Archive for the ‘humour’ Category

“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.

Great crisis produce great men and great deeds of courage. John F Kennedy

September 6, 2019

And so dear listener, this week’s show starts with a warning for the faint hearted. It involves lots of blood and me cutting my toe-nails………which, without going into too much detail, involves sharp scissors and an old towel which gets put into the washing machine immediately afterwards – on a very long cycle.

I think it’s also worth saying that one question I tend to get asked in connection with my heart condition is ‘how breathless do you get?’ and the answer is ‘not very’ cos I can do most physical exercise without any problem – unless it’s bending down a lot, like to get a book from a lower shelf or cleaning the oven (and one of those is hypothetical)…….or cutting toe-nails and the left foot was fine but I overstretched as it were for the right foot and felt the scissors and saw the blood and breathed out……….but didn’t panic. 🙂

Now those of you who live on their own (like I do and I don’t if you know that) will already be aware of potential problems. The elastoplasts (and other plasters are available but not at that time of night) are at the other side of the bathroom. It’s not that big a bathroom but even the two steps it takes to reach that cabinet sees deep red blood dripping all over the floor.

And then you’ve got to get them out of the packets without tearing them in half (and why do I have luminous coloured plasters?) and then I’m not sure which toes are bleeding. I get them round two toes but there’s still blood. 😦

At this point, dear listener, I’d like you to take your socks off, stand up, stand on your left foot and look at the sole of your right foot and work out how closely you can see all of your toes. I put a third plaster, opened with my mouth (cos’ I was using one hand to balance myself on the edge of the sink) and to put it over the edge of some toes.

I breathed out (the breathlessness thing is getting to me at this point) and I hopped through to the bedroom and got some socks (and I don’t know why I felt the need to get clean socks) and put them on. I paused.

I breathed in. There was blood all over the bathroom but nothing seemed to be seeping into the sock. I got a mop and mopped up most of the blood (and I got the rest the next day) and settled down. Later I slept….zzzzzz

The next morning I took my left sock off and had a shower with my right socked foot sticking out of the shower. I was in a hurry. I changed my socks but left the plasters on.

That night, I filled a basin with cold water and tea tree oil and took my socks off, plunged my feet in and then took the plasters off. There was little dried blood on them. There was none on my toes. I dried my feet and put a long socks washing on. I had survived. 🙂

I breathed both in and out.

And finally, with what few words I have left myself, I was in Paisley on Tuesday. I had a good meeting with my new lawyers and progress is being made.

I then went to the university where I was meeting a drink’n’drugs lecturer for a chat…..and then it hit me as I walked into the refurbished café area under the library stairs. It was now eight years since I, and several others, had arrived for our inductions into the post grad drink’n’drugs class. Some were slightly older than fresh faced students and had only just graduated; some were like me, returning after many, many years away from higher education.

You’ll know their initials. C, S, E, F, J, J and A are some names that leap to mind but I didn’t speak to that many people as I filled out forms and got my photo taken for my ID card and then I took the train home – having realised that I was committed to a year’s study, which became two years and almost became six.

I paused for breath; something dear listener I still do today and am delighted to be able, still, to do that. We tend to take breathing for granted. 😀

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges and still keeping it simple – even from a distance

Iaint850, I keep thinking the editing season is about to finish but it doesn’t*. I have spread some of the workload elsewhere in the boardroom.

*having said that……… 😦

And as some of you know, I am not the tekkiest of people and am very reliant on Son Brian for his help and so I dropped my new laptop off at his house (he’s busy young (!) man) so that he could instal stuff and get it working and then I’d get it home and all I’d have to do would be to wi-fi it and remember my passwords or get new ones.

Obviously I took the precaution of deleting my browser history.

I got a message from him.

Was I given any detail when (cos it was mail order) of a code or similar for the new Microsoft Office?

No, I said. He had everything.

Five minutes later I received a reply. He had found the code on my Amazon account.

