Priceless Issue 135
Leithâ€™s next attraction?
Fishery Research Vessel SS Explorer berthed in The Docks
Transhumanism | Extinction Rebellion | Unaccompanied Child Refugees A Memory of Roddy Lumsden, poet | Bad Girls of the Silver Screen
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Protempore on how the Erasmus scheme offered opportunities to education, training, youth and sports organisations and invested over €1 billion to the UK – that’s gone
The Walk That Never Was
Sally Fraser ponders the pull of darkness and light while travelling the wrong way on the No 49 bus
The ship on the Berents Sea
began this article on a ferry in the middle of the Irish Sea. Slumped in my seat, I stared vacantly out of the window, as the pale, undulating silhouette of the Isle of Man faded into a place where the blue of the sky meets its image in the sea. We were heading west and into the sunrise, a glorious glitter path picking out the crest of the waves in the distance. Somewhat different from my journey over. It wasn’t a holiday. I’d gone, in a storm, to be with friends, following a family tragedy. Their grief came in waves, sometimes like the gentle rocking motion of my journey home, sometimes overwhelming, like the storm that continued for most of the week. We walked. Not hikes, but gentle strolls with their dog. Around the village, beach, woods and cliffs. One foot. In front. Of the other. The day after I returned, it was cold, crisp and sunny. Perfect for a stroll by the sea. I drove down the East Lothian coast, intending to walk the familiar route from Gullane to North Berwick. But an intention was all that it turned out to be. As soon as I got there, I changed my mind. I didn’t want to walk by the sea - or by anywhere else for that matter. I wanted to go home and nest. To tidy my flat, do my washing and curl up warm, in a place that was mine. For a while I tried to convince myself that the crashing of the waves and the smell of the sea, would lift and inspire me. But my body said otherwise. I gave in. I headed home. I nested. Sometimes grief walks alongside us. Sometimes it overwhelms. Sometimes it just sits there. Waiting for the right
A favourite walk further afield, Beach cusps at Laxey, Isle of Man
moment. It’s different at different times and in different places and for different people. There is no right. No wrong. The winter months can be difficult. Short days, bad weather, no money, the cold and flu. Usually, for me, a walk heals all. But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes I stop. And that’s OK. ■ Ê Info: Follow WalkingSolo.scot on Instagram
The fine fellows from the SS Explorer Preservation Society tell us about the ship’s history and restoration The world of work can be inspiring, infuriating and invidious. Crap jobs can have their advantages though, claims Colin Montgomery
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Leither tips: If readers wish to try this walk, it is vital you check the tides (low to mid tide is ideal.) At the walk’s start there are various paths through dunes and trees but if you continue east and follow the coast you can’t go wrong. You’ll pass Yellowcraig Beach and Fidra Island; said to be the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. It’s an easy walk on to North Berwick for the Gullane bus
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Issue 135 | leithermagazine.com | 3
4 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 135
was a factor in preventing children participating. The funding was also used to combat racism, homophobia and violence in sport. UK universities will lose research funding from the EU now that we’ve left. The Russell Group, which is an association of the top 24 universities in the UK, says its universities were in receipt of £400 million a year from the EU – that’s gone. The Erasmus scheme offers opportunities for UK participants to study, work, volunteer, teach and train in Europe. It is open to education, training, youth and sports organisations. The scheme has previously invested over €1 billion to the UK – that’s gone. The UK’s cultural and creative sector will probably also be decimated as our leaving will see more massive cuts in funding in this area. The European Commission’s Creative Europe programme had a budget of almost €1.5 billion from 2014 to 2020 – this will continue for the next seven years but as a non-EU country, the UK will need to negotiate to attempt to access some of that funding. The UK Government has not given any indication of its willingness to do so. The EU has been responsible for developing and implementing some of the strongest employment rights in the world. These include annual leave, agency workers rights, part-time workers rights, maternity, paternity and parental leave, and anti-discrimination legislation. Now that we’re out, it is without doubt that significant numbers of unscrupulous
y the time you read this, the UK will have left the European Union. I know for some people, the fact that the whole Brexit fiasco is over, will come as a great relief. Watching incompetent politicians bicker and spew fantastic untruths for three years has, if I’m honest, been embarrassing and downright depressing. For others who voted to leave the EU, they will be rejoicing, waving little union flags and wetting themselves at the prospect of Britain, once again, becoming a triumphalist cheerleader for narrowminded and barely disguised xenophobia. They’ll watch re-runs of the Battle of Britain and dry their eyes with the lapels of their John Bull waistcoats, becoming wistful at the thought of eating powdered eggs and turnips grown in Anderson shelters as they sing Rule Britannia. They can only see sunlit uplands and a glorious fleet of ships sailing forth from the UK’s shores to once again conquer the world and by doing so, turn every map in every classroom into a sickly shade of Empire pink. We all know that’s not going to happen, so what will be the reality of the UK’s decision to leave the EU? During the turgid three years following the decision to leave the EU, a whole range of issues were never, or barely, mentioned regarding the EU’s contribution to life here in the UK. For example, before we left, the UK received significant funding from Europe for sporting programmes. This included funding for grassroots projects in areas where deprivation
Illustration: Bernie Reid
24 universities in the UK, were in receipt of £400 million a year from the EU – that’s gone
employers in the UK will put pressure on the government to change or more likely, rip up, these rights. They will also be seeking to abolish the Working Time Regulations which limit the number of hours that people can be made to work. That pressure will find sympathetic ears in a right-wing Tory cabinet. In the European Parliament on 29 January, MEPs voted in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement thereby making sure that the UK was leaving. Nigel Farage and his ugly band of Brexit MEPs stood up and waved union flags and left the chamber guffawing and opening bottles of sparkling wine. Every other MEP stayed in the chamber, joining hands, and singing Auld Lang Syne. And so there we are. After 47 years of partnership, the UK is now out on its own. And make no mistake, those powdered egg munching, teary eyed nutcases who think that we are still a major player on the world stage couldn’t be more wrong. We are now a very small country whose influence in the world has been reduced as a result of David Cameron caving in to a bunch of small-minded right-wing zealots, thereby unleashing a tirade of terrifyingly misplaced xenophobia and hatred which resulted in the death of Jo Cox on a street in West Yorkshire at the hands of a lunatic shouting “Britain first”. Also, on 29 January, the Scottish Parliament voted to have another independence referendum with renewed membership of the EU to the fore in the debate. Another future just might be possible. ■ Protempore
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I am Here, I am Ready Sally Fraser ponders the pull of darkness and light on the No 49 bus
Darkness and Light personified. Leonard Cohen mural, Montreal
took the wrong bus on New Year’s Eve. Well, that’s not quite true, I took the right bus in the wrong direction, and it might have been fitting, it might have been a metaphor for the whole damn year, especially as I was in denial about it. I kept thinking, any minute now. Any time now, this bus is going to start going where I want it to go. It may look like I am heading miles away from nowhere, but it has to be right. I took the No 49 from the Infirmary, it goes to Leith, it has to take me home eventually. Even when all evidence was to the contrary, even when every sign was flagging out that no, this was all wrong, I kept believing. Which is just what life has been like for me for months now, refusing to recognise and read the signs and admit to myself that I was headed in entirely the wrong direction, to a very dark place. Dalkeith. Not home, but Midlothian. It doesn’t get darker than that. That is, of course, a comic construct and I have nothing at all against Midlothian, I am sure its lovely, and I apologise for using its good people to over-egg a metaphor. And anyway, maybe I wanted it darker? I am after all a Leonard Cohen fan – Hineni Hineni and all that.
That’s how it works; the darker things get brighter when the light shines, faith grows in terms of deeper, not of more
Maybe it was time to kill the flame. Except you can’t can you? Not really. Our esteemed editor asked me in the street the other day if I was losing my faith and I said no and meant it. That’s how it works; the darker things get brighter when the light shines, faith grows in terms of deeper, not of more. Sure, my faith in certain types of organised religion has faltered a bit at times. Institutions of broken, broken people, same as any other institution, any community, any bunch of humans, all making daily choices to own their wounds and vulnerabilities or shunt them onto someone else, someone perceived as weaker. But my faith in the God who has kept all my tears, who has them written in his big old book of sadness ready to wipe them away, who will raise us up on eagle’s wings and hold us in the palm of his hand and a thousand other blissful promises? That doesn’t diminish at all. As well as a belief in some ultimate justice more mysterious than we can understand, which I am sure we all feel we need right now. Not just some kind of accountability, though I confess I am sometimes comforted by the thought of those who hurt us most, who seem so far above the law, one day answering the challenge “I gave you two arms, two legs and a set of balls and this is what you did with your life?” It’s much more than that. Its more than receiving fatherly reassurance, or a rather childish hope that the baddies will get found out eventually. Because it’s the
voice of the man who died knowing that there could not be justice in situation, and somehow in all the pain had to make peace with that. The breath of Him who is love itself, present every time we love, waiting always closer than we can imagine, for us to feel His arms around us. Offering peace and joy that is unfathomable, otherworldly. Saying simply, I am, I am here. Things are happening for reasons you can’t possibly understand, but everything is okay. And it is okay. I am good. I may not have a stable job or a life plan or at present a fully functioning pair of shoes but on the whole I am feeling just grand. I am enjoying going with the flow. I am writing more, and its good to be back at some of my old haunts, laptop and glass of chardonnay poised, fingerless gloves at the ready. Write a book, said both Esteemed Editor and my friend Guy Who is Always Right, so that feels like a fairly strong message of what to do: A plan of action of sorts. I also did one of those fortune-telling things, where you look at a word search and the first three words you see will tell your future for the next year, and I got Sex, Bus and Success. And I’ll take that, thank you very much, and look forward to it. Sounds like a fabulous, and reasonably doable plan for 2020. Well, the first two at least, and as we all know from Meatloaf, two out of three ain’t bad. Just as long as the 49 in the wrong direction is not involved. n Issue 135 | leithermagazine.com | 7
Where are we now?
