been difficult not to. I can walk for miles with e and Holly the Dog and other people but boy, can I feel it going up stairs – especially the semi-spiral ones here at t850towers. So I got an open invite to an X-ray unit, that just needed a letter from my GP, and I got a flu jab whilst I was there. Strange not to jag a vein.

And we both agreed I was over the depression – mainly because I’d found its pretty big cause and was using basic coping mechanisms again to bring back an air of positivity…..kinda Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. And walking.

Positivity’s good at the moment. The SVQ Assessor thing is taking the time it was always going to take but I am a wee bit concerned at the lack of editing. One problem is the lack of open noticeboards. I was in the Students Association Building at GCAL and the cleaners were still there and I got the feeling that the cleaners were defying me to be the first to stick a poster up on the newly painted pillar. Lesson? Go back later in the day. 😉

And finally, please excuse me while I catch up on some personal stuff.

Jenny H – delighted to help out with the research project at UWS (Paisley)

e – well done to AJ on his medal at the National Mod and looking forward to the pics

Sharon – congrats on the latest edition to the family

Caroline – I think that’s the right decision and still happy to help

J – thanks for the cracking knees stories

Alan Archibald (PT manager) there’s nothing to worry about (at this stage)

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

iaint850, beginning to get bored but I still have the price of two coffees. And the odd curry or similar. 😉

So comedian Sean Hughes died during the week. I knew of him from Never Mind the Buzzcocks fame but I became aware from social media how much other people regarded his talents.

I was saddened, therefore, to read the next day that he had died of a liver disease following ‘years of hedonism’. He was 51. I am 63. I was 52 when I stopped drinking but it was not a choice I made; cold turkey made it for me.

But I was also saddened when I read that, at one time, he had been off drink for a couple of years but his sobriety made his friends uncomfortable, and when he started again his friends ‘welcomed him back’. That’s sad. For me, the help of friends was, and still is, the biggest factor in me not needing alcohol.

On one or two occasions I was told, ‘you’ve obviously got it under control. Why not just the one drink?’ Eh, no thanks. I just don’t drink, but not ‘worried’ about a disease that doesn’t exist.

However, I have known several people for whom being sober, and therefore, boring is a concern. I don’t think that can ever be said about me and I enjoy the clear head I now have but I can still be a pain.

But one of the nice things about writing this blog is the occasional responses I get. I know not everyone listens to the music I play at the end altho’ I make it as easy as I can. Maybe people still think I’m going through the techno/trance phase. Therefore, I am happy to play Rihannon Giddens again.

Avoid adverbs. “The adverb is not your friend.” (Stephen King) “Goodly Good” (Ned Flanders)

May 19, 2017

And so dear listener, by the time you’ve seen this, I may or may not have been in a meeting which could have a profound influence on me for the next nine months of my life. Or not. If it doesn’t go the way I want it to. 😦

Basically there’s a job come up that I fancy, kinda within the organisation I work for and I’ve applied for it (but I don’t want to be too specific about it) and a large number of people seem to think I’m suited for it and I’d like to say thanks to many folk for all their good wishes, including the telephonic trial run between me and R, and J’s sane and sensible advice, which has acted as a nice calming influence.

But I so needed someone to tell me I’d be rubbish at it and get my feet back on the ground so a massive thanks to #soulboydaviebee who, at first, told me I’d be good at it and then very kindly added, ‘you’re rubbish at everything else, but you’d be good at this job.’ 😀 😀 😀

We’ll see.

(Incidentally, J, in a wheen of tidying up recently, I found my Sconul card. Now, telling me how that worked seriously tested your sane and sensible approach to borrowers)

Elsewhere I attended a refresher First Aid course for work. People seemed to delight in putting me forward as a volunteer for all sorts of things, many of which seemed to see me ending up lying on the floor wrapped in a blanket or similar. At one stage I staggered to my feet and the very good trainer asked if I was okay.

‘Do you have vertigo?’ she asked as I paused to take breath.

‘No’, I said. ‘It’s that seat over there.’

So much of what we refreshed is relevant to what we do in our job (I’ve never had to administer CPR but these days Staying Alive is too slow) but I do remember once trying to get someone into the recovery position but had to make do with keeping him on his side so violently was he trashing about. Didn’t stop him spewing on me, tho’.