I will let that sink in, dear listener. My son has access to my Amazon name and password. It’s his birthday next week. Will he resist the temptation?

I keep breathing in and out.

A couple of folk said last week how delighted they were to hear Dolly Parton. This is one of Dolly’s most famous songs and there is no truth in the rumour that this was a message that was left on Jolene’s voice mail. 😉

This is Melissa Etheridge but, first, let Dolly set the scene.

Don’t forget you’re human. It’s okay to have a meltdown. Just don’t live there. Cry it out. Then re-focus on where you’re heading.

August 30, 2019

And so dear listener, apologies for the lack of a blog last week.

As some of you know there have been hiccups with regard to the settlement of my sister’s estate. I can’t say much as, by its very nature, it’s a legal process, so I can’t say much. But I have changed lawyers and I have known my previous lawyer since university days (the first time) so some decisions have been hard.

I have a new lawyer and I think we’ve found the tunnel but I’m still not sure whether that what we’re seeing is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel or the light of an oncoming train.

But I’m happier and what I refer to as moments of anxiety and depression are beginning to recede but they are real and usually the coping mechanisms that I talk about help but no amount of going for a walk can sell a house you thought was already sold altho’ it hasn’t not been sold.

But I did have to clear away a lot of dead wasps from my sister’s house last weekend AND altho’ she’s dead I don’t think I’m unusual in still thinking about her and what she would make of the various happenings.

But I did mention some of this to another friend from my first time at university and therefore of that generation. His advice was to ‘wake up and smell the flowers’. It’s funny. I’ve done suicide intervention training on two occasions, and used it successfully twice, when working for Blue Triangle.

It wasn’t easy and it might have been so much easier had I been able to say to them ‘Wake up and smell the flowers!’ No, I didn’t get thanks and I had loads of paperwork to do after it.

And then I got a message on social media from someone from whom I had not heard for years but who does seem to follow me and this show somewhere.

Here’s one quote; ‘I have to admire that you can pull out the positives and I wish I was more like that.’

So, dear listener, which of the messages had the more positive effect? Or need I ask? Thank you Chris. 🙂 🙂 🙂

And finally, it’s been a bit of a one-subject blog but there have been good things this week. It’s my grand-daughter’s fifth birthday this week and I did get her a proper card as opposed to the one that said ‘Sorry, I forgot your birthday’ that I started the week with, I was at a smashing conference organised by the Scottish Drugs Forum (#stopthedeaths), it’s been a wee while since I’d eaten at the Hanoi Bike Shop so thoroughly enjoyed eating there again , I’m slowly working my way through a 100,000 word edit and I’ve been shown the actual bin where I can drop off used coffee capsules for re-cycling.

But maybe more of that next week,

Tioraidh, and an Oxfam collector in Buchanan Street recognised the Prostate Cancer Awareness badge and let me past, and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, and what I do do is take a wee walk in the garden when it’s dark but I do have lights so it’s very pleasant and very relaxing,

Last week, when the blog didn’t happen, I had planned a political ending.

I was, either, going to have a go (as I have done before) at Iain Duncan Smith whose think tank has proposed setting the date for your pension at 75, or Harry, Meghan and Sir Reg Dwight.

IDS is the idiot who approached Alcoholics Anonymous in 2011 or 2102 and suggested that convicted drunk drivers should be compelled to attend AA meetings. What he didn’t realise was that AA meetings are voluntary and the word ‘Anonymous’ means you don’t have to give your name and so there is no record of attendance. What an idiot!

As is Sir Reg Dwight who felt that paying for H & M’s private jet AFTER the event (and I’m saying nothing about the ecological impact) would stop the criticism of them taking a freebie rather than a commercial flight.

Have you ever been on the Glasgow to Edinburgh train (on quieter times than last weekend) and decided to chance your luck in First Class but you only have a normal off-peak return and the conductor comes in and you offer to pay the difference but he says ‘no’ and he chucks you off at Linlithgow saying, ‘try it on the next train’ (a friend, honest, and a long time ago).

