Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

To those of you who received honours, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be President of the United States. George W. Bush

December 26, 2019

And so dear listener, it is with great pleasure that Skippy and I present the blog’s Annual Awards Ceremony – something that started way back in the early days of the blog when we (Skippy and me) felt that the people and events who make this blog the worldwide success that it is deserved some form of recognition. 😀

I’ve never ever taken any records of the music played on the show or who has won what or whatever but the first couple of announcements may see some eyebrows rising.

We know it’s not been the best of years for me for many reasons but I must always stress that I do not compare myself with other people – or at least I try not to. I am not of the fellowships but one of the things I did learn in the early years of my own recovery was not to compare myself with anyone or to comment on their situation……….’there but for the grace of God go I’ and if you don’t recognise a God, you may still understand what I’m getting at……. 😉

And, yes, in answer to one criticism that I had this year, there are reasons why I didn’t enjoy my regular trips down to Garelochead to check up on my sister’s house but by no means was I having a go at people who make that A82 trip regularly. They choose to do so. I was checking for mail and dead wasps………but this house was sold to people happy to make that journey.

So, I’ve got that out of the way…….

Lifetime Achievement Award goes to my late sister, Sheila.

Now I’ve checked the Rules and Regulations, Terms and Conditions and the Constitution and there are no rules against this………up to 23rd January is good. In addition, much of what we (and that’s a large ‘we’ which includes Son Brian, good friend e , Rosie from Cardross and Kenny the Shed Pimp) did was influenced by my sister…….or done in her name. Our work is almost done here and we move on, like a granddaughter on a new scooter paid for by all the grandparents. 🙂

And the Team of the Year Award goes to the Beatson staff – not just for what they did in the first month of the year but the help they gave to three others I know – either directly or through some form of Beatson Outreach.

But there were lots of good moments as well, including hearing my grandchildren, on being asked by their dad, what the best part of Christmas Day was, they replied Grandpa iaint850…….I suspect it would have been Santa Clause earlier in the day.

We will play ourselves out with the Track of the Year later but first, let’s do the actual Personality, which doesn’t have to be a person……and in Third Place is Holly the Dog.

Now, Holly may have news of her own later, and I will keep you posted but she was instrumental in changing my mind about something. I was looking after her and the two children with whom she lives – AJ and RJ – and it was about four days before Guy Fawkes night and I could only just see and hear them, but she was terrified by the fireworks. I had seen dogs scared before but that was when they had to be kept in the house when fireworks were in the garden. This was different and was a reminder to always think of others……..

In Second Place is the Decision to Change Lawyers.

It may seem an odd choice but that decision to replace my existing lawyer, prompted by my son, who is aware that I do get moments of depression, made a big difference to how I viewed the estate settlement and the effect that the seeming lack of action by my first lawyer was having on me.

I’m still being careful in what I say, but my first meeting with my new lawyers and the first piece of written action saw me sighing relief – and then again and again and again……. 🙂

And in First Place (and cue the Fanfare of Strumpets, Skippy) is a very latecomer – Scottish Water. My toby was leaking and once the innuendo was over, Scottish Water stepped in (not quite glug, glug, glug) and the biggest thing was that they kept telling me what was happening and they fixed it and reinstated things and I have recommended the entire team for something called a Gem Award so I hope they win it.

They’ve won this Award and I hope they do well with Gem. 🙂

So that’s it from me, Iaint850, and I am about to look forward to the new year. I almost have a list of ideas and some of them do affect other people – but positively. There have been other people (and you’ll have seen their initials) who have helped and I want to thank them.

I’ll maybe try and go to Morar for a weekend (and get it right this time) and maybe somewhere else and I need something more in my life – something, well something, but I always will keep it simple. Someone taught me that and I’ll never forget that……..even if……..

And I will continue to keep you, the listener, informed and involved……. 😀

Track of the Year?

It’s the Highwomen with Highwomen………have a wee listen to the words and then have a Happy New Year.

