Archive for the ‘humour’ Category

His last words, which we have yet to decipher, were: Tweet Tweet, Possil Fleet!” RIP Reverend Love

May 23, 2019

And so, dear listener, Jake Black of Alabama 3 has died. Jake was from Possil in Glasgow. The official Facebook account posted a tribute to Black, one of its founding members, who was also known as The Very Reverend D.Wayne Love. 🙂

“Early this afternoon, on a beautiful summer’s day, our friend, comrade and spiritual teacher, Jake Black AKA The Very Reverend D.Wayne Love, passed over to the higher ground,” the post began.

“After a magnificent performance at the Highpoint Festival in Lancashire, D.Wayne in his supreme wisdom, decided it was the appropriate moment for his ascencion into the next level.”

Revealing that Black was surrounded by his “brothers Larry Love, L.B. Dope, The Spirit, Jonny Jamm and Sister Therese Mullan,” at the very end, the group said that his passing was “painless and peaceful.””

Long-term listeners will be aware that Alabama 3 played a major role in my recovery after Cold Turkey Sunday and the cancer stuff. I did go down to see them at Balloch Country Park after the all-clear on the cancer front, but it was on 10th December 2016, ten years exactly to the day and the date after Cold Turkey, that I went to see them, along with J, the blog’s favest librarian, at the now ruined O2 in Sauchiehall Street. 😦

It was a brilliant performance and a good night and for me, a circle was squared. I had fully recovered. It’s a difficult feeling to get over, particularly if you’ve never met me, but one that gives me hope I’ll live for at least another seven years. No. No reason.

And so to other matters;

I couldn’t help but notice that the Queen was asking about whether it was possible to cheat a self-scan checkout.

‘C’mon Liz. It was you who taught me the double onion scam!’

And is the SNP’s clarion call still ‘It’s Scotland’s oil’ or has a passing bandwagon just went past and a new slogan will do until 2022 which, I think, is the earliest we can have a second Independence referendum, although I am opposed to second referenda on a similar topic unless there’s at least twenty-five years between them.

My thanks to Radio Clyde presenter, George Bowie, for an unwitting trip down memory lane for me when he mentioned Frampton’s, a pub and club and formerly a disco (only a couple of times, honest) which was never, ever part of a golden triangle in that part of Maryhill. 😉

He then sequed to kids going to school on the Bonkers bus. Bonkers was a trendy showbar in Hope Street many years ago (only a couple of times there as well) and it was one of those where the barstaff also ‘performed’ on the bar counter.

And I saw a lady on TV the other day called Lucy Worsley (sp?) talking about Queen Victoria who I thought was very good. If I worked in television, I’d get her involved in making history programmes……but what do I know?

I mean I remember recommending a young actress called Keeley (sp?) Hawes to someone after I saw her in some police drama. Never heard of her since. I wonder what she’s doing now?

And I met up with my ex-wife and my now former accountant for coffee in M&S at Anniesland the other day – a bad corner for traffic, isn’t it?. My sister went there a lot and we’d a couple of things to discuss (but not yet arrangements for my 65th birthday which isn’t that far way #pleasefeelfreetopushtheboatout) 😉

And we’re standing and we’re ordering and I’m paying and I happen to mention that Virgin had gone down but was now back, at which point one of the folk serving said,

‘Oh, is it definitely back on? I must go and tell my mum. She thinks the world has ended’ and off she ran.

She did give me a fresh cup when she returned……..

And finally, good luck to anyone who chose to move house this week, especially if they decided to move on Thursday knowing well in advance the school would be closed for Euro elections and they could give the kids to their grandparents while they actually moved. No. No-one in particular but that was a near missive.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and trying desperately to keep it simple in other areas as well.

Iaint850 #mymentalhealthisimportanttome

So, all I’d like to say at this bit is I saw the doc by Alistair Campbell about his depression. I met him once, at Charles Kennedy’s memorial service at Glasgow University.

He’d done one before about his depression and this one was more about possible solutions (involving all sorts of strange devices) and my ‘moments’ of anxiety and depression are nothing like his. Indeed, other than not understanding the thing that pushed me over at Blue Triangle at the time, I have plenty of coping mechanisms that can kick in once I’ve identified the trigger.

Playing Alabama 3 is obviously one of those mechanisms and this is one of their best-known songs.

It’s from The Sopranos which is also, coincidentally, the name of a book by Alan Warner about a group of schoolgirls from Oban. Enjoy

#mymentalhealthisimportantome

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“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.

