Friday, 30 August 2019

glad to have survived!

This is a familiar refrain from me on social networks, being glad to have survived psychiatric treatment/abuse and speaking out at mental health events from "lived experience".  Just said it again in relation to a Facebook memory from 2013, the Scottish Crisis & Acute Care Network event in Stirling when I gave a talk on my experiences of Stratheden Hospital and Carseview Centre, Dundee, a Tale of Two Cities:

my presentation at the Scottish Crisis & Acute Care Network Conference in Stirling on 29 October 2013


Maybe I should be content with surviving and not expect anything else after what I've been through since 2012 caring, campaigning and whistleblowing.  After all I'm 67 next month, an old age pensioner, at the end of my life and one foot in the grave.  But it doesn't feel like that!  I still have hopes and dreams, of a career, of achieving goals, creating outcomes and products, of travel and relationships, storytelling and bookwriting.  And of moving to Dundee.

yesterday at Verdant Works Dundee

Monday, 26 August 2019

clearing gardens for moving to Dundee

It's been emotional clearing the garden in preparation for a Dundee move as I've worked this ground for 21 years since the flit on Easter Monday 13 April 1998, nearly a month after my Mother's passing in Adamson Hospital, Cupar.  I've seen trees and bushes seed themselves in the ground, including Viburnum and more recently Beech, front and back.  Also Holly at both gates front garden.  

Some of the plants are saved in pots for transporting but most are not.


17 August:

18 August:

back door view
25 August:

garden tools

self seeded Beech out front

It's been painful clearing the garden, still a bit more to do before we flit

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Art works in Dundee

 Oor Wullie mural at Hillclock, Hilltown, photos and video taken 21 August:

Facebook album of photos from yesterday.

A selection:

Hilltown graffiti murals

Duncan of Jordanstone Masters show

Thursday, 22 August 2019

#Gazmac Artist hopes Dundee Oor Wullie mural will help mental health discussion @evening_tele

'Artist hopes Dundee Oor Wullie mural will help mental health discussion' by Laura Devlin, Evening Telegraph, 22 August 2019:

"An artist has described how he hopes his incredible Oor Wullie mural can help open up a conversation on mental health.

The eye-catching design, which can be found next to the Hilltown clock in Dundee, aims to raise awareness of mental health and show that even those who appear to be happy can be suffering from depression.

Teaming up with Dundee artist Paul Adam, known as Sapien, Gary Mackay aimed to raise awareness of mental health struggles.

Gary, who is from Glasgow and known by his street name Gazmac, said: “I thought with the big bucket trail that is happening across Scotland, the Oor Wullie theme would be relevant.

“We wanted to do something that was a wee bit more edgy, though.

“I work with a lot of people who have mental health and addiction issues.

“It’s very relevant given everything that is happening in Dundee and across Scotland.”

It is hoped the appeal of the Oor Wullie mural can spark an investment in the city’s art scene.

Gary hopes some of his work can show the talent on show in the city and attract more people to take an interest.

And he admits that, although the recent regeneration of Dundee has brought new faces to the city, he doesn’t think the feelgood factor has extended to all areas.

Gary said: “In my opinion, Dundee has the best art school in Scotland but there are many talented artists in the city who cannot afford to go.

“There needs to be more investment in the grass roots of this kind of art so that people can show off their talents.

“There are people in this community that maybe feel left behind with all the development that is happening down the hill.

“Having this mural here shows that we can do a lot to improve and brighten up these areas.

“These locals artists can make a big difference to the community and it would not cost much at all.”

The artist also believes the success of urban art in cities like Leicester and Bristol is just an example of what could be achieved in Dundee.

He added: “These cities have embraced graffiti art and you get businesses offering artists spaces to show off their work.

“There’s definitely an appetite for this kind of thing, it’s just a question how do you utilise it.

“We had people from all walks of life come up to us whilst we were creating it and admire the work.

“The Dundee and Aberdeen fans were great also and it shows that art can bring people together.

“I have been coming to Dundee for more than 20 years now and it’s like a home from home.”

Gary and Paul’s work has been appreciated by those living in the area, with Hilltown resident Russell White, 47, saying: “I think it is good for the city. It will definitely bring people out to have a look at it.”

The positive reaction was echoed by 70-year-old Kathleen Walker.

She said: “The mural brightens the area up. There are a few empty shops around here, as well as a lot of takeaways, and this makes a big difference.”

Rosemary Lambie, 66, said: “It’s a really nice touch to have this. I just hope that nobody decides to vandalise it all.”'


