Archive for the ‘mental health’ Category

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

August 2, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

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

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

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

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

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

This is Redesigning Women by the Highwomen

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

July 19, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Literally.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most residential rehab is in non-governmental hands.

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

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

“…the time has come when that tired old lie , ‘once an addict , always an addict ‘ will no longer be tolerated by either society or the addict themselves . We do recover”

July 12, 2019

And so, dear listeners, again thanks for birthday wishes but also for your help in spending some of my pressies; in particular what I used to describe as book tokens but which are now well and truly in the Twenty-First Century.

For example, my ex sent me an online book token from the National Books something or other which tells you to print it out and when you do you get a blankish A4 sheet of paper which contains a bar code, a pin (number) and another set of numbers.

I should mention that my ex messaged me later to see if I had worked out how to use it. Well, yes I had but it took the second member of Waterstones staff in Byres Road to run it through the till. 🙂

I would like to thank Julie, Jill and Iain for their suggestions and I’ve been nicely in the position where I’ve taken a sample book out of each of their suggestions……..I’ll keep you posted. 😀

But when am I going to read them?

This is now the start of the dissertation editing season and, yes, it gets earlier and earlier.

Many Masters have to be in by the end of August and I seem to have three on the books for the next couple of weeks and then there’s a business school at Glasgow University which pays for Christmas (and coffees).

And they’re getting younger and that shows in my caustic comments. Those of you who know Track Changes will be aware of the Comments facility.

One of mine this week read, ‘this is meant to be an academic piece of work; not an Instagram post.’ (I smiled)

And incidentally the grand-daughter of the UWS academic went on to win that Beautiful Baby contest in a shopping mall…….. 😀 😀 😀

I’ll move on.

Incidentally, I was going to talk about Recovery (hence the quote at the top but i’m glad to say that lots of other people are now talking so that’s good) 🙂

And the football season is about to start. Saturday, 13th July and it was the mighty Thistle up against the stuttering Airdrie at the end of a very wet week not long before Glasgow Fair Monday. Except it was sunny and I sat outside and read a book.

And then there’s a wee medical update this week. About me.

I had to go for an abdominal aortic aneurysm screening for men (people) aged 65 (and OMG, the men pictured on the front of the brochure look really old. I hope I don’t look as old as that when I’m 65….except……) 😦

Anyway. I went.

Now I’m sure that I mentioned last week that one of those moments of anxiety that I talk about hit me on the Monday morning I was due to leave Arisaig and I went for the train one hour before it was due.

I did the same with the taxi to Stobhill. I was appointed for 1130. The taxi picked me up at 1030. Nice guy. Knew the west coast of Scotland well and seemed quite understanding of the anxiety thing when I explained it as I’d rather wait where I’ve to be than fill in time at home. Besides which I might get taken early. 😉

I was. Lie down; t-shirt up; pregnancy gel rubbed on my stomach; and a thirty second ultrascan.

‘That’s you. You’re fine. No. You’ll never be back.’ 😀

That’s the kinda result my sister liked. Getting taken early. Or it wasn’t too busy. Or the doctor was a woman and had been to Glasgow University. Or…….well you get the idea. And what I really wanted to know was what they had said about her medically.

I never told her that one of her male doctors who’d been to Glasgow was an old drinking buddy of mine. I never actually met him when I was at the Beatson but I knew some other people from other places.

And finally here’s a wee joke for you.

My mate has a huge herb garden which is arranged in alphabetical order. I said, ‘I don’t know how you find the time.’ He said, ‘it’s over there next to the sage.’

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and patiently keeping it simple

Iaint850, still a wee bit anxious but nowhere near the hamster wheel of doom.

So I, and indeed anyone else on Facebook, was asked by a friend for a song that would add a little bit of get up and go and I suggested a couple (both by Walk the Moon) but that was as much for the videos as anything else.

Somebody else suggested Mr Brightside by the Killers which is a song about a stalker watching his his ex-girlfriend being intimate with another man.

Apparently it’s very popular at weddings!!!!!

Mind you, Delilah as sung by Tom Jones and/or Alex Harvey is on the same theme only people get knifed to death in it.

The joke came from the inspirational Milo Castandea; this piece of music (and dance) also comes from Milo. Enjoy.

And I bet you’re still dancing 😀

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

July 5, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DECRIMINALISE DRUG USE’

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

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

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

June 28, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anxiety maybe kicked in.

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

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

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple

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

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

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

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

June 7, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Actually Skippy, maybe I should worry.

But I’m learning so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I had an idea.