A man could spend his whole life searching for the perfect cherry blossom and it would not be a life wasted.

April 27, 2019

Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens were looking pretty good for blossom the other day. 🙂

And so, dear listener, for a few tears now, Partick Thistle has played a big role in my life. No. That is not a typo. I think many people know what that means.

Okay. It was, but I left it in. 😉

Going to the game on Saturday afternoons was a major part of my recovery in the early days, but even though I am now recovered, I still go and am a season ticket holder in Row 0. I missed much of last season cos of depression* (which was nothing to do with the team) and I’ve missed much of this season because of my sister’s illness and subsequent passing away.

*despite all we read on social media, do we ever ask ‘how’s your depression these days?’ During my sister’s illness I was asked by some, ‘how are you coping?’ which possibly related as much to my use of alcohol, when my mum was going through something the same with the same result, as the depression – but it was nice to be asked. I have a neighbour who is happy to talk about his issues but not everyone does.

Anyway I went back last week and again this week. And was glad I did so. The seats seemed busier where we stand – a new younger team but that’s no bad thing as long as there’s still room for us – and there was. And there was discussion about the merits of individual players but no falling out. There were no smoke flares; nothing thrown on the pitch.

Yesterday (Saturday) I went back and stayed to the botter, bitter end. Life’s like that sometimes.

The language can be a bit crisp and raw – the kind for which, noticeably on the new BBC Scotland channel, the commentator feels the need to apologise. But why? That’s what the real reality of football attending is like and if it makes you feel uncomfortable, then don’t watch. :p

And ships will always be ‘she’ as far as I am concerned.It’s how I was brought up on Peterhead which was a fishing town before it was an oil town and before that the whaling. 😀

And to the Parfery person (always one of my favourite students when she turned up on time); word on the streets says that you’re getting married this coming weekend. I seem to remember a lunchtime conversation in a city centre bar some time ago when you, me and two others, selected ‘targets’. Yours has obviously been a bulls-eye. Well done. 😀

I used to set the journalism students various writing tasks, discuss the results and then do what the SQA required me to do. I set a simple task.

‘Tell me about your sporting hero but avoid the obvious.’

The Parfery person wrote about her dad who followed a different football team from her but ‘not once did he make me try to turn my coat.’

Isn’t that a beautiful line? 😀

And finally the AGM and board meeting of The Word Process took place this week (which is what I used to call my business when it had a website) and it was really well attended. By good friend e and me. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Basically, I will continue to edit and ‘proof-read’ academic essays in the near future –whatever happens financially. I’m taking a wee break after the next three (!) until a PhD in mid-May.

The catering was provided by Firebird down Kelvingrove way and I must stop complaining about the crusts on sourdough bread sandwiches. After all, I was given a knofe and firk.

Iaint850, who realises that if I want to take part in anything on the new BBC Scotland channel I stand a better chance if I describe myself as an ‘activist’.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (well two of them on the one jacket) and apparently ‘I’m completely fine’, which might be because I’m almost at the stage I wanted to be in relation to settling my sister’s estate.

The other property’s about to go on the market. So both will soon be with estate agents, which is good, and the other financial stuff will be with the lawyer…….settlement can wait a wee while. I just want to wake up and not think about it.

Except…….

There is still some of her personal stuff to be sorted and I won’t elaborate other than to say there are photos, for example, that meant a lot to her but mean little to me…..they are being disposed of carefully. But I do get some help…..(which sounds like the depression has come back – except it hasn’t) but I looked through some of my own personal stuff the other night.

I call them scrap boxes and I did start to look through them. Interesting but definately only to me (deliberate spelling error so you know I’m Hastings #LOD).

There’s scripts that I wrote for University comedy shows (first time round); there’s stuff my son wrote when he had aspirations to be a journalist; and there’s an article that I had published in the Herald after he and I had been to Legoland in Denmark.

There’s a box with photos (and yes, ‘I do remember the time when …. but wasn’t my hair long and that was in the days when I had proper highlights – a mixture of ash blond and sunny blond’)

And there’s my mother’s season ticket for the Empire Exhibition in 1938 in Glasgow. There’s a badge that goes with that as well. 🙂

Sometimes it’s hard to throw things out, isn’t it?

Memories play a part in tonight’s final piece of music. It’s from the movie Wild Rose, which I’ve not been to see yet (anybody interested? and I promise not to say things like, ‘That’s Julie’ and ‘That’s Phil’) and it’s Jessie Buckley (as Rose-Lynn Harlan) singing Glasgow (No Place Like Home)

Now, one might well question the wisdom of sending you here, of all places. Out of the frying pan into the, well, maybe not the fire but certainly a different type of frying pan, or some sort of wok at the very least. (Sister Michael – who else?)

