Archive for the ‘Blue Triangle’ Category

‘Whether you support the monarchy or not, the wedding was a wonderful expression of love that lifted spirits across the country and had diversity at its heart’ (Kezia Dugdale)

May 25, 2018

And so, dear listener, last week’s show was a wee bit on the serious side so I’m going to try to avoid that. Maybe dedicate it to a couple of folk. Purely hypothetically. 😀

Maybe celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary somewhere on the Iberian Peninsula. Maybe they had a humanist wedding by the very same tree at the hotel in Strathblane where Son Brian and the gorgeous KT had their wedding reception. 😀

Maybe I didn’t get there cos I was knackered after eight weeks of radiotherapy (exactly ten years ago this week) and I must thank this imaginary couple for all the help and support they have given me over these years. Thanks. 😀

And really pleased at how well my rhubarb was appreciated by all the young Gaels which was a David Bowie song….later he changed Gaels to Dudes.

All totally hypothetical. Except the Bowie bit. Possibly he wrote it on his famous visit to Cumbernauld Town Centre. 😉

Moving swiftly on.

And a mention for all the folk from my Post Grad of 2011-2013 and something I said in a class about AA and the Twelve Steps – which is the basic tool used within AA.

Apparently I made the point that my aim was for a time when no-one would know me as a ‘recovering’ or ‘recovered alcoholic’ – just ‘someone who didn’t drink’. Well that time came not long after but, recently, on a TV series called Genderquake (partly about transition and other gender issues), there was a contributor who asked, ‘when I can stop being trans and just be a man?’

I am proud that that story reminded a good friend of me. Thanks N x.

And I think what has made such a difference to me over those years has been the ability to meet people (okay women) on a friendly basis without anyone e.g. husbands and boyfriends or the women themselves panicking.

Not sure what that says about me but I’m eleven years five months older than looked possible in December 2006. So, yes, I may not drink but I still count the daze. 🙂

Always keeping it simple.

And my favourite piece of drama this week was the boiled egg eating scene in the Jeremy Thorpe drama. Do you hammer your eggs or do you slice them? And the subtlety of the glimpse of the petroleum jelly. But not in the same scene, I should stress.

Anyway I think I do prefer gluten free soy sauce and I’m perfectly happy with dairy free ice cream.

And Partick Thistle season tickets are about to go on sale so I will be buying one and I do hope that, healthwise, things are settled enough for me to go to games altho’ I long ago lost my seat in the charabanc for away games to young Sam…and deservedly so. 🙂

And it’s really weird having an early morning look at Facebook and seeing a photo of your main road and the entrance to your cul-de-sac and the headline;

Armed police swoop on flat in dawn raid in quiet Summerston street’

It was 6.20 and my neighbour was out walking her dog. Heavily armed police.

Drugs? Stashed in the graveyard? Connection with recent fatal shootings? And the white Audi? It was taken away.

Will it be in The Digger this week?

Still moving swiftly on.

And subway station platforms like Cessnock do worry me a wee bit. They seem awful narrow and remind me a wee bit of the rope ladders between trees at Go Ape where there was just a wee bit of 3-2-1- Go! and I was fine. 🙂

I’d be too scared to do that again.

And I didn’t know, despite my great use of the UWS Library in Paisley (all sorts of reasons) that it has a Special Collection. It chose to tell the world on Twitter that its collection of Philip Roth was kept there and chose to illustrate that with a pic of Portnoy’s Complaint! Cheeeeeky! 😉

But even now I pretend I’m back in there (it’s all changed now) at the table by the window that overlooked the entrance to the Robertson Building and idly searching through Google Scholar. Honest. There was a reason but finding stuff was a good feeling.

And I know I’m not the only person who, when North Korean expert Prof R. Kelly is on TV spends more time looking at the door to his study than at him.

I still can’t watch it without laffing

And finally I’ve got the new script for my Prostate Cancer presentation and I promise to stick to it word for word and when I get to the bit where I say ‘one man dies of prostate cancer every forty-five minutes’ I will not look at my watch, look round the room slowly and say ‘the clock is ticking.’

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

Iaint850, ‘old enough to know better; too young to resist’ (lifted from Steve Cropper who co-wrote Dock of the Bay)

And publishing that quote from Kezia does not necessarily mean I agree with her but for me freedom of speech means I listen to opposing viewpoints without being vindictive, vile and abusive.

