Archive for the ‘Summerston’ Category

‘Dom Cummings followed the guidelines and looked after his family. End of story.’ (Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden) ‘I know ending stories and this ain’t it, chief. (JK Rowling, well known author)

May 29, 2020

And so, dear listener, a wee word if I may about blogging and, please, bear with me. I’ve been doing it now for just over twelve years and it’s basically a fun couple of hours when I hammer words into this typewriter and then re-arrange them to make sense. 🙂

I used to do it live, straight onto the WordPress template (which they’re about to change yet again) and do final editing then…….in the days of tape, razor blade and sticky tape…..but that was creating pressure so I stopped doing that and instead started drafting it during the week and did the final topping and tailing once I’ve transferred it on a Friday….and then hit the Publish button (still a thrill, not that I get………) 😦

And yes, I do wait until Sunday before I tell the world of Facebook at which time I may use the Update button. This means that if something has happened between hitting the streets on a Friday and it being read by the more sedate burghers on Facebook on a Sunday, I can make a change.

And then I leave it. It’s gone. 70-80-99-120 people read it. That’s fine. I write it for me………maybe part of my therapy?
Somebody else described it as such. 🙂

It would never, ever occur to me to go back several months and add stuff.

So, if you ever do drop into my back catalogue and discover that I wrote about my discovery of penicillin, well it’s there cos it’s true. And, yes, I was the first man on the Moon. I just didn’t say anything about it at the time but if you re-arrange the letters of iaint850 you can come up with Buzz Aldrin. That’s how we hid it.

And that night with Naomi Campbell did happen. She is one helluva a Bagetelle player. 😀

And Skippy, the invisible bush kangaroo who has been with me since this blog started does exist. Honestly.

And then there’s the car-driving thing.

I think I can safely say that during my alcoholically dependent period I did not drive while drunk but it wouldn’t have been the first Saturday morning that I woke up and realised that I had to go back into town and get my car down from a multi-storey car park where I’d left it the night before. So safe, on so many levels. 😉

I worked for a PR consultancy in Bothwell Street at the time so it would have been Waterloo Street car park – not that far from Bonkers Showbar.

However, see when you read on a packet of Lemsip (or similar) that you’re not supposed to exceed six in twenty-four hours, there’s a reason for that.

It was in the immediate period after the cold turkey, and the cancer treatment – a time when your head is clearing of so many things but you’ve still got a long way to go.

I had a bad cold. I seriously overdid the Lemsip. I got the munchies. It was a paracetamol high. I thought I’ll drive down to the ASDA and get something to eat. It’s a four minute drive.

After two minutes of that driving, I realised it was wrong and that I should turn round and go home. So, paracetemolly, I drove onto ASDA, drove in through the IN bit and back out through the OUT bit and went home.

It was only when I crunched into the drive that I realised how stupid I’d been.

Almost as stupid as Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings who claim that the best way to check your eyesight is to go for a drive. Listeners of a certain age may remember the short sighted Mr Magoo and the carnage he caused cos he couldn’t see what he was driving into. 😦

And then there’s been a smell this week – other than at Westminster. It’s been in my kitchen. Which is quite reassuring as it means I still have my sense of smell, and I can taste toothpaste.

Like a lot of people, I seem to be spending much of my time (I live on my own – have I ever mentioned that?) cleaning and tidying the house until the next time I clean and tidy the house.

I narrowed it down to the fridge which I keep tidy and I’m very careful about Use By dates.

So I washed and wiped and wiped and washed the fridge and its contents. I moved it out and washed behind it.

I used to work for Blue Triangle (supported accommodation for the homeless including refugees with ‘no recourse to public funds’) and every time I tell people that and they say ‘that must have been worthwhile’, I think of the number of nightshifts when you cleaned a room for a new service user moving in in the morning and one of the worst tasks was the fridge. 😦

Then it hit me……well thankfully not literally.

