Archive for the ‘UWS (Paisley)’ Category

Ageing’s alright; better than the alternative which is not being here. (George H. W. Bush)

June 28, 2019

And so dear listener, in two days I celebrate my 65th birthday and, like many people, I never really thought about what it would be like being 65 when I was only 20 as, after all, I was at university (first time) and hadn’t even started real work.

Or 30, when I was happily married but without child at the time altho’ Son Brian wasn’t that far away and I was working for the BBC as an established radio producer.

Or 40, divorced and back at the BBC (contract and casual) having had a career break in the wonderful world of public relations but living in what the wonderful Tom Shields once described as the independent republic of Summerston.

Or 50, when I’d left the BBC (or had it left me?) and I was beginning life as a subject tutor at Glasgow Metropolitan College and trying to teach potential young wordsmiths in an atmosphere where teaching wasn’t necessarily everyone’s main reason for being there but administrative ambitions came first for some management people (of which I’ve never been one)

Or……. well no, by the time I was approaching 60, the shit had already hit the fan and I was going through a period of ‘what the hell was that all about?’ and hoping that I was about to settle down again and maybe write a much better version of the book that I had already written about the alcohol dependency and the cancer.

The ‘Cold Turkey’ I talk about (unplanned withdrawal from alcohol over one weekend) had seen me being visited in the old Western Hospital by close family and friends who did not expect me to make it through the night – but I did; and when I was receiving radiotherapy (thirty-seven daily sessions) I attended the funeral of a friend’s mum only for the ‘mutual friend’ standing next to me to say ‘to be honest, I was expecting you to be the next’ – but I wasn’t….or ‘haven’t been’ to be grammatically pedantic.

But then, just a couple of years before the sixtieth I made one of the greatest decisions of my life; I went to UWS (Paisley) to study drink and drugs for two years. There were some who said, ‘Well if you want to go back to university and become a student again (sic), then why not do American Literature or something like that?’ but now I felt I had something to offer in the field of addiction treatment but also wanted to learn more about the part drink and drugs had played in my life.

And by chance I made some amazing friendships amongst fellow students and staff – including recently Instagram voting for a member of staff’s grand-daughter in some shopping centre competition and any grand-daughter named after (wrong spelling) a rock drummer of the sixties and seventies deserves my vote.

And the months around the actual sixtieth birthday saw me abseiling for charity, zip-wiring for fun, being a zombie (at a well know theme park near Motherwell) for devilment…….and a few years later saw some anxiety and depression and a heart scare.

The anxiety and depression still hang around but I do know people who have considered taking their own life and there are times I talk to them – about all sorts of things AND I also meet an NHS nurse (a different one each time) every six weeks to get my bloods taken and I have an AAA Screening Ultrasound Scan in a few days’ time in Stobhill Hospital so lots of people still look after me. So, it’s the least I can do for others.

I noticed the other day that Holly the Dog’s mum had written ‘Iaint850=65’ on a kitchen calendar which I though was an optimistic view of the future and then we discussed non-alcoholic drinks including a new one called Slipknot (that’s not quite right, is it Skippy?)

And I’m not long back from a long weekend in Arisaig of which I shall talk more at a later date but a wee bit of the anxiety showed on the morning of the day I was due to return when I worried about the train back down from Arisaig being cancelled and I’d be stranded. It wasn’t and I wasn’t.

But along the way there’s been graduations (me, Son Brian, the lovely KT and my grand-daughter from nursery with grand-son to follow) and there was a wedding six years ago and all the usual ups and downs associated with being alive……..

And I’ve spoken lots about the people who have helped so much over the years, the majority of whom are women………but maybe they’re more understanding than men who, in many cases, may feel threatened by some of the things I talk about. Many don’t believe, for example, that I am now simply someone who doesn’t drink alcohol; for many I am still a recovered alcoholic which is good in itself I suppose but may prevent others from recognising their own problems.

Mind you, in many ways, I am my own worst enemy. I’m not a great one for re-unions with people with whom I’ve lost contact and some organisations (e.g. the BBC) don’t seem to be great ones for re-unions. I was, however, supposed to attend one that was a celebration for someone who had worked (and still does) with the Beeb for forty years but a job opportunity got in the way. Or did it?

Anxiety maybe kicked in.

But if I’ve learned anything from the last few years it’s that there’s more to happen in the years to come. My (now) late sister made it to sixty-nine and she had supplied a great deal of material support for me in recent years. Indeed, once the will is finally settled she will continue to do so both for me and the rest of the family.

So you know where to find me and my diary will always remain flexible.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple

Iaint850 who, having written all the above, now fully expects to get knocked down and killed by a passing bus within the next few days.

And after all I said about the importance of women in my life, here’s four guys who are kinda role models for me and the song certainly is

‘but I am still alive’……….and anything is still possible.

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“Elsie Tanner’s heart is where a feller’s wallet is – and the bigger the wallet, the more heart she’s got.”

May 16, 2019

And so, dear listener, I have decided to take a wee break in a wee while and go away for a few wee days and go to wee Arisaig, where I’ve never been before, but I have booked some time in a wee hotel. I won’t say when as I suspect some of you may have links to an OCG (to quote Reevel Alderson the other night but did he say that for a bet?) 🙂

I always enjoyed working with Reevel. 🙂

I had been talking for some time of getting away now that settlement things were settling and Kyle of Lochalsh had been discussed as there’s a wee hotel just next to the wee station and just along from the wee pier but that would be quite an expedition with a possible overnight in Inverness.