Kevin Williamson favours us with the third in his thought provoking column on Poetry
he first time I heard the words ‘poetry is the new rock’n’roll’ was back in 1993. It was a phrase that got bandied about - by folk who should have known better - when the first National Poetry Day was launched. It gave me the dry boak then just as it does now. It’s like saying Usain Bolt is the new Pat Stanton or unleaded petrol is the new Tartan Special. Poetry has been around for a long time. Homer transcribed his two great epics of war and peace - the Iliad and the Odyssey – approximately 2,700 years before Chuck Berry recorded Roll Over Beethoven. I say transcribed because there is a substantial body of opinion that believes these classic Greek epics were folklore that existed as part of an oral tradition long before Homer wrote them down. No one knows the true age of poetry. We know it goes back thousands of years but how many thousands is pure guesswork. Poetry doesn’t need a mediahyped renaissance to survive. It learnt how to do that long before the first printed newspaper told its first lie to the people. Art has to keep evolving and mutating or it stagnates. What was once considered the epitome of innovation may come across now as arcane or foostie. Do people still want to read dreamy cloud poems sprinkled with Thees and Thous? Or Oh this and Oh that? Well, some people do. I’m one of them. Much as I love poetry’s new wave of linguistic revolutionaries, experimentalists who push and pull at the form, such as Jay Bernard, Ilya Kaminsky, Caroline Bird, or Harry Josephine Giles, I’ll return to premodernist loves like Burns, Coleridge or Dickinson whenever I feel the urge. We stand on the shoulders of giants. Languages evolve too and if poetry doesn’t dirty its hands and feet with our ever-mutating vocabulary, slang and syntax, nor incorporate the foreign tongues we hear, nor the hybrid written languages we read, including textspeak, adspeak or twitterspeak, it would yawn away into irrelevance. Before he died, David Bowie asked the question, Where Are We Now? It’s a good entry point. Poetry is not where it was in 1993. Back then older more conservative white blokes controlled everything. It 8 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 135
Ilya Kaminski and the bold Williamson
How can you tell where a river flows if your main reference point is the rapids you’re being dragged through?
was difficult for working class poets, black and asian poets, or female poets to get past the gatekeepers of publishing in significant numbers, nor have their work taken seriously by staid academia’s critical mafia. 1993 was also the year that the game changing Mosaic web browser was launched. Nothing would be the same after that. The Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh is a tremendous resource for anyone interested in poetry. It stocks enough publications to test a pet theory of mine that poetry, like the rest of the world, crossed a Rubicon in 2008, when the banks crashed, and the world economy tanked. I ran an unscientific survey of poetry anthologies from 2005-2007 to compare them with what was happening now. The type of poetry dominating these older anthologies tilted more towards the pastoral, personal, more domestically reflective, than what has emerged since. Renaissance is a loaded term. Consensus comes much later. How can you tell where a river flows if your main reference point is the rapids you’re being dragged through? But there’s enough evidence to suggest the form itself, and crucially, how poets and poetry connects with their audience, have been turned upside down and inside out in the last decade. Last month saw the British-
Trinidadian poet Roger Robinson win the prestigious T S Eliot Prize. His poetry is politically engaged. He writes passionately about the Grenfell disaster, the NHS, and black history. Robinson is not the sort of poet who won the T S Eliot prize before 2008. He made his name as a dub poet, a brilliant performer of his work, a radical voice within his community. Robinson isn’t alone. This year’s T S Eliot shortlist had a series of poems by Fiona Benson about Zeus as a serial rapist; a disturbing dystopian sequence by Ilya Kaminsky about resisting an unnamed authoritarian dictatorship through silence; collections engaged with the 1981 New Cross Fire that led to the Brixton riots; Brexit, and a wide spectrum of living in the here and now. Patterns emerge. Poet and judge Clare Pollard described the 2018 TS Eliot Prize short list as “an intensely political list, and right now it needs to be a political list. Poetry’s ability to engage with language when it is being so debased, when there are so many lies and so much fake news, its ability to look at the discourses around us, is so important.” This is an age of anxiety and fear which needs renewed art forms, different approaches. You can hardly write a poem about a tree now without it referring back to climate change. Poetry is renewing its artillery. ■
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Issue 135 | leithermagazine.com | 9
Roddy Lumsden is good Paul Hullah, whose most recent book is Climbable (Partridge, 2016), remembers a fine poet 10 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 135
oetry’s a mental state, a mood. Innate and impulsive, it’s a lifestyle, a lifespan its only limit. Instinctive, it cannot be caught or taught. It can be honed and polished, squandered through neglect, and all too easily unlearned. Whatever shape expression takes, wit’s the key. Wit-less is just words, and everyone has words. Rhetoric, rhythm, melodic metaphoric insight, affective resolution… these are visionary. Some can spell; some cast spells. Poetry’s magic: a cypher for sentience. Cryptographic, consoling, it’s not only what it seems; it’s more. But it has to be about something. At a New York reading I did, someone said: “I like your poems… I mean, I like the ones that are about something.” Constructive criticism at its sharpest. Poets like Roddy Lumsden know that intuitively. Shakespeareos, satisfiers of ‘The Blue Nile Challenge’: nobody says it’s not good. Some might not like it, but nobody can deny its betterthan-the-restness. Lumsden’s good. Top-notch for ‘tinglers’ too: lines that make your heart stand up in ‘Aaaaahh!’ recognition of useful exportable content. Epiphanies in words we remember. Memorability, a good poet’s ultimate end. It’s a gift. Lumsden was gifted, so here we salute his plangent particular song. (Those craving careful autobiographic cataloguing should proceed to Andy Jackson’s lovingly drawn Scotsman obit, and Neil Cooper’s gorgeous Bella Caledonia tribute. Go google. Your time won’t be wasted.) Workingclass bred in St. Andrews, Lumsden turned bard at school, spurred on by 20th-century poets (Eliot, Plath) and post-punk bands. Eventual ringleader of tormented versifiers up north and down south, il nuovo fabbro, he published 9 glorious collections in his 53 years, significantly impacting the UK poetry ‘scene’ (without noticeably representing it), his work a consistently enchanting, shape-shifting amalgam of puzzle and precision. Lumsden’s best poems are playful mémoire noir snapshots, partsymboliste, part-carefully-classical. His is an elegantly unruly oeuvre, all over the place but pedantically rigorous. “I prefer real poets… with books!’” he liked to say, distancing himself from deluded, vainglorious wannabes flocking to be Roddy’s Protégés. But he selflessly helped
those in whom he saw genuine talent. Ian Macmillan noted that many UK poets ‘owe the way they write to Roddy Lumsden’. Over 50 authors were hoisted onto first-time publishing ladders by him. I knew him as we ‘knew’ people in that transcendental late-80s Edinburgh way: we rubbed shoulders in bars, swapped 2AM stories forgotten by dawn. Circles overlapped, so we went clattering into each other. He was Black Bo’s, khaki-safari-suited, barrelchested, dart player polo, touring trivia-machine cracker, erudite in everything. But after he moved to England I rarely saw him. (There was a bizarre 2006 all-nite carousing that only a séance could replicate today: him, Howard Marks, and Paul Reekie. Enough said.) He lastly taught poetry in Rotherhithe, and host-organised readings at the Betsey Trotwood pub in Clerkenwell that, like the 90s Edinburgh Antiquary gigs he did with Mr Reekie, became legend. He contacted me in 2016; praising poetry of mine he’d read online. We pen-palled for a while, comparing scars, publishing leads I never pursued, a mutually-chirpy messaging flurry returning to silence as sudden as his welcome réveille. I didn’t know he was unwell.
Scribbling real-time verse while observing Kate Moss dressing for a fashion shoot was, he said, his sweetest commission Hints, but I wept when I heard that he’d died. British poets swim in oppositional streams: Rule-bending experimenters, all postmodern anti-tradition, for whom The Waste Land roared overdue clarion declaring rhymers’ olden ways and words redundant, incapable of meaningfully describing our broken new world. Or strictly trad acts: nostalgic for song and the comfort of clarity and closure. The former think the latter Luddite; the latter decry the former as vandals. Or not. Some see it’s a broad church, feel the need to swim together, marrying both camps’ virtues while ditching the drawbacks. That’s why Heaney and Larkin are special. And Lumsden.
