Archive for the ‘humour’ Category

‘Dom Cummings followed the guidelines and looked after his family. End of story.’ (Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden) ‘I know ending stories and this ain’t it, chief. (JK Rowling, well known author)

May 29, 2020

And so, dear listener, a wee word if I may about blogging and, please, bear with me. I’ve been doing it now for just over twelve years and it’s basically a fun couple of hours when I hammer words into this typewriter and then re-arrange them to make sense. 🙂

I used to do it live, straight onto the WordPress template (which they’re about to change yet again) and do final editing then…….in the days of tape, razor blade and sticky tape…..but that was creating pressure so I stopped doing that and instead started drafting it during the week and did the final topping and tailing once I’ve transferred it on a Friday….and then hit the Publish button (still a thrill, not that I get………) 😦

And yes, I do wait until Sunday before I tell the world of Facebook at which time I may use the Update button. This means that if something has happened between hitting the streets on a Friday and it being read by the more sedate burghers on Facebook on a Sunday, I can make a change.

And then I leave it. It’s gone. 70-80-99-120 people read it. That’s fine. I write it for me………maybe part of my therapy?
Somebody else described it as such. 🙂

It would never, ever occur to me to go back several months and add stuff.

So, if you ever do drop into my back catalogue and discover that I wrote about my discovery of penicillin, well it’s there cos it’s true. And, yes, I was the first man on the Moon. I just didn’t say anything about it at the time but if you re-arrange the letters of iaint850 you can come up with Buzz Aldrin. That’s how we hid it.

And that night with Naomi Campbell did happen. She is one helluva a Bagetelle player. 😀

And Skippy, the invisible bush kangaroo who has been with me since this blog started does exist. Honestly.

And then there’s the car-driving thing.

I think I can safely say that during my alcoholically dependent period I did not drive while drunk but it wouldn’t have been the first Saturday morning that I woke up and realised that I had to go back into town and get my car down from a multi-storey car park where I’d left it the night before. So safe, on so many levels. 😉

I worked for a PR consultancy in Bothwell Street at the time so it would have been Waterloo Street car park – not that far from Bonkers Showbar.

However, see when you read on a packet of Lemsip (or similar) that you’re not supposed to exceed six in twenty-four hours, there’s a reason for that.

It was in the immediate period after the cold turkey, and the cancer treatment – a time when your head is clearing of so many things but you’ve still got a long way to go.

I had a bad cold. I seriously overdid the Lemsip. I got the munchies. It was a paracetamol high. I thought I’ll drive down to the ASDA and get something to eat. It’s a four minute drive.

After two minutes of that driving, I realised it was wrong and that I should turn round and go home. So, paracetemolly, I drove onto ASDA, drove in through the IN bit and back out through the OUT bit and went home.

It was only when I crunched into the drive that I realised how stupid I’d been.

Almost as stupid as Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings who claim that the best way to check your eyesight is to go for a drive. Listeners of a certain age may remember the short sighted Mr Magoo and the carnage he caused cos he couldn’t see what he was driving into. 😦

And then there’s been a smell this week – other than at Westminster. It’s been in my kitchen. Which is quite reassuring as it means I still have my sense of smell, and I can taste toothpaste.

Like a lot of people, I seem to be spending much of my time (I live on my own – have I ever mentioned that?) cleaning and tidying the house until the next time I clean and tidy the house.

I narrowed it down to the fridge which I keep tidy and I’m very careful about Use By dates.

So I washed and wiped and wiped and washed the fridge and its contents. I moved it out and washed behind it.

I used to work for Blue Triangle (supported accommodation for the homeless including refugees with ‘no recourse to public funds’) and every time I tell people that and they say ‘that must have been worthwhile’, I think of the number of nightshifts when you cleaned a room for a new service user moving in in the morning and one of the worst tasks was the fridge. 😦

Then it hit me……well thankfully not literally.

