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August 2011
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October 2011

A new tourist industry


I was surprised to pick up this leaflet at the 'House for an Art Lover' in Glasgow. It is a brochure for the Whitelee Windfarm Visitor Centre.  The literature was pretty well laid out and 'sold' the attraction very well. On the web site, I also noticed the Visitor Centre was used for events; such as a cookery demo by Seumas MacInnes of Cafe Gandolfi fame. So, rather than killing off tourism, this particular wind farm is actually attracting visitors and developing some new ideas.

Our local objectors/nay sayers are constantly peddling the need for a barren landscape in order to eke out a living from drive by scenic tourists. It seems there might be evidence there is the possibility of a different type of development , blending tourist visitor activity and energy production.


The Apple Pressing video

It was a delight to work with local Apple Pressing guru, Polly Murray. We put together this short video outdoors at her home in Fife.It was her idea and a lot of fun with help from a snoring dog, wasps and a very good script. If it encourages a single person to have a go pressing their own fruit; that's reward enough. Enjoy!

The background to the Apple Pressing video in 60 seconds

Polly Murray and I made a short video about apple pressing. Polly has been an enthusiastic supporter of local community food groups here in Fife for a wee while. So, it seemed pretty natural for her to don the black rubber apron, the wellies and the rubber gloves in front of the camera. Without labouring the point, Polly gave up her time to make this video so others could get a short briefing about how to go about the process of pressing their own apples. We used local apples and local equipment; local to Fife.

I tried to get Polly to sum the background up in 60 seconds, so listen below and see how she did!

Polly on pressing 60 seconds

Finally, if you thought the whole video was just made up on the spot; glance below. Polly scripted out a very professional approach which is reflected in the video. If you require further information; check manufacturers web sites, join your local food group and, above all, have fun!


Co-housing explained ...

Screen Shot 2011-09-20 at 09.52.00
Whilst I was at the Development Trusts Association Scotland Conference, I met Grace MacDonald who is the Development Officer at the Vivarium Trust. The Vivarium Trust is a group set up to promote and pilot co-housing. I took the opportunity to get Grace to explain the concept and how the Trust is faring. She gives a frank assessment of the current situation and highlights the challenges.

Vivarium Trust

9/11 and it's personal

This is a professional blog and you, rightly, would not expect to see a lot of personal private material here. But, personal and professional sometimes get mixed up. The events of 9/11 are one such case. I have been asked why I don't do more about 9/11? It seems to have been missing from more recent podcasts. I have recorded a short piece that tries to explain what this recent 10th anniversary means to me. My thoughts and prayers are with all who have been touched by these events. This is just my experience.

Thoughts about September 2001

Opera and Renton

Opera and Renton? Archie Thomson from Renton Community Development Trust spoke and showed a couple of films in his presentation at the DTAS conference. He talked through the various Renton achievements and also pointed out the role of the arts in community regeneration. He is a man with views, advice and passion as you will find out as you listen to our conversation.

Archie Thomson Interview

An exhibitor's view

 Iona McDonald
At the DTAS annual conference, there were a number of exhibitors. Iona McDonald is a Development Officer for Community Energy Scotland. It was so busy and so many people were 'networking' with Iona, we had to record this interview after the event. Iona, was very buoyed up  by the conference and remarks on some changes she sees happening in this sector. Some are good but there are some serious challenges which require realistic evaluation by development trusts and their members.

Iona McDonald

What did the delegates think?

The DTAS annual conference is a great place to network. The marketplace or exhibition area is the place for delegates and speakers to meet and chat. Gemma from Morar Community Trust and Jeff from Stonehouse Development Trust gave me five minutes of their valuable time and lots of insights. As you can see from the picture, with Aileen from DTAS in the centre, it was busy and very noisy. But, who said networking was going to be quiet?

Jeff and Gemma Interview