Aboard the Ark: Day 10

Today I walked an Inch in Perth … well I actually walked nearer 6 miles in Perth but the North Inch is one of two parks in the city (not surprisingly the other being the South Inch) that include that tiny measurement in their name.  I had visited the North Inch previously – remember the “Spiky Balls” pictures and Smeatons Bridge?  Today I set out to walk the perimeter of the North Inch.

But of course to get to Perth I had to use my Megarider and my buses.  No weather chat this morning – rats got a mention (a big wild one running across the road but escaping unsquished); comparison of mouse controls – this is a rural area surrounded by fields – especially in old stone houses – mice are a fact of life and we just do what we need to do to control them; comparison of dog responses to mice … oh and mutually raised eyebrows at an oddbod.  I caught the 57 again – partly because I wanted to see the difference compared with last Friday’s flooding – to be honest you would not have known there had been flooding at most places.

I didn’t see any interesting wildlife during the bus journey but did see a herd of creamy coloured cattle stood in a quagmire – they looked like they had been partially dipped in milk chocolate!

When I got to Perth, I set off on the path following the River Tay first.  There is evidence of the autumn leaf colour but nowhere near as much as I would have expected.  I also notice that there are few nuts/fruits on the trees this year.  The acorns I have seen are all green still, the horse chestnut had no conkers visible and no beech nuts in evidence.  Without these some of our wild creatures will have a very tough winter.

I was walking along thinking what a fabulous place this was for someone older, or inform to come and walk because it has a wide tarmaced path all the way round and is adjacent t car parks and bus stops; there in front of me was a gentleman with an obvious gait impairment walking with his wheeled frame.  As I drew alongside I wished him good morning and he replied in kind.  Then spotting the camera he asked if I am a professional photographer (anyone seeing a pattern here?).  I laughed and said “I wish” so he wanted to know what I do.  I briefly explained I had recently finished a job as Telecare Coordinator and that Telecare includes technology like Community Alarm (PERS or Personal Alarm in other parts of the world).  He smiled and said he has a Community Alarm and a button to press if he falls – which will call his family; but it only works in the house.  I continued that I plan to start a social enterprise that will help anyone who could benefit or wants to know to find out how telecare could help them – for example he could have a fall alarm that works when he is outdoors too.

It was a lovely exchange and this gentleman embodied all the limitations of our Public Sector provision which only looks to keep people safe at home … but that is not being independent.  Independence includes people going out in the community to do messages and walk in the park if they wish.  Now maybe the public sector shouldn’t pay for all the telecare but this gentleman already has a mobile phone so it is very likely that an app and a few changes could give him telecare within the object he is already carrying and using – which will offer him confidence should he fall and not be able to phone for help.  This gentleman has suffered a stroke and had heart surgery but he was very clear that getting out each day in the fresh air and meeting people is very important to him – he is enabled to do that but many people are not and end up limited and more disabled than they need to be.

He had arrived back at the car to set off home for his lunch and with good wishes and thanks exchanged I continued on my way to complete the circuit.  I had a notion then to walk down Tay Street to the South Inch and walk round that too, but  a more pressing need was a loo.  As it happened the nearest ones were at the South Inch!  In fact I used the toilets at the Ferguson Gallery and enjoyed a 20 minute artistic interlude inside an old waterworks – I was particularly taken with a notice in the activity area inviting people to dress up in the costumes provided (children’s sizes) because one of the main subjects of the gallery is a famous dancer and theatrical artist.  (Clearly Mr Benn is alive and well in Perth)

Just before I got to the gallery I had noticed steps leading up to a pedestrian bridge alongside the railway bridge over the Tay … hmmm I am getting to carried away with my bravery – I challenged myself to ‘do it’ and the next thing I know instead of a saunter round a nice flat park I was perched above a fast flowing very wide river!

I continued across the curved footbridge hoping that the trains wouldn’t creep up and make me jump!  I ignored the staircase to the golf course (recalling that what goes down has to climb back up! and I don’t play golf) and continued to the start of the Sculpture trail on the opposite bank.  This is clever it links a series of gardens along the river bank and adds sculptures at intervals.