Moving on.

Oh, and I did get a badge to add to the collection (‘I am a trained First Aider’) but I’m not sure if I’ll wear it as, if there is an incident in the street where someone is hurt, I may be expected to help. And whilst it occurs to me, can I just say to Caroline how much more relaxed I felt bandaging up someone I know (saved potential embarrassment) which could prove to be a real nuisance for injured strangers in the future. 🙂

And finally, there was another training course I went to. This one was about establishing and maintaining relationships and, whilst most of it was work-related, some of it I may use in my personal life. As some of you may know, I’ve never really understood why the Good Dr W stopped talking to me and I don’t ever want to go through that again without knowing what caused it…….but maybe more of that another time.

The icebreaker was to give name and project and to say the best thing that had happened in the last two weeks. For some it was mundane things like a first grandson or passing an exam or coming back from an exotic holiday. For me?

It was that first bee entering the bee backpacker hostel. 🙂

I am used to the strange looks.

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

Iaint80, aka as Primo One Found

So I’ve said I’m keeping the show election free and I will continue to do so until maybe the week before elections to the UK Parliament which actually have very little to do with education, health and social care as so much of them are devolved to Holyrood.

But reading the vitriol on social media is depressing.

We know I am old but is there really a world out there that doesn’t know the thrill of a school hall hustings with all four (!) candidates and a Lord Sutch lookalike; being canvassed for your opinions and engaging the canvasser in an hour long debate; stuffing leaflets through letterboxes and into envelopes; and driving a potential voter to the polling booth just so that (secretly) they can vote for the opposition?

I got so excited the other day when I saw (stereotyping here) two very obvious Labour Party people and I rushed downstairs to ask them why Jeremy Corbyn was so loyal to Diane Abbott and Emily Thornberry (who had the floor wiped with her by Kay Burley)

Sadly it was not the case, unless out there, there is a party called Mademoiselles Hair and Beauty offering Infrared Sauna Blanket Cocoon – Detox and Calorie Burner with Cellulite Reduction Treatment. I’d vote for them.

This is a band called Hayseed Dixie who specialise in doing country versions of mainstream rock standards. This is Bohemian Rhapsody as you’ve never heard it before.

“Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it.” ― John Muir

May 11, 2017

And so dear listener, this week I had the visitor I’d been waiting ages for. To be honest, I’d almost given up expecting the arrival and I was almost caught by surprise but I do have several cameras so I was instantly able to record their arrival – but not their departure.

Let me explain.

A few months ago, J very kindly officially opened my back garden. Some slabs had been laid, some plants planted and some new garden furniture was there for the purposes of being sat upon. J brought a small bee house to the party.

This is not a beehive; it is a resting house for busy bees on their journeys hither and, indeed, thither. In fact, Facebook conversation decided that it had the potential to become a Bee Backpackers Hostel with bees cooking beans, singing songs, playing guitars and washing their dishes once they’d finished 🙂 . Except, none came.

So, a few days ago, I was planting some herbs and doing the tidying up of the garden that I like to do before my grass-cutter comes to, well, cut my grass and I heard buzzing. You hear lots of things in my part of Summerston but bees buzzing…….and there it was. 🙂

There was a single bee hovering around the house….the beehouse that is……and I ran upstairs to get one of my cameras. It was still there when I got back out and I got it hovering and I got it entering and I missed it coming back out as I’d put the camera down. Quite amazing seeing it come out as all its wings are slicked back and then as soon as it has cleared the hole, the wings come straight back and it’s away. 🙂

Okay, it ain’t wildlife photography like Gordon Buchanan but I was really excited at what I saw and it generated a lot of activity on Facebook when I posted the pics.

So, J, thank you for all that excitement and that is the first contender for the Blog Personality of the Year and it’s only May!!!

(Last year it was won by a book called The Bees by Laline Paull and the Book Club still recommend it as a brilliant book)

Incidentally, I’m just in from the ASDA and whilst I was in the car park I noticed that my phone was telling me that I was in the ASDA and that all my friends would like to see my photos of the ASDA. Leave it with me, friends, and I will do what I can.

