The Edinburgh Reporter February 2021

Our newly designed and revamped free monthly newspaper with news about Edinburgh.

Our newly designed and revamped free monthly newspaper with news about Edinburgh.


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Thin Blue Paw

A helping paw for retired

police dogs

Page 7

Vaccine bid

MSP helps dying dad in

vaccine campaign

Page 10

Porty eats

Life’s a beach and then

you eat pie

Page 12


Lockdown businesses get

smart and innovate

Page 14


Hibs new signings and

topsy turvy Hearts

Page 22

February 2021


Sarah, Betty and Jonathan

out for a walk in West

Princes Street Gardens

It’s a

dog’s life

...but not all canines

are as lucky as Boxer Betty

See page 10




At this point, almost a year into the

lockdown restrictions which we have

become used to but which we rail against, it

might be a good thing to turn to literature

for some inspiration.

You could do not any better than

remember the words of 23 year-old Amanda

Gorman who addressed President Joe Biden

at his inauguration with her address “The

Hill We Climb”.

“When day comes, we step out of the shade,

aflame and unafraid.

The new dawn blooms as we free it.

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it.

If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Two men who both died recently had

strong links to Edinburgh and were certainly

brave enough to be it. In the case of Jim

Haynes the co-founder of Traverse his aim

was to introduce everyone in the whole

world. He almost succeeded.

For panto legend, Andy Gray, I am sure it

was his intention to try and make everyone

laugh. He certainly made me laugh, and his

death from Covid-19 is a very sad loss.


This month it is all about new beginnings. By

the middle of February the over 70s in

Scotland ought to have had their first dose of

the vaccine. By the beginning of May the

government say that they hope to have

vaccinated everyone in the priority groups

set out by the Joint Committee on

Vaccination and Immunisation, meaning

those over 50 and those under 50 with

underlying health conditions. That will be a

new beginning indeed although it comes

with a warning that everything will not be

immediately fixed.

We have a new beginning of our own with

an overhaul of our newspaper design. We

hope you like it and that you find something

to interest you in its pages. If you would like

to make sure of a copy next month then

subscribe to our delivery service on the

website. If you subscribe in February

subscribers you might win a bottle of

award-winning Ardgowan Coppersmith

whisky. http://ter.ooo/subscribe

Phyllis Stephen, Editor

About us...

Letters to the editor

Help at hand for blind people

Dear Editor,

2020 was a difficult year for

everyone. Starting 2021 in

lockdown is not how most of us

wanted for January. It’s

understandable many people feel

down and in need of a little extra

emotional support.

The situation is especially

challenging for those living with

sight loss. Many have faced

anxiety, sadness and even fear

about their unique challenges -

problems such as social

distancing, difficulty shopping

without guidance and isolation

from losing tactile contact with

friends and family.

RNIB has launched Emergency

Mental Health Sessions for blind

and partially sighted people.

These are completely free and

offer people with sight loss the

chance to speak to a counsellor

for an hour over the phone, about

how they are feeling and any

Dear Madam,

The serious neurological

condition Myalgic

Encephalomylitis (M.E.) will be all

too familiar to some of your

readers: at least 20,000 children

and adults in Scotland live with

M.E., also known as chronic

fatigue syndrome.

Many face barriers in accessing

health and social care services

that meet their needs, and some

professionals still don’t

understand its impact and


UK charity Action for M.E. offers

people with M.E. across Scotland

one-to-one advocacy, over phone

and email, to help them be heard,

understand their rights and

access support.

We want to expand this

much-needed service, and seek

enthusiastic volunteers in

Scotland who can make the most

of our online advocate training

programme to develop their

problems on their mind. It doesn’t

have to be about their sight at all.

We know the next few months

might be tough for many, so

remember RNIB is here to help. If

you or someone you know could

benefit from speaking to

someone, call our Helpline on

0303 123 9999. We can set up a

chat within 36 hours and the

service can be used as many

times as needed.

No one with sight loss has to

suffer on their own. Blind and

partially sighted people deserve

the same expectation of mental

wellbeing as everyone else. That’s

why RNIB in Scotland will always

be here.

Thank you.

James Adams


Royal National Institute of

Blind People Scotland

12-14 Hillside Crescent


Improving support for ME sufferers

We write about news relating to the Edinburgh area. If you

have any news, or if you would like to submit an article or

photograph for publication then please contact us

skills, gain valuable experience,

and help improve the lives of

vulnerable people with M.E., all

from home.

Anyone who is interested in

finding out more can call, email or

visit our website – we would love

to hear from good listeners who

can spare two hours a week.

Alice Cranston

Advocacy Coordinator

Action for M.E.

Tel: 0117 927 9551

Email: advocacy@actionfor


Website: www.actionforme.org.






numbers so far


For advertising and
















reporter.co.uk Donate anchor.fm YouTube


Editor: Phyllis Stephen

Designer: Felipe Perez

Photos: Martin P McAdam

The number of people who have been vaccinated in Scotland against

Covid-19 has grown in the first couple of months of operation. The

government says they will administer 400,000 first doses each week by

the end of February and with mass vaccination centres opening on 1

February that may be achievable. Here are some figures


• 27 January 2021..................................................................................................................................................462,092

• 15 January 2021..................................................................................................................................................224,840

• 5 January 2021 ‘around’..........................................................................................................................100,000

• 27 December 2020..............................................................................................................................................92,188

• 16 December 2020..............................................................................................................................................18,644

Have you had your jag yet? Do tell us about your experience if you have


usually distributed through a

network of city cafés and


If you have had your car in any

branch of Farmer Autocare then

you will have received a free copy

of our latest paper during your

visit. Some of the places where we

usually distribute a supply remain

closed including most libraries. If

you can then please subscribe to

have your copy delivered to you

each month. It helps us to cover

the overheads of bringing the

news to you in print and online.

Otherwise the paper is distributed

at the Leith and Stockbridge

Markets, usually on the first

weekend of each month.

This month we are having a




prize draw. So if you subscribe

during February then you could

win a bottle of award-winning

Ardgowan Coppersmith.



07791 406 498


Martin P McAdam

Royal High’s new school of thought

Economic benefit should not be sole driver say Cockburn Association

THE FORMER Royal High School

has been placed on the open market

by The City of Edinburgh Council

after a tortuous planning process

which has resulted in one party

having planning permission but no

legal right to occupy the building.

The Finance and Resources

Committee discussed the matter

behind closed doors owing to the

commercial sensitivity of the

arrangements with various parties.

After the meeting Finance

Convener, Cllr Rob Munn, said: “I’m

pleased that committee has

unanimously agreed that we can

Lauriston Castle where David Baker

alleges council mismanagement

now move forward and re-market

this iconic building to identify the

best value option for the city and our

residents in the future.

“We know there are a number of

interested parties out there and I

think this is also the best and fairest

way to proceed. A report with

further details on how we’ll take this

forward will be considered by

councillors in May.”

Cllr Joan Griffiths, Vice Convener,

added: “I’m delighted we now have a

way ahead and I look forward to

seeing the options presented to us at a

future committee which could occupy

this very important building, so

prominent in our World Heritage site.”

The Cockburn Association said

after the meeting: “We believe that

any new procurement exercise for

the Royal High School must

emphasise the need to secure public

benefit over economic value,

recognising the civic status of this

iconic building.”

Cockburn Association

chairperson, Professor Cliff Hague,

added: “Thousands of Edinburgh

citizens objected to the hotel

applications, ending the current


THE CITY OF Edinburgh Council

will continue its investigation

into matters raised around the

council’s stewardship of

Lauriston Castle, following

enquiries from one member of

the public.

That person is David Baker

who runs the Friends of

Lauriston Castle Facebook page,

and we highlighted his story in

our September issue.

A briefing note to reply to his

questions which was produced

for the Finance and Resources

Committee was deemed

incomplete as the council seeks

external legal advice, and it still

has to delve into the council

archives for some of the answers.

Cllr Graham Hutchison asked

whether the briefing note could

be made public, but it was

considered best to complete it,

consulting with the Head of

Finance who prepared it, and

then publish the whole or parts

of it later.

Cllr Gavin Corbett was keen to

keep the matter open rather

than accepting the

recommendation to close the

matter. He said: “I think we are

keen to move the matter forward

Formerly the Royal High

School, empty for 50 years

“A proposal such as the Music

School scheme prepared by the

Royal High School Preservation

Trust seems an excellent alternative,

worthy of continued support. Any

other proposal must ensure as wide a

civic and public benefit as possible

for this finest example of Greek

Revival architecture in the world.

“The Council and Scottish

Government have a responsibility, as

do we all, to enhance the qualities of

Edinburgh’s architectural and

landscape heritage and ensure its

preservation for future generations

to cherish.”

Castle management under attack

but we are not there yet.”

The council Director of

Resources, Stephen Moir,

pointed out that it was as

complete as it could be when


The Lord Provost, Cllr Frank

Ross, also asked that since

councillors who are members of

the Finance and Resources

Committee become de facto

trustees, it would be a good idea

to list those, and this was


David Baker has asked many

questions about the role of

councillors as trustees of

Dancing around the

future of town hall

THE FUTURE of Portobello Town Hall could

be decided next month with councillors

choosing between rival proposals from the

local community and the former director of

the English National Ballet Peter Schaufuss.

One bid is by the community-based

Portobello Central Ltd which published

detailed plans in November which calls for an

asset transfer of the 1912 building to a

yet-to-established charity, which would ensure

the venue remains in community hands.

A wide-ranging consultation carried out by

Portobello Central identified that the

community wanted the building re-opened as

soon as possible for traditional and new uses,

that it should be managed by the community,

and that the building is deemed to have

capacity for uses other than just large events.

An alternative bid by former Danish ballet

star Mr Schaufuss, who owns the Rose Theatre

in Rose Street and the former St Stephen’s

Church in Stockbridge, has been lodged but

the content of his proposal remains unclear.

Councillors on the city council’s Finance and

Resources Committee will consider both

proposals at a meeting on 4 March.

Budget date set

THE CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer,

Rishi Sunak, has announced that the

government will publish the Budget

on Wednesday 3 March 2021.

The government says the Budget

will set out the next phase of the plan

to tackle the virus and protect jobs

and will be published alongside the

latest forecasts from the Office for

Budget Responsibility (OBR).

Lauriston Castle, the

management of the buildings

and gardens, and the £35,000

endowment which was left to

the nation by the previous

owners, Mr & Mrs William Reid,

along with the building.

These enquiries are sent to

councillors and are also

published on Facebook. Mr

Baker’s late wife worked at

Lauriston Castle for more than 30


There is a tug-of-war over bird

feeders which Mr Baker put up in

the gardens, which for the

moment have been removed.



Profile: Owen Thompson, MP for Midlothian

Let’s look forward to a

more positive future

THE ROLLOUT of the Covid-19 vaccine over

the last couple of months has brought hope in the

middle of another difficult lockdown. There is

great comfort in knowing that some of our

elderly relatives and neighbours are now much

less likely to catch the virus.

However, the current high levels of the virus

are a difficult reminder that we are not

completely out of the woods yet. It is, therefore,

vitally important that over the coming weeks The

Scottish Government do more to ensure that the

rollout goes further than just the over 80s.

With reports that The Scottish Government

are lagging considerably behind England’s

vaccination programme, and even struggling to

reach its own targets, it is time that more

measures are taken to speed up the process.

There are other high-risk groups that should be

vaccinated as soon as possible, and the

government should use every means they can to

achieve this.

In the meantime, as we struggle with current

Vaccines bring hope

restrictions in the middle of winter, let’s remind

ourselves that the end is in sight. We need to

hold tight and continue to follow guidelines just

now so that, hopefully, we can have a more

positive and less restricted spring.

Jeremy Balfour, Conservative MSP for Lothian


Richard Townshend

SPEAKING TO Owen Thompson, MP, over

Zoom, it was clear that one of the reasons he

enjoys working from home is spending much

more time with his young daughter.

He explained that a good part of his week is

now spent on Zoom calls and Microsoft

Teams meetings from home. That is a definite

bonus, and he explained that just being in the

constituency more is a win-win.

But there have still been occasions for him

to travel to London. This is somewhat

frustrating to the Midlothian MP who thinks

there would be benefits - not least of which

would be real financial savings - in having an

electronic voting system in parliament.

In the main, he has avoided public

transport of any kind, and has chosen to drive

to Westminster to try and stay as safe as

possible. He said that this allows him to

minimise any stops and allows him to stay in

his own “bubble” in his car. When at

Westminster it is now mandatory to wear

masks even in the Chamber, but a lot of

the time Thompson keeps safe in his

own office.

It has been necessary to be in parliament

since the government stopped an initial move

towards electronic voting.

