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 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

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 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 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

Busy, Busy

Slack on my part – bunching two days together again – Tuesday and today, Wednesday. The important thing is to write and to get to 100, right?

So Tuesday I drop my dear husband at the airport early doors and he’s away till Thursday evening. We’re back to me acknowledging all the stuff he does round the house and with/for the family that lets me get on with stuff like blogs. Thanks Mr E. Making evening meals and packed lunches and feeding hedgehogs nightly doesn’t half take up time! Other than reading the Basecamp emails I made no contribution to Porty Central on Tuesday. 

Today, Wednesday has been a Bearsden day and I’m happy to report Mum has been doing stairs and so has been able to leave the house! She got out to the dentist yesterday and hairdresser today. Progress! I’ve not even yet told the Porty Central team about my exciting call on Monday night but am going to write it up as soon as I send off this blog #93 to Geoff.

I will have something to write about tomorrow as some of the group (me included) are meeting with our architects and consultant on Thursday morning. Additionally, while not directly Porty Central business, on a related topic some of the Action Porty team have managed to book time with the Council team on 20 minute neighbourhoods. None of the Action Porty people (myself included) made the Council’s first meeting called in July but we requested a rerun and it takes place tomorrow. Porty Central hadn’t heard anything back since that meeting so I’ll be looking for an update from the council for both organisations. 

Jennifer’s blog #93


Okay! Okay! I should never have mentioned Christmas in the last blog – knocked me of my stride. 

Nor should I have mentioned on Porty Central Basecamp that I’d hit blog #91. The team started congratulating me and that knocked me off my stride. 

Lastly the only real Porty Central business taking place over the weekend was related to the Development Manager contract and that is exciting and important, but it is fairly confidential and dealing with people’s personal data. While that didn’t knock me off my stride, it made me cautious about what I was writing here. 

Upshot is, I’ve missed two days and am now rolling in Saturday, Sunday and Monday into the one blog – #92. 

Only way to get back in the saddle, is to get back in the saddle and if you’ve fallen off the 100 days blogging wagon, the only way back on, is to get back on the 100 days blogging wagon. So, here I am. Ride ’em cowboy! 

Apparently a wee wobble near the end is not uncommon as Dani at Tribe describes in her blog about her various 100 day projects. 

She got me into this and has had some spectacular projects over the years. 

The usual Porty Central Monday night working group meeting happened and happened well but reason for getting back in the blogging saddle, came from a call that took place an hour before the meeting. It picked up a chat from a few months back, gave me the wee ‘this is the way to go’ buzz in my stomach and got me back in my blogging stride. I wanted to tell the group all about this conversation, but we overran so I’ll just have to write it up tomorrow. I need to tell them first but hope to report here. Watch this space!

To wrap it up today, what you doing this weekend? I’ve got a tickets to a Porty book festival event on Sunday morning and I’m planning to drop in to the Support the Makers fair at Bellfield. 

After grumbling about the C word, I might try and get a head start on presents! See you there? 

Jennifer’s blog #92

“C” Words

Christmas 2020

I shouldn’t do this but a client today on seeing the date remarked three months today and it will be Christmas Eve. Factually I knew this but hearing the words said out loud sent a chill into my heart. Christmas? Winter? Darkness and chill! At least in three months it will be past the Winter solstice and days will be getting lighter. 

So what will Porty do for Christmas? Should the Window Wanderland run again? Will there be a Christmas Tree outside the Town Hall and the craft one outside Bellfield? Will their be a projection on Bellfield?

Any carol concerts?

Christmas Markets?

What will you be doing?

What should Portobello Central be doing, if anything, to chase the darkness away?

Jennifer’s blog #91

A Volley of Volunteers

Thursday started with a failed attempt at a swim for myself and Jayne to get me caught up on Monday night’s meeting which I missed due to Nick Cave. Via text we agreed about 6am that it was way too stormy to be any fun so we settled on a walk at 9am on the Prom instead. Bumped into Lynn, indeed then bumped into Damian, so nearly a full face to face Porty Central meeting but mainly a bracing catch up with a bit of Porty Central info in the mix. 

Rest of Thursday was work and hosting my guests – a drive around Edinburgh, dinner together, a cycle to feed the hedgehogs and, of course a bonfire on the beach with marshmallows. 

I did however download the template for evaluating the applications over the weekend. My guests go Friday afternoon so I’ll get on to Porty Central and indeed Action Porty matters on Friday night and over the weekend. Those Porty Central folks not looking at applications are looking at the website structure and considering what info needs added or updated. 

When down on the beach for the bonfire last night I saw that there is a small stadium seating and tents set up around the volleyball nets. Did some investigating and look what is happening in Porty this Friday – Sunday. 

Be sure to get down and catch some top class athletes doing their thing.

Jennifer’s blog #90