Archive for the ‘heart problems’ Category

“…the time has come when that tired old lie , ‘once an addict , always an addict ‘ will no longer be tolerated by either society or the addict themselves . We do recover”

July 12, 2019

And so, dear listeners, again thanks for birthday wishes but also for your help in spending some of my pressies; in particular what I used to describe as book tokens but which are now well and truly in the Twenty-First Century.

For example, my ex sent me an online book token from the National Books something or other which tells you to print it out and when you do you get a blankish A4 sheet of paper which contains a bar code, a pin (number) and another set of numbers.

I should mention that my ex messaged me later to see if I had worked out how to use it. Well, yes I had but it took the second member of Waterstones staff in Byres Road to run it through the till. 🙂

I would like to thank Julie, Jill and Iain for their suggestions and I’ve been nicely in the position where I’ve taken a sample book out of each of their suggestions……..I’ll keep you posted. 😀

But when am I going to read them?

This is now the start of the dissertation editing season and, yes, it gets earlier and earlier.

Many Masters have to be in by the end of August and I seem to have three on the books for the next couple of weeks and then there’s a business school at Glasgow University which pays for Christmas (and coffees).

And they’re getting younger and that shows in my caustic comments. Those of you who know Track Changes will be aware of the Comments facility.

One of mine this week read, ‘this is meant to be an academic piece of work; not an Instagram post.’ (I smiled)

And incidentally the grand-daughter of the UWS academic went on to win that Beautiful Baby contest in a shopping mall…….. 😀 😀 😀

I’ll move on.

Incidentally, I was going to talk about Recovery (hence the quote at the top but i’m glad to say that lots of other people are now talking so that’s good) 🙂

And the football season is about to start. Saturday, 13th July and it was the mighty Thistle up against the stuttering Airdrie at the end of a very wet week not long before Glasgow Fair Monday. Except it was sunny and I sat outside and read a book.

And then there’s a wee medical update this week. About me.

I had to go for an abdominal aortic aneurysm screening for men (people) aged 65 (and OMG, the men pictured on the front of the brochure look really old. I hope I don’t look as old as that when I’m 65….except……) 😦

Anyway. I went.

Now I’m sure that I mentioned last week that one of those moments of anxiety that I talk about hit me on the Monday morning I was due to leave Arisaig and I went for the train one hour before it was due.

I did the same with the taxi to Stobhill. I was appointed for 1130. The taxi picked me up at 1030. Nice guy. Knew the west coast of Scotland well and seemed quite understanding of the anxiety thing when I explained it as I’d rather wait where I’ve to be than fill in time at home. Besides which I might get taken early. 😉

I was. Lie down; t-shirt up; pregnancy gel rubbed on my stomach; and a thirty second ultrascan.

‘That’s you. You’re fine. No. You’ll never be back.’ 😀

That’s the kinda result my sister liked. Getting taken early. Or it wasn’t too busy. Or the doctor was a woman and had been to Glasgow University. Or…….well you get the idea. And what I really wanted to know was what they had said about her medically.

I never told her that one of her male doctors who’d been to Glasgow was an old drinking buddy of mine. I never actually met him when I was at the Beatson but I knew some other people from other places.

And finally here’s a wee joke for you.

My mate has a huge herb garden which is arranged in alphabetical order. I said, ‘I don’t know how you find the time.’ He said, ‘it’s over there next to the sage.’

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and patiently keeping it simple

Iaint850, still a wee bit anxious but nowhere near the hamster wheel of doom.

So I, and indeed anyone else on Facebook, was asked by a friend for a song that would add a little bit of get up and go and I suggested a couple (both by Walk the Moon) but that was as much for the videos as anything else.

Somebody else suggested Mr Brightside by the Killers which is a song about a stalker watching his his ex-girlfriend being intimate with another man.

Apparently it’s very popular at weddings!!!!!

Mind you, Delilah as sung by Tom Jones and/or Alex Harvey is on the same theme only people get knifed to death in it.

The joke came from the inspirational Milo Castandea; this piece of music (and dance) also comes from Milo. Enjoy.

And I bet you’re still dancing 😀

When you wake up every day, it’s like a new birthday: it’s a new chance to be great again and make great decisions. (Poo Bear)

July 5, 2019

And so, dear listener, my thanks to all those who marked my birthday in so many ways after my big hint. 😉

But it was a quiet one. The 2nd of July coincides with the first week of the school holidays and a few folk I might have met up with were away on various Scottish islands. 🙂

And, of course, this was my first birthday without my big sister being around to organise something.

