Archive for the ‘Summerston’ Category

‘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. 😉

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‘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.

“Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it.” ― John Muir

May 11, 2017

And so dear listener, this week I had the visitor I’d been waiting ages for. To be honest, I’d almost given up expecting the arrival and I was almost caught by surprise but I do have several cameras so I was instantly able to record their arrival – but not their departure.

Let me explain.

A few months ago, J very kindly officially opened my back garden. Some slabs had been laid, some plants planted and some new garden furniture was there for the purposes of being sat upon. J brought a small bee house to the party.

This is not a beehive; it is a resting house for busy bees on their journeys hither and, indeed, thither. In fact, Facebook conversation decided that it had the potential to become a Bee Backpackers Hostel with bees cooking beans, singing songs, playing guitars and washing their dishes once they’d finished 🙂 . Except, none came.

So, a few days ago, I was planting some herbs and doing the tidying up of the garden that I like to do before my grass-cutter comes to, well, cut my grass and I heard buzzing. You hear lots of things in my part of Summerston but bees buzzing…….and there it was. 🙂

There was a single bee hovering around the house….the beehouse that is……and I ran upstairs to get one of my cameras. It was still there when I got back out and I got it hovering and I got it entering and I missed it coming back out as I’d put the camera down. Quite amazing seeing it come out as all its wings are slicked back and then as soon as it has cleared the hole, the wings come straight back and it’s away. 🙂

Okay, it ain’t wildlife photography like Gordon Buchanan but I was really excited at what I saw and it generated a lot of activity on Facebook when I posted the pics.

So, J, thank you for all that excitement and that is the first contender for the Blog Personality of the Year and it’s only May!!!

(Last year it was won by a book called The Bees by Laline Paull and the Book Club still recommend it as a brilliant book)

Incidentally, I’m just in from the ASDA and whilst I was in the car park I noticed that my phone was telling me that I was in the ASDA and that all my friends would like to see my photos of the ASDA. Leave it with me, friends, and I will do what I can.

I was actually going to lede with something else. Not bees.

Last Saturday I went to the Mitchell Library. Now listeners who have been with me for some time will need no reminding of the chain of events that started on a previous visit to the library some time back……..so there was a wee gulp when I crossed the threshold.

I ordered the same as I did that time – a black coffee and a roll and a fried egg and potato scone and sat in the same seat as before and proceeded to do what I’d gone there to do. I find I study better in a library environment and that was one of the reasons I did so much of the Master’s at UWS (Paisley) Library all those years ago.

My heart was slightly in my mouth, particularly as the wi-fi was working but not on Virgin Mail. Yes. I know there’s no real connection but ask my son about how tekky-illiterate I am altho’ I am okay when walked and talked through it. But I did what I had to do and left. WITH EVERYTHING I’D GONE IN WITH!!!!!!!!!

I then went for a walk down to Finnieston, quickly rolling my hair into a hipster bun and growing a beard in which crows could roost, and almost took another photo.

There’s a wee path which takes you past what is known as the Gaelic School and if you keep looking behind you, as all good snappers do, you see the tops of the very beautiful Sikh temple shimmering over the school – true diversity before that word became associated with a dance troupe currently performing at Butlin’s.

Paisley Uny library has been refurbished and my favest seat has gone. It was one floor up, beside a large window where you could overlook a major entrance area and see who was coming and going who might fancy a coffee but also you could keep an eye on the comings and goings in the library itself. 😉

The Mitchell Library ain’t quite the same but it has its compensations.

I’m now going into the back garden to read Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Yes, I do have an interesting reason for doing so. Hopefully more soon time.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, at times amazingly patient when I know why (Skippy, that’s a bit deep even for me)

And so tonight’s music is from a very new album where the songs of Brandi Carlile are sung by such diverse talents as Pearl Jam, Adele and Old Crow Medicine Show. I actually have two copies of the album and have one to give away but rather than offer it up as a competition prize, I know who’s getting the other copy. This is taking me longer than usual to type as I keep looking at the bee house.

‘Proceeds all go to benefit children living in conflict zones.’

This is Dolly Parton with ‘The Story’. Watch it without crying – I defy you.

‘A vain, outlandish, anti-immigrant, fear-mongering demagogue runs for President of the United States – and wins.’

