Archive for the ‘mental health’ Category

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” (Robert Frost)

September 18, 2020

And so, dear listener, how did Brian Masters do it? All these hours spent with Dennis ‘Des’ Nilsen discussing the mysteries of life and the practicalities of death and yet, and yet, and yet…….he didn’t write anything down but still managed to get a whole book out of the conversations. Amazing.

I refer, of course, to the amazing drama ‘Des’ which told the story of the mass killer Dennis Nilsen and featured an amazing performance by David Tennant who looked amazingly like Nilsen but also looked amazingly like ITN reporter Robert ‘Pesto’ Peston who, on Tuesday night, turned up ten minutes later on the ITN News to tell us about the certainty of a second wave.

It was impossible not to have nightmares that night. 😦 😦 😦

Incidentally, Dennis Nilsen was born in Fraserburgh – not Peterhead – and Fray Bentos is a place in Uruguay – not Argentina.

And anyone who says anything different has my mate, Doctor Paul, Edinburgh’s top Quizmaster to answer to. 🙂

But this week’s saddest headline of the month for so many reasons, was in the Daily Record this week – Probe into Singing at Care Home.

And it’s been a quiet week – some catch ups and coffees cancelled but hopefully will be re-arranged once we know what the First Minister has to say. And it’s quiet in the cul-de-sac. People have gone back to work, like, actually, in a place of work. I was aware of that the other day when, without realising it, I spent most of the day out the back reading. I felt a certain amount of guilt for some reason.

And as we go further back into lockdown there are people and places I miss. 😦

However, domestically, things are about to change and I’ll have more to say at the end of the show but, just as I’d given up on editing until, say, October at the earliest, someone I’d worked for before has asked me to look at a large piece of work for him (or her) and I’ve agreed to do it in a ridiculously short timescale beginning Monday. 😉

At the same time as a lot of hammering will be going on around me. 🙂 NOT 😦

And I’ve strained a muscle or something at the top of my left arm. It’s not debilitating or anything but it is the side I sleep on and that negates anything good that has happened to it during the day.

So, I’m trying to go to sleep with the smell of Deep Heat in the bed with me. 😦

And finally, I was going to say something erudite about the ‘rona but, given that we have approximately sixty people in hospital, nine in intensive care and (until yesterday) occasionally one death a day and that would have been marvellous six months ago but are rightly worried about the number of positive tests and testing and I’m not sure why we didn’t get health centre nurses to do the tests in the first place and I see Neil Ferguson is back in vogue and you do know that Karl Sikora is a cancer specialist and closing the pubs at ten at night not long after you’ve encouraged them to open in the first place will just lead people to drink more quickly and folk are suggesting herd immunity again on the basis that the bug is not as virulent as it once was and hygiene is so much better but lockdown gets earlier every year, I’ll maybe not bother.

Tioraidh, finding it a wee bit hard to keep it simple and fun

Iaint850, always keen to catch up

Now (as opposed to So or Well), some of you may watch this radio show in colour on Facebook. If so, you will have seen photographs of a kitchen very definitely on its last legs. It’s mine……..but it hasn’t always looked like that. I’ve been running it down over the last few weeks as I’ve been in discussion with a kitchen fitter and the good news is that, as I write this, they are due to start on Monday.

I won’t name them just yet.

But they’re doing it all. I will not be painting the kitchen, as I once did to prove how crap I am at painting, but unfortunately the shelf I put up will have to come down. The colour scheme is blue and grey and all the new utensils will be red.

Once that’s done a new patio will be created. Well, old slabs will be lifted and a lot of new ones will be put down…….and then some planting. This is obviously all being funded from my late sister’s legacy and might have taken a different shape earlier this year had it not been for the ‘rona.

So, the last few days have been about emptying and clearing the kitchen which kinda explains the photos. I have one question. It’s an unopened pack of lentils dated Use By May 2015. What do you reckon?

And I’m not sure what I’ll do about eating…….

Here’s some music that’s nothing to do with the ‘rona. Last week the Cranberries proved popular with a few folk.

Combine them with a song called Zombie and it’s a match made in heaven.

