Wave Powered (the Full Version)

I am actually going to add most of this post tomorrow – having got up just after 6 this morning I am falling asleep where I sit and have been soaked to the skin twice so looking forward to getting  a cosy sleep.

It has been a good day with lots to reflect on.  I feel re-energised though, not least from the power of these stormy seas …

HArbourOuter Harbour breakwaterBreaking Waves

On the way to today’s meeting I did get a message to say I didn’t get the job I interviewed for yesterday – I was always fairly confident it would go to an internal candidate and it sounds as if that is the case; I will be requesting my travel expenses back from the organisation.

Pup excelled himself before that by pointing vomit – if he seriously thought he was going to get close enough to do anything with it he now knows different!  However it was like full circle when on the return journey someone’s dog vomited on the bus … I will expand on the driver’s reaction to this because it was an ice breaker of sorts!

So regular readers .. if you read this before I have updated it please pop back again later on tomorrow to read more … my eyes are closing so I will leave it there for now.

So to expand on some of the detail:

It felt so right to be going to meet with experts on Social Enterprise and discuss my Business Idea and I had been buzzing with excitement all week.  I have made  a short PowerPoint (Elevator Pitch) and although I did not use it in the end it had helped me focus on what I wanted from the discussion.

  • Clearly I need enough income to pay my basic bills – where I am now is not comfortable or sustainable and in fact is the top of  a steep slippery slope to being lost.  I have had to divert valuable energy into standing up for myself with the Bank and with the Job Centre and that has upset my health.
  • If I start a permanent well paid job it is unlikely I will have the time to start the business, although obviously it solves the immediate money crisis and lets me go back to renovating the house
  • If I can get over the barrier of start-up funding including some basic income for me then I can start the business I want to be involved in – even though in the immediate short term there will be little spare after paying the bills.

So I wanted to leave the meeting having either heard:

  • Your idea is so way out and wacky that you should forget it; or
  • Your idea is a real possibility so pursue it fully.

Whilst I was enroute I got a message to say the main person I was meeting was going to arrive later than expected but I was still welcome to go along at the agreed time.  I got the distinct impression there had not been much uptake.  I travelled via Dundee to make the most of my bus experience and with the hope of glimpsing the coast as I went.  I was out of luck with the view because the weather was diabolical – including snow coming down with the rain.  I had about 40 minutes spare when I got to Arbroath so I pottered along to the harbour.  I could see the waves powering over the outer breakwater and hurried to get to where I could take photographs – it was by no means the roughest I have seen it but it was a good stormy grey sea.

Harbour entrance

By comparison inside the harbour basin was calm and tranquil because the gates were closed

Inner HarbourStacked Creels

And there in Mackay’s boatyard is a familiar stern – it is the May Princess; she is normally at home in Anstruther waiting to take visitors to the Isle of May.  Since I would love to take that trip on her this coming summer it is good to see her getting the once over to keep her shipshape!
Boatyard

In the next picture the boatyard is on the right, within the harbour wall; also inside the harbour wall is a road which was closed due to the weather and this is what was beating on the outside of the harbour wall:

Stormy seas

… whilst looking to the North Seaton Cliffs were stifled under closed grey skies and the grey pounding waves.

Seaton Cliffs

By this time I was rather windblown and salt sprayed but I was also really buzzing with excitement to the point of thinking I should sell my house and move to the seaside!  However I needed to cross Arbroath town centre and find my meeting venue so I turned my back to the angry sea and set off.  As I walked I encountered this building which struck me as both beautiful and ugly at the same time!  Given it’s location I assumed it has some link to the nearby Abbey and infact have now found out it is the Regality Tower of Arbroath Abbey.

Arbroath Building

Anyhow that is enough sightseeing – the venue for my meeting was just down the road on the left … an old shop front but inside is offices!  I was made welcome and we started to have a chat about was I was planning.  I asked about take up for the event and it turned out there was just one other attendee who already runs a Social Enterprise and is now looking to how to change from one element which has not been sustainable.  It was good to find that we had some synergy between ideas and I hope our paths may cross from time to time.

The meeting with the specialist got off to a funny start – having asked us what we wanted from him when I started my explanation he cut me off and told us about what he does.  Perhaps that might have been a better starting point and it was a weakness of the event that there actually was no structure set out.  We got back on track a little later after he had analysed the wants of the other attendee and it was clear he had assumed he knew what my business idea was – but had assumed completely wrongly!  I thought him rather rude but I wasn’t there to like the man I was there to get business advice.  Our host was missing for most of the meeting but rejoined us and I do think there are contributions I can offer to the hosting organisation and I think that the expert’s organisation could be the right support for me.

I came away even more certain in my own mind that the business is realistic and I had not been told that I was barking mad – so onwards with the planning.

The return journey got off to a weird start – I saw the number 27 with Forfar and it was one of my local depot drivers.  I boarded and showed my Tayday ticket and he asked where I was going.  “Forfar” “I am not going to Forfar – well not yet” “Oh it says Forfar on the front” “yes the board is jammed” “Well I have  a Tayday ticket so I will stay on your nice warm bus while you do your town service here okay?”

I had lied – it wasn’t a nice bus it was a tatty old bus ad it was only marginally warmer than  outside courtesy of there being no wind!  Not only was the board on the front jammed but the ticket machine was being troublesome too and at one point screwed up ticket roll hurtled backwards towards the passengers from an obviously unimpressed driver.  So I took a trip up to Seaton as if I was going to walk to Auchmithie – if only!

Next I did come back to Forfar and was anxious that it was running late and I would miss the connection and have to wait an hour – Pup would have been left 7 hours – the longest time yet and I really did not want to stretch that further if I could help it.  I stood at the High Street, shivering in the cold wind – the number 20 was late!  When it arrived it was the driver who had taken me to Dundee in the morning just about to finish his shift and he looked fed up.  At the depot we changed driver and it was the driver who ‘hates me’.  I held the cab door while they changed over – I do it for all of them saves trapped fingers! not only did he thank me twice but then he said “we will have to find you a job with the bus company”, I smiled and said it would be a step up from Jobseeekers Allowance.

We were progressing well through the village before mine when the bell rang.  The driver stopped and waited for someone to get off … nothing … driver turned round and there are folk scrabbling around on the floor.  Driver sighs and gets out of cab “has the dog been sick?” “Aye”.  Driver returns to cab for blue paper (you know the sort of roll of paper they have at the petrol station), hands it over and then gets out his mobile and mutters to me – “I am calling in for a new bus”.  There were cat calls from the back because it is “only dog sick”.  The passenger next to me queried why he needed a new bus and were we having to wait for one? I said that any vomit could be a health and safety risk, which she conceded, and that I thought he would swap the bus on his return to Forfar in 40 minutes but at least if he has advised the company if anything happens after that he is no liable.

He returned to his cab mumbling “I have to carry on” to which I replied “well you knew they were going to say that” – it is the standard response from supervisors with the company.

So all in all the driver who ‘hates me’ had three small conversations with me and then when I disembarked (and I would like to record that the bus was slowing down at the start of my village before I pressed the bell – normally he slams the anchors on at the last minute) I thanked him and left him with the thought that “it has to get better” – he was laughing as he closed the doors and  set off.

Since it was almost tea time for my boys I fed them straight away so I was not given such a grumpy reception by Pup as normal.

So there is the bigger picture – my dream is still alive and kicking and maybe (hopefully) the driver who ‘hates me’ hates me a little less after today!

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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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