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But when you’re in zugzwang, one possible strategy is just not to make a move. But, in the end, the game has to end. (One view of where we are with Brexit negotiations)

September 19, 2019

And so, dear listener, last week’s show reflected a Government minister’s unwillingness (cowardice?) to voice his own views so did it in a slimey and snidey way. This week is totally in my voice and all the feelings are mine but I am going to speak about a lot of other folk but mostly in a nice way……. 😀

Let’s start with Son Brian who has been a tremendous help in so many ways in recent months and who has recently set up my new PC altho’ I have not yet made a full transition from the old one (this one) to the new one as I’m trying to stay a wee bit away from computer screens after all the editing and writing I’ve been doing recently.

Anyway Happy Birthday Son Brian (and RJ as well)……. 😀

(and can I be a wee bit editorially geekish here and say there’s an amazing range of templates on Word 365…….I spent an afternoon going through them). 😀

So I’m going to talk about people like Rod Stewart, and I’ll finish with a wee story about him later, but I don’t share the view that it’s ‘good’ when a celeb tells their story about their cancer*. I just think it’s great when anyone tells that story. Sharing is brilliant and if you’re telling that story it’s cos you survived that experience. But well done Rod……..and d’you remember that time when….but later…… 😉

(And a personal hero on the Prostate Cancer front was a guy called Roy Stewart who, despite being seriously ill, was an amazing man to do Information Stands with. ‘Back off Roy, let them get in through the door first’ (lol))

*and I instinctively used third person plural pronouns, Sam, because we already do in certain circumstances.

But this week it doesn’t have to be a health thing.

Last week the European Ladies Golf team (under the captainship of Scot, Catriona Matthew, who played a major part in my PR career many years ago) beat the Americans with the final putt on the final hole in the final match of the Solheim Cup. It was sunk by Suzann Petterson who had hardly played in the last two years, was something like 630rd in the World and was a personal pick by Catriona……… 😀

Everyone was a heroine (deliberate use of female of hero) in the team but to be have been written off and then to have written her own chapter in sporting history was amazing….wasn’t it?

And Fernando Ricksen? A hero. Not my favourite as a player altho’ I’ve no real views about Old Firm players but in recent years, he played a blinder spreading the word about MND. And his wife and the rest of his family. There’s an amazing shot of Fernando on his super dooper wheelchair going into some event and his wife leans over and adjusts his head so it’s up and looking forward and looking cool and commanding and not slumped…… 😀

And Gareth Thomas…… Now, I’m not 100 per cent sure why he spoke when he did. The documentary was more or less recorded and about to be broadcast and he was going to talk about being HIV in that and that was one of the reasons why he had done the Ironman Triathlon challenge to show that being HIV did not mean being a wimp….he just hadn’t told his parents and then had to go public because it was about to become public.

I though Gareth came out of it with grace and courage and it may make more people think about overcoming stigma. Well done….. 😀

And I was asked recently…….’wouldn’t it mean more to people if you described yourself as a recovered alcoholic….give more people hope of recovery?’

Seven years ago, I set myself a target of just being someone who ‘doesn’t drink’…….I think I’ve been pretty open about the reasons why I don’t drink and am more than happy to discuss those reasons but it’ll soon be thirteen years so I’m quite happy with the way I’ve done it.

Plus I think there are still too many connotations and stigma that still surround the word ‘alcoholic’. Lapsing is not inevitable.

And I did see one journo on TV saying that David Cameron’s depression wasn’t clinical because he had never taken anti-depressants. Nor have I but that doesn’t mean that my moments of anxiety and depression aren’t real.

And a new GP that I discussed this with last week shared my views. She was good…..’but there was a letter from your urologist in 2014 that said such and such but you never tried it……..I think we should give it a go…….peppermint ot aniseed?’ 😉

#copingmechanisms

And finally a wee word about the furore (eh?) surrounding some Head of a Fire Brigade (Lincolnshire?) who thought that Fireman Sam being white and male put people off. So I wonder if he (of course it’s a he) has ever seen Flora the Firefighter who is a real person and this should be standard viewing everywhere.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07cdm4x

tioraidh, still wearing the badges (with pride) and still keeping it simple but I may send a birthday card

iaint850 who’s nobody’s hero but is happy waking up every morning.

And many years ago, at the age of 12 or so I was allowed into the adult, let’s call it the grown up, section of Peterhead Library cos I’d read all the kiddies’ books; and I seemed to be heavily into World War II books. I picked out one about Arnhem (seventy-five years ago) and happened to go into the newsagent that my dad used and the man behind the counter asked to see it and he looked at it, especially the photos.

‘Why?’ I asked my dad later.

‘Because he was at Arnhem and he survived but he doesn’t talk a lot about it.’

That night I stopped reading books by generals as I realised who the real heroes were. Many of mine over the last few days are listed above.

The Rod Stewart (and rainforestriverman) story can wait until next week.

Here’s Chumbwamba and their famous appearance on TV in the states and a song that is appropriate for so many people in today’s blog. If I’ve missed anyone out, for once, let me know.

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“That’s how the first lady got involved. She’s got a son, together, that is a beautiful young man and she feels very, very strongly about it. She’s seen it. We’re both reading it, a lot of people are reading it. But people are dying with vaping so we’re looking at it very, very closely.” (Donald Trump and I think the ‘she’ is his wife and the ‘young man’ is their son)

September 13, 2019

And so dear listener, many people are asking – I’m not saying this – but many people are asking how my toes are after last week’s bloody interlude and I’m just saying what they’re saying.…..and so, I’m just saying what people are saying in the style of snidey and cowardly Government minister, Kwasi Kwarteng*, who didn’t have the guts to actually say what he felt………(I can’t remember what about tho’…….Brexit?)

