Archive for the ‘depression’ Category

Roses are red, April seems grey. I hope we can get out by the start of May. (adopted from Anon)

April 3, 2020

Except, dear listener, it looks increasingly unlikely. If the lockdown does seem to be working then it makes sense to keep it going; if it’s not, then it will get tougher. The UK Government’s handling of things has been too little too late and too bloody inefficient, and whilst the Scottish Government paints a more honest picture, it is very difficult to be sure of where this is all heading.

And yes, there are too many conflicting messages coming over and that’s something I will return to, but first……last week’s show was well received despite some personal misgivings about what I was saying about myself so mega ta……. 🙂

Today’s show is a wee bit more random thoughts (some of which may apply to you) as I broadcast from home yet again.

And before I start randomising, in many respects I’m fine because I live on my own at home and am used to working from home BUT I very much miss seeing grandchildren, dog walks, coffee with people and lunches and randomly bumping into people in Byres Road……..so many things to look forward to. 😀

And when I get a wee bit lonely I play music. I hadn’t realised how many crap CDs I had. 😦

Anyway, most of the people in my street (cul-de-sac) were out on Thursday night applauding for all workers who are caring for us, ranging from the NHS to social care to supermarket workers to the paid and voluntary workers with the homeless, and the dogs seemed settled. One household, which is self-isolating (and there may be others) came to the windows and applauded. They had a delivery from a well known supermarket which was left on their doorstep and the window chapped by a well gloved hand.

We’re only now learning how unhygienic we really are. 😦

The postman still delivers (why are firms still punting junk mail?) so I anti-bac the front door handle and the letter box.

And we don’t need a letter from Boris. That isn’t going to stop those idiots who fouled up Strathclyde Park last week.
We need a new Central Office of Information (COI) that can use TikTok to talk to people.

(Aye the COI was done away with in 2011. It’s thanks to their Public Service Advertising that if my kite gets trapped halfway up an electric pylon I don’t climb after it and I don’t get into cars with strangers cos Charlie told me not to. Charlie? No. Not that Charlie)

And I was invited to take part in a conversation on Zoom and it went well. If I ever do get my act together with regard to Zoom or similar, who pays? I had slight computer problems which have been fixed remotely by a good guy in Largs (or somewhere cos it doesn’t matter where if it’s remote)

And a big well done to my local ASDA which I’m still visiting. On Thursday they had two sets of barriers to form a queuing system – one for NHS workers and the elderly (I am neither) and one for the rest of us, but the ‘five in and five out’ seemed to work and it was well stocked apart from spring onions. And I’m checking use by dates and planning rough menus. 😉

There’s no doubt in my mind that some of the early uncertainty about the social effects of the virus came from those who went out and panic bought and put everyone else in a difficult position (see me – see last week’s blog) when it came to buying stuff. I take the fact that the supermarkets are almost normal as an optimistic sign and full credit to the workers therein. 🙂

And there’s been plenty of advice about home schooling your children* but what about your parents if they still live with you (and if they don’t then you staying at your home and them staying at their home may be proving hard)….anyway, one thought if I may…….maybe plan some trips with them for when this is over. Plan to visit places that are important to them, but in detail. Why are these places important, do they have photos (my late sis had lots of photos she never got the chance to describe to people) and what do they think you’ll get from these trips……..cos you are definitely going with them, aren’t you? And maybe dress up when you do it and there’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine** or nibbles as you do it.

**or orange juice if you prefer.

*If I may…….for the children? (And I’m not sure about the phrase ‘home schooling’. It seems to put pressure on parents when all you might want to do is to keep them smiling while learning)

One idea is to watch a TV programme together; discuss it afterwards; maybe do a drawing from it; and maybe even act some of it out. It’s a thought. No more. It’s Media Studies. 😀

And so before I sign off with tonight’s music a wee word about Sir James Gordon who passed away this week and who I had met on several occasions. Much has been said about his starting Radio Clyde and all the local radio spin-offs from that and his love for Glasgow University and the students’ union where it all started, but I just see him as someone from what seems now like a golden generation, and a different era, where if you were successful in business then you felt it was important to give something back to the public good. Until a few weeks ago it seemed that many people in politics (with some exceptions) were in it for what they could get out of it. Maybe they still are.

