Archive for the ‘humour’ Category

“Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it.” ― John Muir

May 11, 2017

And so dear listener, this week I had the visitor I’d been waiting ages for. To be honest, I’d almost given up expecting the arrival and I was almost caught by surprise but I do have several cameras so I was instantly able to record their arrival – but not their departure.

Let me explain.

A few months ago, J very kindly officially opened my back garden. Some slabs had been laid, some plants planted and some new garden furniture was there for the purposes of being sat upon. J brought a small bee house to the party.

This is not a beehive; it is a resting house for busy bees on their journeys hither and, indeed, thither. In fact, Facebook conversation decided that it had the potential to become a Bee Backpackers Hostel with bees cooking beans, singing songs, playing guitars and washing their dishes once they’d finished 🙂 . Except, none came.

So, a few days ago, I was planting some herbs and doing the tidying up of the garden that I like to do before my grass-cutter comes to, well, cut my grass and I heard buzzing. You hear lots of things in my part of Summerston but bees buzzing…….and there it was. 🙂

There was a single bee hovering around the house….the beehouse that is……and I ran upstairs to get one of my cameras. It was still there when I got back out and I got it hovering and I got it entering and I missed it coming back out as I’d put the camera down. Quite amazing seeing it come out as all its wings are slicked back and then as soon as it has cleared the hole, the wings come straight back and it’s away. 🙂

Okay, it ain’t wildlife photography like Gordon Buchanan but I was really excited at what I saw and it generated a lot of activity on Facebook when I posted the pics.

So, J, thank you for all that excitement and that is the first contender for the Blog Personality of the Year and it’s only May!!!

(Last year it was won by a book called The Bees by Laline Paull and the Book Club still recommend it as a brilliant book)

Incidentally, I’m just in from the ASDA and whilst I was in the car park I noticed that my phone was telling me that I was in the ASDA and that all my friends would like to see my photos of the ASDA. Leave it with me, friends, and I will do what I can.

I was actually going to lede with something else. Not bees.

Last Saturday I went to the Mitchell Library. Now listeners who have been with me for some time will need no reminding of the chain of events that started on a previous visit to the library some time back……..so there was a wee gulp when I crossed the threshold.

I ordered the same as I did that time – a black coffee and a roll and a fried egg and potato scone and sat in the same seat as before and proceeded to do what I’d gone there to do. I find I study better in a library environment and that was one of the reasons I did so much of the Master’s at UWS (Paisley) Library all those years ago.

My heart was slightly in my mouth, particularly as the wi-fi was working but not on Virgin Mail. Yes. I know there’s no real connection but ask my son about how tekky-illiterate I am altho’ I am okay when walked and talked through it. But I did what I had to do and left. WITH EVERYTHING I’D GONE IN WITH!!!!!!!!!

I then went for a walk down to Finnieston, quickly rolling my hair into a hipster bun and growing a beard in which crows could roost, and almost took another photo.

There’s a wee path which takes you past what is known as the Gaelic School and if you keep looking behind you, as all good snappers do, you see the tops of the very beautiful Sikh temple shimmering over the school – true diversity before that word became associated with a dance troupe currently performing at Butlin’s.

Paisley Uny library has been refurbished and my favest seat has gone. It was one floor up, beside a large window where you could overlook a major entrance area and see who was coming and going who might fancy a coffee but also you could keep an eye on the comings and goings in the library itself. 😉

The Mitchell Library ain’t quite the same but it has its compensations.

I’m now going into the back garden to read Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Yes, I do have an interesting reason for doing so. Hopefully more soon time.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, at times amazingly patient when I know why (Skippy, that’s a bit deep even for me)

And so tonight’s music is from a very new album where the songs of Brandi Carlile are sung by such diverse talents as Pearl Jam, Adele and Old Crow Medicine Show. I actually have two copies of the album and have one to give away but rather than offer it up as a competition prize, I know who’s getting the other copy. This is taking me longer than usual to type as I keep looking at the bee house.

‘Proceeds all go to benefit children living in conflict zones.’

This is Dolly Parton with ‘The Story’. Watch it without crying – I defy you.

Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever. (Keri Russell)

May 5, 2017

And so dear listener, I am a man of my word. But I do need your assistance. I do need help – as I suggested last week. After all, in many ways, I am offering you an opportunity to help direct someone’s life in a way you might not otherwise get. I do, however, reserve the caveat that I decide what I do but maybe you should carpe the diem before anyone else does. I still need pushed in the right direction. 😉

Or am I still trying to work out the ending of Line of Duty?

So, yes, I have booked a B & B in Oban for a few days in July. The way my part-time rota works means that I can, if I chose the right days, be off work (for good reasons) for about a fortnight whilst only using up twenty-one hours of my annual leave. This I have done. 😀

And I shall also book my train tickets in the next few days. At the moment I have no plans for whilst I’m up there but some of the small isles off Oban have tearooms that do lunch – including Sundays – and at night, I am assured it is great for seafood and the B & B is at the end of the Esplanade. And, yes, the organisation for which I work does have a project in Oban but I may not necessarily visit. Gannavan (sp) Sands is more of an attraction as is fresh air. 🙂

And one of the other things I said I‘d do I’ve done. I’ve signed up for a morning’s walk around the Forth and Clyde Canal in Ruchill organised by Glasgow University. It’s a historical walk but it’s an area I used to know well (don’t ask me about Frampton’s or the Viking bar and my old Addiction Centre used to be up there and it’s not that long since they found a cannabis farm there as well) ……..and I well remember e coming with me to Maryhill Health Centre, when it was in that area, so that I could get my PSA result after my prostate cancer treatment. I defo needed a friend to help with that and the PSA result was a good one. 😀

And, in fact, it was my (former) cancer that saw me talking on BBC Radio Scotland the other day. I’d seen on Facebook that they were talking about the Digital Rectal Examination Test (or finger up the bum as I was once asked not to say on STV. And didn’t.) and tagged someone at the BBC so they mentioned the radio prog it was on and I listened and I phoned in and it was as if I was expected.