So I’ve a lost a pre-loved (second hand) CD I purchased recently. It was a compilation of different line dancing tunes and dances. And was planned as a standby present. (Some things I don’t analyse). So I trawled through YouTube and I found this. It’s not the most exciting but I know which one I’d be. Look to the right of the screen and the lazy, languid fella, both his thumbs in his pockets, looking every inch a ‘two-bob gangster’. That’d be me. And according to Alice with whom I worked, I was never that. 😉

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If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. (Marcus Tullius Cicero)

April 26, 2018

And so dear listener, I feel a wee bit this week as if I’ve been playing Doctors and Nurses……but on my own.

Skippy! I can explain!

It was explained to me by the rapping Dr J that my cardiac problem may be something to do with high blood pressure so on Monday just past I got the call to go down to my health centre (altho’ I let all of Maryhill use it) and get my blood pressure tested. It’s high but let’s not rush into anything. ):

So I was lent a blood pressure monitor (and I genuinely did tell a couple of people that I was doing my own blood transfusion. I got confused) and I have been carrying out my own blood tests. They’re even higher! And then I started to make sure I was calm and collected before I did a test and they were just high. Phew…..

Mind you, given the problems from my bank of all my life (TSB) I realised that it is best to choose relaxed times of day to do these tests (two) and ignore the landline phone when it rings. I would say that 50/50 it’s still a real call and worth answering.

I won’t quote figures publicly but if you do have a nursing background and are interested let me know. You are more than welcome and I’m happy with any opinions. 🙂

Y’know recovering from the alcohol and the cancer was an awful lot easier.

And it is a wee bit like previous times in that I need to get out much more than I’m doing just now although one reason for that is a good wee run of editing but, leaving aside the blood pressure, I am in good nick now that it’s good weather (that was hail the other afternoon!) But I’m past being ‘on the mend’; I’m good to go. 😀

Mind you, with the cold turkey recovery, I had a job to go back to and I had an amazing addiction worker; in the case of the cancer my thirty-seven daily radiotherapy sessions were made so much easier by my fellow patients and NHS staff who were such a good laugh over that time. 😀 😀 😀

Ach, I’m just feeling sorry for myself. I still have that ‘stuck in the house/hospital’ feeling that I’ve had since the start of 2018 altho’ I have done a lot of brilliant walking in the West End of Glasgow with, and without, Holly the Dog. And e. Any other offers? I remember doing Millport a couple of years ago. 🙂

The reason I’m in that mood is cos I watched The Cancer Hospital on the BBC the other night. It was one of the few docs I’ve seen in recent years where the lack of a presenter worked as Dougie Henshall’s v/over was essentially underplayed so that the voices of the women had to be listened to.

Obviously I know those corridors altho’ my treatment happened in the Thomas Wheldon building next door and the other thing I remember is arriving early so I could go for a walk around Bingham’s Pond before my treatment – just to calm down. That was when I started to grow my hair slightly longer. 😉

This coming week it’s prostate cancer.

I should watch more comedy.

I did, however, watch the prog about Harold Shipman. Remember the good Doctor W? That was where her interest in medico-crime came from. She did write a book on the subject. I helped. A little. I wonder if it was ever published?

Should I maybe try and find out?

And finally, atm I have no idea as to whether TSB online is working properly and full-time and nor, I suspect. do they.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (how long is that now?) and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, I don’t have much money but I’ve never looked at my bank accounts as much as I’ve done recently.

So it’s now thirty years since the Glasgow Garden festival but my interest in garden festivals was aroused four years earlier when my then wife and I were taken by friends to the Liverpool Garden Festival and I thought it was brill. 🙂

A few weeks later I took BBC Radio Scotland’s Jimmy Mack Show with presenter Jimmy Mack and production assistant Jeanette down to Liverpool to do the show from there but Jimmy was late in arriving for a slot on BBC Merseyside and I had to stand in for him. I was good but remained a producer. 😉

I then spoke ‘informally’ to people from the Scottish Development Agency about getting the BBC involved in the Glasgow event but I was too ‘informal’ and was quite shocked when a senior producer later said that he had had the first contact with the organisers but ‘they seemed well organised for BBC broadcasting ideas.’