I was actually going to lede with something else. Not bees.

Last Saturday I went to the Mitchell Library. Now listeners who have been with me for some time will need no reminding of the chain of events that started on a previous visit to the library some time back…… there was a wee gulp when I crossed the threshold.

I ordered the same as I did that time – a black coffee and a roll and a fried egg and potato scone and sat in the same seat as before and proceeded to do what I’d gone there to do. I find I study better in a library environment and that was one of the reasons I did so much of the Master’s at UWS (Paisley) Library all those years ago.

My heart was slightly in my mouth, particularly as the wi-fi was working but not on Virgin Mail. Yes. I know there’s no real connection but ask my son about how tekky-illiterate I am altho’ I am okay when walked and talked through it. But I did what I had to do and left. WITH EVERYTHING I’D GONE IN WITH!!!!!!!!!

I then went for a walk down to Finnieston, quickly rolling my hair into a hipster bun and growing a beard in which crows could roost, and almost took another photo.

There’s a wee path which takes you past what is known as the Gaelic School and if you keep looking behind you, as all good snappers do, you see the tops of the very beautiful Sikh temple shimmering over the school – true diversity before that word became associated with a dance troupe currently performing at Butlin’s.

Paisley Uny library has been refurbished and my favest seat has gone. It was one floor up, beside a large window where you could overlook a major entrance area and see who was coming and going who might fancy a coffee but also you could keep an eye on the comings and goings in the library itself. 😉

The Mitchell Library ain’t quite the same but it has its compensations.

I’m now going into the back garden to read Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Yes, I do have an interesting reason for doing so. Hopefully more soon time.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, at times amazingly patient when I know why (Skippy, that’s a bit deep even for me)

And so tonight’s music is from a very new album where the songs of Brandi Carlile are sung by such diverse talents as Pearl Jam, Adele and Old Crow Medicine Show. I actually have two copies of the album and have one to give away but rather than offer it up as a competition prize, I know who’s getting the other copy. This is taking me longer than usual to type as I keep looking at the bee house.

‘Proceeds all go to benefit children living in conflict zones.’

This is Dolly Parton with ‘The Story’. Watch it without crying – I defy you.

‘Maybe just not every week……..’

July 28, 2016

And so dear listener, last week’s blog seemed to strike a chord with many people and can I just say that the train to Ardrossan Harbour was a  kinda metaphor for what I’m talking about – altho’ if anyone wants to go there, I’m more than happy to go with them. It’s more about re-examining things I do and seeing them in a different light, like two of my favest places – Byres Road and Firhill Stadium – ‘the field of dreams’. 🙂

And sometimes it’s seeing things you’ve become accustomed to through the eyes of someone else. 😉

Take for example, Firhill – the home of the mighty Partick Thistle. Young AJ had spoken to his mum, e, about going to a football match and it had been decided that a home game against Queen of the South was the obvious choice. I was more than happy. 😀 😀 😀

I won’t go into all the detail of the afternoon but there was a certain amount of explaining what was happening but not a lot. e has a coaching badge and AJ has seen it on TV and, whilst I was worried that boredom might set in by half-time, it didn’t. I liked the way that ‘our’ team kept the suspense going all the way through the game by leaving it at one-nil down before scoring the winning two goals in the last ten minutes……’we are Partick Thistle, we score when we want.’ 🙂

And we watched it from the Jackie Husband stand which gives a much better view than where I normally stand – in the North Stand (red’n’yellow) – and yes, I’d be happy to go back with e and AJ and, indeed, anyone else out there who’d like to take son or daughter to the first ever football match.

The downside? There’s not a lot of singing in the Family Section, 😦 but I’ll live.

And then there’s  Byres Road which I used to know intimately but I still know it pretty well but a lady called R, from out of town, who I should stress I know, told me she was coming uptown and would have her young boys with her and would I like to join them for tea? To which I said ‘yes’ and I did. 🙂

The younger was having his birthday the next day so I’m not sure whether this was part of the treat or not, but we ate burritos – and I wonder what the difference is between them and fajitas and we spoke of Casio watches.  So the next day, I went to the jeweller’s down Byres Road that sold it to me many, many years ago and priced exactly the same watch that I bought all that time ago. It is now £20 as opposed to the £9.99 I spent all those years ago and I can only accept Casio’s word for it that it’s water resistant to 50 metres. I don’t swim. 😦

But I was down Byres Road the next night with the blogmeister and we drank in Vodka Wodka – which I like. My appreciation of it was enhanced by the barmaid who, having poured my orange juice, put a straw in and took a sip. ‘That’s not right,’ she said and poured it out.