I had assumed that if it was a fridge smell, it was in the fridge. It was actually on top of the fridge. There was a box of twelve eggs on top of the fridge except two of them were cracked and had seeped through the box. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, after that. 🙂

If only all foul smells were as easy to eradicate.

tioraidh, and still keeping it all those things I like to keep it.

Iaint850, and it’s all a bit of a clusterbourach isn’t it?

So there’s a new Steve Earle album on the turntable even as we speak and thanks to a tip-off from top PT fan, Ken, I watched Steve intro many of the tracks on a Facebook live streaming session and I did do the fan thing where I sent the message ‘hi steve, I’m from Glasgow and me and good friend e saw you a few years ago at the Kelvingrove Bandstand’ and, in hindsight, I realise the phrase, ‘good friend e‘ may have sent the wrong message unless Steve is a regular reader.

None of the tracks are up visually on Youtube yet, so here’s ten minutes of Steve Earle and the Pogues. Pure genius.

Never underestimate the strength of a recovering addict; they’ve walked roads you couldn’t imagine.

May 22, 2020

And so, dear listener, the Government has spoken to tell us where and when we can see family and friends (including grandchildren); when children might be able to go to school; and when we might be able to use public transport. Our freedoms have, understandably, been curtailed but there is still a daily death list. People need to be patient and to be aware of others. There is still a long way to go.

I thought the First Minister spoke well the other day (as she has done, cautiously, all the way through the crisis) but that doesn’t mean I can’t have reservations about her, her predecessor and their party after all their years in power.

It’s natural and to be expected. It’s what we expect of an opposition, but we currently don’t have one other than the press. Even the comedians are on her side. Whatever happened to political satire? 😦

The last time we had a decent opposition was when it was the SNP. It’s easier in opposition. I remember (2004?) being an Assistant Producer on a series of BBC programmes from the old Royal High School leading up to the Scottish Elections. I was the Election Unit’s Research Team. Nicola was one of several Scottish politicians put on the spot by an informed audience and she was superb.

But it was her blatant sexism the other day that got me. 😉

Dear Nicola, it is not only women who are missing hairdressers; I am.

I get my haircut every four to five weeks because I do not want to look like an old man who does not get his hair cut. 😦

Another few weeks and they’ll be calling me the Freddie Boswell of St Kentigern’s Cemetery, Maryhill

Just sayin’, that’s all.

(And please don’t work Erik the Floodstalker too hard. He’s a PT fan. It’s been a difficult enough year even without the Corona boy.) 😉

Moving on.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Eurovision Night the other night (well when else?) and it was superb background against which to do nothing (again) but did I miss a re-run of the lady Polish butter churners of a wee while back?

This is the Icelandic entry and I thought it was superb. Eurovision for the Tik Tok generation. 🙂

And a big thanks to Missie K who seems to have persuaded me, some friends and several thousand others to buy some clothes from this charity. 😀 And in doing so we help a lot of workers in Bangla Desh. 🙂

https://loststock.co/

It would appear that I have agreed to buy at least three tops in dark colours with no patterns, of medium size and I lied about my age. I have no idea what I’m getting and when it will arrive. It sounds to me a wee bit like how some people have described supermarket deliveries. The ASDA down the road is still good enough for me.

Once I find out what’s in my ‘man box’ I will describe it to you in great detail. 😀 😀 😀

And I’m afraid I killed off some herb plants I had growing in the porch – but not in the fiesta. They were all doing well but I’m afraid that next to the water sprayer that I used for them was an anti-bac spray that I use for the letter box and the door handles. I don’t really need to go any further do I?

And finally, I think my editing empire has reached the end of the road – at least for the very foreseeable future. Currently I have some PhD chapters to come in and maybe some conclusions from social work students but, after that, nothing.

