July 2022

All the news about Edinburgh

All the news about Edinburgh


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Turn a new page

Crime writer Val McDermid

opens revamped café

Paved progress Pride of Provost Porty protest

Causewayside is streets ahead

with shared spaces

First gay City Father dons

Edinburgh’s historic chain

66ft telecoms mast will

destroy High Street

Early signs good

Hearts and Hibs line up

new season talent

Page 3 Page 5 Page 8 Page 9

Page 22

July 2022



...in pictures

Photography archive puts

Craigmillar in the frame

See pages 12 - 13


Planning News


LAST YEAR WE used to pay daily attention

to the number of cases of Covid-19, but

now Public Health Scotland only release

figures each week on a Wednesday. The

Scottish Government publishes a

fortnightly State of the Epidemic report

bringing all evidence and data together in

one place. According to recent figures it is

estimated that around one in 20 people in

Scotland now have coronavirus. Even

though regular testing has for most people

largely stopped, the figures are informed by

waste water testing and data such as

hospital admissions.

Sadly, recent shows at The King’s and The

Playhouse where performances of Sunshine

on Leith and Laurel and Hardy had to be

stopped before the end of the run when

members of the cast had Covid.

It is against that uncertain backdrop the

arts sector is bravely planning for August in

Edinburgh from the Jazz & Blues Festival

which begins at the end of this month to

hundreds of Fringe shows all over the city,

the Book and Film festivals and the

Edinburgh International Festival (EIF).

This year the EIF blasts off with a free

show - MACRO - at BT Murrayfield on

5 August. There are 35,000 free tickets on

offer for several shows in a celebration of

the 75th anniversary of the arts festival to

beat all others.

MACRO will include music from Scottish

artists such as Aidan O’Rourke and Brighde

Chaimbeul, singing from the National

Youth Choir of Scotland and physical

theatre performed by Gravity & Other

Myths from Australia.

Plans for Christmas and Hogmanay have

been given the green light as the council

awarded the contracts to Angels Event

Experience and Unique, removing the

winter festivals from Underbelly who ran

both. Following the results of last year’s

consultation, events will be aimed at local

people and will not be as crowded as

before. All part of a new normal, but a

welcome return to the world of the arts.

Phyllis Stephen, Editor

Change of Use has been granted for an

Americana-themed bar and restaurant called

MOJO to open in Rose Street in the shop

presently used by Fopp behind Jenners.

Forth Ports 31 is a new neighbourhood

planned by Forth Ports for a 10 acre site at

Port of Leith. The proposal is to build new

homes, commercial and retail space, hotel and

flexible work and office space with new public

realm on the waterfront. A Proposal of

Application Notice (PAN) was submitted to

the council on 26 May and there is now a

period of pre-application consultation when

members of the public can comment on the

plan. Although the live event has taken place

you can download presentation boards and

give your feedback by 23 July or download the

form and post it back to the developer. https://

harbour31.com 22/02855/PAN/Mixed use


Planners have unanimously approved the

redevelopment of Jenners by its owner,

billionaire founder of ASOS the online fashion

outlet, Anders Holch Povlsen. Promises have

been made that this will return the building to

“its former glory” - as a shop on lower levels,

and as a boutique hotel above. The central


WE PRINT AND distribute 6,000 copies of The Edinburgh

Reporter through a network of city businesses and other outlets.

The paper is also distributed at Stockbridge Market on the first

weekend of the month.You will find copies at Farmer Autocare,

Summerhall, Art & Craft Collective, EICC, LifeCare on Cheyne Street,

Coffee Angels, Rose Theatre Café, the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh

and Western General Hospital, and some city supermarkets.

If you can, then please do subscribe to have your copy

delivered to you each month. It helps us to cover the overheads of

bringing the news to you in print and online.

From time to time we distribute the paper door to door on

some selected streets. If you would like us to include your street

then please suggest it to us.





Jenners set for

major revamp

atrium and outside signage will be retained,

but a seventh floor will be added to the more

Letters to the editor

From Rt Rev Derek Browning

MEMBERS OF an Edinburgh

church were moved by the plight of

Ukrainian refugees. Plans to provide

a welcome and accommodation

became increasingly complex

because of regulation and

disappointingly fell through. This

Church had a regular bring-and buy

event and went ahead with that .

The usual second-hand goods and

household odds and ends were

gathered and the Church members

opened their doors, not expecting

many to attend other than the

usual supporters.

The first people through the

doors? A Ukrainian family who had

just settled in Edinburgh who

needed basic household items for

their new home.

Others came later. Another

Edinburgh Church, conscious of an

older population in their area,

For advertising and

editorial enquiries

please email:



reporter.co.uk Donate anchor.fm YouTube

recent part added at the beginning of the 20th

century and a roof bar will be added where

guests can enjoy a view of Princes Street and

the Castle. This is another building which

David Chipperfield Architects have been

brought in to design. The first was the Concert

Hall planned for the other side of St Andrew

Square.(The firm also designed the BBC

headquarters in Glasgow.) The architects said:

“The project builds on the department store’s

heritage and envisages a new combination of

high-end retail and hospitality for Edinburgh.

It seeks to re-establish the architectural quality

of the original 1895 William Hamilton Beattie

building and involves the sensitive restoration

of important surviving features and the

reinstatement of lost original elements.”

Meanwhile Radio Forth have moved out of

their building on Forth Street, moving into

new studios in St James Quarter. Planning

permission has been granted for Forth House

and Playfair House to become self catering

accommodation run by Supercity Aparthotels.

Parking was the thorny issue discussed by

members of the planning committee, although

the current 24 parking spaces will be reduced

to seven, including five electric vehicle

charging points.

wanted to support those who

lived with dementia, and their

carers. A sing-a-long music event

was set up, a gentle exercise class,

a games afternoon, a dementiafriendly


All of this supplemented by a

weekly coffee morning is now a

bustling, welcoming opportunity for

people of all ages from the

community, and a local hospital, to

gather together in safety and

friendship. Not rocket science, but

little acts of kindness are often well

within everyone’s grasp.

Here is the audacity of hope

that despite everything that’s going

on we can still make a difference

for good.

Rt Rev Browning is minister at

Morningside Parish Church and

former Moderator 2017-18.

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



Welcome back!

Val McDermid turns new page at Stockbridge community café

Crime author Val McDermid cutting the

ribbon at CafeLife and below Cllrs Hal

Osler (left) and Vicky Nicolson (right)

meet LifeCare CEO, James Wells

Legend Award for

Charlie Miller OBE



A CELEBRATED local author cut the ribbon to

officially welcome everyone back to Cheyne

Street in Stockbridge.

Val McDermid officially reopened the

revamped CafeLife community café part of the

building on Cheyne Street. The Queen of Crime

has sold more than 17 million books to date

across the globe which have been translated into

more than 40 languages.

Val cut the Grand Opening ribbon and then

met with café customers and fans to sign copies

of her books brought along on the day.

CafeLife is run by the local charity LifeCare

Edinburgh and all proceeds from café sales go

towards the organisation’s vital care services for

older people living in Edinburgh.

Val said: “Every community should have a

resource like CafeLife. We’re lucky to have it. The

LifeCare centre, and all the vital services

provided by the charity, help support serious

issues such as isolation and loneliness. I’m proud

to be supporting LifeCare in its important work”.

The pandemic forced the café to close its

doors to their loyal sit-in customers at the very

beginning in March 2020.

The closure was a real loss to the area as

CafeLife is the only full-accessible community

café around, offering good value food and drink

appealing to all generations and with lots of

space for buggies and wheelchairs. Opened

nearly ten years ago, the team took the

opportunity to upgrade the café through the

Covid closure. The charity secured emergency

funding to revamp CafeLife’s interiors and the

kitchen team have spent time creating a new and

improved menu to appeal to all tastes and

dietary needs.

Readers of the Edinburgh Reporter can obtain

a 20% discount on any purchases by showing

this article at CafeLife

70,000 children offered swimming safety lessons

A LIFESAVING safety campaign

is planned this summer with

swimming lessons for children.

Around 70,000 children will be

offered water safety tuition

during Drowning Prevention

Week organised by the Royal Life

Saving Society (RLSS) between 18

and 25 July as part of the Learn to

Swim programme – a partnership

between Scottish Water and

Scottish Swimming’s in almost 40

areas in Scotland.

Coming after lessons were

interrupted for almost two years,

it reflects an urgent ongoing

commitment to help children to

become confident and

competent swimmers while

improving water safety for a new

generation of swimmers.

Brian Lironi, Director of

Corporate Affairs with Scottish

Water, said: “Given the disruption

suffered to the provision of

traditional lessons during the

pandemic, it really is such a vital

opportunity to develop

generations of confident, safer,

competent children and ensure

they do not miss out on such an

important life skill.

“With the lifting of lockdown

and other challenges facing

households, it is likely many

people will choose to staycation

here in Scotland again this year,

complete with the attraction of

swimming at beauty spots and

popular locations.

“By improving water safety and

working with coaches across the

country, our partnership with

Scottish Swimming really can

make a life changing difference

for so many.”

The RLSS’s Drowning

Prevention Week is one of the

largest water safety campaigns to

equip people with skills and

knowledge to make the right

decisions about water safety.


was recently presented with the 2021-22

AIPP Legend Award.

AIPP, Association Internationale Presse

Professionnelle Coiffure, recognised his

contribution to hairdressing with their

highest honour. The association also

admitted Charlie to the AIPP Hall of Fame

in a private ceremony conducted by Mike

Vincent, President of the AIPP.

Jason and Josh Miller said: “On behalf

of our father Charlie, we would like to

thank the AIPP for bestowing on him the

Legend Award accolade. It is a great

honour for him to be recognised in this

way and to be placed in such a

distinguished rank of past winners from

across the world. We are all truly grateful

and appreciative.”

A multi award-winning stylist,

hairdressing luminary Charlie was the

first Scottish hairdresser to be honoured

with an OBE for services to hairdressing

which he received in 2012 from Her

Majesty The Queen. And, with a string of

industry accolades to its name, the

company holds, amongst others, a total

of 14 British Hairdressing Awards.

Having received Scottish Hairdresser

of the Year three times Charlie became an

inaugural member in the British

Hairdressing Hall of Fame, he also won

Avant-Garde Hairdresser of the Year and

was twice nominated for the prestigious

British Hairdresser of the Year.

As well as receiving the National

Hairdressers Federation ‘Hairdresser of

the Year’, World Master of the Craft, New

York and a Lifetime Achievement Award

from The Guild of Hairdressers, he has

also received the honour of Fellow of

Distinction and a Lifetime Achievement

Award from the Fellowship for British


Next year marks the 20th anniversary

of Charlie Miller’s AIPP Grand Trophy

Award, honouring him as the best

hairdresser of the year.


Cashback for


Deadline approaches for £20 million fund

Justice Secretary,

Keith Brown


COMMUNITY PROJECTS will receive up to

£20 million over the next three years to

continue supporting young people and

communities most affected by crime.

Since the Cashback for Communities

programme began in 2008, funds recovered

through the Proceeds of Crime Act have

provided crucial support to around 1.3 million

young people across all local authority areas.

Cashback has funded a wide variety of

projects over the past 14 years including sports,

arts, youth work and employability which

provide extensive opportunities to raise the

ambition and aspirations of young people.

The latest phase of funding will guide those

most at risk of being impacted by crime, to

more positive destinations while also helping

young people to improve their physical and

mental health.

Justice Secretary Keith Brown said:“Young

people growing up in Scotland deserve to have

an equal chance of success, no matter their

background or circumstances and CashBack

plays an important role in providing young

people with the tools they need to reach their

full potential.

