Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Yaffayat? Whityatyaffa? (Bud Neill)

February 14, 2020

And so, dear listener, let me start with an apology. I have let the weather get to me. And as I say that I have to acknowledge that millions of people have gone to work, have taken advantage of school holidays to get away, or otherwise, just got on with things and, yes, that used to be me. 🙂

However, I now wake at about the back of six and can’t get back to sleep and listen to the radio as I slowly come to. I hear the weather forecast. My basic TV viewing is a news channel and I see the weather forecast. My front bedroom looks out to hills in the north and from my back bedroom window I can see the wind farm over Eaglesham way. I see the weather full stop. 😦

In addition, I live alone (have I ever mentioned that?) and that plays a significant role in my decision making as it used to do in my working days if I felt (genuinely) not well.

‘Eh?’ I hear you cry as one!!!!!

I have nobody to discuss these things with and I feel stuck. With the weather this week, I think I may have cancelled a couple of things too soon cos the sun shone almost as soon as I spread word of my decision and I felt guilty having decided too soon. 😦

And the connection with feeling not well? I felt I was doing the right thing but I’m sure, at the other end, it felt like I was pulling a ‘sickie’ (and let’s just ignore the fourteen or so months leading up to Cold Turkey)

But we’ve been not too bad with winter weather so far and so, by way of an apology, here’s one of my favest poems about the weather…ever….

“Winter’s come, the snow has fell

Wee Josie’s nose has froze as well

Wee Josie’s frozen nose is skintit

Winter’s diabolic, intit?”

The great Bud Neill, whose description of bad weather would have fitted as a reaction to the effects of Storm Ciara;

‘See they’ve snaw’n’ice. ‘Snaw nice, snaw’n’ice.’

Bud, and this is slightly different from last week’s blog, was a cartoonist for some Glasgow based newspapers from the end of World War II onwards and is well known for the cowboy Lobey Dosser, and his two legged horse, always fighting his enemy Rank Bajin.

He also invented a wee Glasgow woman called Mrs Thomson (with a cloche hat) who never spoke but people were always willing to speak for her. She was a typical wee, gallus, Glasgow woman. Y’know the sort. Her umbrella is always open and carried just above her head so that it pokes you right in the eye. 😉

He described her in the flowing terms,

‘A couple o’ vodkas don’t hauf murder Mrs Thomson’s decorum, don’t they, Mrs T?’

How well I knew that feeling and the IKEA wardrobe had nothing to do with it 😉

Well, that and some other news, fair cheered me up.

And finally, a wee word with regard to last week’s blog. I do know that anything and everything I say online is liable to be trolled and I am careful on Twitter after trying to explain, once upon a time, that a court reporter can only report what is said in court. Cybernats had a real go at me when I explained that the political leanings of Natalie McGarry’s husband were irrelevant to the case in court. ‘yoon bastard’ was one of the mildest. 😦

But what amazed me about last week was that an advert advertising my editing services could elicit such bad feelings as to prompt someone to send me a gif of a dog evacuating its bowels…….

Tioraidh, and I’ve forgotten what all I say here but keeping it simple anyway…

Iaint850 and next week I might tell you about the exciting news I’ve just received (Friday lunchtime) that caused me to forget what I normally say at that point.

So, I know that I said that I was moving on from my sister’s passing away but an interesting document came my way this week. It’s nothing to do with her interest in family history but there are some nuggets in that black samsonite case that every family has. What? Don’t you?

No. The document is a draft version of the Executry Account of my late sister’s estate and it’s basically a snapshot of her financial position at the time of her death – although, obviously, much of it refers to financial comings and goings after her death when various people and organisations caught up with her passing on.

I’ve been aware of much of it as various lawyers (past and present) have kept me posted as to what’s happening but it is still strange to see items such as various pensions (and it’s never too soon to start one) and I am now a Celtic shareholder (as she had bought some in honour of my dad – a lifelong Celtic fan) and various small amounts paid to some small charities and community organisations down Garelochead way where she lived.

But what means most to me are the things that I closed down for her. I was the one who wrote to the RNLI, the National Trust (both local and national) and some animal charities just to explain what had happened and that she wouldn’t be renewing her membership. I got nice letters back.

Here’s Jessie Buckley again – with Born to Run

The one where John’s Facebook ad was trolled (J Aniston – maybe)

February 6, 2020

And so, dear listener, I had quite a shock as I decided to make a return to searching for work for the The Word Process – the paid editing that I do. I was trolled and I was shocked. I mean it is not as if I was wearing an off-the shoulder dress at my work or anything like that.

