Archive for the ‘homelessness’ Category

“I was brought up to respect my elders, so now I don’t have to respect anybody.” ― George Burns

July 3, 2020

And so, dear listeners, I have just celebrated my birthday. I won’t say which one – suffice to say I appreciated belated birthday greetings as it gave me a day more to play with.

One of the nice things about Facebook is that it does remind (most) people of birthdays and that, coupled with me posting some memories of Son Brian and KT’s wedding (seven years ago), prompted a lot of nice messages and so, many thanks to all the people who contacted me through fb but other ways as well; in person, by phone or by card.

The purpose of the wedding photos was to show the extent of my hair’s growth over the last few months but I wear it slightly longer anyway and apart from the odd snipping I’ve not minded its growth too much.

But I now have a haircut booked for later this month so that is a really big YES!!!!!! moment. Things we take for granted, eh?

But delighted to have had my birthday tea with grandchildren and I don’t mind admitting I was nervous going over. After all, up to this moment, other than back gardens and kitchens in which to wash hands, I’d not been in anybody else’s house. I’ve had periods of depression and anxiety in the past but the anxiety usually related to large crowds (do your own gags about Firhill) but this was just to be a group of four people including two children and I was made most welcome. Miss E wrote the card but was very impressed with Mr F’s actual ‘F’ or X as it was on the card. 🙂

I received pressies and cards and was well fed (fajitas) and chatted away and was well looked after so I don’t know why I was nervous – well possibly no more than other folk venturing out. It all went well and I do hope the next few months are the same. Things we take for granted, eh?

I’ve done well for Amazon vouchers and I’ve ordered a new camera.

Oh, and whilst I remember, I got an actual letter from my lawyer and we’ve finally settled all the tax on my late sister’s estate, we’ve agreed lawyers’ fees and there was a wee amount of money which was due to me. Now all I want to do is to spend it. Which ain’t that easy at the moment. I have a list but I don’t want to buy everything online. I’m plucking up courage to go into town and do some serious shopping but I’m just a wee bit apprehensive. Things we take for granted, eh?

And finally, last week I did say that I’d say a wee bit more about Friday’s ‘incident’ in Glasgow city centre but a lot of people have covered a lot of ground since then. Incidentally, there’s been some thoughts from the National Audit Office on the poor performance of the Mears Group and I think it’s worth listening to the Scottish Refugee Council and Positive Action on Housing to understand what life is like for those asylum seekers stuck in hotel accommodation.

This is no Citybreak hotel with all you can eat buffet breakfasts; this is neverending, ‘stuck in your rooms’ stuff. You’re not there to view the sights of the city; you’ve no money to do that anyway. Things we take for granted, eh?

I used to be a paid project worker for a housing association called Blue Triangle which offered supported accommodation for homeless people, including asylum seekers, until they got a place of their own.

Part of it was about introducing the ‘service users’ to new experiences or reminding them of old ones and one day we (two co-workers and me) took a group of folk to a theme park near Motherwell, where only weeks previously I’d spent a month as a zombie (long story and well enough known to long term listeners)

We had given them disposable cameras so that they could keep their own record of the rides but some of them almost used up all their pics between the bus stop and the place itself. There is a very small beach and some of the asylum seekers had never seen this before. Before we knew it, it was click, click and click, and all for a small daud of sand. Things we take for granted, eh?

And then there was the time I’d to go with one of the refugees to get keys to a flat in Anniesland, the high flats by the supermarket, and he was excited but on the bus there (I know! Me? A bus?) he asked if he could show me some photos.

I expected to see his family or similar but no; it was his old street in Syria which had been bombed just days previously and a neighbour, who had survived, had sent him the pictures to let him know what had happened.

Things we hope our grandchildren will never experience, eh?

Iaint850


Here’s the Carolina Chocolate Drops again with a track called Hit ‘em up Style’

Football fans who won’t recognise the gross unfairness of Thistle’s situation are not worthy of the label.’ (The Guardian)

June 19, 2020

And so, dear listener, let me start with a tale of the unexpected, of something so shonky, that I still remain uncertain as to whether it happened or not – which may be typical of much of what happens in night-time Pandemic-land.

Was I fully asleep or merely drifting off when I heard it? The noise? A door creaking somewhere in the darkness but the doors in my house – a straightforward Barrett’s semi – don’t creak and, as I mention from time to time, I live alone. 😦

I was now awake and there was a pattering noise. Birds on the roof maybe? I realised that I was stock still in bed and had gooseberries running up and down my body. Then, as happens, I needed the toilet. Was all this connected? I made it to the toilet and sat down on the loo – with the bathroom door wide open. This was to keep my eyes on the stairs as much as anything else.