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Roddy Lumsden and two of his many poetry books
Wordsworth claimed a ‘great and original writer must himself create the taste by which he is to be relished’. Lumsden duly invented original forms, personalised registers, leaving unique lexical footprints. (How many meanings implode/explode into: ‘the barb-strung malady of love’?). Likewise, he willfully tackled ‘uncomfortable’ subjects, including autism (he was convinced he was ‘on the spectrum… Asperger’s’), and (vicariously imagined) childhood abuse, ‘using certain processes… in forms I have developed’. You can’t go wrong with a Lumsden book. Start anywhere: Third Wish Wasted (2009) and Yeah, Yeah, Yeah (1997) are my favourites. Never lumpen. Innovative and wry: impeccably formed pieces, intense blendings of savvy, smart, hip, musical, wistful, poignant, fragile, literate, all youthful but old before time. He was shortlisted for a T.S. Eliot Prize. He should’ve won. He even managed profitably to engage with American ‘objectivist’ poetry, without making an arse of himself: a feat few other British writers have achieved. Mentor to so many, he revealed himself in ways that others don’t. ‘Savantish… difficult… munificent… infinitely forgivable’: the Twitterati verdict is in. Lumsden’s idiosyncratic poetry was, though sculpted, never forced or unnatural, lovable, moving, funny, full of witty metaphysical physic.
Ah, good old Roddy. Scribbling real-time verse while observing Kate Moss dressing for a fashion shoot was, he said, his sweetest commission. A resultant poem, ‘Bloom’, is among his best. The Care Home he died in stands on the site of Millwall’s old ground, The Den, and no doubt he made a magical poem out of that too. Oh, and his drinking, you say? Dutch courage at first, it ended badly. It’s the elephant in the room. Let it stay there: without it, he would’ve lived longer, but we’d have got less of him. ‘Roddy, he’s damaged goods…’ admonishes an early poem. Ah yes, but then, damage is cypher for good.
(from Roddy Lumsden Is Dead, 2001) As some malingerer, a long time sick, strives to force his raw-boned, bedsore body up, one sunburst morning, muscles weak and ribs ill-ricked, then so it is with Roddy who wrestles with the memory of love and who, despite his rumoured bag of brains, can’t pin the bastard, since no brawn remains after the barb-strung malady of love. ■ Ê Info: Roderick Chalmers Lumsden, poet, author, teacher and editor: May 28th 1966 to January 10th 2020: Thanks to Ian Stewart and Mark Reed for reminiscence shared. Kate Moss recites ‘Bloom’: http://bit. ly/2tWQOWd
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105-107 Easter Road, Leith, Edinburgh, EH7 5PP
There’s something in the water
Tom Wheeler veganricha.com
o that would appear to be that. Courtesy of the General Election result (except for viewers in Scotland), we can now be sure not only that Brexit is happening, but that it will take a form likely to delight the frothiestmouthed of its proponents – people who are happy enough to tolerate casual racism, but would be happier still to see it worked up into something more purposeful. Minor details such as the risk of mass poverty, race wars, a dearth of NHS staff or the wishes of entire nations of the UK seem unlikely to get in the way of a good old-fashioned bit of jingoism – and so we enter the “transition period” with the same enthusiasm with which someone moving into a hospice enters their own transition period: we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen and when, but we can be fairly certain it’s not going to end well. Under the circumstances, I thought it might be helpful in this issue’s column to provide a handy cut-out-and-keep guide to post-Brexit cooking. The only problem is, we still don’t have any real idea of exactly how leaving the EU will affect our food supplies. Some ingredients will get more expensive; others will become scarcer; plenty will do both. But until we see how it all plays out, it’s tricky to get into the specifics. So I’ve decided to focus on a resource in which Scotland is more than self-sufficient and which should be mercifully free from import tariffs and supply crises. I’m talking of course about water. Now, the more nutritionally savvy among you may have observed that water is not in itself a food. I’ll grant you that much; but I’d argue in return that understanding water is fundamental to good cooking, both in what to buy and how to cook it. Just as our bodies are mostly water, so is the food we eat. In theory, if we stuck to the appropriate foods, we could get all the water we need from eating, and some of our early ancestors did. (Our cat, whom I’ve never seen touch his water bowl in seven years, still does.) But we’ve come to prefer our food in sufficiently concentrated form that we’re well advised to wash it down with something wet. And it’s this issue of concentration that’s worth keeping in mind when cooking – or, for that matter, shopping. We’ve become conditioned in recent times to use the price-per-weight calculation on the supermarket shelf as our main guide to value. This brand of sauce is 18.3p per 100g, but that one is 21.8p, so I’ll take this one, thank you very
Who doesn’t like a vegetable that looks like a brain?
much. But while the labels of both sauces will list water as the first ingredient, neither will show a percentage. That being the case, how do you know how much you’re paying for water, and therefore where the value really lies? In general, you don’t; but if you try the cheaper one and find it oddly insipid, the reason might just be that it contains an awful lot less actual food. Similarly, meat that has been properly hung will have lost much of its water to the air, whereas meat that has been vacuum packed at the first opportunity is likely to have a much more alluring priceper-weight figure – an allure that soon dissipates when you put it in a hot pan and it shrivels into a dismal doll’s house equivalent of its former self. Whatever you choose to buy, your chances of cooking it effectively improve no end if you keep its water content in mind. One British tradition I’d hoped we’d left behind – though who knows, it might be legally enforced after Brexit – is that of boiling all vegetables for the better part of a month. My phobia of
However, when judiciously seasoned and cooked uncovered in the oven, the cauliflower’s flavour is concentrated rather than lost, its texture tender yet nutty
cauliflower in school meals originated not from the food itself (who wouldn’t love a vegetable that looks like a brain?) but from how it was cooked. Already pretty full of water in its raw form, it was boiled mercilessly in unsalted water, leaving behind next to no flavour or nutrition but no lack of squelch. However, when judiciously seasoned and cooked uncovered in the oven, the cauli’s flavour is concentrated rather than lost, its texture is tender yet nutty, and I’d defy even my childhood self to turn it down. If there’s a watery vegetable that’s been in your own “never again” category since you were a nipper – courgettes and aubergines being popular examples – you might be surprised at how good they can be if you can just keep them vaguely dry. Finally, keep in mind that when you make just about any kind of sauce, a jug of water kept close at hand is a trusty friend. If the sauce is too plain or runny, let it bubble away to concentrate it. If that process goes a little far, add a drop of water to rectify. This correcting and compensating process can go on for as long as is required, because water is both fundamentally neutral and endlessly forgiving. And right now, those seem like qualities that are badly needed. n Ê Twitter: @norecipeman Issue 135 | leithermagazine.com | 13
A Museum for Leith The fine fellows from the SS Explorer Preservation Society tell us about the ship’s history and restoration and their plan to make it an attraction in Leith
he SS Explorer (our pride and joy!) was Scotland’s first purpose built marine research ship; the previous ships were converted from other prototypes. The Explorer’s design was based on the hull of a deep-sea side trawler but with thicker steel in order to work in arctic waters. Powered by a steam engine she is one of the last surviving examples of this type of hull and engine in the world. Registered in Leith, where she would visit between cruises for maintenance, she worked from Aberdeen loading research and fishing equipment and scientists who would be conducting the research. In 1996 SS Explorer was listed on the National Historic Ships Register joining such famous ships as RRS Discovery, PS Waverley, HMS Belfast and our neighbour Royal Yacht Britannia. We at the SS Explorer Preservation Society are working to preserve and restore this completely unique ship. Our vision is Explorer as a museum, showing the research carried out, life onboard, the engineering and ship building heritage, with some running machinery. Onshore there would be a visitor centre showcasing different aspects of the ship throughout the year. We hope the Explorer will become an attraction for tourists as well as an education resource and a local community space.
