Truth Behind the Fiction..
07 October 2019
Guest speaker on 7th October was retired GP and now novelist Dr Pam Cairns. She spoke about ‘The Truth Behind the Fiction’ - a reference to her novels, which address the brutal topics of abuse, modern day slavery and child trafficking.
We heard of Dr Cairn’s work helping to provide primary heath care to the Amazonian Indians. These peoples, who are hunters, fishermen and farmers are enticed to cities in the hope of a better way of life. The reality being an impoverished life in diseased, sprawling slums with polluted water and with street children, unloved and abandoned.
Sadly we heard too of overwhelming difficulties in India, where again abuse of children, girls and women is widespread. There is also the need to provide care for children of sex workers.
But we also learned of work being done jointly by the Free to Live Trust and the Rotary Club of Pune Amonara where, following two years of fundraising, a modern home for girls has been built - and now followed by one for boys. These are achievements that have attracted Rotary Global funding. More about the Free to Live Trust and about SEEMA’s Project can be found at (https://freetolivetrust.org.)
Shockingly we heard that human trafficking can also be found very close to home, here in Scotland. Hidden in plain sight - with often young people, including immigrants, held in very poor living conditions and working in the fields, car washes, nail bars, restaurants and brothels. The ‘Human Trafficking Act, Scotland’ was an important legal step in helping to combat this abuse.
Her advice was to be alert to these abuses and to act by contacting the police or Crime Stoppers where there are concerns.
Dr Cairns told us of the importance of work being done by The Vine Trust and again of the Free to Live Trust, which works in partnership with the Church of Scotland Guilds.
Following questions a vote of thanks was proposed by clubmember George Hunter, who made the point that our thanks were best reserved for the work that Dr Cairns and her colleagues have done to expose abuse and to help alleviate suffering.
23 September 2019
The 23rd September and the club was pleased to welcome Daisy Singleton, to speak about her experiences at the 2019 RYLA event
RYLA - The Rotary Youth Leadership Award is a week-long Rotary International course that takes place at the Abernethy Trust Centre in Nethybridge, just a few miles from Aviemore. It offers young people an opportunity to participate in physical and intellectual activities, aimed at developing skills in team working, leadership, communication, problem solving and decision-making. These are seen as foundations for self-confidence and self-esteem - vital aspects of responsible and global citizenship. Each year Anstruther Rotary Club sponsors two students.
Daisy spoke in effervescent style of the huge benefit of the course. From initial interview, nervousness and uncertainty, it turned out to be one of the best weeks of her life. With many challenges it was evident that the course had also been great fun.
We heard of the structure of the course - chalets of 8 girls, and teams of 7 for the many adventurous activities - rock climbing, mountain biking, hill walking and raft building. But no gorge jumping, due to flooding.
The outdoor activities were complemented by afternoon talks and by a team recap each evening. It was good to hear how the mix of physical and intellectual challenges helped build teamwork, leadership and problem-solving skills, confidence and self awareness. Daisy commented especially on the new friendships she had made.
Daisy who is a 6th Form student at Waid Academy and Head Girl, is currently looking ahead to university options and the possibility of a legal career, closed her talk by thanking Rotary for an experience she felt was life changing.
Following questions, club member Derek Mathie thanked Daisy for her excellent talk and proposed an appreciative vote of thanks on behalf of the club.
16 September 2019
The 16th September proved to be a mind-stretching account of the complexities of ‘well control’ in the oil drilling world. The talk was by club member Ian McBain who, in his professional life, was Master of an oil-exploration and well-drilling ship.
Deep-sea oil exploration is difficult and dangerous with equipment working in extreme conditions. We heard that drilling is carried out at depths of perhaps 300 feet in the North Sea - but at up to 8,000 feet in the Gulf of Mexico. Pressures in drill tubes can be 15,000 lb/square inch. We learned something of the mechanics of drilling and the importance of the ‘mud’ or ‘barite’ used inside the drill tubes and which has a number of essential functions. The steel tubes themselves some 36 inches in diameter and with walls 1 inch thick. All this without considering the stresses caused by ocean currents and of course bad weather.
We were reminded of just how real the dangers are, when Ian spoke of the drill rig ‘Deepwater Horizon’ and the catastrophic explosion in April 2010. Working at a water depth of approximately 5,000 feet, a violent explosion occurred, leading to destruction of the rig and resulting in an environmentally disastrous oil spill.
In addition to management practices and safety procedures needed, Ian spoke also of the enormous costs involved and of organisational complexities with oil wells typically being in multiple ownership.
Altogether a remarkable insight into a business that keeps our modern world supplied with the oil needed for fuel and the many synthetic chemicals and plastics on which we depend.
Following questions an appreciative vote of thanks was proposed by Steve Blaney.
09 September 2019
The 16th September meeting saw club members on a cultural journey with speaker Iain Fraser and ‘Opera in Scotland’ (www.operascotland.org).
Iain proved to be hugely knowledgeable and enthusiastic about opera, with what seemed an encyclopaedic memory for opera performances and artists dating back many, many years.
We were treated to a timeline from the 18th century to the present day - all with a Scottish perspective. and often too with the background stories - scandal and all!
We had ‘Gentle Shepherd from 1725 and ‘Beggars Opera’ of 1728. We explored opera singers; Scottish vocalist Mary Ann Paton, Guiseppe de Begnis making fourteen visits to Edinburgh, Jenny Lind in the 184’s, George Wood in the 1850’s, Hortense Schneider in the 1870’s, Marie Roze, Zelie de Lussan and Aberdeen-born Mary Garden. We heard too of the influence of conductors including Sir Thomas Beecham and Sir Alexander Gibson.
