The Edinburgh Reporter March 2021

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All the news about Edinburgh

Survivor

Defibrillator donation could be

Portobello Beach lifesaver

Page 3

St James Q

£1bn shopping centre will

open with a flourish

Page 12

Flavour of Italy

Stockbridge tour company set

to resume bella holidays

Page 15

Mother of mine

Food writer Juliet’s vodka

twist on Mother’s Day

Page 17

Persevere

Hibs star inspires Leith

Athletic footballers

Page 23

March 2021

EDINBURGH’S FREE LOCAL NEWSPAPER...A CAPITAL READ FROM START TO FINISH

Three wheels...

On her

wagon

...and Lissa’s rolling

again with city

trishaw rides

See page 3

Martin P McAdam

Lissa McIntyre takes

mum Carole for a hurl


2 NEWS

Welcome...

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

announced lockdown on 23 March 2020.

All non-essential shops, public spaces,

communal parks and playgrounds, and

places of worship were closed. Funerals were

restricted to immediate family only, and no

weddings or christenings could be held.

Anyone who has attended a funeral in this

past year knows how dismal this makes

the experience.

The Stay at Home message was only

to be breached for essential purposes.

Gatherings of more than two people in

public were prohibited.

In January the same kind of lockdown

was reimposed after many versions of the

same in the last year. On 23 February the

First Minister announced a cautious strategy

for getting out of this lockdown. She

emphasised the phased return to school, the

reintroduction of the Levels 0-5 system and

the reopening of the economy with gaps of at

least three weeks between each review.

VACCINE HOPE

Restaurants and coffee shops are open for

takeaway only and have become slicker at the

food being offered. Perhaps we have also

become better at queuing, masking up and

social distancing.

There is funding for some sectors of

business, but not for all. It is not clear to me

how people manage to keep going, and

certainly there is a huge demand for prepared

meals and food which charitable

organisations have delivered since last March.

Supermarkets have contributed free food to

charities who either redistribute it through

food banks or create meals with it.

The Trussell Trust, which supports a

network of food banks in the UK, campaigns

for a Hunger Free Future. But they warn that

without the £20 Universal Credit payment

over one million people might be back at the

food bank.

But we have the vaccine. And everyone

over a certain age is entitled to get two doses

of it for free. While things may look much the

same on a practical level as they did at the

end of last March, there is a wee light at the

end of this 2021 tunnel.

Phyllis Stephen, Editor

Letters to the editor

Edinburgh Walk for Parkinson’s

Dear Madam

People in Edinburgh may be

stuck for ideas on how to

support good causes whilst they

aren’t able to meet with friends,

family and their community to

fundraise during the coronavirus

pandemic.

At Parkinson’s UK, our annual

‘Walk for Parkinson’s’ series will

return this summer, uniting

people in Scotland and across

the UK to raise money that will

transform the lives of people

with Parkinson’s.

But if summer’s too long to

wait, our ‘Organise Your Own

Walk’ event is a fantastic way to

enjoy some fresh air while also

raising funds for our vital work.

Why not stroll 2 miles for the 2

people diagnosed with

Parkinson’s every hour in the UK?

Or trek 12.4 miles for the 12,400

people living with Parkinson’s in

Scotland? You choose your route,

how far, when and who you walk

with - just make sure you follow

the local coronavirus guidance.

Dear Madam,

There are many examples all

over the world where democracy

is being attacked, so as citizens

we really need to vote. However,

only about 58% of registered

voters in Edinburgh and Lothians

voted in the last Scottish

Parliamentary election in 2016.

This seems quite low to me.

Elections for the Scottish

Parliament are due to take place

in May this year.

Also, about 7% of the Scottish

population have non-UK

nationality. A German EU citizen I

met in Princes Street recently

had lived in Edinburgh for over

20 years but had never registered

to vote. Some of your readers

may not be aware that they can

vote in Scottish Parliamentary

elections if they are resident

here. You don’t have to be

Scottish (but you do have to be

The funds you raise will help

support people living with

Parkinson’s, their families, friends

and carers right across Scotland

and the rest of the UK, who need

us now more than ever.

Yours etc

Marion Pirrie

Regional Fundraiser

Parkinson’s UK Scotland

To download your free pack with

everything you need to plan a

sponsored walk, visit:

parkinsons.org.uk/get-involved/

organise-your-own-walk

If you have any questions,

call 0800 138 6593 or email

scotlandfundraising@

parkinsons.org.uk

Register to cast your vote

over 16 years of age).

I encourage everyone to

register and take part in this

democratic opportunity to shape

our community.

Patricia Baillie Strong

You can register to vote at the

website www.mygov.scot/

register-to-vote-scotland

GET IN

TOUCH

TODAY!

Coronavirus statistics

THE NUMBER of people who have received their first dose of vaccine in

the last month has risen steadily with a peak of daily jags administered

on 12 February when 64,881 people were vaccinated in one day. Daily

figures have reduced to around half of that due to an expected dip in

supply. The vaccination programme treated older people and those in

care homes first. The number of deaths in care homes fell by 62% in the

first three weeks of February.

On 1 February the test positivity rate was up at 9.5% but has reduced

to almost half that as we went to press. The number of people in hospital

with confirmed Covid-19 has also reduced by half, although there has

not been just as steep a drop in the number of cases reported each day.

We report the daily figures online as soon as we can after they are announced

HOW TO GET YOUR COPY

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If you can, then please

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SPRING FORWARD, FALL BACK

Yes folks it is almost time for the clocks to go

forward. It seems like just a minute ago that they

changed, but it is now six months since then,

and a year after lockdown began. We will have

an hour more of light in the evenings to enjoy

after clocks go forward on Sunday 28 March.

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About us...

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

Editor: Phyllis Stephen

Designer: Felipe Perez

Photos: Martin P McAdam

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theedinburghreporter.co.uk

07791 406 498

editor@theedinburghreporter.co.uk


3

Lifesaver in the heart of Porty

Cardiac arrest survivor helps others by fundraising for defibrillator

Reverend Fraser

Edwards with his

wife Fiona

DONALD SCOTT, 49, from

Duddingston, was saved by a

defibrillator when he had a cardiac

arrest. He was so grateful that he

has now raised funds himself to

install one of the life-saving devices

on Portobello Prom at the Beach

House Café.

Thanks to the fundraising work

by St John Scotland and the quick

thinking of a passerby in Waverley

Station, a recently installed

defibrillator was used on Donald

when he collapsed as he made his

to an Edinburgh Festival show.

Initially the passerby and a British

Transport Police officer called for

help and began CPR, but it was the

defibrillator which saved Donald’s

life. These machines will only give

a shock if it is necessary, so they

are safe to use and an audible

message tells the user what to

do at each step.

REASSURING

Donald says he hopes the device

will never need to be used, but it’s

reassuring to know it could save

someone’s life, like the Waverley

defibrillator helped save his. He

teamed up with St John Scotland

about a year later when he had

recovered fully. He signed up to

the Kiltwalk and raised over

£2,000 by walking about 24 miles

through Edinburgh.

He said: “My life was saved

thanks to a passer-by who

recognised that I was seriously

unwell and performed immediate

CPR before using a defibrillator to

restart my heart. Without his quick

actions I wouldn’t be here today

and I’ll be forever grateful to him

for his help that night.

“Once I had recovered I found

out that I had collapsed only a few

metres away from the defibrillator

that had been used to save me and

Survivor Donald Scott pictured

beside the new defibrillator

that it had been installed by St John

Scotland as part of their St John

and the City project. I also read

about how CPR and the use of

defibrillators can greatly increase

the survival chances in cardiac

arrest cases such as mine.”

More than 190 defibrillators

have been placed in Edinburgh

since 2015.

Volunteer Lynn Cleal, who leads

the project, said: “Donald is living

proof of how important

defibrillators are in increasing

someone’s chances of surviving if

they have a cardiac arrest. This can

sadly happen to anyone, and in

these times it’s more important

than ever that if someone’s life is in

danger, people can step in while the

ambulance is on its way to give

them the best chance of survival.

“Once Covid restrictions are

lifted, we plan to offer CPR training

in Portobello so people can come

learn how they can save someone’s

life and see how easy it is to use

the defibrillator.”

Owner of The Beach House, Sara

Christey, said: “The defibrillator

has been sited next to The Beach

House on the fence of Portobello

Sailing and Kayaking Club, a

charity founded by my late

husband, Jonathan Bendit.

“The Beach House and Trustees

of PSKC are delighted to have been

able to support this generous

initiative. Run by volunteers and

having well over 300 members,

PSKC has over the years become a

hub of the Portobello Community.

“The machines only give a shock

if it is necessary, so they are quite

safe. An audible message tells

the user what they should do at

each step..”

www.stjohnandthecity.org.uk

©The Edinburgh Reporter

Care for creation

CHURCH OF SCOTLAND minister, Fraser

Edwards, has been newly ordained at

Innerleithen Traquair and Walkerburn Parish

Church (ITW). He has plans to take the “care

for creation” message to new heights by

joining a group called Forest Church, and

hopes to hold services outdoors.

His primary school teacher wife, Fiona,

their two children, Anna, 13, and Matthew,

7, and other family members and friends

watched his ordination on Zoom.

Forest Church is a fresh expression

of church and draws on much older

traditions when sacred places and practices

were outside.

Fraser, 42, from Kingsknowe, is a former

IT specialist. He said: “I’m really excited

about my ordination and it is a privilege to

have been called to be ITW’s minister. We

have started online services followed by a

post-church Zoom coffee time. I’m looking

forward to the adventure of faith in

following Jesus together. The parish is in an

area of such natural beauty that I hope, in

time, to explore a fresh expression of church

to take place outdoors.

“I’ve become part of a small group

exploring ‘Forest Church’ and I’m keen to see

ways that people can connect the wonder

and beauty that we all see in creation with

the God who made it all and who cares for us.”

He attended Palmerston Place Church for

15 years and was mentored by the minister,

Very Rev Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the

General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

from 2019-20.

Fraser said: “Colin has been a huge

encouragement and he and his wife Ruth

have been really influential in me going

into ministry.

“The call to ministry is a call to make

Jesus known, to share of his love, his grace

and the invitation to follow him.”

Pedal ready to get back to business

Martin P McAdam

Lissa McIntyre

From front page

JOY RIDES FOUNDER, Lissa

McIntyre, is overjoyed at the news

from local council officers that she

may continue to offer bike rides on

her customised trishaw Betsy even

during lockdown.

She had concerns about

continuing to offer the rides to her

customers, but now having put

rigorous Covid-19 safety procedures

in place she is raring to go again.

There is room on board for two

passengers (either from one

household or an extended one) and

while most rides take place in

The Meadows, Lissa also ventures

to other city parks and the cycle

path network.

The businesswoman had just

completed a very successful first year

when lockdown began. Almost all of

the customers in the first 12 months

were care home residents. Since the

latest lockdown began in January

she had been wary of drumming up

new business.

Lissa said: “Trading Standards

confirmed to me that as long as I

have all the safety procedures in

place then I can continue to offer

rides to everyone. In fact they

commented it was probably more

damaging for people to be stuck at

home indoors. I have to make sure

the bike is clean, and I am not

allowed to help people onto the bike

- that has to be someone from their

own household. It is as safe as I can

make it.

“One really kind person bought

three rides to be donated to

someone who would like to go out.

It was really nice of them and clearly

if anyone else wants to pay it

forward like that then I would be

delighted to hear from them.”

Lissa would be happy to hear from

any charities who may have funding

to spend on rides for members of

their communities.