One Sunday newspaper described him as having ‘slimed into action.’

And then I saw his boss, Boris Johnson, being heckled and you realised that he, and they, can’t handle criticism. They have lived such privileged existences that they don’t understand what it’s like to be challenged. 😀

And I learned the art of handling hecklers when I debated at Glasgow University Union, where if someone heckled me, I’d say something like ‘If brains were taxed then my honourable friend is due a rebate.’ 😀 😀 😀

It was often said that I was a master debater.

Sorry. Where was I?

Oh, yes.

I was going to use that style of ‘some people say’ to talk a little about gender transition but not about people but about penguins and Fireman Sam and someone else but Piers Morgan and TV chef, James Martin, and someone else all got involved and it became a bit of a slanging match on social media and then my washing machine began to behave erratically and a cheque for £702 came in from my new solicitor but before I add two and two together and buy a new machine I will contact AS Electrics at Charing Cross and they will tell me if my very old washing machine is dead. 😦

And then I breathed out (see last week for details of my breathing) and reached for a pack of Thorntons Triple Chocolate Caramel Shortcake Bites available from the ASDA for 99p and ate three.

(They’re quite sickly, aren’t they?)

And all I’ll say is that I don’t think penguins give a toss about gender identity as long as they get plenty of fish and I love it when they jump feet first into the Antarctic and I was told that, during the Falklands War, never having seen helicopters before, as they flew overhead, the penguins would lean further and further back and land on their backs long before David Jason did it in Only Fools And Horses. 🙂

I also think Fireman Sam, Postman Pat and Colin the Coastguard (an idea I had from long ago that never made it out of my head into a programme proposal and only works if you say it out loud…….go on. Try it.) are all animated characters from some time back but should be used not be used as part of an argument in which they cannot take part but as props for conversation….discussing situations……….I think we’re in danger of rushing into so much cos we’re scared of being seen to be non-caring without thinking what we’re caring about.

#stopthedeaths

I’m also a wee bit tired. There’s been a lot of editing – which is good. It’s been a difficult few months with various moments of anxiety and depression but it has helped to have those words on the screen and I enjoy it and I feel I make a difference (and I do get thanked as well as paid).

And I do understand if people don’t want to meet up with me. Don’t be pressured but don’t be pressured not to…….(eh?);)

However the 100,000 word PhD on the social issues caused by a major dam project in China as seen by a Chinese accountant was quite a challenge but my work, so far, has been well received by the author and I think any time anyone says to me,

‘Still doing the editing, iaint850? What is it? Just checking spelling and apostrophes?’

I will happily send them the original work and the finished work after two readings.

(And a big thanks to my business associate who helped with some of the editing and whose daughter, RJ, turned seven last week and Son Brian turned thirty-three. Nick Cage at the Tramway, here we come!)

Sorry, Skippy……???

Nick Cave at the Tramway here we come!!!!!

And finally, I’d like to pay credit to the Queen in this era of climatic concern, who seems to never stop planting trees and who also seems to have a wee woman’s smile on her face. I’d much rather have a wee chat with her than many of those I gloss over on social media. 🙂

Tioraidh, and I’ve lost one of the badges but I am still keeping it simple

Iaint850, and, now that I am no longer totally pescatarian, I often spend my nights binging on wine gums after a hard day’s editing.

So, there’s quite a lot on all forms of media just now about the number of drug related deaths and that something should be done but not all of them are saying what they want to see done. The SDF Conference I was at a couple of weeks ago had a number of people who had lived experience and positive contributions to make on the basis of that. I’m in the middle of writing up the Conference Report and will post a link to it eventually.

One was the high profile Garth Mullins from Canada who describes himself as a drug user activist who used to use injectable heroin but is now on methadone. He is the executive producer of the Crackdown podcast where drug users cover the drug war as war correspondents.

The other was Fiona Gilbertson who has twenty-five years of advocacy experience in HIV and sex work and who believes that the fundamental way to tackle stigma and discrimination is through policy changes. Fiona works with an organisation called Recovering Justice and is in long terms abstinence based recovery.

It was like being at a meeting in the early days of the trade union movement. The talk was of getting organised. And if there’s a common link to the eight hundred words above it’s an attempt to recognise my own rights and those that other people have. Take care.

I’m no longer a member of the NUJ but the last time I was in their offices in Union Street someone was singing this. They were good, but they weren’t no Bruce Springsteen, who’s just about to turn seventy.

Great crisis produce great men and great deeds of courage. John F Kennedy

September 6, 2019

And so dear listener, this week’s show starts with a warning for the faint hearted. It involves lots of blood and me cutting my toe-nails………which, without going into too much detail, involves sharp scissors and an old towel which gets put into the washing machine immediately afterwards – on a very long cycle.

I think it’s also worth saying that one question I tend to get asked in connection with my heart condition is ‘how breathless do you get?’ and the answer is ‘not very’ cos I can do most physical exercise without any problem – unless it’s bending down a lot, like to get a book from a lower shelf or cleaning the oven (and one of those is hypothetical)…….or cutting toe-nails and the left foot was fine but I overstretched as it were for the right foot and felt the scissors and saw the blood and breathed out……….but didn’t panic. 🙂

Now those of you who live on their own (like I do and I don’t if you know that) will already be aware of potential problems. The elastoplasts (and other plasters are available but not at that time of night) are at the other side of the bathroom. It’s not that big a bathroom but even the two steps it takes to reach that cabinet sees deep red blood dripping all over the floor.