“The valuable feedback from young people

who have benefited from the programme

helped inform this latest round of funding.

Participants reported that improving their

mental health and well-being was a key priority

for them due to the effects of the Covid-19

pandemic, which also links to our Vision for

Justice in Scotland.

“This funding of up to £20 million will

deliver a range of activities for young people

between the ages of 10-25 and boosts the total

funding made available to almost £130 million

since the Programme began in 2008.”

Applications are open until 12 August.

PROFILE: Cllr Vicky Nicolson


originally from Ayrshire and

came to live in Edinburgh

back in 1995.

She said: “I was a young

student and within months of

living here I fell in love with

this amazing city. I went on to

have my family here and we

have spent more than twenty

happy years here.

“I love spending time with

my children, my dog,

gardening, holidaying in

Scotland, being with family

and friends, reading widely,

enjoying the live music

offered, especially country

music and keeping up with

politics, and being both

connected with my

community and a

community connector.”

She told us about one day

since the election: “This

morning I got up early and

finalised a full council motion,

tidied up an SNP conference

motion about inclusion for

individuals who live with a

learning disability and replied

to emails from residents. I

went to Orchard Bank, had a

walk with residents concerned

about road works and rubble

left behind.

“I took my dog a walk to

Easter Drylaw Park, noticing

how much better it looks

following our Community

Council’s recent litter pick but

also noticing other areas

needing done.

“I wandered along to

Goldenacre and visited a

couple of the lovely shops

there and then took a bus into

town, reflecting on the

excellent training I’ve had and

how much my experiences as

a single parent, a council

officer for 20 years and a

community councillor/activist

have helped me quickly find

my feet but also how much

there is to learn.”

Sun shines on Leith’s Sandy

LEITH FESTIVAL’S Mock Provost Sandy Campbell (pictured above) played a main role

at the Gala Day parade. The “Provost” told The Edinburgh Reporter: “If only I was the

real Provost and Leith was independent and had its own Provost back again. We would

prevent Leith being like West Berlin and completely blocked in by all these tramworks.

We used to have our own trams which were perfectly good until we joined Edinburgh

in 1920. 102 years under the yoke of Edinburgh!”


PROFILE: Cllr Finlay McFarlane – City Centre Ward

L-R Robert Motyka, Gordon Drummond, Isobel

Leckie and Sarah Drummond of The Causey

It’s Causey for


Paving the way for Southside changes


IT IS ABOUT 14 years since The Causey began

the journey to transform a small triangular

paved area at West Crosscauseway.

After years of consultation and campaigning

the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) and Roads

Determination Order (RDO) have been

confirmed. This means that the junction at

Chapel Street will become an extended shared

space for walkers, wheelers and cyclists while

the traffic on the other side will be reversed. It

is hoped that this simple reversal will slow

traffic down, and the scheme will prioritise

people over vehicles while creating a new

communal space.

Isobel Leckie, Secretary at The Causey

Development Trust, said: “Words cannot

express how delighted we are at this news.

It has been a long 14 years of grassroots

engagement, consultations, fundraising, events

and workshops, and working with City of

Edinburgh Council officers and charities to

encourage local people and councillors to see

what a positive and life enhancing space this

could be, with a little reconfiguration.

“This was the heartfelt project of my close

friend, the late Alison Blamire, whose

inspiration has encouraged us all the way, and I

am just over the moon that we can finally say

we are getting somewhere! This all started with

a desire to promote health and wellbeing and

opportunities for neighbourliness and the

community to hold its events, and today that’s

what we’re celebrating.”

A grassroots organisation founded in

2007 by local architect Alison Blamire,

The Causey Development Trust is run by

volunteers and you can find them on a Saturday

on the traffic island at The Causey for their

weekly ‘sit oots’ and planter caring sessions.

The group is approaching active travel charity

Sustrans with a view to securing funding

through them.

Robert Motyka, a local resident and steering

group member, said: “I am so, so happy that

finally we can start moving ahead with

transforming The Causey. Already myself and

many of the local residents use it as a place to

meet on the weekends, when we share coffee

and conversation, but to reduce the amount of

traffic and create a more practical and useable

space that promotes wellbeing, well it’s just so

exciting. We already have some planters that we

enjoy looking after as a community, so I can

only dream of what we can grow and create

together with a purpose made space that puts

people first.”

Chair of The Causey, David Wood


with a bank helping small businesses to

recover after the pandemic, but he began his

career in pantomime at The King’s with the trio

of stalwarts the late, great, Andy Gray, along

with Grant Stott and Allan Stewart.


McFarlane's first ever paid professional work

was at the King's Theatre for the Christmas

season of the pantomime which he described

as "an amazing institution".

Now he has joined another institution,

although its greatness or power to amaze is

always under scrutiny and critique from the

public, and pantomime is a word often used to

describe what happens there.

He has been elected as the SNP councillor

for the City Centre ward, retaining the seat

held until recently by former Finance

Convener, Alasdair Rankin who retired from

the council due to ill health. Finlay has high

hopes for making a positive change.

He admitted the first week or so was like

going back to school, setting up new emails

and learning who everyone is, but says that his

employer is very supportive recognising that

their employees getting involved in the

community is a really good thing.

He said: "I want to use my life experience,

being in the council chambers as a younger

person, and as a foster brother, someone

who's worked in the arts and now in small

business support. My family fostered many

children and mums with new babies

througout my childhood.

“I really want to use that expertise and kind

of life experience that I've built up through

those years, and give a voice for younger

people as well who are often missing in action

in council consultations and surveys."

He recognises that the climate crisis comes

very high up his list of priorities but regards his

role as making Edinburgh a place where

everyone shares the wealth that the city

produces, something that the SNP group

leader, Adam McVey say more than once.

Councillors do not have to live in their wards

- which is just as well as Finlay explains it is just

too expensive for him as a young person to

live in the city centre.

He said: "There is a huge challenge for

younger people in terms of housing and rent

prices for young people. In a climate crisis you

don't want people living far away from their

place of work.

“In London, for example, what's happening

is that people are having to move further

and further and further away from the bars,

restaurants, cafés, or wherever the office is

that they work in."

He is keen to be in touch with all the

community councils in his ward, and when we

met he was just going through the induction

phase and learning what the job is all about.

He said he promised at several election

hustings that he would be at the meetings,

and also out “chapping” doors.

Finlay explained: "That's not just for

elections. It is important to be accessible to

people who maybe don't have the time to go

to their community councils or write to me."

The City Centre ward includes several

community councils and residents associations

- including rather unusually the Murrayfield

Community Council, but he is mindful that

there are four councillors for the ward and they

may divide the tasks.

His top priorities will include action on short

term lets.

He said: "I think there has been an element

of hollowing out and some residents are the

last in their stair.

“I think we really need to think very hard

about addressing that and making sure that

people don't feel isolated at the top of their

tenement block, or have safety concerns about

the comings and goings."


On street safety he said: "I am a gay man, and

we've seen a rise in hate crimes across the

whole of the UK over previous years. I think we

have a real moral responsibility to make

everybody feel safe. That could be my female

friends out running in a park at night, and then

turning around halfway through the run,

because they don't quite feel safe.

“The city belongs to everybody. It's the

community that owns the city spaces.

"How can we plan, how can we use street

lighting and how can we work with the police

and community people to make the streets

safe, accessible for everybody to inhabit and

kind of share community ownership of our

public realm?

“So my personal aim is to make Edinburgh

suitable and safe for everybody."

Finlay is quietly confident and he is

pretty eloquent.

His determination to do the best in his new

job shines through.

It is early days of course, but he could be a

star in the making at the City Chambers.


Cheer-io says council

Cheerleaders training interrupted by loss of facilities


AMONG THE YOUNG people at cheerleading

rehearsals at Liberton High School there could

be some future Olympians, as the sport has

now been recognised by the International

Olympic Committee.

Diamond Cheerleaders have held their

practice sessions in the gym hall where there is

a lot of excitement in the air – as well as some

of the young athletes. In addition to Olympic

status for their sport this group has been

successful in a bid to compete in Florida in

April next year at the end of season Summit.

The cheerleaders hope to travel to the States for

training and to see the “Worlds” – as long as

they can raise enough money to get them there.

But The City of Edinburgh Council who

manage the let of the premises at Liberton

High School have advised that the group has to

leave and find somewhere else to train since

they are not a “Tier One” tenant. They will

instead give the space in the gym to a dance

group who have that status. The matter remains


Gill Samuel who runs Black Diamonds with

her daughter Natalie said: “We are no further

forward. The council met with us but will not

let the premises to us on Mondays and

Tuesdays. We have lodged a complaint but this

will not be heard until mid July. We have more

than 1090 signatures on a petition on our

Facebook and Instagram pages. Some of our

parents set it up. We still hope that the council

will speak to us as we feel totally ignored.”

The cheerleaders were offered alternatives at

Portobello or Castlebrae but neither of these is

suitable according to Gill who explained they

need huge mats for safety reasons and there is

nowhere to store these as there is in Liberton.

The headteacher of Liberton High has offered

them the Assembly Hall, but the school would

always have priority over using that space.

Other councils - Midlothian and East Lothian

- have been in contact to see what they can do

to help by offeering training facilities.

Gill said: “Some of our young people have

autism or Asperger’s. Change is not good for

them - and anyway to get to Portobello some of

them would have to take three buses.”


Caitlin McDonald said: “Unreal! my girl

attends liberton high 3 times a week for cheer.

She absolutely loves it. the coaches work so

hard with these girls and to take away there

training hall is a disgrace!!”

Shannon Doherty said: “the coaches and kids

work sooo hard and to take away this facility

from the club is shocking! the confidence this

cheer club has given my niece has been

amazing and to take it away would just be


New Meadowbank sports centre set to reopen

THE NEW Meadowbank Sports

Centre will open on 19 July,

following delays caused by the

Covid-19 pandemic and snagging

of the new building.

The Edinburgh Leisure team are

about to move into their new

offices at Meadowbank and the

public will now be able to use the

new facility. The £47million

project is a state-of-the-art

community sports facility built on

the site of the original

Meadowbank, which closed five

years ago. It was built for the first

Commonwealth Games held in

Edinburgh in 1970. It was also

used for the 1986 Games.

The new facilities are

accessible, and indoor facilities

are much improved with

multi-sport halls with seating,

gym with triple the number of

exercise stations and three large

fitness studios.

Council Leader Cammy Day

said: “I’m delighted that we can

now confirm when the doors for

this fantastic new venue will open

to the public. Meadowbank, I

believe is one of the country’s top

community sports centres, and

features some of the most

state-of-the-art fitness facilities in

Britain. I very much look forward

to seeing it bustling with sporting

activity through the wide range

of activities and classes.

“Participation and accessibility

is at the heart of the Centre and

the huge physical, mental and

social benefits Meadowbank will

bring to generations of local

people simply can’t be

overestimated. Bright welcoming

spaces are flooded with natural

light, providing welcoming and

versatile halls, where a real variety

of sports and activities will take

place. Meadowbank has been an

important part of Scotland’s

sporting history for many years

and I’m sure the new Centre will

build on this legacy.”

Edinburgh Leisure’s Chief

Executive, June Peebles, said: “I’m

delighted that the finishing line is

in sight, and we are finally able to

announce the opening of this

new flagship venue. It’s been a

long time coming but I promise

you it will have been worth

the wait.

“The forthcoming weeks before

we open, will see Donald

Goldsmith, the manager at

Meadowbank, and his team

getting the venue cleaned,

prepped and ready for our public

opening on 19 July.”

Venues aiming

for £22m boost


Local Democracy Reporter


venues could get a £22 million boost as the

council prepares to submit a funding bid to

‘level up’ the capital’s cultural buildings.