April 13, 2017

And that, dear listener, is the blurb for a fictional book written in 1935 called It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis and I think it’s more about the rise of Hitler than Trump altho’ so much of it does apply to Trump’s America. However, it’s been written in a very strange style and I’m doing, like, one chapter per night.

But it does mean that events register in a way they might not otherwise have done.

For example, I was reading about the concentration camps (or Holocaust Centers as Sean Spicer describes them) that American President Berzelius Windrip had introduced for dissidents when, low and behold, it was reported that Chechnya had introduced them for gay men.

And United Airlines’ way of removing that overbooked doctor from one of their plans seemed to stop just short of the firing squad as described in the book when they took away someone who was a bit belligerent, although I think they were justified as they knew a firing squad awaited them (in the book).

As yet, as I say I’m reading it slowly, I’ve still to reach a bit where the President is eating dessert cake (‘really beautiful dessert cake’) when he’s told that his country has dropped 59 (‘unmanned’ as in no pilots) missiles on some country in the Middle East but he gets the wrong one, but there’s a bit to go.

It could be a while before it ends up on the book club shelves.

[Oh, and I a quick word to j, if I may……No I don’t think I’m excluded and I was reasonably happy with what I wrote. I just got a shock.]

And so, dear listener, that was a pretty heavy start to the show so let’s go lighter. Let’s talk about my first ever media appearance. 🙂

I was reminded of it when I noticed a couple of weeks ago that Songs of Praise was coming from my hometown of Peterhead. Many years ago, when the world was black and white, it came twice from there in the space of a few months and I appeared in both – well I did and I didn’t.

Was I in primary school or early years secondary? It matters not, but I was in a choir (and somewhere in my house there is proof of a very fresh-faced young man but with a wee bit more hair than was usual at that age. It’s an early version of a screen grab where a professional photographer took photos of the TV screen)

Anyway, Peterhead played a blinder in the first one (no doubt due to my charms) and the BBC came back and the choir was also invited back. Now were you ever to see this prog, you would notice me at the start, in position next to the font, and marvel at my good looks. However, when the camera next returned to that position I was gone – I had fainted and had to be got out, without being spotted by the cameras, down an aisle to the side. But I was smitten by broadcasting. And as regular listeners know, I am often smitten, but by ‘eck, they’re quality smites. 🙂

And some other good newses in that the Queen Street to Summerston railway line (or as some may know the West Highland Line to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig – and that’s just given me an idea) has re-opened following the landslide somewhere along the line near Possilpark and Parkhouse. 🙂

And my gardener is due to do the first work of the season very soon and the shed has been tidied and this will be the first full season of the garden furniture and patio with plants, so who knows what that might lead to.:)

And finally, obviously delighted to see Partick Thistle make it into the top six and I just wonder if, mathematically, we can get into Eorpa if results go the right way; also delighted that we are going to spend £4 million on a new training ground. Shame we don’t where it’s going to be – just yet.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and always glad to see other people doing so and – still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, who can’t stop worrying, especially when he’s not sure what he’s worrying about.

And so, dear listener, I was supposed to be meeting uni-Sharon on Wednesday but the installation of a new washing machine took precedence (much more useful than me I would suggest) but I had additional reasons to be in town.

However having discharged those duties I happened to bump into my PT (Partick Thistle, the Harry Wraggs, the Maryhill Magyars) mate #soulboydaviebee (Tamla discos’r’us) who works part-time (p-t) in the brilliant indie record shop, Love Music, who persuaded me to give him £10 and allowed me to take away four CDs of my choice but based solely on the covers. 😀 😀 😀

One of the CDs is from a band called House of Fools. It takes a wee bit of getting into, as does this viewing of them but give it time.

“Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” ― (the great) Walter Cronkite

April 6, 2017

And so dear listeners, some of you may remember some time ago that, after a very poor team bonding day, I happily left the others and took a train up the road. On that train was a young lady reading a book – as opposed to a kindle – and I congratulated her, as I left, as everyone else had their noses in their tablets. The book?