Joanna Cherry, QC, MP, has always

supported Lissa’s business idea since

it began. Ms Cherry said: “The

pandemic has been very isolating for

everyone but particularly for older

people. I was pleased to support

Lissa in working with The City of

Edinburgh Council and The Scottish

Government to restart Joy Rides with

extra precautions to protect their

clients. I hope that through them as

many people as possible can

experience the joy of fresh air on a

bike tour with Lissa.”

joyridesedinburgh@gmail.com or

telephone 07834 916 230


4 POLITICS

Businesses should be more

than afterthought for SNP

LAST MONTH the SNP Government finally

u-turned on extending business rates relief for

many vital sectors for the whole of this year

after weeks of calls from the Scottish

Conservatives to do so.

While I welcome this decision, I find it

rather revealing that despite having received

their biggest ever budget from the UK

AS WE APPROACH the

anniversary of the first

lockdown, it can be easy to

feel discouraged and lose

sight of how far we’ve

come. At the time of

writing, almost 30% of the

adult population has

received their first dose of

the vaccine, including

virtually all over 80-yearolds

and 94% of those aged

70-79. The incredible teams

delivering the jags all over

Scotland even managed to

vaccinate 1% of the

country’s population in a

single day.

Our pupils will now

begin a phased but

cautious return and test kits

have already been delivered

to thousands of schools

across Scotland to allow the

Jeremy Balfour MSP

health of staff to be closely

monitored. This new very

contagious mutation of

Covid-19 means we must be

properly prepared as we

take our first tentative steps

towards a kind of normality.

I think we can allow

ourselves to look forward to

some of life’s small

Government the SNP made the support of

businesses an afterthought.

Throughout the pandemic, we have seen

the UK Government equip the SNP

Government with substantial finances to

support local businesses and protect jobs. Yet,

time and time again the SNP have taken far

too long to get this money into the hands of

those who need it.

The fact of the matter is, if it was not for the

pressure placed on the SNP Government by

the Scottish Conservatives, and the crossparty

support that we drummed up in a

recent parliamentary vote on newspaper

relief, it is likely that the SNP would have only

been willing to keep a three month extension

in place.

That would have been far too short a

reprieve for our retail, hospitality, leisure,

aviation and newspaper sectors.

The future of the Scottish economy and of

individual’s livelihoods depend on the

decisions being made by the SNP

Government. They cannot afford to take their

time. As we head towards continuing to ease

restrictions, businesses must be at the

forefront of their mind at all times when they

are making decisions.

Jeremy Balfour MSP

Looking forward to the jag

Deidre Brock MP

pleasures again though,

including that better

weather that’s surely on its

way! And best and most

importantly of all, think of

all the families who may

now be spared tragedy

once the vaccine rollout is

complete.

Deidre Brock MP

The Edinburgh Reporter

Profile: Sarah Boyack MSP Lothians

ONE OF TWO MOST recently appointed MSPs

at Holyrood, Sarah Boyack was also one of the

very first MSPs elected to serve in The Scottish

Parliament in 1999 under First Minister, Donald

Dewar.

In 2019, as she was next on the Labour list, she

took her seat again when former Scottish Labour

leader Kezia Dugdale resigned.

So what has she done since taking the oath in

September 2019?

ALL CHANGE

Sarah said: “When I came back there were lots of

issues which appeared to be unfinished

business, like the housing crisis in Edinburgh,

inequalities, and the climate emergency.

“In the first nine or ten months I was

reconnecting with local communities. Things

like the Dumbiedykes bus campaign, which I

had campaigned on before. If you look at that

area on a map it doesn’t look like a long walk,

but if you’re older or have a disability then it is a

steep hill up to the shops.

“I worked with campaigners about Gorgie City

Farm and we managed to save the farm for

Edinburgh. Recently I have supported their work

in providing food parcels for families.

“The second half has been all about the

pandemic. Some issues are really heartbreaking.

It has generated the largest amount of case

work I have ever experienced. People who have

emailed me have been in a crisis - like a

hospitality business or taxi drivers seeking

financial support , or self-employed people who

had no income whatsoever. In the early months

people’s incomes just fell off a cliff.

“I supported young women who had to keep

going to work at care homes even though they

had their own underlying health issues. One was

pregnant. Her employer told her to keep going

to work, even though her doctor said she should

not leave her house.”

QUESTIONS

Sarah has been lobbying NHS Lothian about the

city’s Eye Pavilion and the cancellation of a £45

million government contract for a new one.

NHS Lothian has spent over £1 million so far, but

the proposal is to replace it with a building in

West Lothian rather than a city centre facility.

Sarah explained that some eye care requires

urgent attention, and a facility out of town

would not be the best answer.

While it is difficult to envisage an election

campaign which does not involve any face to

face meetings or photo calls, Sarah ended our

chat by saying she is going to hold online

meetings. These will invite around 30 people

which might be one way of speaking to her

about the issues that matter to you before 6 May

comes around.

She said: “It is hard to campaign on the phone

as you intrude on people’s lives.

“I think virtual meetings are good, although

there are still some people who are not online.”

www.sarahboyack.com

The Edinburgh Reporter


5


6 NEWS

Care-free car free plea

Campaign to extend

park ban for all

vehicles in royal park

CAR FREE HOLYROOD PARK (CFHP) is a

campaign hoping to live up to its name. It is

two decades since some of its members asked

Historic Scotland, now known as Historic

Environment Scotland (HES), to close the

roads to vehicles.

There has been some degree of success.

There is a 20mph speed limit in common with

other streets in the city, and commercial vehicles

are banned. It is closed to all vehicles for a time

at weekends.

But campaigners think that the time is right

for HES to close the roads in the park full-time

so that anyone walking, wheeling or cycling can

use the high quality paved space without

worrying about traffic or physical distancing.

A spokesperson for CFHP said: “There are

immense benefits to closing the roads. It opens

that space for people to walk, wheel and cycle

making it a much more relaxed visit without

having to worry about traffic, with reduced air

and noise pollution, safe spaces for children,

more space for those pushing buggies or using

mobility aids, safe homes for wildlife including

the Dunsapie Loch otters, and an end to

speeding and dangerous driving in the park.

“We would ask Historic Environment

Scotland, and anyone who is unsure if closing

the road is the right action to take, is this: If

current park roads did not already exist, and

Holyrood Park simply had a network of high

quality footpaths and cycleways, would you

lobby to construct a road network to allow

private motor vehicles to travel at speed

uninhibited through this historic site and Site of

Special Scientific Interest?”

Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard has

written twice to HES since lockdown began. He

said: “I’m calling for the closure hours to be

extended as the nights get longer to follow hours

of daylight, or I would be content for the park to

be closed completely while lockdown persists.

“I appreciate it depends on your perspective,

but I think prioritising pedestrians over car

users and for that matter cyclists is a good thing.

I have arranged to meet senior management. I

think there is a debate about cars using the park

anyway but now we need to prioritise the park

for exercise. It is an incredible amenity, and

Anthony

McCluskey

fortuitously during lockdown there is no traffic

management needed. This would be the time to

do it. I am afraid the car users in Duddingston

will need to find a different route. They’re all my

constituents but in these circumstances this is

the greatest good for the greatest number.”

Cllr John McLellan said: “The current

restrictions are a proportionate response to

balance the park road as an access route and the

park’s use for leisure. Full closure of the park

would result in significant inconvenience for

many Duddingston and Craigentinny residents,

with longer round trips to reach the city centre

and Waverley Station. Full permanent closure

could also cut off people with mobility issues

Keep Scotland Beautiful

ENVIRONMENTAL charity, Keep

Scotland Beautiful, is running the

sixth annual Pocket Garden

Design Competition.

Children as young as three are

asked to design a colourful,

sustainable garden to feature at the

Scottish Garden Show at Scone Palace

in late May.

The four interlinked 2021 themes are

The Year of Coasts and Waters, One

Planet Picnic, Wildlife Gardening and

Many make good use of

the outdoor space in the

park for exercising

from one of the city’s jewels.”

Cllr Joan Griffiths said: “I understand why

there is a view that the park should be closed to

cars permanently, however, closure of the park

would cause real inconvenience to the residents

of Craigentinny/Duddingston. Having this open

space in the city is wonderful and I, like many

others, benefit from this. But, most of the traffic

comes from outwith the area and we need to

address that, and not penalise local people from

having easy access across the city.”

In the 2020 Spaces for People consultation

75% of responses asked for road closures in the

royal park.

Twitter @carfreeholyrood

Health and Wellbeing through

noticing nature.

Anthony McCluskey, who will be

one of the judges, said: “2020 winners

that were not able to display their

Pocket Gardens last year when the

event was cancelled will join winning

Pocket Gardens from 2021.”

Pupils are invited to submit their entries

no later than 17 March to oneplanetpicnic@keepscotlandbeautiful.org

Ajsinclair

Call for fair pay

for vaccinators

A GENERAL Practice Nurse who

administers vaccinations for NHS Lothian,

contacted The Edinburgh Reporter to warn

of the very real anger among nurses at the

“high, vastly unjust” rates of pay which

other professionals doing the same job

are paid.

The nurse, who wishes to remain

anonymous, said there is huge upset over

the disparity in pay: “Nurses naturally want

to help. Offer all we can. Its in our blood.

Due to this we often get taken advantage

of professionally, financially. In regards to

Covid vaccination, we have been shafted.

“Once flu clinics were finished, we were

told our Nurse Bank would keep us on the

books to deliver Covid vaccines should that

happen and should we want. We did.

“We were signed up and we expected

the same pay rate, however we were put

back down to a mid 5 band of £13 an hour.

“We started the work. Only to have it

flaunted in our faces that pharmacists,

dentists, optometrists would be paid

approx £235 per 3.5hr sessions. They were

offered these shifts weeks ahead of nurses,

so we had very few shifts left that we could

book. We were grateful, but embarrassed

by the NHS clapping. We were called

heroes, most of us hated that. It’s our job

and we are put in danger every day. We

were told, ‘you deserve better pay’...but

we’ve heard it all before. Nothing changes.”

UNISON raised this with Health

Secretary, Jeane Freeman. “There is a

significant inequality of payments with

£231.00 for 3.5 hours work to independent

contractors and the haste in NHS Boards

using these contractors instead of directly

employed or bank staff. We would

therefore request that the programme

for vaccination is revisited as a matter

of urgency.”

Seafield appeal by Lidl

A PLANNING appeal by Lidl

relating to the B&M store at 64

Seafield Road will begin on 16

March and will take four days.

This virtual hearing can be

viewed on the Scottish

Government’s Planning and

Environmental Appeals

Division (DPEA) under case

reference PPA-230-2316.

Lidl applied unsuccessfully to

Edinburgh Council for

permission to take over the

store to sell food and

convenience goods in June.

The council said then that the

application was contrary to the

Local Development Plan as it is

an out of centre location not

likely to be accessible by a

variety of transport types.

Planners also said it would not

reduce the length and number

of shopping trips made by car.

Andrew Milligan/PA Wire


7

Time no longer standing

still for courting couples

Meet me under Binns’ clock

Restoration of historic West End landmark is now complete

JOHNNIE WALKER, the company

which now owns the former Binns

building at the West End, have

completed the restoration of the

historic clock enabling couples to use it

as a meeting point once more.

For decades couples would

traditionally meet under the Binns’

clock when going on a romantic date.

The clock situated on the corner of

Hope Street and Princes Street had

fallen into disrepair while the store was

onwed by House of Fraser.

The Cumbria Clock Company

undertook the restoration. They have

also cared for Big Ben - better known

as The Great Clock - and the Royal

Liver Building in Liverpool.

When the clock was taken down for

repair their crafts people dismantled it

to study the original mechanics and

colours. There are hand painted

Highland figures which march out of

the clock to mark the hour and half

hour which have also had some TLC.

The musical mechanism plays Caller

Herrin’ and Scotland the Brave every

half hour, and the Highland figures will

also emerge at seven minutes and 37

minutes after the hour.