I just sat and stared at that bit of the stair where a head would appear before the rest of the murderer’s body (OMG! Can you imagine seeing that?)……….but nothing. I finished and washed my face and hands and stared at the bathroom mirror (OMG! What if a strange face appeared then?) and I risked the walk back to the bedroom. 😦

I switched the light on and looked in the wardrobe and under the bedclothes and I risked it. I shouted out. ‘If there’s anyone in this house I have just dialled the first two numbers for the police and it just needs one more nine.’

But nothing. I lay down and drifted off and woke up the next morning. Alive. Obviously. 😀

Apart from that it’s been a quiet week. I must stop watching programmes like Evil Killers and Killer In My Village at weird times just cos I’m bored. That may have contributed to my midnight caller. The worst ever was The Human Centipede.

I once watched this at about 3 in the morning. OMG! It is awful. How could any movie show such degradation and horror I wondered? It is the pits. Apart from any plot inconsistencies.

There is actually a sequel. It is called The Human Centipede 2. No. I haven’t and I don’t intend to.

So, not a lot has happened this week. Like a lot of people I’m slightly disappointed with some of what the First Minister had to say and it looks like I may be meeting people for coffee in the middle of the Botanic Gardens rather than the pavement on Highburgh Road next to Tinderbox. Fine. I prefer the picnic benches next to what used to be the Herb Garden there anyway. 🙂

And I know I’m not the only one who has already let people (my grandkids) use the toilet in my house – two weeks ago – although technically I wasn’t allowed to and I did nip into someone’s kitchen last week, whilst visiting them in their back garden, to wash my hands. There has to be an element of common sense, of taking responsibility for ourselves and our actions.

And the NHS continues to function efficiently and effectively as far as I am concerned. Not only did I receive my usual two-monthly repeat drugs but I did get a letter from the delightful Dr Shona who is the heart specialist I see once a year at Stobhill. Except I’m not going to this year. Instead it’s all going to be done by phone.

But how are they going to ultrasound test my heart this year? Will someone be sent round to my house with all the kit and that jelly. Who knows, dear listener, who knows? I make no apology for the fact that the last few months, for me, have been about me staying alive. I have lost too many months over the years. I have much still to achieve.

Dominic Raab, that sounds like a line from Game of Thrones. Is it?

And finally, there’s been a certain amount of chat about the Scottish Government’s adoption of ‘Stay Safe’ as opposed to ‘Stay Home’ and the English ‘Stay Alert’; some people asking what does it really mean and others saying, ‘Well I’ve been using it for three months’ and both are pretty valid points of view.

I’ve been using it for almost fourteen years now and first became aware of it after Cold Turkey when I started to go to an addiction worker called Moira and met more folk in recovery (see blogs passim) and it’s a way of saying cheerio to someone and hoping that they stay safe (sober or clean or whatever) until the next time you meet and that somehow they, and you, manage to chart a path through various lifestyle issues.

You’ll hear me use it, for example, when I give money to someone in the street and it may have connotations of me knowing what you’re going through but it also suggests that you have got to work hard to stay safe.

These are still challenging times; staying safe is a challenge and we need to continue to abide by government guidelines for a wee while longer yet.

Please.

Tioraidh, still keeping it fun and simple and looking forward to Coffee in the Gardens (available on pre-order from the Rainforestriver)

Iaint850, astounded at every parent who still has smiling children after all this time. Well done.

A wee while back someone mentioned a black singer and musician to me called Rhiannon Giddens; she has appeared in a television programme called Wayfaring Stranger presented by Phil Cunningham; and she plays a prominent part in a very long but well researched box set on country music with Ken Burns explaining the links between black music and country music……….

She also recently took part in a facebook live performance (thanks Ann) from Carnegie Hall which looked at the roots of much of American music over the years (and that does not do the performance justice).

You may not know the name but you may recognise this song. The title is a phrase from a contemporary slave advertisement that Giddens read but she can better explain that. This is ‘At The Purchaser’s Option’

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……..

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

June 14, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Maybe next week Rosie…….

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

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

“Elsie Tanner’s heart is where a feller’s wallet is – and the bigger the wallet, the more heart she’s got.”