Appropriately it was The Girl on the Train. 🙂

The other night I met another girl on the same train. 🙂

It was the ten o’clock coming out of Queen Street and I had not long finished my shift. A couple of tables down was a young lady (20ish), wearing railway workers’ clothes and with a book in hard covers. She also had a quarter/half bottle of Buckfast secreted in a bag. 😉

She smiled as I grunted into my seat and had a swig. Our eyes met a couple of other times and she had a couple of other swigs and then, just after Possilpark and Parkhouse, she got up to go but there is a wee gap between P & P and Gilshochill (or Gilshiehill as it’s known locally) and she paused at my table to show me the book. It was about the Dead Sea Scrolls and the photos were sepia-tinged black and white and she explained the significance of the signs on the copper-plated scrolls.

She also said that she loved books 🙂 and that she’d given her one year old god-daughter a huge pile of books and spent time reading with her 🙂 . And then the train pulled into the station and she was gone. Summerston’s the next station down the line and I was looking forward to home going. In terms of the shift, it had not been a long time in hours, but long in never getting a minute to yourself and never getting the chance to log why you’d never got a minute to yourself.

A few days previously I’d spoken to a grown-up man who had never read a book – other than what he needed to read for any qualification.

So I’ve lent him a book by Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book. I look forward, with interest, to his comments.

(Incidentally, the day after that chance encounter with the Book Lady of Gilshochill, there was a landslip outside Possilpark and Parkhouse and the line has been closed ever since – a bit of a nuisance if you want to get to Oban)

And a final word about words if I may. I am currently taking very powerful anti-histamines (altho’ I have a bad habit of referring to them as amphetamines) and whilst I can gauge their useage in a day when I’m project working I am loathe to take them in connection with other activities .e.g. editing and so, there is an Out Of Office up there and I’m not even acknowledging any mail as I know I’ll just say yes. Somebody has just put money in my Paypal account to persuade me to do their essay.

Later today, I will return it.

And the amphetamines are working but there are times when I leave my brain in the kitchen when I go through to the front room. Sorry if I am coming across a bit stranger than usual at the moment. But I can feel them working so that must be good.

And finally, a final, final word about words, particularly those spoken by football managers.

And this happened a wee while back and it was for one of those radio documentaries where I did all the interviewing and someone else presented – and on this occasion it was the smashing Ian Archer. He arranged for me to interview the then Rangers manager Jock Wallace.

Jock had a reputation as a man of few words and most of those were four letters long but it was good to have his views. I arrived at Ibrox, was escorted up the marble staircase and was introduced to him. I got pelters from him – my jacket, my hair and my then support for Clydebank – and all of it with expletives most definitely not deleted. I was dreading the actual interview.

But it had to start and the tape did roll. And he was superb and not a single sweary word. I was editing it in my head which is always a good sign. And the tape stopped rolling. And the swearing started again – me as the target once more. I didn’t mind. I had got what I came for.

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

Iaint850, always in the market for coffee, despite the pills, and always nice to hear from people.

Anyway, at almost the very beginning of my time with the BBC I worked for a programme called Nationwide. It was whilst we were at war with Argentina and I was often called down to London for the week to work on the war desk. On one occasion I was asked by the editor to have a look at some cine footage that had been transferred to Beta (told you it was a long time ago).

It was of the sinking of the Sir Galahad and it was taken from another ship as opposed to the broadcast BBC coverage which was taken by helicopters. It was basically men burning to death and jumping from ships to save their lives. Nothing was shown at that time as far as I can remember but it left a lasting effect on me.

Which was why I was so appalled at the obvious delight on Michael Howard’s face when he discussed Margaret Thatcher’s taskforce and what it had achieved thirty-five years ago; horrible, horrible man. And this week there were signs that, more and more, the Middle East is becoming World War Three by proxy.

So by the magic of randomly picking a CD from a shelf in Fopp I became aware of a chanteuse called Rhiannon Giddens, only to discover that BBC Al, the blog’s bad taste pal and his wife, the lovely C, not only knew of her but were already going to see her in Edinburgh.

This is Rhiannon at the Grand Ole Opry

‘Post-truth’ – relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief (OED)

November 18, 2016

And so dear listener, last week was a wee bit of a rant but I’ve seen a few folk saying similar things but rather than concentrate too much on that side of my life, I want to look on the bright side of life – but I’d rather not always do that.  But a big thanks to President Obama and  Mark Zuckerberg to lending their, and Facebook’s support, to what might end up as a campaign and giving it a name – ‘false news’ leading to….

Post-truth……

Y’see good things can and do happen to me; we are approaching Christmas and some other important anniversaries in my life.

