Scaring Off That Big Black Dog.

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Somewhere out there,  they are there,  alone,  lonely,  miserable bordering on depressed but they say nothing and if you ask,  they say that “they’re fine.”

“It’s okay not to be okay “.. became a mantra often repeated on social media in the past few years..

But is it really okay not to be okay?

How do you know when your friend,  colleague or family member says that “they’re fine”.

Another popular one .. i would rather listen to your problems than your eulogy.

Sounds cliched,  a sound-bite to like or share on social media,  but what are you actually going to do about it?

Late one night on a camping trip,   when the drinking and singing had settled down to a chilled quiet talk round the fire,   a good friend of mine confessed to having the Black Dog of depression following him.

I’d never heard of the term before and asked him to explain. Continue reading “Scaring Off That Big Black Dog.”

Celebrate The Life and The Living!

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Today was one of my best mates Alex’s funeral,  a very different affair in these days of crisis and coronavirus with limited numbers allowed in the crematorium and no purvey in a local pub or club afterwards.

Alex was one of the best, an outgoing,  gregarious character,  intelligent, charming and with a biting wit which he used to wind up opponents at work,  on the football pitch and in the terraces.

He was a semi-pro footballer before we worked together in IT,  clicked instantly and he played football with my group of pals for a few years were his class always showed.

He loved karaoke and would sing on any occasion.  Both of us love dancing and I wish that I had half his confidence in just getting on the flor on his own when a song played that he liked.     He usually dragged me up tho,  even although i love dancing,  getting up on my own isn’t really my thing.

Today,  around 100 people outside the crematorium and 25 or so inside including myself,  for which I’m very honoured.

The celebrant was the same person that married him and and second wife Laura 11 years ago,   a lovely celebration of the vibrant life of a colourful charactter and complete gentleman.

His passing last week was very sudden and came as a shock and I’m not ashamed to tell you that I had more than a few tears for him.

I’m going to miss my pal very much.

The funeral was on the other side of Glasgow,  so after paying respect to Laura and the family and friends,  I stopped in at my dads on the way home.

He’s 85 and has been in serious lockdown for the past 16 weeks as he knows himself that if he gets this virus then its game over and contact is limited between his carers,  my brother Duncan and myself.

We sat chatting about life,  watching the tv that he watches,   usually series and movies created before I was even a glint in his eyes.   But its what he likes and I was happy just to be in his presence and listen to his stories of Glasgow and the mischief he got up to as a kid.

Someday, and hopefully that day isn’t anytime soon,  I’ll be the paying tribute to him,  as I did for my mum,  only this time i won’t have dad looking up at me with pride.

So while he’s here,  I’ll celebrate the living.

You should do the same,  it’s too late when their gone.

Cheers Alex,  cheers to you too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh No Not My Baby – COVID-19.

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The old adage that if you play with fire,  you will get burned has always beeen true.

But never more apt than for our NHS and care workers on the front-line dealing with patients who have the virus.

My daughter Laura has been working on the front-line since people started being hospitalised with the symptoms in early March.

She texted me a few weeks ago to tell me that she had tested positive for the virus and sent me a copy of the positive test.

Obviously I called her immediately.

Continue reading “Oh No Not My Baby – COVID-19.”

Train Stories – Make Up Girl?

She’s sitting across from me now, the beautiful young woman with the long blonde hair and gorgeous features and fabulous figure.

It’s an hour long train journey from Glasgow to Edinburgh via Shotts and it’s difficult not to make occasional eye-contact when someone is sitting directly across from you.

Maybe that’s why so many people stare at their phones?

She is a particularly good looking girl with her tight silver fitted jumper highlighting that she has all the right curves in all the right places.

If I was 20 years younger …

She probably still be too young for me! 😀

Yeah I know, I’ve got daughters her age, so believe me that although I’m admiring her beauty there nothing untoward in my thought process.

What has caught my attention is her need to sit in a public place and plaster her face with make-up, thick foundation, blusher, ruby red lips.

Firstly is she so insecure that she has to cover her face in fake colour when she’s already a beautiful girl?

Secondly, call me old fashioned but how inappropriate is it to be doing your make up for 20 minutes on a packed train?

I’m all for personal freedom and letting people do what they like as long as it doesn’t impact anyone else, so no one is questioning that entitlement.

What I am questioning is the need and the appropriateness.

———-

I’m somewhere between Glasgow and Edinburgh, hurtling cross country through a cold winter morning.

Early March and the sun is now appearing low on the horizon scaring away the darkness.

Spring is on its way.

Intermittent Fasting – 6 Month Review

You fat B   .. you fat B… 

My scales did their best impression of the audience greeting Roy Chubby Brown as I stepped on them after being for a week’s holiday in the sun.

That was July last year and I was my heaviest weight ever .. ever ever!

If you look back on my blog then you’d see that  I’d already hit my heaviest in March 2018,  did some exercise and cut the carbs and lost a stone I wanted.

But this time,  I had exceeded that high weight by another half a stone,  partially due to pressure of work,  long commutes making long days and comfort eating.

I was having the carb coma after eating carbs at lunch and if I’m honest with myself I was worried about becoming diabetic or  having high blood pressure and the more severe health issues that come with that including heart disease and stroke,  particularly as my dad had a stroke around my age and although he’s 85 now he’s partially immobile and it has affected his quality of life.

At 16 stones that did it .. enough was enough.

Continue reading “Intermittent Fasting – 6 Month Review”

Drop The Baggage Butterfly!

This new job is going well, Much better than I expected.

All is well, the people, the money, the challenge which is a step but from my previous roles but I’m embracing it and putting the effort in and overcoming.