We move on. To Arisaig, where I was for a weekend and when I tell people it was very quiet, they say to me, ‘well, what did you expect?’ I’m not sure, but can I stress I’m not complaining. I often observe but rarely complain. Maybe an extra walk or maybe a slightly better choice of eating places but there was much I did enjoy. 😀

The train journey was smashing – well, on the way up it was, after Fort William. I think they had problems at Queen Street Station cos it was late in and it had the feeling of coach parties being shoved onboard so that they could get it out and so I didn’t get my reserved window seat.

(I’d have had to take on the entire coach party)

After Fort William, I was fine and was soon happily posting pics of the Jacobite steam train and the Harry Potter viaduct and the scenery. On the way down I got the reserved seat and enjoyed it all. Dalmuir looks so nice in the sunshine…..as did Rannoch Moor. 😀

The walks that I did were smashing and do-able even to a man who does get a wee bit breathless but who came home to find an appointment booked for an aortic scan this coming week cos I have a leaky aortic valve.

The hotel was good; the menu was limited (the Chef’s special was the same three nights running); and the public bar was the village’s social life but I had no problems sitting with my book on a bench across from the Spar which was where I bumped into friends, Sharon and Kenny, who were in a caravan in the area.

But nice wee touch in the bar, as they delivered my fresh orange to me, was the offer of a small glass of that week’s guest ale. I declined.

And the peace and quiet was amazing. It was not just peaceful; it was totally noiseless at times. 😀 😀

A wee bit frightening and that maybe led to a wee feeling of anxiety as the weekend came to close.

‘What if the train to Glasgow is cancelled? What do I do then?’ 😦

So, dear listener, do you know what I did? The train was due at about 1025; I was in the station at 0925 believing it was better to be there than in the hotel on the basis that if the train was cancelled then that’s where the bus would pick us up from. This is how I deal with those odd moments of anxiety I get. I feel as if I’m doing something about it and I’m happier.

I saw the train going up to Mallaig and rather than look a complete tube, I pretended to be a train-spotter and took its picture but I did relax at that point. (Or do trains ‘go up’ to London?)

And just to say, I am glad I went. I may do another weekend away soon. Suggestions welcome.

And my favest present (out of very few, but at my age……..) was a Tassimo coffee maker which I look forward to playing with, altho’ I may need a friend or family member to help with the instructions. Any tips?

And finally, I’m taking a Summer gap month away from volunteering with the Scottish Drugs Forum, for no real reason other than I can, although I’ve given myself a wee project over the next four weeks. I’m going to draw up a guide that’ll be a practical guide to iMovie editing on a Macbook.

Now I’ve never used a Mac before and the last time I did video-editing was offline with original material copied to VHS; so how long ago was that. Panasonic Blue anyone? So far, much of what I’ve been doing for the SDF has been writing, so this is a chance to learn a new skill. At 65. 😉

Here’s the SDF’s annual review. It’s a good chance to find out what they do and I’m in there somewhere

http://www.sdf.org.uk/what-is-it-sdf-do-find-out-in-our-annual-review/?fbclid=IwAR3h8aQORJ_t0dTfITSHctfvpbTwq65oMmoN0v2zSfDawH5e6HSZ1ye7kkA

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges and still keeping it simple but sometimes I wonder why.

Iaint850, who is now 65 and aware of his own mortality and the forthcoming football season and the fact that he has quite a lot of books still to read and strange online book tokens to spend so plans to hang around for a wee while yet.

And all I’d like to do here is to reproduce the Daily Record front page of 4th July 2019.

‘Scotland is gripped by the worst drug crisis in Europe. It’s killing people and wrecking communities. Our investigation has shown tough justice is not the cure. We must target dealers but it’s time to stop treating vulnerable citizens as criminals. Our country needs powers to treat addiction as a health problem not a crime. It’s time to

DECRIMINALISE DRUG USE’

(and to wish Professor Catriona Matheson of Stirling University all the best as the Chair of the new Drug Deaths Taskforce just announced in Scotland)

And the Highwaymen seemed to prove a popular choice last week so here they are again with Ghost Riders in the Sky.

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.

‘Cabbage is very resilient. You can always trust a cabbage.’