I should stress first of all that I’ve not been too short of work over the last few months but now that a year has passed and, also, we are so close to legal settlement, I feel I can look ahead. Business partner e and I have still to hold our practice development meeting for the year but there is room to look for work.

So, a few years back, when I thought I could make a full time living out of editing and reading I set myself up with the tagline

Does the word process worry you?

Then contact iaint850 (or a similar name)

I’d a website and domain name (both long since gone) and I set up a wee advert on Facebook (and it was later developed by ex-PR colleague Tricia Wa and she is an online whizz and if you need help in that direction then please get in touch and I’ll put you in touch). The ad is simple.

The Word Process, a pic of my specs on top of a pile of books, a wee line and then every three weeks or so some writing or researching advice e.g. a lot of students don’t understand the difference between i.e. and e.g. and I spent one ad explaining some of the Latin words that are used regularly in academic essays.

And I pay for it; and each time I do it I pay another £5-10 to boost the audience which I have set as ‘students in full-time education’. I have had some work from it but it’s part of being to help people and it’s good fun.

So last week I put up a new ad and just used the line that I’d been away for a while and reminded people of my services and did they have any questions?

What I got, inter al, was a gif of Putyn accusing me of being a ‘f***king idiot’, another of a dog emptying its bowels with the words ‘Your Spam’ at that point and a couple of written comments accusing me of writing gobbledygook and stuff like that……..and one that suggested that Facebook had mucked up and it was maybe sending the ad to the wrong people. So I checked.

It had been so long since I’d posted, that my specified settings had lapsed and it was being sent out to all and sundry. People were liking it and sharing it, so it wasn’t a total waste of time and I’ve learned and will use my next post on the Facebook site to help reinforce those lessons for students.

Always be aware of your audience and check everything before you hit that Post/publish button.

But why did people feel they had to express their feelings in that foul way?

I know it’s nothing compared to so much of the abuse received by politicians and celebrities, people of colour and people not of colour (eh?), people going through transition and people concerned about people going through transition and, well if you even look at Twitter occasionally, you will have an idea of the cesspit it is.

And yet, last week, I got 88 likes (unfortunate numeric) on Twitter. A day or so after Brexit, a photo was posted of English men in Trafalgar Square (not George Square) being offensive to someone and an Italian reporter stepping in to keep things calm.

One epitome of the word Troll could say nothing other than ‘Where you from? Where you from? Where you from?’ and I posted;

‘the obsession with ‘where you from’…….depressing.’

And as I say, 88 likes…….

But maybe what I should have done would have been to draw attention to the Italian reporter who stepped in and maybe we’re going though a period when we are going to have to do more of that kinda thing.

I was in George Square a wee while back when I was aware of a young boy being shouted at by some older boys. (It looked like a colour thing) I wandered in that direction (not too sure what I would do) but by the time I got close they had gone.

I asked the boy if he was okay. He said ‘Yes. Thanks.’ And went off in a different direction.

So you can maybe tell that I was upset this week. And grateful to the people (who I do not know) who saw what had been written as ‘comments’ on the Facebook ad site and took the time and trouble to contact me and say, ‘I think you’re right….Facebook mucked up.’

Thought for the Week is over.

Last week’s blog was dead good and if you’ve not read it yet, then it’s a million times better than this.

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges (I’m still fine and Prostate Cancer UK) and still smiling

Iaint850, feeling a bit of a snowflake but what a thing to get upset about!

And to that end, I have played this tune a few times and I am pleased to have championed it for some time now and it got national recognition in an Awards Ceremony last week and I think it’s really an optimistic song……..

This is a slightly different version for the one I usually play (which is the movie version)

Jessie Buckley and ‘Glasgow’

‘A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they will never sit’ … an old Greek proverb quoted by Seamus Mallon (RIP)

January 31, 2020

And so, dear listener, Brexit has been and got done and none of the claims on the side of the bus were true. But that’s Boris Johnson for you. Liam Fox did not do forty trade deals and Liz Truss does not inspire confidence. And the Home Secretary wants to separate immigrants into different types, ignoring the fact that Scotland’s basic needs are not for top class scientists but for hospitality and agricultural workers. But we can have a blue passport, a tea towel and a fifty pence piece without the Oxford Comma.

Oh, and the voices, many from south of the border, who had no idea how they would benefit from Brexit but it was good to be ‘independent again’. 😦

We move on. Without any clue where we’re going. 😦

So I met up during the week with a friend, Colin, who I had not seen for a long time and we had a very pleasant lunch in the Shish Mahal in Park Road and I’m pleased to say that they were only lunch size plates and very tasty. Two memories came back.