Soon after arriving back on terra firma I was greeted by an enthusiastic airedale – he was told not to jump up but ignored the command.  I assured his person I really didn’t mind because Dog has similar tendencies.  He wanted to know where Dog was and I had to explain that on a day out it is very difficult to avail oneself of toilets and cafes with an incumbent pooch.  They continued on to the bridge to reverse my footsteps and I continued along the sculpture trail.

Yep – I walked across that footbridge – and the trains were kind and waited!

I finally found some really strong autumn colour and some lovely sculpture – including this one which is “Insight” … someone commented my blog was insightful … does that mean it looks like this?

I continued right under the road bridge until I got back to Smeaton’s Bridge

One last treat before I crossed the bridge back the City for lunch … I spotted a pair of odd coloured ‘duck like things’ on an island – I had no idea what they were but a little research suggests they are Goosanders with the male in his winter plumage … so exciting since it is another new bird for my spotting list.

I stumbled around the City Centre looking for a cafe to get a hot drink and some food … everywhere had queues.  Eventually I settled on M&S and had a falafel salad, sparkling water and green tea.  Having sat down and just opened the water another of those bits of life’s serendipity happened to me.  A woman sat at the next table and said how nice it was just to sit down.  It turned out she was with a charity on a stand at a conference in the conference centre.  The charity works with people with long term conditions and so we talked about holistic support for people, my plans, how telecare and telehealth might be useful to her client group.  Then we talked about out hopes and aspirations.  It was a lovely meeting and with exchanged contact details I hope it will become more than one chance encounter.  I can only assume that serendipity sees fit to furnish me with kindred spirit meetings for a reason – it happens too often!

I had a negative encounter too though – as I stood up to pack my book away in my bag a woman sat herself in the seat I had just vacated and started shoving my things across the table at me – extremely rude and totally unnecessary since the adjacent table was already empty.  Do people stop and think before they behave with such bad manners?

So refuelled in my Serenity and with a good 6 mile walk under my belt I set off home feeling like it had been a good day.  There was a nice little exchange at the bus queue waiting for the 16 to come back to Dundee, with much shared laughter.

I had a brief call from toxic friend and felt that I wasn’t being told the truth but didn’t let it distress me – however it has set me thinking that if the re is a difference between customer service and loyalty then there is a parallel in friendship – loyalty is my approach and I have fought to keep this friendship on an even keel; have protected that person’s privacy which means that others have made assumptions.  However, just because he has decided to ‘give up’ and not hold friendship sacrosanct does not mean that I can behave like a kid in he playground and say “ne ne ne ne ne I am not your friend anymore”.  When he phones now we mostly talk about him and his stresses – he increasingly doesn’t call when he has said he will … I am sad about it but I cannot change him and I cannot just turn my back either … I am a loyal friend and that is that.

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About nonehpets

I have an interest in how interior design and adapting a home to support living independently for longer can be complementary. The blog Life Long Design is part of an holistic plan for establishing a social enterprise which will offer the people of Tayside opportunities to explore Telecare and the wider scope of assistive technologies. Enabling individuals to make more informed and responsible choices in the care and support they need in their independent living. I am also keen to see public transport more widely adopted and sustainable rural bus services in particular supported. The Blog Travels with a Megarider shares my journey to find serenity in my life as I make that transition form employment to social entrepreneur. One of my methods in increasing serenity is to travel as many miles as I can on a fixed price bus ticket and explore my own local places of interest. Places that I used to go past and had never stopped to look at; places of peace and tranquility; places where I have had some wonderful conversations with complete strangers. I would like to share with you a response to when I described that one paragraph in an e-mail made it sound simple: "Believe me, Cathy, it does not sound simple. You are taking on an incredible challenge for all the right reasons. It is ambitious and admirable - the sort of project that can change lives, including yours." He is right it is ambitious but when did we every achieve anything by settling for the status quo and ignoring what doesn't work for people? So I would welcome your company from time to time on this journey either simply as a reader or if you are brave enough adding your own thoughts to the comments as you feel moved.

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