Who’s Rudolph’s favourite singer? Beyon-sleigh

December 19, 2019

And so dear listener, the tone is set. It’s the world famous Christmas Cracker edition of the blog…….and while you might groan now, you may be reading these in a few days’ time. 😀

But first some items of news.

Missives have been exchanged on my late sister’s second property – the flat in Gilsochill – so it seems that one year on, or thereabouts, I have no properties other than my own to worry about. It was all completed as lawyers’ offices settled down for Christmas holidays. I have money to receive but that will happen. It’s almost Christmas and I well remember what was happening with regard to my sister twelve months ago. We move on.

Q What did Adam say the day before Christmas?

A It’s Christmas, Eve.

(and see how important the apostrophe is in making that gag work)

And my toby has been fixed – and the ground around it has been reinstated so well done to Scottish Water and their sub-contractors all of whom have done a fantastic job including removing the barriers when they said they would. There is a scheme called GEM awards and I will be recommending the entire squad (from helpline to foremen) for that award – and maybe one other closer to home.

One of the workers is called Billy Graham and I said to his mate (both of whom looked too young to know that I was talking about……..

‘Famous name, eh?’

‘Aye, preacher man, we call him….’

I was flabbergasted.

Q What do you sing at a snowman’s birthday party?

A Freeze he’s a jolly good fella.

But Scottish Water showed what can be done when a publicly owned utility puts its mind to it. Maybe something like that can be done for Scotrail in the future – keeping people informed is good and that’s what Scottish Water did. 😀

Scotrail on the other hand? I was going into town for Christmas lunch with my SDF mentor, Andy, and I wanted to catch the 1111 train into Queen Street which would give me time to go into the office before going for lunch in an Italian restaurant in Glasgow city centre. Except when I got to the station, the noticeboard said the train going up to Anniesland was running late. Fine. It had gone up so it must come back down. Except the noticeboard said coming back down was now cancelled…….but, but, but……..and then it came through at 1111 but didn’t stop.
😦 😦 😦

There are various possible reasons for that but I never made it to the SDF office but welcome how much all the folk there have helped me through the last twelve months or so.

Q What carol do they sing in the desert?

A Oh camel you faithful

And the annual exchange of pressies between good friend e on behalf of her family, and me, on behalf of me, very nearly took place in the graveyard opposite my house with festive Holly the Dog……blame the barriers around my toby and one day all the cards I send to that household will arrive at the one time. One day. 🙂

Q What do you get if you cross a snowman with a vampire?

A Frostbite

And finally, a very pleasant trip out to UWS (Paisley) to catch up with a couple of folk (No, before, some of you ask that question………) but it always brings back nice memories and, whilst part of me would like to return to academia, I think I’ll limit myself to writing for the SDF. Have a look at their website to see examples of what I do.

So, one more week until the long awaited Personality of the Year Award and it’s not too late to nominate something for that award or one of the others.

In the meantime from me, iaint850…….Nollaig Chridheil and here are Peat and Diesel with Fairytale of Stornoway including the reference to Donny Dotaman.

‘What doesn’t kill you gives you a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms and a really dark sense of humour.’ (Monica Lewinsky)

December 13, 2019

And so, dear listener, I feel that I should make some kind of political statement after Thursday night but I’m not sure what to say.

Except……….

More than ever before, I feel that, politically, Scotland is a separate nation from England. I’m still not sure about Independence but was appalled during the various leaders’ broadcasts how little was appreciated of the devolved nature of Scotland and issues such as the NHS in the Scotland. I voted SNP as I believe they offer the best opportunity to protect things like health, education and legal rights against the Boris Johnsons of this world…… 🙂

And it didn’t do Boris Johnson any harm to say ‘no’ to going up against Andrew Neil. I think all leaders will question these invites in times to come. I think political journalists will also question their ‘sources’ and may slow down their responses when posting on Twitter. :p

And it might do Labour activists some good to look at life outwith London. 😉

(And I chose the word ‘outwith’ deliberately because it is not a recognised English word. If you don’t believe me, then do a ‘fact check’. Google it.…………there are academics who will not recognise the word, in the way that many political activists do not understand life beyond the M25)

That’s enough!!!!!

