I am originally from Carnoustie and moved to Porty in 2003 after finishing an Art Degree in Dundee. It is certainly a different Porty from the one I arrived in but still a great place.
I ‘dabble’ in acrobatics and my route into that was through Capoeira. I had been performing professionally in circus in 2000 and that was same year I discovered Capoeira, a Brazilian artform, a martial art that involves music and acrobatics. I studied it in Brazil for 6 months and taught it for a while. My wife now teaches it to families at the Wash house on Thursdays.
I am the Magic Mirror in this year’s Porty Panto, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and It’s the first time I have done Panto since I was in Primary school! Shauna asked me if I would like to be involved, I took a week to decide as there was a whole bunch of things to consider and decided to go for it. It’s a big commitment as we have two young kids and I have two occupations. My wife and I run a forest school for kids at Duddingston Loch and I also have a circus company called Spotted Stripe. So I am working whenever I can. It’s the admin that gets me, after you have worked a full day, dealt with the kids, you realise you have to sit down and do some admin!
The best part about Porty? I absolutely love the Beach, of course. I lOVE living so close to the beach, I step out of my flat door and be on the sand in 30 seconds and that is just MAGIC. ... See MoreSee Less
We moved to Porty about 10 years ago, my mum at the time said my Granny would be proud, I wasn’t sure why at first but it turns out she had lived in Pipe Street and King’s Road, so I feel that I sort of straddle ‘Porty newcomer’ and ‘old Porty.’
At the time (we first moved here) I was spending a lot of time working in Manchester, in a place called Chorley that reminded me a lot of the Portobello. It was full of small indy bars selling simple food and good beer and had a community run shop. I wanted to get out of working in TV and was spending too much time away from my family so decided I would like to open a bar in Portobello based on those in Manchester. Then the Skylark opened and was doing exactly what I wanted to do! When I first went in it I wanted to skulk In the corner and find fault with it but I actually couldn’t, I really really liked it and thought they had done a brilliant job. I became good friends with Michael and Nina and When the opportunity came up to buy into it about 3 years ago I took it.
The Skylark is on the wrong side of the road in Porty but that can work in our favour. When the beach is stowed and full of tourists, it can be a refuge for local people to get away from it all, I like that.
I was sitting on the beach one evening drinking rum with some friends. Someone started playing music from a tinny speaker and the conversation turned to music and then buskers and how there weren’t many of them on the prom apart from Andreas; his music to me is the soundtrack that makes the definition between just a beach and the seaside... I then made a bet I could fill the prom with musician pals and local artists and that first year we had about 80 buskers. It has grown a lot since then, we have face painters, a sand castle competition and lots of stalls. It is now a major date in Portobello’s calendar which is weird!
I believe in the decentralisation of things so the busk is not run by me but run by the people who come along to busk. They decide on what they do and how they do it. They don’t need a licence and nobody can stop it. Also the beauty of it is that there are no real overheads to run the Big Beach Busk, so if the weather is really bad then there is no massive worry in terms of losing money on marquees, licenses, generators etc. It’s the perfect model!
When I was handing out flyers one time for the first busk, I was in Edinburgh and handed a flyer to a homeless guy wrapped in his army blanket. He looked at the it and with a thousand yard stare said ‘they won’t like that, the big people won’t like that, they protect Porty, it’s a magical place’ then he snapped his focus back to me, ruddy brilliant. It seems the big people must have approved because we seem to get great weather each year!
It is the Big Beach Busks 9th birthday tomorrow and 10th anniversary next year, I can see the 20th as being even bigger, taking over not just the prom but the high street with music in all the bars and cafes, even floating stages in the Sea and a huge procession to start it off, but don’t tell anyone I said that, that’s a secret.’ ... See MoreSee Less
My dad's side of the family are from Portobello so it's a place that always feels like home from home due to all the holidays up there over the years.
When I met my husband and took him on visits up there he quickly fell in love with the place. On the last couple of visits we'd often pop into the Skylark for black pudding rolls.
Sadly he passed away almost 11 months ago, just a couple of months after our last visit. I'm up that way for my Great Aunt's funeral next weekend but I know I'll be making a pit stop for a black pudding roll to remember the happy times we had in there.
It's a lovely part of a lovely community.
As a Portobello resident with family history going back several generations in the town I love to hear about people coming here, appreciating the unique character of the place, and making it their home and adding to the fabric of the place! Loving this place whether born and bred or newcomer makes you 'one of us'!
Ciara Doyle - Porty stuff!
Inspirational! How about busking on a paddleboard? :) Kerrie Flockhart and I would swim out to listen.
Try poetry Paul. You would crack it. As an inspiration, read Tony Walsh (or watch him on YouTube). Fabulous. He writes about the people and places he loves. Just like you. 😁
Plenty seeds planted now Paul looking forward to watching some of them grow.
Love ya Paul xxx
Love this human!
Mt favourite day of the summer since for the past 5 years. Thank you!!!
Nice comments, looks like the sun will be shining have a great day. Xx
Captain Wood was from Chorley. First swimmer of the Channel and subject of a poem by Betjeman and on the side of many boxes of matches.
Really enjoyed this, nice work man. Looking forward to tomorrow
'A’ve lived here for 16 years, born in Leith raised in Haddington. We made the leap to come and live here, I knew my relatives were from Porty. My grandfather was born in Bellfield Lane but the house isnae there now. His father, my great Grandfather, Robert Noble was born at 4 Wellington Street which is now Marlborough Street.
My Great Uncle James, his brother stayed in Marlborough Street too, he worked in the railways, all the Hunters worked in the railways and stayed at Wilson Park, Straighton Place... My Great Grandad, Papa Hunter was chasing a runaway train at Craigentinny and got crushed and died! The family had to move away then.
I’ve not always had one (scooter) but I’ve been a mod for a long time, it doesnae leave you! They have a Mod May Day thing each year where all the district Mods and scooter clubs, meet up. I’m in the Edinburgh Blues and I said to one of the organisers do you want to change it and have a night oot after as well as doing the promenade? Everyone used to just meet up and have a cup of tea and a bacon roll. So I arranged permission from the Dalriada for everyone to meet there. It used to be at the bar at the bottom of King’s Road but the guy who owned it died. It was a really nice day, there was a good turn oot, we had a ska band at night and they were brilliant!
I know nothing about Scooters really, but I got approached by the Edinburgh Blues and joined. It’s good as you get to hang out with people that like the same things and same music as you. They’ve been going since 1979, when I was 12 but I couldn’t afford to be a Mod then! I enjoyed the punk scene, that was good and New Wave, The Boomtown Rats, Blondie, Ska, Specials the Clash, all that.
I’m no getting rid of that (scooter) I’m just going to keep it for posterity. They don’t make them like that anymore cos it has a two stroke engine you’re not allowed due to emissions. The colour is Rosso Dragon.’ ... See MoreSee Less
‘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.'
Love the photo.
I used to get humans of new york forwarded from time to time, and love the idea of you doing it in porty.... Brilliant....
This is so flippin' exciting!!!!
Must be loads of interesting folks in Porto. Search them out Vickie.
Great project! All the best!
Fabulous! Congratulations on your new venture. 🎉📸
Brilliant. That is a fantastic photo 😍
We want in! Good luck!!!!