November 30, 2018

Tremendously deep thoughts there from a programme I caught on the VICE Channel about the changes for young people in Romania since the end of the Communist regime. Yes. I do need to get out more. Yes. I do. 😀

And so dear listener, as far as I am concerned there is only one story in town this week. I had an MRI scan at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. For new listeners, here’s a quick re-cap.

2018 has not been a good year for me and it’s not that long until the Annual Blog Personality of the Year Awards and I’m struggling to find enough events to talk about. The year started with a heart scare/event/whatever and that’s why I was sent for the MRI scan.

And the Royal Infirmary, for those who don’t know it, is in the oldest and most historical part of Glasgow next to the graveyard – the Necropolis, which is the ‘dead centre’ of town – and up from where Duke Street Prison used to be with its last hanging in 1928 but when the wind blows from the West you can still hear the Gallows thud – and, well, you get the picture.

Told you it would be quick. 😉

Anyway, it started simply enough. I took the train into town and a taxi from the station up to the Royal. I could have walked but it was Thursday and it was wet and windy. I didn’t want to arrive ruffled. 😦

And I was dropped off at the Queen Elizabeth Entrance and that’s where it all went Pete Tong, didn’t it? I did ask where the MRI Department is, but once I’m past that WH Smith I’m lost. So a man saw that I was lost and pointed out that if I followed the green band on the wall – the one that said if you want the MRI Department follow the green band – I’d find it and I found it.

And then rub me down with the entire contents of a jar of warm molasses if I didn’t see that guy again, asking someone else for directions, himself. I turned my head so he didn’t see my smirk. 😉

A young man (James) came out to ask questions of me. I think he skipped on the section about whether I was pregnant. I’m not, anyway.

But he did ask me whether I’d had a tattoo recently to which I said ‘No, but I had considered it but I’d probably left it too late.’ To which he said, ‘There was a 93 year old lady in a few days ago and she had just had one done.’

Mmmmmmm, food for thought or what? 😉

Anyway, James took away my CD to play (The Pistol Annies) but he came back and gave me instructions about what was going to happen. Basically, for me, an ECG was plugged up to my heart and a heavy thing was laid across me – not that I planned to run away – and I entered the coffin. ‘Cos that’s what it feels like to me – a roomy coffin – and once I was in I was given breathing exercises to do. As if I planned to stop breathing?

And my mindfulness training came back to me and I didn’t panic altho’ I may have had a tear in my eye as Christmases past floated past. 🙂

And then I was done. Now I have no idea whether I was taken on time, how long I was in for or anything like that. About an hour? It’s a hospital. It’s full of sick people. They don’t keep to time. And it’s the NHS staff who deal brilliantly with each individual they work with – as do everyone who works in social care. We deal with people – not Key Performance Indicators.

(Wee reminder there of the initial fall out with a member of management that ultimately led to my demise and depression)

But I was done and I could go. I asked again for the Way Out and was given directions. I turned a corner and looked puzzled and a member of staff asked if I was looking for the Way Out and pointed at a door which opened automatically. She cackled and I left the building.

I went through it and ruffle me truffles with a jar of warm fromage frais that’s been roasting on someone’s chestnuts.

It was as if I’d walked straight into the Necropolis itself. Was that the cadavers’ door I’d walked through – the short cut that meant the grave robbers could get the bodies while they were still warm? The wind blew and the rain cascaded and my grummets shrank with fear.

I ran. And ran past two men who said, ‘Looks like we got ourselves a live one here.’

And I ran. Past the Cathedral House Hotel which is the most haunted place in Glasgow.

And I ran. Past the Provand’s Lordship which is the oldest house in Glasgow….and the College Bar…..and, and, and……..I reached the railway station and caught the 1656 up the road and got home, safely, only to find that the binmen had not emptied my green bin but they’d emptied all the others in the street. Apart from that, it was all pretty uneventful. 😀 😀 😀

Toraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple (I could always post it)

Iaint850, whose latest ambition is to be ‘a vegan condom influencer on Instagram’. Go on, Google it, I dare you.

Here, for the second week in a row, is/are the Pistol Annies and Takin’ Pills.

Enjoy.

‘I think….that I would rather recollect a life mis-spent on fragile things than spent avoiding moral debt.’ (Neil Gaiman 2006)

July 6, 2018

And so, dear listener, I do like a good book and I’ve just finished reading one. It’s called ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ and it’s by Gail Honeyman.