The History of the SS Explorer In the 1950s there was a surge of investment in marine research, the Scottish Office built the Sir William Hardy to research fish as food, the Marine Lab in Aberdeen was expanded and FRS Explorer was built to conduct an array of marine research. The keel of the FRS Explorer was laid on 9th of March 1954. Lady Rachel Stuart wife of the Secretary of State for Scotland launched her on the morning of 21st June 1955. Lady Stuart also opened the extension of the Marine Lab in the afternoon. The ‘FRS Explorer’ was the penultimate steam ship completed by the famous Aberdeen shipbuilding firm of Alexander Hall & Co. before being bought by Hall, Russell & Co. 14 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 135
The Sir William Hardy was the first diesel-electric trawler to be built in the UK, the project took from 1948 to 1955, and wasn’t operational until early 1956, perhaps this is why the Explorer used a proven engine instead of the newer technology. Sir William Hardy went on to become Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior – but not before Explorer rescued her in 1969, towing her to Scalloway after her propeller was fouled. Explorer contained a mixture of traditional and modern technologies her main propulsion was provided by a triple-expansion steam engine and an oil-fired, Scotch boiler instead of a diesel engine, which was becoming the norm. The steam engine was much quieter which was just as well given the engine room was surrounded by sleeping cabins and mess rooms. The engine was also able to propel the ship at low speeds for long periods of times – ideal for the testing of trawling gear. It is important to note the hull and superstructure were riveted together during a time when welded ships were becoming the norm. Welding required less manpower than riveting. Ships could be made from a smaller number of large steel plates, welded together. Riveting, on the other hand, limited the size of the plates. However in order to reduce weight because of the larger superstructure than normally found on a trawler of this size aluminium was used. Although not a new material in shipbuilding its use was still limited, the first aluminium superstructure being fitted only 15 years earlier. In 1948 the first list of approved quality checked aluminium suppliers was produced. In the 1950s various new aluminium alloys were being tested. Auxiliary systems such as seawater, fresh water and fuel pumps were electrically driven by DC generator rather than steam driven, as on traditional steam ships. The Explorer had several labs and these were used according to the research being conducted during that cruise. The data gathered was then sent to the Marine Laboratory when Explorer returned to Aberdeen. In 1969 the Explorer was fitted with a computer to enable the data to be processed during the voyage. The computer was an
The Explorer’s wheelhouse
Elliot 920C Hydroplot. Although it used integrated circuits it also used paper tape for data output. The computer and its associated peripherals were also very large, taking up the entire space of a very large desk. The ship’s maiden voyage was in 1956, entering service with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland, working under the Marine Laboratory. This cruise was to compare her capabilities to the vessel she was replacing which was also called (you guessed it) SS Explorer. The other ships in the area must have been quite confused by the two ships. In place of the fish holds a trawler would have had below deck, the Explorer had cabins for officers and scientists. The cabins were all of a good size and the officer’s salon is an impressive sight, she
In 1996 SS Explorer was listed on the National Historic Ships Register joining the likes of RRS Discovery, HMS Belfast and the Royal Yacht Britannia
was known as a comfortable and capable vessel. For 28 years the Explorer gathered data on fish numbers, stock and health, tested new fishing methods and equipment and gathered data on the environmental conditions of the waters and sea bed around the UK coast helping to further our understanding of the marine environment. Until 1984 when she was withdrawn from service and sold for scrap due to high running costs, design limitations and obsolete equipment. Aberdeen Maritime Museum purchased the Explorer and took her to a mooring in Cromarty Firth, while a berth could be established. She remained at this mooring for an incredible 10 years, various proposals for her future were put forward but none were successful. During that time she was vandalised, components were stolen and wildlife made homes onboard. In 1994 the Museum decided that the project was not viable, and sold the SS Explorer for scrap. Former crew, local people and enthusiasts were aware that this important ship was about to be destroyed and formed a group, the SS Explorer Preservation Society. They raised enough funds to purchase the vessel on the morning dismantling had commenced. She was towed back to the Cromarty Firth while new plans were made. During 1995 members began cleaning, maintaining and repairing what they could. Things were progressing well, until a vessel ran into the Explorer wrecking one of the ship’s lifeboats, a section of her superstructure was stoved in, and some of the wooden decking was smashed, the scars remain to this day The insurance pay out was used to tow the ship to Leith where a berth had been found. New members from Leith joined and over the next few years the management of the society passed to the Leith members. For the next 20 years volunteers did what they could with what they had. However the elements and corrosion continued to take their toll. In the last 4 years the board of directors has expanded and significant progress has been made in developing the society into an organisation able to deal with planning and managing a task of the size required to realise the vision we have for the Explorer. We received a grant from the Heritage lottery fund to be used in developing the organisation which has been used for training and advertising, we also received a grant from Leith Benevolent Association to purchase safety equipment and, last but not least, a very generous donation from a recent new member. ■ Ê Info: Donate at ssexplorer.org
With thanks to: National Archives Kew, National Records of Scotland, Aberdeen Council Archives, Lloyds Register Foundation and SS Explorer Preservation Society archives
Leith Dockers Club Our refurbished Function suites are available for all types of Celebrations & Gatherings - Funerals respectfully tailored to your needs
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Two full sets from our resident band (guest singing opportunities); What’s in the Box (cash prize); Bingo and The Raffle. Doors open 6/6.30pm for members. Visitors are welcome for the princely sum of £1. Entry is at 7pm As Usual: We have Domino’s every Wednesday afternoon 1pm, Bingo every Thursday at 7pm and Sunday at 8.30pm
Upcoming events Tue February 18th: Ladies Tea Dance with live music, bingo & raffle + tea and cakes! £3 Sun March 8th: Sounds of the 60s with The Hipple People + Fayne & the Cruisers 12-5pm £10 Fri March 13th: Album launch with Dean Owens
& the Southerners (Members can get discounted tickets from Rab Mitchell) Fri May 15th: Soul Night with Zander 7pm £2
All tickets available from the club or call us on 0131 467 7879
17 Academy Street, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 7EE www.leithdockersclub.co.uk T: 0131 467 7879 Issue 135 | leithermagazine.com | 15
Jobs v Jobbies The world of work can be inspiring, infuriating and invidious. Crap jobs can have their advantages though, claims Colin Montgomery
public. And dear Lord did they abuse that k key life lesson: many human adults aren’t toilet-trained. Plus they knew some poor tit was coming to clean the rooms too. Dirty bastards the lot of them. Plus one morning, I actually tripped over two boozed up chancers kipping on the floor in the Stygian gloom of the laundry room/ kitchen of the floor I was working on. Cupla fannies…
t’s the ultimate paradox. The supposedly austere Presbyterian soul, all strait-jacketed sobriety and sombre resolve as it trudges through this vale of tears, is actually a wanton libertine at heart. For what else is the fetishization of daily labour, graft, industry (shorthand: the Protestant Work Ethic) if not a form of indulgence worthy of those of the Catholic persuasion? The papes and the proddies, in cahoots. Who’da thunk it? I would. Of course, tribal tubes will take offence at such a conflation – the ‘hard-ofthinking’ sorts who put their faith in old songs and imagined correspondences with imaginary deities. I don’t say that to deride those with faith; may your God go with you as the late great Dave Allen said. But really, why not put your faith in work? For work will set you free. Oops I’ve stumbled into holocaust territory. And I have no intention in staying there. So, onwards. Let’s leave murderous Nazi bastards to history and revisit their vile aphorism. A better, more truthful slogan, applicable to our age, would be ‘work will set you straight’. Not straight as in the ‘straight and narrow’ of the virtuous man, striding purposefully with morals intact towards a guaranteed front row seat in the afterlife. Nah, I mean straight as in devoid of any delusions or illusions about people, human nature, the meaning of toil and everything else. In summary: crap jobs are always crap jobs. But provided you can emerge from the crap with your physical and mental health intact (not always guaranteed admittedly), they are an invaluable education, which can only make you stronger. Sometimes you don’t even need to get to the interview stage… step forward Tory Mekon, Dominic Cummings. The great disruptor. The self-styled maverick. And, to use the technical term, complete and utter fud. Exhibit A: Cummings’ recent ludicrous impromptu job spec for his new breed of civil servant, in one of his interminable blogs full of guff about challenging norms - reinventing hats and making cats grow an extra leg and aw that pish. Anyway, his burbling was a masterclass in cognitive dissonance; from a call for ‘weirdos and misfits’ to ‘I’ll bin you within weeks if you don’t fit’ in 3000 16 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 135
Jobby 2: Kitchen Porter, Hendersons, spring/ summer 1994
Hendersons was a mixed bag. The lasses behind the counter were lovely and very tasty (forgive me, I was a young man on heat). But I was in the kitchen/collecting plates, cups and… abuse from self-important arseholes; one actually clicked her fingers and asked me to “put this cup on your little tray”. Then a sadist started work as kitchen supervisor. I told one of the Henderson brothers it wasn’t worth it for £3.50 an hour. He seemed amazed. As though, I’d shattered a Faberge Egg made of golden courgettes in front of him.
Colour in your very own Dominic ‘Picture of Dorian Gray’ Cummings and put it in the attic to fester
Step forward Tory Mekon, Dominic Cummings. The great disruptor, self-styled maverick, and, to use the technical term, complete and utter fud
words. That tells you all you need to know about the kind of twat who wrote it. Congratulations. You now have a firstclass degree in twat-spotting! Go forth! But of course, sometimes, we only learn our lessons when we’re stuck in a job of such hateful monotony or servility or fuckstickery – and have no easy exit. That’s the Post Grad of life lessons. I’ve done three or four in my time (you may be at Professor level yourself). Some are probably still enduring such agonies, so forgive me if the following seems like a bit of a ‘so what?’ moment; I can only tell it like it is as I dip into the file marked ‘My Shite Jobs’. Forgive the puerility, but I’m going to refer to them as jobbies – partly in honour of a now infamous vox pop from ITN news circa 1970-something when some poor bloke down the Labour Exchange was quoted as saying ‘it’s more of a jobby centre to be honest’. Seriously. The news agenda back then was as grim as it is now. Just a different shade of brown. So, here goes again, at the second time of asking…ladies and gentlemen, ‘My Shite Jobbies’.
Jobby 1: Cleaner at Pollock Halls, summer 1992 This was a jobby in every sense. The student halls were rented out to the
Jobby 3: The Job Centre, St Andrew’s Square, winter 1995/1996
I was signing on. I was desperate. Ironically, I got a job as a front-ofhouse idiot at the old city centre job centre. It was the era of cardboard slips with the job typed or written on them, which ‘job-seekers’ brought to you. Corkers like ‘Cafeteria Slave in Liberton, £1.75 an hour’ or ‘Lathe Turner in Whitburn. Pay Negotiable’. Christ, it was miserable. I was reprimanded for not being positive about people’s life chances. Insert eyeroll here.
Jobby 4: Museum Attendant, Edinburgh Council, 1996-97
My final pretend jobby before I got a real jobby. In this one, I worked at Council-owned venues – from The Scott Monument to People’s Story to the City Art Centre. TBH, 99% of my day-to-day colleagues were diamond; genuine, hard-working and friendly. The visitor ratio was different: 40% awright, 60% c**ts. Barking questions at you, condescending to you, ignoring your requests to “not touch the exhibits” or whatever. But as per my intro, looking back, I learned a lot in that job. And I’ll always be thankful for that wisdom. Hi ho etc… ■
GIRLGUIDING FEBRUARY BREAK SESSIONS IN RESTALRIG
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Girlguiding Edinburgh are providing girls aged 14-18 a space to meet with friends, try new things and learn skills for life. Come along to the Ripple Project in Restalrig from 10th-14th February every evening and have your say in creating a fun and exciting week of activities. Choose from testing your camp skills, learning to cook, brushing up on your leadership skills, and more!
