The Edinburgh Reporter April 2021



Pull up a seat at new

Porty pizza outlet

Page 3

Shining a light And action! Tattie scones

Laser show spreads Love,

Hope and Kindness

Page 8

Amazon drama starts filming

at Leith studios

Page 12

Juliet’s gran had a killer

touch in kitchen

Page 17


Where do the Jambos

go from here?

Page 23

April 2021



...and raring to go

Martin P McAdam

First time

voters get set

to cast their


THE COUNTDOWN is on to 6 May

when Scotland goes to the polls and

elects 129 MSPs in what will be the

sixth election since the Scottish

Parliament reconvened in 1999.

And the four friends pictured (left)

will be paying closer attention than

many as a typical cohort of 73,100

young people aged 16 or 17 (1.7% of

the electorate) who have registered to

vote for the first time.

While voters have to be aged 18 to

vote in the UK Parliament, in Scotland

16 and 17 year olds have been eligible

to vote in The Scottish Parliament and

local government elections since 2015.

According to the National Records

of Scotland 4,227,700 people are

registered to vote on 6 May, the

highest ever recorded and up by

60,300 since 2019, with 394,700

Edinburgh voters registered.

The deadline to register to vote is

Monday 19 April but postal voters

must register by 6 April.

Full story on page 10


An uneasy


Vaccination team

at the Edinburgh


Conference Centre


WE CONTINUE TO observe lockdown as

the political parties begin their campaigns

for election to The Scottish Parliament’s

sixth session. By the end of April,

restaurants and pubs will reopen along

with some other retail shops, still subject to

some restrictions to maintain Covid safety.

Now that the parliament is over two

decades old it feels to me that it should

perhaps come of age. It might be a better

place if there was more cross party action

and less party combat. Some of the MSPs

who served in the last parliament said the

same in the series of interviews I conducted

with them just before we went to press and

which you can read on Page 4.

In a period when politics was the only

story in town, Holyrood was a hotbed of

Votes of No Confidence and mud slinging.

The question is what was accomplished

from it all?


Spring is just around the corner, even if a

holiday abroad is not yet on the horizon.

We are still advised to stay within our local

authority areas until restrictions are relaxed.

All of this seems to be working as the

numbers just before we went to press

show. Over half of the adult population in

Scotland have received their first jag.

Thank goodness for the scientists and

doctors who are guiding us through. The

Sick Kids in Sciennes has closed its doors

and the new hospital next to the Royal

Infirmary of Edinburgh has opened with its

brightly coloured interiors. I remember

clearly the front steps of the old building,

arriving there with my parents for a

scheduled operation as a five-year-old, the

nurses and the strict visiting hours. Many of

you will have your own memories of the

hospital which has now been replaced with

something shiny and new - albeit a bit late.

We do need to keep hoping that this will

be the last full lockdown, and that we can

go back to work in offices, shop in stores

and take a tram or a bus to wherever we

fancy. But for now just remember to wear a

mask and use hand gel. Stay safe.

Phyllis Stephen, Editor

John Knox looks forward and back


AS I POKE MY HEAD out from

the long hibernation of winter I

just don’t know what to expect.

None of us do. When will life get

back to normal? Will there be a

new normal?

We’ve been allowed to return to

work in my local nature reserve in

the shadow of Arthur’s Seat. Just

four volunteers at a time, socially

distanced of course. But even here

among the trees, ponds and reed

beds, the spring seems hesitant.

Herons sit cautiously on their

nests high in the trees. Smaller

birds twitter uneasily, carrying

twigs to their nests. The geese and

swans on the loch argue loudly

among themselves. Buds and

flowers are only slowly unfurling.

Being confined to our local

district, popular places for

walking have been crowded. Try

finding a parking place at Bonaly,

or Cramond, or Hillend, or

Flotterstone. Try walking along

the promenade at Portobello or

cycling or running along the

canal path or the Water of Leith.




Try booking a slot at the

Botanic Gardens.

We’ve all learned to queue

respectfully outside coffee

takeaways, go to the supermarket

when it’s not too crowded, never

to leave home without a mask

in your pocket. And, the hardest

of all, to live and work at a

social distance.

There’s a growing sense of

weariness after this dreadful

winter. Some are just plain tired,

like NHS staff, and some are worn

down by seeing their jobs and

businesses disappearing down the

Covid black hole. School pupils

and students have felt abandoned.

But we emerge into a still

uncertain world. Covid may yet

have surprises in store. The

economy may not spring back as

quickly as we imagine and it may

be different – more online, more

working from home, more


We don’t quite know what form

our summer holidays will take.

It’s all so unsettling.

It might be better to be living

in less interesting times.

Martin P McAdam

Coronavirus Statistics

THERE are now more white areas than purple on the map produced by

Public Health Scotland of the 7 day positivity rate per 100,000 population

in Edinburgh. This means there are few cases - probably under 5 in those

areas. But some purple patches remain, representing higher numbers.

These include Murrayburn and Wester Hailes North, Parkhead and

Sighthill, The Calders and Broomhouse and Bankhead where the cases are

as high as 200 to 399 per 100,000 population. In Edinburgh as a whole the

number is at 50 per 100,000 with a 7 day positivity rate of 2.5%.

Over half of adults in Scotland have now received their first dose of the

Covid-19 vaccine, although that is lower in Edinburgh where only 42.8% of

the population have received their first dose - that is 323,380 people.

If there are any daily briefings on Covid-19 during the election campaign

then the BBC has confirmed they will broadcast them to provide key

public health information. Live briefings will be shown on BBC One only if

there is major new information, and if a UK Government briefing is

broadcast live in Scotland then there will be additional coverage for

Scottish parties to respond. Any live briefings by a Scottish government

minister will include contributions from members of the other main

parties to comply with Ofcom rules around impartiality in the run up to

elections. We continue to report the daily figures online each day.



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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




07791 406 498


Entering the fold

Porty deckchairs set to return to beach as Civerinos take slice of prom action


RENTAL DECKCHAIRS could be on the way

back to Portobello Beach after an absence of

more than 30 years in an initiative by new pizza

specialist Civerinos Slice.

City parks officials are considering a proposal

by Civerinos owner, Michele Civiera, to hire out

up to 60 deckchairs on the beach directly in

front of his soon-to-open outlet located at

Noble’s Arcade.

Income from the deckchairs would be used to

pay staff to manage and maintain the furniture,

and keep the immediate beach and Promenade

area clean, with any profits being distributed to

three local Portobello charities.

The Deck Chairs That Care plan would see

between 40 and 60 deckchairs available for hire

to the general public, not only Civerinos

customers, and 100 per cent of proceeds would

be donated to Portobello Toddlers Hut,

Portobello Beach Wheelchairs and Edinburgh

Dog & Cat Home.

Michele explained: “Ranks of deckchairs

were a common sight on Portobello sands for

most of the last century and local families had

concessions to rent out the chairs to visitors

during the summer months. We would be

reintroducing a long-established seaside

tradition which would add a new dimension

to the beachside environment and benefit

local charities.

“The deckchairs will be placed to ensure there

is enough room for dog walkers during high

tide and will be brought in every night and

stored securely. We will employ a dedicated

beach litter patroller, who will keep the beach

clear of discarded food and packaging.

Pizza on

the beach

Michele Civiera ready to

open on Porty Prom

“Our staff will have it written into their

contracts that they will be expected to monitor

the local environment and to maintain a tidy

walkway and beach, setting an example for

visitors and other local businesses, and we will

cover the cost of any additional general waste

and recycling bins that are needed.”

Civerinos is already well established

in the city with other outlets at

Forrest Road, Hunter Square

and St John’s Road in

Corstorphine and Michele hopes

to open for business at Prom Slice

around 8 April in an initiative

which will create up to 26 jobs.

As a Portobello resident who

swims daily in the Forth,

Michele said the deckchair

venture was not focused on profit but about

putting something back into the local

community on his doorstep.

He added: “I love Portobello and its unique

atmosphere and this is more a personal project

than generating revenue. I am really excited

about opening Prom Slice but if we can add

benefit to the local community and increase

environmental awareness, then that is a

big win for me.”

The new outlet will have indoor seating for

about 20 people but the focus will be on

takeaway and collection and is expected to

be open from 11am to 11pm daily, serving

New York-style pizza, meatballs,

fries, salads and a selection of

non-alcoholic drinks and beers.

Hot Slice Studio

Dalriada plans

move up a gear

MILLIONAIRE GAMES developer Leslie

Benzies has been granted approval to

convert the former Dalriada Hotel in

Portobello into a single home.

Benzies, who made his fortune as a

creator on the Grand Theft Auto series,

purchased the popular beachside watering

hole in September for £1.3 million after it

was placed on the market by owners Terry

and Alison Magill at offers over £950,000.

A number of prominent licenced trade

operators were interested in acquiring the

property but any lingering hopes that the

Dalriada would remain as a pub ended on

18 March when the city council granted

planning permission for a change of use.

The proposals, lodged by agent Jennifer

Dinwoodie of Pendant Interiors on behalf

of Mariah Ventures Ltd, is for a six

bedroom home, with extensive living and

dining areas and kitchens on the ground

and first floors, two bathrooms, an ensuite

shower room and ensuite bathroom, and

an oval office on the top floor overlooking

the beach.

Benzies made his reputation as the lead

developer of the global gaming success

story Grand Theft Auto series which is

estimated to have sold one quarter of a

billion copies and grossed more than $6

billion. In 2005 he and Rockstar Games

president Sam Houser, were awarded a

BAFTA Special Award, followed in 2015 by

a BAFTA Fellowship, which celebrates

outstanding artistic achievements in

movies, television and video games.

He departed Rockstar in 2016 and

launched a legal case claiming he was due

$150 million in unpaid royalties which was

settled in 2019. Last September, The

Telegraph reported that Mr Benzies had

raised £32 million from investors to

develop his new science fiction game

Everywhere, which is being created by his

company Build a Rocket Boy, which

employs 400 staff working on the project

at studios in Leith and Budapest.

University of Edinburgh Covid-19 research


Edinburgh will lead research

on the impact of Covid-19 on

children and young people

with intellectual disabilities.

Researchers hope to build a

picture of what has happened

to make it easier to support

families when lockdown eases,

as they think this group of

young people has been

significantly impacted.

The researchers say the main

factors are limited access to

education, respite care and

specialist services which along

with restrictions on family

support could result in

unknown consequences.

Intellectual Disability (ID) is a

recognised term meaning

those who have certain

limitations including

communication and it has

been reported recently that

those with ID are more

susceptible to mental health

issues from Covid.

Lead researcher Karri

Gillespie-Smith, of the

University of Edinburgh’s

School of Health in Social

Science, said: “The experiences

of young people with ID, and

their caregivers, has so far

been unexplored – yet this will

be crucial to help us

understand how families can

be supported in the transition

back to normality.”

The University

of Edinburgh

Martin P McAdam


Holyrood report card

Phyllis Stephen pulls up a chair with sitting MSPs to hear what they have achieved

POLITICS CAN be ruthless. You can be a

government minister one day and out on your ear

the next. Some of that is truly the nature of the

job, but once every five years it is up to the

electorate to change things. We get the chance this

year to vote for 129 MSPs to form a new

government. This will be the sixth since The

Scottish Parliament was set up in 1999.

Some of those who have represented the

various areas of Edinburgh and Lothian will not

be re-elected by voters in the complicated

Holyrood voting system. Others like Neil Findlay

and Ruth Davidson are choosing to step down.

Andy Wightman has resigned from the Scottish

Greens and is standing as an independent

candidate in Highland Region. He has raised

almost £15,000 for his election campaign.

Looking back over the last parliament I spoke

to some of the MSPs to establish what they

thought their achievements were and what might

be improved in The Scottish Parliament.

Andrew Cowan / Scottish Parliament


Ash Denham is SNP MSP for

Edinburgh Eastern. First elected in

2016, she became Minister for

Community Safety - a portfolio which she

describes as "quite a technical brief and it can be

a bit dry”. She was pleased to reform the law on

defamation "which was long overdue”. Ms

Denham said updates to the Children

(Scotland) Act dealing with family courts and

family law were overdue. This piece of

legislation took two years to put in place. Ms

Denham said: "I really looked at the policy and

tried to think about how it would impact on

people because this is going to be in place for a

long time.” But the highlight was changing the

law on sale of fireworks. She said: “I think there

was this acceptance, this changing mood of

the public, that they were just sick to the back

teeth with people using fireworks in in

anti-social ways.”