I had assumed that if it was a fridge smell, it was in the fridge. It was actually on top of the fridge. There was a box of twelve eggs on top of the fridge except two of them were cracked and had seeped through the box. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, after that. 🙂

If only all foul smells were as easy to eradicate.

tioraidh, and still keeping it all those things I like to keep it.

Iaint850, and it’s all a bit of a clusterbourach isn’t it?

So there’s a new Steve Earle album on the turntable even as we speak and thanks to a tip-off from top PT fan, Ken, I watched Steve intro many of the tracks on a Facebook live streaming session and I did do the fan thing where I sent the message ‘hi steve, I’m from Glasgow and me and good friend e saw you a few years ago at the Kelvingrove Bandstand’ and, in hindsight, I realise the phrase, ‘good friend e‘ may have sent the wrong message unless Steve is a regular reader.

None of the tracks are up visually on Youtube yet, so here’s ten minutes of Steve Earle and the Pogues. Pure genius.

‘we are not all in the same boat, but we are in the same storm’ (DDN magazine)

May 1, 2020

And so, dear listener, I had heard of Fear of Flying (a book by Erica Jong which wasn’t much about flying) but now I am aware of fear of supermarket shopping. 😦

An STV journalist, Gordon Chree (sp), wrote about it on Twitter last weekend explaining that he was afraid when going into a supermarket because of all the hazards that existed or something like that and a lot of people agreed with him (apart from one person who told him to ‘man up’ which didn’t go down to well with Gordon)

I have already explained my tactics in the local ASDA. I go early in the day, I have a list and I am quite happy to bump into other trollies if they’re going in the wrong direction and, on one occasion this week, into an actual person. I actually don’t have problems with couples provided they stay together in doing the shopping. There was no need for him to run on ahead. 😉

I was talking to Kenny the Shed Pimp earlier in the week at an appropriate distance – as in the other side of the street and it was a bit like playing verbal kerbie. He told me of a visit he had paid to another supermarket and an ‘old woman’ (or similar words) that was walking against the arrows. He pointed that out to her, but she replied, ‘but I’m no going down that way, son.’ There wasn’t much he could say. 😦

And I did break a habit of a lifetime, well the last five weeks, by going in on Tuesday. Supplementary Sunday had not been properly planned and I needed stuff but, as I draft this, I am fine for the rest of the week.

I will continue to supermarket shop for as long as I have to and leave the supermarket delivery to those that need it.

I will be careful and I will show common sense where necessary.

But I am not sure about a mask. I have a slight breathing problem (heart condition related) and I do need to lift the scarf or the mask at regular intervals. We’ll see.

But why tell us now? Could they not have told us on 3rd March when despite being told that between 250,000 and 500,000 people could die of this virus the PM said, “We should all basically just go about our normal daily lives.”

And he returns to work after his own illness and talks of our ‘apparent success’ in beating the virus.

And that night Hibs played Hearts and the players were told not to shake hands before the start but four goals were scored with all that that meant in terms of on and off-field celebrations. We ignored so much at that time and we may be ignoring it now. I have no intention of going to B&Q in the Great Western Road retail park and then going shopping at Sainsbury’s and finishing it off with a takeaway from a fast food outlet which I might eat in the car park. 😦

I will also avoid going down Byres Road to look at that mini-market that’s just opened and was featured on Reporting Scotland. 😦

Right. I didn’t mean the rant but there is an informal unlocking of the lockdown going on and it’s being ignored by the FM and the PM and I’d like to see my grandkids soon but I won’t break the rules, cos, apart from anything else, my daughter-in-law, whose birthday it was this week, is a nurse in Intensive Care and I don’t want to put her or anyone else at risk.

Right. Rant over. Fun break. 😀

Do you know the TV programme Eight out of Ten Cats Prefer Countdown? This is the Carrot in the Box game and its very funny. Parental Guidance obviously.

And finally, in the very few words I’ve left myself, I have decided not go ahead with a kitchen extension. I have now made an attempt to begin freshening up my kitchen. I bought two new baking trays and there must be an easier way of washing off the wee sticky paper things that tell you how to wash off the wee sticky paper things. But it’s a start.

