Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can succeed at (Hawking)

March 16, 2018

And so dear listener, as I open the mics for this week’s show, the clouds are gathering and the weather forecasters are not giving us good news. I just want something reasonably settled and warm but really hate the way some of them break the news to us. The more unsettled the weather, the happier they seem to be in explaining it to us.

But I have other things to talk about – the biggest of which is that the ‘s’ key on my keyboard ha given up so that any time s occurs it’s there courtesy of copy’n’paste. The laptop is not happy. Is it time for a new one down by the bank of the Mi i ipee near the American city of Ma achu ette ? 😦


But has just lent me an old USB keyboard and I’m off and running. And they dell laptops. Sorry. ‘sell laptops’…….

Actually, I’m working off two keyboards at the moment and feel like I’m auditioning for Kraftwerk…….. 😉

Incidentally, much of today’s show is dedicated to great comedians (as in a male joke teller as opposed to a comedienne which is etc……..why is it equality and diversity mean the need for fewer descriptive words?)

So I never thought I’d ever be able to use this.

Ken Dodd died the other day.

Did he?

No. Doddy.

But there are some genuine gags from the great man himself later in the show. 😀

It’s just that Ken Dodd and also the late Jim Bowen had a greater influence on me than ever Stephen Hawking did. I understood what “Stay out of the black and into the red, nothing in this game for two in a bed.” meant but to this day I have no idea what a black hole is.

But Stephen had a sense of humour. I like the story of him when he’d been recording a big filmed interview with a big film crew and the electrician went round unplugging things and suddenly there was a massive scream and sigh and slump from Stephen and a look of panic on the face of everyone. ’What the hell has the electrician unplugged?’ …… which point the distinguished physicist did his equivalent of ‘Fooled You!!!’ and got a round of applause. 🙂

‘I have kleptomania but when it gets bad I take something for it’ (Dodd)

So, a wee and possible final word about my health. I’m fine. The biggest fright was in the four or five days leading up to the 999 phone call when I felt really bad. Once I was in NHS hands I felt safe. It has revealed a minor heart problem. It doesn’t stop me getting out and about but the weather does. I need the fresh air. It does for me what the morphine did. And caffeine. And I’m about to shop for non-dairy ingredients.

I seem to be capable of doing what I did before this scare. Just a wee bit more aware of my chest and capable of giving many people a good run for their money – well a power walk for their pennies and tuppeny bits. 🙂

And thank to those folk who have commented on how much they enjoyed my (thankfully) short Facebook series during the bad weather – Tales from the Cul-de-sac.

‘How many men does it take to change a toilet roll? Nobody knows. It’s never been done before’ (Dodd)

And finally, in a moment of seriousness, I have decided that in the short term I need to get more out of and friend Tricia has helped with some Facebook Business Group stuff and there’s still time to get flyers up before the busy part of March happens. There has been a university workers’ strike at some of the unies I go to with flyers (N.B. not just lecturers but workers and I don’t cross picket lines) and I’m trying to combine meeting up with some people at some of the others – and Embra is a contender.

Let’s see how much the new equipment costs.

‘I just read a book about Stockholm Syndrome – it started off badly but by the end I really liked it’ (Dodd)

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, and the new haircut is in keeping with the new approach to life.

Eight years ago, I, along with Nick Low of Demus Productions, produced a radio documentary (presented by John Ross Beattie) which was about Prostate Cancer, describing it as ‘the silent killer’ as men wouldn’t talk about it.

Obvs I got a lot of men (six?) and two wives and a consultant and a nurse to talk about it otherwise it would have been a lot of silence. Nowadays you can’t open a newspaper without someone talking about it. Which is good.

I’m not going to get involved in some of the discussions about PSA testing (yes regularly it’s a good idea – but not on its own) but there is something that Bill Turnbull said that I’d like to pick up on. He said that he had pains and urological issues but put these down to old age.

Never, ever put anything down to old age or for other cancers, ‘it’s just women’s problems’ and please be aware of cancer symptoms and whatever your age, go and talk to the doctor about them if you’re worried.

And what did Ken Dodd have in common with Charles de Gaulle’s wife? Happiness. On the basis that no-one will understand the context, here’s the Black Holes Song by Jam Campus.