A separate application will be submitted

in an effort to secure investment for a

major redevelopment of Inch Park.

The deadline for the second round of the

UK Government’s Levelling Up fund is 6

July. In a previous successful bid £16

million was awarded to the restoration of

the Granton Gas Holder. This time, the

council is turning its attention to the city’s

festival venues and will ask for £22.1

million to “renew and revitalise” cultural

infrastructure and boost artistic

opportunities in Edinburgh’s most

disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

If Westminster backs the bid, funding

would be spread across several existing

projects including the regeneration of the

King’s Theatre, Leith Theatre, the Queen’s

Hall and the Usher Hall.

It would also close the remaining

funding gap for the completion of the

Macmillan Hub, a new community arts

centre for Pennywell and Muirhouse, as

well as cover some of the costs of an

extension to the WHALE Arts building in

Wester Hailes.

The bid says: “The first Edinburgh

Festival was held in 1947 to ‘provide a

platform for the flowering of the human

spirit’ by bringing people and artists

together through culture after a period of

global turmoil. As we emerge from the

Covid pandemic, this is the moment to

revitalise this ambition.

“Adding to recent investment such

as the flagship city centre Dunard Centre

and the University of Edinburgh’s Futures

Institute, this project would broaden

cultural engagement and help revitalise


The Council is also applying for £20

million of levelling up cash to revitalise Inch

Park. An agreed masterplan states the

project will comprise a restoration of Inch

House “to improve its current function as a

community centre”, redevelopment of the

park’s plant nursery to include retail and

café space and the construction of a new

indoor gym hall for Inch Park Community

Sports Club.

The park’s playground will be relocated

and ‘significantly upgraded’, whilst paths

and benches will be improved.







Local Democracy Reporter


events should be made more accessible to those

on lower incomes, councillors said as they

approved the contracts which begin to run

from July.

The contracts have now changed hands,

sparking hopes that a new approach will be

taken this year.

Unique Events, the original organisers of the

Hogmanay festival when it launched in 1993, will

take back the contract worth just over £4 million,

whilst Angels Event Experience, organisers of

London’s Hyde Park Christmas market, will

bring in an estimated £5,473,500 in rental

income from stalls and amusements in Princes

Street Gardens over the next five years.

Liberal Democrat councillor Neil Ross voiced

concern about the lack of information provided

on how Angels Events will restructure the way

the market is run “and what they might charge

for them”.

Vicky Nicolson, SNP, added that as a single

parent she has “avoided the city centre for a

month out of every year around the Christmas

period because it was unaffordable to people on a

lower income” and asked for further details on

how attractions would be priced.

He added: “The events need to be accessible

both to families who are on lower incomes and

to traders and stallholders in the city.”

After organising the controversial market in

Princes Street Gardens since 2013 and new year

celebrations since 2017, Underbelly will no

longer play a part in the city’s festivities as it did

not put in a fresh bid to run Edinburgh’s

Hogmanay, but it had hoped to continue

producing the Christmas market.

There has been an amount of negative

comment over the use of Princes Street Gardens

for the winter events, and a change of direction

will be welcome news to Underbelly’s critics.

This year the council judged bids on the

number of local businesses trading at events,

number of local artists/creatives employed,

number of free/low priced attractions and

provision of alcohol-free areas, as well as the

number of event sites outwith the ‘immediate

city centre’, amongst other factors.

It follows public consultation on Edinburgh’s

winter festivals carried out by the council last

year which showed the vast majority of the city’s

residents supported Christmas celebrations but

wanted to see things run differently in the future.

It found that many felt Edinburgh’s Christmas

and Hogmanay events were overcrowded,

expensive and ‘only suited for tourists’.

Council Leader Cammy Day said: “We’re

looking forward to delivering great Winter

Festivals for the people of Edinburgh and our

visitors – very much in the spirit of feedback

received in our recent citywide conversation with

residents, businesses and stakeholders.

“We want to continue to provide inclusive

high-quality festive celebrations, further enhance

the city’s reputation and allow the benefits to be

shared across our town centres and communities.

“I am sure Angels Event’s activities will build

on the huge success of Edinburgh’s Christmas

to date and will offer a rich and varied

programme of festive activities, events and

experiences that will be enjoyed by residents

and visitors of all ages.

“Unique Events will once more be the

producers of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay having

been involved when it began in 1992/93 and as

we mark its 30th year I’m excited to work with

them on a programme of events fit for the home

of Hogmanay.”

Alan Thomson and Penny Dougherty of

Unique Events said: “We are really pleased to be


named, along with our partners Assembly

Festival, as the successful producer to deliver

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and take the festival

forward for future years.

“As originators of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, and

the local event producers that positioned

Edinburgh amongst the world’s best New Year

celebrations for 24 years, we are thrilled to

return, and relish the opportunity to once again

work with Scotland’s incredible creative

organisations and talents, re-invigorate the

events programme and deliver Hogmanay

celebrations that the city can be proud of.’’

“Utterly Charming”

–The Theatre Mirror

“A Delight no matter

how young (or old)

you happen to be.”


Road closure in Colinton

SCOTTISH Water has advised

of a road closure on the B701,

Colinton Road at the junction

with Thorburn Road near

Colinton Village.

A section of the road will

be closed between Westgarth

Road and just beyond

Thorburn Road for four weeks

this month.

A signed diversion will

be in place via Redford

Road, Redford Drive and

Westgarth Avenue for the

duration of the project.

Pedestrian access will

be maintained throughout

the works.

The work involves the

upgrade of a Combined

Sewer Overflow (CSO)

outside St Cuthbert’s

Court on the corner of

Westgarth Avenue and

Colinton Road and is part of

Scottish Water’s multimillion

pound investment to help

improve the environment at

the Water of Leith.

This work has been agreed

with the City of Edinburgh

Council and is being carried

out by our alliance partner


A Scottish Water

spokesperson said: “We

would like to thank road

users and the local

community for their patience

and understanding while

these essential works are

carried out.”

Accessible to

Deaf and




4 - 29 AUG



Interview: Lord Provost, Robert Aldridge

By Donald Turvill, Local Democracy Reporter

New provost’s Pride in city

THE FIRST OPENLY gay Lord Provost of

Edinburgh urges young people who are worried

about their sexuality today to “be themselves

and be confident.”

Cllr Robert Aldridge, (66) who took up civic

leader duties amid resounding support from

politicians of all parties said in his early days as a

councillor it was unlikely a gay person would

have been elevated to the historic role.

He said: “I don’t think it would have happened

in the days of back to basics and all that.”

But almost 40 years on, following a seismic

shift in attitudes towards the LGBT community,

he said being attracted to the same sex “just isn’t

an issue any more”. He pointed out that his

election as Lord Provost “proves anybody

can be their best person, regardless of

their background”.

He said: “And I hope that if there are young

people who are at school at the moment who

are worried about their sexuality that they

just are able to be themselves, be confident

and get on with life.

“My family was hugely supportive. I know

some people have difficulties with their family

but talk to people. Your real friends will support

you and it really is a great relief when you are

authentic about who you really are.”

Mr Aldridge said it’s “not a gay crusade by me

or anything like that. It’s just a part of who I am”.

Nominations to be the capital’s new figurehead

from all five parties are testament to his decades

of experience working cross-party in the council

and as a local champion in his ward Drum Brae/

Gyle When asked if donning the chain had been

a long time ambition, he replied: “I suppose

everybody hopes in the back of their mind that

they might actually get the enormous privilege of

being the Lord Provost. It wasn’t something I

had planned for, it was just really overwhelming

that people put that trust in me – I just hope I

can live up to it.”

Aldridge was confirmed as Edinburgh’s 258th

Rt Hon Lord Provost at the first full council

meeting following the local elections last month.

Addressing members in the chamber for

the first time, he spoke of the privilege he

felt to be chosen as the new civic head of “the

best capital city in the world”. He paid tribute to

his predecessor, SNP Cllr Frank Ross, for

‘presiding over this chamber with both good

The moment that

the chain was put

on was just an

incredible feeling

of responsibility

and privilege

humour and quiet authority’.

He said: “I could barely speak I was so

overwhelmed.The moment the chain was put on

was just an incredible feeling of responsibility

and privilege. It’s quite heavy, I think it’s about

three kilograms – I feel the weight of history on

my shoulders, literally.”

He added Cllr Ross had warned “you won’t

know what’s hit you” in informal discussions

between the pair as he prepared for the job.

He said: “It is the sheer volume of activity, it is

absolutely really hectic, but I like that.There are

clearly a whole lot of civic duties which are quite

traditional and which happen every year as they

should do and the great thing is that they’re real

– it’s not a Disney ‘pretendy’ thing, it’s real, it’s

got oomph behind behind it, real tradition

behind it and I think it gives a real dignity to the

city. It’s a post that’s been held by a whole range

of different people and, I hope I live up to this,

they’ve all adapted really well and taken on the

mantle of being almost the speaker of the

council, taking a less partisan role.”

He said the first month occupying the ancient

office has been “a mixture of bewildering and

overwhelming”.One of the first engagements he

attended was the lighting of the beacons at

Edinburgh Castle to mark the start of the

Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

He continued: “There’s nothing like being

thrown in at the deep end and it was just a

fantastic opportunity. It was really interesting not

just to be able to meet royalty and to be on board

HMS Albion, which is I think the third biggest

ship in the Royal Navy and meet a lot of charities

that the Queen is the patron of on board there,

but also the picnic in Princes Street Gardens.”

A hugely popular figure among city

councillors, Robert is known affectionately by

his peers as ‘Dobby’, a moniker which he said

“comes from when I was two”.

Aside from his lengthy career as a local

politician in the capital, Cllr Aldridge has spent

Cllr Aldridge wears the

chain for the first time

his life working with homelessness charities,

having previously been the Chief Executive of

the Scottish Council for Single Homeless and the

President of the European Federation of National

Organisations Working with the Homeless.

But he said he fell into that line of work “by

accident” just after he was elected as a councillor

almost four decades ago.

He explained: “I needed a part-time job to

make ends meet and there was a part time job as

information officer for a homelessness charity. I

went into that not knowing a great deal about it

and just got caught up with being passionate

about trying to do something.

“People can make bad decisions in their lives

and things can just get out of control and what

we’ve got to do is try to find a way to try to help

them back on track.

“I’ve worked with a number of homeless

people who have got through homelessness

and are out the other side, they’ve got jobs,

they’ve got families, they’ve reintegrated and

that’s fantastic.”

Asked what he sees as the biggest challenge for

the council over the next five years, the Provost

was unequivocal.

He said:”It’s how we deal with the cost of

living crisis. There’s a lot of people really

struggling and that all links in to the rest of these

issues. The council has limited powers but what

we can do we should do.”

However, he added a minority administration

heavily reliant on the support of opposition

parties leading the council “will go one of

two ways”.

He said: “It could be chaotic with people

just trying to stop anything happening and

I don’t think the people of Edinburgh would

forgive that.

“They expect that once they’ve had their say,

we make the most of it and achieve what we can.

“Or, we can work together and there’s a lot of

common cause across all the party manifestos.”





Network Rail) has announced the

secondment of Sustrans Scotland’s deputy

CEO, John Lauder. He has been tasked with

preparing a blueprint to make it easier to

travel to railway stations sustainably.

His new role was warmly welcomed,

especially by us in East Lothian. For the last

17 years we have been campaigning to

build a safe path for pedestrians and

cyclists, away from the busy main road,

connecting the coastal village of Gullane

with Drem railway station on the

Edinburgh-North Berwick line.

