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Porty Podcast

Author: David Calder

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The Porty Podcast is a community project, highlighting events in and around Edinburgh's seaside - Portobello! It's a very active area with sailing, rowing and kayaking on the Forth, a vibrant artistic community and a strong sense of identity which makes it slightly separate from the other parts of Edinburgh.
225 Episodes
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Portobello Library opens its door once again on Monday – but it will be a very different service from that which people were used to before the lockdown. We won’t just be able to turn up but, like so many other services, will have to book a specific time-slot in order to pick up or return a book, get a new bus pass or use one of the three computers – there had previously been six. It will be less family-friendly as there won’t be a play area any more (at least for the time being). What is obvious when you first walk into the building is how much effort the staff have put into making it safe, following all the guidelines laid down by the Scottish Government. Earlier this week, Porty podcast Producer David Calder visited the library and asked manager Paul Hudson what people could expect from the moment they came in through the door.To book a slot, click here: https://bit.ly/3xtBxaG or call 529 5558Opening Hours:      Monday and Wednesday            1pm to 5pm                                         Tuesday and Thursday                 10am to 5pm                                         Friday and Saturday                      10am to 2pmhttps://www.facebook.com/PortobelloLibrary/   
The Friends of the Prom was formally set up three years ago as a charity. Its objectives include the organisation of recreational activities on the Prom, helping to promote the arts, heritage, and culture present on the Prom and working to improve and protect the environment of the Promenade itself, the beach and the waters of the Forth. Understandably, its activities have been fairly quiet over the last 15 months; however, it held its AGM by Zoom on Thursday evening to take a look forward, to how it might work as restrictions are eased.https://www.facebook.com/friendsofportyprom/https://www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/https://www.facebook.com/groups/keep.porty.tidy/https://www.artwalkporty.co.uk/https://pskc.org.uk/https://www.beachwheelchairs.org/portobellohttps://www.facebook.com/EDINBURGHBEACHVC/https://www.facebook.com/groups/wildonesedinburgh/https://www.facebook.com/walktheforth/ 
Scotland has a new astronomer Royal, the first woman to be so honoured. It’s an honorary title but it carries immense weight and influence, and Professor Catherine Heymans is determined to use it to bring science to the masses, to inspire young people and to foster a better understanding of our place in the universe. Education is a key part of the Astronomer Royal’s work as we’ll hear in this week’s episode.https://www.roe.ac.uk/
Like so much else, Portobello’s Community Hub at Bellfield has been closed throughout the pandemic. The governing body that manages the building, Action Porty, has not been idle through this time. Work has been carried out to improve the building, they’ve invested in the equipment needed to re-open safely and they’ve been thinking about the future – not just the next few months but the next few years – and that’s involved thinking out changes in Action Porty’s role as we move forward. All of these were discussed at the AGM which was held by Zoom on Monday.https://www.bellfield.scot/
How did you spend your lockdown? Some people helped others in the community. Some turned to reading or writing – writing the limericks we heard about a few weeks ago for example. Some chose to take a hobby or an enthusiasm and turn it into a business. We’ll be hearing from some of them over the coming weeks. We’ll start with Caitlin Knox who turned her passion for baking into a small firm that’s gone from selling locally to sending out her ‘Cookies from Caity’ by mail order.https://www.facebook.com/cookiesfromcaityhttps://www.instagram.com/cookiesfromcaity/ 
Portobello Town Hall is now OUR Town Hall. On Thursday afternoon, the City of Edinburgh Council accepted the proposal put forward by Porty Central, the action group that’s been working hard to ensure that we got to this position. So now, the hard work really begins. In the Council’s own estimate, the building will need £1m over the next three years for it to be fully refurbished. But the team believe this is achievable and that there is a viable business to be created here in the future. In this episode, let’s find out more about their plans.
208 Making Work Work!