You can cut all the flowers but you cannot stop Spring from coming (Pablo Neruda)

March 9, 2018

And so dear listener, what did you do when the Polar Vortex became the Beast from the East? Me? I cooried in and relied on neighbours to keep me supplied with bread and milk. As a consequence I still have a giant two litres of milk which is best before 23rd March. 🙂

My own back-up plan for when things went bad was a pack of six petit pains – y’know, you splash water over them and shove them in the oven and they come put piping hot and you just slice them open and put some form of spread in them and then just let it all drip down your lips and, and (What, Skippy, I’m not reading anything into what I’ve just written) 😉

Anyway, you also become quite inspirational in a Ready, Steady, Cook kinda way. My favourite was a couple of leerdammer slices in an omelette. Very pleasant.

My own situation?

Well I was supposed to meet up with a heart ‘temporary suspension of normal service’ consultant last week (and thanks to friend Carrie for the description – much better, if slightly longer than ‘failure’) but it was postponed for various weather related-issues and will be re-scheduled. In a way that’s reassuring. 🙂

In the four or five days before I made my own 999 call I had chest pains, breathlessness, giddiness and all that kinda stuff and then as soon as I popped the four aspirin that the call handler told me to, and the three shots of morphine that were jagged into me at the Royal, I began to settle. 😀

It’s high blood pressure and a leaky aortic valve; it’ll be medication and observation. I’ll be fine. I’ve had a shock and it’s time (yet again) to take stock. I have a spray which is to be used if I have pains or breathlessness and if it doesn’t work after a couple of uses then I phone 999. (I should maybe tell people and take it with me)

I’ll pick up on the walking again (and there is snow still lying in my cul-de-sac) and there’s nothing left to give up on the food and drink front. I know people who drink alcohol who tell me I should drink de-caffinated coffee.


The pescatarianism has taken a wee bit of a knock. Apart from anything else you need fish – something lacking in the shops near me at the best of times – and I do appreciate NHS food and chose fish when it was available but I’ve been down the baked potato route as the regular vegetarian option before. 🙂

So my treat to myself on my first shopping after the hospital, and outwith Summerston, saw me buy scallops. And I bought a vegan cook book recently. I plan to do some vegan cooking but not as a lifelong commitment but as a way of varying my diet. But in the way that I once didn’t realise that soy sauce contained glutens, I didn’t realise how much of my diet currently involves dairy products. Maybe, now the snow’s done, I should go to a vegan fair and see what’s on offer. 😀

And finally, and I’m going to treat this as an early birthday present from my sister, I’m going to indulge myself in the warmer weather. I’m currently hoovering the grit off the living room floor, the kitchen floor is caked in dirt but I’ll move it and why are there so many mushrooms on the patio table?

I’m going to make enquiries and engage a firm of cleaners for a one-off deep clean of the house. Any recommendations? And I stress it’s a one-off and it’s a birthday pressie.

Cya, still wearing that badge and still intending to continue to keep it simple.

Iaint850, looking for that list of revolutions for 2018 that I did at the start of the year.

And, so, two things made me laugh in Morrison’s Car Park on Tuesday morning.

The first came from friend Nessa, who was part of that amazing Post Grad Alcohol Studies group that made me the man I am today and whose honorary members include e, j, Dr W and Debs……and probably Carrie as well.

Nessa, you need to get out more (lol)

She was saying that every time she watches Taggart on STV 2, whenever she gets to the football episode set in Maryhill and Taggart (Mark McManus) says the immortal words, ‘There’s a murder every second Saturday at Firhill’, she thinks of me.

I’ve not been for some time but that is incentive to go back.

But the biggest laugh of the last few days came on the George Bowie Breakfast Show when a woman (from Falkirk) posed the question that Nicola Sturgeon (and other politicians) has never dared ask; ‘See when the weather’s bad, instead of stocking up on bread and milk, why don’t we stock up on Pot Noodles? After all, they just need hot water and last for ages.’

You can’t argue with that, can you?

So in tribute to George’s amazing show, we all know that Bits & Pieces is an official Scotland anthem. I dance to it all the time when sober. Therefore, I dance to it all the time. Like this.