Responses to a survey we ran in 2020

during the first Covid pandemic lockdown

showed that it is not just families and

commuters who will benefit. Many of our

local businesses such as The Bonnie Badger

in Gullane, owned by restaurateurs Tom

and Michaela Kitchin, have voiced support

for the path plans.

New housing developments at the east

end of Gullane have brought in people of

all ages including many families with

young children. As a consequence of the

growing number of residents, there is a

pressing need to make the rail system

much more accessible.

The Covid pandemic has shown us all the

value of getting out and about in our local

area. Finding paths away from traffic gives

us all space to appreciate the nature

around us, and helps improve our health,

wellbeing and quality of life. Active travel is

good for the environment too.

Consultants Stantec, appointed by East

Lothian Council earlier this year, are

preparing a number of potential outline

designs which may give an engineering

solution for the 100 metre stretch entering

Drem village, which will allow safe access

for cyclists and pedestrians travelling to

the station.

Once the finalised plans are on the table,

we have every confidence that Scotland’s

Railway, with John now on board, will heed

our call and work with us and East Lothian

Council to help deliver our climate

friendly path.


Rewarding first

year at Holyrood

MSP has been busy in last twelve months


Member for Lothian Region (Scottish Labour)

IT HAS BEEN just over a year since I was

elected to represent the Lothian region in The

Scottish Parliament.

I have been able to raise important issues

such as NHS waiting lists, access to dentists

and GPs, the plight of refugees and Scotland’s

future as a sustainable nation in food and

energy. I have had the opportunity and

pleasure to meet a variety of different groups

including volunteering, third sector, co-ops,

charities, community groups, national

organisations and further education

institutions. Most importantly, I have met the

wonderful people who run these various

groups and give their time and energy to make

Scotland and the Lothians a better place caring

for its people.


I have submitted questions and motions in the

Scottish Parliament, following up constituents’

queries on, for example, cancer waiting times,

issues regarding Covid-19 and the important

flu vaccine rollout. My first year in the Scottish

Parliament has been busy, exciting and

rewarding. I have highlighted some issues

below but could have filled the whole paper

with all the issues, groups I have met and

constituent matters I have dealt with.

In November 2021 I was honoured to host

the first event since the pandemic and to host

the first world leader in Parliament, the

Bangladeshi Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina

pictured right. As the first Bangladeshi MSP it

truly meant something to me and the

Bangladeshi community, as these visits can be

the start of forging a stronger relationship

between our two countries.


I have been working with South Queensferry

residents for vehicle access to a new housing

development. I hope there will be a good

outcome following a demonstration by the

residents and coverage by STV. It shows the

community working with elected

representatives can bring about change.



Everyone has a part to play in response to the

climate emergency. In my first Members

Debate, I highlighted some of the

commitments in the Glasgow Food and

Climate Declaration. I want to encourage the

Scottish Government to promote the

Declaration over the next year.


I took part in a debate in The Scottish

Parliament on the teaching of Scottish history

in schools. Teaching on racism and colonialism

allows students to understand the horrors of

the past, ensuring that they are never to be

repeated. Also, it allows us to develop a realistic

appraisal of how far we have come as a nation

and how far we have to still go.

If you are part of a local community

organisation and would like to raise a concern

or organise a visit, please reach out. As your

Lothian MSP I want to listen, take action and

make a lasting difference.

If you need help or advice with any issue or

concern, get in touch and book your slot at one

of my phone surgeries.

• Phone: 0131 348 6761

• Email: foysol.choudhury.msp@parliament.scot

• Write: M1.14 The Scottish

Parliament Edinburgh| EH99 1SP

• Website: www.foysolchoudhury.co.uk

Fury at plans for Porty comms tower

Louise Birnie


RESIDENTS ARE furious at

plans to install a 66ft telecoms

tower outside their properties

in Portobello.

More than 40 objections have

been lodged with the City of

Edinburgh Council against the

proposal to install a 5G mast and

three cabinets outside 275 and

277 Portobello High Street.

The mast would stand 23 feet

higher than the apartment

block and is described as a

“monstrous eyesore” with some

residents concerned about

health issues due to potential

radiation from the structure

which would be situated

less than five metres from

private gardens.

Local MP Tommy Sheppard

has taken up the case and

claims the tower would be

“visually intrusive” and disputes

the applicant’s position that the

location is not within the

Portobello Conservation Area.

Mr Sheppard said: “I remain

unconvinced that all options to

minimise impact have been

properly explored. Of the three

other sites that were considered

two of these were ruled out as

they are overlooked by

residential properties, and yet

the proposed site is also

overlooked by residential


“In fact, the 20 metre pole will

be directly in front of a

development of residential flats,

all of which have large windows

intended to take advantage of

the view, the benefit of which

will be adversely affected by

the pole.

“The role of promoting health

and wellbeing is increasingly at

the forefront of planning policy,

and I am not convinced that this

proposal takes this into account.

On this basis I have also

submitted an objection to the

proposal. Aesthetically this

proposal is visually intrusive,

and will directly affect residents

and visitors to the area. The site

is of historic and scenic

importance, and alternative

options must be explored.”

Residents’ spokesperson,

Louise Birnie, said businesses

which will overlook the mast are

also against the plans which

many fear will destroy the

character of the High Street.

She said: “It beggars belief

that this huge mast could be

planted just yards from people’s

front doors and their must be a

more appropriate and discrete

location for it. Neighbours are

shocked and rightly concerned

about the plans and we hope

councillors on the planning

committee do the right thing

and reject it outright.

“Portobello High Street is

trying to recover after the

economic damage of Covid and

to attract people back to local

shopping and we are fortunate

to have new businesses opening

up. This monstrosity would

completely undermine attempts

to make the High Street a

welcoming place to visit and

would be so out of place that to

give approval is unthinkable.

“There is also concerns about

health and safety aspects of the

equipment and the thought of

this being stuck outside peoples

homes and close to balconies

and gardens is already causing a

great deal of stress and anxiety

to a number of residents..

“We understand that

everyone benefits from better

telecom networks but there has

to be a more appropriate and

less obtrusive site for equipment

of this size and scale and we

would urge the Council to

refuse this application.”

Portobello Heritage Trust and

Portobello Amenity Society are

understood to have lodged

objections. All four Portobello

councillors have been urged to

oppose the application but Cllrs

Campbell, Meagher and

Mumford have yet to respond.


Some people say this is the best view they’ve

seen of the new St James Quarter and hotel

The super Strawberry Moon


IT IS CALLED a “Strawberry Moon”

by Native Americans because June

is the month when they would first

start harvesting wild strawberries,

this year it is also a “supermoon”.

The reason it falls into the “super”

category is because it’s a wee bit

bigger and brighter than your

average moon. The moon travels

around the Earth in an elliptical

orbit meaning that it gets closer

and further away on its travels. At

its closest point to Earth (technical

name: perigee) it’s still a whopping

222,000 miles away, as opposed to

252,000 miles away when it is at its

furthest away (apogee).

This full moon in June 2022

coincides with it being closer to

Earth and so will be up to 14%

bigger, and 30 % brighter than if it

was at its furthest away. Coupled

with the low trajectory of the moon

that we get in the Summer months

we also see much more colouration

of the moon, as its reflective light is

being viewed by us through much

more of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Hence the funky strong colours you

will often see, which can look

surreal when photographed.

I used a monster 200-500mm

lens to capture these shots and

positioned myself about 10 miles

away over in Fife. At 500mm and

with the image cropped down even

further, the moon looks crazily big

and I’m often asked if this kind of

photo is real. Yes, yes they are all

real, single images and are simply a

result of perspective, fantastic

technology in our modern cameras,

careful planning, and a strong dose

of luck to get favourable cloud cover.


• Plan using an app like The

Photographer’s Ephemeris, and

visit your intended location in

advance to work out where to

stand and how to walk to it safely,

possibly in the dark.

• Use a telephoto lens 200mm

or longer

• Use a tripod for stability, and a

remote trigger or your camera’s

self-timer release

• Get something with an identifiable

silhouette in front of the moon –

something that is also lit with

artificial light is even better.

• Distance from your subject

decreases its size relative to the

moon – at 10 miles the moon is

about the same width as

Edinburgh Castle, which

unfortunately had its lights off

when the moon rose.







Debbie Anderson invites you to take

yourself back to your childhood with

all the traditional jars of sweets in her

shop. Chewits and fudge will take you

back a decade or two. Open from

10am except Mondays.

102 Leith Walk EH16 5DT

0131 554 1401

Newly established gallery in the New

Town art district which will feature

curated group shows and solo shows.

The owners promise it will be

”challenging and compelling art”.

Innovative new works and a collection

of art books to buy.


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 is

relaxed, informal and good fun, and is

continuing online on the last Thursday

of the month with a host of inspiring

speakers sharing their entrepreneurial

journeys and invaluable business tips.



Donate unwanted items to this shop

on Gilmore Place knowing that they

will find a loving new home. Very little

ever goes to landfill. Visit the shop to

pick up a copy of our latest paper and

also to admire their innovative and

ever-changing window displays.







Subscribe today and have your own

copy of The Edinburgh Reporter

delivered to your front door from

next month. - in a compostable

envelope. A small payment of £3

a month will help to support local

independent news.


Di Giorgio’s have a variety of cakes and

slices, coffee with a smile and pasta

and lasagne to go. Morning rolls and

ciabattas are also available, but this is

brownie heaven. Do ask about their

birthday cakes.

Open 7 days 10-4pm

1 Brandon Terrace EH3 5EA

The charity rescues reunites and

rehomes any animal in need, and

works tirelessly to secure happy and

loving forever homes. New trustees

include David Field CEO of Edinburgh

Zoo and Matt Smith of THINK.

0131 669 5331


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 or

working from home very stylish.

0131 226 7775 • 45 Thistle Street

EH2 1DY • craigbankstailoring.com

Beautiful wee shop on Dundas Street

packed to the gunwales with lovely

Italian goods all handmade. Lynne

parcels them with great care in the

shop’s trademark turquoise tissue

and ribbons. Their new must see

website is online now.







Vlad and Scott have a unique style at

48 Thistle Street with great coffee and

above average chat and chess. The

pair have now celebrated a year in

business at their city centre micro

roastery. Coffee also available to order

online if you are working from home.


A specialist importer of boutique fine

wines from Italy. Carefully hand-picked

award-winning wines of premium

quality sourced from winemakers

direct. Oleg and Elvira visit every

vineyard. Free UK delivery - same day

delivery to Edinburgh available.


The gallery focuses on original

paintings, prints and fine crafts

inspired by nature. Wide price range to

accommodate various budgets.

Jurgita warmly welcomes you to

Dundas Street. Open Tuesday to

Saturday 11am-4pm.


A unique gallery and gift shop in

Edinburgh’s Southside - a cornucopia

of all forms of art. Buy handmade art

and craft from independent artists.

Linsay says: “If we don’t have it, we can

probably find it for you.”


0131 629 9123

Same location. Same facilities.

Great new name. The Eric Liddell

Community welcomes you.

Rooms for hire and office space for

registered charities.

0131 447 4520

15 Morningside Road EH10 4DP







For the whisky lovers buy the

award-winning Ardgowan Shipwright

online. Winner of the Whisky Masters

and described by the company’s own

whiskymaker, Max McFarlane, as “a

sumptuous dram”. Special offer

includes free shipping.


Luxurious, elegant salon with a very

happy and friendly atmosphere where

the aim is to make your experience

relaxing, enjoyable and glamorous.

Appointments essential.

Tel 0131 556 4478

2a Broughton Place EH1 3RX


The floating café with outdoor seating

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.


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 your shopping.