Mr Thompson explained: "For most of the

period of lockdown I have still had to travel to

London. Briefly in March the parliament

introduced electronic voting and allowed all

the business to be done that way. This meant

for a short period we could do everything


"At that time it was one of the first

parliaments the world to do that. I am on the

Procedures Committee - which is as exciting

as it sounds - although it has had an

important role to play in getting all the new

procedures in place.

King of the Road Owen Thompson MP

“Because of the speed at which the

parliament reacted, a number of parliaments

around the world came to us to ask how it

worked. At the time we were conducting a

session with the Japanese parliament and

they were really interested in how the

electronic voting was working. I took the

chance to explain that although it had worked

and had not failed at any point, unfortunately

the government have stopped it.

"On 30 December for the Brexit deal, three

or four of us had to be there physically.

Recently, three or four of us had to be there to

push a vote on the Financial Services Bill.

“You can get a proxy vote and one person

can be there to vote for everyone, but to cast

one of our own votes we need to have two

tellers in addition. As the Deputy Chief Whip I

am one of the few who have had to continue

to travel, which has brought its own


"It is still an issue but there is more ability to

take part virtually now so that should reduce

how often we need to do the travelling."

Shop staff safer thanks to Daniel


Shopworkers Bill has

been passed by The

Scottish Parliament,

making it an offence

to assault, threaten or

abuse a retail worker.

It also provides

further legal

protection for shop

workers conducting

statutory duties such

as age related sales.

The Edinburgh

Southern MSP, who

has a history in retail

business, said: “The

passage of my Bill

represents a victory

Sarwar v Lennon in Labour battle

Anas Sarwar

THE OUTCOME of the Scottish

Labour Party leadership

election will not be known

until the end of February.

There are two MSPs in the

running, Anas Sarwar and

Monica Lennon.

Sarwar is MSP for the

Retail workers will be

better protected

for Labour values that

will make a real and

lasting difference to

working people’s lives.

“For too long retail

Monica Lennon

workers have been

expected to put up

with violence and

abuse. That many see

it as part of the job is

Glasgow Region and was

previously Deputy Leader of

the party for three years and

was also previously an MP.

Currently the spokesperson

on the Constitution, Sarwar

ran in the previous leadership

contest and lost out to



unacceptable. My Bill

will give retail workers

the protection they


“This pandemic has

seen retail on the

front line - performing

critical roles,

supplying the basic

essentials to all of us

and keeping us safe as

we do so. With us now

living under another

national lockdown, it’s

more important than

ever that our essential

retail workers are

properly supported.”

Richard Leonard.

Monica Lennon is MSP for

the Central Scotland Region

and has been spokesperson

on Health and Sport. She

campaigned against period

poverty and The Period

Products (Free Provision)

(Scotland) Act was introduced

in November. Lennon has said

she is pro Devo Max but would

not oppose a second

Independence Referendum.

The ballots will open on

Tuesday 9 February and the

Scottish Labour Party hustings

period closes. The Ballot

closes on 26 February and the

result will be announced the

next day.



Opinion: Cllr. Ashley Graczyk

I RECEIVE multiple reports

from local residents in my ward

of Sighthill-Gorgie every single

week regarding flytipping,

dumping, dog fouling and

litter. It is clear to me that our

area is being used as an illegal

dumping area by multiple

offenders, irresponsibly

disposing of personal and

commercial waste.

My enquiries into this

subject on behalf of my

constituents have revealed

that we are in fact the ‘waste

capital of Edinburgh’, with

more complaints related to

dumping and flytipping than

any other ward. Edinburgh

Council’s own statistics show

that Sighthill-Gorgie has the

most serious problems with

flytipping, dumping and dog

fouling in the whole city.


My ward reported the most

incidents of flytipping and

dumping by far in 2020, with

well over 1,000 reports in

2020. This is more than 50%

more than the second worst

affected area, Leith Walk, and

represents around 12% of all

reports logged across

Edinburgh. We are also the

worst impacted area for dog

waste, with the most service

requests for street cleaning in

2020, over 40% more than the

second worst affected area,

which is Liberton/Gilmerton.

Resources to tackle this

problem in Edinburgh are

unfairly distributed. I have

spoken out previously about

Edinburgh Council’s “citycentric”

approach, whereby

they choose to direct more

resources to the city centre

than to other areas.

Unfortunately, this is another

case in point. 15 Edinburgh

council wards share just 11

Street Enforcement Officers

(formerly Environmental

Wardens) between them,

while two wards – City Centre

and Southside – share a full

complement of six officers.

Taking all waste-related

reports for 2020 together

Urgent council

action needed

in Sighthill-

Gorgie, the

‘waste capital

of Edinburgh’

underlines the inequity of the

current system. Sighthill-

Gorgie logged a total of 1,605

waste reports for flytipping,

dumping, dog waste and litter

in 2020. This is more than the

City Centre and Southside

combined, with 1,573 reports.

Yet in Sighthill-Gorgie, we

have an effective resource

allocation of 0.7 of a street

enforcement officer while the

two central wards have 6. Why

do these areas get nine times

as much resource as Sighthill-

Gorgie? It is abundantly

obvious this is not a

satisfactory, fair or effective


Edinburgh Council have to

date been unable to justify

this resource allocation to me,

despite repeated enquiries.

This distribution of resources

is visibly unfair to Council

Tax payers across the city.

It is also particularly hard

to accept when resources

do not actually match the

areas where the biggest

problems lie.


It is even more urgent that

this problem is addressed as

we are again in lockdown and

people have to keep close to

home for daily exercise and to

reach essential services. It is

frustrating and timeconsuming

for local people to

have to repeatedly report

offences. I do not believe that

the primary responsibility for

tackling the problem should

rest with residents as they are

unable to resolve it alone.

I will be raising this issue at

Full Council this month on

behalf of my constituents and

will continue campaigning for

the fair and necessary

resources to be directed to

the serious waste problem in

my ward. I also encourage

concerned residents to get in

touch with me with any issues

and join the Keep Gorgie

Clean campaign.

Cllr Ashley Graczyk

Independent Councillor for the

Sighthill-Gorgie ward

Council boss honoured

Resources chief receives prestigious CIPD Companionship

ONE OF THE City of Edinburgh

Council's highest ranking officers has

been awarded a prestigious award by his

professional body. The Chartered

Institute of Personnel and Development

(CIPD) recently announced its Chartered

Companions for 2020. This is an award of

the highest order, and it has been

bestowed upon Stephen Moir, the

Director of Resources with the council

since 2017.

The CIPD explain what makes

someone good enough to be recognised

in this way: "We're looking for individuals

who through their careers have made a

positive impact for the profession and our

purpose of championing better work and

working lives.”

A great Chartered Companion will

have made an outstanding contribution

against one or more of the following


• Having a track record of delivering

results and change within their vocation

• Being a positive influence on the

profession, its body of knowledge,

credibility and reputation

• Contributing to Good Work and society

more broadly

• Being an ambassador, advocate and

promoter of the CIPD.

The Resources section, according to

Mr Moir, is “the bit that glues the rest of

the council together”. This is the part of

the council organisation which looks

after people, HR, finance, procurement,

IT, buildings and legal and risk issues too.

It is also the department which deals with

Valentine’s heartfelt plea

from Newhaven community

ON THE LAST Monday in

January two years ago the

Heart of Newhaven

Community was launched with

great enthusiasm at a crowded

public meeting in Victoria

Primary School.

One year ago, on the cusp of

our bid being accepted to

purchase the site from

Edinburgh City Council under

Scotland’s Community

Empowerment Act, we had

little idea of the extra

challenge ahead, as progress

on building the new school

was put back by Covid-19.

Undaunted, we are

Stephen Moir

council tax and business rates collection.

It is a huge remit with a mix of

professions working in a department

which is part of a local authority

delivering over 700 public services.

One of the parts of Mr Moir’s role

covers the payment of business support

grants for Edinburgh businesses and also

those in Midlothian. The City of

Edinburgh Council normally processes

non-domestic rates for Midlothian so it

made sense for these payments to be

handled in Edinburgh. One of the teams

who would usually have processed

parking fines were retrained in

processing the business grants funded by

The Scottish Government and

developing many ideas. See

heartofnewhaven.co.uk By this

time next year we aim for a

Community hub bustling with

activity: an inter-generational

centre of space and events.

From early years learning to

wellbeing services, artists’

studios, innovative workshops,

garden spaces and a heritage

suite, tourism opportunities,

everything will express the

culture of Newhaven.

We have already been

awarded important grants. But

many ask, “How can I help?”

Fittingly on St Valentine’s Day

we will launch a public

crowd-finding appeal to help

meet major initial costs.

Everyone can help create this

exciting better normal.

Rodney Matthews

Chair of Heart of

Newhaven Community

administered by the council.

Mr Moir explained a little more about

Resources. He said: "This is the part of the

council that often people don't see. We

work behind the scenes except perhaps

for our Customer Contact team who

manage all the welfare and benefits

services. It also includes the people who

manage the EdinHelp Twitter account

who are always online. I am also

responsible for all the facilities

management teams - meaning all of the

cleaners, caterers and all the people who

have been keeping schools safe and open

since last August. I am very proud of my

teams and the work they do. They don't

always get the credit and the public

recognition for that good work.

Nothing happens without everybody

working together.”

Stephen told us: "This is a very

prestigious award and very unexpected, if

I am honest. The CIPD has around

150,000 members globally and they

haven't actually had companions for quite

some time. They just restarted the process

in 2019 and so there are probably under

100 Companions now.”

The CIPD will give Mr Moir a

certificate to recognise his honour which

he says is really an award for the great

people he has worked with and the great

teams he has been part of over a number

of years. He said: "It is lovely on a

personal level, but I have been very lucky

to work with some brilliant HR

professionals, and I have learned from

some brilliant people over the years.”

Flexible Workforce

Development Fund

THE SCOTTISH Government has provided funds of up

to £5,000 worth of training available for SMEs in

Scotland from private, public and third sectors.

Funding can be used to cover an entire training

package or as part-payment. Training must be

contractually agreed by July 2021, started by August

2021 and completed by March 2022. It cannot be used

to fund training which is a statutory requirement.

Funded training should contribute towards the

upskilling and reskilling of your existing workforce,

addressing skills gaps and contributing to recovery

from the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a wide range of

training available at Edinburgh College, including

accredited qualifications and courses designed entirely

around your organisation.

Courses can be delivered for a group of delegates

from a single organisation or organisations can choose

to book smaller numbers of delegates on to their

scheduled courses throughout the year. Edinburgh

College can also design training bespoke to your needs.

Contact Magda Wisniewska, Business Development

Advisor at Edinburgh College for an application form.

email: magda.wisniewska@edinburghcollege.ac.uk

or Tel: 0131 297 8607

It’s The Thin Blue Paw


RETIRED POLICE DOGS do not receive any

financial support in their retirement from

the force they served with. This means the

responsibility for their care and vet bills falls

on their ex-handler or new owner.

Unable to get pet insurance due to the

dog's working life, many owners are left

with ongoing vet bills which can amount to


During January a number of police

officers and their friends completed a daily

cardio challenge to raise much needed

money for the Thin Blue Paw Foundation, a

charity that protects, celebrates and

rehabilitates both serving and retired police

dogs from across the UK.

Those taking part are mainly Edinburghbased

dog handlers although they

persuaded a colleague from Glasgow to

take part.

Friends and colleagues also volunteered.

Everyone had their own training schedule

which involved running, cycling or rowing

RPD Keach

between 5 and 10K each day.

The group set a target of £3,000 but far

exceeded that amount and by the middle of

the month they had already raised £5,000.

The group had raised almost £1,500

before they even started their challenge.

The Foundation provides much needed

financial support to help cover the cost of

medication, hydrotherapy to enable them

to have a long and happy retirement but

also aims to provide PPE (personal

protective equipment) for serving police

dogs across the UK, including stab vests,

paw protectors, canine first aid kits etc.

Dogs live with the officers at home and it

is the handlers' responsibility to look after

their dogs, and make sure they are

disciplined in their duty and in peak

physical condition. Police dogs go above

and beyond to provide an outstanding

service to the communities in which

they serve and anyone who wants to

help them enjoy a happy retirement can

donate on the Thin Blue Paw website at


Full hearts at

Empty Kitchens

Food charity delight at new Granton home

A CHARITY which feeds more than 1,000 people

a day are celebrating a move to new premises.

Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts (EKFH) have been

dishing up free meals from Thomas Morton Hall

next to Leith Theatre for anyone who needs it

during the pandemic.

But they have outgrown the hall - which in any

case is now required by Leith Theatre who have

their own ambitious plans for the theatre and its

ancillary hall.

