Aultbea is a small villagey town on the edge of the mighty loch Ewe – a loch with a huge island bobbing about in it expanse.
At the Aultbea Hotel one can find a variety of folks
– Mary –
She told me the tale of her niece – a was a happy-go-lucky girl until she became the victim of online bullying.
Suddenly she found herself experiencing mental health problems including agoraphobia. When she felt unwell she was unable to go to school.
Although the school claimed to have a zero tolerance approach to bullying her complaints were met in 2 ways by the head –
I) well, it’s your word against hers, and;
2) if you don’t get back to school we’ll get the police onto your parents…
I’m guessing this is the ‘tough love’ approach to mental health problems.
Thank god for the social worker who appeared to clarify the situation to all concerned. The word ‘arse’ may have been deployed.
Although it has taken time, this young person is now receiving some of the support she should have right from the beginning. Hopefully there’s a more optimistic outlook for her now.
But see how easy it is for things to fall apart – for the situation to be made worse – when someone in a position of power does not do all they can to resolve a situation.
– the engineer –
75 years old still working – this chap was astounded at what I’m doing – ‘how much is this costing you?’ jumped from his mouth before we even began to talk. It felt that we were at opposite ends of a continuum – it wasn’t unpleasant – I just don’t think i understood him nor he me. I think we tried. I talked about how my brothers were both engineers and how I always felt sorry for the girl who picked me because they wouldn’t be destined for a life of relative wealth and comfort.
He told me how he’d kept on working – although he hadn’t had a contract since last August – he was still working now at 75.
I told him how I had found huge pockets of the big society – and how folk had watched my back, supported me, given me hospitality and shared a story or 2.
This was met with a passive incredulity – similar to the way I felt about his plight. He wasn’t working – he hadn’t worked for 7 months – and yet he told the world that he was. I’m guessing – and I could be far off the mark here – that his identity and therefore my identity was wrapped up in what work we did. Not just the work – but what paid work we did.
Human doings…hmmm….I guess I’m guilty of this too when I describe my little ramble…that’s what I do…
This woman – I gave her my card and then forgot her name – bugger – anyway…
This woman was writing a novel – she was spending a few days on Aultbea to research it…at the time a gale was blowing across the loch and horizontal rain was rattling the windows…atmospheric springs to mind.
I explained that every time I sat down to write fiction, something autobiographical jumped out.
She said something very similar to,”…funny you should say that…” and told me about a book she’d written for her grandchildren – in a Margaret Forster stylie, she’d written her autobiography as if it were fiction, where she is merely a character in the wider story.
What a brilliant gift! What a great way to learn about the previous generation…
I never got her story -we’ll just have to wait for the book….
I met another chap who really got me thinking – but that’s for the next blog….
Walk a mile