Girls are encouraged to attend all sessions, so if you’re looking for something different to do, or you know a girl who might be interested then go to www.girlguiding.org.uk or call 0131 226 4511. Looking for more info? Visit us at Ocean Terminal (near the Starbucks) between 7th-10th February where we’ll be on hand to answer any questions you may have.
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15 Broughton Street, Edinburgh, 0131 556 3132 18 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 135
Lord Dubs & the Child Refugees
MP for Edinburgh North and Leith hildren – you’d protect them, wouldn’t you? Children who have been separated from their families – you’d look after them until they could be reunited, wouldn’t you? Children who have been torn away from their families as they escape war or genocide – you’d make an extra effort, wouldn’t you? Not if you were in Boris Johnson’s Tory party you wouldn’t. Some time ago the UK agreed to help unaccompanied child refugees – the kids who have lost their families somewhere along the line as they fled war, genocide, famine. Part of the reason that the UK agreed was a remarkable man called Alf Dubs – or Lord Dubs. He was born in Prague in 1932 and was one of the 10,000 kids that Nicholas Winton and others rescued through the Kindertransport, he grew up in England and eventually became an MP and then a Lord.
(Withdrawal Agreement) Bill) to put it back. The House of Lords passed his amendment and the Bill went back to the House of Commons where, on the 22nd of January 2020, Tory MPs voted to remove it. Every single Scottish Tory MP including Children in need will not be helped by the UK Government; children who have been separated from their families will be told by the UK Government that they can’t join them again. In our name they are saying that we don’t care. How can anyone think that is acceptable? If you had been one of those Government Ministers looking at Alf Dubs’ work would you have thought you should get rid of it? If you had been one of those MPs would you have voted to leave those kids helpless and alone? I cannot understand how anyone
not a single squeak of protest from Tory councillors. If any of them want to speak up and speak out against this horror from their government I’ll stand beside them and support them in making their case but I haven’t heard a single word said. We need a better, gentler, fairer politics. We need politicians who care about everyone who needs help. We need members of political parties to speak out if they think their leaders have broken the trust they gave them. We need a society that reaches out with compassion led by politicians who embody that compassion. We need common human decency and respect back in politics. In our name this UK Government has said that a child on her own in France shouldn’t be reunited with her family now living in Edinburgh or Liverpool or Swansea. In our name this UK Government has said that reuniting
His amendment to the Immigration Act in 2016 would have seen the UK offering unaccompanied refugee children safe passage and a haven on these islands. The Government opposed it at first but eventually backed down and promised to take in 3,000. Councils up and down the UK offered places for those children but the Government dumped the scheme within months, having accepted only 350 kids. Let’s fast-forward a bit to December’s election. Before the election the Brexit Bill said that the UK Government should try to make sure that unaccompanied refugee children are able to come to the UK to join a relative who is already living here. After the election, when Mr Johnson had his majority, that commitment was removed. Alf Dubs proposed a change to the Brexit legislation (the EU
could think that any children should be abandoned, and these children have lost everything. I haven’t heard a single voice of protest raised by any Tory member. Surely if you were a member of a party whose leaders thought this was acceptable you would protest? Surely you’d resign your membership, leave that party and say it was wrong? But there has been silence from Tory members, not a word from Tory MSPs,
Still from Sue Clayton’s significant film, Calais Children, A Case To Answer
… the UK offered 3,000 children places but the Government dumped the scheme within months accepting only 350 kids
a child who lost his parents while the family was running from war, genocide or torture shouldn’t go live with his aunt in Stirling or Derby or Cardiff. This UK Government has turned a cold and stony face to children who need help and they’ve told the world that it’s our face. Not in my name, Mr Johnson, not in my name. The people I meet in Leith and in Edinburgh and in Scotland do not look like this and they do not sound like this – this is not us. Scotland will move to a different beat and those of us who value the better nature of her will keep working for a more humane way of treating children who need help. The aim is decency. ■ Ê Twitter: @DeidreBrock Issue 135 | leithermagazine.com | 19
Bad girls: Playing fast & loose Kennedy Wilson on how nice girls become vice girls in the movies
n one of Mae West’s most famous film scenes she plays a gangster’s moll who flashes her jewels before the hat check girl in a speakeasy. “Goodness what beautiful diamonds” says the girl. West memorably replies: “goodness had nothing to do with it!” The cinema has always relished bad women. Film titles reflected the fascination: Manhandled, The Constant Sinner, Dishonoured, The Gorgeous Hussy, Notorious. Such roles were very often the only challenging ones offered to ambitious actresses who wanted to show their mettle. Claire Trevor, who played the mobster’s mistress in the Bogart classic Key Largo once said, “if a part has enough facets, I don’t mind playing the bad girl.” Audiences too have always loved wicked women who are seen as powerful: a threat to men, morality and marriage. They’ve long been a strong fantasy for women in the audience and a potent turnon for men. Good gals from Mary Pickford through Doris Day to Natalie Wood never gained the cult status of stars that specialised in playing Jezebels and scarlet women. Ironclad virgin Audrey Hepburn is best remembered for her role as the call girl Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, just as Vivien Leigh is best known for the spoilt, uppity Scarlet O’Hara in Gone With The Wind in more recent times Julia Roberts played the tart with a heart in Pretty Woman and Jessica Alba was in The Killer Inside Me and now the British Film Institute has released a special 30th anniversary Blu-ray edition of Scandal. In the movie Joanne Whalley plays Christine “the tart who toppled the Tories” Keeler who, although initially a sympathetic character, ends up betraying “the only man I ever loved”. The Keeler story is so potent that a six part TV drama was the highlight of the January 2020 TV schedules. Keeler was a party girl of the early 1960s who was discovered to have been sleeping with the war minister and a Russian spy at the height of the Cold War. In the TV version Keeler is seen more as a vulnerable victim exploited by powerful men in a world she doesn’t fully understand. 20 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 135
The poster for Traffic in Souls, loosely based on an official report about white slavery
In Hollywood bad girls, like the stereotype of the prostitute with the heart of gold, were shown again and again to be honest and pure inside, just waiting for a good man to make them decent. One of the first American feature films to be a box office hit was Traffic in Souls, which was based (albeit loosely) on an official report about white slavery. Under the guise of semi-documentary this cautionary tale promised to reveal the naked truth about how nice girls became vice girls. Film floozies come in all varieties from Tallulah “pure as the driven slush” Bankhead to Melanie “sleaze bunny” Griffith. According to Lotte Da and Jan Alexander, authors of Bad Girls of the Silver Screen: ‘unlike the swashbuckling male renegade who
Women who were shown to flaunt the sexual mores of the time were made to repent or, failing that, expire at the end of the picture
usually ended up conquering civilisations the female counterpart would always end up suffering or darning socks for a man willing to forgive her ‘mysterious past’. From the earliest days of the star system the first sex symbols were women of easy virtue. Theda Bara made the vamp famous, in roles like Salome and Cleopatra. Like a vampire she was the very incarnation of evil, luring men away from fidelity and family to their certain doom. Evil men, by contrast, lived to fight another day. Women who were shown to flaunt the sexual mores of the time were made to repent or, failing that, expire at the end of the picture. Following this was the coquettish Clara Bow the quintessential 1920s jazz baby. The 30s saw slutty Jean Harlow and great chorus lines of gold-diggers. The pattern was set, sexy women were bad news but good box office. The 40s saw the advent of the femme fatale (Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis) and the 50s had pneumatic sex goddesses like Monroe and Mansfield. One of the most famous bad girls from the 60s was Julie Christie who played the jet-set courtesan in Darling. In 1971 there was a more realistic depiction of the call girl with Jane Fonda in Klute and, more daringly, Jodie Foster who played the streetwise child prostitute in Taxi Driver. And dozens of memorable bad girls have followed: Kim Basinger in LA Confidential; Emily Browning in Sleeping Beauty; Cameron Diaz in She’s the One; Freida Pinto in Slumdog Millionaire and Jennifer Garner in Catch Me If You Can. The Deuce was (and is) a successful TV drama series starring Maggie Gyllenhaal (who co-produced the show) as a brasstacks sex worker in 1970s New York. Its blunt street style didn’t mask the dangers of street hustling – abuse, male violence and exploitation – and the street smarts you need to survive. The shape of the bad girls may have changed – unhappy hookers have given way to poor heroines who know what they want and are very much in control. And while movie moguls always wanted to have their cheese cake and eat it things have changed in recent years with the #MeToo movement. ■ Ê Info: Scandal 30th anniversary edition is out on Blu-ray from the BFI and The Trial of Christine Keeler is available on DVD Ê Twitter: @KenWilson84
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firstname.lastname@example.org www.ablegirlplumbing.co.uk 22 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 135
Dear Mrs MacPickle, I have a rather strange and puzzling problem. I seem to have run out of opinions. I just don’t seem to have any left. I noticed it the other day when someone mentioned Meghan Markle to me. I mean it wasn’t just that I couldn’t summon up the merest hint of a shit for even apathy and disinterest is a stance of sorts. I just had no comment or thought. And I think this maybe happening with more serious issues too. The trams, Brexit, Veganism, the Reformation. No thoughts left on any of it anymore. Where will this end? I know that all it takes for evil to triumph is good people to do nothing. Have I slipped into such a malaise that Donald Trump will drive a tram