208 Making Work Work!

2021-05-1512:14

The pandemic has forced us all to rethink the way we work. Do we really need to be in an office from 9-to-5, 7 days a week? Do we really need a work culture where the first to leave at the end of the day is somehow not committed enough to the organisation? Over the last year, we have discovered that it is possible to work from home. Many of us have embraced Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other online services through which to hold meetings. It has made it all too clear that people don’t always have to spend time travelling to many meetings; it has made us much more selective about which of them really do need to be face-to-face. And it has made us think about how best to improve our work-life balance, which is something Porty resident Lynn Houmdi is focused on through her programme called ‘Making Work Work!’. https://www.facebook.com/groups/flexibleworkingscotlandhttps://www.facebook.com/Making-Work-Work-730665523637846To contact Lynn on Twitter @talentloom 
207 Keep Porty Tidy

207 Keep Porty Tidy

2021-05-0808:08

Keep Porty Tidy has appeared in various guises. A couple of years ago for instance, Larry the Lobster was on patrol along the beach and prom. This month however has seen the campaign take a massive step up with the arrival of an army of volunteers, armed with litter picking tools, all ready to clear up what is, frankly, the mess that some people leave behind. And this time, it’s properly funded with a significant investment from the Oscars Group, which owns several premises on the Prom. And it’s already having an impact.To join Keep Porty Tidy, click here https://tinyurl.com/cnsfumxa
On Thursday this week, there was an online conference and workshop run by Porty Community Energy, which brought together experts in the field along with some of those who practice what they preach. The theme was Low Carbon Transport in Portobello and the idea was not just to look at what was happening here but also to learn from others by looking at what they have been doing elsewhere around the country. While there were some alarming statistics about where our carbon emissions are coming from, there were also optimistic signs that there are effective solutions out there. https://portycommunityenergy.wordpress.com/https://m.facebook.com/Spokes-Porty-314380299211576/https://ww.greenerkirkcaldy.org.uk/https://www.co-wheels.org.uk/
You may have noticed in the media that the Portobello Sailing and Kayaking Club has been awarded £75,000 by Sports Scotland to build what they’re called a new water sports hub. But that money depends on the club being able to themselves raise at least that sum before the project can move forward. So this weekend, the first in a series of fund raising activities are taking place as part of the Kilt Walk, culminating in “Pedal to Paddle” a 26 mile cycle ride tomorrow. So what does all this mean for members of the club? To help the fund raising: https://virtual.thekiltwalk.co.uk/teams/PSKCKiltcyclistsPedaltoPaddleCatherine Scott’s own fund raising page: https://tinyurl.com/fafar927For information on the Sailing and Kayaking part of the club: https://pskc.org.uk/And for Row Porty: https://rowporty.org.uk/
204 Limericks

204 Limericks

2021-04-1710:04

There’s an intriguing book currently doing the rounds in Porty under the catchy title of “Life and other distractions in and around Portobello past and present”. But what makes it really different and thoroughly readable (in a dip into way) is that it’s presented in 200 limericks written and privately published by local resident Jim Hurford. He’s also persuaded 18 (mostly local) artists to illustrate the book. Porty Podcast Producer, David Calder met up with him to find out more – as well as hearing from two of the artists, Claire MacDonald and Jan Coventry.For more information or to buy the book, contact Jim at jimporty@gmail.com Claire MacDonald’s website: http://www.macavaggios.co.uk/index.htmlAnd her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/macavaggios/Jan Coventry’s website: https://coventrywaugh.weebly.com/
It’s been long awaited. People have been talking about its imminent arrival. But this week, Civerinos Porty Slice will finally open to the public from its premises on the Prom. When the weather finally improves, people will be able to hire a deckchair and sit on the Prom or the beach enjoying their slice of pizza – or take a whole 20 inch pizza home. As we’ll be hearing, Civerinos as a brand will be expending elsewhere in the UK – but for its founder, Porty Slice has been a dream for quite a while. http://www.civerinos.com/https://www.facebook.com/CiverinosSlice/Royalty Free Music from SmartSoundTrack – Napoli by Matt Hirt from the Album Across Borders
202 Sport and Spanish