The Torrance Gallery on Dundas Street

has a solo show of work by Lynn

Rodgie from 9 to 23 July. Winners of

2021 Prestige Awards Best

Independent Art Gallery. Join the

gallery’s mailing list to be kept up to

date with details of each show.





Phyllis Stephen takes a look at

work of Sandra George whose hist

photographs of Craigm

are on display th

andra George was a talented and prolific social

documentary photographer and a wellrespected

community worker in Craigmillar.

In November 2020, when Craigmillar Now

launched, the organisation accepted Sandra’s

vast collection of negatives from the

photographer’s estate. This important

collection documents arts and community

projects across Scotland between the 1980s –

2000s and has been carefully catalogued,

re-housed and digitised over the last year by a

team of more than 20 local volunteer

archivists supported through a heritage

training programme at Craigmillar Now.

There are 20 large scale black and white

photographs in this new off-site exhibition,

held at The White House – the impressive

Art Deco building on the corner of Niddrie

Mains Road. Many are taken at local

organisations that still operate in the area,







Sandra didn’t just

capture moments in

her photographs,

she captured people’s

lives. She was an

incredible woman

such as The Niddrie Adventure Playground,

‘The Venchie’ and The Niddrie Mission.

Jimmy Hewitt, Sandra’s former partner said:

“Sandra didn’t just capture moments in her

photographs; she captured lives. She was an

incredible woman, and she never did anything by

halves. She would have been happy that we were

seeing her work, but not for herself - for the

thousands of people she captured on film

throughout the decades.”

"What Sandra loved most about Craigmillar

was the people. Whenever we went through, the

amount of people who would wave, or call, or

stop and talk to us, and the children who would

run after her screaming "Sandra! Sandra!" - and

she had time for all of them. She was adored, and

she adored Craigmillar. It is incredibly moving to

see these images at the White House, and I am

excited for visitors to experience Sandra's

stunning view of the area."

Tyler Hewitt, Sandra’s son and member of the

Craigmillar Now Archives Team said:

"Sandra would be overwhelmed by this in a

way. Thinking back on it she has to have been one

of the most humble of people - she did so much

and was committed to achieving whatever she set

out to do. It is amazing to see just how much she

did over the years, and both to see and hear the

recognition and praise so many have said when

they talk about the community work she did and

the lives she touched. I'm thrilled that her work is

being displayed."

Sandra studied Photography at Edinburgh

Napier University, Drawing and Painting at

Edinburgh College of Art and Community

Education at The University of Edinburgh. She

worked extensively as a freelance photographer

for over 30 years for organisations and

publications such as The Sentinel, The Tollcross

Times, Shelter, and the Craigmillar Chronicle and

Festival Times, and taught photography and other

arts skills to people of all ages in communities

across Edinburgh.

She started working in community

development at Wester Hailes in the 1980s, and

was a founding member of several successful

social action projects, including in Craigmillar.

As Youth Services Manager with Hunter’s Hall

Cooperative from 2008, she administered

outstanding programmes of youth arts

engagement in Niddrie, and across her career she

captured thousands of photographs documenting

the social history of Craigmillar, Edinburgh, and

Scotland at large.

Craigmillar Now is based at the former

St Andrew’s church on the corner of Fort

Kinnaird Retail Park.

The body’s volunteer archive team meet every

Monday between 10am – 5pm at the Craigmillar

Now Arts Centre to develop the archives.

Sandra was one of

the most humble

of people – she did

so much and was

committed to

achieving whatever

she set out to do

At the movies


Owner, Art & Craft Collective on Causewayside

IN THE FIRST of a new series we share a

bucket of popcorn and a jumbo soft drink

with Linsay asking about her favourite film.

After over 30 years in marketing and public

relations, she opened Art & Craft Collective, a

gallery and gift shop on the Southside of

Edinburgh which celebrates its fifth birthday

this year.

Linsay said: “I’ve loved cinema almost

all my life: I remember being allowed to stay

up late and watch King Kong in black and

white on the TV with my gran when I was

about five. I was thrilled to be up late but

terrified! I don’t count scary movies

amongst my favourites.”


“I’ve chosen a film I can watch time and again:

The Searchers, the 1956 Western starring

John Wayne and Natalie Wood, directed by

John Ford. I’m not a massive John Wayne or

Western fan but this is a classic. Beautifully

filmed and a subtle story.

“Natalie Wood plays the young daughter of

a homesteader captured by Comanches and

taken to live with the tribe. Wayne is the uncle

who searches for her long after everyone else

has given up. I won’t spoil the end but it is

bitter sweet and unexpected. I love it for the

dogged determination of John Wayne’s

character who won’t be persuaded from what

he believes is right. He succeeds against the

odds but is shown as a rather sad loner who

ploughs his own furrow.“

“It is a good metaphor for the small

business owner: don’t be distracted from

what you believe is the right path. Keep

trying despite setbacks. Accept that

sometimes it is a lonely road but hold true to

your vision to succeed.

“I watched the ‘women’s pictures’ of the

1930s and 1940s starring Bette Davis or Joan

Crawford, often on TV on Saturday

afternoons when I was a teenager and there

were only three channels. I think I absorbed a

sense of style from these movies and an

image of a strong woman and how she

should behave - outdated now but served me

well in the formative years of my career.”


First for Virgin

outside US

Commons Club opens for business


VIRGIN HOTELS Edinburgh, the

first outside the US, has just

officially opened its doors to the

public. The Commons Club is

billed by the company as an

“modern day social club”, and the

restaurant and bar will be open all

day. Chef Steven Wilson is coming

home to the capital and is

creating a range of dishes with

Scottish seasonal fare, from

Wagyu Tataki using Scottish

Wagyu beef to Risotto using

Scottish farm spelt and barley.

The hotel has been created

from India Buildings on Victoria

Street but will extend all the way

to the Cowgate with 222

Niki Hutchison

Niki makes it to

champions final

Simply the best at growing her audience


NIKI HUTCHISON has been named as

one of six finalists in the Women’s

Champion category of the Digital

Women Awards 2022 after her huge

success in offering online support. She

began a free Facebook support group for

other businesswomen and now has a

community of around 25,000.

Niki said: “I was delighted to have made

the shortlist,.

“To get recognition at a national level really

does give you an extra boost and remind you

why you’re working so hard.”

She set up The Simplicity Concept to help

support women in business in 2017. Two years

later she rebranded to her own name and

found her specialty in supporting

entrepreneurial women to grow their audiences.

Niki used to host in-person networking

events in Edinburgh but during the pandemic

migrated those to online where she runs a free

Facebook group - the Audience Growth

Collective, a weekly podcast called the

Audience Growth Podcast and a group

programme called the Audience Growth

Club as well as her marketing agency,

Enjoy Marketing.

Niki said she first set up the community to

Chambers and Grand Chamber

Suites. The hotel site is also home

to a 19th century church, known

as Greyfriars Hall, that is being

restored and repurposed as a

special event venue. The hotel

will offer a rooftop sanctuary

with unobstructed views of

Edinburgh Castle.

Scott McArdle, General

Manager of Virgin Hotels

Edinburgh, commented:

“Edinburgh is such an iconic city

and we’re thrilled it will be the

home of our flagship restaurant

and bar within the first Virgin

Hotels in the UK and across

Europe. Commons Club is a

unique offering that will

complement the current offering

of the hotel. The food and drink

menus will bring an array of local

flavours to the table and can’t

wait to welcome everyone in to

try them.”

Steven Wilson, Executive Chef

of Virgin Hotels Edinburgh, said:

"After years of travelling the world

and working in some

unforgettable restaurants and

hotels, I'm so excited to be back in

grow her own support network and create

opportunities to work with other women and

help them to grow their businesses as well.

She said: “I needed a new challenge and I was

really keen to surround myself with likeminded

women in my working life,”

“Entrepreneurial women growing all sorts of

businesses are now part of the community. They

live all across the UK and beyond and are

ambitious, determined and inclusive. They want

to support each other on the journey.

“Women in the community regularly work

with each other. As well as teaching members

how to grow their audiences and ultimately sell

more, I always buy from as many of them as I

can and the opportunities that come from the

group are great to see. Just this week someone

in the group shared that they had space for a

new client, and another member booked a call

with her the same day. It can happen that fast.”\

Members of Niki's group get marketing and

business tips and can access her regular, free

masterclasses. In February next year, Niki plans

to team up with other entrepreneurial Niki Hutchison women

to bring together marketing experts and host a

large scale in-person event in Edinburgh.

The Digital Women awards ceremony is

on Friday 14 October at The Ivy,

Tower Bridge, London.

Interior of The Commons

Club on Victoria Street

my hometown and to be part of

this opening in Edinburgh. We

really do have access to the

highest quality local produce

right on our doorstep in Scotland

and that’s something the menu at

Commons Club celebrates. Guests

will enjoy our timeless menu that

will continue to evolve with the

seasons, keeping them coming

back time and time again.”



Tech fest makes

capital return

THE LEADING tech conference in Europe,

Turing Fest, will return to Edinburgh with

more than a thousand people expected to

attend the event at Edinburgh

International Conference Centre (EICC).

Turing Fest on 27 and 28 July will include

interviews, networking and parties with

presentations from more than 40 speakers.

Founders and leaders of startups and more

established organisations will be brought

together to help make connections which

improve their businesses.

During the pandemic, Turing Fest

Founder and CEO Brian Corcoran

spearheaded an open letter to the Scottish

Government signed by 50 Scottish tech

company CEOs. This open letter was

followed by the Scottish Government

commissioning the Logan Report

signalling a renewed focus on the industry.

This year’s top tier speaker line-up

includes Paul Adams, CPO of Intercom,

Maria Gutierrez, VP of Engineering at

Twitter, Jonny Brooks-Bartlett, Senior

Engineer at Spotify, Shane Curran, CEO of

Evervault, April Dunford, Founder of

Ambient Strategy, and Rob Walling,

Co-Founder of TinySeed, with more

speakers still to be announced.

Brian Corcoran said: “We’re extremely

excited to be bringing some of the best

minds in the global technology industry

back under one roof fully in person

in Edinburgh.”

The purpose of Turing Fest is to bring

people together from across the tech

industry with diverse skills, from different

geographies and backgrounds, to learn

together to help people get better at what

they do professionally so they can build

better startups and scaleups.

“The conference typically has a great

atmosphere: the attendees are keen to

learn, the speakers are keen to teach,

everyone is open to sharing - and they all

want to have fun together. It makes for a

wonderful community, a genuinely fun

and enlightening few days, and gives

many startups a better chance of success.

“The future of Scotland’s economy is

going to be built on the tech industry, and

on startups and scaleups. We’ve worked

closely to support Mark Logan’s work over

the past two years in highlighting this and

are delighted to see the commitment from

Kate Forbes and the Scottish Government

in driving the agenda forward.”


For the love of good food

Laura is one of 25 ambassadors flying the flag for Scotland


DR LAURA WYNESS is one of the 25

recently appointed Regional Food

Tourism Ambassadors who will champion

food and drink tourism for Scotland.

Laura will concentrate on Edinburgh

and has just launched a new podcast

called Food Connections. As a Registered

Nutritionist she already runs her nutrition

research and communications business in

the capital.

Her work includes conducting nutrition

research, providing nutrition content for

companies, workplace wellness support

and online nutrition consultations for

individual clients.

Laura previously worked as a Senior

Researcher at the Scottish Centre for Food

Development and Innovation. There she

led on a variety of food innovation

projects for Scottish food companies

including research on sea buckthorn,

beremeal, venison and cold-pressed

rapeseed oil.

Laura Wyness

She was part of the judging panel for

the Scottish Retail Food and Drink

Awards in 2022 and is a member of the

Guild of Food Writers.