And I’ve just noticed, before I hit the Publish button, that there are pubs selling and delivering pints of lager and other alcohol online. I hope it pours this weekend cos they’re obviously destined for folks’ back gardens as well as their front rooms. Party, anyone?

But here’s something to look forward to. Regular listeners will be aware that each year good friend e and I go to the Kelvingrove Bandstand for one of their summertime gigs. Well the Jesus and Mary Chain gig has been postponed until 13th August next year. Without sounding too morbid there’s something to keep me going but don’t ask what age I’ll be then……..don’t.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges, still keeping it simple and I’m completely fine(ish)

Iaint850, and I’m sure my hairdresser won’t mind too much that I’ve just been snipping at my hair. Any tips Nicola?

So I mentioned last week that the music features for the next few weeks will be based around music I have on the audio cassettes I found in the shed but I found something else. 🙂

It was a cassette entitled ‘extract from Off The Ball’ and it was dated 2001. Now I used to produce OTB and I wondered what it was. One thought was that it might have been one of the two occasions my schoolboy son had gags that he had written that were used and for which he was paid and on only one occasion was I producing and the gag was in on merit. 😀

I was close but it wasn’t a coconut.

It was a midweek edition and Craig Brown, Scotland manager, had just been on and then Stuart went to the next caller on the line and it was a very young Son Brian who had phoned in as a PT fan, to complain about a stewarding issue at some game he’d been at and he sounded so young and so innocent. Of course, I cried.

So, on that note, I had recorded this track by the Small Faces onto a Sony 30 minute cassette probably by holding the cassette recorder’s mic up to the record player’s loudspeaker. This isn’t it. This is a pretty dodgy version, tho’, just to give you an idea.

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

April 3, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**or orange juice if you prefer.

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

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

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

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

Tioraidh, keeping it simple

Iant850, keeping it fun and keeping it at homw

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

Take care and stay safe.

‘A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they will never sit’ … an old Greek proverb quoted by Seamus Mallon (RIP)

January 31, 2020

And so, dear listener, Brexit has been and got done and none of the claims on the side of the bus were true. But that’s Boris Johnson for you. Liam Fox did not do forty trade deals and Liz Truss does not inspire confidence. And the Home Secretary wants to separate immigrants into different types, ignoring the fact that Scotland’s basic needs are not for top class scientists but for hospitality and agricultural workers. But we can have a blue passport, a tea towel and a fifty pence piece without the Oxford Comma.

Oh, and the voices, many from south of the border, who had no idea how they would benefit from Brexit but it was good to be ‘independent again’. 😦

We move on. Without any clue where we’re going. 😦

So I met up during the week with a friend, Colin, who I had not seen for a long time and we had a very pleasant lunch in the Shish Mahal in Park Road and I’m pleased to say that they were only lunch size plates and very tasty. Two memories came back.

One was with Colin and our respective wives (a long time ago!) and we were spending a few days in a small village in Kintyre. We had access to a small boat and Colin and I went to pull it in. Except. It pulled me in. My wellies had no grip and I slipped, on my back, gently and inexorably, into the water. Think the QE2 coming off the slips into the River Clyde. So slowly was it that my life did not flash in front of my eyes but, instead, it was a graceful and slow review of my life up to that point. I even smiled. 🙂

A couple of nights later, Colin and I were out on a fishing boat overnight (pair trawlers) and I overhead one skipper say to his mate on the other boat;

‘You’ll never guess who’s on the boat tonight. Aye, that fella from Glasgow who fell in the water. Aye, I’m keeping a bloody close eye on him!’

And I’m told by Colin, who still goes down to Carradale from time to time, that I am still asked after.

The other memory came from the fact that I had parked my car at the back of the Botanic Gardens (just up from the Ha’penny Bridge) and walked along the banks of the Kelvin, a walk that Holly the Dog and I (and good friend e) have done many a time and it fits into my new health regime and all done with a smile. 😀

I walked back, kidding myself that I was walking off the curry.