And then you’ve got to get them out of the packets without tearing them in half (and why do I have luminous coloured plasters?) and then I’m not sure which toes are bleeding. I get them round two toes but there’s still blood. 😦

At this point, dear listener, I’d like you to take your socks off, stand up, stand on your left foot and look at the sole of your right foot and work out how closely you can see all of your toes. I put a third plaster, opened with my mouth (cos’ I was using one hand to balance myself on the edge of the sink) and to put it over the edge of some toes.

I breathed out (the breathlessness thing is getting to me at this point) and I hopped through to the bedroom and got some socks (and I don’t know why I felt the need to get clean socks) and put them on. I paused.

I breathed in. There was blood all over the bathroom but nothing seemed to be seeping into the sock. I got a mop and mopped up most of the blood (and I got the rest the next day) and settled down. Later I slept….zzzzzz

The next morning I took my left sock off and had a shower with my right socked foot sticking out of the shower. I was in a hurry. I changed my socks but left the plasters on.

That night, I filled a basin with cold water and tea tree oil and took my socks off, plunged my feet in and then took the plasters off. There was little dried blood on them. There was none on my toes. I dried my feet and put a long socks washing on. I had survived. 🙂

I breathed both in and out.

And finally, with what few words I have left myself, I was in Paisley on Tuesday. I had a good meeting with my new lawyers and progress is being made.

I then went to the university where I was meeting a drink’n’drugs lecturer for a chat…..and then it hit me as I walked into the refurbished café area under the library stairs. It was now eight years since I, and several others, had arrived for our inductions into the post grad drink’n’drugs class. Some were slightly older than fresh faced students and had only just graduated; some were like me, returning after many, many years away from higher education.

You’ll know their initials. C, S, E, F, J, J and A are some names that leap to mind but I didn’t speak to that many people as I filled out forms and got my photo taken for my ID card and then I took the train home – having realised that I was committed to a year’s study, which became two years and almost became six.

I paused for breath; something dear listener I still do today and am delighted to be able, still, to do that. We tend to take breathing for granted. 😀

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges and still keeping it simple – even from a distance

Iaint850, I keep thinking the editing season is about to finish but it doesn’t*. I have spread some of the workload elsewhere in the boardroom.

*having said that……… 😦

And as some of you know, I am not the tekkiest of people and am very reliant on Son Brian for his help and so I dropped my new laptop off at his house (he’s busy young (!) man) so that he could instal stuff and get it working and then I’d get it home and all I’d have to do would be to wi-fi it and remember my passwords or get new ones.

Obviously I took the precaution of deleting my browser history.

I got a message from him.

Was I given any detail when (cos it was mail order) of a code or similar for the new Microsoft Office?

No, I said. He had everything.

Five minutes later I received a reply. He had found the code on my Amazon account.

I will let that sink in, dear listener. My son has access to my Amazon name and password. It’s his birthday next week. Will he resist the temptation?

I keep breathing in and out.

A couple of folk said last week how delighted they were to hear Dolly Parton. This is one of Dolly’s most famous songs and there is no truth in the rumour that this was a message that was left on Jolene’s voice mail. 😉

This is Melissa Etheridge but, first, let Dolly set the scene.

Don’t forget you’re human. It’s okay to have a meltdown. Just don’t live there. Cry it out. Then re-focus on where you’re heading.

August 30, 2019

And so dear listener, apologies for the lack of a blog last week.

As some of you know there have been hiccups with regard to the settlement of my sister’s estate. I can’t say much as, by its very nature, it’s a legal process, so I can’t say much. But I have changed lawyers and I have known my previous lawyer since university days (the first time) so some decisions have been hard.

I have a new lawyer and I think we’ve found the tunnel but I’m still not sure whether that what we’re seeing is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel or the light of an oncoming train.

But I’m happier and what I refer to as moments of anxiety and depression are beginning to recede but they are real and usually the coping mechanisms that I talk about help but no amount of going for a walk can sell a house you thought was already sold altho’ it hasn’t not been sold.

But I did have to clear away a lot of dead wasps from my sister’s house last weekend AND altho’ she’s dead I don’t think I’m unusual in still thinking about her and what she would make of the various happenings.

But I did mention some of this to another friend from my first time at university and therefore of that generation. His advice was to ‘wake up and smell the flowers’. It’s funny. I’ve done suicide intervention training on two occasions, and used it successfully twice, when working for Blue Triangle.

It wasn’t easy and it might have been so much easier had I been able to say to them ‘Wake up and smell the flowers!’ No, I didn’t get thanks and I had loads of paperwork to do after it.

And then I got a message on social media from someone from whom I had not heard for years but who does seem to follow me and this show somewhere.

Here’s one quote; ‘I have to admire that you can pull out the positives and I wish I was more like that.’