‘This is jt850 and I’d like to comment……..’

‘Hi jt. This is Karen McK. How are you?’

‘I’m fine Karen. How are you?’

‘Fine and I’ll just check. Is your radio off?’

‘It is.’

‘Right. I’ll just put you through now.’

And I was not asked what I wanted to say. It was as if I was expected. And they knew what I’d say. And somebody else phoned from Pacific Quay today, asking if I’d used any alternative medicines in my cancer care to which I answered ‘no’. And the conversation ended.

But let’s go back to Line of Duty and one of the most discussed TV progs for a long time and the theme of ‘spoilers’ – knowing what happened before you actually see it happening. Yes, I had heard this and that about her and her lawyer and the balaclava men and all that stuff but actually seeing it? Nothing could have prepared me for that moment when she turned round and arrested the lawyer. WOW!!!!!!!!!!

(I know someone who uses a lot of exclamation marks. Is she’s not seen the final episode she will realise how wow making it was!!!!!!!!!)

Good, well-acted drama wins every time. Sometimes you even need to know the plot already before you can appreciate what has happened – as I said to a good friend after we’d watched Fassbender’s Macbeth at the Phoenix, Linwood a couple of years back. 🙂

But what hold did the DCC have over the WPC (do we still call them that?) that made her hand over all those documents? And given my recent nose allergy/infection it was a wee bit worrying to hear that MRSA grows up your nose. And why, every time someone mentioned the name of the Forensic Scientist – Tim Ifield – did I start singing ‘I remember you’?

(Line of Duty. Not Macbeth)

And finally, I have a sleeping problem.

Some of my early shifts see me starting at seven or thereabouts and whilst I’ve changed my medication so that I’m not as sleepy as I was with the previous stuff, it still makes me sleep real well so when the alarm goes off at 5.45 it is a real struggle to get up to go to work and get a parking space twenty minutes from the project. I just want to turn over and go back to sleep.

However, and I suspect most people know what’s coming, on those mornings when I don’t have to go to work, I still wake at 5.30 and check the alarm and lie there – unable to get back to sleep. What, dear listener, can I do? Your help is appreciated.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple until I’m told not to.

Iaint850, sensing a new challenge. More anon.

Growing up in Peterhead, there wasn’t much of a chance to see live bands (altho’ I have very vague memories of an early Bay City Rollers gig in Maud Village Hall) and the closest place for gigs was the Music Hall in Aberdeen.

This was the first band I ever saw there. Blodwyn Pig. Now, I’m not so sure why, but when you’re about sixteen……….and, yes, it does finish abruptly.

“Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” ― (the great) Walter Cronkite

April 6, 2017

And so dear listeners, some of you may remember some time ago that, after a very poor team bonding day, I happily left the others and took a train up the road. On that train was a young lady reading a book – as opposed to a kindle – and I congratulated her, as I left, as everyone else had their noses in their tablets. The book?

Appropriately it was The Girl on the Train. 🙂

The other night I met another girl on the same train. 🙂

It was the ten o’clock coming out of Queen Street and I had not long finished my shift. A couple of tables down was a young lady (20ish), wearing railway workers’ clothes and with a book in hard covers. She also had a quarter/half bottle of Buckfast secreted in a bag. 😉

She smiled as I grunted into my seat and had a swig. Our eyes met a couple of other times and she had a couple of other swigs and then, just after Possilpark and Parkhouse, she got up to go but there is a wee gap between P & P and Gilshochill (or Gilshiehill as it’s known locally) and she paused at my table to show me the book. It was about the Dead Sea Scrolls and the photos were sepia-tinged black and white and she explained the significance of the signs on the copper-plated scrolls.

She also said that she loved books 🙂 and that she’d given her one year old god-daughter a huge pile of books and spent time reading with her 🙂 . And then the train pulled into the station and she was gone. Summerston’s the next station down the line and I was looking forward to home going. In terms of the shift, it had not been a long time in hours, but long in never getting a minute to yourself and never getting the chance to log why you’d never got a minute to yourself.

A few days previously I’d spoken to a grown-up man who had never read a book – other than what he needed to read for any qualification.

So I’ve lent him a book by Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book. I look forward, with interest, to his comments.

(Incidentally, the day after that chance encounter with the Book Lady of Gilshochill, there was a landslip outside Possilpark and Parkhouse and the line has been closed ever since – a bit of a nuisance if you want to get to Oban)

And a final word about words if I may. I am currently taking very powerful anti-histamines (altho’ I have a bad habit of referring to them as amphetamines) and whilst I can gauge their useage in a day when I’m project working I am loathe to take them in connection with other activities .e.g. editing and so, there is an Out Of Office up there and I’m not even acknowledging any mail as I know I’ll just say yes. Somebody has just put money in my Paypal account to persuade me to do their essay.

Later today, I will return it.

And the amphetamines are working but there are times when I leave my brain in the kitchen when I go through to the front room. Sorry if I am coming across a bit stranger than usual at the moment. But I can feel them working so that must be good.

And finally, a final, final word about words, particularly those spoken by football managers.

And this happened a wee while back and it was for one of those radio documentaries where I did all the interviewing and someone else presented – and on this occasion it was the smashing Ian Archer. He arranged for me to interview the then Rangers manager Jock Wallace.

