Archive for the ‘prostate cancer’ Category

‘The most powerful drug in the world is kindness. It works for everyone, it’s very hard to get the dose wrong and it’s free at the point of delivery.’ (a GP trainer quoted in Private Eye)

April 24, 2020

And so, dear listener, we didn’t get an exit strategy, but we did get an honest and straightforward appraisal of the possible way ahead from Nicola………..without any mention of hairdressers that I could see. 😉

The girl done good and what pleased me, particularly in an emotional interview on BBC Scotland’s The Nine, was that she talked of family and friends (and grandparents) and the mental health benefits that meeting up, under social distancing restrictions, would have for people.

Nicola has no children, but when she talked about her mum getting to see her (Nicola’s) nieces and nephews, there was an emotional pause.

And Martin Guissler seemed a wee bit emotional as well when talking about grandparents wanting to see grandchildren.

I’d love that as well PLUS I’d love to meet up with some friends in a park or other open space or along the front at Helensburgh, *he said randomly*. Soon time. 🙂

However, I can live without B&Q being open. And Five Guys?

But I am lucky in many ways. For example, I’m still editing. It may be just an hour or it could be four hours each day but it does give me a focus and some self-employed income and it means I don’t feel so guilty when I go into the living room and slouch on the couch before watching Celebrity Antique Hunters go Property Hunting in the Benidorm Countryside.

But it is slowing down and there are very few enquiries at the moment. And those that do come in are greeted by what good friend e calls my ‘Sod Off’ message……..I do get back to some of them. 🙂 but if a natural break happens, then I won’t complain.

And I parted company with a PhD student for whom I’d worked for a couple of years. I mean, I don’t comment on content, so why the hell does his supervisor think it’s okay to suggest changes to layout and the way that he uses quotations that make the thesis look crap. In a situation like that there’s only one winner – the supervisor, even when horribly wrong. 😦

And I’m not taking part in any of these Social Media challenges. I make a right pig’s ear of them. But I did come up with rather a novel idea for one.

Like many people, I have a notepad by the bed and if anything occurs to me during the night, I write it down and go back to sleep. I’d some really strange ones during my alcoholic gap years…….but I’d another strange one this week; did it say ‘online dentist’ or ‘online denim’?

And that gave me an idea. 😀

What about, ‘What are the six strangest things you’ve ever woken up next to?’

And then I wrote my own six down and decided this was not a good idea.

And in the world of getting back to normal, I’ve received a refund of some evening class fees and am waiting for my Aye Write refund and I’m waiting to see what happens to the Jesus and Mary Chain gig at the bandstand but I can’t see it happening and what’s the point of going to a gig if you and your friend have to sit two metres apart and how can the musicians keep that distance as well?

Anyway once the refunds are in I plan to round then up and, on the basis that I’ve already kinda deducted them from my bank balance, send an old fashioned cheque to Prostate Cancer UK.

One refund I’ve knocked back is the one from Partick Thistle who, despite being unfairly relegated, have contacted season ticket holders and said ‘you were due five home games. Do you want your money back?’ and most folk, I think, are just saying NO. 😀

And I’ll be honest. I am very close to doing more and/or longer walks or even driving down to the Botanic Gardens or similar and walk up and down Byres Road….. Tempted am I.

And finally there’s Donald Trump recommending that people inject disinfectant; his VP saying the warm and sunny weather will fix everything; and his fixer Rudy Guiliani (sp) saying we don’t do contact tracing for obesity and cancer. Yes, cos they’re not contagious you thicko!!!!!!!.

Dominic Raab, you are a giant amongst men compared with your American counterparts.

Incidentally, when I worked with the homeless, I was aware of a guy who ‘buzzed gas’. Basically what he did was to spray gas lighter refill fuel directly into the back of his throat to get high. Drinking disinfectant? Just be careful who you suggest it to.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, living in a household of one, with no-one to cut my hair and sagging now and again.

So, here’s the last in my recent series of music that means something to me but this week I’ll just play it. And say nothing.

Next week I start a new series called ‘Bands I’d forgotten about until I found some cassettes in a box at the back of the shed.’

‘A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they will never sit’ … an old Greek proverb quoted by Seamus Mallon (RIP)

January 31, 2020

And so, dear listener, Brexit has been and got done and none of the claims on the side of the bus were true. But that’s Boris Johnson for you. Liam Fox did not do forty trade deals and Liz Truss does not inspire confidence. And the Home Secretary wants to separate immigrants into different types, ignoring the fact that Scotland’s basic needs are not for top class scientists but for hospitality and agricultural workers. But we can have a blue passport, a tea towel and a fifty pence piece without the Oxford Comma.