There were four parties interested in renting

what will become the new EKFH home at 3-11

West Granton Road, but City of Edinburgh

Council opted to rent the building to the food

charity for only £1 a year.

The four bids for the West Granton Road space

were all very different, with offers ranging from a

peppercorn rent of £1 per annum to £31,000 per

annum. Liminal Space wanted to pay top dollar

to use the building as an arts space, Scottish

Turkey Solidarity Foundation wanted to pay

£5,000 to enable them to put all their various

outlets around the city into one place, while the

Al-Huda Trust were looking to buy the property.


In light of the council’s recent Poverty

Commission report the lease to EKFH was

considered most appropriate. By December the

EKFH team had saved over 100 tonnes of food

from going to landfill by repurposing it into their

day packs, which feed a person for a whole day.

Using donated food, charity founder and

professional chef Lewis Maclachlan and his team

of 400 regular volunteers (with another 300 who

help from time to time) have provided 500,000

meals and say that the projected need is for

2 million meals this year.

But the EKFH ethos is to provide good food. A

spokesman said: “We believe that there is a big

difference between eating food for fuel and eating

a delicious and healthy cooked meal. Being in

need doesn’t mean people should be downgraded

to the mere basics of nutrition.”

Lib Dem councillor, Neil Ross, commended

EKFH for their work in tackling both food

poverty and food waste. He said: “They make a

big difference and help us respond to the

recommendations of the Poverty Commission.

They could be homeless in the next month or two

and will benefit from the stability of a longer term

base. I understand that they have now achieved

around 55% of the funding needed for this year.”

Lewis Maclachlan said: “I am utterly delighted

that the committee recognised the value of our

operation to Edinburgh beyond the obvious

bottom line. May this be the start of an open and

mutually beneficial relationship between the

council, Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts and the

citizens that both of us serve.

“The road to ending destitution in our city is a

long one but this is a great step forward.”

Recently Lewis received a Point of Light Award

from the Prime Minister – which rang a little

hollow. On their Facebook page EKFH wrote: “A

nice thought, but it has no value to us here on the

front lines of destitution.

“Every day we take phone calls and listen to

desperate people recounting their situations, all

of which are different and heartbreaking. We

help anyone who asks and do our very best, seven

days a week, to make sure nobody goes hungry.

“We are a legitimate organisation. We feed

more than 1000 people every single day.

What we need is money and support, not

meaningless plaudits full of errors.”

So being Lewis, he wrote to the Prime Minister

and told him where he was going wrong.


Homeowners making a mint in Merchie

LAST YEAR some people did

move house. In between

lockdown restrictions many

either bought or sold a new

pad to work from.

The ESPC says the top

location by average selling

price was the highly desirable

area of Merchiston in

Edinburgh, with an average

selling price of £565,933, up

40.5% compared to 2019. It

was followed by the exclusive

areas of Greenbank and


The highest volume of

property sales during the year

were in Corstorphine and



Leith. There was a 21.8%

increase in the number of

homes being put up for sale

in Leith.

Properties in Joppa

achieved 107.6% of the Home

Report valuation placed on

them, and properties in Trinity

achieved 106.8%.




Charlie on our Mind

AN EDINBURGH football team formed in

memory of a young man lost to suicide has

joined forces with mental health charity Support

in Mind Scotland to encourage players to open

up and talk about their emotions and feelings.

Mental Mechanics FC were formed as a tribute

to Edinburgh University graduate Charlie Tull,

who passed away at the age of 24 after a struggle

with mental illness, and the club have joined the

ranks of the Lothian and Edinburgh Amateur

Football Association.

While the league programme is on hold due

to the Covid-19 pandemic and the lads wait to

return to action they continue to meet online

and hold monthly mental health drop-in


Fin Anderson, who founded the club with Jon

Fraser, explained: “We wanted to remember our

friend Charlie and set up a club where people felt

safe to talk about mental health. If we can start

the conversation, it can help make individuals

realise they are not alone in their struggles.


“Football is a fantastic sport to simply have fun,

let off some steam and improve your wellbeing.

At the club, we aim to make everyone feel

supported and direct people to further mental

health services and advice provided by charities

such as Support in Mind Scotland, who we are

delighted to start a partnership with.”

Charlie and some of the team used to live in

Forres, and the name Mechanics was chosen as a

nod to the Highland League club which plays in

the Moray town.

The Mental Mechanics have also designed

their own eye-catching badge and kits. “The

strips are pink to represent the brain and to

encourage people to notice what the club is

doing to help start the conversation on mental

health,” Fin explained.

“We have already raised over £5,000 from

individual donations and from our sponsors -

Mosset Consulting, Simpsons Garden Services,

and the Diggers pub - and during the height

of lockdown we raised money through a

FIFA competition.

“At the end of each season we aim to give away

a proportion of money raised to a mental health

Heartless scammers needle OAPs with vaccine text hoax

THE CHARITY Age Scotland has

warned older people to be on their

guard against scams, saying these

are heartless attempts to trick

people into paying for vaccinations.

Often this is masqueraded as a

text with a link to what may appear

to be an NHS website but it is fake.

This will ask visitors to add their

financial details in order to register

for a vaccine. This is also offered by

cold callers on the phone or rather

worryingly on the doorstep, and

older people are thought to be at

more risk from such scams.

Mental Mechanics on the ball to support footballers’ mental health

Mental Mechanics formed in

memory of Charlie Tull

charity. We now have two mental health charity

partners who support us with additional support

for individuals, Support in Mind and CALM.

Support in Mind have further supported us in

organising a once a month mental health drop-in

session for the members at the club, looking at a

range of topics.

“We are desperate to get back to playing some

football. We want to have fun playing football,

but we also want to play our part in raising

mental health awareness, encouraging people to

talk about their feelings and to seek help when

they need it.”

Support in Mind Scotland provides mental

health support to more than 1,300 people each

Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s Chief

Executive, said: “It’s wholly

unacceptable for anyone to

attempt to use the promise of

Covid-19 vaccinations to exploit

people and get them to divulge

sensitive information with the aim

of defrauding them.

“Unfortunately, scams of this

nature have been rife throughout

the pandemic and we know there

will always be heartless scammers

out there looking to prey on the

most vulnerable members of our


“No matter our age or our health,

almost any of us can be taken in.

But sadly, older people can be

more affected, with criminals

targeting them because of their

perceived vulnerability.

“These attempts seem

particularly cruel considering how

many older people will be eagerly

awaiting information about when

Team founder

Fin Anderson

week, including from its Edinburgh service at

The Stafford Centre in Broughton Street.

Spokesman Colin Leslie said: “We are delighted

to be working in partnership with Mental

Mechanics. We really applaud Fin and the boys

for the novel way they have chosen to remember

Charlie by generating important conversations

about mental health among young men through

their love of football.”

Support in Mind Scotland’s National Information

line is open Monday to Friday during office hours

on 0300 323 1545

You can learn more about Mental Mechanics on

their website: www.mentalmechanicsfc.co.uk

they can expect to receive their

vaccination. We hope to see

maximum uptake once contact is

made, but it’s vital to make sure an

offer of a vaccine is genuine.

“We would urge everyone to be

aware of official advice on the

vaccination programme and warn

any older relatives to be extremely

wary of scams. Wait until your GP

gets in touch and remember that

genuine vaccination invitations will

never ask for payment, or involve

unsolicited texts or emails that ask

for confidential details.”

Pandas’ future

is not black

and white

Pandas to eat,

shoot and leave?

WHEN YANG GUANG and Tian Tian made

their first appearance at Edinburgh Zoo in

2011 it was a time of excitement for panda

conservation, and offered a real attraction

for visitors.

The breeding programme has not

produced any panda cubs, and the panda

enclosure only allows visitors (including

photographers) to see the animals

behind glass.

China and the Royal Zoological Society of

Scotland are now discussing what will

happen when the ten year panda loan

agreement ends in December 2021. In

Washington when the pandas left to go

home to China there was wall-to-wall press

coverage of the beloved animals.

David Field, chief executive of the Royal

Zoological Society of Scotland, said, “The

closure of Edinburgh Zoo and Highland

Wildlife Park for three months due to

Covid-19 has had a huge financial impact on

our charity because most of our income

comes from our visitors.

“Although our parks are open again, we

lost around £2 million last year and it seems

certain that restrictions, social distancing

and limits on our visitor numbers will

continue for some time which will also

reduce our income.


“We have done all we can to protect our

charity by taking a government loan,

furloughing staff where possible, making

redundancies where necessary and

launching a fundraising appeal. The support

we have received from our members and

animal lovers has helped to keep our doors

open and we are incredibly grateful.

“Unfortunately, we cannot access the

government’s zoo fund because it is aimed

at smaller zoos and we still need to reduce

costs to secure our future. It may be that

some of our incredibly important

conservation projects, including a vital

lifeline for Scotland’s wildcats, may have to

be deferred, postponed or even stopped.

“We have to seriously consider every

potential saving and this includes assessing

our giant panda contract and the cost of

their daily care. At this stage, it is too soon to

say what the outcome will be. We will be

discussing next steps with our colleagues in

China over the coming months.

“Yang Guang and Tian Tian have made a

tremendous impression on our visitors over

the last nine years, helping millions of

people connect to nature and inspiring

them to take an interest in wildlife

conservation. I would love for them to be

able to stay for a few more years with us and

that is certainly my current aim.”

Don’t dismisseth Leith Police book

Former officers’ history of port police force raises £1,000 for charity

Gerard McEwan

A BOOK PUBLISHED to commemorate the 100th

anniversary of the 1920 amalgamation of Leith

Burgh Police with the larger Edinburgh City Police,

has raised £1000 for Cancer Research UK.

The History of Leith Burgh Police charts how

policing in the historic port was established from

1771 and includes pen portraits of the force’s early

Intendants (chief constables).

Helping charities during a pandemic

It’s vital to help over-60s tackle loneliness

Gail Porter launches Vintage Vibes Christmas

campaign to tackle loneliness in Edinburgh

VINTAGE VIBES (VV) is still quite a new

service tackling isolation and loneliness among

over-60s in Edinburgh. They reach out to people

all over the city offering companionship, reliable

support and the chance to be more socially


This continues to be an immensely tough time

for lots of smaller local organisations, so if you

can, keep supporting these local organisations.

It will make a long term difference to older

people’s communities.

If you would like to know more or refer someone

to VV contact them on 0131 343 0955 or at


The “Outrages in Edinburgh and

Leith 1881” records the infamous

incident when two Australians

rampaged through Leith, committing

a number of violent attempted

robberies which ended with the

attempted shooting of four constables.

In recognition of their gallantry, six


1) Refer someone to VV. Know someone who is

over 60, living in Edinburgh, and feeling lonely?

VV can help. VV is all about building friendships

between volunteers and VIPs (their over 60s) to

combat feelings of isolation and loneliness.

2) Volunteer… “We’re always looking for more

volunteers to join our gang and build even

more friendships across Edinburgh.

Volunteering with VV is great fun and highly

rewarding. Plus, you gain a new friend in the

process! Our volunteers are needed now, more


officers were presented with a specially struck silver

medal and 30 guineas each.

The short history has been compiled by third

generation retired Leith police sergeant Gil Wallace,

and Gerard McEwan, who started as a police cadet

in Edinburgh and went on to enjoy a long career in

the Metropolitan Police.

The book also records the contribution made by

Leith officers in the Great War and lists the final roll

call of officers on 2 November 1920 as the force was

consigned to history.

The tongue twister, “The Leith Police Dismisseth

Us”, came to be used by other police forces around

the world. The phrase was deployed by Leith cops

to determine if citizens had over indulged.

If a suspect could repeat it they would

be sent on their way – and if not detained

in custody.

Former Deputy Chief Constable of

Lothian & Borders Police, Tom Wood,

said: “The Leith Police live on as one

of the most famous names in policing

– immortalised by the tongue twister

familiar throughout the world.

“But the Burgh of Leith and its

police deserves to be remembered for

more than that and to commemorate

than ever, to help us keep tackling loneliness in

Edinburgh’s over 60s.”

3) Stay in touch… Do remember to keep in

touch with your loved ones. Even a five-minute

phone call on a regular basis will make a huge

difference. Or something like a care pack or

letter will brighten their day during this time.

Older people have been isolated for prolonged

periods of time throughout this pandemic. So

these small acts can really bring a little cheer.

4) Help nearby family… What you can do for

vulnerable family members who may not live

nearby? For example, can you:

• organise a supermarket delivery for them?

• set up a regular call or video chat?

• help them organise for someone to drop off

medicine or essentials to them?

• There’s a lot you can do from afar that will

make a difference.