Ben Macpherson is SNP for

Edinburgh Northern and Leith. He

rose to become a minister and has

now held three portfolios - and is Minister for

Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment. The

constituency has a population of around 95,000

people. Ben helped the Lorne Street community

avoid eviction, and helped deal with motorbike

thefts which were a problem in the area. He

said: “I am not saying I was the one who

resolved the issue with opportunities and

mentorship for young people - it was a real

team effort.” He also backed the Save the Walk

campaign to save Stead’s Place on Leith Walk

from development and was involved with the

“Seafield Stench”. He was instrumental in

getting real investment to fix that. Ben found

that he is not the first in his family to support

independence - he discovered his great-great

grandfather was the first on the score. He knew

Keir Hardie who believed in home rule.

Not a lot of people know Ben once walked

from Edinburgh to London for the charity

Peace One Day.


Gordon Macdonald is SNP MSP for

Edinburgh Pentlands. Brought up in

Cumbernauld, he became a cost

accountant working with Lothian Buses. One of

his recent achievements was forming the cross

party group on convenience stores. He said: "It

brought together small shops through the

Scottish Grocers' Federation that serve all of our

communities - the corner shop, the

neighbourhoods, a parade of shops, whether in

the countryside or in urban areas. And it gave

them a focal point. One of the issues was retail

crime and this group of around 30 to 50 people

paved the way for Daniel Johnson's Protection

of Retail Workers Bill which I was then happy

to support.

"Parliament works best when we bury our

political differences, and we work together for

the benefit of the people of Scotland.” The

winner of a bronze medal for singing at the

Clyde Fair in 1972, he doesn’t do much singing

these days, preferring to speak up for his

constituents instead.


Daniel Johnson is Scottish Labour

MSP for Edinburgh Southern where

he is part of the Labour tag team with

Labour's only Scottish MP, Ian Murray, who

represents Edinburgh South. First elected in

2016 and with a background in retail, it was a

pretty obvious thing to Johnson to introduce a

Members Bill protecting retail workers which

passed into legislation earlier this year. He feels

this is a rewarding job, but mentioned his

sadness at losing three women MSPs from the

chamber, largely due to the pressures of travel

and childcare. He said: “If I put myself in their

shoes I am not sure that I could have continued.

Both my wife and I work and we have young

daughters. The problem is not the time spent in

the chamber, but rather the stuff that happens

after decision time at 5 o’clock.”

To relax Daniel set up a guitar group with

other MSPs. He said: "I think to be able to

build friendships and interests across party

lines is important and makes doing the job a

lot better. I am very keen to expand our line up

both in terms of instruments and indeed

political parties.”


Edinburgh Western MSP Alex

Cole-Hamilton used to work for

charity Aberlour advocating for

children’s rights. He said that in spite of the

tectonic shifts in the last five years with Brexit et

al he has "loved every minute" and would be

heartbroken if he did not win the constituency

again. He said: "I got the airport Skylink 200

introduced and you know, that may not sound

huge, but actually it's killed several birds with

one stone because through that campaign, we

have reduced car dumping in Corstorphine for

people who jump on the airport bus.

"We made it easier for people who work at

the airport to get there and back, and the

airport is still the biggest employer in my

constituency. We got ScotRail to stop trains in

Nicola Sturgeon deals with

questions at FMQs

Dalmeny to pick up passengers there. Finding a

way to help people is one of the most rewarding

feelings in the world.”


Jeremy Balfour is Scottish

Conservative MSP for Lothian. He is

also a solicitor and an ordained

minister, and was previously an Edinburgh

councillor. He has been an advocate for disabled

people and the biggest change he is proud of is

getting Changing Places toilets for disabled

people onto the planning bill. He explained

there are few in Scotland and Lothian, but now

there is a requirement that any large

development has to have one. The new St James

Quarter will have a Changing Places toilet for

example. Jeremy said: " I think it will help

disabled people, and will help the economy as

well because people with disability will come in

to town and shop more or go to facilities.” A

chocoholic, he changes his evening snack with

the seasons, for the moment it is chocolate

creme eggs.


Alison Johnstone is the Scottish

Green MSP for Lothian. This will be

her third Holyrood election and she

was previously a councillor. She worked for

Robin Harper who was the first Green MSP

having begun her political career campaigning

to retain greenspace at Meggetland. She is

proud of removing unnecessary face-to-face

assessments for disability benefits and the


mountain hare can now rest easy as Alison

made sure it is protected. Previously East of

Scotland 800 and 1500 metre champion, she

trained as an athletics coach. She had to learn to

do the pole vault and found “it was definitely

something which was harder than it looks. I was

hardly leaving the ground but felt I was

touching Pluto”.


Gordon Lindhurst is Scottish

Conservative MSP for Lothian Region

and has worked hard to help

individual constituents - although the size of his

email inbox did surprise him. He particularly

enjoyed helping locals in West Edinburgh when

the council planned to close two schools

creating one super school. During lockdown he

went back to his late mother’s cookbook and

began baking. He said: "I’m not MasterChef

standard - it is only for my own amusement. His

speciality is pancakes but admits "that's a pretty

simple one though!” His previous career as an

advocate has stood him in good stead heading

up the Economy Committee making technical

changes to matters such as the Access to Data

Bill - a committee bill which is one of only three

of its type passed at Holyrood.


Sarah Boyack is Scottish Labour MSP

for Lothian. Except for a period of

three years she has been an MSP since

1999, and was a member of Donald Dewar’s

cabinet. She said: "I was chair of the Planning

Institute in Scotland, but when I got elected I

was given the brief of Planning, Transport and

the Environment. That was a massive role and I

created the first national parks we have ever had

in Scotland - still unfinished business as we only

have two. I introduced bus passes for over 60s

and new railways - like Stirling to Alloa and

started looking at the Borders Railway. Being in

charge of a brief that was historically male was

quite interesting. There were occasions when on

entering meetings people would think my six

and a half feet tall Private Secretary was the

minister and not me.” Her recent job was Vice

Convener of the Local Government Committee

examining how the Community Empowerment

Act has worked. This re-examination of laws

passed is something Sarah would like to see

more of. For relaxation she has recently become

a member of a community garden (something

which makes her friends and family laugh). She

said: “It has surprised me how much I have

enjoyed it.”


Miles Briggs is Scottish Conservative

MSP for Lothian. His brief has

involved health and mental health. He

said: "I'm most proud of bringing forward a

Member's bill - Frank’s Law - to extend free

personal care for those under the age of 65. That

is probably my greatest achievement. I also

campaigned for the cleft palate surgery unit to

stay in Edinburgh and now it is the Eye

Pavilion. He said: "I welcome the elective centre

in Livingston being used as a place for eye

surgery, but at no point was that going to be a

replacement for the a pavilion, which the SNP

are now suggesting it will be. I just think it

would be ridiculous for Edinburgh to be the

only major city in the UK not to have an eye

hospital.” As an economics graduate he thinks

the next parliament will be all about the

economic recovery - with the cultural sector

also key in Edinburgh. His lighter side was on

display when his phone rang… no ordinary

ringtone - just the sound of a quacking duck.

Disability Benefits...

...or should they be Enabling Benefits?

SCOTLAND WAS given a unique opportunity to change disability social

security when powers were devolved from Westminster in 2018, but what did

they come up with? An exact carbon copy of the rest of the United Kingdom!

The Scottish Government, in their defence of this squandered opportunity,

said they wanted to allow for a safe and secure transition period from

Westminster to Holyrood, before embarking on a more comprehensive

shake-up of the system.

So with an upcoming Scottish Parliament election in May, this can be the

time to envisage a social security system for the disabled people of Scotland

that is human rights based, enabling rather than disabling and one which

supports independent living.

However, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, there are many examples of

best practice from countries across the world.

Take Australia for example. It has a National Disability Insurance scheme for

those aged 7-65 and focuses on capability rather than disability. It works by

devising a plan to help you achieve your aims and sets budgets for support

according to these goals. So could Scotland have one system like Australia

that changes with you throughout the stages of your life?

Could we take the lead from Denmark? In their social security system, a

social worker is responsible for each claimant’s case, deciding who needs to

be involved and what needs to happen in the assessment. France have a

similar process of using a multi-disciplinary team for the assessment process.

Should Scotland change to an enabling form of assessment?

Germany has, as part of its social security system, a benefit that focuses on

reintegration into the workplace, with payments for training programmes and

health and wellbeing treatments. Could Scotland help disabled people to get

into - and stay in - work by providing a benefit to support those services?

Scotland has another opportunity to create a world leading social security

system. One that truly helps disabled people to reach their full potential and

have equal participation in society.

So the next government must not ruin this second chance!

Jeremy Balfour MSP

Salmond’s Alba Party


Salmond, announced a new

pro-independence party with

candidates who will stand in the

Scottish Parliament election.

He said the Alba Party expected

to field at least four candidates on

each regional list.

During the online launch Mr

Salmond said: “I am announcing

the public launch of a new

political force - the Alba Party.

“Alba will contest the upcoming

Scottish election as a list only

party under my leadership,

seeking to build a super majority

for independence in the Scottish


“Over the next six weeks we will

promote new ideas about taking

Scotland forward, giving primacy

to economic recovery from the

pandemic and the achievement of

independence for our country.

“We expect to field a minimum

of four candidates in each regional

list and are hoping to elect Alba

MSPs from every area of Scotland.”


Paying for your parking

Locals say they were not told about the council’s CPZ proposals

A CONSULTATION on introducing controlled

parking zones (CPZ) into certain areas of the

city has just ended. In Saughtonhall, one of the

affected areas, locals including former Lord

Provost Norman Irons said they knew nothing

about the consultation. Many said they did not

receive any of the 17,000 leaflets which the

council say were distributed. Dr Irons’ daughter

Elizabeth told The Edinburgh Reporter: “While

my parents and their neighbours have tried to

contact as many residents as they can, these

proposed changes affect thousands of

households and it is not possible, nor is it their

responsibility to contact everyone. These

proposed changes affect thousands of people in

the Saughtonhall area – the consultation leaflet

needs to be delivered to every household and

the consultation extended to allow people the

opportunity to respond.

“The leaflet provides no substantive

information on the proposed changes and

directs people to go online to look at an

interactive map.”

Local councillor and current Lord Provost,

Cllr Frank Ross, said: “My in box has been in

overdrive. Overwhelmingly in the

Corstorphine, Saughtonhall , Murrayfield and

even in the Maltings at Roseburn there has been

a negative reaction to the CPZ proposals, not

least because people aren’t being asked if they

want a CPZ - the basic assumption of the

consultation is that controls are happening.

“The vast majority feel that the Council

proposals are heavy handed and there is no

Council plans a Controlled

Parking Zone in Saughtonhall

clear understanding of what problem they are

meant to be solving. Saughtonhall residents

almost unanimously see no need for controls.”

Transport and Environment Convener, Cllr

Lesley Macinnes, said: “This review responds to

the concerns of residents across the city, many

of whom have told us that they want to see

controls introduced to help limit the impact of

non-residential parking. Proposed controls are

about helping residents to park near their

homes, so of course we want to know what the

people who live here think about them. Our

suppliers have delivered over 1600 leaflets in the

Saughtonhall area to try to reach every property

in this area and around 17,000 as part of this

phase of wider consultation. We also have

physical copies of the surveys available for those

that may need them."

The consultation also covered Easter Road,

West Leith, Bonnington, Willowbrae North,

Murrayfield, Corstorphine and Roseburn.

The findings will be considered at the June

meeting of the Transport and Environment


Sunday no

fun day

FROM SUNDAY 11 APRIL anyone visiting

the city centre will have to pay to park This

has been a long time coming, and is being

introduced against objections posed by

many, including city churches.

To accommodate those objections charges

will only be payable after 12.30pm, by which

time most churches are presumably closed

again for the week. The council says its City

Mobility Plan will reduce traffic dominance.

Cllr Karen Doran, Transport and

Environment Vice Convener, said: “These

updated controls are about improving

conditions in the city centre, creating a safer

environment and tackling inconsiderate

parking, as well as providing greater flexibility

for residents to park nearer their homes.

“Under normal circumstances, there is no

doubt Edinburgh is a seven-day city, and we

simply must address this as restrictions begin

to be lifted and people return to the centre

for shopping and socialising.

“We want to support businesses to recover

from the Covid pandemic and greater

parking controls on a Sunday will encourage

customer turnover, allow more access for

servicing and create a more pleasant

atmosphere for everyone.”

The charges are part of the Parking Action

Plan approved in 2016 and part of the city’s

aim to become carbon neutral by 2030.

The council says the changes will bring

Edinburgh into line with many other UK cities

which already charge for Sunday parking,

including Glasgow, Manchester and


Have yourselves a

merry little Christmas

THE COUNCIL is asking residents about plans for

Edinburgh’s Christmas and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

from 2022 onwards.

The council is contractually bound to Underbelly

until then.

