Archive for the ‘SVQ3’ Category

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” ― Oscar Wilde

April 27, 2017

And so, dear listener, I wish to give plenty of notice that this show may turn out to be a bit of a moan. I don’t know for sure as the blog is never properly planned but a lot of it goes through my head and I’ve just had a sleepless night but not for good creative reasons. 😦

So beware before you step any further.

But at the same time don’t worry. This is nothing to do with depression as a mental health issue; I suspect this may come down to my butt needing kicked and I may be looking for volunteers to help to do that. Depression as a mental health issue is getting a fair amount of publicity at the moment but, from personal experience, I do know the difference.

The origins of the current mood do lie, though, in the anxiety and depression of last year which was work related but I’m handling that and I did emerge with an SVQ3 and I am enjoying the shift to days but the early starts are really early and an opportunity has come up, which, well I’ll know more in May. But the anxiety did slow me down and stop me going out – even to football matches. 😦

And this virus/allergy/infection is proving harder to deal with than expected and the original medication was really debilitating; gave me plenty of sleep but left me tired a lot of the time. I’ve been to see the doc and I have new tablets but in the three days between stopping the old pills and starting the new, my sleeping patterns were awful and I’m not sleeping, which gives me too much time to think.

And what these have all done is to cause the serious medical problem of ooomphless. I need ooooomph. I’m going to play a piece of music while you take all that in.

My Gaelic teacher, Joy Dunlop. 🙂

So yes, let’s take one example and on this occasion offer a positive solution. Gaelic.

The first block was great but I missed a lot of classes and a Gaelic night out (sorry e) in the second block because of the virus and I never really caught up. I’ve been talking about going to the Gaelic College but the solution is a lot simpler – after this very busy work weekend, I intend to go to the Mitchell Library (spiritual home of missing USB sticks) one morning a week and do the work. 🙂

So I’m not going to Skye for my holidays but again, after this weekend (and I’m not prevaricating. One shift sees me getting home at 11 at night and back in again at 7 the next morning) I plan to select a week at random in the Summer (watching out for an existing Gaelic commitment and a gig), book that week off from the project and devise a trip possibly based on Oban. 🙂

And let’s take on the elephant in the room – companionship. I am carp at computer dating. (plenty of fish gag in the typo) and can’t start an e-conversation to save myself. But I can talk to people. My friendship with R from Cardross started at a suicide intervention course and the friendship with J, the blog’s favest librarian, started over an Inter-Library Loan. 😀

If it’s that big a deal, then set me upon a blind date. I will go.

And I’ve spoken about friendship before and I know I can be a pain but I can be told and take that telling.

After all, I am the man who, on returning to the college after Cold Turkey, was told by some line managers that alcoholics were scum, couldn’t be trusted and were bound to lapse. A few months later I was diagnosed with cancer.

Don’t hold back about telling me things. 😉

But so many friendships have added so much to my life; be it a change in my eating habits to introducing me to new music (and the world of the Inukshuk) to being aware of other peoples’ issues and babysitting……and indeed, going to Partick Thistle came out of an existing friendship and helped to create new ones.

(How are we doing for word count, Skippy?)

I have purchased my PT season ticket (the £308 has been deducted from my bank account this year) and I intend to be more of a full-timer than I was this season and will try and persuade other people to come; I will cut back on the editing because I did so this year and made more money and even in the last few weeks, when an Out of Office sign was up, I have done okay; and I have a brochure of Glw Uny short courses beside me and will pick a couple.

And then there’s the pencils. At Christmas I became the proud owner of twelve pencils which came ready sharpened and I’ve been using them, but when they became less than sharp, I put them aside and used another one.
Now they’ve all been re-sharpened. Once upon a time that would have been procrastination; now it’s a positive move. 🙂

And I needed to cut my toenails. This was a real frightener. My head was saying ‘why do you need to get up? You’re not working until the afternoon’; whereas my toenails were saying ‘Howard Hughes’.

Again after the weekend, please ask me how I’m getting on with these promises (maybe not the toenails) and I’m serious about the blind date idea…….

But I come to the end of tonight’s show with a positive vibe and a declared intention to stay in touch.

I genuinely would not be here today if it were not for various folk and the things I have been encouraged to do. 🙂

That is the biggest debt of gratitude I can pay and I say that with a lot based on much of my current job.

