#100 is here!

We have contracted our Development Manager! I’m not naming names yet, as details need finalised but they have accepted and should be in post by end October. I’m so pleased to close this series with that good news. It was an early blog that announced the securing of the National Lottery funding to secure that contract. 

Other than that good news, Porty Central are expecting a final draft of our Project Viability report in the next few weeks. We’ve got a strategy workshop planned and work with the Council is progressing well. I think we are in a good place and I’m quite content to think I’ve done this 100 day project and I can take a rest from this task. 

I’ve enjoyed it. I hope you have. I think on balance it was a worthwhile exercise. At times it got vague and bland and of course there is much more going on most days that cannot be written about but trying to find a topic and theme to share has been a joy and rarely too difficult. It has helped distill my Porty Central thoughts and focused my mind (more or less) daily. I’ve enjoyed bringing you updates of events and what is going on. Maybe you took me up on some of them?

Ahead, I see a wave of activities that are going to keep me busy – the Porty Food Map and Recipe Book, the soon to be launch Heart Talk Porty events, an Absent Friends event, a Window Wanderland, maybe some late night shopping and I’ve recently had a nod there is to be an 8metre cut Christmas Tree from the Council for Portobello – just outside Porty Town Hall! – so something will need done around that. That little bunch is going to keep me in plenty trouble. 

Then there is the Town Hall poem, my knee stretches (had to lay off them for a few days as I over did it and it was a bit painful but rest seems to have worked). And to close, I feel it is only fair if I ask Geoff for an update on his cardigan….this was mentioned back in blog #57 and I think the people need a progress report. Geoff, give us a photie!

I’m off for a lie down in a darkened room.

Over and out! For now. 

Jennifer’s blog #100

Recipe For Re-Energising

Okay, I’ve been stretching this out a bit. Today’s blog #99 covers not just two but four days.

I might be milking it, drawing this out to avoid the finality of 100. If that is your accusation, I admit possibly guilty as charged.

In my defence, not a lot that could be discussed on the blog has happened on Wed, Thurs, Fri or Sat. i.e. not until now. Much of my Porty Central time in those last few days has been dedicated to making a reality of the idea I’m about to share . 

Those following the blog regularly might recall in #92 I was all re-energised and I’d had a good conversation and promised to tell all the next day.

Well, it took a bit longer to work out that buzzy conversation into action but today Jo Turbitt (of @lighthousekeeperslunch on Instagram fame) and I, despite pouring rain, took a plan for a Portobello Recipe Book and Porty Food Map as a fund-raiser for the Town Hall round the food venues of Portobello High St.

Since blog #92, we’d hatched a plan, written a letter, got sign off from the group and today (Saturday) took it out to the foodie Porty Traders. It was generally well received and we hope will become a beautiful, desirable item that you will all want in your kitchens or on your coffee tables or in your Christmas stockings. If you are a foodie trader and didn’t get a visit, Porty High St is so full of food venues that 2 hours pounding the street and doors is not enough to get round them all. We’ll be back. 

Here is the idea we set free today:   

Gut reaction is this project has legs. If you have any great ideas to add to it, please get in touch.

I started this blogging business on 1st June 2021. It should have ended mid Sept but with holidays and the odd few skipped days, it winds up with the next one I write, taking it to mid-Oct. Might skip Sunday and wait for the Porty Central group meeting on Monday night before I close…..I need to get that update on Geoff’s cardigan and of course I’m still looking for more lines of reflection on Porty Town Hall – memories or imagined futures, based around senses, in 12 words to be sent to hello@portobellocentral.org for me to try and craft a poem. I see Ian Pryde was chasing up reflections on Portobello itself. I submitted mine. C’mon Porty people. We can do this.   

Just to leave you with one suggested outing this weekend. Portobello local Barbara Jones Barbara Jones Mezzo | Facebook will be singing (free concert but you need to book a ticket) at St Giles on Sunday night at 6pm Bizet to Broadway – Barbara Jones (Mezzo) and Ingrid Sawers (Piano) | Facebook. I don’t think I’ll make it this time but she will blow you away with the beauty of what she does. Go on – treat yourself to a wee slice of heaven but be prompt. It starts sharp at 6pm and finishes 45 mins later. 