Oh, and the voices, many from south of the border, who had no idea how they would benefit from Brexit but it was good to be ‘independent again’. 😦

We move on. Without any clue where we’re going. 😦

So I met up during the week with a friend, Colin, who I had not seen for a long time and we had a very pleasant lunch in the Shish Mahal in Park Road and I’m pleased to say that they were only lunch size plates and very tasty. Two memories came back.

One was with Colin and our respective wives (a long time ago!) and we were spending a few days in a small village in Kintyre. We had access to a small boat and Colin and I went to pull it in. Except. It pulled me in. My wellies had no grip and I slipped, on my back, gently and inexorably, into the water. Think the QE2 coming off the slips into the River Clyde. So slowly was it that my life did not flash in front of my eyes but, instead, it was a graceful and slow review of my life up to that point. I even smiled. 🙂

A couple of nights later, Colin and I were out on a fishing boat overnight (pair trawlers) and I overhead one skipper say to his mate on the other boat;

‘You’ll never guess who’s on the boat tonight. Aye, that fella from Glasgow who fell in the water. Aye, I’m keeping a bloody close eye on him!’

And I’m told by Colin, who still goes down to Carradale from time to time, that I am still asked after.

The other memory came from the fact that I had parked my car at the back of the Botanic Gardens (just up from the Ha’penny Bridge) and walked along the banks of the Kelvin, a walk that Holly the Dog and I (and good friend e) have done many a time and it fits into my new health regime and all done with a smile. 😀

I walked back, kidding myself that I was walking off the curry.

I used to do this in my drinking days (but maybe not towards the end). Maybe it was a nice Friday night in the Spring so I’d take a wee walk down to the Maryhill Road, planning to nip into a hostelry, have a couple of pints and wander back up the road. 🙂

Now, such is the camaraderie that alcohol engenders, was there ever a time that I met up with people I did not know, got a wee cargo together and did all my good intentions then go west? Maybe, dear listener, maybe.

And finally, dear listener, I’d like to thank my chums on Facebook for helping me spend the first few pounds of my sister’s inheritance. I asked for advice. I posed a question. I said, ‘Dyson or Shark?’ and I got opinions. The majority said Shark.

Now, I was full of good intentions. I planned to drive to Curry’s and kinda road test the vacuum cleaners. I’d even looked out some vintage Shake’n’Vac for the occasion. But I looked out the window and it was raining.

I switched on the laptop and, yes, selected the rainforestriverbuying option and clicked, and clicked, and clicked. And two days later £169 was deducted from my bank account and I was clicking the liftaway pod into position.

And next, maybe a new camera, but I’ll take advice from Son Brian on that one.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and I’m still happy to keep smiling and to keep it simple.

Iaint850, So I tried out my new corded Shark vacuum cleaner this weekend and found £2.12 under the twp settees. 🙂

And I was interested to read that the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer has increased – ‘diagnosed’ with cancer, not ‘getting’ cancer. It means more men are coming forward but I was interested to read people like Prostate Cancer UK and Prof Karl Sikora ascribing it to the likes of Stephen Fry and Bill Turnbull who have spoken openly about their experiences.

I, however, would pay tribute to the ordinary men (and widows of other men) who do information talks and stands and who also share experiences but often do so in a one-one manner which can have such a major effect.

It’s a long time since I’ve done these (I did a lot of broadcasting about cancer) but I do have memories of ‘manning’ stands and seeing men walk past but their wives coming over to ask questions; or doing a talk somewhere and there was always someone hanging round for ‘a quick word’.

I then went on to study drink’n’drugs and I also hope that, there, I’ve helped people by sharing experiences. It’s not the easiest of things to do. But somebody I don’t know, this week, learned that I was thirteen years ‘sober’ and congratulated me. He then told me he was coming up for fourteen years sober this May. From a distance we metaphorically hugged. That was a good ‘share’.

And here’s The Jesus and Mary Chain. Again. They sure ain’t no Chamber Music outfit, are they?

‘It’s not enough to just survive something, right? That’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive, you’ve got to feel happy.’ (Duchess of Sussex)

January 10, 2020

And so, dear listener, I had actually taken a note of those words from the Duchess of Sussex (or Meg as we call her down the Elephant (and Bugle) down the Maryhill Road – a boozer with strong connections with the Highland Light Infantry whose barracks were where the Wyndford flats now are) long before she chose to announce her decision to move on and become independent and earn her own living ……..and Harry……Harry knew about it as well. He was consulted. He’s doing it as well.

