It was a relief to get back out and about in Edinburgh North and Leith today. What an antidote to all that pomp and ceremony down at Westminster (we had the Queen visiting, don't you know - my response to the UK Gov's substance-free programme is here (I wasn't very polite about it): http://dbrockmp.scot/my-blogs/queensspeechresponse )
So Friday started down in Leith visiting the DOK artist space behind Ocean Terminal (http://www.dokartistspace.org). This is a historic old port building with many a story to tell, being given fresh life by three impressive women graduates from Edinburgh College of Art (I'll write a bit more on this in another post)
After that it was up to Stockbridge for a hectic surgery in the library, where a wide range of issues was discussed. I learn a lot every time about the real life impact of poor policies and cuts being imposed from this Tory Government. Lots of work to be done. (I hold a surgery most Fridays, details on this website or call the office on 0131 555 7009.)
Then it was onwards and upwards (my legs will vouch for that!) to George Street to meet the lovely team at Positive Help. What a fantastic job they do, helping around 250 people with HIV/Aids and Hepatitis C with day to day, practical tasks. They rely on a team of volunteers who do all sorts of different jobs, from driving people to hospital appointments, cleaning, helping with studying. More on their website here: http://www.positivehelpedinburgh.co.uk/
Later in the afternoon I got a sneak preview of Remade's new 'Remakery' store on Leith Walk (http://www.remadeinedinburgh.org.uk/ ). It was great to meet with Sophie and her team, I was most impressed by the set-up - even the front desk and storage units were made out of wooden palettes by volunteers. The ethos is very much in keeping with my family's philosophy of repair, renovate and refurbish whenever possible!
The 'Remakery' store has an open day tomorrow (May 21st) with chances to try some of the workshops out for free, including computer repair, upholstery, pyrography and peg loom weaving. Their workshops will include everything from the basics of working a sewing machine (a popular class, I'm told!) to how to produce wood effects like the one in the pic above - back in the day we called this poker work, not sure what it's called now but it's rather more sophisticated!
Interspersed between my visits today were calls to discuss constituency matters, or just to annoy my staff back in the Great Junction Street base camp... all in all it was a pretty enjoyable day, and a welcome reminder of all the amazing work being done in this fantastic part of the world, very far removed from all the Westminster nonsense!