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Loose Ends

Jeff Zycinski | 12:52 UK time, Thursday, 1 July 2010

I'm riddled with guilt. Every time I think about this blog I realise that I just abandoned it many weeks ago with half-hearted excuses about the new Radio Scotland blog being a better alternative. But that was just rude and I ought, at least, to tie up a few loose ends before I shuffle off.

Firstly, thanks to everyone who has followed this blog over the past few years. Officially the hit rate was only about five or six thousand a week (the figures have actually gone up since I stopped updating it!) but I was always amazed because I've met so many complete strangers who have told me they have read it .

I also have to admit that reader interest in my views on radio was always fairly low compared the number of questions I got aboiut my family life, my relocation to Inverness or how the Zedettes were getting on at school.

They're fine, by the way. Both are now teenagers with everything that comes with that. Too cool, now, to approve of my online revelations about them. It had to happen.

More recently I've been asked how my decision to quit alcohol has worked out. Well, that's now nine months since our Under the Influence campaign and therefore nine months since I touched a drop of booze. I've taken a liking to those cheap bottles of alcohol-free lager - great for supping on a summer's night - but find myself challenged by checkout staff every time.

"You know that's non-alcoholic?" the ask.

"Yes, yes,"

"It's just that we don't want you bringing it back later."

It's a strange reversal. When I was younger I used to be challenged for buying the real stuff and had to carry a passport to prove my age. Those days are long gone. Long gone.

What else? What else?

Oh yes, the Woolies store in Inverness finally has a new occupier. It's another one of those Poundland shops.

And the camping trips continue. I finally bought a half-decent tent and we've had some great overnight stays in Aviemore, Gairloch and Dornoch. No midge bites so far. Mrs Z tends to stay home looking at overseas holiday brochures. She can dream.

And Rascal, the dog, is alive and well and can sniff out a biscuit within five hundred yards.

But that's it really. The end, I think. I will be making the odd appearance on the new BBC Radio Scotland blog, but mainly to talk about broadcasting issues. So you want have to put up with tales of my endless train journeys or my faithful allegiance ot Inverness Caley Thistle. Lucky you.

Bye for now and thanks again..

Making Your Mind Up

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Jeff Zycinski | 23:20 UK time, Thursday, 6 May 2010

Polling.jpgTo be honest, I got off the train in Inverness and went to the polling station expecting an argument with the Presiding Officer. Apparently she'd been quite rude to Mrs Z. earlier in the day, making fun of her Polish surname and asking why on earth she hadn't stuck with her maiden name. What a cheek!

She didn't try any of that nonsense with me, I'm happy to report, mainly because I gave her the kind of manic stare that comes with a four hour train trip from Glasgow. I've seen small children burst into tears with just one look at me. My own children too.

So, I took my ballot paper and went into the booth and there and then I changed my mind about who I was going to vote for. Despite what I'd told the YouGov telephone pollster the previous week, I was still swithering right up to the moment I had that pencil in my hand.

I made my decision based on very local or family matters...on money, schools, hospitals and so on. On issues that have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament and which I knew had little relevance to the Westminster election.

Not logical but slightly better than the reason given by a colleague who told me she was voting for a candidate who had the same first name as an old friend and that he - the friend - had been a nice guy .

Let's see David Dimbelby analyse that.

There's Only Three Terry Butchers?

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Jeff Zycinski | 19:28 UK time, Saturday, 1 May 2010


Caley-Thistle's manager,Terry Butcher had a shock announcement for the fans in Inverness this afternoon.

"Next Thursday, " he said, "I'm running for Parliament".

If the General Election was held today and his name was actually on the ballot paer, then I'm sure he'd be in with a chance. Instead he'll have to made do with the party atmosphere rather than party politics. That's what it was today at the Caledonian Stadium after the home side beat Dundee one-nil and the First Division trophy was formally handed over.


That victory - though not necessary - certainly added to the euphoria. There were balloons, fireworks and fans dressed as Butcher look-alikes. The two I met certainly looked more convincing than the Rod Stewart "tribute performer" who had attempted to entertain us before the game, but who was let down by a under-powered sound system that meant his words and music were swept away from the crowd and are probably still drifting towards Wick.

Thumbnail image for Rod-alike.jpg

But it's good to have something to celebrate and today was such a constrast to that Saturday at the end of last season when we watched our side crash out of the SPL.


Yet in the midst of the celebrations, some people still had work to do. There was BBC Radio Scotland's Charles Bannerman, for example, chasing the players for an interview and waiting until well past teatime for a word with the manager himself.

There may be three Terry Butchers, but there's only one Charles Bannerman.

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