November 2020
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Dreams of the Future Chapter 2 Events
‘Dreams of the Future’ We start this second group of pieces with a poem from Maggie. It is very thought provoking and focuses us on the havoc we inflict on our beautiful planet. We must all do our best, from world leaders to each individual, to halt the current trends and bring change. A vision of the future? Who can tell what the days ahead will hold Like ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ we’re in a strange new world. This world we have occupied with beauty through the land Is thanks undoubtedly to Mother Nature’s hand When we were free to enter this Paradise of Life But like spoiled children we brought destruction, greed and strife. We polluted seas and land and air, to Mother Earth’s dismay While she looked on in anguish at her world in disarray. And like an angry Mother she invoked punishments to control She opened up Pandora’s Box, releasing fires with flames and ash over what we all called ‘home’. Her winds then escaped her jar and blew across to further punish all, But, yet again, no heed was paid and we just carried on. She looked to see if we had heard warnings already made And quashed the fires and heat – but still we disobeyed. In exasperation she unleashed torrents never seen Flooding countries where before the land was good and green. But yet again we disobeyed Mother Nature’s rules And humans showed themselves as selfish, stupid fools. Then Mother Nature had one last chance to bring her kids to heel And so she released the Virus – the last card she could deal So only now we understand our freedom was a gift And realise our future vision of the world must shift. And now Mother Earth’s secret has been seen to creep As quietly and silently ‘Hope’ was allowed to peep at what had happened all around. And with that Hope you and I should see, If we obey and toe the line, then again we should be free To roam, to laugh, to hug families, friends and all - For in my Dream of the Future – we’re just going to have a ball! Thank you Maggie ‘Community Ideas’ Another contribution from Chris who is really putting her wishes into action and already a family have offered to help out. We need to care for our environment. That can feel quite overwhelming, however small local projects could work. We have spoken in Blinkbonny about creating a Little Free Library and two local teenagers, Charlie and Isaac are going to build the ‘cupboard’ for us during their school holidays. Upcycling projects to use and reuse what we have. a tool Lending Library as before. Skills sharing groups which would also be great for younger folk and our senior citizens to exchange knowledge and relieve isolation. E.g. an IT literate person exchanging with someone who can knit or sew. Chris ‘Dominion or Union?’ As a child Richard clearly appreciated the bird and insect life around him. Later in life he put his interest to good use as a volunteer recorder of bird species and their numbers. His wish for the future is that species will return and multiple so that generations to come can enjoy nature as he did. “I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion/Has broken Nature’s social union”. Prescient words from Rabbie, now more relevant than ever and applicable to the entire natural world. Born in 1939 in England, I was, from infancy, fascinated by nature’s orchestra: the nightly calls of owls, the nightingale’s song, and by day the soporific purring of turtle doves, the contented cawing of rooks and the drone overhead of a giant cockchafer, the accompaniment to the dance in the summer skies of swallows, martins and swifts. Rose-tinted nostalgia, perhaps, but I know that my grandchildren have little prospect of enjoying the diversity and abundance of wildlife that I loved then. I have lived in Scotland for sixty years, most of them in the Upper Water of Leith Valley, enjoying a different, but no less exciting, cast of creatures in nature’s daily drama from the ones I’d known as a youngster. I have undertaken voluntary wildlife surveys on behalf of conservation bodies, mainly of bird populations, from the Borders to the Outer Hebrides for over forty years, playing my part in documenting the accelerating decline in numbers, and sometimes disappearance, of wild creatures from our waters, woods, fields and hills, both in our immediate neighbourhood and nationally. While we have gained a few species, our losses have been far greater. However, hope stirs when I see an otter hunting among the stones of our once polluted river or see a jewelled kingfisher speeding upstream, lockdown experiences that remind me of nature’s resilience, despite man’s poisoning or destruction of every ecosystem. My precarious optimism rests in my grandchildren and their descendants, that the love of nature I gave to my family will be passed on, increased and multiplied, assisting universal acceptance that dominion is counterproductive and that the restoration of union with Nature is essential to reverse life threatening damage to our planet and ourselves. Richard Young Adults Perspectives : I had a chat with a mother of three young adults. My kids have all finished their formal schooling and are at Universities, one doing a Masters the other two are undergraduates. Their thoughts are not so far into the future, their hopes are more immediate. Firstly they have concerns about employment. They would all like to live independent lives, make good relationships and be able to afford a lifestyle which gives them a balance of stimulation, comfort and enjoyment. Laurella Again a chat with Gail, who is an independent artist. There are many artists who, like me, are not now members of any classes or clubs. Talking to fellow artists I find that they agree, they would like there to be a public space, a hall in our communities made available, free of charge, for us to display our art-work for sale. I imagine that jewellers, potters, leather workers, all sorts of craft people would also welcome this. It is hard to make a living from our work and a free space would be more than welcome and supportive of our skills and crafts. Gail I was on the 44 bus one Friday lunchtime, just when the secondary school children were going home. One polite boy informed me that there were no seats upstairs. A young girl kindly offered me her seat. I thanked her and took the opportunity to ask them some questions. I told them about the PBF community project ‘Dreams for our Future’ and three of them engaged immediately with their ideas. The first was a wish for ‘Hydrogen powered cars.’ The next was ‘Why don’t the heads of all countries in the world get together and decide not to have any more wars’. The third offered that we shouldn’t fund the Royal Family. After all, they live in LA’. We don’t fund them, but if we’d had longer I would have wished to explore their thoughts further. Optimism: Here is an article from Cliff. His positive attitude is one which leaves no space for boredom. Thank you for this Cliff, it is inspiring. Your piece made me think over the past few months: a cancelled holiday, the disappointment of a virtual golden wedding celebration rather than a full family "do" and the growing realisation that life is finite. A year ago my wife and I had acknowledged our advancing years and had downsized. So, I should have known that we're not immortal but the pandemic has underlined it for me. But there have been more positives than negatives. We would not have painted our gates without the time on our hands due to lockdown. Nor were we alone: the smell of new paint was everywhere in May. Is this what royalty encounter on every trip? Then, there were the gardens; never tidier than in the early Summer. One friend has used the time to re-point a large garden wall, something he would have been unlikely to tackle had we had a normal Summer. I have found it too difficult to pick up my earphones, turn on my audiobook and have the concentration to read much in the last six months. However, I did find time for Hilary Mantel's book The Mirror and the Light. Thomas Cromwell had some nasty traits but he didn't deserve the chop. I'm one of the lucky ones with a small garden to sit in, a companion of more than 50 years with whom to share experiences and a family close and far; Oh! Yes! Skype has been a godsend to keep in touch with family abroad. Another positive for me, a registered blind person, has been the chance to "drop in" to many far-flung locations from the comfort of my own home: National Theatre productions in April, the Edinburgh International Book Festival and specialist meetings by Zoom that would have been difficult or impossible in ordinary times. As the lockdown curtain looks like falling again soon my glass remains half full. ‘Our Covid Phoenix’ Here is a contribution from Jacqui. She suffered a great personal loss and told me she was beginning to come to terms with it a little when Covid hit. In conversations she revealed that she did not find it an easy journey at times. However we can see that she managed to summon up enough courage to motivate herself. Her selflessness is improving her quality of life and that of others. Unexpectedly widowed mid 2019, my world grew dark and every day was a struggle. With support, moving into 2020 I could feel my fog slowly lifting.....but then COVID hit! Living on my own, initially lockdown plunged me back into the familiar emotions of 2019 until I began to realise that the rest of the world was experiencing a bereavement of their own...loss of freedom; physical contact; income; and devastatingly for some, the loss of their loved ones. My thoughts turned to ‘How can I help my local community?’ Loving Molly’s cafe, I contacted owners Sarah and Raymond to offer my help. They were considering food deliveries to those isolating so, using my family’s skills to help mobilise their service, I organised the design, printing and distribution of advertising flyers, but it was proving a big task. Meanwhile Juniper Green & Baberton Mains Community Council was mobilising volunteer teams to support our area through the pandemic and from there my new community journey began. Delivering flyers, food orders, and doing weekly supermarket shopping, I met many wonderful volunteers and such grateful neighbours. As COVID restrictions eased, my focus turned to what community activities I could support for the future. Recently connecting with the Currie Community Council where I live, I now hope to support the sustainability of the wonderful community we live in. Unable to travel and physically socialise, like many others I used my exercise hour appreciating our stunning countryside. Exploring the Pentlands, my love of walking was reignited. How wonderful it was to watch families enjoy each other’s company, enhance their relationships and overall improve their wellbeing. Will this continue? I very much hope so. Now a member of the Ramblers Association, I’m meeting like minded locals, enjoying our scenery whilst developing new friendships. Let’s make our community’s future stronger, what community passion can you ignite? Thank you Jacqui, your efforts are inspirational. Local Amenities Here is a wish for improvement in our local Currie shopping area. Perhaps our local councillors would be able to support funding for this. I would like to see the Pentland Court shopping area in Currie upgraded. At the moment it is a desolate area, litter strewn and unwelcoming. I would love to see it planted with trees, have benches, maybe tables for those who have carry out food, and more litter bins added. There is space on the concrete area alongside the Co-op and the beauty salon. It would be a good amenity and look much more attractive. Hilary A wish from Karen which I imagine many would support I would like us to use the village shops more. If we don’t use them we will lose them. Traffic Congestion Here is a real down to earth suggestion and another, which is blue-sky thinking from Colin. We could take traffic off the road by car sharing. All those lovely new estates - are adding more traffic. Perhaps they could have a Whatsapp page and arrange to car-share. We car-shared in the 60s and it worked well. Less traffic, less parking, it worked. We could even reinstate