Barbara Smith, Managing Director of

Diageo’s Scottish Brand Homes, said:

“The restoration of the clock has been a

lovely part of our work at Johnnie

Walker Princes Street. Its heritage and

connection with the local community

is so poignant, particularly now when

people are desperately missing being

able to meet and socialise together.

“We wanted to unveil the restored

clock in time for Valentine’s Day this

year as a symbol of hope for the future,

and we can’t wait to see future

generations meeting under the clock at

Johnnie Walker Princes Street, before

enjoying a wonderful day or night out

in Scotland’s capital city.”

Mark Crangle from the Cumbria

Clock Company said: “It has been a

meticulous process restoring the clock

to its original condition. We had to

delicately strip back worn paintwork to

source and match the clock’s original

colours and gold trimmings, and we

spent a great amount of time on the

speed and timings of the bells, tunes

and pipers to ensure it all matched

perfectly.

“Working on this restoration project

has been such a privilege and I’ve really

enjoyed hearing the stories of what the

clock means to locals and how it’s

played a role in so many special

memories. These stories really

consolidate why we do what we do, and

we can’t wait for Edinburgh residents to

now be able to enjoy the clock again in

all its grandeur.”

The restoration of the clock was

co-funded by Parabola, the owners of the

Johnnie Walker Princes Street building.

The eight-floor multi sensory attraction

is due to open this summer with rooftop

bars and private dining areas.

www.johnniewalkerprincesstreet.com

Royal Mile phone box disgrace

Welcome mat

laid out at homes

High Street phone boxes

are an eyesore

THIS TRIO OF phone boxes on

the Royal Mile are muchphotographed,

but they are in a

bit of a bad way. Covered in

graffiti with the remnants of

stickers from Fringes past, they

are barely worthy of the

number of photos which are

taken. In the summer, these are

bang in the centre of the Fringe

action. We think they are a

dreary and disappointing sight

even though they are on

Historic Environment Scotland’s

list of protected buildings.

Only two are still owned by

BT and the other is owned by a

party unknown. There ought to

be a sign inside claiming

ownership, but the interior is

empty apart from some electric

sockets. The following numbers

are displayed inside the boxes

owned by BT, 0131 220 1982

and 0131 220 1993 so you could

always give them a call to check

that they work.

A BT spokesperson said:

“Most people now have a

mobile phone and calls made

from our public telephones

have fallen by around 90 per

cent in the past decade. We’re

pleased to be giving even more

local communities the chance

to adopt a kiosk, as this is a

fantastic opportunity for

communities to own a piece of

history for only £1.

“The opportunities are

endless and we’ve already seen

some amazing transformations.

Many former BT phone boxes

have also been turned into

units housing defibrillators, a

conversion that could be

potentially life-saving.”

bt.com/adopt

Martin P McAdam

THE GOVERNMENT announced new rules for

visiting people in care homes. It has decided

that the ongoing separation of older people

from their families is worse for them than the

threat of Covid-19. With the introduction of

vaccines to older people first, more than 99.9%

of care home residents have now received their

first dose. National Records of Scotland have

confirmed that deaths in care homes have

fallen considerably.

Information will be issued to care home

operators who will be expected to allow up to

two designated visitors per resident. Visitors

will have to wear PPE and are encouraged to

take a Covid test on site.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “The

decisions regarding restrictions on visiting for

care home residents have been some of the

most difficult we have faced and I have the

greatest sympathy for those who have been

unable to see relatives and loved ones in

person for so long.

“The guidance we are publishing sets out an

expectation that providers will put in place

arrangements to enable regular visits to

resume from early March and from the

discussions I have had with providers, I now

expect all care homes to have embraced this

guidance by mid-March.”


8 NEWS

All aboard to Ingliston

Lothian reroutes

Skylink services to

vaccination centre

LOTHIAN confirmed that they will reroute

airport bus services to the Royal Highland

Showground.

This is intended to be useful for any

passengers who have appointments at the

vaccination centre at the Royal Highland

Showground. The Skyline 200, 300 and 400 will

now provide direct links to the Royal Highland

Showground at Ingliston from 7.45am to

9.00pm seven days a week.

Nigel Serafini, Interim Managing Director at

Lothian Buses, said: “We are delighted to be able

to support NHS Lothian with the rollout of the

Covid-19 vaccination programme by making it

as easy as possible for residents across

Edinburgh and the Lothians to travel to their

appointments, as well as offering vital transport

links for those key workers and volunteers

helping within the centre.

“Our teams have worked hard over the last 12

months to ensure our buses are clean, safe and

accessible for those that require to make

essential journeys.”

There is also free car parking at the Royal

Highland Centre and limited accessible parking.

The company has launched a dedicated

Vaccination Centre journey planning webpage

where passengers can find information on how

to travel to NHS Lothian Vaccination Centres

across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Lothian also announced that Lothian

Country’s Service 275 will be rerouted to serve

the Vaccination Centre at Pyramids Business

Park, West Lothian, providing vital links for

locals attending vaccination appointments.

The mass vaccination centre at Queen

Margaret University is now open as a drivethrough

facility.

Scotmid announce grant funding in Community Connect Fund

SCOTMID COOPERATIVE’S

Community Connect fund has

grants of £15,000 available to

charities and community

groups for projects to benefit

communities close to

Scotmid stores.

Scotmid Co-operative,

SERVICES OPERATING TO EDINBURGH AIRPORT VIA ROYAL HIGHLAND CENTRE

SKYLINK 200

Ocean Terminal <> Airport via Newhaven, Granton, Muirhouse, Drylaw,

Blackhall and Clermiston

SKYLINK 300

Surgeons’ Hall <> Airport via Tollcross, Shandon, Slateford, Sighthill and Gyle Centre

SKYLINK 400

Fort Kinnaird <> Airport via Niddrie, Royal Infirmary, Gilmerton, Fairmilehead,

Oxgangs, Clovenstone, Sighthill and Gyle Centre

Scotland’s largest independent

cooperative, is owned by its

members.

Community Connect is

administered and provided by

Scotmid Co-operative. Scotmid

members are given the

opportunity to vote for the

groups or causes that matter most

to them and funding is allocated

accordingly.

There are two award cycles per

year and in each cycle one winner

and two runners-up will be

selected from a shortlist of eligible

applicants.

The financial awards will be

made in October 2021.

Application forms are on the

Scotmid website. Successful

applicants in April will receive

funding in September/October.

www.scotmid.coop/communityconnect-application-2020-cycle

Martin P McAdam

Grant funding

for artists

THE YOUTH Arts Residencies programme

is funded by Creative Scotland through the

Youth Arts Fund Small Grants Scheme.

North Edinburgh Arts, in partnership

with Independent Arts Projects (IAP), is

looking for proposals from freelance artists

and creative practitioners to design and

deliver youth arts activities with children

and young people in Muirhouse, North

Edinburgh, as part of a new, year-long

Youth Arts Residencies programme

between April 2021 and March 2022.

The programme will support five

freelance artists and creative practitioners,

who will each receive:

• £5,000 grant to go towards the lead

artist’s fee, project materials and fees to

engage additional freelance

collaborator/s in the project. They ask that

you work with at least one collaborator to

deliver your project.

• Access to North Edinburgh Arts spaces,

the Community Garden and/or

alternative community spaces for around

10 days (or equivalent) to try out ideas

and deliver accessible creative activities

for local children and young people

between April 2021 and February 2022.

• Mentoring, advice and training, including

project delivery and producing support

will be available from NEA and IAP.

• Lead artists and collaborators will be

invited to attend an introductory/training

session, an evaluation session and three

Peer Forums held throughout the year.

The Peer Forum will act as a space for

sharing, training, mentoring, advice and

evaluation between the artists and an

experienced facilitator.

A fee will be paid to artists for

attendance at each of these sessions.

They can support freelance artists

working across a range of youth arts

artforms, including (but not limited to)

music; dance; drama; visual arts; screen

and literature.

Deadline for applications: Wednesday 10

March. www. northedinburgharts.co.uk


9

Choo-chooing

over rail future

Railway could be alternative commuter link

EDINBURGH’S South Suburban Railway could

get back on track after it was signalled in

Transport Scotland’s major policy document.

The Strategic Transport Projects Review

(STPR2) looks at investing a an “inclusive and

green” transport network.

Edinburgh Southern MSP, Daniel Johnson,

raised this with the Transport Secretary at

Holyrood, explaining that an economic impact

study of reintroducing passenger traffic on the

line estimated benefits of between £13 million

and £27 million, but also said that the perceived

benefits were potentially underestimated.

Mr Johnson said: “Since the study, the trams

have commenced and outperformed their

financial projections, and the Borders Railway

has opened and outperformed its financial

projections, which undoubtedly means that the

South Sub loop would be a more successful

project were it to reopen.”

In our December issue Mr Johnson wrote

about the railway saying then: “So many

thousands of jobs have been lost or are under

threat. A major boost for the economy in

Edinburgh just waiting to be utilised is the

Southern suburban rail line.

"You may not be aware of it, but currently

there is a double track railway line that circles

the city but is not open to passengers. Apart

from freight, this untapped resource lies empty

and grossly underused. It is time this asset

was put to far better use and used to build

back our local economy after a year of closures

and restrictions.”

Lothian MSP, Miles Briggs, said in

November: “A passenger service on the

Edinburgh Suburban Railway would bring real

benefits to Edinburgh and the Lothians and I’m

pleased that it is being actively considered.

“It is clear that there is a growing need to see

We asked people in the know.

Those behind the @EdSouthSub

Twitter account. The group

launched a petition on change.

org. asking for stations to be

reopened for trains and

tramtrains and already more

than 3,500 people have signed.

@EDSOUTHSUB SAY:

• The EdSouthSub opened in

1884 and closed to passengers

in 1962

• The EdSouthSub originally

served 11 stations but could

serve more e.g. Fort Kinnaird,

Cameron Toll

• The EdSouthSub is ~22 km

investment in transport infrastructure in the

Capital and for consideration to be given to

how best to achieve an integrated transport

network fit for the future needs of Edinburgh,

Scotland and the UK.

“The future success of Edinburgh and the

South East Region, the only part of the Scottish

economy which is growing, depends on

delivering improvement to infrastructure and

connectivity.”

Cllr Mandy Watt represents the Morningside

Ward and she introduced the railway as a late

addition to the recent City Mobility Plan debate.

She said: “People in Morningside have always

wanted this as an alternative.

“Morningside Station was valued by those

who live there and there has always been

interest in reviving the link. The narrow

roads get very congested and people

WHAT IS THE EDINBURGH SOUTH SUBURBAN?

which is 11km in each

direction)

• The most recent study

into passenger service

reintroduction in 2007

calculated a Benefit Cost

Ratio of <+1.64

• Since the 2007 study

Edinburgh Trams, Borders

Railway and Edinburgh

Glasgow Improvement Project

have all been completed and

have been more successful

than forecasts predicted

• Edinburgh currently has 12

train stations compared to

Glasgow’s 61 (based on local

authority areas) yet Edinburgh

has ~56% of the population of

Glasgow but only ~19% of the

rail stations

• The EdSouthSub is used for

freight including Tesco

supplies to/from Inverness,

nuclear fuel to/from Torness

and aluminium from Fort

William

• The EdSouthSub passes

through Ian Murray MP's

parliamentary constituency

which is one of only six in

Scotland not be served by

a rail station

• The EdSouthSub is to be

electrified meaning it could be

used by TramTrains connecting

Morningside Station

could be in use again

would welcome an alternative.

“It is not in the gift of the council, and while

it would not be straightforward, there are

bound to have been developments for the

Transport committee to consider. I am so keen

on public transport and we must take some

action to get people out of cars.

