Archive for the ‘homelessness’ Category

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……

‘Another email from a collector in Edinburgh who has 13,000 books to sell. I replied asking for more information’ (Bythell)

November 10, 2017

And that quote was from the very, very lovely Diary of a Bookseller recommended to me by the very, very lovely Craig Williams of the BBC who produced the very, very lovely documentary Donald Trump, Scotland’s President still available on the reasonably attractive BBCiPlayer. 😉

And I remember someone recommending a second hand bookshop in Wemyss Bay which I’d love to visit but I still have a soft spot for Voltaire and Rousseau down Otago Lane – if it’s still there. The lane that is.

And so dear listener, let me apologise for last week’s show. It was awful. An idea didn’t work and I should have walked away from it. I used to do a lot more walking than I’m currently doing. There’s a wee tekkie problem putting a new MP3 player together with my recent (couple of years) interest in country music. Maybe one day. And a couple of other tekkie issues.

And it doesn’t help that I live alone (have I ever mentioned that?) and there’s no-one other than Skippy to read it before transmission.

This living alone can cause problems in other directions. For example, I was cutting my toe-nails the other day – a difficult operation at the best of times. The scissors slipped and the pointy bit went directly into the toe next to the one I was cutting, causing blood to emerge. The obvious thing to do would be to get an Elastoplast on it. Other plasters are available but they’re not as good.

The Elastoplasts are kept in a cupboard over there. But I don’t want blood all over the floor. One hand has toilet paper stopping the blood and the other is single-handedly opening the cupboard and the plaster box, pulling one out that’s the right size, opening it without the two sticky sides sticking together and wrapping it around the toe – just. Blood is still seeping but the box is now empty. 😦

There is another box. For some reason, these are colourful and luminous. And small. But one is enough to wrap around the toe in a slightly different direction to the first one. And I breathe silently and happily and there is blood on the floor and on a towel and three toe-nails remain to be cut. Carefully.

Occasionally, I still feel a small whisky would be justified but luckily these moments are few and quickly pass when I put on a reasonably new CD by Steve Earle. Which I don’t think is very good. Yet.

But let’s take a minute to discuss another aspect of my physical health – my knees. They have been x-rayed and the word from the doctor is they are normal. I have no idea what this means and may pop in to find out more.

But they feel better – well, one of them does. I think I’ll be fine. 🙂

And on the mental health front, I had to explain to someone that my depression was not just being ‘unhappy’ but, amongst other things, was an unwillingness to interact with people. How unlike my student days.

Did you know that on this week, just past, in 1964 the new Queen Margaret Hall of Residence was opened in Bellshaugh Road, Kelvindale? It got knocked down in 2000 and turned into more of a student flat type accommodation.

I was there, dear listener, something like 1972-74 and if I say that it was there that a boy became a man, need I elaborate?

But I made a lot of friends there and it was there I first wrote comedy, did a Toast to the Lasses and played mixed hockey – just as deadly serious as the all-male hockey I played for the university. At first team level. 😀

Then I moved into a flat in Woodlands with three others and that noise you can hear is that of a veil being drawn.

But I did get my first degree. Just.

And finally, it’s too easy to pour scorn on Donald Trump but what little, if any, respect I had for the man disappeared when, in Japan, he tipped a whole box of fish food into a pond of koi carp…..and, in doing so, killed them. The bastard!!!!

I used to keep coldwater fish. Okay so it’s not in the same league as koi carp, but they meant a lot to me.

And I do remember being in somebody’s house in Orkney about four years ago and one of their interior walls was one side of a fish tank full of Pacific Ocean fish. Seriously amazing.

Tioraidh, still wearing this year’s poppy and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, who, like everyone else, is keen to hear the results of Duaisean Gaidhlig Na H-Alba 2017 which will be announced in the Glasgow Central Hotel on the 15th November. No. No reason. 🙂 But my money’s on Buidheann Disathairne.

So somebody told me the other day that they were never sure whether to give money to the homeless people ‘begging’ in the streets.

‘After all’, she said, ‘is there not a chance they might spend it on drinks and drugs?’

‘Possibly, or they could buy food,’ said I. ‘but at least you’re giving them an option they didn’t have until you gave them that money.’

And I got a strange look.

I also met the Big Issue seller I buy from on an unusual pitch, which was distributing the Stylist outside Queen Street Station. She’s an Eastern European lady from Kinning Park. Anyway I’m standing talking to her and it’s difficult cos I don’t understand Eastern European and another lady (not Eastern European but more Milngavie) took a Stylist from my friend but when I cheerily shouted, ‘thanks’, I got another strange look.