Will Donald Trump drive a tram into my back garden and begin fracking before I know it
into my back garden and begin fracking before I know it? My dear, I hear your concerns and it does seem like your lack of opinion has become quite an extreme case, but one I can sort of relate to. I have caught myself with a number of conversational nogoes of late, due to shear exhaustion with certain topics, even singing ‘no Brexit no trams’ under my breath to the tune of ‘No woman no cry’. But while a bit of malaise might serve you well in the current miserable climate, you don’t want to stay like that forever, and it won’t get the revolution won. My suggestion is that you ditch the bland royal chat and focus on somethings its simply impossible to not have a strong view on. Like dogshit hanging from bags in trees. Anne Widdecombe, perhaps. Or food served on wooden boards instead of plates. You will have your opinions flowing again in no time I am sure. ■ Mrs MacPickle Ê Got a prickly problem? E-mail Mrs MacPickle at email@example.com
Preserve and build hand in hand
MSP for Edinburgh North and Leith
ecently – along with many other people in Leith – I was so pleased to welcome strong action by the Scottish Government to better regulate short-term letting, and particularly tackle problems around whole property short-term letting. As I have been pushing for since being elected, the new regulations will allow Edinburgh Council to establish designated areas where planning permission will be needed before properties can be rented out. The regulations will also ensure that properties are better maintained - they will have to meet safety requirements, commit to tackling littering and ensure that they are not overcrowded. There will be a review of how short-term let properties are taxed, to make sure owners pay their fair share for local services. I understand how relieved many of my constituents will be to see their concerns so squarely addressed by the Scottish Government. This is an issue that I have been committed to tackling, along with SNP colleagues, and I’m confident that when these new regulations are implemented next year they will make a significant impact. And of course, the Scottish Government has also committed to bringing forward legislation to enable Councils to implement a ‘Tourist Tax’. This all feels part of a wider conversation about how we balance the different needs of people who live in Leith. Many long-time residents rightly believe that local housing should be affordable enough to preserve a sense of community and allow Leithers and their families to buy or rent property nearby. Ensuring that fewer properties get tied up in the short-term rental market will help to do this. But I know that people are also concerned that if too many sites are taken up with large student housing blocks then that could mean that land is not being used to build residential housing. Recently, a large student housing proposal was blocked, when the Scottish Government’s Planning Reporter backed Edinburgh Council’s refusal to over-develop Stead’s Place with student housing and demolish the sandstone block on Leith Walk. I was overjoyed to see the hard work of the local Save Leith Walk campaign pay off, and was proud to have worked alongside them along with a number of other Leith politicians. I’m hopeful that a solution can now be found to preserve the block and build something more appropriate behind than a massive student housing block. However, in saying that, we should also be mindful that in general students can bring a lot of good to communities too. With a couple of other developments
Stead’s Place, Leith
Good examples of student development see developers meaningfully listening to communities from the initial stage proposed locally, I think we always need to look critically at any student development. However, we also need to make sure that we aren’t reacting too quickly. In some instances, a well constructed, sensibly placed student development, properly resourced with appropriate local services and transport links, can take some of the pressure off the student occupancy of local residential properties. Good examples of student development see developers meaningfully listening to communities from the initial stage and, ideally, forming partnerships with housing associations to deliver affordable housing as part of their plans. Following the Save Leith Walk campaign’s success, I think we should continue to be wary of student housing proposals, but not indiscriminately dismissive. We don’t want Leith to seem inadvertently unwelcoming to young, international students, or to be anti any development per se. Don’t get me wrong, I think a lot of student housing developments are profiteering junk that should be strongly opposed; but some student housing can also offer social value by bringing young people from all over the world into our community. The Scottish Government has built social housing at a rate that is five times
higher than in England, and I will keep working with colleagues to bring as much new social housing to Leith as we can. But I want students to feel welcome in Leith too. The Save Leith Walk campaign has always rightly said that Leith isn’t in any way against students - Leith has always prided itself on being a diverse and welcoming place. Students come from all across the globe to Edinburgh and add a great deal to the community, bringing a vibrant young energy to Leith and elsewhere. They come here to study and then often stay, making an important and significant contribution to our shared culture, economy and public services. They support small businesses by spending money locally and - if they can be encouraged to see themselves as part of the community – volunteer with local projects and concern themselves with local issues. Many students go on to make their homes in Leith and they add to our diverse and inclusive community, which we all love… How often do you speak to a neighbour or a colleague and discover they first came to Edinburgh as a student? Let’s make sure that the next generation feel just as welcome. ■ Ê Twitter: @BenMacpherson Issue 135 | leithermagazine.com | 23
The Tories & the Cannabis Conundrum Dan Collins exposes the hypocrisy involved in the cannabis as medicine saga
ecent statistics estimate that over 1.4 million people in the UK are using cannabis medicinally, but accessing it illegally. I’m sure when the law regarding prescribing medical cannabis was changed many people thought that they would be able to access cannabinoids through the NHS, the reality has been very different. To be very clear, there are currently 2 cannabis derived medicinal products available for prescription in England, for a grand total of 3 conditions. Both the products (called Epidyolex and Sativex) are made by one pharmaceutical company who have well-documented links to the Conservative party and its ministers. The prescribing guidelines published by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence offer a glimmer of hope to a few families scattered across these isles, but the healthcare revolution promised by cannabis advocates is still a long way off. The phrase ‘cannabis user’ can refer to individuals found in almost any demographic; young and old, sick and well, rich and poor, there is no longer a ‘stereotypical’ cannabis user. The reasons that people use cannabis are equally as diverse; some use cannabis products as a sleep aid, an appetite stimulant or an antidepressant. Many cannabis users are seeking relief from pain and anxiety, or as an alternative to more harmful substances such as opioids or alcohol. There are thousands of types of cannabis, and an infinite number of ways that it can be prepared and administered, with each variation producing a different result in different people. Recent attempts to reframe cannabis’s medical utility will continue to offer disappointment, because, in the red-tape and process of writing guidelines and policies, we lose sight of the forest for the trees. Often times in the media we are presented with the dichotomy of ‘recreational versus medical cannabis’, but in the real world there is no such clear distinction. Many people consider cannabis a medicine, but also use it socially, and many people using it for ‘mere recreation’ report positive health outcomes that are incidental to their intended use. 24 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 135
It would seem that many people have an intuitive sense of shame and impropriety when considering that something illegal might actually be good, and that something fun can also be healthy. By no means do I consider that cannabis is harmless, but when approached with the right intention, it can be a life-changing product. Take for example our shop on Great Junction Street; we’ve been open for over a year and half, and we have served thousands of people in our community. We frequently meet people who are ‘cannabis naïve’ and don’t really know where to start or what to expect. The products we sell contain CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid that can support and maintain your health without getting you high. There are many products to choose from, and what works for one won’t always work for another; we can have two people with the same symptoms and yet they will both use totally different types of CBD. We have big customers who take wee doses and wee customers who take big doses. The most important outcomes cannot be measured easily by lab testing and detailed studies; our aim is to raise the quality of life of our community,
Our aim is to raise the quality of life of our community, and each member of our community will define this in a different way and each member of our community will define this in a different way. Part of the reason the UK’s cannabis legislation is so unfit for purpose is that it has been cobbled together over the decades, primarily by people with little to no experience of the plant and it’s potential. Our laws are not based on evidence, but rather on prejudice, anecdote and hearsay. Cherry-picking from the data very seldom yields a positive result, and certainly the 1.4 million cannabis users accessing black market produce for medical conditions are not in any way considered a useful resource for information on the benefits of cannabis.
The Queen Charlotte Rooms will celebrate their 21st Birthday with the introduction of our Orient Express Experience. We have replicated some of the grandeur and splendour to create the opulence of this magnificent train. Come aboard and celebrate special occasion and enjoy Afternoon Tea and a glass o wine to the authentic soun train and piano.
