‘I’ve been living in Portobello for 28 years now, I used to work up in Milton Road in a retirement home. When I retired we quickly bought a property in Musselburgh and didn’t like it so bought here and knew it was right. Since we came the High Street now is virtually unrecognisable but you have everything you need here.
About 5 years ago I acquired these particular panniers, a friend who knows about bikes gave them to me and I thought, I should be using these for some constructive purpose. I always thought a bike was the perfect way of engaging with people. If I want to get a message out, whether people agree with you or disagree and as I am not a member of so many groups anymore, it’s a way to have an influence.
I am that slow now people could stop me when I am ambling along and say hey! What’s all that about? (laughs) But you don’t get too much of that these days. Once or twice people have said in a very friendly way, I don’t agree with you at all.’
‘Europe was very imperfect and many things about it have made me think, why am I actually supporting this? But I feel that we didn’t get a choice, the choice was taken away from us, we should have been given the opportunity to have a say and that’s just not on.
I feel that I can’t really influence very big issues but I am here in Portobello, I am known and can influence issues incrementally by supporting things such as keeping the Pitz, the football pitches for instance, that’s one I support along with other environmental issues. People may not agree but you can make them think, what more can you do then getting people to think? You can’t change their mind necessarily.
I had a bike 35 years ago when I was working up North and I was very much involved in the peace movement and I had a sign up saying ‘The Peace Pedlar’, I had that always on my bike and then went kind of dormant until I got those panniers a few years ago.
'I zigzagged my way to Porty 7 years ago from India, through Orkney and even had a stint in Fraserborough, the Broch! We came to Edinburgh on a visit and decided this is where we wanted to live and a year later we were here.
I have seen Portobello change even in that time, the 'gentrification' if you like, but even so, the community seems to rub shoulders with each other quite happily, the newcomers and the original Porty dwellers.
All of Edinburgh suffers from 'gentrification' its a nice place to live, its bound to happen. I mean look at us sitting here (the beach) and jump on a bus and in 10 mins you are in the centre of Edinburgh. Portobello is the added jam on it, why would you want to live anywhere else?
I was an illustrator for years, having to supplement my work with teaching jobs as there wasn't enough work. When I got here I decided to get off the rat wheel and concentrate on my work as an illustrator and have since started a spoken word theatre company called Poetry Circus which began here at the Dalriada. We have recently moved to Leith for more space but we come back here occasionally and are returning during the festival on the 24th!
Spoken word was a total accident for me. About 7 or 8 years ago I wrote a book and whilst doing library tours my publicist asked me to read a chapter out of the book. I wasn't keen but realised it was something I should learn to do. I saw an advertisement for a performance workshop in Portobello library and the guy who ran it suggested I do some open mic gigs.
Of all the art forms it pays the least but you get a big kick out of it, it's a real buzz. Most of my stuff is funny but I like to keep people on their toes and occasionally do something really hard hitting and depressing, but that's life isn't it?' ... See MoreSee Less
'When I was young I worked making candy floss at Mrs Polozzi's which was a chip shop and she sold candy floss out the front windae, Candy floosss, get your candy floss here! And then I worked at the Fun City that was owned by Solly Mackintosh and then I worked at Erinolls Souvenir Shop that sold Kiss Me Quick hats and all sorts. I also worked the Donkeys but that job didn't last long.
Glaswegians used to come here for the trade fortnight and the place was packed! You couldnae find a space on the beach at all. That was Portys' hay day, the pubs were rammed every night and we went dancing in the town hall. They used to come and stay in the Seabeach, the Hammy and the Seahaven either that or they all had an Auntie in Niddrie!
I got bought my first house in Ramsay Place beside the Police Station for £2000! And when I got married I lived in Bath Street. My house cost me £7000 then and it had big bedrooms and high ceilings with all the cornicing and lovely big black fire places and I didn't want any of it! I told my Dad to rip it all out, now they're putting it all back in!
We have to get two buses to get here these days but it's worth it, I wish they still sold deck chairs on the beach though!' ... See MoreSee Less
'I was born in Porty, one of three triplets, at 17 Mitchells Buildings opposite the power station. There were 7 of us, 6 girls and one boy. We were 5 pounds each so a good size and my mum had us at home because the NHS didn't start until 1948. My parents paid the Doctor £9 for helping to deliver us, £3 each!
We were quite famous then, the Shaw triplets, because having triplets was rare in those days. My mum used to make a fortune when she pushed us down the beach in a single and double buggy as people put money in them. People as far away as Canada sent clothes and money to us and we were always in the paper. She dressed us in the same clothes until we were 15, she would buy two of the same outfit and make the other one!
We left to live in Nigeria when me and my sisters were two but my other sisters and brothers went to Towerbank Primary. We returned to Edinburgh and I always come here in Summer. I like going to Spain but I would just come here if the weather was like this all the time, why would need to go anywhere else?' ... See MoreSee Less
'I will miss the children aye, I don't know how I remember all their names but lots of them I have known since they were babies because of the job I had before being the lollipop lady.
We moved to Joppa when I was 10 months old and then I moved to King's Road when I got married. I went to Towerbank Primary and I will always remember the outdoor toilets, they were freezing! We didn't do anything really at the end of school, just went home and were happy we were on holidays so we could play on the beach.
My father was a photographer for the Glasgow Herald, he took lots of photos of the Queen and all sorts. I was in the paper a lot! I have lots of photos of his, a big box of them, I might spend the summer sorting through them all.' ... See MoreSee Less
'I have lived in Porty for the last 11 years with my husband and (now) three daughters. We moved from the centre of Edinburgh when my first daughter was 3 months old.
I had come to Porty for a wee afternoon stroll when I was nearing the end of my pregnancy and had a light bulb moment, why the funk would you want to live anywhere else in Edinburgh?
Much to my husbands annoyance, nowhere else but within the one mile radius from the heart of Portobello would even be considered when looking to move house. Whether it was hormones or just plain fate, it was the best move we ever made.
A decade down the line and I still feel the same way. Porty is rich with all walks of life. It has seen massive changes in the last 20 years but even with the 'bacon sandwiches'/'gentrification' debate it has, at it's heart, an almost village like mentality where the community is diverse yet still close and cohesive, whilst also being passionate and combative as it strives for a better future for its residents.
This is, in part, a photography project for me but it is also a real opportunity to scratch the surface and have a wee gander into the lives of the people we rub shoulders with everyday.
I hope to meet as many Porty folk as I can and am happy to hear from anybody who would like to be involved! Don't be afraid if you see me lurking with a camera but I would love to take your photo and hear your chat, no pressure of course.
This is me in the photie with my two favourite things, apart from my family of cosss. Photo by Ian Hartley, a brilliant photographer within the hugely creative community of Porty.'