Go with Jo to get council back on right track - Kevin Buckle

A Richard Wells photo of otters in the CapitalA Richard Wells photo of otters in the Capital
A Richard Wells photo of otters in the Capital
Last week I told readers that my column would be the last about the high street and the city centre, at least until the New Year.

But having just watched Thursday’s full council meeting discussing a motion by city centre councillor Jo Mowat on “supporting our city centre”, I felt before I get to Edinburgh’s otters and this year’s calendars – which is I’m sure what most people want to hear about - I should say something.

Cllr Mowat is one of only a handful of councillors who has shown over recent years any understanding of Edinburgh’s businesses and she did manage to achieve a consensus that councillors who really don’t understand the current challenges would meet up and talk to council officials who understand what is needed even less.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They did at least seem to understand the urgency, so hopefully they will skip the consultations and speaking to key stakeholders bit they love so much. Somebody did actually mention #ForeverEdinburgh and the 15 shops it has listed.

It was clear some councillors still failed to understand the point about all businesses, whether large or small, needing support and of course the usual comments about cycling and walking were raised, with it being suggested anybody with mobility issues should leave their car behind and get a taxi.

I’ll be amazed if council officials produce a well thought-out plan of action but at least Jo Mowat tried.

Speaking as a shop, I’ve always tried to stock interesting things customers haven’t seen, but at the other end of the scale it is important to try to have things people know they want and in particular provide an outlet for niche items.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Avalanche started off in the Waverley Mall working with a limited run of artwork and T-shirts by Gerry Gapinski and has since had great success with the artist Butcher Billy and photographers Scott Liddell of Dark Edinburgh and Paul and Lynn Henni of Henni Photo.

Last year we sold out of the Lost Edinburgh calendar, which features old pictures of Edinburgh, and received copies of the 2021 calendar last week.

This year we’ve added another string to our bow, with an Edinburgh Wildlife calendar by the photographer Richard Wells. As usual, I came across Richard’s amazing photos on Twitter and jumped at the chance to stock his limited calendar as well as prints and cards.

Before I moved a couple of years ago we had otters on our land, but I never ever saw one though they did eat all the fish we had in a pond!

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We only knew of their existence, apart from the disappearing fish, because neighbours’ dogs would occasionally stumble across one.

Edinburgh’s otters, however, are clearly pitching for their own television show. Videos abound on Twitter and there is even one of one taking a stroll through Haymarket Station at night.

Even crowds gathering around don’t seem to phase the otters from fishing and looking after their young.

Next week, Avalanche Records brings you the kingfisher!

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.