202 Sport and Spanish

2021-04-0307:16

With schools now back and some relaxation in the rules we’ve all lived under for the past year, it’s good to hear about a new business being set up to encourage children to get out into the open air and learn new sports – and perhaps a new language as well. “Sport and Spanish” will start holding classes outdoors here in Portobello as well as The Meadows and Inverleith Park. It’s the brainchild of three Spaniards, all of whom have qualifications in sports science and sports coaching. One of the founders is Isma Perez who is based here in Porty. https://www.sportsandspanish.co.uk/
The past year has been hard for so many people and businesses. We have become used to working from home, online meetings on Zoom, Microsoft Teams or one of the other online services, as well as home schooling and not being able to travel far for work of leisure. The Chancellor offered some help through the furlough scheme – but it didn’t apply to everyone, such as the self-employed, artists and musicians. Portobello has a large community of artists and they have struggled because the galleries are closed. Porty Podcast Producer David Calder spoke to one of them, Jenny Martin. Jenny's Instagram Site: https://www.instagram.com/jennymartinart/ Jenny's Website: https://jennymartinartist.co.uk/
When David Calder set up the Porty Podcast back in 2016, he never thought it would last much beyond Christmas, much less 200 episodes four and a half years later. The thing about Portobello is that it has a strong community spirit with a lot of quite strong-minded and determined people wanting to make things happen and to make things better for the community. So in this episode, David looks back through the previous 199 – and starts by reminding us about why the podcast came about in the first place.
This past week has been rather a difficult one. One of the key messages from all of the medical staff over the past three-and-a-half years has been: be careful how you manage your energy. This has been all too obvious over the last few days, especially after the Co-Vid vaccine last weekend. The previous week had been quite stressful. And so, waking up on Sunday and Monday in particular hardly able to move was definitely a warning shot across the bows, so to speak. All I’ve been able to manage has been having a look for interesting stories from Porty and, last night, writing them up. Here’s the result. For the latest information about the Town Hall, click here: https://bit.ly/37tELAnTo take part in the consultation, click here: https://bit.ly/3k3VE9L 
198 Love Roulette

198 Love Roulette

2021-02-1309:13

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. But if you’re looking for love or romance, trying to do so during a pandemic is a major problem. That’s the theme that Porty Playwright Claire Wood took for her latest online production, Love Roulette, which opens tonight on Zoom in a show that’s free but ticketed. What she’s created is a television game show, one where the audience decides on which of the characters finds love – and that in itself presents of whole series of challenges.To book tickets, click here:  https://bit.ly/3aXt2eg
Porty News Episode 11

Porty News Episode 11

2021-02-1202:26

It’s Friday the 12th of February. Welcome to Porty News. In case you didn’t know, today is the Chinese New Year (Happy New Year or shin nee-an kwai le with apologies for the pronunciation) and this is the year of the ox. It’s a celebration we’ve been invited to share many times in the past. However, we were rather disturbed to learn that the Police here in Scotland have been increasingly concerned about an increase in anti-Chinese sentiment - and harassment in various forms, so much so that they’ve made a video for the Chinese community here giving advice on, not just reporting any abuse, but also taking steps to protect any Chinese businesses which usually close for an extended period at this time of year. We feel really sad they’ve felt the need to do so! A final thought about the weather – as the Met Office tells us it’s going to start getting warner within the next few days. It was very cold and frosty again last night – and there are a couple of things you need to remember if going out in your car. Yesterday, we found that our own car was covered in ice and snow which meant clearing all of that from not just the windscreen but the bonnet and roof as well (it’s a legal requirement) as is making sure your windscreen is clear so you can see cyclists and pedestrians. Police Scotland have stopped local drivers and reported them with dangerous driving just because they hadn’t made sure they could see out of the car’s windows!  Finally, it’s Valentine’s Day this weekend and, to mark the occasion, the Porty Playwright, Claire Wood, has come with up a seasonal online play. Her company, Production Lines, will bring you Love Roulette, the story of a gameshow where you get to choose who lives happily ever after. We’ll be hearing more about it on tomorrow’s Porty Podcast, but let’s end today’s bulletin with a word from one of the characters Dion, the nation's favourite host (according to him): Hmmm. The play Roulette is free but ticketed which you can get from Eventbrite; a link is in the transcript as usual https://bit.ly/3aXt2eg That’s it from me for today. Have a lovely weekend!   
Porty News Episode 10

