Archive for the ‘The Beatson’ Category

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

February 22, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But then your task takes over.

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

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

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

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

was

‘Do you do any Westlife covers?’

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

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

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

Tioraidh, still keeping it simple and still completely fine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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‘Like all big sisters, Sheila knew where the sticking plaster was kept and how best to apply it’ (anon, kinda)

February 7, 2019

And so dear listener, yes, most of this will be about the funeral but in a nice way.

But first, a couple of wee rants;

I think the O2 ABC in Sauchiehall Street is as much a cultural icon as the Art School. My last trip was on 10th December 2016 when J, the blog’s favest librarian, and I went to see Alabama 3 on what was the tenth anniversary of my Cold Turkey and had a great time.

Funnily enough, my sister was a great supporter of Celtic Connections and saw a few gigs there but I think she would have gone to the seated area upstairs.

I think it’s also a shame that Campus next door looks as if it’s going to be demolished as well.

There needs to be a public debate on the re-building of the Art School if public money is to be used……

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-44520030

And I make no apologies for using a BBC site as, at 42p per day, the BBC licence fee offers amazing value – all those TV channels (including two for children and a new one coming soon for viewers in Scotland) myriads of radio stations (including one for Scotland and the Gaelic as well), multiple websites and BBC iPlayer which altho’ currently free to use, still costs money to produce.

I’m about to watch a programme on iPlayer from BBC 4 from Wednesday night in which David Dimbleby examines a ‘landscape dotted with buildings unlike those anywhere in Britain’ as he travels throughout Scotland ranging from the ‘crofts of the Outer Hebrides to the tenements of Glasgow’.

What’s not to like about that?

The other rant? Liam Neeson.

I’m not so annoyed that he went out to kill a man of a certain colour of skin but rather that he went out to kill someone at all. I’m not sure I’ve seen that many of his films but doesn’t he always play some form of vigilante and isn’t there a lot of people being killed horribly? The USA, inter al, and its President often blame arcade shoot ’em up games as being responsible for many of the multiple shooting incidents that occur regularly in the States. What about appearing in your own violent films? Does that have any effect? There’s a PhD in that.

He will certainly not appear in the screenplay jokingly (?) discussed by a former BBC colleague and me earlier in the week. I won’t give too much away but my own favourite character is a man who, in an Edinburgh accent, introduces himself as ‘The name’s Knox. Hard Knox.’ And my suggestion for the name of the production company? Covenanter Productions. That doesn’t give too much away, does it?

And finally, did you know that my sister was a fan of the blog? Well, I’m not so sure the word ‘fan’ is correct but since I took possession of her mobile devices I have discovered that she had her phone alarm set for 11 every Saturday morning – ‘Read John’s blog’ – or did I tell you that last week?

The days seem to run together just now.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badge and back to keeping it simple.

Iaint850, beginning to catch up with people and all offers considered.

So, just a few words on my sister’s funeral.

It went well. She’d have been impressed by how well it all went.

Y’see my sister was an auditor and was continually looking for value for money both in her personal and professional life. She enjoyed complaining and took it seriously. So, whatever your faith, creed or religion it was impossible to get away from the feeling that she was watching us organise things for the funeral but I think me and Son Brian done okay.

He’ll be perfect when it’s my turn.

The service was taken by a Civil Celebrant called Karen who was excellent. There was no pretence that she knew Sheila but explained that the stories had been provided by the family and, yes, they were although I was delighted that she picked up on one glaring error in the script where I called my mum Agnes, when of course she was known as Nan.

The Order of Service card looked good as I’d found a picture of Sheila as a wee girl with freckles and lovely hair with a pencil and jotter (as we used to call them) and the question was posed as to whether that was her practising to be an auditor. I liked the words on the card about what being a big sister meant but then I would; I wrote them. See the quote at the top.

Son Brian chose the music.

The turnout was good altho’ not everyone came back to Café Source Too for soup and sandwiches.

This is based at Hillhead Rugby Club, Hughenden, and was where Sheila and other ladies of a certain age went for Keep Fit on a Monday morning and it says a lot for the camaraderie that Sheila continued to go down even as the cancers were taking their effect. She enjoyed the gossip but often the first question directed at her was, ‘Written any good letters of complaint this weekend?’

But then things began to get worse and everyone could see that. We all did what we could to help and to make her feel better. Someone at the Beatson cut her hair and styled it and it looked brilliant but it also looked as if personal care was their priority but the Beatson NHS staff were brilliant. Brilliant.

Outwith the hospital I/we did things like I got professional cleaners in to her Glasgow flat. The neighbours though that meant she was getting out but it was more a confidence boost for my sister.

It was not without humour. I explained to the two jolly maids (wee clue to the name of the company) that she was in the Beatson and one of them said, ‘That’s nice.’

‘The Beatson?’ I said. ‘Nice?’

‘Oh,’ she said, ‘I thought you said she’s in Ibiza. Sorry.’

She never saw what they had done, but it was well cleaned.

So it’s all over and we move on to the next stage but one last thought after the events of last week.

It would have been nice to phone my big sister after it was all over just to tell her how things had gone. 🙂 🙂 🙂

She would have liked this piece of music. She was a big Celtic Connections fan, as I said earlier, and would go to gigs on her own. It’s Ashokan Farewll by Jay Ungar and stick with it.