Apart from the fact that I notice that every losing politician and political party is now about to go through a period of reflection…….Don’t effing reflect!!!!!!! Effing act!!!!!!!

But I’ve been doing a wee bit of reflection as well…….a wee bit of counting blessings as we approach Christmas and the Christmas Cracker edition of the blog (next week).

For example, Scottish Water have been and they are going to excavate my driveway next week to fix my seeping toby without any question but I have running water unlike some of the people from Lancefield Quay who have no homes after the fire. 😦

Legally there’s still a wee issue with regard to the settlement of my sister’s will but I do feel you folk have lived through much of the legal process but it must be recognised that the need for a settlement only came about because of the passing away of my sister. She had a house in Garelochead and a flat in Glasgow but she had worked hard during her life and she loved that part of the Clyde……..

I can now begin to make some plans for myself.

I may extend my semi. I may buy a new Casio. And, and, and………..I’m not too sure after that. Any ideas?

But I have started to catch up on meeting up with folk. For example, I’d a wee catch up with Missie K in Princes Square the other night and whilst the whole place was busy we managed to find a comfy seat in D’Arcy’s and we discussed the environment.

Can I just say that I learned the word ‘bio-degradable’ in the seventies and think that organisations like Greenpeace, FofE and WWF have worked really hard for the environment and should be recognised as such? They may not do New Age dancing but I do feel that being ‘woke’ may be a little bit more difficult in the years ahead. There are difficult times ahead under what could well described as a ‘no-nonsense’ government……. 😦

And I grew up in the North East of Scotland where it was almost impossible to do anything other than buy locally and eat seasonally…..Tricky in Summerston, mind you but that’s no excuse.

And finally, I’d like to say thanks to all those who made contact in one way or another when I highlighted the fact that it is now thirteen years since I ‘cold-turkeyed’ and I just don’t drink these days but there are so many people who I have to thank. And did. 😀

Incidentally I’ve been trying to explain to people how I perceive the difference between being ‘in recovery’ and someone like me who quite happily says ‘I don’t drink these days’ and all the roads that exist on that road to recovery. Another time.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges but always looking out for more and always keeping it simple.

Iaint850, who went to bed not long after he heard the Exit Poll.

And just a brief word to say thanks to all those who’ve been in touch about the Blog Personality of the Year Award with suggestions for the actual personality (which doesn’t have to be a person); we’ve had good suggestions for both the track of the year and team of the year but I’m short of suggestions for Lifetime Achievement Award. Any thoughts?

This seems to be very popular at the moment. It’s David Bowie and Bing Crosby.

‘If Liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear’ (Eric Blair, or George Orwell as most people know him)

June 14, 2019

And so dear listener, last Saturday night saw me start a voyage of discovery to some of my recent roots……..No, Skippy, that isn’t right. Keep the tape running. I’ll ad lib. 😉

And so, dear listener, I’ve done a lot of travelling and catching up with folk over the last few days. One trip, for example, was with friend Rosie around the part of Scotland where my sister lived and going into a café (for lunch) that she used to frequent and saying ‘can we maybe not mention her or her house, in case anyone overhears and asks questions?’

It sounds daft I know but I didn’t want anyone to overhear her being mentioned and me being asked how she was and the house and so on.

I didn’t need to worry. It was deserted. We could have been discussing nuclear submarines and no-one would have known…………but it’s a beautiful part of the world. 🙂

As is Paisley. With friend uni-Sharon. And her liking of a café that sells goat’s cheese quiche.

I’m beginning to realise that I am very died-in-the-wool and like my cheese and onion toasties with plain bread……not sourdough bread but it is very nice when a good looking waitress tells me that if I don’t eat the crusts, my hair won’t grow curly. 😉

And then a quick cup of coffee in Cafe Nero with friend Debbie from the homeless project I used to work in and a quick resume of what’s happening in the world of the homeless. They’re still out there you know. The homeless are for all year round and not just Christmas.

