Category Archives: Uncategorized

Gardens open in East Lothian

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Scotland’s Gardens, a registered charity, was created in 1931 in order to facilitate the opening of private gardens to the public as a means of raising money to support the training and pensions of the Queen’s Nurses, generally known as District Nurses. Four years earlier The National Gardens Scheme had been founded in England for the same purpose.

East Lothian gardens that are open to the public on specific dates include several in Athelstaneford Village, Dirleton Village, Gifford Village, Greywalls, Humbie Dean, Inveresk Lodge Garden, Inveresk Village, Newhailes, Shepherd House, Stenton Village, Traprain Garden Circle, Tyninghame House and Winton House.  A full listing can be seen here.

The garden pictured is Garvald Grange, one the gardens included in the Traprain Garden Circle.

The 2016 Guidebook can be purchased on the Scotland’s Gardens website can be purchased for £7 including p&p.

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Plans submitted for £2m Prestonpans Health Centre extension

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Final proposals for a £2million extension and refurbishment of Prestonpans Health Centre have been submitted to East Lothian Council for approval.

The plans, which were put to the Council earlier this month, will see the building increase in size and will provide purpose-built spaces for patients and staff.

As well as reconfiguring the current health centre, the extension will include three new treatment rooms, a community consulting room and two larger health care assistant rooms.

A decision on the proposals is expected at the beginning of next year and, if approved, work will start on site in Spring and will be completed in Winter 2016.

panssurgeryCW-gX_vWQAAhcpn.jpg:largeDavid Small, Chief Officer, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “We are excited about having reached this important stage in the planning process.

“These developments will bring a wide range of benefits to patients and staff, increasing accessibility for the disabled and elderly and providing a modern and more effective health centre for the people of Prestonpans.”

The practice is awaiting final approval for registration as a GP training practice, and Dr Zain Kapasi, GP, Prestonpans Health Centre, said: “We are eagerly anticipating a decision on these proposals and are very hopeful that they will be accepted.

“These proposals will allow the practice to accommodate and train junior GPs to become fully qualified. The hope is that in 2016 we’ll be allocated a new GP in training. This will allow the introduction of a new cohort of young doctors each year.

“Being able to provide GP training will be a big benefit for all staff and patients.”

The project is being delivered by NHS Lothian’s development partner Hub South East Scotland Ltd, and its appointed contractor, GRAHAM Construction.

Paul McGirk, Chief Executive, Hub South East Scotland Ltd, said: “I’m delighted to see the progress being made on this project, which will make a real difference to the local community in Prestonpans.

“We look forward to continuing our successful partnership with NHS Lothian and working with our contractor GRAHAM Construction to make these plans a reality.

Counter Terrorism Advice

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Attacks in the UK and abroad remind us all of the terrorist threat we face, which in the UK is considered as ‘SEVERE’, meaning an attack is highly likely.

Police and security agencies are working tirelessly to protect the public but it is also important that communities remain vigilant and aware of how to protect themselves if the need arises.

The National Counter Terrorism policing has provided advice to the public on the steps they can take to keep themselves safe in the rare event of a firearms or weapons attack in this Run Hide Tell document. (Click on the link to open pdf).

Stay Safe Film

The film advises those who get caught up in an incident to ‘run, hide and tell’ – guidance which can be applied to any place. We know that from case studies and real life testimony based on the experiences of people who have survived attacks the advice given in the film has saved lives.The intention of the film is not to unnecessarily scare the public but to ensure that they know what steps to take in the unlikely event of being involved in a firearms or weapons attack. It is only responsible that the police issue this public safety guidance as they would do with any other personal safety issue.

The public are urged to be alert but not alarmed by the threat, and reassure them that the police service carries out daily activities to help maintain the protection and security of our citizens, public institutions, critical national infrastructure, and businesses and places, including those who are potential terrorist targets.

Our security measures and activities are constantly reviewed to reflect where the threats exist and the level of threat we are facing.

The level of threat is complex and ranges from lone actors intent on carrying out crude and violent attacks to sophisticated networks pursuing ambitious and coordinated plots – as we saw starkly demonstrated in France and other parts of the world.

This increased level of activity is matched by increased action by the police and security services, who are working on hundreds of active investigations and making an arrest a day.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, speaking on behalf of National Counter Terrorism policing said:

The police service is working tirelessly to confront the terrorist threat we all face. To do this we need the help of the public. We need them to be alert,but not alarmed. We need them to be vigilant and to report any suspicious behaviour or activity to the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 or in an emergency dial 999.

We are releasing this film which we hope will provide practical steps to take in the extremely rare event of a terrorist attack.

