This post is by Nancy Jardine.
I’ve no doubt that each reader seeing the title of this post will immediately have some particular thought in mind…and that’s why I’ve specially chosen this title, today. For me, it’s been quite an emotional week since decisions have been made which sadden me greatly but which I, and my country of Scotland, have no control over.
Someone might think of high dependency in terms of a patient needing the highest level of 24-hour nursing care in a dedicated unit – i.e. the patient’s life being dependent on a variety of machines and procedures which may, or may not, involve drug therapies. Another may think of people who are totally dependent on daily life prolonging drug use i.e. controlled drug use for many conditions and needs over a 24 hour time period. Some of my fellow wranglers have recently been in a position to need a lot of nursing care, or their dependants (British English) have, and I wish them well. Others may immediately think of the misuse of mainly Class A drugs and what the ramifications are for those individuals who choose to dabble with drugs for recreational reasons, become dependent on them and sometimes later become dependent on society to pick up the pieces of their fractured lives in high dependency units.
Naturally, we can’t forget the basic daily needs for survival for which we are dependent on: oxygen(clean air); food (including essential water); shelter ( a place to sleep and to provide warmth). As we all regret at times, this is a combination that not all human beings across the planet have on a daily basis. Some readers might argue there needs to be other aspects added to this basic survival list and I’m happy for you to make suggestions, but a mobile phone and computer do not qualify…in my humble opinion. 😉
The basic survival needs aside, the present lifestyle for many people means they are dependent on a lot more.
- The infrastructure in our local environment.
- Petrol (gasoline) and diesel needed to fuel our vehicles; natural gas to power our heating systems. I’m glad to applaud those who have dependency on electricity that’s not powered by gas, coal, oil or nuclear fusion but is powered by natural resources like wind, water, wave and solar energies. (I’ve blogged a bit about this earlier this year and I’m still working towards reducing my own carbon imprint)
It hits really hard when there’s a disruption to those supplies that we’ve become so dependent on when war, or political strategies, cause fluctuations in prices or supplies. In war-torn Syria, the oil production and supply situation is incredibly complex and brings huge ramifications to innocent civilians.
- Across the world we depend on our transport systems running smoothly- our trains and planes and coaches being ‘well lubricated’ and running to time for daily commuters.
And…that brings me to a little problem that’s newly developed in my small country of Scotland. With approximately 5.4 million inhabitants, our daily commuting issues are small potatoes compared to larger countries around the world. Yet, when something snarls up the system, the consequences can be incredibly devastating to those who are dependent daily commuters. Most Scottish commuters are centred around the main cities of Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh. Those who use the roads systems tend to be driving across the cities or are approaching from the main compass points via the busiest interconnections on the motorways or dual carriageways. Sometimes their commutes involve crossing bridges.
Since a few days ago, the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh has developed a major headache. Many of those who commute into Edinburgh city cross the River Forth by the Forth Road Bridge (approximately 70, 000 vehicles per day). Sadly for them, a structural defect has been flagged up during routine testing of the 51 year old steel structure and supports. This means that the Forth Road Bridge will be closed for some time, possibly not reopened before the New Year. That kind of closure means total disaster for the highly dependent users of the bridge…yet safety is paramount.
At this time of year, the bridge is sometimes closed to high-sided vehicles due to high winds and occasionally snow closes the bridge for a short time, but to be closed for a long duration for maintenance will mean massive knock-on effects. Those highly dependent road users can travel across country to the Kincardine Bridge, which in miles isn’t actually all that far away, but resorting to use it will cause massive tailbacks on that already very busy bridge during commuting times.
Will the ferries across the River Forth become much busier as they absorb extra traffic? That answer is a decided NO because there are NO operating ferries across the River Forth. There are pleasure ferries for tourists plying the waters during the summer months but it’s been decades since there has been a regular vehicular ferry crossing. It’s interesting to note in this article below that there’s an indication that they may be able to somehow rustle up a ferry service to cope with the situation and strategies are in place to cope with the disruption, as best they can with the present infrastructure.
As I write this post, I can’t help but think of when I was writing The Taexali Game, my time travel novel for YA /Teens. I was imagining the Ancient Roman armies of Emperor Severus ( approximately 30-40,000 men) forging their pathway northwards to my part of Aberdeenshire back in AD 210. To get there from Eboracum (York, England) they used the established supply forts in northern England and southern Scotland to cater to their needs. Historians have postulated that some of those Roman troops may have crossed the River Forth near the site where the current damaged Forth Road Bridge is situated ( a Severan Roman coin find could indicate this). The local Celtic Votadini tribe built no bridges (at least none that we know of), so crossing the Uisge For – lower River Forth- by the Romans would have been by creating makeshift pontoon bridges.
Pontoon bridges made from lashed-together flat bottomed boats were constructions the ancient Roman armies used throughout the Roman Empire when they had a need to cross over water to get to their final destination more quickly than by a detour across the land.
If the Romans did construct pontoon bridges to cross the Forth, then the crossing wouldn’t have been immediate but they were such a disciplined entity that the crossing would not have been delayed for any longer than necessary.
What is about to happen to the Forth Road Bridge will be a daily case of “Watch this space!” on the news bulletins. I expect to also hear daily bulletins about the current situation in Syria and other war-torn terrorist threatened world destinations.
Sadly, there are many kinds of bridges to cross across the world to make it a safer place.
ps I’ve just seen a comment on Twitter to lighten up my slightly gloomy and reflective post today and to show that people can overcome adversity when they want to! 😉 “To all Edinburgh citizens laughing at Fifers being cut off from you, the Amazon Warehouse is on our side. Merry Christmas!” ( Fifers= people of Fife who live north of the River Forth)
If you’ve time, and this link works, you’ll see more humorous responses! http://www.forth1.com/local/social-media-responds-to-the-closure-of-the-forth-road-bridge-in-the-best-way-possible/
More info on The Forth Railway and Road Bridges, and other potential crossing methods here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-31712005
Apart from your basic daily needs what do you think you are also dependent on?
Enjoy your weekend.
Nancy Jardine writes historical romantic adventures (Celtic Fervour Series); contemporary mystery thrillers (Take Me Now, Monogamy Twist, Topaz Eyes-finalist for THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE 2014); & time-travel historical adventures for Teen/ YA readers (Rubidium Time Travel Series).
http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk http://nancyjardineauthor.com/ Twitter @nansjar Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG and http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G (for The Rubidium time Travel Novels.) email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amazon Author page for books and to view book trailer videos: http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere
Most novels are available in print and ebook formats from Barnes and Noble; NOOK; W. H. Smith.com; Waterstones.com; Smashwords; TESCO Blinkboxbooks; and various other ebook stores