Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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

May 29, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then there’s the car-driving thing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then it hit me……well thankfully not literally.

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

If only all foul smells were as easy to eradicate.

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

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

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

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

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

May 22, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just sayin’, that’s all.

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

Moving on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Be Aware (Skippy came up with that one and I think it makes much more sense)

May 15, 2020

And so, dear listener, I am going to attempt to do this without talking about ‘the corona boy’ as Kenny the Shed Pimp refers to him. I suspect, therefore, it will be a lot shorter than usual but I want to avoid some of the things I’ve been talking about in the last few weeks cos I get depressed. 😦

Such as last Sunday when Boris’s speech, and Nicola’s reaction, really plunged me into the valley of despair but, coincidentally, an hour later and totally separately Son Brian sent me some pics of him and KT and the grandkids and I was all smiles again. 🙂 🙂

And, no, these pics don’t get shared on social media. They marked the X box for no publicity.

So let’s start with the carrot and coriander soup. I don’t bake but for many years I have made soup. Carrot and coriander with lentils and a veggie stock. Shouldn’t have been a problem. 😉

All the ingredients from the ASDA fresh that morning, cook them up in a stock pot, let them cool and put it all through a blender. Done that many, many times. But then I noticed some lumps and thought I’ll let it work its way through a sieve.

When attempting to do this, please always make sure that the handle of the sieve is pointing away from you so that, when you bend down and then back up, you do not knock the sieve and spread its contents over the kitchen floor. 😦

Not just over the floor but the top of the cooker and the worktop and into some drawers of crockery and cutlery and so on. Despite wiping it up and washing the floor there and then, the stickiness and the colour remained for some time (like a couple of days) and it may be a wee while before I return to soup making.

But I take solace from the amazingly trouble free process of buying a Partick Thistle season ticket. As regular listeners will be aware going to Firhill a few years ago became part of my recovery from alcohol and stuff but I’ve not been a regular attender for the last couple of seasons but had planned to go back this Spring. Which we’ve just missed.

But one e-mail and one phone call and it’s all settled and it only needs the ticket office to open and it will be sent out to me. Mentioned it on social media and was delighted when the PT chairperson, Jacqui Low, thanked me in person. 😀

An interesting season beckons. Whenever.

And despite the rumours I keep spreading of the editing coming to an end, there’s still a couple of PhDs and a couple of dissertations to finish off and whilst I am getting no new enquiries, some students may have moved on but still remember me and I’m editing stuff they have written for journals.

And I’m doing a lot of reading. Good friend e dropped off some books but it was done in the same quasi-military manner as when her husband c picked up all those newspapers for Holly the dog – a real newshound.

I have a porch. Okay it’s a fiesta that sits on the drive but the porch is handy. It means I can open the front door, the books get dropped off and the reward of some fresh rhubarb gets picked up. All done at an appropriate distance. Not quite the long walks of yore with a cup of coffee in a dog friendly coffee shop but I’m sure that’s not far away in terms of years.

Sorry. 😦

One of the books is called The Assistant and without giving too much away it is about those friendly listening devices we think we command but what if they start giving out the instructions?

Some times books get to me and this one did. Whilst I do not have one of these listening devices because I believe that’s what they do – listen – there are times when technology gets to me. This was one occasion.

I saw things that might not actually have been there. Why, for example, did my computer tell me that I had arranged an update for 1.36 a.m. when I hadn’t? So, yes, I was awake between 1 and 2 that morning to see what happened. Nothing.

And, yes, that’s been all and it’s not a lot but it does mean I need to stay alert……..Aaaaaargh! I’d almost reached the end without alluding to Covid-19 but I do have one question, if I may. If people in England are allowed to play tennis and golf under certain restrictions, why isn’t there this slogan?


Tioraidh 🙂

Iaint850 🙂 I AM NOT MAN

And this week’s piece of music from the cassette collection is by the Robert Cray Band with the very unsexist Nothin’ But a Woman

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

May 8, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m now depressing you. I’m sorry. 😦

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, enjoy Focus and Sylvia.

