November 2020
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Dreams of the Future Chapter 1 Events
As your ‘Thread Leader ‘ for this part of the project perhaps it would make sense for me to introduce myself before going any further ... The Future. I lived in Balerno from age 8 into my 20s. I have been an academic secretary/PA, had my own outside catering company, was a food inspector for Taste of Scotland, a Senior Quality Advisor for VisitScotland and also a supervisor and trainer of student counsellors. As a mature student I studied and trained to become firstly a relationship counsellor, then continued with theScottish Church Open College. Finally at Napier University being awarded a Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling Studies. Phew! I started writing after attending ARVON workshops, Edinburgh University FE courses then put my toe in the water with first being published in the C&B News: monthly articles 'Growing up in Balerno in the 1950s'. My first published book is 'Travelling Scotland with One Yellow Welly'. It has five-star reviews on Amazon and tells tales of my experiences with the impressive, the entertaining and the totally wacky real life people I worked with as a Quality Advisor. Now I have the very interesting task of gathering your hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future into themes to make it easier for you to read. They are thought provoking. Please join in with this community project.The end of September and the equinox when the hours of daylight and darkness are equal. In balance. Wouldn't it be nice if our lives were in balance, if we could deal with difficult situations with equanimity, kindness and consideration for others and find resolutions to suit us all. Now, please read on ... Consideration and Safety : Here is a contribution from 'Silvertop'. We have just returned from two days away on a staycation. We had good weather and enjoyed our walking in the verdant farmland, except when a herd of cows with calves didn't really like us being there. Walking by the slow-moving river we felt relaxed and safe. We mostly passed people who were distancing and we each stepped aside if there was restricted distance in alleyways and pavements. However, there was also a small middle-aged hen-party of drinkers who shared a picnic table outside a pub on the pavement. They were raucously happy; probably induced by the pints in front of them. They bantered with any male who passed them, handing out unlikely invitations. Locals in shops who obviously knew each other were happy to go unmasked, walk past the sanitizer points and back slap and chat at close proximity. We have just cancelled our intended walking trip to the Yorkshire Dales because we felt vulnerable and at risk in the towns. Would Grassington be the same, another beauty spot where there might be people who break the rules? Our wish is that a vaccine will be found which, like the common flu, will protect us from such devastating viruses in the future. In the meantime our wish is that people will feel the individual responsibility to help beat this virus. The elderly, the frail and those with impaired health need to be able to live without fear. If each of us is kind and considerate for our family, friends and neighbours, we will beat this. Please do your best to protect them and help them feel confident to mix with others again. Thank you Silvertop, I feel pretty sure you are expressing the views of many of our readers. Staycation with Kindness : Here is a similar wish from John We have three whole days in our border country in the pleasant county town of Jedburgh. No airports, no security checks, no hassle, a short break right on our doorstep. Dinners at The Capon Tree are superb. A five star rendition of Scottish produce, scallops, salmon, venison and beef. No need to go to France for fine cuisine. On Saturday morning we queue outside the newsagent. From inside we overhear news of old Tarn having taken bad, the queue contracts, social distancing overcome by the need for news of old Tarn. Everyone seems to know him and express kind concern. We collect a picnic lunch. Coronation chicken sandwiches prepared by Susan who has returned to her homeland from London. She loves the borders as does her Kiwi colleague, bright eyed Amy. Of course we got lost on our walk. Stopped to admire a rose garden. Out comes Hector, apologising for blooms past their best. He kindly put us back on the right road. Lunch on a stile beside a notice, 'Be mindful of old horses', 'Be kind to the blind dog', and 'Beware of unruly children'. Walk over; time for cake, homemade chocolate cake, recommended by Polish Irena at the Abbey Cafe, owner Lisa from Gdansk, came to thank us, offering to take Reta's books to sell. Books all left at home unfortunately. Next day we have Zoom yoga with Monica and later with Dee, both encouraging us into various stretchy contortions all the while telling us to do everything with kindness. Not easy sometimes. My wish is for everyone in the world to be secure in their own space, comfortable in their own environment and able to show kindness to all they meet. Not easy sometimes, just like stretchy yoga, but well worth the effort. Lightbulb Moments Allan has given us a short vision of a change he would like to see happen. If you have ever felt dismay when a lightbulb fails, frustrated when you don't have a spare and have to shop yet again for just the right fitting, I think you would agree with him. I'd like all producers of lamps, ceiling lights, wall lights, standard lamps, desk lamps, design lights with a one-bulb-fits-all fitting. Walking and Cycling There are a few articles offered under this heading. Whether you walk or cycle, they may be of interest to you. Here is the first one offered by Liz. 