2 ½d

Woke at my parents in Bearsden with my niece and her mum in the house too. So nice to have them visit. Instead of the usual household tasks on a typical Wednesday through there, I got to show them around a bit locally and we had a lovely lunch all together. Upset my father’s routine with a big meal at lunchtime but even he enjoyed the company and change of scene. Had to be back in Porty for 5pm so my boy and his pals could get to rugby practice. 

My only real Porty Central action was writing yesterday’s blog 1st thing upon waking. I also threw my tuppence ha’penny worth into a basecamp conversation about VAT with regard to Portobello Central SCIO. We are not currently VAT registered and don’t need to be but the group were thinking through the implications of this for us now, and at future points. 

This blog is being written in the car before a work appointment at 11am – the pips just went on the radio. Better go to work. Tomorrow, or this evening, will bring another daily reflection. Only 11 more to go. Sunday October 3rd looking like my last day if all goes to schedule. I’ll miss them – but I’ll get back to my Blipfoto, which has suffered during this project. A good discipline and overall a good exercise from my point of view.

How has it been for you?

Jennifer’s blog #89

Kit and Kin

Cogitating Contractors

Today started with an early morning IT meeting at Bellfield. We’re hopefully getting new kit there and a new local IT support provider. I also delivered a neighbours’ letter round the doors of Bellfield St.

Then it was work and through to Glasgow to pick up my niece and her Mum. They live abroad and I only see them every few years, so very happy to have them visit and so are Granny and Papa. It’s a Bearsden day as usual on Wed and with the visit I’m a bit behind on Porty Central stuff but the applicants for the Development contract have all now been contacted. They’ll know week commencing 27th September if they have been selected for interview. The interviews will be between 30th September and 6th October and we hope to appoint the contractor by 11th October. Exciting stuff.

I’m hoping to confirm a meeting with our architects and project viability consultant for a date next week and looks like the Council might be ready to talk leases some time soon. With my niece here till Friday that seems enough to be getting on with this week.

Jennifer’s Blog #88. 

A Masked Ball

Saw a copy of the Portobello Reporter today. Portobello Central and our plans are on the front page along with parking, the Book Festival and the Art Walk. Nice wee article. Always good to get the news in paper form. This community paper, coming out quarterly, is really valued by me as a record of local life and events, even if I never seem to get a copy through our letter box! 

The main Portobello Central group met last night on Zoom but I was at the Playhouse experiencing live music from Nick Cave. It was Loud and Beautiful! Vaccination certificates were needed to enter, along with masks when moving around. I actually kept mine on for the performance. I’m fairly used to them. It was much more crowded than the gig at the Usher Hall the other week – seated –  with every seat taken and they were totty wee theatre seats (my knees were touching the seat back in front of me). No denying that big a crowd felt weird. Wonderful but weird. Will need to see how it plays out with regard to Covid. Safely, I hope. Feeling the music – physically in my body and stomach – was lovely. 

Will need to read the Finance report and CV sifting document guide document from yesterday’s meeting today to be up to speed again. 

Jennifer’s blog #87 

Forgotten Holiday

First, a public service warning for those who were not aware – Monday is a school holiday. It’s been the September weekend. I only found out when my boy told me he was spending the afternoon at his pal’s. Confusion reigned but all okay in the end. 

Husband did the 85 miles of the Caledonian Etape in a PB of 4 hours 35 mins. He’s tired and happy. Well done! 

And so to Porty Town Hall business….. how the applications are to be sifted has been a focus of the group’s attention with evaluation grids being finalised. I got the PayPal info over to the Treasurer. The agenda for Monday night’s meeting is firming up but I’ll miss it as my husband and I are going to see Nick Cave and Warren Ellis at the Playhouse . I’ll catch up next week! 

Jennifer’s Blog #86


Saturday as planned was a cycle into town for a work shift, a pop into Porty library for tickets to a Portobello Book Festival event next weekend, a walk with someone wanting to discuss film and film festivals at the Town Hall and a chat with one of the gardening group who use the space behind Portobello Town Hall to garden. I also fed a friend’s cat as they are away for the weekend and in the evening cycled up with the kids to feed the three young hedgehogs who have taken up residence in an old kennel – more of them below. Husband headed off early to Pitlochry for the Caledonian Etape, so I’ll hear how he gets on tomorrow.