Epidyolex pills and leaf
Surely we should be asking cannabis users, and listening to their experience. Does it not stand to reason that the people who might be best informed on this plant are the people who spend their time and money on it? The industry experts are right under our noses. Doctors get caught in the space between the regulators and the consumers. GP’s have been inundated with requests for medical cannabis products, but there has been no training for any NHS staff on how cannabis works. In the European city-state of Luxembourg where cannabis will be officially legalised next year, every medical professional has already had comprehensive training on cannabis, and more importantly the Endocannabinoid System. At the time of writing, the latest snap general election is about 4 weeks away. I doubt the issue of cannabis law reform will feature prominently in this campaign. Unfortunately, for many people cannabis is not a sufficiently big enough issue to influence their vote. Certainly many criminal gangs dealing cannabis and harder drugs will be happy to continue plying their trade in the absence of true leadership from our elected representatives. Sooner or later we all face challenges to our health and wellbeing, and cannabis may indeed be part of the solution for many of us. Perhaps it is not until we are affected personally by the lack of legal cannabis provision that we become aware of how remarkably unfair it is. I wear my cannabis badge with pride. I believe the plant should be legal for anyone to access, be it through their doctor, or a licensed retailer, or indeed just grown at home. We can already look to other jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalised and regulated, and we can see the benefits and potential pitfalls. The evidence already exists; we just need to adjust our focus. Whether cannabis law is reformed or not, cannabis use will continue as it has done for thousands of years. Personally, I feel it would be better to bring it into the open and have a grown-up conversation about how we can best reform the law to benefit the end-user, not the sales rep. ■ Ê Info: canhelp.co.uk
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56a Queen Charlotte St, Port ogf Leith, Edinburgh EH6 7ET Tel: 0131 555 6660 Email: email@example.com Issue 135 | leithermagazine.com | 25
Visualising the Future
eith is home to many small organisations that are doing incredible work in the community. Visualise, a Leith-based social care provider, is one such. The Leither talked to them about their valuable work… Visualise employs over 70 support workers across five houses in and around Leith and has an outreach hub in Musselburgh. They work with adults with learning disabilities and other complex needs on a 1:1 basis to ensure that they can live an independent life. They support about 20 people to access local services, engage in their community and live their best lives. Pauline Gray, Visualise’s Service Manager, takes great pride in the diversity of the team: “We have a great team of support workers. They come from a range of backgrounds and skill sets. This means we can match our 1:1 care to suit interests and needs. For example, if one of the people we support likes sport then we make sure that we match him or her with a sports-minded support worker. Similarly, we care for a couple of people who love art so are able to match them with support workers who have fantastic art skills. We believe in putting the person we support at the heart of everything we do.” Tony Robinson, who has been supported by Visualise for 7 years, agrees. “Visualise have really helped me to get out in to the Community. I get on really well with the people who support me. In the past year, they’ve taken me on holiday to Berwick and also taken me to my home town, Bolton, to see Bolton Wanderers play at home.” Social care has grown rapidly as a profession over the past few years with lots of organisations emerging to meet the burgeoning demand for care. Visualise’s focus on providing 1:1 support and independent living
Ê Info: If you’re interested in joining Visualise phone them on 0131 475 2337 or have a look at the website www. visualise.org.uk. They are always looking for a range of backgrounds and skills
We believe in rewarding people as best we can to ensure we retain and develop the very best in the social care profession 26 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 135
means that they require committed individuals with a strong caring ethos. It also means regular shifts and a rate of pay higher than most other providers. Pauline continues: “We believe in rewarding people as best we can to ensure we retain and develop the very best in the social care profession. We’re very proud that we pay above the Scottish Living Wage and provide a great package of staff benefits. Being a Support Worker is a tough job but hugely rewarding. We want to ensure we provide support for independent living throughout a person’s adult life and we work really hard to make sure that the best possible care is in place, demonstrated by the 5 (Very Good) we were awarded by the Care Inspectorate in February 2019.” Visualise staff agree, with Euan Murray, a Support Worker, saying that “I’ve worked for Visualise for almost 4 years and they’ve been very supportive, helping me achieve my SVQ 3 and helping me build my skills as a Support Worker. I really value the relationships I’ve built with the people I support and the quality of care we provide.” They have just embarked on a new recruitment campaign and are working with Alan Lennon, a well-known Leith artist and Alex Hennessey, a Musselburgh-based photographer to develop a campaign to attract applicants from a wide range of backgrounds. Visualise are also working with Queen Margaret University and Leith Academy to build knowledge of the range of careers available in social care. Pauline sums up. “Leith has a fantastic range of people with great talents and experiences. You don’t have to be an existing Support Worker to join us, as we provide all training, and support staff who are new to the sector to achieve an SVQ 3 in Health and Social Care.” ■
Retired Gentleman Wanted
Katy Nixon’s Short Story Illustration by David Lynburn
he garden stretched out before Jim and Doris. They hadn’t done a bad job considering neither of them had a clue. They stood surveying their hard work with It’s A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong pouring out of the back door of Dori’s house; the sun turned the clouds pink as its light was swallowed greedily by roof top chimneys. Strange to think that earlier that day Jim had sat staring at a bottle of pills, unable to imagine any other option than taking the lot. He had woken up and paused before opening his eyes, so that he could steady himself for the reality of his new life. He could still hear John saying “cup of tea old boy?” Before he kissed his forehead as he had every morning of their retirement. He wondered how he had managed to miss what an important detail that was. Only death had made him realise that the everyday mundane is the stitching of love. He had left the bed quickly so as not to fall into grief too early in the day. Wrapping his dressing gown around him and sliding slippers on his feet he noticed once again how different the house sounded when there was only him to fill it. He made it to the top of the stairs and then sank slowly down onto the first step, his knees connecting with his elbows and his face moving into his hands, his body well trained now and braced for the first sob that escaped from his covered mouth. He didn’t move for hours. The bottle of pills called to him from his pocket. Later on, after somehow gathering himself together with the intention to die in freshly laundered clothes, Jim made his pilgrimage to the laundrette. The washing machine and tumble driers massaging his brain into stillness. A poster on the laundrette window caught Jim’s eye as he was leaving with his small bag of freshly washed clothes. It said in big, bold font, ‘Retired Gentleman Wanted’. He had paused and placed his bag on the pavement. So odd was it’s existence that Jim thought it couldn’t be anything other than a sign from some far away God. He brought out his notebook and carefully copied down the phone number from the yellowing paper blu tacked to the glass. The number burned a hole in his pocket all morning. He mused over the possibilities of what a retired gentleman could possibly be needed for as he fought his way through the Kirkgate’s wind and rain. Curiosity got the better of him when he got home and the house mumbled its unbearable empty song. So he sat in the hall and dialled the number slowly. The phone rang for what seemed like an eternity and then a woman’s voice
answered. Jim was sure she had gasped quietly after she had said hello...as if surprised to hear a word spoken out loud. “I’m phoning about the ad you placed in the window of the laundrette, the one looking for a retired gentleman.” There had been pause. “Aye, don’t be getting any funny ideas, I’m needing my garden done.” “I’m afraid I wouldn’t be much use it was always my husband that did ours.” (Another pause, and the sound of a cigarette being lit.) “My Tony used to always be out there too, green fingers I used to call him. It’s looking a mess since he passed, now I‘ve got her with the bidey-in across the way threatening to complain to the council.” Jim liked that the woman spoke to him as if he knew Tony and “her with the bidey-in across the way.” Their conversation carried on in halting sentences. Her name was Doris and she was seventy-two and widowed 18 months. Jim told her about John… “It hits you hardest then.” Doris said when he told her it had only been three months. Jim had held the phone at his
He wondered how he missed that important detail. Only death made him realise the everyday mundane is the stitching of love
ear and leaned his head against the wall behind him, his shoulders relaxing with her voice. “You know I haven’t touched any of John’s stuff since he died, perhaps there will be something of use for your garden?” He offered, while his hand held the bottle of pills in his pocket like a talisman. “Right be here in an hour then, don’t be late I make my tea for 5pm on the dot every night so we’ll need to get the garden done now.” Before he could argue he heard a cigarette light and then the phone went dead. Against his better judgement Jim decided to go to Doris’s house. He collected the gardening tools from John’s shed. The last time he had been in there, John had been cutting flowers for the house. Jim had folded down one of the old deck chairs and watched him meticulously bunching wild flowers together. The colours reminded Jim of what he saw behind his eyes when they kissed. Jim greeted Doris with an outstretched hand, instead of reciprocating Doris had handed him, rather aggressively, a shovel. She was a woman of few words, direct in what she meant. But Jim immediately liked her. They worked side by side that afternoon. Two strangers, brought together by loss, tending the earth Tony had left behind. Jim didn’t know what the day meant, but as he stood with Doris, the sun almost set, the garden ready to begin again, he felt John’s arms around him, keeping him safe. ■ Issue 135 | leithermagazine.com | 27
Notes on Transhumanism
he brain and the body: separate entities or inexorably interwoven? That is my question to you today. As a Personal Trainer, my job is to focus on human movement in order for clients to be fit and healthy. In 2019 I got stuck into writing my second book (due out late this year), describing human movement in a wide range of contexts. I have been focussing on what type of movement is best for overall health and wellbeing. It is interesting that the brain and body are sometimes viewed as separate entities, brain and brawn, heavenwards and earthly, mind and matter. In philosophy this is called dualism – either one or the other. You don’t need to be a neuroscientist
instance “butterflies in my tummy” when nervous. As a break from bodywork, I took a contrasting book to read on holiday: ‘To Be A Machine’ by journalist Mark O’Connell is snappily subtitled ‘Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death’. It blew my mind. There is a growing population (mainly men, in Silicon Valley) who believe brains can be cryogenically frozen and reanimated using AI (Artificial Intelligence). They go so far as to claim the body is merely a redundant hunk of meat, and that the real value of a human is located in the brain. Transhumanism is a step beyond futurism, where transhumanists believe that the human
surely one would have had to felt pain at some point? And after pondering that for a while, and the idea of a lack of empathy in modern western politics in general, my mind was drawn back to the job at hand (pun intended). The body. In the future, does it mean it won’t matter what shape your body is in, as it will soon become redundant, to be replaced by a robot controlled by your brain in a jar? No! This cannot be so. We are a product of an ‘extended mind’, in that we perceive the world through how we interact with it: sensation through finger touch, taste, smell, changing temperature on the body, so many ways of the body interacting with the world. Until we have the technology to mothball our bodies and upload our
to know that there are both central and peripheral nervous systems in the body. Your central nervous system is your brain and spine, and the peripheral is, as the name suggests, the further away bits – limbs, fingers, toes, nose. Nerves feedback information to the brain and back again, for instance, if you burn your finger in a flame, your brain registers it pretty quickly (handy, that). Scientists have even discovered ‘brain’ cells in your gut. Whether exercising, moving, or simply ‘being’ in the world, you experience the present through your interaction with your immediate environment. The fact that humans can pick up, hold and shape objects means we probably have a different understanding of the world to animals with no opposable thumbs. If you think about all the sayings we have, “on the one hand, gut instinct, cold feet” you see that our bodies shape our thinking. In addition, certain emotions are associated with body feelings, for
body can be augmented with technology, to improve and become ‘beyond human’. This got me thinking, if in the future brains (hopefully in a big glass jar like in sci-fi movies) are wired up to robots, how will we feel things? What would happen to that segment of our brain? Would it die? Become redundant? Would the robot feel on our behalf? And then (because my mind works in funny ways) I started to wonder if in 2050, a brain in a jar would be able to feel any empathy. For surely to feel empathy, one must be able to imagine the pain another being is in. To imagine that,
neural matter to a computer, we need to take good care of our brain container/ soul homes. To exercise the body outdoors, for instance a bracing walk on Portobello beach, you will have a more sensory enriched experience than chilling on the sofa with Netflix. You brain perceives the world through your bodily actions... and inactions. When you start thinking about all the ways your own body interacts with your environment, the more you realise your body is your brain. It explains why many cases of depression can be helped with simple movement of the body (exercise). Of course, convincing the brain to move a sluggish body can be half of the battle. It’s mind over matter, as they say. Pondering this makes for interesting after-dinner conversation that can veer in any direction. Or even better, when walking up a hill, put your thoughts on a postcard. ■
28 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 135
They go so far as to claim the body is merely a redundant hunk of meat, and that the real value of a human is located in the brain
Ê Twitter: @tracygriffen Ê Online: www.getfitandenjoyit.com
Tell the Truth ‘The earth no longer produces, it devours’. Brecht, Finland 1940, verse IV
hat more do you need? Do you need more evidence or more material goods to hide your unhappiness? Do you want to hide behind a veneer of cynicism or just passive acceptance? Mere tokenism is not enough. Public proclamations are not enough. It’s action that’s needed and we do not have much time.