'A Pleasant Short Cut between Currie and Juniper Green' So many people have enjoyed the Pylon field these last few months: its open space gives a great view of the Pentlands, an hour's permitted exercise... or a nighttime chance to search for Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. But most of all I've been struck by how many value its northern edge as a short, and pleasant, cut between Juniper Green and Currie. No need to walk the narrow, dangerous pavements on the Lanark Road. Instead you can wander past the wheat and the ripening brambles to the best playpark in the area. Children on bikes, mothers with buggies, High School kids, golfers and shoppers on their various errands all use it. But soon it will be too muddy to use and we'll be forced back onto Lanark Road. Wouldn't it be great if it could be drained and surfaced enough (just enough) to make it usable all year so that it could be a safe route for us to get to school, park and shops? And much better, and less contentious, than so many of the Council's newly proposed cycle lanes. Thank you Liz. Would it be the land owner or the council who could be approached to do this? Would the lighting department need to be involved, and the Health and Safety Officers? Cyclists - Oh my goodness! Well, where to start. When I raised the subject of Dreams for the Future with three ladies who had parked their cycles and were having coffee, they aired strong feelings about other cyclists. Here are the comments I received: Those cyclists who speed along get us all a bad name. We cycle carefully, sometimes with our kids but they use the downhill run from Balerno on the Water of Leith Walkway like a race track. They shout at us slower cyclists to get out of the way. They need to realise that other cyclists and the elderly walkers have the right to use the path too. Children, dogs, people with hearing impairment, or the blind are at risk of being run over. It is going to take a serious accident before something is done about it. There was also praise for those who do slow down as they pass and use their bells and for those who say thank you when passing. A special mention for the guy who has no physical bell but shouts 'ring ring' as he approaches. On a separate occasion I heard from Heather and Jim. They had the following to say: Knock them off their bikes. A facetious response we know, but here is our experience. We were walking beside the canal and were crossing the bridge over the road to Longstone. We had to back against the railing as a cyclist passed us. (There is actually a sign which asks cyclists to dismount.) When we reached Wester Hailes, the same cyclist was riding towards us again. He looked at his watch. He and his bicycle wobbled and fell into the canal. We helped him out, dripping wet of course and his bike was still at the bottom of the canal. After moving on, we wiped tears of laughter from our eyes. We got our wish and didn't have to do a thing. We just wish that cyclists could be more careful of walkers. And from Allan a comment. Cyclists shout at car drivers for coming too close, accusing us of not giving them enough space on the roads. They don't give walkers enough warning or space when passing us. And what was Allan's dream of a future where walkers and cyclists could co-exist safely and happily? They should be licenced and fined if they don't have a bell and use it. Put up lots of barriers on the Water of Leith so that they have to slow down to get through them. Make separate cycle paths on main roads or even get cyclists to use roads through residential estates so that they avoid sharing space with cars. Scottish Fishing Industry Here is my own contribution. I hope for fair negotiations with the EU on our fishing rights. I remember small independently owned fishing boats ploughing their way into harbour with their catch after a fishing trip. When the EU Common Fisheries Policy was introduced it required those fishing boats to be tied up in the harbours for a certain number of days per month to prevent overfishing. Also with the EU policy tonnes of fish had to be dumped back into the sea, dead of course, having been caught in the nets, and been considered too small to be traded at market. I include a quote: "Elspeth Macdonald and Barrie Deas, chief executives of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) and National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) respectively, said: "For the fishing industry in the UK, leaving the Common Fisheries Policy has always been about redressing a fundamental issue: the woefully unfair allocation of quota shares in our waters, where the EU fleet has an unfettered right of access to the UK's rich fishing grounds and fish five times more in UK waters than we fish in theirs. The only satisfactory means of ensuring that this is achieved is for the UK, as a sovereign coastal state, to maintain full control over access to our waters. That does not mean denying EU vessels access to fish in the UK Exclusive Economic Zone. Rather, that such access would be negotiated annually - as is the norm for the EU and Norway and other non-EU fishing nations. Under international law, this will be the default position if a Fisheries Agreement cannot be reached.” It is my HOPE that as we are leaving the EU we will once again see small Scottish independent operators fishing our own waters, able to make a good living from their trade. Our Environment: ‘The Future Beyond the Pandemic’ Here is a very insightful look at where we are and what we are doing to our environment. Archie has this to say: The Pandemic is grim, but by stopping the clock it has highlighted even more critical issues. Human beings exert the greatest control over our planet - yet we allow many species to become extinct. Surely we need to maintain a proper balance to enable insects to pollinate our plants while birds control what we call 'pests'? We think a 'Title' saying we own a piece of land allows us to do what we like with it. But that ignores the needs of species like badgers who, displaced from their natural habitats, rummage in 'our' fenced-off gardens. It's not their fault they are trespassing on 'our' land - they are what we were once, hunter gatherers on land without boundaries. We must care for them. They are entitled to a future. Climate Change is seeing an ever-expanding human population decanting to new lands - they are not welcomed but where did we come from? The World's population is too large with too many older folk needing to be cared for. To feed us, we must retain our agricultural land and not lose it to large tedious housing schemes of the wrong type. Economic returns are not the answer to survival. My vision would see us travelling less, living in smaller all-purpose settlements and cultivating our gardens. For certain jobs, home working is possible with occasional 'office' meetings. To maintain our communities we need to meet in person, which means ensuring shops, meeting places, schools, workplaces and recreational facilities are within walking distance of each other. For most, it would go against the grain to sell/exchange our properties via a community land bank, yet that could see houses converted into useful workshops, within our existing village footprints. An island surrounded by rising seas is a diminishing asset! Land Map Comparison 1912 and 2015 Sharing!
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