May 16, 2019

And so, dear listener, I have decided to take a wee break in a wee while and go away for a few wee days and go to wee Arisaig, where I’ve never been before, but I have booked some time in a wee hotel. I won’t say when as I suspect some of you may have links to an OCG (to quote Reevel Alderson the other night but did he say that for a bet?) 🙂

I always enjoyed working with Reevel. 🙂

I had been talking for some time of getting away now that settlement things were settling and Kyle of Lochalsh had been discussed as there’s a wee hotel just next to the wee station and just along from the wee pier but that would be quite an expedition with a possible overnight in Inverness.

Then, one afternoon last week, I was walking through Queen Street Station and I saw Arisaig on the destination board and saw that it went through some very nice places and thought….that’s the very place and went ahead and booked it. 😀

Skippy, where is Arisaig?

I discussed some of this with the blogmeister the other night in Tinderbox but I was coffeed out my nut by the time I left the coffee shop. By the time I got to my car, I was fine for driving but I decided to nip into my local Phillie for a fish supper. It wasn’t the usual young lady behind the counter and while she was wrapping up the tasty treat, she happened to comment;

‘There’s a fly, son. I hate flies. Do you know, they’re constantly regurgitating. I hate flies.’

I paid my £5.20 and left.

And then I got in and switched on the TV and it was a cooking competition programme and there was
at least two people cooking scallops in various ways. I left the fish and just ate the chips.

Sometimes, I do feel there’s something missing from my life. 🙂

And finally, I have had my first ever storm in a Twitter tea cup (and thanks Tricia W for that phrase).

It was all to do with the Natalie McGarry case and a well-known cybernat was talking rubbish about the BBC. The complaint was that the court reporter had explained that Natalie used to be an SNP MP but not that her husband was a Tory Councillor.

Well, said I, foolishly, that won’t have been mentioned in court because it won’t have had any bearing on the matter.

Aye, but she paid for a holiday for him and her.

Well, yes, that would have been mentioned but that would have been because he received that as her husband.

But he’s a Tory councillor and they never said that………..and so it continued. But not for too long as I left the house and when I looked again I had quite a lot of support including a former Daily Record editor and a couple of lawyers…………but there are times when you wonder………

And attention to the possible fraud had been drawn by two prominent female Independence supporters but that wasn’t mentioned in court either.

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges even if it is too warm for that jacket but if it means keeping it simple, then it’s worth it.

Iaint850, and not the only one who worries about drinking too much coffee. 😉

So, BAFTA recently suggested that dramas, soaps and comedies should feature more chat about climate change and I thought about recent conversations I’d had with friends and others. They included marriage break up (but in a perfectly straightforward way), cancer (similarly), drug use and homelessness (with some very funny stories in there), my grand-daughter’s dance class’s annual show (looking forward to it), house sales (those I’m involved in as well as somebody else’s), the travails of Partick Thistle (well documented)…..oh, ‘and isn’t it nice today?’

This is not to deny climate change, but if soaps, dramas and comedies are to have people discussing this, then, if it is to reflect the world out there, much of it will be denial and ill-informed and will involve people flying out to Spanish resorts for the sun. Let’s leave it to factual programmes (but drop the ill-informed Vox Pops) rather than impose an agenda on what is supposed to be fiction, reflecting life as we know it.

Therefore, I watched Corrie for the first time in ages. Ken Barlow is still alive and interfering; his son Peter is in a rehab unit which doesn’t want him to have contact with the outside world (eh?); Carla has physical and mental health issues but is portraying her character like an extra in a Hammer Horror movie (can the straitjacket be far behind?); and Steve’s taxi firm has financial problems. And, bloody hell, is that Rita’s foster daughter behind the bar at the Rover’s? BAFTA, you would have your work cut out bringing existing attitudes into 2019, let alone introducing climate change.

This was the UK’s Eurovision Song Contest entry in 2007. It’s probably still on the jukebox at Roy’s Rolls

Spot the Bucks Fizz gag and there are absolutely no innuendos.

“Ignorance is a lot like alcohol: the more you have of it, the less you are able to see its effect on you.” (Jay Bylsma)

October 4, 2018

And so dear listener, as you possibly know, I don’t watch that much TV but I do catch the ends of programmes and trailers and I do read the tabloids. In most cases I keep up to speed with what’s happening – particularly as some papers do previews and reviews but it obviously doesn’t replace watching

But I do get annoyed with folk who, on social media and in real life, ask folk not to talk about what they’ve seen on TV as they have yet ‘to catch up’. Well, don’t read the bloody thread then or walk away from the water cooler until you’re told it’s safe to go back!!!!!

Yes. I do understand the problems. I used to work shifts and found it difficult to catch up at times but eventually me, Line of Duty and my tablet became inseparable.