Then, one afternoon last week, I was walking through Queen Street Station and I saw Arisaig on the destination board and saw that it went through some very nice places and thought….that’s the very place and went ahead and booked it. 😀

Skippy, where is Arisaig?

I discussed some of this with the blogmeister the other night in Tinderbox but I was coffeed out my nut by the time I left the coffee shop. By the time I got to my car, I was fine for driving but I decided to nip into my local Phillie for a fish supper. It wasn’t the usual young lady behind the counter and while she was wrapping up the tasty treat, she happened to comment;

‘There’s a fly, son. I hate flies. Do you know, they’re constantly regurgitating. I hate flies.’

I paid my £5.20 and left.

And then I got in and switched on the TV and it was a cooking competition programme and there was
at least two people cooking scallops in various ways. I left the fish and just ate the chips.

Sometimes, I do feel there’s something missing from my life. 🙂

And finally, I have had my first ever storm in a Twitter tea cup (and thanks Tricia W for that phrase).

It was all to do with the Natalie McGarry case and a well-known cybernat was talking rubbish about the BBC. The complaint was that the court reporter had explained that Natalie used to be an SNP MP but not that her husband was a Tory Councillor.

Well, said I, foolishly, that won’t have been mentioned in court because it won’t have had any bearing on the matter.

Aye, but she paid for a holiday for him and her.

Well, yes, that would have been mentioned but that would have been because he received that as her husband.

But he’s a Tory councillor and they never said that………..and so it continued. But not for too long as I left the house and when I looked again I had quite a lot of support including a former Daily Record editor and a couple of lawyers…………but there are times when you wonder………

And attention to the possible fraud had been drawn by two prominent female Independence supporters but that wasn’t mentioned in court either.

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges even if it is too warm for that jacket but if it means keeping it simple, then it’s worth it.

Iaint850, and not the only one who worries about drinking too much coffee. 😉

So, BAFTA recently suggested that dramas, soaps and comedies should feature more chat about climate change and I thought about recent conversations I’d had with friends and others. They included marriage break up (but in a perfectly straightforward way), cancer (similarly), drug use and homelessness (with some very funny stories in there), my grand-daughter’s dance class’s annual show (looking forward to it), house sales (those I’m involved in as well as somebody else’s), the travails of Partick Thistle (well documented)…..oh, ‘and isn’t it nice today?’

This is not to deny climate change, but if soaps, dramas and comedies are to have people discussing this, then, if it is to reflect the world out there, much of it will be denial and ill-informed and will involve people flying out to Spanish resorts for the sun. Let’s leave it to factual programmes (but drop the ill-informed Vox Pops) rather than impose an agenda on what is supposed to be fiction, reflecting life as we know it.

Therefore, I watched Corrie for the first time in ages. Ken Barlow is still alive and interfering; his son Peter is in a rehab unit which doesn’t want him to have contact with the outside world (eh?); Carla has physical and mental health issues but is portraying her character like an extra in a Hammer Horror movie (can the straitjacket be far behind?); and Steve’s taxi firm has financial problems. And, bloody hell, is that Rita’s foster daughter behind the bar at the Rover’s? BAFTA, you would have your work cut out bringing existing attitudes into 2019, let alone introducing climate change.

This was the UK’s Eurovision Song Contest entry in 2007. It’s probably still on the jukebox at Roy’s Rolls

Spot the Bucks Fizz gag and there are absolutely no innuendos.

We have but two ears and one mouth so that we may listen twice as much as we speak (Thomas Eddison)

May 10, 2019

And thanks to Tricia W for the quote 🙂 x

And so dear listener, let us return to the settlement of my (now) late sister’s estate. I know I’ve told some people individually but the blog, ever since my days of cancer and stuff, has long since been my method of getting the message across. 😉

I could do it like the Royals do it and put a noticeboard just outside my house and nail a bulletin on it and expect you to read it but I’d have to tell you where exactly where I lived and then the paparazzi would be around. 😦

But a couple of things before I omit to tell you anything in detail;

I was talking to my lawyer about various things and the subject of fees came up – and went away again. A memory of my dad came back to me. He was the first of three generations of chartered accountants in my family and practised in the North East of Scotland with many clients in the fishing and farming professions. Often he would go to meet his clients at their homes and would return, as was the custom of the time, part-paid in whisky, trays of freshly laid eggs or some fish straight from the North Sea. And a cheque. 😀

So my dad was a Chartered Accountant who married a book-keeper in his office in Glasgow many years ago, my ex-wife was a Chartered Accountant and so is my son. Indeed, my (now) late sister was an auditor in the Civil Service……….and yet people try to give me financial advice. I grew up with it and, indeed, worked as a Clerk in the Harbour Office in Peterhead.

So, I ended up as a broadcast journalist with a drink problem and met some of the most amazing people in the world. Some were well known names of their time like Jeffrey Archer and Michael Parkinson but my favest was a man called Studs Terkel who believed that it’s the ‘ordinary’ people who have the best stories and that influenced much of my broadcasting from then on.

Anyway, estate agents send you the blurb and, as an editor and ‘proof-reader’, I write back and point out their typos for correction – as I explained to good friend e to whom I sent the draft brochure for interest as she’d very kindly helped with some of the cleaning and tidying a few weeks ago. 🙂

‘Aye,’ she said. ‘I saw mantaining.’ I gulped. I hadn’t. It was three others.

‘But,’ I said, ‘did you notice that of the three external pics of the flats, one had six dustbins outside and two didn’t?’

‘No,’ she said. ‘But did you notice that it was dry in those pics but in the one showing the parking area, it had been raining?’