All is week apart from the travel east every day to Edinburgh which is a pain in the derrière.

Time is money and it’s still worth it, not just for the cash but for the new skills which are more transferable going towards my next role.

That’s how it works.

You can’t go from junior doctor to principal consultant overnight. It’s taking the right steps to take you in the direction you want.

In my case it has been from apprentice engineer in shipbuilding, engineer, draughtsman, cad draughtsman, cad developer, database developer, DBA, database designer, solution designer, solution architect.

In most of those changes, I was at the same company.

For example an engineer in the yards to being a draughtsman was a different skill set is a significant jump.

Similarly at different company, I changed from cad developer to database developer.

Do you know what happens when that occurs?

Continue reading “Drop The Baggage Butterfly!”

Did he jump .. Or was he pushed?

The year has barely started and I’m out of one job and starting another already.

But did he jump or was he pushed?

Did he quit or resign?

A bit of both really. But when push cane to shove I got in first!

Well I was already on the look and had today’s fresh start lined up. A 6 month contract as a Solution Architect at a major financial institution in Edinburgh at a day rate that’s hard to refuse.

Yes I can be bought! 😀

Truth be told though, that last job was a nightmare.

I was bored rigid. Yet somehow squeezed between a rock and a hard place based at a demanding customer site with lack of support from the consultancy down south.

No moans, no slagging off, that’s below me and the job served a purpose of knowing what I don’t want to do but enjoying the easy commute of being back in Glasgow for 6 months.

My probation period is up this Friday coming. My manager made a point of coming up to see me last week.

I knew what was coming. So I got in first.

Now I’m on “garden leave” and they’re paying me for the month.

Whoop-De-Doo!

Shame they don’t know I already had this contract lined up.

Now I find myself heading east towards Edinburgh and looking back in time to the many occasions that I’ve worked there and did this commute before.

The train is much less stressful than the car. A breeze by comparison and gives one time to relax, a bit of browsing, reading or writing.

Looking forward to today, a little bit anxious like any new start, but I’ve did this many times before.

I’m tempted to say .. wish me luck .. but in this life you make your own.

Happy New Year!

Work Stories – A Beggars Dilemma?

 

Do you hate working for a living?

I don’t,   I’m not over keen on forcing myself to get up and out every day,  dragging my sorry ass into an office to do something that even if it is creative and pays well, isn’t what I’d really be doing

i.e. lying on a beach

I’m back in Glasgow after 2.5 years out at a Global Communications company in Livingston,   it’s good to be close to home,  an easy commute and back home for 5:30pm allows you to have a bit of a life .. or put your feet up in front of tv if you so desire.

But I’m bored,   there isn’t enough of a challenge and now after 4 months it all feels quite repetitive .. and the pay isn’t what I’m used to.

Still,  beggars and choosers eh?    Sometimes the lucrative contract work just isn’t around in these testing times and you just need to take what you can get and be thankful that some corporate provider helps keep the wolf away from the door.

But last week,  I did an interview with a major pensions and investments  company in Edinburgh,   a second interview on Tuesday on the phone and today I got the job.

It’s a positive doozy .. or in Glaswegian .. a Belter!!

A better day rate than I’ve ever had,  even before the economy crashes of 2001 and 2008 and we started bringing in workforce from all over the globe which provided the supply to fill demand and kill wages.

Happy daze .. I made a fortune back then .. enough to pay off the mortgage,   a wife and later a partner .. but lets not go there.

A fool and his .. yep you betcha!

But here’s the rub,   is it all about the money?

Is it ever all about the money?  or is it always about the money?

What about the quality of life?   Getting home at a decent hour and being able to .. what?   I don’t really do much in the evening anyway.

But the reality is,  working in Edinburgh will get me home at 7pm.     Do I really want to go back to that?    Not really.

Is there a balance?

I don’t think so and I’m not going to start asking about working from home before I’ve even started .. as a contractor that might be a bad sign.

I’ve told them I’ll confirm on Monday.

But next year I have a daughters wedding to pay for and you know how this is going to end.

 

Wolf – The Train Monster?

Well that’s just done it ..

The train home from Anderston to Cambuslang after work.

Totally packed, but getting on at Anderston beats the rush of the city, I already have a seat in a six seat booth beside the window facing forward.

Some other people come along and grab the other three corners.

Because we humans are sociable like that!

I’m thinking thank fuck the walrus sitting opposite me didn’t sit beside me … but what was I to know!

At central, it’s rush hour and the platform is packed and every carriage is standing room only.

Two more folk approach the booth, skinny dude and a fucking hippopotamus even fatter than the walrus sitting opposite.

The skinny dude, a gentleman without an option as fatty is pushing ahead, lets her choose her seat, centre facing front or centre facing back.

She chooses front.

Now I’m sitting pinned against the window with her fat arse and elbow pressing against mine.

Fucks sake.

Now she has her phone out playing some stupid game her elbow hitting me every few seconds.

It’s not painful, just extremely annoying.

I can’t stand fat people, it’s bad enough getting caught behind their slow wide wobble when you’re in a rush.

But sitting squeezed in and pushing her not unsizeable bulk into my space is intrusive in the extreme.

I really want to shout at this person … you dirty big fat inconsiderate fuck, why don’t you lose some weight you fucking monster.

But then that would make me the monster.

Maybe I’ll just follow her home, then come back later and murder her in her sleep. 😀

—-

I had considered writing this as a Train Story without the last paragraph which gives it an extra twisted twist!

Until that point it was going to be ironic, criticising her then turning it on myself.

But that last line is dementedly sick. I like it.

I watched Joker last night, what a performance by Joaquin Phoenix if that doesn’t win the Oscar then their fixed.