And before then, you actually had to record these things onto VHS or Beta and the pile would pile up and woe betide anyone who taped over something that had still to be viewed even if it was weeks since it had been recorded.

And even before all that, the only chance you had of seeing something again on TV was the repeat and even then, someone would complain about too many bloody repeats on the BBC.

So I’m going to say nothing about Bodyguarding Eva with a Stranger’s Cry or whatever it’s called and say I’ve just read a smashing book called our house by Louise Candlish and it’s about a house and the part it plays in a marriage break up – and it’s really good. Nice and easy to read with a few unexpected twists and turns. 🙂 🙂 🙂

And no spoilers tonight – except the new Doctor Who is a woman. :p

And it was nice meeting up with uni-Sharon the other day in a café in Paisley that is just off the street that is high (as were at least two of the people in the street but nicely so) and you’re right, Sharon, my hair is a lot shorter that it’s been in years…..and I quite like it.

It’s modelled on the style of my grandson who’s one and half years old. 🙂

(But I am fat)

And it was also good to go for a walk with good friend e and Holly the Dog onto the Uni-playing fields on the old Garscube estate and then my day was made. At 11 o’clock, a group of footballers went across a very historic bridge to do some warm up exercises.

Yes. It was the mighty Partick Thistle Football Club preparing for, well, I’m not sure what. We’re not doing too well at the moment but we’re now looking for a new management team.

But it was with some pride that I pointed out some of the players; household names like Brice Ntambe, Souleymane Coulibaly and Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo and, my own favourite, Max Melbourne, who sounds like an Australian Comic book hero.

I did start to explain the phrase ‘straight off the training ground’ to e but she and Holly seemed to have moved on. About fifteen minutes previously.

And I too was saddened to hear about the death of Geoffrey Hayes from Rainbow.

Incidentally, I loved the tales of those who worked on Rainbow and moved on. For example, ‘Matthew Corbett (70) was part of the show’s original band, Rod, Matt and Jane. He quit to team up with Sooty.’

The madcap and cut-throat world of Glove Puppets. Probably banner headlines at the time!

And finally, I was in Glasgow City Centre the other day but was in a lot earlier than I’d intended because I’d caught an earlier train that was already running late.

There’s a lane between Queen Street Station and Buchanan Street and I sometimes know the rough sleeper bundled up there and stop and talk and give some money.

I didn’t know this guy but he was asking how I was, that I was looking so much better than the last time he’d seen me and was I ‘still off the gear’? I could only mumble replies as he asked more non-relevant questions and I gave him some cash and told him to ‘stay safe’ to which he replied ‘and you bud, and you.’ I think I felt better for that but some people did look at me out of the corner of their eye as I walked into the station.

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

Iaint850, happy to be alive……

So, research this week shows that weekly drinking among 15-year-olds has declined from 41 per cent to 11 per cent in girls and from 41 per cent to 14 per cent among boys. And I think that’s brilliant. I’ve nothing against alcohol and do believe that inebriation has been part of the human psyche since caveperson days.

But that must, in itself, lead to healthier people but some commentators (my age and younger) seem to think this younger generation were missing out by not drinking beer (or whatever) and getting into scrapes and mis-spending their youth and waking up in places they shouldn’t be.

No. They’re not.

That’s also the generation that will remember defence lawyers suggesting that their clients were innocent as they were normally well behaved but ‘the drink made them do it.’

Maybe this younger generation is moving in the right direction.

Not everyone can be as careful as Brett Kavanaugh;

‘I liked beer. I still like beer, but I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out.’ He went on to mention ‘beer’ again another 26 times.

So that’s okay, then. His wife, in the row behind him, looked a very patient woman.

Donald Trump does not drink. He is just an awful man.

Here’s a happy song. Well, it cheers me up. Cheers 🙂

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

March 1, 2018

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

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

And he did not explain what those issues were. 😦

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Pop’, goes the weasel.

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

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

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

January 5, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s all I will say.

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUT

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

And then the other three. I need the work.

http://www.thewordprocess.net

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

Iaint850, a very stable genius but only just 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 14, 2017

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

Thanks.

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

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

Winter’s come, the snow has fell

Wee Josie’s nose is froze as well

Wee Josie’s frozen nose is skintit

Winter’s diabolic, intit?

