Sunday, September 28, 2008

Nairnshire property market under Sunday Times microscope

'In Nairnshire both location and price are keen drivers of price. Nairn enjoys an excellent reputation as a base for Highland golfing excursions and for holiday lets. There is also a huge demand for flats, from landlords and locals, and where there is an attractive view on offer, properties are breaking local records.
However, Nairn and district remains price-sensitive. It is increasingly a dormitory suburb for priced-out Inverness commuters and English relocators; local wages cannot keep pace with recent price hikes. '

You can read the full Sunday Times article here.
It is against this background of local wages not keeping pace with housing prices that the controversial Maggot Road flats will be built. Whatever your view about the project it is too late to stop it now. Yes they will be large and the controversy continues, led by the Nairn Concerned Residents Association, but if you were someone unable to afford a house in your home town, would you be so worried that the buildings were out of character? How long will it be before someone on Nairn's housing waiting list stands up to criticise the critics?

No matter how objectionable some folk may find these flats there are millions of people in this world who can only dream of such accomodation close to the beach and the river in a holiday town. Let's hope however, in future we can build homes with gardens for the folk on the housing list and not too many more blocks of flats. Nairn will grow but let's do our best to keep it a great place to live!Everything prepared for work to start on the controversial project that will provide badly needed housing in Nairn.

Day out in the Capital

Edinburgh City 2 Nairn County 0
If there was a pivotal moment in this scrappy Scottish Cup tie it was when Brian MacLeod missed a penalty for Nairn and the ten man opposition finally found their home ground feet and went on to score another gaol and contain the County.

If the team had a bad day then perhaps the fans still enjoyed the occasion of a big day out. Edinburgh City have their home in the Meadowbank Stadium and you can’t help feeling that the Ghost of Meadowbank Thistle FC lingers around like like some hidden silent help – the soccer club equivalent of a Randall and Hopkirk situation? Even the steward wears a fluorescent jacket with the letters MTFC no 12 on the back. One of the fans wore a T-shirt with the legend ‘Franchise Football, Never Forgive, Never Forget!’ A reference to the chancers that stole their club , took it out of town and called it Livingston FC. It was good to see these ordinary football fans, the very backbone of soccer just like many of the Nairn faithful, being able to continue their dream of running a football club with real roots in the community. And their dream went a little further yesterday as they proceeded in the Scottish Cup and Nairn packed theirs back into the kit boxes for the 150 mile journey home.
It’s a great stadium but a shame that the fans are so far away from the action, with a running track and a sprint track and another strip of grass between them and the action, sort of a park’s distance away from the park. It lead to a kind of detached feeling that gave extra impetus to the terrace banter, the Nairn fans were having a better time of it than the players and they went home with the bottle of whiskey that was offered as a prize in the half-time raffle.
Back to the nuts and bolts of bread and butter Highland League now, hoping that the 2-0 doing was just an aberration and Fridge’s boys will recover their regular poise and resume their hard-working routine.

LIb Dem survey

The LibDems are engaged in a survey/propaganda exercise in Nairnshire at the moment and you will probably have received this leaflet through the door. It is nice to be asked what you think needs doing and maybe other parties might like to try it. Hard to know if the Lib Dems could do any better for Nairn if we suddenly had a Lib Dem government. Would a Nairn by-pass be the at the top of their legislative programme?
The Lib Dems are, however, part of the Rainbow coalition on Highland Council and we don't seem to be getting much at all out of that particular set-up these days. Still well done Graham for trying, we need more of this type of thing. Perhaps Convenor Sandy will do one next?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sainsbury's set to stay the course

Sainsbury's are Nairn's favourtite supermarket and they haven't lifted a sod at Balmakeith yet. Yes they want to come here and make money but the Gurn can only get misty-eyed and state that it seems that the community and Sainsbury's have already formed a special bond. Great news then that they have today once again stated their commitment to come to Nairn despite the adversities that the planning process seems to be throwing up.
In response to the Scottish Ministers' decision to call-in the Pettifer and Sainsbury's proposals for Nairn, Brian Pettifer, Chairman of Pettifer Estates, said today,"We are hugely disappointed by this decision, not least on behalf of our many supporters in the Nairn area who helped us to convince the council planning committee to accept unanimously our proposals in August. However I would like to send a clear message to the local community that we remain 100% committed to bringing the first Sainsbury's store in the Highlands to Nairn by bringing our case to the Public Inquiry. We would urge our supporters to join us in calling for the Inquiry to be heard as soon as possible and with the minimum of delay." A spokesperson for Sainsbury's added, " We echo this disappointment but also remain fully committed with Pettifer, our development partners, to bringing a Sainsbury's to Nairn where we have secured unprecedented support from local residents. We have confidence that our proposals are right for Nairn and the Highlands and look forward to presenting our case to bring investment, jobs and improved shopping to the people of Nairn. "

Give Way

A recent visitor to Nairn described the town as 'horrifyingly quaint'
AyeRight reckons part of it is now horrifyingly fake
Fake Victorian lampposts, and hanging basket brackets were at one level of bad taste, but in the latest lighting revamp in the Fishertown we are seeing modern day street signs stuck on fake Victorian light poles - why? I'm not sure that the Victorians had traffic signs (Road name plaques yes) but to marry old with new in this way beggars belief. I dread to think what will come next, plastic horse droppings, cobbled streets, no services (Water, electricity, gas, phones etc). I'm afraid to write in case I give somebody ideas! Please stop it, it doesn't even look twee just bad, and to boot the Fishertown is now covered with badly filled in trenches post the fake Victorian lighting install. Give way? I give up!