Video I captured yesterday up Hilltown:



3D model of Hillclock I did 16 July:

Photogrammetry model of Hillclock up Hilltown, Dundee, using DSLR Canon EOS camera to capture 251 photos, 16 July 2019.

link to album of Hillclock photos to demonstrate actual metal fence with quotes as photogrammetry has difficulty with surfaces which are shiny and reflective (metal) or self-coloured.


Friday, 16 August 2019

cycling on the back burner until I move

I'm doing walking rather than cycling these days as it's not possible to put a bike carrier on the back of our Corsa due to brake light on top of boot, would require a tow bar to attach the carrier and we just can't afford it.  And I don't want to cycle here around Springfield, there's only the road to Cupar or by Stratheden psychiatric Hospital, main roads too busy for me, on hybrid bike.  Dundee has many cycle paths, including the Green Circular route around the city, and I'll have to wait until I move there to enjoy them on the bike.

When the weather is wet or cold I can always go to the gym after a swim at Olympia although I do prefer to be out and about, experiencing nature, parks and seeing the sights of city life.  This goes back to my upbringing in Perth town I think, also the 5 years spent in Aberdeen 1970-5, university life, going to cinemas even twice a week, cafes, shops, chilling out at the student union.  Living in the country is fine when you have a car and enough money to keep it on the road and fill it with fuel.  These 3yrs taking 2 buses into Dundee were not fun although I did try to make the most of it when possible.  Glad to have survived.

Here's the route I walked today in Dundee, going first to buy a ticket for the Dundee fitba derby on 30 August at Tannadice:

 And a wee walking video, towards Coldside Library:

I was wearing waterproof Merrell trainers but they gave me sore feet and were slippy on wet pavements.  I persevered and did the 5mls, grumping a bit ... some photos from today:

bonnie Rowan tree up Dens Road
steep path from Adelaide Pl to Albany Terr, slippery in parts

Selfie video on steps from Perth Rd down to Seabraes footbridge:

on being a good Mother & Psychiatric Abuse Survivor

at Seabraes footbridge after walk yesterday
[some thoughts on motherhood and surviving psychiatric abuse]

Out walking yesterday in Dundee, a 5 mile route up to Lochee from the Perth Road and back again to my car at Tesco riverside, I was reflecting on my life as a Mother and at times a survivor of psychiatric abuse, making a full recovery and helping my 3 sons in their engagements with psychiatry, from 1995 to 2013.  Most recently supporting my youngest son after he was subject to human rights abuses in Stratheden psychiatric Hospital, Cupar, Fife.

I loved being a Mother and enjoyed spending time with the boys, providing opportunities for learning musical instruments that I never had in Perth, mainly because we lived in a 4th floor flat and I couldn't keep the cornet in P7 or get a piano because of the noise to neighbours.  We couldn't have animals either so over the years as a Mother I had cats and Jack Russell dogs, in the 1970's working with farm animals, milking cows, lambing sheep, keeping chickens, on my inlaws' farm.  When my oldest son was about 7 I put his name down on the waiting list for a piano teacher in Lanark, we lived about 7mls away in Rigside, and I organised buying an old piano from someone in our village, bringing it to our house in a wheelbarrow.  My other 2 sons also got piano lessons when the time came, my oldest took up the flute, middle son the accordion and clarinet, drums later on, the youngest violin and bass guitar, he got piano lessons after we moved to Cupar area, was a very skilled pianist when at Bell Baxter High.  

with my sons, summer of 1998, wearing my Mum's ring, watch, butterfly necklace
I was mostly at home with my sons pre-school, after school and in the school holidays, from 1976 (oldest son born) until 1992, doing PT or voluntary community work to fit in with childcare, then I got a FT job for financial reasons, soon after this returned to FT education end of 1993, getting a BA in Admin Management, followed by a postgrad in Community Education by 1998 when I was 46.  In 1996 I had become a single parent, homeless, housed by Fife Council in a Cupar flat with my youngest son then on Easter Monday 13 April 1998 we moved into this Springfield terraced council house after experiencing anti-social behaviour from neighbours downstairs, an alcoholic partner.  My Mother had died in the March, in Adamson Hospital, Cupar, having moved from her home town of Perth to a Bonnygate flat in 1993.  She would look after my youngest son when I worked across the road in the Lighthouse Christian Book/Coffee Shop.  

