Archive for the ‘Summerston’ Category

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.

Now, one might well question the wisdom of sending you here, of all places. Out of the frying pan into the, well, maybe not the fire but certainly a different type of frying pan, or some sort of wok at the very least. (Sister Michael – who else?)

April 18, 2019

And so dear listener, there I was driving out of Garelochead last Sunday morning at about nine o’clock and it was a lovely day for a drive home. I was wishing I was a passenger and understanding the attraction of living in the likes of Kilcreggan or similar. 😀

(I remember driving down to Kilcreggan a few years ago with the good doctor W to buy homebrew making equipment….and Helensburgh Pier played a part in that story as well) 😉

Anyway, smiley, smiley and then it happened. A warning light came on in the place you hope you will never see a warning light. It was an exclamation mark so I tried the handbrake but it was off so it wasn’t it. It was in the wrong dial for that and it was orange. 😦

But you see, I wasn’t sure if I could stop to look at the manual.

‘Why not iaint850?’ you ask.

I was slap bang next door to a big nuclear submarine base and I suspected that if I pulled over and sat there for any length of time, men with submachine guns would come rushing over and before you could say ‘Julian Assange is not a journalist!’ I’d have been surrounded and forced out of the car. The safety catches would have been on but their thumbs would have been trembling. 😦

I made the decision to keep driving. I could neither feel nor hear anything. Those days have long incidentally.

I got to Helensburgh and pulled in on the front. According to the manual it was tyre pressure but I looked at the tyres. They seemed fine. I kicked them as J had once shown me how to after the Clyde Tunnel incident but it meant nothing. 😦

Indeed there had been no flippety-flappety noises that you get when it’s a tyre (or two as in the Alderman Road incident)

I decide to phone the AA but had to do so up a close where there’s a restaurant called the Something and Creel (No, Skippy. That’s not its real name. I just can’t remember the first bit of the name) and as I was doing so a young couple came out of a door and nodded to me……it must happen a lot.

The AA did give me a time which kept changing and I was beginning to get fed up but I noticed along the front that there were some tables and chairs on the pavement. It was a café, open at nine on a Sunday morning. A godsend. As is the fact that the public toilets are also open at that time (next to the pier) and they’re free. 😀 😀

I finished my coffee and returned to the car. The woman from the couple came out and offered me a coffee which was very nice of her. And the AA man turned up. And checked pressures and pressed a re-set button and I was safe to go. Except I went back to the toilet…….just to be sure.

So I drove back up the road – back through the village of Cardross which has a co-op I plan to stop at at some point. I do not think I’ve ever had an incident in Cardross.

https://finder.coop.co.uk/food/store/G82-5PD/main-road

Much relief. My own toilet. 😀

So, finally, as you, hopefully, enjoy a holiday weekend, I plan to do so as well. Some garden work and maybe buy some new books and music. There’s still a wee bit of electrical work before my sister’s other property goes on sale but we have reached a stage (almost) where everything is in other people’s hands and I think my sister would be impressed – especially as we did it without an Excel spreadsheet!

Emotionally, I’m shattered, but yet again, in my life, a support team came into being over the last few months. I do hope I repay some of all that help.

And thank you anonymous lady in Helensburgh. 😀

And the PT fan known as Bean who reminded me about the existence of AS Electrics when I worried needlessly about my cooker. 😀

Tioraidh, actually wearing two badges on one jacket this week, but that’s still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, with some cool things coming down in the pipeline.

And so I mentioned AA last week and the fact that, eighty years on, little has changed in the way they approach alcohol issued – it’s still based on the Twelve Steps and going to meetings.

Lots of them.

Except….

About seven years ago I became aware that the meetings could be found online. Somebody I knew well at the time. You didn’t have to take part in these meetings (in fact you don’t have to speak at any meeting) but just listening in seemed to give her comfort.

And then there’s Twitter – something of a cesspit at times – but there’s #RecoveryPosse which gives folk the opportunity to voice fears and achievements in a short space of words and to get an almost immediate response.

I write one thousand words a week for different reasons but it’s always nice to get a response. 🙂

And I’m sorry bellechere lauren, but you’re not allowed to sit on the fence in the great Fleabag versus Derry Girls debate. Apart from anything else, the Derry Girls had music like this. Scarlet with Independent Love Song;

“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.