‘Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels. Ancient evidence can also be found in tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. This ancient, or paleoclimate, evidence reveals that current warming is occurring roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming’. NASA - Global Climate Change, How Do We Know? It’s actually worse than that. The IPCC Synthesis Report of 2014 informs us that; ‘global 2010 emissions are 31% above the 1990 emissions’. Greta Thunberg will tell anyone that listens, even the elite in Davos, that after 2030 human intervention will be unable to prevent Climate Change on a scale that is beyond that experienced at the moment. Even if the Paris Accords are met in full, with current consensus that it should be the 1.5c not 2.0c, that change will continue to happen well into this century and the next. Extreme weather and climate effects mean food insecurity; water insecurity; sea level rises and increased acidity in the sea; increased migration from climate impacted regions. This is known. But the point is to act. This requires citizens, local, national and UK
government and private business to act. Why? Here is just a local example. Climate Central has produced two maps using the best available science to give a scenario of sea levels at 2 degree warming and 4 degree warming. Even under the 2 degree warming the sea will reach Leith Links East, cover Western Harbour and Newhaven village as well as Lower Granton Road. Moving up to 4 degree would see most of the Links and half of Coburg Street under water. The maps show sea level projections that lock in, should current temperature levels continue. Globally sea levels have risen by 8 feet since records began in 1880. They are predicted to rise by another 1 to 4 feet by 2100. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) comprising 1,300 scientists from around the World forecast that temperatures would increase between 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. So it will continue. In their polemic Why we Rebel extinction rebellion (XR) argue that, ‘this is the time. Wherever we are standing is the place’. Their first demand is ‘Tell the Truth’. This might not be easy for us here in Scotland a place where the Governing party with a large amount of public support state boldly “It is our oil”, whilst ignoring that it’s everybody’s planet. The continued exploitation of oil and gas is a key dynamic in the case for independence but is also a key driver in climate change. The IPCC report says that we need ‘adaptation planning and implementation’ to meet the challenge of the Paris Accords yet there is no sign of that happening here. We have seen Pelamis come and go. We have seen Wind Turbines being built halfway round the World then assembled
How Leith could look if we don’t do something now
Only when it’s dark enough can you see the stars, and they are lining up now to write rebellion across the skies
in Burntisland. We have seen a bridge built with Chinese steel and assembled here so that even more cars, more than the bridge can cope with according to recent reports, pollute the atmosphere, rather than a sustained investment in public transport and freight hubs for goods. This denial, despite public proclamations that acknowledge the need to act, cannot continue. We need to tell the truth not just to Government but also to ourselves. Along with Government action we need citizen action. We need to consume less and share more. It can be done. It will require a huge effort on the part of us all but it can be done. We have to recognise as XR do in their polemic that ‘The World’s resources are being seized faster than the natural world can replenish them’. Children can do the maths on this, and know they are being sent the bill. And the young are in rebellion now. This is their time, their fire. The flame is theirs and they are lighting the way. Why? Because they have been let down, the World set a target with Brundtland in 1987 and now 33 years later we are still ignoring what needs to be done. We need to change what we are doing, as the science tells us it’s not working. We are running out of time. ■ Gordon Munro Ê Sources: IPCC, 2014: Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer, editors]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, 151 pp. Ê Info: sealevel.climatecentral.org/
www.rebellion.earth/the-truth/about-us/ Issue 135 | leithermagazine.com | 29
CrosswordNo.110 Win a coffee & your choice of cake across 1 5 10 11 12 13 15 18 20 23 25 26 27 28
Point to fish and them that catch them (8) Approval of lass entering room within (6) Reheat kale broth badly in this sad inn (10,5) He leaves out toe, trim slashed (7) Depressions of the flesh, limps out ed, surely not! (7) Hocus pocus, magic pan used in military operation (8) Cuttle fish ink used in old photos (5) Strata of good hen (5) Parisian prison stable, fifty-one involved (8) Bucking bronco with first colt eat this (7) Type of punishment letter? (7) Tragic hero, found out, in turds, cautions! (5,10) Filthy sow in dry conditions leads to sleep (6) Sailor stated that he went to sea but went down a cliff (8)
down 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 14 16 17 19 21 22 24 25
Of whales inform? (6) Mary I has a gin cocktail, delusional (9) Mine block using Grand Prix (7) Just threaten with grill! Unusual (5) Housing plots? (7) In sex, to love, praise! (5) Flipped tails sir? It could bring good luck (8) Dry, primarily in nuts, handkerchiefs (8) I am with fish and gin fizz, drinking (8) One topic all found in government (9) Broken pedal, act as peace breaks out (8) Bigots sit badly in cars, bangers? (7) Have an effect on wimp in Germany blockade (7) Shut, near to Dundee primarily (6) In frat house near Edinburgh (5) Chocolate substitute for automobile, old boy! (5)
Bespoke, quality food made fresh to order
ur friendly engaged staff caters for all tastes. From homemade soups, juices and delicious rolls to toasted wraps, smooth coffee and tempting homemade cakes. For the carb-free, skip the bread and create your own salad box – including healthy veggie fare like Falafel, Baba Ganoush and Couscous or Goats Cheese, Pesto and Grilled Vegetables. Our Mediterranean influences also include Salami, Chorizo, Parma ham, Feta, grilled Halloumi, marinated olives and sundried tomatoes. Whether you choose from our menu or create your own, everything is freshly made with
Embo Deli & Event Catering 29 Haddington Place EH7 4AG, 0131 652 3880 www.embodeli.co.uk /embodeli @embodeli
Send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org
answers: crossword 109 across 1 5 10 11 12 13 15 18 20 23 25 26 27 28
Teaching Spades African elephant Chivies Detrain Stagnate Ethos Cured Postpone Airfoil Stumble Chinese pangolin Yeomen Anodised
down 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 14 16 17 19 21 22 24 25
Thatch Air filter Hacking Nines Pipette Drama Satanism Bladders Appalled Handbills Scratchy Diocese Plunged Pernod Rhino Spain
winner crossword 109 Kevin McDade, Glasgow Take page and proof of name to Embo for prize, enjoy! 30 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 135
great love driven by our passion for food and for making people smile! Embo is small in size, but what it lacks in space, it makes up for with a big friendly welcome and great tasting, visually impressive food. Growing out of our small Cafe that opened 15 years ago, as word spread of our delicious food, came the outside and events catering arm of Embo. Taking the same love for food and making people smile, off-site to Offices, Birthday Parties, Weddings, Anniversaries, Corporate Events, Launch Parties, The Edinburgh Festival, Classic Motor Bike Rally’s, Private Dining….. and the list goes on!!
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Leith’s local plumbing and heating experts Are you looking for a new boiler this winter? We supply and fit a wide range of high efficiency gas boilers. Whether your old boiler is broken or you have simply had enough of cold showers in the morning, one of our friendly gas engineers will be more than happy to visit your home and provide you with a free quotation and advice on how to get your heating system in shape
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Visit our showroom at 28 Salamander Street Edinburgh EH6 7HZ