“A lot of people, and especially women, do

not cycle and we need to offer alternatives for

them. If it worked there it might work elsewhere

in the city.”

Edinburgh Council’s Senior Transport

Manager, Ewen Kennedy, said: “The South Sub is

a key part of the rail network within the context

of the movement of freight. If it was not for this

line a lot of freight movements would end up

passing through Waverley and Haymarket.

“Network Rail have had plans to electrify

plans for some time.”

to the Edinburgh Tram network

or the rest of the ScotRail

network e.g. Glasgow, Stirling

& North Berwick could be

destinations

• The EdSouthSub is currently

used by daily ScotRail, Avanti

West Coast & Cross Country

services. Occasionally it is also

used by LNER Azumas

• The EdSouthSub is estimated

to cost £2,050,510 in annual

maintenance via Network Rail

which all taxpayers pay for

already

• TramTrains currently only used

in Rotherham but used more

commonly elsewhere in Europe

Martin P McAdam

POP Scotland

lighting the way

THE CAMPAIGN group, Pedal on

Parliament (POP), is organising a new

campaign for 2021, which is largely online,

but with a twist, and you can get involved.

It is more usual that they convene mass

rides made up of cyclists from all over the

country, gathering outside Holyrood where

they hold a rally.

They have lobbied The Scottish

Government since 2012 asking them to

spend 10% of the transport budget on

cycling and active travel, and to create

better, safer and more inclusive cycling

conditions for everyone of all ages and

abilities. POP feel that sustainable

transport is one of the solutions to

climate change.

In April POP will light up Scotland with

two simple messages: This Machine Fights

Climate Change and The Time is Now.

These messages are aimed at the policy

makers who can effect change.

With the Scottish Parliamentary Elections

and COP26 coming up this year, they feel

that it is important to do something as big

as possible, but also without drawing a

physical crowd.

The Edinburgh Reporter spoke with Iona

Shepherd, one of the organisers about how

everyone can get involved.

The campaign concentrates on light. POP

want people to project light, perhaps

through their windows at home, or onto

key local buildings. On a single day, 24

April, POP asks everyone to send out that

message using light in a variety of ways.

Iona said: “People might use reflective

tape or bike lights to make an installation.

They might send out bat signals with

theatre lights, or perhaps make a long

exposure photo with light trails.

“There is a toolkit on the POP website

with ideas to help you come up with your

own interpretation. A simple idea is to

make a shape from tissue paper and use it

to cover your windows so that it is visible

when you turn the lights on inside.”

The key message from POP is not to

gather or create anything which would

attract a crowd. But they want photos or

video of any installations which they will

collect and show on their website.

POP would also like you to write to your

local politician to ensure they get to know

your views.

press@pedalonparliament.org

pedalonparliament

Cassie Boca / Unsplash


10 NEWS

New look in New Town

Plans for city boulevard will make it calmer and “people friendly”

By PHYLLIS STEPHEN

BY 2025 GEORGE STREET will

be a wide boulevard with six and a

half metre wide adaptable paved

areas for people walking and

wheeling to enjoy. There will be

landscape seating areas offering a

calm restful space, and café culture

will be central in the rejuvenation

of the city centre. This is part of a

coordinated package of measures

in the Edinburgh City Centre

Transformation.

The scheme has been a long

time in planning. City Centre

councillor Karen Doran reflected

that the council has talked about

this since 2012. There have been

some speed bumps along the

way, with a year long

experimental phase with outdoor

dining areas. Those of you with

long memories may remember

the white tents outside

restaurants which were not

exactly a resounding success.

In the post-Covid era however

outdoor spaces and outdoor

dining will be much more

important, even in the Scottish

climate. So this is a plan which

appears to be happening at the

right time.

A consultation for the George

Street proposal will run

throughout March on the council

website. This is stage two of a

six-step process which includes

enough time for the possibility of

a public hearing.

The concept design is an

A more relaxed approach

for George Street

amazing transformation of a street

which Transport Convener Cllr

Lesley Macinnes describes as a “car

park”. The only traffic permitted

will be blue badge holders, and at

set times delivery vehicles.

The Transport and Environment

Committee will examine the

concept plans in April, taking into

account any comments from the

public on the consultation.

More images and videos are on

The Edinburgh Reporter website

Site of former Cockenzie

Power Station

360 Centre proposed

for Cockenzie site

SCOTLAND'S OWN Eden Project, potentially

attracting thousands of visitors, could be

created at the former Cockenzie Power

Station site as part of a bid to deliver the

country’s first climate change centre.

But East Lothian Council officers warned that

going ahead without government guidance

could be “an abortive use of scarce resources”.

The 360 Centre proposal was considered by

councillors as part of a report on progress on

the site of the former power station, which is

owned by the council.

Plans are at an early stage for what is

described as a “green education centre”,

bringing together the county’s fishing and

mining heritage, alongside art installations

and cutting-edge technology.

A call for the council to push forward

with investigations into creating a port at

the site were dealt a blow as officers branded

it premature.

The local authority has produced feasibility

studies on a cruise terminal/port at Cockenzie

and held several meetings with Scottish

Government officials.

However, officers warn that any

commitment towards the port proposals

has not been forthcoming from The

Scottish Government.

By Marie Sharp, Local Democracy Reporter

Thomas Nugent

Remembering baby Craig Millar

Two decades on the police investigation is still seeking new evidence

Vitamin D for free

MORE THAN 40% of people on the

Coronavirus shielding list took up the offer of

a free supply of vitamin D supplies.

Public Health Minister, Mairi Gougeon, said:

“Vitamin D is essential for good bone and

muscle health and that is why, to support the

health and wellbeing of those on the shielding

list we gave them the opportunity, in October

last year, to receive a free four-month supply.

“I am pleased to see such a strong level of

uptake and would encourage everyone,

whether you are on the shielding list or not, to

continue following current public health

advice on vitamin D supplements, to maintain

bone and muscle health. Everyone, including

children, should consider a daily supplement

of 10 micrograms of vitamin D, particularly

during the winter. It is recommended that

groups at higher risk of deficiency take a daily

supplement all year round.”

By JOHN HISLOP

TWENTY YEARS ago this month, a former

soldier walking his dog at the rear of

Harewood Crescent in Craigmillar, discovered

the naked and burned body of a young child,

amongst discarded litter.

The baby had a shock of dark hair and was

lying on his side near to a Mickey Mouse

babygro and a petrol can, with fists drawn

up towards his chest.

The postmortem examination results

were inconclusive, although officers confirmed

that baby had been alive for at least a couple

of days.

At the time more than 30 officers set up a

confidential phoneline, spoke to about 1,000

people, took 300 statements and delivered

1,000 letters to the local community appealing

for information. Despite extensive inquiries

and massive media attention no one ever came

forward to claim the child and the parents

remain unidentified.

Members of the local community chose the

name Craig Millar and raised funds to

Memorial to baby

Craig

purchase a headstone and flowers for the

burial of the infant.

More than 400 people attended Richmond

Craigmillar Church for the funeral which was

conducted by minister, Reverend Liz

Henderson, along with Father Francis of St

Theresa's Roman Catholic Church, and baby

Craig was laid to rest in a tiny white coffin

surrounded by floral tributes and cuddly toys.

A local funeral director, who wanted to

remain anonymous, donated a large four-sided

granite obelisk to mark the spot where Craig

was found.

In 2019, the stone was removed and stored

safely to allow work to begin on the site for the

new Castlebrae High School. It is planned that

a memorial garden will be constructed in

partnership with the school and the local

community, allowing for reflection at the spot

where the obelisk stood.

Detective Chief Inspector Suzanne Chow

said: "Craig's death was investigated by

Lothian and Borders Police, prior to the

creation of Police Scotland. His death and the

circumstances surrounding it were subject to

extensive investigation.

“This investigation remains open and,

should we receive any new evidence, further

enquiries will be carried out. If you have

information which could be relevant, no

matter how small it may seem, please call 101

and help us get closure for all those affected by

this tragedy."


11

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0131 639 9123 • artcraftcollective.co.uk

The latest independent Scottish Craft Beer is now

available to order online for home delivery and is

hitting the shelves in selected local retailers. The

range includes Cold Town, Tropical NEIPA and

Pornstar Martini Ales in handy 330ml cans.

www.coldtownbeer.com

Flat to rent West Ferryfield Rent £925 pcm.

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.

flat2rentedinburgh@gmail.com

Trading in Edinburgh since 1981 Paper Tiger

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and illustrators. Everything in the shop is also

available online or for local bike delivery.

papertiger.co.uk

FRANK BOYLE ART

INDEPENDENT WINE COMPANY

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boylecartoon@gmail.com

frankboyleart.bigcartel.com

A specialist importer of boutique fine wines

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Their cinnamon rolls and scones are legend.

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204 Rose Street EH2 4AZ • Tel 0787 909 614

This is a convenient and eco-friendly alternative

to supermarkets. Working in partnership 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.

schop.co


12 FEATURE

At close Quarters...

St James shapes up

Stephen Rafferty casts an eye over the

latest addition to Edinburgh’s cityscape

which offers its own distinctive flourish

The clutch of nine tower cranes - topped with

red warning lights - have stood sentry-like

for more than three years, a highly visible

sign that something new and exciting is

emerging on the site of the dilapidated and

unloved St James Centre.

Now as the £1 billion St James Quarter nears completion

and these lanky landmarks are dismantled, Edinburgh

residents are eagerly waiting to see first-hand how this

retail, leisure and residential project will impact on our

ancient European capital.

The construction stats are impressive. At the behest of

developer Nuveen, Laing O’Rourke have excavated

350,000m 3 installed 11 concrete cores, 58 risers, 26,087m2

of roofing, 111,000m 2 of metal decking, while more than

38,000 lifted pieces of structural steel, 52,000m2 of

blockwork and 13,500m 2 of granite flooring has been

put in place in a scheme which will include 22 escalators

and 49 lifts.

Described as Edinburgh’s largest development in a

generation and predicted to contribute more than £260

million annually to the city economy, the 1.7 million sq ft

masterplan comprises of 850,000 sq ft of retail space, a

multi-screen Everyman Cinema, 30 restaurants, cafés and

bars, and it will remain the home of Top-of-the-Walk

evergreen department store John Lewis.

SCOTLAND’S LARGEST FOODHALL

Developers Native Land are building 152 luxury

apartments and nine new public squares and awkwardly,

given the city’s move towards cutting traffic and emissions,

1,600 parking spaces.

The project’s PR machine spews out new “signings”

on an almost monthly basis, driving home the message

that Edinburgh’s retail offering is moving up to sixth gear

in what will be a welcome boost to the city after the

commercial carnage of Covid-19.

The alphabet soup list of High Street names which may

threaten Glasgow’s dominance as Scotland’s fashion

shopping mecca, includes Kurt Geiger, Carvela, Hilfiger,

Calvin Klein, Dune, & Other Stories, Mango, Zara,

Bershka, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius, Russell & Bromley,

Miele, Next, Pandora, Hotel Chocolat and H&M to date,

but no doubt more will be added.

And when you have shopped until you drop, stay

standing because even fashionistas need fed and watered

and there will be no shortage of options. Anchoring the

food hall will be Bonnie & Wild demonstrating “the very

best of Scottish produce and hospitality, while also

delivering a uniquely theatrical experience”.

Covering 16,700 sq ft, Bonnie & Wild will be the largest

food and beverage site in Scotland with five retail offerings,

eight food stalls and three expansive bars serving an array

of alcoholic and non-alcoholic craft Scottish products.

Fresh and packaged food and drink will also be available

Even fashionistas need fed and

watered and there will be no

shortage of options

Artist’s impression of how the

£1 billion development will look

from a variety of artisan butchers, fishmongers, grocers,

cheesemongers, chocolatiers and bakeries.

