Saturday, 5 December 2015

High Dependency and... crossing those bridges - a partial reblog

Hello and Happy Saturday to you! 

Today, I'm over at my 'every second Saturday' post at Writing Wranglers & Warriors Blog but there's a slightly different version of it RE-BLOGGED below. 

High dependency and what that can mean!

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. This has been a tough week when I feel huge decisions have been made over which I have personally been unable to do anything about, and nor has my country of Scotland. When I make a trip in my own car, I know where I'm going, how I'll get there and why I'm headed that way- with some sort of final strategy in mind as a result. I'm feeling very dependent this week on the Westminster Government making better plans than I've so far heard about with regard to the recent Foreign policy.  

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. 

Yet, 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, and who afterwards become totally dependent on them.

And we can’t forget our dependence on basic daily needs of food (including essential water), warmth and shelter- a combination of essentials that not all human beings across the planet have on a daily basis. Add to that list if you wish, but computers and mobile phones don't quite qualify. 

Though... Those are only a few things that we depend on but there are many others according to our lifestyles that we grow so used to them that we become dependent on them.

We can become very dependent on:
  • The infrastructure in our local environment. 
  • Petrol and diesel to fuel our vehicles
  • Oil, natural gas, electricity and nuclear energy to power our heating and cooking systems. 
I’m delighted to applaud those who have dependency on electricity that’s powered by natural resources like wind, water, wave and solar energies. It hits us really hard when there’s a disruption to those supplies that we’ve become dependent on. And there can be many reasons for areas of the world to find that their supplies are no longer constantly available.
  • We depend on our transport systems running smoothly- our trains and planes and coaches ‘well lubricated’ and running to time for daily commutes- and our roads and bridges available to be driven on.

 We have lately developed something of a problem in Scotland. With around 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, then the ramifications 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 are driving across the cities or are approaching from the main compass points via the motorways or dual carriageways. Sometimes the commutes involve crossing bridges for those who live further away from their place of work in the city.
Forth Road and Railway Bridges- Wikimedia Commons
Since a few days ago, Edinburgh has a major headache to work through. Many of those who commute into Edinburgh, some 70, 000 vehicles, cross the River Forth by the Forth Road bridge. Sadly for them a structural defect has been flagged up during routine testing of the steel structure and supports. This has meant that the Forth Road Bridge will be closed for some time, possibly not to be re-opened before New Year. That kind of measure means total disaster for the highly dependent users of the bridge.

At this time of year the bridge is sometimes closed to high sided vehicles sue to thigh winds and sometimes snow closes the bridge for a short time, but to be closed for a long duration will mean massive knock-on effects. Those 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 become much busier as they absorb extra traffic? The answer is a decided NO because there are NO operating ferries across the river Forth. The tourist foot passenger ferries which ply the waters of the forth  are no good for vehicular transport. 

The latest news reports do indicate that Scottish Government is addressing the situation as best it can and have organised some coping strategies with regard to trains, buses etc. 

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 indicating a pontoon bridge could indicate this) and nearby Crammond was a site of Roman occupation. 

Soldiers using a Pontoon Bridge,  from Trajan's Column - Wikimedia Commons
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.

Check out my Pinterest Board on Roman Research to see some images of Pontoon Bridges.

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!
More info on The Forth Railway and Road Bridges, and other potential crossing methods here:
Apart from your basic daily needs what do you think you are also dependent on?
Enjoy your weekend. 

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