A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water. (Reiner)

March 1, 2018

And so dear listener, I was going to write about this being the tenth anniversary of me starting my radiotherapy and how it worked for me, and prostate cancer. But I’ve calmed down a wee bit since I heard Stephen Fry say this;

‘One (option) was for radiotherapy but that was a really long and difficult process. I mean it’s fine for some people but there are a number of issues with it for me.’

And he did not explain what those issues were. 😦

Jeffery Archer, Michael Parkinson and friend and media academic Ken Garner did explain their reasons this week for not choosing radiotherapy and that’s cool. The trust in your consultant was also important for me. And radiotherapy does take a long time but I was only 52/53 and had plans for my prostate. 🙂

I chose to go NHS (and met a brilliant bunch of men and women) and I chose radiotherapy; Stephen chose a different route and a different treatment.

And incidentally, Stephen, the word is ‘penis’ – not ‘todger’. I had to look that up.

Best wishes, Stephen, and I hope it all goes well for you. And I take great hope from the fact that you married someone thirty years younger than you. Well, I’m not so sure about the marriage bit but other than that, thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

Naw, there are much more interesting people to write about – people who contribute much more to society. 😀

Selfishly, for example, how would the ambulance and paramedics have got to me the other early morning in the conditions we’ve had this week? I suspect they would have managed. 🙂

And my neighbour across the road who is a home help has just walked down the road to join the Cordia cars (an arm’s length organisation from the council who provide peripatetic social care) to see what they can do to help despite the bad weather.

And Carol who works in an old folks home who seems to have just stayed there and continued to look after the folk in her care. 🙂 As did many people in health and social care or who worked in a different project from usual but closer to home.

I used to park my car at the bottom of the hill so at least I could get in. And there was one lovely winter’s morning when I finally got away at 4.30 but the taxi I got couldn’t take me up the hill but it was such a lovely walk – just me and the foxes and the street lamps reflecting in the snow. 😀

And I realised just how bad the weather was on Wednesday when I went out to the blue bin and couldn’t get back to the house. Seriously. I turned round to go to the door and the blizzarding snow hit me full frontal and I could not see through my glasses and I started to bump into other bins amidst snow that was several feet deep cos that was how deep the wind had blown it. I have four. All different colours. 🙂

It was blue bin day on Thursday but none of my neighbours bothered – so I didn’t. The snow in the cul-de-sac was really deep. The wind has nowhere to blow the snow so it’s just piled up.

And I did have an important meeting on Thursday which I had to cancel (well a good friend I hadn’t seen for some time) but I knew it wasn’t going to happen when, on Tuesday afternoon, Scotrail told me they were cancelling Summerston trains on Wednesday and Thursday.

And I think this is where Facebook and other social media have come into their own. I saw people with 4 x 4s offering to help people if they needed to go to hospital; people whose gardens (somehow) backed on to the M80 telling people to come in for cups of tea and pizza; and of course telling the world to tell homeless people where to go for shelter but homeless people – whether they’re in B & Bs which kick them out at nine in the morning, or supported accommodation which doesn’t, or hostels which are dry and safe away from nosey social workers wanting to do good (lol), or rough sleeping – are here all year round.

And finally, a tribute to all those people at Groupon who, no matter what the weather or the time of day, stick to their task of advising me of all their offers.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, dangerously close to running out of chocolate – where is that ice cream van?

On Friday all the folk in the cul-de-sac where I live got out and started clearing the snow from the actual street and I did join them but wasn’t allowed to do any work. However, I now have a wee path from my front door to the road. So I decided to make use of the path in the afternoon and go for a wee walk with my neighbour and her wee dog who disappeared in the snow.

We had barely made it into the next street when we realised that there was a lot of slithering going on as cars tried to cope with going up and down a treacherous hill. Again I wasn’t allowed to help with pushing (I feel a fraud) but looked after the wee dog.

Later that afternoon a woman in a red anorak, who I do not know, delivered milk, bread, cold meat, soup and home made cakes. The message? ‘Mary told me to get them’ and she did the same for across the road……..What Can I say?

So here’s a wee joke to cheer you up and I’m giving credit to friend Rosie for it.

A weasel walks into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, ‘In all my years of tending bars, I’ve never, ever served a weasel. What can I get you to drink?’

‘Pop’, goes the weasel.

And just to mark how bad the weather was this week, here’s the Beach Boys with White Out

What? Seriously? Well, it’s too late now.

Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person (anon I think)

February 22, 2018

And so dear listener, I now know what the Tyre Pressure light looks like on my car’s dashboard. And what it does.

And it stays on despite switching the car on and off four times. 😦

It tells me that I have a screw impaled in the tyre on the driver’s side and I ain’t going anywhere. 😦

I phoned the AA (Automobile Association) and they came out and asked if I had a spare tyre and I said no I had a kit (cos new cars don’t have spare tyres) and we just looked at each other and it was a Sunday morning and so he drove me down to a well-known tyre and exhaust centre in Anniesland and they were very good (and you didn’t expect me to say that, did you?).

Now it may have helped that I was their first customer on a Sunday morning and I told them exactly what I wanted and I did not leave the place until it was all done and it only took twenty minutes and it was a wee bit more expensive that I’d like to have paid at the moment but, hey, it’s done. 🙂

And I remained calm and sanguine for the whole morning which I think was good. And that was one of the most pleasing aspects of the whole incident. And went home and ate oat cakes and humous. 😀

But I am quite calm about the whole heart assault affair. I’ve now been to my GP and discussed various aspects of it all and now have an amazing list of repeat prescriptions BUT can I stress it is a very boring list and there are no benzos or opiates amongst them? And the only legal psychoactive drug I take is caffeinated coffee. The other legal psychoactive drugs are alcohol and tobacco and amyl nitrate poppers. It was the Queen who decided. Except she didn’t actually mention amyl nitrate poppers in that particular Queen’s Speech. But they are legal.

And I did see pictures of former Rangers player Nacho Novo who had bad heart attacks and now wears a defibrillator vest in case his heart stops and it can start again. I have a spray which I should maybe explain to people. And start carrying with me.

But I’ve started flyering again for the business side of my life and it’s been good cos I’m making it part of my walking regime and Glasgow is dead hilly. As in the Adam Smith Building is up a hill but I did do Glasgow Caledonian University and it’s not but thought I’d save Strathclyde for another day. But there are two UWSs to do and a lot more of Glasgow University and maybe one day, I’ll daytrip Embra. Anybody want to come with me?

Maybe after the lecturers’ strike when students might see them?

And finally, I have been and gone and went into the Royal Concert Hall and bought some tickets for Aye Write but I’m not going to say for whom – as in who I am going to go and see.

However, if you have recommended someone to me in any way at all and you attend the event, I intend to sit behind you. You have been warned. 😉

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and wondering if I am still keeping it simple

Iaint850, and all is subject to the weather as I have no idea what the next day forecasts are these days as the weather forecasters are too busy competing with each other to predict what’s happening next week.

So (and that’s a great broadcasting word), as I’ve already explained, I’m making attempts to get out more but in the meantime I’m watching more TV in the evenings than I normally would and I have to pay full credit to some real TV last Monday.

BBC’s Reporting Scotland led the way with an interview with Neil Lennon who recalled playing for Crewe alongside some of those who had been abused by Barry Bennell and a caravan at the bottom of someone’s garden which seemed to mean more now than it did at the time. Neil had been Andy Woodward’s best man at Andy’s first wedding.

Channel 4’s Despatches put an experienced mental health worker into a private medical facility used by the NHS as they just don’t have enough beds. She lasted just six days; I found it hard to last more than six minutes cos of the screams from the patients as they reacted to their treatment from staff. But I did.

On the other side tho’…..when I worked in social care, if I pressed my alarm button I was not looking for a colleague to come to my aid, but a goodly number of police officers. And they did.

A horrific programme.

And then there was one of these police reality programmes which had been well trailed so it came as no real surprise when the blackmailer turned out to be one of the policemen on the case but the surprise was that the cameras kept rolling. None of the police people objected.

Fascinating TV and a sign of the issues that are out there that are being faced by people who keep saying to each other, ‘I couldn’t do your job.’ But they do their own. And I wouldn’t.

So tonight’s choice of music is for anyone out there in social or health care who had hoped for a quick handover to the next shift but then all hell broke loose or someone’s life was at risk and you’d to stay on and help keep your colleagues safe.

