Fields of hope

Thanks to SGS

Thanks to SGS

Each year I wait with anticipation for new gardens to open to the public in East Lothian. Hoping is probably not enough, as every garden junkie knows, it takes many years of planning and graft to design a garden and be brave enough to open it up to public scrutiny. I’ve seen a few that I didn’t particularly like, but is rare to see a badly presented one and not have great respect for the huge efforts people make. It is also increasingly the case that private gardens are supplying greater amenity for the public than those in the public realm, which is under resourced and unloved. In my day, I spent a great winter and spring as a council gardener, even the most junior of staff had an encylopaedic knowledge of plants and gardening practices. Anyway thank goodness for the Scotland Garden Scheme, which actually runs year round (remarkably since 1913) but peaks around now.

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Lammermuir Festival opens in Dunbar

September 13, 2013
8:00 pmto10:00 pm
September 16, 2013
3:00 pm

Well well. The ever popular and lean Lammermuir Festival is opening the Festival in sleepy old Dunbar for the very first time. What’s more we’ll have the Scottish Chamber Orchestra along with its Conductor Emeritus opening the programme with a stirring Beethoven overture, Coriolan.

The Festival returns on the 16th for a rich afternoon programme from the Renaissance including Sheppard, Lassus, Byrd, Tallis, Vivanco and Praetorius with Stile Antico, who are apparently as good live as in the studio. This time at St Anns.

There’s plenty more around the county (click the image to preview them) through to the 22nd September.

Big Bang

June 14, 2013 7:00 pmtoJune 23, 2013 7:00 pm

The opening of this year’s Dunbar Civic Week promises to be a little different.

A delightfully fresh, young and cheerful team have grasped the nettle and come up with what appears to be the best ever and most scintillating programme of events, that stirs even an old cynic like me, Tiberius Claudius, into penning a few words.

The Big Weekend opens tonight with a suitably named Kick-off Ceilidh, supported by Belhaven Brewery 7-10pm. Lightning Jack & The Riverbugs, the part-time anarcho ceilidh syndicate sound like they are going to set the Bleachingfield Centre on fire! Tickets £5, Family ticket £15, < 5yrs free.

Saturday and Sunday are literally so jam packed that it is hard to pick what to do, but the Sunny Dunny Derby (Saturday at 2pm) and the Coastal Rowing Regatta (Sunday 10-4pm) will keep you more than entertained. I feel exhausted already.

All the organisers deserve special praise for their verve and imagination, for the proceedings continue until the 23rd. Hopefully I will get a few candid snaps for the album, idc.

Haddington Town Market

June 15, 2013
10:00 am

Following immensely positive feedback from people from all over East Lothian, Edinburgh and even the Borders there are to be 2 more Haddington Town Markets this summer.

The next Haddington Market is planned for 15th June 2013, but I recommend you go early, especially if you are after Dunbar Bakery sourdough bread (though I am reliably informed you can get their bread in a number of outlets in East Lothian, including Archerfield).

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East Lothian Jumping Flea Market makes a great leap forward

August 10, 2013
10:00 amto3:00 pm

the-jumping-flea-market-east-lothianFlea markets have always been popular with thrifty buyers, long before vintage came back into fashion and now some say thrifty sellers are also driving their popularity, either to declutter their lives, or as likely, to make a few pennies on the side. Halfway between low-brow and brash car boot sales and the more polite antiques fair, the latest flea market to watch is the Jumping Flea Market.

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Walking a line

June 22, 2013 9:00 amtoAugust 31, 2013 9:00 am

North Light ArtsNorth Light Arts is back again this year. This time it will be linking with the John Muir’s Birthplace Trust as it is the centenary of the publication “My Boyhood and Youth” by John Muir.

Again there will be a string of artist-led guided walks and lots of opportunities to meet and connect with local specialists: Countryside Rangers, geologists, marine and natural biologists, not just artists.

If you want to meet the artists, there will be a number of week long residencies at the now famous Beach Hut, and as I write a number of other sites are being developed for staging work.

Artist in residence, Alastair Cook, is back (well he is a Director of NLA) working once again at the McArthur’s Store in the old harbour. If you’ve not had a portrait taken he will be demonstrating wet plate collodion and other photographic techniques throughout the summer.

Walking a Line begins 22nd June and continue thought July and August 2013.

East Lothian Unwrapped

Tyninghame House Image from Wikipedia

I just stumbled across, when I bumped into the loquacious owner at a local bus meeting. It is one thing to visit Tantallon or Dirleton Castles under your own steam, but to have them interpreted opens up new layers of meaning of East Lothian’s rich history.

Not only that you get access to places like Gosford, Archerfield and Tyninghame House, which are not often open to the public.

The tours are for small groups only, max of 6, so have a certain intimacy which will improve your enjoyment and experience and opportunity to ask questions. Pickup points in North Berwick, and online booking is available.

All I can say is that if too many of East Lothian’s hidden secrets are revealed, will I be able to enjoy them as much?

North Light Arts – ALASTAIR COOK McArthur’s Store

November 30, 2012 1:00 pmtoFebruary 21, 2013 1:00 pm

Dunbar Town House, High Street, Dunbar

MCARTHUR’S STORE IS AN EXHIBITION of wet plate collodion portraits made by Alastair during his summer as North Light artist in residence at McArthur’s Store on the Old Harbour, Dunbar.

Alastair Cook wet plate collodion tintype 2012

WET PLATE COLLODION is a photographic process dating from 1851.It was the primary method of capturing images from the early 1850s until the 1880s. The process must be completed within ten minutes before the plate dries; this brings an involvement, an intensity, producing mercurial and unique images.

Friday 30 November, 6 – 8pm
Alastair will introduce screenings from Filmpoem, accompanied on clarsach by Rita Bradd. He will also première Jump Into Air, a Filmpoem commissioned by North Light and written by Guinevere Glasfurd, shot during this summer of the fishermen of McArthur’s Store. This event is free and children are most welcome.

Wednesday to Saturday 10am – 4pm | Sunday 1pm-5pm
Contact for information: 01368 865 899 | Closed on public holidays


Northlight 2012 Season

NorthLight2012Creative happenings in the landscapes of Dunbar during summer of 2012.  Explored, exhibited and experienced through the works of 26 national and international artists within the landscape of the town, harbour and along the John Muir Way.

Artist in Residence Alastair Cook spent the summer in the McArthur’s Store on the old quay. A Beach Hut on Victoria Quay was transformed during several artist residencies and doubled as a Solar Cinema.

The themes of heritage, light and location are combined to celebrate people and place.

Northlight 2012

Three Harbours Festival 2012

June 1, 2012 3:00 pmtoJune 10, 2012 3:00 pm

The 3 Har­bours Arts Fes­ti­val for a week in June is in its sev­enth year claims to be the largest, most diverse arts fes­ti­val in East Lothian.

Pre­ston­pans, Cocken­zie and Port Seton com­mu­ni­ties are the proud of their indus­trial past, so her­itage is reflected in murals around the town. A mural on the out­side wall of the power station, a landmark to the age of carbon, tells the his­tory of the vil­lages of Cocken­zie and Port Seton.

There is a full pro­gramme of visual art, music, work­shops, tours, trails, lit­er­a­ture, film, pho­tog­ra­phy and drama and meet the artists at home or learn new skills.

Beware of the guerilla knit­ters.