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

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

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

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

“If you’re in the Brownies and you say I don’t think people should join the Brownies, you’ll probably be thrown out of the Brownies.”

May 31, 2019

Which, if you’re a young girl aged 7 to 10, seems a bit harsh if, maybe, you’re just in a bad mood but Claire Short said it and what Claire Short says…….. 😦

(And I used to be a beaver leader which, for some strange reason, was always good for a cheap laugh when I tutored journalists of the future)

But, dear listener, age has been a big part of my life this week. I think I may have said, somewhere, in passing, that I turn 65 on 2nd July this year and please feel free to make a fuss around that time. 😉

However, I feel it has now happened. I phoned the Firhill Ticket Office to renew my Partick Thistle season ticket and after confirming my details, I asked how much was being deducted from my card. When I was told it was £210, I said that was much cheaper than last season and I was told I now get the concession rate……cos the season starts after 2nd July…….

My D.O.B. is on file.

On the other hand I already have a concession card for trains and when I went to travel in from Summerston to Queen Street for my usual SDF gig, I was actually asked for my ID when I asked for a concession return. 😀

And football was also a big part of the Scottish psyche this week with the women’s team doing so well and you could tell the Hampden Irregulars as they were posting picture of what they thought were lots of enthusiastic fans waiting to get in.

I got little response when I tweeted that they probably hadn’t opened enough gates…….I was right.

But I used to be a member of a closed fbook group which posts football pics of yesteryear and I tended to like the ones that showed the grounds rather the footballers but I left it during the week when one of the Admins had a go at the BBC (doing one of these things where people think they’re being funny by saying the English Broadcasting Corporation or EBC) and saying they weren’t being political by saying that, but why wasn’t the game on the real BBC or the new channel and why couldn’t his friends down south see it (cos he wasn’t political cos he had English friends…) instead of the Gaelic one.

‘I’m not a racist cos some of my best friends are FILL IN THE BLANKS’ 😦

Well, yesteryearman, BBC Alba bid for the rights to the Scottish women’s games some time back and have given it great coverage and as for your friends down south, BBC Alba is available on both Sky and Virgin, and it was also on the Red button. So I left the group. 😀 😀 :p

And when I worked with the homeless one of the refugee girls played for Glasgow City reserves and another was the goalkeeper for the Scotland Homeless team in the world championships in Glasgow.

Incidentally, I think there’s a lot of good stuff on the new BBC Scotland channel but some of the late night stuff (after ten, Horlicks fans) is for a younger generation than those of yesteryear.

Let’s move on.

Actually, no. A big well done to Stevie Clarke, the new Scotland men’s team manager, who, like a lot of folk in the English game, are part of a Prostate Cancer UK scheme called Men United and you’ll see a lot of football people wearing that badge. It’s one of those I occasionally refer to, towards the end of the show. 🙂

And finally, the settlement of my sister’s slowly ambles on. There’s a need for confirmation and I think one of purchasers may be at sea on a nuclear sub, so silent are they. But there is progress and that means that mentally I’m settling down.

I worry about things that are outwith my control which I know is needless but my brain is not that logical but if the weather picks up then I’m more in the mood to get out. And go see people myself……

But I may well eventually get a small extension. To my house. And I’ve said to people that I’ll get my mate Kenny to get it organised and they’ve all looked at me and said, ‘Is that Kenny the Shed Pimp?’……….such is fame 😀

And I’ve bought new specs for myself but people who meet me regularly won’t hesitate to recognise me, but for those who are always ‘too busy’, let’s just say my hair’s a lot shorter and I’m a wee bit fatter. But my diary remains flexible.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (and that one and that one) and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, who’s looking forward to the Summer

So returning briefly to football………

Many years ago I was an Assistant Producer on a BBC 2 Scotland opt out one Saturday night called A Big Night of Sport which featured a big debate on the future of Scottish football. In the audience that night were Sheila Begbie and Maureen McGonigle, two of the people who fought hard within the SFA for recognition of the women’s game and I do hope they were there at Hampden the other night.

They deserve a lot of recognition but there’s probably men out there, from yesteryear, wanting to know why their tea’s not on the table and who’s going to do the washing up.

The chanteuse (that’s the female of singer) Amy Macdonald is a big Scotland fan and has just released a dance version of Woman of the World as her tribute song for the Scottish women’s team in their bid for world cup glory but I like this version with the Soundsational Community Choir at Glasgow Central Station

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

April 27, 2019

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

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

Okay. It was, but I left it in. 😉

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isn’t that a beautiful line? 😀

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

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

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

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

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

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

Except…….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Very few people who take drugs have a drugs problem. (Dr Carl Hart)

March 16, 2019

After all, think of the number of people you know who use drugs (including tobacco and alcohol) who do not have a problem and how many who do? Interesting, eh? But more of that later.