It’s Black Lace and it’s the Christmas night out (or maybe there’s another reason);

I’m sorry. This was up next. The Zombie night at M & Ds! What a pelvic thrust she had!!!!!!!! No. I still don’t know what happened. But you’ll be up dancing! I know I will be! And it was also how Saturday nights finished at Clydebank Football Club Social Club upstairs in the Hampden Lounge

Love is not as important as good health. You cannot be in love if you’re not healthy. You can’t appreciate it. (Bryan Cranston)

February 15, 2018

And so dear listener, this week I started driving.

Well, tbh, I’ve actually been driving for many years altho’ I did fail my test three times when I was seventeen.

No, with the heart scare, I’ve erred on the side of caution and waited the legal four weeks I needed to wait if indeed I did have a heart attack. Plus I think I did need some time to prepare myself for such a journey and I did so by a couple of sneaky wee journeys around Summerston. I adjusted mirrors and seating and stuff like that and I took pleasure in the fact that it had a full tank which it must have had since the beginning of January. And it may be a few days before I try night driving.

I was ready. I did think about driving to Paisley which I think was where I travelled to on my most recent trip outside Glasgow – to Storie Street for coffee to be exact, but instead I decided to travel to the far and distant land called Bearsden (or G61 as some of us know it and I live in G23 and Postcodes are important).

It has an ASDA (G61) which is absolutely nothing like my ASDA (G23) but it also has arrogant white-haired old men who drive cars across the zebra crossings as I try to cross them and then park in Parents’ and Childrens’ bays and when I shout wa*ker at them (guess the missing letter) and give them the finger they pretend to ignore me or look for a possible other victim.

I will never be white haired or ignorant or old. Maybe it comes with perceived material success. I will never have material success but at least I have my health. Well, to a certain extent……. 😉

There is just such a wider range of goods available to shoppers in ASDA G61 as opposed to ASDA G23 and I think if I had access to that range of fresh(ish) fish, recent doubts about pescetarianism would soon disappear.

Don’t get me wrong. I have family and friends who live in Bearsden and I have a lot of time for them and at one point I was a Beaver Leader for the 183rd Scout Group and stuff like that but maybe recent experiences of hospitals have reintroduced a compare and contrast of so many things into my life – but it’s not the buildings that are important – it’s the people who work in them. 🙂

And finally, the latest sitrep on my health is as follows;

Physically much better and pushing himself helps; mentally the driving went well and the house is tidy-ish which makes him feel better; and mentally he realises how lucky he is compared with so many other people. Still tires towards the end of the day but getting better.

Will now be making contact with many people but not sure yet about a return to Firhill as yet. Plans to spend one afternoon standing at an open back door from 2.30 to 3.45, drink some weak coffee, and then return to that position from 4.00 to 4.45 and will make up his mind then. 😉

And my social life does show signs of improving. At the beginning of March I have a couple of workshops scheduled to attend with the Scottish Drugs Forum on alcohol and drugs awareness (it’s how I relax) and my first outpatient attendance with a ‘generic cardiac heart failure consultant'(gulp!!!!!!) at Yorkhill; and at the beginning of April I return to the Royal for an ECG for which I will ‘be given a gown and asked to undress from the waist up’; and, most important of all, in a few weeks’ time my grandson will celebrate his first birthday and I will be there.

That’s why I keep going.

Oh, and also looking at Aye Write. Any suggestions?

One person I might go and see is a man called David Donnison. In 1979 (tbc) his book The Politics of Poverty was turned into a four part documentary series for BBC 2 UK and I was the series researcher – but I was very young. I wonder whatever became of me?

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and hoping it’s simple for others

Iaint850, happy to kneecap anyone who ever accuses me of growing old.

So, yes, I occasionally buy the Scottish Daily Mail. After all, if I didn’t, how would I know whether or not I disagree with their views on various things?

So, yes, I did on Tuesday this week. Coincidentally (?) their health section carried a Q & A session on leaky heart valves. I seem to have one and obviously I wanted a right wing fascist view of what that means. Much of it discussed the monitoring of such things (and I’m waiting to hear for even more detail of my own observation) but I was grateful to read this;

‘Surgery to replace or repair a valve is a major operation, so is only appropriate when the condition is severe.’

It was also quite reassuring about pain and breathlessness……..Tory bastards!!!!!!!

The other reason is that friend and former colleague Siobhan Synnot has a very entertaining column on a Tuesday. I don’t have enough words left to explain why, but this is a brilliant suggestion for a new national anthem. My only complaint is that Scotdisc didn’t have enough money to actually show us the pipers walking across the screen.