Where’s Sir Reg when you need him?

So, in the real world, I note that there are concerns that children no longer have invisible friends but they have friends they ‘make’ through computers.

Skippy’s doing fine thank you. She’s travelling the world at the moment and sends postcards from time to time – invisible postcards of course. She seems happy and I’ll pass on your best wishes.

Skippy is/was a coping mechanism but you’d guessed that a long time ago, didn’t you?

Maybe so are you, dear listener, and I thank you for listening.

So, in the latest in the well received series of good looking women in country music, here’s Dolly, Lind and EmmyLou……..

“I like geography best, he said, because your mountains and rivers know the secret. Pay no attention to boundaries.” ― Brian Andreas

August 2, 2019

And so dear listener, for the first time in some time, I am not starting with a sitrep on my health (‘sitrep’ being short for situation report). Instead I start with tales of a walk through the streets of Glasgow but as a guided and informative walk. It was like being a tourist as we strolled through Townhead and the fabulous St Andrew’s Square and followed the source of the Molendinar and looked at where the legendary Schipka Pass once existed. 🙂

It was a guided tour and one of the three short courses I was attending looking at, basically, old Glasgow. This one was based on the fact that, at one stage, Glasgow was bounded by the Clyde, the Molendinar and the St Enoch Burn. And good it was too. 😀

Although sometimes I have a big mouth, don’t I?

We started off on the Clyde Walkway with our guide identifying some of the buildings before we moved on.

‘And that was the Waterside Club where they used to hold ceildihs and stuff like that,’ he said.

‘Em, it was called the Riverside Club,’ my voice said.

‘And there was a discotheque over there, one of the first in Glasgow…..’

‘Yes. Panama Jax,’ my voice said……..at which point I shut my voice up and moved slightly to the back.

But it was good and introduced me to bits of the city that I’d either not seen for a long time or had faded from my memory but I think what I’ll remember most is that feeling of walking through the Calton, as a group, with a couple of guys grabbing a fly fag outside a boozer doing that real lookout thing of watching you without moving their eyes.

‘It’s okay, we weren’t interested in your dodgy tobacco, we were more concerned that we all got across the road at the green man. We did.’

I’m missing the one next Saturday. It’s a visit to a couple of Glasgow graveyards to discuss grave robbing. I have no idea who practical it will be. I have something else on. Unusually.

So it’s been a week when my unhappiness with people who I expect to do a job, but they don’t, has been showing. Maybe more of this soon but full credit to someone who did do a job and did it well and did it when he said he would.

My next door neighbour and I now have a new fence between us. The old one was badly needing replaced and someone who does a lot of work in the area was highly recommended. So we contracted him. And he turned up on time. And someone came and took away the old fence as soon as it was brought down. And a new one was up by the end of the day. 😀

But he had a quirk. At about lunchtime I opened the back door to them and showed them where the coffee and tea and cups and so on were. At the end of the day I went down to say thanks. Only for him to say,

‘Listen, but I hope you don’t mind but I like to put honey in my tea and when I saw all your cooking oils and herbs and spices I said to myself, there’s someone who’s bound to have honey and I’d a wee look and I found some. So I hope you don’t mind.’

Well I didn’t but I did wait until he was away before I went and looked at the use-by date. May 2019’s not too bad is it? 😦

Incidentally, after various stops and starts, and a tutorial from Son Brian, I can finally work the Tassimo Coffee Maker. As soon as you see the yellow light come on, you hit it……..so, if you’re passing……..

And finally, by the time you read this we’ll (probably) know whether or not Scotland has won its first ever Eurovision title…..and it’s a choir called Alba.

Of course the lovely Joy Dunlop is involved. It was she who spent six months of her life trying to teach me incredibly elementary Gaelic but that was when the Anxiety and Depression was kicking in and my brain was staying in the kitchen even when I’d left to put the TV on in the front room.