At which point I gave in gracefully and agreed to do some childsitting.

But it’s a good looking two-bedroomed flat just up the Maryhill Road from the West End – and things are going well thank you.

I can certainly afford coffees but maybe a wee tendency to overdo them at times. (where’s the emoji for high as a kite?)

And can I also stress that e is not related in any way to H in LoD but had met j from UWS a couple of years ago.

And finally, I have a quandary. For a few years now I have been a season ticket holder at Partick Thistle but for the last two seasons – football reasons aside – I have attended very few games.

Indeed I would have made a considerable saving had I gone on a Pay-As-You- Go basis.

Indeed, because of a certain disquiet about certain matters at the club and the way things are being handled (Doo-Laaaaaan!) some people are saying that’s the way they plan to do it this season.

Now I have already decided to get a season ticket again, so that’s not the quandary.

On 2nd July, I turn 65. Should I wait until the 3rd July and get my OAP discount (gulp) or give them the money now? That’s the quandary. 😉

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, whose scariest moment of the week was when a nine year old boy told me, ‘It’s okay. My mum lets me go out to play on my own’ but he did come back when he was called in.

So, dealing with drugs, other than the three which the Queen declared legal a few years ago (coffee, alcohol and tobacco), is devolved legally to the UK Government as is the power to call a referendum on Scottish Independence so it is easy for the blessed Nicola and her pals to say ‘If only……..’

So I’d like to pay tribute to the Westminster Scottish Affairs Committee, led by SNP MP Pete Wishart, who spent a large part of last week listening to evidence from expert witnesses and those working in the field with a view to doing something positive about the wide-ranging issues involved in substance use.

There are some good people on that committee including David Duguid from the Tories but excluding Ross Thomson from the Tories and I got the feeling that they listened closely to the reasons why ‘Glasgow is a perfect case for the UK’s first consumption room.’

It will be interesting to see what results from this as Scotland faces a real drugs emergency. – one that has been in existence for a very long time and not just a matter of weeks – and I already recycle all my drinks bottles and cans.

The Dixie Chicks have an amazing story as well about standing up against war in Iraq. This is they/these are them with Travelin’ Soldier

A writer takes earnest measures to secure his (sic) solitude and then finds endless ways to squander it

April 11, 2019

Aye. Like Facebook and Twitter.

And so, dear listener, let’s start with something controversial. I found the ending to Derry Girls to be far more poignant than the ending to Fleabag. 😦

To the backdrop of Bill Clinton’s speech of conciliation in Nor’n Ireland, the English boy, despite the job offer made by his mum and her amazing eyebrows, returned and declared himself to be a Derry Girl. How could you not find a speck of dust in your eye at that moment? I know I did………

I think it’s a brilliant piece of writing and I am deadly jealous; but on a down note, as someone who watches some daytime TV…..sorry…..someone who works from home a lot, I have to ask;

What has happened to Bargain Hunt? The randomness of what can be bought has gone. You seem to have to buy a particular type of item and others over a certain amount. The fun has gone. 😦

The bestest daytime show ever was The Hour with Michelle McManus and Stephen Jardine – and not just because I appeared on it. What? Oh, prostate cancer. What else. 😉

And that’s enough TV.

So let’s bring you all up to date. I mentioned last week that I was concerned about doing grown up things like getting my sister’s house ready to be sold. This week it went on the virtual market as well as in the estate agent’s window.

And that’s as much as I’ll say about location at the moment.

Her Glasgow flat is almost ready. A wee bit more tidying up and it will be. And that’ll be Stage One over and done with. (Skippy, can you insert the icon for crossed fingers please?)

I will keep you all posted as much as is tastefully possible.

So I keep myself occupied with other matters. I continue to do some writing for the Scottish Drugs Forum and this is the latest piece;

http://www.sdf.org.uk/infections-outbreaks-and-going-back-to-the-basics-with-sdfs-sophie-given/

And I must be doing it okay. I conducted another interview the other day (basically I introduce newish members of staff) and a room was booked for me to use. Isn’t that nice? 🙂

But when the Glasgow flat goes on the market (few weeks yet) then it is time for me and Son Brian and a couple of others to pause for breath. As with everything like this there is no guarantee that property will sell or that the other aspects of the estate will be settled soon.

In addition, I am still working my way through some of the personal stuff but have become quite hard headed in my approach to things.

So, soontime, keys will be in the hands of estate agents and all mails to either property are just handed in to the lawyer. What should I do with my time?

A holiday? Maybe.

The garden? Well in hand with, for me, an exciting development which will make it onto fbook or into individuals’ online postboxes.

Or what about a course on the next academic year? There’s a couple of one-day things at Glasgow Uny coming up that I fancy but I need something more demanding. Any suggestions?

Or maybe I should enrol in a university library not that far away (No. I don’t mean that one necessarily) and finally write the book I want to about the Scots obsession with alcohol and how we’ve tried to deal with it over the years. We’ll see.

Actually I’ve just seen a job at UWS (Paisley) looking for a sessional interviewer (fourteen hours a week for six months) Now has anyone a 2:1 in Psychology they can lend me?:)

And finally, contrary to what some people out there think. Jackie Bird did not edit Reporting Scotland; nor did she produce the Hogmanay Show. She presented both and had to work with the material she was given. I get annoyed when I read on social media such a lack of knowledge of how the media work and yet Media Studies as a school subject, let alone a university course, is not treated as seriously as it should be. I have no idea what her politics are because they did not come through on screen and every interviewee was treated with the same courtesy. Why has there been so much non-evidenced vitriol?