Staying with food - if you have room – Bross Bagels and

Glaswegian interloper Salerno Pizza will open their

individualised food outlets alongside @Pizza, Five Guys

and The Alchemist. Dining wise, the hottest ticket in the

Quarter is sure to be the internationally acclaimed

SushiSamba restaurant group, which will occupy the

rooftop of the W Edinburgh hotel. The restaurant will serve

up a blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine,

culture, music and design from the main dining room

which has unparalleled views over the city skyline,

alongside a vibrant bar and lounge, chef ’s table, and

outdoor terraces.


13

W Hotel’s

crowning glory

Martin P McAdam

Whimsical hotel

fails to aspire!

Without doubt the most controversial aspect of the

project is Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ first foray into

Scotland and the centrepiece 12-storey W Edinburgh.

While the marketing gurus would have you believe the

building’s exterior of “free-flowing spiral ribbons”

reflects Edinburgh’s festival spirit, some locals take a

more pedestrian view that this striking edition to the

Nine tower cranes were

on site for three years

The hottest ticket in

the Quarter is sure to

be the internationally

acclaimed SushiSamba

restaurant

city skyline more resembles a “golden turd”.

Scatological humour aside, W Edinburgh are confident

the hotel will redefine the city’s hospitality landscape and

pledge that the brand’s Whatever/Whenever service

philosophy will deliver whatever guests want, whenever

they want it.

With 214 stylish bedrooms, including 20 suites and one

Extreme Wow Suite (their interpretation of a Presidential

Suite), the 75 room luxury aparthotel brand Roomzzz, a

destination rooftop bar and outdoor terrace with

360-degree views, a spa, gym and event space, there is little

doubt that the hotel and the St James Quarter combination

will add some much needed wow to Edinburgh as it

recovers from the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

RAB BENNETTS, OBE, founded the

architectural practice Bennetts

Associates in 1987. Recent projects

include the Bayes Centre and Futures

Institute for the University of

Edinburgh. He chairs a working

group that is promoting a publicly

accessible architecture and

environment centre in Edinburgh.

“When the St James Centre was

completed in the early 1970s it felt

like a permanent stain on

Edinburgh’s skyline, but the brutalist

complex only lasted 40-odd years

before it was demolished, vacant and

unloved. The new St James Quarter

repairs much of the 20th century

damage but this latest iteration can’t

resist adding to the skyline too,

acquiring the unfortunate nickname

“Golden Turd” along the way.

“Putting aside the skyline, an

elegant crescent forms the basis of a

masterplan that should ensure a far

better retail environment than

before and the mixture of other uses

should avoid the monocultural feel

of most shopping centres.

“It must have been fiendishly

difficult building around the John

Lewis store, but the cliff-like view

up Leith Walk doesn’t appear to

have changed much as a result,

such is the combination of bulk

and topography. If only there

was room for another

building to mitigate the

change in scale!

Perhaps Abercrombie’s

post-war plan for an

opera house facing “the

Top of the Walk” was not

such a bad idea after all.

Leith Street also feels little

changed since 1960s road

planning turned this most

engaging of streets into a

canyon, but the car park

bridge has gone,

Rab

Bennetts

the pavements seem wider and

some additional shops will add some

precious activity.

“Even in its original 18th century

form, the area felt like the backlands

to the first New Town, so the

compositional idea of placing a

prominent building at the heart of

the new development makes some

sense, as it strikes up a formal visual

connection with James Craig’s

George Street axis.

“Early perspectives showed a

simple cylindrical building which,

with a cool hand, could have been

fine, but this W Hotel seems to have

morphed into a cry for attention,

with a bulbous shape and shiny

cladding “crafted from a winding

steel ribbon” to quote the architects.

I’ve got nothing against spires or

landmarks on the skyline in principle,

but they need an elegant silhouette

and convincing symbolism rather

than whimsy. By comparison, the

sculpted rooftop feature at the

National Museum of Scotland has a

sense of purpose and gravitas.

“There is something of the

fairground about the hotel’s skyline at

St James Quarter, a sense that it might

be moving on soon. I wonder if it will

still be there in 40-odd years’ time?”


14 BUSINESS

State of

the art

Collaborative Cassandra Harrison

finds benefit in the art of sharing

Edinburgh-based artist Cassandra

Harrison has painted a whole

new business landscape using

online learning and technology

to collaborate with other artists

and business owners.

Working with like-minded artists, Nebraska

born Cassandra is focusing on promoting

online classes to encourage budding artists

of all ages.

She ended up in the UK as a result of meeting

a Brit on holiday and having just finished art

school and armed with a teaching degree she

made the transatlantic switch, eventually

settling in Edinburgh.

With access to wild countryside, mountains

and the sea on her doorstep, Cassandra finds

“pretty Edinburgh” is full of all sorts of

inspiration that she found lacking in Nebraska.

Claire Doyle has a background in fine arts

and art education and her 3Theatre company

takes a new approach to theatre education,

aiming to build confidence and positive mental

health practice through the arts. It seemed like

the ideal collaboration and using Zoom, Claire

served up a session of dancing, singing and

acting, while Cassandra taught about art to the

Cassandra

Harrison

children taking part. “It was like a big party, and

we even sent recipes for cookies to bake and eat

during the two hour call,” she said.

Cassandra was also aware of the work of The

Edinburgh Sketcher, Mark Kirkham, through

the business networking group Love Your

Business, run by Michelle Brown. “I was

working with Michelle through Business

Gateway and during an advisor session she

helped by identifying potential collaborations.

“To be honest I am a little tired of working by

myself and it is a bit isolating to always have to

come up with ideas. Then there was lockdown

and I am home schooling my seven-year-old

some of the time.

“I realised that I draw a lot of Edinburgh and

when the weather is nice you can get out with a

sketchpad and draw. I had been following Mark

on social media for some time and so I asked if

he would like to get together.

“We had a number of Zoom sessions several

Thursdays in a row which were so well attended.

It was just such an easy relationship to work

with Mark in these sessions and working with

him has been really enjoyable.

“After as short break we did some more

online classes using charcoal, paints and

different pens and pencils and we then invited

guests to join us.

“One guest was comedian Jo Caulfield and

she was such fun – I was so starstruck. Jo

suggested three buildings we could talk about

and Mark led us through drawing them while Jo

talked about her love of each of the buildings.”

Classes are targeted at adults but often

families also join in, with each session planned

so that one is teaching while the other

collaborator is supervising the Zoom chat

function.

Cassandra added: “From September to

December we hosted all sorts of guests and the

classes focussed on all sorts of things, from

rooftops, plaques on special buildings and

different aspects of the properties. We have

taken a break for the moment but classes will

soon resume.”

As for Cassandra’s own art, she has received

and completed a number of commissions of

places in and around Edinburgh.

She said: “Recently, I was commissioned to

draw Abbey Strand, down by the Palace of

Holyroodhouse and I was also commissioned to

create a digital artwork from the top of

Bruntsfield looking to Edinburgh Castle, with

Barclay Church in the panoramic view.”

For more information: www.cassandraharrison.

co.uk • www.figurethreetheatre.com

www.edinburghsketcher.com

Homing in on the property market bottleneck

Free Home Reports and 3D virtual tours can get things moving says Aberdein Considine

THERE’S NO DOUBT the last ten

months or so have been a tough

period for pretty much the whole

population, with all of us having to

adhere to a new way of living our lives.

Whether that’s working from home,

mandatory wearing of face coverings

or limited social gatherings, every part

of society has been affected.

Only now, following severe

restrictions on movement and the

roll-out of the vaccination programme,

are we beginning to see some light at

the end of the tunnel.

It has been an extraordinary year

for the residential property market.

Moving from virtual closure, the

market in Edinburgh and across

Scotland enjoyed what can only

be described as an astonishing period

of activity, a mini boom - volumes

which many seasoned property

experts have rarely, if ever,

seen before.

It’s fair to say that Edinburgh has for

many years been a property hotbed

and even when economic

circumstances are at their most

challenging, such as the financial crisis,

the city’s property market seemed to

be fairly well insulated from the storm.

Much of this positivity has of course

also found its way to other parts of

Lothian, with Mid, East and West all

enjoying some reflected glory.

The summer and autumn months

saw near record levels of transactions

with demand and interest soaring,

however, we appear to have hit

somewhat of a roadblock in recent

weeks, with the market slowing

considerably.

In short, there is a lack of property

stock on the market, particularly

homes where people are looking for

more internal room for working, and

outside space.

Given the lack of stock to buy,

potential buyers are reluctant to place

their own homes on the market - in

short, we have entered a vicious

circle which is creating a bottleneck

in the system.

One other factor creating a drag on

the market is the perception that, like

many other business areas, the market

is closed - in fact it is very much open

for business.

We know that demand is there – a

30% year-on-year increase in viewings

in Edinburgh provides a valuable

insight into what is happening on the

ground. The question is, how do we

unblock the blockage?

One initiative which gave the

market a critical lift back in the

summer was Aberdein

Considine’s launch of virtual

property tours - new

technology to help buyers

to view homes in detail

without having to visit the

property. The firm’s

cameras can scan

every inch of

a room in

just a few seconds, creating a 3D

simulation that viewers can walk

through using a phone, tablet or

computer.

This allows prospective buyers

and sellers to ensure that all safety

protocols are maintained, and our

records show this is continuing to be

a very welcome innovation, with over

227,000 viewings since they were

introduced in July.

However, more is being done and

the firm has also introduced free

Home Reports, saving sellers

potentially hundreds of pounds

when they come to start marketing

their property.

But why wait? The market

is open, and demand is there.

So if anyone is looking to

move, now could well be

the ideal time to dip your toe

in the water.

Jordan MacKay,

branch manager,

Aberdein Considine,

Edinburgh


15

Full of flavour

Murray

Thomson

Tour company boss connects with customers but waits for take off

Lorne Blyth

A flavour of Italy

Lorne Blyth runs Flavours

Holidays in Stockbridge, a £3

million travel company which

also has teams abroad in places

like Italy. At this time of year

she would be busy planning

hundreds of bookings and while she is unable

to organise trips abroad in the immediate

future, her business is benefitting from greater

collaboration.

Flavours is providing online classes to stay

connected with both staff and guests,

regardless of location. There are about 70

monthly classes to choose from including

cookery, mindfulness, art and painting, and

wine tasting. Although Flavours was able to

run some trips last autumn under Covid

conditions, and while people are still keen to

book trips for this year, there remain doubts

about when operations will return to normal.

Lorne said: “I still have a team of staff here in

Edinburgh and classes are a way of keeping

everybody busy and positive. We have focused

on the creative, cooking and food, and

wellness, and that is how we connected with

TV presenter, Amanda Hamilton.

“Amanda is a nutritionist and she is a

specialist on eating well and healthily. We

have chosen a different theme every month

and the collaboration with her has been great.

“For example, we ran a really interesting

session on sleep and how to get a good night’s

rest. That may seem pretty obvious but

Amanda had some good practical tips. We are

doing a session on energy and eating the right

foods which give you energy, rather than take

it away.

“Amanda leads the talk for about an hour

offering some good practical advice and the

guests receive a written handout. It is

something to encourage people to think about

looking after themselves.

“We have also got together with wine

expert Nikki Welch. She is author of the Wine

Tube Map and we have a lovely monthly wine

social with around 40 people online at any one

time. With breakout rooms people really do

get the social aspect of the event. We supply

everyone with a list of accessible reds and

whites that you can find in your local

supermarket. And people can buy what they

want and just turn up online.

“Many of our clients live outwith Scotland

so we found the supermarket route was a

better way to get everybody involved.

“It is all about keeping people busy.”