April 18, 2019

And so dear listener, there I was driving out of Garelochead last Sunday morning at about nine o’clock and it was a lovely day for a drive home. I was wishing I was a passenger and understanding the attraction of living in the likes of Kilcreggan or similar. 😀

(I remember driving down to Kilcreggan a few years ago with the good doctor W to buy homebrew making equipment….and Helensburgh Pier played a part in that story as well) 😉

Anyway, smiley, smiley and then it happened. A warning light came on in the place you hope you will never see a warning light. It was an exclamation mark so I tried the handbrake but it was off so it wasn’t it. It was in the wrong dial for that and it was orange. 😦

But you see, I wasn’t sure if I could stop to look at the manual.

‘Why not iaint850?’ you ask.

I was slap bang next door to a big nuclear submarine base and I suspected that if I pulled over and sat there for any length of time, men with submachine guns would come rushing over and before you could say ‘Julian Assange is not a journalist!’ I’d have been surrounded and forced out of the car. The safety catches would have been on but their thumbs would have been trembling. 😦

I made the decision to keep driving. I could neither feel nor hear anything. Those days have long incidentally.

I got to Helensburgh and pulled in on the front. According to the manual it was tyre pressure but I looked at the tyres. They seemed fine. I kicked them as J had once shown me how to after the Clyde Tunnel incident but it meant nothing. 😦

Indeed there had been no flippety-flappety noises that you get when it’s a tyre (or two as in the Alderman Road incident)

I decide to phone the AA but had to do so up a close where there’s a restaurant called the Something and Creel (No, Skippy. That’s not its real name. I just can’t remember the first bit of the name) and as I was doing so a young couple came out of a door and nodded to me……it must happen a lot.

The AA did give me a time which kept changing and I was beginning to get fed up but I noticed along the front that there were some tables and chairs on the pavement. It was a café, open at nine on a Sunday morning. A godsend. As is the fact that the public toilets are also open at that time (next to the pier) and they’re free. 😀 😀

I finished my coffee and returned to the car. The woman from the couple came out and offered me a coffee which was very nice of her. And the AA man turned up. And checked pressures and pressed a re-set button and I was safe to go. Except I went back to the toilet…….just to be sure.

So I drove back up the road – back through the village of Cardross which has a co-op I plan to stop at at some point. I do not think I’ve ever had an incident in Cardross.

https://finder.coop.co.uk/food/store/G82-5PD/main-road

Much relief. My own toilet. 😀

So, finally, as you, hopefully, enjoy a holiday weekend, I plan to do so as well. Some garden work and maybe buy some new books and music. There’s still a wee bit of electrical work before my sister’s other property goes on sale but we have reached a stage (almost) where everything is in other people’s hands and I think my sister would be impressed – especially as we did it without an Excel spreadsheet!

Emotionally, I’m shattered, but yet again, in my life, a support team came into being over the last few months. I do hope I repay some of all that help.

And thank you anonymous lady in Helensburgh. 😀

And the PT fan known as Bean who reminded me about the existence of AS Electrics when I worried needlessly about my cooker. 😀

Tioraidh, actually wearing two badges on one jacket this week, but that’s still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, with some cool things coming down in the pipeline.

And so I mentioned AA last week and the fact that, eighty years on, little has changed in the way they approach alcohol issued – it’s still based on the Twelve Steps and going to meetings.

Lots of them.

Except….

About seven years ago I became aware that the meetings could be found online. Somebody I knew well at the time. You didn’t have to take part in these meetings (in fact you don’t have to speak at any meeting) but just listening in seemed to give her comfort.

And then there’s Twitter – something of a cesspit at times – but there’s #RecoveryPosse which gives folk the opportunity to voice fears and achievements in a short space of words and to get an almost immediate response.

I write one thousand words a week for different reasons but it’s always nice to get a response. 🙂

And I’m sorry bellechere lauren, but you’re not allowed to sit on the fence in the great Fleabag versus Derry Girls debate. Apart from anything else, the Derry Girls had music like this. Scarlet with Independent Love Song;

A writer takes earnest measures to secure his (sic) solitude and then finds endless ways to squander it

April 11, 2019

Aye. Like Facebook and Twitter.