One was with Colin and our respective wives (a long time ago!) and we were spending a few days in a small village in Kintyre. We had access to a small boat and Colin and I went to pull it in. Except. It pulled me in. My wellies had no grip and I slipped, on my back, gently and inexorably, into the water. Think the QE2 coming off the slips into the River Clyde. So slowly was it that my life did not flash in front of my eyes but, instead, it was a graceful and slow review of my life up to that point. I even smiled. 🙂

A couple of nights later, Colin and I were out on a fishing boat overnight (pair trawlers) and I overhead one skipper say to his mate on the other boat;

‘You’ll never guess who’s on the boat tonight. Aye, that fella from Glasgow who fell in the water. Aye, I’m keeping a bloody close eye on him!’

And I’m told by Colin, who still goes down to Carradale from time to time, that I am still asked after.

The other memory came from the fact that I had parked my car at the back of the Botanic Gardens (just up from the Ha’penny Bridge) and walked along the banks of the Kelvin, a walk that Holly the Dog and I (and good friend e) have done many a time and it fits into my new health regime and all done with a smile. 😀

I walked back, kidding myself that I was walking off the curry.

I used to do this in my drinking days (but maybe not towards the end). Maybe it was a nice Friday night in the Spring so I’d take a wee walk down to the Maryhill Road, planning to nip into a hostelry, have a couple of pints and wander back up the road. 🙂

Now, such is the camaraderie that alcohol engenders, was there ever a time that I met up with people I did not know, got a wee cargo together and did all my good intentions then go west? Maybe, dear listener, maybe.

And finally, dear listener, I’d like to thank my chums on Facebook for helping me spend the first few pounds of my sister’s inheritance. I asked for advice. I posed a question. I said, ‘Dyson or Shark?’ and I got opinions. The majority said Shark.

Now, I was full of good intentions. I planned to drive to Curry’s and kinda road test the vacuum cleaners. I’d even looked out some vintage Shake’n’Vac for the occasion. But I looked out the window and it was raining.

I switched on the laptop and, yes, selected the rainforestriverbuying option and clicked, and clicked, and clicked. And two days later £169 was deducted from my bank account and I was clicking the liftaway pod into position.

And next, maybe a new camera, but I’ll take advice from Son Brian on that one.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and I’m still happy to keep smiling and to keep it simple.

Iaint850, So I tried out my new corded Shark vacuum cleaner this weekend and found £2.12 under the twp settees. 🙂

And I was interested to read that the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer has increased – ‘diagnosed’ with cancer, not ‘getting’ cancer. It means more men are coming forward but I was interested to read people like Prostate Cancer UK and Prof Karl Sikora ascribing it to the likes of Stephen Fry and Bill Turnbull who have spoken openly about their experiences.

I, however, would pay tribute to the ordinary men (and widows of other men) who do information talks and stands and who also share experiences but often do so in a one-one manner which can have such a major effect.

It’s a long time since I’ve done these (I did a lot of broadcasting about cancer) but I do have memories of ‘manning’ stands and seeing men walk past but their wives coming over to ask questions; or doing a talk somewhere and there was always someone hanging round for ‘a quick word’.

I then went on to study drink’n’drugs and I also hope that, there, I’ve helped people by sharing experiences. It’s not the easiest of things to do. But somebody I don’t know, this week, learned that I was thirteen years ‘sober’ and congratulated me. He then told me he was coming up for fourteen years sober this May. From a distance we metaphorically hugged. That was a good ‘share’.

And here’s The Jesus and Mary Chain. Again. They sure ain’t no Chamber Music outfit, are they?

‘Just noticing patterns we slip into is half the battle. If you are lucky, the rest comes naturally.’ (Darren Loki McGarvey)

January 24, 2020

And so, dear listener, I have lived in the city of Glasgow for over forty years and still find it a fascinating place. 🙂

I don’t get around it as much as I used to but that’s partly because I don’t have that much need so to do. Indeed I’m sure I’ve explained how rarely now I travel to the south side – although I do distinguish between that and ‘through the tunnel’ and some of the travelling these days is done by train as I have that time to myself. 🙂

However, I had a fascinating view of one aspect of Glasgow just the other night – the surprise and joy you can get from staring into a basement flat. Let me explain.