Porty News Episode 10

2021-02-1102:33

It’s Thursday the 11th of February. Welcome to Porty News from the Porty Podcast. Firstly, thanks to local MP Tommy Sheppard for pointing out the call by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) for the £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit to be made permanent. In its latest briefing document, it describes the extra £20 a week, introduced at the start of the pandemic, as vital in improving the adequacy of the payment. It points out that, if the extra cash is removed, the value of the Allowance will drop by as much as a quarter, just when people need this money the most. In fact, they point out that removing that £20 would leave the Standard Allowance worth less in real terms now than it did when first introduced 8 years ago. People affected can get more information and help from the local CAB in Bath Street. I’m not sure how many of you have spotted that ‘Living Streets’ is running quite an interesting photographic competition. It started on Twitter and Instagram (#WalkingFromHome) but, as they put it, they’ve have decided to get serious. So between now and the end of March, if you post your photos on the theme of the week, you could win a £25 shopping voucher. It’s important that you tag both #Living Streets and #WalkingFromHome with your entry in your post. The themes of the week are all colours – so last week’s was red, the current one is orange, the next after that will be Yellow, and so on. The competition will run from Monday to Sunday and all entries must be posted as specified by midnight of the Sunday. There’s a link as usual in the transcript of this bulletin. https://bit.ly/2Z3E2RH There’s an appeal from BBN Portobello, the local netball team, for us all to get behind the sport – if not by playing then at least by watching on television (which, at the moment, means Sky Sports) or by streaming on YouTube. And the reason they’re so keen to show us their sport? It’s the return of the Vitality Netball Superleague whose 2021 season starts this Friday. The first match pits Celtic Dragons (a Welsh netball team based in Cardiff) against Leeds Rhinos – and all of the matches will be broadcast or streamed live. There are details on BBN Portobello’s Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/BBNPortobello Finally back to the weather – that was quite come d  ump of snow we had – but one thing that continues to amaze me is the resilience of our open-water swimmers. Not only was it snowing yesterday (well, at least for part of the day) but the swimmers braved not just the snow-covered beach but also really large breakers to enjoy their daily dip in the sea. I get cold just thinking about it! That’s it for today – more tomorrow.   
Porty News Episode 9

Porty News Episode 9

2021-02-1002:25

It’s Wednesday the tenth of February. Welcome to today’s bulletin from Porty News. And thanks to several people who’ve drawn attention to the news that we will soon have a cycle path (albeit temporary) from Portobello all the way to Musselburgh. The City of Edinburgh Council had taken soundings from local people who liked the idea – but it would have to stop at the East Lothian border as all of that local authority’s funding had already been committed. But the Council there accepted that a cycle path that stopped at the county boundary just didn’t make sense – so they made an application for additional funds to Sustrans which was successful. There seems to be growing interest in organisations changing their status. We’ve heard about Porty Central changing from a limited company to a body with charitable status - a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Now, it seems, the Jack Kane Centre across in Craigmillar is doing something similar. At the moment, it’s an unincorporated charity but it wants to get the protection of being a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO). Its officers have already held meetings with the Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council to find out the implications. Their next step is to work out a timetable for how to make progress with hopefully a result within weeks. I keep hearing about the way the lockdown – and in particular the closed schools – have placed considerable emotional stresses on families, sometimes to breaking point. There is help available through what are known as Family Connection Centres. They’re safe friendly places that help children and young people as well as parents and other family members learn how to cope with new family circumstances. The chief executive of the umbrella organisation, Ruth Campbell, is a member of Grow Porty and recently asked the help of other members to donate indoor plants to brighten up the charity's parent room and playroom. Now that’s something that’s worth supporting. Finally, the beast from the east has turned even the beach white – and people have taken to doing fun things in the snow. There’s been sledging at Joppa Quarry, building snowmen at various places and, our favourite, a snow circle on the beach by the inimitable Paul McPail - and thanks to Gyselle Dye and Rich Howells for the excellent pictures. And people have also been taking photographs and videos of the snow-covered golf courses and parks and expressing the hope that the the snowy conditions remain for a few days longer. Take care in the snow. More tomorrow (all going well)
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