‘The more you can create that magic bubble, that suspension of disbelief, for a while, the better.’ — Edward Norton

September 11, 2020

And so dear listener, many thanks for the nice feedback on last week’s blog and the audience figures were good for the seven day period in which it featured. RAJAR audience figures are not vital as I write it for myself but reaction of any sort is always nice. 🙂

And I’ve since seen the episode of the repeat of the repeat of the episode in the reality series about Glasgow Central Railway Station where the Station tour does feature but the museum in the programme at the time of recording was just an idea in the head of Jacqueline and we, on the tour, did see it but it was more a work in progress. 😉

I also saw a lot of mails and messages in a variety of places saying how much they were looking forward to going on the tour……well…….I was one of a group of seven (should have been eight), plus Paul, and that was half of what they would normally take and now there won’t be any more for a wee while as they’ve been suspended again cos of the ‘rona and the new restrictions. 😦

But I’d a positive wee chat this week with the Partick Thistle Ticket Office to confirm some details about the coming season and my appropriate bubble but even that will maybe have to wait a wee bit until all the ‘rona changes sink in. Fingers crossed.

And no, audiences (as the UKPM describes them) are not so bad that when I asked ‘will the kick-offs be at the usual time?’ did I get the response, ‘well, what time can you get here?’ 😀

The first time I went to Firhill, I wasn’t sure where to go so I asked someone where it was and I was told just follow the crowd. Ended up in Tesco. 🙂

I’m here all week and the halibut’s to die for.

On Friday I’d two pressies to drop off in two places. One was for my son whose family is my extended household and the other was for good friend e‘s daughter. The former was not a problem but with the latter I came close to being a Rainforestriver delivery man, wearing a mask, ringing the door bell, leaving the pressie on the doorstep and taking a photo. At the end of the day, gardenly birthday words were exchanged and I do hope all pressies were well received on appropriate dates. 😀

Current Glasgow lockdown rules were applied which meant me and e could have met up in the pub without breaking any rules…….It’s frustrating.

(Lifted off Twitter – ‘What do you call that game where you ring the bell and run away?’ ‘Hermes’)……..altho’ I’ve always had good service from them.

On Tuesday I met the blogmeister for a coffee or two in Princes Square – a kiosk as you go in with comfy seats and pretty empty at 11 in the morning. Well worth considering for meeting up in the City Centre. Certain business was discussed and we returned to respective trains and went our respective ways.

Glasgow remains miles better when it comes to being open and being classy.

London may have the Brent Shopping Centre but we have the Forge (Parkhead). 😀

And finally, these are open frustrations and not a complaint about the blessed Nicola. I would hate to have a Prime Minister like the English have (which he is for matters legal and most health whereas we make up our own minds mostly).

I know he invents things as he goes along and does absolutely no research or reading beforehand but I will swear on a terrapin’s heart that I heard him say that his ‘moonshot’ idea for testing for the ‘rona was to have a pregnancy test every day………or was it one of those ‘rona dreams I’ve been getting regularly and recently?

Tioraidh, and finding it hard at times to find the fun and to keep it simple and specifically illegal.

Iaint850, one of many digitally capable old people and more so than many younger than me.

So (and I apologise to those who dislike me using that word but it is a useful bridging word but not at the start of a response to a question), well, I noticed with interest a drama crew filming a police drama at the bottom of one of the high flats next to the Ledgowan Hall where a cousin of mine got married many years ago (well, the reception was there) but I wasn’t invited…….never spoken since.

Anyway, it’s not unknown to see that kind of thing in Summerston.

Not a lot of crime these days but we did used to have a young team and their tag (graffiti’d acronym for their name) was, perhaps, misleading but when you call yourselves the Young Summerston League, you’ve got to expect the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Vogue editors having coffee in the ASDA just waiting for Yves. It threw me a wee bit when I first saw it. 😀

Anyway, to music and we have all have Dreams at the moment. Here’s the slightly off-key Cranberries but Dolores makes up for that. Isn’t she brilliant? Mind you, she enters a wee bit like a young guy who I saw in Glasgow Central who thinks he’s hard cos he disnae wear a mask. Thinks he’s a two bob gangster but he’s a full shilling short. Wait ‘til his granny gets him. Nae jeely pieces for him.

‘Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth’ (Buddha. as quoted by Harry Maguire of Manchester United)

August 29, 2020

And so, dear listener, this week I had my annual consultation with the good Dr J (who is not be confused with the good Dr W) about my heart. 🙂

(New listeners start here. December 2006, Cold Turkeyed. Primarily alcohol, and a few months later bad prostate cancer was found. Both sorted. No problems. No further treatment.

