The manner of what we make defines us

Filmed at Mossgrove, Bridge of Allan, on Saturday 22nd April 2017.

For my Grumpa, Rab Scott, for revealing to me graft, love and blossom.

To Sian, who saw a garden of light in my colourful blush.

For Ian Hamilton Finlay for understanding that a garden can be both a retreat and an attack.

Music credit:
“A little Respect” – recorded Live – by The Leisure society (Dermot O’Leary Saturday Sessions 2016)

‘Have you ever noticed that certain days are injury days?’

I was filming in our garden today as the sky was beautiful, the spring bulbs colourful, and the green as fresh as can be.

By chance, an NHS Forth Valley lorry passed in front of the camera. My heart missed a beat. The lorry was advertising the Minor Injuries Unit.

Three years have nearly passed since I resigned from NHS Forth Valley. When an employee with NHS Forth Valley I championed an ethical and evidenced-based approach to the diagnosis of dementia and for transparency in terms of financial interests of staff.

As a consequence of this, I myself left NHS Forth Valley with injuries. Not physical injuries but just as real.

Looking back, I am proud to have tried my wee best to put ethics at the very heart of my practice. To stand up for those who may not be as able or who may feel frightened to stand up for themselves.

The title of this film comes from the novel “Vinegar Girl” by Anne Tyler

The music is by Steven Lindsay – “Exit Music”

‘It was odd being dead’

This is a fictional film. It is about a teddy bear, Dr Hale Bopp and a day of two halves. In the morning Dr Hale Bopp goes exploring in the Scottish Borders and he comes across the ruin of the Monteath mausoleum on Gersit Law. The oak door of the mausoleum has been breached and one can get inside and be with Monteath and the two angels that guard this forgotten statesman. Above him the dome has beautiful window stars to the universe beyond.

Dr Hale Bopp is a well-travelled bear and is constantly exploring, enjoying and reflecting upon the world in which he lives. The guid doctor has come to the view that life is complex, diverse and sometimes “messy”. He leaves the Monteath mausoleum with paws that were muddy and heads for a different afternoon. An afternoon of Appraisal to ensure that as a fictional bear and doctor that he is providing Good Medical Practice.

So that was the day of two halves. This film is about that.

Dr Hale Bopp is getting on a bit now and is at the end of his fictional medical career. One day soon he will retire from being a doctor but meantime he is of the view that his wanderings, philosophical and creative between the arts and sciences, has been nothing but to the benefit of the patients that he cares for.

Important note:
None of the words used in this film are those of the filmmaker. They are “borrowed” from C.P. Snow’s “Corridors of Power”; Evelyn Waugh’s “Decline and Fall”; and Jessie Burton’s novel “The Muse”.

‘It was odd being dead’ from omphalos on Vimeo.

Source material:
(1) Physicians of the future: Renaissance of Polymaths? By B F Piko and W E Stempsey. Published in The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health. December 2002, 122(4), pp. 233-237
(2) Time to rethink on appraisal and revalidation for older doctors. By Dr Jonathan D Sleath. Letter published in the BMJ, 30 December 2016, BMJ2016;355:i6749
(3) Career Focus: Appraising Appraisal. Published in the BMJ 21st November 1988, BMJ1988;317:S2-7170
(4) Revalidation: What you need to know. Summary advice for Regulators. General medical Council.
(5) The Good Medical Practice Framework for Appraisal and Revalidation. General medical Council.
(6) Taking Revalidation Forward: Sir Keith Pearson’s Review of Medical Revalidation. January 2017.
(7) GMC response to Sir Keith Pearson’s report on Taking Revalidation Forward.

Music credits (under common license, thank you Dexter Britain):

(1) Perfect I am not – by Dexter Britain
(2) Telling stories – by Dexter Britain


Well, is there anyone who isn’t tangent?

I made this film after visiting the Temple of the Muses, by Dryburgh, on the last day of March 2017.

Hundy Mundy

call it folly, call it my pursuit
a sense of loss,
the secret of art.

[the body of work reflects the disappearance of the artist himself]

Music credits:
(1) Bluebell, cockleshell 1-2-3 by King Creosote (From Scotland with love)
(2) Leave your body behind you – by Richard Hawley

Decline and Fall



Under the vast Andalusian skies

We recently had a wonderful family holiday in the south eastern corner of Spain.

Andrew was able to join us from University and both he and Rachel had exams to study for. Rachel is doing her Highers and one of her subjects is Spanish. Andrew is studying mathematics at Edinburgh University and has chosen this semester to also study Gaelic.

We need to thank Dai and Eileen for this holiday and indeed for many other holidays.

Our time was relatively short so we did not manage to get to the Alhambra but we did manage to visit Almeria and the Capa de Gata coastline.

We also visited the abandoned ruin of El Cortijo del Fraile which had once been a setting for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. It was quite special and amongst the scrub and ruins one found most beautiful wildflowers.

Some of the words in this film are “borrowed” from the novels that I read on holiday which included: “The Muse” by Jessie Burton; “Vinegar Girl” by Anne Tyler; “Decline and Fall” by Evelyn Waugh, and “The Corridors of Power” by C.P. Snow.

This film contains audio from Radio 4 (Desert Island Discs), Radio Scotland, and the voice of Muriel Spark and the poet Joan Poulson (‘Pictures in my mind’).
Music credits (in order of play):

(1) ‘Piel’ by Arca
(2) ‘Anoche’ by Arca
(3) ‘High Ticket Attractions’ by The New Pornographers
(4) ‘Liability’ by Lorde
(5) ‘Systemagic’ by Goldfrapp (live on Later with Jools)
(6) Theme of ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ by Ennio Morricone
(7) Cover of ‘This is the day’ originally by The The