“I attribute my success to this; I never gave nor took any excuse.” —Florence Nightingale

February 10, 2018

And so, dear listener, I’m still not sure what happened in the first four or five weeks of 2018 but before I go any further can I just say mega thanks to all those who passed on best wishes throughout that period and also said nice things about last week’s blog. It’s produced on the basis that the majority of those who read it can be classed as friends and I’m sharing my news with you. 😀

It gives me a certain amount of freedom in what I say. Maybe one day I’ll have the courage to discuss teacake advertising…….or what is known as ‘period poverty’ amongst homeless women.

Anyway, those nice people from Cardiac Rehabilitation have been in touch and I do not need to make use of their services. I have still to receive the definitive letter from the heart consultants telling me what happened but after the various tests in the Jubilee there was no sense of urgency and I was told I’d be discussed at a conference/meeting, so the decision comes as no surprise. 🙂

But I don’t usually suffer from two nights of chest pains, breathlessness and giddiness before phoning 999 and getting paramedics who patch me through to the Jubilee who say ‘take him to the coronary unit in the Royal………’ and so on. (see last week’s blog for the story)

Instead my very high blood pressure and leaky aortic valve can be managed by medication, my GP and occasional observation.:)

I’m also, until I hear otherwise, sticking closely, and ironically, to the instructions I received from Cardiac Rehab and cannot legally drive for another few days yet, doing exercise and taking all my medications.

And I’m also sticking very closely to the clichéd and stereotyped script. If it was ‘only’ a scare, as far as I’m concerned it was a real seismic shock and I’m reviewing much of my life (writing things down on an A4 pad as I drink a decaff coffee).

Anyway, moving on……..

But before I do, can I say thanks to Rosie from doon the watter (who is skilled in these matters) for asking appropriate medical questions, to Sandra from Bearsden (who is skilled in these matters) for coming over and cutting my hair and to a couple of people who wanted me to edit their (PhD) work and, on being told I was in hospital, said ‘we are willing to wait if that helps.’ 😀

Oh, and to Kenny the Shed Pimp who came to visit, brought HobNobs and ate them. And to my mentor Craig W, what do you think of my imaginal realm so far?

And as I said last week, immense admiration for the nurses and auxiliaries who have to cope with things in the middle of the night that you never see in Holby City or Casualty. I don’t watch these programmes these days (not since the episode that opened with a chip pan looking rather over full) but do large sample bottles feature in them?

But some things will never go away. You get medication at certain times and it’s basically one nurse with a set of keys altho’ there’s two when it’s something interesting like morphine. I had several shots and did not become addicted altho’ by the end of my stay in both hospitals I had become addicted to toast. 😦

I was like a little boy at times when it was my turn for pills. I was sooooo proud of the fact that, after my first two days, I was able to sleep for most of the night without using my sleeping pill. It was still in that small shot glass in which it had been dispensed at 9.30 pm……. 😀

And my delight when I didn’t have to wear the mobile tracking device and could have a shower and wear t-shirts and denims.

And finally, I think it’s delightful how there is always a new generation who have never heard some of the classic jokes that I’ve told for years. What’s that Skippy? Give you an example?

So, there I was at the recent European Athletics’ Championships when I went up to this very athletic looking gentleman and said, ‘are you a pole vaulter?’

To which he replied, ‘No I am actually a Czech but how did you know my name was Walter?’

And can I, before anyone complains, apologise for any distress caused to people, mostly Eastern Europeans, who may feel that I am poking fun at their inability to pronounce Ws not as W but as Vs, but I used to live in a society where people knew when to smile. It was a much nicer place.

tioraidh, still wearing that badge and keeping it simple for all sorts of reasons.

iaint850 unindependent on no-one.

So, I have made a good start to my latest recovery and am doing a lot of walking and did some social stuff as well on Friday. Would it come as any surprise if I tell you me and my friend had two coffees, a chocolate brownie and a chocolate tiffin? We shared them and had a half of each each. That makes it a balanced diet. In Finnieston.

And the only reason for playing this next piece of music is that I caught it on Chris Country Radio the other night and have always loved it.