And so, dear listener, let’s start with something controversial. I found the ending to Derry Girls to be far more poignant than the ending to Fleabag. 😦

To the backdrop of Bill Clinton’s speech of conciliation in Nor’n Ireland, the English boy, despite the job offer made by his mum and her amazing eyebrows, returned and declared himself to be a Derry Girl. How could you not find a speck of dust in your eye at that moment? I know I did………

I think it’s a brilliant piece of writing and I am deadly jealous; but on a down note, as someone who watches some daytime TV…..sorry…..someone who works from home a lot, I have to ask;

What has happened to Bargain Hunt? The randomness of what can be bought has gone. You seem to have to buy a particular type of item and others over a certain amount. The fun has gone. 😦

The bestest daytime show ever was The Hour with Michelle McManus and Stephen Jardine – and not just because I appeared on it. What? Oh, prostate cancer. What else. 😉

And that’s enough TV.

So let’s bring you all up to date. I mentioned last week that I was concerned about doing grown up things like getting my sister’s house ready to be sold. This week it went on the virtual market as well as in the estate agent’s window.

And that’s as much as I’ll say about location at the moment.

Her Glasgow flat is almost ready. A wee bit more tidying up and it will be. And that’ll be Stage One over and done with. (Skippy, can you insert the icon for crossed fingers please?)

I will keep you all posted as much as is tastefully possible.

So I keep myself occupied with other matters. I continue to do some writing for the Scottish Drugs Forum and this is the latest piece;

http://www.sdf.org.uk/infections-outbreaks-and-going-back-to-the-basics-with-sdfs-sophie-given/

And I must be doing it okay. I conducted another interview the other day (basically I introduce newish members of staff) and a room was booked for me to use. Isn’t that nice? 🙂

But when the Glasgow flat goes on the market (few weeks yet) then it is time for me and Son Brian and a couple of others to pause for breath. As with everything like this there is no guarantee that property will sell or that the other aspects of the estate will be settled soon.

In addition, I am still working my way through some of the personal stuff but have become quite hard headed in my approach to things.

So, soontime, keys will be in the hands of estate agents and all mails to either property are just handed in to the lawyer. What should I do with my time?

A holiday? Maybe.

The garden? Well in hand with, for me, an exciting development which will make it onto fbook or into individuals’ online postboxes.

Or what about a course on the next academic year? There’s a couple of one-day things at Glasgow Uny coming up that I fancy but I need something more demanding. Any suggestions?

Or maybe I should enrol in a university library not that far away (No. I don’t mean that one necessarily) and finally write the book I want to about the Scots obsession with alcohol and how we’ve tried to deal with it over the years. We’ll see.

Actually I’ve just seen a job at UWS (Paisley) looking for a sessional interviewer (fourteen hours a week for six months) Now has anyone a 2:1 in Psychology they can lend me?:)

And finally, contrary to what some people out there think. Jackie Bird did not edit Reporting Scotland; nor did she produce the Hogmanay Show. She presented both and had to work with the material she was given. I get annoyed when I read on social media such a lack of knowledge of how the media work and yet Media Studies as a school subject, let alone a university course, is not treated as seriously as it should be. I have no idea what her politics are because they did not come through on screen and every interviewee was treated with the same courtesy. Why has there been so much non-evidenced vitriol?

She was really good at what she did.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple…….nothing to add this week

Iaint850, ‘in vacant and contemplative mood’.

So this week, in this serious bit, I had thought about talking about methadone and how it does do some good, or about the HIV epidemic in Glasgow that is being gradually recognised and the various ways that exist to help people who jag cocaine (and never forget to consider the person rather than just the drug) but instead I just want to mention that it’s the eightieth anniversary (just past) of the Big Book.

This could be described as the ‘bible’ of Alcoholics Anonymous and the source of much of what people believe about what is termed ‘alcoholism’ including the ‘fact’ that some people are allergic to alcohol. Was I? Am I? No. I used it to cope and was helped to shake off that cycle of dependency with professional but whilst I have reservations about some of its contents and how they’re interpreted (and some of that is personal to about six years ago) I belong to the school of thought that if it works for you, it works but maybe not for everyone else.

Maybe what it needs is for a soap opera to write the tale of a community addiction worker, skilled at brief interventions, into the script.

And Smart Recovery, properly portrayed, can be just as dramatic. If not more so.

Last week I played the Band at this point which was well received. This is the Band again with Bob Dylan. Bob didn’t actually to me ‘this one’s for you iaint850’, but he thought it. It finishes abruptly.