And so, dear listener, cleaning and clearing and tidying and settling my sister’s estate has been put on hold. For a short period. I’ve not actually been told to slow down but many other things are happening and as my son said, ‘there is no rush to getting anything sorted out.’

So things such as? Well, Tuesday of next week sees me doing drink in the morning and drugs in the afternoon. Oh, happy daze. But maybe I should explain. The Scottish Drugs Forum, which is not a Government quango, is a major source of training in the use of substances so I’m going to update my knowledge of alcohol and drugs. 😉

And they were also the ones responsible for bringing substance use expert Dr Carl Hart over from the States. I listened to him on Wednesday night and there was good craic (I spelt it correctly Skippy) about the scientific basis to our knowledge about drugs and how we deal with them and the people who use them.

I was reminded of one of the things I learned during my Post Grad – the drug, the set, the setting……..the drug itself is not addictive. We need to find out a wee bit more about the person using the drug, their environment and what’s happening to them in their life.

And then the next day Carl took part in a major conference on the subject of mental health and drug use altho’ tbh, my two favourite speakers were two professionals who each told us a wee story with a point and that held my attention just a wee bit more than someone talking about reports over the years. 😀

And then I got an exclusive interview with Carl. It was like the old days of waiting until others had spoken and then me as the media moved in – except these days I do it on my phone and not with a jumbo tape recorder called a Uher. I’ll let you know when it all appears on the SDF website.

Well, anyway friend Sharon seemed interested when I told her although her mind was perhaps more on the goat’s cheese tarte that she eats in that café whose name I can never remember but is the next to the rock school in the High Street in Paisley.

No I wasn’t anywhere near the uny library. I have plenty of books of my own *he says moving the conversation swiftly on*

And on Saturday afternoon I was in the company of good friend Missie K as we listened to Neil Oliver who was jolly excellent as he talked about the five books that meant so much to him in his life and, Missie K, you won’t be surprised to know that I watched my DVD of Zulu on Saturday night. 😉

And finally, without me doing anything, editing has started to flood in – except I’ve had to turn some of it down. I am more than happy to do work at short notice or at the weekend, but to be contacted at four o’clock on a Friday afternoon to be asked to proof-read 10,000 words on Saturday and Sunday (maybe 8 – 10 hours) is a bit off, so I turned it down.

But there’s plenty of other work and word of mouth is good which is possibly why I have become the go-to-guy if your essay is on the gasification properties of char. See me, see Mastermind in a few years’ time. 🙂

Tioraidh, still proudly wearing that badge and still (trying to) keep(ing) it simple,

Iaint850 and ‘coherent’ is a good word. I was. He wasn’t.

So let’s talk lifeboats. As some of you may remember I did explain that the RNLI has been a major recipient of some charitable donations following my sister’s passing away. But I have another lifeboat memory.

17th March, 1969, the Longhope lifeboat (from the island of Hoy in Orkney) went out on another call but never came back – with the loss of a crew of eight – a major loss of life in the village.

Approximately twelve years later, I was a researcher with a film crew doing a BBC doc on Hoy for Religious Broadcasting. It was about a guy called Harry Berry, an Englishman who had settled on Hoy, (it was called The Old Man of Hoy – and why not?) and we decided to do some filming about the lifeboat. And me and the assistant film cameraman were given a task. (Yes. Assistant Film Cameraman – I am that old. 😉 )

When the lifeboat, in those days, was launched it was necessary for a man with a big hammer to hit a metal pin that secured a chain that held the boat and the boat was launched. With nobody caring where the chain ended up. And that was where the director placed Paul and me – right behind the boat. I was to pull focus while he pointed the camera.

‘I wouldn’t sit there, lads’ said an experienced Orcadian.

‘We’ll be fine,’ came the voices of inexperience.

OMG!!!!!!! The chain sped across in front of us and the end bit hit us and covered us in oil.

‘Well lads,I did tell you,’ came the voice of experience……..but boy was it worth it when the shot was used.

As someone originally from the fishing town of Peterhead my thoughts are with the people of Longhope.