The chat about film making, film festivals and local cinema was a good one, probably a speculative one and was the result of emails and chats back and forth over the last year to 18 months. Still nothing conclusive to say to each other but I always love a walk and talk to find out more about what someone is thinking and doing and to share a more informal update on Porty Central business. We know from the 300 conversations in 30 days that cinema is a popular use suggested for the Town Hall but we’re not completely sure how it would work or if it is viable. There are a few folks who are thinking about this. One day back in summer 2020 when leafleting outside the Town Hall I got talking to a lady involved in running Gifford Film Club   and I’ve kept an eye on them with interest. Turns out the Wash House already have screen and sound and so it turns out, I rediscovered on this walk/talk, should Bellfield have a big screen. I’m hoping local cinema and film events might be a topic for a Heart Talk Porty conversation if there were people interested in this topic? Or do you have another theme you’d like to discuss to see what might happen? Have a look at the Orientation event on the Bellfield Facebook page to know more   

So back to the hedgehogs. We have been looking after three hoglets. They get a can of dog food a night. They live in a friend’s old dog kennel. They were found by her grandchildren and after several days surveillance no mother was seen and sadly has not been seen since but all three are thriving. They sleep in the day and come out when it is dark. This photo was taken one evening. As far as I am aware no hedgehogs are in the Town Hall gardens but I would not be surprised to find they were in there too, munching away on snails and slugs. Quite surprised it took me to blog #85 to mention vegetable plot news. I’ll spare you photos of trombocino squashes and courgettes!


Jennifer’s blog #85

Bikes and Books

Well the big day has come – Friday 17th Sept and the applications are in for the freelance Development Manager role. We’ll be spending the weekend sifting through those. Thank you everyone who applied. This is a big stage in our journey and I am excited to be here.

Big journey this weekend in my household is that my husband is cycling the Caledonian Etape so he’ll disappear off Saturday morning and be back Sunday, hopefully tired and happy, having cycled bits of Schiehallion in Perthshire with a few thousand others. He’s done it before and is never happier than when immersed in bikes. 

Have you noticed Portobello Book Festival is on 2nd and 3rd Oct? The agenda looks great. From my quick glance over it there are a few online events but the in person ones require tickets collected in advance from the library. Pick one and go see it! I’m going to swing by the library on Saturday before 2pm and secure tickets for at least one of them 

I still need to get some finance info over to our Treasurer so he can get his reports prepared for Monday and I’ve got some interesting Porty Central calls and walks planned this weekend. I’ll keep you posted.

Jennifer’s blog #84

Nothing On

Granton Gas Holder

Thursday started off slow, in a nice way, with nothing on in the morning till my usual work shift at 11am. Sun was shining and it was a lovely day. I delivered a birthday present to a friend’s son who somehow has turned 16. I saw him when he was just newly born. Then to work and back for my son to have some pals round in the garden after school. I had an Action Porty meeting that night but before that I walked round to Geoff, with a letter from Companies House, so he could get the returns paperwork done for Portobello Central Ltd (not the SCIO) started. Work on the agenda for Monday’s meeting has begun but I’m going to miss it because husband and I are going to see Nick Cave at the Playhouse. Exciting. 

One of the group from the Future Value project I’ve previously mentioned shared a link to Hidden Door Festival taking place at Granton Gas Works this weekend. Looks fab and seems like there are free bits of the festival and ticketed bits in the evening. Have a look at the link and see if there is anything you fancy

Nearly the closing date for the Portobello Central freelance post. Another step forwards.

Jennifer’s blog #83

Three Long Hard Journeys


Twas a Bearsden day today. Got mum doing her physio several times today. That is the only route to her recovery. Long hard journey ahead but will be worth it! 

Didn’t really do much Porty Central business today but late tonight an email came in to say we had not been successful with the Regeneration Fund Grant application. That is a shame but we learned from doing the application. We have a lot of learning to do in the next few months and years – a long hard journey ahead but will be worth it!

Went to my pilates class this evening. Was lovely but it has been a long, hard, weekly journey to get some muscle tone back and to discover my ‘core’ from a position of real pain about 4 years ago when my back went. That has been so worth it! 

Only other point to raise is we added an additional info pack to the job advert – because you’re worth it! Tell us what you could bring to the role? 

Jennifer’s blog #82

Routes and Roots

Spent the early morning walking round Porty with a PhD student who had been introduced to me by Lynn of our group. Her blog about her study project is here .

I didn’t take her to the Town Hall or Bellfield, although both came up in our hour long conversation. Instead I got her down to Porty for 8am to walk the route my kids take to school, the bridge over the Harry Lauder Road and up to the new school. It always strikes me as quite a threatening space, yet the kids walk it each day and it is a key link route between Portobello, Magdalene, Craigmillar and Niddrie but it’s not a very friendly link route. We still managed to take some time to smell the flowers. Turns out she is Brazilian and knew the town, Franca, which I lived in when I lived in Brazil back last century. Small world (cause it’s a very small town, of over 300,000 people)!

The theme of 20 minute neighbourhoods came up and that reminded me I should follow up with the council on that subject that was getting us all excited a few months back. Where did all that noise go?

Jennifer’s blog #81

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