I wasn't treated well by the Trustees of the Lighthouse in Cupar, including my Church Minister at the time, and this propelled me into gaining academic qualifications.  Looking back at church membership this was a common occurrence being treated unfairly, witnessing a range of un-Christian behaviours by people in positions of power.  I'd come to faith before joining Church so it didn't turn me away from God who in 2008 called me to go in for the Ministry with Church of Scotland and they put me under Rev Dr Gordon McCracken, former Deputy Grandmaster of the Orange Lodge.  McCracken gave me a hard time then did not recommend me for the selection conference in St Andrews 2009.  And so I continued in mental health matters, becoming an unwaged Carer, campaigner and whistleblower when my son was abused in the locked seclusion room of Stratheden Hospital IPCU/Ward 4 in February 2012. 

link to news article 5Oct14

It's been an interesting and challenging life of faith and psychiatric abuse survival.  Glad to say that I'm still here, surviving.  And I'm looking to get paid work, 67 years young next month, because we need a move to Dundee out of Springfield, and we're getting no help to do it.  As usual we will need to help ourselves.

And so I am doing my best to keep fit, swimming most days in the Olympia Dundee, walking, occasional cycle, tidying up the garden in preparation for a flit.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

walking for fitness & fun

I aim to do a few miles walking each day after swimming at Olympia Dundee and hope to increase distance as time goes on.  Here are some recent wee videos taken when out and about.

Reres Hill today:

Claverhouse Park yesterday:

Finlathen Park on 7 August:

Photos from today:

heading back to Sainsbury's

off Balgillo Rd

my video in Evening Telegraph 2Aug19 of Tornado steam train passing through Dundee

Remembering my wee video of the Tornado steam train passing under Seabraes footbridge on 1 August 2019 which was featured in the Evening Telegraph the next day: 
VIDEO: Iconic steam engine Tornado passes through Dundee on way to Aberdeen

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Great Wizard of the North in St Nicholas Kirkyard Aberdeen

I was very glad to have come upon the Great Wizard of the North's gravestone on Saturday 3 August 2019, his poem in honour of his Mother Mary Robertson.  It was at the back of St Nicholas Kirkyard, furthest away from Union St where I entered; I walked all the way round looking for a guid gravestone and this one caught my eye.  I didn't know the story until after processing the 3D model through Reality Capture yesterday evening then googling John Anderson Wizard of the North:

'The Great Wizard of the North and his spell on Scotland and beyond' in The Scotsman, 1 November 2016:

"He was the 19th Century Scots magician who promised “unparalleled sensations” and “overflowing nightly ovations” in music halls and theatres across the world.

John Henry Anderson was born in the tiny Deeside settlement of Kincardine O ‘Neil and went on to dominate the global magic scene. He became one of the first men to pull a rabbit from a hat as well as accomplish the potentially fatal bullet catch.

According to newspaper reports of the day, Anderson earned “enormous sums of money through his entertainment” with articles also detailing a great benevolent spirit, particularly to the young and the sick of Aberdeen.

Anderson is also remembered as an “unequalled” self publicist who seized the opportunities of advertising to generate huge crowds at his show with bills for a night with “Professor Anderson” to be found as far a field as Niagra and even the Pyriamids as he hit his peak.

John Henry Anderson, The Great Wizard of the North. PIC WikicommonsAn article printed in the Press and Journal on September 3 1874 shortly after his death, said: “His sleight of hand was not so great as many others in his time but what he lacked in agility of manipulation he made up in the elaborateness of his scenic and trick accessories.

“In the course of his life he had travelled three times round the world to carry out his numerous engagements.”

Born in 1814, Anderson started his career with a travelling drama group and took up magic at the age of 17. His breakthrough was perhaps performing in the house of Lord Panmure, whose endorsement allowed him to hit the road for a successful spell before settling in London, where he opened the New Strand Theatre in 1830. 

It was Sir Walter Scott who christened him “The Great Wizard of the North” with Anderson’s reputation also leading him to later perform for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Balmoral.

The wizard was to leave for Ireland - where he was described as a “universal favourite - before setting sail for California, Canada and then Australia in the 1850s.

By the time he returned to Great Britain, he found a new generation of magicians on the stage with his popularity perhaps outshined.

Anderson had planned to end his career with a performance in the Granite City in 1854 but the huge public response drove him on with major shows in London. However, a fire in the New Covent Garden Theatre in 1856 destroyed all of the magician’s property for a second time. A fire at his former theatre in Glasgow, The City, had bankrupted him 12 years earlier.

In April 1863, his “farewell tour” of Aberdeen was advertised in the Press and Journal with promises of a “grand, incomprehensible and cabalistic” show for 15,000 people over six nights at the Music Hall. To be performed was his “new sensation trick”, the Phoenix Bonnet.