Amanda Murray

Hamilton Thomson

Prep for positive

times to come

MURRAY THOMSON has been appointed as

new general manager at Dalmahoy Hotel &

Country Club.

He has three decades of experience in the

hospitality industry with experience at The

Balmoral and the Blythswood Square in Glasgow,

as well as Cameron House and Glasgow's Grand

Central Hotel. As soon as The Scottish

Government gives the go-ahead Dalmahoy will

make preparations for reopening the 208 room

and seven suite resort.

Dalmahoy has a fine dining venue Pentland

Restaurant, The Brasserie and James Braid Bar,

afternoon tea lounge and Golf & Leisure Club.

Murray will be in charge of daily operations of all

parts of the re-sort ensuring a safe environment

for guests and staff.

Murray began his hotel career as a linen porter

and has worked his way up through the ranks. He

is now Chair of HIT Scotland's annual dinner and

was joint chair of the Greater Glasgow Hoteliers

Association.

He said: "It’s an absolute privilege to be taking

the helm of this flagship Scottish hotel at such a

defining point in our collective history.

“We have a great team here at Dalmahoy so

the immediate focus will be on reopening our

doors and welcoming guests back in the

hopefully not-too-distant future. I then hope to

embark on a journey that will set the hotel up for

more positive times to come.

“Although it’s an incredibly tough road ahead

for our entire sector and for every brilliant

individual that is part of hospitality in Scotland,

the reason we exist is to help create joy and

memories in people’s lives. We haven’t been able

to do that in the same way as we did before,

however we will go out of our way to create good

times ahead, of course within the parameters set

out to us. I spend most of my day with people

creating happiness both for guests and my team

and this is even more important in the times we

currently find ourselves in.

“I spent my childhood just down the road from

Dalmahoy in Mid Calder so I grew up with this

hotel on my doorstep. My wife and I were

members of the Leisure Club when we were

newly married and I’ve been to weddings and

Hogmanay celebrations at the hotel so it’s a

destination I’m familiar with as a guest – I’m

looking forward to getting to know the resort as

its general manager.”


16 MOTHER’S DAY

CROSSWORD

Compiled by David Albury

Mamma mia...raise your

glasses for Mother’s Day

WE SHOULDN’T need a reason to raise a glass to our

mothers but Independent Wine are asking us to do just

that in a Mother’s Day celebration with a difference.

The Edinburgh-based supplier of Italian wines

believes its inaugural online tasting event is an ideal

gift for La Festa della Mamma – it sounds so much

better in Italian.

As one of the UK's leading specialists in boutique

Italian wine, Independent Wine's tasting events are

geared towards discerning wine lovers who already

know a little and want to learn more.

Unlike other popular virtual tasting events, the focus

is firmly on fine wine. Each tasting pack includes three

full-size (750ml) bottles of award-winning wine from

Italy, rather than small sample-size bottles of varying

quality, and the ticket also includes access to a private

Zoom call.

Lasting for a minimum of one hour, each session is

built around a guided tasting with guests encouraged to

sip along and discuss the nuances of the wine.

During the event, the expert host – who has

qualifications from the Wine and Spirit Education

Trust (WSET) – will give an in-depth discussion about

the wine region and grapes.

Independent Wine has a number of online tasting

events planned and each will focus on a different region,

grape or style of wine so there's always something new

to learn about.

The first two sessions are taking place just before

Mother's Day weekend on 11 and 12 March and focus on

red wines from Northern Italy. The first session will focus

on Pinot Noir from the Dolomites, while the second

event will be dedicated to the noble Nebbiolo wines

of Piedmont.

Tickets cost £99 per household, so you can gather

your bubble around your laptop or iPad for a fun

evening of sipping, learning and reconnecting.

For more information and to reserve a place visit

www.independent.wine

ACROSS

1 Work, stirring soup (4)

4 Ready to be plucked from pier (4)

9 Scientific notation or description of

mural (7)

10 Turf her out to a greater distance (7)

12 Hold-up involving a stocking ? (9)

13 Some covers open to the left-hand

page (5)

14 In Malta I like to follow

somebody (4)

15 Postal payment in USA made via

one more dry run (5-5)

17 Overbearing attitude of one waving

arms in the air ? (4-6)

20 Tame sort of group of players (4)

22 Perch made from roots (5)

23 Drinks I’ve mixed for underwater

swimmer (9)

25 Cool men sporting single

eye-glass (7)

26 Silliness is not responsible for

disease (7)

27 Observe a tricky situation (4)

28 Close-by in one arrangement (4)

DOWN

2 In the spa, use a short break (5)

3 Turn sad soon, over this despicable

person (2-3-2)

4 Adjudicator turns free e’er long (7)

5 Mail sent by air or via a porn

channel (3,5)

6 Compensate for printing

method (6)

7 Severe reprimand for sending

sword away (8-4)

8 Bodily protection provided

by our ram (6)

11 Horse devours unusual

appetizer (4,8)

16 Wave blown and broken with

pace of wind (8)

17 He rams into female living

quarters (6)

18 Rolling Stones I describe as being

most inquisitive (7)

19 Do tie in new version of book (7)

21 Gloomy ? Sadly more so ! (6)

24 Fourth letter dealt out (5)

ANSWERS

Across: 1 Opus, 4 Ripe, 9 Formula, 10 Further, 12 Suspender, 13 Verso, 14 Tail, 15 Money-order,

17 High-handed, 20 Team, 22 Roost, 23 Skindiver, 25 Monocle, 26 Illness, 27 Spot, 28 Near.

Down: 2 Pause, 3 So-and-so, 4 Referee, 5 Par avion, 6 Offset, 7 Dressing-down, 8 Armour, 11

Hors d’oeuvres, 16 Whitecap, 17 Harems, 18 Nosiest, 19 Edition, 21 Morose, 24 Delta.

Easter treat from Italian chef Stefano

SARDINIAN CHEF Stefano Sanna

is producing a speciality bread

which can be found in almost any

Italian bakery leading up to the

Easter week celebrations.

La Columba – which means

dove in English – is the Easter

equivalent of the Italian

Christmas favourites Pandora

or Panettone.

A sweet bread, often baked in

the shape of a dove, Columba can

be filled with chocolate chips,

candied fruit or raisins, and is

often eaten at breakfast, lunch or

dinner.

Stefano is the owner-chef of

Shardana Catering, a speciality

hospitality company which

provides executive, event and

private dining packages, but

while he waits for Covid-19

restrictions to be lifted he has

turned his hand to baking

well-known Italian products.

Stefano said: “Columba bread

can be found in every Italian town

as Easter Sunday approaches and

I thought as the Scots do like

their sweet treats that it might be

popular in my adopted country.”

Operating from a unit in Currie,

Stefano supplies a number of city

centre outlets including Victor

Hugo in Melville Drive, Di Giorgio

in Brandon Terrace and Maria’s

Kakes in Leith Walk.

He daily produces two types of

focaccia bread – cherry tomato

and rosemary – along with

arancini, a staple of Sicilian

cuisine which consists of risotto

and meat or vegetarian fillings

deep fried in breadcrumbs. Sugar

coated Italian doughnuts better

known as bombolini are another

Shardana product.

www.shardanacatering.co.uk


17

Juliet’s food diary

Mother’s Day

takes the biscuit

Freepik

WOULD YOU LIKE a useful tip, or “life hack”? If

you’d like to forever remember Mother’s Day

simply forget it once. That’ll do the trick. I have

not a dot of ink on my fake-baked Scottish skin,

but there have been times I’ve been tempted to

have a permanent reminder, however I’m not sure

“Fourth Sunday of Lent” would look particularly

fetching on my forehead.

One great miss for people observing Mothering

Sunday will be the lack of an afternoon tea. What

is afternoon tea worth to the economy during

normal times? It probably generates enough in

tax and VAT to build several new hospitals, or

something useful like that.

Personally, I’m not fussed for afternoon tea.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a cucumber sandwich,

a scone and a cake, as much as the next person

but not all at once. I suppose with the rise of

Prosecco afternoon tea there’s at least a bit of

booze thrown in, but if getting legless at 3pm was

my modus operandi, I’d sooner be in a pub with a

large G&T and a pie. There are plenty of things I

respect about my mum and the fact she’d sooner

have a litre of vodka as a pressie is one of them.

However I shall also be making one of her

favourite sweet treats, some Empire Biscuits.

Also known as Double Biscuits, these beauties

are made by sandwiching two Abernethy biscuits

with raspberry jam and topping with icing sugar

and a cherry. Invented by Dr John Abernethy in

the 18th century, the biscuits were originally a

health food to aid digestion. As alcohol’s original

purpose was probably medicinal, should mother

enjoy a Blue Lagoon Cocktail and Double Biscuit

on Mothering Sunday, she might be partaking in

a spa day of sorts after all.

Juliet Lawrence Wilson

ABERNETHY

BISCUITS

• 220g soft salted butter

• 320g plain flour

• 125g white caster sugar

• 1 medium beaten egg

• 225g icing sugar

• Raspberry jam

• Cherries

Preheat your oven to 180 O C/ gas mark 4.

Line two baking trays with non-stick

parchment. Beat together the butter and

sugar and add the egg. Mix in the flour to

create a soft dough. Roll out on a floured

surface to about ½ inch thick and cut into

4-5 inch rounds. Bake for 10-12 minutes

or until just golden. Leave to cool on the

baking sheet. Once cooled sandwich

together with jam and make your icing by

gradually adding water to the icing sugar

until a spreadable consistency has been

reached. Top each with icing with a cherry.

If you’d like to go retro, use a Jelly Tot.

On a roll with pizza

PIZZA DOUGH

(makes 3 thin 10” Pizzas)

• 400g strong bread or Italian 00 flour

(I use a mix of 350g white with 50g

wholemeal)

• 230ml of lukewarm water

• 1 sachet fast action dry yeast

• 1 teaspoon golden caster sugar or

golden syrup

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• Flour and polenta for rolling out

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Fill a jug

with 230ml of warm water the temperature

of a baby’s bath, stick your elbow in it if

you’re not sure.

Add the yeast and sugar and leave to

bloom for five minutes. Make a well in the

centre of the flour and pour in the water

and olive oil.

Mix to form a dough then knead on a

floured surface until super smooth and

elastic. Cover and leave in a warm place to

prove for one hour until doubled in size.

Knock the air out of the dough and split into

three balls for 10” Pizzas or fewer if you want

to make a larger one.

Aim for 1” less than the diameter of your

Pizza Stone. Roll each out on the floured

paddle as thin as possible and prove for

10 minutes.

If you want to make a puffier pizza, use

more dough but allow the dough to prove

for longer before topping and baking.

When you’re ready to go, put your pizza

stone into the cold oven then pre heat your

oven to 220 O C or Gas 9. Slide your pizza onto

the stone and bake for 10-15 mins. If you’re

making several pizzas, one after the other,

allow the pizza stone five minutes in

between to reheat.

SUGO

• 1 tin cherry tomatoes

• 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

• Fresh or dried oregano

• Sugar, salt and pepper

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a

pan and gently cook the garlic for a minute,

ensuring it doesn’t brown. Add the tomatoes

and oregano and simmer for five minutes

then season generously, adding a teaspoon

of sugar to taste. Blitz in a food processor.


18 WHAT’S ON

CULTURE • LITERATURE • EVENTS • MUSIC • MUSEUMS • ONLINE LEARNING...

The new

wireless

Whether you live alone or not, the beauty of the

podcast is that it can secure some “me time” for you

By PHYLLIS STEPHEN

WITH HEADPHONES and a phone, that

walk round Inverleith Park or the Botanics

becomes a new world when you transport

yourself off with a podcast. It is radio on

demand, and not as demanding on your

senses as looking at a computer screen.

Some recommendations might open the

doors to even more treasure - so if you find

something that people absolutely must

listen to then let us know and we can spread

the word in future articles.