the old train line. I could imagine that this would be controversial, especially if a track was to be laid along the Water of Leith walkway. WOW. Can you imagine the outcry? However, anything is possible and planning has to start with an idea. There was once a passenger railway all the way from Balerno from where the High School is now. There is a station at Chesser/Slateford. Maybe it could be linked in there. Well Colin, thank you for those two ideas, you never know, dreams can come true. A Sharing Community This was in conversation with a lady at the adjacent table in the Corner Cafe, she wouldn’t give her name. I saw on TV not that long ago that nursing homes and child creches share a site. I know from visiting my mother at Lorimer House with our grandsons, the residents' faces lit up when a youngster appeared. They played with our grandsons and felt their spirits lifted. I also saw on TV a project where school age children visited and did activities with the elderly. Some learned how to knit, one girl played a card game of Patience with a lady whose hands could no longer lift a card. A game of chess, reading a story, looking at old photo albums, learning about what life is like when they were young. it is a two-way activity. The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme includes community work. Perhaps some are already visiting creches and nursing homes and I just think it would work in our area too. Housing Provision This is a contribution from Chris, who knows of people who are struggling to have a basic standard of living, a home and a support system which works for everyone in need. It has proved during Covid that we can house homeless people. I would like to see a system in place that supports this. There needs to be ongoing work between the government and Crisis, the housing charity. We also need to sort out Universal Credit. I've seen so many people sinking to greater poverty due to the system. Mixed Bag ‘Unfamiliarity With Well-Kent Places’ Rob has a few ideas for improvements to our local area, some general and some pertinent to Juniper Green. And a good message - lead by example. Local golf courses in lockdown became virgin territory for a few local walkers who previously looked through the surrounding tree screens and bushes in envy at this well laid out pristine territory – many times larger than any local park. One couple went further and slept out by the 10th tee looking down the long slope bordered by trees to the 10th hole. In the distance the lights of the Forth Road Bridges sparkled in the gathering darkness. Noisy badgers digging furiously in the nearby undergrowth briefly emerged to view the intruders while numerous bats flitted overhead and owls hooted in far-off trees. In early morning they trudged homeward towards the rising sun lighting up the far-off Forth estuary and the outline of Arthur’s Seat as it slowly edged skywards. Visions of the future Quieter roads with fewer vehicles and those all electric. A 20 mph speed limit through small towns and villages. Bike lanes everywhere. No pavement parking and a ban on further housing development along the A70 and more necessary and effective road networks. Improved road surfaces. Litter becomes the exception with citizens helping to keep roads and pavements clean, no longer believing it’s someone else’s job and guiding youngsters in good practice. Improvements . At the heart of Juniper Green lies one of our lifestyle gems, Bloomiehall Park - an arena for all and their many activities; an area where people of all ages come together. To preserve and protect it for the future it will be properly drained, particularly on its eastern side. Along its western edge a hedge will be planted and protected until it reaches a good height. This will counter the strong westerly winds which drive across the children’s play area. Larger bins will be introduced to meet demand over the summer and on holiday weekends. In the brave new world post-covid, people will learn to carry away their rubbish where possible. In addition both young and old must become active littler pickers and no longer hide behind the notion that “it’s not my job”. Dog walkers will remove their dog litter by actively watching what they do and not their phones, in this active green space. Vehicles are banned from entry to the park to avoid damage to the verges. Bins will be emptied on a more regular basis. A mixed bag! Rob Traffic Congestion and Road Conditions Here is a real down to earth suggestion and another, which is blue-sky thinking from Colin. We could take traffic off the road by car sharing. All those lovely new estates - are adding more traffic. Perhaps they could have a Whatsapp page and arrange to car share. We car-shared in the 60s and it worked well. Less traffic, less parking, it worked. We could even reinstate the old train line. I could imagine that this would be controversial, especially if a track was to be laid along the Water of Leith walkway. WOW. Can you imagine the outcry? However, anything is possible and planning has to start with an idea. There was once a passenger railway all the way from Balerno from where the High School is now. There is a station at Chesser/Slateford. Maybe it could be linked in there. ‘Edinburgh Road Surfaces’ Thank you for this, Sylvia. I am sure you have given voice to many frustrated drivers. Driving along you could believe you were on an unmetalled road. Cross into Fife, East or West Lothian or the Borders you can feel the difference under the wheels. I wish that we could learn from European countries. Have a designated channel for all services under a running liftable cover beside the pavement. Access does not require our roads to be dug up and refilled. There is no need for coordination between services, it doesn’t matter, it does not disrupt the traffic flow and the roads remain in better condition. No potholes to fill after the winter frost has lifted the edges of the previous years’ potholes. The Council could save thousands of pounds in compensation that they have paid out to drivers with damaged suspension.
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