5) Look out for your neighbours… Think

about your neighbours who are older and

vulnerable. If you already have a relationship

with any of your neighbours, why not pop a

note through the door to see if you can help?

There’s a lot you can do without direct contact

(that might put them at risk), such as picking up

bits from the shops or walking their dog. And

this could make a big difference.

6) Support local charities and businesses…

Keep on supporting local charities, services and

businesses. For many older people, local and

accessible businesses and projects are essential.

And we need them to survive long-term so that

they are there for older people when the

lockdown period is over.





Gil Wallace

the anniversary of its final parade, Gil Wallace and

Gerard McEwan have produced a splendid book

recalling some of the history and telling some of the

stories about the old Leith Burgh and its police.”

Gil and Gerard donated proceeds from the book

to the cancer charity as members of both their

families have had experience of the disease.

McGowan gets on

board as CEO of

LifeCare charity


appointed Damian McGowan as its new

Chief Executive.

Based in Stockbridge the charity offers

care and support for older people in the

north of the city.

Mr McGowan has over 30 years’

experience in social work, social care

and adult care services. He has previously

led Gowrie Care and most recently was

Managing Director at Corcare

in Cornwall.

Jock Miller, Chair of the Board of

Trustees said: “Damian brings a wealth

experience and leadership talents

which will immediately benefit everyone

within the charity and will have a hugely

positive impact on all of our important

care services.

“We are thrilled that in the year in which

we will celebrate our 80-year anniversary,

and in which we will continue to navigate

the challenges of Covid-19, Damian is

joining us to drive forward and continue

our well-known success offering first-class

care for older people in our communities.”

Lifecare supports older people to live

life to the full through their year round

services including Outreach, Help at

Home and Vintage Vibes.

Usually they run three day clubs, a

community café and venue along with a

range of activities for over 60s.




Going the extra Miles

The Edinburgh Reporter Best Of...

MSP supports young dad’s vaccination campaign







AN EDINBURGH MSP has been at the centre of

a campaign to secure priority Covid-19

vaccination for terminally ill patients.

Miles Briggs was one of the first politicians to

back Fred Banning, a 38-year-old father of two,

who has campaigned to have the Scottish and

Westminster parliaments reassess how they value

those people who have limited time to live.

Fred, a marketing executive from East

Renfrewshire, was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel

cancer last February and told that without

treatment he would have just nine months to live.

He believes that if other terminally ill patients

are given the vaccine earlier than currently

designated, it will mean they may be able to live a

more normal life in the crucial final months they

have left.


Miles, who co-chairs the Cross Party Group on

Cancer at Holyrood, said: “I first got involved

having seen Fred’s campaign to get early access

for terminally ill patients and their families. As

the co-chair of the Scottish Parliament’s crossparty

group on cancer I know the negative impact

the pandemic has had on cancer patients and

their families.

“It goes without saying that those who are most

vulnerable need to be given priority, but I also

believe those with the least time left should also

be given priority to make sure that they can

realise their wishes and safely see family and

friends in person.”

Mr Briggs set the campaign off by lodging a

written question at Holyrood, has since asked two

questions at First Minister’s Questions and he has

engaged with the Health Secretary Jeane Freeman

who has taken a close interest in the case.

The campaign has gained nationwide attention

and secured cross party support, resulting in a 40

minute meeting with First Minister Nicola

Sturgeon, who pledged to seek further advice

from the Joint Committee on Vaccines and

Immunisation (JCVI), the body which

provides guidance to Westminster and

the devolved nations on the roll-out

of Covid vaccines.

Four former UK health

ministers, led by Baron (John) Reid

of Cardowan, have also written to

Health Secretary Matt Hancock

asking him to intervene

and the campaign has

gained support from



Fred Banning

and family

Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer, while Mr

Banning’s local MP Kirsten Oswald has been

pushing the JCVI to look into the issue.

Fred Banning said: “Miles Briggs has been a

key part of the cross-party support we have had

on this issue. He has taken the time to meet me

to discuss my concerns and really understand

the issues and he has raised the campaign

several times at Holyrood and been a key ally

in pushing this matter forward. I am

extremely grateful to him for doing

so - clearly he engages with and

understands the issues facing people with cancer

to a degree that is uncommon among politicians.

“I have been buoyed by the support we have

had across the political spectrum. Kirsten Oswald

of the SNP has also been really helpful, while

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary at Westminster,

Jonathan Ashworth, has also been a great

supporter. We now seem to be moving toward a

swift resolution in terms of vaccination for the

terminally ill and I, like many others, am looking

forward to receiving the jag.”

Twitter @fbanningUK

Dog ownership a

bone of contention

THE NUMBER of new dog owners and

people fostering or adopting canine pets

has exploded during the coronavirus


It’s noticeable on the streets of Edinburgh

that many are enjoying their daily exercise

routine accompanied by man’s best friend.

Sarah, Jonathan and Betty the Boxer,

pictured on our front page, and Tanya and

Mason with Islay (above) can vouch for the

joy of getting out to “walk the dog” as the

country continues to battle through


However Betty and Islay are the lucky

ones and not all dogs are so well cared for.

In the last quarter of 2020 the Scottish

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to

Animals (SSPCA) reported a 134% jump in

the number of calls the charity received

from people who wanted to give up their

unwanted domestic pets.


Chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We

predicted an increase in unwanted animals

last year after an explosion in demand for

pets among people at home due to the


“Whilst not such a big issue for kittens, a

generation of pups will have grown up in a

household where the family is often around.

“Once that situation changes it can be

hard for a dog to adjust and this can lead to

behavioural issues and separation anxiety.

These issues can lead to dogs being

destructive and it is at this point many

owners considering giving their pet up.

“What they don’t realise is that the dog

is acting this way because of its own

experiences and not because of any

ingrained issue.”

If anyone is concerned about an animal or

needs to give one up then contact SSPCA

on 03000 999 999 in confidence.

The charity welcomes donations.


Rescue, reunite, rehome. Edinburgh

Dog and Cat Home accepts any

animal which reaches its door in

need, and works tirelessly to secure

happy and loving forever homes.

26 Seafield Road East EH15 1EH

0131 669 5331


Will be using the power of football to

create positive social outcomes, the

charity keeps on working during the

pandemic. Hearts fans or not get

involved by volunteering with Big

Hearts and their fundraising appeal.

0131 603 4926 www.bighearts.org.uk


Di Giorgio’s have lots of cakes and

slices, coffee with a smile and pasta

and lasagne to go.

Morning rolls and ciabattas, but this

is brownie heaven.

Open 7 days 10-4pm

1 Brandon Terrace EH3 5EA


A broad range of mediums are

represented including painting,

sculpture, pottery, ceramics and

jewellery. The gallery says they look

forward to welcoming you back.

art@velveteasel.co.uk 07835 813 689

298 Portobello High Street EH15 2AS


This is an easy, convenient and

eco-friendly alternative to a supermarket

shop. Working in partner- ship

with independent retailers, Tim at

Schop offers to deliver a huge range

of great quality food and drink straight

to your door saving you a journey.



Property Management with integrity.

At Home and Co they look after your

property just as if it were their own.

They help you create homes for great

tenants in Edinburgh.

Contact Solii Brodie




Subscribe today to have your very

own copy of The Edinburgh Reporter

delivered by Royal Mail to your front

door. Pay either monthly or annually

and support local independent news.



Independent fishmonger, Daniel,

provides quality fresh and cured fish.

With a visit to the fishmarket every

morning this wee shop has kept

going with fresh fish. Use Schop to

have your fish delivered.

16a Broughton Street EH1 3RH

0131 556 7614


The Portobello wine shop has

stepped up delivery of wines and

spirits, although the shop has

remained open throughout. Owners

Adam and Alex Rankine also stock

The Edinburgh Reporter along with

Riedel wine glasses.



Bespoke tailoring for men. Craig’s focus

is on making the highest quality

personally tailored attire that others

will aspire to. His pyjamas and dressing

gowns will make your video calls so

stylish! craigbankstailoring.com

45 Thistle Street EH2 1DY 01312267775


A specialist importer of boutique fine

wines from Italy. Carefully handpicked

award-winning wines of

premium quality sourced direct from

the winemakers. Oleg and Elvira visit

every vineyard personally. Online

deliveries available.



Enjoy the award-winning limited

edition Clydebuilt Coppersmith.

“A wonderful first fill Sherry cask

blended malt.”

Free shipping.

The perfect Valentine’s gift.



Love Your Business networking club

which is relaxed informal and good

fun is now online on the last Thursday

of the month with a host of inspiring

speakers sharing their entrepreneurial

journeys and invaluable business tips.

www.lybnetworking.com and



A unique gallery and gift shop

experience in Edinburgh’s Southside

- literally a cornucopia of all forms of

art. Buy handmade art and craft from

independent artists online. Linsay

says: “If we don’t have it, we can

probably find it for you.”

0131 639 9123 artcraftcollective.co.uk


The shop has traded in Edinburgh since

1981 - this year they celebrate their 40th

birthday. They stock an amazing diverse

range of cards, stationery gifts and

support local makers, manufacturers

and illustrators. Everything in the shop

is also available online or for local bike

delivery! www.papertiger.co.uk


Very reasonable rates allow start-ups

to use this small pop up space as the

first rung on the ladder. From food to

political parties and all manner of

organisations in between. Have a

look at their pop up garden when you

visit. Croall Place EH7 4LT


A fabulous charity which provides

support for dads, and support for

families. They help men under- stand

the important role they play in their

children's upbringing. They do this

with activities like Dads in the Wood

- when they take dads and children

outside to play. dadsrock.org

From 1 March 2021. 86/1 West

Ferryfield EH5 2PU Virtual viewing

available for this modern two bedroom

flat located next to Ferry Road. Living

room, kitchen two bedrooms and

bathroom. Landscaped grounds and

parking space. Rent £925 pcm.


A botanical design studio run by Kirsty,

creating floral designs for weddings,

events and businesses. Head to the

website to find a selection of dried

flower bouquets, wreaths, gift boxes and

the new dried flower cloche collection.

Offering local Edinburgh delivery.


The centre is an Edinburgh based care

charity and community hub, providing

key support to vulnerable people

across the city for 40 years. They have

continued to provide alternative

support services to all clients while the

centre is closed. molnarz@ericliddell.

org www.ericliddell.org




n’ eat

Caffeine fixes at The

Cobbled Roastery

Scott Williams

Stephen Rafferty explores Portobello’s

famous Promenade, which is on the verge

of a renaissance, with trendy food outlets

replacing fairground favourites

Take a wander along the golden sands

and you can see foodies are happy to

patiently wait amid Covid-distanced

regulations to shell out for oyster

starters and an inventive range of

premium BBQ burgers, sardine tacos

and spicy lamb flatbreads, at the

trendy Little Chartroom On The Prom.

This mini-satellite version of its Leith Walk

mothership restaurant has quickly become established as

a Prom hotspot for discerning diner-walkers making the

most of Edinburgh’s finest beach.

Originally opened in August as a pop-up alternative

as pandemic restrictions forced the closure of the Leith

Walk restaurant, owners Roberta Hall-McCarron and

Shaun McCarron have been so impressed by the

popularity of its beach outlet that they have agreed a two

year lease and remained open during the winter months.

Just a few steps away and also located on the edge of

Noble’s Amusement Arcade, one of Edinburgh’s most

popular pizzerias, Civerinos Slice, will open their fifth

New York-style pizza outlet in what was previously

Luca’s Ice Cream.


And at the Joppa end of the Prom, Wanderers Kneaded,

the 2019 Scottish Street Food Awards champions, will

open for business in the summer when it drives its

second food truck into the seaside town, aiming to

replicate the huge success enjoyed by the original

offering located at The Meadows.

It is hoped the trio of newcomers, sitting alongside

more established and varied outlets catering for different

budgets, such as The Beach House, Miro’s and Crumbs,

will encourage quality food operations to the coastal

beauty spot.

Roberta Hall-McCarron said opening in Porty had

been better than expected: “It’s working out great.

Obviously with any new business there is a huge element

of fear of the unknown, but we’ve had an amazing first

six months. We are on the beach, it has great footfall and

there is a feeling around Portobello that it is on a sharp

rise in terms of quality food and drink offerings.”

The former head chef of Castle Terrace said with such

limited space the trick is to deliver a well-thought-out

menu to meet the volume that the Prom demands, while

maintaining quality. She added: “We are seeing some new

businesses locate down here and the better quality food

offerings, the more it will attract other good offerings.

“Portobello is always busy regardless of the weather,

so it made sense for us to extend the lease. Not only have

we garnered a loyal customer base on the Promenade

but also having this outdoor space has provided some

Civerinos to get slice of

Porty Prom action

stability during this difficult time. We are really looking

forward to be able to continue to serve our barbequed

treats for years to come.”