When it comes to ‘informal’ where I was concerned, then read ‘lights well hidden under a bushel’. However, I did okay for season tickets and was offered a job by the PR consultancy that the Festival PR people all went and joined. I turned it down and later, the building in which that office was located became the home for the Blue Triangle Head Office and there’s a wee memory just come back. Knowing smile icon. 😉

Anyway, I had the immense pleasure of producing the (for radio) Royal Opening with Charles and Diana with my presenters (Jimmy Mack and Mary Marquis), reporters Lesley Riddoch, Christine Kinnear and Kevin Ruane (?) and production team of me, Max, Jayne and Amanda.

And I got a Pringle sweater with the Garden Festival logo and my name on it. Wore it once.

Live broadcasting and the memories, eh? 🙂

But here’s a John Martyn cover from an up and coming band of whom I think highly. If they turn up in your neck of the woods, go see them. What? No. I don’t know any of them. Honest guv! The Rain Kings featuring Neil Turner.

A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water. (Reiner)

March 1, 2018

And so dear listener, I was going to write about this being the tenth anniversary of me starting my radiotherapy and how it worked for me, and prostate cancer. But I’ve calmed down a wee bit since I heard Stephen Fry say this;

‘One (option) was for radiotherapy but that was a really long and difficult process. I mean it’s fine for some people but there are a number of issues with it for me.’

And he did not explain what those issues were. 😦

Jeffery Archer, Michael Parkinson and friend and media academic Ken Garner did explain their reasons this week for not choosing radiotherapy and that’s cool. The trust in your consultant was also important for me. And radiotherapy does take a long time but I was only 52/53 and had plans for my prostate. 🙂

I chose to go NHS (and met a brilliant bunch of men and women) and I chose radiotherapy; Stephen chose a different route and a different treatment.

And incidentally, Stephen, the word is ‘penis’ – not ‘todger’. I had to look that up.

Best wishes, Stephen, and I hope it all goes well for you. And I take great hope from the fact that you married someone thirty years younger than you. Well, I’m not so sure about the marriage bit but other than that, thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

Naw, there are much more interesting people to write about – people who contribute much more to society. 😀

Selfishly, for example, how would the ambulance and paramedics have got to me the other early morning in the conditions we’ve had this week? I suspect they would have managed. 🙂

And my neighbour across the road who is a home help has just walked down the road to join the Cordia cars (an arm’s length organisation from the council who provide peripatetic social care) to see what they can do to help despite the bad weather.

And Carol who works in an old folks home who seems to have just stayed there and continued to look after the folk in her care. 🙂 As did many people in health and social care or who worked in a different project from usual but closer to home.

I used to park my car at the bottom of the hill so at least I could get in. And there was one lovely winter’s morning when I finally got away at 4.30 but the taxi I got couldn’t take me up the hill but it was such a lovely walk – just me and the foxes and the street lamps reflecting in the snow. 😀

And I realised just how bad the weather was on Wednesday when I went out to the blue bin and couldn’t get back to the house. Seriously. I turned round to go to the door and the blizzarding snow hit me full frontal and I could not see through my glasses and I started to bump into other bins amidst snow that was several feet deep cos that was how deep the wind had blown it. I have four. All different colours. 🙂

It was blue bin day on Thursday but none of my neighbours bothered – so I didn’t. The snow in the cul-de-sac was really deep. The wind has nowhere to blow the snow so it’s just piled up.

And I did have an important meeting on Thursday which I had to cancel (well a good friend I hadn’t seen for some time) but I knew it wasn’t going to happen when, on Tuesday afternoon, Scotrail told me they were cancelling Summerston trains on Wednesday and Thursday.

And I think this is where Facebook and other social media have come into their own. I saw people with 4 x 4s offering to help people if they needed to go to hospital; people whose gardens (somehow) backed on to the M80 telling people to come in for cups of tea and pizza; and of course telling the world to tell homeless people where to go for shelter but homeless people – whether they’re in B & Bs which kick them out at nine in the morning, or supported accommodation which doesn’t, or hostels which are dry and safe away from nosey social workers wanting to do good (lol), or rough sleeping – are here all year round.

And finally, a tribute to all those people at Groupon who, no matter what the weather or the time of day, stick to their task of advising me of all their offers.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, dangerously close to running out of chocolate – where is that ice cream van?

On Friday all the folk in the cul-de-sac where I live got out and started clearing the snow from the actual street and I did join them but wasn’t allowed to do any work. However, I now have a wee path from my front door to the road. So I decided to make use of the path in the afternoon and go for a wee walk with my neighbour and her wee dog who disappeared in the snow.

