Bunty could be a bit unpredictable at times when it came to family pets. When I was Eight and Davy was Ten we had , for a wee while, a muckle Labrador called Rueben – a bit too up market a name for a Dug in Harrysmuir North. That would be the same as having a classmate at Pumphy primary called Simeon or Digory – I’m sure that Simeon and Digory would’ve been splendid young chaps, but it wouldn’t have helped them in any way with names like those. Anyway this muckle Labrador, which Bunty had got, was in the back garden One day tucking into a big bone – Bunty had knocked back a couple of cans of ‘I’m driving the Bus and if you don’t like it you can F–k off’ [ Carlsburg, for short] . I remember Davy and I looking out of the kitchen window and seeing Bunty moving stealthily, or at least as stealthily as she could after drinking the equivalent [ for her] of Two Hydrogen bombs, towards the dug. In itself – nothing to worry about there- but when you add in the fact that behind her back she was hiding a bone which was bigger than the bone he was eating – Davy and I were convinced that she was going to hit the poor Bugger over the head with it and kill it. Luckily Davy saved the day and got the bone off her and Reuben, oblivious to what fate might have had in store for him, carried on eating his bone. Jerry the Gerbil wasn’t so lucky. It must’ve been the next year when we got him – I know we had Ben the Dug and Jerry at the same time. I remember Scud senior jokingly wanting Jerry’s cage out of sight of the Telly when Rangers played Moscow Dynamo in the 1972 European Cup Winners Cup Final – in case he was a jinx because Gerbils ran about in what was a part of the old Soviet Union. I think he wanted to put him in a box and send him back to Mongolia or wherever when Dynamo who were Three down at one point pulled it back to 3-2. He [ Jerry] was saved when Rangers hung on to win but eventually suffered the wrath of Bunt. I think she must’ve been on a cocktail of Carsburg, Castrol GTX and Nitro Glycerine that night because we let Jerry run about the kitchen and living room as normal. He’d dart around, annoying Ben the Dug, who just wanted to eat him or hire a professional hit Dog to shoot him- and the wee Mongolian Moose would be safe in the knowledge that Ben the Dug would get a ‘Haw sir’ or ‘bad boy’ if he growled or looked like he was getting pissed off. A dog is one thing but Bunty on the wreck the hoose juice is another. I remember she was in the kitchen writing and drinking and drinking and writing – she must’ve written more words than Winston F ing Churchill over the course of time- and Jerry was scampering about the kitchen and she hit him with the coal shovel and picked him up by the tail and threw him into the coal fire ‘Raeburn’ as it was called. It was a cooker that ran on coal instead of Electricity – you put coal in the fire and shut the wee door and it heated up the oven and the Hob. I think at one time it might have provided hot water but if it did it was before my time. Anyway, I remember the poor wee buggers legs twitching as she threw him into the fire and I can remember it like yesterday. The next Gerbil we got ended up in the oven of the same fire- although that was a deliberate plan. The house was getting decorated – in the early Seventies paint was Two ingredients short of being a Chemical weapon – and Scud senior reckoned it was this that led to ‘New Jerry’ being overcome with the paint fumes. He also thought that if we put the oven on at low with the door open the wee thing might come to. After a while the Gerbil stirred and for a short time it seemed to be OK, but died before the morning.
I’ve been neglecting the diaries lately. It’s been an awfy Month and most of it has been spent on letting things get me down. The beginning of the Month started badly and just disintegrated after that. I was told that if this new chemo doesn’t work I’m for the great Bing in the sky, then I got my double fracture and then I couldn’t get chemo because my blood wasn’t right. To top it all I’ve fallen quite spectacularly off the ‘nae joints’ wagon. I think that’s the main reason for the shite Month – I’d gone Six Months without a fag and felt great. No more wacky Baccy after tonight, though – or at least until the end of this chemo when, whatever the outcome, I will treat myself to a cheeky wee joint. I’m obviously hoping for a positive outcome which would mean I can get the stem cell treatment, which will save me – that’s worth a joint. If, however I’m told that they can’t save me, well, I think that’s worth a wee joint, too. The Doctor told me that they’d been surprised at how my Heart was after the ECG thing. It was better than anticipated and stopping the fags must’ve been behind that – if that isn’t incentive to stop I don’t know what is. I get more chemo next week, blood count permitting and it’ll be back to the hair falling out and feeling shite. Next Month sees Bingstock and the artist formerly known as alive [ Prince ] definitely won’t be there because he’s deid.
