Thursday, August 25, 2005

Allotment holders dig in?

Uncertaintly of where the red line is drawn on the map over Sandown developments have motivated allotment holders on the Sandown lands to organise themselves. They are to form an organisation to protect their interests. Here are the details if anyone is interested.
Sandown Allotment Holders Association
Inaugral meeting on Wed 31st August at 7.30 in Nairn Community Centre.

Those waiting to be allocated an allotment are also welcome.

Oor Danny and a small matter of £2,500

The things you find out on the web are just amazing: who would believe it but allegedly and this is allegedly at the moment:

‘Labour peer Lord Haskins handed £2,500 to a Liberal Democrat candidate to fight the general election, it has been claimed.

Danny Alexander, now MP for Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber, received the money from his friend whom he had known through his work for pressure group Britain in Europe.’

Not just a small donation either but a massive £2,500 according to this article. As an ordinary citizen this blogmeister is shocked but my feelings are nothing as compared to the hurt that must be felt by the former MP David Stewart who was so cruelly (but some feel justifiably named), ‘Davie Useless’.

‘Jim Gray, agent for the defeated Labour candidate David Stewart, said he was "horrified" at the news and demanded a probe into the donation.’

Well Danny if that is how it is it will be another blow in people’s faith in democracy I’m afraid, lots of people feel that all politicians are the same and this will only help to confirm their fears. I hope this story is untrue. Why not give an exclusive to the Gurn about your friends in high places?
Thanks to the ever alert iright who first heard about this on Beeb Scotland

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Alternative view of the games

Iright takes a year off.

Nairn Games 2005: the opening parade

More pics soon, hopefully:-) it was a great day, first class with 14 pipe bands leading the parade and marching back into the town centre after the games. Blue skies all the way!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Thai Tree Lessons?

Dozatrots writes for the Gurn:
Nairnites should really take an interest in the planning application affecting the future of the trees at Rhuallen Policies. Follow the example of the Thai people of Ko Phi Phi Don who have the opposite scenario Nine months after the Tsunami, Ko Phi Phi Don and their coconut trees are still waiting with wearing patience to hear of official redevelopment plans for the area flattened on December 26th. Ko Phi Phi was put on the “map” in 1998 when it was discovered as a holiday paradise after its neighbour Ko Phi Phi Lei provided the dramatic location for the film “the Beach” (which is crap by the way). The Tsunami wave struck both sides of a narrow strip of densely built land meeting in the middle with horrific results. Over 800 died and over 1300 are still missing (presumed dead). The Thai government declined any aid for the island’s repair and reconstruction, rumours are rife amongst the locals about official “yet to be made public” plans for redevelopment of the destroyed area, the hospital remains unconnected to mains electricity and water, families can’t return as the school hasn’t been repaired…and so it goes on. But they don’t gurn too much; they just want the tourists to come back - so they can get on rebuilding their shattered lives. Many businesses have reopened and much of the island is still stunning and untouched by the Tsunami. I went there for a day and stayed a week. So when you’re fed up of gurning, book a holiday to Ko Phi Phi – it will solve your blues, get you a suntan and provided much needed “on the spot” Tsunami relief. But in the meantime, check out those plans at Rhuallan Policies!
Ko Phi Phi Don’s hospital – just a few meters from the shoreline on the side which was hit by the lower of the two Tsunami waves. They still don’t have power or water, but the doctor returned in May. And some trees have been replanted (in the foreground).

Thursday, August 18, 2005

New posts: for the time being they will appear below the 'Trees in danger' post

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Mature trees in danger at Rhuallan Policies: time for public debate?

Not many people pay much attention to local planning applications and perhaps glance at the advertisements in the Nairnshire, however, there is one planning application that can be seen in the High Street planning office that is worthy of serious inspection. It seems that up to twenty mature trees could be felled to make way for two houses at Rhuallan Policies on the western side of town near the Cawdor Road. The species in danger include, Scots Pine, Beech, Douglas Fir, Lime and a Sequoia Wellingtonia of a height of 25 metres.

With the pressure on Nairn for housing space it is inevitable that this type of situation will arise but it is by today’s actions that our society will be judged. This is not to say no more houses, never, that would be a stupid attitude but this is about what type of sky-line we bequeath to future generations in this town. It has come to this blog’s attention that as far as the Sequoia is concerned one expert is of the opinion that:
‘according to the Tree Register of the British Isles there is no precedent of a measured large specimen of this species being felled to provide a building site.’ Nairn could be bestowed with a very dubious honour indeed if the felling goes ahead.