If only we had more like Jimmy and some others now………

Tioraidh, keeping it simple

Iant850, keeping it fun and keeping it at homw

So, tonight’s music carries on with me choosing music just cos I want to. Tonight’s choice reflects on friendships and I’m not going to highlight any initial in particular but all initials and pseudonyms that have featured in the blog, but it was a good gig……..and if the lockdown does continue for another ten weeks or so, then there may be little difference between me and Mike Scott from the hair point of view.

Take care and stay safe.

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” (Toni Morrison)

March 6, 2020

And so, dear listener, I suspect this may be a shorter show than usual. Not because of Covid-19, although most of it will be taken up with some personal thoughts on the virus, but because I seem to have a number of writing and editing projects on the go, which I need to finish off – and my grandson turned three this weekend. Cue grandparents’ party…….and maybe it’s time for a company development meeting or a kitchen extension or……..

I mean, I’m pretty well sorted. I live alone and have no special, regular visitor (and that’s not a complaint); I work from home; and I only really have one group activity at the moment and that is my weekly visit to the Scottish Drugs Forum offices in Glasgow City Centre – and therein lies my slight concern at the moment. Not the SDF itself but the train journey in. 😦

Once a week I catch a commuter train to go to work and it’s not a pleasant experience at the best of times but this last couple of times I was very aware of coughing and hacking and sniffles and I do sit beside a neighbour but, really, there’s a lot of people not using paper hankies and binning them. I can catch a train about half an hour later and it will be more relaxed. 🙂

And I was on another train this week……to Helensburgh to see friend Rosie, who’d been such a help with looking after my sister’s property in Garelochead. There were two men of a certain age on the train, unable to get into the toilet as it was out of order. Were they really going to go into a corner and….. 😦

Thankfully no.

But it rather knocked my own thoughts on the head as I’d planned to wash my hands just before getting off the train; however, my knowledge of Helensburgh paid off. I have never known the toilets on the peer to be shut and, well there you go, they weren’t.

But, yes, if the current problems remain then we may have to re-think out attitude to providing public facilities for personal hygiene. People who drive through Anniesland Cross may not realise that, at one time, there was a public toilet in the middle of one of the ‘islands’ on the Glasgow High School side and when its usefulness had gone, there was talk of it being turned into a café or restaurant – not unknown in Glasgow as there’s at least two in Kelvingrove Park that were once toilets…..a long time ago. 😉

But it didn’t happen. Maybe too many cars and maybe too many traffic lights.

I mean I’m pretty clean. Sometimes a second shower at the end of the day and, of course, I have my new vacuum cleaner PLUS, dear listener, I am the kind of person who washes their clothes at 40 degrees. Do you? I always have done…….. 😉

But clothes washing relates to one of my two foibles where cleanliness is concerned. Whenever I buy clothes that are new to me, be they brand new denims from Debenhams or much loved sweatshirts from the Save the Children charity shop, they get washed. On their own. At 40 degrees. I don’t know why. I feel happier. 🙂

And the other one? I don’t have a dishwasher, so all the dishes are washed and rinsed by hand and then, once they’re on the drainage board, I boil water in the kettle and pour that over them. You can’t be too careful.

But on a very serious note, I am aware of the possible problems that support workers in social care residential work might be about to face if self-isolation does become more common. There’s a lot still to be thought about and, whilst there’s no scientific reason to believe that warmer weather will help to reduce the incidence of the disease, it would be nice to think that it would.

tioraidh, keeping it fun, keeping it simple and still wearing the badges

iaint850, who’s been preparing for the last two years for self-isolation.

In the meantime I will continue to wash my hands, including the crevices between my fingers and thumbs, whilst singing Happy Birthday. Twice. Here’s Clare from the Spaghetti Factory.

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.

‘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.

