Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

“I began to think vodka was my drink at last. It didn’t taste like anything, but it went straight down into my stomach like a sword swallowers’ sword and made me feel powerful and godlike.” (Plath)

December 9, 2017

And so, dear listener, this weekend is the eleventh anniversary of my Cold Turkey when I ended up in hospital after a weekend of non-drinking – so dependent had my body become on alcohol – but last year I had made the decision to stop counting the years unless asked. I am simply someone who does not drink. 😀

The events of Saturday, 10th December 2016 (this time last year) are well known to regular listeners. My Cold Turkey weekend had started on Saturday, 10th December 2006 (and finished two days later) and Alabama 3 were in Glasgow’s O2 on that day and date in 2016 (exactly ten years on!!!!) and J, the blog’s favest librarian, had agreed to come with me and an interesting night out occurred although I still have no idea, J, what the point was of the monk with the V for Vengeance mask standing at the side of the stage. Anyway you enjoyed the gig and that was good. As did I. As did my neighbours when I got home and played all their albums into the wee small hours……… 😉

And as I went home, I thought that was it. No anniversary talk ever again.

Until the heating upstairs in my house broke down last week and I had a very cold bed. 😦

I don’t wear much in bed (if anything) so I am not well organised when I need something to get me through the night when it’s cold. The best thing I have is a freebie sweatshirt from a movie called Interview With The Vampire and it is long enough to be a nightdress and may have…….well anyway. It’s what I was wearing the night I got taken to the Western Infirmary and then to Gartnavel Ward 8 to dry out – for ten days. It’s what I wore when I was discharged. 🙂

I’ve never thrown it out cos for years I believed there was a demon in it. Daft I know but for the first few years of my recovery I used the language that everyone else uses to describe things. It was only after I’d started at uny (Post Grad and Master’s in Alcohol and Drugs Studies) that I saw things through different eyes.

But yet……..I had had a major fight that night with the Four Hallucinating Horsemen of the Apocalypse and I’m not sure they all left. (This was after the out of body experience when I think I died for a while) It must have been one helluva fight cos after I ended up in hospital, my next door neighbour organised some friends of hers to clean, tidy and basically put my house back together and they had to be paid. And then I’d to pay the person who paid them. And then my son, then a B.Acc student at Strathclyde University, took over some financial duties as my credit card and banking stuff needed sorted.

(This is why I prefer cash as it helps me keep better control of my finances and whilst the future may lie in contactless cards, I do see a lot of people who fail to keep the transaction slip)

And somebody (my sister, my ex-wife, her husband?) organised some cards from me and some presents and my ex also invited my sister and me (death warmed up and only just) for Christmas Dinner and I really appreciated that. 🙂

But this is why I still buy and send cards. I do understand why people don’t send cards but make a decision to give to charity instead but mine say something more than just Merry Christmas – they say ‘I’m still alive and don’t you forget it!’ 😀 😀 😀

And I buy them from Cancer Research UK – so a charity still gains.

And at a time when emergency call centres seem to be getting a lot of criticism, can I just say big thanks to the 999 operator who looked after me that morning when I realised I needed help. And made sure I left the front door open so the paramedics could get in. And at least three of the four horsemen went out.

And No (in answer to the second most asked question I get) I do not get cravings and I think the main reason for that is that I did/do not attend ‘meetings’ where alcohol is the main topic of conversation. With my addiction worker we basically looked at alternative behaviours so that alcohol was not my answer to everything.

In fairness, I have only ever been to four meetings – one in Maryhill on my own – one in Stevenson and at a convention in Paisley with someone known to some of the regular listeners – and one at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood. I think AA works for some people; I needed something like Cold Turkey to make me aware of what I was doing with my life.

(The answer to the most asked question I get is ‘Yes I do have male friends. Honest. Just don’t expect me to list them just now.’)

But there are times when a feeling does come back – a memory which prompts nice feelings. Alcohol advertising on TV doesn’t bother me although I know some campaigners would like to see greater controls as with tobacco.

I don’t watch much TV but sometimes I’ll see a drama and someone in it will pour a large, decent-sized drink of whisky into a glass and then take a decent gulp – and the heat will hit the back of the throat and the world will seem better. But then the other memories kick in and I remember why I’m glad I don’t drink.

Not that there’s anything to stop me. Other than me. It’s called free will.

So, no music tonight to end with. Instead I’m going out for a quiet walk and not bother about the weather. I do a lot of walking. I’ve not just discovered Fitbits.

I tell people this next bit but I’m not sure they believe me. Eleven years ago my balance was so bad I had to learn to walk all over again. Ask the people who visited me and saw me using a zimmer. Ask the physios who helped me practise walking up and down the backstairs of Gartnavel. I then progressed to walking round the graveyard and my physical recovery started then. 🙂

Indeed, whatever you may think of me, please remember it all came into being under interesting circumstances eleven years ago. I am young; I am still learning. 🙂

Next week begins the traditional run up to Christmas for the blog.