She was really good at what she did.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple…….nothing to add this week

Iaint850, ‘in vacant and contemplative mood’.

So this week, in this serious bit, I had thought about talking about methadone and how it does do some good, or about the HIV epidemic in Glasgow that is being gradually recognised and the various ways that exist to help people who jag cocaine (and never forget to consider the person rather than just the drug) but instead I just want to mention that it’s the eightieth anniversary (just past) of the Big Book.

This could be described as the ‘bible’ of Alcoholics Anonymous and the source of much of what people believe about what is termed ‘alcoholism’ including the ‘fact’ that some people are allergic to alcohol. Was I? Am I? No. I used it to cope and was helped to shake off that cycle of dependency with professional but whilst I have reservations about some of its contents and how they’re interpreted (and some of that is personal to about six years ago) I belong to the school of thought that if it works for you, it works but maybe not for everyone else.

Maybe what it needs is for a soap opera to write the tale of a community addiction worker, skilled at brief interventions, into the script.

And Smart Recovery, properly portrayed, can be just as dramatic. If not more so.

Last week I played the Band at this point which was well received. This is the Band again with Bob Dylan. Bob didn’t actually to me ‘this one’s for you iaint850’, but he thought it. It finishes abruptly.

And what’s a proof-reading baker’s favourite joke? A cinnamon pun

April 4, 2019

I’ll maybe explain that joke later but I got the basis of that gag, dear listener, from the end of a Celebrity Bake Off which I don’t normally watch (as I don’t like any of the presenters) but it does come immediately before the amazing Derry Girls (Ch4). Which was slightly different this week.

There was a tremendous poignancy as, amidst the beauty and the horror of the school prom, the producers had interwoven clips of the celebrations at the news of the IRA’s decision to announce a ceasefire all those years ago.

(And I feel as if I’m presenting this week’s show in a Nor’n Ireland accent)

This came just hours after Theresa May’s announcement to have talks with Jeremy Corbyn and, suddenly, set against this backdrop of these two current but hopeless leaders, politicians like John Major become statesmen. Locking her current cabinet in so that none of them could let the world know what was happening before she could tell us sums up the poor state of politics in Britain.

And I’m against a second referendum. Why should its result be more accepted than the first referendum? I elect people to make decisions. These days I don’t vote for a party; I vote for the person and if I don’t like anybody I go in and write something on the voting paper.

Doolan!!!!!!! (or similar)

So it’s good that the TV’s good as we hit the light nights. 😀

I’m still not sure about Fleabag; Scot Squad returned (albeit to the new BBC Scotland channel where Wonderball was replaced by Championship football, so little chance of an arts or book programme in the near future); and of course the ever excellent Line of Duty. 😀

ALTHOUGH can I say to everyone, on social media, who applauded themselves for guessing Stephen Graham to be the UCO, not only was it bleeding obvious but all the pre-programme publicity had shown him in the same photo as the AC-12 people AND it is only the first episode. 😦

I was brought up on The Fugitive in the early sixties so I take nothing for granted and, yes, I am that old. 😉

And I got a mail through from LinkedIn the other day headed ‘How to conquer procrastination’.

I’ll maybe read it later.

And the joke at the start? Cinammon = synonym.

And whilst there was general approval of last week’s Dance Special, word reached me of a much better version of the Slosh than the one I used;

And finally I couldn’t help but notice that Lulu had turned seventy. She apparently started off one night by appearing with Take That at the Albert Hall, disappeared for thirty minutes to go to sing with another band in another place, and then came back to the Royal Albert Hall to finish the night off with Relight My Fire.

It brought back memories for me and good friend e of last year at the Bandstand when she broke off halfway through as well; only this time it was cos her family had turned up and they all went round the back for a cup of tea. 🙂

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and rethinking the plan about keeping it simple. Ot maybe not.

Iaint850, who, like Lorraine Kelly, is hotter at sixty than he was at thirty. 😉

And in a stunning link and showing how carefully thought out this blog is and not just cos I saw Lulu in a newspaper, it would have been my sister’s seventieth birthday this week and I know that she and many of her friends from university had plans to do things to celebrate (and it was nice to get a couple of messages from those friends).

Well I had things to do this week and one of her (two) properties is about to go on the market.

It’s about an hour outside Glasgow and Son Brian and I have done a lot of tidying up down there but it is now in the hands of an estate agent.

I’ve arranged for cleaners and the estate agent has arranged for a photographer and a home report and OMG!!!……….it was all a wee bit too much for me…..not cos it was my sister but it’s possibly the most grown up thing I’ve ever done in my life.

When our folks passed away it was all done through my legal and the, then, Solicitors’ Property Centre. Now I’m being asked to make decisions and it’s quite frightening.

My thanks to good friend Caroline who listened to all this and then got me a bottle of water cos, frankly, my dear, I had had too much coffee by that point……phew.

Recently I saw a documentary on Sky Arts and it was about The Band. No. It was about the band called The Band and I’ve been listening to them a lot recently. It fits the country vibe with a bit of rock. Friends and family? They do help to take the weight off, don’t they? I’m not sure where I’d be without them.

Very few people who take drugs have a drugs problem. (Dr Carl Hart)

March 16, 2019

After all, think of the number of people you know who use drugs (including tobacco and alcohol) who do not have a problem and how many who do? Interesting, eh? But more of that later.

And so, dear listener, cleaning and clearing and tidying and settling my sister’s estate has been put on hold. For a short period. I’ve not actually been told to slow down but many other things are happening and as my son said, ‘there is no rush to getting anything sorted out.’