But I did start off the week like many parents and grandparents at this time of the year…….at my grand-daughter’s annual Dance Class Dance Show. She was undoubtedly the best but was that her…or was that ….well, they all did well especially the Seniors who danced to a techno version of Singin’ in the Rain.

I did find the clip I was looking for and it is an edited techno Gene Kelly but it ends as an ad for VW so instead here’s a montage of Gene Kelly and some other well-known hoofers dancing to a jolly interesting piece of music. 😀 😀

Anyway it all took place in Clydebank Town Hall, just yards away from the Titan Crane down which I once abseiled……..but a wee word about the hall.

The Town Halls of Scotland is a book which, if it’s not yet written should be. They’re brilliant. They’re all basically the same design – a lovely auditorium with an upstairs and loads of rooms off and can turn their hands to almost anything.

I once attended what was described as Service Users’ Forum in Clydebank which was basically an opportunity to meet workers and service users from Blue Triangles all over Scotland and to chat and go through an agenda.

I and another worker, Caitlin, went from the two main Glasgow projects with about three service users (late teens) and it all went well. Except at one point I realised that one of my team was actually face-timing me on his tablet to his pals with a running commentary about how I was ‘single and desperate’……..I don’t think he got any replies. Well if he did he never told me.

But something happened that was really nice on the train back. My team were really excited and talking in a loud voice. The young guy who was sitting across from us leaned over and spoke:

‘Youse homeless? I was as well but I’d got a good worker like youse have (insert blushing icon) and I got maself sorted and now I’ve got my own flat and I’m on a college course……’ and left the train. (It had stopped) Possibly better than anything me or Caitlin could have said 🙂

And Holly the Dog has moved….along with the rest of her family. We’re still talking the west end of Glasgow but in a new part of the world for her and it has been fascinating watching her come to terms with new paths and roads and presumably new smells as she adjusts. There’s a big dod of green grass near where she now lives and it was also nice to say ‘hello’ to other dog owners in the area.

(No. I’ve not moved. I sometimes do dogwalking with Holly and, yes, that’s when it becomes apparent that having a dog can be a good way to meet people…….yes, ‘people’……not necessarily women, but………but whilst I do enjoy the walking I’m not sure about the looking after them in the house bit)

And just a wee word about politicians and drug taking. There’s nothing wrong with it – apart from some of it being illegal. The laws need to change. We need a legal system that offers proper controls over the manufacture, distribution and sale of drugs other than alcohol which is legal but deadly.

Instead we get ‘muffling and veiling’ from them all including a man who, like Donald Trump, is an inveterate lier but even more importantly (like Trump) has no interest in evidence-based policy. Just his own self-interest. Lives could be saved and people could make a return to useful life in society. Instead the rich will get richer and people will continue to die. Let’s discuss drug use openly and honestly with evidence and not pre-conceived out of date notions.

And finally, I went to the library recently and asked if they’d any books on paranoia. Very quietly, the library assistant whispered, ‘They’re behind you.’ 😉

Cya, still wearing that badge and still completely fine*.

Iaint850, about to put his feet up but there’s still editing to do……..

*Maybe next week Rosie…….

And so, at one time, whilst I was working night shift with the homeless, I was considering doing a PhD. Had I done that, I would then have called myself, Doctor John, the Night Worker.

But I didn’t, so here’s Doctor John, the Night Tripper

No, John, there is no Blue Lagoon car park in Paisley (anon)

January 5, 2018

And so, dear listener, a Guid New Year to ane’n’aw. I didn’t get the chance to do that in a blogilly manner because I had to broadcast the traditional Blog Personality Award of the Year on the Sunday. Which was also Hogmanay and people had better things to do.

So, once you’ve read this, read the blog below this one. Did you get an award? Holly the dog did.