‘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)

Butterflies cannot see their wings. But the rest of the world can. (Meghan Markle)

January 12, 2018

And so dear listener I have succumbed. No. Not to alcohol (but I will confess, Rosie and Ann, to some meat when someone came to my house to eat) but to the throat lurgy I had previously mentioned. At one point it was merely annoying and not too intrusive.

For example, I had a very enjoyable cup of coffee and a very enjoyable conversation in a café at the top of Storie Street in Paisley last week – once I’d found it – and there’s a guy I know who lives outside of Glasgow who, when he comes in, likes to pack a lot in. So I meet him for breakfast. Last Saturday it was the famous North Star café in Queen Margaret Drive. With avocado. I had the scrambled eggs.

But then, on Monday morning, I felt ill. I had planned to make the start to 2018 that I’d promised by going flyering to GCal and Strathclyde and I’d two SVQ related meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was all I could do to find the switch on button on the DAB radio.

(It’s actually the middle of three but I did find myself counting down until I was sure that there were still three buttons and went back up one and pressed it. I was right.)

The weather forecast was not great so I postponed the start of 2018 (just for myself – not you) and put some clothes on and walked down to the ASDA. That was fine. Walking back up was hell. My throat kept drying on me and I felt the need to keep walking up the hill on the basis that if I stopped I’d be frozen solid. In Summerston. 😦

So I cancelled some stuff and on Tuesday I went to the doctor. He’s a friend and we chatted about various things and then, ‘What is it today, jt?’ and when I replied, ‘It’s the throat’, he said, ‘Not again?’ But it was. 😦

It was red and raw. And he prescribed antibiotics (and not as I told some people – amphetamines) and I’ve never had them before and I know that Maryhill Health Centre is very careful about what they prescribe. 🙂

Aye, despite all my problems in recent years I’ve never had antibiotics. It’s not something I’ve come across before and it occurs to me that I know more about what were called, until recently, legal highs. I had proper blue Valium in the immediate days after Cold Turkey and I’d sleeping pills at one point but they were too effective so I stopped and we don’t count anything I may, or may not, have taken over eleven years ago – but never antibiotics.

OMG! They’re powerful! I had two on the Tuesday night and the TV stopped working! Strange messages came up on the screen about my TIVO box and calling 150 but I made the mistake of using my remote control as my phone and that seemed to make matters worse.

A site on Facebook told me I was not the only one so I listened to the radio through the computer (as opposed to through the TV) and read and then OMG! (again!) I heard people downstairs discussing Korea. Had the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse returned? (Well three cos one of them is still stuck in the jersey I was wearing the night of Cold Turkey). Bravely, I went downstairs with my fingers in the sign of a cross (No. I don’t know why) and the TV had come back to life. It was a news programme. I went to bed and had nightmares – one of which included Tony Blair. 😦

Wednesday, we’ll ignore cos the antibiotics worked their way through my system and I don’t want to talk about it (but that explains the smell of nag champa in the bathroom) and I cancelled more stuff. Still getting strange dreams.

Thursday, signs were slightly better but it’s only recently that I have realised how cold my house is, cos I’m spending much more time here at the moment than was ever intended and I’m not well. I also keep wanting to sleep but feel I should keep all that for night-time. I have also realised that I am hungry but with little appetite.

And finally, on Friday, I did what any sensible person living on their own would do; I used Google and Facebook to find out if how I felt was usual with antibiotics. It is. It is like living with the hangover from hell for five days 😦 Is there no end to this suffering?

And then my bowel cancer testing kit arrived!!!!!! 😦

And I was going to say a few things about cancer this week but one health thing at a time I always say.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and, to whom it may concern, quite happy keeping it simple.

Iaint850, glad I took j’s advice about getting the flu jab or else I’d be in one helluva mess.

And so I couldn’t help but notice that the new Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock, is a big fan of Ed Sheeran’s Galway Girl. Now, Ed, as we know, knows a good tune when he hears one (and that’s all I’ll say for very good legal reasons) but is an incredibly inoffensive person. Indeed, I suspect Matt is a big fan of Michael McIntyre as well and his appointment does not bode well for broadcasting in the UK (many of his other powers are devolved)

Steve Earle, on the other hand, has been married seven times, including twice to the same woman and is a recovering cocaine and heroin user. What he thinks of Michael McIntyre is unknown but this is Steve’s Galway Girl

and cos one Steve Earle track is never enough here’s Copperhead Road AND wait for the tempo change!!!!