So things such as? Well, Tuesday of next week sees me doing drink in the morning and drugs in the afternoon. Oh, happy daze. But maybe I should explain. The Scottish Drugs Forum, which is not a Government quango, is a major source of training in the use of substances so I’m going to update my knowledge of alcohol and drugs. 😉

And they were also the ones responsible for bringing substance use expert Dr Carl Hart over from the States. I listened to him on Wednesday night and there was good craic (I spelt it correctly Skippy) about the scientific basis to our knowledge about drugs and how we deal with them and the people who use them.

I was reminded of one of the things I learned during my Post Grad – the drug, the set, the setting……..the drug itself is not addictive. We need to find out a wee bit more about the person using the drug, their environment and what’s happening to them in their life.

And then the next day Carl took part in a major conference on the subject of mental health and drug use altho’ tbh, my two favourite speakers were two professionals who each told us a wee story with a point and that held my attention just a wee bit more than someone talking about reports over the years. 😀

And then I got an exclusive interview with Carl. It was like the old days of waiting until others had spoken and then me as the media moved in – except these days I do it on my phone and not with a jumbo tape recorder called a Uher. I’ll let you know when it all appears on the SDF website.

Well, anyway friend Sharon seemed interested when I told her although her mind was perhaps more on the goat’s cheese tarte that she eats in that café whose name I can never remember but is the next to the rock school in the High Street in Paisley.

No I wasn’t anywhere near the uny library. I have plenty of books of my own *he says moving the conversation swiftly on*

And on Saturday afternoon I was in the company of good friend Missie K as we listened to Neil Oliver who was jolly excellent as he talked about the five books that meant so much to him in his life and, Missie K, you won’t be surprised to know that I watched my DVD of Zulu on Saturday night. 😉

And finally, without me doing anything, editing has started to flood in – except I’ve had to turn some of it down. I am more than happy to do work at short notice or at the weekend, but to be contacted at four o’clock on a Friday afternoon to be asked to proof-read 10,000 words on Saturday and Sunday (maybe 8 – 10 hours) is a bit off, so I turned it down.

But there’s plenty of other work and word of mouth is good which is possibly why I have become the go-to-guy if your essay is on the gasification properties of char. See me, see Mastermind in a few years’ time. 🙂

Tioraidh, still proudly wearing that badge and still (trying to) keep(ing) it simple,

Iaint850 and ‘coherent’ is a good word. I was. He wasn’t.

So let’s talk lifeboats. As some of you may remember I did explain that the RNLI has been a major recipient of some charitable donations following my sister’s passing away. But I have another lifeboat memory.

17th March, 1969, the Longhope lifeboat (from the island of Hoy in Orkney) went out on another call but never came back – with the loss of a crew of eight – a major loss of life in the village.

Approximately twelve years later, I was a researcher with a film crew doing a BBC doc on Hoy for Religious Broadcasting. It was about a guy called Harry Berry, an Englishman who had settled on Hoy, (it was called The Old Man of Hoy – and why not?) and we decided to do some filming about the lifeboat. And me and the assistant film cameraman were given a task. (Yes. Assistant Film Cameraman – I am that old. 😉 )

When the lifeboat, in those days, was launched it was necessary for a man with a big hammer to hit a metal pin that secured a chain that held the boat and the boat was launched. With nobody caring where the chain ended up. And that was where the director placed Paul and me – right behind the boat. I was to pull focus while he pointed the camera.

‘I wouldn’t sit there, lads’ said an experienced Orcadian.

‘We’ll be fine,’ came the voices of inexperience.

OMG!!!!!!! The chain sped across in front of us and the end bit hit us and covered us in oil.

‘Well lads,I did tell you,’ came the voice of experience……..but boy was it worth it when the shot was used.

As someone originally from the fishing town of Peterhead my thoughts are with the people of Longhope.

Here’s the lovely voice of Jade Halliwell and Storm Chaser

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. (Albert Camus)

March 7, 2019

And so, dear listener, it is, as I’m sure you know, one year since the ‘Beast from the East’ hit us and I, like many, felt marooned in my wee semi but many others, including social care workers, who travel amongst us invisibly, as, in general, they have no uniform to wear, made it in to work with the homeless and in hospitals and to try to keep the roads and rails running.

So this year, I planned for it. 😉

Shovels, and salt, and de-icer, and brushes were installed in my porch and I bought in flour to make bread and there’s lots of stuff in tins and tea and coffee (altho’ much of that has been liberated from my sister’s kitchens) and I was good to go. 🙂

And then we had a lovely last couple of weeks in February and I was fooled and much of it was put back in the shed or at the back of the larder and I relaxed and then I switched on TV News and there was Louise Lear (or similar) talking of snow in the hills and sleet at lower levels.

How prophetic she was, but lighter nights and mornings make it easier to get on with things anyway. 😀

And that’s what I’m doing. In several of the last thirteen years, it’s what March has been all about.

We continue to sort out my sister’s estate and her two properties are about ready to be put on the market and that’s been quite an experience.

Big thanks to Son Brian and his dad-in-law, John, and good friend e who have put clothes in bags (for a Maryhill Clothes Bank who will collect them) and rubbish in other bags (which have gone to respective tips) while I have wandered around going, ‘Gosh. Will you look at that photo.’ or ‘No. I already have enough bleach. Are you sure you don’t want some?’ But we’ve made good progress and I think it’s been good to keep going the way we have done. Well, for me anyway. 🙂

Let’s move on. Certainly, within the context of this show, let’s move on.

