Archive for the ‘Maryhill’ Category

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

May 23, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so to other matters;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iaint850 #mymentalhealthisimportanttome

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

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

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

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

#mymentalhealthisimportantome

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

April 11, 2019

Aye. Like Facebook and Twitter.

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

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

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

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

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

And that’s enough TV.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A holiday? Maybe.

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

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

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

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

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

She was really good at what she did.

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

Iaint850, ‘in vacant and contemplative mood’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 7, 2019

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

So this year, I planned for it. 😉

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s my life on that wall. 😀 😀 😀

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges and still keeping it simple

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

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

It’s an area of interest to me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I never knew a guy who carried a mirror in his pocket And a comb up his sleeve-just in case (Shania Twain)

November 1, 2018

And so, dear listener, does that impress you much and do you know anyone like this? And, friend Debbie, I will always deny that story about me using a window in the project as a mirror at 3 in the morning. 😉

So let’s move on swiftly but before I do, can I just say that my sixtieth birthday was much more a milestone than a millstone. 😀

I have an idea which may reverse the tide of digitalisation and I want to share it with you. I even have a name for it. I am going to call it Fulfilment by Personal Service (which is in no way derivative).

It hit me last week. I have spoken previously about my dislike of 151 and 789. I don’t understand what they’re talking about (altho’ I did have brilliant service from one of them who helped me through a TV problem that was not a Virgin problem and introduced me to the buttons down the side) 🙂

A few months ago I was concerned about how much I was paying for my phone. Instead of getting rollovers I was getting bills and I put that down to the increased usage when I was in hospital.

But they continued. I spoke to both the above numbers and they told me I was well in credit but that wasn’t the problem. I happened to be passing the Virgin shop in Sauchiehall Street one day and I went in. Two questions later, I was told that my WiFi had been switched off and that was it back up and running. 🙂

Saturday there…a wee date storage issue and I was straight back. Again some questions, some stuff added to my SD disk and some stuff deleted, and storage problem gone. I went to Waterstone’s and looked at books and bought two. Amazon is great if you know what you want but you can’t browse………not browse in a bookshop sense anyway.

Waterstone’s also does coffee and cake. 🙂

And then I got a couple of messages (text as opposed to bread and milk) from the Green Zone aka Maryhill Health Centre. One was explaining that it was now possible to book Skype conversations with my doctor or, in a separate message, the nurses were telling me that it was at least six weeks since they’d seen me and would I like to arrange to pop in and see them? I know which I’m going for.

Incidentally I think all the nurses in the Zone are female and, do you know what? Nobody cares as long as you ‘get seen’. 😉

Supermarket shopping? Self-scan or staffed aisle? Altho’ at Morrison’s this morning finding a staffed aisle was difficult ……until I asked.

So, are you beginning to get the idea? Have you had similar experiences? Please share them here or with me in other ways. I’m not too sure where I’m going with this but I do think we, as people handing over our money, deserve good personal service whether it’s in a shop or at the bit where you go to metaphorically fill your basket and hand over your credit card security number.

Indeed word reaches me as I write this that Ikea have opened a small store In Tottenham Court Road in London to offer a design service before people go online to buy things………

And if you’re interested, my academic editing service (available from john.thompson850@ntlworld.com) is a service designed to meet an individual’s needs albeit all done by e-mail.

And finally, a drugs training workshop I was due to attend was cancelled but I was offered an interesting alternative the following Tuesday.

‘Would you like, jt, to do alcohol in the morning and drugs in the afternoon?’

My smile was of a very wry nature.

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

Iaint850, deeply envious of the multi-talented Bradley Walsh who I once spoke to on the phone.

Now, long term listeners of this blog will remember that, from time to time, I have attended formal dinners at Glasgow University and one of them is due up soon and it is a significant anniversary of that dinner club but I’m not going.

It’s nothing to do with alcohol itself. I don’t miss it and I get no cravings and I put that down to working with a professional addiction worker and not going to meetings where alcohol is the only topic. That wouldn’t have worked for me.

It’s just been so long since I’ve seen many of the folk who’ll be there and there’s a wee bit of anxiety that’s been hanging about that I won’t settle and I’ll get up and walk. I do like to talk to people and I do like to catch up but in smaller settings, e.g. curries, lunches, coffees or conferences on Hep C (coming to a Hilton Hotel near you next week).