Communities defeat terrorism, which is why we must maintain the strong relationship between the public and police. We depend on information from the public, who can be our eyes and ears, in our efforts to keep us all safe. We must also give information to the public to help them stay safe.

Festive information

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Join In!

For a variety of reasons, the festive period can be a difficult time for some.  If you won’t be having the Christmas Day you wish you were having, follow the #joinin conversation on Twitter.  There will be loads of people taking part in a a virtual Christmas Day.  You are never alone with Twitter.

Useful Numbers

As much as we love Twitter, it shouldn’t be used as a reporting tool in emergencies.  We’ve put together a list of phone numbers for a variety of organisations.  Why not put these numbers in your phone now, before you need them?

And while we’re on the subject…have you added your ICE (In Case of Emergency) number to your phone’s lock screen (emergency services cannot unlock your phone)?



(don’t use Twitter to report emergencies!)



Free helpline is available round the clock or email:


116 123


Advice & out of hours medical help




If you are under 18 and worried about something, they can help

0800 1111

The Silverline

Free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year


0800 4 708090


confidential advice for farming and other land-based communities

0300 111 4166

Edinburgh SafeZone Bus

Support, first aid and help to get home safely from the bus based at Cathedral Lane, opposite the Omni Centre, Fridays and Saturdays from 10pm until 4am


07920 70 65 68

British Transport Police

Text BTP on 61016, call 0800 40 50 40, or 999 in an emergency


0800 40 50 40

Domestic Abuse helpline

A service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf

0800 027 1234

SP Networks (Electrical Distributor)

For power loss or emergencies call 24hrs


0800 092 9290

 Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

Final Blowdown at Cockenzie Power Station

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The final controlled explosive demolition at Cockenzie Power Station has been planned for Thursday 17th December at 2pm, which will see the removal of the remaining boiler house structure.

Nearly two-years to the day since the first explosive blowdown (11th Dec 2013) , Brown and Mason will oversee their thirteenth and final event.

The remaining section of the boiler house stands 220m in length, 60m in height, 30m in width, and is predominantly made of steel.

Sections of both Edinburgh Road and the John Muir Way in the immediate vicinity of the station will be closed from 1pm, reopening as quickly as possible after the demoliotion. A section of the Greenhills will be open to members of the public wishing to view the demolition.

ScottishPower project manager George Camps, said: “Careful planning has ensured that the demolition work so far has been very successful, and we fully intend to carry out this final blowdown in the same manner.

“This will be the last of the main structures to be removed at Cockenzie, and we would like to thank the local residents and community groups for their patience and co-operation as work has progressed.

“The project will continue at Cockenzie for at least the next 6 months‎, as we clear the materials from the site and remove the old office and other ancillary buildings. We will ensure that local communities are kept fully up-to-date.”

Haddington Farmers’ Market: Saturday 19 December, 2015

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goody-bag-lootHaddington Farmers’ Market is always special. Offering more than just the best of the season’s produce, Haddington Farmers’ Market is an atmospheric alternative to crowded shops during one of the busiest and most hectic times for shopping in the year. Oozing character, its stalls festooned with seasonal decorations as shoppers enjoy the great variety of home grown produce, friendly atmosphere and first class customer care. Where else could you speak with the producer who knows his produce inside out and who is more than happy to offer you advice and tips on the best cooking methods?

grottowebExtra care and attention is always afforded to HFM customers – twelve months a year – but this December excitement is mounting as HFM prepare for an early visitor. On Saturday 19 December, Santa and his golden grotto Lothian Bus will make a special visit. Not only will his little helpers will be singing Christmas Carols, Santa has promised there will be a goody bag for each child who would like to say hello.

Haddington Pipe Band will be playing a selection of traditional tunes, mulled wine and hot spiced apple juice, plus a range of mouth watering tasters will be available. There is also an opportunity to win a HFM hamper – packed full of delicious local produce.

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to soak up the magic than at a local Christmas market? Christmas shopping is never a chore at the market thanks to the huge array of speciality stalls offering unique present ideas and you can create your very own bespoke HFM hamper for your food loving friends.

Worried about parking? Santa’s golden grotto bus isn’t taking up all the room. There is loads of free parking behind Court Street and the market is next to bus stops to and from Edinburgh and the rest of East Lothian. The market town of Haddington offers some lovely cafes and restaurants, as well as a range of individual shops which are well worth exploring (see a list here).

Christmas is a very special time of year. Make your Christmas even more special with produce from Haddington Farmers’ Market and a visit to Santa.