So what is the beauty of a podcast? It

allows everyone to relax a bit, and not care

if the tech goes a bit adrift, or someone says

something they perhaps ought not to have.

It is not the time-pressured news style

interview when there is no time to say

anything except deliver the soundbite, even

if it does not answer the question, and it is

better than a short interview on any news

programme as it gets to the rough parts as

well as the smooth.

In Radio 4's Grounded with Louis

Theroux, who talks to you in such a way

that he makes you believe you are right

there with him, his guest Ruby Wax admits

to being jealous of Louis. This is a story

which takes time to tell, and is much the

better for the longer platform. Louis is

working from home and with the benefit of

Zoom and some audio recording, he

catches up with people he has always meant

to interview. Lately he spoke to Oliver

Stone, the award-winning film director, and

he admitted struggling with the technology

with comedian Frankie Boyle, who is

allowed to be himself using what is

generally known as "strong language". What

you might not have known is that Boyle is a

yoga fanatic.

Janice Forsyth, the darling of the BBC

Radio Scotland airwaves, (remember the

campaign to keep her on air?) is in charge of

a series of interviews conducted for Great

Scot! in summer 2020. These are people

who are pretty much all household names,

like Sir Billy Connolly (be prepared to laugh

out loud at this one), actors Brian Cox and

James McAvoy, and forensic anthropologist,

Professor Dame Sue Black, as well as my

own favourite Alan Cumming.

Cumming is the co-host of Homo

Sapiens with Christopher Sweeney which

they describe as the Woman's Hour for an

LGBTQ+ audience. A favourite with

listeners is when they record an extra

episode reading out emails from people

seeking help and advice. Lately they have

wondered if love at first sight exists and

have spoken with the likes of singers

Melanie C and Debbie Harry. Recorded in

lockdown with Alan on one side of the

Atlantic and Chris on the other there is a

new episode every Thursday.

Another Scot, David Tennant, has

recorded two seasons of David Tennant

Does a Podcast With... and there are some

big name guests such as Dame Judi Dench,

Olivia Colman, Whoopi Goldberg, Neil

Gaiman and Billie Piper. There is a very

interesting hour or so with former Prime

Minister, Gordon Brown, on what it was

like to run a country, and with Sir Ian

McKellen in a bit of a sweary episode with a

flavour of that wonderful deep voice.

The BBC's most popular podcast of last

year is Radio 5 Live's That Peter Crouch

Podcast which is now in its fifth series.

There are new episodes released weekly.

The podcasts started on 17 February but

you can always listen again. The fourth

It’s a great bit of escapism for me and hopefully

the nation too, as we come back stronger and

continue through the pandemic together

series ended with Peter and his podcast

team at Buckingham Palace with Prince

William. The new episodes will cover

football and some will welcome a high

profile guest from the world of football.

There are other mini-episodes only

available on BBC Sounds. Peter Crouch

said: "This series, we'll be focusing on the

fundamentals of football - and we all know

there'll be some magnificently strange twists

along the way too.

"I can't wait to get recording again with

Chris and Tom. It's a great bit of escapism

for me and hopefully the nation too, as we

come back stronger and continue through

the pandemic together."

If all things American intrigue you then

you might do worse than have a listen to the

former First Lady. Not that one. Michelle

Obama has her own podcast which ran for

a short series last year. She has deep

conversations with her husband and

members of her family, including her

mother. The Obamas talk about their own

love story and the challenges of their

relationship, which led to counselling which

Michelle openly talked about with Oprah

Winfrey on another occasion. Interestingly

there are full transcripts of the

conversations which is not something that

usually happens. A lot of work has gone into

making this as accessible as possible.

Listen to our interviews on anchor.fm

Ballads and blethers with Barbara Dickson

JOIN SINGER Barbara Dickson on

YouTube for her first concert, Ballads

& Blether, on 20 March at 7pm.

This is a one night only

opportunity to listen to the award

winning artist. Born in Dunfermline,

but now living in Edinburgh, she

began as a folk singer alongside the

likes of Billy Connolly, Gerry Rafferty

and Rab Noakes.

With hits such as Another Suitcase

in Another Hall and Caravan under

her belt, Ms Dickson is one of the

most enduring singers and was

recognised with an OBE in 2002. She

retains the accolade as Scotland's

best-selling female album artist and

has acted in many productions,

including Willy Russell's Blood

Brothers, as well as several TV dramas.

You can pre-order the CD and DVD

of the show, which is being recorded

at Oran Mor, Glasgow.

www.barbaradickson.net

Traverse online concerts

SOUNDHOUSE HAVE announced

a series of online concerts filmed

at the Traverse Theatre. The

five-camera broadcast quality set

up is sure to complement the

professional multitrack sound,

bringing the thrill of a live concert

into your home.

The team behind Tradfest have

invited established and emerging

acts from traditional folk, jazz and

Americana music. The artists range

from Boys of the Lough founder

Cathal McConnell, fiddler-violinist

Kathryn Nicoll and harpist Karen

Marshalay, to Trio Magico who are

celebrating the music of Brazilian

musician composer Egberto

Gismonti.

There are weekly concerts in March

and April culminating in Mr McFall’s

Chamber on 26 April. soundhouse.

org.uk


19

Book related online events...

Girl with a

Poke of Chips,

Joan Eardley

Joan Eardley | Centenary

4 MARCH

Chris Brookmyre, The Cut

To celebrate the release of Brookmyre’s new

hardback enjoy an evening with one of Tartan

Noir’s leading authors at the Portobello

Bookshop. There are new characters to meet in

this tale featuring a make-up artist whose

talent is to create scenes of bloody violence.

4 MARCH

Robbie Morrison, Edge of the Grave

Edinburgh Bookshop invites you to celebrate

the launch of Robbie Morrison’s debut

historical crime novel Edge of the Grave.

Morrison will be in conversation with fellow

historical crime writer David Bishop.

10 MARCH

Donald S Murray, In a Veil of Mist

Donald S Murray talking about his second

novel In a Veil of Mist with author Chris Dolan

and Wee Three Indies at this Edinburgh

Bookshop event.

15 MARCH

Alexander McCall Smith, Your Inner Hedgehog

Alexander McCall Smith launches Your Inner

Hedgehog at the Edinburgh Bookshop event.

Expect lots of professorial giggling.

16 MARCH

Francis Spufford, Light Perpetual

Francis Spufford joins Topping & Co to

celebrate the publication of Light Perpetual.

November 1944. A German rocket strikes

London, and five young lives are atomised in

an instant. November 1944. That rocket never

lands. A single second in time is altered, and

five young lives go on – to experience all the

unimaginable changes of the twentieth

century. Because maybe there are always other

futures. Other chances.

19 MARCH

Sara Jaffe, Dryland

Lighthouse Books invite you to a night with

Sara Jaffe, author of the new UK publishing of

Dryland, a coming of age story set in 1992

during the Balkan Wars and against the HIV/

AIDS epidemic.

26 MARCH

Peter May, Night Gate

One of the great contemporary crime fiction

writers, Peter May, will join Topping & Co to talk

about his latest work Night Gate. set in a sleepy

French village.

Readers can follow all of these online events via

bookshops’ individual websites.

By PHYLLIS STEPHEN

THE SCOTTISH Gallery in Dundas Street will

mark the centenary of artist Joan Eardley's

birth in partnership with Edinburgh’s

Dovecot Studios, who will create a new

tapestry commission in her honour.

Sadly the artist, who was born in England

but came to live in Bearsden with her family,

died young, but her lifetime's work makes

her one of the country's greatest talents. The

family moved to Glasgow so that Eardley

could attend Glasgow School of Art. The

streets and children of the city’s Townhead

area, and her spiritual home at Catterline on

the Kincardineshire coast, will all feature and

the exhibition will include the pastels and

drawings for which she is known.

Eardley was intensely shy but was a driven,

passionate artist and it is clear from speaking

with Christina Jansen, Director of The

Scottish Gallery, that she is also passionate

about Eardley and her work.

Christina explained: "Joan Eardley is too

important to not do anything for and she's

too interesting to too many people. She still

hasn't received a major exhibition at the

Tate in London, which is something that we

would love to see. And you know, she is just

an astonishing talent.

“It is disappointing that Glasgow is not

hosting something major on her work. That

was her hometown and she attended

Glasgow School of Art. I don't know when

Glasgow will start to represent women

artists, but they could have started with

Joan Eardley.”

A commissioned tapestry will be created

Joan Eardley

at Dovecot over six months and will be

unveiled alongside the summer exhibition.

During the making there will be a webcam

set up on the studio’s website where people

can check its progress. The tapestry will

interpret Eardley's painting July Fields,

1959, from the City Art Centre collection,

and will be woven haute-lisse using a

high-warp loom.

A catalogue with illustrations of the works

featured, along with originally commissioned

writing and a foreword from Eardley’s niece

Anne Morrison-Hudson, will be available.

Joan Eardley | Centenary - 28 July to 29 August.

The Scottish Gallery, 16 Dundas Street, EH3 6HZ

www.scottish-gallery.co.uk

Caley Station,

Edwin G Lucas

City Art Centre, Market Street

THE CITY ART Centre curator Margaret Findlay has created a new digital exhibition

called Edinburgh: Our City - featuring 22 works from the City’s Collection of Scottish art.

The works have been personally chosen by the Centre’s front-of-house team and by

Lost Edinburgh’s David McLean.

Audiences can explore the city through some of the most celebrated artists such as

John Wilson Ewbank, Edwin George Lucas, William Crozier, Maggie Milne, and

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham.

The aim is to give you the chance to explore landmark moments in history and places in

the city by looking into the depths of the city’s art collection. From monarch George IV

to The Diggers pub, there is a wide selection to entertain you.

You can see the full selection on artuk.org

Margaret

Findlay

Creech’s Bookshop,

William Fettes Douglas


20 THE ARTS

Beams app puts

capital in spotlight

Martin McAdam

Newest storytelling tool shines a light on Edinburgh

BEAMS IS A NEW fun way to share audio-visual

stories on your interest with a user-friendly new

app, connecting with other people and without

being ranked by the number of followers or likes.

Beams is aimed at providing a platform where

people can share more freely than some other

forms of social media.

This app is a bit like being at a party and

connecting with new and interesting people

through hobbies and interests. Users create a

post with an image, caption and voice note and

add it to their beam, then do it again.

You can create a beam on any topic - The

Edinburgh Reporter has one about Ghost Signs

using some of the photos we have taken. Audio

has recently been introduced to Beams, and

soon it will offer collaborative beams.

Edinburgh-based Michael MacLeod is one of

the app’s community managers and well-known

in the capital, as he was the Edinburgh

Beatblogger until The Guardian ended its

experiment in local journalism in 2011. Since

then he has had a whirlwind tour of London

with Vogue.

His role is to find new users and help them to

experiment with Beams and with a background

in newspapers and a coding course at CodeClan

under his belt, Michael is certainly tech-savvy.

He said: “I am really happy in this job helping

to share people’s stories. I get to meet lots of

users online. This app is for people of all ages

who have something to say and now that we

have added audio to every post, the whole

environment has come to life. It is completely

international with some Beams about lockdown

in different parts of the world.

“The app is a baby of the pandemic and

lockdown. People stuck at home are also looking

for ways to collaborate or share more, but not

wanting to do it on their own social media feeds.

The next thing will be that people can

collaborate on joint lists - things like a book club

list might work quite well.

“We are listening to what all the users say

to us about using it.”

www.onbeams.com

Edinburgh Sketcher

Princes Street Gardens in the snow

WASN'T EDINBURGH

beautiful in the snow? The

Edinburgh Sketcher caught

Princes Street Gardens

looking stunning in January,

and for once without the

Christmas fair and markets.