‘Whether you support the monarchy or not, the wedding was a wonderful expression of love that lifted spirits across the country and had diversity at its heart’ (Kezia Dugdale)

May 25, 2018

And so, dear listener, last week’s show was a wee bit on the serious side so I’m going to try to avoid that. Maybe dedicate it to a couple of folk. Purely hypothetically. 😀

Maybe celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary somewhere on the Iberian Peninsula. Maybe they had a humanist wedding by the very same tree at the hotel in Strathblane where Son Brian and the gorgeous KT had their wedding reception. 😀

Maybe I didn’t get there cos I was knackered after eight weeks of radiotherapy (exactly ten years ago this week) and I must thank this imaginary couple for all the help and support they have given me over these years. Thanks. 😀

And really pleased at how well my rhubarb was appreciated by all the young Gaels which was a David Bowie song….later he changed Gaels to Dudes.

All totally hypothetical. Except the Bowie bit. Possibly he wrote it on his famous visit to Cumbernauld Town Centre. 😉

Moving swiftly on.

And a mention for all the folk from my Post Grad of 2011-2013 and something I said in a class about AA and the Twelve Steps – which is the basic tool used within AA.

Apparently I made the point that my aim was for a time when no-one would know me as a ‘recovering’ or ‘recovered alcoholic’ – just ‘someone who didn’t drink’. Well that time came not long after but, recently, on a TV series called Genderquake (partly about transition and other gender issues), there was a contributor who asked, ‘when I can stop being trans and just be a man?’

I am proud that that story reminded a good friend of me. Thanks N x.

And I think what has made such a difference to me over those years has been the ability to meet people (okay women) on a friendly basis without anyone e.g. husbands and boyfriends or the women themselves panicking.

Not sure what that says about me but I’m eleven years five months older than looked possible in December 2006. So, yes, I may not drink but I still count the daze. 🙂

Always keeping it simple.

And my favourite piece of drama this week was the boiled egg eating scene in the Jeremy Thorpe drama. Do you hammer your eggs or do you slice them? And the subtlety of the glimpse of the petroleum jelly. But not in the same scene, I should stress.

Anyway I think I do prefer gluten free soy sauce and I’m perfectly happy with dairy free ice cream.

And Partick Thistle season tickets are about to go on sale so I will be buying one and I do hope that, healthwise, things are settled enough for me to go to games altho’ I long ago lost my seat in the charabanc for away games to young Sam…and deservedly so. 🙂

And it’s really weird having an early morning look at Facebook and seeing a photo of your main road and the entrance to your cul-de-sac and the headline;

Armed police swoop on flat in dawn raid in quiet Summerston street’

It was 6.20 and my neighbour was out walking her dog. Heavily armed police.

Drugs? Stashed in the graveyard? Connection with recent fatal shootings? And the white Audi? It was taken away.

Will it be in The Digger this week?

Still moving swiftly on.

And subway station platforms like Cessnock do worry me a wee bit. They seem awful narrow and remind me a wee bit of the rope ladders between trees at Go Ape where there was just a wee bit of 3-2-1- Go! and I was fine. 🙂

I’d be too scared to do that again.

And I didn’t know, despite my great use of the UWS Library in Paisley (all sorts of reasons) that it has a Special Collection. It chose to tell the world on Twitter that its collection of Philip Roth was kept there and chose to illustrate that with a pic of Portnoy’s Complaint! Cheeeeeky! 😉

But even now I pretend I’m back in there (it’s all changed now) at the table by the window that overlooked the entrance to the Robertson Building and idly searching through Google Scholar. Honest. There was a reason but finding stuff was a good feeling.

And I know I’m not the only person who, when North Korean expert Prof R. Kelly is on TV spends more time looking at the door to his study than at him.

I still can’t watch it without laffing

And finally I’ve got the new script for my Prostate Cancer presentation and I promise to stick to it word for word and when I get to the bit where I say ‘one man dies of prostate cancer every forty-five minutes’ I will not look at my watch, look round the room slowly and say ‘the clock is ticking.’

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

Iaint850, ‘old enough to know better; too young to resist’ (lifted from Steve Cropper who co-wrote Dock of the Bay)

And publishing that quote from Kezia does not necessarily mean I agree with her but for me freedom of speech means I listen to opposing viewpoints without being vindictive, vile and abusive.

So I’ve a lost a pre-loved (second hand) CD I purchased recently. It was a compilation of different line dancing tunes and dances. And was planned as a standby present. (Some things I don’t analyse). So I trawled through YouTube and I found this. It’s not the most exciting but I know which one I’d be. Look to the right of the screen and the lazy, languid fella, both his thumbs in his pockets, looking every inch a ‘two-bob gangster’. That’d be me. And according to Alice with whom I worked, I was never that. 😉

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

February 2, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I’m sleeping so much better.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iaint850 and much humbled by what I’ve seen.