Jennifer’s blog #99


The interviews for the Development Manager contract are all now completed. That is exciting. All candidates were good so now the review and decision time is coming. Hope to have an announcement next week – after blog #100. Something to look forward to when my witterings stop. 

Counting down today, 3, 2, 1 till no more blogs. What will I do with myself I hear you ask? As well as trying to write a poem for the Town Hall (send me those 12 little words please), I think I’m going to make an effort to relearn to kneel and do 100 days of kneeling. My knees are shot. I’ve not been able to kneel for over fifteen years. My osteopath showed me I can kneel with cushions to support me. I’ve been doing it three days in a row now and it feels good. It would be so good to do a child’s pose again without pain. Reckon, after these 100 days, I’m going to try 100 days of kneeling and see where that gets me. Talking of loose ends and new projects, must get an update from Geoff on his Harry Styles/Tom Daley cardy before the blogs finish. Hold that thought!  

Even if soon I’m not blogging be about it there will be plenty Porty Central tasks and business to be getting on with. I do like to try and know I’ve progressed some Porty Central business each day and the blog is a good measure of that. I still have to distil the feedback from the team, given on Monday night, about the design choices for the Project Viability report before 7th Oct. 

Heading to Bearsden again tonight to see my parents for my usual Wedensday. Will write up the day tomorrow. Thanks people for sticking with me for the journey. 

Jennifer’s blog #98

Uppers and Downers

“Intensive Care” Gavin Francis

Sunday I went with a pal to hear Gavin Francis at the Portobello Book Festival . This was the description in the Programme:

Award-winning author Dr Gavin Francis’s latest book Intensive Care is written from the perspective of a GP working in both urban and rural communities during the Pandemic. Gavin will be in conversation with Dr John Budd, GP at the Edinburgh Access Practice, which provides care for patients who are homeless. They will discuss how Covid has changed lives, the amazing work of Edinburgh’s Inclusion Health outreach teams and the city’s response in terms of housing people who would otherwise have been rough sleeping.

It was really good and as ever, I’d recommend getting a ticket to Portobello Book Festival events – it is a great addition to Porty life. However an odd thing happens to you when you are involved with buildings. I noticed there was a G4S steward on the door and my curiosity was piqued. I later asked one of the organisers about this who told me the Council had provided security and cleaners so the Festival could go ahead. Running community venues warps your perception of what is worthy of note!

Taking the chance of being in the library I dropped off my few lines about what Portobello means to me in the box for their National Poetry week poem. Hope they can work it into something good. 

Don’t forget my request for a up to 12 words reflecting a sense memory of things remembered or imagined about Porty Town Hall and I’ll see what I can make of it. Start the line with See/smell/Touch/Hear/Taste or Let’s. Send it  by 14th October to hello@portobellocentral.org.

Checking Viability

Monday, our usual team meeting was postponed but after the consultants’ Project Viability meeting last week, I requested we take time for those of us who could make it to talk over options for the building. Everyone is at different stages of understanding of the building and options, even in our group. However the meeting was a bit hampered by those of us who get their internet from BT – the service was down and they couldn’t join. As I write the big social media firms Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram are down worldwide. If you read this via Facebook, things must be connected again. Rest easy.

Jennifer’s blog #97

Hand In Your Lines

Ian McMillan

Following on from yesterday’s artistic/poetic theme, I’m going to kick off today by sharing this beautiful collaboration produced by Porty’s own Oi Musica .

They’ve produced another stunning project as a creative response to COP26. Enjoy it here: 

Don’t forget my plea yesterday that people send me a line for a poem for Porty Town Hall. To recap: 

Send a line of up to 12 words?

Make the line start with the sense words; ‘See/Smell/Touch/Hear/Taste or with ‘Let’s’

Send the lines to hello@portobellocentral.org by 14th October and I’ll try and incorporate them into a poem for Porty Town Hall for end of October. 

