Nanny Noodles

Nanny Noodles

Strictly speaking, this has nothing to do with Comrie Workspace … but in a way, it does.

My name is Elaine Catton, as well as being the owner of Comrie Workspace, I’m also a writer, journalist and translator specialising in the automotive industry. In order to develop my skills (perhaps a bit late for that, but hey-ho), I am currently studying for a Masters in International Journalism at Edinburgh Napier University. One of the modules on the course is documentary film production – a field about which I confess to knowing precious little.

I embarked upon it with great trepidation and with the notion that I should stick to what I know best and seek out a story relating to transportation and mobility. The timing of it also coincided with the Covid-19 lockdown, which, of course, presented me with all sorts of restrictions. I decided the best bet was to keep it local and began researching a story about transportation within Comrie, with the idea of speaking to one or two of the village’s older residents about the Comrie Community Bus (CoCo Bus), the Cycling Without Age trishaw and the number 15 bus service.

One of my first ports of call was local oracle and community councillor, Gillian Brock, who suggested I speak to an amazing lady called Veronica Doyle. Thanks to Gillian, my story took a whole new direction. As soon as I met and spoke to Veronica directly, all my ideas about buses and transportation flew out the window. Veronica’s vibrancy and colourful tales of her life as a nanny won me over immediately. It was a no-brainer.

But rather than take my rambling words for it, why don’t you see for yourself …

The making of Nanny Noodles

Although I am confident in my abilities as a storyteller in the written word, as a first-time film maker, I appreciate my technical skills do not do proper justice to this story. Nevertheless, for anybody interested in how this was done, I shot all the footage on my iPhone 7 and edited it on Adobe Premiere Rush, which is a dumbed-down version of Premiere Pro designed for newbies like me and, as the name suggests, for quickly editing social-media videos.

I did attempt to shoot our first interview using my Canon EOS 300D. However, I messed up the exposure settings to the point of making them completely unusable. Thankfully, I had setup my iPhone to record the audio using an IK Multimedia iRig lav mic as well as a secondary profile angle, so all was not completely lost.

I recorded my voiceover in my spare room using a Shure MV88 iPhone mic. I also used this mic for the final scene involving the trishaw.

What I think is important to note is that none of this kit is expensive. It’s amazing what an amateur can do these days without breaking the bank.

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Open for business – the first month

As the produce started to ripen in the allotments opposite, Comrie Workspace entered the final phase of its refurbishment and began to open its doors to users. With the final touches underway and a steady stream of tradespeople to keep us company, we decided to invite users to try out the Workspace for free during the month of August – and within days we had the first tentative enquiries and visitors through the turquoise and yellow doors.

Vicky, who is a freelance arts producer working in the dance sector quickly signed up as a regular, taking a long-term space. Scott and Julie from Capture Scotland, a new photography tour company, began using the space for one-to-one strategy meetings. Others who took advantage of the free-trial period included an IT consultant, a forestry consultant, a web writer and a graphic designer. Local community group Comrie Drama also took advantage of the Workspace’s evening and weekend rates for meetings.

And we’re delighted to say that almost everybody who came along for a free trial has been back for more since we opened our doors fully at the beginning of September and started charging them!!

Visitors who come to explore the heritage of Cultybraggan POW camp (Camp 21) also frequently pop their heads round the door, curious to find out what goes on in here now. And we welcome that, because we feel it’s important to demonstrate that Cultybraggan is not purely a place with a fascinating past, it is also one that lives and breathes in the present day and holds enormous potential for a vibrant future.

When we set up Comrie Workspace, the primary intention was to create a shared office environment for freelancers and distance workers seeking an alternative to the home office. We also saw potential for it as an evening and weekend venue for meetings and events. However, we knew at the start that we also wanted it to be a community resource – we just didn’t know what kind of form that would take.

Well, I’m delighted to say that, thanks to the ideas of those people who have been popping in for a look or messaging us with enquiries, we are now getting a better idea of the sorts of other uses the Workspace could serve. We’ve had enquiries from parents, students and teachers asking about using it as a study or tutoring space – fab idea! So, we’re introducing a student rate of £2 per hour, which applies weekdays after 4.30 pm and all day at the weekend. Message us on Facebook or call/message 07516 118840 to book. Teachers are also welcome to reserve the entire space for group tutoring sessions (evenings after 6 pm or anytime over the weekend).

There has also been some demand for a private room for phone/video conferencing or confidential meetings. So, rather than add a cubicle to the main space, which would detract from the current open-plan layout, we’ve decided to create a separate room in the entrance hallway. Measuring 1.7 x 3 m, it won’t exactly be a conference facility. However, it will be able to accommodate a table and chairs for two or three people – ideal for client meetings or to prattle away on the phone at the top of your voice without fear of disturbing others. We aim to get that sorted within the month.

Follow us on Facebook for the latest updates on this another activities at Comrie Workspace.

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The Before Pictures …

It took a while, but now we have our lease all sorted and we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and make the hut shipshape for Comrie Workspace.

The exterior needs a bit of sprucing up, but that’s largely a cosmetic thing that we’ll fixwith a bit of elbow grease and a lick of paint. We also have some smart new signage on order. The hut faces onto the Cultybraggan allotments and the orchard behind them, where the good people of Comrie cultivate all kinds of flowers and produce. Behind that are the gorgeous hills of the Aberuchill estate. Therefore, we reckon the somewhat overgrown space out front should be transformed into an outdoor seating area. I don’t think we’ll actually put a desk there though …

The interior is actually already well finished. We need to fit a few more radiators if we’re to benefit from the camp’s eco-friendly district heating service once the chilly temperatures of a Scottish winter set in … no wait … we’ll probably need it to cope with the chilly temperatures of a Scottish summer, too.

New double-glazed windows are on order to replace the existing single-glazed units – keeping the appearance in line with the existing units, of course, to fit in with the rest of the camp. The west-facing windows are currently covered over by the interior cladding, but I think we’ll open one of them up again to take advantage of the view to the front of the hut.

You’ll be glad to know that, as well as a fully functioning heating system, we’ll also have running water! Oh yes, we know how to treat our clients 😉 A supply of good-old H2O will allow us to press ahead and install a kitchenette and a WC – which is where the most work is needed.

This rather shabby little annexe currently has a leaky roof and is of dubious structural integrity. But worry not, we have the right team for the job on hand to deal with that, so there WILL be comfort facilities.

While that’s going on, we’ll organise the furnishings. We already have quite a few bits and pieces squirreled away. The plan is not to create a sterile office environment, but more of a home-office-away-from-home feel. In the interests of an eco-conscious approach and to keep costs down, we’ll be rummaging around on Gumtree and the like to find a suitable assortment of desks and other accoutrements. If you know of any items available in the general environs of Perthshire/Central Scotland, do let us know via the Contact Us page.

In the meantime, we have lots to be getting on with. Do follow us if you would like to be kept up-to-date with developments.