There’s usually post grad dissertations around about now so I may still get a shout there but my big earner of the year is not happening. Glasgow University hosts an annual Adam Smith Business School for students from all over the world and that is a really big earner. For about four-five weeks in July and August it’s wall to wall editing and I, and the others, do not get much of a chance to leave the house (hahahahahahaha) so maybe it’s no bad thing it’s not happening and I will get to see friends, family and hairdressers instead.

The jury is out on the next academic year but as most of my work comes from recommendations (especially from the Chinese community) if they ain’t here to discuss things over a cup of coffee in the Hub, then I have no chance. How much will the unies go over to online lecturing which takes away so much of the university experience? Still, mustn’t grumble. As Dominic Cummings said when he and his family finally reached Durham. Again.

Tioraidh, still keeping it fun and simple and still washing my hands – are you?

Iaint850, who hopes to hell and back that the idiots don’t spoil it for the rest of us.

So I’d a very pleasant online chat with the rainforestriverman the other day. Coincidentally, it took place on the 180th anniversary of the birth of Brother Walfrid which was also the day that Celtic won/were awarded the League title. 🙂

He very kindly passed on some podcasts and listening to them and some from the Scottish Drugs Forum has been very therapeutic*.

(*And the suggestion for this Month’s Word of the Week came from Kenny the Shed Pimp)

One of the podcasts was about the false imprisonment (twice) of a man called Rubin Hurricane Carter and it was really well told but it’s story I already knew (from 1975) from a time when Bob Dylan (19 today) wrote short, pithy and straight to the point songs.

Enjoy

You should ask yourself if going for a drive-through coffee is an essential journey. (Nicola Sturgeon)

May 8, 2020

And so dear listener, we start with the wise words of Nicola Sturgeon, and one of the reasons why my moods have been up and down this week is I get annoyed at the informal unlocking which does not seem to be condemned……..and as I write this (Friday afternoon draft) I know there will be things said on Sunday which may affect the narrative of this show.

Let me explain. For some time now I have been talking of this informal unlocking (and I, too, have broken the rules – by taking extra walks for exercise but now that’s legit so I can stop worrying) and still hope that grandparents will, for example, be allowed to go see grandchildren soon. 😀

Instead people are allowed to go and get takeaway cups of coffee in their cars, thus giving the impression that more and more places are open. Thus, encouraging people to get in their cars, and so on……But this is not being condemned. I think it should be. 😦

But what has caused more confusion is the fact that some people, globally and outwith Scotland, think that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom speaks for the United Kingdom. One poor unfortunate was Michael Palin who, on Andy Marr’s Sunday show, spoke of the difficulty of travelling abroad after the lockdown and that there were plenty of places like Cornwall and Scotland to visit in the UK.

The National cherry-picked some stuff from that interview and put it in a headline. I do not think that Michael was talking about charging up the road this coming Monday but it does show that people have to be careful in what they say and how others read it.

This is why this show avoids current affairs and I don’t just mean between Professor Neil Ferguson and his ‘married German lover’, Antonia Staats (and I have no intention of doing a professor interested in vital stats gag). 😉

As have been the Government spin doctors. who thought they could leak good news through certain press friends that there would be much to look forward to after this bank holiday weekend when there would be much bunting and celebration of Victory In Europe just months before we Brexit (eh?). And some of those street party photos showed little social distancing but VE Day and all those who died in WWII were remembered by an impeccable conga line.

But Boris is a buffoon, who speaks in metaphors and classical allusions and has been caught out as such this week by both Sir Keir and Nicola. Will he actually want a second term?

Anyway, Scotland remains locked down and most people seem happy to go along with that (at this stage on Sunday afternoon)

As the above is a tad serious I suspect I may make many changes even after it’s published.

But I would like to say big thanks (it must have been something I said last week) to people who contacted me cos I live alone and asked was I feeling lonely? 🙂

No. But I do miss casual conversations and random travelling and that’s something I thought about too much this week, wondering what the future holds for us all……..standing (socially distanced) at Summerston railway station, travelling on the train (might be okay after 10, say), walking through the new and recently refurbished Queen Street Station (with no planning for social distancing), going into a socially distanced office with appropriate equipment, and then coming back up the road (with no idea of how many will be looking for that same train). Some things I’ll just take my time with.