Now, dear listener, there is a fine line between reviewing a book and offering too many spoilers and I’m about to attempt it. Forgive me if I fail. Let’s just say that I’ve thought about it and I’m going to drop some comments in the blog from time to time over the next few weeks which I think it would be fair to say were prompted by Eleanor and the book: thoughts about connections (or lack thereof) and counselling (which in my own case saw some good and some bad because some of it was targeted in the wrong direction) and some other stuff including the very obvious gag based on the surname. 😀

Anyway, because of the public transport problems in my neck of the woods and also downtown Glasgow city centre, on Thursday I took the subway into town. I hate buying tickets from the machine (lack of personal contact) and I went up to the desk. The young lady was holding a tissue to her ear. ):

‘Are you okay?’ I asked.

‘No,’ she said. ‘I keep picking at my ear and it’s bleeding. It’s my own fault.’

I bought a ticket, anyway, and wondered….would Eleanor Oliphant have bought one?

Now, as regular listeners know, I’m not a great fan of 151, and when I realised that I was being asked to pay lots of money for data used on my phone, I knew there was a problem. So I phoned 151 who reassured me my payments were going through but when I tried to explain that, whilst it was good to know I’d ‘millions in my account’, that wasn’t the problem.

I had lost him at ‘millions in my account’.

So I wrote and was advised to call 789 or an 0800 number but 789 seemed very busy and I was wondering if lots of people had this problem.

Then I got a txt msg saying they would call me. But they never did.

And then I saw something on fbook about the shops that were still open in the non-cordoned off bits of Sauchiehall Street and the Virgin Media Shop was one of them. 🙂

I headed for town the next day, getting off at Charing Cross but careful not to put my hand on the arm rail up the stairs. ‘How many germs?’ Eleanor and I wondered.

I made it to the store and was the only customer. ‘Let me see your phone’ the young lady said and after a minute asked, ‘Did you know your wi-fi was switched off? Well it’s back on now.’ 😀 😀 😀

In these days of digital disruption, could personal contact be the next big thing? 😛

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and I’m sure keeping it simple is still the right thing to do.

Iaint850 is ‘reasonably okay’

And as many people know it was my birthday recently and I spent part of it in Stobhill Hospital in the North East of Glasgow. And what a lovely hospital it is. And what was nice was the fact that I spent it in the company of the rapping Dr J who is my NHS heart consultant and who is very good. Either she does remember me (aye, in your dreams t850) or she’s a good reader of notes or more probably somewhere in between. 😉

I had blood pressure and an ECG done on arrival and sat in a nice waiting room with a large window out of which I could see lots of women in their summer dresses as well as lots of other appropriately dressed people with lashings of suntan oil. Dress appropriate, I say.

I was called through and we chatted. Things seem good but it is the NHS so that’s to be expected. I now have an appointment to see her again in a year’s time but before then we will continue to keep a close eye on my blood pressure (by tagging me soon for twenty-four hours) and also my leaky aortic valve. At some point I will get an MRI scan, but there’s no hurry. When I needed urgent assistance, the ambulances (real and metaphorical) were there for me. They would be again. 😀 😀 😀

Had I used the ‘emergency spray’, she asked, and, if so, what effect did it have?

Three or four times, I replied, and I felt it gave me mental control, lovely blue colours in my head and a lovely glowing sensation. 😀

I think the jury may be out on that returning to my repeat prescriptions.

However, one thing she and I did agree is that the current slight breathlessness after activity could be as much to do with my current overweightness as anything else. So, I have taken appropriate measures.

My favourite seat in my house is in the kitchen with the door open, reading a newspaper or book on a breakfast bar next to the fridge. I have now stuck a notice on the fridge door which reads

GO LOOK IN THE MIRROR BEFORE YOU EAT ANYTHING OUT OF HERE!!!!!!

And I think it’s working.

And for all those folk watching the World Cup thinking that music in the background is familiar, this is what you’re hearing.

We must welcome the future, remembering that soon it will be the past; and we must respect the past, remembering that it was once all that was humanly possible. (George Santayana)

June 28, 2018

And so, dear listener, last Saturday night, good friend e and I went to see Lulu perform at the Kelvingrove Bandstand. And jolly good it was too. And interesting. 🙂

First, can I say something about the venue? It must be one of the very few venues where the performers can actually see the individual members of the audience. The roof is the sky and it’s light until late (audio curfew is 10.30pm). This creates its own demands for the artists but if you’re Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie or Sharleen Spiteri (last year), then there’s a very good chance you see friends and family and you can actually talk to them. 🙂

