Portobello Prom is a place for Art. Some of it is official, literally part of the fabric of the Prom like these two modern mosaics close to Westbank/Tumbles.
Other elements are remnants of specific projects, notably the annual Art Walk, which takes place every September. While much of the commissioned public art is temporary, some pieces last longer. The most notable of these is Cressida, the sculpted metal octopus at the end of the groyne at the foot of Bath Street. Initially installed for the first Art Walk in September 2015 she was twice claimed by the sea during winter storms but was successfully rescued and re-installed. (In fact the story of Cressida is probably worth a blog post all of its own, so I'll come back to that!) For now here is a recent picture at a high Spring tide with Cressida almost completely submerged.
Last summer's Art Walk had a strong musical element, including the Bandstands project which is still present on the Prom at the sites of two former bandstands, There is an app related to the project with music and archive photographs to download when you get to the locations.
Great as it is to see these works of art along the Prom, there are also other, unofficial, pieces that appear and stay a while. They can vary in size - some are large and unmissable but others are small and tucked away so you can overlook them if you aren't paying attention. Like the Portobello Public Pencil Sharpening Project installations. So far I have found four of them - I wonder if there are any more?
There were a number of wooden objects at different points along the Prom but most of them seemed to have gone except for the Fish, Fish, Not Fish piece.
I wonder what art will appear next on the Prom?
A trip to Dunfermline for the football thwarted by the March weather. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade...
SDSS (Self Directed Support Scotland) event - SDS National Voice at Stirling Court Hotel. An interesting mix of lectures, workshop sessions and stalls bringing together people from across the country, sharing their ideas and best practise.
A press call at Edinburgh Castle with a personal resonance as my grandfather was a conscientious objector in WWII, kept in Lancaster Gaol and working in the docks. My mother told the story of being taken to Lancaster with her Mum and seeing a lot of men, all dressed the same, marching down a street and being told one of them was her father. She was born in September 1939 so it must have been an early memory. My grandfather was a millworker, playwright and political activist in his day.
The Action Porty AGM at Bellfield in February 2019. Discussing the past year in the community-owned venue and plans for the year ahead and beyond.
The European Cities Marketing Spring Meeting 2019 was held in Edinburgh in February 2019. People attended from cities all over Europe sharing ideas and best practise in a range of sessions and events over three days, based at the Sheraton Grand with evening receptions at the Assembly Rooms and the National Museum of Scotland.
The annual wassail in the community orchard at Donkeyfield, close by Brunstane Railway station. A traditional celebration of apple trees and apple growing with the Portobello Community Choir.
The Eclectics performed at the iconic Leith music venue - Leith Depot. Still hanging in there despite the property developers trying to get the row of shops demolished so they can build a hotel and more student flats.
The annual Christmas tree burning on the beach. Another community event with only the loosest of organisation. As a result different groups make their own bonfires along the beach. It seemed this year that there were more different groups doing their own thing than in previous years which slightly diminished the size of the biggest bonfire near the foot of Bath Street. Presumably people further along the Prom didn't fancy dragging their trees any further along the beach, which is understandable but a pity. Still there were still plenty of trees gathered on a rather damp evening for a good blaze.
The Loony Dook (or should that be Douk?) at Portobello is a much more haphazard thing than the much larger and more organised event along at South Queensferry that gets much more media attention. They are both recent institutions compared to the event in Broughty Ferry, Dundee that has been going since the 1890s!
There are no official organisers in Portobello and it's usually a case of people spreading the word when they will be heading down. This year there were several dooks along the beach although the largest one was at the foot of Bath Street at 1pm