AyeRight helps with the weekly shop

I'm not a big fan of any supermarket, but with the news that the Nairn Sainsbury store might well be later rather than sooner Gurnites might like to try their hand at on-line shopping? Both Tescos and Asda will deliver to Nairn, Tescos being slightly cheaper at £3.50, whereas Asda is £4.00 (Note charges rise to £5 or so at popular times). The delivery charge even at it's most expensive is less than fuel for my car or public transport to and from the nearest stores. Shopping on- line might be further good news for your purse as well, especially if you write a message list first and just buy what you need. Despite it's limited appeal compared to larger supermarket groups the Co-op has released promising sales figures today. It would seem that more of us are just popping up the street for our messages rather than driving to the bigger supermarkets Food for thought as it sure ain't going to get any cheaper

Make sure you treat Gladys Pearson like Royalty on the 25th!

A first for the Gurn - a Birthday Greeting request.



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Serious delay to Sainsbury plan as application 'Called in'

We'll have to wait and see how the implications impact on the Pettifer/Sainsbury plan for Balmakeith but there will certainly be a lot of disappointed people in Nairn today as the letter below gets pushed through letterboxes all over Nairnshire.

Looks like we'll all be driving to Forres and Inverness for a while yet - condemned to leave town in search of the basic choice of food that other communities take for granted.

Council workers return to Courthouse picket line

Once again local council workers take to the streets to prove their point. Passing motorists were showing their support this morning by honking their car horns. (picture will enlarge)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Is Nairn 'horrifyingly quaint' and 'like the Truman Show'?

Another piece of writing concerning the film festival surfaces onto the world wide web and a certain Emma Lennox who thought she was 16 miles north of Inverness at the time offers her thoughts. Maybe she was sixteen miles north of Inverness and having a nightmare whilst asleep in a B&B the other side of Dingwall?
'Standing bedraggled in an empty street in Nairn, 16 miles north of Inverness and five hours from home, I looked at the pretty flowerbeds of the coastal Highland town and despaired. It was horrifyingly quaint. The sky was pressing upon my brow with burgeoning clouds and my head still ached in rhythm to the rails. I wondered why I was here; caught between the darkened heavens and gable ended homes. It had almost been a subconscious decision; whispers of a happening had blown around for months and sure enough, here it was; the Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams; an experimental day dream from the minds of Hollywood actress and local, Tilda Swinton, along with cinema know all, Mark Cousins. I had arrived for the tail end of the eight and a half day festival, to muse in the glowing projection of art, thoughts, ideals and beauty. But now the idea felt incongruous to the reality.'
If you too thought it was all about nightmares and not dreams then read some more of Lennox's idea of what happened. It's all here on Montage.
'The locals were easy to spot; they had smaller versions of themselves attached to their hems and they smelled of home baking and village fairs.'

Sunday, September 21, 2008

In-form County lift the North of Scotland Cup

Two early goals took the spirit out of the Caley side at Grant Street Park this afternoon as the Wee County went home with the silverware and looking forward to a trip down to Meadowbank to face Edinburgh City in the Scottish Cup. All in all, it was a fantastic afternoon for the players, management and the legion of County fans.

If you click on any picture to go to the Gurn's google image vault you will find a facility to enlarge or for a full screen slide show try here.

Was Nairnshire raving?

Or was AyeRight simply having flashbacks? Here's our correspondent's version of events :-)

A walk along the banks of the river Findhorn is usually a tranquil affair with just the odd fisherman or canoeist to disturb the scene, but this weekend AyeRight stumbled upon a rave party near to Glenferness Mains which was still going strong this afternoon (Sunday). Loud dance music punched through the air traveling miles across the peaceful countryside from the sizable sound system, bass thumping. Shrieks and cry’s from the party were also heard. The rave seemed well organised with marquees to keep folk dry (Heavy rain last night) with dozens of tents, caravans and cars apparent on the site. Away from the main site revelers climbed down the steep cliffs in order to gain access to the river. As in common with many such parties advertising seems to have been through word of mouth or exclusive Internet sites. Access to the site was marked by two small luminous pink signs on the main road (B9007) saying ‘Castrol 20/12’ - AyeRight wonders if any Gurnites attended?
Update: nothing to worry about AyeRight, the Editor understands that you simply stumbled upon someone's 21st birthday party.