Having grown up on a farm in

Aberdeenshire, Laura is keen to highlight

the work involved in producing Scottish

food and, of course, its nutrition and

health benefits.

The Regional Food Tourism

Ambassadors is a new programme which

will places food tourism at the heart of the

recovery of Scotland’s tourism and food

and drink sectors. The initiative has been

launched by Scotland Food & Drink and

the Scottish Tourism Alliance with the

appointment of 24 Regional Food

Tourism Ambassadors, each of whom will

raise Scotland’s profile as a global food

tourism destination.

The ambassadors themselves will

provide a boost to their individual regions

and bring producers, suppliers and

hospitality businesses much closer

together to grow local economies.


have a new second

Edinburgh venue on

George Street as well as

the bar and restaurant at

St James Quarter which

opened last year, and a

new site in George Square

in Glasgow.

The company says the

investment in the second

location in Edinburgh

amounts to £1.5 million

and there will be 60 new

jobs created.

The ethos of The

Alchemist is mystical

apothecary, theatre serves

and molecular mixology. All

of this is captivating for

their existing customers

and is leading to expansion

into the new 185 cover

The Alchemist

set to open

new venue on

George Street

casual dining restaurant

at a prime location on

George Street.

Jenny McPhee, Brand

Director, said: “The

response to our first bar

and restaurant in

Edinburgh last year,

alongside plans to make

our debut in Glasgow later

this year, has been

incredible and we’re thrilled

to be further expanding our

portfolio in Scotland with a

second venue in the capital.

“With a mix of listed

features and our signature

style, the site is going to be

stunning, offering an

unrivalled and

unconventional drinking

and dining experience in

the heart of the city.”

15% discount on all shipping and packing materials when quoting code PS101


Café review: Fauna Coffee

By Charlie Ellis


Compiled by David Albury

Capital coffee

New opening Fauna offers West End coffee redemption

FAUNA COFFEE on Queensferry

Street is an excellent new arrival on

the scene.

They opened at the start of April

2022, just in time to take advantage

of the loosening up of Covid

restrictions and an increasing

number of visitors to the city.

The lockdowns and restrictions

were particularly difficult for

specialty coffee places in the

city centre.

Based on the quality of their

coffee, Fauna deserves to succeed.

Our coffees (cortados) were

exceptionally well made, with a rich

and lingering flavour. We still had

the taste in our mouths 20 minutes

afterwards. Fauna use Redemption

Roasters’ ‘The Yard’ blend (a mix of

beans from Peru, Colombia and

Rwanda) in their espresso drinks.

This is a bright and juicy coffee with

notes of red apple, apricot and

caramel. The plan is to add more

variety to their espresso by using

other Redemption blends.

Unlike nearby Cairngorm on its

very visible corner site (at the end of

Melville Street), it’s easy to miss

Fauna. Given its proximity to Princes

Street, it should be popular with

tourists . It should also attract fans of

specialty coffee. The café is long and

thin, with an uncluttered feel.

Previously a hairdresser, the

minimalist decor creates a cool and

calming atmosphere. The retro style

olive green seats are a nice touch.

The seats towards the rear will be

ideal during the mid-summer

months when you might want to

avoid the crowded streets.

A key aspect of specialty coffee is a

deep concern with the lives and

financial situation of those involved

in its production. Fauna connects

this to its partnership with

Redemption Roasters, based at HMP

Mount in Hertfordshire. The

company is also involved in training

offenders in the skills of the coffee

industry, giving them greater

employment possibilities.

Redemption also runs barista

training academies in nine prisons

across the UK.

Fauna also serve a range of teas,

sandwiches and soups as well as

tempting baking, including Turkish/

Greek influenced baking. They also

sell a selection of Redemption’s

excellent beans, including an

excellent La Serrania decaf from

Colombia which has deep

fruit notes.

Though, in the heart of tourist and

commercial Edinburgh, Fauna is far

superior to most of the coffee places

nearby. Discerning coffee enthusiasts

should definitely check it out and

sample the expertly crafted brews.

Fauna’s arrival hopefully heralds the

start of a revival for specialty coffee

in the centre of Edinburgh.

Fauna 19a Queensferry Street,



1 Being repressed, put pen away (4-2)

5 Unskilled re-construction of

next pier (8)

9 A coir mat can be fragrant (8)

10 Travelling at 100 mph from Luton

up the motorway (3-2)

11 Snared crowd, by one performing

traditional Scottish entertainment


13 In Dunbar everyone is naked ! (4)

14 Fails to look after glens etc. (8)

17 Hate a man: he becomes an object

of abhorrence (8)

18 Change tone about this school (4)

20 Man put equal effort into a sudden,

spectacular advance (7, 4)

23 Got in a mass of silver (5)

24 Nails now designed by male

relative (3-2-3)

25 Tie score, in a mysterious way (8)

26 Arrange children as term is

organised (6)


2 Nobleman upset Lear (4)

3 I met these requirements, showing

how long I worked (9)

4 Option to change dose of

medicine (6)

5 Tina sliced cumin, with tunes playing

in the background (10, 5)

6 Alienate a regent’s substitute (8)

7 In Japan I cause fear (5)

8 Compensation for damaged

ornate pair (10)

12 Quinn names various dummies (10)

15 Watch first batsman - it is a

revelation (3-6)

16 One who leaves a will is also an

attestor (8)

19 Set up nets in preparation for

this game (6)

21 In Wells Fargo, this is used as

slang (5)

22 In Donegal, a sporting occasion (4)


Across: 1 Pent-up, 5 Inexpert, 9 Aromatic, 10 Ton-up, 11 Sword-dancer, 13 Bare, 14 Neglects, 17

Anathema, 18 Eton, 20 Quantum leap, 23 Ingot, 24 Son-in-law, 25 Esoteric, 26 Stream.

Down: 2 Earl, 3 Timesheet, 4 Potion, 5 Incidental music, 6 Estrange, 7 Panic, 8 Reparation, 12

Mannequins, 15 Eye-opener, 16 Testator, 19 Tennis, 21 Argot, 22 Gala.

The world is their oyster


been placed number 84 out of

the top 100 restaurants in the

UK and is the highest ranked

in Edinburgh, at the Estrella

Damm National Restaurant

Awards 2022.

Ondine are renowned for

their seafood and shellfish.

The restaurant was opened in

2009 by Owner and Chef Roy

Brett in the heart of Edinburgh’s

Old Town and has become an

institution within the

Scottish Capital.

They recently completely

transformed the look and feel of

the restaurant, taking diners on

a unique and magical dining

experience with a twist, as the

opulent space has been

converted to emulate a ship at

sea featuring a very clever

window display.

Roy Brett commented on their

award success: “We as a team are

absolutely delighted to be

awarded as one of the Top 100

restaurants throughout the UK.

It is such an honour to receive

the prestigious accolade from

the industry itself.


Culinary delights in the capital with Juliet Lawrence Wilson


my boat

Juliet embarks on culinary cruise at Fingal

IT’S BEEN A glamorous time for me of late.

I’m far from a restaurant snob and thoroughly

enjoy casual dining. In fact one of my favourite

eating spots is the aromatic but basic Desi

Pakwan at the bottom of Leith Walk. The food’s

terrific and the atmosphere often buzzing,

what’s not to like? That said it’s nice to get (I

believe the technical term is) ‘dolled up’.

Few women I know do elegant glamour

better than my mum who has never let

Edinburgh’s lack of lustre diminish her dazzle.

When I was invited to try dinner at The Fingal

it felt like a chance for the two of us to

experience the luxury ingrained in our DNA.

The Fingal, moored at Alexandra Dock, is a

former lighthouse service ship that has been

transformed into a luxury floating hotel,

already buoyed up by a host of awards. If you’re

lucky enough to spend the night you’ll find

your room to be named after one of the

lighthouses the ship serviced, where the

cream-coloured leather headboard is embossed

with the map of that very spot. All I could

think when I attended their opening tour was

that my fake-tan stains would look fantastic

on that.

On a Tuesday night the restaurant on The

Fingal certainly has a buzz. With a mix of local

diners and residents it thankfully avoids the

often dull ‘hotel restaurant’ feel. The space is

artfully broken up and the low ceiling with its

underwater effect finish adds a sense of

intimacy. Upon boarding the red-carpeted

gangplank you immediately experience a sense

of ‘first class here we come!’. The charming

manager welcoming us uses the word ‘Ma’am’,

and not sparingly either. The service is just the

right mix of friendly charm and gregarious

formality so nobody need feel patronised or

disrespected. It’s a true art form.

My mum claims to be a fussy eater, but in

reality she merely prefers her lily ungilded.

When it comes to Fingal’s menu, I like the cut

of its gib with four choices for each course and

everything presented deliciously accomplished,

but refreshingly uncomplicated. You could take

granny and a gourmand here and they’d both

be impressed.

We began with some delightfully warm

ship-baked bread with a luxurious round of

Edinburgh Butter Company silky richness.

Mummy opted for the Norfolk Asparagus

Hollandaise, aged Comte and Watercress, the

asparagus cooked to perfection and the

Hollandaise just the right balance of richness

and acidity. I chose the Fingal’s own Hot

Smoked Salmon, Herb Cream Cheese,

Cucumber Relish, Buckwheat Blinis - lovely

flakes of rich salmon with a balance of flavours

that were sublime, wouldn’t have minded a few

extra Blinis though. For main course Mum had

a juicy wedge of Goosnargh Chicken, Pearl

Couscous, Sweet Potato, Baby Spinach, Madeira

Sauce. I had the Rump of Lamb, Merguez

Sausage, Yoghurt and Wild Garlic, unctuous

dishes, both. The portions were too much for

us, both being on the petit side. Although more

statuesque types won’t be requiring a (I believe

the technical term is) a ‘chippy’ on the way

home. We enjoyed the ambience for a while

before sharing a dessert of White Chocolate

and Pistachio Parfait, Blueberry Mouse with

Nut Granola. The mixture of flavours and

textures was an exciting way to end a lovely

dinner. Considering the quality of the

ingredients, superb cooking skills and magical

experience, it’s a 10/10 ‘Ahoy Mateys’ from me.


Pickering’s plucky new whisky

First release

under The

Broody Hen label

WHEN ANYONE tells me they

don’t like whisky I wonder if

they’ve actually tried every one.

The world of the ‘water of life’ is a

broad church and despite its

international appeal too many

still judge their experience on a

teenage break-in of their parents’

sideboard, rather the merits of

the expertise and nuance that

goes beyond a dusty swig of

Famous Grouse.

Pickering’s, a name on many

a gin lover’s palate, based at

Summerhall Distillery within

the old Dick Vet School, are a

cosy brand with big ambitions.

Rightly so as founders Matt

Gammell and Marcus Pickering

recently launched their first

blended whisky, Broody

Hen, named in tribute to

anti-prohibitionists who would

hide their illegal booze under

chickens’ bottom parts.

Combining casks of whisky

from Highland distilleries, Broody

Hen is a smooth delightful dram,

evoking the profile of vanilla,

caramel and manuka honey.

Easily drunk straight-up but a

star ingredient to a cocktail. Do

try and visit Summerhall

Distillery, as the Pickering’s team

have passion, charm and humour

in abundance.

I sampled my first Broody Hen

at their launch event at Hotel Du

Vin where they have a Cigar

Pagoda, a perfect nook to sip this

beautiful tipple and to smoke a

Big One.

A good spot for what should

be bad behaviour.



A ‘special relationship’

Transatlantic collaborations bring murder ballads, classical music and clowns

THERE’S A remarkable cultural interplay

between the US performing arts and the

Edinburgh Fringe – it could even be called a

special relationship.