So this week’s TV Comedy of the Month this year goes to Derry Girls which has returned to Channel 4 and is on a Tuesday at 9.15 pm. It’s a superb piece of writing which does not rely on set up gags and a sofa (altho’ Two Doors Down is good) but simply the word interplay between the girls (and the boy) at the all girls’ catholic school and the interplay with the boys from a protestant school at a Peace Weekend at an outdoor adventure centre. 🙂

You’ve got to be quick to spot the purity bracelet and the chat between the nun (‘the small angry penguin woman’) and the proddy teacher (Miss Turner) is brilliant and unlike some period pieces there are no (too) obvious props to date it – simply the music of the Undertones and the Cranberrries.

And finally, I was out at UWS (Paisley) this week (No. That wasn’t the reason) and my eyes were caught by attempts to improve the sad High Street. There’s something called the Renfrewshire Witch Experience which looks like it might be one of those ghostly trails that seem so popular and a shop called the White Cart Co which had a lot of Glasgow prints but I saw, and bought, a photo collage of wee pics of Paisley. I like it and it’s up in my front room (the back room being the kitchen) alongside a print of Peterhead and a framed photo of the Finnieston Crane (a sister of the Titan)

That’s my life on that wall. 😀 😀 😀

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, who can see light at the end of the tunnel and for once it’s not an oncoming train (or have I said that before?)

And so, as part of my role with the SDF I’m going to be doing some writing and reporting on a conference they’re organising called ‘Bridging that Gap – Delivering Scotland’s Drug and Mental Health Strategies’.

It’s an area of interest to me.

A wee while back I was asked about someone with depression who was drinking and what should be ‘treated’ first – the depression or the drinking – and I gave my opinion but I stressed that that was what it was. An opinion. I could not back it up ‘off the top of my head’ with any evidence.

And that’s what has annoyed me about the knife crime debate this week. The argument has been about the cause and effect between crime numbers and the numbers of police but little evidence has been offered by politicians.

I know that, despite the good news that violent crime has decreased in the West of Scotland in recent years, that many young men and women carry knives for protection. If they believe that another person might be carrying (it could be buying drugs, an argument over territory or a pint being knocked out of someone’s hands) then no amount of prison sentences or extra police numbers will stop them.

What the Violence Reduction Unit achieved in Glasgow was to make violent crime a public health matter and to look at a number of possible causes and what could be done to alleviate them – from Midnight football leagues to social enterprise and to provide evidence as to what actually worked…..but politicians and golf club sociologists hate that.

And for what it matters, I think if you stop or cut back on drinking then a clear mind does wonders when I comes to dealing with depression or anxiety…….but I don’t have the evidence to hand. Only my own experience.

I’ll tell you more about the conference next week.

This is Keith Urban with a simple country love song. No. No-one in particular…….

Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after. (Anne Morrow Lindbergh)

March 1, 2019

And so, dear listener, having confessed last week to the odd run in with the police when I was very young – altho’ to be honest it was the run home rather than the run that caused the problem – I have to admit feeling more of a ‘ned’ last week. 😦

It had a very simple beginning. The blogmeister and I had arranged a wee coffee and chat and we had it in Tinderbox in Byres Road. I like sitting at the window and I still like Byres Road life. There is a sense of old Glasgow as twilight settles in and there’s a mix of folk going home and others going out. 🙂

And then I did that thing you do when you think you’ve had enough coffee. I asked for a bottle of water. Y’know the idea. You get a bottle of water, drink half of it out of the plastic bottle and screw the top back on and finish the rest off later.

Except on Tinderbox, you get a glass bottle.

I drank half, said my goodbyes to the blogmeister and wandered up the road – with the glass bottle sticking out of my pocket. All I needed was a fish supper and I was a Billy Connolly stereotype.

Neil Lennon and his wee boy walked past me. Neil seemed happy. 😀 This was Monday evening.

And I began to panic. And I don’t know why. I turned left into Horslethill Road and I felt easier. Seconds later I reached the car and I felt okay. I threw the bottle onto the passenger seat and relaxed. I wasn’t being followed; I didn’t need it to defend myself. Maybe it’s that moment when the twilight becomes The Dark.

But the going for coffee is a sign of getting back out again. Mentally and physically I feel tired but I’m also back doing stuff with the Scottish Drugs Forum and there are busy times ahead…..

But there was also a spooky wee feel to last week. A few weeks ago my mobile took a tumble and I took it to a place in Partick and it got fixed okay. A few days ago it fell again but even after a couple of visits to Partick, it wasn’t happy. So, with help of Son Brian, a new improved one had been ordered but what to do in the meantime.

Well, I still have my sister’s devices and they all seem powered up so I thought I can always use my sister’s phone. In an emergency. Boy, had I not thought it through.

I sent myself a text to my erratic phone. It worked but it came up in her name! Can you imagine had I sent one to someone else without warning them first. And that thing where you can send a text to a landline and it gets read out! But no, it’s a robot voice…….so no, maybe not a good idea.