I was meeting the blogmeister in a coffee shop in Byres Road on Monday evening and I was early (‘Now there’s a surprise’ says Skippy) so I parked at Kelvinside Academy and started to walk – through places like Horselethill and Dowanhill and then down a back road to Dumbarton Road and back up Byres Road. Even in that short trip you see the attraction of Glasgow and the tenements but it’s an area where you can see into massive basement rooms in massive basement flats…..curtains and blinds are not always drawn but it was on the way back that I saw something that rang a bell with the wordsmith in me – if I may describe myself as that. 😉

(but first, a very pleasant couple of cups of coffee with the blogmeister and the world was put to rights)

On the way back to my car I looked into one basement and was really intrigued by what I saw. Seated at a large wooden table was a man with long fairish hair and he was reading – not a book but a large manuscript wrapped in some form of book binding which wasn’t normal book binding and not only that he was surrounded, not by bookcases, but by shelves full of more manuscripts wrapped in the same binding.

I stared; trying to work what he was – a warlock, maybe? Somebody with a house full of potions and pills and the recipes for them? And it wouldn’t be the first time that I’d been in a flat like that in Glasgow’s west end. 😉

And he looked up. And he stared. And glared and I made an excuse and left……..embarrassed. (Huntly Gardens if you’re ever in that area)

And I was actually in an old building in Glasgow city centre the other day with something that not only took me back but took me up when I had to go and see my son (professionally – and his profession, not mine)

His firm’s office is on the sixth floor and there was a lift but it was one of those lifts which is actually a cage where you have to open and close the gates before it travels and not only that but the commissionaire did that for me on the way up and came with me…..just to be sure.

Glasgow – a city of surprises. 😀

And finally, if I may, some criticism of Meghan Wales (gulp!)

There was a photograph of her walking through a park with two burly security men behind her (that somebody’s paying for). She was carrying a baby (stunt double?) in a chest papoose which she was steadying with her right hand; her left was holding on to the leads of two very strong looking dogs. Did this worry anyone else? I know that sometimes, when walking my friend, Holly the Dog, I sometimes am pulled away when she sees something she wants to go and investigate.

It’s enough concentrating on one dog with one lead and two hands.

What a shame Meghan doesn’t live near a gran-in-law who knows about dogs.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple (and ever optimistic)

Iaint850, choosing to eat ethically, economically and environmentally friendly.

And so, a wee word about my sister, one year to the day since she passed away. I posted on facebook that I had started to spend the inheritance by buying a Shark corded vacuum cleaner – slightly tongue in cheek but a sign that I felt (with others) that it was a good time to move on.

With the exception of the legal hiccup which saw me having to change solicitor (and I see no need to go back over that story but I found new dead good people in Paisley), every aspect of it has gone well – from the funeral and cremation to the will settlement and all the other things that pop up in a situation like that.

Legally and financially, there’s some things to be tidied up and I still have things to sign but it’s more or less over and we move on. Sheila will not be forgotten but I’m not the sort of person to mark the fact that members of my family have moved on, on an annual basis.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t miss her. Sometimes there are times when I (will) miss picking up the phone just to tell her something………

For example, I have bought tickets for myself and good friend e to go see The Jesus and Mary Chain at the Kelvingrove Bandstand later this year and I’d have been interested in her reaction to that – if I could catch her when she wasn’t at Celtic Connections.

So here are The Jesus and Mary Chain with Happy When It Rains….except we won’t be if it does.

Dyson or Shark or Gtech or Harry? It’s a question I’ve been asking a lot lately. Any thoughts? (me)

January 16, 2020

And so, dear listener, some days it feels like Christmas and it was one of those days earlier this week when I got all my repeat prescriptions in one go. There’s nothing too urgent in that I take pills each day to take care of things such as high blood pressure and reflux and to keep my heart pumping – and they seem to work. 🙂

I tend to go to the chemist for when they open, hand the scripts over, nip in to the ASDA and come back and collect them. Being first thing in the morning, there’s usually someone in getting their methadone and I’m on nodding terms with some of them – but I had to smile when I left the other morning.

My drugs were in one of those cheap, blue plastic bags that I used to get from off sales and that I described in my Master’s or similar as the blue bag of stigma. If it ain’t half a dozen cans of Special Brew, then it’s a huge pile of pills. But boy do you get some looks and you do feel a bit of a stereotype. 😦

And so, dear listener, that leads to just a quick wee word about Meghan and Harry, and I may need to ask their advice soon time – wearing their environmental hats.

But, first maybe racism has had a part to play in what has happened but I’ll wait until M & H tell us rather than ‘friends’ speaking on their behalf in People magazine, but I do remember a heap of vox pops with some very disappointed women in Windsor High Street who couldn’t understand why M & H were not letting the world see the new wean and, as I am a connoisseur of documentaries about the Royals I feel I should mention that Frogmore Cottage is actually four or five flats knocked into one big house. Ffs, it’s even bigger than the Barratt’s Premier houses around the corner in the cul-de-sac.

