I’ve been away for a few days at the Scottish Association of Healthcare Communicators 2004 conference in Clydebank, near Glasgow. This year’s theme was ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place – Patient Confidentiality vs. Public Interest.’ This is a subject dear to my heart and while the event didn’t provide any great insighful solutions, it was useful. The speakers were very good, particularly Dr Harry Burns and ‘motivational guru’ Watt Nichol as after dinner speaker.

Now while Clydebank is a bit of a rough area, the Beardmore Hotel where it was held is excellent – large comfortable rooms, good food and generous conference facilities. I’d certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a place to stay en route to the highlands and islands. And at just £125 for the event, it’s damn good value!

Anyway, the point of mentioning this is that it gave me an opportunity to visit the area my mum’s dad’s family originally came from, Linlithgow, Bo’ness and Falkirk.

I’m not sure what I expected to find – a decaying industrial area, given that my Binnies were iron moulders. Linlithgow came as a pleasant surprise then. The town is still much as it was when my family lived there, with the remains of the palace where Mary Queen of Scots was born; the ancient St Michael’s Church; and streets such as Strawberry Bank and New Well Wynd where they lived still to be found there.

The same cannot be said of Falkirk. The town centre itself is pleasant, but the surrounding areas are pretty bleak. Grahamston, where my family lived before heading south, was demolished to make way for the town’s station. Being iron moulders, they may well have worked at the famous Carron Iron Works film of which can be found only the BBC website.

All in all, an interesting visit.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

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