I used to do this in my drinking days (but maybe not towards the end). Maybe it was a nice Friday night in the Spring so I’d take a wee walk down to the Maryhill Road, planning to nip into a hostelry, have a couple of pints and wander back up the road. 🙂

Now, such is the camaraderie that alcohol engenders, was there ever a time that I met up with people I did not know, got a wee cargo together and did all my good intentions then go west? Maybe, dear listener, maybe.

And finally, dear listener, I’d like to thank my chums on Facebook for helping me spend the first few pounds of my sister’s inheritance. I asked for advice. I posed a question. I said, ‘Dyson or Shark?’ and I got opinions. The majority said Shark.

Now, I was full of good intentions. I planned to drive to Curry’s and kinda road test the vacuum cleaners. I’d even looked out some vintage Shake’n’Vac for the occasion. But I looked out the window and it was raining.

I switched on the laptop and, yes, selected the rainforestriverbuying option and clicked, and clicked, and clicked. And two days later £169 was deducted from my bank account and I was clicking the liftaway pod into position.

And next, maybe a new camera, but I’ll take advice from Son Brian on that one.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and I’m still happy to keep smiling and to keep it simple.

Iaint850, So I tried out my new corded Shark vacuum cleaner this weekend and found £2.12 under the twp settees. 🙂

And I was interested to read that the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer has increased – ‘diagnosed’ with cancer, not ‘getting’ cancer. It means more men are coming forward but I was interested to read people like Prostate Cancer UK and Prof Karl Sikora ascribing it to the likes of Stephen Fry and Bill Turnbull who have spoken openly about their experiences.

I, however, would pay tribute to the ordinary men (and widows of other men) who do information talks and stands and who also share experiences but often do so in a one-one manner which can have such a major effect.

It’s a long time since I’ve done these (I did a lot of broadcasting about cancer) but I do have memories of ‘manning’ stands and seeing men walk past but their wives coming over to ask questions; or doing a talk somewhere and there was always someone hanging round for ‘a quick word’.

I then went on to study drink’n’drugs and I also hope that, there, I’ve helped people by sharing experiences. It’s not the easiest of things to do. But somebody I don’t know, this week, learned that I was thirteen years ‘sober’ and congratulated me. He then told me he was coming up for fourteen years sober this May. From a distance we metaphorically hugged. That was a good ‘share’.

And here’s The Jesus and Mary Chain. Again. They sure ain’t no Chamber Music outfit, are they?

‘Just noticing patterns we slip into is half the battle. If you are lucky, the rest comes naturally.’ (Darren Loki McGarvey)

January 24, 2020

And so, dear listener, I have lived in the city of Glasgow for over forty years and still find it a fascinating place. 🙂

I don’t get around it as much as I used to but that’s partly because I don’t have that much need so to do. Indeed I’m sure I’ve explained how rarely now I travel to the south side – although I do distinguish between that and ‘through the tunnel’ and some of the travelling these days is done by train as I have that time to myself. 🙂

However, I had a fascinating view of one aspect of Glasgow just the other night – the surprise and joy you can get from staring into a basement flat. Let me explain.

I was meeting the blogmeister in a coffee shop in Byres Road on Monday evening and I was early (‘Now there’s a surprise’ says Skippy) so I parked at Kelvinside Academy and started to walk – through places like Horselethill and Dowanhill and then down a back road to Dumbarton Road and back up Byres Road. Even in that short trip you see the attraction of Glasgow and the tenements but it’s an area where you can see into massive basement rooms in massive basement flats…..curtains and blinds are not always drawn but it was on the way back that I saw something that rang a bell with the wordsmith in me – if I may describe myself as that. 😉

(but first, a very pleasant couple of cups of coffee with the blogmeister and the world was put to rights)

On the way back to my car I looked into one basement and was really intrigued by what I saw. Seated at a large wooden table was a man with long fairish hair and he was reading – not a book but a large manuscript wrapped in some form of book binding which wasn’t normal book binding and not only that he was surrounded, not by bookcases, but by shelves full of more manuscripts wrapped in the same binding.