However, I am still exercising through the streets of Summerston or in the graveyard (other than Saturday or Sunday afternoons when people coming to pay their regards to their dearly departed are now having to watch for dog walkers and, maybe even cyclists, from elsewhere in Glasgow who are using that as their piece of green grun for exercise). I’d like that to get back to ‘normal’.

I’m now depressing you. I’m sorry. 😦

On the plus side. Did I really see a six week old baby at an appropriate distance in a neighbour’s garden? Obviously not, but she did look so content and was dressed in yellow. 😀

Have I planted some herbs in containers in my porch which I got from the rainforestriverpeople? Yes. Fingers are crossed. 🙂 🙂

And finally, is the editing still continuing? Yes, it is, which is why I am not eligible for any self-employed help from HMRC as I have not been ‘adversely affected’ by the pandemic in a workwise kinda way. But yet……..

One of the two remaining PhDs that I’m working on, without giving too much away, is based on research that was done in Nursing and Care Homes for the elderly about five or six years ago and that’s been a strange reading. The point is that the research was done before Covid-19 was around but another dissertation takes a look at airline marketing again with the research being done a few months back. It is not for me to decide anything but merely to point stuff out…….strange times

Tioraidh, still keeping it simple and fun and still wearing the badges

Iaint850, and my hair still isn’t annoying me or anyone else cos you can’t see the back of it in a Zoom call

So, now I’ve started to play music that I’m finding in a box of cassettes which was stored in the shed but there is a story to this one.

Not only is it the music that plays at Firhill when the teams come out for the kick off but very many years ago, I’m sure that this was chosen, at my suggestion, as the theme tune for a BBC TV programme called Asking Around for which I was the researcher and which I can’t find on Google.

Anyway, enjoy Focus and Sylvia.

‘The sun will shine on you again; the clouds will go away.’

April 17, 2020

The words there of Captain Tom Moore who has raised so much money for NHS charities and, by the way, the money cannot be used as a replacement for NHS funding. There are rules about these things. I’m not sure what they’ll do with all those millions. If it was just hundreds, then it’s jigsaws for childrens’ hospitals.

I would also like to suggest that Captain Tom be promoted to Major Tom. After all, he’s really made the grade. 😉

And so dear listener, how are you doing with another, and not unexpected, three weeks of lockdown ahead of us AND a few more #ClapforCarers events coming up? (Is that the right hashtag or have I made one up?)

I notice that some folk have poured a wee bit of scorn on these events, worried that an English based tabloid has taken them over or that, somehow, they are being used as a substitute for paying people properly or not giving them full PPE.

They’re not.

And, for selfish reasons, they are important to me.

Y’see, at the moment, I miss being part of a community. I live alone; I already work from home; I leave the house twice a day for shopping and exercise. It’s not a community. 😦

It’s not the ‘being on the platform on Summerston Railway Station when a train is cancelled’ community; it’s not ‘being in the offices of the Scottish Drugs Forum or Prostate Cancer UK when someone says ‘I’m making a coffee. Who wants one?’’ community; and it’s most definitely not the ‘Grandpa Iaint850, ‘will you read me a story?’’ community. It’s the cul-de-sac where I live community which comes together at 8 o’clock on a Thursday night for two minutes community clapping. 🙂

And this Thursday, just past, we added something after the clapping was done. We sang Happy Birthday to Jim in number 22…….No. I haven’t a clue either.

Next week me and my immediate neighbours are doing pots rather than clapping and who lets off the firework that tells us to start?

Before you know it, or maybe more likely in a couple of years, somebody will be organising a street party but, aye, maybe not just yet.