Jock had a reputation as a man of few words and most of those were four letters long but it was good to have his views. I arrived at Ibrox, was escorted up the marble staircase and was introduced to him. I got pelters from him – my jacket, my hair and my then support for Clydebank – and all of it with expletives most definitely not deleted. I was dreading the actual interview.

But it had to start and the tape did roll. And he was superb and not a single sweary word. I was editing it in my head which is always a good sign. And the tape stopped rolling. And the swearing started again – me as the target once more. I didn’t mind. I had got what I came for.

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

Iaint850, always in the market for coffee, despite the pills, and always nice to hear from people.

Anyway, at almost the very beginning of my time with the BBC I worked for a programme called Nationwide. It was whilst we were at war with Argentina and I was often called down to London for the week to work on the war desk. On one occasion I was asked by the editor to have a look at some cine footage that had been transferred to Beta (told you it was a long time ago).

It was of the sinking of the Sir Galahad and it was taken from another ship as opposed to the broadcast BBC coverage which was taken by helicopters. It was basically men burning to death and jumping from ships to save their lives. Nothing was shown at that time as far as I can remember but it left a lasting effect on me.

Which was why I was so appalled at the obvious delight on Michael Howard’s face when he discussed Margaret Thatcher’s taskforce and what it had achieved thirty-five years ago; horrible, horrible man. And this week there were signs that, more and more, the Middle East is becoming World War Three by proxy.

So by the magic of randomly picking a CD from a shelf in Fopp I became aware of a chanteuse called Rhiannon Giddens, only to discover that BBC Al, the blog’s bad taste pal and his wife, the lovely C, not only knew of her but were already going to see her in Edinburgh.

This is Rhiannon at the Grand Ole Opry

Then the order came down, dump everything and fix bayonets. You have got to fight for it today. (Private Walter Hutchison)

July 1, 2016

And so dear listener, I have just turned 62. Not bad, given that coming up for ten years ago, a friend of mine looked at me, lying comatose in a hospital bed, and gave me no chance of surviving the night……… but I did and survived much else a few months later. 🙂

It made me the man I am today (which is not necessarily as other men my age) ………..I will say no more than that but I do enjoy life in many ways. 😉

But the death of Caroline Aherene has hit home. My alcohol and cancer issues are, thankfully, well behind me.Hers never left her. I found dealing with the after effects of both at the same time the hardest thing to do. I will never forget my support team who were there for me (and the people who weren’t) and that is partly why this blog exists.

But my thanks to the many ways that people got best wishes  to me and my thanks to a co-worker who brought in buns which made a nightshift go very quickly.

But long term listeners will know that at one stage I talked of being 42 for ever (it’s an Alabama 3 thing) but various things that have happened in the last two years have made me adjust to being what I am (a private pension kicking in helped).

But I’d a great day on Monday (so maybe my birthday came early) and I went to bed that night looking forward to the next day, altho’ I’m always pleased to wake up. It’s a much under-rated pastime. 🙂

Basically, there’s been the money thang with the TSB. I got a phone call from a man whom we’ll call TK who admits they’re in the wrong but is still uncertain what to do as he can’t understand what went wrong. But I am promised my money soon time with goodwill payments and refunded charges etc. TK is not a man to be argued with. I obvs checked out his Linkedin and Facebook profiles and the latest pic in his Facebook profile sees him with a very powerful chainsaw……TK is most definitely not a man to be argued with. Turns out he is the TSB’s Senior Customer Services Executive.

And finally, but not the usual ‘and finally’ but a Monday ‘and finally’, a very good friend, about whom I was slightly worried, phoned and I felt much better. No. No names. No pack drill.

I know I could fire up the Google but I always thought that if you gave the names, you would avoid the packdrill but what do I know?

And so, a final word on Brexit. It has been said that much of the voting was a protest against well educated people as people decided they were in charge and not the experts who actually do know what they’re talking about. However, this was kinda put in its place, and I pass this on without comment, by the number of people (some of whom I spoke to) who didn’t realise that by voting to leave they were actually voting to leave.

And my thanks to an Englishman living in New York – John Oliver – for pointing out that the second most Googled question last Friday morning was, ‘What is the EU?’

And finally,  Roy Hodgson, you did not have to be an expert to know that Iceland were pretty good with long throw-ins, but a lot less arrogance in your players might have helped as well. 😉

And on the question of the Euros, J’s choice (France) has made better progress than mine (Spain) but there’s a long way to go, but I was intrigued by her question the other day,

‘jt, you know about Partick Thistle, but do you know anything about football?’ I think I know what was meant. 🙂

Cya, still wearing that badge and happy to be keeping it simple

Johnt850, and as Anna Magnusson would say, Afram Island!!!!!

So, as many of you know J very kindly gave me a bee house as a gift for the garden but there’s been little happening in terms of bees using it.

So I went on Facebook for help and changed my profile picture to that bit of my garden fence which supports the house and various people got in touch.

Now J had said to me that it was not a hive but I was to think of it as a Bees’ B’n’B. Ah, said I down the phone, ‘a kind of Bees’ backpackers’ hostel.’ ‘Yes’, said she……… So I shared this notion on fb and I would like to thank Julie, with whom I used to play hockey and who has more international contacts than even you, Rainforestriverman, for progressing this metaphor with a lovely word picture of ‘tiny bees with tiny rucksacks strumming tiny guitars and eating tiny pot noodles.’ 😀

Later the next day, I walked past the Blue Sky Backpackers’ Hostel in Berkeley Street and smiled. It still doesn’t stop me, listeners, from standing at the kitchen door window, shouting, ‘Where are you bees? Where are you?’ My next door neighbours gave up on me long time ago.