As a Portobello resident, Civerinos owner Michele

Civiera can’t wait to open for business. His unit will have

a small number of booth-style seats looking out to sea

and he plans to provide more than 50 deckchairs for

customers to sit on the sands while enjoying pizza to

share or consume by the slice.

Michele said: “I have lived in Portobello for seven

years, it’s my home, I swim in the sea every morning and

I love it, so this is a dream come true. However, I find

that in the evenings, especially in summer, there is

nowhere people can take their kids.

“I hope our Prom location will give families a option

which will not break the bank. We will try different

things, such as having a £1 slice between 3-4pm for kids

and families on the way home from school. This will

very much be a community-based initiative more than

an entrepreneurial endeavour.”

Michele, who sold his house to finance the opening of

his first venue in Hunter Square in 2014, is hoping he

There is a feeling around

that Portobello is on

a sharp rise

and his Prom neighbours will be the vanguard for other

food providers to look for opportunities in the town.

He added: “Tying up finance in bricks and mortar is

unrealistic for many small businesses so it is great to see

Noble’s thinking out of the box and offering the

hospitality sector another affordable option. The Little

Chartroom has been very successful and it would be

pretty cool and I would be really proud if my

neighbourhood became a thriving foodie spot.”

Francesco Bani is revving up for the summer when he

will bring his award winning Wanderers Kneaded food

Eating oysters at

The Little Chartroom

On The Prom

Moray and Hamish at The Little

Chartroom On The Prom

I would be really proud if

my neighbourhood became

a thriving foodie spot

Civerinos owner

Michele Civiera

The Wanderers

Kneaded food truck

truck to the foot of Brunstane Road North. His hybrid

Neapolitan sourdough pizzas have been going down a

storm since with residents of Marchmont and The

Meadows since his first food truck opened in 2018.

Back then one of the first in the queue to wish him

well was Michele Civiera and Francesco, originally from

Bergamo near Milan, is looking forward to following

Michele’s lead, albeit at the opposite end of the Prom.

He said: “I’ve always thought Portobello is a brilliant

part of town and when I have been walking on the beach

you get the feeling there is a strong community. Even in

winter lots of people seem to want a decent food offering

on the Prom and I can’t wait to get started.

“My permit to trade is all year round and I hope to get

started by May but plan to be trading right through the

winter months. At the Meadows the business has really

grown and there is a great vibe with lots of local families

becoming regulars, and I think Portobello will be the same.”

Check out the eateries on Instagram:

@tlc_ontheprom • @civerinos_slice


SCOTT WILLIAMS’ MUM made the covers for the couple

of seats in his shop to be used next time customers are

allowed in the door. This is a nod to the homely atmosphere

in the newest coffee shop in town. With its pared down

look, the emphasis is truly on the beans which are roasted

there daily. But although Scott and Vladimir Zadyraka, the

founders of the business, have chosen a city centre

location, they are not wholly dependent on customers

coming to the front door for a daily caffeine fix.

Cobbled Roastery also has a coffee delivery service so

that you can make your own fresh coffee while working

from home.

When you join the Cobbled Club you will receive a freshly

roasted 100% Arabica 250g bag delivered straight to your

door once a week for four weeks.

You can choose between Roasted Beans, Ground

Espresso, or Ground Cafetière for a monthly subscription.

Both Vladimir and Scott of the Cobbled Roastery are from

Edinburgh, have years of experience in the hospitality

industry, and had wanted to open a coffee emporium for

some time, so even a pandemic was not going to get in

their way.

Scott explained about buying beans from a coffee

broker: “You tell them what you want - if you want

something unusual or more mainstream - so we want

something in the middle - vanilla textures with a nice

smooth finish and a lovely crema on top. Something to suit

everyone. Thistle Street now smells of coffee when we get

going. The High Street roasters will over-roast their beans

to give them a longer shelf life. Our USP is not to have them

sitting on the shelves. We want them in your cup, in your

cafetière and in your Moka pots in the house just as quickly

as possible. And the beans have traceability all the way

back to a farm in Colombia.”

A new way of drinking

WHO SAID SOBER had to be boring? Founder of Good

Brothers natural wine bar in Edinburgh, Graeme

Sutherland, has launched a brand new non-alcoholic

drinks company called the Small Spirits Company.

With a new way of drinking, the Small Spirits

Company caters for a growing demand of high-quality

non-alcoholic drinks.

Their extensive range of beers, wines and spirits are all

created with absolutely zero alcohol, yet offer the same

taste and flavour.

As well as turning to non-alcoholic drinks, Good

Brothers has also turned its bar into a store where they

sell all sorts of produce. Graeme explained: “Once upon a

time, back in the good ol’ days, life was simple. We had a

lovely little wine bar that served lovely food and amazing

wine. Then the world changed, and so did we. Now, Good

Brothers is still a lovely wine bar, but we also operate a

direct to door delivery service, outside events business

with our lovely new portable bar when possible, and an

online wine subscription service. Now that’s how to adapt

to the new normal.”


Roberta Hall-McCarron



Lockdown has

changed us all

Smart businesses have reinvented themselves and innovated to stay afloat and

prosper after pandemic pandemonium as Phyllis Stephen discovers

WE HAVE NOW been in

and out of lockdown

for almost a year.

It would have been

difficult to foresee

last February what

lay ahead for all of us in 2021.

They say that necessity is the mother of

invention though, and it strikes me that some

people and businesses are better poised than

others to take advantage of the new lifestyle that

we have all had to embrace. So I set out to find

some people who have.

Kirsty Boyes runs her business Boyes Botanics

from Edinburgh Palette at St Margaret’s House.

She told us that with a business creating wedding

flowers she had to change. Kirsty said: “As a result

of the pandemic, which sadly resulted in a

number of postponed weddings and events

dur-ing 2020, I found the time to get through that

to-do-list that I never had time for before.

“I opened an online dried flower shop and

started offering a local Edinburgh doorstep

delivery every Wednesday, which went down

pretty well. Creating new products and ideas kept

me going through the weeks, plus it was so lovely

just to see people’s (socially distanced) reactions

upon receiving their delivery, which was an

absolute bonus - definitely keeping this going.”



Colin Campbell works in PR during the day, but

on other days you will also find him down in

Wardie Bay. He has been working towards a

qualification as an open water swim coach for a

few years now.

Due to the pandemic, swimming pools have

been closed and swimming in the sea is one

option for keen water babies. With his new

qualification achieved in autumn 2019, Colin set

up a social enterprise called Scottish Swimmer

which intends to offer swimming lessons to

people who don’t have access to pools.

Colin said: “It has since evolved into wanting to

tackle the barriers that prevent people from

enjoying open water swimming, as well as

creating employment. It's very early days for the

social enterprise side of things, and lockdown has

made it doubly difficult.

“Having said that, lockdown has enabled

my business to grow (and indeed other

coaches have had the same

experience). I was on furlough and

was then made redundant, so it gave

me time to run enough coaching

sessions to meet demand.”

Colin is not treading water though

- and has just recruited assistant coach

Louise Fleming so that they can both

help people discover the benefits of

Colin Campbell

outdoor swimming. He says it is good for mental

health, motivation, confidence, sleeping, skin and

circulation. www.scottishswimmer.com

John Kinloch Anderson is part of the latest

generation to look after the family firm. Kinloch

Anderson is a Royal Warrant holder and experts

in tartans and kilts.

John told us: "No doubt the current situation

has made it challenging for what are deemed

'non-essential' businesses. To all business owners

and their employees, in a way their business is

essential, as it provides income to support their

livelihoods. Therefore, in the short term, one has

to adapt.

“A few of the ways this can be done are to

diversify products, combining what one can make

with what people are wanting/requiring. In our

case this is face masks. Never would we have

thought a year or so ago we would make

thousands of face masks, but if that is what is

required, that is what you do.

“Change the method of delivery of service.

Instead of physically looking after customers in

store you have to look at online, and business

was already heading that way but has now

accelerated into the digital world and so

becomes an obvious area to focus

resources on. This includes trying new

digital strategies and take for example

measuring for a kilt - if you can’t do that

in person the next best option would be

over a video appointment.

“We hear a lot about costs and it is

correct that, although the furlough

scheme is crucial for many businesses, there are

continuing costs of running a business over and

above staffing. For almost all small business,

cutting costs is a significant means to

withstanding the current financial pressures.

“This can be difficult for many reasons and

there requires a critical mass of resource to be left,

otherwise when business conditions improve,

they will not be able to operate effectively again.

However, in a more positive way this can be

looked at as an opportunity to evaluate what

aspects of the business are important and what

direction you want to take going forward. On that

note you may not want to completely change the

direction of your business as chances are, the

world will probably return back to something like

the shape it was in before Covid, albeit some

aspects of life and business may change for the

longer term."

Steven Bartlett is a journalism graduate who is

on the lookout for new opportunities. But he has

not been sitting about. He volunteered with Heart

of Newhaven Community as their

Communications Assistant to keep his writing

skills alive.

WeWork on George Street

It has since evolved into wanting to

tackle the barriers that prevent people

from enjoying open water swimming

On top of that, he has been conscious of his

own wellbeing. He said: “Like many I am a

passionate sports fan but never really entered

the world of sport again although I consistently

remained active. I will take running and a

new-found passion for health out of this


“Looking after myself, going vegetarian, and

walking more. Normal life meant perhaps I took

my slim physique as an excuse. Perhaps on a

personal note, I will live longer because of the

pandemic. My new-found passion for healthy

eating and sport will hopefully do that. I find the

contrast between this and the reality of the world

awful, and I often feel guilty for it. I can't say this

has been a perfect scenario, but I have been

thinking about it.”

Edinburgh-based Issy Warrack and her

co-founder, Dr Estrelita Janse van Rensburg, had

formed a company, www.wellnesseq.net, before

the pandemic.

At the outset they put their wellness plan online

and wrote a book, Eat Well or Die Slowly: Your

Guide to Metabolic Health, which explains how

the government’s guide to healthy eating is in their

Kilts made to measure

view so dangerously inaccurate that it could be

responsible for a large percentage of all Covid

deaths in Britain.

Issy claims that “The Eatwell Guide”, created by

Public Health England, carries a swathe of

nutritional advice that has been shown to increase

the likelihood of obesity and type-2 diabetes. She

says that the two conditions have both been found

to increase the risk of complications from


Issy said: “Our wellness Optimiser Plan takes a

different approach to food, adopting a low carb

healthy fat approach which is beneficial for

reducing weight long-term, diabetes remission,

heart disease, dementia and cancer. We then

wrote another book, Eat Your Way to Health:

Recipes for Success. We would never had the time

to focus on these projects otherwise.”

Amy Browne, who previously worked in the

hospitality industry, made the decision to change

careers from hospitality to tech after seeing the

effect tech was having on her industry.

It became more apparent how tech was going to

grow through the pandemic. Throughout

lockdown she enrolled in the CodeClan 16 week

intensive professional software development

course and graduated in January. Amy is proud to

be considered a female in tech and wants to

continue pushing herself to keep learning. The

best thing about this pandemic for her was

learning a completely new skill that will create a

fulfilling career filled with opportunities.

Sebastian Mackay moved to Edinburgh from

New Zealand about three weeks before the March

lockdown. He said: “Having been involved in the

NZ business community through business

mentoring and my own small business, I could see

that CEOs weren't really sure how to navigate the

work from home orders and what that meant for

their companies.

“It took a little while, but I started up the

Scottish Business Podcast, where I interviewed

CEOs about leadership styles, healthy routines,

how their businesses were adapting to the

pandemic and started releasing those weekly on

my LinkedIn, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google


“The idea was to help provide a space where

people could feel and be supported and also get

informed opinions on leadership, decision making

processes and crisis management and navigation.

“Guests included the Scottish Business

Resilience Centre, CodeClan, the School for

CEOs, Float and many others. The first series ran

for about 20 episodes and these conversations

were incredibly personal and candid, dealing with

burn, stress management and the like. There’s no

sponsorship, and I don't make any money from it,

I just thought it would be useful for at least one

person to have access to the information.”


There is a lovely office building on George Street

where WeWork have spaces and offices for their

members. The Community Manager, Chris

Lavery, explained: “The pandemic has shown

that while people can work from home, it is

clearly not a sustainable long-term solution.

We know first-hand that our members miss

the collaborative, creative and social nature

of the workplace, citing burnout and a lack

of work-life separation as downsides to

remote working.

“We’re already seeing businesses start to adopt a

hybrid approach that combines remote and

in-person work and injects a new level of

flexibility into their workplace strategies, giving

employees more choice, and supporting their

mental wellbeing. Most importantly, employees

must feel safe when they return to work.