So, contrary to what some people on social media are saying, this applause is not a replacement for advocating better PPE and pay for care workers but is a sign of our gratitude for what they’re doing. A lot of Thursday night’s applause was directed at a house across the road where ‘the lady of the house’ is now out of Coronavirus hospital and it’s good to see her back. 😀

I worked for four and a half years in supported accommodation for the homeless – not the best paid job I’ve ever had but there was a range of reasons for doing it – and I know how difficult that job can be at the best of times.

These are currently the worst of times.

Elsewhere?

I would like to thank the Barclays Practice at the Maryhill Health Centre and the Maryhill Pharmacy which is next to G23, a human grooming salon, here in Summerston for getting their act together with regard to my repeat prescriptions for my heart condition and my blood pressure and which were ready for me so I went to collect them.

A wee bit quieter at the moment as I know some people are getting a week’s supply of Methadone in one go, so I hope that works out for them, but elsewhere the quality of drugs out on the street is really poor, so that is another community out there that’s not getting the attention it needs.

Remember #StopThedeaths from 2018 when 1,187 people died of drug related deaths. What will be the figure for 2020?

Meanwhile, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, hopefully, soon there will be a time when I can go out without some freezer bags in my back pocket to act as gloves when opening strange doors.

And full credit to the staff at the ASDA where I go on a Thursday morning and most people do go in the right way round the system. And then on Sunday at about eight, I go for a wee run in my car but, whereas last year I was driving down to Garelochead to check my late sister’s house, these days it’s down the Maryhill Road, through Hyndland and back up Byres Road.

I would say I’m getting about four weeks to the gallon at the moment.

And finally, I’m staying away from twenty-four hour news and I quickly scroll through Twitter – except for one Tweet which caught my eye and made me smile. 🙂

From @Jaynesharp…….

‘Last night I drank gin and did karaoke to an audience of nobody for 3 hours. Judging by how my head feels this morning, I had a great night.’

Tioraidh, still keeping it simple and still wearing the badges and still editing.

Iaint850 and I have started snipping at my hair, particularly over the ears.

And so, I was going to finish by explaining that #PatrickThistle, despite being only two points behind Queen of the South with a game in hand and eight games still to go were now to be relegated because Dundee sent a No vote in to the @SPFL (and not the @sfpl) and then, after it arrived, were allowed to change it to Yes. But I won’t.

Watch out for me making the news at the next General Election by casting my vote and then asking to get it out of the ballot box because I’d changed my mind.

And now for this week’s music which, recently, has featured music that means something to me. This goes back to a gig I went to with the blog’s favest librarian j at the Royal Concert Hall about six years ago when Roddy Hart put together an ensemble cast of musicians. There had been rumours that this man would be appearing and he did and his song is one that means so much to me – as did the night itself.

I still cry. Various reasons.

Roses are red, April seems grey. I hope we can get out by the start of May. (adopted from Anon)

April 3, 2020

Except, dear listener, it looks increasingly unlikely. If the lockdown does seem to be working then it makes sense to keep it going; if it’s not, then it will get tougher. The UK Government’s handling of things has been too little too late and too bloody inefficient, and whilst the Scottish Government paints a more honest picture, it is very difficult to be sure of where this is all heading.

And yes, there are too many conflicting messages coming over and that’s something I will return to, but first……last week’s show was well received despite some personal misgivings about what I was saying about myself so mega ta……. 🙂

Today’s show is a wee bit more random thoughts (some of which may apply to you) as I broadcast from home yet again.

And before I start randomising, in many respects I’m fine because I live on my own at home and am used to working from home BUT I very much miss seeing grandchildren, dog walks, coffee with people and lunches and randomly bumping into people in Byres Road……..so many things to look forward to. 😀

And when I get a wee bit lonely I play music. I hadn’t realised how many crap CDs I had. 😦

Anyway, most of the people in my street (cul-de-sac) were out on Thursday night applauding for all workers who are caring for us, ranging from the NHS to social care to supermarket workers to the paid and voluntary workers with the homeless, and the dogs seemed settled. One household, which is self-isolating (and there may be others) came to the windows and applauded. They had a delivery from a well known supermarket which was left on their doorstep and the window chapped by a well gloved hand.