BBC Alba - Thòisich iad le òrain Runrig 'Alba'

They started with the Runrig song Alba:

Friday, September 19, 2008

More to Nairn than beaches!

Ayeright would like to draw our attention to a little item on the BBC website concerning our wee seaside town and indoor horticulture.

The thoughts of Provost Liz

'MacDonald says improving the infrastructure is a top priority, including making the town centre more accessible and visitor-friendly, attracting new retailers and tackling traffic congestion.'
More of Liz's views about Nairn and its festvials' success in an article on the information Portal for the public sector:
The article goes on to state: 'But the regeneration effort involves compromises – Nairn has battled in vain for more than a decade to attract a major supermarket to the town centre, and is now likely to settle for an out of town development'

Gaelic telly starts tonight: bidh sianal Gaidhlig a' toiseachadh a-nochd

Starts 2100. Channel 168 if you have sky and you can get it on Freessat too. Also the launch will be shown on BBC2 Scotland.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The TSB building in Nairn High Street

If this building were to close then a link with a time when folk were encouraged to be more sensible with their money will go. Remember that the TSB used to encourage kids to save a few pennies each week in School?

You can have an interesting flashback by reading the TSB Wikipedia page.

'The Trustee Savings Banks, or TSBs, were British financial institutions which specialized in accepting savings deposits from the poor. They did not trade their shares on the stock market and, unlike mutually held banks, depositors had no voting rights nor the ability to direct the financial and managerial goals of the organization. Directors were appointed as trustees (hence the name) on a voluntary basis. Between 1970 and 1985, the various trustee savings banks in the United Kingdom were amalgamated into a single institution called the TSB Group (informally just "The TSB"), which was floated on the London Stock Exchange. In 1994 the TSB merged with Lloyds Bank to form Lloyds TSB, at that point the largest bank in the UK by market share, and the second-largest (to Midland Bank) by market capitalisation.'

AyeRight offers a solution to the current banking crisis - under your mattress

With the buyout of HBOS will we see the BOS branch on our high street put under wraps and closed? There didn't seem to be too many Nairnites struggling out of the Bank of Scotland's doors with their co-op carrier bags stuffed with £33K this morning, but I wonder as to how many peeved customers will carry their accounts up the street to the Royal Bank of Scotland? It is after all our last remaining Scottish bank and judging my Mr Salmon's comments of yesterday he would fully support such action by HBOS account holders? Mind you it is early in the day and who knows as to who will own what banks by the end of it? Maybe there will be much stuffing of notes under the mattress for safe keeping, certainly cash withdrawals will make matters worse for the banks - never liked your bank? draw some cash out today, Gurnites will show them.

Or maybe the Lloyds/TSB further up the High Street will get the dunt instead, AyeRight? Just like our beloved Somerfield store one of those two branches could soon find themselves on the disposal list?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

AyeRight says: pump it up!

Pump it up:
Rising UK fuel costs must seem like a gift to any party in opposition. We have a government and an economy in near free fall (If the press is to be believed?) as the cost of world energy steeply rises.
The parties not running the country can enjoy making a lot of noise as to what a bad job New Labour are doing with our economy, but a small voice at the back of their minds must surely be saying ‘thank goodness it is not us in power’ for in this situation there isn’t a magic potion which any government could offer to make things better.
SNP voters might manage to make Scotland independent, we may then fully enjoy our oil and green energy initiatives, but as history shows being a small oil rich country is not always such a good idea if you have an envious gas guzzling bigger country looking on - invasion comes to mind!
We now have a credit crunch rather than a recession. Banks have fallen on their own swords of greed lending vast amounts of money to people who couldn't afford to pay it back. Whilst they sort out the ensuing mess they have all but closed their doors on new borrowing, however, a strong part of their business is making money through lending so it is only a matter of time before they welcome the first time again or surely must close their mighty doors for good?
Meanwhile everyone is hit with rising fuel costs, and as this effects just about everything we consume, the cost of living will rise... sharply.
In the past low fuel costs meant we could afford to have a high number of our consumable goods reach us from around the globe - this will have to change. The green beans in the supermarket need to come from Nairn rather than Kenya. The giant American fridge will stay on the electrical stores shelves. The 4 x 4’s will rust on the garage forecourts. We may the last generation who freely traveled the globe by aircraft? And so the ‘take it for granted’ list goes on.

Change will happen and as not many people like change this will cause massive problems for future governments. As a society we need to plan further than the current five years in office of our democratic choice - we will need long term planning.
For those of us living in Nairn we have a beautiful environment from which we have little real need to escape (Holidays?) and the buy local necessity might even see the likes of local industries revive - Nairn lemonade anyone? (Phoenix brand of course)

Green is the new purple?