But, yes, this was the first Hogmanay and New Year’s Day that I didn’t spend the nights with the homeless and refugees. And the family party I used to attend (not my actual family) no longer happens. Ah, the influence of having grandchildren staying with you. 😉

I watched some TV. Quite liked the Saturday night out prog but one day people will realise that the success of Flicks in Brechin was what the sign (in block capitals) actually seemed to spell out when seen from a distance. And no mention of Bonkers – a bar and club just along the road from where I worked in PR – and Clatty Pat’s – just along the road from the BBC…..places I used for a wee while after separation. 🙂

And this hints at an interesting question, which I shall call the Gus McKinnon Question.

Y’see, one of the books I received at Christmas was called ‘Close Quarters’ and is about a murder in a tenement just off Byres Road. One of the characters is a legal person called Gus McKinnon who spends his nights in bar called The Centurion and often staggers home drunk. It’s not a spoiler; it’s a recurring theme.

So, without going into any detail of the separation, I bought a house in Summerston – and then we told people.

That’s all I will say.

But a number of people then said, ‘why didn’t you buy a flat in Partick – close to the action?’ Now the house I actually bought has a large garden (and tbh, I had no idea how big a garden until I bought it as my one and only look had been in the dark before deciding to buy) and that has turned out to be a big factor in continuing to stay here.

The house is a bit idiosyncratic and has a semi-spiral staircase which looks slightly nautical and it’s only in the last few years that I’ve done any work to it with the kitchen still looking pretty naff – partly due to my duff painting – and whilst I’d quite have liked a Partick tenement flat my neighbours here are pretty good.

There was that incident when a neighbour’s daughter crashed her car into mine; the Sunday afternoon when Big Peter attempted to murder his mum; and the Sunday night when a Strathclyde Police task force attempted to bludgeon their way into one of the houses across the road, spent a couple of hours inside and then withdrew.

But apart from that it’s been pretty quiet. 😀

But reading that book did make me think – which I’ve been doing a lot of recently – and my thoughts are pure fantasy but what would I have made of a life in the West End – rather than being a regular visitor? Still thinking.

And finally, and this is the last time I’ll say this, 2017 did not really work out for me in many ways. Much of the depression has lifted but I do feel there is a residual mentally and physically. Indeed, one of the typical symptoms of being reluctant to leave the house has applied at times – continually rationalising with myself about going out.

BUT

I have plans for 2018. Let’s make them happen and if Mohammed won’t come to the mountain, then the mountain has to start knocking on doors. And UWS (Paisley) will get flyered amazingly soon cos there’s none on the noticeboards. 😦

And then the other three. I need the work.

http://www.thewordprocess.net

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

Iaint850, a very stable genius but only just 🙂

So, all a bit heavy, so can I tell you about my favest programme of the last two weeks?

It was The Story of Scotdisc – the label that did so much for the careers of Lena Martell (nee Thomson), Tommy Scott and Stuart Henderson jr – oh, and Sydney Devine.

In the late seventies I did my (first) Post Grad placement in Easterhouse (and I did my second Post Grad placement in Easterhouse as well) and one day the women were all really chirpy. They were going to see Sydney at the Pavilion that night and the next day they came in with a glazed look. I knew Sydney as a radio host and didn’t understand his pull as a country’n’western star. I’m still not sure.

The Scotdisc prog featured Sydney’s Line Dancing video and of course it featured Achey Breaky Heart (sp) – not necessarily serious line dancers’ favest piece of music.

For me, one of the biggest thrills was to hear the distinctive voice of Jim Symon. Clyde through the night was brilliant (and I did do a couple of features for them live from the studios above Anderston Bus Station) and Ian Anderson emerged from there.

A lot of good memories and well done to Nick, Linda and Russell from Demus Productions and well worth a look on BBC iPlayer (9 pm, Wednesday, 3rd January BBC1 Scotland) and here’s Lena. I have no idea who Dave is but this is the version with the importantly changed lyric – she is a woman, not ‘just’ a woman. One hundred years on from women (of a certain age) getting the vote, I think that was a change well ahead of its time.

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.

“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

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……