Harking back to a simpler

time, this scene may not be

repeated once lock down

restrictions are lifted.

The original measures 295 x

210mm and is available from

Mark for £145. Email contact@

edinburghsketcher.com

for more information.

Signed prints can be bought

from just £20 each from the

link below.

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/

EdinburghSketcher

Kidnapped statue is a

suburban treasure island

ONE OF THE most prolific contributors to

the Edinburgh cityscape is the brilliant

sculptor Alexander Stoddart (1959- ).

His style is neoclassical, and his bronze

statues have exquisite detail, unlike the

modern smooth polished art that makes

him contemplate reaching for “a glass of

whisky and a revolver”.

His sculptures in the city include Hume

and Smith on the High Street, James Clerk

Maxwell on George Street and Playfair

outside the National Museum of Scotland.

One of my favourites is a monument to the

novelist Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-

1894). The statue is located near the former

Scottish & Newcastle offices in a small

enclave on Corstorphine Road near the

junction with Ellersly Road.

The bronze statue depicts the two

principal characters from Stevenson’s novel

Kidnapped, Alan Breck and the 17-year-old

David Balfour. Breck is based on the real

Scottish soldier and Jacobite, Alan Breck

Stewart, who was tried in absentia for the

assassination of the Crown rent collector,

Colin Roy Campbell of Glenure, in 1752.

David Balfour (Balfour was Stevenson’s

mother’s maiden name) on the other hand

is the naïve lad making his way in the

world, outsmarted by his uncle, and

simultaneously in awe and afraid of the

Highlanders.

Through his relationship with Breck,

Balfour matures and hardens. He begins to

respect the Highlanders and their way of

life. He emerges heroic and competent,

outwitting his devious uncle and claiming

his rightful inheritance.

As we expect with Stoddart, the

monument is exquisitely detailed. The

engraving on Breck’s pistol and Balfour’s

claymore are clearly visible as is the

braiding on their jackets. The clothing

flutters as if the characters have just

emerged from wardrobe on the set of a

Hollywood period drama.

On the pedestal we see in bronze bas

relief the head of Stevenson with the

simple inscription “1850 Robert Lovis

1894 Stevenson”.

A bronze plaque to the right of the

statue states: “This memorial to Robert

Louis Stevenson depicts two characters

from Kidnapped, Alan Breck Stewart and

David Balfour, who famously parted near

this spot. The statue, unveiled by Sir Sean

Connery, was made by Alexander Stoddart

with the support of Scottish and Newcastle

plc. September 2004”.

Words and Photo MARTIN P MCADAM



22 SPORT

Hearts fans

to remain

Glencorse Reservoir

Dave Souza

Freepick

seated

Stadiums are still

off-limits for

supporters

By DUNCAN ROBERTSON

WE ARE IN A world that none of us could have

imagined this time last year and, whilst the light

at the end of the tunnel appears to be getting

brighter, it still looks likely that no mass

spectator events are around the corner.

This of course means no crowds at football

games. Since March 2020, many thousands have

suffered from missing week-in week-out

competitive football, the escape that offers, and

the ritual of going to watch your side.

But what have been the implications of no

crowds? It is evident that the beautiful game is

simply just not the same. Atmospheres feel

peculiarly sterile and diluted from afar, with the

enjoyment subsequently watered down too.

Ironically, many of us are watching more

football now than ever – whether that is thanks

to the loosening of broadcast rights to show

3pm Saturday kick-offs down south or, most

likely, via the rapid increase in all clubs offering

their own match stream.

Leaving aside the politics of paying for

feeds from clubs deemed to have wronged

Hearts over the summer, every minute of

the Jambos’ season is now able to be pored

over and analysed.

One side note is, once we enter the “new

normal”, will this streaming infrastructure

persist? With the initial investment costs now

sunk by the clubs, making games accessible to

those not wishing to travel may be a welcome

ongoing revenue stream.

Going back to the enforced virtual terracing,

watching in the perceived comfort of your own

home, however, does not lead to the shared

experience of spectating as a group of 15,000

inside Tynecastle, or as a hardy body of away

fans at Pittodrie, Easter Road or Ibrox. There’s

no ripple of applause recognising a decent pass,

the intake of breath at a sharp tackle or, of

course, the sheer elation when the ball hits the

net. Most notably, there’s no means to

demonstrate unbridled joy at a derby goal, or

the sheer disdain at another dismal home

performance – no singing, no chanting.

We’re now reduced to online “debate” and, in

the era of social media most of this is pretty

dicey when it comes to meaningful thinking.

One major uptick, however, has been the

increased prolificacy of Hearts podcasts all

offering amusement, analysis and, frankly, some

decent weekly company in which to think about

our beloved club.

With clubs across the land getting set to

roll-out their annual season ticket renewal

campaigns, what sales can they expect?

Expensive subscriptions to Hearts TV are not

exactly top of everyone’s list, but with the

emotional pull of possibly seeing in the flesh

Heart of Midlothian back in the Premiership, it

may be a temptation too big for most fans.

Glencorse Reservoir

waits for opening

green light

GLENCORSE RESERVOIR owner Bill

Taylor is waiting patiently to hear when

Scottish Government rules will be relaxed

sufficiently to allow his popular fishery

in the Pentland Hills above Flotterstone

to reopen.

He is in receipt of the up-to-date rules

which acknowledge the importance for

physical and mental well-being derived

from outdoor exercise.

Angling is currently permitted provided

this is within a single household group,

or the group contains no more than two

people from two different households.

Children under the age of 12 from

these households do not count towards

this number.

You can travel for local outdoor sport or

exercise but anglers are requested to stay

within their local authority or no more

than five miles from the boundary of

that authority.

Taylor said Glencorse is a boat-only

facility with no bank fishing. Gatherings

for fishing competitions, club outings or

group meetings are not permitted, he

said, under the current Scottish

Government restrictions.

He said: “I am boat fishing only and

I have gone on social media to alert my

customers that it may not be possible

to reopen just yet.”

Nigel Duncan

Saddle up for Tour of Britain on our city streets

By PHYLLIS STEPHEN

THE CITY OF Edinburgh Council will

contribute £70,000 to the cost of

bringing the Tour of Britain cycle race

back to Edinburgh in September.

The UK’s most high profile road

race last visited Edinburgh in 2017

when the Grand Depart was staged

on the Royal Mile, but this time it is

proposed Holyrood Park will act as

the finishing line for the stage from

the Borders.

The event will be free for

spectators who would get to see

some of the world’s top cyclists

racing through city streets. The race

will be managed in full consultation

with the Council’s Public Safety and

Roads Teams and Police Scotland. It

will be raced along roads which will

be closed for a short period using

what the council describe as the

“tried and tested” rolling road closure

technique, with teams of trained

motorcycle escorts ensuring safe

passage through the city.

The event is likely to bring a

significant economic impact for

Edinburgh, as it will attract

spectators from around Britain and

further afield.

The council will also support the

Edinburgh Winter Run (£30,000), the

Squash European Masters

Championships (£7,000, now

postponed until 2022), the Small

Countries Volleyball International

The borders leg of The Tour of

Britain will finish in Edinburgh

(£10,000), UK Beach Volleyball

Tour (£10,000), Commonwealth

Games Qualification Tournament

(£15,000), and Edinburgh

JL Preece

International Swim Meet (£20,000).

These sports events are dependent

on government restrictions and the

Council are in constant contact with

organisers. The Council’s Director of

Place, Paul Lawrence, confirmed the

situation with regard to all events is

very fluid, and any one off payments

for sports events might have to be

approved by the council on an

as-and-when basis.

Cllr Phil Doggart asked about

the possibility of spending council

funds which are suddenly cancelled,

but it was confirmed that the council

does not usually pay unless the

event proceeds.


23

Ambassador role for

Hibs cup hero Darren

McGregor a dazzling example to Leith Athletic youngsters

By JOHN HISLOP

EAST OF SCOTLAND club Leith Athletic has

marked its 25th anniversary by naming former

player and Hibs legend Darren McGregor as the

club’s first ambassador.

Darren was one of the club’s originals joining

as an 11-year-old in 1996 and was the captain

of the team that won their first trophy just two

years later.

His performances attracted the attention of

Cowdenbeath, whom he joined in August 2004

and helped to the Scottish Third Division title.

Danny Lennon then secured his signature for St

Mirren where he had to overcome adversity

after suffering two cruciate ligament injuries.

His performances for the Buddies resulted in

a move to Ibrox where after his one season he

was named the club’s Player of the Year and

Manager’s Player of the Year. Despite these

awards, he was surprisingly released and

was immediately snapped up by Hibs whom

he helped to a memorable Scottish Cup win

over his previous employers and the

Championship title.

Gerry Freedman, Leith Athletic founder and

Honorary Life Chairman, said: “Daz was a joy

to coach all the way through his time with the

club. He never gave less than 100% in every

game, a big Leither he was the perfect example

of a player playing for the jersey. He was and

still is a lovely boy.

“His career since he left Leith Athletic is “Roy

of the Rovers” stuff. To overcome serious injury,

not once but twice, to then go on and win the

Scottish Cup with Hibs is truly inspiring and

“Persevere” could be his middle name.

“Daz is the perfect choice as the club’s first

Ambassador and he has been a big part of our

proud 25 year history. I have no doubt that Daz

will embrace the role and help take the club

forward to even greater things.”

Darren added: “I am honoured to be asked to

be the club’s Ambassador. I spent all my youth

football years at Leith Athletic, from 11 years

old until I signed for Cowdenbeath at 19,

learning from some great coaches. The

Perseverance paid off

for Darren McGregor

community feeling of the club then was very

important and it is still the same today. I look

forward to helping the club in any way I can in

the future.”

Leith Athletic Chairman, Leighton Jones,

said: “As part of our 25 year celebrations, Leith

Athletic Football Club are delighted and proud

to announce that Darren McGregor has agreed

to accept the role as our first ever Club

Ambassador.

"At the start of the year, there were a couple of

initiatives I wanted to take forward to mark our

25th anniversary. One of those was to appoint

an ambassador who could act as a role model to

every player within the club, whether a

five-year-old starting out or an East of Scotland

first-team player. In discussing the options with

the club’s committee, there was only one name

that epitomises everything that this community

club is about.”

Ian Jacobs

Martin is back

on the Boyle

MARTIN BOYLE has rediscovered the

form that won him international

recognition with Australia, helping Hibs

to third place after overcoming the

personal struggles that he and family

members have faced since the turn of

the year.

The popular winger turned striker

missed the club’s January defeat at Ibrox

after his father Graeme suffered a stroke,

but since then he has won the SPFL

"Starman” for his two-goal performance

against Aberdeen, bringing his tally to

five goals and four assists in February.

The 27-year-old, who signed a contract

extension in in the summer despite

being linked with a move to Stoke City,

praised manager Jack Ross for allowing

him time away from the club’s training

facility in order to spend time with

family, and his teammates for their

understanding.

He said: “Trying to juggle football with

the off-field issues has obviously been

hard. The club have been brilliant and

my wife and I have my daughter’s

company to help, but at the same time I

know my dad would kill me if I allowed it

to affect my performances on the pitch.

“He has been watching and I always

phone him after the games. He is chuffed

at the moment and I have been able to

see him in these tough times which is

good, but I am happy to be out there

doing my business and glad he is on

the mend.

“Usually the boys look to me to be the

clown in the dressing room so it was

good to see the other side of them for

once. They all helped pick me up and I

now feel I’m back to myself.”

Boyle also won praise from Hibs

legend and fellow right winger Mickey

Weir who said: “The best thing about

Boyle is that he is adaptable. He plays

wide right, he plays through the middle

and personally that’s where I like him.”

John Hislop

Alan Rennie


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