Saturday, September 08, 2012

Castlelaw Hill Fort and Penicuik

Entry for 8 September 2012:

For this week’s Saturday Adventure, we started out at Castlelaw Hill Fort, a bit south of Edinburgh, not too far from Rosslyn Chapel.  This is an iron age hill fort, from around 500 BCE, with at least two concentric ramparts and ditches still visible, especially from the hillside above and behind it. It’s perched on a ridge above Castlelaw Farm.  Just beyond is a military firing range, from which volleys of gunfire sounded every few minutes, making the sheep nervous.  The most interesting feature of this hill fort, however, is the earth house or partially-underground storage chamber built into the inner rampart in the early years of the common era, possibly used by the local people to store up grain for trade with the Romans.  We spent about an hour rambling about the site, walking the inner rampart, climbing the hill above, and watching the rows of military at their gunnery practice in the valley below.

Lately, we’ve been following up our visits to historical sites by picking a nearby local village or town to explore.  Today it was the town of Penicuik, just a few miles from Castlelaw.  The town is filled with shops with “penny” and “cooking” in their names, playing on the name of the place, which actually comes from “Pen-Y-Cog” in old Brythonic (the Celtic language from which modern Welsh is derived):  “Hill of the Cuckoo”: A wonderful name for a somewhat grey town that has clearly seen better times.  I kept imagining the cry of the cuckoo echoing through the place.

As we walked down the one block of the High Street, we stumbled, almost literally, into the annual Doors Open day at the Penicuik Town Hall, also known as the Cowan Institute, a 100-plus-year old community centre created to support and uplift the citizens of Penicuik, especially the workers in the papermills below along the River Esk.  “Paper mills?”, we said, as the bored volunteers rose to greet us with smiles (for we had come to provide entertainment for them in the waning minutes of their day-long stint).  “Oh yes!” said the bearded gentleman who attached himself to us in order to take us on an expedited tour of the place, and to bring us up to speed on the history of Penicuik, its famous papermills and the progressive social practices of Alexander Cowan. 

As usual, we got just the barest introduction to another interesting little Scottish town, enough to glimpse a richness unfolding fractally before us:  The closer you look, the more complexity you see, repeating level after level, all the way to the base of world, which is the lived experience of each individual living being in each moment, opening forever new but always the same.

Monday, September 03, 2012

EFT Local Network Meetings Move to City Centre: Tuesday 11 September 2012

For four years a collection of folks who’ve done at least two levels of EFT training have been meeting in the Chaplaincy common room at the Jordanhill Campus of the University of Strathclyde.  This was arranged by Susan McKenna, of the Student Counselling Service, and organised by members of the network.  They’ve generally taken place on the second Tuesday of the month, from 18.30 to 20.00 in the evening.  The format has varied between supervision, videos, book study, and an occasion guest presentation.  The group is small, usually 5 – 8 people, and the sessions have been useful and interesting. 

Now, however, Jordanhill has closed and we’ve moved to the Glasgow City Centre.  EFT Network Meetings for 2012-13 will resume on Tuesday 11 September in the Counselling Unit’s new digs in the Graham Hills Building, 40/50 George Street. As before, starting time is 18:15 for 18:30, but we’ll meet us in GH506, the new Research Clinic Base, next door to my office, GH507, which we can use for watching videos.  The first meeting will be largely organisational in nature, but case supervision is always welcome.  There's a kitchen down the hall for making tea.  There is free parking on the side streets around the building after 6 pm; alternatively, there is regular train service to the nearest station, High Street, and Queen Street and Central stations are close enough to walk to and from.  The entrance at 50 George Street is often locked at 6pm, but the entrances at 40 George Street and at the back of the building on Richmond Street are open until 9pm. The Building is a bit of a maze but if you keep looking you will find us, on the fifth floor in the back left (northwest) corner of the building, up one floor from the Richmond Street entrance, which is the easiest way to get to us.  I know that some folks are on holiday, but I'm looking forward to seeing whoever can be there.

The group’s google site hosts information and announcements and is at:   
The discussion group is closed, but you can contact me for an invitation.

Look in the announcements section of the google site for information on subsequent EFT Network meetings.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Fellow Status in APA Division of Clinical Psychology

Entry for 2 September 2012:

Last April I received an email out of the blue from the head of the Fellowship Committee of the Division of Clinical Psychology (Division 12) of the American Psychological Association, asking if I’d like to be nominated for Fellow status in that division.  Thanks, I said, but I’m a professor of counselling working in Scotland now; are you sure you want me?  No problem!, She said.  So I put together list of my clinical-psychology-relevant accomplishments and sent it off.

This past Friday, at the end of a long week running this year’s Strathclyde EFT Level 1 training workshop, I learned that I’ve been elected to Fellow Status in Division 12 of the American Psychological Association.  According to APA (

Fellow status is an honor bestowed upon APA Members who have shown evidence of unusual and outstanding contributions or performance in the field of psychology.

Election to Fellow status requires evidence of unusual and outstanding contributions or performance in the field of psychology. Fellow status requires that a person's work has had a national impact on the field of psychology beyond a local, state, or regional level. A high level of competence or steady and continuing contributions are not sufficient to warrant Fellow status. National impact must be demonstrated.

I was previously elected to Fellow Status in two other divisions (Humanistic Psychology, Psychotherapy), but with 3500 members Clinical Psychology is by far the largest of the three divisions to which I belong and the discipline in which I received by PhD.  It’s nice to have this recognition in my home discipline.