But when you’re in zugzwang, one possible strategy is just not to make a move. But, in the end, the game has to end. (One view of where we are with Brexit negotiations)

September 19, 2019

And so, dear listener, last week’s show reflected a Government minister’s unwillingness (cowardice?) to voice his own views so he did it in a slimey and snidey way. This week is totally in my voice and all the feelings are mine but I am going to speak about a lot of other folk but mostly in a nice way……. 😀

Let’s start with Son Brian who has been a tremendous help in so many ways in recent months and who has recently set up my new PC altho’ I have not yet made a full transition from the old one (this one) to the new one as I’m trying to stay a wee bit away from computer screens after all the editing and writing I’ve been doing recently.

Anyway Happy Birthday Son Brian (and RJ as well)……. 😀

(and can I be a wee bit editorially geekish here and say there’s an amazing range of templates on Word 365…….I spent an afternoon going through them). 😀

So I’m going to talk about people like Rod Stewart, and I’ll finish with a wee story about him later, but I don’t share the view that it’s ‘good’ when a celeb tells their story about their cancer*. I just think it’s great when anyone tells that story. Sharing is brilliant and if you’re telling that story it’s cos you survived that experience. But well done Rod……..and d’you remember that time when….but later…… 😉

(And a personal hero on the Prostate Cancer front was a guy called Roy Stewart who, despite being seriously ill, was an amazing man to do Information Stands with. ‘Back off Roy, let them get in through the door first’ (lol))

*and I instinctively used third person plural pronouns, Sam, because we already do in certain circumstances. I mean I have no issue with gender transition, but, as an editor, I’m not sure why you still use first person singular pronouns when talking about yourself. Why not third person plural for consistency?

But this week it doesn’t have to be a health thing.

Last week the European Ladies Golf team (under the captaincy of Scot, Catriona Matthew, who played a major part in my PR career many years ago) beat the Americans with the final putt on the final hole in the final match of the Solheim Cup. It was sunk by Suzann Petterson who had hardly played in the last two years, was something like 630th in the World and was a personal pick by Catriona……… 😀

Everyone was a heroine (deliberate use of female of hero) in the team but to be have been written off and then to have written her own chapter in sporting history was amazing….wasn’t it?

And Fernando Ricksen? A hero. Not my favourite as a player altho’ I’ve no real views about Old Firm players but in recent years, he played a blinder spreading the word about MND. And his wife and the rest of his family. There’s an amazing shot of Fernando on his super dooper wheelchair going into some event and his wife leans over and adjusts his head so it’s up and looking forward and looking cool and commanding and not slumped…… 😀

And Gareth Thomas…… Now, I’m not 100 per cent sure why he spoke when he did. The documentary was more or less recorded and about to be broadcast and he was going to talk about being HIV in that and that was one of the reasons why he had done the Ironman Triathlon challenge to show that being HIV did not mean being a wimp….he just hadn’t told his parents and then had to go public because it was about to become public.

I though Gareth came out of it with grace and courage and it may make more people think about overcoming stigma. Well done….. 😀

And I was asked recently…….’wouldn’t it mean more to people if you described yourself as a recovered alcoholic….give more people hope of recovery?’

Seven years ago, I set myself a target of just being someone who ‘doesn’t drink’…….I think I’ve been pretty open about the reasons why I don’t drink and am more than happy to discuss those reasons but it’ll soon be thirteen years so I’m quite happy with the way I’ve done it.

Plus I think there are still too many connotations and stigma that still surround the word ‘alcoholic’. Lapsing is not inevitable.

And I did see one journo on TV saying that David Cameron’s depression wasn’t clinical because he had never taken anti-depressants. Nor have I but that doesn’t mean that my moments of anxiety and depression aren’t real.

