Dogged Blogger

Bridgend Farmhouse

I remember blog #40 being a sticky one. I’ve prevaricated and avoided today’s blog all day and realised it was #80. Something going on with the multiples of 40 in my head. 

Only twenty more blogs to go. 

Must try and use them carefully. It is an interesting daily discipline. Without daily effort, days slip away. It is the act of doing that is important. Those who started the original project and didn’t skip any days have completed their 100. I’m not beating myself up about the missed days. Sometimes rules need bent. I will complete it. We’ll have 100 blogs tracking our early days. But I was having a hump blog day. 

Then Lynn in the Porty Central group shared this lovely video from Bridgend, who way before we tried to do what we are doing, did what we are trying to do. Of course there are differences in the details, but sit back and enjoy the telling of the tale .

I find myself wondering, when 11 years of history is told in 6 minutes, about the daily battles and triumphs. How did things get done? What was each day like? Yet it kind of doesn’t matter, cause the years have passed and the result has been achieved. Certainly an inspiring video. 

The team had a good Monday meeting last and matters progressed. Our Treasurer, Stewart will give his 1st official report next Monday. 

Jennifer’s blog #80

Generating Regeneration

Sunday seems quiet too at least on Porty Central matters, so going to take a gamble and mention the Regeneration Fund application we made in conjunction with City of Edinburgh Council. This went in about June/July if memory serves me well.

I had in my head it was due to be announced in Aug/Sept so sent a little chaser to our Council contact. Got this back:

‘We haven’t had any update yet but I would expect it to be sometime in September, with a deadline for round two in November.’

Keep your fingers crossed for us. This application was all about finding alternative heating systems to replace the existing, aging boilers! 

Jennifer’s Blog #79

Send me a letter


Lots of themes running on our Basecamp chats but nothing conclusive to mention here so going to be a short and sweet blog. 

I’m just going to re-share the Development Manager advert and add some flesh to the bones of the contract value as that is the main question we’ve been getting back. 

We see this as an £8K contract for 40 days work (about 5 days or 40 hours per month at £200 per day). 

Hope the right person is working on their covering letter this weekend. Good luck!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Jennifer’s blog #78.

Baths and Beards

The Baths – new in 1904 – renewed in 2021

Friday was mainly spent with emails back and forth setting the agenda for our Monday meeting. 

I had expected big news at the Town Hall visit and when that didn’t come I was a bit thrown/down as you could read yesterday. However the sensible response to that visit and meeting with the Council guys is the Council are doing the dull, necessary right things to make the building good to reopen, we have the funds and they are keeping us in the loop. 

Realised another Porty building was looking all shiny and new. On Tuesday I was out walking the Prom because it ended up an absolute beauty of a day I turned behind me and snapped the baths, thinking how grand they looked. It is only a few days later that I realised the baths looked so good because the scaffolding is down!

Porty Baths 2021

This is possibly a bit like when my dad in his 70s grew a beard. It was a nice snowy white beard and he looked good. He kept it for more than two years and was a bit upset that when he shaved it off, nobody noticed – even Mum! Problem was that he just looked like himself again. Rather than notice the lack of beard, we’d all been noticing the beard for two years. 

After yesterday’s wobble (woble?) I find myself returning to a comment put on Porty Central Facebook page way back thanking those who 20 years ago were fighting to prevent these very Porty baths from closing. When feeling disheartened in community work I remembered this wee phrase and I’m motivated again: 

Q: When is the best time to plant a tree?

A: 20 years ago. 

Q: When is the next best time?

A: Today! 

Thanks to, one of our top fans, Maureen Child for a shout out in her inspiring weekly round ups:

The Portobello Central group are brilliant at keeping us up to date on all their hard work and what is involved in taking on our Town Hall. Click here: “

Onwards and upwards!

Jennifer’s blog #77. 


Felt a bit flat after the long awaited visit to the Town Hall on Thursday. 

It wasn’t really any big reveal about the building and, there is no denying, it is looking disheveled through lack of use. There is lots to do, lots of potential, what should be ‘enough money’ to do the work and Morag has already posted some shots of the visit but I left feeling a bit flat, hence I dawdled a little in writing today’s blog. 