“At WeWork we have modified our spaces and

enhanced sanitisation measures across our 800+

locations to protect our members and employees.

The roof terrace at our Edinburgh location on

George Street also provides members with a great

outdoor space to work from - once the weather

gets warmer, that is!”

Focusing on Zoom

But don’t get too serious says events expert

WE ASKED the Events team at The Edinburgh

International Conference Centre (EICC) for

their advice on meeting virtually. They have

been extremely busy during the lockdown,

running conferences and awards dinners on a

new online platform which they have created


Richard Lloyd, Technical and ICT Operations

Manager, said that his first tip is not to take all

of it too seriously.

He said: “If anything goes wrong - such as a

pet or child coming into the room - then you

are far better to introduce them rather than

pretending that they are not there. Trying to

pretend we are not at home does not really

help anyone, so if unexpected things happen

it is better just to let it happen.”

But the team’s other best tip is to rehearse.

They go through rigorous rehearsal processes

with speakers and awardees in the days

leading up to events, and they say it pays off

- and say that it will for you too.

We have all seen the terrible views of the

top of someone's head when they are either

on Zoom or on a TV interview. So make sure

you frame yourself on screen in the best way

possible. Sit or stand depending on where

you feel most comfortable for the time you

will be on screen - but Esme Pringle who

coordinates technical production for EICC says

you have make sure that your eye-level is at

the camera’s level. Also, take a moment to see

what is in shot and ensure that nothing in

your home will be on display if you would

prefer it not to be.

Speakers might prefer to use a standing

desk, or even put their laptop on a stack of

books to bring it to the correct level.

If you have to show a presentation then

practice it and make sure you know how to

make it work. If you are showing a video, then

make sure that you know how to make the

sound work.

• It is best to use a pair of headphones if you

have them.

• Put your phone on silent

Events are mainly held online

• Make sure the device you use is fully

charged and/or plugged into the mains

• Have a glass of water to hand (but don’t

swig from a bottle or a mug on screen)

• And crucially do not stand in front of a

window, rather face the window to let the

daylight hit your face, or use a light to give

you a more professional look.

Another tip from Richard: “At the beginning

ask a question of your audience, whether or

not you use a polling app, to make them

think about what you are going to say. Then

at the end ask a question about what you

have said. It doesn't need to be a question

they can directly respond to, it is just to keep

them engaged. Wrapping it with questions is

very helpful.”

The EICC have shared these tips which we

have reproduced in full in our longer online

article. theedinburghreporter.co.uk

John Kinloch Anderson



Valentine’s gifts

to melt hearts


Compiled by David Albury

Juliet’s food diary

Kiss goodbye to singledom with these lip smacking winners


The most romantic day of the year

often involves going out for a special

day, usually with a lunch or dinner in

the mix somewhere.

A number of city centre restaurants

have devised Valentine’s Day menus

which they will deliver to you.


One of Edinburgh’s newest bistros has

come to the rescue of romantics by

launching “Love In A Box", just in time

for Valentine’s Day.

Offering a decadent 4-course menu

with the finest Scottish ingredients, The

Garden Bistro at Saughton Park have

curated a menu which can be prepared

and presented to your loved one within

90 minutes – giving you enough time

to get dressed up and create a

romantic mood.

Beginning with the canapés, you can

set the scene with a Stilton, date and

walnut chutney puff pastry pillow.

The starter is a decadent twicebaked

cheese soufflé, served with an

apple and celeriac salad and the main

event is a Scottish Beef Wellington,

served with potato dauphinoise,

Provençale vegetable slice and a port

wine jus.

A devilish dessert concludes the

meal with a Callebaut chocolate

fondant served with macerated


The "Love in a Box” package is

available to purchase now for £75 (for

two people). Customers can upgrade

their Box and add a signature bottle of

Italian Prosecco for £95 (for two



Six by Nico wants to wine and dine you

while you Netflix and chill at home.

Chef Nico Simeone is on hand to help

avoid lockdowns becoming a buzzkill

for your relationship. This is a limited

edition menu that will bring back some

feeling of normality to date-nights this


Priced at £80 from HOME-X with

delivery available on Friday 12 or

Saturday 13 February.

STARTER: Lobster & Prawn Tortellini;

confit garlic & garlic and chilli butter

MAIN: Aged Fillet of Beef;

peppercorn sauce, brandy, smoked

salt blend

SIDES: Four Cheese Mac'n'Cheese;

smoked pancetta, breadcrumbs, aged

cheddar Potato Lyonnaise; new

season potatoes, caramelised onions,

chives Broccoli & Blue Cheese Gratin;

purple sprouting broccoli, oxford

blue, toasted almonds

DESSERT: Raspberry Trifle; prosecco,

vanilla, creme Fraiche Wine: Bodegas

Alceno Barinas Tempranillo - Red

(Jumilla, Spain)



Hawksmoor has an At

Home Valentine’s Box for

£135, or £85 for food only,

available from 4 to 13


The box includes 1

Large 35-day Dry-aged

Bone-in Prime Rib, Matt

Brown’s Ultimate oven

chips, Purple sprouting

broccoli and

Gentleman’s Relish,

Peppercorn sauce,

Large sticky toffee

pudding for two with

clotted cream, Maldon

Sea Salt, Sour Cherry Negroni for 2 and

Palmer & Co Brut Reserve Champagne.


Oleg Dmitriev, from Independent Wine,

has a Valentine’s Day corker of an offer.

He said: "Delight your love this

Valentine’s Day with a romantic gift set,

featuring a bottle of UK-exclusive

Italian wine and a box of Iain Burnett’s

world famous Velvet Truffles.”

Known as the Highland Chocolatier,

Iain Burnett is a world-class chocolate

artisan based in Pitlochry, while

Independent Wine is one of the

UK’s leading specialists in premium

Italian wine.

Working together, they selected

some of Italy’s best wines to pair with

fruity and spicy truffles to create a

match made in heaven. They have

created three gift sets with awardwinning

wines bursting with flavours of

fresh fruits and spices: Ridolfi Rosso di

Montalcino DOC, Kurtatsch

Gewurztraminer Riserva, and Kurtatsch

Mazon Pinot Noir.

For each gift-set, Iain has created

special pairings in order to accentuate

the different textures and flavours

which often go unnoticed in the wines.

The romantic gift sets can be ordered

online from www.independent.wine

for safe delivery to loved ones

anywhere in mainland UK.


At Paper Tiger they have gone big on

everything online, but they are

especially feeling the love this

Valentine’s Day. For last minute

requests, they can also deliver your

orders by bike.

Paper Tiger stocks a wide range of

Valentine Cards so that you do not

have to miss out on expressing your

true feelings for someone in your love

bubble this year.

Paper Tiger managing director,

Michael Apter, made suggestions for

the perfect gift depending on your

connections to different areas of

Edinburgh. Each range includes

chocolate, candles, cards, tea towels

and prints.


Leith is not in Edinburgh. Leith is Leith.

Almost 1000 years of history separate

the port that

serves the city,

from the city

that it serves - a



marked by the

pub The

Boundary Bar,

and fiercely


7 Poison in cigarettes mixed in it

once (8)

9 Enter a potentially tidier room (6)

10 Part of the address is at the top (4)

11 Big turtles spread rubbish around

like these people (10)

12 Formed bubbles, made of liquid (6)

14 Rubbish, like Lear's poems ? (8)

15 Bury Ben and Tom together (6)

17 Risked moving desk at random (6)

20 Is a fan at fault over irregularly

formed musical composition ? (8)

22 Part of speech a novice uses in

speech (6)

23 Regroups as a result of

disparaging attitude (4, 6)

24 Sage, abnormally, grows old (4)

25 Created a drama about this fleet (6)

26 Prohibited region in Reno: Goa

reaps benefit (2-2, 4)


Across: 7 Nicotine, 9 Neater, 10 Head, 11 Litterbugs, 12 Foamed, 14 Nonsense, 15 Entomb,

17 Staked, 20 Fantasia, 22 Verbal, 23 Sour grapes, 24 Ages, 25 Armada, 26 No-go area.

Down: 1 Pine-cone, 2 Told, 3 Billed, 4 Internet, 5 Jawbreaker, 6 Reigns, 8 Extent, 13

Metatarsal, 16 Mistrial, 18 Diameter, 19 Dampen, 21 Aboard, 22 Visage, 24 Ajar.

defended by Leith natives!





The Heart Of Midlothian means

different things to many different

people. It's the stone heart located

beside Saint Giles' Cathedral on the

Royal Mile, or perhaps it's the novel of

the same name by Scots Romanticist

author Sir Walter Scott, immortalised in

stone at the Scott Monument on

Princes Street. The Heart Of Midlothian

is a football Club. And the Heart Of

Midlothian is a state of mind.


1 Seed of tree nice and open (4-4)

2 Related story in that oldfashioned

way (4)

3 Presented account despite being

ill in bed (6)

4 Bury meshed fabric somewhere

on the web (8)

5 Be a raw jerk and end up confused

by this difficult word (10)

6 Rules over singer (6)

8 Scope of former temporary

shelter (6)

13 A smart tale about the bones in

the foot (10)

16 I slit arm, causing a judicial

error (8)

18 Emit a red beam across the circle (8)

19 Mad pen leaking might make

things wet (6)

21 A plank on a ship (6)

22 Makeover gives a new face (6)

24 Partly open a glass container (4)




Nikki Halliday of The Bay Tree Company

in Bruntsfield would love you to send

some of her fabulous cards to make

Valentine's even more special this year.

Send some lovin’ using her online

shop supporting all the independent

artists that Nikki stocks. Why not send

some chocolate, a gift or a lovely candle

wrapped lovingly and delivered free

locally? Let’s support our independent

stores and spread some love.



Avoid the

New Town


FOR ANY OF US with an iota of common-sense,

Valentine’s Day sucks more than a barnacle on a boulder.

If there’s one concession for restaurateurs being closed

during lockdown, it must be the reprieve from the most

irksome day of the year.

The only time it’s welcome is if it falls on a quiet

weekday. If it’s a Saturday when you’d be full of the more

sane members of society, it simply feels like a slap in

the face.

The problem with Valentine’s Day and hospitality is

your establishment is filled with a high percentage of

couples, whereas tables of four, six or larger are

necessary for filling the void and creating a bit of

atmosphere. When I was in the restaurant biz one

Valentine’s Day stands out as worse than most - two

couples fell out, one woman got wrecked and threw up

on the lavatory floor and another couple thoughtfully

stole the salt and pepper grinders. Charming.

The following year I went against the grain and

announced a singles evening for Valentine’s Day which I

got no end of publicity for. Unfortunately, despite being

able to fill the restaurant with keen lovelorn ladies, I

couldn’t get a single man to book. However, this sad

state of affairs resulted in even more publicity and I even

received a Valentine’s Day card from an elderly

gentleman in Hertfordshire.

If Valentine’s Day is one of the dullest nights of the

year, then Burns Night normally shines brightly for me.

In fact, I’ve missed it so much this year that I might have

a belated version once Things Are Back To Normal.

A Burns Supper is the perfect beginner’s dinner party,

firstly because you can make your mash and neeps

Virtually Burns courtesy of Asda

ONE OF THE best truly seasonal

moments of the year is the short

but tart window of the Seville

Orange harvest. I love the

satisfaction of jam and

marmalade making and pre

parenthood used to make the

stuff in industrial quantities.

A taste for whisky in the

morning might be a bad thing but

my favourite variation of Seville

orange marmalade is the addition

of chopped stem ginger and a

glug of whisky. Seville oranges

aren’t just for the sweet stuff.

I like to add a couple of slices

on top of a piece of wild salmon

or trout cooked en papillote. A

slice of aromatic Seville also works

brilliantly in a gin and tonic, and

should you have a wood burning

stove, a few slices on the top will

make your room smell terrific. If

you miss the rush for Seville

oranges don’t attempt to make

marmalade with any other variety.

Highly acidic citrus fruits work

well so you could attempt a

lemon and lime version or go for

another of my favourites, pink

grapefruit with a few scoops of

passion fruit added at the setting


Put the water and the juices of

the oranges and lemon into a

large, heavy based pan. To render

the most juice possible give the

fruits 20 seconds in a microwave

in small batches. Place the pips

from the fruit into a square of

earlier and heat them in the oven whilst cooking your

haggis. When your guests arrive you can simply enjoy

their company whilst serving up a meal that’s almost

impossible to ruin.

Anyway, thanks to Asda and the Edinburgh New

Town Cookery School I did enjoy a virtual Burns

shindig. One of Fiona Burrell from ENTCS’s recipes

was a charming little canapé.

