Awayday - Greenhead Park - June 28.3


Greenhead Park was a teenage schoolboy's regular haunt for summer weekends. A good place too for younger boys, paddling and sailing toy yachts. Or small girls for chocolate ice cream. All those trees have appeared since my day. Still the fair comes. We bowled a little. Today it's boules as well.

A comprehensive website is Friends of Greenhead Park

Successful ageing

Dylan's recipe - Forever Young

 May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift 
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of change shift

Ageing has some benefits. You don’t have to look your best. You don’t have to speak, but when you do, you have permission to say more or less what you like. I’ve had a lifetime of saying the wrong things and it’s no better now. If your friends and relatives are still talking to you, they might fondly regard you as a grump (or in my case a legend - maybe). You might then have some wisdom to pass on if anyone is still listening.

Clic on Happiness - week 36 - simple philosophical ideas. 

Over 12 months into the lockdown and I still ponder on stuff that was happening or about to happen before. Exaggerated or accelerated after. Home working and internet shopping for example.

What about successful ageing? What is it and which way has it gone? Alan D. Castel cites a 1987 book by John Wallis Rowe and Robert Kahn. They list the following as key:
  •  being free of disability or disease
  •  having high cognitive and physical abilities
  •  interacting with others in meaningful ways 

Biomedical model

There is no simple definition of successful ageing. Is it about health - complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (World Health Organisation 1948)?

Is ageing a medical condition that doctors can fix? Geriatric physicians are good, but not that good. So the aim is unrealistic. Living and thriving with disease and disability however is. 
'Wearing out' is determined by genetics. So are cognitive abilities. Lifestyle comes on top of this - weight, diet, exercise.

Turn the biomedical around and it could be misinterpreted as all doom - don't want that.

Psychosocial perspective 

In addition to physical issues. Bowling and Dieppe - BMJ 2005. 
'Suggested psychological resources for successful ageing include a positive outlook and self worth, self efficacy or sense of control over life, autonomy and independence, and effective coping and adaptive strategies in the face of changing circumstances. For example, when some activities are curtailed (say, because of ill health) strategies need to be activated to find new activities and to maximise one's reserves. Successful ageing is seen as a dynamic process, as the outcome of one's development over the life course, and as the ability to grow and learn by using past experiences to cope with present circumstances while maintaining a realistic sense of self.
Understanding who we are and our place in the world - 'getting over ourselves'. Continuing to grow. Regular reality checks within relationships.

Looking backwards into the gloom. Rumination. No help. One 84 year old guy recently on Today radio4 recommended meditation. Why go over stuff or worry what might happen. Easier said than done, but there is the bottomless sit.

(1) Simon Barnes is one way forward. (2) Simon Barnes

I cannot suggest how Covid had made a difference - can you?

Scarborough, Garden Glimpses June4.1


Scarborough for the bank holiday - a bit late now. Peasholm Park, North Bay Rail, Open Air Theatre and crazy golf with views of Sea Life Centre and the castle.

I'm not sure where the rabbit comes from.

Amateur bird pics. Navy Night is growing.

These are a catch up after the time taken to process the Falkirk Pics.

Awaydays - Falkirk to Linlithgow - and back. June14.2


The idea was to collect a trip through the Falkirk Wheel to complete the 'double' with Anderton Boat lift. Success, though our overall trip met with difficulties, especially meeting up with Joan & Big Dave, friends from Northallerton since the early 1980s and long-committed Linlithgow residents since. Each day Dave and Joan doggedly pursued us for drinks and meals. Not a lot different from the scrapes we've had over 40 years.

5 days (only 3 and a bit actually cruising). Putting the narrowboating clock back. A long way as it happened - mistake followed mistake. Finished better, but nowhere near perfect (we never were). I bumped the trip boat on the wheel. The childbride got the stern rope in a right tangle - the trip skipper gave us a rope and knot tutorial so we missed the outward wheel.

It's a modern wonder. Massive. A giant prehistoric raptor. Dominates the surrounds. The approach from above is a series of concrete arches - a scifi funnel. Any self-respecting satellite would easily achieve orbit. Roughcastle tunnel lit with tacky christmas lights. Another tight turn into a staircase (the locks empty into each other) and onto the Union Canal.

It was Joan's birthday and we were conscious of getting on having spent well over an hour wheeling, tunnelling and locking. Sadly we were already behind with a good two hours to Linlithgow.
  Strangely satvav doesn't take you to the wheel. "It always takes you round the back," said our helpful boat guide. Hence arrived at 1.30pm in the vicinity but not loading up until much later. Explanations and tuturials and it's well late - around 4 o'clock. The canal map was schematic. We couldn't judge distances and not amny bridge numbers. Basically lost. Joan and Dave connected but we weren't close to Linlithgow. Lovely to see them after lockdown, but birthday celebrations on hold. Until the following day. 

"You'll get a mooring in Linlithgow basin," said the boat guide. Wrong. Totally occupied by volunteer boats. So we turned round - not elegant, a 7-point turn rather than a simple nudge into the back, full rudder and a little throttle. Still made it and a fill of water. So a mooring facing back the way we'd come. Overlooking playing fields. The childbride enquired of a passer-by. Leisure centre we told Dave. It's an hour Dave won't get back trying to find us. We were next to a school. Great lunch back at Joan and Dave's. Tea nibbles back at the boat. We'd saved the day, mostly.      
Brilliant mooring at bridge 49. Easily found. Dave and Joan had commitments and left early. BBQ and afterfire. Boat just visible at the canal top. Near to an old rail/canal junction/basin, a mineral line - Slamannan - brought coal for transfer to Edinburgh barges. 

Note the sign Union Canal is carved into the stone and a touch worn. Not as much as the routine bridge numbers (keystones) where maybe one in five were still readable. One of the reasons for us not knowing where we were.

Return wheel, lock and tunnel. 30 minutes to turn round at lock16 on the Forth and Clyde. "You'll find a mooring down there and have a drink at the pub." Wrong. Full again. Good, we needed to be back at base for the morning changeover mayhem. Lock 16 on the Forth & Clyde was an 11- long flight for original connection with the Union (filled in 1960s). Restored connection via the wheel 2002.

Everyone thinks it's relaxing. Wrong. It's different, like exercise, alternative thoughts to normal. Cruising is calm - only the driver has to be alert. Intermittent sessions of activity needing the crew alert as well - mooring, turning round, taking on water. Despite urban, Scotland has its rural corridors. Not many signs of its industrial history. We spent a lot of time making mistakes and bumping into things and each other in the cramped cabin.
I for one thoroughly enjoyed it.


original lock flight up from Forth&Clyde to the Union
starts at lock 16, 15-20 minutes from the wheel