‘we are not all in the same boat, but we are in the same storm’ (DDN magazine)

May 1, 2020

And so, dear listener, I had heard of Fear of Flying (a book by Erica Jong which wasn’t much about flying) but now I am aware of fear of supermarket shopping. 😦

An STV journalist, Gordon Chree (sp), wrote about it on Twitter last weekend explaining that he was afraid when going into a supermarket because of all the hazards that existed or something like that and a lot of people agreed with him (apart from one person who told him to ‘man up’ which didn’t go down to well with Gordon)

I have already explained my tactics in the local ASDA. I go early in the day, I have a list and I am quite happy to bump into other trollies if they’re going in the wrong direction and, on one occasion this week, into an actual person. I actually don’t have problems with couples provided they stay together in doing the shopping. There was no need for him to run on ahead. 😉

I was talking to Kenny the Shed Pimp earlier in the week at an appropriate distance – as in the other side of the street and it was a bit like playing verbal kerbie. He told me of a visit he had paid to another supermarket and an ‘old woman’ (or similar words) that was walking against the arrows. He pointed that out to her, but she replied, ‘but I’m no going down that way, son.’ There wasn’t much he could say. 😦

And I did break a habit of a lifetime, well the last five weeks, by going in on Tuesday. Supplementary Sunday had not been properly planned and I needed stuff but, as I draft this, I am fine for the rest of the week.

I will continue to supermarket shop for as long as I have to and leave the supermarket delivery to those that need it.

I will be careful and I will show common sense where necessary.

But I am not sure about a mask. I have a slight breathing problem (heart condition related) and I do need to lift the scarf or the mask at regular intervals. We’ll see.

But why tell us now? Could they not have told us on 3rd March when despite being told that between 250,000 and 500,000 people could die of this virus the PM said, “We should all basically just go about our normal daily lives.”

And he returns to work after his own illness and talks of our ‘apparent success’ in beating the virus.

And that night Hibs played Hearts and the players were told not to shake hands before the start but four goals were scored with all that that meant in terms of on and off-field celebrations. We ignored so much at that time and we may be ignoring it now. I have no intention of going to B&Q in the Great Western Road retail park and then going shopping at Sainsbury’s and finishing it off with a takeaway from a fast food outlet which I might eat in the car park. 😦

I will also avoid going down Byres Road to look at that mini-market that’s just opened and was featured on Reporting Scotland. 😦

Right. I didn’t mean the rant but there is an informal unlocking of the lockdown going on and it’s being ignored by the FM and the PM and I’d like to see my grandkids soon but I won’t break the rules, cos, apart from anything else, my daughter-in-law, whose birthday it was this week, is a nurse in Intensive Care and I don’t want to put her or anyone else at risk.

Right. Rant over. Fun break. 😀

Do you know the TV programme Eight out of Ten Cats Prefer Countdown? This is the Carrot in the Box game and its very funny. Parental Guidance obviously.

And finally, in the very few words I’ve left myself, I have decided not go ahead with a kitchen extension. I have now made an attempt to begin freshening up my kitchen. I bought two new baking trays and there must be an easier way of washing off the wee sticky paper things that tell you how to wash off the wee sticky paper things. But it’s a start.

And I’ve just noticed, before I hit the Publish button, that there are pubs selling and delivering pints of lager and other alcohol online. I hope it pours this weekend cos they’re obviously destined for folks’ back gardens as well as their front rooms. Party, anyone?

But here’s something to look forward to. Regular listeners will be aware that each year good friend e and I go to the Kelvingrove Bandstand for one of their summertime gigs. Well the Jesus and Mary Chain gig has been postponed until 13th August next year. Without sounding too morbid there’s something to keep me going but don’t ask what age I’ll be then……..don’t.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges, still keeping it simple and I’m completely fine(ish)

Iaint850, and I’m sure my hairdresser won’t mind too much that I’ve just been snipping at my hair. Any tips Nicola?