Aye him again:
Behind the scenes the co-op is looking pretty green as a food supplier. Those of us that have joined the queues for the checkout at the Nairn branch may have noticed that free carrier bags have all but disappeared, the idea being that we will all start using a proper message bag or trolly (Again). If you ask (For now) you can still get free carriers which as the blurb says (here) do break down. I opened the boot of my car one day to find what looked like the aftermath of a pigeon having been attacked by a hawk, but it was just a dead exploded co-op carrier bag! Whilst ending the glut of plastic is something I would support, despite taking your shopping bag along you still end up with a mountain of packaging surrounding your food. Fruit and veg is an area where I cannot see the need for so much packaging, although at least some shops allow you to choose exactly the quantity you want without the plastic wrap (Ramages for one).

Aye, AyeRight, they're even trying to recycle Somerfield for us :-)
I doubt if many Gurnites have more than the 'guranteed lol' £33,000 in The Bank of Scotland but if they have, would the co-op bags last long enough to get their dosh back home?

Purple Nairn

Why should Yahoo have a monopoly on purple?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dog Poo DNA: the answer to Nairn's problem?

Another one of those Ayeright reports:

Dog poo has been an emotive subject in Nairn (As for many other places). We have seen graffiti in the street complaining about it (As reported here in the Gurn), extra council support staff hired, but now someone has come up with a fool-proof solution.
Would having the offence tracked back to your pooch stop the problem, named and shamed for all to see? The UK is already a big brother society when it comes to CCTV coverage and with DNA taken from many males in Nairn as part of the Alistair Wilson murder enquiry should we allow unfettered Police access to held DNA profiles in order to solve crimes more efficiently?
If it keeps the turds off the streets let's roll with it AyeRight! If you are innocent you have nothing to fear but the smelly stuff on your shoes.

3rd October: a date with Deveron Homes

In the Newton Hotel. The morning it seems is for groups concerned with the Sandown development and the afternoon for the general public. The details of this meeting were revealed at tonight's meeting of the Nairn Suburban Community Council. No doubt further details will be revealed in the local press soon.

Purple plotters plan population photography

Our internet correspondent Ayeright has noticed that soon another internet company could be taking photos of you and your street!

The Gurn reported the arrival of the google car in Nairn, taking photos of all and sundry, but not to be left out Yahoo have started their own campaign, namely: Start wearing purple .
Not in the UK as yet (But promised soon) - keep your eyes open for the purple bicycle

So the bicycle will take picutres everywhere it goes and send them back to a satillite. One can imagine the bicycle, left unattended in Nairn for any length of time, sending pictures back from the the River Nairn as it joins several other dismembered bicycles that sit proudly on the bonny banks watching the salmon go upstream.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tattie cooking for Gurnites

Ayeright and his tatties:

The recent round of energy price hikes has led to the AyeRight team looking at cooking. As reported in the Gurn the AyeRight folks have an electric energy consumption meter with which they are now open to energy consultancy.Team cooking member Chefayeright discovered this wheeze whilst going up the street for his messages to complete a meal. "I needed some tatties for this dish and decided to prepare and start cooking ma tatties before I went out. Much to my joy having brought them to the boil, switched off the heat, and left the lid on the pan on they were perfectly cooked for when I returned with ma messages". Chef found that by bringing his tatties to the boil they then cooked (slowly) in the heated water and were ready in 15-20 minutes. I grew up on the notion that food for Friday needed to be put on the gas by Tuesday at the latest to get a 'good boilin' so this is indeed a cooking revelation, no doubt other foods might have the same cooking principle? Pressure cooker cooks (Try saying that fast - OK... it stays the same) might also offer Gurnites cooking gas saver tips?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tis the season of

iRight spots a winter jasmine beginning to flower. It would seem many plants are ahead of the seasons these days. Any Gurnites spotted anything else?

Highland Councillor owes £570.74 in council tax!

'The convener of Highland Council yesterday defended privacy laws which protect the anonymity of any serving councillor who owes the authority hundreds of pounds in unpaid council tax.'
What a kick in the teeth for the thousands of hard working folk who struggle to pay their council tax every month to know that someone who lifts a handsome wage for being a councillor can't even be bothered to use some of it to to pay off their debt. Wouldn't it be nice if someone had the bottle to name and shame this individual? Just take it out of the toe-rag's salary, as simple as that! If he or she wanted to complain then let them go to court over it, thus revealing their miserable identity to an enraged Highland public?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

10 man County put two past Keith to go third in the league

Joy for the faithful at Station Park as the Wee County heroes struggled on to win 2-1 despite having a man sent off. This takes the Golden Boys up to third place and boosts the squad's confidence for next Sunday's North of Scotland cup final against Caley. Get a full match report and all the County news here.

Is iright the one with the white roof?

Iright tells the Gurn:

The Stones sang Paint it Black, but has their message been paint it white, global warming could have been a future problem for us all?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hamish shares a dark piece of Nairn folklore

I've just seen an advert for Loch Dhu whisky and it called to mind a story that Granny Dunbar told me many years ago but to put you in the picture I need to give you a location

At the junction of the Inverness road and Moss Side road and inside the v formed there and in the Achereidh wood there was, up to the beginning of the war, a pond of roughly twenty feet in diameter.