We had barely made it into the next street when we realised that there was a lot of slithering going on as cars tried to cope with going up and down a treacherous hill. Again I wasn’t allowed to help with pushing (I feel a fraud) but looked after the wee dog.

Later that afternoon a woman in a red anorak, who I do not know, delivered milk, bread, cold meat, soup and home made cakes. The message? ‘Mary told me to get them’ and she did the same for across the road……..What Can I say?

So here’s a wee joke to cheer you up and I’m giving credit to friend Rosie for it.

A weasel walks into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, ‘In all my years of tending bars, I’ve never, ever served a weasel. What can I get you to drink?’

‘Pop’, goes the weasel.

And just to mark how bad the weather was this week, here’s the Beach Boys with White Out

What? Seriously? Well, it’s too late now.

Leaves fall. Snow melts. Everything ends to begin again (The Vampire Slayer)

December 29, 2017

And so dear listener, it’s that time of year again when we look for the Blog Personality of the Year and remember, it’s your votes that count. I mean that most sincerely. I really do. 😉

Well, to be honest, it’s Skippy who’s been counting your votes. I’ve been slightly under the weather with a throat lurgy that I’ve managed to keep under control with the help of lots of ice cream. It is no better; it is no worse.

But it wasn’t as bad as the throat virus of 2017 which saw me off work for four weeks (when I still worked for Blue Triangle) and indeed whilst 2017 was not the worst of years it was close (2007 was pretty shitty particularly if you add the last four weeks of 2006). I am reasonably optimistic about 2018.

But some of 2017 must play a part in this year’s ceremony.

For example, about three years ago, I introduced a Musical Track of the Year category (and maybe I should introduce a Book of the Year – Diary of a Bookseller) and previous winners have included Walk the Moon’s ‘Come on and Dance’ and Jamie T’s ‘Zombie’. In mid-July I announced that I’d resigned from the BT job with nowhere to go and I did so by playing the brilliant The Story (much of which seemed so appropriate at the time) and was received as such by many people. 😀 😀 😀

But there are two versions; one by Brandi Carlile and one by my Twitter friend Dolly Parton – but which should I play at the end? The lines are still open for you to decide.

And there is only one Team of the Year. A runaway victory for those who still work at Blue Triangle that I know and not just Caroline and Debbie with whom I converse from time to time but I did get a lovely message on Christmas Day from a former Project Manager. 🙂

Maybe one day I’ll talk more about what was involved in being a project worker but the Service User looking for a knife for his pineapple still makes me smile. I keep up to date with former service users either by meeting them begging in town or through the Court Circulars in the Digger.

BT Project Workers? Simply the best. 😀 😀

So I hope you did well at Christmastime for pressies and stuff. I did well for books from my ex-wife and from good friend e but I should stress that that had no influence on the voting that gave the Lifelong Achievement Award to Holly the Dog. Holly and I didn’t get off to the greatest of starts but that changed on the couple of early occasions I took Holly for walks on my own. I sent e a selfie of me and Holly but given the lighting and the similarity in hair styles it was impossible to say which was which. Oh how Holly and I laffed! 🙂

And so to the Personality Awards. Skippy, it’s time for the Fanfare of Strumpets!

In Third place is a weekend in Oban. The Saturday saw a beautiful sunny day and a brilliant walk along Ganavan Sands; the Sunday it poured and I spent the day in a museum called War and Peace and then a brilliant hot chocolate in a chocolate shop next to it. It was more or less where and when I decided to resign and final thinking took place a few days later after a very pleasant day in Barshaw Park, Paisley. It was only then I realised that the anxiety and depression of the previous year had never really lifted. It has now.

And whilst some things have not worked out quite as I’d hoped, something will turn up (Micawber)

Second place is tied in with that. It was the night of what was to be my last ever shift altho’ I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t work in the best of clothes; I know I smelt but for a number of reasons including the one where well trained police people would look for my spliff; and I was eating chips BUT I was still recognised by a former girlfriend of xx years ago.

Jan, you boosted my ego at a time when it was definitely needed. Thank you. 🙂

And finally, this year the Award goes to something that had nothing to do with resignations.

It was that moment in May when I was fortunate enough to see a bee entering the small bee backpackers’ hostel that sits on a fence in my garden. The hostel itself badly needs more protection against the elements (j) but that bee was the best moment of last year and thanks very much for voting for it. The photo brought a lot of smiles to a lot of faces. 😀

So, a mixed year. I do have plans for something called Project Getting Out a Lot More and if you’ve already been approached, then please do not read anything into it that’s not there. I am working on it. It’s about…….but you’ve guessed, haven’t you?