We heard of the origins of opera with ‘Dafne’ by Peri in 1597 and then too of Iain’s father’s involvement on opera in Italy, providing entertainment for troops during WW2. We were brought completely up to date with an explanation of the ‘OperaScotland’ website - in the creation of which Iain played an important part. This attractive site provides information and listings for performers and locations of opera in Scotland.
Altogether a revealing and engrossing talk by a man who’s enthusiasm was totally infectious. Following questions, the evening concluded with an appreciative vote of thanks, proposed by Roderick Skinner.
02 September 2019
Speaker at this weeks meeting was club member Steve Blaney, who brought along two of his model radio-controlled helicopters; a hobby he has been interested in for eight years or so.
We heard that he had built the very impressive and complex models from kits of parts and Steve spoke knowledgeably about the various technical functions of the models and especially about the training and skills needed to remotely pilot the craft. Steve told us that a model takes about three weeks to build.
The models are powered by a ‘nitro’ engine - a form of miniature compression ignition engine that is fuelled by a volatile mix of methanol, nitromethane and lubricating oil. Radio control operates the controls via six or seven ‘servos’ and with stability aided by solid-state gyroscopes. It was clear that the models contain a significant amount of modern high technology.
Steve is a member of the Kinross Radio Model Flying Club, which was founded in 1996. It was reassuring to hear of the degree of training that must be undertaken before being permitted to operate a helicopter - and especially of the safety measures that the club observes. Clearly there could be dangers in such models being operated inappropriately.
Following many questions, a vote of thanks was proposed, following which club members were able to take a close look at the design and construction of the helicopters.
26 August 2019
The speaker at our meeting of 26th August was Gillian Duncan, who spoke about ENCEPT - the East Neuk Community Emergency Planning Team. This is a relatively new initiative that recognises the remoteness of East Neuk communities and seeks to coordinate responses during an emergency.
The intention is to develop a single telephone contact (0800 999 6543) for communities to use, that will link to the ENCEPT team to mobilise whatever range of support is needed for a wide range of emergencies. Gillian was quick to add that this number should not be used for life threatening emergencies and does not replace the statutory 999 service.
An important concept is the idea of local community resilience.
Gillian mentioned situations such as ‘the Beast from the East’ flooding, snow blizzards, power cuts, flu pandemics and coastal and sea emergencies.
Close partnership contacts are being established with Fife Council via their emergency resilience officer and with the existing emergency services. A register of volunteers is being created and refuge centres established. We heard of plans for very practical measures such as stockpiles of sandbags, tools, first aid kits, hard hats and blankets in each village.
Gillian, who is a volunteer with ‘First Responders’ is currently working to publicise the initiative and to establish a website, facebook and email presence (email@example.com)
Gillian’s talk created much interest and following questions John O’Neill proposed an appreciative vote of thanks.
Levenmouth Rail Link..
19 August 2019
We were pleased to welcome Eugene Clark as speaker on the subject of the Levenmouth rail campaign, of which he is chairman. This group has been campaigning for a more prosperous Levenmouth and, in particular, the recreation of a rail link to Thornton, to join the main rail line to Edinburgh.
This line was closed in 1969, but the rails and track bed were not dismantled. Whilst much work will be needed to reinstate the track, we heard that the engineering needed is fairly straightforward.
A decision has just been made by the Scottish Government to proceed with the project, at a cost estimated to be around £70M. The travel time to Edinburgh is expected to be 60 - 75 minutes, with the aim that the link will help lead to the regeneration of the Levenmouth area.
Eugene told us that much had been learned from the Borders rail line and that there had been great community support as well as cross-party support from MSPs. Nevertheless, it had been a long campaign with impressive statistics - 10,000 emails, 3,000 tweets, 43 parliamentary questions, a 14.500 signature petition and 69 monthly meetings!
It was interesting to see plans for the line and to hear of plans to create an integrated transport network with ‘park and ride’ facilities and cycle path integration.
Despite the good news of government support being announced, Eugene commented that he still saw much work to do, in order the make sure the plans do come to fruition.
This was a talk that prompted many questions, following which a warm vote of thanks was proposed.More about the campaign can be found at (https://levenmouth.co.uk)
Power of Attorney..
29 July 2019
Club member John O’Neill was speaker on 29th July and took as his topic ‘Power of Attorney’. This was taken in the context of John’s professional work as a dentist.
A very interesting talk covered the ways in which legislation has, especially in more recent times, changed the demands on dental professionals to be absolutely clear that informed consent is given for any dental work performed. This is particularly critical when work is carried out on patients affected by dementia - work that, because of the dementia, is inherently more difficult.
John made clear that nothing has changed in the professional duty of dentists only to carry out work that is necessary and to recommend only the most appropriate treatments. What has changed however is the legal requirement to be able to demonstrate that informed consent is received. The ‘Adults With Incapacity Act, 2000’ poses the question ‘are people able to give consent?’
We heard that increased longevity and the probability of more years with some form of incapacity, is an underlying factor in the changes being seen. This factor is also reflected in the nature of patients in care homes - where the conditions for carrying out dental treatments are not ideal. John quoted the interesting statistic that, in 1981, some 85% of pensioners had false teeth - whereas today a high proportion have all, or at least some, of their own teeth - which will require dental services.
The talk covered much additional detail of the way in which the dental profession is responding. However, the strong message was that it is important that clear decisions can be made on behalf of patients when needed - in other words - who has authority to make such decisions. John strongly suggested that, in such circumstances, Power of Attorney was extremely important, and should cover financial, medical and welfare guardianship aspects.
Altogether a most interesting talk that addressed an increasingly important topic. Following many questions, a vote of thanks was proposed by Charles Thrower.