Iaint850, keeping it simple with one of my most favourite up-beat pop songs of all time;

I’m dancing already

When you tug at a single thing in nature,you will find it attached to the rest of the world (John Muir suggested by Ian Harrower)

April 7, 2016

And so dear listener, this blog is now eight years old. It started as a way of letting people know about the second half of my successful treatment for prostate cancer – the radiotherapy – or sandblasting as it was known in the blog. That was a way of trying to introduce some humour and reduce the fear factor in talking about cancer. 🙂

Altho’ I had to do some fast talking when some students who were filming me in my (shared) office saw a notice above the coffee table which said, ‘Which of you bastards stole a dying man’s coffee?’ Some jokes don’t work. 😦

The first half of the treatment got less attention. It was a drug called Zoladex and it has been suggested that it had major side effects. My ex-wife looked at the list of them and said ‘you’re about to go through the menopause.’ And I still get hot flushes, altho’ whether that’s because I still get an awful lot of things wrong or am easily embarrassed, I’m not sure.

It came in the shape of a large needle and was administered, by a doctor, on a monthly basis. Y’see the male hormone testosterone feeds the cancer and the Zoladex administers oestrogene which kills the testosterone and gives the sandblasting a better chance of working. Which, in my case, it did successfully.

So I am still around today. To continue making mistakes. I’ll move myself on. Cos it’s been a good week. Mostly.

I’d like to say a big congrats to Sophe Williamson who married Christina Watson a few days ago and sent out some lovely pictures. Call me old fashioned but when two young women get married, I think it’s really nice when they’re both wearing wedding dresses. I showed some of the pics from social media to a work colleague who said, ‘they’re really nice. How do you know Sophe?’

‘Oh,’ I said, ‘we were both zombies together.’

Sometimes you can just sense when someone’s not too sure how to reply to something that’s been said and it’s best for the conversation to move on.

But since this blog is eight years old it was appropriate that I went for a drink with the blogmeister, altho’ I didn’t realise the anniversary until I sat down at the typewriter just now. I had written a page about my experiences with the drink and cancer and I had edited it as appropriate for individuals and if I felt their stomach was up to it, I could send them a page about the Twenty-four hours of Cold Turkey which I’d written for a competition run by the Scottish Book Trust.

Anyway I did spend some time in Tennents with the man who helped me launch my blogging career as I had no idea how to start such a venture but I have to say that Morgan’s Rum and Diet Coke may not be the best basis for a diet……just saying’, that’s all. 🙂

And it wasn’t eight years ago that I made the decision to join some friends who are Partick Thistle fans but that came out of a concern that I wasn’t doing anything with my Saturdays and time hanging heavy on my hands can be dangerous. It paid off on Tuesday night when not only did the Harry Wraggs, the Maryhill Jags win one – nil but I came away with a large foam thumb. Unfortunately I had missed the game where a free cushion designed by Kota Ezawa was given away. And if that seems strange for a football club, then bite on this, footie fans. Until recently, the mission statement on the PTFC website read, NOT SO CUDDLY ANYMORE!

And finally, I’d like to thank J, the blog’s favest music critic, for agreeing to come with me to see Alabama 3 in a ‘few weeks’ time’. For those of you who don’t know, A3 are the world’s greatest acid house country rock band and played an amazing part in my recovery. I saw them once before at Balloch Country Park a few years ago.  I suspect it’ll be slightly different indoors. 🙂

Cya, still wearing that badge and, stupidly, sometimes finding it difficult to keep it simple.

Johnt850, feeling very red-faced and very subdued.

And, yes, Scotland has done really well in having four leaders out of six Holyrood parties who are in same-sex relationships and have not made a big deal out of it. Indeed the tabloids have made little of it which is nice.

I’ve touched on this before. I worry when people come out in any sense and a big thing is made of their ‘bravery’ which I feel puts people off. And that’s been a big aim of this blog – to try and demystify substance and cancer issues and various people have spoken to me about things arising out of this………and there’s lots of folk like me……..there’s a massive list of speakers available from Prostate Cancer UK who are available to do information talks or staff information stands at Health Days.

And then there’s the tube of an expert on Breakfast News or whatever the BBC prog is called, whose first contribution to a discussion on eating disorders is to congratulate the two young girls, who were speaking about their experiences, for their ‘bravery’. The girls were much quieter after that. I’m not sure if they had ever seen talking about their experiences as being brave. Now they were thinking about what they had done.

But what do I know?

This is Lady Antebellum……..this is from a different past.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rHuitW9xDc

I know words. I have the best words (Donald Drumpf)

March 4, 2016

And so, dear listener, in a week when Donald Drumpf gets closer to getting his finger on the nuclear button, but not as close as the North Korean President, and we discuss the ins and outs of Brexit (what a horrible word), there are only certain questions I need to ask this week;

Why is it not possible to get a return ticket for the Glasgow area which would let me go to work on the Thursday night and go home on the Friday morning? Not only that, but it turned out that the cheapest way of travelling was to buy day returns rather than singles and that saved me 20p on each journey and that was without my pass, which applies at only certain times.