Time to buy a new one. Which I did with the help of Son Brian. Who is playing a big role as an advisor at the moment and I know what you’re going to ask. It’s a Samsung and it’s black with a lot more storage than before. No. I don’t know the make but I do know it’s delivery was undertaken by Yodel and their website kept me informed enough to allow me to nip out for a haircut and, yes, it is getting shorter. My hair. 😉

But, Yodel, bloody Yodel….what a badly named organisation. The driver couldn’t even find my front door bell which is on my front door. His arrival was in total silence. He didn’t shout, let alone yodel. Regular and expected visitors (I can explain Skippy) chap on the window and walk in. The door’s open unless it’s locked. But, luckily, Mr Yodel, I happened to be in and downstairs and saw you……

So it’s all out of the box and my son is in charge of sorting out as well as the radio as we begin to clear and tidy my sisters’s house overlooking the Clyde. 🙂

And finally, this week’s Book of the Month this year is A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and it’s about a man called Ove who considers suicide after his wife passes on and there are bits where I snorted with laughter. And a brilliant pregnant lady called Parvaneh who, eventually, doesn’t even chap on the window before she walks in……it is, despite the subject matter, a book that helps you smile and that’s been good for me this week 😀

Tioraidh, still keeping it simple and still wearing that badge (but writing it in a different order may help)

Iaint850, who wasn’t really completely fine when he said he was but he is now.

I can explain (and I’ve kinda alluded to it earlier)

Like lots of folk, after a tricky few months, I had tired – physically and mentally. It wasn’t unique to me but I’m not sure I’ve really drawn breath but that is beginning to happen. Lots to do in terms of settling the estate and stuff but some of the conversations I’ve had with folk this week have reassured me that other folk, in similar situations, have had to take their time in settling things.

I think I mentioned last week that, at one stage, I had been more concerned about the practicalities of the future, rather than dealing with the here and now-ish. It’s not quite ‘one day at a time’ stuff but delighted to say lots happening with the Scottish Drugs Forum, I seem to have tickets for five Aye Write events (what are you going to and will I see you there?) and my grandson’s second birthday coffee and cakes isn’t that far away……..and I am catching up with folks and my range of conversation is getting wider and wider….…as I was saying to Holly the Dog only the other day……when I was telling her about Mr Ove.

I feel nicely quiet as I write this.

And for no real reason here’s forty-seven minutes of Burt Bacharach in Edmonton, Canada in 1977

‘It was the worst cover-up in the history of cover-ops’ (Donald Trump highlighting what concerns him most about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi)

October 25, 2018

And so dear listener I was only kinda joking about stockpiling for a No-Deal Brexit or the Beast from the East but I was serious about needing a simple recipe for bread; one that can be made with ingredients from the ASDA, Summerston, which, whilst it has played a major role in the last thirty years or so of my life, it is not the best stocked of shops. 😦

There is no fresh fish counter, for example, and, as a pescatarian, if I want fresh fish I have to travel to the fishing ports of the ASDA, Bearsden or Morrison’s Anniesland…….and the Nirvana that is the shop in Byres Road……..is it still Beveridge’s?

Anyway, stockpiling…….I have made a good start by buying a new jar of whole peppercorns and some long life cartons of coconut cream. I would add frozen strawberry cones to that list but I seem to be eating those…….and a jar of beetroot but I now find John West’s tinned salmon very boring. 😦

And I do now have a couple of bread recipes. I may yet practise. Others still welcome.

And my concerns about the weather are not just on the basis that the (Daily) Express (thanks to Jeremy’s brother Piers who is a weather forecaster) predicts yet again it’ll be a bad winter but are based on my experiences of last year. 😦

My heart scare certainly coincided with the first bad weather of January and I can remember on one occasion walking up from the ASDA and standing stock still in the freezing cold so sore was my heart at that moment. 😦

And then, from the window of my ward in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary I looked out onto a cold and icy M8 junction with cars slipping and sliding. 😦

I’d only just got home and was getting out again when the ‘beast’ arrived and the only times I’ve had to use my Heart Attack spray were weather related……We’ll just have to wait and see.

But speaking of hospital wards, I do feel that one of the biggest steps forward for women was when the NHS did away with mixed wards in hospitals and gave women, and men, a sense of communal and complete privacy. It seems an old fashioned notion now – the concept of privacy – but I’m not sure either men or women would want to lose that.

Looking at Twitter there’s a strange language (other than bad) employed in discussing all sorts of things including gender transition and feminism, for example, and something called Digital Journalism which seems to be practised by academics who have never done any court reporting or council reporting in a small town. 🙂

But one big advantage is the ability to talk to @scotrail about when trains will be running again.

I got a reply within about four minutes and found that very helpful; mind you the other thing, if you check Twitter, is that ScotRail is not a very good or well-run network is it?

Anyway, that’s all a bit serious.

I loved the letter which appeared on Social Media (possibly from the Daily Mail) in which the writer complained about his new TV which carried the message ‘Built in Antenna’ and complaining that he’d never heard of that country. An amazing number of people were appalled at his ignorance and pored scorn on that ‘type of people’. It was a joke (LOL) I laffed for both reasons. 😀

I also laffed at David Schwimmer for his posting following the theft from the Blackpool supermarket and the subsequent posting from the Blackpool Police. I won’t explain it to you. Google it – if your Virgin Media broadband and television is working which it wasn’t on Thursday.

So I called 151 and got a pre-recorded message explaining that it was ‘planned maintenance’ and it was anticipated that it would be finished by 6pm and then (gulp) it gives me my full postcode and not just the area – which makes me think it’s only me…..but it wasn’t. Thankfully. So I went for a walk. And then the phone went beep. The Internet was coming back on. 🙂

And finally, I feel this has unwittingly become a round-up of my current life so I might as well keep going.

Yes, the vol stuff with the Scottish Drugs Forum is going well and some of the writing I’m doing may well appear soon online and my thanks to the Blogmeister for lending me a book called ‘Social Media 101 – Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online’ which I started to read on Thursday when the Internet was down. 🙂

And the editing has picked up (a wee bit) and again my thinks to good friends e and Jenny H for their recent help and thoughts. 🙂 xx

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple in that I still have one of last year’s intended Christmas presents but I ate the other

Iaint850, actually happier than I may have sounded but lots to think about

So here’s a wee story, which relates back to my lost USB stick and the depression it brought – but ‘stick’ with me.