It’s interesting. tho’, isn’t it?

Y’see in the same way I confessed last week to reading the Daily Mail from time to time cos I get bored with reading things that I agree with, I have another peccadillo (sp?) to ‘fess up to. 😉

I am fascinated by stories about the Royals.

I mean, I’m not one of those people who still has a Charles’n’Di mug or wants to be on the streets of Windsor when there’s a wedding or cries when one child or another starts school.

I love the behind-the-scenes TV docs on Channel 4 or 5. 🙂

It can be a look back at Mrs Wallis Simpson and her love affair with Thingy (I can never remember the men’s names) or why the current Queen loves Balmoral or, and this was the most recent, a look at how they prepare for a banquet at Windsor which I saw a few days ago.

They get through one helluva lot of bevvy if the number of glasses at each setting is anything to go by and do you know they even have two men with a big stick so that they make sure that every seat is exactly the same distance from the table?

It’s stuff like that that fascinates me and they, even the servants, seem to live in some kind of existence that is totally cocooned from life as you and I know it and I’m never sure quite what to make of that except to wonder why the Queen Mum was allowed to build up such a massive overdraft at Coutts and I have heard some good stories about her and some others which have made it onto these programmes but the Royals have good lawyers (as do I but they’re maybe not that experienced in these matters) so I won’t say too much openly.

See me in the Elephant (and Bugle) and I’ll tell you but I trust the former SAS officer who told me about what happened on the old Royal Train when it was parked overnight in Central Station a few years ago.

And none of the above should be taken as approval of the Family or certain members of it, especially Andrew…..except, maybe, Anne……..

And if we’re talking about people for whom we have respect, can I just highlight Son Brian who, as well as helping me so much over the last year or so, found time to undertake some kind of challenge which saw him running a distance of 5k on a daily basis for the month of December.

I don’t think it was ever seen as a fundraising exercise but funds were raised and I know a reasonable donation was made to Prostate Cancer UK. No. No reason. 😀

And finally, the ‘proof reading’ is back up and running. The reason for the quote marks is because I don’t actually read proofs; I, and business partner, my good friend e, copy edit. But I, cos I’m the main man, am getting a wee bit unhappy. In fact, it’s a wee bit of a dilemma. What is acceptable short notice?

So, what I’ve started to do is to give students deadlines so I get work in in in plenty of time and it is realistically do-able but I did say no to someone who sent me stuff late Thursday night (so I didn’t see it until Friday morning) and wanted it back by two o’clock on Sunday afternoon. I turned that one down. I felt bad. 😦

And then I think about trying to book my car into a busy garage for its MOT, or me to a busy dentist (not ‘til 3rd Feb cos I want early morning), and then I don’t feel so bad. 🙂

Tioraidh (and I’m considering duolingo), still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple but with a smile.

Iaint850, and don’t worry. I think that’s enough personal outing for one year.

So I’ve spoken a wee bit recently about some of the debate currently raging within the world of addiction (or dependency) and abstinence (or harm-reduction) and how do you recover – if ever.

I’m not going to say too much tonight, and there is a danger it might become too academic and this blog was never meant to be that, was it, Skippy?

But there’s a number of politicians making lots of statements at the moment and they’re coming in for lots of criticism for doing so but not everyone who talks the talk will have walked the walk. Do you always need that lived experience in order to make good suggestions or is it possible to bring everyone together? My addiction worker did not have lived experience but had the skills and expertise to help me considerably – motivational interviewing – and it worked.

It used to be said that there are many roads to recovery and one of them will be the right one for you……….

So, as you know, Ted Danson (and it’s not his birthday) is married to Mary Steenburgen who wrote Glasgow which was sung by Jessie Buckley in the film, Wild Rose

‘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.

Except……….

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.

But when you’re in zugzwang, one possible strategy is just not to make a move. But, in the end, the game has to end. (One view of where we are with Brexit negotiations)

September 19, 2019

And so, dear listener, last week’s show reflected a Government minister’s unwillingness (cowardice?) to voice his own views so he did it in a slimey and snidey way. This week is totally in my voice and all the feelings are mine but I am going to speak about a lot of other folk but mostly in a nice way……. 😀

Let’s start with Son Brian who has been a tremendous help in so many ways in recent months and who has recently set up my new PC altho’ I have not yet made a full transition from the old one (this one) to the new one as I’m trying to stay a wee bit away from computer screens after all the editing and writing I’ve been doing recently.