Now, this is important and relevant.

Apparently, saying that Meghan was brought up near Compton (or something) was akin to something racist cos of the gangs from there. Now I had never heard of it before this week but I wonder if M & H have ever heard of Summerston – or Scummy Summy as it used to be called by the Young Team from Acre Road in the scheme/estate’s early days. It has improved since then but there are plans apparently for 500 – 1,000 new houses to be built over the Blackhill Road side by the Balmore Road on the way to Possil Loch which is an SSSI and just up the road from Lambhill Stables. 😦

I did try the Glasgow City Council link supplied by the Community Council to look up the details but it didn’t work – where’s a good conspiracy theorist when you need one?

It wouldn’t cost too many carbon miles for them to come up.

A Megabus to Buchanan Street Bus Station and then an off peak return from Queen Street to Summerston and I’d meet them.

A quick coffee in the ASDA and then I’d give them a lift to the site………but I’ll maybe not trouble them just yet. I still can’t get through and I may need a planning application to go through the council soon time myself.

I’ll keep you posted.

And finally, this time two years ago I was admitted to the Royal Infirmary here in Glasgow with a heart condition; one year ago (this Wednesday) my sister, Sheila, passed away in the Beatson; so it was with a great deal of trepidation that I received the letter from the Bowel Cancer Scanning people with the news…..that I remain clear. This year is defo the year of smiling……. 😀 😀 😀

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

Iaint850, who’d hate to be called an absolute unit like that highland cow was.

Now I can’t have been the only one who smiled when I heard the Prime Minister et al crying out for a good bong on the night which signals that we are about to leave the European Union.

Y’see in the drugs world a bong is a is a ‘filtration device generally used for smoking cannabis, tobacco, or other herbal* substances. In construction and function a bong is similar to a hookah, except smaller and especially more portable.’

*herbal 😊

At one time (not that long ago) you saw many of them in shops in Sauchiehall Street or the Saltmarket or so on, which may, possibly, have been a sign that what were once known as illegal substances were for sale. Or not.

And, in one of my many previous existences, it was brought to my attention that it was possible to build a do-it-yourself bong (or ‘bucket’) with little more than a basin and an empty two litre plastic bottle of ginger. So, where estimated costs of £500,000 came from I do not know…… Unfortunately I no longer know a man who might do it for less.

So I was chatting to a couple of folk about going out on my own and explaining that whilst I’m happy to go things like Aye Write on my own (but I am open to offers and the new brochure has just come out) I’m not so keen on going on my own to music gigs but I am always open to offers as a Plus One if required.

However, one guy I did go to see, on my own, was the late Leon Russell, although he wasn’t ‘late’ at the time. Here’s a Song For You….and you know who you are 🙂

but are you the Delta Lady? :}

 

‘It’s not enough to just survive something, right? That’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive, you’ve got to feel happy.’ (Duchess of Sussex)

January 10, 2020

And so, dear listener, I had actually taken a note of those words from the Duchess of Sussex (or Meg as we call her down the Elephant (and Bugle) down the Maryhill Road – a boozer with strong connections with the Highland Light Infantry whose barracks were where the Wyndford flats now are) long before she chose to announce her decision to move on and become independent and earn her own living ……..and Harry……Harry knew about it as well. He was consulted. He’s doing it as well.

It’s interesting. tho’, isn’t it?

Y’see in the same way I confessed last week to reading the Daily Mail from time to time cos I get bored with reading things that I agree with, I have another peccadillo (sp?) to ‘fess up to. 😉

I am fascinated by stories about the Royals.

I mean, I’m not one of those people who still has a Charles’n’Di mug or wants to be on the streets of Windsor when there’s a wedding or cries when one child or another starts school.

I love the behind-the-scenes TV docs on Channel 4 or 5. 🙂

It can be a look back at Mrs Wallis Simpson and her love affair with Thingy (I can never remember the men’s names) or why the current Queen loves Balmoral or, and this was the most recent, a look at how they prepare for a banquet at Windsor which I saw a few days ago.

They get through one helluva lot of bevvy if the number of glasses at each setting is anything to go by and do you know they even have two men with a big stick so that they make sure that every seat is exactly the same distance from the table?

It’s stuff like that that fascinates me and they, even the servants, seem to live in some kind of existence that is totally cocooned from life as you and I know it and I’m never sure quite what to make of that except to wonder why the Queen Mum was allowed to build up such a massive overdraft at Coutts and I have heard some good stories about her and some others which have made it onto these programmes but the Royals have good lawyers (as do I but they’re maybe not that experienced in these matters) so I won’t say too much openly.