So I mentioned last week that the music features for the next few weeks will be based around music I have on the audio cassettes I found in the shed but I found something else. 🙂

It was a cassette entitled ‘extract from Off The Ball’ and it was dated 2001. Now I used to produce OTB and I wondered what it was. One thought was that it might have been one of the two occasions my schoolboy son had gags that he had written that were used and for which he was paid and on only one occasion was I producing and the gag was in on merit. 😀

I was close but it wasn’t a coconut.

It was a midweek edition and Craig Brown, Scotland manager, had just been on and then Stuart went to the next caller on the line and it was a very young Son Brian who had phoned in as a PT fan, to complain about a stewarding issue at some game he’d been at and he sounded so young and so innocent. Of course, I cried.

So, on that note, I had recorded this track by the Small Faces onto a Sony 30 minute cassette probably by holding the cassette recorder’s mic up to the record player’s loudspeaker. This isn’t it. This is a pretty dodgy version, tho’, just to give you an idea.

‘The most powerful drug in the world is kindness. It works for everyone, it’s very hard to get the dose wrong and it’s free at the point of delivery.’ (a GP trainer quoted in Private Eye)

April 24, 2020

And so, dear listener, we didn’t get an exit strategy, but we did get an honest and straightforward appraisal of the possible way ahead from Nicola………..without any mention of hairdressers that I could see. 😉

The girl done good and what pleased me, particularly in an emotional interview on BBC Scotland’s The Nine, was that she talked of family and friends (and grandparents) and the mental health benefits that meeting up, under social distancing restrictions, would have for people.

Nicola has no children, but when she talked about her mum getting to see her (Nicola’s) nieces and nephews, there was an emotional pause.

And Martin Guissler seemed a wee bit emotional as well when talking about grandparents wanting to see grandchildren.

I’d love that as well PLUS I’d love to meet up with some friends in a park or other open space or along the front at Helensburgh, *he said randomly*. Soon time. 🙂

However, I can live without B&Q being open. And Five Guys?

But I am lucky in many ways. For example, I’m still editing. It may be just an hour or it could be four hours each day but it does give me a focus and some self-employed income and it means I don’t feel so guilty when I go into the living room and slouch on the couch before watching Celebrity Antique Hunters go Property Hunting in the Benidorm Countryside.

But it is slowing down and there are very few enquiries at the moment. And those that do come in are greeted by what good friend e calls my ‘Sod Off’ message……..I do get back to some of them. 🙂 but if a natural break happens, then I won’t complain.

And I parted company with a PhD student for whom I’d worked for a couple of years. I mean, I don’t comment on content, so why the hell does his supervisor think it’s okay to suggest changes to layout and the way that he uses quotations that make the thesis look crap. In a situation like that there’s only one winner – the supervisor, even when horribly wrong. 😦

And I’m not taking part in any of these Social Media challenges. I make a right pig’s ear of them. But I did come up with rather a novel idea for one.

Like many people, I have a notepad by the bed and if anything occurs to me during the night, I write it down and go back to sleep. I’d some really strange ones during my alcoholic gap years…….but I’d another strange one this week; did it say ‘online dentist’ or ‘online denim’?

And that gave me an idea. 😀

What about, ‘What are the six strangest things you’ve ever woken up next to?’

And then I wrote my own six down and decided this was not a good idea.

And in the world of getting back to normal, I’ve received a refund of some evening class fees and am waiting for my Aye Write refund and I’m waiting to see what happens to the Jesus and Mary Chain gig at the bandstand but I can’t see it happening and what’s the point of going to a gig if you and your friend have to sit two metres apart and how can the musicians keep that distance as well?

Anyway once the refunds are in I plan to round then up and, on the basis that I’ve already kinda deducted them from my bank balance, send an old fashioned cheque to Prostate Cancer UK.