Anyway Happy Birthday Son Brian (and RJ as well)……. 😀

(and can I be a wee bit editorially geekish here and say there’s an amazing range of templates on Word 365…….I spent an afternoon going through them). 😀

So I’m going to talk about people like Rod Stewart, and I’ll finish with a wee story about him later, but I don’t share the view that it’s ‘good’ when a celeb tells their story about their cancer*. I just think it’s great when anyone tells that story. Sharing is brilliant and if you’re telling that story it’s cos you survived that experience. But well done Rod……..and d’you remember that time when….but later…… 😉

(And a personal hero on the Prostate Cancer front was a guy called Roy Stewart who, despite being seriously ill, was an amazing man to do Information Stands with. ‘Back off Roy, let them get in through the door first’ (lol))

*and I instinctively used third person plural pronouns, Sam, because we already do in certain circumstances. I mean I have no issue with gender transition, but, as an editor, I’m not sure why you still use first person singular pronouns when talking about yourself. Why not third person plural for consistency?

But this week it doesn’t have to be a health thing.

Last week the European Ladies Golf team (under the captaincy of Scot, Catriona Matthew, who played a major part in my PR career many years ago) beat the Americans with the final putt on the final hole in the final match of the Solheim Cup. It was sunk by Suzann Petterson who had hardly played in the last two years, was something like 630th in the World and was a personal pick by Catriona……… 😀

Everyone was a heroine (deliberate use of female of hero) in the team but to be have been written off and then to have written her own chapter in sporting history was amazing….wasn’t it?

And Fernando Ricksen? A hero. Not my favourite as a player altho’ I’ve no real views about Old Firm players but in recent years, he played a blinder spreading the word about MND. And his wife and the rest of his family. There’s an amazing shot of Fernando on his super dooper wheelchair going into some event and his wife leans over and adjusts his head so it’s up and looking forward and looking cool and commanding and not slumped…… 😀

And Gareth Thomas…… Now, I’m not 100 per cent sure why he spoke when he did. The documentary was more or less recorded and about to be broadcast and he was going to talk about being HIV in that and that was one of the reasons why he had done the Ironman Triathlon challenge to show that being HIV did not mean being a wimp….he just hadn’t told his parents and then had to go public because it was about to become public.

I though Gareth came out of it with grace and courage and it may make more people think about overcoming stigma. Well done….. 😀

And I was asked recently…….’wouldn’t it mean more to people if you described yourself as a recovered alcoholic….give more people hope of recovery?’

Seven years ago, I set myself a target of just being someone who ‘doesn’t drink’…….I think I’ve been pretty open about the reasons why I don’t drink and am more than happy to discuss those reasons but it’ll soon be thirteen years so I’m quite happy with the way I’ve done it.

Plus I think there are still too many connotations and stigma that still surround the word ‘alcoholic’. Lapsing is not inevitable.

And I did see one journo on TV saying that David Cameron’s depression wasn’t clinical because he had never taken anti-depressants. Nor have I but that doesn’t mean that my moments of anxiety and depression aren’t real.

And a new GP that I discussed this with last week shared my views. She was good…..’but there was a letter from your urologist in 2014 that said such and such but you never tried it……..I think we should give it a go…….peppermint or aniseed?’ 😉

#copingmechanisms

And finally a wee word about the furore (eh?) surrounding some Head of a Fire Brigade (Lincolnshire?) who thought that Fireman Sam being white and male put people off. So I wonder if he (of course it’s a he) has ever seen Flora the Firefighter who is a real person and this should be standard viewing everywhere.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07cdm4x

tioraidh, still wearing the badges (with pride) and still keeping it simple but I may send a birthday card

iaint850 who’s nobody’s hero but is happy waking up every morning.

And many years ago, at the age of 12 or so I was allowed into the adult, let’s call it the grown up, section of Peterhead Library cos I’d read all the kiddies’ books; and I seemed to be heavily into World War II books. I picked out one about Arnhem (seventy-five years ago) and happened to go into the newsagent that my dad used and the man behind the counter asked to see it and he looked at it, especially the photos.

‘Why?’ I asked my dad later.

‘Because he was at Arnhem and he survived but he doesn’t talk a lot about it.’

