Monday, June 28, 2010

Getting ready for the road again...

I'm leaving my flat in Perth on the 7th July - more about why in my post below, "On the road again."

Now I've sold my car I'll get a decent touring bike and trailer then cycle down to Wales first of all, stopping off with friends or camping on the way. In Wales I'm hoping to work with Steve Jones on the Workhouse project and with any of the other stuff he's got on the go. My aims generally are to:

  • Be part of the transition process
  • Explore what people are doing towards a sustainable way of life
  • Push the boundaries of what's possible with therapy and healing work
  • Bring the therapy/healing world more into the eco world
  • Treat people, do woodwork, prune trees or any other work I can do in return for food and shelter, there's lots about what I've been doing in this blog & all about my therapy/healing work here
  • Meet more of these inspirational people out there
  • Tell everyone about the stuff they are doing
  • Spread ideas, techniques, inspiration
  • And have fun and never forget to Boogie!
If you have a project on the go that needs help or if you would like some treatment please get in touch,
more soon...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A very happy day

Lovely bridesmaids Laura and Claire
 A couple of photos from my daughter Amanda's wedding. What a happy day and so good to have been able to join in the celebrations. It's been brilliant to have these months in Perth and spend lots of time with family and old friends.

Orange Parade

I thought this must be something to do with mobile phones or EasyJet but no - it's a giant gathering of Protestants. I associate all this with the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland which has so often featured in the news over the years. So it was a bit strange to see the bowler hats, sashes, uniforms, fifes and drums in Perth - although there is a strong Protestant connection here via John Knox. Personally, I'm a devout agnostic so don't have much time for the religious content of the parade. The baton twirling and uniforms are fun though! But not as much fun as Gay Pride - why not combine the two? Gay Orange Pride maybe?

...and another...

..good catch!

Bit dour looking this lot...

That's more like it! Follow those legs!

LOL? Lots of Love? Lots of Laughs? Laugh Out Loud???

Crazy drum man!

Even pith helmets - what a great range of colours and styles of uniform! A cross between the United Nations and the Panto...or something...

 It all ended up with a giant milling about on the South Inch and major repairs to drums no doubt.

bye bye GP53 BKK

I was sad to leave my car at the auction mart after he'd given me three and a half years of loyal service. I felt as if I was leaving a faithful dog to be re-homed. Still, maybe GP53 will be looked after even better than by me - and maybe get a wash more often than once every year and a half. And now I can go ahead with the lower fossil fuel cycling alternative.

Thank you GP53 BKK!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


In my years of blogging nothing's started to wake people up quite like the Gulf Spill - just a few thoughts about the whole thing:
Walruses in the Gulf of Mexico? According to the BP oil spill response documentation there were...
Bungling as they may have been, the attitude in the States is a very, "Wicked BP, poor USA" kind of thing isn't it? And if you were a bit cynical you might point out that now the mess is on the US coast they're suddenly all upset - there hasn't been quite so much concern about the devastation caused by oil extraction in Nigeria or Ecuador. There's not so much comment on why the industrial/developed world, US especially, needs oil so badly that it makes sense to drill for it way down there. Of course there's a risk of things going wrong! And of course US companies never cut corners and always clean up after them don't they? What happened with Union Carbide in Bhopal again? 500,000 people exposed to methyl isocyanate and 15,000 deaths in 1984 and after five years in court India gets $470million out of them. I make that 2.35% of the BP $20 billion and it puts a life at $3,133. Amerrrrica Fuck Yeah!!! The moral idignation is looking a bit thin.

We'll make more real progress when we start to realise it's just "us" on the planet. All of us oil consumers are responsible for the mess and complicit in the worldwide devastation, myself included. Sooner or later we're going to have to do things a lot differently.

At least we have a president who is talking about renewables. (Do you remember President Reagan actually removing the solar panels that President Carter had installed on the White House - nice one, Ron!)

And where is the energy going to come from to produce all the materials for all the renewable hardware and to make all the wind turbines, nuclear power stations, solar panels, electric cars and batteries? Well let's think...maybe from fossil fuel? So we're going to need extra fossil fuel energy on top of what we're using already to do make this new stuff - and that's as we enter a phase of dwindling supplies and increasing prices - how's that going to work?
See that thin little red line at the top? That represents Renewables compared with everything else. It's not very much is it? Also interesting to note that the Oil section is pretty flat while the Coal is shooting up.

Nuclear power - there's not that much easy uranium to get hold of - one estimate is that it would need all the remaining uranium to power the decommissioning of the existing nuclear plants. Decommissioning of power stations and storing radioactive waste tend not to be put into the nuclear sums.
Solar panels - need germanium, there's not much of that either...
Batteries - and guess where a huge deposit of lithium for batteries etc has turned up? Afghanistan! well well, that could be interesting.