Granny related that one day a lady was travelling from Delnies to Nairn in a pony and trap and when something frightened the pony it bolted into the pond. The trap overturned and both the pony and the lady were drowned.

Very close to that place there were two dwellings known Loch Dhu cottages. Bearing in mind that ‘Loch Dhu’ in Gaelic is ‘Dark Lake’ I wonder was it because of the proximity of the pond that the cottages were given that name or was it as a result of the incident? Didn’t have the presence of mind to ask Granny!
For as far back as I can remember there was a dyke starting at the point of the V and going along the Inverness road towards Tradespark. Was that built as a result if the incident?

Whilst I am reflecting on that area I remember that Sir Alan Cobham’s Circus came to Nairn on more than one occasion in the thirties. The circus used the field behind the cottages I mention and gave aerobatic displays and the like. One could book a short flight for five shillings or maybe half a crown or even possibly for both prices depending how long one wanted the flight to last.
For something really exciting an autogiro would take off and rise to “higher than a house” before landing


Brian's musings on Nairn High Street and Sainsbury's coming to town

Have you ever visited MyNairn? It's a fairly new blog on the block and today there's an interesting post concerning Sainsbury's and Nairn High Street.

War time requisistion of property - was the map correct?

Picture will enlarge

BBC says 'The Vic' to close

Credit crunch hitting the booze trade in Scotland, more on the BBC site. Recently the Gurn reported the pub was for lease. If the Victoria Hotel does close that will be two licensed premises next door to each other that will have shut recently. The Social Club too recently closed its doors. An area that was once the fulcrum of Nairn's pub life could be soon looking very barren indeed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sainsbury's write to Scottish Government stating benefits to Nairn and Scottish economy from their proposals for the Highlands

The Gurn has a copy of the letter sent to the Scottish Government in support of the planning application by Chris Templeman of Sainsbury's. The letter will enlarge if you have trouble reading the text. Please read the other item below as well - it seems the Somerfield store is now on the Co-op's disposal list. Not good news for Nairn at all! If you are a supporter of the Sainsbury's proposal, and few in Nairn are not, then now is the time to write to the Scottish Government in support of this proposal. We need a proper supermarket as soon as possible!

If you want to bring a real supermarket to Nairn, then write in support to the gentleman at the Scottish Parliament that is dealing with this. Here's his address. Please forward this information to your friends and family.

Mr Iain McLeod, Planning Decisions, Scottish Government

Area 2J, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh EH6 6QQ


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Co-op put Somerfield on disposal list says Chairman of Pettifer Estates

JB Pettifer the chairman of Pettifer estates has written to the Scottish Government outling his reasons why he believes there should be no further delays to the project.
Perhaps Nairnites had better sit up and take notice of Mr Pettifer's statement in his letter in relation to Somerfield.
'The continuation of this particular outlet is now in doubt since the new owners, the Co-op, have put the site on their disposal list.'
The Gurn asks the question: is the town centre development once again on the disposal list as well?

The Regal chip vending machine

A Nairnite was having trouble explaining to Inverness based colleagues that such a fantastic invention once graced the Regal premises in the late sixties and early seventies. It seems they thought that was pure silliness and no such thing ever existed. There was a time, however when Nairn was the equal of Inverness, even perhaps the more advanced community, when it came to the modern world. Way ahead of its time the chip vending machine was certainly there. The Gurn has testimony from a second witness. Does anyone else remember the chip vending machine from their youthful heyday?

The Gurn backs calls for a single community council for the Royal Burgh of Nairn

At last night's River Community Council meeting in the Laing Hall (again a very lively affair - more reports this week if time allows) there was a suggestion put forward from the public that like Forres and Tain, Nairn should have one community council that would run the Royal Burgh and take control of functions like appointing the Provost.

There was a brief discussion there and then and a further longer discussion when another member of the public raised the issue again in AOCB. The proposal was well received by members of the public and some community councillors though there was an opinion expressed by the chair that the experience of the existing councils would be lost in such a shake up.

The Gurn can only see benefits coming from such an organisation that would be able to breathe new life into the 'Royal Burgh' and carve out an identity for our town in the face of the ever-increasing domination of Inverness. Why should it be Highland Councillors that appoint our Provost, control our Common Good fund etc? More members of the Community should be involved. Many people have no respect for Highland Council and want an organisation that will react to their needs, an organisation that will take forward the aspirations of our community, that will do what the community wants and not what Highland Council want. People want the democratic deficit sorted - the deficit that is the chasm that opened up between us and local government when Nairn District Council was put to death. A community council for the Royal Burgh of Nairn would do that. It would invigorate our community and would be a fantastic marketing tool for Nairn's image in the world - an image that already has received a fantastic boost thanks to Tilda Swinton and the Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams.
Nairn has resourceful people and Nairn is a caring community. Nairnites are very worried about the future and what is happening to their town and many feel that the Highland Council no longer represents them. The Gurn believes that in the eyes of the majority the Highland Council has blown it. We're not talking here about the basic services they provide like the bins and education but even there you will find criticism, the Gurn believes that generally a lot of jobs are done very well and there are some sterling local characters on the workforce. No, we are talking here of the ability of the Highland Council to represent the will and spirit of the people of Nairn and the hinterland beyond. We don't think that the Highland Council can ever do that 100% simply because, unfortunately, our councillors have to go to Glenurquhart Road and make deals that are not always in our best interests - it is just the nature of the local government beast that is the Highland Council.