It’s no big deal for me but it’s good that I’ve decided now. How will I fill that gap in the diary? Will I do anything social? Well, from time to time recently I’ve been going for walks in the dark, mostly designed to keep me out later and to make me sleep longer. It’s not as sad as it sounds. I have no dog to walk and I don’t jog/run.

I’ll maybe drive the car down to the University and go for a walk in the West End Perk where the phantoms might be dancing (Bridie).

Here, by way of a special request, is/are Bauhaus and their tribute to a great Hallowe’en hero – Bella Lugosi.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. (Marcus Tullius Cicero)

April 26, 2018

And so dear listener, I feel a wee bit this week as if I’ve been playing Doctors and Nurses……but on my own.

Skippy! I can explain!

It was explained to me by the rapping Dr J that my cardiac problem may be something to do with high blood pressure so on Monday just past I got the call to go down to my health centre (altho’ I let all of Maryhill use it) and get my blood pressure tested. It’s high but let’s not rush into anything. ):

So I was lent a blood pressure monitor (and I genuinely did tell a couple of people that I was doing my own blood transfusion. I got confused) and I have been carrying out my own blood tests. They’re even higher! And then I started to make sure I was calm and collected before I did a test and they were just high. Phew…..

Mind you, given the problems from my bank of all my life (TSB) I realised that it is best to choose relaxed times of day to do these tests (two) and ignore the landline phone when it rings. I would say that 50/50 it’s still a real call and worth answering.

I won’t quote figures publicly but if you do have a nursing background and are interested let me know. You are more than welcome and I’m happy with any opinions. 🙂

Y’know recovering from the alcohol and the cancer was an awful lot easier.

And it is a wee bit like previous times in that I need to get out much more than I’m doing just now although one reason for that is a good wee run of editing but, leaving aside the blood pressure, I am in good nick now that it’s good weather (that was hail the other afternoon!) But I’m past being ‘on the mend’; I’m good to go. 😀

Mind you, with the cold turkey recovery, I had a job to go back to and I had an amazing addiction worker; in the case of the cancer my thirty-seven daily radiotherapy sessions were made so much easier by my fellow patients and NHS staff who were such a good laugh over that time. 😀 😀 😀

Ach, I’m just feeling sorry for myself. I still have that ‘stuck in the house/hospital’ feeling that I’ve had since the start of 2018 altho’ I have done a lot of brilliant walking in the West End of Glasgow with, and without, Holly the Dog. And e. Any other offers? I remember doing Millport a couple of years ago. 🙂

The reason I’m in that mood is cos I watched The Cancer Hospital on the BBC the other night. It was one of the few docs I’ve seen in recent years where the lack of a presenter worked as Dougie Henshall’s v/over was essentially underplayed so that the voices of the women had to be listened to.

Obviously I know those corridors altho’ my treatment happened in the Thomas Wheldon building next door and the other thing I remember is arriving early so I could go for a walk around Bingham’s Pond before my treatment – just to calm down. That was when I started to grow my hair slightly longer. 😉

This coming week it’s prostate cancer.

I should watch more comedy.

I did, however, watch the prog about Harold Shipman. Remember the good Doctor W? That was where her interest in medico-crime came from. She did write a book on the subject. I helped. A little. I wonder if it was ever published?

Should I maybe try and find out?

And finally, atm I have no idea as to whether TSB online is working properly and full-time and nor, I suspect. do they.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (how long is that now?) and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, I don’t have much money but I’ve never looked at my bank accounts as much as I’ve done recently.

So it’s now thirty years since the Glasgow Garden festival but my interest in garden festivals was aroused four years earlier when my then wife and I were taken by friends to the Liverpool Garden Festival and I thought it was brill. 🙂

A few weeks later I took BBC Radio Scotland’s Jimmy Mack Show with presenter Jimmy Mack and production assistant Jeanette down to Liverpool to do the show from there but Jimmy was late in arriving for a slot on BBC Merseyside and I had to stand in for him. I was good but remained a producer. 😉

I then spoke ‘informally’ to people from the Scottish Development Agency about getting the BBC involved in the Glasgow event but I was too ‘informal’ and was quite shocked when a senior producer later said that he had had the first contact with the organisers but ‘they seemed well organised for BBC broadcasting ideas.’