My favest memory of that time was when, in the news section that we did at the start of the class, I stuck my hand up and shouted ‘me, miss, please me, miss’ and read out my carefully constructed news that I now had a grandson to go with my grand-daughter. 😀

The only time I topped that was when the birth of Son Brian was announced on BBC Radio Scotland by Jimmy Mack and all of Scotland knew that me and my then wife had a son and heir…….

And quickly back to Joy who has assembled, with considerable help, a choir to sing, in Gaelic, at the Eurovision Choir Contest on Saturday………I’m sure the blessed Nicola will send them best wishes and will take great pride in announcing how well they’ve done….I’m sure. 😉

(NEWS JUST IN)…….unfortunately they didn’t make it to the final three which was a shame as it was a different song AND it had a dancer….. 😦

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, who’s never turbo-charged anything in his life and had no idea what Tory ministers are talking about.

And I was going to talk about style guides and how badly Boris Johnson and Donald Trump wear suits or how there has been no government of any note in the United Kingdom, Scotland or Northen Ireland since 2016 BUT instead here’s a quick mention of a report from NHS Scotland which shows that Minimum Unit Pricing has been implemented effectively although there has been ‘anecdotal’ evidence that people are driving south of the border to buy booze ‘ – ‘anecdotal’

Listen if you are spending all that time and money on petrol then may I suggest that you have a possible problem. Keep a diary of how much and when you drink and why (maybe the social situation?

Be honest with it and then sit down with someone you trust and ask how it looks.

So some of the most popular music I’ve played recently was by the Highwaymen. Well, there’s a new supergroup in town and they call themselves the Highwomen. Say both Highwaymen and Highwomen a couple of times one word after the other and then you will understand the nice play on the sound of word.

This is Redesigning Women by the Highwomen

Old age, believe me, is a good and pleasant thing. It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator. (Confucius)

July 19, 2019

And so, dear listener, some more good news on the health front. A few weeks ago I got some revised repeat prescriptions and a message from the GP to check in with a nurse (never a problem) and come in to get my blood pressure checked.

So I waited until the aneurysm scan was out of the way and phoned on Tuesday looking ahead to the next week. ‘Can you come in now?’ said the voice of NHS Scotland.

And so, dear listener, that’s how I learned that the revised medication seems to be working and my blood pressure is down. 😀 😀

But Tuesday was a mixed day. Facebook does this thing where it reminds you of something you said or did ‘on this day’. Apparently exactly three years ago I was enjoying working in the Mitchell Library so much (my home wi-fi was down) that I felt the need to tell the world. 🙂

Then, I got home and a certain USB stick was missing. Many listeners know the story. Let’s just say Tuesday was definitely a mixed day. With lots of walking. It’s my basic coping mechanism for anxiety anmd depression and is approved by medical and counselling folk I’ve spoken to. Informally. But my wee legs were tired. 😦

Monday was a good day. I met up with former BBC colleague Jayne and we went to a local garden centre where, even at the age of 65, I still feel and look younger than most of the clientele. 😀

We’d also like to say thanks to the young barista, Emma, who told us all about her grandad’s 60th birthday. Why? Well we asked. I’m not so sure the people in the queue were that impressed.

My wee legs were tired on Monday as well but that’s cos we took the furthest away table in the whole place which was 17 MILLION MILES away. I spilt so much coffee that I just tipped the tray and drank it out the corner. Nice catching up j (different j)

And nice birthday lunch on Thursday with good friend e, RJ and AJ but I made a big mistake. AJ had decided to try something new (calamari) and I agreed to share a starter plate with him. Schoolboy error. On my part. The schoolboy decided he liked them and I thought the one I had was very good……..never again. 😀

And finally, I spent Friday morning in a classroom of my first alma mater, Glasgow University, attending a kinda class on Illustrated Glasgow looking at a range of illustrations including maps and coats of arms and photographs and all sorts of stuff. And very good it was too and the lecturer was good and I’m going back to something similar next week. 😀

But what I found really strange was that everyone there was my age or thereabouts. The last time that happened to me would have been at secondary school. It was uncharted territory and whatever my reasons for going (read what you will into that) I may have to think more about this in the future.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges (in my winter jacket cos that’s what the weather’s been like) and still keeping it simple (hey, you may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one)

Iaint850, and no, there’s not a lot happening on the settlement front. Maybe soon?