So, dear listener, which of the messages had the more positive effect? Or need I ask? Thank you Chris. 🙂 🙂 🙂

And finally, it’s been a bit of a one-subject blog but there have been good things this week. It’s my grand-daughter’s fifth birthday this week and I did get her a proper card as opposed to the one that said ‘Sorry, I forgot your birthday’ that I started the week with, I was at a smashing conference organised by the Scottish Drugs Forum (#stopthedeaths), it’s been a wee while since I’d eaten at the Hanoi Bike Shop so thoroughly enjoyed eating there again , I’m slowly working my way through a 100,000 word edit and I’ve been shown the actual bin where I can drop off used coffee capsules for re-cycling.

But maybe more of that next week,

Tioraidh, and an Oxfam collector in Buchanan Street recognised the Prostate Cancer Awareness badge and let me past, and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, and what I do do is take a wee walk in the garden when it’s dark but I do have lights so it’s very pleasant and very relaxing,

Last week, when the blog didn’t happen, I had planned a political ending.

I was, either, going to have a go (as I have done before) at Iain Duncan Smith whose think tank has proposed setting the date for your pension at 75, or Harry, Meghan and Sir Reg Dwight.

IDS is the idiot who approached Alcoholics Anonymous in 2011 or 2102 and suggested that convicted drunk drivers should be compelled to attend AA meetings. What he didn’t realise was that AA meetings are voluntary and the word ‘Anonymous’ means you don’t have to give your name and so there is no record of attendance. What an idiot!

As is Sir Reg Dwight who felt that paying for H & M’s private jet AFTER the event (and I’m saying nothing about the ecological impact) would stop the criticism of them taking a freebie rather than a commercial flight.

Have you ever been on the Glasgow to Edinburgh train (on quieter times than last weekend) and decided to chance your luck in First Class but you only have a normal off-peak return and the conductor comes in and you offer to pay the difference but he says ‘no’ and he chucks you off at Linlithgow saying, ‘try it on the next train’ (a friend, honest, and a long time ago).

Where’s Sir Reg when you need him?

So, in the real world, I note that there are concerns that children no longer have invisible friends but they have friends they ‘make’ through computers.

Skippy’s doing fine thank you. She’s travelling the world at the moment and sends postcards from time to time – invisible postcards of course. She seems happy and I’ll pass on your best wishes.

Skippy is/was a coping mechanism but you’d guessed that a long time ago, didn’t you?

Maybe so are you, dear listener, and I thank you for listening.

So, in the latest in the well received series of good looking women in country music, here’s Dolly, Lind and EmmyLou……..

My father said I always enjoyed the alphabet spaghetti he fed me, but I realise now he was just putting words in my mouth.

August 16, 2019

And so, dear listener, this may well be another short show. The editing is still pretty hectic but it is about to slow down and I was down at the Scottish Drugs Forum for two days this week.

But first, looking back at last week’s blog, a couple of you did notice that it ain’t always easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, between me and the students for whom I edit. 🙂

Of the two that I fell out with last week, one did apologise and I finished what I’d started but I heard nothing from the other. That’s fine.

And I’d a wee problem with another student this week. If you tell me that you’re going to send it at a particular time and don’t then I am well within my rights to mail you and to ask when I’m getting it.

And if you fail to reply to that, then stuff that for a game of sodgers, I may have turned down work in order to do yours and you have already cost me money, so my next mail is the one that says, ‘I hope you have good luck, at this late stage, in finding a new proof reader’. It’s all part of growing up, isn’t it? 😦

I mean it’s not as if I meet them …well very rarely…well I did this week. I did some editing for the SDF and realised, as I walked in on Wednesday morning, that the people whose work I’d edited were, in fact, reading my suggestions – and smiling….but that didn’t stop my face going bright red. 😀

They seemed happy. They’re a nice bunch.

I was actually in helping with some interviews for a job and I’ll maybe say some more in a few weeks’ time when decisions have been made and folk have been told and feedback given.

But I took it really seriously; I wore black denims and a shirt cos I felt it gave me a sense of gravitas……….but I then realise that I have to be careful what shirts I wear as one or two of them seem to have shrunk………I’ve spoken about the fact I need to lose weight before and I think I need to be ‘fat-shamed’ rather than to be told I carry it well. 😦

That does not help……But I promise I will never ever do the thing where I buy Ben Sherman shirts and wear them outside my jeans or whatever I happen to be wearing……..

But, yeah, the interviews went well and a big well done to my fellow volunteers and the worker who kept us all to time.

And I was given yet another variation on my real name……..I was called JoJo 🙂

And finally a slight ethical dilemma with my neighbours.

We are all reasonably good at taking in parcels for each other. So, on Friday morning I took in a parcel for Number 4. (I don’t think it’s giving away too much to say that I am number 3 and have
two massive rotweillers that never leave the house)

On Friday afternoon I heard voices outside and saw that Number 4 had gone to Number 6 and had retrieved a package from 6. Ah, I thought, 4 will come to me, 3, next but they didn’t.

So how long do I wait before I take their parcel over to Number 4 cos it looks a wee bit heavy and I don’t see why I should do heavy carrying? Any suggestions?

And, now, some very domestic catch up.

e and c’s house is now very warm; my grand-daughter is now at primary school; and I am looking ahead to daytime evening classes for next academic session, but I’m not sure what. 😀

And I have a new laptop and I am waiting for Son Brian to come over and to help me get it up and working. At the moment. for the editing, I can use my old one but the new one has features, well Windows Ten and all that kinda stuff……….and a female voice, that when I switched it on just to see flashing lights, startd to tell me what to do. It’s not Siri or Alexis and she does seem very helpful but it struck me I may have to switch some passwords so that she doesn’t hear them and if my son can do the installation downstairs I can do the new passwords where, what i thought was the old one, doesn’t seem to work……..and then dash downsatirs and do all the asterixes…..It’s a plan 🙂

And isn’t it nice to see people you worked with doing well. Lousie Pirie was a researcher I woeked with a wee while back who is now working as a documentary producer/director and has a documentary on Monday night on STV called From Syria to Scotland, which I feel will be well worth watching. WEll I certainly will.