And a new GP that I discussed this with last week shared my views. She was good…..’but there was a letter from your urologist in 2014 that said such and such but you never tried it……..I think we should give it a go…….peppermint or aniseed?’ 😉

#copingmechanisms

And finally a wee word about the furore (eh?) surrounding some Head of a Fire Brigade (Lincolnshire?) who thought that Fireman Sam being white and male put people off. So I wonder if he (of course it’s a he) has ever seen Flora the Firefighter who is a real person and this should be standard viewing everywhere.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07cdm4x

tioraidh, still wearing the badges (with pride) and still keeping it simple but I may send a birthday card

iaint850 who’s nobody’s hero but is happy waking up every morning.

And many years ago, at the age of 12 or so I was allowed into the adult, let’s call it the grown up, section of Peterhead Library cos I’d read all the kiddies’ books; and I seemed to be heavily into World War II books. I picked out one about Arnhem (seventy-five years ago) and happened to go into the newsagent that my dad used and the man behind the counter asked to see it and he looked at it, especially the photos.

‘Why?’ I asked my dad later.

‘Because he was at Arnhem and he survived but he doesn’t talk a lot about it.’

That night I stopped reading books by generals as I realised who the real heroes were. Many of mine over the last few days are listed above.

The Rod Stewart (and rainforestriverman) story can wait until next week.

Here’s Chumbwamba and their famous appearance on TV in the states and a song that is appropriate for so many people in today’s blog. If I’ve missed anyone out, for once let me know.

“That’s how the first lady got involved. She’s got a son, together, that is a beautiful young man and she feels very, very strongly about it. She’s seen it. We’re both reading it, a lot of people are reading it. But people are dying with vaping so we’re looking at it very, very closely.” (Donald Trump and I think the ‘she’ is his wife and the ‘young man’ is their son)

September 13, 2019

And so dear listener, many people are asking – I’m not saying this – but many people are asking how my toes are after last week’s bloody interlude and I’m just saying what they’re saying.…..and so, I’m just saying what people are saying in the style of snidey and cowardly Government minister, Kwasi Kwarteng*, who didn’t have the guts to actually say what he felt………(I can’t remember what about tho’…….Brexit?)

One Sunday newspaper described him as having ‘slimed into action.’

And then I saw his boss, Boris Johnson, being heckled and you realised that he, and they, can’t handle criticism. They have lived such privileged existences that they don’t understand what it’s like to be challenged. 😀

And I learned the art of handling hecklers when I debated at Glasgow University Union, where if someone heckled me, I’d say something like ‘If brains were taxed then my honourable friend is due a rebate.’ 😀 😀 😀

It was often said that I was a master debater.

Sorry. Where was I?

Oh, yes.

I was going to use that style of ‘some people say’ to talk a little about gender transition but not about people but about penguins and Fireman Sam and someone else but Piers Morgan and TV chef, James Martin, and someone else all got involved and it became a bit of a slanging match on social media and then my washing machine began to behave erratically and a cheque for £702 came in from my new solicitor but before I add two and two together and buy a new machine I will contact AS Electrics at Charing Cross and they will tell me if my very old washing machine is dead. 😦

And then I breathed out (see last week for details of my breathing) and reached for a pack of Thorntons Triple Chocolate Caramel Shortcake Bites available from the ASDA for 99p and ate three.

(They’re quite sickly, aren’t they?)

And all I’ll say is that I don’t think penguins give a toss about gender identity as long as they get plenty of fish and I love it when they jump feet first into the Antarctic and I was told that, during the Falklands War, never having seen helicopters before, as they flew overhead, the penguins would lean further and further back and land on their backs long before David Jason did it in Only Fools And Horses. 🙂

I also think Fireman Sam, Postman Pat and Colin the Coastguard (an idea I had from long ago that never made it out of my head into a programme proposal and only works if you say it out loud…….go on. Try it.) are all animated characters from some time back but should be used not be used as part of an argument in which they cannot take part but as props for conversation….discussing situations……….I think we’re in danger of rushing into so much cos we’re scared of being seen to be non-caring without thinking what we’re caring about.

#stopthedeaths

I’m also a wee bit tired. There’s been a lot of editing – which is good. It’s been a difficult few months with various moments of anxiety and depression but it has helped to have those words on the screen and I enjoy it and I feel I make a difference (and I do get thanked as well as paid).