See me in the Elephant (and Bugle) and I’ll tell you but I trust the former SAS officer who told me about what happened on the old Royal Train when it was parked overnight in Central Station a few years ago.

And none of the above should be taken as approval of the Family or certain members of it, especially Andrew…..except, maybe, Anne……..

And if we’re talking about people for whom we have respect, can I just highlight Son Brian who, as well as helping me so much over the last year or so, found time to undertake some kind of challenge which saw him running a distance of 5k on a daily basis for the month of December.

I don’t think it was ever seen as a fundraising exercise but funds were raised and I know a reasonable donation was made to Prostate Cancer UK. No. No reason. 😀

And finally, the ‘proof reading’ is back up and running. The reason for the quote marks is because I don’t actually read proofs; I, and business partner, my good friend e, copy edit. But I, cos I’m the main man, am getting a wee bit unhappy. In fact, it’s a wee bit of a dilemma. What is acceptable short notice?

So, what I’ve started to do is to give students deadlines so I get work in in in plenty of time and it is realistically do-able but I did say no to someone who sent me stuff late Thursday night (so I didn’t see it until Friday morning) and wanted it back by two o’clock on Sunday afternoon. I turned that one down. I felt bad. 😦

And then I think about trying to book my car into a busy garage for its MOT, or me to a busy dentist (not ‘til 3rd Feb cos I want early morning), and then I don’t feel so bad. 🙂

Tioraidh (and I’m considering duolingo), still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple but with a smile.

Iaint850, and don’t worry. I think that’s enough personal outing for one year.

So I’ve spoken a wee bit recently about some of the debate currently raging within the world of addiction (or dependency) and abstinence (or harm-reduction) and how do you recover – if ever.

I’m not going to say too much tonight, and there is a danger it might become too academic and this blog was never meant to be that, was it, Skippy?

But there’s a number of politicians making lots of statements at the moment and they’re coming in for lots of criticism for doing so but not everyone who talks the talk will have walked the walk. Do you always need that lived experience in order to make good suggestions or is it possible to bring everyone together? My addiction worker did not have lived experience but had the skills and expertise to help me considerably – motivational interviewing – and it worked.

It used to be said that there are many roads to recovery and one of them will be the right one for you……….

So, as you know, Ted Danson (and it’s not his birthday) is married to Mary Steenburgen who wrote Glasgow which was sung by Jessie Buckley in the film, Wild Rose

Okay. So someone has asked. 2020? I plan to go back to smiling a lot (me, 31st December 2019)

January 3, 2020

And so, dear listener, that is indeed my revolution for the new year and I did broadcast it to the world on Hogmanay. ‘Revolution’ was used by one of Thomas the Tank Engine’s friends (Gordon?) and indeed, for some strange reason, Thomas was discussed by grandparents in a get together just before Christmas. Grandchildren looked on bemused and said things like, ‘Grandpa iaint850. Play’ and I did. 😀

The revolution is nice and simple and doesn’t involve going to the gym (altho’ I’m beginning to walk round the graveyard again) or watching too much what I’m eating and drinking (a sensible range and orange juice) or, well anything like that. It is, in fact, going back to the proper meaning of Keeping it Simple and looking for the smile first – just like I used to. 😀 😀 😀

Now it could take various forms. A New Year’s Day call from grandchildren helped and I don’t mean just before midnight and I don’t think they pressed the numbers but you know what I mean.

And here’s another example. Yes, eventually, I will come into enough money to enable me to consider an extension to my semi* but one of the nicest things over the Christmas period was getting book gift tokens – or whatever they’re called these days – and having the ability to go into a bookshop (guess!) and spend what is basically surprise money on something that gives me a fair amount of pleasure. 🙂

*and everyone tells me to make sure I get a downstairs toilet………why?

And it’s that time of year again, isn’t it? That marvellous moment when you take something out of the freezer which has no label on it, allowing it to defrost and find something that you’re happy to eat. So far, so good. 😉

And 2020, is this the year when Mad Dog comes of age?

And my car passed its MoT without any problem and I actually own it later this year.

I even smiled at short notice editing this weekend altho’ it did mean I couldn’t take up a short notice invitation……at short notice. 😦

And a big well done to Greta Thunberg for going along with the Sharon gag………that put a smile on my face……..and the vegans I know and meet for lunch also smile a lot, care about both people and animals, and are part of the real world.