When it comes to ‘informal’ where I was concerned, then read ‘lights well hidden under a bushel’. However, I did okay for season tickets and was offered a job by the PR consultancy that the Festival PR people all went and joined. I turned it down and later, the building in which that office was located became the home for the Blue Triangle Head Office and there’s a wee memory just come back. Knowing smile icon. 😉

Anyway, I had the immense pleasure of producing the (for radio) Royal Opening with Charles and Diana with my presenters (Jimmy Mack and Mary Marquis), reporters Lesley Riddoch, Christine Kinnear and Kevin Ruane (?) and production team of me, Max, Jayne and Amanda.

And I got a Pringle sweater with the Garden Festival logo and my name on it. Wore it once.

Live broadcasting and the memories, eh? 🙂

But here’s a John Martyn cover from an up and coming band of whom I think highly. If they turn up in your neck of the woods, go see them. What? No. I don’t know any of them. Honest guv! The Rain Kings featuring Neil Turner.

‘A friend is what the heart needs all the time’ (Henry Van Dyke)

February 2, 2018

And so dear listener, this ain’t the usual blog. Apart from anything else it’s not as structured as usual. 🙂

Seriously. I know that in many years from now some literature academic will stumble over these shows and give them the credit they deserve as an exceptional piece of writing.

That and the Facebook postings of 2018 when in a matter of days I charted a journey from antibiotics that I thought I was allergic to but I was actually having a ‘small heart attack’ and back out the other end with more tests ahead of me. Thanks to all who followed the action and responded.

Basically it was a slow heart attack but it can kill and altho’ I’ve been trained to perform CPR and mouth to mouth I don’t know how to do it to myself over a period of time (and I don’t think that sentence says what I wanted it to)

And tonight as I looked at the metaphorical blank sheet of paper in the typewriter I just burst into tears. You forget the emotional side of recovery, don’t you? Here I go again. The physical begins with a walk around the graveyard and the mental, for me, is dealt with by hammering out 1,000 words on a weekly basis and talking (or rambling) to friends. Well it worked for prostate cancer and alcohol dependency.

But this time it’s been a wee bit different. Oh, my 999 call early morning was there again and I slightly surprised the call handler by having the front door open for the ambulance folk and having my prescriptions to hand and, and, and so on and I was driven to the Royal Infirmary after the ambulance folk had done tests and I stayed there for a few days in a ward I can never forget and I’ll tell you about that in a few weeks and then transferred to the Golden Jubilee and then that moment when I was told by the consultant that I could go home (twelve days on) and I kept looking over his shoulder at the nurse who kept nodding assent but with a smile on her face.

So my arteries are fine, the leak in my aortic valve is a mild to moderate risk but the blood pressure needs to be watched. I have a cardiac rehabilitation programme to follow and some outpatienting to do.

But I’m sleeping so much better.

Oh and those sample bottles full of urine and the toast at nine o’clock at night and the blood tests at 6.30 morning and night and those gowns that I had to wear until they no longer needed easy access to my body (eh?) and that mobile tracking device I had to wear even when I went to the loo.

And I think it’s worth saying that it’s been a wee while since I’ve been in the company of mostly women and not fallen in love at least once.

And I told folk I am going to write a Rom Com set in a Coronary Care Unit and fellow blogger Jill came up with a very simple plot which I think would work. And I wrote down some amazing quotes. And I witnessed some amazing patience (and that’s the correct spelling) where incontinence and possible dementia were concerned and I have no criticism of any individual, system or institution – just amazement at how nurses and auxiliaries just wipe things down and get on with it.

I mean I did ten or so days in a detox ward in Gartnavel about eleven years ago and that was pretty scary and the thirty-seven days I did as a Cancer outpatient getting daily radiotherapy were pretty straightforward which is not to diminish cancer treatment but I got to drive home at speed after each treatment. Here I’ve got to wait four weeks before I can drive again. And then I can get a much needed haircut.

So if you’re mobile and in the area – I do need some help with shopping and getting out for walks.

(Yes, I’ve been alcoholically dependent, had bad prostate cancer and now a heart attack……..and I’m still here)

But, yet again, people are helping and yet again I will get on with it because I am young and still have a lot of living to do and a lot to learn. The invites are in the post even as I write.…….and should you ever find yourself in Summerston, please get in touch but bring your own bottle – sample or otherwise.

Tioraidh, so, possibly adding to the badges but so glad I keep it simple.