But maybe Lulu (who is 69 and very fit) took it too far. After thirty minutes or so, she said she was going for a wee cup of tea and for us to do what we needed to do. She was gone for about twenty-five minutes which provided a tremendous opportunity for lots of people to get another few pints and wines (good size of one-use plastic cups) inside them and for them to totter up and down the concrete steps and to fall over and bang their heads but to get up again, smiling their heads off.*

Lulu did come back and carried on in the retrospective vein that she started off in but it took a wee while to get back into that mood but her second last number was Shout – and that made it all worthwhile. 😀

I have now in recent years seen Lulu sing Shout, The Waterboys sing Purple Rain, Steve Earle sing Copperhead Road, Kris Kristofferson sing Sunday Morning and Leon Russell sing Delta Lady. The next gig is the Pretenders…….

*As you know the question I am asked almost the most is whether I get cravings for alcohol. Well no, I don’t, BUT see the last couple of weeks or so, see standing at the corner of University Avenue and Byres Road and looking directly into Tennent’s Bar with the doors wide open………..No. No interest in alcohol but a wee reminder of what pubs have to offer people…….I moved on. 😉

And my big thanks to the thirty-one people who liked a very blurred picture of my first ever strawberries from this garden. Personally, I’m now strawberried out and if you’re passing or I’ve arranged to meet you……..then I may have some for you.

And also thanks to those of you asking how my bets are doing for the World Cup.

Remember all four are ‘to win’ so I can only have one winner – if any. If it helps to follow my progress, then all four names begin with ‘B’ apart from France and Spain (who lost on penalties this afternoon).

And I and most of the folk I know (men and women just to keep it simple) have no problem with women commentators or pundits…not just in football but in most broadcast sports. Sue Barker, Jane Lewis, Hazel Irvine, Julie Welch, Rhona MacLeod, Sally McNair, Alison Walker….the list is almost endless and continues to grow. And for me the great thing is that they are not there defined by their gender. They are there because they are good at their job, not for gender balance.

Nor would they tolerate this ‘thing’ that seems to be happening in Russia where men (for want of a better word) run up to steal a kiss. There’s at least one name there who could knock someone out if pushed too far.

And my own club, Partick Thistle, the Maryhill Magyars, the Harry Wraggs, the mighty Jags have just appointed a female Chairman – Jacqui Low – who is a woman with a lot of experience in Scottish Government and political PR.

(And, yes, I remember Lockerbie as well but I wasn’t needed on the night. The newsroom had plenty of people. So I went in at six the next morning)

And finally, I think I’m more Alex than Adam (a reference for those who watch Love Island) 😀

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and it gets me past chuggers without any problem, and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850 ‘is still fine’ (a current literary reference)

So (oooops, sorry Rosie) this year is my 64th birthday which is quite a change from the days when I claimed I’d be 42 for the rest of my life. It all changed when I turned 60 and, in the company of the good Dr W, did things like abseiling down the Titan Crane in Clydebank and being a zombie at M & D’s out Motherwell way.

This year? I’m celebrating my birthday at Stobhill Hospital (still open for ambulatory care) in the company of my heart consultant – the rapping Dr J. Currently I feel I have nothing to worry about but it’s nice that the NHS cares so much. 😀

And I think I proved my current fitness at the recent Feis Spors Glaschu where I remained on my feet for four or five hours which does mean that I am more than capable of going to see Partick Thistle at home.

Life’s a bit quiet at the moment but this has been a busy time for editing in the past and I’ve at least one interview for voluntary work at the end of the month.

But I’m taking advantage of the sun and listening to some music but when you’re talking someone turning 64, there really is only one song with which to end the show, isn’t there?

Here’s Green Day with Still Breathing. I have a live version but I think the lyrics are important. Have a listen.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~ Nelson Mandela 💜

June 7, 2018

That opening quote was used by an organisation called Faces and Voices of Recovery which partly inspired my Masters.

And so dear listener, I have decided that there is too much TV on TV – or at least too small a choice. You know what I mean – cop shows (altho’ I think 24 Hours In Custody (?) is brilliant), property shows and cookery shows. I also remember the early days of cable when scrolling down through a smaller number of channels would produce gems such as Chuck Norris, Troma (sp) TV and ten pin bowling from Milton Keynes. 🙂

But every so often you find a gem and this week it was the end credits to Springwatch – BBC’s live nature programme where one of the presenters is Michaela Strachan. She once gave me her mobile number. She’s probably changed it by now. ):

Anyway, one evening, just before a smashing TV prog about Charles Rennie Mackintosh was due to start, I switched the TV on.