It was the period of the service designed for reflection on the life of my sister. Most of you didn’t know her but use the next few minutes for some reflection of your own.

See you next week. Hopefully.

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance (Erma Bombeck)

May 3, 2018

And so dear listener, this week I read The Long Drop by Denise Mina. It’s a fictional account of a strange but true event when a man called William Watt spent an afternoon and evening drinking in the company of a man called Peter Manuel who was later found guilty of murdering the Watt family but not William who happened to be out of the house that night. But what I found fascinating was the insight into a Glasgow that was having difficulty in thinking of changing – when motorways were a doodle on someone’s foolscap pad and when, at times, there was not much to choose between crooks and cops. 😉

And the Daily Record had an amazing character called Pat Roller (say it out loud) who must have been the last man to leave the office as he had to make the final calls round all the police stations for that last story from whoever happened to answer the phone. No press officers then.

All these things happened a long time before I came to university in Glasgow. And stayed. But my family had connections. In the Milton*. And we came down on holiday.

*Maybe, j, that’s where the ‘the’ in the ASDA came from.

Loads of memories;

Possibly, having just attained double figures in years, walking back with my dad through Cowcaddens – a dark and dismal place then – on a Saturday night and buying Sunday’s papers.

And, probably the same age, being on the subway (Glaswegians do not call it the Clockwork Orange) and seeing a young girl of South Asian origin and thinking how beautiful she looked. Where was she from I wondered? She got off at Kelvinbridge.

Ah memories but much more recent was my own (successful) treatment for prostate cancer, so it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I sat down to watch The Cancer Hospital – BBC Scotland’s look at the work of Glasgow’s Beatson Hospital which this week looked at prostate cancer. It was an excellent programme and brought back a lot of memories – most of them good. 😀 😀 😀

As I mentioned on Facebook it is now ten years since I was halfway through my own radiotherapy which was preceded by several months of hormone injections and, yes, as one of the guys said in the programme, it was like the menopause (according to my ex-wife) and I put my current hot flushes and weight gain down to that. ):

But my memories of the actual treatment are still strong; that small sheet which was intended as a modesty cover which we gave up on after two or three days cos, at that point, I couldn’t even raise a smile. And occasionally the radiotheraper had to use a felt pen to highlight the tattoos and as one nurse said, ‘we can’t see the wood for the trees.’ But the trees were zapped out of the way quite quickly and that’s how they’ve stayed. And then the nuclear klaxon would go and the radiotherapers would run out of the room and I’d be left for ten minutes – rigid – to let the machine do its best. It worked. 😀 😀 😀

And then that moment (and I can feel the tears starting now) when, three months after the treatment finished, my son and his kinda step-dad came down with me to the Beatson and met the consultant and I was given the All Clear. 😀 😀 😀

We know that not everyone can be that fortunate but the one thing that everyone (almost) who goes through the cancer experience agrees on is the dedication of the NHS staff who do such a brilliant job. That’s why I get annoyed every time a Health Secretary or Shadow Health Secretary or publicity seeking co*kwomble goes to a hospital looking for a photo-op. I wonder how many lives could be saved if the doctors and nurses could get back on the wards.

Anyway, I cried at some of the stories…..well, all of them..

And finally, Minimum Unit Pricing policy has arrived in Scotland after a long fight against vested interests. It may not be the ‘silver bullet’ which was bandied about this week (I don’t see how increasing the price of Frostie Jack will kill vampires but who knows) but research (for example, University of Sheffield, the Finnish (sp) Government and the World Health Organisation) suggests it will.

What difference would it have made to me? I do know that I was easily getting through a bottle of whisky each day and had started to move to much cheaper brands…….Price does make a difference.

I cried at some of the stories on the news programmes that night. Worthwhile photo-ops I thought

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and trying hard to keep it simple.

Iaint850, been doing a lot of crying this week. It’s what happens when the prostate cancer menopause finally hits you.

Some listeners may remember a few weeks back that I explained that my sister was treating me to a deep clean of my house as an early birthday present. Since I came out of hospital, I’ve maybe not given it the attention it deserves……and I live on my own (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that before) and there has been lack of, how can I put it nicely, ‘temporary visitors’ but fostering a dog has been mentioned.

So (oops) I contacted a company and someone came round at the agreed time and looked my house over. OMG! What an unnerving experience! She was good and professional but,

‘we’ll need to see what we can do.’ and ‘when was the cooker last cleaned?’ and ‘do you want the kitchen cupboards cleaned? I think we should.’….I mean she was very pleasant and they bring their own vacuum cleaner (cos mine’s rubbish) and there will be three of them and then – after she’d gone – I’d another wee look around. Surely it’s not that long since I cleaned the shower cubicle, is it? Skippy?

I’ll get that done tonight.

She also asked if I’d had the place deep cleaned before.

When I was in hospital eleven and a bit years ago, the family and friends who were tidying up parts of my life, arranged for some folk to come in to clean and tidy the house. I’ve never asked why. Maybe it was something to do with my fight with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It took place over the entire house. And I won. 🙂

This is Meghan Linsey’s cover version of the One Republic track – Counting Stars – and it’s brilliant.