And you’d expect me to comment on some of the coverage of the Scottish Drug Deaths. So I have done.

First, a big well done to SNP MP, Alison Thewlis, who made the point that drug consumption rooms would be clean and hygenic. Bringing users into these not only allows them to inject safely but brings them into contact with addiction workers and health pros. Have you ever seen the health damage done by dirty needles? Botulism, blood borne viruses and leaking wounds.

Have you ever seen a serious drug user’s kitchen? Trust me. You don’t want to go there.

Literally.

Most other politicians tried to make political capital out of it. Alison didn’t.

And then there was former policeman, Joe Duffy, on BBC Scotland’s fast improving Nine o’clock news, who made the point that, financially, the only people making money out of the illegal drugs industry are the criminals who couldn’t care less to whom they sell or what they sell.

‘Street valium’, and God know what’s in them, sell for approximately £1.50 for five.

In December four guys went down in the High Court for manufacturing street valium in a Paisley lock-up with a machine capable of pressing 20,000 tabs an hour. Do your own sums.

Imagine if it was legal, say along the lines of the alcohol industry………the tax taken alone would do so much for education and the health service. Imagine.

And then someone jumped on a personal hobby horse and said there was no need for charities. The government should provide – totally ignoring the fact that governments are slow and ponderous in acting and tend to do so for political advantage and that non-governmental organisations such as Addaction and Turning Point and (the one I volunteer for) the Scottish Drugs Forum can react more quickly and more directly and more effectively.

Most residential rehab is in non-governmental hands.

And can you see the Government even attempting to start, let alone run, an organisation like Alcoholics or Cocaine or Narcotics Anonymous? They started at the most basic of ground-roots with two men and one book and cost virtually nothing to run.

And here’s fifteen minutes of Burt Bacharch in concert…..eventually. No. No reason.

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

July 5, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DECRIMINALISE DRUG USE’

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

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

Ageing’s alright; better than the alternative which is not being here. (George H. W. Bush)

June 28, 2019

And so dear listener, in two days I celebrate my 65th birthday and, like many people, I never really thought about what it would be like being 65 when I was only 20 as, after all, I was at university (first time) and hadn’t even started real work.

Or 30, when I was happily married but without child at the time altho’ Son Brian wasn’t that far away and I was working for the BBC as an established radio producer.

Or 40, divorced and back at the BBC (contract and casual) having had a career break in the wonderful world of public relations but living in what the wonderful Tom Shields once described as the independent republic of Summerston.

Or 50, when I’d left the BBC (or had it left me?) and I was beginning life as a subject tutor at Glasgow Metropolitan College and trying to teach potential young wordsmiths in an atmosphere where teaching wasn’t necessarily everyone’s main reason for being there but administrative ambitions came first for some management people (of which I’ve never been one)

Or……. well no, by the time I was approaching 60, the shit had already hit the fan and I was going through a period of ‘what the hell was that all about?’ and hoping that I was about to settle down again and maybe write a much better version of the book that I had already written about the alcohol dependency and the cancer.

The ‘Cold Turkey’ I talk about (unplanned withdrawal from alcohol over one weekend) had seen me being visited in the old Western Hospital by close family and friends who did not expect me to make it through the night – but I did; and when I was receiving radiotherapy (thirty-seven daily sessions) I attended the funeral of a friend’s mum only for the ‘mutual friend’ standing next to me to say ‘to be honest, I was expecting you to be the next’ – but I wasn’t….or ‘haven’t been’ to be grammatically pedantic.