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

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

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

I made an excuse and left.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iaint850, about to start my revolutions for 2018

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

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

For example;

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

(RIP Keith Chegwin)

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

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

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

We would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright (Hemingway)

November 30, 2017

And so dear listener, I’ve found it really cold. Have you? Oh, no – inside as well as outside. And to be honest, whilst there are some things I do miss about my previous job, I do not miss getting up and out just after six in the morning to be in for a shift starting at seven on mornings like these have been – especially at the weekend when often I was the first car on the road. And that includes coming home after a night shift. On a couple of times I parked at the bottom of the main road cos it’s a bit of a hill (I live in a cul-de-sac off the main road) and it wouldn’t be the first time a taxi has refused to make that trip. 😦

(The last time was approximately a year ago when I finished work at 4.30 in the morning and it was a brilliant walk up the hill – streetlights and the snow and the foxes) 😀

It was 2010/11 when we did have people, well cars, having a tough time getting out of Summerston and trains couldn’t get through. Now, it’s more ice and frost on the road until you get to Maryhill Road – especially where the sun has not got through.

There was a time when ours were amongst the first roads to be gritted but then we did have a Lord Provost living nearby.

Now, as some of you know, I have a fairly reasonably sized semi – with a couple of rooms and bathroom upstairs and kitchen and living room downstairs. Well, unfortunately the heating upstairs died. It’s not been too big a deal. I moved the laptop out of the back room and on to the table downstairs; the bathroom has a heated towel rail and I did a lot of reading there; and the only real annoyance was the Master Bedroom…….It was cold. 😦

However, help came in the shape of a new electrician on Wednesday who knew what he was doing and who sent me a picture of the job he was doing in Kilmacolm to explain why he’d be late. But he did turn up and he did fix the heating and told me not to worry about the odd bang – he knew what he was doing. And sure enough fifteen minutes later heat was making its way through my upstairs.

I’m not mad keen on leaving my house too often at the moment but I put that down to the cold rather than residual depression, so I did feel the cold. But the reason for not going out on Thursday night was the temptation of staying in a warm house. I missed a talk about the Necropolis – once the dead centre of Glasgow. 😀

But I have watched more TV than I normally would and saw a smashing wee programme about the development of Scotland’s police people – when it was a number of different police forces and much better as there was more accountability.

There was a fair chunk about what it was like when you left the force and what your last day was like. Some of theirs were a bit more exciting than mine (other than that meeting in Queen Street Station) but I noticed that they have the same habit that I have although in their cases it’s understandable because they were there for twenty-five years. I lasted four and a half in the project for the homeless where I was working but I still talk about ‘we’ and in the present tense. 🙂

I also saw the lovely ‘From Scotland with Love’ – a TV prog but I think the video is still available from Fopp (probably a couple of quid by now) and e and I saw King Creosote play the soundtrack live at Kelvingrove Bandstand a few years ago and the video was played on large screens……just an amazing show. And well worth the re-run. 😀 😀

And whilst I’ve started eating some meat again, I was staggered at BBC’s Landward last week which followed a fascinating item about helping badgers to cross a new road by showing the man, who is now Scotland’s National Chef (Gary McLean), strapping on a powerful shotgun to go shooting deer for venison.

Now I’m not daft – and I do originally come from a farming and fishing community in the North East of Scotland – but I just felt there should have been something between the two items. Arlene Stuart, a beautiful lady to work with on Saturday mornings years ago,* had earlier presented an item on nurdles (which sounds like something Rambling Sid Rumple would have come up with). Could that not have been dropped in between the badgers and the deer killing?

The Saturday morning prog that I worked on with Arlene was called, I think, Something for the Weekend and was about doing stuff at the weekend, which obviously involved eating and drinking. Once every few weeks we had a wine expert, Paul Somebody, with wine and once every few weeks we had Nick Nairn cooking in the studio……..and every so often we had them both.

Sportsound had to throw us out of Studio Six with our empties and our dishes.

And finally I read this on da Internet from a drug rehab organisation that I have a lot of time for,

‘Viagra will be available over the counter in UK, says medicines regulator.’ – This is specifically in order to close down the lucrative criminal market in it. So why not do the same for other drugs, like cannabis, for the same reason? It’s not hard!’

Cracking payoff line.

tioraidh, still wearing both badges and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, and maybe we should use the word gluttony more often. Stop us eating so much.

So, there used to be very strict rules at the BBC about what Christmas music you could play and when. It was something like only new stuff for the first two weeks of December and then open door for the rest of the month.

So I’m not sure if I’m breaking the rules by playing this but many thanks to j, one of the blog’s top pop pickers, for suggesting this.

This is/these are the Futureheads with Christmas was Better in the Eighties.

Actually the setting looks like upstairs in my house earlier this week……