A few normal years doing a Post Grad and a Masters in Drink’n’Drugs followed by four and a half years working with the homeless and refugees but left with depression (but I’ve been told not to mention that missing USB stick ever again nor the idiot of an Area Manager) and then spent some time in hospital with heart problems. Both sorted. Some pills and just got two months repeat script today. I’m sure it’ll be fine during Brexit with Liz Truss in charge…… won’t, will it?)

Still mustn’t grumble…….and I don’t. 😉

Dr J carried out the consultation over the phone and seemed happy but will arrange for an ecg for me later and we do face to face next year……..Oh, yes, we will! (08/09/21…….it’s through already)

So, I told people this and said it all went well. But no. There was a real fright. 😦

Y’see, I had received a letter telling me what would happen and explaining that I’d get a call at 3.15 or within that hour. So, I sat and stared at my mobile phone waiting for it to ring and we were about twenty minutes late and then FFS!!!!!!!!! The bloody landline rang!!!!! Jeez!!!!! What a fright!!!!!! My heart was pounding. Which is obviously a good thing under the circumstances.

Isn’t the NHS brilliant? The Maryhill Health Centre also seems to be pretty efficient at the moment and the pharmacist next to the ASDA, and everyone else who knows me. 😀

Which doesn’t include the UKPM who talks of mutant algorithms and makes things up as he goes along. I don’t. Well…….

I owe people an apology. For years I have told people that the phrase ‘back to square one’ comes from radio days when the Radio Times would contain a gridded plan of a football pitch with numbers so that listeners could follow the game as the commentator would say something like ‘and he’s crossed it over from Square Seven to the brylcreemed head of Farquhar-Smyth who’s passed to Blenkinsop in Square Six.’ I don’t know where my idea came from but I now realise *hangs head in shame* that it’s actually from Snakes and Ladders. That’s what you learn just cos The Chase finishes just before STV’s News at Six. 😀

Serious oops and serious apologies.

tioraidh, and still keeping it simple and fun

Iaint850, still confused by the Nutella and the banana.

So, I caused some confusion a couple of weeks ago when I talked about the loneliness of the long distance editor and a couple of folk asked after me so, this week, I’ll say it. I do get lonely at times. For example, in the early days of Lockdown. I could talk to neighbours but they all seem to have gone back to work. It’s dead quiet during the day. But I do know things could be an awful lot worse.

And other people have gone back to being busy or are not where they were before the pandemic and I’ll need to re-think all kinds of things so, as they say on Twitter, if you’ve any thoughts or suggestions, then my DMs are open. Please feel free to slip into them (Skippy, is that an innuendo?)

Or just contact me liked you used to.

And the editing is finished for a wee while, as universities work out some form of blended learning but nobody knows how many overseas students will arrive until they actually get here.

So, on Wednesday of this coming week, I have booked up to do something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but I didn’t think Nicola would allow it as safe distancing might be tricky. I won’t say too much now just in case ……..but I will tell you how I get on. 😉

(Good friend e and Son Brian know)

Oh, and before I go, in the world of ‘I told you so’, the nature of officework is being discussed.

One of the reasons I did the voluntary stuff for the SDF was cos, for one day a week, I had a water cooler to stand beside; I got introduced to new people and new people got introduced to me; contacts were swopped and ideas were discussed; and I interviewed people, attended drugs conferences and went to real training workshops. I haven’t done much for them recently. Certainly nothing that requires my attendance.

I miss the office and I don’t now when it will re-open but here’s a prediction. Or two. First, soon time office workers will start meeting each other for coffee (I’m free) but these will gravitate into larger and regular meetings. Somewhere.

And what about a really flexible working week with two days a week in the office and the reminder of the week working at home – until the day comes when the Rolls Royce pulls up outside your front door and your big bossman (or woman) stands there and says, ‘Can I have a wee word please?’ and after he tells you the bad news, you’ve not got a shoulder to cry on. They’re all working from home as well. 😦

Steve Earle’s boy died this week. He was called Justin Townes Earle and he was a singer/songwriter like his dad. So that’s why I chose Mama’s Eyes…for every child and their parents everywhere. And I’m not sure if my son has taken after me in any way. Sense and sensibility personified. I wonder who he does take after. But there’s a lot of the song that doesn’t apply. Honest

“There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” (Winnie the Pooh)

August 14, 2020

And so, dear listener, there’s a wee bit of serious stuff towards the end of the show – more general than personal – but before we get there let’s do the fun and positive stuff. Let’s talk grandchildren being grandchildren. 😀

Son Brian was coming over to drop something off last Sunday morning about ten and he would have Miss E and Master F with him on their way to somewhere. At five to ten, I decided to pay a quick visit to the loo.