Cllr Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities

Convener, said: “We want to hear from the people of

Edinburgh both on how our Winter Festivals should

be delivered and indeed what should be delivered.

Their feedback to our consultation will shape the

future direction of our celebrations from 2022

onwards, when the current arrangements come to an

end. This is a good time to take stock and look at

what people think and what people want.

“Our Winter Festivals have grown in size and

renown both at home and throughout the world.

Their cultural and economic importance is well

documented and through this consultation we will

establish a balanced knowledge of how Edinburgh

citizens regard these celebrations, both positive and

negative. It is therefore important that as many

people as possible make their views heard and I

would urge everyone, whatever their views, to spend

the small amount of time needed to complete the

survey and have their say.”

The consultation will close on 19 May and the

results will be presented to both the Festivals and

Events All Party Oversight Group and to the Culture

and Communities Committee later this year.

The Tron is on the

At Risk register

Tron’s future

again in doubt

Heritage body moves out of Tron

THE CHARITY Edinburgh World

Heritage (EWH) took over the Tron

Kirk in 2018 as part of a long-term

effort to conserve it.

It is on the ‘at risk’ register and

it is said to be one of Edinburgh’s

most difficult conservation


Only three years later EWH is

moving out on 1 April due to lack

of funding.

It was big news when EWH

moved into the Tron on the High

Street to stage a historic

exhibition - Our World Heritage

- about the city centre, and the

Old and New Towns complete

with an array of photos featuring

local people. Over 600,000 visitors

have attended the exhibition

since then, learning the story of

the building itself and the

archaeology beneath it.

While the visitors largely said

they supported the refurbishment

of the Tron to create a heritage

centre it will take “significant

capital expenditure”. The

refurbishment would need

sensitive conservation work and

that would require secure funding.

Last December the council

decided that they could not

commit to funding this work due

to “significant unbudgeted capital

pressures”. The likelihood of others

stepping up with contributions is

considered low if a central tranche

of funding is non-existent.

EWH said that they remain

committed to helping to find a

sustainable use for the Tron. The

building was previously leased for

use as a market.


Beechgrove Garden

presenter Brian Cunningham

Tackling the

global climate


Ryan Scott

Basil (6) and Ivy

(4) Anderson got

a close look

Rainbow of Hope on the Mound


Reflection was marked by the

Scottish horticulture industry

who collaborated on planting a

Rainbow of Hope on The

Mound. The 20 metre rainbow

of primroses was only in place

for a few days before all the

plants were distributed to

charities including Thistle,

Edinburgh Community Food

Aerial view

and Trellis, a Scottish charity

dedicated to therapeutic


The initiative was

coordinated by Stan Green,

Director of Growforth, a plant

wholesaler in Dunfermline and

Andrew Scott, Director of

Reynard Nursery in Carluke,

to promote the benefits

of gardening as people reflect

on the pandemic.

Ivy (4) and Basil (6) Anderson

had a good look at the

primroses when they were

unveiled. Brian Cunningham, a

presenter with Beechgrove

Garden and the Head Gardener

at Scone Palace, also cast a

professional eye over the

rainbow set out by council staff

and volunteers from nurseries.

The Scottish ornamental

horticulture industry

contributes £2.2 billion to

Scottish GDP directly and

indirectly and supports 53,900

jobs. The Scottish garden retail

sector directly contributes £152

million to GDP and supports

6,700 jobs. The Scottish plant

production industry is worth

£38 million.

SCOTLAND’S CLIMATE Assembly lodged

its interim report with The Scottish

Parliament just before it rose for the election.

The report sets out 16 gaps for tackling

the climate emergency covering issues from

domestic heating to emissions and land use.

The Assembly warned that: “If we fail

to act now we will fail our current and

future generations in Scotland and across

the world”.

This was the second citizens’ assembly to

be held in Scotland, with 100 members

representing the country in terms of age,

gender, household income, ethnicity and

geography. The assembly completed all

of its work entirely online, meeting seven

times over five months and hearing

evidence from over 100 experts on the

question “How should Scotland change

to tackle the climate emergency in an

effective and fair way?”.

Co-convener Ruth Harvey said: “I am full of

admiration for the contribution members of

the Assembly are making to Scotland

through their hard work and determination

in grappling with so much complex,

technical evidence. This is a learning

journey I believe all of us in Scotland now

need to take together. For the first time,

ordinary folk are today setting out for our

Parliament a concrete programme so that

Scotland can take the lead in tackling the

climate emergency.”

The Assembly’s full report with detailed

recommendations will be published in May

following the election.

Open - two years late

Sick Kids Hospital at Sciennes moves to Little France site

The colourful interior at the Sick Kids

THE ROYAL HOSPITAL for Sick Children

(the Sick Kids) has now closed its doors at

Sciennes and all patients have moved to the

new building at Little France right next to

the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

The new Royal Hospital for Children and

Young People has been open for some

outpatient services since last July and

earlier this year the Child and Adolescent

Mental Health Service (CAMHS) inpatient

facilities all moved to the new site.

There was a delay in opening in July 2019

when the ventilation system in the critical

care unit was discovered to have failings.

The £150 million campus was then

mothballed while remedial works were

carried out. A public inquiry chaired by

Lord Brodie into delays at the Sick Kids

and issues at Queen Elizabeth University

Hospital in Glasgow built by the same

construction firm began last August. It is

charged with considering the planning and

construction of the two hospitals, issues

around ventilation, water contamination

and whether the buildings provide

"a suitable environment for the delivery

of safe, effective person-centred care.

The Inquiry will make recommendations

to ensure that any past mistakes

are not repeated in future NHS

infrastructure projects."

Hearings will begin on 20 September

with a procedural session on 22 June.

Fiona Mitchell, Service Director,

Women's and Children's Services, NHS

Lothian, said: “The Royal Hospital for

Children and Young people is such a

fantastic facility for patients, their families

and our staff. This move has been much

anticipated and I am delighted that we can

now call this amazing space our new home.

“The Royal Hospital for Sick Children at

Sciennes may have closed its doors for the

final time, but the same amazing teams are

on hand at our incredible new facilities at

Little France to offer care, treatment and

support to children and young people up to

the age of 16.”

All patients and any child or young

person requiring access to A&E, must now

go to the new hospital at Little France.

The Royal Hospital for Children and Young

People is located at 50 Little France Crescent,

Edinburgh, EH16 4TJ.

For more information on how to access

The Royal Hospital for Children and

Young People and the facilities that are

available visit:

In an emergency, dial 999


The parallel beams shone out

from Edinburgh Castle

Jack and Isla

top baby names

list in Scotland

Martin P McAdam

Beam me up Scotland

Light show lands in Edinburgh on international tour

Seven rays of laser light

made up a rainbow


Edinburgh’s flagship Burns

Festival, made a surprise

return to spread Love, Hope

and Kindness with the

Scottish premiere of Yvette

Mattern’s spectacular laser art

installation - Global Rainbow

- which illuminated the skies

above the capital for a couple

of nights.

Global Rainbow beamed

seven parallel horizontal rays

of high specification laser

light, representing the

spectrum of the seven colours

of the rainbow from the giddy

heights of Edinburgh Castle.

Having recently been

shown in Kobe, Japan,

Edinburgh joins a list of

international cities to present

Global Rainbow including

New York, Berlin, São Paulo

and Toronto.

Shining above the

National Monument


(NRS) has announced that the first name

choice for baby girls is now Isla which

overtakes Olivia in second place ahead of

Emily in third.

Jack retained the top spot for boys for

the 13th year in a row. Noah is in second

place up from number seven, and James

stays in third place.

The name Maeve has jumped 130

places to 86th and Ayda rose 63 places

to the 91st place. The climbers in boys’

names are Roman, up 68 places to 332,

and Finley which rose by 48 places

to 88th.

From 23,968 girls born, there were

4,347 names used and for 22,387 boys

3,375 names were used.

Children now seem less likely to share a

name with classmates than their

grandparents would have.

Julie Ramsay, Vital Events Statistician,

said: “We can see from the 2020 names

lists that different generations of

parents have different preferences for

naming their babies.

“Isla, the most popular name for girls in

2020, was the most popular name with

mothers aged 35 and over, but it only

ranked 7th with mothers aged under 25.

“However, Olivia, the most popular girls

name of 2019, was ranked 1st by younger

mothers and 6th by older mothers.

“Jack, the most popular name for boys

in 2020, was the 2nd most popular name

with mothers aged 35 and above, and

only 17th with mothers aged under 25.

“James was the most popular name for

boys with older mothers while Noah was

ranked 1st for younger mothers.”

Smith, Brown, and Wilson have been

the three most popular surnames

since 1975.

Online discussions in the Old Town

THE OLD TOWN Association

on 8 April discuss “The Melville

Monument: A view from the

pavement.” This is an online talk

from Edward Duvall about the

evidence underpinning the recent

changes to the plaque.

The Old Edinburgh Club on 14

April will discuss “John Ritchie

Findlay (1824-98): architectural

patron and benefactor”. Dr Clarisse

Godard Desmarest talks about this

interesting Edinburgh character.

On 21 April in “A Tale of Two

Explosions”. Eric Drake discusses

two memorable explosions that

rocked Edinburgh neighbourhoods

a century apart.

Pete’s a top man in the country

THE FORMER principal of the

University of Dundee has joined

the Board of Scotland’s Rural

College (SRUC).

Professor Sir Pete Downes

(pictured left) is a top biochemist,

chair of Dynamic Earth and

President of the UK Biochemical


He said: “I’m excited to be joining

the SRUC Board at a time of great

challenge when only the most

resilient and enterprising

organisations will thrive. My

appointment fulfils a lifetime of

interest in the countryside, its

natural resources and the people

who live and work there.”


CEO tackling poverty and isolation

Bridie Ashrowan listening to post-Covid recovery plans in Edinburgh

THE NEWLY appointed CEO of the

Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations

Council (EVOC) has set out her wish

list for tackling poverty and isolation in

the city.

Bridie Ashrowan has more than 30

years’ experience in the community sector,

was previously chief executive of

community development trust Space &

Broomhouse Hub, and was instrumental

in leading the £3.2 million rebuild of the

centre there.

Her new role covers all areas of the city

and she told The Edinburgh Reporter the

biggest part of her job will be simply

listening to what people have to say to her.

EVOC aims to be a “catalyst of social

change” and Bridie describes her role as

The colourful interior at

“redesigning the Sick Kidsthe airplane while you are

flying it”. She said: “I am thinking about

changing things while we are still in the

air, but I am listening and recognising the

things that I don't actually know.

"I am interested in radical kindness,

from policy making to championing the

work that you do which exemplifies that in

every corner of the city, and when it is

allowed, I hope to get out to those corners.”

So what about the upcoming election?

What will she be looking for from the

politicians elected in Edinburgh? "I think

there are some key things for me. We need

to look at the post-Covid recovery that

will have to address endemic issues that

we already had - and we have shone

a light on.

“I mean things around poverty and

isolation - isolation is a poverty of quality

of life. We actually now have some ‘hows’

to resolve those issues. We want to

hold politicians accountable for some

of the ‘hows’ - for example how we

address poverty.

“Specifically in Edinburgh we've got a

bit of a road map now in the Edinburgh

Poverty Commission (EPC). If someone

says we don't know what to do about that,

well we do, and we have to ask what their

response is to that Commission.

"And we have an economic recovery, but

the findings of the EPC also included

people with lived experience of that, and

that will help us in the economic recovery.

The other part for me is the green recovery.

If we just go back to business as usual, we

are not really learning from why we have

had the pandemic - which is that we are

very distanced from nature. We have

opportunities to make the city a nicer

place to be.”


Bridie Ashrowan

New members

on parade at

police board

Guild members in

Zambia last year

Church raises half-million for good causes

THE CHURCH of Scotland Guild

has raised more than £500,000 in

the last three years which has

been shared among a number of

international projects.

It was Scotland's Year of Young

People in 2018 and many

initiatives centred around

providing opportunities for

younger generations including

the Boys Brigade, Journeying

Together - a partnership

between the former World

Mission Council and the Guild

- lifting teenage mothers in

Zambia out of poverty.

Other projects to benefit

included Malawi Fruits, which

helps young people to farm cash

crops and to irrigate using

solar-powered pumps, and

Seema's Project, a charity

working with street children in

Pune, India.

The other two groups which

benefitted were Join Up the

Dots, a partnership between

CrossReach and the Guild, which

tackles loneliness and isolation,

and The Sailors' Society, which

provides practical and spiritual

support to those in the maritime


Guild secretary, Iain Whyte,

said: "As we come to the end of

the three years of our current

projects, it's really heartening to

know that the Guild has raised

the amazing amount of over

£520,000 for our project

partners, despite the challenges

of the past year when Guilds

couldn't meet.