And tonight’s closing piece of music has been played many times before, but I was told recently that someone else’s grand-daughter really liked it, so I am under instruction here….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JCLY0Rlx6Q

A giraffe’s coffee would be cold by the time it reached the bottom of its neck. Ever think about that?

June 10, 2016

And so dear listener, I was driving home the other Sunday morning (from work and not some hedonistic Satyrday night/Sinday morning of yore) when I saw a man looking in a shop window and tidying his hair. And I thought, I’m so glad other guys do it. 🙂

Y’know, I’m often asked what my favourite mirror is (aren’t you?) and it comes from some recordings I did for the last ever radio doc I produced (the CD of which I’ve lost in the refurbishment of t850 Towers which is annoying as I wanted someone to listen to it. There’s an archive I must plunder) It was about prostate cancer and why men are reluctant to speak out about it – although that seems to be changing.

It was a smashing husband and wife couple down in West Kilbride and I asked to use their bathroom before returning to Glasgow and with the door open (on the way in and the way out) I could see not only me but also Ailsa Craig in the background – both rugged and part of Scotland’s cultural history. 😉

And speaking of Scotland’s cultural history, please feel free to join me, e and c and a number of Gaelic speaking people at Feis spors Ghlaschu which is a sports day being held by some Gaelic speaking people this Saturday (18th) and I seem to be involved in some way (the tombola?). It’s being held at Lochinch Park (the Glasgow polis’s training ground in Pollok Park) and for all those who’ve ever wondered what the Gaelic is for bouncy castle, it seems to be Castle Sgeingeach……and it’s from 12.30 to 4.40…..which is a very exact time to finish.

Anyway, me and e went curtain shopping to Clydebank (where e lived for a year she said in passing) and I’d like to thank the very patient staff in Dunelm Mill and Harry Corry for their patience as my mind changed every so often but, hey, they are bought and are draped over my settees to lose their crushes (how often has that happened in my life I wonder….with curtains) but I’m not sure whether there will be an official curtain opening (I told you, J, I’d use it 🙂  )

What was of most interest tho’, was not the waitress in the very pleasant coffee shop who brought over our coffees with the words, ‘I saw you were having no milk in your coffees so I  topped them up with hot water’ nor the fact that she packed a mean bottle of tomato ketchup in the pocket of her apron.

It was the pictures on the wall. Bog standard and slightly dated photos of the Singer Sewing Machine factory and John Brown’s Shipyard and the clock tower that could be seen from all over Clydebank. What happened to all those people when the work stopped? Where, now, are the millworkers from Paisley or the coal miners and steelworkers from North Ayrshire? Or more likely, their dependents?  😦

I am part of a family of three generations of accountants and auditors, other than me or daughter-in-law, KT. It seems we will always need financial people, but people to make things? I’ll get back to you on that.

But good news on the book front where books are back in the business chasing out e-readers and similar. E-book sales are falling and the ‘iPad generation still want to read about Hairy McLeary or Katie Morag from a real book.’(D. Record 9th June 2016) and also the Crayons Who Quit…….if you have children or grandchildren of any age, buy that one…….it’s brilliant. 🙂

(And on the subject of e-things, this week’s Unattributed Conversation of the Month went as follows;

Me; So, has using an e-cigarette helped you cut down?

Other person; Yes, I only smoke spliffs these days.)

And delighted also to read that my first university, Glasgow, not only continues to take over the entire West End of Glasgow but recently announced plans to continue its library expansion – thus, in comparison with others, realising the importance of making written research as available as possible to students and researchers.

But I do have friends that question the value of university research and dispute studies that prove the efficacy of minimum unit pricing. Maybe it’s because it’s not disseminated properly and popularly.

So, and finally, step forward one of my own uni-mentors, Jenny H and her partner in writing Kim, whose academic treatise on Generation Rent got used as the basis of a piece in the well-respected freebie Stylist. Jenny H is also a graduate of UWS (Paisley) Drink and Drugs team but Jenny, this is the Dead Kennedys telling you how to pronounce Viva!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1enywhs7vfk

It was at this point I stopped for a while and Spotified the Dead Kennedys. And never started again. 😀

Cya, still wearing the badge and it’s no problem to keep it simple.

Johnt850, about whom the song was written, wasn’t it Carly?

Noel Edmonds is an interesting character who has received a fair amount of finger-pointing scorn this week, particularly after his comments about curing cancer with energy from a box. This after his claims that his dead parents’ spirits live in orbs (and that’s not short for Orbiston in Bellshill) that follow him around and the fact that he drives a life-size doll called Candice around in a black cab – altho’ this might not be so daft as a means of getting him around London quickly.

Y’see he also talked about the need to change his diet and to exercise in a different way……from what he doesn’t say. There is no doubt in my mind that the cancer cell in my body thought I was an easy touch cos of my bad lifestyle but I, too, made various changes to my lifestyle after I cold turkeyed that soooo much helped but everyone is different.

It’s about taking responsibility for your life and analysing what is good for you and helps.

I wish I’d restructured my garden some time back but it’s only recently ‘cos me and a couple of others read the book, The Bees by Laline Paull, that I would ever have welcomed a bee house in my back garden. It’s about keeping your mind open to new things and you never know, Noel might yet be right.  🙂

And my friend, Clyde 2 country jock, John Collins is a big fan of the new band RainTown – a country band from Glasgow. Let me know what you think.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAwTplA368M

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone…..but they’ve always worked for me (Hunter S Thompson)

June 2, 2016

And so dear listener, following recent visits by various people who studied the recent refurbishment of t850Towers, work continues – particularly in the West Wing. Or back bedroom as some may describe it.

