Monday, 2 December 2019

a victory for human rights

A recent tweet:

The new year will be a change of direction for me, in terms of volunteering and helping others, and I'm looking forward to learning more about the social history of Dundee.  We are aiming to move to the city when possible and I spend most days there, swimming and walking, attending events, museums and libraries.  I've wanted to move there since 2012.

A selection of photos from last week in Dundee:

at Lochee Library for McManus168 talk 26Nov19

visiting Discovery Quay 27Nov19 (yearly membership)
V&A talk on Robotic-assisted Surgery 27Nov19 [photo album]
in HMS Unicorn for talk on Mars Training Ship 28Nov19

Sunday, 1 December 2019

New Year's Day Dook at Broughty Ferry fundraising for charity

My New Year's Day Dook at Broughty Ferry Harbour, Dundee! page on Just Giving 

I am taking part in Big Dook on 1Jan20 for Royal Voluntary Service because I'm a volunteer for RVS and appreciate their cause.

I recently became a volunteer for the Dundee Home From Hospital Service at RVS and also for East Fife Community Transport, the former because I swim at the Olympia, Leisure and Culture Dundee, most days, and the latter because I live in the area.  

And when I noticed the leaflet from YEAABA (Ye Amphibious Ancients Bathing Association) promoting the Big Dook on New Year's Day, at the Olympia reception, I decided to take the plunge and go for it!  A fellow swimmer who also volunteers with RVS suggested that I do it for the charity.  Good idea! So here I am fundraising for the first time on Just Giving.

I've put £100 as a target and will be grateful for any donations given to this worthwhile cause.  I used to work with WRVS in Kirkcaldy, 20 years ago, as a Youth Project Manager, recruiting and training young people in the Buckhaven and Rosyth areas to help the elderly in their homes, a joint project with Fife Council.  Now that I'm an older person (67) I look forward to helping others through the RVS services in the Dundee and Fife areas.

"In every corner of Britain, Royal Voluntary Service mobilises volunteers to support those in need, in hospital and in the community. Their volunteers work at scale in the NHS, freeing up NHS staff to dedicate more time to patient care, and within communities to give practical help and support to people as they age. Whether it's helping someone who has recently returned home or taking someone to do a bit of shopping; its the little things in life that really can make all the difference to the lives of so many older people."


I am thinking to dress up as Tarzan's Granny!  Fur fabric on top of a wetsuit ....

selfie taken on Perth Road, Dundee, 6Nov19


Wednesday, 27 November 2019

in the living room of the city

Prof Cuschieri
I enjoy visiting the Living Room of the City, the V&A Dundee, to knit socks and gaze out on the River Tay, read books upstairs and/or attend free events.  Today I'm booked on the lunchtime talk 'Surgeons made Superhuman by Robots' [photo album from talk by Prof Sir Alfred Cuschieri

 Here are some tweets and photos from recent visits:



chillin out 23Oct19

Friday, 15 November 2019

volunteering, helping others

I'm getting back into volunteering, helping others, through organisations, something I've always done, since the early days, in Rigside, Lanarkshire.  I did this in 2003 when recovering from psychiatric treatment, volunteering with Link East Fife Befriending Project and North East Fife Association for Mental Health, also Express Groups Fife and Barnardo's charity shop in Cupar.  The latter I got paid work with, a keyholder, before getting a job as a Relief Library Worker in NE Fife, on permitted work, 2005, then a FT post at Adam Smith/Fife College 2006.

Before this I had worked in the voluntary sector, various jobs over the years, with all ages of people and children eg Strathclyde Youth Clubs Association & Youth Clubs Fife, Age Concern & YMCA/YWCA Cupar, WRVS Kirkcaldy Youth Project.  I have also worked with and alongside Councils in Lanarkshire, Fife and Perth, in grassroots posts, alongside folk in communities.

And since 2008 I've worked voluntarily in mental health matters, setting up Peer Support Fife to promote recovery and more recently campaigning for better MH services by whistleblowing about Stratheden Hospital, resulting in a new £4.4m IPCU, Hollyview Ward, funded by Scottish Government.

I've retreated from mental health matters and frontline campaigning although still look on via social networks.  My interests these days are broader and include the social history of Dundee, creative crafts and fitness.  

Trottick Ponds Dundee walk 29Oct19
Swans at Trottick Ponds:

after swim at Olympia Dundee 25Oct19
at Lamb Gallery to view this exhibition 12Nov19

Alexander St Multis


Thursday, 7 November 2019

revolving door patients/psychiatrists

I saw this tweet yesterday, it came up up on my Notifications:

I made a series of twitter responses from my own Lived Experience before heading out to Dundee for a swim at the Olympia.  Then afterwards as I walked down the Hilltown I made a wee video and tweeted it:

I was annoyed at the inequalities, the throwaway tweet about being a revolving-door mental patient/psychiatrist, thinking of family members who got caught up in the psychiatric system, how tough it was for them and others like them.  


later on walking up the Perth Road Dundee

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

11yrs of mental health activism & campaigning summed up in 250 words

my story #HumansofScotland @ALLIANCEScot 28Oct19

The strapline: "I’ve had to learn to be more self-sufficient and to cope with the isolation of being a lone campaigner" which is very true.

"things didn't go to plan" after setting up vol org PS Fife for various reasons, one of them being my psychiatric abuse survivor history although at the time I described it as "recovery".  I was mature, well qualified and experienced in community development, working with all ages of people in various settings, so was used to leading, managing and having an opinion.  These abilities and skills were not valued in a person with Lived Experience in Scotland's mental health world in 2008.

2012 was a seminal year, my 60th, after which I wasn't the same person, exposing systematic psychiatric abuse by blowing the whistle.  It was a matter of survival and I had a tough battle on my hands.  I cared and it was costly.  I still care.

I'm so glad that my youngest son and I are still together, in solidarity, it's not been easy.  Well done Daniel Son!

Kirk Wynd Cupar 2008
Scottish Sunday Express 5Oct14
on my birthday in Edinburgh 28Sep14
Cupar Crossgate 17Sep17
Stirling Castle 1Jun19