Please Nairn community councillors, Suburban and River, step forward and take the opportunity to give Nairn a collective voice in the world, a voice that we can all respect and put our collective will and skills behind. Let's take Nairn forward. We don't have to be subservient to the will of Highland Council. Let's take things into our own hands and keep Nairn the wonderful place that it is.

Sainsbury's Inbhir Narann, saoil am bi beagan gàidhlig ri fhaicinn?

Wonder if Sainsbury's Nairn will have some Gaelic?
It will be interesting to see if Sainsbury's show any interest in bilingual signage. Nairn's Gaelic heritage is far stronger than some think and Gaelic is still alive and kicking in the town and thanks to the Gaelic unit at Millbank school it will be around for a wee while yet. Often supermarkets in the Highlands have a bit of Gaelic here and there, will Sainsbury's show the same interest in Highland culture?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Temporary Police Station 2009?

According to the Inverness Courier, the Nairn bobbies will be flitting to offices in Courthouse Lane next year during the period when their present station will be demolished and a new one built on the present site. Will they be moving into the old finance office or the building closer to the A96? This begs the question, will the Co-op (the new owners of Somerfield) have the old community centre demolished before the flit as part of the deal that was on the table before the supermarket take-over? If not it seems a bit hard to imagine a big ball and chain going through that huge wall on the left of the picture if the building next door were full of policemen at the same time, even if they were in the other building things would still be fairly close. And, er, if the other building is where they are going, isn't that due for demolition too? Picture will enlarge.

Provost Liz and the Power of Women

'Unlike traditional belly dancing Tribal is synchronised and spontaneous; other differences are posture, costuming and musical choices. It stems from what is called American Tribal Style (ATS), a style favouring celebration of the strength, mystery and power of women. '
Get over to the Tribal Misfits website and find out all about Liz and her pupils' achievements so far and their plans for the future. Nice one Liz!

Nairnbairn gurns about the Sainsbury's proposal

Nairnbairn left a comment on the article 'Shopping in Nairn in the twenties and thirties.' The editor suspects that most Gurnites are supporters of Sainsbury's proposal and we have had very little anti reaction to the Gurn's support of the Balmakeith development, anyway we are very happy to publish Nairnbairn's response as an article in its own right:

I wonder if the Gurn - and other readers - noticed the irony in the juxtaposition (in The Gurn on Sunday) of Hamish's lyrical and evocative description of a Nairn High Street full of shops with character, alongside the Pettifer Estates letter soliciting support for a bunch of edge-of-town warehouse-style retail units?The Ballerina Ballroom of Dreams prompted a brief burst of nostalgia and romance - and maybe the fond hope that the High Street might be resurrected. The Pettifer letter claims that their scheme will attract shoppers who currently go to Forres and Inverness. Hmm. More likely it will drain away from the other shops in town the residual expenditure by local residents. Watsons was only the latest, and won't be the last, to feel the pain.And meanwhile what of the fate of the huge empty spaces in the town centre (bus station, Regal cinema, abandoned filling station, boarded up public buildings, derelict churches, scruffy carparks, etc)? Not sure which is worse: despairing mumbles about inept decision-making and what might have been, or the current shameful and embarrassed silence.Is the Nairn of Dr Grigor's vision, which we perhaps like to think still exists, actually no more than a twitching corpse? If Nairn is to survive as anything other than a dormitory suburb with a few convenience chain-store premises, then the town's planners and decision-makers have to realise that survival depends on sustaining and preserving a civic identity and a range of businesses and facilities which will attract visitors as well as offering quality of life to its residents. And that means reviving and improving the heart of town (High Street, Fishertown and Harbour), whatever else happens at the margins.
Thanks Nairnbairn, The Gurn will shortly be publishing more material that Pettifer have submitted to the Scottish Government in support of their application and yes it is in a way propoganda but a lot of what Pettifer and Sainsbury's have to say is simply an echo of what Nairnites have been pointing out for years. Comments always welcome if anyone feels as strongly as Nairnbairn that the whole thing is a bad idea.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Wee County have a day out in the Capital

These are heady days for the Nairn County faithful. Riding high in 4th spot in the Highland League the Station Park side welcome 3rd place Keith this coming Saturday. The following Sunday (21st), it's a trip through to Grant Street park for the North of Scotland cup final against Caley Thistle. As if that won't provide enough excitement for September there is now the not inconsiderable matter of a trip down to the capital to play Edinburgh City at the Meadowbank Stadium on Saturday the 27th in the first round of the Scottish Cup.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Nairn ripe for the taking Internet-wise?