And why, possibly a direct result of last week’s news about me NOT having bowel cancer, did I go to sleep straight after that night shift* and missed the call from the BBC to take part in a programme following good news of yet another breakthrough in cancer treatment?

*Cos I was knackered, that’s why.  😦

I’m told by BBC producer Steve Hollywood that it was a good item anyway – without me. This is BBC Steve who once told me that I’d taught him everything he knew and five minutes later did things in digital editing that I could only dream about. I think my son, who did a school work experience with the BBC, could do more in the way of digital editing than me. 🙂

(Steve I still remember that time, after a BBC night out, when I woke up (in my own bed) with over £600 of cash and IOUs.)

And does anyone out there remember a BBC TV programme called ‘What’s My Line?’? I do but I think it’s one of those implanted memory syndromes. It was in black and white and a panel, which included Lady Isobel Barnett and Sir Gilbert Harding (dressed in tiaras and tuxedos), had to guess the occupation of a member of the public from their actions.

J, the blog’s favest librarian; my first guess would have been a baker kneading dough; my second a fish porter; and my third would have been someone working in Post Office Parcels Counter – which considering I know your profession doesn’t say a lot about me minutes before I go on shift. Yes. Your mime was a librarian. I can see it all now. 😉

Incidentally, a private message, if I may to j. I’ll see your five and raise it to six!!!!!!

And why, when Holly the dog starts to play with other dogs, am I the only person thinking, ‘Oh my God, it’s a fight.’ ‘No, jt, they’re only playing.’ Sometimes, after a long walk, my legs feel as small as the daschund (?) in that insurance ad.

And am I watching too much daytime TV and in particular, antique programmes? (No. Not very old programmes but programmes about antiques) or does everyone else in my position find themselves shouting, ‘No. That’s too much for a monkey on a stick. Buy the spoons!’

Sorry, what was the question?

And finally, I was intrigued by the tabloid headline ‘Codgers on coke’ which referred to claims that two pensioners had to be kicked out of a charity event after claims they snorted cocaine in a toilet. Well, why shouldn’t they? Okay there are many reasons including the legal aspect of it all but substance use ain’t ever been the preserve of the young. 🙂

I may have been ‘alcohol only’ in my student days but cannabis started floating about the West End of Glasgow in the mid-seventies (unless you were some form of Bohemian, jazzy, painter, thespian type) One pub in Byres Road, in particular, was big a draw for people wearing curlers….but that was fifty years ago. In just the same way that not everyone who drinks becomes dependent on the stuff, not everyone who smokes, jags or pops pills becomes drug dependent.

That ‘grassy’ smell at the Beach Boys concert? That’s my generation, that is. 😉

Cya, honestly still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple.

Johnt850, more questions than answers sometimes…….

So a guy called Tony Warren died during the week. Two aspects of his life stand out for me.

First he was openly gay at a time when gayness was illegal. But it’s strange. I knew quite a few guys who were homosexual, but they never formally ‘came out’. Rather they quietly said ‘No, jt, I don’t fancy her. I’m more interested in men, myself.’…and it was accepted.

So when Sam Smith stands up making pronouncements about homosexuality and racial discrimination as if it were all completely new he shows a complete lack of respect for all those who have gone before him.

I now know many people and their friends and families at various ends of the rainbow spectrum that is LGBTI and one of the most diverse groups of people I have ever known (from that point of view) were those amazing Zombies of just over a year ago now. 😀

Tony’s other achievement was to bring working class life to the TV screen when it had never been there (in any great depth) before. He came up with the idea of Coronation Street and had to persuade TV bosses to give the idea a thirteen week run – and it’s still here today. What an amazing tribute to an amazing guy. 🙂

So at a time in my life when others were influenced by Hendrix and YES and ELP I really liked the sounds (and hairstyles – ah those fringes) of bands like this. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Lindisfarne;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYPBF4s8m_Y

Post Early for Christmas (but maybe the end of February is a bit soon)

February 26, 2016

And so dear listener, this has been a week of learning, Christmas continuing and a wee cancer fright….so let’s get started.

