“Just doing, speaking, writing . . . “

Last Sunday we were in Edinburgh to meet a cousin of my mother’s but having arrived early had some time to wander.

Twenty five years earlier, one of my first exercises in drawing for Landscape Architecture took place under a Weeping Elm in Greyfriars Churchyard. So I went to look for this Elm among the “sleeping” dead. In my re-visit I was stopped by a tombstone with closing lines that I could only just read:

just doing, speaking, writing . . .”

I was able to establish that this tombstone was to Dr Thomas Spens who died in 1843:

Dr Thomas Spens lived in Edinburgh’s New Town:

In 1809, Dr Thomas Spens, along with Dr Andrew Duncan and a number others, helped establish Edinburgh’s first ‘Lunatic Asylum’:

In October 1825, a critical letter in response to a report by Dr Thomas Spens featured in the Scotsman:

Whilst Wikipedia states otherwise it has been recorded that Dr Thomas Spens was the “first describer” of Stokes-Adams Syndrome:

Here is the “storie”:

Some years ago I made a film about the “New Lathallan”. Today it is a roofless, windowless ruin that looks out towards Grangemouth and its refineries. This “New Lathallan” – which each day I pass by on my way to work as a doctor – has been for sale for years and years:

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