Careful examination of current tapestries and works of art on the walls revealed a need for some more adornments and so, when buying a much needed curtain pole recently, I spent some minutes in the car boot sale next to the Homebase where I bought a framed picture of a Glasgow tram (£1).  🙂  I then came home and printed off two new pics of my grand-daughter and put them in a couple of cheap pine frames from Poundstretcher (and no other cheap shops are available in my area). It’s beginning to make a difference but it needs a wee bit more.

The one thing it needs more than anything else is to move all the paper stuff (journal articles from my  more recent uni-days) to the back of the wing and move the books forward so that it looks less of an aborted PhD attempt and more like a man of literature – ish. 🙂

But this has its drawbacks. I’m looking through a whole wheen of stuff I got when doing the Post Grad and the Masters that I don’t need but I can’t throw out. The Hunter S Thompson quote at the start, for example, came from ‘Understanding substance use and addiction – Influence of culture on alcohol intoxication’ put together by a tutor called Iain McPhee and the boy’s got talent and should go far. 🙂

I’m finding it tricky to throw out stuff….altho’ a lot of cookery and gardening books have ended up in a charity shop in Anniesland. I intend to write my own gardening book called ‘Get a Man In’ but if anyone wants a copy of Muriel Clark’s recipe for clootie dumpling, I have found the Tartan Tin recipe book. I still don’t know what a clootie dumpling is, tho’.

But, on the subject of my garden, can I thank the intrepid explorer, J, for performing the official opening last week with an incredibly emotional speech which I, and I think I can speak for the entire audience there, found very moving. 😦

But despite the new patio furniture and the rustic bench I still prefer sitting on the kitchen step. 😀

And finally, as someone whose waist size has rocketed up (in trouser size) from 30 to 32 (and more walking and less grazing is the answer) my eye was caught by headlines linking an increase in stomach size to fatal prostate cancer. However, closer reading revealed that we’re talking about ‘the fact’ that every four (!) extra inches on a man’s stomach increases the chances of dying from prostate cancer by 18%!.

Bloody hell! An increase of four inches on any stomach must increase the chances of dying from anything by a helluva lot. Moderation is good. But, yes my cancer was encouraged by a poor lifestyle all those years ago and must have got a shock when, suddenly, I stopped the booze, started eating again (not even the word ‘properly’ is needed….just started eating the solid stuff again) and was getting in some exercise.

But also, I was thinking back to when, in recent years, my stomach was under control and that was when I did use the graveyard as a basic walking space for my physical recovery – starting at ten minutes at ending up at an easy two hours round the canals and rivers that make up a large part of the environment in this area. I plan to do that again. Harry Lauder and Jimmy Maxton are both buried here and our parents were cremated there and there is a gravestone with my name on it – but it bears little similarity to my life. Well certainly, not as I know it so far. 😉

I may even try some light running. But I’ll need new trainers. The ones that took me round Millport died not long afterwards as the sole came off one.

So a new pair is needed before I re-join the Johnstone Jaunters…and I will. Shift dependent. 🙂

Oh, and the scarey book that gave me nightmares? ‘Ghost Story’ by Peter Straub. No. No clue in the title whatsoever and not be read immediately before falling asleep. 🙂

Cya, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Johnt850, and I think ‘mischievous’ is highly appropriate. 😉

Now amongst the recent visitors was someone who has a gluten free diet and the meal was an interesting fusion of gluten free food and fish – in short rice and a prawn stir-fry and scallops on the side.

‘Ah,’ said my guest (and work out who it was for yourself). ‘Often a stir-fry suggests soy sauce. Not every soy sauce is gluten free.’ And, y’know, the soy sauce I have, wasn’t. For alcohol reasons I do look at ingredients and recently have extended that search – but never ever thought about the contents of my larder. I’m checking it out now but slowly. It’s next to the open kitchen door and I can feel the sun – a benefit of night shifting.

And so the countrification of my record collection continues but this is more angsty than other stuff I’ve been listening to. It’s maybe a version of the ‘he done gone and left me so I’ve been drinking’ genre but I found some of the imagery interesting – particularly after a day reading William L White’s ‘Twelve Defining Moments in the History of Alcoholics Anonymous’ – which, tbh, I didn’t need to, but it was still a fun read.

This is Margo Price

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93r_hIpgFpo

People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it (unknown)

May 13, 2016

And so dear listener, a few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from Prostate Cancer HQ wanting to know if I wanted to be kept up to date on volunteer opportunities and if, indeed,  I wanted to continue to volunteer. And I said, yes, and that I knew I wasn’t doing as much stuff as I once did but things continued to change and I was busy but…..

Indeed, all I’d done recently was a couple of information talks a) for a friend, Fenton of that Ilk, and her student nurses down EK way and b) with some recovering heroin users down Dumbarton way – both slightly different audiences – and I was asked if I could supply someone at PCHQ with details of both and much to my shame……No. I can’t. 😦

I know stats are good and that for some people there is a thrill to an Excel spreadsheet that I feel when I see an empty Inukshuk Blueberry Ice Wine tea tin, but my stats keeping is rubbish. 😦

Somebody from my work’s HR department was in touch recently.

‘The auditors are in.’

Could I supply originals  of my first degree, my two Post Grads and my Master’s? Well, three out of four were relatively easy, although I did ask if the auditors could read and understand Latin. Y’see, my first degree from Glasgow University was in Latin…Magistrum Artium…..and the Paisley University stuff was easy to lay my hands on and I also found an Introduction to Teaching in Further Education that rings no bells. I may have been drunk at the time.