She opened another carton and gave me a fresh glass. Now, that’s what I call service. 😀

The conversation ranged far and wide but at one point touched upon a man called Billy Graham – an evangelist – who held meetings at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow which attracted thousands in the fifties and sixties. This was in the early days of television. There was no internet – no tweeting nor nothing like that. So how did he do it? Radio, and word of mouth.

Billy himself just trusted the word of God and spoke it like it was and it worked.

And finally, I bumped into former Divinity student and would be writer and former student of mine of so many years ago, Cathcart minor, who was clutching a decorated, 18 inch long, shoe horn (and I think Carry On movies have been made on less of a plot device). Basically, it was an interesting chat, but James, I have seen you move from boy to man over many, many years, but that beard…..maybe one day. 😉

Good luck with the writing and, as ever, if I can help……….

Cya, still wearing the Big Sky badge and continuing to keep it simple

Johnt850, broadcasting to you all and at the same time I’m talking to a student who is asking me things he or she should have asked his/her tutor months ago.

So when I was in Vodka Wodka I paused to look at the booze in the gantry and I don’t miss it but am intrigued at the range of alcohol available. When Billy was preaching, pubs were smoky places with a limited range of ale and whiskies and that was the scene when I started my drinking at the age of 16/17 but it is coming up to ten years since I cold turkeyed.

The blogmeister remembered the bit of the story of that night where I believe that I fought the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (an hallucination or not?) wearing only a freebie sweatshirt from the movie, Interview with a Vampire, and how I remained convinced that one of the horsemen was now a demon who lived in that sweatshirt. Obviously, I don’t now but I don’t dare throw it out. Wonder what Billy G would make of it all.

It’s a few months since J, my favest country music fan, introduced me to Brandi Carlile. I have a few songs which are part of my listening when I’m a bit down. Lots of Alabama 3, Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Green Day), Hey, You Come On and Dance (Walk the Moon) – all lift me up when I’m down….so does this 😀 😀 😉

Brandi and Hard Way Home. Inspiration in a CD. No. No reason.

Then the order came down, dump everything and fix bayonets. You have got to fight for it today. (Private Walter Hutchison)

July 1, 2016

And so dear listener, I have just turned 62. Not bad, given that coming up for ten years ago, a friend of mine looked at me, lying comatose in a hospital bed, and gave me no chance of surviving the night……… but I did and survived much else a few months later. 🙂

It made me the man I am today (which is not necessarily as other men my age) ………..I will say no more than that but I do enjoy life in many ways. 😉

But the death of Caroline Aherene has hit home. My alcohol and cancer issues are, thankfully, well behind me.Hers never left her. I found dealing with the after effects of both at the same time the hardest thing to do. I will never forget my support team who were there for me (and the people who weren’t) and that is partly why this blog exists.

But my thanks to the many ways that people got best wishes  to me and my thanks to a co-worker who brought in buns which made a nightshift go very quickly.

But long term listeners will know that at one stage I talked of being 42 for ever (it’s an Alabama 3 thing) but various things that have happened in the last two years have made me adjust to being what I am (a private pension kicking in helped).

But I’d a great day on Monday (so maybe my birthday came early) and I went to bed that night looking forward to the next day, altho’ I’m always pleased to wake up. It’s a much under-rated pastime. 🙂

Basically, there’s been the money thang with the TSB. I got a phone call from a man whom we’ll call TK who admits they’re in the wrong but is still uncertain what to do as he can’t understand what went wrong. But I am promised my money soon time with goodwill payments and refunded charges etc. TK is not a man to be argued with. I obvs checked out his Linkedin and Facebook profiles and the latest pic in his Facebook profile sees him with a very powerful chainsaw……TK is most definitely not a man to be argued with. Turns out he is the TSB’s Senior Customer Services Executive.