Borrussia Newton Wamphray – it’s a pity that never materialised. It’s up there with Dukla Pumpherston. We are now halfway through April and the weather is shite – you could say that ‘it’s Scotland, it’s springtime – what’s new’ ?, but I’m at the stage where this could be my last spring, so, I’m hoping like F–k it will start brightening up. ‘The eve of destruction’ by Barry Maguire is playing in the background – love that song – and Proud Mary is up next. It’s raining a wee bit although there is a lot of brightness. This has been an awfy week – the worst so far – this effin’ leg break has just come at the wrong time. I saw Davy when I was coming back from the shop – I had to get electricity – and he’s getting me stuff from the Scot mid later – what an ordeal getting to and from the shop. From the flat to the shop is two minutes – as local shops go, that’s ideal. All the wee lumps and bumps and up hill and down hill that I’d never give a passing thought to as I walked without a double fracture are now like something out of Scott of the An f–kin tarctic – a shitey wee two foot slope becomes the Ross ice shelf, a two foot climb is like Mount Everest. —- It’s a wee bit later and Davy has brought me ingredients for my dinner. I put butter beans on my list but he forgot them – there’s no excuse – we both attended Pumphy Primary school – we even got some of the same teachers – so, come on Davy, get yer finger oot. I’m kidding, Davy has been great through all of this – he got the hospital sorted out for me after I’d had one of my famous ‘F–k it’ moments, yesterday and today. I should’ve gone to St Jocks to give blood samples and get my leg checked but I got depressed instead – sometimes that feels as if it would be the easy solution all the time but I suppose the last thing I need at the moment is to turn into some tranquilised vegetable. Anyway, they have Davy as my next of kin and they phoned him and I’m there on Monday and will have more chemo next week. Pie Jesu by Sarah Brightman – what a beautiful song. I might write more after dinner. I’ve had ma dinner – corned beef hashy type thing, with peppers, tomatoes, onion and tatties – and cabbage and mixed vegetables. It was great. It’s now Saturday the 16th and Hibs are on telly in an hour. They play Dundee Utd in the Scottish cup Semi final at Hampden. It’s not long since they lost to Ross County in the League cup final at the National stadium – so another defeat wouldn’t be nice. The new Santana CD was delivered this morning and it was a nice wee surprise to see that. Where it came from I have no idea. It’s OK – it was never going to be Abraxas, Santana 3 or Moonflower but it’s still Santana. I watched Pink Floyd at Pompeii on you tube last night then some Fitba’ stuff. It was a ‘Greatest teams’ series – Brazil 70, Ajax -all the famous teams were highlighted apart from the famous Pumphy Juniors team who beat Linlithgow Rose in the famous ‘Stoviegate’ match.