This blogmeister is no tree expert but is aware that Sequoias first came to the UK in the 1860’s and outside of their natural environment in the Pacific North West the Scottish climate is as close to their homeland as you can get: thus the potential for a lot more growth exists in the specimen at Rhuallan. Imagine the gratitude of citizens a hundred years from now gazing up at the Sequoia and praising the wisdom of their forbearers.

It may be that two houses can be built in this plot without felling the mature trees, no doubt the council can seek the views of their experts on that one but the views of the public should be heard too. If you don’t think that mature trees should be felled please go and look at the plans and raise an objection to the application if you feel so inclined. Please pass this information on to any friends or colleagues who would feel inclined to involve themselves in the debate about what kind of environment we leave for future generations in Nairn. If you care, it is worth getting involved, this time anyway.

Do it yourself By-Pass

An interesting story in the Press and Journal today:

A group of landowners has come up with a planning idea to boost the Nairn economy and solve the town’s worsening traffic congestion.
The consortium is in its infancy but an unidentified spokesman said yesterday: “We have held a meeting with Highland Council planners to outline our intentions.
Between us, we will make available land which will resolve the by-pass road issue and release land for much-needed new housing.”

Looks like the council is going to get everything gift-wrapped for them, why not let the landowners go the whole way and make it a toll-road? 50p each way? In fact I’d say give them a go at running the council? Well maybe things aren’t that bad yet.

What is even just as interesting is the fact that in searching for comment on this story the P&J quoted Simon Cole-Hamilton, chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce. Obviously the P&J thinks we are part of Inverness, all that remains now is the ‘Fàilte gu Inbhir Nis’ sign to go up the other side of Auldearn.

DIY is flavour of the month, the Highland Council is again looking to Nairn River Community Council to come up with the cash to kick start the repair of the bailey bridge. Life on the community council is becoming stressful these days: the Chair Jean Tolmie told the Nairnshire this week that ‘she felt as though she had been beaten over the head with a big stick by Highland Council.’

Further along the coast in the Greater Inverness area, the ‘Green Campaigner’ Donnie MacLeod (Arderdsier) suggests that the new developments should use ‘revolutionary thinking’.
‘We could actually be quite innovative in terms of what infrastructure would be required, such as monorail links from Whiteness Head through Arderseir, up into the new town and up through Culloden.’
Sin thu fhèin Donnie, how about a branch line out to poor old neglected Nairn too; then you could jump on it with a step ladder and a sharp knife and take down the Green Party sign that is still adorning the High Street from the time of the General Election.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Blog contributor Doza Trots manages to escape from Kabul

Blog contributor Doza Trots manages to escape from Kabul and takes time off to visit family in Singapore

Feeding the ducks

Some of the regulars with the ducks. There was a bit of a disaster yesterday when a West Highland Terrier bit a young duck, it didn’t last the rest of the day and the champion pair that started with 17 young ones only have 13 now. 13 however is a great success compared with some other broods and the young ones are a good size now.
Earlier in the summer the swans lost a young one too, it took ill and very quickly declined but with six remaining, they too have an above average number of young.
With the ducks and the swans and the salmon to watch in the water this part of the river is becoming very popular with locals and visitors alike.

Traffic levels increasing weekly

Is traffic on the A96 that much nearer to saturation point? Flows through the town seem to build up around 8am and continue well into the evening, sometimes queues build up and become very slow moving. Has anyone else noticed increases in the number of vehicles on the A96 this summer.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Showie time

The grass is turning yellow on the links as it usually does at this time of the year. The first few showie lorries turned up at the weekend and no time has been wasted in starting to erect the rides. Lots of young loons are looking forward to the fun and have been seen checking the links out. Excitement is building as the young and young at heart count up all the pennies they have been saving one final time. (thanks to iright for keeping an eye on the tourists)
Just a caber toss, or a Stones' throw away from the showies, Fraser has been looking after the wickets again, combating the effects of the dry weather. It isn’t unusual to see a massive downpour during games week, even possible on Games Day itself (Saturday) but more often on a Friday night and dampening down the atmosphere and the candy flos. If things go according to form it won’t be long before the salmon waiting at the sewerage bridge and just outside the harbour mouth get a drop of water to entice them further up the river.