Switching the TV on does help if you’re going to watch a TV programme altho’ I didn’t know it was going to be smashing.

And I caught the end credits of Springwatch and I saw a credit for nestfinders! How brilliant! I still watch end credits to see if I still know anybody and I also remember the excitement when my name was up there as Researcher or Assistant Producer…..and my short career as a co-presenter.

And I also remember going to see the ‘Scottish Film’ at the Phoenix in Linwood with J and we both, without discussing it, did not leave our seats until the credits had run. Respect for the people who worked on the film.

There were only about eight people in the cinema to begin with and so mumbly were the accents in the film that I had to confess that I was glad I already knew the plot. 🙂

Anyway. Springwatch credits. I was determined to see what other gems there might be – like nestfinders. There were none. It was all the usual stuff – and no less worthy of being up there. But I was a wee bit disappointed.

And then there was the mysterious case of Celtic Street in Maryhill not being where I thought it was. At one time it was the shortest street in Glasgow with a Corpie bus garage at the end of it (or was it the shortest in Britain? Or Europe? Or, well you get the picture). Well the bus garage had been knocked down many years since and a wall had replaced it. Celtic Street was no more. It had become a place where people could park their cars.

So UPS had tried to deliver a parcel to my sister and were unsuccessful but it could be collected from 3 Celtic Street but where was that? Google showed that what had once been a lane beside the Ram’s Head had now taken on the name of Celtic Street and it has a lot of houses built to well past the pub. Celtic Street was no longer the proud bearer of that Shortest Street title. ):

But Number 3? There was no giant warehouse to be seen and whilst I started buzzing tenement numbers randomly, my sister had the good sense to go into the newsagents next door and Lo and Behold, it was Number 3. It looks as if UPS might have a policy of lots of wee stores so that if they can’t deliver, then they do have a collecting point that is not a massive warehouse way on the other side of town

And finally, thanks to those who ask after my health. With the help of the NHS, I continue to cut back on medication but the latest one is tricky. For over eleven years I have used Omeprazole to control stomach reflux but I’ve to cut back on it gradually (no cold turkey) to let some other stuff do their jobs properly but it’s six weeks before I need to go and see a nurse again. And I’m due to see the rapping Dr J in about four weeks’ time. So, that’s good. 😀

Yes, I occasionally get tired after not much effort and yes, I occasionally am aware of my heart in a way I never was before but often I am still full of ‘get up and go’ after some really stressful occasions (putting the duvet cover on the duvet) and I’ve only had to use the spray on three occasions and even then one puff was enough.

Note to Skippy…..on 16th June I’m helping out at the Gaelic Sports Day in Pollok Park. Let’s pack one of the small seats and make sure I look out the team baseball cap and lots of water.

And next week I’ll tell you good my grand-daughter was in her first ever dance show at Clydebank Town Hall.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, still worrying why Love Island rejected me.

And I do believe the terminology in how we report and discuss health matters is important. That’s why I’m delighted to be going to ‘Health in the News: Fact or Fiction?’ this coming Thursday in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall. If anyone else is interested, then I think tickets are still available.

Having been labelled, I don’t like seeing others labelled. And the worry is that you begin to believe the label if enough people repeat it.

But I’m happy enough to ignore Loki’s references to ‘jakebaws’ just this once cos of his other remarks on BBC Question Time about how important Minimum Unit Pricing is for the Common Good.

Anyway, last week I played Charlie Daniels appearing on the Marty Stuart Show in the Grand Ol’ Oprey in Nashville and John Collins, a friend of mine who’s the drive time jock on Chris Country Radio, contacted me to say that Marty himself was possibly the best live act he’d ever seen.

Funnily enough J, still the blog’s favest librarian, said the same a wee while back after she’d seen him in Glasgow.

Ladies and gentlemen, for J and J, and everyone else, here’s Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives singing El Paso from Oran Mor in Byres Road Glasgow in 2017. I knew I had it somewhere 😀

Nothing is pleasant that is not spiced with variety (Francis Bacon)

May 19, 2018

And so, dear listener, as some of you know, I had applied for a gig as a volunteer. I won’t name the organisation but suffice to say that they are a council based within Scotland who look after refugees and have a festival coming up at the end of June for which they required volunteers for a range of roles. 🙂

There was no individual interview but we were observed during an ice breaker exercise and breaking into groups with a flip-chart sheet. I asked for, and received, feedback. This is part of it.