One refund I’ve knocked back is the one from Partick Thistle who, despite being unfairly relegated, have contacted season ticket holders and said ‘you were due five home games. Do you want your money back?’ and most folk, I think, are just saying NO. 😀

And I’ll be honest. I am very close to doing more and/or longer walks or even driving down to the Botanic Gardens or similar and walk up and down Byres Road….. Tempted am I.

And finally there’s Donald Trump recommending that people inject disinfectant; his VP saying the warm and sunny weather will fix everything; and his fixer Rudy Guiliani (sp) saying we don’t do contact tracing for obesity and cancer. Yes, cos they’re not contagious you thicko!!!!!!!.

Dominic Raab, you are a giant amongst men compared with your American counterparts.

Incidentally, when I worked with the homeless, I was aware of a guy who ‘buzzed gas’. Basically what he did was to spray gas lighter refill fuel directly into the back of his throat to get high. Drinking disinfectant? Just be careful who you suggest it to.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, living in a household of one, with no-one to cut my hair and sagging now and again.

So, here’s the last in my recent series of music that means something to me but this week I’ll just play it. And say nothing.

Next week I start a new series called ‘Bands I’d forgotten about until I found some cassettes in a box at the back of the shed.’

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

April 17, 2020

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

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

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

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

They’re not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These are currently the worst of times.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From @Jaynesharp…….

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

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

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

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

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

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

I still cry. Various reasons.

“We do consider both the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to be essential workers but it’s a bit difficult at the moment for the bunny to perhaps get everywhere.”(the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern)

April 11, 2020

And Jacinda is a Prime Minister who is not only a human being but who seems to know what she’s doing in a country with seemingly only one death from Covid-19 the last time I looked and considering ending lockdown, whereas we have a buffoon of an after-dinner speaker as ours and that’s all I’ll say……….. 😦 😦 😦

(other than I am glad that he and others are getting better with millions of thanks to the NHS and all the others involved in care of one form or another)

And so, dear listener, how are you? Me? I’m fine at the moment. Still keeping myself to myself but not self-isolating.

Y’see, I’m old enough to remember when that was to be applied to people with coronavirus symptoms who had to shut themselves away but it seems to have extended its use to cover the rich and famous (or now infamous like Gordon Ramsey and Prince Charles) who made their run to a second home just before the regulations changed.

I also remember washing my hands and signing Happy Birthday twice (and still do) in the hopes that that would keep the virus away. Not leaving the house that much will hopefully do the same. 😉

And, yes, I am coping okay because I live on my own and I’m used to working from home but, as I said last week, I miss Café 13 in Govan, Café Nero in Sauchiehall Street, The Canal in Paisley (how did that get in there?), Tinderbox in various places and a whole range of dog friendly coffee shops in the West End.

And a quick word about the Chief Medical Officer of Scotland who broke the rules about second houses as was highlighted in a news release by the Chief Constable of Scotland……….and breached her trust with the First Minister at the same time.

All of which made me think about my sister whose birthday it was last week. The CMO explained that she and her family were ‘checking’ their second home which was why they had to stay over. When I ‘checked’ my late sister’s house in Garelochead on a regular basis, I (sometimes on my own and sometimes I was driven cos nobody seemed to trust my driving) drove down early on a Saturday morning allowing for an hour, and then five minutes or fifty (depending on many wasps were still alive) to ‘check’ it and another hour to head back up the road………

And as I write this I expect the lockdown to be confirmed for at least another three weeks on Tuesday……..

So I’ve made a decision (almost) which might seem a very material decision but I see it as a testament to me and a positive view about the rest of my life. 😀 😀

As some of you know it took a wee while for my share of my sister’s legacy to reach me, for legal reasons, (but yet how simple life seemed last year) and I’ve spoken about extending the kitchen out the back and out the side. However, here we are in the middle of a pandemic and not only has not a single dish been washed in this connection but I’ve postponed the architect who would have made his first visit this coming Monday. No visitors here but I almost had one recently and more of that later.