And finally, but not the usual ‘and finally’ but a Monday ‘and finally’, a very good friend, about whom I was slightly worried, phoned and I felt much better. No. No names. No pack drill.

I know I could fire up the Google but I always thought that if you gave the names, you would avoid the packdrill but what do I know?

And so, a final word on Brexit. It has been said that much of the voting was a protest against well educated people as people decided they were in charge and not the experts who actually do know what they’re talking about. However, this was kinda put in its place, and I pass this on without comment, by the number of people (some of whom I spoke to) who didn’t realise that by voting to leave they were actually voting to leave.

And my thanks to an Englishman living in New York – John Oliver – for pointing out that the second most Googled question last Friday morning was, ‘What is the EU?’

And finally,  Roy Hodgson, you did not have to be an expert to know that Iceland were pretty good with long throw-ins, but a lot less arrogance in your players might have helped as well. 😉

And on the question of the Euros, J’s choice (France) has made better progress than mine (Spain) but there’s a long way to go, but I was intrigued by her question the other day,

‘jt, you know about Partick Thistle, but do you know anything about football?’ I think I know what was meant. 🙂

Cya, still wearing that badge and happy to be keeping it simple

Johnt850, and as Anna Magnusson would say, Afram Island!!!!!

So, as many of you know J very kindly gave me a bee house as a gift for the garden but there’s been little happening in terms of bees using it.

So I went on Facebook for help and changed my profile picture to that bit of my garden fence which supports the house and various people got in touch.

Now J had said to me that it was not a hive but I was to think of it as a Bees’ B’n’B. Ah, said I down the phone, ‘a kind of Bees’ backpackers’ hostel.’ ‘Yes’, said she……… So I shared this notion on fb and I would like to thank Julie, with whom I used to play hockey and who has more international contacts than even you, Rainforestriverman, for progressing this metaphor with a lovely word picture of ‘tiny bees with tiny rucksacks strumming tiny guitars and eating tiny pot noodles.’ 😀

Later the next day, I walked past the Blue Sky Backpackers’ Hostel in Berkeley Street and smiled. It still doesn’t stop me, listeners, from standing at the kitchen door window, shouting, ‘Where are you bees? Where are you?’ My next door neighbours gave up on me long time ago.

And tonight’s closing piece of music has been played many times before, but I was told recently that someone else’s grand-daughter really liked it, so I am under instruction here….

A giraffe’s coffee would be cold by the time it reached the bottom of its neck. Ever think about that?

June 10, 2016

And so dear listener, I was driving home the other Sunday morning (from work and not some hedonistic Satyrday night/Sinday morning of yore) when I saw a man looking in a shop window and tidying his hair. And I thought, I’m so glad other guys do it. 🙂

Y’know, I’m often asked what my favourite mirror is (aren’t you?) and it comes from some recordings I did for the last ever radio doc I produced (the CD of which I’ve lost in the refurbishment of t850 Towers which is annoying as I wanted someone to listen to it. There’s an archive I must plunder) It was about prostate cancer and why men are reluctant to speak out about it – although that seems to be changing.

It was a smashing husband and wife couple down in West Kilbride and I asked to use their bathroom before returning to Glasgow and with the door open (on the way in and the way out) I could see not only me but also Ailsa Craig in the background – both rugged and part of Scotland’s cultural history. 😉

And speaking of Scotland’s cultural history, please feel free to join me, e and c and a number of Gaelic speaking people at Feis spors Ghlaschu which is a sports day being held by some Gaelic speaking people this Saturday (18th) and I seem to be involved in some way (the tombola?). It’s being held at Lochinch Park (the Glasgow polis’s training ground in Pollok Park) and for all those who’ve ever wondered what the Gaelic is for bouncy castle, it seems to be Castle Sgeingeach……and it’s from 12.30 to 4.40…..which is a very exact time to finish.