Seconds later, my son has walked through the open door and shouted ‘Hello?’ to which I cry back, ‘I’m in the toilet’ and finish off doing what I was doing and flush it.

I walk back down the stairs to see two wee angelic sniggerers, going ‘you were in the toilet!!!!!’ and having a good laugh. I laughed as well. 😀

But Miss E is now back at school (P2) and Master F had gone back to Nursery just a few days previously and I think one of the most positive things I have seen recently was television earlier this week when children were going (back) to school without too much fuss and just getting on with it – a sign of optimism.

My own educational news is quite simple. I have signed up for five Saturday morning classes this coming February on ‘Cemeteries and Crematoria of Glasgow’. It’s at Glasgow Uny (St Andrew’s Building I guess) and, depending on the ‘rona, it’s due to be classroom stuff (but if not, it’s online) and I may have been the first to put my name down.

The interest comes from that moment when lockdown started very slowly to lift.

I did a couple of dogwalks with good friend e and Holly the Wonder dog at the cemetery across the road and, on a couple of occasions with Son Brian, Miss E and Master F, and they were quite knocked out by the place and I found myself telling them things that I knew about Lambhill Cemetery.

We’ll see, but hopefully it is classroom based, and followed by a series of walks in the cemeteries – in daylight – and maybe you remember that story I told about leaving Glasgow Royal Infirmary by the wrong door and almost ending up in the Necropolis – in the dark. 😦

And one other piece of news is that I have agreed an approximate price for a new kitchen. I won’t name the company until the work’s done but they kept suggesting that I come out to the showroom to see their furniture rather than just rely on the brochures.

I thought to myself; these are people who were not clothed out of a Littlewood’s catalogue nor gave Santa a list of Argos page numbers. 😉

tioraidh, and still smiling and keeping it simple and fun

Iaint50, who was supposed to be watching the Jesus and Mary Chain on Friday night at the Kelvingrove Bandstand but it got Corona’d off. So, what music am I playing tonight? No. You’re wrong.

And so, my thanks to a couple of people who contacted me after a Facebook post when I talked about the loneliness of the long distance editor (but the pandemic doesn’t help). I’m fine and it’s a literary reference as much as anything else and it’s not a complaint; it’s an observation. It is lonely (and that has nothing to do with the intense jealousy I do not feel towards those of you with a loving partner or spouse who offers you cups of coffee or makes the tea or takes the dog for a walk so you can finish what you’re working on). 😉

I fell into this way of life a few years ago and it suits and the twelve hour days and weekend working are just a major part of August (and bits of July and September) and it’s less hectic at other times of the year but it does not follow the academic calendar; but I do know people, e.g. accountants, lawyers and PR professionals, who have chosen this way of life.

I like my niche editing of essays, dissertations and PhD theses. I feel my contribution to their work (which is more than fixing apostrophes and spelling) is valued by the students for whom I work and I like the quasi-academic nature of what I do. 🙂

It is different from those of you who have had to work from home because your office is closed. I can tolerate my loneliness to a certain extent but I am aware of some people who would now rather be back in an office because they are getting fed up of Zoom calls and conferences and mails from Billy the Boss asking how they’re getting on with that report or texts from fellow workers really fed up with Billy the Boss asking how they’re getting on with that report but they can’t mail their complaint in case somehow he logs into their account. 😦

But I also miss the office – informal contact and advice – which is why, pre-pandemic, I went in one day a week to do some work on a voluntary basis for an organisation I won’t name who provided a forum for discussion about drugs in Scotland but I’m not sure what’s happening with them at the moment.

Don’tcha miss the water cooler, doncha?

But, anyway, despite the occasional loneliness, I am alive and looking forward to my new kitchen (you will all be invited) and the Uny classes and catching up with folks but in the meantime I do have a student writing about Confucius and his relevance to modern day town planning. In China.

And a lot of half-full coffee cups to wash. Myself.

“The train rolled right through dinner and over the sunset and around ten o’clock and into a nap and out the next day…” (Lindsay Mattick, Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear)

July 31, 2020

And so, dear listener, earlier this week I took a train into Glasgow city centre. Now, once upon a time, that is not something to which I would draw attention but these are ‘interesting’ times and that was an unusual event.

