I am English. I have lived 14 years in England, and my mother was English. I wondered what I would do if Scotland voted for independence, and thought: I am Scots and English, except when it is Us and Them- and then I am Scots. However, coming to B–, I surprise myself: seeing the stone buildings in the town centre, with such thick walls, blackened with soot, I know this is my place, where I fit. I am more Scots than I thought.
I was chatting to Dave last night. Sometimes, I can understand what he tries to say. “EEe Uuhn. EEe Uuhn,” he says, and I make out “three years”, but I cannot communicate to him that I got that bit, so he writes it down anyway, on a wee scrap of paper from his pocket. He was born deaf, but cannot sign because his stupid mother was told that he should fit in with the Normal people: but his speech is so poor that even she cannot understand him, much of the time. If I were he I would carry a notebook to write in, and I got out this netbook to type to each other, but perhaps he is so used to not communicating he does not bother. He has always managed to hold a job. The poverty of expectation for him!
It was good to see my dad so well, but he is suffering from a parasitic infestation, and it probably cannot be cured before he dies. He has been targeted by boilerhouse “investment” scams. Two phoned while I was there, one wanting “investment” in wine, the other in property. When my sister found he had been scammed, and told the police, the shock of finding he has lost his investments gave him a minor stroke and he went into hospital. Now, he knows and does not know. He will talk about having nothing, so that he cannot now pay for his funeral; and about realising the “investment”.
He spoke to “John Price” while I was there. Dad paid so much at £6 a “unit”- all notional, no units exist, and this well-spoken gentleman– words cannot express what I think of him, so I will not try- told him he was seeking bids over £10 each.
After all his capital was gone, and he was in hospital, John Price told Dad the “units” needed transferred to a new company, who could not take them without him purchasing further units for £2,400. Dad scraped out his bank accounts, and paid it, and nothing will convince him he should not have done. I am scared because Price still speaks to him. He can only be bothering because he expects to get more money out of him.
There are further scams: they can say your investment has made gains, but you cannot get the money before you pay them a capital gains tax bill. Or, they say they specialise in recovering money lost to boilerhouse investment schemes, and they will get your money back: they then demand fees. I cannot protect him from this.
After I photographed Kings Cross, my battery died. I could have taken Edinburgh Castle, with the Royal Scots Greys memorial in the foreground, its hooves just above the walls- the best angle is crouching in the middle of a junction on Princes St., minding the buses- or a piper on the corner of Waverley Bridge- but instead we have the Forth bridges. A new crossing is being started, now.