Let’s talk SVQs and a nice wee start to the months ahead and worry not, dear listener, you will not get a blow-by-blow account of  how I/we dealt with assignments and units and so on. Let us just say that I am looking forward to it and I need some structure in my life and in recent years, education has provided it as well as qualifications, good friendships, a job and so much else. 🙂

Without that structure, sometimes I act ‘on impulse’. I don’t always think through the consequences of an action. I may not look impulsive but you are listening to a man who, some forty years ago, played shinty for a Glasgow University team one Saturday afternoon just cos they were short of a player and my hockey game had been cancelled and it’s not that long since I said yes to abseiling and zipwiring…….without thinking. Much. (Let’s ignore the drink and stuff for once) And look where it’s got me.

I don’t think I would Go Ape again cos I would now know what to expect but I have been to IKAEA twice so ‘never say never’.

Anyway, the SVQ3 Induction was good and, as someone who taught at HNC and HND level it’s quite interesting to see things from the other side but I was truly seriously horrified to see that the Scottish Qualifications Authority believe that the abbreviation for Performance Criteria is

PC’s.

Sometimes I despair and maybe there are other organisations that need the services of www.thewordprocess.net as well as universities and colleges. 🙂

(Incidentally, I got the gig of part-time subject tutor cos I was asked if I would do a guest lecture to which I said, ‘Yes. What about?’)

And then I had my third Christmas Night Out. With e. (Incidentally have I missed anyone out from that time before Christmas itself?) It began by walking Holly the Dog – with other dogs – on a cold Mugdock Country Park early one morning and finished with a late lunch in a pub type place in the, now, very fashionable Finnieston.

In between? A flat tyre but e did what every liberated woman does these days when faced with this problem. She phoned c, her husband. Who turned up with a large squad of men seriously tooled up and clad in Hi-Vis jackets…….okay. It was one guy who knew what he was doing but it felt like a SWAT team  😉

But the next day, I was getting my hair cut (but not that much) and my hairdresser told me that when she recently had a flat tyre (and all the usual places were shut) she used her husband’s Twitter account to ask for help and cos he’s high up in Pro rugby circles, she was overwhelmed by offers of assistance from hunky rugby warriors. However, as she was tweating, a mature taxi driver had made an offer she couldn’t refuse and the tyre was done in seconds. 🙂

Me? I’d have phoned AA. The one skilled in mechanical breakdowns – not the other.

And finally, can I say thanks to e for pointing me and j in the direction of The Bees by Laline Paull – one of the best books I’ve read in years but maybe stay away from any of us during the summer if we’re in the proximity of bees or their hive outside or, indeed, in the Kelvingrove Art Galleries. But it does need you to use your imagination so maybe it’s not for all.

But I know my recommendations are not always acted upon. RRM, have you bought ‘From Scotland with Love’ yet? 😦

Cya, still wearing that badge and keeping it simple (and there’s so much in that little phrase.

Johnt850, and suitably chastised. For my impulsiveness.

So, as many of you may know, the test for people of a certain age for bowel cancer is mass screening by mail in which you send samples of your ‘poo’ (their word, not mine) to an address in Dundee. Which I did over Christmas.

And they got back to me pretty quickly and said ‘There was some blood. Can you do another sample and get it back to us dead quick?’ and I had known there was and I knew why it was and I told them that in a letter I sent to them as well as the new sample.

And I waited. And waited. And waited. And nothing……so I contacted them and they’d not received my sample. So I sent another and very quickly they came back and gave me an All Clear. Phew. But at no time was I concerned cos I had no symptoms other than the blood (which was a one-off)….. 🙂

And that’s why I told no-one cos there was nothing to tell……and I didn’t want people to worry.

Cos, in my dealings with cancer, most times it’s not the person with the cancer who worries but family and friends. I remember someone telling me that a friend had got the Big C but she wasn’t going to let it stop her from helping. Which is nice but as soon as you don’t call a cancer by its proper name, then you’re giving into it.

(The so-called Islamic State hate being called Daesh, btw)

But maybe I should have told people………I’m a creature of impulse……..and in reasonably good health and with a full head of hair and a lot of learning still to do. I will continue to make mistakes and I will not always learn from them. 😦

I think, j, I’ve about run out of artistes from that Celtic Connections gig but if I’ve missed any, let me know. This is Anderson East with The Devil In Me…..interesting lyrics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dIz-ZVRgww

Some folks hate the whites Who hate the Blacks Who hate the Klan. Most of us hate anything that we don’t understand.(Kristofferson)

February 19, 2016

And so dear listener, it was one year ago that I became aware that my PhD ambitions were on thin ice. My erstwhile supervisor had gone from ‘what an exciting idea’ to ‘I don’t understand what you’re talking about’ – which was a clue, I think, that I’d reached my heights of academia with the Masters (and I still have some pics of me in a kilt from the day I graduated if anybody wants one). 🙂

I still think my idea was a good one and the book idea has never gone away, but as someone recently said to me, you need permission from someone to write a book – that ‘someone’ has to be yourself.