The main thing that stuck in my mind was the fact we saw a bat flying around the hall. I didn’t really want to mention that on here and was delaying for that reason too but I see comments have been made already by those attending of the bat’s existence, so the bat is out of the bag, so to speak…

Also delayed writing up Thursday because my husband and I were, as I mentioned yesterday, at Elbow at the Usher Hall. My husband thinks it is hilarious that I danced the night away, enjoyed myself lots, cheered when the lead singer went for a cheer yet confessed I didn’t recognise a single song. Philistine! Happy dancer. The tunes were good but I’m confident none had entered my consciousness before. 

It was actually the audience that fascinated me. I kept turning round and looking, feeling them. Feeling being in a room with that many people. Feeling music going through me. It is special and suggests people are coming back to gigs. We are wired for sound and light and vibrations and company or at least I am. Want to have the Town Hall reverberate to the sound of a whipped-up, happy audience. 

Jennifer’s blog #76

From Zero to XERO

So Wednesday was Bearsden as usual and working with my folks to adapt to their changing circumstances. However I also joined an online meeting in the early afternoon from Community Land Scotland who are doing a gender audit of their members. It’s mainly looking at gender split on panels discussing land matters but also gender make-up of community organisations’ boards and staff. It is funded by International Land Coalition. It’s about having real data rather than anecdotes on the subject. I’m fairly feminist and reckon I have some idea of the issues but it is interesting to hear the data being gathered and discuss possibly policy changes. Apparently by having male company secretaries in both Action Porty and Portobello Central we are unusual! 

I drove to my folks and back. Staying over wasn’t an option as Mr Jennifer Elliot, my long-suffering husband, is away with work for three days, so all the home logistics he does are falling to me. Turns out he does at lot of stuff! Who knew! He and I are out to see ‘Elbow’ at Usher Hall tomorrow night. 

At least in the car as I sweltered my way back to Edinburgh (thermometer saying 29 centigrade!) I had some thinking time. The membership discussions in Porty Central are throwing up data protection and GDPR matters. These are important and not ‘easy’ . We’ll work our way through them. The realisation struck me however that if I was back at the beginning of the set up of Bellfield systems again the one thing I’d do differently is start with a CRM. That might be a bit too jargony for many of you. It stands for ”Customer Relationship Management’. It’s essentially a contact database. I’ve always used it in my sales career but never yet in my community buildings life. CRM is quite a big system to set up, I suspect. I don’t know the right one to go with. We’ll probably want a free or very low cost one to start with. One that integrates with Xero would be crucial. Any ideas or suggestions out there? Anyone done this before and willing to advise? 

Lastly I’m going to do a wee plug for Action Porty’s on going ‘Porty 2025’ consultation. A really good event was held on 24th Aug in Bellfield to kick off the consultation process. Next we’ll be looking for people to host conversations on topics they care about. There will be orientation meetings with the big Heart Talk Porty events taking place in November. It is not an insignificant undertaking by Action Porty and the community. There was a really good turn out and lots of positivity at the in person event but also feed back that not everyone was ready for indoor, in person meetings yet. Or they simply couldn’t do in person meetings yet for logistical reasons like childcare. To solve that Action Porty are holding an online kick off ”Porty 2025′ session next Tuesday .See you there?

Jennifer’s blog #75

Top Hat and Tales

Excitement (and a wee bit trepidation) is building about what we’ll find out when we visit Porty Town Hall again on Thursday with Council officers. I’ve looked out my hard hat. Last time I was in the building was Feb 2020 – pre pandemic! . 

Portobello Central Ltd (the company) will be a year old on 14th Sept 2021. We’ve been a group for a good bit longer than that (as the Feb 2020 pic shows) but it was 14th Sept 2020 when we incorporated. That means some admin points coming up. It means there is a confirmation statement due this month and the company accounts need to be filed for June 2022. Oddly enough however Portobello Central Ltd is now essentially dormant and exists in name only. It was superseded by Portobello Central SCIO as an organisation and for banking. This will all formally be laid out at the first SCIO AGM, likely June 2022, as detailed in the updated, recently published ‘Plan‘. 

I heard back from Rachael at Craigmillar Now and one of her requests in the spirit of sharing info is around finding an accountant to sign off on charity accounts. Always a fun topic. I need to think about that one and get back to her.