Also printed in the newspaper was a list of letters to public institutions, including one addressed to the director of the Gordon’s Hospital for children with hearing and speech problems.

The letter said: “As my entertainment is of a scientific and strictly moral character I judge that it will not only be beneficial to them as an amusement but also for its instructive nature.”

A second letter, to the Directors of the Royal Infirmary, added: “During my long professional career in all parts of the globe I have always concluded it my duty to contributed to the asylums of the sick in the various cities where I have temporarily sejourned. As a native of Aberdeen, I am desirous of showing my gratitude.”

He then pledge to give the hospital the “grand receipts” of one of his final shows.

Large crowds gathered in Aberdeen’s Union Street for his funeral with Anderson buried next to his mother in St Nicholas Churchyard. 

Harry Houdini, once a rival who claimed Anderson as a major inspiration, helped pay for the upkeep of his grave.

Houdini on left, photo sourced here

At the weekend, the work of Anderson and several other magicians was toasted at the 90th anniversary gala dinner of the Aberdeen Magical Society."

Monday, 5 August 2019

the diminishing returns of disrespectful & dehumanising treatment

A recent tweet on the topics of disrespect and dehumanising treatment when thinking of what I've come through since 2002 when voluntarily entering Lomond Ward, Stratheden Hospital, as a mental patient, and more recently caring for my son who did the same and ended up in a locked seclusion room with no light, toilet or water.

At times it was a very hard slog, glad that we have survived the experiences. 

Dundee bus station Saturday with son Daniel on way to Aberdeen 😊

Thursday, 1 August 2019

stuck in Springfield, the Stratheden psychiatric Hospital village

We got no help from our MSP for a move to Dundee, no points for a council house, whereas in 2012 we had about 30 points.  I would think because the housing situation there and elsewhere will be worse now, in terms of homelessness due to austerity, brexit and other financial pressures of living today.  At least we have a house and a car now so I can travel to Dundee for swimming, shopping and walking in the city to keep fit.  It would be much better for my son and I to be away from here, so close to where he was abused in the Stratheden IPCU/ward 4 locked seclusion room, February 2012.

Therefore our hope is to eventually buy a house, get a mortgage, find paid work to finance this, which is harder for me now that I'm nearly 67yrs old.  And my most recent work experience is in mental health matters, since 2008, and no-one wants to employ a whistleblower and survivor of psychiatric abuse.  It's not a good career move.

The main aim for me these days is to keep fit and mobile, also doing research, in preparation for writing books.  Glad to say that I'm at peace with myself, have come to terms with the injustice of being a whistleblower and unwaged carer, and with other unfair treatment by family over many years.  Externalising my distress has been helpful, being honest about my feelings, the lack of respect was hurtful.  I'd put up with it in the earlier years to see my grandchildren but they are older now and I can watch them playing sports in Dundee.  I've never seen my other grandchild as he's in America and I can't afford the trip.  

Family have always been important to me.  We moved here to the Cupar, Fife, area in 1990 to support my sister who was married to an alcoholic, expecting her first child, as I thought she would need help, and she did.  Moved in with us about a year later, got divorced, had to pay him off, eventually met and married another man, I was the Maid of Honour, in 1999:

I was happy for my sister in her marriage to a good man although the wedding wasn't enjoyable for me.  The foster family were favoured, as usual, and I had to put up with other stuff.  More recently we have lost contact with each other, for over 10yrs, mainly because of the foster mother being called Granny.  A long story which goes back to the 1970's.  But the gist of it being that I thought it a major insult to my Mother.  They might have called her Auntie and that would have been more acceptable.  My niece, sister's daughter, never knew my Mum, was born in 2000, 2 years after her real Granny's death, and she doesn't know me which is sad when you think about it.  However I got over this a while back. 

In 1993 I supported my Mother in her move to Cupar from Perth, helped her buy a flat in the Bonnygate, visited her in Adamson Hospital where she spent her last weeks, brought her out to Springfield to see this house which we'd been allocated, just before her death, 19 March 1998.  We moved in on Easter Monday, 13 April, over 21 years ago.  After this I supported my youngest sister in Perth, helped her get a good council flat, put her in touch with a Minister friend from her past in Glasgow when she did theology 1980's.  In 2006 I organised a 40th birthday party for her in St Ninian's Cathedral, inviting many folk from her past, to celebrate her life.  She graduated in theology last year at Perth UHI and is now a lay minister with the cathedral.  We haven't been in touch for years athough she does occasionally send greetings cards.  I used to send gifts to both my sisters and family but it was a one-way street and so I stopped.  I wish them both well.