Marionville Care Home by Asia Koter

The Dirties Digging Soil at Marionville Care Home

The clock strikes ten.

Students in their sports attire flock down Pleasance to perform their mysterious rituals in a place called The Gym, also known as The Temple of the Sixpack and the Booty…

But there is a handful of students who are different. Students wearing sturdy boots, winter coats and knitwear. They gather in front of The Tool Cupboard and open it with a secret passcode. Then they take out their tools – shiny spades, giant’s forks, and the most magnificent and powerful of them all – The Mattock.
Yes, you know who they are – the Edinburgh Dirty Weekenders.
Every week, a different place is in need of their services. The Dirties come and bring order and biscuits to where there is chaos and buddleia. Or, this time, weeds.

That Sunday, Marionville Care Home, not far from the Secret Garden of Lochend, called upon us Dirties to save them from greedy weeds and make their flowerbeds charming and flowery again. The task wasn’t easy as the weather was cold and some Dirties nearly lost their fingers to frostbite*, but as the sun made their way up the sky, sunshine brought warmth and new energy and we worked happily on emptying beds and pulling out naughty weeds until it was time for lunch.

Soup, sandwiches, and cake restored our energy and brought smiles onto tired faces. Working after lunch was much more pleasant than in the morning because the courtyard was sunny and, well, we were full of Wotsits. After the beds were emptied, it was time to line them with tarp and compost. We spent the rest of the afternoon on these tasks and when we were done, all the compost was put into beds and they were all ready to be filled with magical herbs and flowers for the wizards from the care home to make potions with… or something.

The Dirty Weekenders walked back to Pleasance to put away the ritual tools. Afterwards, they went home (or to the pub) to start restoring their energy for another project the following week…

*Not really, but it was cold.

Post by Asia Koter

29/11/15 – Bridgend Farmhouse

A really Dirty dirties project. It rained a tonne, but we managed to shift more than that in dirt and bricks.

Two walls were knocked down and a pile of dirt and rubble was moved and sorted.

the farmhouse now have much more room to have their Christmas fair, at a farmhouse that they now own.

First Project of the Year – Gorse Clearance at Holyrood Park


Fresh Air for Freshers – By Will the boat guy

As fresher’s week was drawing to a close, it seemed every new (or not quite so new) student in Edinburgh needed to evacuate all the toxins accumulated without remission during this five-day marathon. So what could be better than getting out there and dirty? (Please do not answer this rhetorical question). For a first try, it would have been sneaky, to say the least, to drag unwitting newbies all the way to what road sign designers call THE NORTH. Indeed, good trips do not always need to be long trips, and Holyrood Park was the laureate!

There was much to be done this day: to start things off smoothly, Robby the Ranger led the gang to the Park’s future wildflower meadow, which borders Queen’s Drive and Saint Margaret’s Loch. The lush grassland covering this area was soon to receive a haircut, a necessary process to make space for the new (local) species that would be planted later this year. However, the meadow was also the elected home of Teasel (Dipsacus somethingus, for plant geeks). After a happy summer of flowering on the meadow, the Teasel plants were now proudly sporting ripe seed heads, ready to feed the birds. Rather than let this resources go to waste under a huge lawnmower or as a nature morte model, these seed heads were to be gathered and tied to neighbouring trees, where birds (and squirrels, but let’s not be picky) would feed on them throughout autumn. A happy troop of Dirties caracoled in the field, here cutting seed heads, here tying them in more or less artistic bunches, under the curious eye of Japanese television. Yes, you read that right. The adventures of Ranger Robby and the Dirties will soon be live across the globe!

Ka-Ra-Te Chop!
teasel decorations
Dipsacus somethingus

After half an hour and several takes of the same non-scripted and very bucolic scene, featuring Dirties pretending to retie knots or karate-chopping the seed heads off poor innocent Teasel plants, the job was over and the dirties needed a new challenge to keep them away from games the Health and Safety Department would frown upon with both eyebrows. It was time to head for the heart of Holyrood for some real fun.

The Park is regularly affected by wildfires of various and sometimes distasteful origins, and needs an efficient fire-breaking system to protect its vegetation from the greatest mass extinction since the Rogue Barbecue Incident of 1305 (1pm Ed.). Fire breakers are paths hacked into the gorse thickets to prevent the spreading of fire (it does what it says it does). Holy rude gorse, however, does not agree with this management policy and wants its land back. Pandemonium ensued!

Arachnophiles: write in with an ID for this little critter

Dirties attacked the gorse with bow-saws, silkies (not selkies, mythical creatures don’t saw), loppers (not Laupers, singers aren’t all cutting edge), and gorse retaliated with dangerous pricks and formed an alliance with neighbouring brambles. The casualties were many amongst the gorse, as were the wounded among the Dirties. But in the end, Homo sapiens prevailed once again (hopefully not once too many), and the fire breaker was cleared.

Sandwich Zero
New Foodies (ish) first constitutional sandwich

Dirties whose hands were still functional used them to gobble up the most delicious nachos known to man, swigging water (and beer) to celebrate their victory in the name of the Queen, who owns the place but couldn’t be bothered with paid labour.

For more information on the Park, its volcano, its biodiversity and its amazing history, please visit this page (or any other with similar facts):

hill eats Effort