"With the Malawi Fruits project

having our funds matched by

the United Nations, the total

raised came to almost £600,000

- money that will deeply affect

lives across the world."

The Moderator of the Church

of Scotland, the Right Reverend

Dr Martin Fair, raised £1,500

when he hosted an online quiz.

The Guild’s new 2021 - 2024

partner projects will be

announced soon.


Board, which oversees Police Scotland, has

appointed six new members who took up their

new roles on 1 April.

The six include Dr Robert Black, Scotland’s

first Auditor General and serving chair of the

Audit Committee of the British Library; Paul

Edie, Chair of the Care Inspectorate since 2013;

former Chief Fire Officer of Scottish Fire and

Rescue, Alasdair Hay; senior risk and

compliance expert Katharina Kasper; Fiona

McQueen, former Scottish Government Chief

Nursing Officer; and Catriona Stewart who has

worked in an advisory capacity at national

level, including to the Independent Review of

the Mental Health Act (Scotland).

Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, said: “I am

pleased to announce the appointment of these

new members who will bring a wealth of skills

and experience to the SPA, strengthening an

already strong Board as it continues to

scrutinise Police Scotland.

“In the last year, policing has never been

more important as a key frontline service in the

drive to keep people safe during our response

to Covid-19.

“The new members, along with

improvements in governance and

engagement, will better enable the SPA to

address the many new and unprecedented

demands on Scottish policing.”


Getting on their marks

Holyrood politicians hoping for youth vote from teenage fanclub

THEY MAY only represent 1.7%

of the electorate but votes from

Scotland’s 16 and 17 year old will

be keenly contested by all

political parties.

Lara Hunter-Douglas, 18, and

friends Emma Clarkson, Archie

Weetch, Jenny Curruthers, all 18,

and Sofia Macchi Watts, 17, are part

of the 73,100 younger registered

voters who are excited about placing

their first X in the ballot box.

Lara, who works for PR firm

Holyrood Partnership and has

applied to study English Literature at

university, said her vote is likely to

go to the party which can best

manage the Covid-19 pandemic

recovery and the economy.

She said: “For me and other young

people it’s about who is capable of

handing the pandemic that is

important. Obviously that has never

been an issue before, but it will be a

prominent factor this time, especially

for young people who want to get

back out and live our lives.

“Parties who have not only got the

older generation on the agenda, but

issues that affect young people like

universities and jobs will do well,

because it’s a real struggle just now

even getting a part time job.”




Age: 18



will vote for the first time

in May. She is studying

physical education at

University of Edinburgh

which she loves. She also

enjoys dancing and has

done some modelling.

Handling pandemic

could be young

vote winner



Age: 18

Archie will

vote this year

for the first time. Archie

who lives near Newington

is studying to be a vet at

University of Edinburgh

and hopes to specialise in

equine veterinary

medicine - although he has

only been let loose on the

smaller animals for now.



Age: 18

Jenny lives in

Blackford and

deferred entry to university

until this year. She will

begin studying Psychology

and Sociology at the

University of Aberdeen in

the autumn where she is

looking forward to the

social life. She loves to

dance the tango.




Age: 18

Lara works in

PR. She will be voting for

the first time and thinks it

important to vote in

person at least the first

time. In school there was a

big push to encourage

every one to register to

vote, so Lara thinks most of

her friends registered then.




Age: 17

Sofia is in her

final year at school. She

plans to go to Glasgow

University and study

English and Theatre

Studies after the summer.

She has registered to vote

already and wants to go

and vote in person.

Martin P McAdam

Soul sauna on

song for Porty

beach users

TEMPERATURES On Portobello Beach

could soar if a bid to operate a mobile

sauna gets city council approval. Local

resident and wild swimmer Kirsty Carver

has applied for licence to locate her wood

fired Soul Water Sauna on the Promenade

close to James Street.

The sauna would be “a relaxing

experience offering escapism, a wide range

of health benefits and reconnecting with

nature” councillors will hear. It is claimed

the sauna would support growth in

adventure tourism which is a VisitScotland

priority, and would appeal to wild

swimmers, kayakers, paddle boarders,

rowers and runners who use the Prom.

Kirsty (pictured above) said: “We’re eager

to introduce the sauna culture to the wider

community, those who have not tried it

before and as a place to bring friends and

families together. We would also like to

support locally run mental health

organisations and charities to offer

wellbeing experiences at a significantly

discounted rate.”

Keen to clarify that the facility is mobile

and would not be a fixed structure, and to

address concerns about mixing a hot

environment with cold water swimming,

Kirsty added: Portobello will be the Soul

Water Sauna’s home although it will be

fully mobile. It’s right for people to be

aware of risks although I’d like to add that

there are many health benefits of cold

water immersion and sauna use, and I’ll

certainly be enjoying them myself. “The

sauna is there for relaxation, sea views and

connecting to landscape, if customers

choose to swim it’s their personal choice,

separate from the business.”

Stephen Rafferty

Euan Cherry

Silence observed

at Ferrylee Care

Home Leith

Silence marks one year of lockdown

ON 23 MARCH, the anniversary of

the UK going into the first national

lockdown, the grim milestone was

marked by people all over the

country falling silent for two minutes

at noon.

Charity Marie Curie led the

National Day of Reflection,

remembering all those who have

died of Covid-19 in the last year. Over

250 organisations were behind the

day, with landmarks in Scotland lit up

yellow to mark the day.

In addition, the nation was invited

to appear on their doorsteps at 8pm

shining a light using phones, candles,

and torches, all signifying a beacon

of support for the millions who have

lost a loved one in the last year.

Marie Curie’s Chief Executive,

Matthew Reed, said: “The last year

has been one of the most traumatic

and uniting in modern history.

With so many of us losing

someone close, our shared sense

of loss is incomparable to anything

felt by this generation.

“Many of us have been unable to

say a real goodbye or comfort our

family, friends, and colleagues in

their grief. We need to acknowledge

that - and that we are not alone.

“That’s why, Marie Curie with over

250 supporting organisations, came

together to reflect on our collective

loss, celebrate the lives of the special

people no longer here, support those

who’ve been bereaved, and look

towards a much brighter future.”


The Edinburgh Reporter Best of...






Rescue, reunite, rehome. Edinburgh

Dog and Cat Home accepts any

animal which reaches its door in

need, and works tirelessly to secure

happy and loving forever homes.

26 Seafield Road East EH15 1EH

0131 669 5331

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Virtual viewing available for this

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Landscaped grounds and parking

space. Rent £925 pcm.

Very reasonable rates allow start-ups

to use this small pop up space as the

first rung on the ladder. From food to

political parties and all manner of

organisations in between. Have a look

at their pop up garden when you visit.

Croall Place EH7 4LT

Love Your Business networking club

which is relaxed informal and good

fun is now online on the last Thursday

of the month with a host of inspiring

speakers sharing their entrepreneurial

journeys and invaluable business tips.


Subscribe today to have your very

own copy of The Edinburgh Reporter

delivered by Royal Mail to your front

door from next month.

Pay £2.50 a month to support local

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This year they celebrate their 40th

birthday. They stock an amazing

diverse range of cards, stationery gifts

and support local makers,

manufacturers and illustrators.

Everything in the shop is also available

online or for local bike delivery!

Di Giorgio’s have lots of cakes and

slices, coffee with a smile and pasta

and lasagne to go.

Morning rolls and ciabattas are

availalbe, but this is brownie heaven

and ask about birthday cakes.

Open 7 days 10-4pm

1 Brandon Terrace EH3 5EA

This is an easy, convenient and

eco-friendly alternative to a supermarket

shop. Working in partner- ship

with independent retailers, Tim at

Schop offers to deliver a huge range of

great quality food and drink straight to

your door saving you a journey.

Bespoke tailoring for men. Craig’s

focus is on making the highest quality

personally tailored attire that others

will aspire to. His pyjamas and dressing

gowns will make your video calls

so stylish!

0131 226 7775 • 45 Thistle Street

EH2 1DY •

From the award-winning cartoonist, a

gift for fans of either capital team.

A print of the first recorded Edinburgh

Derby football match on Christmas

Day 1875. Available in two sizes A3

and A2.






Subscribe today to have your very

own copy of The Edinburgh Reporter

delivered by Royal Mail to your front

door from next month.

Pay £2.50 a month to support local

independent news.

A specialist importer of boutique fine

wines from Italy. Carefully hand-picked

award-winning wines of premium

quality sourced direct from the

winemakers. Oleg and Elvira visit every

vineyard personally. Free UK delivery

- same day delivery to Edinburgh


Independent fishmonger , Daniel,

provides quality fresh and cured fish.

At the beginning of lockdown there

was some question over availability -

but this wee shop has kept going. Use

Schop to have your fish delivered.

16a Broughton Street EH1 3RH

0131 556 7614

Using the power of football to create

positive social outcomes, the charity

will be on the road delivering

Christmas essentials. Hearts fans or not

get involved by volunteering with Big

Hearts and their fundraising appeal.

0131 603 4926

A fabulous charity which provides

support for dads, and support for

families. They help men under- stand

the important role they play in their

children’s upbringing. They do this

with activities like Dads in the Wood

- when they take dads and children

outside to play.






Enjoy the award-winning limited

edition Clydebuilt Coppersmith. A

wonderful first fill sherry cask blended


Free shipping and nosing glasses

available. The perfect gift at any time

of the year.. £49.99

Botanical design studio run by Kirsty,

creating floral designs for weddings,

events and businesses. Find a selection

of dried flower bouquets, wreaths, gift

boxes and the new dried flower cloche

collection online. Local Edinburgh

delivery every Wednesday and UK


The floating café is owned and run by

Lindsay and sits just next to the

Leamington Lift Bridge on the canal.

With their range of smoothies and

coffees accompanied by macarons

and a host of other treats, it is not to

be missed. They will have tables and

chairs soon. EH3 9PD

You may know about Leith (Saturdays)

and Stockbridge (Sundays) Markets

but did you know that you can order

online and pick up all of your shopping

at once? Using the NeighbourFood

site you simply choose what you want

pay and then collect.

Subscribe today to have your very

own copy of The Edinburgh Reporter

delivered by Royal Mail to your front

door from next month.

Pay £2.50 a month to support local

independent news.





Phyllis Stephen raises the curtain on

Scotland’s new film studio and production

hub in Leith’s historic docklands

The opening of First Stage Studios in Leith is

already paying dividends for the city with

filming just begun on a dark thriller penned

by local screenwriter David Macpherson.

The six-part Amazon Original series, The

Rig, which is being produced entirely in

Scotland, includes a cast headed by Edinburgh’s own Iain

Glen, who starred in Game of Thrones, Downtown Abbey,

Resident Evil and too many others to mention.

The cast also includes Martin Compston, DS Steve Arnott

in the hit series Line of Duty, and also on board is The

Bodyguard director John Strickland who also worked on the

popular police drama, as did executive producer, Derek Wax.

Other confirmed cast include Compston’s fellow Scot Mark

Bonnar who recently starred in Guilt, Owen Teal (Game of

Thrones) and Emily Hampshire from Schitt’s Creek.

After a spell working for the late Liberal Democrat MP

Charles Kennedy, Macpherson left the Highlands to work in

the party’s whips office in the House of Lords, returning later

to Scotland to work as a civilian researcher for the police in

Aberdeen. To him Edinburgh is “the writer’s city”, but despite

doing plenty of writing he wasn’t brave enough to opt for

a creative writing course, and instead plumped for

environmental studies when he returned to university

in the capital.

It was last August that Macpherson enjoyed a “wow”

moment when he received the news that The Rig, based on a

North Sea oil rig, had been picked up by Amazon. And he is

delighted it is being filmed at the Leith studios set up by Jason

Connery and Bob Last, which many believe could herald an

exciting new chapter for the Scottish film industry.

He said: "In many ways it's all the things that, when you

try and become a screenwriter, they tell you probably

won't happen. It has been a brilliant experience,

Martin Compston

We can’t wait to take you

to one of the harshest

environments on Earth for

an action packed story

that pushes to the

absolute limits

Capital cameos

Jonathan Melville selects five of

his favourite glimpses of Auld

Reekie on the big screen

FROM HIGHWAYMEN to superheroes,

skinheads to schoolteachers, Edinburgh

has been a favourite location for

filmmakers for decades.

1. The Prime of Miss Jean

Brodie (1969)

This adaptation of Muriel Spark's classic

novel of an Edinburgh teacher and her girls

found Dame Maggie Smith (Brodie)

walking with her pupils along The Vennel

joining Lauriston Place with The

Grassmarket. Robert Stephens (Teddy

Lloyd) can be seen leaving a flat on

Merchant Street.