I’d been thinking about it for some time as part of my own personal return to normality (and can I just say, and I’ll only say it the once, there is no such thing as a ‘new’ normality – normality evolves, but I’ll not mention that again. Honest) and I was talking to a friend (as in real talking) and she was saying that she had heard, from a friend, (and if Twitter people trust that second hand approach to things, then who am I to disagree?) that a recent train to Mallaig had only one passenger and as this friend – the one I was talking to – is one of the few people I know to have had the Corona, then I believe her.

Skippy, that is one of the worst sentences I have ever written. We need a good editor. Where can I get one and what do they do anyway?

Well, to cut a long story short, I thought there’s nothing to stop me taking a train from the independent suburb of Summerston to the newly refurbished Queen Street railway station. And so, having checked websites and all sorts of instructions I wandered down to the station and bought my ticket from the machine.

Trains are running one every hour instead of every half hour and the guard/conductor does not collect fares. This caught some people by surprise and they had to join a long but socially distanced queue at Queen Street to get their tickets. 😦

I walked through the automatic barriers, saw the arrows on the ground and followed them to a brand new exit (and entrance) and left the station. Up to this point, everyone was wearing a mask (and this is obviously part of the continually evolving normal).

I walked past the office of the Scottish Drugs Forum for whom I did some work on a voluntary basis until the pandemic and then I went to Fopp in Union Street and spent some money – well, I flashed my contactless card. 🙂

I then went to the men’s bit of Debenhams and bought some t-shirts. This despite the fact that, like many people, I have ordered some tops from #LostStock which will go to help some Bangla Deshi workers but the summer will soon be gone and I’ve gone off black as my main colour.

And that was me.

Now this was the bit that worried me. I was going back to the station some ten to fifteen minutes before my train was due to leave. What would it be like hanging around, waiting for my train, in the midst of the seething masses that might be wanting to travel to, say, Edinburgh?

Well, that wasn’t the case. The station was still quiet. Everyone was wearing a mask with one and a half exceptions – and both, at that stage, were quite far away from me. One was a youngish guy with a bunch of flowers which he held over his face (?) and the half was, well I was going to write an ‘older guy’ but Skippy has just reminded me that some people might describe me like that. Anyway, he had a mask on but was not wearing it over his nose. What was the point? 😛

And then my train was called and I, and some others boarded it. And it was quiet like the one on the way in AND then I had a wee moment. I felt a sneeze coming on and sometimes, I can have a really violent sneeze so, I went to lift the mask up, and then I caught myself………..cos that’s the point of the mask, isn’t it? To catch coughs and sneezes cos they spread diseases. 😦

And not long after I reached Summerston I shoved the mask in one of the freezer bags I now normally carry in the passenger seat of my car and when I got up the road I put it in the washing machine and washed it within an inch of its life.

And that, dear listener, was my morning on a train. I will do it again soon time but will follow the rules and just be careful. 😀

It’s a shame that Michael Portillo and Chris Tarrant have made second careers out of TV programmes about train journeys, cos I think I’m quite good at it; don’t you, dear listener?

And that’s me used up most of my words for this week so just one other thing if I may. Despite the slow unlocking of lockdown and all that progress, I still have ups and downs.

Like many people, I had plans for 2020 but these were to be built upon my existing routine and that has gone. I’ll be honest. Some of those plans were only to be possible because of my late sister’s legacy but they, and some of the ones that would cost no money, have yet to happen.

I know I’m not alone in that feeling. I’ve just got to keep living to make it all happen and maybe losing weight would help but life, and normality, evolves and I’m sure I will be fine BUT sometimes, at times like these, you need a sign (dangerous territory there, iaint850)……..

I now have in the region of 80,000 to 100,000 words to edit in August and every one of those words is from Chinese students to whom I’ve been recommended or for whom I’ve worked before.

This gives me a focus and a platform on which to build for the rest of my future and I have learned a few lessons over the last few months. I’ve had some interesting times over the last (almost) fourteen years and long term listeners know about all the health and lifestyle stuff but I have interesting times ahead…….and more train journeys. Ardrossan Harbour, here I come.

So one of the CDs I bought was country legend Marty Stuart (and I know a great fan of his) and this is him and Travis Tritt and ‘The Whiskey ain’t Working Anymore’ and this is from 1991 and what was normal then ain’t normal any more. In so many ways. Almost fourteen years 🙂

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

December 26, 2019

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

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

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

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

So, I’ve got that out of the way…….