Y’see, as I’ve explained to others, 2017 lacked a zombie moment for me. I must say Yes more often

So before I say the usual pay off line, can I just say the votes are in and it’s Brandi’s version that has gained the most votes.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (but of course) and still keeping it simple.

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas. Peg Bracken

December 20, 2017

And so, dear listener, this may well be your favourite edition of the blog. It’s the one where I do little talking and just do cracker gags. Mind you, I’ve got to say that last week’s gag, attributed to Keith Chegwin, was one of the best I’ve heard this year so far. 🙂

The one about Theresa May and stable government which seemed to get lots of favourable coverage was awful. There is no such job as a nativity manager. What might have worked would have been, ‘Why shouldn’t you put Theresa May in charge of the Nativity? Because she’s not very good at stable government.’ No. It still doesn’t work.

Mind you I still prefer……

Q Why do you call your dog Metal-Worker?

A Because every time he hears a knock he makes a bolt for the door.

So I think I’m sorted for Christmas but I fully accept that much of that has been because I’m not the busiest soul in the world just now. As I write this, about the only big thing left to do are neighbours’ cards and that’s partly cos I can never remember the name of her in Number 1. So if I leave it late, maybe she’ll put in one my box and then I’ll put one in hers.

(I think there’s an unintended innuendo in there. Sorry)

Q What do you call a penguin in the Sahara Desert?

A Lost.

So I did send out loads of cards and I do hope they all arrived because I’ve heard of one that didn’t but the envelope the card was in was delivered. What a nuisance!…… And I may make arrangements to continue to do so from beyond the grave as with the final ever blog and then the one after that. Sorry, that’s a bit morbid. It’s been a funny year but there’s no excuse for morbidity.

But then I worry a bit about my sense of humour at times because I don’t put Lol after everything. Somebody posted something about their blood group and I said something like, you’ve got to be positive about it and I don’t think my joke was understood. 😦

Q How did the Vikings send secret messages?

A By Norse Code.

(And can I say a mega-thanks to the Daily Telegraph for their help with these jokes?)

So the SVQ thing is going slower than I intended (and I do realise that much depends on the candidates I work with) and on the editing front I will make a definite effort to get into Latex in the New Year but I did notice that Blue Triangle Head Office has become one of the places where they wish people Happy Holiday whereas every one of the projects will be celebrating Christmas and New Year……..and I’ll miss celebrating Ramadan next year with the refugees. Indeed I’ll miss celebrating New Year with them. 😦

We’ve become a society afraid to give offence – even where none is intended – because there are so many people out there looking for possible offence even if they’re not the group that might be offended.

Q Who invented fractions?

A Henry the 1/8th

So I’m not sure what next year holds for me, altho’ interestingly I found myself reading my Master’s dissertation the other night. By crikey, it was good. And I still enjoy writing and talking about drink and drugs. There’s thinking to be done. And revolutions to be considered for 2018. And, yes, I am no longer totally pescetarian – but it was never ethical or medical – and one consequence has been I’m eating jelly babies.

And I’ve just mucked up, with an f, my next gag.

Q What lies in a pram and wobbles?

A Yes. Obviously. No, that’s not the answer. The answer’s a jelly baby.

And finally, next week sees the Blog’s Annual Personality of the Year Award and it’s not too late to nominate anyone – even wee Joe off Strictly Come who, along with his dance partner, was still smiling as the results were announced. The other three duos were terrified. And it is entertainment. 😀

Masterchef is the only one of these I watch until the finals when the dishes become more floral tributes than food – including at least one which looked designed more for snorting than eating but what do I know?

Q What would you get if all the cars in Britain were red?

A A red carnation.

And finally, all I want to say in my own personal review of the year is that there were times when I was weird – not, hopefully, in person, but when my head was sat looking at this screen. It’s approximately eighteen months since, after a BT Sunday night shift and a couple of hours’ sleep, that I burst into tears at questions I was being asked about what to me was a simple mistake to which I’d owned up. It took some getting used to – not being believed and what felt like a witch hunt and I’m not sure I ever did.

So, despite a wee touch of morbidity at the top of the show, I am back to being cool and I have a range of ideas I wish to share with people. Need I tell you who they are? It’s called Project Getting Out More.

tioraidh, still wearing that badge(especially as the days extend) and keeping it even more simple than previously.