And finally, signs, maybe, of a change in direction, finally, in the settlement of my sister’s estate but a long way to go……….but the depression’s lifting.

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

Iaint850, still not too sure of what’s happening but can’t help but feel I’ve missed the best of the Summer.

Last week I highlighted the good looking and very talented High Women but, before them, there were the good looking and talented Dixie Chicks who, in 2003, put their careers on the line by criticising George W Bush and America’s involvement in the war in Iraq.

This was possibly the first time I’d heard of them and also the amazing Steve Earle. It was said they’d never work again but they did.

The next year I walked out of the BBC newsroom and never went back apart from the prostate cancer stuff I later did.

This/these are the Dixie Chicks and Travelin’ Soldier.

A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside. Denis Waitley

August 10, 2019

And so, dear listener, this is probably going to be a short blog. In one way it’s been a very busy week but, then again, it’s not been a very exciting week.

And it’s been a wee bit depressing. All I’ll say on that front is that I’ve changed lawyers with regard to the settlement and I’ll leave it at that. Who knows who reads this? Sometimes between 120 and 150 people but more often seventy to eighty, so I’ll say no more publicly. But I could have done without this happening. 😦

Let’s do good stuff. 😀

After a month’s break from the Scottish Drugs Forum I was back for a course on Multiple Risks including the in-vogue ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and I have some slight reservations BUT I am no longer a frontline worker so it was really good to take part in a course which, from my point of view, was learning for the sake of learning and it may help with some of the writing I do for SDF.

And I’ve been doing some editing for them which is pretty unnerving. Normally it’s all done by email and I never see the students. This time I will be meeting my clients ‘face – face’ and it’s really nerve wracking. There’s a lot less sarcasm and irony……..

Incidentally I have been asked if, as a ‘proof-reader’, I allow the word ‘multiple’. Yes, but my interpretation of it is ‘many and varied’. It should not a synonym just for ‘many’.

But, aye, learning without having to do anything too much about it. My aim is for some form of non-vocational course this year….not social care or drink’n’drugs or the homeless and nothing that sees my fellow students writing essays and galloping ahead like Psychology of a couple of years ago which was also part of an access course for university.

The couple of Glasgow Uny short courses I did recently were good but I’d be happy with homework but not essays. The Glasgow Uny short course and night classes brochure had landed and I’ll look out for Strathclyde’s as well. I’m not sure GCU and UWS (Paisley) do too much in this area.

Last week’s walk using the Clyde, the Molendinar and St Enoch’s as the three boundaries was really good. Townhead was really a surprise. I’m not sure when I was last in the middle of it like that.

Son Brian, for various reasons, sent me a link to the inside of an empty Townhead Primary to let me see the renovations there. I may return. If we ever get good weather again.

And it wasn’t the weather that kept me away from Firhill – the other night. There’s still a wee bit of anxiety there but, also, I do have a lot of editing to do. This is a surprisingly busy time with various business schools offering Masters and I also had a meeting with a student at Glasgow Uny and it looks like I’ll be reading her PhD in September. 😀

My busyness also comes as a surprise to students who approach me asking if I can read 12,000 words beginning tomorrow and giving it back in three days’ time. Eh, no, but I do find it difficult to say No, which is why there’s an Out of Office on my email but I did refuse to do work for two students – one of whom I had done some work for before and he(?) sent me a screengrab from his phone which was the feedback from his tutor and had also attached it to the mail saying I(!) had to avoid English erroors and the other person was new but had set out to impress the tutor with big words but had ignored the fact that he had repeated three sentences in the first three pages.

Please take it seriously and re-read your work before you send it to me and I can make such a difference (AND I am not your flunkey!)

I pointed out my unhappiness with both of these and I have yet to hear back.

Yes, it’s an income. Yes, it satisfies my academic interest. But, yes, it does give me a good feeling to know that students appreciate what I do and when they come back. At the moment, that’s a big help. 😀

And finally while we’re on the subject of education, a big well done to good friend e on her latest qualification……..maybe more later.

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges and still keeping it simple and short

Iaint850, the smile’s coming back

And here’s another track from the Highwomen who I think are really good looking as well as talented and I don’t care who knows it.

“I like geography best, he said, because your mountains and rivers know the secret. Pay no attention to boundaries.” ― Brian Andreas

August 2, 2019

And so dear listener, for the first time in some time, I am not starting with a sitrep on my health (‘sitrep’ being short for situation report). Instead I start with tales of a walk through the streets of Glasgow but as a guided and informative walk. It was like being a tourist as we strolled through Townhead and the fabulous St Andrew’s Square and followed the source of the Molendinar and looked at where the legendary Schipka Pass once existed. 🙂

It was a guided tour and one of the three short courses I was attending looking at, basically, old Glasgow. This one was based on the fact that, at one stage, Glasgow was bounded by the Clyde, the Molendinar and the St Enoch Burn. And good it was too. 😀

Although sometimes I have a big mouth, don’t I?

We started off on the Clyde Walkway with our guide identifying some of the buildings before we moved on.