Iaint850 and much humbled by what I’ve seen.

And after all that there is only one piece of music I can play even if it is badly lip synched. Here’s Feargal Sharkey (and just click on the YouTube bit)

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

November 2, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But some things in my life are returning to normal.

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

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

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

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

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

Iaint850, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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

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

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

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

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

Did they play this, j?

It’s like you have to be strong for everyone else but they forget to ask if you’re okay.

October 26, 2017

And so dear listener, this week I experienced a feeling I have not experienced for some time but is it right that a man, my age, should experience that feeling. Sorry? Oh, first day nerves, that’s what I mean. I have now seriously started as an SVQ assessor-candidate who is to get assessed as an assessor assessing candidates.

Some people, such as j, seemed to pick it up straightaway but others, like me, have to keep everything in a separate pile in my head and it’s not easy, having piles in your head. 😦

And I don’t think I ever told you, dear listener, what an SVQ assessor does.

NVQ/SVQ assessors help and assess people who are working towards National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) or Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). In doing so, they make sure that the candidates meet the required standards.

And, yes, that is Copy and Paste. Did you notice? Any questions?

Yes. I am looking forward to yet another new career. In order to get it all on my CV I am now using font size 8.5 and A3 paper. And have I finished yet? What would be nice would be to get my income back up to pre-resignation levels but with the same free time I had before.

And there are some signs that the editing might be kicking off again and my thanks go to the marketing team for their sparkling efforts. 😀

Ah, that lovely word ‘team’. I have met people who say things like ‘there’s no ‘I’ in team.’

To which I reply, ‘Yeah, but there’s a ‘me’.’

But then I’m the kinda guy who criticises the well-known Pavlov’s dogs experiment cos no-one asked the dogs – and to me that’s a fundamental flaw. 🙂

Ah, yes…..team. Last week a couple of photos appeared on Facebook showing the BBC Radio Scotland team who covered the Commonwealth Games of 1986. One photo showed us on our way to the closing night disco (yes, disco – and it may even have been Tom Ferrie who was the deejay) and the other was in the bunker we called home for the fortnight. 🙂

I was a producer and, in addition to everything else, was responsible for putting together a two minute sports news after the main news. With me? And I had a presenter to read it.

Except one night, at about half past ten, I was sitting with a pint in the BBC Club next to the bunker and became aware I had no reporter. I had to do it. And so dear listener, I had the amazing privilege of saying, ‘And now the moment all Scotland has been waiting for….’

And played a piece of tape that was Liz Lynch winning her Gold medal before reading out some results from the shooting at Barry Budden in Angus and then back to the hotel for my second pint of the night. This one well deserved.:D

And as I write this, speaking of matters athletic, I’ve still not heard back about my x-rays of last week. But it has not stopped me walking. One jolly interesting and recent walk was with e and Holly the Dog though the Botanic Gardens and its environs. We helped reunite a young girl with her dad; cheered on some young athletes; and remenisced (sp?) about our pasts and one shop in particular. Anyone who ever lived West-endish in the seventies and a wee bit beyond will remember Goodies – the first ever twenty-four hour dairy I had ever known; pints of milk and chocolate biscuits after two in the morning; a strange woman who seemed to sit in the same seat 24/7; and a very unhygienic cat who sat in the window, seemingly, also for a full day at a time.

Yes, we have Tesco’s in Maryhill and the Asda in Govan – both of which are also twenty-four hours a day but they lack the magic of Goodies. 🙂

And finally, I did go to see George Monbiot – a man with some very interesting ideas. I would have thought it of interest to anyone claiming to have environmental credentials or looking for original thinking. Maybe those who missed it were too busy slagging each other off on Facebook

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

Iaint850, and surely I’m not the only person who still says Bloody Norah.

And I was talking to a friend recently and she was telling me of her recent regular visit to a Costa Coffee Shop (and other chainstore coffee shops are available) and she spotted someone she hadn’t seen for some time.

‘Is everything okay?’ she asked.

‘I’m cutting back on caffeine.’

‘Well there’s plenty of good de-caff stuff out there these days.’

‘No. It’s not that. I just don’t have the money these days.’

This was in a douce, middle class town not that far from Glasgow. I had travelled there by train and before I got the train back to Glasgow I bought a newspaper. The vendor was smiling and whistling. I asked him why he was so cheery.