But my Post Grad in Youth and Community Work? No sign. I did try and explain that it was about forty years ago (I was a prodigal, okay?); that I had been living in student flats and then had lived in about four houses; had had a broken marriage; that I had studied for it at an institution that no longer existed (Jordanhill College); and it was awarded by an institution that no longer existed (Scottish Education Department); and it was funded by an institution that no longer existed (Strathclyde Regional Council) and that I had no idea where it was……..Let’s just say at this stage that a discussion is about to continue. 😦

I’m not being disrespectful to stats collectors ‘cos having done some social scientific research, I do know the help that they can offer, even if such evidence is totally ignored and instead we prefer what we see in the soaps………and the role that factoids play rather than what we warily call facts.

Sometimes it’s the little things that appeal to me. When, for example, in an email to J, I referred to bog doors, when I actually meant big doors and we laughed. Thank you to the man who invented the QWERTY keyboard for giving us, inadvertently, a good laugh. 🙂

And to e and RJ for supplying me with ice cream In Nardini’s in Byres Road on the hottest day of the year so far (a scoop of rhubarb crumble and a scoop of mango since you ask) but don’t tell your slightly older brother and, e, I hope you recover from your football injury soon…..they’ll be getting the vote next. ;p

And when the man who cuts my grass (I have a lot of grass) strimmered a stone into a piece of glass in my porch window, it is ho and it is hum, and a text to Kenny the shed pimp and a call to his mate Paul the Glazier and we’ll get it sorted. 🙂

Y’see, as I explained a couple of weeks ago, it was eight years ago that I was being zapped to treat my prostate cancer and we had just reached the stage where they increase the power. They seemed confident that they had found the right area in my groin and that those minute felt tip pen markings, that they continued to make in that area, were accurate. But you find yourself thinking……what is this going to lead to when it’s all over?

And do you know something? The positive results of the cold turkey and the cancer treatment aren’t over yet. There are still adventures to be had and even if I still prefer to sit on the kitchen step at the back rather than the new patio furniture, it’s great having the option.

And finally, an inukshuk ‘is a human-made stone landmark or cairn used by the Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America.’ I think my garden is just about ready for one.

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

Johnt850, and I meant prodigy not prodigal.

And my final words on the recent Scottish election (I make it sound like a Shakespeare play) are these:

Ruth Davidson and her inner sanctum recognised that a majority of people had voted against Independence and that, therefore, it was reasonable to think that that majority was in favour of keeping the union – and played that card. The Labour Party didn’t recognise that and paid the price.

The fragrant Nicola’s inner sanctum, whilst well pleased at all those people signing up as members, didn’t realise that these new people thought that  ‘activism’ was all about  re-tweeting negative things about opponents and didn’t realise it meant going knocking on doors and giving out leaflets.

Many SNP supporters, in their quest for a one-party dictatorship that brooks no opposition, did not realise that voting SNP/SNP actually worked against them.

I will make no political comment about the EU referendum other than to say I am in favour of staying in, if for no other reason, that the holiday-pay I get as a part-time worker (and other benefits) is secure ……..a security of employment that is still denied to many agency workers. There are battles still to be won. I have a social media petition to sign about it. What? No. Online. No. No clipboard out on the streets. Don’t be daft.

So why the hell would a record/video company even think about photoshopping Meghan Trainor after this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PCkvCPvDXk

 

‘Life is just a party and parties weren’t made to last’ (Prince)

May 6, 2016

And so, dear listener, it’s done and dusted. Our leader of the last wee while is to stay our leader for the foreseeable future. Done with little fuss and with only a little coverage in the press. A popular choice despite recent results not showing ‘our leader’ in a good light. 😦

Yes. Alan Archibald is to remain as Partick Thistle’s manager. Aye.. We had kinda drifted into the play off zone area but we’re fine. Actually Alan is a popular choice but not being married, I can’t join in the chant where the fans offer him their wives. I wonder if the wives know. 😛

And despite being turned over last week by Inverness Caley Thistle, we still came away with a smile. One of the guys had turned up with a rucksack which was quietly opened by friends in the row behind him. During the course of the game, all sorts of rubbish was piled into his bag and he did not notice until the end. Oh, how it took our minds off the game. Almost. 😦

I will say one thing about the Scottish election. I was saddened that so many SNP followers wanted a one party state system where opposition is frowned upon. My first vote went to Patricia Ferguson (Labour) as she has been helpful when I needed her help. My list vote went to the Greens as I believe in a democracy of ideas. 🙂

I am happy, however, with Bob Doris (SNP) who I have met and who has promised to sort out the Summerston Railway Bridge problem. 😀

Incidentally, whilst talking of Thistle, many of you will know of the link with David Shrigley, the Turner Art Prize nominee (2013). At a recent home game, we were given a free foam thumb (mine is in my boot with ASDA and Morrison bags) having been give cushions and scarves and stuff as well as Kingsley the mascot. Except I never made it to those games. 😦

Well, apparently, they’re selling for between £90 and £110 on e-Bay. I know of a few defenders who should be punted for that amount. 😦

So the refurbishment of t850Towers is almost over. Lots of good work done by lots of good people, and whilst it may have taken the electrician a wee while to get here to get the work done, once Craig was here he just got on with it. Would I recommend him? Whereas that’s a resounding Yes to all the others, I feel he needs pinned down.

However, the idea that J came up with, which was to give him a rough idea of what I wanted and let him choose the actual lights, seems to have worked in that he’s chosen well, but I had hoped to have been out of the house whist he was working and to have come back to a pleasant surprise. 🙂

Anyway, should you find yourself in the Summerston area then please find me and come walk the estate with me; that’s ‘estate’ as in back garden – not ‘estate’ as in the scheme.