And I do understand if people don’t want to meet up with me. Don’t be pressured but don’t be pressured not to…….(eh?);)

However the 100,000 word PhD on the social issues caused by a major dam project in China as seen by a Chinese accountant was quite a challenge but my work, so far, has been well received by the author and I think any time anyone says to me,

‘Still doing the editing, iaint850? What is it? Just checking spelling and apostrophes?’

I will happily send them the original work and the finished work after two readings.

(And a big thanks to my business associate who helped with some of the editing and whose daughter, RJ, turned seven last week and Son Brian turned thirty-three. Nick Cage at the Tramway, here we come!)

Sorry, Skippy……???

Nick Cave at the Tramway here we come!!!!!

And finally, I’d like to pay credit to the Queen in this era of climatic concern, who seems to never stop planting trees and who also seems to have a wee woman’s smile on her face. I’d much rather have a wee chat with her than many of those I gloss over on social media. 🙂

Tioraidh, and I’ve lost one of the badges but I am still keeping it simple

Iaint850, and, now that I am no longer totally pescatarian, I often spend my nights binging on wine gums after a hard day’s editing.

So, there’s quite a lot on all forms of media just now about the number of drug related deaths and that something should be done but not all of them are saying what they want to see done. The SDF Conference I was at a couple of weeks ago had a number of people who had lived experience and positive contributions to make on the basis of that. I’m in the middle of writing up the Conference Report and will post a link to it eventually.

One was the high profile Garth Mullins from Canada who describes himself as a drug user activist who used to use injectable heroin but is now on methadone. He is the executive producer of the Crackdown podcast where drug users cover the drug war as war correspondents.

The other was Fiona Gilbertson who has twenty-five years of advocacy experience in HIV and sex work and who believes that the fundamental way to tackle stigma and discrimination is through policy changes. Fiona works with an organisation called Recovering Justice and is in long terms abstinence based recovery.

It was like being at a meeting in the early days of the trade union movement. The talk was of getting organised. And if there’s a common link to the eight hundred words above it’s an attempt to recognise my own rights and those that other people have. Take care.

I’m no longer a member of the NUJ but the last time I was in their offices in Union Street someone was singing this. They were good, but they weren’t no Bruce Springsteen, who’s just about to turn seventy.

Don’t forget you’re human. It’s okay to have a meltdown. Just don’t live there. Cry it out. Then re-focus on where you’re heading.

August 30, 2019

And so dear listener, apologies for the lack of a blog last week.

As some of you know there have been hiccups with regard to the settlement of my sister’s estate. I can’t say much as, by its very nature, it’s a legal process, so I can’t say much. But I have changed lawyers and I have known my previous lawyer since university days (the first time) so some decisions have been hard.

I have a new lawyer and I think we’ve found the tunnel but I’m still not sure whether that what we’re seeing is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel or the light of an oncoming train.

But I’m happier and what I refer to as moments of anxiety and depression are beginning to recede but they are real and usually the coping mechanisms that I talk about help but no amount of going for a walk can sell a house you thought was already sold altho’ it hasn’t not been sold.

But I did have to clear away a lot of dead wasps from my sister’s house last weekend AND altho’ she’s dead I don’t think I’m unusual in still thinking about her and what she would make of the various happenings.

But I did mention some of this to another friend from my first time at university and therefore of that generation. His advice was to ‘wake up and smell the flowers’. It’s funny. I’ve done suicide intervention training on two occasions, and used it successfully twice, when working for Blue Triangle.

It wasn’t easy and it might have been so much easier had I been able to say to them ‘Wake up and smell the flowers!’ No, I didn’t get thanks and I had loads of paperwork to do after it.

And then I got a message on social media from someone from whom I had not heard for years but who does seem to follow me and this show somewhere.

Here’s one quote; ‘I have to admire that you can pull out the positives and I wish I was more like that.’