‘The Tory Party is falling apart at the seams. We’ve got them on the run.’

The two conversations prove nothing except to add to my sadness that so much political debate takes place online by people just shouting at each other. Politics is about real people – not sitting in front of a laptop shouting at people through your keyboard.

Why not help out at a foodbank?

There’s often a single piece of music that you hear on all the radios stations you listen to as part of your regular listening pattern – in my case Radio 1 and Clyde 1 in the car and often Chris Country at home – but often you tire of it. Not this time.

This is Pink and What About Us. Stick with the video. It gives an extra meaning to the song.

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.

‘A vain, outlandish, anti-immigrant, fear-mongering demagogue runs for President of the United States – and wins.’

April 13, 2017

And that, dear listener, is the blurb for a fictional book written in 1935 called It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis and I think it’s more about the rise of Hitler than Trump altho’ so much of it does apply to Trump’s America. However, it’s been written in a very strange style and I’m doing, like, one chapter per night.

But it does mean that events register in a way they might not otherwise have done.

For example, I was reading about the concentration camps (or Holocaust Centers as Sean Spicer describes them) that American President Berzelius Windrip had introduced for dissidents when, low and behold, it was reported that Chechnya had introduced them for gay men.

And United Airlines’ way of removing that overbooked doctor from one of their plans seemed to stop just short of the firing squad as described in the book when they took away someone who was a bit belligerent, although I think they were justified as they knew a firing squad awaited them (in the book).

As yet, as I say I’m reading it slowly, I’ve still to reach a bit where the President is eating dessert cake (‘really beautiful dessert cake’) when he’s told that his country has dropped 59 (‘unmanned’ as in no pilots) missiles on some country in the Middle East but he gets the wrong one, but there’s a bit to go.

It could be a while before it ends up on the book club shelves.

[Oh, and I a quick word to j, if I may……No I don’t think I’m excluded and I was reasonably happy with what I wrote. I just got a shock.]

And so, dear listener, that was a pretty heavy start to the show so let’s go lighter. Let’s talk about my first ever media appearance. 🙂

I was reminded of it when I noticed a couple of weeks ago that Songs of Praise was coming from my hometown of Peterhead. Many years ago, when the world was black and white, it came twice from there in the space of a few months and I appeared in both – well I did and I didn’t.

Was I in primary school or early years secondary? It matters not, but I was in a choir (and somewhere in my house there is proof of a very fresh-faced young man but with a wee bit more hair than was usual at that age. It’s an early version of a screen grab where a professional photographer took photos of the TV screen)

Anyway, Peterhead played a blinder in the first one (no doubt due to my charms) and the BBC came back and the choir was also invited back. Now were you ever to see this prog, you would notice me at the start, in position next to the font, and marvel at my good looks. However, when the camera next returned to that position I was gone – I had fainted and had to be got out, without being spotted by the cameras, down an aisle to the side. But I was smitten by broadcasting. And as regular listeners know, I am often smitten, but by ‘eck, they’re quality smites. 🙂

And some other good newses in that the Queen Street to Summerston railway line (or as some may know the West Highland Line to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig – and that’s just given me an idea) has re-opened following the landslide somewhere along the line near Possilpark and Parkhouse. 🙂

And my gardener is due to do the first work of the season very soon and the shed has been tidied and this will be the first full season of the garden furniture and patio with plants, so who knows what that might lead to.:)

And finally, obviously delighted to see Partick Thistle make it into the top six and I just wonder if, mathematically, we can get into Eorpa if results go the right way; also delighted that we are going to spend £4 million on a new training ground. Shame we don’t where it’s going to be – just yet.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and always glad to see other people doing so and – still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, who can’t stop worrying, especially when he’s not sure what he’s worrying about.

And so, dear listener, I was supposed to be meeting uni-Sharon on Wednesday but the installation of a new washing machine took precedence (much more useful than me I would suggest) but I had additional reasons to be in town.

However having discharged those duties I happened to bump into my PT (Partick Thistle, the Harry Wraggs, the Maryhill Magyars) mate #soulboydaviebee (Tamla discos’r’us) who works part-time (p-t) in the brilliant indie record shop, Love Music, who persuaded me to give him £10 and allowed me to take away four CDs of my choice but based solely on the covers. 😀 😀 😀

One of the CDs is from a band called House of Fools. It takes a wee bit of getting into, as does this viewing of them but give it time.