And what’s a proof-reading baker’s favourite joke? A cinnamon pun

April 4, 2019

I’ll maybe explain that joke later but I got the basis of that gag, dear listener, from the end of a Celebrity Bake Off which I don’t normally watch (as I don’t like any of the presenters) but it does come immediately before the amazing Derry Girls (Ch4). Which was slightly different this week.

There was a tremendous poignancy as, amidst the beauty and the horror of the school prom, the producers had interwoven clips of the celebrations at the news of the IRA’s decision to announce a ceasefire all those years ago.

(And I feel as if I’m presenting this week’s show in a Nor’n Ireland accent)

This came just hours after Theresa May’s announcement to have talks with Jeremy Corbyn and, suddenly, set against this backdrop of these two current but hopeless leaders, politicians like John Major become statesmen. Locking her current cabinet in so that none of them could let the world know what was happening before she could tell us sums up the poor state of politics in Britain.

And I’m against a second referendum. Why should its result be more accepted than the first referendum? I elect people to make decisions. These days I don’t vote for a party; I vote for the person and if I don’t like anybody I go in and write something on the voting paper.

Doolan!!!!!!! (or similar)

So it’s good that the TV’s good as we hit the light nights. 😀

I’m still not sure about Fleabag; Scot Squad returned (albeit to the new BBC Scotland channel where Wonderball was replaced by Championship football, so little chance of an arts or book programme in the near future); and of course the ever excellent Line of Duty. 😀

ALTHOUGH can I say to everyone, on social media, who applauded themselves for guessing Stephen Graham to be the UCO, not only was it bleeding obvious but all the pre-programme publicity had shown him in the same photo as the AC-12 people AND it is only the first episode. 😦

I was brought up on The Fugitive in the early sixties so I take nothing for granted and, yes, I am that old. 😉

And I got a mail through from LinkedIn the other day headed ‘How to conquer procrastination’.

I’ll maybe read it later.

And the joke at the start? Cinammon = synonym.

And whilst there was general approval of last week’s Dance Special, word reached me of a much better version of the Slosh than the one I used;

And finally I couldn’t help but notice that Lulu had turned seventy. She apparently started off one night by appearing with Take That at the Albert Hall, disappeared for thirty minutes to go to sing with another band in another place, and then came back to the Royal Albert Hall to finish the night off with Relight My Fire.

It brought back memories for me and good friend e of last year at the Bandstand when she broke off halfway through as well; only this time it was cos her family had turned up and they all went round the back for a cup of tea. 🙂

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and rethinking the plan about keeping it simple. Ot maybe not.

Iaint850, who, like Lorraine Kelly, is hotter at sixty than he was at thirty. 😉

And in a stunning link and showing how carefully thought out this blog is and not just cos I saw Lulu in a newspaper, it would have been my sister’s seventieth birthday this week and I know that she and many of her friends from university had plans to do things to celebrate (and it was nice to get a couple of messages from those friends).

Well I had things to do this week and one of her (two) properties is about to go on the market.

It’s about an hour outside Glasgow and Son Brian and I have done a lot of tidying up down there but it is now in the hands of an estate agent.

I’ve arranged for cleaners and the estate agent has arranged for a photographer and a home report and OMG!!!……….it was all a wee bit too much for me…..not cos it was my sister but it’s possibly the most grown up thing I’ve ever done in my life.

When our folks passed away it was all done through my legal and the, then, Solicitors’ Property Centre. Now I’m being asked to make decisions and it’s quite frightening.

My thanks to good friend Caroline who listened to all this and then got me a bottle of water cos, frankly, my dear, I had had too much coffee by that point……phew.

Recently I saw a documentary on Sky Arts and it was about The Band. No. It was about the band called The Band and I’ve been listening to them a lot recently. It fits the country vibe with a bit of rock. Friends and family? They do help to take the weight off, don’t they? I’m not sure where I’d be without them.

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. (Albert Camus)

March 7, 2019

And so, dear listener, it is, as I’m sure you know, one year since the ‘Beast from the East’ hit us and I, like many, felt marooned in my wee semi but many others, including social care workers, who travel amongst us invisibly, as, in general, they have no uniform to wear, made it in to work with the homeless and in hospitals and to try to keep the roads and rails running.

So this year, I planned for it. 😉

Shovels, and salt, and de-icer, and brushes were installed in my porch and I bought in flour to make bread and there’s lots of stuff in tins and tea and coffee (altho’ much of that has been liberated from my sister’s kitchens) and I was good to go. 🙂

And then we had a lovely last couple of weeks in February and I was fooled and much of it was put back in the shed or at the back of the larder and I relaxed and then I switched on TV News and there was Louise Lear (or similar) talking of snow in the hills and sleet at lower levels.

