Thursday, September 30, 2021

Angels in Canongate Kirkyard

 Perhaps these two are cherubs rather than angels, but they are certainly beautiful. 

You can see these in Canongate Kirkyard in Edinburgh's Royal Mile.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

An Angel in Liberton Cemetery

 I'm really enjoying exploring the cemeteries of Edinburgh as I survey them for wildlife. Here is a beautiful angel in Liberton Cemetery. 

You can see the angel from Corstorphine HIll Cemetery in my recent post here

You can read my first blogpost about the wildlife of Edinburgh's cemeteries over on my Crafty Green Poet blog here.

Monday, September 27, 2021

An Angel in the Woodland cemetery


This beautiful angel stands in Corstorphine Hill Cemetery, one of the 43 cemeteries in Edinburgh that I've been contracted to do wildlife surveys of over the next six months. 

Last week I surveyed this cemetery and Greyfriars Kirkyard, and you can read more over on my Crafty Green Poet blog, here.

Saturday, September 04, 2021

Celtic Crosses of North Merchiston Cemetery

 Over lockdown, Crafty Green Boyfriend and I discovered two of the local cemeteries as wonderful wildlife havens. (I've blogged quite a lot about the wildlife of the cemeteries in my Crafty Green Poet blog). A Friends group has been set up for the North Merchiston Cemetery and I've joined the committee as the Wildlife Officer. We recently set up a Twitter account (@FofNMC which you can follow here). I'm tweeting about the wildlife, but also about some of the gravestones.

There are some beautiful Celtic crosses in the cemetery, the photos below show just a selection:

It's an old cemetery, few people are buried there now (unless you already have a family plot, you can't be buried there in fact). Some headstones have been vandalized in the past, some have been placed face down by the council because they were deemed dangerous. It would be nice to see all the stones replaced in their rightful positions, but apparently that would take many years to complete.

The cemetery has been neglected over the years, and is now fairly overgrown, which makes it a wonderful wildlife haven. There's a fine balance to be found between managing the area as a cemetery, while allowing nature to thrive.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Snow People of Edinburgh February 2021

 We've had a lot of snow recently and more snow people have appeared around town. These are just two of them

My favourite snow creations though have to be these snow cats that someone built outside the flat where the most beautiful cat in the world lives, the snow cats are looking into the window


though I'm not sure the cat herself is too impressed

You can see more snow people of Edinburgh, photographed during the last heavy snow a few weeks back, in my previous blogpost here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Snow People of Edinburgh

 We had a lot of snow last night and some people have been taking the opportunity to build some snow people!! Here are just a few of them!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Seasons Greetings to All My Blog Readers



Seasons Greetings 

to all my blog readers! 


Wishing you all the best for what, for most of us, is the strangest ever festive season.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Chaos in the Mall

The president of the so-called free world
is throwing fire crackers round the shopping mall
like a toddler in a temper tantrum who has somehow
got his hands on a gun.

Screams echo round the shops and corridors
people cower behind their shopping trolleys
“Muslims! Mexicans! Terrorists!”
shouts the president of the so-called free world.

I creep up behind him, pushing my trolley
that is laden with hummus and tacos.
I try to calm him down
but he throws a firecracker in my face.

And then I wake. 
To my readers in the USA, if you haven't voted early, please vote today. It's not my election, but this one, more than ever matters to the whole world.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Bi-Visibilty Day

Every year since 1999, 23 September has been Bi-Visibility Day

Here are some of the articles I found and first posted on Bi-Visibility Day a few years ago:

Ignoring the B in LGBTQI denies us our identity by Vonny Moyes in The National

Why I don't like being asked which gender I prefer by Zachary Zane on Bustle

an article on how to be a bi-ally (with a nice bisexual umbrella).

an article from the National Union of Students about the importance of Bisexuality Visibility Day

an older article about the need for Bisexuality Visibility Day.

Bi Community News is Britain's Bimonthly Bisexual magazine.

And I've been thinking about bisexual films of which there don't seem to be many, this is just off the top of my head but there's

101 Rekyavik
Chasing Amy
Don't Look at Me That Way (which I reviewed for last year's Bi-Visibility Day here

Treacle (which I reviewed here).

Friday, September 04, 2020

The new work flexibility

Many organisations are talking about enabling more flexible working as lockdown is relaxing and that’s brilliant. We don’t want to go back to the days when most people who worked in offices were required to be there from 9am until 6pm every week day.

Flexibility is great, it allows people to start earlier or finish later to suit their preferences and responsibilities, it allows for part time or condensed hours, it allows people to schedule medical appointments without having to take time off in the middle of the day, it allows people to work from home if they want, maybe every day, perhaps once a week or perhaps while they wait for a plumber to turn up, or for a morning if they have an afternoon meeting that’s closer to home than it is to the office.

It’s also understandable that as lockdown eases, people want to work from home as they have legitimate concerns about working in a crowded office or taking long journeys in crowded public transport where the ‘mandatory’ rule about mask wearing isn’t enforced and therefore isn’t obeyed.

As a freelancer, I work (in normal times) in a variety of places, sometimes outdoors, sometimes indoors, but always my home is my office base and I am used to that and happy with it (though I prefer face to face working with students or colleagues.)

However, not everyone can work from home and statements about flexible working can become virtue signalling from companies that actually want everyone to work from home so they can save on office costs. My partner works for an organisation that used to be very averse to flexible working, requiring everyone to be in the office every day unless they had meetings out of the office. Now, however, the same organisation seem to want to push everyone to work from home all the time. My partner however is looking forward to returning to the office and we don’t have enough space in the flat to both work comfortably at home full time.

This new commitment to flexibility is tied to the organisation’s desire to cut costs and doesn’t necessarily help employees:

1. Some people’s homes aren’t ideal for working in:

You may be sitting at the kitchen table with a laptop balanced on top of a cardboard box or on the sofa with your laptop on your knees. You may be trying to balance working with educating your children. You may be trying to do your job in one corner of the room, while your partner is trying to do their job in the other corner of the room.

2. It’s important to realise too that working in an office does have benefits:

a) the ability to interact with colleagues more effectively, it allows for conversations in passing, whether that’s a nice social break or an interesting insight into a work project. It allows for the development of a corporate culture (for good or bad!) and effective team working.

b) an effective separation between work and home, which many people find really valuable, if the commute isn’t too long.

Yes, there are times when video conferences are very useful (if people are scattered geographically) but for many people they are more tiring and less effective than face to face meetings.

It's also worth considering that the much vaunted environmental benefits of mass home working aren't as clear cut as many commentators seem to think. Yes, if everyone worked from home then there would be fewer vehicles on the roads and less air pollution and less fuel used. However, if everyone's working from home then it's likely that everyone will be given their own printer/scanner/photocopier rather than sharing the office equipment and lots of individual homes will likely be lit up and heated or air conditioned all day rather than just the offices.

As we move into the new normal that lies beyond the COVID_19 pandemic we need to offer better working conditions to everyone and that means that flexible working should allow employees to work as they want to, as long as they are able to do the job they are paid to do. So it should be equally fine for people who can’t or don’t want to be in the office to work from home with good video links to their colleagues, but it should also be fine for people to work in the office except for the occasional bit of homeworking if they need to wait in for a plumber. Plus, people should be supported in their choices, whether that’s by supplying them with the required technology to effectively do their job from home or by ensuring that the office is a safe place to work – regularly deep cleaned and provided with the necessary protective equipment, good ventilation and social distancing.


A version of this article first appeared here on Pendemic.  

The Guardian newspaper has a selection of articles on working from home.