So, dear listener, which of the messages had the more positive effect? Or need I ask? Thank you Chris. 🙂 🙂 🙂

And finally, it’s been a bit of a one-subject blog but there have been good things this week. It’s my grand-daughter’s fifth birthday this week and I did get her a proper card as opposed to the one that said ‘Sorry, I forgot your birthday’ that I started the week with, I was at a smashing conference organised by the Scottish Drugs Forum (#stopthedeaths), it’s been a wee while since I’d eaten at the Hanoi Bike Shop so thoroughly enjoyed eating there again , I’m slowly working my way through a 100,000 word edit and I’ve been shown the actual bin where I can drop off used coffee capsules for re-cycling.

But maybe more of that next week,

Tioraidh, and an Oxfam collector in Buchanan Street recognised the Prostate Cancer Awareness badge and let me past, and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, and what I do do is take a wee walk in the garden when it’s dark but I do have lights so it’s very pleasant and very relaxing,

Last week, when the blog didn’t happen, I had planned a political ending.

I was, either, going to have a go (as I have done before) at Iain Duncan Smith whose think tank has proposed setting the date for your pension at 75, or Harry, Meghan and Sir Reg Dwight.

IDS is the idiot who approached Alcoholics Anonymous in 2011 or 2102 and suggested that convicted drunk drivers should be compelled to attend AA meetings. What he didn’t realise was that AA meetings are voluntary and the word ‘Anonymous’ means you don’t have to give your name and so there is no record of attendance. What an idiot!

As is Sir Reg Dwight who felt that paying for H & M’s private jet AFTER the event (and I’m saying nothing about the ecological impact) would stop the criticism of them taking a freebie rather than a commercial flight.

Have you ever been on the Glasgow to Edinburgh train (on quieter times than last weekend) and decided to chance your luck in First Class but you only have a normal off-peak return and the conductor comes in and you offer to pay the difference but he says ‘no’ and he chucks you off at Linlithgow saying, ‘try it on the next train’ (a friend, honest, and a long time ago).

Where’s Sir Reg when you need him?

So, in the real world, I note that there are concerns that children no longer have invisible friends but they have friends they ‘make’ through computers.

Skippy’s doing fine thank you. She’s travelling the world at the moment and sends postcards from time to time – invisible postcards of course. She seems happy and I’ll pass on your best wishes.

Skippy is/was a coping mechanism but you’d guessed that a long time ago, didn’t you?

Maybe so are you, dear listener, and I thank you for listening.

So, in the latest in the well received series of good looking women in country music, here’s Dolly, Lind and EmmyLou……..

“I like geography best, he said, because your mountains and rivers know the secret. Pay no attention to boundaries.” ― Brian Andreas

August 2, 2019

And so dear listener, for the first time in some time, I am not starting with a sitrep on my health (‘sitrep’ being short for situation report). Instead I start with tales of a walk through the streets of Glasgow but as a guided and informative walk. It was like being a tourist as we strolled through Townhead and the fabulous St Andrew’s Square and followed the source of the Molendinar and looked at where the legendary Schipka Pass once existed. 🙂

It was a guided tour and one of the three short courses I was attending looking at, basically, old Glasgow. This one was based on the fact that, at one stage, Glasgow was bounded by the Clyde, the Molendinar and the St Enoch Burn. And good it was too. 😀

Although sometimes I have a big mouth, don’t I?

We started off on the Clyde Walkway with our guide identifying some of the buildings before we moved on.

‘And that was the Waterside Club where they used to hold ceildihs and stuff like that,’ he said.

‘Em, it was called the Riverside Club,’ my voice said.

‘And there was a discotheque over there, one of the first in Glasgow…..’

‘Yes. Panama Jax,’ my voice said……..at which point I shut my voice up and moved slightly to the back.

But it was good and introduced me to bits of the city that I’d either not seen for a long time or had faded from my memory but I think what I’ll remember most is that feeling of walking through the Calton, as a group, with a couple of guys grabbing a fly fag outside a boozer doing that real lookout thing of watching you without moving their eyes.