With the local paper having no on-line presence and theofficial’ portal for Nairn being moribund there is an opportunity for a business enterprise to step in and fill the void. The Gurn isn’t really that kind of animal and anyway we hope to fill a more zany niche in the community psyche but step forward Iain Fairweather of fame. Iain is developing a new section on his site, the new site will offer various sections such as Events, Classifieds, Property for Sale and news. This is a very interesting development indeed and has the feel of a newspaper site such as the Inverness Courier. The appearance of Iain’s site is much better however, and has a user friendly feel. Users can place an ad for free at present but they have to register first. The Gurn expects that Iain will be a very busy man in the months to come if this initiative takes off. Will this be the lively interactive Nairn portal everyone has been waiting for?

Good luck from the Gurn for your venture Iain. 

Remember folks if you have something interesting to say and a PC with an Internet connection then talent will out. There is no going back now, the people are the media too! 

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Shopping in Nairn in the twenties and thirties

Our correspondent Hamish Dunbar remembers the retail layout of a former age. His full article is over on the Gurn on Sunday.

Salty the seagull

Iright has been pondering our seagull situation:

Nairn saw an initiative last year to try and stop folk feeding the gulls - posters of Salty the seagull with a plea not to feed him. I’m not sure if it provoked a life change (Or should that be a sea change?) for Salty and his pals? A trip to Nairn harbour would suggest that people still like to feed all kinds of junk food to the birds.
The BBC reports on a
new anti-gull initiative, this goes a bit further than posters as you will see.
Folk in Dumfries will have measures taken upon the resident gull population such as removal of eggs and nests
If there is a problem with gulls swooping for food surely it is because we have caught most of the fish in the sea and given them an appetite for human food?

Ballerina Ballroom memorabilia for sale

A hand-out advertising The Who at the Ballerina Ballroom in October 1967 is now on sale for the princely sum of £500. Is this an optimistic or a realistic figure? The Gurn wonders if all the recent publicity given to Nairn and the Ballerina has had any influence in the memorabilia market place. During the festival the Editor of the Gurn spoke to a Nairn man who claimed to have nearly all the information hand-outs advertising the bands during the heyday of the rock gigs.
 'Priceless,' he said,' and not for sale, never.' 
Looks like that individual knew what he was talking about if the price given on line is anything to go by. The concert handout is on sale at

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sainsbury's worried 'call-in' concerns may scupper store plans

Sainsbury's and Pettifer Estates are urging supporters to write to the Scottish Government. A copy of their letter to supporters has been published on The Gurn on Sunday site. The Gurn recommends that you read the letter if you want to see Sainsbury's coming to Nairn.

Tilda talks about Nairn on the Letterman show

'It's very lovely, it's very quiet.'
Here's a utube clip that shows Tilda talking about Nairn and the film festival on the National CBS David Letterman show on Wednesday night. Thanks to our new correspondent and co-conspirator 'Teddy Bumblechuck' for forwarding this hot of the press Url.

Application for Off-sales Licence on Business Park

Could the Balmakeith Business Park morph into the Balmakeith retail park? An application for an off-sales licence is to be considered by the Highland Licensing Board Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey Division on Tuesday, 09 September 2008 in the Council Chamber, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness. What will happen to Unit 8B1 Balmakeith and will the application by Sharon Magee, c/o Harper Macleod, The Ca'd'oro, 45 Gordon Street, GlasgowG1 3PE be successful? More on the Licensing Board webpage.

SNP push Highland Council on anti-GM stance

At today's (4/9/08) Full Council meeting the SNP's Councillor Maxine Smith, Cromarty Firth ward gained commitment from the Convener, Councillor Sandy Park that the Council would be actively represented at the 2nd International Non-Genetically Modified Food and Soy Summit in Brussels in October. Cllr. Park guaranteed that Highland Council would be "very involved in this summit". After the meeting Cllr. Smith welcomed the news saying,"The SNP group will continue to monitor this issue and given the farming land mass in the Highlands and Islands it is of prime importance to this region and we urgently need to find alternatives in animal feed to ensure that the quality food products used in Scotland are GM free." Data was presented at the last EU Summit challenging the doomsday scenarios from within the EU Commission regarding the availability of feed ingredients. The data found that Brazil's production is already sufficient on its own and can meet Europe's demands several times over, not to mention the substantial growing supplies which are also available from India, China and some Eastern European countries. "I would therefore like to see our Highland Council representatives playing a huge role in this debate and it is vital that the new Administration keep us fully informed every step of the way in this strategic debate,"said Cllr. Smith.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Pub for lease

The number to ring is on the board if you fancy running the Victoria Hotel in the home town of the Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams. (picture will enlarge)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Tradespark Stone

Murd forwards us a picture of a stone his father picked up on the shoreline as a boy. The stone is no longer in Nairn but still with members of Murd's family. Work of nature or work of man?