Put 85g Asda Soft Goat’s Cheese and 40g Asda

Original Soft Cheese into a mixing bowl and beat until

combined. Add a crushed clove of garlic, a tablespoon of

chopped fresh thyme, grated zest of ½ lemon and a

teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.

Season to taste and serve on pieces of Nairn’s Gluten

Free Sea Salt and Rosemary Flatbreads and top each

with a half teaspoon of Asda Extra Special Onion

Chutney. If onion isn’t your thing, I found this mixture

worked really well with smoked salmon on top.

On second thoughts, Burns Night has one serious

downside - Edinburgh New Town types, who could

often make the Queen sound a tad chavvy, take to

rolling their R’s in a way that might suggest Harry

Lauder wasn’t putting enough welly into it. It’s the same

when you go to the Highlands with these people. They

suddenly drink nothing but “drrrrams” and saying

“Slainte Mhath” at every opportunity, not to mention

sucking up to gamekeepers. It’s irritating in the extreme

and makes one feel like sticking the haggis somewhere

you could really roll your R’s around.

I’m very lucky to live near to Leith Links, mainly

because I don’t believe in buying drugs and am often

treated to a free lungful of second-hand marijuana on

my rare jogging expedition.

A greater treat was to be found on my recent visit to

the Leith’s Crops in Pots market tucked away near the

kiddywink’s playground. Los Cardos, a rightfully

popular Mexican takeaway on Leith Walk, were treating

the public to some samples of their very excellent Salsa

- of the jarred kind, not the groin stimulating dancing. I

bought a jar of their Roastin’ Red. You’ve got to try it! I

found it particularly good atop an oven baked

Camembert. I’ve become quite the addict and will be

heading back soon for my next fix.

Juliet Lawrence Wilson

Marvellous marmalade a-peels to all




• 1kg Seville Oranges

• 225ml water

• 1 lemon

• 2kg white sugar

• 100ml whisky

• 1 cup chopped stem


muslin, tie with string and

suspend the bag into the liquid.

The pectin in the pips will help

the marmalade set. Scrape clean

the peel of the fruits and cut into

thin strips or chunkier if you

prefer. Place the peel in the liquid

and gently simmer for one and a

half hours until all the peel is soft.

Once cooled slightly, remove the

muslin bag, squeezing as much

liquid out of it as possible. Add

the sugar and stir over a medium

heat until all the sugar is

dissolved. Bring to the boil and

use a sugar thermometer to check

for the setting point of 104oC. Do

the setting test of putting a

spoonful of the liquid onto a

chilled plate. If it wrinkles to the

touch it is ready, if not boil again,

testing at one minute intervals.

Once setting point is reached add

100ml whisky of your choice and

a cupful of chopped stem ginger.

Allow to sit for ten minutes before

filling and sealing in sterilised jars.




Book Festival is not standing still

Turning a new page

Edinburgh International Book Festival leaves Charlotte Square

THINK OF the Book Festival and you will

undoubtedly think of Charlotte Square.

Well, not this year.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival

is moving to the Edinburgh College of Art

on Lauriston Place in August. The hope is

that depending on Covid-19 restrictions

at that point, the festival will be able to use

indoor and outdoor spaces for their talks

and readings.

The reason is simply economics. It costs far

too much for the charity to put up the tents in

Charlotte Square, and presumably to pay for

the grass repairs afterwards too.

This was one of the festivals which really

managed to carry on and have some presence

in 2020 with its studios in the city centre and

live sessions on YouTube which audiences

could watch again.



Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh

International Book Festival said: “While we are

now experiencing a full lockdown in Scotland

which is challenging for so many people on so

many levels, we very much hope that the

combination of this, together with the ongoing

vaccination programme, will bring the virus

under control by August. While 2020 proved

extremely challenging for the Book Festival it

also opened up some extraordinarily exciting

opportunities. Building on the success of our

online Book Festival we can now announce

that we will be entering into a new strategic

partnership with the University of Edinburgh

that will enable us to inhabit this innovative

space in 2021 with facilities to create events for

both digital and, if circumstances permit,

physical audiences.

“Covid-19 has created a huge tectonic shift

Amazing Amazon home learning aids


very interesting online

learning resources for

parents and pupils to help

with learning at home.

These range from Amazon

Maths4ALl with hundreds

of free maths games, apps

and challenges on Alexa, a

maths lesson with

Countdown presenter

Rachel Riley, to fun ways

Edinburgh College of Art

in the way that live events, ourselves included,

can reach their audiences. With in-person

ticket sales impossible to forecast this August,

we simply can't justify incurring the costs of

the tents and infrastructure we'd normally put

into Charlotte Square Gardens. It is highly

probable that most events will take place

online, and the need for broadcast studios is

more likely than large venues for an audience.

“In the grassy courtyard of Edinburgh

College of Art we will, if rules allow, recreate

the elements of the Book Festival that our

audiences love – bookshops, cafes and open

spaces in which to come together safely

offering the ‘oasis of calm’ for which the Book

Festival is renowned. The College offers

excellent studio and theatre facilities for both

online broadcasting and potential events with

a socially distanced audience.”

to learn times tables on

Amazon Fire Tablets.

There is also some

coding for P1-P7 pupils

and for those aged 11 to

16 the Amazon Longitude

Explorer Prize asks for

ideas to help solve some

of the world’s biggest


There are English

lessons with stories on

Audible and PE with Lia

Lewis who is a British

freestyle footballer.

There’s also help for those

who want to meditate and

clear their minds. And

remember if you don’t

have a PC or a phone then

you can also use a PS4 or

an Xbox One console to

access home learning on

the web browser.

Port of Leith will

persevere for ever

LEITHERS PAST and present are being asked to

share their thoughts about the area as part of a new

lottery-funded project Leith For Ever.

This is an evolving online exhibition which will

feature 100 people, places, objects and events which

represent the independent spirit of Leith.

Launched on the centenary of Leith becoming part

of Edinburgh on 5 November 1920, it takes its title

from a protest banner which read: “Leith For Ever. We

protest against Amalgamation.”

Co-producer Barbara Kerr said: “It’s very much a

community project. We want people to make

suggestions of people, places, stories and facts that

make Leith what it is.

“Leith For Ever will celebrate what makes Leith

special. We want people to comment, make

suggestions and share online - and if any other

groups would like to participate we would love

to hear from them.”

The exhibition is the brainchild of a group of

Leith-based organisations, including Leith Civic Trust,

Yardheads Productions, Leith Festival and Cinetopia.

The idea of presenting One Hundred Days of Leith was

originally suggested by Leith-based Citizen Curator

Duncan Bremner.


Duncan Bremner said: “I guess Leith has always had a

different feeling from Edinburgh. In many ways

Edinburgh history is the great and good - the Castle,

the crown, the law - but Leith has always been a

working community so the history of Leith is more

about the social history, of everyday folk.

“The idea was partly inspired by the BBC series

‘A History of the World in 100 objects’. What would

Leith be in 100 things - particularly when you think not

just of objects but of people and places and stories?

“Leith is not just about its history, it is also about its

community and it has a fantastic mix of assets.

“It is a really broad mix and hopefully a project like

this will allow people to talk about the things they

love about Leith.”

Mary Moriarty, known as the Queen of Leith from

her days as a publican, is one of the people who will be

featured in the online exhibition. Mary said: “My

understanding of it is that Leithers have created for

themselves a little piece of land that they call heaven

- and I think the Leither in people does not leave

them. They take it with them to America, they take it

with them to Australia and they come back when they

can. The character of Leithers is stolid, hard working.

When they have their sights set on a goal they will be

working towards it – even if it is just making sure their

children have enough to eat and get to school on time.”

A year of events was originally planned to mark the

centenary of the amalgamation of eight districts into

Edinburgh - but most of the activity has had to take

place online.


Here’s looking at you @chiefkirsty

KIRSTY BAIRD is a whirlwind of energy and has

so many strings to her bow that it quite takes your

breath away. She started the Sing in the City choir

around ten years ago which has now expanded to

incorporate 18 choirs with around 1,000 members.

With her partner Annette, as Hanley and the

Baird, Kirsty recorded Follow the Rainbows last

year which got to number three in the Scottish

chart. Until then she was not aware of the various

charts. But now, having started her own radio

station, Chief Radio, she found that the Scottish

chart had quietly been stopped. One of the

reasons Kirsty set up Chief Radio was to give air

time to those unsigned singers and bands who

made it onto the Scottish Singles chart. It was

built on downloads and physical sales only and

the chart existed since 1991.

Kirsty has now set up a petition to bring back

the Scottish chart.


Kirsty was awarded the British Empire Medal

(BEM) in the New Year Honours List for services to

singing, to mental health and to the community in

Edinburgh during the Covid-19 response.

Hanley and the Baird have a new single out

called Looking at You, Looking at Me.

Hansel and Gretel is sparkling anytime treat


Humperdinck’s enchanting Hansel

and Gretel in the latest Scottish

Opera: On Screen, filmed at

Glasgow’s Theatre Royal. The

whole family can immerse

themselves in this modern

adaptation of the classic fairy tale

from Wednesday 10 February at

6pm, via the Scottish Opera

website. Before then, BBC Radio

Scotland will feature audio

excerpts from the performance as

part of Classics Unwrapped,

presented by Jamie MacDougall

on 7 February.

Sung in English, with staging by

Daisy Evans, this vivid and joyful

reimagining of Humperdinck’s

opera tells the heart-warming

story of two children and their

journey from an impoverished

home, into the mystery and

danger of the woods.

Brought to life by Daisy’s unique

staging, with a Christmas-crazed

witch and a shopping trolley full of

sugary sweets and garish goodies,

Hansel and Gretel seem a long

way from their simple family life.

Packed full of charm and

sparkle, this production is an ideal

anytime treat for children and

adults alike, sure to lift spirits and

transport audiences from behind

the screen to a world of hope

and wonder.

Although Hansel and Gretel is

an opera traditionally associated

with Christmas, Daisy’s new

production celebrates the opera’s

joy and hope, that are just as

powerful and relevant whatever

the season.

Let us entertain you


From 7 February BBC Scotland’s news and

current affairs programming on Sunday

mornings will have a new look and sound

with the launch of The Sunday Show. The

multi-platform programme which will

feature agenda-setting interviews, news

and analysis, will be fronted by BBC

Scotland journalists Martin Geissler

and Fiona Stalker.

The show will air from 10am until

noon with Martin presenting the

first half-hour which will broadcast

simultaneously on BBC One Scotland

and on BBC Radio Scotland. From 10.30am

Fiona takes the helm for the remainder of

the show as it continues on BBC Radio

Scotland. Martin will also join Fiona in the

radio studio, contributing his analysis of

the interviews and the big political stories

as they develop during the morning.


The 10th Hippodrome Silent Film Festival

takes place next month between 17-21

March. Although you will not be able to

enjoy the star studded ceiling at the

Hippodrome, the oldest purpose built

cinema in Scotland, you will be able to

watch the films online. The much

anticipated “The Woman Men Yearn

For”, starring Marlene Dietrich from the

2020 line-up, will feature with the

premiere of a new score by the Frame

Ensemble. The programme includes

international films, guests and musicians,

live Q&As, Silent Film Quiz, Silver Screen

Suppers Cook-along and more. Full

programme and tickets will be released on

16 February.


The Woman

Men Yearn For


While the museums and galleries are

closed you can’t visit - although there is a

lovely coffee horse box at Modern Two at

Belford which makes a walk through the

grounds there quite appealing.

There are still lots of ways of exploring

the collections at the National Museum of

Scotland. For example, there is a series of

drawing guides to teach you how to draw

a King Penguin. Artist Kayleigh McCallum

shows you how to, no matter what your

age. And on Google Arts & Culture you can

search through the museum’s Grand

Gallery the Roof Terrace, and the galleries

devoted to Exploring East Asia and

Ancient Egypt Rediscovered. As well as our

own museums, there are many other

museums and galleries from all over the

world to choose from.



The Scottish Caravan, Motorhome &

Holiday Home Show will be a free virtual

event this year. From 27 to 28 February.



Exploring Edinburgh, Six Tours of the

City and its Architecture

Robin Ward

Luath Press, £19.99

The newly published book

by Robin Ward is a

selected encyclopedia of

many key buildings in

Edinburgh. If you have an

interest in the timeline,

architecture and planning

of the buildings (as I do)

this book is an important

addition to your library. Ward presents a

short history of the buildings including the

date of construction, completion and

additional refurbishment or rebuilding. Of

course, it is not a complete history of all

of the key buildings in the city - it cannot

be. As Ward reminds us the World

Heritage Site has over 1,700 buildings.

Exploring Edinburgh is a portable guide so

all cannot be included.

The tours are organised geographically

with a local map which will help to plan a

walking, biking or public transport

exploration of the city. The building history is

factual but lacks some local lore and colour.