Oh, and to e, the blog’s favest interior designer, I’m looking forward to hearing how your football injury came about. And it was nice to hear from Becky G, the Miss Marples of North London, who advises me that the teenage years start at five. Wonder when they end? I feel as if I’m still enjoying them. 😀

And finally, for once, a few political thoughts. I had been worried about the changing political climate in Scotland, as it seems to me that many folk have got involved post-referendum, which on the one hand is good, but much of that interest was focused on another independence referendum and ignored the sad state of the Scottish economy and the fact that the SNP is a party of austerity and decisions such as freezing the council tax have led to council cutbacks meaning people are out of jobs and much social care is in danger.

Education at all levels is suffering and whilst our health system may be under less attack than in England, I do hear concerns about it from many people altho’ I have few concerns in my dealings with them.

Would I vote Yes again in another referendum? That is soooooo rhetorical as I don’t think the fragrant Nicola is that keen on such a thing, paricularly after the election results. We have greater powers than we had before #indyref. Let’s make use of them but let’s also encourage and not stifle debate. Those who did not vote SNP have as much of a right to criticise as those who voted for the SNP have a right to eulogise.

Cya, still wearing that Yes badge and still keeping it simple.

Johnt850, often flashy but never trashy.

I, for reasons known to some, have become a wee bit more of a country music fan than I once was and whilst I didn’t squeal with teenage delight (no names, no pack drill) when Kris Kristofferson walked on at a gig a couple of months ago, it was brilliant to see him. 😀 😀 😀

However, I have been great fans of Steve Earle and the Dixie Chicks ever since they took a stand against the US Government (and us) for the unprovoked attack on Iraq which was destined to failure as has every Western military expedition in that part of the world and with the benefit of hindsight helped, eventually, to create Daesh.

Steve Earle, I saw at the Kelvingrove Bandstand gigs two years ago, but I did not realise until it was over that the Dixie Chicks were at the SECC this week.

I spoke to an old friend, John Collins, who is the Country deejay on Bauer’s City 2 network of fifteen stations around the United Kingdom including Clyde 2 in Glasgow and the west on Sunday nights at seven.

He described them as ‘still having attitude, edge and even anger; combined with astonishing stagecraft and musicianship’. You should hear John when he gets really enthusiastic about a band. Sunday nights at seven. 😉

This is their tribute to Prince and it’s slightly bootleggy and it ain’t the SECC but I won’t say where…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AB_QlH5j4_I

 

 

 

 

 

“Each meeting occurs at the precise moment for which it was meant. Usually, when it will have the greatest impact on our lives.” ― Nadia Scrieva, Fathoms of Forgiveness

April 21, 2016

And so dear listener, altho’ it may not look like it, there is often a structure to this show – a balance, even a theme. Yes. Sometimes it’s about drink’n’drugs’n’rock’n’roll’n’sex’n’cancer, but often it’s not as mundane as that. It can sometimes be summed up in one word – one really exciting word – that gets your juices flowing (No. I’ve never been too sure about that phrase either) and really makes you good to go. 🙂

This week’s word? Meeting. No. Stay with me. Listen to me. This last seven days since we last spoke have seen me meet lots of people and each time, I’ve come away with a smashing smile on my face and a lot of coffee in my system.

(In my final year of alcohol dependency, I was tanning a full bottle of whisky a night and often a glug from the spare bottle(!). Now, two cups of hotel lobby coffee on a breakfast of granola and yogurt and I’m higher than a very high thing)

Take for example last Friday when I met up with J, the blog’s favest wildlife protector. It was a simple explanation of how she had helped a trapped bee to leave her home by the use of a glass and an envelope – with actions. The restaurant was enthralled but at least I knew what was happening…..if you’re a member of the group known as 5338, it’s what you do. 🙂

Me? I open windows and wave them in that direction but it’s not as exciting……and I’ve never felt the same about Barack Obama since he killed that fly with his bare hands.

Geek, not Greek, but that could explain the problems with their economy.

And on Monday I met Jenny G who is different from Jenny H, who passed her PhD Veeeeeeeeeeeva that day (and massive congrats Jenny H…well deserved) but was i/viewing me about, well, as I will be anonymised in her Master’s, then maybe it’s better I say not what it was about – but I was well i/viewed. 🙂

There is something about hotel lobbies, isn’t there? I thought he was a businessman waiting for a another businessman but it was a young lady with a wean in a buggy who met up with him.……..and she didn’t seem family. I wasn’t expecting that. Make up a sentence with the words ‘imagination’ and ‘riot’ in it…….

Anyway, nice one Jenny G and let me know how you get on. 🙂

And then who should I meet in Byres Road but Julian (ex-BBC Glasgow now freelancing in London) and we reminisced (sp) about a show I produced, with much help, for Radio 5 called Night Moves which went out just after midnight and was the best phone-in ever.

Julian was one of a number of young freelances including a lot of Nor’n Irish guys who were paid to answer the phones whose sobriety (as a catch-all description) was occasionally in doubt but then so was mine at times, so I said nothing but we got more calls on air than any other programme in that slot.:D

(What’s that Skippy? All the names so far begin with ‘J’ apart from J who’s called J. Tell you what; I’ll move on)

And I’m pleased to say negotiations have started with Jayne H, Anne and Jo from uny, and Missie K about meeting up….soon.

And finally, I’m reading a book called The Girl on the Train and it’s not what I expected.

Leaving the storyline aside it’s a frighteningly accurate representation of what it’s like to be an ‘alcoholic’ (Rachel’s description of herself; I try not to use that word) and the strange things you do, on your own, that seem frighteningly logical at the time. Why did I walk here? Why was I taking to that man?  I don’t recognise that voice on the answering machine. Who did I give my number to?

Not that everything I do is frighteningly logical these sober days, but I look forward to meeting people and no, one of those questions I’m often asked, I don’t go to the meetings. Good luck to those who do, but as someone in a rehab centre once said to me, ‘Why go somewhere when your head’s full of mince and everyone else has got the same mince in their heads?’