I stared; trying to work what he was – a warlock, maybe? Somebody with a house full of potions and pills and the recipes for them? And it wouldn’t be the first time that I’d been in a flat like that in Glasgow’s west end. 😉

And he looked up. And he stared. And glared and I made an excuse and left……..embarrassed. (Huntly Gardens if you’re ever in that area)

And I was actually in an old building in Glasgow city centre the other day with something that not only took me back but took me up when I had to go and see my son (professionally – and his profession, not mine)

His firm’s office is on the sixth floor and there was a lift but it was one of those lifts which is actually a cage where you have to open and close the gates before it travels and not only that but the commissionaire did that for me on the way up and came with me…..just to be sure.

Glasgow – a city of surprises. 😀

And finally, if I may, some criticism of Meghan Wales (gulp!)

There was a photograph of her walking through a park with two burly security men behind her (that somebody’s paying for). She was carrying a baby (stunt double?) in a chest papoose which she was steadying with her right hand; her left was holding on to the leads of two very strong looking dogs. Did this worry anyone else? I know that sometimes, when walking my friend, Holly the Dog, I sometimes am pulled away when she sees something she wants to go and investigate.

It’s enough concentrating on one dog with one lead and two hands.

What a shame Meghan doesn’t live near a gran-in-law who knows about dogs.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple (and ever optimistic)

Iaint850, choosing to eat ethically, economically and environmentally friendly.

And so, a wee word about my sister, one year to the day since she passed away. I posted on facebook that I had started to spend the inheritance by buying a Shark corded vacuum cleaner – slightly tongue in cheek but a sign that I felt (with others) that it was a good time to move on.

With the exception of the legal hiccup which saw me having to change solicitor (and I see no need to go back over that story but I found new dead good people in Paisley), every aspect of it has gone well – from the funeral and cremation to the will settlement and all the other things that pop up in a situation like that.

Legally and financially, there’s some things to be tidied up and I still have things to sign but it’s more or less over and we move on. Sheila will not be forgotten but I’m not the sort of person to mark the fact that members of my family have moved on, on an annual basis.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t miss her. Sometimes there are times when I (will) miss picking up the phone just to tell her something………

For example, I have bought tickets for myself and good friend e to go see The Jesus and Mary Chain at the Kelvingrove Bandstand later this year and I’d have been interested in her reaction to that – if I could catch her when she wasn’t at Celtic Connections.

So here are The Jesus and Mary Chain with Happy When It Rains….except we won’t be if it does.

‘It’s not enough to just survive something, right? That’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive, you’ve got to feel happy.’ (Duchess of Sussex)

January 10, 2020

And so, dear listener, I had actually taken a note of those words from the Duchess of Sussex (or Meg as we call her down the Elephant (and Bugle) down the Maryhill Road – a boozer with strong connections with the Highland Light Infantry whose barracks were where the Wyndford flats now are) long before she chose to announce her decision to move on and become independent and earn her own living ……..and Harry……Harry knew about it as well. He was consulted. He’s doing it as well.

It’s interesting. tho’, isn’t it?

Y’see in the same way I confessed last week to reading the Daily Mail from time to time cos I get bored with reading things that I agree with, I have another peccadillo (sp?) to ‘fess up to. 😉

I am fascinated by stories about the Royals.

I mean, I’m not one of those people who still has a Charles’n’Di mug or wants to be on the streets of Windsor when there’s a wedding or cries when one child or another starts school.

I love the behind-the-scenes TV docs on Channel 4 or 5. 🙂

It can be a look back at Mrs Wallis Simpson and her love affair with Thingy (I can never remember the men’s names) or why the current Queen loves Balmoral or, and this was the most recent, a look at how they prepare for a banquet at Windsor which I saw a few days ago.