Pepperdine Scotland is a prime example – an

initiative which gives the best drama students

from Pepperdine University in California the

chance to work with leading Scottish creatives

to develop a production which is then staged at

the Fringe.

It’s a huge success, having won Fringe Firsts

and other awards plus a multitude of excellent

reviews for works of theatre that address major

contemporary issues.

This time round it’s the resounding and

powerful Americana: A Murder Ballad by

Morna Young, an increasingly important

voice in Scottish drama, with music by

Davey Anderson.

It plunges us into a country trapped in an

endless cycle of horror, where the law puts gun

ownership ahead of life, where media and

music glamorise killers, where mass murder

has become performance – seeking to bump up

the body count for maximum notoriety.

The issue is explored through the medium of

the murder ballad – a musical form exported

from Scotland and Ireland to America and now

deeply embedded in its musical culture.

Morna said: “I first approached Americana

with the question: how do we break the cycle?

Time and time again, we see shootings in

America and the subsequent thoughts and

prayers without meaningful change.

“Spending time with young Americans, I was

devastated to learn of the Active Shooter drills

that students practice: run, hide, fight. Far from

being a rare occurrence, active shooters are

now part of the country’s DNA.”

Another Transatlantic collaboration is the

Hip-Hop Orchestra Experience which includes

a rapper, a turf dancer and a drummer take the

stage with around 15 classical musicians from

the Royal Conservatoire.

The resulting fusion of hip-hop and classical

is stunning in its beauty and its energy. Works

by Mozart, Bach and Beethoven are

deconstructed and reimagined with funky

rhythms and rapid fire rhymes.

The show has been created by the infinitely

dynamic JooWan Kim (and the Ensemble Mik

Nawooj) who became frustrated by the

constraints of the classical tradition and says he

found himself “reborn in the river of hip-hop”.

Speaking about the Conservatoire

collaboration he added: “It’s an incredibly

exciting partnership and one that we hope

Fringe audiences will really enjoy.”

As the Fringe seeks to become more family

friendly and inclusive there are shows like

Yellow Bird Chase, from Boston, to revel in.

It’s a joyous rollercoaster clown adventure

in which a trio of maintenance workers

discover a magical yellow bird – and a madcap

chase begins.

This is the first time the show (which is

fully accessible for deaf and hard of hearing

audiences) has ventured beyond the USA,

where it has been delighting audiences

since 2015.

Like many of the US and other shows, it was

scheduled to come to the Fringe some years

ago but was stymied by Covid-19.

Indeed, it’s a mark of the immense value

people put on the Fringe that so many have

striven so hard for so long to get here.

· Americana: A Murder Ballad, Assembly

Checkpoint, 3-17 August

· The Hip-Hop Orchestra Experience,

TheSpace Triplex, 5-14 August

· Yellow Bird Chase, Assembly George

Square Studios, August 5-29

Buy tickets at: www.edfringe.com

Circus for grown-ups

Rouge: gender-bending

circus for grown-ups

CIRCUS LETS US escape the

everyday and submerges us

in new worlds of fantasy

and wonder.

Much of the best, most

imaginative and often

subversive is from Australia

– some thanks to Elena

Kirschbaum’s Highwire


This year she has two

shows at the Edinburgh

Fringe that should reinforce

this reputation for quality,

acrobatic excellence and fun.

Rouge is triumphantly

returning, after a string of

four and five star reviews in

2019, when its mix of

gender-bending naughtiness

and fantastic acrobatics

wowed Edinburgh audiences.

New for 2022 is Rebel,

a rock ’n’ roll circus inspired

by the music and ideas of

David Bowie.

A live band pumps out five

decades of Bowie music –

with the fabulous twist

that every musician is also

a circus performer. It’s a

chance to witness

astounding aerial acts to

the sound of Space Oddity,

Let’s Dance and Lazarus.

· Rebel, Underbelly’s Circus Hub

on the Meadows,

16-27 August,

· Rouge, Assembly Hall,

4-21 August

Tickets at: www.edfringe.com


A light in the darkness

North Star’s creator Lori’s long and bumpy road to happiness


“WHAT DID you do today that

only you could have done?” this is

the question that saved my life.

You see, I was born to a mum

who called me “the child who

ruined my life” and suggested to

my nine-year-old self that “if I

knew I was a bad person (like

you), I would kill myself.”

I’ve always been willing to

share my story with close friends,

with the hope that my experience

might help someone else. But it’s

very different to tell that story

to the world, which is what I’m

doing with my piece North Star

(what I listened to

instead of my intuition), at the

Edinburgh Fringe.

Writing about mental health

can be dicey. I am not an expert.

All I can do is share what I went

through and hope it provides

some inspiration or a way out

to others.

It’s tough because there are lots

of questions. Do I have something

to say? Is it OK to tell the truth

about my family? Is what I’m

sharing helpful or just a terrible

story that will traumatise others?

All these came up in the seven

years I’ve been working on North

Star. My goal was to be honest, to

show the light, the dark, the

comedy and pathos in my bumpy

road to happiness. There’s no

quick fix. It’s highly irresponsible

when someone says “all I did was

X and it all got better”. Cue my

suspicious face.

Instead, I’ve worked to give the

audience a bird’s eye view of my

many efforts to climb out of the

well that is depression. Some

worked, some didn’t. There’s a

Guardian Angel character in the

mix, which represents my

intuition – something I stopped

listening to after being told that

everything I did, said and thought

was “bad.”

The hardest part was to let the

world into my carefully hidden

world. I make my living as an

entrepreneur in New York. No one

wants to work with the

entrepreneur who isn’t JUST FINE.

I am an expert at looking “fine” at

all times.

We are all a mix of things. In

some ways I’m smart, in others

not. In some ways I am strong but

I’ve struggled with depression

and suicide.

I try to offer empathy with

North Star, saying, “I have been in

the well, and I got out. Here were

the ladders (books, support,

ideas) I used. I don’t know if they

will work for you, but there are

thousands of resources in the

world, keep looking until you find

the ones for you”.

As I say in the play, I don’t know

what you’ll do today that only you

could have done. Maybe play with

a kitten or a child, smile at a

barista, or cry on someone’s

shoulder and let them feel valued

by helping you. Just know that it

matters and you matter.

• See www.northstar-theshow.com

• North Star is at theSpace@

SurgeonsHall, Haldane Theatre,

5-13 August.

Tickets at: www.edfringe.com



and conflict

A RADIO crackles, a doorbell

rings – a woman answers, filled

with dread. Tempus Fugit: Troy

and Us is one of the productions

at Army@TheFringe that explores

humanity and conflict.

In this first case it’s the age-old

experience of wives and warriors,

from doomed Hector and

Andromache in Homer’s Iliad, to

British troops in Afghanistan.

Praised for stunning mask

work and physical storytelling,

this production is profoundly

authentic, having been

researched with actual military

couples. It reveals the love, loss,

grief and resilience of couples

living in the shadows of war.

Then there is Oli Yellop’s I am

Gavrilo Princip which finds the

young assassin of Archduke Franz

Ferdinand in purgatory. Unaware

of the appalling consequences,

he’s not bad enough for hell or

good enough for heaven.

I am Gavrilo Princip is a

critically acclaimed masterclass

in the nature of history as

chaos, cruelty.

· Tempus Fugit: Troy and Us,

16-21 and 23-28 August,

· I am Gavrilo Princip 23-28


Tickets at: www.edfringe.com





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A stylish


New host Jennifer Reoch looks forward to the

glamorous Ladies Day at Musselburgh Racecourse


SCOTLAND’S MOST stylish date in the calendar

is returning this year at Musselburgh Racecourse

with a new host, a new date and an exciting new

focus on fashion. Part of Musselburgh’s

Sensational 7 series, the glamour of Stobo Castle

Ladies Day takes place on Friday 5 August.

Award-winning TV and radio presenter and

former Miss Scotland, Jennifer Reoch, will host

this year’s Stobo Castle Ladies Day which

promises to be the best one yet.

With a selection of luxury hospitality packages,

a new Style competition and first-class

entertainment, Ladies Day is sure to be one of the

biggest fashion extravaganzas the country has

seen in a long while.

This year’s event will celebrate the changing

styles of Ladies Day past and present, a theme

that will be part of the entertainment throughout

the day.

Showcasing all the top racing action alongside

dazzling fashion competitions - style and

elegance will be obligatory.

Jennifer Reoch said: “I’m so excited to be

hosting this year’s Stobo Castle Ladies Day. It’s

been such an important date in people’s

calendar’s for so many years, and I know

everyone will be so excited to get dressed up and

really celebrate being out this summer. I can’t

wait for everyone to experience all the exciting

things planned for this amazing sell out event.”

Aisling Johnston, Commercial Manager at

Musselburgh Racecourse, said: “This year, we are

looking forward to welcoming back thousands of

spectators to enjoy our stylish Stobo Castle

Ladies Day.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to really go

for it and get dressed up after what feels like so

long and enjoy a jam-packed day of first class

racing, great food and entertainment including

our infamous after-party with an exciting

celebrity DJ that will be able to announce

very soon!

“It’s interesting to think about the evolution of

Ladies Day style and, we want this to be a day

where we can really celebrate the style and

individuality of our racegoers year on year. We

are working with some great brands including

Harvey Nichols, Sally Ann Provan and Charlie

Miller, to spotlight the amazing range of clothes

and looks available to buy to ensure people are

feeling fabulous on the day.”

As well as first class racing and exciting

entertainment and music throughout the day,

there will also be plenty of fantastic food and

drink offerings, as well as an after-race party with

a celebrity DJ to keep the party going.

Hospitality packages for Ladies Day are

Jennifer Reoch looking ahead

to a stylish day at the races

already sold out but there are lots of ticket

options still available including the beautifully

decorated Picnic Pavilion marquee, located

alongside the running rail.

With a prime position for viewing the action,

the picnic pavilion has its own dedicated bar,

betting facilities and private washrooms and are

always popular with racegoers.

Book your tickets before midnight on the 1st of

July and SAVE £5 per person. Tickets are selling

fast, so book now to avoid disappointment at:


Robert’s guide to fantastic fly fishing this summer


Company secretary, Malleny Angling

AS WE move into summer the choice

of artificial fly will change. Anglers

should try to match the hatch, where

they fish . A typical selection of

artificial flies may include the diawl

bach, buzzers, hoppers, sedgehog,

olives and Bolton Sedge.

Lures such as yellow dancer,

rainbow dancer, cormorant, viva and

muddlers will all, given the correct

conditions, tempt fish. Fishing a

floating line with a long leader of

three metres will be sufficient.

The magical thing about fly fishing

is that feeling of anticipation and the

rush of adrenaline as, on the largest or

smallest of lochs, we watch trout

feeding on surface flies. It is heady

stuff and that is why we do it.

Looking back, the Mayfly hatch has

been on. This magnificent fly was on

the water and in the air in substantial

numbers. Trout were feeding actively

on both emerging and adult flies. The

wild birds were also having a feast.

Fish can be so intent on feeding on

this specific fly that their guard may be

down. The Mayfly hatch normally lasts

for more than two weeks, perhaps

extending to four to six weeks.

The Mayfly emerged as the day

warmed up, around 11 am to noon. If

the weather conditions were

favourable, the hatch continued, in

varying quantity, until evening.

The selection of artificial fly and

presentation is important. The wrong

size, colour or badly-tied fly can prove

less than successful. Representing the

Mayfly nymph, the insect before

emerging into the adult fly is, at

Mayfly time, often the best bet. This

emerging nymph moves fairly fast

from the bottom of the reservoir to

the surface.

