Saturday, June 30, 2012

Edinburgh Canal Festival and Raft Race

Managed to get along to the Edinburgh Canal Festival and Raft Race this lunchtime ...

... my colleague, Gordon Munro, officated at the opening and it was very good to see a healthy crowd enjoying the festivities - and the sunshine!

Although - not long after this picture was taken, the ineviatable summer-showers commenced :-(

Was also good to see one of the many murals - painted by local Primary Schools - being from St. Cuthbert's in Hutchison Crossway.

Here I am beside it: I liked he fact it had both a 'canal' and 'olympic' theme ...

... of particular interest, given the upcoming destination for my main summer-holiday ;-)

Overall, there seemed be a really good turnout for the day's activities - walking home along the canal, an awful lot of people were making their way to the basin :-)

'Thank You' Friday :-)

Held a bit of a 'Thank You' evening meal last night - for the key stalwarts of the Ward 7 and Ward 9 successful Local Election Campaigns ;-)

We all went to Piatto Verde - a local Italian Restaurant on Dundee Terrace - and a great time was had by all.

Staff could not have been more accomodating, and the food was (as ever) first-class.

Managed to get home in a reasonable hour --- restaurant only being a short walk from the flat :-)

COSLA Convention

Main COSLA Convention yesterday - some detail here - and pleased to report that David O'Neill was successfully elected as President for the next 5-year term, with Michael Cook as Vice-President.

Now - make sure you're siting down, especially those of you who know the high-esteem in which I hold all-things COSLA ... but yours truly was elected (within the Labour Group) as Vice-Chair of the Group, with my Glasgow colleague, Gordon Mathieson, being elected Group Chair.

Made my day ;-)

Full Council Meeting last Thursday

Full Council Meeting last Thursday - main agenda can be found here, and all the papers via CPOL here ...

... most significant report was certainly the decision on the location of the new Boroughmuir - detail of which can be found here.

Pleased to report that there was no political division on the outcome, and I really do hope that's a signal for how the project is now going to be progressed over the coming years.

New school now due to open in August 2016 ;-)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Good news on the (local) buses

Good news for all local bus users ... from yesterday (Sunday 24th June) more buses are being introduced that serve our local area.

There will be an increase in the number of 44 buses at peak times, more 35 buses and a completely new nightbus - the N34.

Great news for all local bus users and you can check out the full details, and new timetable/s, by following this link.

Better Together launch

Now, I wouldn't claim for a second that a powerful on-line presence and/or a good social media strategy are all that's needed to win a campaign ... but they certainly help when things are tight.

And with all due reticence, I do believe our own Edinburgh Labour experience over the last 12-months illustrates what can be achieved with a little bit of good planning, and an awful lot of behind-the-scenes hard-work.

Lots of elements will have made the difference between Edinburgh Labour getting 18, 19 or 20 (or more) Councillors elected on the 3rd May ... but our social media activities certainly played their part, and given the closeness of the final result it's just as well we put the effort in ;-)

There's a much bigger battle now engaged, with the launch of the Better Together campaign today ... some weeks after the launch of the Yes Scotland campaign.

There are at least 2-years before any referendum ... and I'm increasingly convinced that there simply won't be one at all ... so, plenty of time to argue the pros and cons of the debate-at-hand; but surely even the partisan amongst us would have to acknowledge that the later-launched No Campaign has stolen a significant march with their event earlier today, and accompanying on-line and social media presence?

Plenty of time for things to change of course ... but this (at the moment) isn't a close contest and the ground to be made up by the Yes Campaign - in my humble opinion - just increased significantly today.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mid-Summer Allotment Update: rope finished!

Managed to steal some time down at the Allotment late this afternoon - finally (!) got the other side of the plot roped-off ...

... and here it now is, in all its glory :-)

(click on the picture for a better view)

Just as well that I've finished the job before the end of June 2012, as I can't escape the fact that it was all started in July 2011 - it's taken me just under a year!

Has been a slightly frenetic 11-months mind you :-))

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tynecastle High School Centenary (1912-2012) Summer Fair

Here I am arriving at the Tynecastle High School Centenary (1912-2012) Summer Fair earlier this morning!

More information on the Fair can be found here: ... its all running through untill 2pm this afternoon - lots of great stalls to visit if you're around the Gorgie-area :-)

My better-half was helping with a Shandon Local Food Group stall - which (see below) looks pretty appetising!

More information on the project here:

Dalai Lama at the Usher Hall

I was lucky enough to get along to the Usher Hall yesterday, for the Dalai Lama visit and Edinburgh Lecture ... very inspiring event :-)

Back in 1988, my better-half and I spent several weeks in Tibet and I've always had a keen interest in the country ever since ... visiting the Potala Palace, and the impact it had on your senses, seems as clear to me today as it was all those 24-year ago.

Its nothing but a huge tragedy, and sadness, to think that the Dalai Lama himself hasn't been there for over 53-years :-((

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tynecastle High School Centenary Summer Fair

It's Juniors' school - Tynecastle High School - Centenary Summer Fair tomorrow; 10-2pm, Saturday 23rd June.