Anyway, me and e went curtain shopping to Clydebank (where e lived for a year she said in passing) and I’d like to thank the very patient staff in Dunelm Mill and Harry Corry for their patience as my mind changed every so often but, hey, they are bought and are draped over my settees to lose their crushes (how often has that happened in my life I wonder….with curtains) but I’m not sure whether there will be an official curtain opening (I told you, J, I’d use it 🙂  )

What was of most interest tho’, was not the waitress in the very pleasant coffee shop who brought over our coffees with the words, ‘I saw you were having no milk in your coffees so I  topped them up with hot water’ nor the fact that she packed a mean bottle of tomato ketchup in the pocket of her apron.

It was the pictures on the wall. Bog standard and slightly dated photos of the Singer Sewing Machine factory and John Brown’s Shipyard and the clock tower that could be seen from all over Clydebank. What happened to all those people when the work stopped? Where, now, are the millworkers from Paisley or the coal miners and steelworkers from North Ayrshire? Or more likely, their dependents?  😦

I am part of a family of three generations of accountants and auditors, other than me or daughter-in-law, KT. It seems we will always need financial people, but people to make things? I’ll get back to you on that.

But good news on the book front where books are back in the business chasing out e-readers and similar. E-book sales are falling and the ‘iPad generation still want to read about Hairy McLeary or Katie Morag from a real book.’(D. Record 9th June 2016) and also the Crayons Who Quit…….if you have children or grandchildren of any age, buy that one…….it’s brilliant. 🙂

(And on the subject of e-things, this week’s Unattributed Conversation of the Month went as follows;

Me; So, has using an e-cigarette helped you cut down?

Other person; Yes, I only smoke spliffs these days.)

And delighted also to read that my first university, Glasgow, not only continues to take over the entire West End of Glasgow but recently announced plans to continue its library expansion – thus, in comparison with others, realising the importance of making written research as available as possible to students and researchers.

But I do have friends that question the value of university research and dispute studies that prove the efficacy of minimum unit pricing. Maybe it’s because it’s not disseminated properly and popularly.

So, and finally, step forward one of my own uni-mentors, Jenny H and her partner in writing Kim, whose academic treatise on Generation Rent got used as the basis of a piece in the well-respected freebie Stylist. Jenny H is also a graduate of UWS (Paisley) Drink and Drugs team but Jenny, this is the Dead Kennedys telling you how to pronounce Viva!

It was at this point I stopped for a while and Spotified the Dead Kennedys. And never started again. 😀

Cya, still wearing the badge and it’s no problem to keep it simple.

Johnt850, about whom the song was written, wasn’t it Carly?

Noel Edmonds is an interesting character who has received a fair amount of finger-pointing scorn this week, particularly after his comments about curing cancer with energy from a box. This after his claims that his dead parents’ spirits live in orbs (and that’s not short for Orbiston in Bellshill) that follow him around and the fact that he drives a life-size doll called Candice around in a black cab – altho’ this might not be so daft as a means of getting him around London quickly.

Y’see he also talked about the need to change his diet and to exercise in a different way……from what he doesn’t say. There is no doubt in my mind that the cancer cell in my body thought I was an easy touch cos of my bad lifestyle but I, too, made various changes to my lifestyle after I cold turkeyed that soooo much helped but everyone is different.

It’s about taking responsibility for your life and analysing what is good for you and helps.

I wish I’d restructured my garden some time back but it’s only recently ‘cos me and a couple of others read the book, The Bees by Laline Paull, that I would ever have welcomed a bee house in my back garden. It’s about keeping your mind open to new things and you never know, Noel might yet be right.  🙂

And my friend, Clyde 2 country jock, John Collins is a big fan of the new band RainTown – a country band from Glasgow. Let me know what you think.

“Each meeting occurs at the precise moment for which it was meant. Usually, when it will have the greatest impact on our lives.” ― Nadia Scrieva, Fathoms of Forgiveness

April 21, 2016

And so dear listener, altho’ it may not look like it, there is often a structure to this show – a balance, even a theme. Yes. Sometimes it’s about drink’n’drugs’n’rock’n’roll’n’sex’n’cancer, but often it’s not as mundane as that. It can sometimes be summed up in one word – one really exciting word – that gets your juices flowing (No. I’ve never been too sure about that phrase either) and really makes you good to go. 🙂

This week’s word? Meeting. No. Stay with me. Listen to me. This last seven days since we last spoke have seen me meet lots of people and each time, I’ve come away with a smashing smile on my face and a lot of coffee in my system.