‘In terms of feedback, you were a pleasure to get to know, and of course more than qualified and experienced to carry out a volunteer role in the third sector – however often decisions to select volunteers are taken on the basis of what the role has to offer to the particular candidate, at least that is a factor we consider at XXX. This is true particularly with regards to this role, which does not require advanced English or computer skills, and is therefore one of our more inclusive roles for someone who would find it hard to get into a volunteer role in an office setting. I’m not saying that you are over-qualified for the role, rather that other people in the room would benefit more from this development opportunity.
The only, and very slight, feedback I would give you is that while it was great to see your clear enthusiasm to spend time with people and your energy, we did also feel that your natural gregariousness meant that people around you ended up being very quiet both in the group work and the presentation afterwards.’

Is that me as you know me? I am young. I can only learn. 😉

I wish them the best of luck and that’s filled a fair amount of my word count for this week. I did say to some people afterwards that I may have come across as a mouthy Glaswegian – which I’m not. I’m originally from Peterhead. 😀

Which reminds me……I’m doing a Prostate Cancer Information talk in Kilmarnock Job Centre later this month. My friend, the rainforestriverman, does inspirational talks as well. His latest was in Sao Paulo. A previous visit to Kilmarnock saw me at the Sheriff Court bailing three people out. Their ‘Not Guilty’ plea was accepted at a later date. (icon for phew!!!!!)

I remember one Saturday morning at the Sauchiehall Street project being in the laundry room when a big Orange Walk was going past. It seemed to be the pit stop where they replaced the lambeg drummer with a fresh lambeg drummer and I was asked to explain what was happening by two refugees. I did my best but failed.

Anyway, can you excuse me for fifteen minutes while I walk very slowly downstairs and sit in a very relaxed fashion before I take my blood pressure. The evening score is about 130 over stuff but it’s between 150 and 160 in the morning but that is oh so much better than it was a wee while ago. 🙂

And I’ve got this dreadful feeling that this might come across as a seriously serious blog and I’m no fun. I mean, I occasionally put a bet on in what are deserted bookies’ shops these days cos so many folk do it online these days (just like Ray Winston suggests we do) and it’s only the FOBT machines that are being used and I don’t know how they work. And, yes, I did once see a homeless person put a £100 note, which he said he’d ‘found’, into a machine in one punt. He lost it. Twenty seconds and it was gone. ):

But what do I know? Four (?) years ago I put £10 on Scotland to vote for Independence. It’ll be many years before that appears on my Fixed Odds coupon again. And at least one policy for Independence would be good. And a strong leader.

And finally, Mao Tse Tung was the Long March – not the long walk. I’ve been feeding people duff info about Windsor’s Communist credentials all week.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple, even if it’s not.

Iaint850, I mean me – ‘gregarious’? Chance would be a fine thing.

So, as I write this, I don’t know what division Partick Thistle will be in next season but you, reading this, probably do. I’ve been to very few games this season for a combination of reasons; periodic depression and the cardiac event at the turn of the year.

I will be buying a season ticket and I will make my return at the start of the season. A couple of seasons ago I went to the first game of the season with e and AJ and we were in the Jackie Husband Stand and very relaxing it was. Maybe I should do that again. Just to get started. 😀 😀 😀

Take a mum and her child. No. Not a random mum off the streets. No. One I know…….Skippy! Draw up a list. Under 16s go free.

And this, musically, is a special request for the rainforestriverman (I know. Who’d have thought?) who came very close to giving me away at my wedding – it’s a long a story and Johnny Walker Black Label played a part. It’s the ‘legendary’ Iron Maiden.

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance (Erma Bombeck)

May 3, 2018

And so dear listener, this week I read The Long Drop by Denise Mina. It’s a fictional account of a strange but true event when a man called William Watt spent an afternoon and evening drinking in the company of a man called Peter Manuel who was later found guilty of murdering the Watt family but not William who happened to be out of the house that night. But what I found fascinating was the insight into a Glasgow that was having difficulty in thinking of changing – when motorways were a doodle on someone’s foolscap pad and when, at times, there was not much to choose between crooks and cops. 😉

And the Daily Record had an amazing character called Pat Roller (say it out loud) who must have been the last man to leave the office as he had to make the final calls round all the police stations for that last story from whoever happened to answer the phone. No press officers then.