And finally, maybe this is the year when I should improve my handwriting. I woke up to a note from myself that seemed to say ‘didn’t’. Some of the notes I left to myself during my drinking days made much less sense than this but ‘didn’t’ seemed to be a denial. What didn’t I do?

Had I become some kind of Jekyll and Hyde character – or a justified sinner? I worried. 😦

Until later in the day it hit me. It said ‘dentist’. I lost two fillings over the holiday period. I blame myself for keeping Wine Gums in the fridge so that they become harder. 😦

So first thing on Monday, I will make a phone call to the dentist; after all, there’s no point in smiling if your teeth ain’t good.

Tioraidh, keeping it simple and still wearing the badges

Iaint850, grizzly as heck (Skippy, have I got that right?)

But smiling a lot doesn’t mean I’ll stop talking about the serious stuff as well……..and highlighting idiots as well. For example, Tory MSP Brian Whittle who, in an article in the Scottish Daily Mail which I read from time to time because I don’t understand the need to read newspapers or websites where you agree with everything without questioning it, was talking about ‘alcohol addiction’ and used a lot of stereotypical terms which showed a complete lack of empathy and understanding.

He attended an ‘addiction meeting’ in Kilmarnock organised by Addaction – a smashing organisation – which was attended by ‘what are euphemistically called ‘service users’ – alcoholics to the rest of us’* and it’s when I read something like that that I worry.

*service users are people who use a service – no euphemism at all.

Yes. There is a well-known self-help group which does use the word ‘alcoholics’ but that does take us down a road where people are deemed to have a problem for life. I don’t but I do understand the problems other have. Let’s look at why people use alcohol and offer an alternative.

He says that ‘only three elements are required for a healthy lifestyle; a good diet, being physically active and easy access to a support network like a club with instructors, facilities and information.’ Mens sana in mens corpore as the Prime Minister might say.

To which I can only say, food banks, poverty caused by Tory austerity and a need for more support workers – Monica Lennon for First Minister!

And in fairness (?) to the Scottish Daily Mail the next day they published a well researched article on the same subject By Prof. David Nutt; Whittle admitted he’d used ‘anecdotal evidence’ for some of his.

So, let’s go back to smiling!!!!!

I saw this on TV and it made me smile

To those of you who received honours, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be President of the United States. George W. Bush

December 26, 2019

And so dear listener, it is with great pleasure that Skippy and I present the blog’s Annual Awards Ceremony – something that started way back in the early days of the blog when we (Skippy and me) felt that the people and events who make this blog the worldwide success that it is deserved some form of recognition. 😀

I’ve never ever taken any records of the music played on the show or who has won what or whatever but the first couple of announcements may see some eyebrows rising.

We know it’s not been the best of years for me for many reasons but I must always stress that I do not compare myself with other people – or at least I try not to. I am not of the fellowships but one of the things I did learn in the early years of my own recovery was not to compare myself with anyone or to comment on their situation……….’there but for the grace of God go I’ and if you don’t recognise a God, you may still understand what I’m getting at……. 😉

And, yes, in answer to one criticism that I had this year, there are reasons why I didn’t enjoy my regular trips down to Garelochead to check up on my sister’s house but by no means was I having a go at people who make that A82 trip regularly. They choose to do so. I was checking for mail and dead wasps………but this house was sold to people happy to make that journey.

So, I’ve got that out of the way…….

Lifetime Achievement Award goes to my late sister, Sheila.

Now I’ve checked the Rules and Regulations, Terms and Conditions and the Constitution and there are no rules against this………up to 23rd January is good. In addition, much of what we (and that’s a large ‘we’ which includes Son Brian, good friend e , Rosie from Cardross and Kenny the Shed Pimp) did was influenced by my sister…….or done in her name. Our work is almost done here and we move on, like a granddaughter on a new scooter paid for by all the grandparents. 🙂

And the Team of the Year Award goes to the Beatson staff – not just for what they did in the first month of the year but the help they gave to three others I know – either directly or through some form of Beatson Outreach.

But there were lots of good moments as well, including hearing my grandchildren, on being asked by their dad, what the best part of Christmas Day was, they replied Grandpa iaint850…….I suspect it would have been Santa Clause earlier in the day.

We will play ourselves out with the Track of the Year later but first, let’s do the actual Personality, which doesn’t have to be a person……and in Third Place is Holly the Dog.

Now, Holly may have news of her own later, and I will keep you posted but she was instrumental in changing my mind about something. I was looking after her and the two children with whom she lives – AJ and RJ – and it was about four days before Guy Fawkes night and I could only just see and hear them, but she was terrified by the fireworks. I had seen dogs scared before but that was when they had to be kept in the house when fireworks were in the garden. This was different and was a reminder to always think of others……..