All the details can be found at:

... and I'll re-produce the main points below:

Tynecastle High School Centenary Summer Fair
Saturday 23 June from 10am to 2pm

Activities for all the family
- SRU Inflatables
- Beat the Goalie
- Sporting Celebrities (e.g. The Chunk)
- Face Painting
- Free Dance Taster Sessions
- Free MArtial Arts Taster Sessions
(to name but a few)

e.g. 1 x "Glenmorangie Lasanta"
£50 M&S vouchers

Silent Auction
e.g. 2 nights B&B stay in Caledonia, Level (worth over £250)
Year's membership at Curves

Jewellery, NSPA, Handmade cards
Sweeties, Aloe Vera, Perfume
Candles, Books

Beauty Treatments
Nail bar, pedicures, children's hairdressing

Tea, Coffee & Home Baking



I'll be there :-)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Busy day ahead

Very busy day ahead:

  • get junior off to school
  • make sure I'm in Harrison Park (on Bike preferably) for 8am latest
  • take part in Breakfast Bike Ride to City Chambers
  • make sure I'm in City Chambers quadrangle for 8.45am latest
  • introduce Councillor Lesley Hinds, as new Convenor of Transport, to massed-cyclists
  • listen intently to Lesley's speech ;-)
  • 9am (or just after!) team-meeting
  • 10am, set of to the Welcoming Project (Tollcross) for informal visit
  • 11.30am, on from Tollcross to Chamber of Commerce lunchtime event in City Centre
  • around 1.30pm get back to City Chambers promptly!
  • 2pm, 3pm and 4pm - three, back-to-back meetings in the office
  • 6pm, Local Surgery at Fountainbridge Library
  • 6.45pm, local Ward planning-related site-visit

No rest for the wicked :-(

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sunshine on Glasgow

Well, after that truly wet weekend, needless to say the sun shone all day yesterday and the Glasgow visit was bathed in glorious light: metaphorically-speaking, of course ...

... the non-metaphorical report on the trip can be found here!

Local surgery this evening - only a few more weeks of the school-based evenings; but Wednesday night continues all summer, except for a brief 2-week break in just over a months time ;-)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mid-summer BBQ and allotment update

Managed to get along to Edinburgh North & Leith's mid-summer BBQ this afternoon ...

... needless to say, the sunshine was not on Leith at the time, but it didn't matter as everyone was in great spirits - that part of the town having recently returned an outrageous number of Edinburgh Labour Councillors to the City Chambers ;-)

And, despite the weather, travelled onwards to the allotment for a brief visit to check on everything ... and pleased to report, all looking pretty well (as you can see): potatoes really coming on, onions, leeks, brussels all progressing (at last!) and the pond doing famously!

Over to Glasgow tomorrow (Monday) - surely it can't be any wetter there ;-)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hutchison & Tollcross Community Councils this week

Managed to get along to 2 Community Council Meetings this week: Hutchison on Monday night and Tollcross last night (Wednesday) ...

... really going to try and keep those local links going - good to keep my feet on the ground ;-)

Sadly, can't make next Tuesday's Merchiston Community Council meeting as it clashes with the main 'in-public' meeting of the Edinburgh South West Neighbourhood Partnership. Need to go to that - first one post-election, and the Chair for 2012/13 will be elected!

P.S. & should mention that I managed to make Craiglockhart Community Council on 29th May ... the joys of multi-members Wards know no bounds :-)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

National Community Planning Group

Attended COSLA/Scottish Government event this afternoon, with my Council Leader's hat on ...

... main focus was on the next stages (and developments) in the Community Planning agenda; listened carefully all afternoon, with an 'Edinburgh Partnership' meeting coming up (when I'll be in the Chair for the first time!) on the 21st June.

New, National Community Planning Group was formally announced by the Minister/s present - News Release can be seen here - all good stuff, and much of the agenda being debated throughout the afternoon is already being actively pursued within many Council areas, in close collaboration with local Partners.

Crunch will come in trying to make this agenda happen in (geographical) areas that don't want to progress it ... frankly, I'm less certain than Minister/s present today that it can all be driven (successfully) on a purely good-will basis.

Hope I'm wrong, and they're right.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Breakfast Bike Ride + Bike Breakfast

Just a short plug for the Spokes annual Bike Breakfast, which is coming up next Wednesday - details here ...

... with, this year, various satellite 'Breakfast Rides' happening from different Wards in the city, details for Ward 9 can be found here.

Wonder if any other Ward can get all their Councillors to cycle/attend the event; not that it's a competition, of course ;-)

Looking forward to the morning.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Royal Edinburgh Community Garden drop-in

Couple of hours rest and then on to the Royal Edinburgh Community Garden for 2pm:

... they were having a drop-in/work day; and my better-half is also doing some 'forest school' work there over the summer, so the whole family came along and we did a bit of a recce of the site first - including a walk through their very old orchard:

Then it was down to some good-old weeding, of the very impressive strawberry beds:

Made it back home to the flat for 4pm, armed with a large pile of 'Community Garden' spinach! Its cooking now and I'm hoping it'll help re-energise me for the start of another busy-week tomorrow :-)

Friends Of Craiglockhart Woods clean-up event

Collected lots of rubbish at the local Friends Of Craiglockhart Woods clean-up event this morning:

... met a few suspect characters as well ;-)

Bit of a rest now before this afternoon's community garden visit!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Gorgie Dalry Gala Day

Next stop was the Gorgie Dalry Gala Day - here's the new Lord Provost (and Local Ward Councillor, of course) giving the opening address!
And then on to help 'staff' the local Labour Branch Stall, which did a roaring-trade in second-hand books and DVD's ...
 ... still plenty left for the rest of this summer's events, mind you :-(

Craiglockhart Primary School Summer Fair

Apologies for the slight lack of posting recently - no excuse, other than being somewhat busy in the last few weeks!

Anyhow, daily timetable slightly settled-down now and hoping to get back into a regular pattern of blogging - at least at weekends.

And, don't forget I'm also on Facebook and Twitter (links in the right-hand side-bar) where you can also follow what I'm up to ;-)

So --- first stop this morning was the local 'Craiglockhart Primary School Summer Fair' - seemed very well attended, despite the odd rainspot ... it wouldn't be a Summer Fair without them :-)

Here I am, making sure I keep well away from the School Fair bouncy-castle!