Altho’ I openly admit to my interest in country music being recently recent, my interest in Steve Earle and the Dixie Chicks goes back to 2003 and the Second Gulf War when they both spoke out against that war and were removed from various playlists. I tried to get them both onto a radio programme I was working on at the time. In Glasgow. I failed.

This is/these are the Dixie Chicks:

I myself am made entirely of flaws stitched together with good intentions (Augusten Burroughs)

November 2, 2017

And so dear listener, it is over a week since the clocks changed but I am still feeling the effects. 😦

I cope with the actual mechanics of the change okay. I copy my dad from many years ago who changed all the clocks and watches in the house the night before and everything was run by clockwork (in every sense of the word) 🙂 I do some of that.

The first timepiece to be changed is my £9.99 Casio watch which keeps good time and is the official stopwatch for one part of the North Stand (red’n’yellow) at Partick Thistle. It’s one of the many skills I developed as radio producer and within one second I can tell you how long there is to go to the end of a football match whilst diving to a depth of 50 metres which is remarkable as I can’t swim but anything is possible with a Casio. 😀

I have a friend with a real Rolex which runs slow and when he took it to a well known jeweller to get it fixed, he was told, ‘It’s a Rolex. They run slow.’ Go Casio! Go!

The last timepiece to be touched is the Impossible Task: the Car Clock. I don’t understand why it doesn’t change itself. It’s on a DAB radio like the one in my bedroom and it changes itself – altho’ tbh it’s only tuned to one radio station.

I could read the instructions but I’m terrified that I muck up my existing selection and then I’ll need to invent a reason to go to Arnold Clark’s to get someone there to reset them for me. No, for the next six months, I will have to look at my watch before I look at the car clock to see what time it is.

And then there’s the effect it has on my sleep pattern. I have recovered from the daytime shift system that I was working under just before I left but I do wake up too early and my mind (and indeed my body) is fully functioning at about 6. Most mornings these days I don’t need to get up until back of 7 if not later.

I could read but these days there are no books on my bedside cabinet as I don’t read in bed. I am asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow (I live alone. I don’t know if people know that)…..I’ll work something out.

One of the nice things about night shifts was going home on a Monday morning (07.30) as all the stereotypes from Bearsden and Milngavie were ending their fun-filled weekends. I was going home to bed and, if it was a frosty morning, I would put the blanket on while I washed my clothes from the night before and showered. By nine I’d be toasty and fast asleep whilst the businesspeople of Glasgow were beginning to make an assault on the weekend’s emails. 😀

But some things in my life are returning to normal.

Partick Thistle are picking up points again and I overheard a conversation outside a lift where Rangers’ fans were discussing a possible new manager and the name Alan Archibald came up; Celtic did really well in Europe and the star players were those that Gordon Strachan ignored in favour of an English Championship reserve; and I may not see a game this coming month. There’s only two and they’re both away. I am open to suggestions. 😉

I may do some work on my SVQ stuff and I’ve found a marvellous website telling me some things I was frightened to ask about after a recent meeting. I’ll be fine.

The editing’s beginning to happen again and, as ever, my thanks go to the Chinese community of Glasgow for spreading my name around. Aren’t they nice people? 🙂

And finally, I’m beginning to attend my psychology evening class regularly. I have an essay coming up soon and if there’s one thing I do know it’s how to structure an essay. What the difference is between schema and heuristics I’m not too sure but again I’m sure I’ll be fine.

Tioraidh, and currently wearing a poppy instead of my usual badge but still keeping it simple

Iaint850, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

So eleven months ago I came to a decision. It happened as I took the train back up the road (eh?) having been to see an amazing gig in the company of J who very bravely 🙂 had volunteered (eh?) to come with me to see a band called Alabama 3.

The occasion? It was exactly ten years to the day and date since I’d cold turkeyed and A3 had been a big part of that recovery.

The decision? To stop thinking how long it had been – to quite happily accept that it was ten years and I was simply a guy who did not drink. Never to mention the anniversary again.

The other day I was out at UWS in Paisley an educational institute with which I have been associated for just over six years. So much has happened over those eleven years – much of it good; some of it not so good – but enough to make me realise that it is worth continuing getting the message across. It is not an incurable disease – it needs basic behavioural change, some things worth staying sober for and friends and family who help you think about other things. 🙂

So come 10th December this year, I will say ‘eleven years’ in various places and smile enigmatically.

Did they play this, j?