Cya, still wearing that badge and it’s back to keeping it simple. 😀

Johnt850, still redfaced but now I can blame the sun.

So now will you please indulge me in a football memory – but a nice one.

Many years ago I worked for a man called Michael Kelly who had a PR agency and one of its clients was Celtic Football Club and a man called Billy McNeill had just stepped down from the role of manager (Rrm, the next time we meet, remind me to tell you about the memo that didn’t exist).

So we, sorry, the board (not me and Michael) decided to take our time and get the right guy. And I got lots of phone calls from sports journos about the latest rumour or just to ask if anything was happening to which I’d reply; ‘Nothing continues to happen.’

Eventually, I was able to announce (my name was at the bottom of the press release) that Liam Brady was the new manager of the football division and a brighter dawn was ahead of the club……No. No comment.

But the big fun I got was going out to Celtic Park to see Liam or Terry Cassidy or one of the other directors or players and saying cheerio to them in the foyer of the club just as people doing the tour of Celtic Park walked by wondering who it was that was talking to Liam or Terry.

The other big fun I got was going to Victoria’s with some of them but that’s maybe another story for another day. 😀

This is a lady called Gretchen Peters with a jolly interesting song called Blackbird……actually it’s quite depressing;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5hIn569qMQ

When you tug at a single thing in nature,you will find it attached to the rest of the world (John Muir suggested by Ian Harrower)

April 7, 2016

And so dear listener, this blog is now eight years old. It started as a way of letting people know about the second half of my successful treatment for prostate cancer – the radiotherapy – or sandblasting as it was known in the blog. That was a way of trying to introduce some humour and reduce the fear factor in talking about cancer. 🙂

Altho’ I had to do some fast talking when some students who were filming me in my (shared) office saw a notice above the coffee table which said, ‘Which of you bastards stole a dying man’s coffee?’ Some jokes don’t work. 😦

The first half of the treatment got less attention. It was a drug called Zoladex and it has been suggested that it had major side effects. My ex-wife looked at the list of them and said ‘you’re about to go through the menopause.’ And I still get hot flushes, altho’ whether that’s because I still get an awful lot of things wrong or am easily embarrassed, I’m not sure.

It came in the shape of a large needle and was administered, by a doctor, on a monthly basis. Y’see the male hormone testosterone feeds the cancer and the Zoladex administers oestrogene which kills the testosterone and gives the sandblasting a better chance of working. Which, in my case, it did successfully.

So I am still around today. To continue making mistakes. I’ll move myself on. Cos it’s been a good week. Mostly.

I’d like to say a big congrats to Sophe Williamson who married Christina Watson a few days ago and sent out some lovely pictures. Call me old fashioned but when two young women get married, I think it’s really nice when they’re both wearing wedding dresses. I showed some of the pics from social media to a work colleague who said, ‘they’re really nice. How do you know Sophe?’

‘Oh,’ I said, ‘we were both zombies together.’

Sometimes you can just sense when someone’s not too sure how to reply to something that’s been said and it’s best for the conversation to move on.

But since this blog is eight years old it was appropriate that I went for a drink with the blogmeister, altho’ I didn’t realise the anniversary until I sat down at the typewriter just now. I had written a page about my experiences with the drink and cancer and I had edited it as appropriate for individuals and if I felt their stomach was up to it, I could send them a page about the Twenty-four hours of Cold Turkey which I’d written for a competition run by the Scottish Book Trust.

Anyway I did spend some time in Tennents with the man who helped me launch my blogging career as I had no idea how to start such a venture but I have to say that Morgan’s Rum and Diet Coke may not be the best basis for a diet……just saying’, that’s all. 🙂

And it wasn’t eight years ago that I made the decision to join some friends who are Partick Thistle fans but that came out of a concern that I wasn’t doing anything with my Saturdays and time hanging heavy on my hands can be dangerous. It paid off on Tuesday night when not only did the Harry Wraggs, the Maryhill Jags win one – nil but I came away with a large foam thumb. Unfortunately I had missed the game where a free cushion designed by Kota Ezawa was given away. And if that seems strange for a football club, then bite on this, footie fans. Until recently, the mission statement on the PTFC website read, NOT SO CUDDLY ANYMORE!

And finally, I’d like to thank J, the blog’s favest music critic, for agreeing to come with me to see Alabama 3 in a ‘few weeks’ time’. For those of you who don’t know, A3 are the world’s greatest acid house country rock band and played an amazing part in my recovery. I saw them once before at Balloch Country Park a few years ago.  I suspect it’ll be slightly different indoors. 🙂

Cya, still wearing that badge and, stupidly, sometimes finding it difficult to keep it simple.

Johnt850, feeling very red-faced and very subdued.

And, yes, Scotland has done really well in having four leaders out of six Holyrood parties who are in same-sex relationships and have not made a big deal out of it. Indeed the tabloids have made little of it which is nice.

I’ve touched on this before. I worry when people come out in any sense and a big thing is made of their ‘bravery’ which I feel puts people off. And that’s been a big aim of this blog – to try and demystify substance and cancer issues and various people have spoken to me about things arising out of this………and there’s lots of folk like me……..there’s a massive list of speakers available from Prostate Cancer UK who are available to do information talks or staff information stands at Health Days.

And then there’s the tube of an expert on Breakfast News or whatever the BBC prog is called, whose first contribution to a discussion on eating disorders is to congratulate the two young girls, who were speaking about their experiences, for their ‘bravery’. The girls were much quieter after that. I’m not sure if they had ever seen talking about their experiences as being brave. Now they were thinking about what they had done.

But what do I know?

This is Lady Antebellum……..this is from a different past.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rHuitW9xDc