That night I stopped reading books by generals as I realised who the real heroes were. Many of mine over the last few days are listed above.

The Rod Stewart (and rainforestriverman) story can wait until next week.

Here’s Chumbwamba and their famous appearance on TV in the states and a song that is appropriate for so many people in today’s blog. If I’ve missed anyone out, for once let me know.

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

June 28, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anxiety maybe kicked in.

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

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

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple

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

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

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

“If 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

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

May 23, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so to other matters;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iaint850 #mymentalhealthisimportanttome

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

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

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

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

#mymentalhealthisimportantome

“What i like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” ― Karl Lagerfeld

February 22, 2019

And so, dear listener, we are well and truly into the next phase. Someone did say that I was moving forward but, tbh, there have been times in the last fourteen years when I was quite happy to stand still. I suppose the two years at UWS (Paisley) followed by most of my time with Blue Triangle represent much of that and the people who contributed and, indeed, the time at Oran Mor when both, plus a good friend, all coincided, well that kinda summed it up. 🙂

But we are moving on and it is fascinating what I am learning about my sister from all her files and folders. I did once ask her (a la Theresa May) if she had ever broken the law. She explained that she had once used her position as an auditor to see how her mortgage for a new house was doing. 😉

She then looked at me and said, ‘I don’t think I’ll ask.’

(One thing I learned from an early age was that, if you’re running from the police, don’t run home or even in that direction)

My sister was a great respecter of rules and regulations – very much like A Man Called Ove in a Christmas present I’m reading and is a really lovely book – and she would not park in a parent and child parking space even if she was the only car in the car park. And it was half past nine on a Boxing Day and ASDA didn’t open until ten.

So, it was with some surprise that, looking through one of her many folders, I found a parking ticket! It seems to have been paid straightaway and, unusually, for my sister, there does not seem to have been any series of follow up mails explaining how the police had got it all wrong and getting them to apologise.

She usually won all those battles even if it was just a case of wearing the opposition down. 😀

I’ve also found the letter welcoming her to the Civil Service (Gosh…….all that actual typewriting!!!) and also her copy of the Official Secrets Act that she had to find.

I do wonder what I have lying around (or more probably in the attic) that reveals secrets about me…..and there was I thinking that clearing my browser on a daily basis was enough to put people off.

But there is a downside to this. You’re going through someone else’s possessions knowing that they will never see those possessions again. Wondering what their memories were.

But then your task takes over.

Does anyone know a charity that might be willing to collect a lot of good quality women’s clothes and shoes from a flat in Maryhill? Good parking. And there’s a vast amount of books and pictures relating to Mary, Queen of Scots – a big interest of my sister. Maybe a collector or a society. If you know anyone let me know. Otherwise it’s a Google.

And I was reminded of when I was doing the tidying for our mum. I seemed to have a lot to shred and started to do so with a glass of whisky to keep me going. Shredding is really boring; so I stopped the shredding and just drank the whisky. 😦

Moving on and to lighten the load this was highlighted by a number of people;

Warwick Davis is the host of a daytime TV programme called Tenable, which I don’t watch, but apparently his response to a Tenable contestant who said, ‘I would describe my music as an ethereal, electronic-driven experiment rooted in R & B, hip-hop and jazz.’

was

‘Do you do any Westlife covers?’

And finally, I am beginning to catch up with folk – especially those with whom I had to cancel lunches, dinners and coffees during my sister’s illness. One such person is Ann from Prostate Cancer UK and it was nice to catch up at the reopened Café 13 in Govan.

I have a problem with some of these places. I do like toasties but the problem with sourdough bread toasties is that I find the crusts awful difficult to eat and because of the size of those crusts it does look as if I’ve left a lot on the plate. But it was nice.

And I have been trying to arrange a catch up curry with a couple of guys I was at uny with first time round. Because they’re so busy it’s going to happen in April. I remember when I had a social life. It’s on its way back.

Tioraidh, still keeping it simple and still completely fine

Iaint850, glad that the weather’s so good but I dropped my phone and it’s not too well at the moment.

So, when the train between Summerston and Queen Street works, it works well (12 minutes) but oh, when it doesn’t……

Wednesday, after my return to SDF (and more next week) I went for the 1604 out of Queen Street. I thought I was late but the ticket gate man said, ‘No, you’re fine. Just join the crowd at the front train……they’re just waiting for it to arrive.’

So I did and by the time I got there, it had been cancelled and I’d to wait thirty-five minutes for the next one.