Well, I’ve made it to Fifty Three – whether I make it to Fifty Four or older is in the hands of the NHS and me. Andrew got me Glayva and Linda and Nick got me a nice bottle of Port – I’m making a Broccoli and Cauliflower cheese bake thing later with Tomato and Ham – and I’ve got a Bottle of Beaujolais to wash it down. Davy’s been round and Linda and Chris have phoned to wish me a happy Birthday – so, a good wee start to the day. I’ll listen to music – my Birthday Favourites – the next Sixteen songs on my TOP 100 -in no particular order are – Green grow the Rashes o, Victims, The Buffalo Robe, Pie Jesu, Great Gig in the Sky, Dakota, For Once in my life, Atlantic Avenue, Cat Black [The Wizards Hat], Debora, Bad Moon Rising, A Fistful of Dynamite, Spirit in the Sky, Kites, Eve of Destruction and Elanore. See how many artists you can name. The amount of Tablets I have to take now is a bit much – Two days a week I’m on almost Thirty, Two more days of Twenty, Two more days of Fifteen – on top of all the other stuff – I’m Tableted oot. It can wipe you out a bit and I do feel a bit subdued for an hour or Two after taking them all. Still, that’s what’s helping me fight all this shite I’ve got at the moment.
Over the next Seven days with each wee post I am going to put in my Top Ninety Two songs – should’ve been Fifty but that was far too difficult and for some reason I can’t add the Eighteen more on to the playlist to make up the Hundred. So, Ninety Two it is, unless I think of another Eighteen songs – so ,here are the First Fifteen, in no particular order – Wedding Bell Blues, Alfie, Davy Jones, No matter what, What a fool believes, High Flying Bird, Castles in the Air, Begin the Beguine, Shelter from the Storm, Dirty Work, Bailero, Incident at Neshabur, Hello Stranger, Aquarius and Badge. See how many artists you can guess – Southern Man takes it to Sixteen. More when I get up in the morning.
I’ve just been watching the Fitba’ on the Telly – and I remembered a conversation I had with Callum a couple of weeks ago. We were discussing the Offside Law and how Shite it is. Callum said it was a throw back to it’s Victorian origins when everything had to have to have a Million Rules. We both decided, over an Assam or Two, that Fitba’ would be galvanised and enriched by the scrapping of this archaic and stifling rule. If you look back to the last Fitba’ season where a major change to the Offside rule was implemented, Ninety years ago, in the 1925/26 season, you’ll see that almost every team in the Six Leagues in Scotland and England scored a lot more goals than they did in the previous season. Huddersfield, Champions of England for the third time in a row, scored Twenty Three more goals – Bury, Fifth the previous season, scoring Fifty Four goals, got to Fourth place in 1926 and scored Eighty Five goals. Manchester City scored Eighty Nine goals and were relegated. In Scotland, Celtic were Champions, scoring Twenty One more goals than they did in their previous Fourth place finish. Also, in the 1925/26 Scottish League 2nd Division, Bathgate and Broxburn finished in the bottom Two places. The previous season, the pre offside change season, they were Sixteenth and Seventh, respectively. The new rule saw Bathgate score Two more goals but concede Thirty One more – Broxburn scored Fifty Five goals, Seven more than the previous season but conceded Seventy Six more goals, One Hundred and Twenty Six in total. I hated Offside – I was caught Offside more times than anybody else in the entire History of Fitba’ – probably in just One or Two matches. I couldn’t understand what it meant or what was it’s point – a totally ridiculous thing, F–k it.
‘well, had a great wee day today with Linda, Nick, Andrew and Davy Broon today at the Black Bull – it’s my Birthday tomorrow and they were treating me to a nice meal. I love being around my family – Linda said today if She, Chris, Davy and I all had Two or Three kids roughly the same ages, what a hoot that would’ve been – a wee Broon and Maltman clan, Nieces and Nephews and Grand kids. I was always far too selfish to have kids – I’ve struggled in adulthood looking after myself and I certainly would have struggled at Parenthood. Badge, by Cream ,has just come on the Laptop while writing this and Santana’s ‘Incident at Neshabur’ is next. They are both on my ‘All Time Big Favourites’ playlist. Originally I had over A Hundred and Twenty songs [ almost Eight hours] and thought that I could whittle it down to Fifty. I got to Eighty Nine and I was toiling – I’ve decided to round it off to a Top Hundred and add Eleven songs. It was getting to be like the equivalent of being asked to choose between ‘The Sting’,’The Great Escape, ‘Young Frankenstein’ and ‘The Life of Brian’ – ‘F–k that. So, more tomorrow – thanks to the Hawick posse and Davy Broon for a great wee day.