‘And that was the Waterside Club where they used to hold ceildihs and stuff like that,’ he said.

‘Em, it was called the Riverside Club,’ my voice said.

‘And there was a discotheque over there, one of the first in Glasgow…..’

‘Yes. Panama Jax,’ my voice said……..at which point I shut my voice up and moved slightly to the back.

But it was good and introduced me to bits of the city that I’d either not seen for a long time or had faded from my memory but I think what I’ll remember most is that feeling of walking through the Calton, as a group, with a couple of guys grabbing a fly fag outside a boozer doing that real lookout thing of watching you without moving their eyes.

‘It’s okay, we weren’t interested in your dodgy tobacco, we were more concerned that we all got across the road at the green man. We did.’

I’m missing the one next Saturday. It’s a visit to a couple of Glasgow graveyards to discuss grave robbing. I have no idea who practical it will be. I have something else on. Unusually.

So it’s been a week when my unhappiness with people who I expect to do a job, but they don’t, has been showing. Maybe more of this soon but full credit to someone who did do a job and did it well and did it when he said he would.

My next door neighbour and I now have a new fence between us. The old one was badly needing replaced and someone who does a lot of work in the area was highly recommended. So we contracted him. And he turned up on time. And someone came and took away the old fence as soon as it was brought down. And a new one was up by the end of the day. 😀

But he had a quirk. At about lunchtime I opened the back door to them and showed them where the coffee and tea and cups and so on were. At the end of the day I went down to say thanks. Only for him to say,

‘Listen, but I hope you don’t mind but I like to put honey in my tea and when I saw all your cooking oils and herbs and spices I said to myself, there’s someone who’s bound to have honey and I’d a wee look and I found some. So I hope you don’t mind.’

Well I didn’t but I did wait until he was away before I went and looked at the use-by date. May 2019’s not too bad is it? 😦

Incidentally, after various stops and starts, and a tutorial from Son Brian, I can finally work the Tassimo Coffee Maker. As soon as you see the yellow light come on, you hit it……..so, if you’re passing……..

And finally, by the time you read this we’ll (probably) know whether or not Scotland has won its first ever Eurovision title…..and it’s a choir called Alba.

Of course the lovely Joy Dunlop is involved. It was she who spent six months of her life trying to teach me incredibly elementary Gaelic but that was when the Anxiety and Depression was kicking in and my brain was staying in the kitchen even when I’d left to put the TV on in the front room.

My favest memory of that time was when, in the news section that we did at the start of the class, I stuck my hand up and shouted ‘me, miss, please me, miss’ and read out my carefully constructed news that I now had a grandson to go with my grand-daughter. 😀

The only time I topped that was when the birth of Son Brian was announced on BBC Radio Scotland by Jimmy Mack and all of Scotland knew that me and my then wife had a son and heir…….

And quickly back to Joy who has assembled, with considerable help, a choir to sing, in Gaelic, at the Eurovision Choir Contest on Saturday………I’m sure the blessed Nicola will send them best wishes and will take great pride in announcing how well they’ve done….I’m sure. 😉

(NEWS JUST IN)…….unfortunately they didn’t make it to the final three which was a shame as it was a different song AND it had a dancer….. 😦

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, who’s never turbo-charged anything in his life and had no idea what Tory ministers are talking about.

And I was going to talk about style guides and how badly Boris Johnson and Donald Trump wear suits or how there has been no government of any note in the United Kingdom, Scotland or Northen Ireland since 2016 BUT instead here’s a quick mention of a report from NHS Scotland which shows that Minimum Unit Pricing has been implemented effectively although there has been ‘anecdotal’ evidence that people are driving south of the border to buy booze ‘ – ‘anecdotal’

Listen if you are spending all that time and money on petrol then may I suggest that you have a possible problem. Keep a diary of how much and when you drink and why (maybe the social situation?

Be honest with it and then sit down with someone you trust and ask how it looks.

So some of the most popular music I’ve played recently was by the Highwaymen. Well, there’s a new supergroup in town and they call themselves the Highwomen. Say both Highwaymen and Highwomen a couple of times one word after the other and then you will understand the nice play on the sound of word.

This is Redesigning Women by the Highwomen

‘Methadone, for example, is associated with many deaths but we know that when closely monitored and prescribed, methadone works and people who are on it have a longer life expectancy.’ (Prof Roy Robertson in the Sunday Mail, 21st July 2019)

July 27, 2019

‘Robertson witnessed the explosion in heroin abuse during the early eighties from the clinic in Edinburgh’s Muirhouse where he still works.’

And so, dear listener, hopefully, this will be the last health update for a while but I was at the very pleasant and very sunny Stobhill Hospital the other day. I’d forgotten that my heart consultant, Dr J, had arranged to meet me something like a year previously, to discuss matters pertaining to my heart. 🙂

I say I’d forgotten but luckily those nice people at @nhsscotland hadn’t and I’d been sent a text to remind me. 🙂

It went well. It is now about a year and a half since I’d had the heart scare and I’m glad to say that over that period, thanks to careful monitoring of medication, my blood pressure is slowly coming down. Medical people say that 130 over 54 is good. 😉

She asked if I was had any problem running for buses. I had to explain no as I don’t use buses anyway as they don’t go where I want them to.

‘Good point’, she said, ‘nor do I. What about running up and down stairs?’

And I can certainly go up and down stairs e.g. some of those belters from the River Kelvin up to the Botanic Gardens or Belmont Street.