2. Trainspotting (1996)

One of the defining UK films of the 1990s,

Trainspotting's opening scenes were shot in

the centre of Edinburgh, with Renton (Ewan

McGregor) first seen running past Boots the

Chemist on Princes Street, before heading

to Calton Road and Calton Street Bridge.

3. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Long before WandaVision hit Disney+,

Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) and Paul

Bettany (Vision) made their way to the Old

Town to film scenes for this blockbuster,

along with Chris Evans (Captain America)

and Anthony Mackie (Falcon). The Royal

Avengers Director Joe Russo

Edinburgh and and Lord Provos


Mark Mainz

Members of the

cast (from top to

bottom) Iain Glen,

Emily Hampshire,

Mark Bonnar and

Owen Teale

I often set my stories in

Scotland because I think

we’ve got some of the

best landscapes and

vistas in the world

Filming of Belgravia

in New Town

Writer David Macpherson

surveys the set inside the big

shed in Leith where the

series will be made

a wild ride, and very exciting."

When we spoke, filming was just about to begin and

Macpherson was doing some redrafting of his script. He has

enjoyed strong support from Amazon, as he explained: “Their

whole thing when we started was, ‘don't hold back, go big’, and

they've been incredibly helpful.

“When I got the go ahead from Amazon, I had just written a

Twitter thread about being unsure if I had broken into the

industry yet, or if I was still an amateur screenwriter. Literally

half an hour later our producer Derek called me to say we had

the green light.

"I love showing off Scotland and cannot wait to get the crew

here and let them see the country. I often set my stories here

because I think we've got some of the best landscapes and

vistas in the world.”

The Rig is the first of his scripts to make it into production,

although he has written other pieces which are at various stages

with Rosie Ellison of Film

t of Edinburgh, Frank Ross

Mile, Cockburn Street, St Giles’ Cathedral

and Waverley Station all get some time in

the spotlight.

4. Restless Natives (1985)

Modern day highwaymen Will (Vincent

Friell) and Ronnie (Joe Mullaney) ride

their motorbike around the city c entre in

this vintage comedy. The pair speed down

The Mound, before crossing Princes Street

and onto Hanover Street. Victoria Street is

also part of the chase.

5. Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story

of a Dog (1961)

of development. During an essentially self-taught career path

he wrote WRATH - developed with Balloon Entertainment -

which was shortlisted for the All3Media New Voices Award

2018 and also for the 2019 TV Brit List of the best unproduced

scripts in the UK.

He believes it was WRATH which got him noticed. He is

also a previous winner of the Edinburgh Short Film Festival

Script Pitch Competition with CAPES, and was one of

Edinburgh City of Literature's Story Shop participants in 2015.

Produced by Wild Mercury Production, The Rig is set on

the “Kinloch Bravo” platform where the crew find themselves

cut off from all communications as a mysterious fog rolls in

and they are “driven to the limits of both their loyalties and

their endurance, into a confrontation with forces beyond

their imagination".


The plot’s twists and turns are under wraps but Highland-born

Macpherson did share a little insight: “It has a strong mystery

element, and there's a touch of sci-fi and thriller. There will be

big stunts and big action, and it crosses lots of genres. But we

are trying as much as possible to ground everything in the real

- so even the more sci-fi elements will all trace back to as close

as we can to real scientific phenomena. And we are trying to

make our rig as real as possible - and authentic."

Macpherson has leaned on earlier memories from stories

told by his father Keith who worked in the Nigg yard on the

Cromarty Firth building massive oil and gas rigs and later on

rigs all over the world. Growing up in Ardross, Macpherson

felt that oil platforms were always in his life, towering over the

town when they came back in for repair.

He said: “My dad always came back with stories and I just

find them a fascinating sort of microcosm of life - so important

to Scotland, but also still a very hidden world unless you're

working in it.”

He added on Twitter: “We can't wait to take you to one of

the harshest environments on Earth for an action packed story

that pushes to the absolute limits. You won't have seen

anything like this before!’”

It is an ironic twist that a screenplay and drama series based

on the oil industry is being filmed in studios once home to a

wave energy company and part of the move away from heavy

oil to green energy, but he’s happy he can propel himself by

bike to the location in 20 minutes from his home in Portobello.

A release date is yet to be announced for The Rig which

will be available on Amazon Prime Video

The story of the little Skye Terrier

who spent 14 years at the graveside

of his owner, John Gray, was brought

to the screen by Disney in 1961.

Though much of the film was shot

inside film studios, the crew did

come to Edinburgh for some of the

exteriors, visiting Greyfriars Kirkyard

and Edinburgh Castle. The small

statue of Bobby outside the Kirkyard is

Edinburgh's smallest listed building.

Jonathan Melville is a freelance arts

journalist and editor of

Statue of Greyfriars Bobby

Fairytale city is

movie manna

Revenues down but outlook positive



amphitheatre for filming and already

plans for four large-scale dramas have

been confirmed in 2021. Using

Edinburgh as a backdrop is popular

whether for period dramas such as

Belgravia, or lighthearted features like

the Eurovision Song Contest inspired

The Story of Fire Saga.

The direct economic impact of big

budget films coming to Edinburgh

averages around £7 million per year.

In 2019 it rose to £14.4 million - the

second highest year ever. In 2020 the

economic benefit understandably fell

to just over £2 million due to

Covid-19. The city council made only

£17,668 from filming last year

compared to almost £250,000 in

2019, with revenue generated from

the use of public buildings or spaces

like Calton Hill.

Rosie Ellison, Film Commissioner at

Film Edinburgh, said: "Things simply

fell through the floor. There was

filming but these were small-scale,

using local production companies

which did not need hotel

accommodation or much in the way

of equipment hire. But we did have a

lot of preparation for drama which

might come to Edinburgh in 2021."

While the pandemic continues,

production companies keep staff

safely bubbled up and industry

guidelines have been

established on how to film

safely. Nobody wants to

encourage adoring film

fans to congregate.

In 2019, 157

productions were

filmed in Edinburgh

- not all blockbusters

- government

information films and documentaries

like Men in Kilts, The Grand Tour and

Great British Bake Off (which attracted

9.2 million viewers for the final).

When we spoke Rosie was on the

hunt for locations that could serve as

criminal courts, but on other

occasions it could easily be a

Mediterranean style beach or a

building which might double up as a

police station (which city council HQ

Waverley Court did in Case Histories).

Once Rosie has located places for

the production companies to film, her

job moves on to how to

accommodate large numbers of crew

and associated equipment in the city

without causing too much disruption

to business and daily life.

The tech vehicles used on a set

could include 20 or 30 large trucks

and sometimes production

companies with deep pockets have to

"buy out" the businesses in whole

streets to allow filming to proceed.

The council might need to switch the

streetlights on and off while filming is

in progress, and Rosie deals with

those sorts of requests to make it

easier for filming to be carried on in

the capital.

Rosie's job may appear to be

glamorous, but she spends more time

helping to find locations than she

does schmoozing with the A-listers

on set. She said: "I love seeing

Edinburgh on the screen and I really

like meeting owners and managers of

all the locations, but my time meeting

the stars is limited. It is more often the

production crew who need to talk to

me. We have a wide range of locations

from buildings to homes available. If

anyone wants to have their property

added to the list of potential locations

then they can get in touch.”

Film Edinburgh


Bonnie & Wild

New eateries to open in St James Quarter later this year

Roly Simpson

GARY MACLEAN, the 2016 MasterChef, will open his first

solo restaurant in Bonnie & Wild's Scottish Marketplace in St

James Quarter later this year.

This area of Edinburgh is shaping up as Edinburgh's new

food quarter with the food hall promising to be jammed full

of all kinds of delicious produce.

The first wave of food specialists has been revealed and

include eight exclusive food stalls, three speciality retailers, a

patisserie and three bars. The open plan area will be an

exciting place to visit.

Gary is opening a casual dining spot along with Creel

Caught where he will champion Scotland's seafood matched

with seasonal ingredients. His headline dishes will include

Lobster Thermidor Mac 'n' Cheese, grilled langoustines with

seaweed butter and monkfish scampi with fries.

Gary said: “This is set to be a Food Hall like no other and

it’s precisely why I chose Bonnie & Wild as the location for

my first ever solo dining venture. Creel Caught will showcase

the very best seafood this country has to offer,

something we know diners can’t get enough of.”

Other names lined up for the food hall include

Edinburgh's East Pizzas with their slow-fermentation

sourdough pizzas featuring locally sourced ingredients.

Gary added: “Being alongside the likes of Mac & Wild and

East Pizzas is testament to Scotland’s incredible food scene.

We all offer something different, something for every taste

but all with Scottish produce at the heart.”

Roly Simpson of East Pizzas said: “I think Bonnie & Wild’s

new Food Hall is going to be an amazing venue that will

celebrate the breadth and depth of Scottish food and drink.

I’m delighted East Pizzas is going to be a part of this

adventure as we expand our Edinburgh base.

“Like the Bonnie & Wild team we are very much

focused on locally sourced products, with an emphasis

on using organic products when possible. For example,

our organic mozzarella cheese comes from

Dumfriesshire, while our venison salami is provided by

the excellent Great Glen Charcuterie and our smoked

chorizo from East Coast Cured. But of course we’ll be

celebrating seasonal food, and offering an everchanging

and innovative line-up, offering up some

beautiful classics as well as some exciting surprises.”

And the food destination will include a new name

in ice-cream - unless you spotted them at Leith

Market last year. Husband and wife team Joe and

Lucie Sykes, the entrepreneurs behind Joelato, will

bring their luxury artisanal gelato to Edinburgh on a

full-time basis.

Flavours are just a bit different - look forward to trying

out Ferdi's flavour, which is a salted honey gelato with

homemade honeycomb, all made with locally sourced milk,

cream, eggs, berries and herbs from Joe and Lucie's own

garden in Perthshire.

Joe learned the craft of gelato at the world-famous

Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna. He said: “Joining

Bonnie & Wild Food Hall is an exciting step for us. We've

been running a popular gelato delivery service over the past

year, and already experienced huge interest in our artisanal

gelato. Now, we’re looking forward to collaborating with

other premium food businesses who are all working together

to showcase the very best that Scotland can offer.”

When it opens later this summer, Bonnie & Wild’s Scottish

Marketplace will be able to accommodate 700 guests, who

can choose from a wide range of freshly prepared, locally

sourced food and drink. Alongside the unrivalled food

offering, the venue will also contain a private dining area,

flexible events spaces, children’s play area, and a

demonstration kitchen complete with broadcast capability.

Set for June opening


Gary Maclean

ST JAMES QUARTER will open to the public on 24 June after five

years in the making. The £1 billion development has natural

ventilation and is easily reached by public transport. In case you

need them there are covered car parks on site. The first phase of

the newest destination in town will include some big names in

the fashion world as well as the Bonnie & Wild food hall. John

Lewis is to open on 14 May after their makeover - perhaps made

all the easier during lockdown. At first shoppers can enter the

store by Leith Street and Little King Street and from its own

entrance in St James Quarter in June. Over the next 18 months

the W Edinburgh, Everyman Cinema, 152 New Eidyn apartments,

and a Roomzzz Aparthotel will open. We are promised an

“unrivalled guest experience” and “an enviable events

programme in new and attractive public spaces”.

Coaches call time to pitch alarm business


coaches have joined forces in a

bid to become a winning

business team in the city.

As members of the Spartans

Youth set-up, Kenny Cameron

and Craig Dinwoodie have

nurtured some of the game’s

brightest prospects.

The coaching colleagues are

now turning their thoughts

towards life away from the pitch

and have set up the Edinburgh

Alarm Company.

The security firm will offer a

range of services including

domestic and commercial alarm

installations, fire suppression

systems, smoke and heat

detection alarms as well as the

latest CCTV technology.

One of the first members of

staff at the sports-based social

enterprise in the capital, he has

been helping youngsters in the

north west of Edinburgh for

nearly two decades. As the

Youth Work Manager at

Spartans Community Football

Academy, Kenny is responsible

for the development and

growth of key social impact and

youth work programmes.

Kenny, (40), said: “I’ve been a

youth worker for 17 years, and

at Spartans for around 12 years

and I think there is a length of

time after which you stop being

effective in that role.

“I love my job with Spartans

and I’m not going to turn my

back on the youth work

completely but I definitely

wanted to have other

professional interests.”

Supported by a team of

experienced alarm engineers

and qualified electricians, the

Edinburgh Alarm Company will

cover domestic and commercial

properties in the city and the

surrounding areas.

Kenny Cameron

Craig Dinwoodie


They’ve got the Write Stuff



Independent Stockbridge stationer sold to assistant manager

THE INDEPENDENT Stockbridge stationer

The Write Stuff has now been sold.