How prophetic she was, but lighter nights and mornings make it easier to get on with things anyway. 😀

And that’s what I’m doing. In several of the last thirteen years, it’s what March has been all about.

We continue to sort out my sister’s estate and her two properties are about ready to be put on the market and that’s been quite an experience.

Big thanks to Son Brian and his dad-in-law, John, and good friend e who have put clothes in bags (for a Maryhill Clothes Bank who will collect them) and rubbish in other bags (which have gone to respective tips) while I have wandered around going, ‘Gosh. Will you look at that photo.’ or ‘No. I already have enough bleach. Are you sure you don’t want some?’ But we’ve made good progress and I think it’s been good to keep going the way we have done. Well, for me anyway. 🙂

Let’s move on. Certainly, within the context of this show, let’s move on.

So this week’s TV Comedy of the Month this year goes to Derry Girls which has returned to Channel 4 and is on a Tuesday at 9.15 pm. It’s a superb piece of writing which does not rely on set up gags and a sofa (altho’ Two Doors Down is good) but simply the word interplay between the girls (and the boy) at the all girls’ catholic school and the interplay with the boys from a protestant school at a Peace Weekend at an outdoor adventure centre. 🙂

You’ve got to be quick to spot the purity bracelet and the chat between the nun (‘the small angry penguin woman’) and the proddy teacher (Miss Turner) is brilliant and unlike some period pieces there are no (too) obvious props to date it – simply the music of the Undertones and the Cranberrries.

And finally, I was out at UWS (Paisley) this week (No. That wasn’t the reason) and my eyes were caught by attempts to improve the sad High Street. There’s something called the Renfrewshire Witch Experience which looks like it might be one of those ghostly trails that seem so popular and a shop called the White Cart Co which had a lot of Glasgow prints but I saw, and bought, a photo collage of wee pics of Paisley. I like it and it’s up in my front room (the back room being the kitchen) alongside a print of Peterhead and a framed photo of the Finnieston Crane (a sister of the Titan)

That’s my life on that wall. 😀 😀 😀

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, who can see light at the end of the tunnel and for once it’s not an oncoming train (or have I said that before?)

And so, as part of my role with the SDF I’m going to be doing some writing and reporting on a conference they’re organising called ‘Bridging that Gap – Delivering Scotland’s Drug and Mental Health Strategies’.

It’s an area of interest to me.

A wee while back I was asked about someone with depression who was drinking and what should be ‘treated’ first – the depression or the drinking – and I gave my opinion but I stressed that that was what it was. An opinion. I could not back it up ‘off the top of my head’ with any evidence.

And that’s what has annoyed me about the knife crime debate this week. The argument has been about the cause and effect between crime numbers and the numbers of police but little evidence has been offered by politicians.

I know that, despite the good news that violent crime has decreased in the West of Scotland in recent years, that many young men and women carry knives for protection. If they believe that another person might be carrying (it could be buying drugs, an argument over territory or a pint being knocked out of someone’s hands) then no amount of prison sentences or extra police numbers will stop them.

What the Violence Reduction Unit achieved in Glasgow was to make violent crime a public health matter and to look at a number of possible causes and what could be done to alleviate them – from Midnight football leagues to social enterprise and to provide evidence as to what actually worked…..but politicians and golf club sociologists hate that.

And for what it matters, I think if you stop or cut back on drinking then a clear mind does wonders when I comes to dealing with depression or anxiety…….but I don’t have the evidence to hand. Only my own experience.

I’ll tell you more about the conference next week.

This is Keith Urban with a simple country love song. No. No-one in particular…….

‘Like all big sisters, Sheila knew where the sticking plaster was kept and how best to apply it’ (anon, kinda)

February 7, 2019

And so dear listener, yes, most of this will be about the funeral but in a nice way.

But first, a couple of wee rants;

I think the O2 ABC in Sauchiehall Street is as much a cultural icon as the Art School. My last trip was on 10th December 2016 when J, the blog’s favest librarian, and I went to see Alabama 3 on what was the tenth anniversary of my Cold Turkey and had a great time.

Funnily enough, my sister was a great supporter of Celtic Connections and saw a few gigs there but I think she would have gone to the seated area upstairs.

I think it’s also a shame that Campus next door looks as if it’s going to be demolished as well.