I was also echoe’d (not sure how to spell that but it seems to be how medical people say it; it’s that ultrasound echo test which bounces pictures of that heart area and gives some details of how leaky my aortic valve is)

Moderate is the answer in a gentle voice. 😀 😀 😀

I was told, and I may have mis-heard this, that the leaflets on my valve should be 1.2mm but that I had 1.3mm on 1.4mm on the other.

‘I can live with that,’ I said.

‘better than the alternative, jt,’ she said.

And we fixed a date for a year’s time. 😀 😀 😀

And Friday night saw me and good friend e going to see Burt Bacharach and his band at the Kelvingrove Bandstand (one violin as opposed to a string section and so on) but they did the business as did the backing singers but the real star is Burt himself.

He tells stories without name dropping (unlike Lulu last year) and he did a full two hours (unlike Lulu last year) and there was the odd wee political hint about his feelings towards Boris and Donald (unlike Lulu who was a great fan of Maggie Thatcher but did sing Shout so she was forgiven)

Burt – you’re a legend. And we even had a sneaky wee Justin Currie thrown in as the support act just in case ‘nothing ever happens.’

Let’s move on.

And one of my neighbours, basically at right angles to me, is building what appears to be a shed or summer house against the fence between us, which is not a problem, but he has covered it with a blue tarpaulin while he constructs it in case it rains.

All well and good, but for all the world it looks like one of those forensic science tents and people on the flight path into Glasgow airport must think there’s been a murder, next door to me.

And finally, there’s been a lot of chat about banning the sale of alcohol at family events such as fairs and highland games (no capitals needed as it’s the generic and not a specific games)….anyway……….the idea apparently is stop children being exposed to the abuse of alcohol.

No. Let’s not prohibit anything unthinkingly but look at our own attitudes. Is it better for children to see pints of lager bout next to soft drinks for children or for them to turn corners and find people surreptitiously bevvying from half bottles?

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges but will maybe transfer them to another jacket and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, not the man who shot Liberty Vallance

So I had a difficult meeting ahead of me in Paisley on Thursday, one that would normally have worried me, and I took the train there, but it was hi-jacked at Hillington East by a Mad Dog 20/20 squad of teens using the train to get to Troon.

Neither bothered me.

Y’see there’s a few pieces of music which, if I hear them by chance put a smile on my face and in my head. This is one of them and is possibly one of the most played pieces on the show. It has good memories and meaning attached to it. 😀

As I drove to the railway station, a deejay played it on the radio station

Old age, believe me, is a good and pleasant thing. It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator. (Confucius)

July 19, 2019

And so, dear listener, some more good news on the health front. A few weeks ago I got some revised repeat prescriptions and a message from the GP to check in with a nurse (never a problem) and come in to get my blood pressure checked.

So I waited until the aneurysm scan was out of the way and phoned on Tuesday looking ahead to the next week. ‘Can you come in now?’ said the voice of NHS Scotland.

And so, dear listener, that’s how I learned that the revised medication seems to be working and my blood pressure is down. 😀 😀

But Tuesday was a mixed day. Facebook does this thing where it reminds you of something you said or did ‘on this day’. Apparently exactly three years ago I was enjoying working in the Mitchell Library so much (my home wi-fi was down) that I felt the need to tell the world. 🙂

Then, I got home and a certain USB stick was missing. Many listeners know the story. Let’s just say Tuesday was definitely a mixed day. With lots of walking. It’s my basic coping mechanism for anxiety anmd depression and is approved by medical and counselling folk I’ve spoken to. Informally. But my wee legs were tired. 😦

Monday was a good day. I met up with former BBC colleague Jayne and we went to a local garden centre where, even at the age of 65, I still feel and look younger than most of the clientele. 😀

We’d also like to say thanks to the young barista, Emma, who told us all about her grandad’s 60th birthday. Why? Well we asked. I’m not so sure the people in the queue were that impressed.

My wee legs were tired on Monday as well but that’s cos we took the furthest away table in the whole place which was 17 MILLION MILES away. I spilt so much coffee that I just tipped the tray and drank it out the corner. Nice catching up j (different j)

And nice birthday lunch on Thursday with good friend e, RJ and AJ but I made a big mistake. AJ had decided to try something new (calamari) and I agreed to share a starter plate with him. Schoolboy error. On my part. The schoolboy decided he liked them and I thought the one I had was very good……..never again. 😀

And finally, I spent Friday morning in a classroom of my first alma mater, Glasgow University, attending a kinda class on Illustrated Glasgow looking at a range of illustrations including maps and coats of arms and photographs and all sorts of stuff. And very good it was too and the lecturer was good and I’m going back to something similar next week. 😀

But what I found really strange was that everyone there was my age or thereabouts. The last time that happened to me would have been at secondary school. It was uncharted territory and whatever my reasons for going (read what you will into that) I may have to think more about this in the future.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges (in my winter jacket cos that’s what the weather’s been like) and still keeping it simple (hey, you may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one)

Iaint850, and no, there’s not a lot happening on the settlement front. Maybe soon?

And you’d expect me to comment on some of the coverage of the Scottish Drug Deaths. So I have done.

First, a big well done to SNP MP, Alison Thewlis, who made the point that drug consumption rooms would be clean and hygenic. Bringing users into these not only allows them to inject safely but brings them into contact with addiction workers and health pros. Have you ever seen the health damage done by dirty needles? Botulism, blood borne viruses and leaking wounds.