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

No, John, there is no Blue Lagoon car park in Paisley (anon)

January 5, 2018

And so, dear listener, a Guid New Year to ane’n’aw. I didn’t get the chance to do that in a blogilly manner because I had to broadcast the traditional Blog Personality Award of the Year on the Sunday. Which was also Hogmanay and people had better things to do.

So, once you’ve read this, read the blog below this one. Did you get an award? Holly the dog did.

But, yes, this was the first Hogmanay and New Year’s Day that I didn’t spend the nights with the homeless and refugees. And the family party I used to attend (not my actual family) no longer happens. Ah, the influence of having grandchildren staying with you. 😉

I watched some TV. Quite liked the Saturday night out prog but one day people will realise that the success of Flicks in Brechin was what the sign (in block capitals) actually seemed to spell out when seen from a distance. And no mention of Bonkers – a bar and club just along the road from where I worked in PR – and Clatty Pat’s – just along the road from the BBC…..places I used for a wee while after separation. 🙂

And this hints at an interesting question, which I shall call the Gus McKinnon Question.

Y’see, one of the books I received at Christmas was called ‘Close Quarters’ and is about a murder in a tenement just off Byres Road. One of the characters is a legal person called Gus McKinnon who spends his nights in bar called The Centurion and often staggers home drunk. It’s not a spoiler; it’s a recurring theme.

So, without going into any detail of the separation, I bought a house in Summerston – and then we told people.

That’s all I will say.

But a number of people then said, ‘why didn’t you buy a flat in Partick – close to the action?’ Now the house I actually bought has a large garden (and tbh, I had no idea how big a garden until I bought it as my one and only look had been in the dark before deciding to buy) and that has turned out to be a big factor in continuing to stay here.

The house is a bit idiosyncratic and has a semi-spiral staircase which looks slightly nautical and it’s only in the last few years that I’ve done any work to it with the kitchen still looking pretty naff – partly due to my duff painting – and whilst I’d quite have liked a Partick tenement flat my neighbours here are pretty good.

There was that incident when a neighbour’s daughter crashed her car into mine; the Sunday afternoon when Big Peter attempted to murder his mum; and the Sunday night when a Strathclyde Police task force attempted to bludgeon their way into one of the houses across the road, spent a couple of hours inside and then withdrew.

But apart from that it’s been pretty quiet. 😀

But reading that book did make me think – which I’ve been doing a lot of recently – and my thoughts are pure fantasy but what would I have made of a life in the West End – rather than being a regular visitor? Still thinking.

And finally, and this is the last time I’ll say this, 2017 did not really work out for me in many ways. Much of the depression has lifted but I do feel there is a residual mentally and physically. Indeed, one of the typical symptoms of being reluctant to leave the house has applied at times – continually rationalising with myself about going out.

BUT

I have plans for 2018. Let’s make them happen and if Mohammed won’t come to the mountain, then the mountain has to start knocking on doors. And UWS (Paisley) will get flyered amazingly soon cos there’s none on the noticeboards. 😦

And then the other three. I need the work.

http://www.thewordprocess.net

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

Iaint850, a very stable genius but only just 🙂

So, all a bit heavy, so can I tell you about my favest programme of the last two weeks?

It was The Story of Scotdisc – the label that did so much for the careers of Lena Martell (nee Thomson), Tommy Scott and Stuart Henderson jr – oh, and Sydney Devine.

In the late seventies I did my (first) Post Grad placement in Easterhouse (and I did my second Post Grad placement in Easterhouse as well) and one day the women were all really chirpy. They were going to see Sydney at the Pavilion that night and the next day they came in with a glazed look. I knew Sydney as a radio host and didn’t understand his pull as a country’n’western star. I’m still not sure.

The Scotdisc prog featured Sydney’s Line Dancing video and of course it featured Achey Breaky Heart (sp) – not necessarily serious line dancers’ favest piece of music.

For me, one of the biggest thrills was to hear the distinctive voice of Jim Symon. Clyde through the night was brilliant (and I did do a couple of features for them live from the studios above Anderston Bus Station) and Ian Anderson emerged from there.

A lot of good memories and well done to Nick, Linda and Russell from Demus Productions and well worth a look on BBC iPlayer (9 pm, Wednesday, 3rd January BBC1 Scotland) and here’s Lena. I have no idea who Dave is but this is the version with the importantly changed lyric – she is a woman, not ‘just’ a woman. One hundred years on from women (of a certain age) getting the vote, I think that was a change well ahead of its time.