Iaint850

Nollaig Chridheil dhuibh uile agus Blidhna Mhath Ur

And it wouldn’t be a blog Christmas without this and all the memories (especially Otago Street) that this brings back.

“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!” ― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

December 14, 2017

And so dear listener can I just say a big thanks to all those who commented in some way on last week’s blog. Most people offered some variation of ‘Well done’ and some updated me on their own roads to recovery. I am proud of what I’ve achieved but am never arrogant. Too many people have been involved in my recovery to allow that and I can never forget that. 🙂

Thanks.

And the weather’s been a real pain hasn’t it? Forecasts are too accurate and too fast moving – they change so quickly – so what I do (on either BBC Scotland or STV) is just to stare at the bit that is Glasgow or Paisley and watch while Judith or Gillian or Kawser (or Sean) tells us what’s happening as the clock and the wind move. That’s good enough for me.

But stuff all those people earning money for their opinions on the weather in the papers. None of them can ever replicate or beat the words of the master poet Bud Neil;

Winter’s come, the snow has fell

Wee Josie’s nose is froze as well

Wee Josie’s frozen nose is skintit

Winter’s diabolic, intit?

But it shouldn’t affect me too much should it? After all my current work/lifestyle is based on earnings from the editing I do but that’s been presenting problems. Let’s leave the question of me working in Latex for a moment.

It’s the person who approached me at the weekend with 80,000 words (not all written yet) and who, when I told him what my fee was, suggested reducing it by about 50% because of the number of words and he thought they were good ones. 😦

Aye, but they weren’t in the right order or they were made up or were too complicated AND the second sentence was about nine lines long with an amazing number of clauses. It was appalling and you got a sense that he was not expecting that many changes cos it was ‘a good piece of writing’. Yet this person’s doing a PhD. 😦

I made an excuse and left.

But did I actually want to do a PhD? No. No really (which is still my favourite knockback of all time – well the last eleven years). Actually, I did. I just get annoyed when I see money talking like that. Bitter. And twisted.

But I have started eating a little meat. I had some chicken recently. Somebody told me it was fowl but I thought it tasted okay.;)

But back to the weather. Yup. I miss summer.

This gratuitous piece of music reminds me of summers in my home town of Peterhead when I was much, much younger.

But still talking of the weather, I took a delivery, like many, from the Rainforestriverpeople and thought nothing of going out in the rain to collect it. Ten minutes later I had collected all the wrapping (seriously….. just ten minutes) and went out to the bin and OMG, Son Brian came very close to collecting his inheritance a wee bit before I intended it – it was that icy!

And I hate that Beagle Street advert – the one where the wimp stops sorting out the kitchen in their new flat just cos his girlfriend wants him to sort out life insurance cos Emma (!) says so! Don’t be such a wimp! Finish the kitchen first! Or has she booby-trapped it?

And finally, on behalf of all those doing things to help all those skippering out there, can I just say that numbers actually reduce at this time of year cos of brilliant places like the Glasgow City Mission who run a night shelter from the beginning of December until the end of March, but the homeless are with us fifty-two weeks of the year. Either as rough sleepers, living with their kids in B & Bs, staying in projects like the Blue Triangle where I worked or in hostels and shelters on a nightly basis where, altho’ these places sometimes get a bad press, they feel really safe. Fifty-two weeks of the year.

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

Iaint850, about to start my revolutions for 2018

So the next two blogs are the special ones for this time of year and I may have to put them out early cos one’s due on Christmas Eve and one’s due on Hogmanay (which, for the first time in four years will not be spent (by me) in a homeless project in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow).

The first is the annual Christmas Cracker edition of the blog.

For example;

My dad used to be a road worker and had been accused of stealing from his job. Obviously I didn’t believe all the accusers but, when I got home, all the signs were there.

(RIP Keith Chegwin)

And the final one of the year is the Annual Blog Personality of the Year and nominations for all the various prizes are open to anyone and everyone – regardless of how well you know me – but that was a good shout, e.

And many newspapers and broadcasters have been pulling together the best Christmas songs of all time – but it’s all been Slade or Bing Crosby and David Bowie or the Pogues. This is much more traditional and has always been one of my favourites. The tempo change quite early in and reminds me of Steve Earle and Copperhead Road. 🙂

Listeners, this is Annie Lennox, GCU’s first female chancellor.