The Press and Journal joins the lowest of the low

This blogmeister thought it would be business as usual as he headed up to RsMcColl’s to buy the P&J and read the usual ‘excuse’ to the press for NCFC throwing the game away on Saturday but outrage was to ensue at the front page banner headline:
‘Cook’s widow ‘hysterical’ as she gave the kiss of life’. The P&J had printed an account of the 49 minute call to the emergency ambulance centre with information from a certain Heather MacKintosh (complete with Mrs Mackintosh’s picture) on how she tried to help the ‘very distressed’ Gaynor Cook.
'He was very calm but she was quite hysterical. She was crying and it was very difficult because she asked where he was going to be taken.' Oh poor Mrs Mackintosh, it was very difficult for you.
Well it can’t be fun to watch life ebb away from your loved one at the best of times, especially on top of a remote mountain, and if you happen to be hysterical then you are only being human. It can only compound this woman’s suffering that her conversations with the emergency service and her state of mind during her husband’s death have been made public: is this normal? Shouldn’t this type of thing remain private unless the information is needed to be exposed in a court case or similar arena?
It is perhaps interesting to know that there was a 49 minute call made from the hill and efforts were made to help Mr Cook’s party but why do we have to me made into voyeurs with this sort of information? I hope when Mrs Cook starts to recover from the immediate shock of the death of her husband she considers with lawyers the information revealed by Mrs Heather MacKintosh and her organisation.
Surely we should be safe in the knowledge that if we have to phone the emergency services in a tragedy then intimate details of the conversations will not be revealed to the press the following Monday morning?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Lochaber still to be dumped on: more emerges...

There is an excellent article on the Sunday Herald site today.
Commercial director Anthony Delow told the Sunday Herald that the plant would require around 120 workers, most of them engaged in labouring work, but that total could rise to between 300 and 400 in the “medium term”.
“This is major stuff,” he said . “The proposal is for about 600 tonnes per day coming in by sea from Glasgow and the surrounding area.
By sea eh, well could be coming from anywhere then. The sky's the limit?
Local councillor Bill Clark has plans of his own for the lochside site, including a supermarket, affordable housing, leisure facilities and a marina.
He said: “With this [proposal] you’re talking about 210,000 tonnes of waste, which could include sewage sludge and animal waste. You’re taking other people’s problems and putting them on your doorstep.
“I am incredulous that the outdoor capital of the UK could end up with this kind of plant in its midst.”
The plant will produce lots of ethanol according to the proponents but if it is so wonderful why is it to be put in the Highlands? Shouldn't it be somewhere in the central belt to reduce the distances travelled or is it safer to have it up north like Dounreay?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The 'Dead Wood Media' time for bloggers to get serious?

Let's get intae em!

A blog a second

It seems a blog is created every second. It is still a marvellous day in Nairn and even with a few hours cycling in the Culbin this blogmeister managed to add two more to the total. More pictures of Nairn here (Gàidhlig text I'm afraid) and another here (yes in Gàidhlig too).

Fish waiting to run

Not much sunshine for a day or two now and a little rain came today, rain which was very welcome in the gardens. The dozens of salmon waiting in the pool by the sewerage bridge have become an additonal tourist attaraction for the town, even a few eels are getting in on the act by helping themselves to sea-lice from the fish. This year's crop of ducks eat pieces of bread and even chips and the swans are never far away. The long summer days are shortening a little but its still the holiday season and many visitors are roaming the town.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

You even have to sign on in Inverness!

Further proof of Nairn’s relentless slide into oblivion as an administration entity in its own right comes with the news that the Job Centre will close in September: you will have to get on your bike and sign on in Inverness. I hope punters that have to sign on will get their bus/train fare or expenses back. In this modern age where lots of us can look on-line for work or even in the local paper then, yes, the role of jobcentres is perhaps going out of the window and a lot of people are of the opinion that there were never many decent jobs advertised in the Nairn one anyway but that is beside the point. Instead of everyone on the dole having to go to Inverness, couldn’t someone from Inverness come here once a fortnight just to collect signatures? It would save even more people clogging the A96 up for demoralising journeys.
I didn’t see it in anybody’s manifesto that the job centre would close, perhaps Unemployment Benefit itself will go next. Who knows what other treats New Labour have in the pipe-line for us, perhaps a few more wars are planned to make use of the unemployed?