And then on Friday, the conductor on the train told us that the train would be terminating at Kelvindale as there had been a fatality at Anniesland.

I am disgusted with myself to say that my first thought was that I’d be getting off long before then anyway.

The Monkees were, possibly, the first manufactured boy band in television times but despite doubts about their musical skills, they still produced some top pop tunes. Pete Tork was a big part of that process.

I didn’t see any TV on Hogmanay so I can’t comment (iant850)

January 4, 2019

And so dear listener, belated Happy New Year and I also hope Santa was good to you. I did okay as I did get a wee bit more than the badge which shared the Blog Personality of the Year Award with the book with almost the same title. See last week if you’re confused. 😀

I did well for books. I am slowly working my way through The Ladybird Book of the Shed as some people think I am obsessed by sheds. I only have the one; my neighbours on one side have two and the neighbours on the other side have three (although one seems to be a toy store for their grandchildren.

I received a box with nine different chutneys (is that the plural?) and they will be eaten. 😉

And then there was the posh notebook with posh pens and the various homemade cards and similar from various children whom I know (and their parents) but no toiletries.

And I did receive a gift voucher for Glasgow Music City Tours 🙂

https://glasgowmusiccitytours.com/

At first I thought it allowed me two goes as an individual on two tours but, no, it’s me and a Plus One on one of the two tours they run. There is no hurry. They run from April to October.

Please form an orderly queue.

(And, yes, my daily visiting to the Beatson is still taking place. Individual updates to some of you soon and, yes, I’m completely fine. Bingham’s Pond from which the adjacent hotel gets its name is a veritable treasure trove of wildlife and I’m amazed that in my days as a radio producer of Jimmie Macgregor me and him and a wildlife expert and a tape recorder never came down to record stuff)

But I met a professor I know. Bob Jones. He was in the radio documentary I made about prostate cancer a wee while back and we did #GoodMorningScotland a couple of times together; he was the expert and I was the ‘human experience’ but one of my big memories of him was attending a couple of Powerpoint presentations that he did where every seventh slide seemed to be of his holiday locations. Boy, did you stay awake and boy, if I thought that would impress the nurse, I was sadly mistaken 😦

Oh, and there’s a long story attached to this but I also got a last year’s Partick Thistle strip with some of last year’s players’ autographs. It will go up. Somewhere. 😀

And I’d like to pay a big thanks to Holly the Dog for standing outside Waitrose with me the other day while good friend e went and done a shopping late on Hogmanay. The comments were interesting.

Holly is a labradoodle and a lovely and friendly dog.

Two come to mind;

Little Boy; ‘Is that dog a Spanish Waterdog?’

Me; ‘No. She’s a Labradoodle.’

Little Boy; ‘But my mum says she’s a Spanish Waterdog.’

Me (thinks); ‘But I’m standing attached to the dog by a lead. Do you not think I know what kind of dog I’m holding onto? Your mum’s an idiot.’

Me (says); ‘No. Trust me. She’s a labradoodle.’

And, after a conversation with a woman who looked sensible, I was asked, ‘And is her mum in the shop?’ to which I wanted to reply,’ Yes. That’s her standing in the queue for sushi (Waitrose) behind the Cockapoo and the Beagle.’

And finally, it is a wee bit shorter than usual – the blog. I’ve actually got quite a lot of editing on at the moment. What happens is that students are quite happy, before Christmas, that work does not need to go in until, say, 7th January, but it’s only after the Bells (or international equivalent) that they realise how close the 7th January actually is. Still it keeps my mind occupied. 🙂

Tioraidh, still completely fine and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, and thanks to all those……..

So I watched some TV over the holidays. The most poignant was ‘In Sight of Home:the Iolaire’

‘On New Year’s Eve 1918, the Royal Navy Yacht, Iolaire, sailed from Kyle of Lochalsh bearing nearly 300 servicemen returning from WW1. In the darkness she ran onto rocks a mile from Stornoway Harbour and 181 veterans of war and 20 crew were drowned in sight of home. Only 79 crawled ashore and came home to Lewis alive.’ (words from Torcuil Crichton in the Daily Record).

I come from a fishing town in the North-east of Scotland and know how cruel rocks can be but the poignancy for me lay in the fact that we have just finished a year looking back at the end of WW1 and what that meant for the people involved.

These people were going home. For them the war was over and then this……..

I’ve had a special request for Jacques Brel. So here he is. Could it be Django Reinhardt next week or maybe Johnny Halliday?