A day out with Alan and his dog saw us take a trip to the central belt town of Falkirk. This wide surrounding area used to be famous for its iron-works, in particular, metal street furniture like storm drain covers, manholes, electricity and gas plates, or anything else sunk into the ground covering a utility service will usually have a makers stamp with Grangemouth, Bo-ness, Larbert, Denny or other areas around Falkirk printed on it. Next time you are out and about in Scotland's streets, cities and towns- have a look at the drain covers and manhole inspection plates under your footwear. Tells a story of a time in the UK, not that long ago, when every district, town or city manufactured some item or another and were well known for that product.
Callendar House, seen above, is a large French chateau style building set in its own extensive park and woodlands. The origins of a large house in this spot can be traced back to the 12th century when the Thanes of Falkirk lived here. You can find examples of many fine old trees still thriving within these grounds.
(Sir) William Forbes bought the estate and existing house then had it transformed into its current shape and style. At that time he was immensely wealthy having made lucrative contracts with the Royal Navy to copper-bottom hulls on ships. He was a billionaire by today's values and was one of Scotland's biggest landowners by the early 1800s. This is only one of several grand estates owned by the same family but they managed to hang on to this prize possession right up until the 1960s when it was eventually sold to Falkirk council.
The house is usually open for visitors to explore with a Georgian kitchen giving you a feel and taste of past times, furnished rooms and some craft displays. As most of it is empty and no longer lived in it's not an expensive place to visit with a large free car park beside the high flats and miles of open parkland, forest trails, a boating pond and the remains of the Antonine Wall/ditch to explore/ walk along.
They are governed by invisible factors as well, allowing them to travel further- like not requiring nearby toilets, or amusements for young children or elderly parents- no fear of woodlands, getting lost or of finding too empty and remote pathways etc....
Everything in nature it seems has a set of controls to guide it along, whether consciously decided or not, in advance.
Kelpies, in Scottish folklore, were water spirits in the shape of a horse that lurked in waterways and rivers waiting for a chance to drown unwary people- probably a superstition brought about by the very real danger in river crossing in an age when most folk could not swim. Appropriately placed here, as the nearby River Carron is one of the muddiest, most hazard inducing rivers I've ever seen. Even today I don't fancy my chances crossing it at lowish tide in a small boat with both banks coated in deep, evil smelling black muck, preventing an easy passage to the opposite side.
Although Alan Turing is best known for his code-breaking performance during the war what he was working on before he died is exceptional as well and is only now gaining ground to explain precise yet complex patterns throughout nature and the universe as a whole. Religious folk will no doubt take comfort from the fact that the hand of God, or Allah, seems to be everywhere in the world we live in and the more we learn about the hidden details of stars, swirling galaxies and individual planets the more everything around us seems to be not just random variations by chance but instead appears to have been carefully engineered like a vast organic machine of moving parts with tiny unseen cogs and secret wheels turning out billions of creations daily. Plants, animals, us... all by design. A.T's work is only now gaining acceptance partly because of progress made in other fields such as open world graphics and the like where we are so close to imitating real life in microscopic fine detail that you can almost taste victory. In this other world/ reality we can now build entire lifelike landscapes, planets, star systems and lifeforms of a complex nature by using a series of codes and mathematical equations then pack it all on a handy CD. A universe on a thin slice of material you can place in one hand. Leading some folk to speculate ... are we already living in some future world perhaps... a specially created one...with totally convincing graphics... for some as yet unknown purpose/outcome.
Too heavy for me that one but I am beginning to see details at a higher magnification level personally ( i.e close up examination of certain flowers and objects under a microscope is providing a new interest) that show precise complex patterns are everywhere down to a minute level and they do seem to be as a result of some design or celestial blueprint on a vast scale which fits remarkably well into the latest number crunching explanations and theories. And that's good enough for me for now.