They get through one helluva lot of bevvy if the number of glasses at each setting is anything to go by and do you know they even have two men with a big stick so that they make sure that every seat is exactly the same distance from the table?

It’s stuff like that that fascinates me and they, even the servants, seem to live in some kind of existence that is totally cocooned from life as you and I know it and I’m never sure quite what to make of that except to wonder why the Queen Mum was allowed to build up such a massive overdraft at Coutts and I have heard some good stories about her and some others which have made it onto these programmes but the Royals have good lawyers (as do I but they’re maybe not that experienced in these matters) so I won’t say too much openly.

See me in the Elephant (and Bugle) and I’ll tell you but I trust the former SAS officer who told me about what happened on the old Royal Train when it was parked overnight in Central Station a few years ago.

And none of the above should be taken as approval of the Family or certain members of it, especially Andrew…..except, maybe, Anne……..

And if we’re talking about people for whom we have respect, can I just highlight Son Brian who, as well as helping me so much over the last year or so, found time to undertake some kind of challenge which saw him running a distance of 5k on a daily basis for the month of December.

I don’t think it was ever seen as a fundraising exercise but funds were raised and I know a reasonable donation was made to Prostate Cancer UK. No. No reason. 😀

And finally, the ‘proof reading’ is back up and running. The reason for the quote marks is because I don’t actually read proofs; I, and business partner, my good friend e, copy edit. But I, cos I’m the main man, am getting a wee bit unhappy. In fact, it’s a wee bit of a dilemma. What is acceptable short notice?

So, what I’ve started to do is to give students deadlines so I get work in in in plenty of time and it is realistically do-able but I did say no to someone who sent me stuff late Thursday night (so I didn’t see it until Friday morning) and wanted it back by two o’clock on Sunday afternoon. I turned that one down. I felt bad. 😦

And then I think about trying to book my car into a busy garage for its MOT, or me to a busy dentist (not ‘til 3rd Feb cos I want early morning), and then I don’t feel so bad. 🙂

Tioraidh (and I’m considering duolingo), still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple but with a smile.

Iaint850, and don’t worry. I think that’s enough personal outing for one year.

So I’ve spoken a wee bit recently about some of the debate currently raging within the world of addiction (or dependency) and abstinence (or harm-reduction) and how do you recover – if ever.

I’m not going to say too much tonight, and there is a danger it might become too academic and this blog was never meant to be that, was it, Skippy?

But there’s a number of politicians making lots of statements at the moment and they’re coming in for lots of criticism for doing so but not everyone who talks the talk will have walked the walk. Do you always need that lived experience in order to make good suggestions or is it possible to bring everyone together? My addiction worker did not have lived experience but had the skills and expertise to help me considerably – motivational interviewing – and it worked.

It used to be said that there are many roads to recovery and one of them will be the right one for you……….

So, as you know, Ted Danson (and it’s not his birthday) is married to Mary Steenburgen who wrote Glasgow which was sung by Jessie Buckley in the film, Wild Rose

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

December 26, 2019

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

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

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

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

So, I’ve got that out of the way…….

Lifetime Achievement Award goes to my late sister, Sheila.

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

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

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

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

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

In Second Place is the Decision to Change Lawyers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track of the Year?

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

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

December 19, 2019

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

But first some items of news.

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

Q What did Adam say the day before Christmas?

A It’s Christmas, Eve.

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

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

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

‘Famous name, eh?’

‘Aye, preacher man, we call him….’

I was flabbergasted.

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

A Freeze he’s a jolly good fella.

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

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

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

Q What carol do they sing in the desert?

A Oh camel you faithful

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

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

A Frostbite

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

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

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

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

September 13, 2019

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

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

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

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

It was often said that I was a master debater.

Sorry. Where was I?

Oh, yes.

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

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

(They’re quite sickly, aren’t they?)

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

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

#stopthedeaths

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sorry, Skippy……???

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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