Have a ponder for a moment - (even without thinking about Climate Change) is there really any option to using much less energy? And remember, you don't just use energy when you travel somewhere or to keep warm, energy is used to produce our food and everything we buy and use and to process our water and to make it all conveniently accessible for us - our whole industrialised/consumer way of life revolves around using lots and lots of energy - so how is this going to affect you?

Here's some links that are well worth checking out - some great sites too:

David Strahan, "America should be thanking BP".

Renewables just a tiny fraction of energy use.

Dumb BP oil spill plan - walruses in the Gulf of Mexico

Life After the Oil Crash - Heinberg

Climategate - Polluted by Profit

George Monbiot - the Money Gusher

Environmental Impact of Resource Depletion

Have a nice day...!


Read Mark Boyle's book if you can - you can get here from Cygnus - click here. It's brilliant: inspiring, funny, informative, thought provoking and based on thinking honestly, making a practical response to all this stuff and doing what you believe is right. Even if we can't all go to Mark's extremes, he's a living example of what's possible. Having spent a few weeks in tents and caravans in wet autumns and cold winters I have huge respect for how tough in body and mind the man must be and for the energy he has.

Also he's pretty canny, he had built up an excellent network for advice and for bartering for his needs before he started and many might struggle to make those kinds of connection. But all of us fossil fuel users will be forced to make huge changes eventually. The sooner we make changes the easier they will be and there's some things we can all do pretty easily.
It's worth reading just for the heart warming description of his Freeconomy Feastival in 2009 - Mark's free three-course feast for hundreds of people and one-day free festival which received tremendous support from all sorts of people. We can do so much when we put our heart's into it!

Check out Mark's blog on the Guardian website.

Thanks Mark! You've helped to power me up again for my next chapter just when I was hitting a deep low.


The Tay estuary from a back road near Perth
 Sadly, I've not managed to build up much work in Perth and I'm going to have to leave my flat and move on...

When I moved back up here to Perth in March I was hoping to pick up patients again to the level I had before in 2003 reasonably quickly. Then I hoped to get involved with a long term eco-project, a McLammas maybe. It's just not happened, in spite of putting a lot of time into a website, leaflets, google-ads, doing promotional treatments and all that stuff. I've applied for jobs as well, including one as a Climate Change Communicator, but nothing's come of that. I've been working away on my photos too with some success - but not enough too keep going here. I've still got much more going out than coming in and I've built up a fair old credit card debt. So I'm going to sell my car, arrange what I can with the card companies and head off by push-bike, bus or whatever.

Laura and I on our photo stand for Art on the River - a few sales, mostly of pyramids.
 It's been a strange time here. It's been wonderful to be near my girls and I've really appreciated having my own space and all the conveniences of the flat, the washing machine, fridge and hot water and light at the flick of a switch. Everything is so convenient in Perth too, it's a big enough town to have most of the stuff you might need, all within an easy walking area of about twelve blocks. A fifteen minute walk gets me out of town into the lovely woodlands on Kinnoull Hill. I don't think January and February would be so much fun in the flat though - there's partial double glazing by way of insulation and that's it...and it's all electric. The building opposite me is still being repaired after damage from burst pipes in the winter.

Bad Head Day - I know how it feels...
So very mixed emotions, feeling a failure and an even bigger feckless misfit than ever. But the few treatments I have been giving have been really helpful for people and I'm learning extraordinary new stuff too - so frustration as well. Deep depression and a terrible weariness, and through all of it still dealing with splitting up with Debi - waves of intense emotion, bitterness, rage, soul-deep sadness and lots and lots of self-pity. Huge thanks to my friends and family up here for all their support through the times when I'd pretty much given up. Treatments have helped me to learn some lessons and come out the other side. At the end of the day our lives are completely our own responsibility and you can really only work on yourself. More about treatments and stuff on my therapy website.

Pre-Determination Committe hearing for Rannoch project

A beautiful old Rannoch Pine in the Blackwood. The forest has probably looked pretty much like this since the last Ice Age.
 I went along with my brother and sister to this hearing about a proposed development at Dall on Loch Rannoch. It was delightful to hear the developer dig his own grave deeper with every word he spoke as he answered questions. He was trying to include part of a beautiful ancient woodland, the Blackwood of Rannoch, as part of a "brown field" site in his plan for an exclusive resort for "multi-billionaires" complete with two golf courses and a cosmetic surgery clinic. His description of the village of Kinloch Rannoch as "dead" and his vision of how it would be much improved by visits from Lady Gaga and other such "multi-billionaires" just became ludicrous...The whole thing was voted out by a huge majority.

Insane as the whole project might seem, local people were very worried that it might go ahead somehow - including my sister who has a cottage there, which we used to go to for wonderful family holidays as children. In fact our connection with Rannoch goes back even further, my Mum's family used to go there when they were children.