No. It all came back to me to this week when I did a wee tour of the universities (other than Glasgow) and flyered them with details of my services www.thewordprocess.net but it’s getting harder. The number of open notice boards is getting smaller. And I do worry about the number of my old posters that still exist. 😦

But it can be difficult. I had thought, long and hard, about getting into the Storie Street Residences in Paisley (buzzer entry) and I have a colleague who will attempt a similar manoeuvre on a Glasgow Uni-residence (won’t you, e?)…….so I went up and pressed the buzzer and got no reply so I didn’t have to say, ‘Delivery’. Instead I got in one door where there was a noticeboard but before I could attempt the next door, Security came out and asked me if I was affiliated to the University, so I said, ‘Yes,’ smiled, put up a poster and left making my excuses. 😉

No. It was a good morning and I caught up with some folk (tutors and a Phd student) I’d not seen for a while……and Princess Anne had been there only days before……..do the Royals ever visit the toilets that are specially cleaned for their visits?

And J, the blog’s favourite car passenger after last week’s incident, you’ll be pleased to hear that I had a look at that traffic island as I drove home. It seemed much more docile that it had been a few days ago. So I got home safe. Hope you’re enjoying 5338.

And ‘fear’ is a word that has different levels and meanings. But that is a good looking tin. 🙂

But I’m pleased to announce that I’m about to return to some form of studying in the shape of my SVQ3 in Social Care which is on a similar level to an HNC in College. This will be of tremendous help in my next career……….whatever that is. I’ll keep you posted. I’m told I’ll find it easy. No. My danger is I’ll be too elaborate in my answers. Another reason to ‘keep it simple’, which I think is a reasonable philosophy. In all walks of life.

And it will help me in my current job where the shifts are so busy that on a recent twelve hour night shift, I was unable to eat the excellent homemade soup provided by my co-worker Debs, with the words, ‘Don’t worry jt, no animals were hurt in the making of this soup’ until a quarter to seven in the morning. 🙂

I am pescatarian, not for ethical reasons, but for lifestyle reasons but I know vegans such as Ann, Rosie, the good Dr W and Ginger Tart, the burlesque dancer who I have actually yet to meet, but all of them have made me more aware of what’s involved in meat production and yes, that does include chickens…….and indeed our treatment of other species including the dolphin on the Argentinian beach.

And finally, it was interesting being out at UWS (Paisley) and sitting in the tutors’ rooms. (Makes it sound like Oxbridge a wee bit). There’s a lot of the books they have on their shelves that I have and that I’ve only recently stopped looking at. There are times when I do wonder if I’m getting the best out of my experience, expertise and learning.

Now, I know there’s a few folk that I work with that read this and they shouldn’t worry. I have no plans to walk………just yet. When I used to go out to Paisley by train, I had this strange ambition to just stay on the train and go to Ardrossan Harbour. I am now using my pass thing on trains (but not buses cos I’ve no idea where buses go). Maybe one day I should stay on that train and get some fresh air about me and brainstorm using my new tablet to jot ideas down….anybody want to some with me and act as scribe? 🙂

Cya, still wearing that badge and keeping it simple

Johnt850, delighted that the man across the road has finally decided to park in his drive.

So on Wednesday of last week I met up with Shona, a former BBC colleague who is setting up on her own representing and promoting jazz and other musicians. We met in a place called Cup in Renfield Street which is a very nice place. Had I known I’d have brushed my shoes. But this is the place that at 6 o’clock at night completely transforms itself into a gin palace selling some 71 different flavours of gin! It felt like I was in some form of speakeasy where, when the Feds banged on the door, the walls swung round and it became a tearoom again.

Whilst there’s much I welcome in the New Psychoactive Substances Bill coming up soon if there’s one thing that that period of American history shows, it’s that prohibition does not work. Oh, that, one day, ‘drugs’ could be treated the same way as alcohol, tobacco and coffee – all of them are exempt under the terms of the bill. Just thought you should know. Enjoy your gin and whatever.

Great word that – ‘whatever’.

This is Lady Antebellum with Need You Now. They’re a trio from Nashville and they’re really good. And apparently they’re playing soon at the Calgary Stampede. Now there’s a road trip and a half. Anyone interested?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM213aMKTHg