We’re only now learning how unhygienic we really are. 😦

The postman still delivers (why are firms still punting junk mail?) so I anti-bac the front door handle and the letter box.

And we don’t need a letter from Boris. That isn’t going to stop those idiots who fouled up Strathclyde Park last week.
We need a new Central Office of Information (COI) that can use TikTok to talk to people.

(Aye the COI was done away with in 2011. It’s thanks to their Public Service Advertising that if my kite gets trapped halfway up an electric pylon I don’t climb after it and I don’t get into cars with strangers cos Charlie told me not to. Charlie? No. Not that Charlie)

And I was invited to take part in a conversation on Zoom and it went well. If I ever do get my act together with regard to Zoom or similar, who pays? I had slight computer problems which have been fixed remotely by a good guy in Largs (or somewhere cos it doesn’t matter where if it’s remote)

And a big well done to my local ASDA which I’m still visiting. On Thursday they had two sets of barriers to form a queuing system – one for NHS workers and the elderly (I am neither) and one for the rest of us, but the ‘five in and five out’ seemed to work and it was well stocked apart from spring onions. And I’m checking use by dates and planning rough menus. 😉

There’s no doubt in my mind that some of the early uncertainty about the social effects of the virus came from those who went out and panic bought and put everyone else in a difficult position (see me – see last week’s blog) when it came to buying stuff. I take the fact that the supermarkets are almost normal as an optimistic sign and full credit to the workers therein. 🙂

And there’s been plenty of advice about home schooling your children* but what about your parents if they still live with you (and if they don’t then you staying at your home and them staying at their home may be proving hard)….anyway, one thought if I may…….maybe plan some trips with them for when this is over. Plan to visit places that are important to them, but in detail. Why are these places important, do they have photos (my late sis had lots of photos she never got the chance to describe to people) and what do they think you’ll get from these trips……..cos you are definitely going with them, aren’t you? And maybe dress up when you do it and there’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine** or nibbles as you do it.

**or orange juice if you prefer.

*If I may…….for the children? (And I’m not sure about the phrase ‘home schooling’. It seems to put pressure on parents when all you might want to do is to keep them smiling while learning)

One idea is to watch a TV programme together; discuss it afterwards; maybe do a drawing from it; and maybe even act some of it out. It’s a thought. No more. It’s Media Studies. 😀

And so before I sign off with tonight’s music a wee word about Sir James Gordon who passed away this week and who I had met on several occasions. Much has been said about his starting Radio Clyde and all the local radio spin-offs from that and his love for Glasgow University and the students’ union where it all started, but I just see him as someone from what seems now like a golden generation, and a different era, where if you were successful in business then you felt it was important to give something back to the public good. Until a few weeks ago it seemed that many people in politics (with some exceptions) were in it for what they could get out of it. Maybe they still are.

If only we had more like Jimmy and some others now………

Tioraidh, keeping it simple

Iant850, keeping it fun and keeping it at homw

So, tonight’s music carries on with me choosing music just cos I want to. Tonight’s choice reflects on friendships and I’m not going to highlight any initial in particular but all initials and pseudonyms that have featured in the blog, but it was a good gig……..and if the lockdown does continue for another ten weeks or so, then there may be little difference between me and Mike Scott from the hair point of view.

Take care and stay safe.

Dyson or Shark or Gtech or Harry? It’s a question I’ve been asking a lot lately. Any thoughts? (me)

January 16, 2020

And so, dear listener, some days it feels like Christmas and it was one of those days earlier this week when I got all my repeat prescriptions in one go. There’s nothing too urgent in that I take pills each day to take care of things such as high blood pressure and reflux and to keep my heart pumping – and they seem to work. 🙂

I tend to go to the chemist for when they open, hand the scripts over, nip in to the ASDA and come back and collect them. Being first thing in the morning, there’s usually someone in getting their methadone and I’m on nodding terms with some of them – but I had to smile when I left the other morning.