My mind is veering towards losing the extension idea and putting together a whole range of projects which sees each room refurbished, especially the kitchen, including replacing incredibly old MFI furniture which is literally bursting at the seams with books and academic journals – none of which will require planning permission or even detailed plans – but will see me with my nose in an old Argos catalogue for some time. 😉

I feel it gives me a focus over the next few months and whilst there is still some editing to do (PhDs to finish and existing customers but few enquiries) and some SDF stuff, I feel a wee bit happier about doing things that way. I am starting a book of lists.

Any thoughts?

And my thanks to Son Brian, Kenny the Shed Pimp and good friend e who have made their thoughts known in a range of ways – by phone, in the middle of the street but at a suitable distance and by e-mail………..I’ll keep everyone posted.

And this needs no introduction

And then there was the almost visitor.

Some of you will know that Holly the Dog had several puppies a few weeks and they have all gone to new homes. As you will be aware, puppies poo and pee a lot and I had been in the habit of keeping newspapers for her and her owners.
(Please don’t make the obvious comment about peeing and pooing on newspapers. You are much better than that.)

But we were entering lockdown and I do not want people to make unnecessary journeys. C, however, is a key worker and it was arranged that he would detour via me after work. Two minutes extra on his journey home. Military precision.

The newspapers were in M&S carrier bags which had been sprayed beforehand (anti-bac and nothing doggy); I also anti-bac the front door handle and letter box; the front door was left open and the bag was left leaning against it and two freezer bags were left for him as gloves.

I hid behind the settee and spoke to him after he had zoomed up the driveway (in his car), rolled out in a way not seen since Bodie and Doyle in The Professionals and grabbed the ‘gloves’ and the bag, and we had a quick conversation before he was out into the night again.

And I do hope the puppies are all enjoying their new homes albeit in very strange circumstances. 😀

And finally, I enjoy reading about all these people discovering that the local corner shop is a mixture of an artisan baker with an amazing range of locally grown vegetables; my Lifestyle Express in the centre of the original scheme has a well stocked basic range of goods including every flavour of Pot Noodle known to man (and every other gender) – and a welcoming smile. 😀 😀

My hair has another two weeks to go before I start snipping bits of it but there is some kind of grooming set on order from the rainforestriverpeople and there’s also another two weeks before I need to think about repeat prescriptions; the ASDA down the road has got a good queueing and one way system and I’ve stopped using cash (and do you say spring onions or sybies?); I think I’m now Skyped up and I may be in touch soon with people but if you’d like to contact me (again) on Zoom or through Team Mates or whatever it’s called that’d be good; and I’ve just finished a disappointing John le Carre – the Argos catalogue is much more fun. 😉

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

Iaint850 missing the real human contact but I think we all are.

So let’s continue my choosing music just cos it means something to me.

My late dad was a great Glen Miller and Vera Lynn fan but in the last few years of his life he took a liking to a singer whom he described as the ‘big fella’. The minister of the church in Kelvindale who took charge at the cremation does not know how close he came to hearing this as my dad’s coffin hit the flames.

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

April 3, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**or orange juice if you prefer.

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

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

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

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

Tioraidh, keeping it simple

Iant850, keeping it fun and keeping it at homw

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

Take care and stay safe.

“If people did not love one another, I really don’t see what use there would be in having any spring.” ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

March 28, 2020

And so dear listener, I must confess to some cheating even in these difficult times. I am leaving the house twice a day for good long walks. I justify one of them by combining it with some hunting and foraging down the Lifestyle Express in the middle of the scheme where I buy newspapers and any foodstuffs or other shopping that I need for that day.

Later, in the day, say about 1700, I will go out for another walk, possibly in the graveyard across the road. That’s where the dogwalkers go but there’s room enough to avoid them if necessary. 🙂

However, all over Summerston the streets are quiet. Many people travel by car or by train but even the world famous 61 bus (Eric the Floodstalker’s favourite) is empty when I see it, although I suspect it picks up passengers once it gets past the ASDA. Summerston is the terminus for one or two buses and that’s showing at the moment.