I was in an academic’s office a couple of weeks ago at one of those universities which has various campuses and was chatting away when one of his admin people walked in with an internal envelope (remember them) and said, ‘Here’s that USB stick you thought you’d lost yesterday (at that other campus). They found it after you’d phoned.’ And the academic was relieved obviously that it had been found so I told him my tale.

If only the Mitchell Library had been as efficient…….

Here’s Shania Twain and Dolly Parton 910 words

‘Whether you support the monarchy or not, the wedding was a wonderful expression of love that lifted spirits across the country and had diversity at its heart’ (Kezia Dugdale)

May 25, 2018

And so, dear listener, last week’s show was a wee bit on the serious side so I’m going to try to avoid that. Maybe dedicate it to a couple of folk. Purely hypothetically. 😀

Maybe celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary somewhere on the Iberian Peninsula. Maybe they had a humanist wedding by the very same tree at the hotel in Strathblane where Son Brian and the gorgeous KT had their wedding reception. 😀

Maybe I didn’t get there cos I was knackered after eight weeks of radiotherapy (exactly ten years ago this week) and I must thank this imaginary couple for all the help and support they have given me over these years. Thanks. 😀

And really pleased at how well my rhubarb was appreciated by all the young Gaels which was a David Bowie song….later he changed Gaels to Dudes.

All totally hypothetical. Except the Bowie bit. Possibly he wrote it on his famous visit to Cumbernauld Town Centre. 😉

Moving swiftly on.

And a mention for all the folk from my Post Grad of 2011-2013 and something I said in a class about AA and the Twelve Steps – which is the basic tool used within AA.

Apparently I made the point that my aim was for a time when no-one would know me as a ‘recovering’ or ‘recovered alcoholic’ – just ‘someone who didn’t drink’. Well that time came not long after but, recently, on a TV series called Genderquake (partly about transition and other gender issues), there was a contributor who asked, ‘when I can stop being trans and just be a man?’

I am proud that that story reminded a good friend of me. Thanks N x.

And I think what has made such a difference to me over those years has been the ability to meet people (okay women) on a friendly basis without anyone e.g. husbands and boyfriends or the women themselves panicking.

Not sure what that says about me but I’m eleven years five months older than looked possible in December 2006. So, yes, I may not drink but I still count the daze. 🙂

Always keeping it simple.

And my favourite piece of drama this week was the boiled egg eating scene in the Jeremy Thorpe drama. Do you hammer your eggs or do you slice them? And the subtlety of the glimpse of the petroleum jelly. But not in the same scene, I should stress.

Anyway I think I do prefer gluten free soy sauce and I’m perfectly happy with dairy free ice cream.

And Partick Thistle season tickets are about to go on sale so I will be buying one and I do hope that, healthwise, things are settled enough for me to go to games altho’ I long ago lost my seat in the charabanc for away games to young Sam…and deservedly so. 🙂

And it’s really weird having an early morning look at Facebook and seeing a photo of your main road and the entrance to your cul-de-sac and the headline;

Armed police swoop on flat in dawn raid in quiet Summerston street’

It was 6.20 and my neighbour was out walking her dog. Heavily armed police.

Drugs? Stashed in the graveyard? Connection with recent fatal shootings? And the white Audi? It was taken away.

Will it be in The Digger this week?

Still moving swiftly on.

And subway station platforms like Cessnock do worry me a wee bit. They seem awful narrow and remind me a wee bit of the rope ladders between trees at Go Ape where there was just a wee bit of 3-2-1- Go! and I was fine. 🙂

I’d be too scared to do that again.

And I didn’t know, despite my great use of the UWS Library in Paisley (all sorts of reasons) that it has a Special Collection. It chose to tell the world on Twitter that its collection of Philip Roth was kept there and chose to illustrate that with a pic of Portnoy’s Complaint! Cheeeeeky! 😉

But even now I pretend I’m back in there (it’s all changed now) at the table by the window that overlooked the entrance to the Robertson Building and idly searching through Google Scholar. Honest. There was a reason but finding stuff was a good feeling.

And I know I’m not the only person who, when North Korean expert Prof R. Kelly is on TV spends more time looking at the door to his study than at him.

I still can’t watch it without laffing

And finally I’ve got the new script for my Prostate Cancer presentation and I promise to stick to it word for word and when I get to the bit where I say ‘one man dies of prostate cancer every forty-five minutes’ I will not look at my watch, look round the room slowly and say ‘the clock is ticking.’

Tioraidh, still proudly wearing that badge and still proudly keeping it simple.

Iaint850, ‘old enough to know better; too young to resist’ (lifted from Steve Cropper who co-wrote Dock of the Bay)

And publishing that quote from Kezia does not necessarily mean I agree with her but for me freedom of speech means I listen to opposing viewpoints without being vindictive, vile and abusive.

So I’ve a lost a pre-loved (second hand) CD I purchased recently. It was a compilation of different line dancing tunes and dances. And was planned as a standby present. (Some things I don’t analyse). So I trawled through YouTube and I found this. It’s not the most exciting but I know which one I’d be. Look to the right of the screen and the lazy, languid fella, both his thumbs in his pockets, looking every inch a ‘two-bob gangster’. That’d be me. And according to Alice with whom I worked, I was never that. 😉