Londinium Magna Est Sed Biggar Biggar Est

Entry for 1 September:

In spite of a late start, we were determined to get back to our Saturday Adventures in Scotland.  Today it was the town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire, 30 or so miles southeast of Glasgow.  It’s a bit out of way, but situated in lovely rolling hills.  We arrived in the middle of the annual flower show and a Saturday afternoon wedding, the latter heralded by a lone piper playing in the old churchyard opposite.  Very quaint, but not so easy to find parking!

We stopped first at the Biggar Moat Heritage Museum, a cute little municipal museum in one of the old kirks perched on a hill overlooking the rest of the town.  Like other town museums we’ve seen, this one contained an eclectic collection of different bits from the past, with many carefully constructed models of prehistoric and history structures like hillforts, crannogs and castles.  The most unusual things in the collection, to my mind, are a couple intricate quilts from the late 19th century, featuring historical, theatrical and imaginary figures.  However, I was more taken by the section on the Biggar Archaeological Group’s work, including evidence of 14,000 year old reindeer herders who moved into this part of Scotland in the wake of the glaciers’ retreat after the last ice age.  It also contains an old sign in fractured Latin, quoted above as the title of this entry.

Our main destination was the Biggar Gas Works, the last remaining municipal gas works in the UK.  There, from 1836 to 1973, coal was treated to produce natural gas and coke.  We happily rambled through the small set of structures containing the retorts or ovens used to cook the gas out of the coal, the condenser for precipitating the tar out of the gas, the filters to remove the ammonia and sulphur dioxide, the steam engines for pumping the gas hither and thither, the metering equipment and the big round open-bottomed tanks resting in pools of water, used for storing the gas at pressure.  Steampunk! I thought: the 19th century technology of steam and gas, currently the subject of a romanticised revival of Victorian era aesthetic, popular in the speculative fiction field, ranging from novels (eg Powers, Gibson, Carriger) to graphic novels (eg the Girl Genius books) to fashion (Victorian clothing & goggles).  (For more see: .) Here, you can see just how messy and back-breaking this technology was, but still impressive!

Biggar proclaims itself to be a town of many museums of various types.  Because of our late start, we missed the rest of them, including the Covenanters House, Biggar Kirk, and the Gladstone Court Museum.  It’s on our list for a return visit!

August Update 2012

Entry for 1 September 2012:

Around noon on Wednesday, the first of August, on the old Celtic festival day of Lunasa or Lammas, the first day of Celtic Autumn, I arrived at my new office in the Graham Hills Building.  There was a desk with my computer on it, and my file cabinets weree lined up neatly against the left wall, but no chairs or any other furniture.  I went out and found myself a table in the common area by the classrooms.  After an hour I went back, and voila’!, chairs, table and lots of boxes of books had appeared.  I set up my computer.  The IT guy came by, got my computer’s MAC address and had me online within the hour.  I spent the rest of the afternoon rearranging furniture in order to open up the space.  At 5pm I walked the couple of minutes to the High Street train station and caught the 17.05 train home. 

I spent the next two days trying (and failing) to get enough work cleared up to be able to leave on vacation with a clear conscience.  In the end, only the most critical things got done, and off we went to the US, where my laptop promptly died.  Our first task was to help our youngest son Kenneth move from Cleveland, Ohio, to Iowa City, Iowa, where he was about to start grad school in classics. Then we flew to Seattle, where we ended up helping our oldest son, Brendan, move house.  Next, we flew to San Francisco, and my sister Anna picked me up the next day and took me to Murray Creek to help prepare for our mom’s Celebration event.

After the Celebration Event, we had various adventures of a more sedate nature, along with recovering from all the moves, physical and psychological and restoring my laptop whose hard drive had crashed and had to be reformatted.  One day, we ventured part way up the Pleasanton Ridge, west of Diane’s home town of Pleasanton, high enough to be rewarded with commanding views of the valley.  Another day, we explored Sycamore Grove Park, south of Livermore, with its stands of large old sycamore, walnut and oak trees along the mostly-dry arroyo, vultures wheeling gracefully overhead in the late summer thermals of the 90F weather.  Rows of ancient walnut trees lined abandoned roads leading to the ruins of an old winery in the hills to the south. If hadn't so hot, it would have been romantic, in a desolate sort of way...

We returned to Scotland by a circuitous route: San Francisco to Paris to Cardiff to Glasgow.  We cleared immigration at Cardiff International Airport, where we were questioned closely and subsequently had our carry-on bags scanned multiple times by very serious officials, who scolded us for not taking our kindle and small Mac keyboard out of our bags.

On our return I had no time to recover, as I was running this year’s 4-day Strathclyde EFT Level 1 training with Lorna and Anja.  Although relocated from Jordanhill, the space worked out reasonably well.  Amusingly, it was on the 8th floor with a bunch of engineers temporarily displaced by the fire in their building earlier this year; with their ties and ID cards on lanyards they made quite a contrast to our motley band of counsellors.  Moreover, we were very pleased to be able to work with such an enthusiastic group of participants.  As always, it was a real pleasure to facilitate this training, and very rewarding to see the participants begin to pick up and use the various EFT tasks.  

Afterward, on Friday night, we collapsed, and when my bread machine’s beeping woke me up the next morning I was startled to see that it was 10 am already.