Former owner Mae Douglas said: “I am

delighted that Antonia Secchi, who currently

works as my assistant manager in the shop, is

buying the business, and is due to take over on

6 April. I leave knowing that the shop is in

good hands.”

Antonia plans to continue the huge range of

traditional and modern stationary products,

alongside printing and photocopying services.

Together with loyal staff, Marta and Natalie, she

and her two teenagers will continue to provide

the friendly, personalised service for which The

Write Stuff is known.

Paying tribute to the former owner, Antonia

said: “When Mae told me she was considering

selling the business, my heart sank. She’s the best

boss I’ve ever had, and I’ve hugely enjoyed

working for her over the past four years.

All smiles at

dental deal


has made an acquisition in

Edinburgh driving its plans to roll

out more expertise in implant

technology in the east of Scotland.

Founded and led by implant

pioneer Dr Duncan Robertson,

Fairmilehead Dental Practice &

Implant Centre in the capital is

the latest addition to the Clyde

Munro portfolio.

A graduate of University of

Edinburgh, Dr Robertson is a

renowned implantologist and he

has joined Scotland's most

dynamic dental group, Clyde

Munro, as part of the business

deal. He set up his own practice

in 1993.

Duncan completed the business

deal in eight weeks and he will

now become a crucial member of

Clyde Munro’s clinical

“With her energy, enthusiasm, knowledge

and can-do, positive attitude, I know she’ll

be missed by all our customers. She’s done

an amazing job single-handedly keeping

development team for at least two

years, focusing on growing the

group’s expertise in advanced

dentistry and implantology in the

east of Scotland.

He said dentists across the

country are increasingly feeling

the pressure of running their

businesses in the face of greater

regulation and compliance while

still trying to do what they really

love - treating patients.

Those issues have only been

made more difficult by lockdown.

The accomplished

implantologist said: “I spoke to a

number of dental groups to weigh

up whether the practice could

benefit from joining a larger


“Clyde Munro stood out for its

ambition to provide a network of

Scottish-based family dentists,

L-R Antonia Secchia

and Mae Douglas

each given the support to

provide the very best dental

care while retaining their

individual character.

“They were impressed by our

expertise in providing a broad

spectrum of quality, family dental

care along with more complex

restorative and implant


The Write Stuff alive during the lockdowns.

“No one could replace Mae and it’ll no doubt

take me a little while to get up to speed, but I

hope to make my own mark and continue to

build on the success of The Write Stuff.”

Antonia said: “I’m excited though nervous

about taking on a business in such uncertain

times, but I’m looking forward to contributing to

the recovery of Stockbridge’s vibrant high street

and can’t wait to greet all our customers again

very soon.”

Mae said: It has been a difficult year, but the

business has survived due to the ongoing support

and loyalty shown to us by our customers, so I

cannot thank them enough for this. I hope they

will continue to support Antonia, especially

when she can open the doors again, and I wish

her and the staff a very successful future at The

Write Stuff.”

Laura Vida

Xyyy Caption Dr Duncan for in

here Robertson please

“We will now have a central role

in implant treatments for other

Clyde Munro practices in

Edinburgh and surrounding areas.

“This is incredibly important to

me. For 20 years I have been

utterly fascinated by every aspect

of this treatment which has

revolutionised dentistry and

continues to do so.”

Beautiful Planet

zero waste shop

BEAUTIFUL PLANET has just opened

at The Biscuit Factory off Bonnington

Road. The zero waste shopping

experience has a large range of foods

which can all be weighed and packed

in customers’ own containers. There

are drinks, oils and infused oils as well

as household goods such as

detergents, laundry products and

dog products.

Customers can buy online for next

day cargo bike delivery or click and

collect. Walk in customers will be

welcome on Mondays, Fridays and

Saturdays from 10am to 5pm.

Pawel Ferguson, who has set up the

new business, is particularly keen on

caring for the environment and zero

waste. He has committed to doing this

all his life from a very young age. The

concept of the Beautiful Planet was

drawn up during lockdown and with

his experience in retail and hospitality

Pawel will bring his unique charm to

the business. He will work with local

and independent suppliers and


Pawel said: “Ethical household

goods are just some of the things

Beautiful Planet have to offer. The

days of buying from the supermarket

should be a thing of the past and the

use of single use plastics also. We have

not reinvented the wheel – just offer

our own approach and style on the

supply of zero waste shopping –

online, by delivery or in person

collection. Beautiful Planet offers

a happy and welcoming shop

and we cannot wait to meet all

our customers.”

The Biscuit Factory, 4-6 Anderson Place,

Edinburgh, EH6 5NP

Tel: 0131 664 3062



Compiled by David Albury

Pentland Aromatics

is smelling good

AT THE BEGINNING of lockdown there was a shortage

of toilet rolls, but now there appears to be a global

shortage of wax to make candles.

Many have taken a creative path, diverting themselves

from the incessant day to day of lockdown, but one

woman has turned her creativity into a new business in

the Pentland Hills.

Nadine Pierce has launched Pentland Aromatics, a new

business selling candles and diffusers to make working

from home a more fragrant experience. All of these lovely

items use natural products with quality essential oils for

their wonderful fragrance and also their skin and

mood-boosting properties. Buy for yourself or sign up for

Nadine’s candle subscription service.

Involved in a tech business, developing business

simulation games to train staff in team working, it is

something of a first for Nadine to have an online presence

all of her own. The steep learning curve has been

conquered and Pentland Aromatics is beautifully

presented online. The luxury home fragrances are made at

Nadine’s home. All products are vegan friendly, crueltyfree

and made in small batches. She is involved at every

stage from devising the recipes to posting out the

products. It is typical of a cottage industry that the

founder has to learn to do everything themselves first,

and Nadine said she has really enjoyed teaching herself

everything beginning with soaps and moving on to

soy candles.

She said: “It has been a bit of a journey setting up this

wee business and now I am busy packing parcels to send

my candles out far and wide. I am anxiously awaiting the

delivery of more wax as I have already sold out of the Lime

Basil and Mandarin candle and the Sea Salt and Driftwood

candles. So when I get some more I will be back at my

bain-marie crafting more. It is really exciting how many

people have found my website already, and it is a really nice

hobby to have alongside my full time job with ROCKET.”

Return the bottles your product is provided in, then

they will be used again.


1 Unbolt stands, reducing them to basic

components (4,3,5)

9 Central area of Pinner, for example? (5)

10 Eyelet can be destroyed by this

flammable gas (9)

11 How a drink can represent something

one has created (9)

12 Bits of cacti tangled up with giant (5)

13 Reduction of pain, for example, if reel is

fixed in place (6)

15 Changing climates affect this climber (8)

18 Programme where people talk about

what cosh to use? (4,4)

19 All together inside frozen block (2,4)

22 Put forward for sale as part of

fertility rite (5)

24 I can still pick out a minute amount (9)

26 Dash north in response to this symbolic

message (9)

27 Fixing pin in part of drive-through

service area (5)

28 Tanners knife used by Shelley’s

doctor? (12)


1 Therein lies confusion, not one thing

nor another (7)

2 Nonet returned to this joint (5)

3 Resin rail built into flying craft (9)

4 Member of the clergy found inside a

consecrated building (6)

5 Excessive measures to ensure Orville

receives his knighthood (8)

6 Secret meeting place might test a

holy man (5)

7 Compel Attlee to become an

abstainer (8)

8 Sent in to play this game? (6)

14 Regal fop jumping over another in

this game (8)

16 A smart man can be turned into a

weapon-bearing soldier (3-2-4)

17 Helmsman shows way to coax wins (8)

18 Confusing echo, so select this one (6)

20 Can’t she show the way to punish? (7)

21 Bride I play golf with scores one

under par (6)

23 Armature turns in either direction (5)

25 Raised barrier in the middle of sleeves (5)


Across: 1 Nuts and bolts, 9 Inner, 10 Acetylene, 11 Handiwork, 12 Titan, 13 Relief, 15 Clematis,

18 Chat show, 19 En bloc, 22 Offer, 24 Scintilla, 26 Shorthand, 27 Rivet, 28 Frankenstein.

Down: 1 Neither, 2 Tenon, 3 Airliners, 4 Deacon, 5 Overkill, 6 Tryst, 7 Teetotal, 8 Tennis, 14

Leapfrog, 16 Man-at-arms, 17 Coxswain, 18 Choose, 20 Chasten, 21 Birdie, 23 Rotor, 25 Levee.

Premium Italian wine - all online

MOST VIRTUAL tastings offered

online are tailored to wine

newbies. But what if you are a

wine enthusiast who already

knows quite a bit about wine?

Independent Wine, an

Edinburgh-based Italian wine

specialist, recently launched a

new format of tasting events

geared towards discerning wine

lovers and enthusiasts.

Each ticket includes three

full-size (750ml) bottles of

award-winning Italian wine.

Elvira Dmitrieva, of

Independent Wine, said: “After

research I discovered that most

virtual tastings are tailored to

beginners and you’re supplied

with no-name wines. I decided to

develop premium tasting

packages focusing on awardwinning

wines for those who

appreciate high-quality wine. For

£99 per ticket, each household

receives three full bottles and an

hour-long tutorial with our wine

experts – Flavia and Daniel.”

Independent Wine has several

online tasting events on offer.

Each focuses on a different

region, grape or style of wine so

there’s always something new to

learn about. Whether it’s

lesser-known wines of top

quality from Alto Adige, or how

Pinot Noir is influenced by

altitude - each session will be a

deep-dive into the terroir and

wine-making techniques used by

some of Italy’s best independent

wineries. “Signature wines of

Sardinia” and “Re-discover Italian

White Wines: Gewürztraminer,

Vermentino and Pinot Grigio

Riserva”. Tickets start from £89

per household.


Juliet’s food diary



Gran’s Tattie

Scones are killers

I’M OFTEN ASKED what my favourite cookbook is.

I’ve probably owned hundreds over the years but my

most precious are two of my late grandmother’s

notebooks where she kept her, mainly baking recipes

from the 1920s, all handwritten in her beautiful

cursive script.

I also inherited her jewellery collection and although

Agnes Wilson (nee Lawrence) was no Liz Taylor she

could certainly have given Mary Berry a run for her

money. These books were well used during her life and

seem to be preserved in a thin crust of flour dust. With

three hard working men to feed, she would spend

every Saturday baking an assortment of pies, cakes,

scones and endless treats to keep the workforce going.

These were stored in a marble shelved larder named

The Morgue and I was well into my teenage years

before realising that most morgues don’t tend to store

baked goods and jams.

I was inspired to leaf through these tomes when I

heard that Museums & Galleries Edinburgh are

launching a “Cooking Up The Past” series of videos on

YouTube, the first episode featuring the museum staff

attempting Soda Scones from a 1932 edition of Plain

Cookery Recipes from the Edinburgh College of

Domestic Science. I’m not fortunate enough to possess

such a glamorous guide to the kitchen, but I do have

my Gran’s 1946 copy of the Scottish Women’s Rural

Institute Cookery Book which features a “Mottoes”

page including gems such as:

Ladies who wish to keep their spouses

Content and happy in their houses,

Must learn that food to be a blessing

Must not be ruined in the dressing.

It’s very nice to be good looking,

But that will not excuse bad cooking;

And Men have got such funny natur’s,

They’ll judge you by your beef and ‘taters;

So if you want to rule and lead them,

You’ll do it if you nicely feed them.

If you’d rather finish your husband off, you might turn

to page 182 and whip up “A Fitless Cock”, which is a

well boiled dumpling consisting of oatmeal, onion, egg,

milk and suet. Guaranteed to make him croak or leave

you. A “fry up” was a daily staple in the Wilson

Household and Agnes would sometimes make my

father two. The meal was not complete without several

Potato Scones. She would pre-cook them on the

hotplate of a Baby Belling before frying them in

dripping. Before you think the Wilson clan began

Scotland’s obesity crisis, think on. They dined like kings

in the morning, princes at lunchtime and paupers in

the evening, as was the custom of that place and time.

Although well fed, none were overweight.

Juliet Lawrence Wilson





(Makes 4)

• 4 tablespoons mashed


• 1 ¼ tablespoon flour

• Pinch salt

Mash the potatoes very

smoothly. Mix in the flour and

salt. Work till smooth and then

roll out until fairly thin. Cut in

four and prick with a fork. Bake

on a hot griddle until brown on

both sides. Cool inside a fresh

clean towel.

If you don’t own a Baby

Belling hotplate or a griddle, a

dry heavy bottomed frying pan

will do. My Gran would have

kept these in a tin in her

death-themed pantry but

regular refrigeration for a day

or so would suffice for the rest

of us.