All these things happened a long time before I came to university in Glasgow. And stayed. But my family had connections. In the Milton*. And we came down on holiday.

*Maybe, j, that’s where the ‘the’ in the ASDA came from.

Loads of memories;

Possibly, having just attained double figures in years, walking back with my dad through Cowcaddens – a dark and dismal place then – on a Saturday night and buying Sunday’s papers.

And, probably the same age, being on the subway (Glaswegians do not call it the Clockwork Orange) and seeing a young girl of South Asian origin and thinking how beautiful she looked. Where was she from I wondered? She got off at Kelvinbridge.

Ah memories but much more recent was my own (successful) treatment for prostate cancer, so it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I sat down to watch The Cancer Hospital – BBC Scotland’s look at the work of Glasgow’s Beatson Hospital which this week looked at prostate cancer. It was an excellent programme and brought back a lot of memories – most of them good. 😀 😀 😀

As I mentioned on Facebook it is now ten years since I was halfway through my own radiotherapy which was preceded by several months of hormone injections and, yes, as one of the guys said in the programme, it was like the menopause (according to my ex-wife) and I put my current hot flushes and weight gain down to that. ):

But my memories of the actual treatment are still strong; that small sheet which was intended as a modesty cover which we gave up on after two or three days cos, at that point, I couldn’t even raise a smile. And occasionally the radiotheraper had to use a felt pen to highlight the tattoos and as one nurse said, ‘we can’t see the wood for the trees.’ But the trees were zapped out of the way quite quickly and that’s how they’ve stayed. And then the nuclear klaxon would go and the radiotherapers would run out of the room and I’d be left for ten minutes – rigid – to let the machine do its best. It worked. 😀 😀 😀

And then that moment (and I can feel the tears starting now) when, three months after the treatment finished, my son and his kinda step-dad came down with me to the Beatson and met the consultant and I was given the All Clear. 😀 😀 😀

We know that not everyone can be that fortunate but the one thing that everyone (almost) who goes through the cancer experience agrees on is the dedication of the NHS staff who do such a brilliant job. That’s why I get annoyed every time a Health Secretary or Shadow Health Secretary or publicity seeking co*kwomble goes to a hospital looking for a photo-op. I wonder how many lives could be saved if the doctors and nurses could get back on the wards.

Anyway, I cried at some of the stories…..well, all of them..

And finally, Minimum Unit Pricing policy has arrived in Scotland after a long fight against vested interests. It may not be the ‘silver bullet’ which was bandied about this week (I don’t see how increasing the price of Frostie Jack will kill vampires but who knows) but research (for example, University of Sheffield, the Finnish (sp) Government and the World Health Organisation) suggests it will.

What difference would it have made to me? I do know that I was easily getting through a bottle of whisky each day and had started to move to much cheaper brands…….Price does make a difference.

I cried at some of the stories on the news programmes that night. Worthwhile photo-ops I thought

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and trying hard to keep it simple.

Iaint850, been doing a lot of crying this week. It’s what happens when the prostate cancer menopause finally hits you.

Some listeners may remember a few weeks back that I explained that my sister was treating me to a deep clean of my house as an early birthday present. Since I came out of hospital, I’ve maybe not given it the attention it deserves……and I live on my own (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that before) and there has been lack of, how can I put it nicely, ‘temporary visitors’ but fostering a dog has been mentioned.

So (oops) I contacted a company and someone came round at the agreed time and looked my house over. OMG! What an unnerving experience! She was good and professional but,

‘we’ll need to see what we can do.’ and ‘when was the cooker last cleaned?’ and ‘do you want the kitchen cupboards cleaned? I think we should.’….I mean she was very pleasant and they bring their own vacuum cleaner (cos mine’s rubbish) and there will be three of them and then – after she’d gone – I’d another wee look around. Surely it’s not that long since I cleaned the shower cubicle, is it? Skippy?

I’ll get that done tonight.

She also asked if I’d had the place deep cleaned before.

When I was in hospital eleven and a bit years ago, the family and friends who were tidying up parts of my life, arranged for some folk to come in to clean and tidy the house. I’ve never asked why. Maybe it was something to do with my fight with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It took place over the entire house. And I won. 🙂

This is Meghan Linsey’s cover version of the One Republic track – Counting Stars – and it’s brilliant.

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

April 26, 2018

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

Skippy! I can explain!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This coming week it’s prostate cancer.

I should watch more comedy.

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

Should I maybe try and find out?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live broadcasting and the memories, eh? 🙂

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