‘It’s okay, we weren’t interested in your dodgy tobacco, we were more concerned that we all got across the road at the green man. We did.’

I’m missing the one next Saturday. It’s a visit to a couple of Glasgow graveyards to discuss grave robbing. I have no idea who practical it will be. I have something else on. Unusually.

So it’s been a week when my unhappiness with people who I expect to do a job, but they don’t, has been showing. Maybe more of this soon but full credit to someone who did do a job and did it well and did it when he said he would.

My next door neighbour and I now have a new fence between us. The old one was badly needing replaced and someone who does a lot of work in the area was highly recommended. So we contracted him. And he turned up on time. And someone came and took away the old fence as soon as it was brought down. And a new one was up by the end of the day. 😀

But he had a quirk. At about lunchtime I opened the back door to them and showed them where the coffee and tea and cups and so on were. At the end of the day I went down to say thanks. Only for him to say,

‘Listen, but I hope you don’t mind but I like to put honey in my tea and when I saw all your cooking oils and herbs and spices I said to myself, there’s someone who’s bound to have honey and I’d a wee look and I found some. So I hope you don’t mind.’

Well I didn’t but I did wait until he was away before I went and looked at the use-by date. May 2019’s not too bad is it? 😦

Incidentally, after various stops and starts, and a tutorial from Son Brian, I can finally work the Tassimo Coffee Maker. As soon as you see the yellow light come on, you hit it……..so, if you’re passing……..

And finally, by the time you read this we’ll (probably) know whether or not Scotland has won its first ever Eurovision title…..and it’s a choir called Alba.

Of course the lovely Joy Dunlop is involved. It was she who spent six months of her life trying to teach me incredibly elementary Gaelic but that was when the Anxiety and Depression was kicking in and my brain was staying in the kitchen even when I’d left to put the TV on in the front room.

My favest memory of that time was when, in the news section that we did at the start of the class, I stuck my hand up and shouted ‘me, miss, please me, miss’ and read out my carefully constructed news that I now had a grandson to go with my grand-daughter. 😀

The only time I topped that was when the birth of Son Brian was announced on BBC Radio Scotland by Jimmy Mack and all of Scotland knew that me and my then wife had a son and heir…….

And quickly back to Joy who has assembled, with considerable help, a choir to sing, in Gaelic, at the Eurovision Choir Contest on Saturday………I’m sure the blessed Nicola will send them best wishes and will take great pride in announcing how well they’ve done….I’m sure. 😉

(NEWS JUST IN)…….unfortunately they didn’t make it to the final three which was a shame as it was a different song AND it had a dancer….. 😦

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, who’s never turbo-charged anything in his life and had no idea what Tory ministers are talking about.

And I was going to talk about style guides and how badly Boris Johnson and Donald Trump wear suits or how there has been no government of any note in the United Kingdom, Scotland or Northen Ireland since 2016 BUT instead here’s a quick mention of a report from NHS Scotland which shows that Minimum Unit Pricing has been implemented effectively although there has been ‘anecdotal’ evidence that people are driving south of the border to buy booze ‘ – ‘anecdotal’

Listen if you are spending all that time and money on petrol then may I suggest that you have a possible problem. Keep a diary of how much and when you drink and why (maybe the social situation?

Be honest with it and then sit down with someone you trust and ask how it looks.

So some of the most popular music I’ve played recently was by the Highwaymen. Well, there’s a new supergroup in town and they call themselves the Highwomen. Say both Highwaymen and Highwomen a couple of times one word after the other and then you will understand the nice play on the sound of word.

This is Redesigning Women by the Highwomen

Old age, believe me, is a good and pleasant thing. It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator. (Confucius)

July 19, 2019

And so, dear listener, some more good news on the health front. A few weeks ago I got some revised repeat prescriptions and a message from the GP to check in with a nurse (never a problem) and come in to get my blood pressure checked.

So I waited until the aneurysm scan was out of the way and phoned on Tuesday looking ahead to the next week. ‘Can you come in now?’ said the voice of NHS Scotland.