In Second Place is the Decision to Change Lawyers.

It may seem an odd choice but that decision to replace my existing lawyer, prompted by my son, who is aware that I do get moments of depression, made a big difference to how I viewed the estate settlement and the effect that the seeming lack of action by my first lawyer was having on me.

I’m still being careful in what I say, but my first meeting with my new lawyers and the first piece of written action saw me sighing relief – and then again and again and again……. 🙂

And in First Place (and cue the Fanfare of Strumpets, Skippy) is a very latecomer – Scottish Water. My toby was leaking and once the innuendo was over, Scottish Water stepped in (not quite glug, glug, glug) and the biggest thing was that they kept telling me what was happening and they fixed it and reinstated things and I have recommended the entire team for something called a Gem Award so I hope they win it.

They’ve won this Award and I hope they do well with Gem. 🙂

So that’s it from me, Iaint850, and I am about to look forward to the new year. I almost have a list of ideas and some of them do affect other people – but positively. There have been other people (and you’ll have seen their initials) who have helped and I want to thank them.

I’ll maybe try and go to Morar for a weekend (and get it right this time) and maybe somewhere else and I need something more in my life – something, well something, but I always will keep it simple. Someone taught me that and I’ll never forget that……..even if……..

And I will continue to keep you, the listener, informed and involved……. 😀

Track of the Year?

It’s the Highwomen with Highwomen………have a wee listen to the words and then have a Happy New Year.

Who’s Rudolph’s favourite singer? Beyon-sleigh

December 19, 2019

And so dear listener, the tone is set. It’s the world famous Christmas Cracker edition of the blog…….and while you might groan now, you may be reading these in a few days’ time. 😀

But first some items of news.

Missives have been exchanged on my late sister’s second property – the flat in Gilsochill – so it seems that one year on, or thereabouts, I have no properties other than my own to worry about. It was all completed as lawyers’ offices settled down for Christmas holidays. I have money to receive but that will happen. It’s almost Christmas and I well remember what was happening with regard to my sister twelve months ago. We move on.

Q What did Adam say the day before Christmas?

A It’s Christmas, Eve.

(and see how important the apostrophe is in making that gag work)

And my toby has been fixed – and the ground around it has been reinstated so well done to Scottish Water and their sub-contractors all of whom have done a fantastic job including removing the barriers when they said they would. There is a scheme called GEM awards and I will be recommending the entire squad (from helpline to foremen) for that award – and maybe one other closer to home.

One of the workers is called Billy Graham and I said to his mate (both of whom looked too young to know that I was talking about……..

‘Famous name, eh?’

‘Aye, preacher man, we call him….’

I was flabbergasted.

Q What do you sing at a snowman’s birthday party?

A Freeze he’s a jolly good fella.

But Scottish Water showed what can be done when a publicly owned utility puts its mind to it. Maybe something like that can be done for Scotrail in the future – keeping people informed is good and that’s what Scottish Water did. 😀

Scotrail on the other hand? I was going into town for Christmas lunch with my SDF mentor, Andy, and I wanted to catch the 1111 train into Queen Street which would give me time to go into the office before going for lunch in an Italian restaurant in Glasgow city centre. Except when I got to the station, the noticeboard said the train going up to Anniesland was running late. Fine. It had gone up so it must come back down. Except the noticeboard said coming back down was now cancelled…….but, but, but……..and then it came through at 1111 but didn’t stop.
😦 😦 😦

There are various possible reasons for that but I never made it to the SDF office but welcome how much all the folk there have helped me through the last twelve months or so.

Q What carol do they sing in the desert?

A Oh camel you faithful

And the annual exchange of pressies between good friend e on behalf of her family, and me, on behalf of me, very nearly took place in the graveyard opposite my house with festive Holly the Dog……blame the barriers around my toby and one day all the cards I send to that household will arrive at the one time. One day. 🙂

Q What do you get if you cross a snowman with a vampire?

A Frostbite

And finally, a very pleasant trip out to UWS (Paisley) to catch up with a couple of folk (No, before, some of you ask that question………) but it always brings back nice memories and, whilst part of me would like to return to academia, I think I’ll limit myself to writing for the SDF. Have a look at their website to see examples of what I do.

So, one more week until the long awaited Personality of the Year Award and it’s not too late to nominate something for that award or one of the others.

In the meantime from me, iaint850…….Nollaig Chridheil and here are Peat and Diesel with Fairytale of Stornoway including the reference to Donny Dotaman.