My drugs were in one of those cheap, blue plastic bags that I used to get from off sales and that I described in my Master’s or similar as the blue bag of stigma. If it ain’t half a dozen cans of Special Brew, then it’s a huge pile of pills. But boy do you get some looks and you do feel a bit of a stereotype. 😦

And so, dear listener, that leads to just a quick wee word about Meghan and Harry, and I may need to ask their advice soon time – wearing their environmental hats.

But, first maybe racism has had a part to play in what has happened but I’ll wait until M & H tell us rather than ‘friends’ speaking on their behalf in People magazine, but I do remember a heap of vox pops with some very disappointed women in Windsor High Street who couldn’t understand why M & H were not letting the world see the new wean and, as I am a connoisseur of documentaries about the Royals I feel I should mention that Frogmore Cottage is actually four or five flats knocked into one big house. Ffs, it’s even bigger than the Barratt’s Premier houses around the corner in the cul-de-sac.

Now, this is important and relevant.

Apparently, saying that Meghan was brought up near Compton (or something) was akin to something racist cos of the gangs from there. Now I had never heard of it before this week but I wonder if M & H have ever heard of Summerston – or Scummy Summy as it used to be called by the Young Team from Acre Road in the scheme/estate’s early days. It has improved since then but there are plans apparently for 500 – 1,000 new houses to be built over the Blackhill Road side by the Balmore Road on the way to Possil Loch which is an SSSI and just up the road from Lambhill Stables. 😦

I did try the Glasgow City Council link supplied by the Community Council to look up the details but it didn’t work – where’s a good conspiracy theorist when you need one?

It wouldn’t cost too many carbon miles for them to come up.

A Megabus to Buchanan Street Bus Station and then an off peak return from Queen Street to Summerston and I’d meet them.

A quick coffee in the ASDA and then I’d give them a lift to the site………but I’ll maybe not trouble them just yet. I still can’t get through and I may need a planning application to go through the council soon time myself.

I’ll keep you posted.

And finally, this time two years ago I was admitted to the Royal Infirmary here in Glasgow with a heart condition; one year ago (this Wednesday) my sister, Sheila, passed away in the Beatson; so it was with a great deal of trepidation that I received the letter from the Bowel Cancer Scanning people with the news…..that I remain clear. This year is defo the year of smiling……. 😀 😀 😀

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges, still keeping it simple and still smiling.

Iaint850, who’d hate to be called an absolute unit like that highland cow was.

Now I can’t have been the only one who smiled when I heard the Prime Minister et al crying out for a good bong on the night which signals that we are about to leave the European Union.

Y’see in the drugs world a bong is a is a ‘filtration device generally used for smoking cannabis, tobacco, or other herbal* substances. In construction and function a bong is similar to a hookah, except smaller and especially more portable.’

*herbal 😊

At one time (not that long ago) you saw many of them in shops in Sauchiehall Street or the Saltmarket or so on, which may, possibly, have been a sign that what were once known as illegal substances were for sale. Or not.

And, in one of my many previous existences, it was brought to my attention that it was possible to build a do-it-yourself bong (or ‘bucket’) with little more than a basin and an empty two litre plastic bottle of ginger. So, where estimated costs of £500,000 came from I do not know…… Unfortunately I no longer know a man who might do it for less.

So I was chatting to a couple of folk about going out on my own and explaining that whilst I’m happy to go things like Aye Write on my own (but I am open to offers and the new brochure has just come out) I’m not so keen on going on my own to music gigs but I am always open to offers as a Plus One if required.

However, one guy I did go to see, on my own, was the late Leon Russell, although he wasn’t ‘late’ at the time. Here’s a Song For You….and you know who you are 🙂

but are you the Delta Lady? :}

 

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;