Each entry has a small black and white

photograph – being picky I would prefer

larger colour photographs, but a portable

guide has to have compromises.

One of the challenges of a printed book is

how quickly it can become out-dated. The

“Wealth of Nations”, Paolozzi sculpture (p.

198) has now disappeared from Drummond

House in Edinburgh Park (See our article on

the right).

Now we are supposed to stay local, this

book is an important guide to help us all get

out and explore in a safely distanced manner.

Review by Martin P McAdam

Sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi’s

The Wealth of Nations

The Wealth of Nations by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi

IN 1993, HM The Queen unveiled

this sculpture, which until

recently sat outside the RBS

building in the Gyle. In 2020 RBS

announced they were vacating

Drummond House and the

Paolozzi sculpture was


On enquiry, the Wealth of

Nations is now being refurbished

and the plan is to situate it at the

bus turning circle at RBS

Gogarburn by the summer.

It was originally commissioned

by Sir Angus Grossart, who at the

time was a Director of the bank

and Chairman of the National

Galleries of Scotland. The 10

tonne sculpture was thought at

the time to be the biggest

produced by the Leith-born artist,

who was also Her Majesty’s

Sculptor for Scotland. The Wealth

of Nations piece had three

themes according to Paolozzi,

who explained it incorporated a

still life, the portrait and the

landscape. Now the landmark has

been moved away from its

original position, but we look

forward to visiting when it

appears at its new home.

Looking after yourself


continue to run their

herbal stall alongside the

community pantry at

granton:hub in Granton

Park Avenue. They will be

giving away free herbal

remedies and Winter Care

Packages to residents of

Granton, Pilton, Muirhouse

and Drylaw.

Winter Care Packages

include herbal rubs,

syrups, teas, hand sanitiser,

face masks and a Covid

herbal support sheet.

To receive a Winter Care

Package get in touch by

emailing your address

to hello@grassroots


The Community Pantry

at granton:hub continues

on a fortnightly basis each

Wednesday between

11am-noon, providing free

fresh and chilled food. It

will be open on 3 February.

For information please

email: community@


The Edinburgh Sketcher

These bright and colourful ink drawings by the Edinburgh Sketcher are now

available as 150mm square prints, signed and mounted and each one with a

pop of colour, they look great as a set of four.

Each can be bought separately from Mark's Etsy page for £21.50 which

includes UK postage. Buy all four for a discounted price of £78.50.




Topsy turvy at


Neilson can inject verve needed for

success and Premiership return


IT’S BEEN a peculiar season for Hearts so far.

Aside from the machinations and debates

around their demotion to the Championship, it

feels like things have ebbed and flowed down

Gorgie way.

Indeed, this is a Hearts side that defeated a

Hibs team in the upper echelons of the

Premiership in a Scottish Cup semi-final and

took the all-conquering Celtic to penalties in the

subsequent final. They’ve also banged in plenty

of goals, including an impressive 6-2 opening

day rout over Dundee.

On the other hand, they’ve been knocked out

of the League Cup by part-timers Alloa and

suffered league defeats to main challengers

Dunfermline and Dundee. Coach Robbie

Neilson’s men have also failed to perform for the

full 90 minutes and often struggle to get out of

the blocks at all – with losses to Dundee and

Raith Rovers perfect examples.

Should the Hearts support accept that they

can’t win every game and that, by zooming out,

University challenge

for former Jambo

FORMER HEARTS player Bobby

Burns may only be 21 but he has

his mind firmly set on the future.

Currently on downtime with a

double leg break sustained back

in October, the professional

footballer is planning ahead by

studying an Open Degree in

Science, Technology, Engineering

and Maths.

Now currently on loan to

Glentoran from Barrow AFC and

halfway through the course, he

flexibly balances his studies and

his football career.

Speaking on the second

episode of the new Open

University podcast “Life…On Our

Terms” about how he manages

football and study, Bobby said:

“It’s interesting to just sort of

challenge yourself in a different

the bigger picture is relatively rosy? A likely

return to the Premiership at first asking, a

number of promising players tied down on deals,

an improved managerial structure and

Edinburgh Derby bragging rights.

Football doesn’t really work like that however

– and Hearts fans seem to have special energy

reserves when it comes to expressing opinions.

It’s trite but in an age of instant gratification,

fuelled by games being streamed and fans

voicing sentiment on social media and forums,

clubs go from crisis to fandom adoration


But we should of course remember that Hearts

have had a torrid few years. Indeed, cup runs

and a handful of marquee results aside, the club

was on a nosedive for nearly two full seasons

with a manager in charge who seemed beyond


Robbie Neilson will be hoping to take Hearts

back to the Premiership with the same verve and

intrigue as he did last time around. He’ll need to

kick some life into certain areas of his squad to

make that a reality.

way, you know, sort of

intellectually rather than


“It is just something that I’ve

always really wanted to do

because I think it gives you a great

back-up plan for after football,

but it takes real self-discipline to

tell the rest of the lads in the team

that you don’t want to go for that

golf round or go and play Xbox

with them and want to sit down

and do a maths exam, but it will

be worth it in the end.”

The Northern Ireland U21 cap

was a summer 2018 signing for

the Jambos and would go on to

feature ten times in a maroon

shirt, scoring one goal, as well

as enjoying loan spells at

Livingston and Australian

outfit Newcastle Jets.

Coach Robbie Neilson

drives Hearts forward

Bobby Burns

Playing a captain’s role,

Steven Naismith

Neilson sees red as

passion boils over

Women’s and U20s

Six Nations postponed

SIX NATIONS Rugby Limited have

confirmed that the Women’s and

U20s 2021 Championships will not

take place in the usual February and

March window.

The respective timings and formats

for both the Women’s and U20s

competitions will be finalised in

consultation with all unions, broadcast

partners and stakeholders, probably

just after we go to press.

Ben Morel, CEO, Six Nations Rugby

Limited said: “We are fiercely

committed to the promotion and

development of rugby at all levels,

particularly the women’s game where

we see such exciting opportunity

for growth.

“This is not a decision that we

rushed into and we are confident that

in looking at a new later window, we

will be in a far stronger position to

deliver two fantastic tournaments,

delivering exciting rugby for fans, and

ensuring the safest possible

environment in which to stage them

for our players.”

It was deemed important that the

decision was made in a timely manner

to allow players and management to

plan accordingly.

Whilst closely monitoring the

situation, Six Nations Rugby also

confirmed plans to stage the men’s

Guinness Six Nations Championship

remain as scheduled and Six Nations

Rugby is in constant dialogue with

each of its governmental authorities.

The body says it is also reinforcing

its Covid-19 protocols. The

Championship begins with Round 1

fixtures on 6 February with Italy v

France followed by England v Scotland

and Wales v Ireland on 7 February.

Ian Jacobs

Kieran Clarke

Take two for the team

Delighted Jack Ross adds a pair of new signings to his squad


HIBS’ MANAGER Jack Ross has

added two international players to

his team during the January

transfer window.

Australian international

midfielder Jackson Irvine was first

to sign up and the 27-year-old has

agreed a contract until the end of

the season.

He is a well-known figure in

Scottish football having initially

worked his way through the ranks

at Celtic before making a name for

himself with Ross County where he

was man of the match in the

Staggies’ 2016 League Cup final

victory over Hibs. Since then he has

enjoyed successful stints south of

the border with Burton Albion and

Hull City.

He has been joined by former

Motherwell player Chris Cadden

who put pen to paper with the

versatile 24-year-old agreeing a

two-and-a-half-year contract at

Easter Road, having completed his

Matt Macey

move from MLS side Columbus

Crew. In May 2018 he made his full

Scotland debut alongside Lewis

Stevenson in a friendly game

against Peru.

Jack Ross said: “We’re delighted

to be able to add a player of

Jackson’s calibre to the squad and I

think he’ll complement the other

players that we have. Jackson has

played at a high level as an

international. He can go box-tobox,

he offers a goal threat and he’s

hungry to play. He joins us at an

exciting time with some big games

coming up.

“I’m delighted to get Chris on

board and he’s a player I’ve admired

for some time. Players like Chris are

a manager’s dream because he’s

intelligent enough to play in a few

positions, with his athleticism and

work-rate stand-out features. He’s

also comfortable on the ball.

“His enthusiasm to move to

Hibernian has really shone through

and I’ve no doubt he will add

something different to our group.”

Chris Cadden

and (inset) Jack Ross

Jackson Irvine

Jim Clark Rally


Position up for grabs

Macey up for the challenge for Hibs number one spot


NEW 6FT 7IN goalkeeper Matt Macey brought

a seven year stint at Premiership giants Arsenal

to an end when he became Hibs’ first signing

in the January transfer window.

Matt will now face competition from Ofir

Marciano and Kevin Dabrowski for a first team

start, but he is looking forward to the challenge

and revealed that former Celtic star Kieran

Tierney encouraged him to make the journey


The new signing joins a small band of

players to have featured for both clubs

including fellow goalkeeper Willie Harper who

made the reverse trip almost 100 years ago.

Harper was followed by Joe Baker who

became a Highbury legend after making the

journey via Torino, whilst Peter Marinello and

Alex Cropley took the direct route. Players

who started at Arsenal before arriving at Easter

Road include Scottish Cup winning hero

Anthony Stokes, Dean Shiels, Graham Stack

and Daniel Boeting.

Macey has already shown his potential,

keeping a clean sheet against Kilmarnock and

only losing one at Parkhead from an

unstoppable strike from David Turnbull.

Speaking to Hibs TV, Macey said: “It all

Ian Jacobs

happened quite quickly. I wanted to come from

the moment I heard Hibs were interested. Then

it was a case of jumping in the car for an

eight-hour trip. I suppose that gave me a lot of

time to think things over before I arrived at the

training ground, but my mind was made up.

“I spoke to Kieran Tierney at length about

the opportunity to come to Hibs, about

Scottish football and the country in general.

Kieran was really positive about every aspect of

it, whether it was the club or Edinburgh itself.

“It was good to hear him talk so

enthusiastically about it all. He backed up the

gut feeling I had. Kieran’s someone I have a lot

of time for and he’s probably one of the first

names on the team-sheet - if not the first - at

Arsenal just now.

“I really enjoyed my time at Arsenal, but this

feels like an opportunity that I’ve been waiting

for. I want to kick-start my career. The last few

years haven’t gone the way I would have

planned, but that’s always the trade-off when

you’re at a massive club with world class players.

“They gave me a great education and I’ve had

the chance to work with some amazing coaches

and players. I had some incredible experiences,

especially on the road for some big games. You

also get plenty of practice in training trying to

save shots from some world class attackers.

ORGANISERS of the Beatson’s Building

Supplies Jim Clark Rally have announced that

the 2021 event, planned for the weekend of

28 – 30 May has been cancelled.

The organising committee of the popular

Borders rally has been closely monitoring the

pandemic over recent weeks and was well

advanced in the planning of the Duns based

closed-road rally and set to welcome ten

major rally championships.

With the continuing uncertainty

surrounding government restrictions, current

lockdown legislation and the implications of

running a large-scale gathering, the

organisers have decided it has become

unfeasible to run an event as substantial as

the Jim Clark Rally and they have no choice

but to cancel this year’s rally.

Dan Wright, Chairman of the Jim Clark Rally,

said: “Due to the ongoing pandemic and

uncertain situation around the country, the

organising committee regrets to announce

that the rally will not go ahead.

"The entire organising team had been

working tirelessly to offer another fantastic

closed road event in the Scottish Borders and

we were very excited to welcome a host of

leading rally championships and competitors

to the region in May. Sadly, it has simply has

not been possible to guarantee that the event

could go ahead due to the uncertainty over

when current lockdown restrictions will end.”

“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sticks out. He

has a real killer instinct. In some sessions it can

feel like a bonus just to save one or two of his

shots. When I was younger I was a bit more

starstruck by it, but there comes a point when

you want to make an impact yourself.

“I always took my responsibilities there

seriously. You can still make an impact in your

own way by working to a high level and

challenging the people around you in training,

but I feel like I’m at a point when I really want

to be playing games.

“I had a good chat with the gaffer and Craig

Samson (goalkeeping coach). It was all very

positive. It feels like a great fit for me. They

really didn’t have to sell the club to me. They

were honest about the club and what they want

to achieve here. It sounded like something I

really want to be part of - a team that wants to

challenge for silverware and qualify for

European football.

“I’m looking forward to meeting and

working with the other goalkeepers and I’m up

for the challenge. I just want to feel like I have

the opportunity to play. If I give my all and, for

whatever reason, one of the other boys gets the

nod then I’ll be supportive of them. But I really

want to give the gaffer something to think


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