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

Iaint850

Advertisements

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?

‘Post-truth’ – relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief (OED)

November 18, 2016

And so dear listener, last week was a wee bit of a rant but I’ve seen a few folk saying similar things but rather than concentrate too much on that side of my life, I want to look on the bright side of life – but I’d rather not always do that.  But a big thanks to President Obama and  Mark Zuckerberg to lending their, and Facebook’s support, to what might end up as a campaign and giving it a name – ‘false news’ leading to….

Post-truth……

Y’see good things can and do happen to me; we are approaching Christmas and some other important anniversaries in my life.

It is exactly three years since I graduated with a Master’s degree – a brilliant day and I’ve not worn Highland dress since. Will there be another opportunity? It’d be nice. But I don’t think there’s much of a ceremony attached to the awarding of an SVQ3 should I be lucky enough to get it. And who would I invite? 😉

But as you know, soontime sees the Annual Blog Personality of the Year Awards and they don’t bear that much resemblance to other awards. The first ever award was the only one that ever went to a person – the then three year old Ruby – and last year they went to the Little House on the Prairie Incense Burner that J brought back from Canada  😀  and in between the award, for example,  has gone to a glass of whisky and a phone call from an Italian bar, amongst other things, so given the effect and influence that the SVQ had on me at one point this year, maybe it should be the winner. 😦

Anyway both the Award and the annual Christmas Cracker Joke Edition will be a few days earlier than previous years but for all sorts of reasons, including the fact that I am working twelve hour shifts on the nights of the 31st December and 1st and 2nd of January and then it’s almost daytime working time. It will be like a new job and I’m treating it like that. My hours are really strange over the next few weeks so if you want a copy of my rota please just ask.  🙂

Especially as the week before Christmas is also pretty busy.

Elsewhere on the nice stuff, despite what I said about the PSA being only a rough guide to the state of my prostate’s health, it was nice when Dr Fiona highlighted it when I walked in with my foot the other day. ‘Brilliant news’ was how she described it. And I smiled.

Could my 0.9 be down to my diet and clean living?

The foot? It would have been difficult to have left it at home.

Something seems to have moved a bone in a toe and pressure is being put on my foot and I’ve to go to a bio-mechanic at a podiatrist to get new insoles …or something. I have an appointment somewhere in Dumbarton Road next week at 2.30. 🙂

And then there are various traditions to follow such as the annual Word Process nights out, which seem to get moved into the early months of the next year. Looking forward to those already. And present exchanges. But before Christmas. And indeed present buying. Look out, De Courcy’s I’m coming to get you – especially after the success of the last gift I got there…..

And maybe upstairs in a book shop in Glasgow where I bought nothing at the time but I returned the next day and spent a lot of money 🙂

And we’re already talking Christmas Ceilidh at the Gaelic class (and yes, the Gaelic for ceilidh is ceilidh) and my homework for next week is to look at the train station sign for Summerston and see what the Gaelic is for Summerston. Some scorn was poured on my suggestion that all I needed was the Gaelic for the Town of the Summer. Hey, we have the ASDA!!!!

Many of my visitors over the years had never visited Summerston before and have been impressed. In the Summer. Okay, Christmas Lights leave a lot to be desired but, hey……

And, yes, I am counting down the days to the end of my life as an established part-time nightworker, altho’ I may still do some as overtime. Will I miss anything? Loads. In the early days of my withdrawal I may go out at five in the morning to empty my own bins into the big bin down the side of the house in complete darkness other than the street lights and then pause to ask the taxi-drivers how their nights have been before washing the steps at the front of the house.

And finally, I will continue to take on challenges and I will continue to be disappointed. But in about three weeks’ time……..No.  Let’s just see what happens. At the time.

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

Iaint850, wondering what my new tree looks like (it’s still in the box) and wondering if I should get a metre long pink fluffy unicorn for my granddaughter……. 🙂

BBC Breakfast has been running some features on cancer, including prostate cancer, and it was eight years ago just now that I was starting the first part of my treatment. I feel slightly removed from the whole cancer experience now but there is always one moment when it comes home.

There’s a thing called cancer guilt. It’s when someone dies and you think ‘why them…why not me?’ It’s usually, in my case, when it’s a child or teenager or, well, just someone with their life ahead of them. In a ‘gratitude’ list like the one above, my major gratitude is that I am alive to say there is always hope. I don’t know if people who come through heart attacks, strokes or car crashes or other life threatening events feel the same…….I just know I do. 🙂

Or when I see stories of those young people who have had to turn to the Teenage Cancer Trust for help on top of what the brilliant NHS* offers.

*Other health providers are available – ours happens to reflect a caring society which is maybe why the Tories are running it down.

And this was filmed at my Gaelic class. Mannequin Challenge it ain’t. It’s Walk the Moon and Work This Body.