As inspiration I’m sharing this poem, written a few years back for Academy of Urbanism awards when Portobello won something like best neighbourhood. Thanks Jon Davey for being such a good record keeper and having this to hand when asked for it:

Portobello, Edinburgh by Ian McMillan

Take a trip across this poem like you might

Wander through Portobello, from dawn’s glow

To the welcoming illumination of midnight,

And there are no straight lines through Portobello

Just detours and byways you have yet to find

By the water, by the market, by the Turkish Baths

Where you soak your body and rest your mind

Walk along this poem, do the Portobello maths

Where beach plus sea plus drink plus food

Plus ideas plus forward thinking adds up to something

That’s deeper than a feeling, broader than a mood,

About the idea that community can bring

Answers to questions you never knew you’d posed

Portobello is an unlocked mind that’s never ever closed.

Jennifer’s blog #96

Just 12 Little Words

W S Gilbert “The Bab Ballads”

Today I’m going all literary. 

Our very own Lynn and Morag are published in the Portobello Pandemic book created as part of this year’s Portobello Book Festival. Well done them! There was what looked like a glorious, exclusive, star studded launch event on Friday night . Free copies of the book can be picked up at the library

Then I’m going to amplify Ian Pryde of Portobello Library’s poetry post on our Facebook page on Friday 

The origin library post says:

To help us celebrate #NationalPoetryDay on October 7th 2021, we’d like to create a Community Poem all about #Portobello and we need your help to write it!

In a few words, tell us what Portobello means to you. Post your response in the box in the library and we’ll bring them all together to build our poem.

Here are some prompts for inspiration…

  • What sounds remind you of Portobello?
  • What is your favourite place in Porty?
  • How would you describe Portobello to someone who has never visited?
  • Do you have a favourite Porty memory?
  • What does Portobello’s Community mean to you?

So go on, drop your words in to them in the next few days.

#Poetry #CreativeWriting

But actually the post Ian shared to our page asks for a poem about Portobello Town Hall, so……

Having been one of the thousand who contributed a line to potentially be used in the new Scottish Makar, Kathleen Jamie’s poem about nature for COP26, I’m inspired to try and make a poem for Porty Town Hall. 

In the style of the Makar’s project, will readers of this blog consider sending me a line of reflection about things remembered about Porty Town Hall or things imagined about Porty Town Hall? 

Can we say send a line of up to 12 words?

Make the line start with the sense words; ‘See/Smell/Touch/Hear or Taste or with ‘Let’s’? 

Say, send the lines to hello@portobellocentral.org by 14th October and I’ll try and incorporate them into a poem for Porty Town Hall for end of October. I’m on blog #95 of 100 so I’m going to need something new to occupy my brain. 

I don’t claim I’ll do this myself but I’ll find some helpers to work the contributions into an acceptable poem. 

Don’t leave me high and dry. Send me just 12 little words. Let’s see what we can do together! 

Jennifer’s blog #95


Mackintosh’s “Quality Street” Selection

Really good to meet with the architects and consultant on Thursday morning. They are forcing us to identify what we want as designs. They are finishing a project viability report funded by Architectural Heritage Fund. This will likely form a document for public discussion and will balance costs of options against income that can be achieved. It will be timely to have this document for the Development Manager contract starting. 

None of the options is cheap. None of them will happen with the £350K of funding secured and being allocated to works currently in hand. These are big money projects requiring huge fund-raising efforts and bringing radical improvements and new possibilities. Any of the work done with that £350K funding should be done with a eye on the future intentions, the big dreams. 10 year dreams. 25 year dreams. 

I really look forward to having that report and going public with it to get your views and thoughts.

The 20 minute meeting between Action Porty and various Council staff I also mentioned yesterday was taking place today wasn’t the meeting I was expecting. Pretty sure it wasn’t a re-run of the meeting in July that I missed. It was a good meeting. The council attendees were good folks. I’m going to have to mull that one over before I work out what I think about that. 

Interviews for the Development Manager are booked and taking place next week. 

Jennifer’s blog #94