My favourite use of potato

scones is undoubtedly a

breakfast with smoked fish and

poached egg, although I often

elevate this to a supper dish,

using a lightly smoked and

roasted piece of salmon and a

ridiculously simple sauce of

2 oz browned butter, juice of

half a freshly squeezed lemon

and a tablespoon of capers,

which adds an unctuous but

pleasingly acidic balance to

such a rich meal.

I WAS AGAIN reminded of my

grandmother as she was a survivor of the

Clydebank Blitz, which happened 80 years

ago last month, and I wonder what she

would make of our present-day crisis?

Her generation lived through two World

Wars, Spanish flu that killed off more

people than the first war, rationing and

a life that involved hard work as a

full-time housewife.

I’m sure she’d have something to say

about my current gripe of closed pubs and

Zoom calls not being quite “the same”.

A global pandemic and Brexit haven’t

affected my food shopping one iota and I’m

as spoilt as I ever was. My only recent

experience of depravity was that Lidl didn’t

seem to have any ripe avocados and Tesco

had run out of pine nuts. Fortunately,

I had gin and vermouth in the cupboard

and managed.

I have embraced the Church of Zoom

and recently hosted my first online

“cookalong”, making an elegant three

course meal in real time with four guests.

It was the best fun I’ve had in ages and

thankfully everyone’s dishes turned out

a treat. Highlights of our evening may be

appearing on The Edinburgh Reporter

website soon, so if you haven’t already,

please subscribe to our Facebook and

Instagram feeds for all the latest news

of this and our planned interactive

food evenings.

It was great fun for all involved, and we

made Monkfish stuffed with buffalo

mozzarella wrapped in parma ham served

with a creamy shallot sauce with saute

baby potatoes and a warm salad of rocket

and french beans.

For pudding we compiled a trifle of

mascarpone, blood orange and marsala.

But of course we got going with a cocktail

made with Campari, prosecco and

blood orange.

And I showed the guests how to make

the easiest starter of bruschetta with

gorgonzola. Buon appetito!



Open to the


For the last year we have dutifully remained at home,

with glimpses of outside life scattered along the way.

It is now looking hopeful that this relaxation of

lockdown will be sustainable and more places will

open to visitors.

Here is our eclectic list of suggestions – if and when

you decide to step out...


Dundas Street now has a Deli further

up the street (23c) where you can

get takeaway coffee with your

groceries including fresh veg and

something readymade and lovely

for lunch.


Street is open online and will open

properly at the end of April.

Meantime the beautiful birch branch

which owner Jurgita wrapped in

yarn to decorate the gallery at

Christmas has started to bud.

It was a broken branch and has

has little in the way of TLC. Jurgita

would love to have more photos of it

if you pass by.

THE BOTANICS has been a

saviour for many people in recent

months, open for local outdoor

recreation and exercise.

You can visit with your household

or extended household although

you have to book ahead online.

It is free although you might

consider making a donation or

buying something from their

online shop.


Street will fuel you with caffeine

when you visit the city centre. They

are also beginning to stock freshly

baked pastries - but nothing will

beat their coffee for freshness as

they roast the beans on the


Sniff the air on approach. You can

also subscribe to have coffee

delivered at home.

CONIFOX at Kirkliston is one of

the newest child centred

experiences in the Edinburgh area

and are already open for those living

in Edinburgh only. They have a

takeaway BBQ cabin, toilets and as

long as you visit in line with any

government guidance as to numbers

then they will be pleased to see you

and entertain your children.


St opens on 6 April for click and

collect from their shop. Pick up a

coffee while you collect from Pinks

at Dovecot.

EDINBURGH ZOO is open to

locals for now. All indoor areas and

the gift shop are closed but toilets

and takeaway catering is available

(card payment only).

RZSS CEO David Field and The

Cheeky Panda mascot Colin remind

us that the zoo has set up a

Crowdfunder to help them keep

going. Eco-brand The Cheeky Panda

have donated £50,000 to it with all

funds raised being used to feed the

zoo’s animals

Animal fans can choose from a

range of experiences and gifts,

including memberships, adoptions,

virtual tours and feeding giraffes

when the animals arrive at the zoo

later this year.

FINGAL in Leith opens on 17 May

when you can have afternoon tea in

the Lighthouse Restaurant and Bar

and enjoy the Art Deco interior with

views over Leith Docks.

Tel 0131 357 5000 •

Admire the Tropical Houses

from outside for now

Zoo CEO David Field

with Cheeky Panda


will open on 24 and 25 April for

Scotland's Gardens Scheme Open

Day. £10 entry. Worth it to go and

see the swimming pool designed by

Joana Vasconcelos. Otherwise open

from 1 April for local members only.

Membership allows you to visit as

often as you wish.

MAIALINO at William Street in the

West End serves everything

breakfast until noon (one of the best

bacon rolls in Edinburgh) lunch with

soup and sandwiches and an

afternoon tea box which you can

pick up at the door.

Tel 0131 226 5953


is open but if you arrive by car then

you should know that in April they

will begin charging £3 a car for

parking. There is food available from

the Food Truck at weekends, and the

food hall is open with other

shopping online.

ROSELEAF BAR in Leith will open

again on 27 April at 10am without

alcohol until 17 May. Numbers will

be limited. Book by email or call

0131 476 5268 for information.


Barony Street with Kevin Harman’s

exhibition Glassworks which has

graced the gallery walls since the

start of the year and will finally open

to the public on 28 April until 22 May.

There is an online viewing room

for artlovers to admire Harman’s

work, and now there is a date when

you will also be able to see it for

yourself. The gallery also has a short

film in which Kevin discusses the art

which comprises Glassworks with

writer Irvine Welsh.


Brunch to go - for pick up or delivery.

Perhaps they will continue when the

virus is in the dim and distant past?

Hotel opens on 26 April.

Kevin Harman at

Ingleby Gallery


online for now featuring Howard

Flanagan and his hyper-real

paintings until 10 April in his first

solo show in Edinburgh. Next will be

the Dundas Street gallery’s Spring

Exhibition - a mixed show.


Podcasts to keep

you company

Following on from last month when we shared some of the

best podcasts, here are some more suggestions...

Thank you

for the music


has announced her debut single.

It is written to show her

gratitude for the connections and

mental wellbeing that music has

given her, and so many others,

during the pandemic.

The rich vocals and dynamic

fiddle playing and intricate piano

work of The City of Edinburgh

Music School former pupil

(pictured above) shows her to

be an exciting young artist.

Cannot Steal the Sound is Isla’s

first body of work featuring her

as a solo singer.

Isla said: “This song is one of

the quickest and most instinctive

pieces of music I’ve ever written.

The inspiration came from the

realisation that music has helped

a lot of people to cope during

lockdown, myself included. I have

listened to numerous albums. I

have learned to play new

repertoire. I have watched online

concerts and music festivals. I

have collaborated with musicians

from around the world and I have

continued to teach my violin and

fiddle students online. I have

played piano duets with my

elderly granny, whose dementia

worsened during lockdown, yet

she remembers how to play

many Scottish tunes.

“During a very difficult year,

music has served an important

function as a medium that takes

us away from our immediate

reality and connects us to each

other, albeit virtually. Music has

provided an escape into a more

cheerful world, and for this I am

very grateful.”

Isla didn’t want Covid

restrictions to delay the release of

her track. So she built a “duvet

fort” to record her vocals and

fiddle parts, recording piano on

her late grandfather’s piano in

the family living room.

Isla learned violin from the age

of five and quickly gained an

abundance of writing and stage

experience, performing a duet

with Nicola Benedetti at the

Usher Hall aged 13.


winning weekly public radio

programme which has run for 25

years and is hosted by the mellifluous

voice of Ira Glass. To give you an idea

of how big a deal Glass is, he was

once depicted on The Simpsons, and

had a voice-only role as himself on

American Dad! Last July The New

York Times bought Serial

Productions, owned by Glass and the

production team behind Serial, for

$25 million. With a wealth of stories

on a huge range of topics from selling

second hand cars to a love break up

and the original 14 minute musical by

Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton

fame, the podcast was bought.

Too good to mention them all.

There is nowhere better than to start

with the latest episode and then dig

back into the archives. If you need

help with that there is a New York

Times article in which Glass makes

some recommendations from the 700

or so episodes. You may be gone

some time.

If crime is your thing then do start

with Serial which began as a spin off

from This American Life.

Exposing some of the faults in the

US justice system as well as wrapping

you up inside a real life crime starting

with the disappearance of Hae Min

Lee at high school in Baltimore in

1999 it is nothing short of immersive.

The series, which began unbelievably

in 2014, is hosted by Sarah Koenig

who was discovering the same story

as the listener at much the same time.

The fact that there is audio from

inside the courtroom is only one of

Learney Incantation


Robbie Bushe

the ways that our own court system

differs. The story has been

downloaded a staggering 340 million

times. Start at the beginning, and like

any good story you will be sad to

leave it at the end.

And if you are more musically

inclined then there is a huge library of

podcasts from Desert Island Discs to

listen to. Now presented by Lauren

Laverne, it was the idea of Roy

Plomley in 1942 who is still credited

in each new episode. The website has

all sorts of statistics from the most

chosen pieces of music to the weirdest

luxury items the castaway wants to

take with them. The archive of

podcasts is conveniently arranged n

five year segments and is a social

history of the second half of the 20th

century. It is impossible to pick a

favourite episode but looking for

some comedy there is one with one

half of the Two Fat Ladies, the late

lamented, Clarissa Dickson Wright.

From time to time we host our own

interviews on

At Open Eye Gallery

ROBBIE BUSHE’S practice centres on the depiction of detailed,

suggestive narratives, frequently set within expansive architectonic

constructions. Bushe has exhibited his narrative paintings since 1990.

Inspired by the characters and the places where he has lived and worked,

his work has won several national awards, including the inaugural W.

Gordon Smith Painting Prize. Most recently he is a shortlisted prize-winner

of the 2020 John Moores Painting Prize at the Walker Gallery Liverpool.

Born in Liverpool in 1964, Bushe grew up in Aberdeenshire before

graduating in painting at Edinburgh College of Art in 1990.

Having simultaneously undertaken a career as artist and art lecturer, he

taught painting at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen, was Head of Fine Art at

the University of Chichester, and has lectured at Kent Institute of Art and

Design and Oxford Brookes University. Bushe returned to Scotland in 2007

to become the Coordinator of Short Courses at Edinburgh College of Art.

He is currently a Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.

Bushe was elected as a member of the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) in

2017 and is currently serving as its Secretary.

34 Abercromby Place • 4 - 24 April •


The pandemic

looking back

Edinburgh Libraries scrapbooks will hold our memories

IF YOU HAVE a look at Edinburgh Collected

you will be transported back only a year to the

beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic with

pictures and memories of the impact of this

time on all our lives.

It was on Monday 23 March 2020 when

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced

that people in the UK must Stay at Home.

Apart from those working in essential key

industries and services, people did stay at home

to prevent the spread of the virus. Schools,

community centres, libraries, museums and

galleries in Edinburgh had already closed

during the previous week.

The public were permitted to leave home only

to shop for essentials, to get medical assistance,

to provide help or care for a vulnerable person,

or to take daily exercise.

The Edinburgh Collected scrapbook records

the impact of this time in the city, from deserted

streets and “closed” signs, to the little acts of

creativity and messages of thanks and positivity

that began to appear.

Alexander Wood

1817 - 1884

Edinburgh Sketcher

Artists hosting a new online workshop


Mark Kirkham and artist Julie

Galante are hosting a new

workshop on Saturday 24

April which combines

sketching and mixed media.

Join them for a full day of

creativity as you are guided

from initial ink drawings

through watercolours and

onto mixed media, using your

initial sketches to work

towards a finished original

artwork of an Edinburgh


During the day you will join

Mark and Julie for three Zoom

sessions during which each

will share the tips and

techniques they use in their

own art works. You will learn

how to use scale, perspective,

and various mediums and

textures to tell the story of

what you see around you,

building your confidence and

learning useful tricks of the

trade that you will go on to

use again and again.

In between the sessions

you are encouraged to

continue building on what

you’ve done, either heading

outside to find inspiration in

the city, or working from

reference photos of

Edinburgh which will be

provided for you.

Participants can order a kit

of materials when booking

(UK addresses only) or source

their own (a detailed list will

be provided).

Workshop without

materials - £95. Workshop

plus materials kit (including

UK shipping or local

Edinburgh pick up) - £150.

For more detail and to book

your place on this exclusive

course please visit:



City physician Alexander

Wood pioneered syringes

AN INDISPENSABLE piece of medical

technology, the hypodermic syringe, is

essential to the current mass Covid-19

vaccination programme now underway in

Edinburgh and throughout Scotland.