Once at the surface it becomes

vulnerable to predation. The emerging

fly gets stuck in the surface film of

water until it wriggles out of its existing


• Fishing permits for Harlaw and

Threipmuir are priced at a full day for

£25, with a bag limit of three fish.

• Catch and release for the full day is £20

and barbless or de-barbed hooks must

be used.

• An evening permit is priced at only £20

and allows the angler to keep two fish

• Permits for Harlaw and Threipmuir

can only be purchased online at


aquatic body to emerge and take to

the wing as a beautiful adult Mayfly.

The angler’s imitation should try to

represent this stage of the Mayfly’s

life. Fishing the artificial fly in the top

meter of water presents the pattern in

the trout feeding zone. The trout will

take the adult fly, but will often go for

Ronnie Robinson

playing a fish at

Harlaw Reservoir

the easier option of the emerger.

Fish take the fly with a bang, so

light breaking nylon can be a mistake.

A 2.7 Kg/6 lb breaking strain nylon is

considered heavy enough. I have

never been a convert to modern

carbon leaders and fish Maxima

Ultragreen, which works for me. It is

simply a personal choice.

A Mayfly nymph tied on a size 10

longshank or de-barbed hook and

lightly dressed is a good choice, as is a

similar size of Pheasant’s Tail nymph

with a paler coloured thorax. The

Sawyers Pheasant’s Tail Nymph is

perhaps the simplest and deadliest

nymph dressing ever developed and

is a must for all fly fishers.

An adaptation of a pale Hare’s Ear

fly tied on a longshank size 10 hook is

my choice of fly. This fly is tied with a

few pheasant tail feather to represent

the tail, a hare’s ear body with a silver

or gold wire rib, a soft pale greenish/

golden brown thorax of mixed seals

fur and greenish brown grizzle throat

hackle is close to the colour of the

natural fly. If the aim is to hold this fly

in the surface film an extension of

CDC from the front of the thorax may

be added.

Many bag limits are being achieved

at Harlaw with fish up to 2 Kg, 4.5 lb in

imperial weight being recorded.


Early start for Hearts

There’s new arrivals at Tynecastle – Forrest, Neilson and Rowles


MOST FOOTBALL managers would tell you that

June is an early stage of the summer transfer

window when not much happens, but Hearts

have already managed to complete the signing of

three players.

Alan Forrest arrived at Tynecastle to sign a

two-year-deal following the expiration of his

Livingston contract. Lewis Neilson joined on a

free transfer from Dundee United on a threeyear-deal

and from slightly further afield,

defender Kye Rowles joined from Australian side,

Central Coast Mariners, also on a three-year-deal.

Early transfer window business is always a

good sign, for a lot of different reasons. The

transfer market in June is often very quiet,

normally because a lot of people are enjoying

some holiday time after a hectic season.

From Hearts’ point of view however, it shows

that those in the recruitment department and

manager Robbie Neilson have a clear vision of the

types of players they want to bring to Tynecastle.

The Hearts boss said this time last year, that he

wanted to bring down the average age of the

Hibs new faces

New names for the coming season at Easter Road


A NEW SEASON beckons and

Hibs fans are already excited at

the prospect of watching and

assessing a number of new


So far new boss Lee Johnson

has added Australian

international Lewis Miller, loan

signing Momodou Bojang,

Scotland international

goalkeeper David Marshall,

midfielder Nohan Kenneh and

defender Rocky Bushuri to his

squad and also recalled EJ

Johnson from partner club

Charleston Battery.

But one name in particular

has caught the supporters’

attention - 21-year-old Jair

Tavares hails from a footballing

family. His older brothers

Caludio and Miguel both

featured in Portugal’s topflight,

whilst his cousin Renato

Sanches has won the European

Championship, the Bundesliga,

Ligue 1 and Primeira Liga.

Tavares come through the

Benfica youth set-up and has

played for all levels from

Portugal’s Under-15s to the

Under-19 team.

Alongside the international

stage, he also impressed for

Benfica. He appeared in the

UEFA Youth League in 2018

against Bayern Munich, before

facing Marseille, RB Leipzig,

and Zenit the following season.

He shone in the Under-23s

league bagging six goals,

which led to his progression to

Benfica B.

With the Portuguese side’s B

Team, he continued to develop

and was a regular for them last

season contributing to five

goals in 24 league games.

The youngster has already

developed a positive

relationship with the team.

Tavares, who’s moving away

from his home nation for the

first time, a positive

relationship with the manager

was of massive help as he looks

to develop and help the team.

“The trust he passed on to

me was really important to

come here,” Jair admitted. “Not

so many coaches do what he

did for me, so I thank him a lot.

Alan Forrest

squad, so it is no surprise to see Rowles aged 24,

Forrest 25 and Neilson just 19. The key to this is

that Hearts hope they can develop these types of

players and then potentially sell them on for a fee.

At a Foundation of Hearts open meeting in

April, sporting director Joe Savage acknowledged

that Hearts are a selling club, so it is important to

recruit shrewdly. So far so good on that front.

Hearts have an edge on the likes of Hibernian

and Aberdeen this year in terms of what they

can offer a player and that is the carrot of

European football.

The Jambos are guaranteed at least eight

“I’m really, really happy. I’m

excited. I came from Portugal

to help the team and the Club

to get success and a lot of wins.

It’s a historical club in this

country and is a big

opportunity to play for this

club, to show me and this club

to the world. I am here to help

the club.

“The experience I had in the

second league in Portugal for

Benfica B really helped me a lot

because I played against big

men, which gave you a lot of

experience and that’ll be

important for this season at

Hibernian FC.”

Tavares is pictured wearing

the newly released home strip

follows the Club’s traditional

design. The green body and

white sleeves with a new

creative pattern of Easter Road

sublimated on the front of the

jersey along with the subtle

outline of the West Stand on

the front of the strip which

celebrates Hibs proud

connection their historic home

stadium. All roads lead to

Easter Road.

European matches in either the Europa League

or the Europa Conference League.

For Hearts, next season is all about trying to

compete in Europe but also consolidate their

position domestically in order to continue

progressing as a club.

That is not going to be easy. To do this, Hearts

will need to have a bigger squad, therefore it is

perhaps no surprise to see the Tynecastle side

active early on in the window.

With three signings already made, attention

now turns to the rumoured fourth, Lawrence

Shankland. The 26-year-old ticks a lot of boxes.

He has already worked under manager Robbie

Neilson, and he knows the Scottish Premiership

having played with Dundee United prior to his

move to Belgian side Beerschot in August 2021.

The asking price of £500,000 is something

Hearts are not expected to cough up, but all

parties appear to be keen on the move, so it is

a transfer to keep an eye on.

If Hearts can secure the services of the striker

it would send out a message of intent to the rest

of the league because above all else there is no

doubting Shankland’s ability in front of goal.

Jair Tavares joins Hibernian

FC from Benfica

Cameron Allan

Game’s not

over till the fat

striker scores


Robertson’s Robbo: My Autobiography is

coming out in paperback. The first time

Robertson, Hearts’ all-time leading goal

scorer in the league, has told his

extraordinary story, from the early days

right up to the end of his playing career

with the club.

During Robbo’s remarkable career, he

recorded a total of 311 goals in 719

appearances for Hearts. Robbo is by far

the most successful striker for the club in

the modern era, with that incredible

knack of being in the right place at the

right time. Robbo also earned his other

nickname – the ‘Hammer of Hibs’ ¬– by

scoring a record 27 goals against Hearts’

city rivals.

Robbo: My Autobiography covers

everything from John Robertson’s days

growing up in Edinburgh, losing his

father at age 14 to how he ended up

at Hearts.

From the brilliant stories about Brian

Clough, Wallace Mercer and the

characters he met along the way, to the

heartbreak of losing the league in the

final eight minutes of the season, and

from his time with Scotland to finally

winning silverware.

Written in Robertson’s own words,

Robbo is the must-have autobiography

for all Hearts fans.

John Robertson was born in Edinburgh

in 1964. After playing for youth clubs in

the capital with great success, his

services were in demand from football

clubs in Scotland and England. He joined

Heart of Midlothian FC when he was 16

and spent most of career there,

becoming one of the club’s most

successful and popular players ever.

Robbo: My Autobiography The Game’s Not

Over till the Fat Striker Scores is available is

available via amazon.co.uk in both print

and digital format.


High hopes

for hockey

Scotland coach Chris Duncan aims for success

at this summer’s Commonwealth Games


CHRIS DUNCAN, head coach of the Scotland

women's hockey team, hopes the success of

other Scottish athletes in the Commonwealth

Games can rub off on his squad and push them

to new heights.

The Edinburgh-based playcaller has selected

what he believes is a well-balanced squad for

the Games which start in Birmingham on

28 July.

Scotland open their campaign against South

Africa, ranked No 16 in the world, on 29 July

and a day later they square up to New Zealand,

rated No 9 on the planet.

Kenya are next on 1 August, and they are

ranked No 36, and Scotland complete their

games in Pool B by playing Australia, rated No

3 in the world, on 3 August. Scotland are

ranked No 18 in the world.

It's a tough schedule but Duncan, who is also

director of hockey at The Edinburgh Academy,

is excited by the challenge.

He admitted selection had been tough for

the tournament for so many reasons

but he added: "From my perspective,

we have selected an extremely

exciting squad.

"There is balance in terms of

different characteristics and

personalities which, I think, really

bring things to life and I feel like

we’ve picked an amazingly strong

squad that allows us to go

down to Birmingham

and make a great

account of ourselves."

Duncan aims to



show Scotland's brand of hockey to the world

and he added: "That’s the chance you have

when you play on the world stage, which is

something we don’t get all the time.

"We’ll go down there with high hopes to

show people what we can do. If we focus

on process, and do the best we can, then

results will take care of themselves.

“To see other athletes competing, and be

in and around the events will be great, but I

already feel like there’s a real sense of team.

We’ll not just be there as Scottish Hockey, we’re

there as Team Scotland and the success of

other athletes and teams will really help push

us to do something special."

The 18-strong squad is captained by

Borders-born Olympic bronze medallist Sarah

Robertson, a former University of Edinburgh

player, and is a strong blend of emerging young

talent and experience.

Nine players are making their

Commonwealth Games debut alongside nine

players who played in the last Commonwealth

Games in Australia's Gold Coast four

years ago.

Robertson is playing in her third

Commonwealth Games and said:

"Being captain offers a different

dynamic for me and it’s a huge

honour to captain the team at the

Commonwealth Games. The group is

in a really good place so it’s exciting

moving into the summer.

“The squad is a really good

blend of people who have

been there and done it,

and then some of the

players going for the

Scotland faced GB Elite

Development team in June

first time still have 50 or 60 caps. So we’ve got a

group who have played together for quite a few

years now."

Great Britain internationalists Amy Costello

from Edinburgh, Dundonian Charlotte

JL Preece

Watson, Glaswegian Jenny Eadie and

Helensburgh native, Fiona Burnet are in the

team and it will be a first Games experience for

talented youngsters Bronwyn Shields, from

Glasgow and Ellie Wilson, from Edinburgh,

who plays for Watsonians, and University of

Edinburgh talent Eve Pearson from

Dunfermline, who said: “I’m absolutely

buzzing. It’ll obviously be my first

Commonwealth Games and my first caps as

well. This is huge for me."

Scotland’s opening match will also be extra

special for newcomer Heather McEwan who

was born in South Africa, and will earn her

first Scotland cap in Birmingham against the

country of her birth.

McEwan, who plays for Royal Victory

in Antwerp, said: “Being selected is the best

feeling in the world. It’s going to be great

to be there to win my first cap, but to play

that game against South Africa is amazing.

I’ve come a long way and I’m just so excited to

be part of it.”

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