Here’s the lovely voice of Jade Halliwell and Storm Chaser

Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after. (Anne Morrow Lindbergh)

March 1, 2019

And so, dear listener, having confessed last week to the odd run in with the police when I was very young – altho’ to be honest it was the run home rather than the run that caused the problem – I have to admit feeling more of a ‘ned’ last week. 😦

It had a very simple beginning. The blogmeister and I had arranged a wee coffee and chat and we had it in Tinderbox in Byres Road. I like sitting at the window and I still like Byres Road life. There is a sense of old Glasgow as twilight settles in and there’s a mix of folk going home and others going out. 🙂

And then I did that thing you do when you think you’ve had enough coffee. I asked for a bottle of water. Y’know the idea. You get a bottle of water, drink half of it out of the plastic bottle and screw the top back on and finish the rest off later.

Except on Tinderbox, you get a glass bottle.

I drank half, said my goodbyes to the blogmeister and wandered up the road – with the glass bottle sticking out of my pocket. All I needed was a fish supper and I was a Billy Connolly stereotype.

Neil Lennon and his wee boy walked past me. Neil seemed happy. 😀 This was Monday evening.

And I began to panic. And I don’t know why. I turned left into Horslethill Road and I felt easier. Seconds later I reached the car and I felt okay. I threw the bottle onto the passenger seat and relaxed. I wasn’t being followed; I didn’t need it to defend myself. Maybe it’s that moment when the twilight becomes The Dark.

But the going for coffee is a sign of getting back out again. Mentally and physically I feel tired but I’m also back doing stuff with the Scottish Drugs Forum and there are busy times ahead…..

But there was also a spooky wee feel to last week. A few weeks ago my mobile took a tumble and I took it to a place in Partick and it got fixed okay. A few days ago it fell again but even after a couple of visits to Partick, it wasn’t happy. So, with help of Son Brian, a new improved one had been ordered but what to do in the meantime.

Well, I still have my sister’s devices and they all seem powered up so I thought I can always use my sister’s phone. In an emergency. Boy, had I not thought it through.

I sent myself a text to my erratic phone. It worked but it came up in her name! Can you imagine had I sent one to someone else without warning them first. And that thing where you can send a text to a landline and it gets read out! But no, it’s a robot voice…….so no, maybe not a good idea.

Time to buy a new one. Which I did with the help of Son Brian. Who is playing a big role as an advisor at the moment and I know what you’re going to ask. It’s a Samsung and it’s black with a lot more storage than before. No. I don’t know the make but I do know it’s delivery was undertaken by Yodel and their website kept me informed enough to allow me to nip out for a haircut and, yes, it is getting shorter. My hair. 😉

But, Yodel, bloody Yodel….what a badly named organisation. The driver couldn’t even find my front door bell which is on my front door. His arrival was in total silence. He didn’t shout, let alone yodel. Regular and expected visitors (I can explain Skippy) chap on the window and walk in. The door’s open unless it’s locked. But, luckily, Mr Yodel, I happened to be in and downstairs and saw you……

So it’s all out of the box and my son is in charge of sorting out as well as the radio as we begin to clear and tidy my sisters’s house overlooking the Clyde. 🙂

And finally, this week’s Book of the Month this year is A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and it’s about a man called Ove who considers suicide after his wife passes on and there are bits where I snorted with laughter. And a brilliant pregnant lady called Parvaneh who, eventually, doesn’t even chap on the window before she walks in……it is, despite the subject matter, a book that helps you smile and that’s been good for me this week 😀

Tioraidh, still keeping it simple and still wearing that badge (but writing it in a different order may help)

Iaint850, who wasn’t really completely fine when he said he was but he is now.

I can explain (and I’ve kinda alluded to it earlier)

Like lots of folk, after a tricky few months, I had tired – physically and mentally. It wasn’t unique to me but I’m not sure I’ve really drawn breath but that is beginning to happen. Lots to do in terms of settling the estate and stuff but some of the conversations I’ve had with folk this week have reassured me that other folk, in similar situations, have had to take their time in settling things.

I think I mentioned last week that, at one stage, I had been more concerned about the practicalities of the future, rather than dealing with the here and now-ish. It’s not quite ‘one day at a time’ stuff but delighted to say lots happening with the Scottish Drugs Forum, I seem to have tickets for five Aye Write events (what are you going to and will I see you there?) and my grandson’s second birthday coffee and cakes isn’t that far away……..and I am catching up with folks and my range of conversation is getting wider and wider….…as I was saying to Holly the Dog only the other day……when I was telling her about Mr Ove.

I feel nicely quiet as I write this.

And for no real reason here’s forty-seven minutes of Burt Bacharach in Edmonton, Canada in 1977