It is exactly three years since I graduated with a Master’s degree – a brilliant day and I’ve not worn Highland dress since. Will there be another opportunity? It’d be nice. But I don’t think there’s much of a ceremony attached to the awarding of an SVQ3 should I be lucky enough to get it. And who would I invite? 😉

But as you know, soontime sees the Annual Blog Personality of the Year Awards and they don’t bear that much resemblance to other awards. The first ever award was the only one that ever went to a person – the then three year old Ruby – and last year they went to the Little House on the Prairie Incense Burner that J brought back from Canada  😀  and in between the award, for example,  has gone to a glass of whisky and a phone call from an Italian bar, amongst other things, so given the effect and influence that the SVQ had on me at one point this year, maybe it should be the winner. 😦

Anyway both the Award and the annual Christmas Cracker Joke Edition will be a few days earlier than previous years but for all sorts of reasons, including the fact that I am working twelve hour shifts on the nights of the 31st December and 1st and 2nd of January and then it’s almost daytime working time. It will be like a new job and I’m treating it like that. My hours are really strange over the next few weeks so if you want a copy of my rota please just ask.  🙂

Especially as the week before Christmas is also pretty busy.

Elsewhere on the nice stuff, despite what I said about the PSA being only a rough guide to the state of my prostate’s health, it was nice when Dr Fiona highlighted it when I walked in with my foot the other day. ‘Brilliant news’ was how she described it. And I smiled.

Could my 0.9 be down to my diet and clean living?

The foot? It would have been difficult to have left it at home.

Something seems to have moved a bone in a toe and pressure is being put on my foot and I’ve to go to a bio-mechanic at a podiatrist to get new insoles …or something. I have an appointment somewhere in Dumbarton Road next week at 2.30. 🙂

And then there are various traditions to follow such as the annual Word Process nights out, which seem to get moved into the early months of the next year. Looking forward to those already. And present exchanges. But before Christmas. And indeed present buying. Look out, De Courcy’s I’m coming to get you – especially after the success of the last gift I got there…..

And maybe upstairs in a book shop in Glasgow where I bought nothing at the time but I returned the next day and spent a lot of money 🙂

And we’re already talking Christmas Ceilidh at the Gaelic class (and yes, the Gaelic for ceilidh is ceilidh) and my homework for next week is to look at the train station sign for Summerston and see what the Gaelic is for Summerston. Some scorn was poured on my suggestion that all I needed was the Gaelic for the Town of the Summer. Hey, we have the ASDA!!!!

Many of my visitors over the years had never visited Summerston before and have been impressed. In the Summer. Okay, Christmas Lights leave a lot to be desired but, hey……

And, yes, I am counting down the days to the end of my life as an established part-time nightworker, altho’ I may still do some as overtime. Will I miss anything? Loads. In the early days of my withdrawal I may go out at five in the morning to empty my own bins into the big bin down the side of the house in complete darkness other than the street lights and then pause to ask the taxi-drivers how their nights have been before washing the steps at the front of the house.

And finally, I will continue to take on challenges and I will continue to be disappointed. But in about three weeks’ time……..No.  Let’s just see what happens. At the time.

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

Iaint850, wondering what my new tree looks like (it’s still in the box) and wondering if I should get a metre long pink fluffy unicorn for my granddaughter……. 🙂

BBC Breakfast has been running some features on cancer, including prostate cancer, and it was eight years ago just now that I was starting the first part of my treatment. I feel slightly removed from the whole cancer experience now but there is always one moment when it comes home.

There’s a thing called cancer guilt. It’s when someone dies and you think ‘why them…why not me?’ It’s usually, in my case, when it’s a child or teenager or, well, just someone with their life ahead of them. In a ‘gratitude’ list like the one above, my major gratitude is that I am alive to say there is always hope. I don’t know if people who come through heart attacks, strokes or car crashes or other life threatening events feel the same…….I just know I do. 🙂

Or when I see stories of those young people who have had to turn to the Teenage Cancer Trust for help on top of what the brilliant NHS* offers.

*Other health providers are available – ours happens to reflect a caring society which is maybe why the Tories are running it down.

And this was filmed at my Gaelic class. Mannequin Challenge it ain’t. It’s Walk the Moon and Work This Body.