There needs to be a public debate on the re-building of the Art School if public money is to be used……

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-44520030

And I make no apologies for using a BBC site as, at 42p per day, the BBC licence fee offers amazing value – all those TV channels (including two for children and a new one coming soon for viewers in Scotland) myriads of radio stations (including one for Scotland and the Gaelic as well), multiple websites and BBC iPlayer which altho’ currently free to use, still costs money to produce.

I’m about to watch a programme on iPlayer from BBC 4 from Wednesday night in which David Dimbleby examines a ‘landscape dotted with buildings unlike those anywhere in Britain’ as he travels throughout Scotland ranging from the ‘crofts of the Outer Hebrides to the tenements of Glasgow’.

What’s not to like about that?

The other rant? Liam Neeson.

I’m not so annoyed that he went out to kill a man of a certain colour of skin but rather that he went out to kill someone at all. I’m not sure I’ve seen that many of his films but doesn’t he always play some form of vigilante and isn’t there a lot of people being killed horribly? The USA, inter al, and its President often blame arcade shoot ’em up games as being responsible for many of the multiple shooting incidents that occur regularly in the States. What about appearing in your own violent films? Does that have any effect? There’s a PhD in that.

He will certainly not appear in the screenplay jokingly (?) discussed by a former BBC colleague and me earlier in the week. I won’t give too much away but my own favourite character is a man who, in an Edinburgh accent, introduces himself as ‘The name’s Knox. Hard Knox.’ And my suggestion for the name of the production company? Covenanter Productions. That doesn’t give too much away, does it?

And finally, did you know that my sister was a fan of the blog? Well, I’m not so sure the word ‘fan’ is correct but since I took possession of her mobile devices I have discovered that she had her phone alarm set for 11 every Saturday morning – ‘Read John’s blog’ – or did I tell you that last week?

The days seem to run together just now.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badge and back to keeping it simple.

Iaint850, beginning to catch up with people and all offers considered.

So, just a few words on my sister’s funeral.

It went well. She’d have been impressed by how well it all went.

Y’see my sister was an auditor and was continually looking for value for money both in her personal and professional life. She enjoyed complaining and took it seriously. So, whatever your faith, creed or religion it was impossible to get away from the feeling that she was watching us organise things for the funeral but I think me and Son Brian done okay.

He’ll be perfect when it’s my turn.

The service was taken by a Civil Celebrant called Karen who was excellent. There was no pretence that she knew Sheila but explained that the stories had been provided by the family and, yes, they were although I was delighted that she picked up on one glaring error in the script where I called my mum Agnes, when of course she was known as Nan.

The Order of Service card looked good as I’d found a picture of Sheila as a wee girl with freckles and lovely hair with a pencil and jotter (as we used to call them) and the question was posed as to whether that was her practising to be an auditor. I liked the words on the card about what being a big sister meant but then I would; I wrote them. See the quote at the top.

Son Brian chose the music.

The turnout was good altho’ not everyone came back to Café Source Too for soup and sandwiches.

This is based at Hillhead Rugby Club, Hughenden, and was where Sheila and other ladies of a certain age went for Keep Fit on a Monday morning and it says a lot for the camaraderie that Sheila continued to go down even as the cancers were taking their effect. She enjoyed the gossip but often the first question directed at her was, ‘Written any good letters of complaint this weekend?’

But then things began to get worse and everyone could see that. We all did what we could to help and to make her feel better. Someone at the Beatson cut her hair and styled it and it looked brilliant but it also looked as if personal care was their priority but the Beatson NHS staff were brilliant. Brilliant.

Outwith the hospital I/we did things like I got professional cleaners in to her Glasgow flat. The neighbours though that meant she was getting out but it was more a confidence boost for my sister.

It was not without humour. I explained to the two jolly maids (wee clue to the name of the company) that she was in the Beatson and one of them said, ‘That’s nice.’

‘The Beatson?’ I said. ‘Nice?’

‘Oh,’ she said, ‘I thought you said she’s in Ibiza. Sorry.’

She never saw what they had done, but it was well cleaned.

So it’s all over and we move on to the next stage but one last thought after the events of last week.

It would have been nice to phone my big sister after it was all over just to tell her how things had gone. 🙂 🙂 🙂

She would have liked this piece of music. She was a big Celtic Connections fan, as I said earlier, and would go to gigs on her own. It’s Ashokan Farewll by Jay Ungar and stick with it.

It was the period of the service designed for reflection on the life of my sister. Most of you didn’t know her but use the next few minutes for some reflection of your own.

See you next week. Hopefully.