But then, just a couple of years before the sixtieth I made one of the greatest decisions of my life; I went to UWS (Paisley) to study drink and drugs for two years. There were some who said, ‘Well if you want to go back to university and become a student again (sic), then why not do American Literature or something like that?’ but now I felt I had something to offer in the field of addiction treatment but also wanted to learn more about the part drink and drugs had played in my life.

And by chance I made some amazing friendships amongst fellow students and staff – including recently Instagram voting for a member of staff’s grand-daughter in some shopping centre competition and any grand-daughter named after (wrong spelling) a rock drummer of the sixties and seventies deserves my vote.

And the months around the actual sixtieth birthday saw me abseiling for charity, zip-wiring for fun, being a zombie (at a well know theme park near Motherwell) for devilment…….and a few years later saw some anxiety and depression and a heart scare.

The anxiety and depression still hang around but I do know people who have considered taking their own life and there are times I talk to them – about all sorts of things AND I also meet an NHS nurse (a different one each time) every six weeks to get my bloods taken and I have an AAA Screening Ultrasound Scan in a few days’ time in Stobhill Hospital so lots of people still look after me. So, it’s the least I can do for others.

I noticed the other day that Holly the Dog’s mum had written ‘Iaint850=65’ on a kitchen calendar which I though was an optimistic view of the future and then we discussed non-alcoholic drinks including a new one called Slipknot (that’s not quite right, is it Skippy?)

And I’m not long back from a long weekend in Arisaig of which I shall talk more at a later date but a wee bit of the anxiety showed on the morning of the day I was due to return when I worried about the train back down from Arisaig being cancelled and I’d be stranded. It wasn’t and I wasn’t.

But along the way there’s been graduations (me, Son Brian, the lovely KT and my grand-daughter from nursery with grand-son to follow) and there was a wedding six years ago and all the usual ups and downs associated with being alive……..

And I’ve spoken lots about the people who have helped so much over the years, the majority of whom are women………but maybe they’re more understanding than men who, in many cases, may feel threatened by some of the things I talk about. Many don’t believe, for example, that I am now simply someone who doesn’t drink alcohol; for many I am still a recovered alcoholic which is good in itself I suppose but may prevent others from recognising their own problems.

Mind you, in many ways, I am my own worst enemy. I’m not a great one for re-unions with people with whom I’ve lost contact and some organisations (e.g. the BBC) don’t seem to be great ones for re-unions. I was, however, supposed to attend one that was a celebration for someone who had worked (and still does) with the Beeb for forty years but a job opportunity got in the way. Or did it?

Anxiety maybe kicked in.

But if I’ve learned anything from the last few years it’s that there’s more to happen in the years to come. My (now) late sister made it to sixty-nine and she had supplied a great deal of material support for me in recent years. Indeed, once the will is finally settled she will continue to do so both for me and the rest of the family.

So you know where to find me and my diary will always remain flexible.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple

Iaint850 who, having written all the above, now fully expects to get knocked down and killed by a passing bus within the next few days.

And after all I said about the importance of women in my life, here’s four guys who are kinda role models for me and the song certainly is

‘but I am still alive’……….and anything is still possible.

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

June 14, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Maybe next week Rosie…….

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

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

‘Amongst the dead I found a Canadian doctor and his first aid bag. I wish I could have told his next of kin that his loss had not been a total waste of time as his first aid bag provided sterling service through France, Belgium and up to the Dutch border’ (Patrick Moore – veteran and survivor)

June 7, 2019

I was tempted to say something about Love Island as a contrast but that would be unfair……..but does Anton really get his mum to shave his bum?

And so dear listener, I did something this week which could be the best thing I’ve done for a very long time. I have been and went and bought a new set of Gregory Pecks and the lenses that go with them. 😀

As I’ve said recently I do feel mentally and physically tired and one of the reasons was that my eyes were very tired. It didn’t help recently that I left my bedroom window open overnight and there’s a fair amount of activity in my cul-de-sac between 6.30 and 7 in the morning and I don’t normally hear it but on Wednesday morning, I heard it. In fact there was a wee bit of a row.