Come the festive season, there’s nothing better than a spiced, warming glass of this mulled wine. Try this mulled apple juice, which the kids will love.

1ltr Laprig apple juice

strips of orange peel

1 cinnamon stick, plus extra to garnish, if you like

3 cloves

sugar or honey, to taste

Simmer the apple juice with the strips of orange peel, cinnamon stick and cloves for about 5-10 mins until all the flavours have infused. Sweeten to taste.

Serve each drink with a little orange peel and a piece of cinnamon stick, if you like.

CHANGES Cycling for Health Project

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The Cycling for Health Project was a pilot project set up in 2014 to support people in East Lothian to improve their mental and physical wellbeing. Volunteer ride leaders deliver a programme over 10 weeks to participants who wish to get back to cycling or build their cycling skills. Over the 10 weeks the group participants are encouraged to improve their cycling skills in preparation for cycling on local cycle paths and quiet risk assessed routes.

cyclingFinding new ways for people to be active is important and the cycling group is one of a number of CHANGES activities that promote physical and mental health through encouraging physical activity. The positive benefits of combining an activity with the outdoors is well documented and this is something the cycling project can offer . CHANGES is an inclusive project and encourages adults of all ages and backgrounds to take part.

Back in October I embarked on the programme, not having been on a bike for 30-odd years.

The first 4 sessions took place in beautiful Lewisvale Park, Musselburgh, where myself and the other participants wobbled in and out of cones, dropped frisbees and learned to change gears.

By the fifth week, we were considerably less wobbly and left the relative comfort of the park to venture onto nearby cycle paths.

cyclesCVTWRH4XIAEpmGy.jpg:largeToday, was my final cycle and I can now reach the top of the muddy slope that in week 5 I had to dismount and walk up.  I feel fitter, more confident and enthused about cycling than I thought possible.

Currently six volunteer ride leaders support the cycling sessions and two bicycle maintenance volunteers keep the bikes in good working order. Future developments for 2016 include running group cycle sessions once a month to support participants who have completed the 10 week programme to continue cycling. In addition, providing Basic Bike Maintenance sessions to past participants are being planned for 2016.

To take part participants have to be over 16 years old, resident in East Lothian or have an East Lothian GP.

The next programme begins in February 2016 and you can sign up here I can’t promise you will be as lucky with the weather as I was but you are guaranteed to feel good, become more confident and you will definitely have fun.  (A bicycle, helmet and high viz vest can all be supplied, if required.)

Thank you so much to the Volunteer Cycle Ride Leaders, Patsy (who was with us throughout the ten weeks), Ann and Hilda, as well as CHANGES Project Worker, Heather.

Robert Wedderburn – forgotten son of Inveresk

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‘The earth cannot be justly the private property of individuals, because it was never manufactured by man; therefore whoever sold it, sold that which was not his own.  (from The Axe Laid To The Root)

Inveresk Lodge in East Lothian, is today in the ownership of the National Trust but, from 1774 to 1911, it was home to the Wedderburn family who made their fortune on a sugar plantation and in the slave trade.

robertwedderburn012ZZZ08156C714U000000FP[SVC2]Robert Wedderburn was the son of Rosanna, a slave and her owner, James Wedderburn.

Although born free, Robert was raised in a harsh environment, as his mother was often flogged at the insistence of his father.  When Rosanna was re-sold by James Wedderburn, Robert was raised by his maternal grandmother before joining the Royal Navy at the age of 16 and arriving in Britain.

Impoverished and desperate, Robert arrived at his father’s house in Inveresk only to be turned away.

“I visited my father, who had the inhumanity to threaten to send me to gaol if I troubled him,” he wrote years later of his trip to Inveresk Lodge. “He did not deny me to be his son, but called me a lazy fellow and said he would do nothing for me. From his cook I had one draught of small beer, and his footman gave me a cracked sixpence.” The Horrors of Slavery (1824)

Robert became a prolific writer and speechmaker and campaigner for abolition of slavery.

Read more about International Day for the Abolition of Slavery here.

Your Railway, Your Say

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Any commuters on the North Berwick to Edinburgh peak time trains can attest to the overcrowding and unreliability of the ticket machines.

ScotRail has launched The Platform – an online panel to give you a chance to have your say on how Scotland’s railway is run.

To register, you will need to complete a few short questions about yourself and how you currently get out and about. Once you have registered you can then take part in your first survey!

You might also be interested in joining rail pressure group RAGES, which has as one its aims “To improve the rail service between Edinburgh, Dunbar and Berwick upon Tweed.”.  Membership is only £4 and you will be kept up to date with the latest rail developments.