Lifetime Achievement Award goes to my late sister, Sheila.

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

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

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

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

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

In Second Place is the Decision to Change Lawyers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track of the Year?

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

‘What doesn’t kill you gives you a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms and a really dark sense of humour.’ (Monica Lewinsky)

December 13, 2019

And so, dear listener, I feel that I should make some kind of political statement after Thursday night but I’m not sure what to say.


More than ever before, I feel that, politically, Scotland is a separate nation from England. I’m still not sure about Independence but was appalled during the various leaders’ broadcasts how little was appreciated of the devolved nature of Scotland and issues such as the NHS in the Scotland. I voted SNP as I believe they offer the best opportunity to protect things like health, education and legal rights against the Boris Johnsons of this world…… 🙂

And it didn’t do Boris Johnson any harm to say ‘no’ to going up against Andrew Neil. I think all leaders will question these invites in times to come. I think political journalists will also question their ‘sources’ and may slow down their responses when posting on Twitter. :p

And it might do Labour activists some good to look at life outwith London. 😉

(And I chose the word ‘outwith’ deliberately because it is not a recognised English word. If you don’t believe me, then do a ‘fact check’. Google it.…………there are academics who will not recognise the word, in the way that many political activists do not understand life beyond the M25)

That’s enough!!!!!

Apart from the fact that I notice that every losing politician and political party is now about to go through a period of reflection…….Don’t effing reflect!!!!!!! Effing act!!!!!!!

But I’ve been doing a wee bit of reflection as well…….a wee bit of counting blessings as we approach Christmas and the Christmas Cracker edition of the blog (next week).

For example, Scottish Water have been and they are going to excavate my driveway next week to fix my seeping toby without any question but I have running water unlike some of the people from Lancefield Quay who have no homes after the fire. 😦

Legally there’s still a wee issue with regard to the settlement of my sister’s will but I do feel you folk have lived through much of the legal process but it must be recognised that the need for a settlement only came about because of the passing away of my sister. She had a house in Garelochead and a flat in Glasgow but she had worked hard during her life and she loved that part of the Clyde……..

I can now begin to make some plans for myself.

I may extend my semi. I may buy a new Casio. And, and, and………..I’m not too sure after that. Any ideas?

But I have started to catch up on meeting up with folk. For example, I’d a wee catch up with Missie K in Princes Square the other night and whilst the whole place was busy we managed to find a comfy seat in D’Arcy’s and we discussed the environment.

Can I just say that I learned the word ‘bio-degradable’ in the seventies and think that organisations like Greenpeace, FofE and WWF have worked really hard for the environment and should be recognised as such? They may not do New Age dancing but I do feel that being ‘woke’ may be a little bit more difficult in the years ahead. There are difficult times ahead under what could well described as a ‘no-nonsense’ government……. 😦

And I grew up in the North East of Scotland where it was almost impossible to do anything other than buy locally and eat seasonally…..Tricky in Summerston, mind you but that’s no excuse.

And finally, I’d like to say thanks to all those who made contact in one way or another when I highlighted the fact that it is now thirteen years since I ‘cold-turkeyed’ and I just don’t drink these days but there are so many people who I have to thank. And did. 😀

Incidentally I’ve been trying to explain to people how I perceive the difference between being ‘in recovery’ and someone like me who quite happily says ‘I don’t drink these days’ and all the roads that exist on that road to recovery. Another time.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges but always looking out for more and always keeping it simple.

Iaint850, who went to bed not long after he heard the Exit Poll.

And just a brief word to say thanks to all those who’ve been in touch about the Blog Personality of the Year Award with suggestions for the actual personality (which doesn’t have to be a person); we’ve had good suggestions for both the track of the year and team of the year but I’m short of suggestions for Lifetime Achievement Award. Any thoughts?

This seems to be very popular at the moment. It’s David Bowie and Bing Crosby.

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

September 13, 2019

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

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

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

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

It was often said that I was a master debater.

Sorry. Where was I?

Oh, yes.

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

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

(They’re quite sickly, aren’t they?)

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Sorry, Skippy……???

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 30, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But maybe more of that next week,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where’s Sir Reg when you need him?

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 2, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

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

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

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

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

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

This is Redesigning Women by the Highwomen