‘It was the worst cover-up in the history of cover-ops’ (Donald Trump highlighting what concerns him most about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi)

October 25, 2018

And so dear listener I was only kinda joking about stockpiling for a No-Deal Brexit or the Beast from the East but I was serious about needing a simple recipe for bread; one that can be made with ingredients from the ASDA, Summerston, which, whilst it has played a major role in the last thirty years or so of my life, it is not the best stocked of shops. 😦

There is no fresh fish counter, for example, and, as a pescatarian, if I want fresh fish I have to travel to the fishing ports of the ASDA, Bearsden or Morrison’s Anniesland…….and the Nirvana that is the shop in Byres Road……..is it still Beveridge’s?

Anyway, stockpiling…….I have made a good start by buying a new jar of whole peppercorns and some long life cartons of coconut cream. I would add frozen strawberry cones to that list but I seem to be eating those…….and a jar of beetroot but I now find John West’s tinned salmon very boring. 😦

And I do now have a couple of bread recipes. I may yet practise. Others still welcome.

And my concerns about the weather are not just on the basis that the (Daily) Express (thanks to Jeremy’s brother Piers who is a weather forecaster) predicts yet again it’ll be a bad winter but are based on my experiences of last year. 😦

My heart scare certainly coincided with the first bad weather of January and I can remember on one occasion walking up from the ASDA and standing stock still in the freezing cold so sore was my heart at that moment. 😦

And then, from the window of my ward in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary I looked out onto a cold and icy M8 junction with cars slipping and sliding. 😦

I’d only just got home and was getting out again when the ‘beast’ arrived and the only times I’ve had to use my Heart Attack spray were weather related……We’ll just have to wait and see.

But speaking of hospital wards, I do feel that one of the biggest steps forward for women was when the NHS did away with mixed wards in hospitals and gave women, and men, a sense of communal and complete privacy. It seems an old fashioned notion now – the concept of privacy – but I’m not sure either men or women would want to lose that.

Looking at Twitter there’s a strange language (other than bad) employed in discussing all sorts of things including gender transition and feminism, for example, and something called Digital Journalism which seems to be practised by academics who have never done any court reporting or council reporting in a small town. 🙂

But one big advantage is the ability to talk to @scotrail about when trains will be running again.

I got a reply within about four minutes and found that very helpful; mind you the other thing, if you check Twitter, is that ScotRail is not a very good or well-run network is it?

Anyway, that’s all a bit serious.

I loved the letter which appeared on Social Media (possibly from the Daily Mail) in which the writer complained about his new TV which carried the message ‘Built in Antenna’ and complaining that he’d never heard of that country. An amazing number of people were appalled at his ignorance and pored scorn on that ‘type of people’. It was a joke (LOL) I laffed for both reasons. 😀

I also laffed at David Schwimmer for his posting following the theft from the Blackpool supermarket and the subsequent posting from the Blackpool Police. I won’t explain it to you. Google it – if your Virgin Media broadband and television is working which it wasn’t on Thursday.

So I called 151 and got a pre-recorded message explaining that it was ‘planned maintenance’ and it was anticipated that it would be finished by 6pm and then (gulp) it gives me my full postcode and not just the area – which makes me think it’s only me…..but it wasn’t. Thankfully. So I went for a walk. And then the phone went beep. The Internet was coming back on. 🙂

And finally, I feel this has unwittingly become a round-up of my current life so I might as well keep going.

Yes, the vol stuff with the Scottish Drugs Forum is going well and some of the writing I’m doing may well appear soon online and my thanks to the Blogmeister for lending me a book called ‘Social Media 101 – Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online’ which I started to read on Thursday when the Internet was down. 🙂

And the editing has picked up (a wee bit) and again my thinks to good friends e and Jenny H for their recent help and thoughts. 🙂 xx

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple in that I still have one of last year’s intended Christmas presents but I ate the other

Iaint850, actually happier than I may have sounded but lots to think about

So here’s a wee story, which relates back to my lost USB stick and the depression it brought – but ‘stick’ with me.

I was in an academic’s office a couple of weeks ago at one of those universities which has various campuses and was chatting away when one of his admin people walked in with an internal envelope (remember them) and said, ‘Here’s that USB stick you thought you’d lost yesterday (at that other campus). They found it after you’d phoned.’ And the academic was relieved obviously that it had been found so I told him my tale.

If only the Mitchell Library had been as efficient…….

Here’s Shania Twain and Dolly Parton 910 words

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

June 7, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, still worrying why Love Island rejected me.

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

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

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

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

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

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