But, yes, I’m reasonably well stocked at the moment and that’s not a boast. It’s the result of harsh health reality in recent years. Two years ago, I had a ‘mild to moderate’ heart attack and one of the brilliant things my son did was to keep an eye on the contents of the fridge and sell by dates 🙂 something I’ve been doing a lot recently.

When I came out of hospital the cupboard was bare and my sister very kindly took me for a large supermarket shopping. A few weeks later came the Beast from the East and that brought home to me how important it was to have a full larder and freezer – if possible. Maybe it’s a freelance thing.

And then last year, my sister was ill with the cancer and passed away. Again I’d allowed things to run down on the food front and this time it was good friend e who took me supermarket shopping. She is amazingly good at packing supermarket bags. 🙂

But I do know this is not possible for everyone. People with families, folk who are self-isolating and folk with limited incomes, amongst others, will be struggling. I am in conversation with some folk…….

I’m also up to date with medication and my hair has still a long way to go before I’d be getting it cut anyway. I’m also still editing which gives me a focus and a student with whom I am working on her PhD and who lives in America tells me she has had a negative Covid-19 test. She works in social care.

And my thoughts are with my former colleagues who work in supported accommodation for the homeless, and a member of my family who is a nurse in Intensive Care, and someone I know who is a volunteer with a telephone helpline, and so many others and I look forward to us all meeting again.

I have spoken to my grandchildren via videophone and an SDF colleague who sent me a link to Microsoft Teams and I will have another go at either Skype or Zoom but I am open to any suggestion if people want to contact me.

So, I have read and re-read the words above a few times now and I do hope that I don’t come across as smug. It’s a realistic appraisal of where I stand just now. I would ask people to read them in the context of everything I have written over the years. Like many people I am scared about the future, but I do believe there is one and am looking forward to enjoying it.

I do realise how fortunate I am at the moment.

I would also like to say that I paid my first visit (in several days) to my local supermarket and things were looking reasonably good. There was a five-in and five-out queuing system; the shelves were well enough stacked; and the staff were fantastic – as always. There is a long way to go but that is at least a positive sign.

I shall now stop for a moment before moving on. There’s a couple of light bulbs need replacing in the kitchen.

Right, with Steve Earle on Spotify in the background, there is something else I want to talk about.

I think that BBC Scotland and other broadcast organisations are playing a blinder at the moment, but I have one question. What the hell have they done to BBC’s The Great British Menu?

It used to be a nice wee competition cookery programme leading the successful chefs towards a major banquet at somewhere prestigious to celebrate a significant but meaningful anniversary e.g. the anniversary of the founding of the National Health Service, but it has lost its direction hopelessly. 😦

There are too many chef contestants and they have to come up with too many dishes. What the hell is a pre-dessert dessert? And the food takes second place to the fancy decoration that it is served in.

And it does not need a presenter, particularly one who feels she is part of the show. This is not a dig at Sue Calman and I know she has fans who listen to this blog (Ann and maybe others) but in previous series, the food spoke for itself and was aided and abetted by a voice over.

But the biggest crime of all? The anniversary is to help them to give a theme to their cooking. It’s tenuous enough that it’s ‘writing for children’ based on ‘It’s almost (sic) two hundred years since Oliver Twist was written.’

Dear listener, according to Google Oliver Twist was published in 1837!!!!!!!!

That is 183 years ago!!!!!!!!

Thank heavens for Masterchef where one day someone may cook scallops or try a chocolate fondant (LOL) Just a thought.

So I said last week that I’d just play some music that meant something to me. This was a first date in my first time at university with someone called Moira C. I was a wee bit nervous and we were meeting at Queen Margaret Union as she was a board member there. This was already one of my favest songs and as I turned the corner to QMU, this was what I heard being played and I knew things would be okay. And they were. 🙂

And this is what my hair will look like in six weeks time.