Category Archives: Volunteer Work

Eco Edinburgh — Part Three

Another day at GreenWorks in Edinburgh, Scotland and the sun-filled blue skies have brightened everyone’s mood. The building work is proceeding apace and the structure looks a bit more complete every day.

Progress on the overhead structure

Director Ellie Mills is normally ‘chained’ to the office and making ‘on the fly’ decisions, sometimes with baby Sula in a backpack. But she was clearly relishing the chance to get outside in the sunshine and wield a hammer today as she nailed timber shingles to the end of the emerging building structure.

GreenWorks Director Ellie Mills nailing shingles

Late yesterday afternoon designer Ola was outside with a colour chart trying to decide what the final colour scheme for the building would be. And baby Sula was, thankfully, happy to be passed around and amused by whoever was handy at the moment. Here is a shot of Sula and my husband Mark last evening and you can tell from Sula’s rosy cheeks that she has been out and about in the fresh air. Just as I was about to upload these photos, Mark mentioned that for a person who normally enjoys the company of a cat, babies are not that bad on occasion.

Ola checking the colour chart

Mark keeping Baby Sula amused

I’m away for now — out into the sunshine to take some photos of the materials in the yard. Then I’ll be back to the office to stay warm while I edit photos and write survey questions for the volunteers. More soon!

Deborah editing photos and public relations material

Copyright ©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the copyright of all text and photos on this website. All rights reserved.

Eco Edinburgh — Part Two

In the short few hours since my departure last night, a structure had begun to form atop the decking. It was Day Two for us here at GreenWorks in Edinburgh, Scotland and the workers were powering on, enjoying every moment of non-rainy building time.

Wall building

Walls in progress

Our hosts, Ellie and Simon and baby Sula, seem to have a revolving door of volunteers for this project and I admire their ability to think on their feet, balance an 8 month old child in shifts, and steer a group of volunteers who are working with power tools. Fortunately we have a mature group of people here with rather a lot of construction skills amongst them. I am the odd-one-out since my tools are cameras and a computer, but I’m thrilled to be able to bring public relations and photojournalism to the mix. The hours do pass quickly in a bit of a blur though!

Ellie in the office

Simon and Sula in the office

Off to edit photos. More tomorrow!

Copyright ©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the copyright of all text and photos on this website. All rights reserved.

Eco Edinburgh — Part One

The hour that we arose — shortly after 8 AM — was unfamiliar territory for me. 10 AM is more my norm when we are not on the road and travelling. The view from our hotel window in Yorkshire revealed very little but fog-shrouded landscape. Setting off slowly, we hoped that the white-out fog would burn off by 10 or 11 in the morning, but that was not to be. We spent a very slow and tedious day driving at a snail’s pace from Yorkshire to Edinburgh, frequently never surpassing 40 mph as we traversed one construction zone after another.

The TomTom satnav, now renamed Thomasina, served us well for two days as we drove north and never got lost once. And truthfully, getting through the streets of Edinburgh was a lot less stressful without the need to constantly look up and down and check the map.

Mark and Ola laying out timber cuts

Within a half an hour of arrival, Mark had changed into work clothing and was out in the workshop at GreenWorks in Edinburgh, Scotland while I received a quick tour of the office from Ellie, one of the directors of Edinburgh’s first green building store.

The concept is simple and very admirable although a bit labour intensive — re-claim and re-use instead of tossing perfectly good timber and other assorted building materials in the land-fill.

The material comes from a variety of sources — some mundane and some unexpected. The company has a van and they do pick-ups (for a fee) of surplus building supplies from construction sites, joinery shops (cabinet and furniture makers), private home or business owners who have completed a project, utility companies, and many other sites.

Interesting materials also have arrived from the remains of theatre sets and the dismantling of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. GreenWorks is not trying to compete with architectural salvage companies but instead are trying to educate the public about the value of re-using timber instead of buying new and often lesser quality timber from a home improvement superstore.

Norm and Jim building a deck in the side yard at GreenWorks in Edinburgh, Scotland

The current focus is building materials, but things are about to expand into the leafier kind of ‘green things’ as the side yard is being transformed with the construction of a floating deck to be used as a multipurpose space for demonstrations and a food production garden centre is on the way.

Keep watching for more posts from Edinburgh in the days ahead!

Copyright ©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the copyright of all text and photos on this website. All rights reserved.