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……

“While we wait for good things to happen for ourselves, we can do good things for other people.” Rangel

November 16, 2017

And so, dear listener, I need your help. Some of you know how to contact me directly; some of you are on my Facebook; and some of you can leave comments at the bottom of this page. So don’t hold back. Thank you.

However it might be better if I told you what help I needed. 😉

Y’see it is now four months since I handed in my notice to Blue Triangle Housing Association with no idea of where to go/what to do next and three months since it took effect. It wasn’t quite a Gavin Docherty moment but my leaving of the BBC in 2004 certainly was. I walked out of the newsroom and never went back. 😀

So, as you know, I have since started work as assessor-candidate for SVQs and that’s happening and it is a long-term project – given my age, possibly my last ever. The main source of current income was to be the editing and proof-reading but that had been running slow. The third element of my new positivity was to be a night class and I chose An Introduction to Social Psychology. All that and the blog and friends but for once I’m not talking about them. It’s not that I’ve fallen out with any – that I’m aware – but I’m being a wee cautious at the moment.

So the common characteristic to all of that (including some of the elements of the friendship) is the laptop…….and
I realised I was spending more time in my back bedroom a.k.a the office or the HUB, than I wanted to, so something had to give and it was the nightclass.

I was just not settling into it so I contacted the tutor and resigned. I explained the laptop reasoning and he said he had empathy for my position and when a psychologist says that, then you know he means it. 🙂

It wasn’t as much as fun as some classes I’ve been at, in particular last year’s Gaelic 1. There was, for example, the night when me and Katie from Oxfam (and there were other pairings that night) teamed up to discuss forthcoming Christmas TV programmes in Gaelic which I’ve got to say was extremely good fun (and Joy was a fun teacher and was also at Duaisean Gaidhlig Na H-Alba 2017)*

And then there was the night (and I had rehearsed it) when I announced the birth of my grandson in Gaelic. It had been expected but when Joy asked in Gaelic, ‘has anyone any news?’ I put my hand up and just said, ‘Me miss, me miss.’ And told the class everything. 😀 😀

I have previous for this. When son Brian was born, it was announced, not in the pages of the Glasgow Herald, but on BBC Radio Scotland by the great Jimmy Mack. It may have reached further than Glasgow because when a real mutual friend phoned her mum to tell her that me and my then wife had had a baby, the mutual friend was told, ‘We know and not only do we know but so does the rest of Scotland.’ 😉 x

So, that’s a wee update on my life three months down the road (and the editing’s going well again) and something’s missing (and no I don’t mean the fact that I live alone. Have I ever mentioned that?).

No, I need something else in my life that is not dominated by the laptop.

And if it provides an income stream, then so much the better but fresh air might be more of a priority. I’m open to any offer (story of my life) and I’m willing to take my time. At my age, even with my medically normal knees, that’s almost inevitable. 🙂

Any ideas? You know where to find me.

I’m iaint580. Try me.

*And finally, Buidheann Disathairne won the Learner Award in this year’s Duaisean Gaidhlig Na H-Alba 2017 at Glasgow Grand Central Hotel. Gle mhath! to e and c and all concerned. I’ve never been but I’ve heard so much about it. 😀 😀 😀

Cya, back to wearing either the Prostate Cancer badge or the Big Sky badge and hopefully keeping it simple – still

Iaint850, awaiting the offer of Kremlin gold – so I can reject it.

So, as we get closer to the end of the year and the Blog Personality of the Year Awards, maybe just a wee bit about music as there is a Track of the Year category and there’s no reason why the Personality has to be a person or why indeed it has to relate to this year.

So, on Ricky Ross’s Country prog on BBC Radio Scotland this week he played tracks suggested by some of the people he’d featured over the last few weeks. One of them was Marty Stuart whose gig at Oran Mor, I was reliably informed, by someone who was there, was one of the gigs of the year and I do know folk (well, one) who play in a Johnny Cash tribute band called Jericho Hill. 😀

So, Johnny always starts off by saying, ‘Hello, I’m Johnny Cash” and there’s an Alabama 3 track which begins with those words and seeing them almost exactly one year ago with J was one of the highlights of my last twelve months and, indeed, the last eleven years (I’m never sure if other people understand recovery but that night made sense of the previous ten years in soooooo many ways) and they’re coming back to Glasgow this coming March. No. No reason.

Marty chose this track.

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…..team. 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.