But there’s been a floater in my left eye and I went to the optician to see if anything could be done about it. Turns out there’s also been a deterioration in my left eye as well. 😦

Now, I can see much more clearly than I could for some time. Give me a few days to get used to them and I will return to roads well journeyed – and new.

And I’d a smashing wee chat with Dr David (my GP) over certain things (mental and physical) that were hanging over me and, amongst other things, reflux has returned and it’s really annoying. But it’s not my heart and I’ve got fresh medication for it. Big relief!!!!!!

But it doesn’t help when you drink ginger beer. Back to juice and flavoured water. 😉

And Son Brian was over to help sort through the last few things of my sister which are kinda personal and, unlike say cutlery and crockery, they are not being left for new owners – once they get their acts together.

So big thanks to him but we also did a wee look ahead and should I worry about the fact that he has highlighted the need for me to update his address in both my will and the Power of Attorney document and he now has my passwords? I trust him, don’t I? Well, I have to, don’t I?

He’d also brought along his copy of my living will which is the one that gives him the decision making powers over whether any machine that keeps me going should be switched off.

Actually Skippy, maybe I should worry.

But I’m learning so much.

I didn’t know, for example, that banks have bereavement units to deal with this kind of thing and when I told my legal that my sister had just received a bill for £27.52 from EE I was told that not only had the account been cancelled some time ago but the amount had been waived because of the circumstances. And this is one of many reasons why it takes so long.

And finally these are minor worries compared with jumping out of an aeroplane over enemy occupied territory when you know that if the occupying forces see you they will shoot you OR jumping out of an amphibious troop carrier into water that is as deep as your oxters and you’re expected to have a functioning weapon, get it working and then liberate Europe OR fly your Spitfire over and over again taking serious flak from German gun positions determined to shoot you down out of the sky.

And yet, those veterans who made it through until this week didn’t see it as anything special and I think a few of them were glad we now had a united Europe – with or without the EU but I do think that has been a big help………

Tioraidh, still smiling, still wearing those badges and still keeping it simple (Skippy, is that what I usually say?)

Iaint850, who no longer believes that the lights at the end of the tunnel are the lights of an oncoming train.

So we talk a lot about being aware of other people’s mental health issues and I’ve mentioned that, in the past, I’ve done suicide awareness and intervention courses, the lessons of which I applied successfully in my days of working with the homeless only to come back into work a few days later to find, not a ‘well done’ note but ‘you’ve a risk assessment to update’ note. Which was fair enough.

But if the behaviour of a young woman on a railway station platform worries you (and you’re the only other person on that platform) what do you? And don’t forget that I’m a man.

It was Summerston Railway Station. And she was already there when I arrived. And there’s no staff.

And there’s a machine but I get my concession ticket on the train.

And she was walking up and down and looking at the edge and some fast trains do come through that station. She wouldn’t stand still.

But I couldn’t go up to her and just ask, could I?

And if I did go up and just asked she’d think me some kind of perv or weirdo……

I had an idea.

I went in to the shelter and bought a proper ticket from the machine and on the way back out, I just said, ‘You okay?’ to which she said, ‘Aye but thanks’ and I wandered away again. A few minutes later some more folk arrived and then the train. I’m still not sure.

A few years ago I came across a band called Roky Eriksen and the Thirteenthfloor Elevators.

Amongst other things Roky claimed to have been to Mars altho’ this may have been partly because, amongst their many psychoactive substances, the Elevators were very partial to Listerine which had much more alcohol in it then that it does now.

This is very grainy black and white footage of them and You’re Gonna Miss Me and, yes, the whisky jug was mic’d up. Which added to the unusual sound. Roky passed away this week; next week’s Rock RIP will be Doctor John.

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