Meanwhile, here is a link to a truly fun topic – Portobello Book Festival announced its programme . Get 1st – 3rd October in your diaries and pick an event or two to get your free tickets for. Always a fab festival. 

Jennifer’s blog #74

Chai and Cheers

Had the usual core Porty Central group meeting on Monday night. Nearly a full house again and a fun, positive meeting. It was mainly taken up with practicalities of how we’ll select candidates and running interviews for our development manager contract but working out a process to become a member of Portobello Central SCIO was on the agenda too. Please do share the job advert with any suitable candidates you might know. Or, if the suitable candidate is you, get in touch before 17th September.

Just a couple of community info notes. 

Firstly, Saeema at Bridgend asked me to flag up her ‘It’s Naan Brainer’ Punjabi/Pakistani cooking masterclasses at Bridgend Farmhouse. With a pun like that I was powerless to resist! 

For more details see flyer or to book please contact Saeema:

Secondly, Portobello Community Energy have put out a local Travel Survey. The survey is online (from the links below) and takes only 5 to 10 minutes. They would be delighted if you could complete this! Please pass on to any family and friends in Portobello asking them also to complete it.

Residents Survey:

Local Business Survey:

Closing Date: 1st October 2021 

The way we travel is just one thing that needs to change over the next 5 to 10 years if we are to do our bit for climate change and to make Portobello a better place. It is important to find out what our community needs and how it feels. So ideally they want to bring this to the attention of everyone in Porty and seems a worth while cause to support. They are also looking for volunteers to deliver leaflets in the next few days, so if you fancy that drop an email.

Tells us what you want to hear about on here. Keep in touch.

Jennifer’s blog #73. 

Value Added Take

The First Recce 2020

Sunday has been all about the agenda for Monday night’s meeting. A packed agenda but not one I engaged with too much as I was through at my folks in Bearsden earlyish on Sunday. Went with my boy. Was checking in on my parents, cooking up a few meals, changing beds etc but was back for the final performance of Future Value Sunday evening. Debut yesterday. finale today. 

Jon Davey captured it beautifully here.  A few of the Porty Central team were kind enough to come see us and support the event which I appreciated. 

I should make clear, this was not a Porty Central event in any way. It is fully an Art Walk Porty event but I’ve been sharing it cause I’m involved, cause it’s Porty related and I hope because it feeds into community thinking and experiences. This blog is my personal take for 100 days on life at Porty Central as it weaves into my life. 

Other main news is we have a meeting in Porty Town Hall on Thursday afternoon this week with the Council high heid yins, at least high heid yins in the realms of council buildings and works budgets. Hard hats at the ready! Hoping to have (good) news later this week regarding the building work. 

Jennifer’s blog #72

Be a Star: Help Us Soar

There is only one piece of Porty Central news today. Portobello Central SCIO seek a contract Development Manager! 

You can read all about it here .

If you know someone right for this role, please share this on. Are you that person?

Applications close by end 17th Sept. 

This is a great opportunity to shape something magical and be in from the start of the project. Exciting times. 

Choreographer, Monica and originating Artist, Deirdre

Or in other more personal Porty news, Future Value debuted last night. An audience even turned up and seemed to enjoy it! I did too. 

What I took from last night, is that a group of self-selecting randoms can, as individuals, come together and create a ‘whole’ of beauty and structure. Sounds just like a committee, eh? There was a huge amount of focus in rehearsal on being aware what all of us were doing. Part of the ‘score’ – yes a written down score was created for piece – is that if one person stops, the group comes to a stop and restarts together. I can’t claim to be good at being aware of the whole group but that was one of my learnings – opening my gaze and my awareness. It wasn’t about being lost in the moment. It was about being part of something and present in the moment. And moving with purpose, to a score we had created. Our Choreographer, Monica and originating Artist, Deirdre (see Jon Davey’s lovely photo) had created conditions for this to form. It was also playful. I was reminded how intense playing is. 

Jon Davey was working hard to capture Day 1 of Art Walk and has some pictures of Future Value.

Tomorrow it will all be over. Better enjoy the moment. 

Jennifer’s blog #71