And its origins can be traced back to New

Town resident Alexander Wood, who in

1853 while living at 19 Royal Circus,

combined a glass syringe with a hypodermic

needle to inject morphine into patients who

could not take the medicine orally.

The practice of injections became

commonplace. His biographer and brotherin-law,

Reverend Thomas Brown, describes

his study of a bee sting as inspiration. Wood

published his paper “New Method of

Treating Neuralgia by the Direct Application

of Opiates to the Painful Points” in the

Edinburgh Medical and Surgical

Journal (1855).

Wood is an incredibly interesting

character, in 1855 he was passed over for a

professorship at Edinburgh University

allegedly due to his critical treatise

“Homeopathy Unmasked”

which he had published in

1844. Wood was elected

President of the Royal College of

Physicians of Edinburgh from 1858

to 1861.

He retired from medicine at the

age of 55 in 1872 and among

other activities, he took up a role

as Chairman of the Edinburgh

Tramway Company. The tramway

system encountered strong

opposition. Wood’s biographer

Martin P McAdam

Wood’s Gravestone

reports that the upper classes who drove

their private carriages found “the street-rails

particularly objectionable”. He comments

that “the tramways were the most abused

and most used institution in Edinburgh”.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Variations of the syringe have been

around for some time, ancient Greeks used

variations of the modern technology to

apply medicines and ointments. Blaise

Pascal, the French inventor, developed a

modern syringe to conduct experiments.

Legend and indeed many legitimate

sources claim that Wood’s wife,

Rebecca Massey, was the first

known intravenous morphine

addict to die from an overdose.

Richard Davenport-Hines in his

book “The Pursuit of Oblivion”

disagrees: ‘It is a myth: she

outlived him, and survived until

1894”. Mrs Wood died aged 75,

eleven years after her husband,

and is buried in Dean Cemetery

in Edinburgh next to her


Martin P McAdam


Prize assets

Ross applauds the hard work of Academy staff

Craig Foy / SNS Group



praised the contribution of Academy

staff Eddie May and Gareth Evans for

their work in developing an exciting

crop of youngsters that have already

attracted the attention of top

English sides.

Teenage goalkeeper Murray

Johnson could be set for a

£250,000 move to Wolves having

recently spent a week training with

English Premier League leaders

Manchester City.

He has also attracted the attention

of Brendan Rodgers at Leicester City.

Midfielder Ethan Laidlaw, who has

signed his first professional contract

with Hibs spent a week on trial with

Leeds United.

In addition, former Academy

graduate Ryan Porteous was the

subject of a big money bid from

Millwall, and Josh Doig is continually

being monitored by many of the

top sides.

Ross aims to retain as many of

the youngsters as possible for the

first team.

He said: “With regard to Ethan

Laidlaw and Murray Johnson it’s not

a reflection on me it’s a reflection on

Eddie May and Gareth Evans and all

the guys who have endured a

difficult year in terms of not being

able to come to work on a

regular basis.

“The job they have done with

those players and the fact that they

have become of interest to clubs

who want to take them from us in

terms of paying a fee and you can

add Ryan (Porteous) and Josh

Doig to that, so it paints them in

a good light.

“The challenge for us is to keep as

many of our good young players as

we can and try and progress them to

first team level, then being able to

back fill and ensure we have that

strength within the Academy and

Development Squad as well.

“We need to make a judgement

call as to whether they are good

enough and ready enough and then

you need to be willing to give them

an opportunity in the right


“For us we have managed to marry

the two together during the course

of the past season.

“We have introduced young

players into the squad and into our

training environment.

“There has been progress met in

terms of the development of these

players and we aim to continue to

do that.”


Josh Doig

Set sail for cash target

Ian Jacobs

Bartley joins Equality

and Diversity Board


FORMER HIBS midfield enforcer Marvin Bartley has

joined the Scottish FA Equality and Diversity

Advisory Board (EDAB) as an Equality Advisor.

The board are determined to unite the game

behind a common agenda to eradicate racism and all

forms of discrimination, whilst promoting equality

for all within the game.

The appointment was made in the wake of

Rangers player Glen Kamara’s claim that he was the

victim of “vile racist abuse” in last month’s UEFA

Europa League tie against Slavia Prague.

Livingston captain Bartley said: “We have seen all

too recently that racism still continues to be a major

issue within football and further demonstrates the

work that needs done to eradicate it from our game.

“I am eager to join Leanne Ross as an advisor to

the Scottish FA, to provide thoughts from a player’s

perspective on issues that are extremely close to

my heart. Recently we’ve witnessed every club in the

country pull together and unite against racism and

now it’s time for us to continue to make sure no

individual is ever left to feel alone or ostracised.

“Rivalries based on the colour of shirt a player

wears on a Saturday is healthy but rivalries based on

their skin colour is not. I’m really looking forward to

helping the Scottish FA and EDAB in their equality

and diversity aims.”

Sailing club shores up funding with sportscotland award



(PSKC) are paddling towards a £155,00

fundraising target to create a permanent

water sports hub after being awarded

£77,625 from sportscotland.

The new facility will allow the club to offer

more and better opportunities for

participation in the local community,

particularly for young people from

disadvantaged areas, women and girls, and

people with additional support needs.

The Promenade-based club offers

members use of sailing dinghies, kayaks and

St Ayles rowing skiffs, and the charity offers

training and facilities to encourage people to

participate in water sports.

The club is one of 11 projects across

Scotland to share more than £900,000 of

investment in the latest round of awards

from sportscotland’s Sport Facilities Fund.

This investment is made possible thanks

to National Lottery players, who raise

£30 million each week for good causes

across the UK.

David Crawley, Chair of PSKC, said: “We

are absolutely delighted with the funding

award which has made a significant

contribution to our overall funding target.

The development of a water sport hub will be

the realisation of a long-held vision, and

reward for the considerable effort that past

and present trustees of the club have put into

making this vision a reality.

“On behalf of the club, I’d like to thank

both sportscotland and all those members of

the public who buy lottery tickets. Without

their support, the creation of a water sports

hub to serve the wide and varied needs of

our local community would have been all

the more challenging.”

Minister for Public Health and Sport,

Mairi Gougeon, said: “This latest investment

from sportscotland’s Sport Facilities Fund

will help make a real impact in communities

across Scotland. Over the last year we have

seen the vital role sport and physical activity

has played in supporting our communities to

stay connected and be more active.

“I’m pleased to hear that more projects

are benefitting from this latest round of

funding which will support local projects to

ensure more diverse and inclusive

opportunities are available in communities

whilst increasing access to sport for all.”

Chief Executive of sportscotland, Stewart

Harris, said: “It is fantastic to see the

ambition and commitment from the people

behind these projects who are working

together to improve the lives of their local

communities. We know that sport and

physical activity can play a part in Scotland’s

recovery from Covid-19. Facilities like these

will not only allow more people to

participate but can also provide a place for

communities to come together and support

one another as we work our way out of these

challenging times.”

Since April 2007, sportscotland has

invested over £192 million of Scottish

Government and National Lottery funding

to help sports clubs, community groups,

local authorities, sport’s governing bodies

and other organisations deliver new

and upgraded sporting facilities across

the country.



Hearts: The real risk of

apathy and indifference

Kelty Hearts




Brora Rangers Scottish Cup fiasco was possibly the nadir


IT’S BEEN A FUNNY old season for

Hearts. They sit neatly at the top of the

Championship table, blazing a superior

points per game ratio to Hibs and

Rangers’ previous title winning seasons.

They knocked out Hibs once again at

Hampden and took the quadruple treble

chasing Celtic to the last kick of the game

in the Scottish Cup final. However, there’s

major gloom hovering over Tynecastle

and it poses a big risk to the club and

Ann Budge’s ongoing tutelage.

It’s not hard to point at the source of

this despair. Shamefully the Jambos have

crashed out of both cup competitions in

the early stages to part-time challengers

– of course, most recently to Highland

League Champions Brora Rangers in a

scandal of a result last month.

Secondly, Robbie Neilson, brought in

to deliver promotion at the start of the

season, has presided over some dull

performances that, although arguably

effective based on the league table, have

been a tiresome watch for the Jambos

faithful via a further frustrating internet

streaming experience.

What does this all mean though? Many

Hearts fans are worryingly moving into

the space of shrugged shoulders and

irrelevance. They argue we’ve been in this

decline for some time and not much is a

surprise – Brora was perhaps the nadir.

This is a major concern and should be

ringing the alarm bells in Tynecastle’s

boardroom, virtual or not, for a variety

of reasons.

Of course, being forced into watching

on laptops and tablets is not Neilson or

Budge’s fault – however, the necessary

fact does bring some potential


The pandemic has taught us that

society’s habits change. We’ve been forced

to use Zoom for work and play, masses

have switched to online shopping, many

are moving out of cities. So, will

thousands of Hearts fans snap up their

season tickets for the 2021/22 campaign?

After more than a year away, will the

prospect of travelling once again to

Gorgie to watch a turgid Hearts side

appeal? A packed and vocal Tynecastle

Park, with all the revenue and

palpable passion that brings, is pretty

intrinsic to the club’s future progress

and ambitions.

This is of course assuming Robbie

Neilson remains in charge and whilst

this is obviously not a given, judging

Ann Budge by her track record it seems

likely. Indeed, her actions perhaps fan the

irrelevance further with the prolonged

Craig Levein sacking a concerning

exemplar of sucking life and energy out

of an ever increasingly alienated fanbase.

The Foundation of Hearts are due to

take ownership of the club very shortly.

There appears minimal appetite for

members to cease or drop their

subscriptions – this seems rightly

disconnected from the current

footballing operation. The handover,

whilst a major milestone and something

to be rightly celebrated given the journey

from administration, does leave the

famous club at a particular crossroads in

how it goes about its business.

Robbie Neilson

Ian Jacobs

Plans to crown

Kelty Hearts

champs again

THE SCOTTISH Lowland Football

League looks set to crown Kelty

Hearts champions after the league

board sent out a proposal to clubs

to end their season.

Edinburgh clubs Spartans, Bonnyrigg

Rose and Civil Service Strollers all take

part in the league which is in the fifth

tier of the Scottish pyramid but has

been suspended from playing since

the latest lockdown was introduced

in December.

It’s understood clubs were asked to

support the proposal of ending the

league on a points-per-games basis due

to prohibitive costs of PCR testing which

they would need to undertake if they

were to return before the 17 May, the

date set by the Scottish Government.

Under the proposal Barry Ferguson’s

team, Kelty Hearts, would be named

champions, for the second season on

the bounce, and put forward to take

part in the pyramid play-off.

The Highland League are thinking of

adopting the same policy even though

only three fixtures were actually played.

This means that Brora Rangers, who

put Hearts to the sword in the Scottish

Cup, would become champions.

They would face Kelty in a repeat of

last year’s cancelled final.

Naysmith’s plumbing job stops him going round the bend




NEW EDINBURGH City manager Gary

Naysmith revealed how he took on a

delivery job for a plumbing company to

ensure his mental health did not suffer.

The former Scotland, Hearts and

Everton left-back returned to football

management at the ambitious League

2 outfit following a 21-month absence

from the dugout.

Naysmith’s most recent post was as a

Loans Manager at Tynecastle, but that

came to an end last June.

And amidst applying for roles in

football during the pandemic, former

Queen of the South and East Fife boss

Naysmith admits he helped distribute

toilet parts to make sure he had

something to occupy the void during

lockdown. Naysmith said: “As a football

player you are used to a routine, in the

morning you know what you are going

to do. During this time, I was just

getting up in the morning, I was not

even taking my boy to school because

he wasn’t going to school.

“You would go for a run, maybe do

the odds and ends like everybody,

go to Tesco.

“It’s like déjà vu. I am not saying I was

struggling with my mental health, but I

was thinking, ‘it’s the same again, same

again, same again’.

“During that time I got a wee driving

job doing some deliveries, that was

great, getting yourself out of the house.

“It was to keep myself busy but more

so for the mental side of it.

“When this wee job came up, just

delivering stuff for City Plumbing,

you were classed a key worker,

because maybe people had toilets

that were broken.

“That job allowed me to go out and

help people, but really I was helping

myself because it was giving me that

routine that was familiar to me my

whole life.

“I was not doing it for the money, I

was doing it to help me really, help me

be as familiar as I could in terms of a

routine and it worked out well for me.”

Naysmith, who earned 46 Scotland

caps, admits he must have left some of

his fellow road users confused when

they saw him in the van.

He added: “I didn’t drive every day, if

they needed me, they needed me but I

probably did it over a period of about

four months.

“It was quite funny, people see you in

the van and sometimes they would do

that double take, ‘is that Gary Naysmith

driving that van?’

“Some people might have said,

‘you’re silly, you could have sat in

the house’. “

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