Have you ever seen a serious drug user’s kitchen? Trust me. You don’t want to go there.

Literally.

Most other politicians tried to make political capital out of it. Alison didn’t.

And then there was former policeman, Joe Duffy, on BBC Scotland’s fast improving Nine o’clock news, who made the point that, financially, the only people making money out of the illegal drugs industry are the criminals who couldn’t care less to whom they sell or what they sell.

‘Street valium’, and God know what’s in them, sell for approximately £1.50 for five.

In December four guys went down in the High Court for manufacturing street valium in a Paisley lock-up with a machine capable of pressing 20,000 tabs an hour. Do your own sums.

Imagine if it was legal, say along the lines of the alcohol industry………the tax taken alone would do so much for education and the health service. Imagine.

And then someone jumped on a personal hobby horse and said there was no need for charities. The government should provide – totally ignoring the fact that governments are slow and ponderous in acting and tend to do so for political advantage and that non-governmental organisations such as Addaction and Turning Point and (the one I volunteer for) the Scottish Drugs Forum can react more quickly and more directly and more effectively.

Most residential rehab is in non-governmental hands.

And can you see the Government even attempting to start, let alone run, an organisation like Alcoholics or Cocaine or Narcotics Anonymous? They started at the most basic of ground-roots with two men and one book and cost virtually nothing to run.

And here’s fifteen minutes of Burt Bacharch in concert…..eventually. No. No reason.

“…the time has come when that tired old lie , ‘once an addict , always an addict ‘ will no longer be tolerated by either society or the addict themselves . We do recover”

July 12, 2019

And so, dear listeners, again thanks for birthday wishes but also for your help in spending some of my pressies; in particular what I used to describe as book tokens but which are now well and truly in the Twenty-First Century.

For example, my ex sent me an online book token from the National Books something or other which tells you to print it out and when you do you get a blankish A4 sheet of paper which contains a bar code, a pin (number) and another set of numbers.

I should mention that my ex messaged me later to see if I had worked out how to use it. Well, yes I had but it took the second member of Waterstones staff in Byres Road to run it through the till. 🙂

I would like to thank Julie, Jill and Iain for their suggestions and I’ve been nicely in the position where I’ve taken a sample book out of each of their suggestions……..I’ll keep you posted. 😀

But when am I going to read them?

This is now the start of the dissertation editing season and, yes, it gets earlier and earlier.

Many Masters have to be in by the end of August and I seem to have three on the books for the next couple of weeks and then there’s a business school at Glasgow University which pays for Christmas (and coffees).

And they’re getting younger and that shows in my caustic comments. Those of you who know Track Changes will be aware of the Comments facility.

One of mine this week read, ‘this is meant to be an academic piece of work; not an Instagram post.’ (I smiled)

And incidentally the grand-daughter of the UWS academic went on to win that Beautiful Baby contest in a shopping mall…….. 😀 😀 😀

I’ll move on.

Incidentally, I was going to talk about Recovery (hence the quote at the top but i’m glad to say that lots of other people are now talking so that’s good) 🙂

And the football season is about to start. Saturday, 13th July and it was the mighty Thistle up against the stuttering Airdrie at the end of a very wet week not long before Glasgow Fair Monday. Except it was sunny and I sat outside and read a book.

And then there’s a wee medical update this week. About me.

I had to go for an abdominal aortic aneurysm screening for men (people) aged 65 (and OMG, the men pictured on the front of the brochure look really old. I hope I don’t look as old as that when I’m 65….except……) 😦

Anyway. I went.

Now I’m sure that I mentioned last week that one of those moments of anxiety that I talk about hit me on the Monday morning I was due to leave Arisaig and I went for the train one hour before it was due.

I did the same with the taxi to Stobhill. I was appointed for 1130. The taxi picked me up at 1030. Nice guy. Knew the west coast of Scotland well and seemed quite understanding of the anxiety thing when I explained it as I’d rather wait where I’ve to be than fill in time at home. Besides which I might get taken early. 😉

I was. Lie down; t-shirt up; pregnancy gel rubbed on my stomach; and a thirty second ultrascan.

‘That’s you. You’re fine. No. You’ll never be back.’ 😀

That’s the kinda result my sister liked. Getting taken early. Or it wasn’t too busy. Or the doctor was a woman and had been to Glasgow University. Or…….well you get the idea. And what I really wanted to know was what they had said about her medically.

I never told her that one of her male doctors who’d been to Glasgow was an old drinking buddy of mine. I never actually met him when I was at the Beatson but I knew some other people from other places.

And finally here’s a wee joke for you.

My mate has a huge herb garden which is arranged in alphabetical order. I said, ‘I don’t know how you find the time.’ He said, ‘it’s over there next to the sage.’

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and patiently keeping it simple

Iaint850, still a wee bit anxious but nowhere near the hamster wheel of doom.

So I, and indeed anyone else on Facebook, was asked by a friend for a song that would add a little bit of get up and go and I suggested a couple (both by Walk the Moon) but that was as much for the videos as anything else.

Somebody else suggested Mr Brightside by the Killers which is a song about a stalker watching his his ex-girlfriend being intimate with another man.

Apparently it’s very popular at weddings!!!!!

Mind you, Delilah as sung by Tom Jones and/or Alex Harvey is on the same theme only people get knifed to death in it.

The joke came from the inspirational Milo Castandea; this piece of music (and dance) also comes from Milo. Enjoy.

And I bet you’re still dancing 😀