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.


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.

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.

Leaves fall. Snow melts. Everything ends to begin again (The Vampire Slayer)

December 29, 2017

And so dear listener, it’s that time of year again when we look for the Blog Personality of the Year and remember, it’s your votes that count. I mean that most sincerely. I really do. 😉

Well, to be honest, it’s Skippy who’s been counting your votes. I’ve been slightly under the weather with a throat lurgy that I’ve managed to keep under control with the help of lots of ice cream. It is no better; it is no worse.

But it wasn’t as bad as the throat virus of 2017 which saw me off work for four weeks (when I still worked for Blue Triangle) and indeed whilst 2017 was not the worst of years it was close (2007 was pretty shitty particularly if you add the last four weeks of 2006). I am reasonably optimistic about 2018.

But some of 2017 must play a part in this year’s ceremony.

For example, about three years ago, I introduced a Musical Track of the Year category (and maybe I should introduce a Book of the Year – Diary of a Bookseller) and previous winners have included Walk the Moon’s ‘Come on and Dance’ and Jamie T’s ‘Zombie’. In mid-July I announced that I’d resigned from the BT job with nowhere to go and I did so by playing the brilliant The Story (much of which seemed so appropriate at the time) and was received as such by many people. 😀 😀 😀

But there are two versions; one by Brandi Carlile and one by my Twitter friend Dolly Parton – but which should I play at the end? The lines are still open for you to decide.

And there is only one Team of the Year. A runaway victory for those who still work at Blue Triangle that I know and not just Caroline and Debbie with whom I converse from time to time but I did get a lovely message on Christmas Day from a former Project Manager. 🙂

Maybe one day I’ll talk more about what was involved in being a project worker but the Service User looking for a knife for his pineapple still makes me smile. I keep up to date with former service users either by meeting them begging in town or through the Court Circulars in the Digger.

BT Project Workers? Simply the best. 😀 😀

So I hope you did well at Christmastime for pressies and stuff. I did well for books from my ex-wife and from good friend e but I should stress that that had no influence on the voting that gave the Lifelong Achievement Award to Holly the Dog. Holly and I didn’t get off to the greatest of starts but that changed on the couple of early occasions I took Holly for walks on my own. I sent e a selfie of me and Holly but given the lighting and the similarity in hair styles it was impossible to say which was which. Oh how Holly and I laffed! 🙂

And so to the Personality Awards. Skippy, it’s time for the Fanfare of Strumpets!

In Third place is a weekend in Oban. The Saturday saw a beautiful sunny day and a brilliant walk along Ganavan Sands; the Sunday it poured and I spent the day in a museum called War and Peace and then a brilliant hot chocolate in a chocolate shop next to it. It was more or less where and when I decided to resign and final thinking took place a few days later after a very pleasant day in Barshaw Park, Paisley. It was only then I realised that the anxiety and depression of the previous year had never really lifted. It has now.

And whilst some things have not worked out quite as I’d hoped, something will turn up (Micawber)

Second place is tied in with that. It was the night of what was to be my last ever shift altho’ I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t work in the best of clothes; I know I smelt but for a number of reasons including the one where well trained police people would look for my spliff; and I was eating chips BUT I was still recognised by a former girlfriend of xx years ago.

Jan, you boosted my ego at a time when it was definitely needed. Thank you. 🙂

And finally, this year the Award goes to something that had nothing to do with resignations.

It was that moment in May when I was fortunate enough to see a bee entering the small bee backpackers’ hostel that sits on a fence in my garden. The hostel itself badly needs more protection against the elements (j) but that bee was the best moment of last year and thanks very much for voting for it. The photo brought a lot of smiles to a lot of faces. 😀

So, a mixed year. I do have plans for something called Project Getting Out a Lot More and if you’ve already been approached, then please do not read anything into it that’s not there. I am working on it. It’s about…….but you’ve guessed, haven’t you?

Y’see, as I’ve explained to others, 2017 lacked a zombie moment for me. I must say Yes more often

So before I say the usual pay off line, can I just say the votes are in and it’s Brandi’s version that has gained the most votes.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (but of course) and still keeping it simple.