Well that was a fast summer! When not moving flat, enjoying a trip to the Continent and ‘doing’ the Edinburgh Fringe, here’s what I was up to:

Saughton Park Restoration Project
This project (see previous blog post for more information) is well underway. We have a great team of enthusiastic volunteers who have attended induction sessions at the National and Central Library and City of Edinburgh Archives.

In between, the volunteers have been hard at work doing research into the history of the park, and recording people’s memories about using this wonderful green space – for work and play.

We’ve collected some rich memories so far including stories from Ken Macrae (pictured below), who worked as a tree surgeon and remembers taking breaks in the kitchen of Saughton Hall. The fact this building was demolished in the early 1950s gives you some idea of how far back Ken’s very entertaining memories stretch.

ken-2 ken_bike
If you are interested in volunteering there is still time to get involved. We’ll be recording memories over the next few months. Training is given and recording equipment provided.
Email me (Rosalind) at comhist@livingmemory.org.uk for more details.

Life Story Books
I have been meeting with people at the Seagrove Centre, run by North Edinburgh Dementia Care, to create their own Life Story Book. I’m just completing member Jimmy Stewart’s book. I think he and his wife have a rather glamorous Hollywood look in this photo (emulating his namesake?), which I’m planning to use on the cover of his book.
It’s been a pleasure spending time with everyone I’ve interviewed and in a place where the staff are always very welcoming.

West Lothian Gala Days Booklet
The tangible result of 18 months of talks, slideshows, group chats, individual interviews, collecting photos and transcribing is here. I have designed and edited a booklet from the words and images gathered by staff and volunteers at the Living Memory Association, for a Heritage Lottery-funded project documenting the history of gala days in West Lothian. The booklet is now back from the printers and being launched this week in Livingston.

I can attest once more (something I learned during my years working on local newspapers): the truth is stranger than fiction! It’s a tough call but I think my favourite story is from the imaginative designer who created a life size Jaws out of papier mâché. Favourite photo is probably the guy pole vaulting across the canal. Again, though, it’s a tough call!

Thlema Quarterly Magazine
The summer issue of Thelma, the quarterly magazine of the Living Memory Association, was on the theme of food and drink and included beautiful artwork by LMA volunteer Jean and artist Frances Priest. This autumn Frances is running a series of craft demonstration days at the LMA unit in Ocean Terminal – see the Facebook page for updates.

The Action Group anniversary book
I interviewed current and former staff, volunteers and clients over several months about their memories of this dynamic charity, set up 40 years ago. It’s now written, laid out and with the designer. Looking forward to seeing the finished product; planned publication date the last week of October.

And finally
Lest I get trapped in an era from decades ago (just joking, I love all of this reminiscence work and not least because of the wonderful people I get to meet), I have been doing some work rooted in the present and occasionally the future, most recently proofreading work for 442 Design, interviewing and writing for Edinburgh charity LifeCare’s newsletter, and an article about The Internet of Things.

And my writing group Shut Up And Write! Edinburgh is up and running again for the autumn. If you are in Edinburgh and fancy a productive hour in the company of some cool people, join the group on the Meet Up website (it’s free) and look out for the next date.

Until next time 🙂