Well, that’s me started my life or death chemo – Dr McNeill said that I’ll get a CT scan after the Third treatment and a Kidney scan at the Festern General [not to be confused with George Armstrong Puster -who lost the Battle of the Little big plook ] and they should know if I’ll be fit enough for the stem cell treatment. If not, it’s Morphine till I die – I could think of worse ways to go. I must admit to being quite low sitting back there again in the cancer hoose, today. The first round was a wee adventure, to be honest, but this time is a bit different. It all starting up again not long after finishing the last chemo, obviously wasn’t ideal news, and being told that the next treatment is make or break – well, there are things to think about. I’m back tomorrow for another steroid injection and I have the Orthopaedic department to go to. Then, it will be the end of April or the beginning of May for the next chemo. I’ve to take Seventy steroids over the next Five days and Four new chemo tablets. By Monday I’ll have swallowed more tablets than Keith Moon and John Belushi, put together. ‘Endormie’ by Nolwenn Leroy has just come on my Laptop – it’s a beautiful song and one of my favourites – I can’t speak French – ‘much to my chagrin’- as Robert Stephens said in the ‘Private Life of Sherlock Holmes’ and as Bunty would say after Two Carsburgs. After Four cans it was a cosmopolitan mix of French, Forsythe saga, and good auld Anglo Saxon swearing. Anyway, it’s a nice song and I would say to anyone ‘Give it a listen’. I’ll sign off here for the moment.
I couldn’t say for sure what my earliest TV memory of the Fitba’ was. I have old Black and white recollections of Celtic playing Feyenoord in the 1970 European Cup final and of Davy and I quite liking West Germany in the ’70 World Cup, but not wanting them to play Brazil because we liked them more. My ‘First World cup’ was the 1974 tournament in West Germany. Scotland had qualified, were drawn against, Zaire, World champions, Brazil and Yugoslavia and we had a colour Telly. I remember watching Scotland play Zaire, the floodlights failing and auld Scud saying ‘We’re beat, noo – we’ll no’ be able to see them’. What got a laugh in 1974 would get you jail now. Anyway, Holland were the team that everyone was talking about. Even though Bayern Munich were newly crowned European champions, the previous Four winners had been from Holland, with Ajax winning Three in a row. I think that achievement puts them up there with the all time great football teams. Apart from One or Two signings it was more or less the same players who played in the Three in a row finals. Only Celtic, Atletico Madrid, and Bayern Munich beat Ajax during this Three year spell and only Atletico Madrid led Ajax going into a Second Leg [’71 ]. Celtic trailed 0-3 from the First Leg when they beat Ajax in ’71 and Bayern Munich were 0-4 behind from the First Leg when they met for the Second Leg in ’73.
I start the new chemo tomorrow – I could even know in a week or Two if it’s worth carrying on with it. The Doctor told me that if this latest round doesn’t respond there will be no Third round – and with it being an aggressive form of the cancer, they’ll know very soon into the chemo whether it’s working or not. I have the Orthopaedic people to see on Friday about the Fractures and I am in for a day for more chemo next week. I think the routine will be Three days of chemo in St Jocks, another Five days of the Lance Armstrong’s [steroids], more chemo for a day, then the Three week lay off and begin again. I’ll be Fifty Three on Sunday and I have to at least entertain the thought of me maybe not reaching Fifty Four. Linda, Nick and Andrew are coming up from Hawick on Saturday for a visit and to take me out for my Birthday, so, it should, as always, be special. I’ve got the sun shining in the window and ‘Woman in chains’ has just started on the Lap top – that’s ‘awright’. Anyway, it’s a bit of a waiting game for me over the next week or Two. No wacky Baccy in any shape or form and eat healthy food is the road I’m heading along.