And so, dear listener, that’s how I learned that the revised medication seems to be working and my blood pressure is down. 😀 😀

But Tuesday was a mixed day. Facebook does this thing where it reminds you of something you said or did ‘on this day’. Apparently exactly three years ago I was enjoying working in the Mitchell Library so much (my home wi-fi was down) that I felt the need to tell the world. 🙂

Then, I got home and a certain USB stick was missing. Many listeners know the story. Let’s just say Tuesday was definitely a mixed day. With lots of walking. It’s my basic coping mechanism for anxiety anmd depression and is approved by medical and counselling folk I’ve spoken to. Informally. But my wee legs were tired. 😦

Monday was a good day. I met up with former BBC colleague Jayne and we went to a local garden centre where, even at the age of 65, I still feel and look younger than most of the clientele. 😀

We’d also like to say thanks to the young barista, Emma, who told us all about her grandad’s 60th birthday. Why? Well we asked. I’m not so sure the people in the queue were that impressed.

My wee legs were tired on Monday as well but that’s cos we took the furthest away table in the whole place which was 17 MILLION MILES away. I spilt so much coffee that I just tipped the tray and drank it out the corner. Nice catching up j (different j)

And nice birthday lunch on Thursday with good friend e, RJ and AJ but I made a big mistake. AJ had decided to try something new (calamari) and I agreed to share a starter plate with him. Schoolboy error. On my part. The schoolboy decided he liked them and I thought the one I had was very good……..never again. 😀

And finally, I spent Friday morning in a classroom of my first alma mater, Glasgow University, attending a kinda class on Illustrated Glasgow looking at a range of illustrations including maps and coats of arms and photographs and all sorts of stuff. And very good it was too and the lecturer was good and I’m going back to something similar next week. 😀

But what I found really strange was that everyone there was my age or thereabouts. The last time that happened to me would have been at secondary school. It was uncharted territory and whatever my reasons for going (read what you will into that) I may have to think more about this in the future.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges (in my winter jacket cos that’s what the weather’s been like) and still keeping it simple (hey, you may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one)

Iaint850, and no, there’s not a lot happening on the settlement front. Maybe soon?

And you’d expect me to comment on some of the coverage of the Scottish Drug Deaths. So I have done.

First, a big well done to SNP MP, Alison Thewlis, who made the point that drug consumption rooms would be clean and hygenic. Bringing users into these not only allows them to inject safely but brings them into contact with addiction workers and health pros. Have you ever seen the health damage done by dirty needles? Botulism, blood borne viruses and leaking wounds.

Have you ever seen a serious drug user’s kitchen? Trust me. You don’t want to go there.

Literally.

Most other politicians tried to make political capital out of it. Alison didn’t.

And then there was former policeman, Joe Duffy, on BBC Scotland’s fast improving Nine o’clock news, who made the point that, financially, the only people making money out of the illegal drugs industry are the criminals who couldn’t care less to whom they sell or what they sell.

‘Street valium’, and God know what’s in them, sell for approximately £1.50 for five.

In December four guys went down in the High Court for manufacturing street valium in a Paisley lock-up with a machine capable of pressing 20,000 tabs an hour. Do your own sums.

Imagine if it was legal, say along the lines of the alcohol industry………the tax taken alone would do so much for education and the health service. Imagine.

And then someone jumped on a personal hobby horse and said there was no need for charities. The government should provide – totally ignoring the fact that governments are slow and ponderous in acting and tend to do so for political advantage and that non-governmental organisations such as Addaction and Turning Point and (the one I volunteer for) the Scottish Drugs Forum can react more quickly and more directly and more effectively.

Most residential rehab is in non-governmental hands.

And can you see the Government even attempting to start, let alone run, an organisation like Alcoholics or Cocaine or Narcotics Anonymous? They started at the most basic of ground-roots with two men and one book and cost virtually nothing to run.

And here’s fifteen minutes of Burt Bacharch in concert…..eventually. No. No reason.

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

June 28, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anxiety maybe kicked in.

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

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

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple

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

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

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