(In my final year of alcohol dependency, I was tanning a full bottle of whisky a night and often a glug from the spare bottle(!). Now, two cups of hotel lobby coffee on a breakfast of granola and yogurt and I’m higher than a very high thing)

Take for example last Friday when I met up with J, the blog’s favest wildlife protector. It was a simple explanation of how she had helped a trapped bee to leave her home by the use of a glass and an envelope – with actions. The restaurant was enthralled but at least I knew what was happening…..if you’re a member of the group known as 5338, it’s what you do. 🙂

Me? I open windows and wave them in that direction but it’s not as exciting……and I’ve never felt the same about Barack Obama since he killed that fly with his bare hands.

Geek, not Greek, but that could explain the problems with their economy.

And on Monday I met Jenny G who is different from Jenny H, who passed her PhD Veeeeeeeeeeeva that day (and massive congrats Jenny H…well deserved) but was i/viewing me about, well, as I will be anonymised in her Master’s, then maybe it’s better I say not what it was about – but I was well i/viewed. 🙂

There is something about hotel lobbies, isn’t there? I thought he was a businessman waiting for a another businessman but it was a young lady with a wean in a buggy who met up with him.……..and she didn’t seem family. I wasn’t expecting that. Make up a sentence with the words ‘imagination’ and ‘riot’ in it…….

Anyway, nice one Jenny G and let me know how you get on. 🙂

And then who should I meet in Byres Road but Julian (ex-BBC Glasgow now freelancing in London) and we reminisced (sp) about a show I produced, with much help, for Radio 5 called Night Moves which went out just after midnight and was the best phone-in ever.

Julian was one of a number of young freelances including a lot of Nor’n Irish guys who were paid to answer the phones whose sobriety (as a catch-all description) was occasionally in doubt but then so was mine at times, so I said nothing but we got more calls on air than any other programme in that slot.:D

(What’s that Skippy? All the names so far begin with ‘J’ apart from J who’s called J. Tell you what; I’ll move on)

And I’m pleased to say negotiations have started with Jayne H, Anne and Jo from uny, and Missie K about meeting up….soon.

And finally, I’m reading a book called The Girl on the Train and it’s not what I expected.

Leaving the storyline aside it’s a frighteningly accurate representation of what it’s like to be an ‘alcoholic’ (Rachel’s description of herself; I try not to use that word) and the strange things you do, on your own, that seem frighteningly logical at the time. Why did I walk here? Why was I taking to that man?  I don’t recognise that voice on the answering machine. Who did I give my number to?

Not that everything I do is frighteningly logical these sober days, but I look forward to meeting people and no, one of those questions I’m often asked, I don’t go to the meetings. Good luck to those who do, but as someone in a rehab centre once said to me, ‘Why go somewhere when your head’s full of mince and everyone else has got the same mince in their heads?’

Cya, still wearing that badge and it’s back to keeping it simple. 😀

Johnt850, still redfaced but now I can blame the sun.

So now will you please indulge me in a football memory – but a nice one.

Many years ago I worked for a man called Michael Kelly who had a PR agency and one of its clients was Celtic Football Club and a man called Billy McNeill had just stepped down from the role of manager (Rrm, the next time we meet, remind me to tell you about the memo that didn’t exist).

So we, sorry, the board (not me and Michael) decided to take our time and get the right guy. And I got lots of phone calls from sports journos about the latest rumour or just to ask if anything was happening to which I’d reply; ‘Nothing continues to happen.’

Eventually, I was able to announce (my name was at the bottom of the press release) that Liam Brady was the new manager of the football division and a brighter dawn was ahead of the club……No. No comment.

But the big fun I got was going out to Celtic Park to see Liam or Terry Cassidy or one of the other directors or players and saying cheerio to them in the foyer of the club just as people doing the tour of Celtic Park walked by wondering who it was that was talking to Liam or Terry.

The other big fun I got was going to Victoria’s with some of them but that’s maybe another story for another day. 😀

This is a lady called Gretchen Peters with a jolly interesting song called Blackbird……actually it’s quite depressing;