We would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright (Hemingway)

November 30, 2017

And so dear listener, I’ve found it really cold. Have you? Oh, no – inside as well as outside. And to be honest, whilst there are some things I do miss about my previous job, I do not miss getting up and out just after six in the morning to be in for a shift starting at seven on mornings like these have been – especially at the weekend when often I was the first car on the road. And that includes coming home after a night shift. On a couple of times I parked at the bottom of the main road cos it’s a bit of a hill (I live in a cul-de-sac off the main road) and it wouldn’t be the first time a taxi has refused to make that trip. 😦

(The last time was approximately a year ago when I finished work at 4.30 in the morning and it was a brilliant walk up the hill – streetlights and the snow and the foxes) 😀

It was 2010/11 when we did have people, well cars, having a tough time getting out of Summerston and trains couldn’t get through. Now, it’s more ice and frost on the road until you get to Maryhill Road – especially where the sun has not got through.

There was a time when ours were amongst the first roads to be gritted but then we did have a Lord Provost living nearby.

Now, as some of you know, I have a fairly reasonably sized semi – with a couple of rooms and bathroom upstairs and kitchen and living room downstairs. Well, unfortunately the heating upstairs died. It’s not been too big a deal. I moved the laptop out of the back room and on to the table downstairs; the bathroom has a heated towel rail and I did a lot of reading there; and the only real annoyance was the Master Bedroom…….It was cold. 😦

However, help came in the shape of a new electrician on Wednesday who knew what he was doing and who sent me a picture of the job he was doing in Kilmacolm to explain why he’d be late. But he did turn up and he did fix the heating and told me not to worry about the odd bang – he knew what he was doing. And sure enough fifteen minutes later heat was making its way through my upstairs.

I’m not mad keen on leaving my house too often at the moment but I put that down to the cold rather than residual depression, so I did feel the cold. But the reason for not going out on Thursday night was the temptation of staying in a warm house. I missed a talk about the Necropolis – once the dead centre of Glasgow. 😀

But I have watched more TV than I normally would and saw a smashing wee programme about the development of Scotland’s police people – when it was a number of different police forces and much better as there was more accountability.

There was a fair chunk about what it was like when you left the force and what your last day was like. Some of theirs were a bit more exciting than mine (other than that meeting in Queen Street Station) but I noticed that they have the same habit that I have although in their cases it’s understandable because they were there for twenty-five years. I lasted four and a half in the project for the homeless where I was working but I still talk about ‘we’ and in the present tense. 🙂

I also saw the lovely ‘From Scotland with Love’ – a TV prog but I think the video is still available from Fopp (probably a couple of quid by now) and e and I saw King Creosote play the soundtrack live at Kelvingrove Bandstand a few years ago and the video was played on large screens……just an amazing show. And well worth the re-run. 😀 😀

And whilst I’ve started eating some meat again, I was staggered at BBC’s Landward last week which followed a fascinating item about helping badgers to cross a new road by showing the man, who is now Scotland’s National Chef (Gary McLean), strapping on a powerful shotgun to go shooting deer for venison.

Now I’m not daft – and I do originally come from a farming and fishing community in the North East of Scotland – but I just felt there should have been something between the two items. Arlene Stuart, a beautiful lady to work with on Saturday mornings years ago,* had earlier presented an item on nurdles (which sounds like something Rambling Sid Rumple would have come up with). Could that not have been dropped in between the badgers and the deer killing?

The Saturday morning prog that I worked on with Arlene was called, I think, Something for the Weekend and was about doing stuff at the weekend, which obviously involved eating and drinking. Once every few weeks we had a wine expert, Paul Somebody, with wine and once every few weeks we had Nick Nairn cooking in the studio……..and every so often we had them both.

Sportsound had to throw us out of Studio Six with our empties and our dishes.

And finally I read this on da Internet from a drug rehab organisation that I have a lot of time for,

‘Viagra will be available over the counter in UK, says medicines regulator.’ – This is specifically in order to close down the lucrative criminal market in it. So why not do the same for other drugs, like cannabis, for the same reason? It’s not hard!’

Cracking payoff line.

tioraidh, still wearing both badges and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, and maybe we should use the word gluttony more often. Stop us eating so much.

So, there used to be very strict rules at the BBC about what Christmas music you could play and when. It was something like only new stuff for the first two weeks of December and then open door for the rest of the month.

So I’m not sure if I’m breaking the rules by playing this but many thanks to j, one of the blog’s top pop pickers, for suggesting this.

This is/these are the Futureheads with Christmas was Better in the Eighties.

Actually the setting looks like upstairs in my house earlier this week……

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

November 2, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But some things in my life are returning to normal.

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

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

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

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

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

Iaint850, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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

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

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

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

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

Did they play this, j?

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

October 26, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Is everything okay?’ she asked.

‘I’m cutting back on caffeine.’

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

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

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

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

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

Why not help out at a foodbank?

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

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