Gurn sewerage bridge watch

Late afternoon and the bollards glistening in the warm September sun. Regular observers of this neck of the woods will be delighted to know that the picture will enlarge.

The Gurn on Sunday

A wee overspill blog for the Gurn that will feature a few novelties, already you can vote for your favourite Nairn Councillor in the Gurn's first opinion poll.

GM is back on the political menu!

Iright has a gurn for us:
A few folk involved with the Gurn took part in the anti GM protests at Munlochy some seven years ago. It seems that the mighty GM companies want the UK to consider GM food again. I am not sure as to how to say NO to our government but it seems they are sort of supporting a toe in the water approach towards the public. The promises are high from the pro GM lobby - cheaper food, feed the world etc. Reality is that these companies just want to make money period. There is enough food to feed the world, just not enough money for folk to buy it. This is making the issue seem simplistic but I won't labour you with too many details here. Farming Today on Radio 4 is looking at the issue of GM this week. Local anti GM hero Donnie McLeod is featured in this podcast:
You can also make your feelings known and vote on this BBC page.

Thanks Iright, well said. We could make a start in feeding the world with the stuff that supermarkets chuck out every day couldn't we? 'Thalla 's cac!' Labour and Gordon Brown, we don't want GM! - Even the three convenors at Highland Council don't want GM, wake up and represent the people not the GM companies!

On another unrelated food matter the Gurn has heard from a totally unreliable source that the first person through the doors at the New Lidl was from Nairn. Could well be true. The Gurn wouldn't be surprised if as much Nairn money gets spent in Forres supermarkets as it does in the building that claims to perform that function here.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Scunnered with stuffed marrow yet? Iright with a first for the Gurn: a recipe

Tis the bounty season for the marrow crop. iRight offers Gurn readers a new take what to do with a marrow

Garlic marrow soup - serves 4

Half a large marrow

Large onion

3 - 6 cloves of garlic (amount depending on your liking for the taste)
2 tablespoons of oil

Small piece of butter

1 pint Vegetable stock

Salt & Pepper Roast the garlic - I do this on the top of stove in a small covered iron skillet, cook slowly, turning till soft, or roast in oven. Remove skin when cooked

Peel and finely chop the onion. Put into a large pan, add oil and butter and cook until soft.

Peel marrow, remove inner core plus seeds, chop into inch size chunks and add to the cooked onion.

Add vegetable stock and garlic. Cover the pan and simmer gently till the marrow is soft, then either blend the soup with a tattie masher, or liquidise. Add salt & pepper as required to tasteReturn to the heat and serve

Beul an latha (Dawn) 02 09 08

The magic of Nairn's shoreline in the early light. This picture will enlarge, more dawn pictures here.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Defence of Nairn and the Kingdom

Hamish remembers his duties in the Home Guard:

In early 1940 when there was a real risk of invasion the L.D.V. - later renamed Home Guard – was formed in the town and some two dozen or so townsmen who were either too young or too old to serve in the Forces volunteered. Major Fraser D.S.O, M.C, T.D, Headmaster of the Millbank School became the Officer in Charge.

HQ’s was in a room of a house in High Street and opposite Douglas Street and Mc Rae and Dick’s Garage was used on Sunday mornings for squad drills. When on duty “Other Ranks” were paired off and allocated various duties. These included patrolling the beaches and manning look-out posts. Of these one was near to Tradespark where one got a clear view of the Inverness Road towards Delnies and another was on the parapet under and around the Town Clock from where there was an excellent all round view, especially of the back shore and the area out towards Lochloy. It was anticipated that any invasion force would come from that direction.

My partner for these patrols and look-out duties was Alex. Dallas whose family had a jewellery business in the town and we spent
many cold and wet hours together walking around the clock.
On the 1st anniversary of the formation of the Home Guard, they were given the honour of mounting guard at Buckingham Palace and this honour was bestowed again in May 1943. There are regiments that have been in existence for hundreds of years and have not had this honour and yet a unit that was in existence for only for only four and a half years was asked to mount guard twice. That’s something that would never have been asked of a group of geriatrics, incompetents and immature men such as "Dad's Army" has portrayed them.

Geese flying west to east

A sunny day apart from the solid hour of rain around lunch time. A huge black cloud edged over the Cawdor hills and headed for the town, growing larger and more menacing every minute until the downpour engulfed everything and turned the world dull and grey. Then the sun returned and with warmth too. Later the evening was cool but calm and enchanting as the sun fell away. The Geese flew along the coast from west to east in the twilight. Out to sea there were six or seven small lights in the far distance, fishing boats perhaps.

Blue paint enigma

Could we be on the threshold of witnessing an initiative that may make scenes like this a thing of the past?

Nairn loon's website

Have you visited Nairn artist Jason Walker's website? The Gurn has been browsing his pages and having a look at his work. Here's a picture of Jason on the brae during the film festival.

Bogus Social Worker was employed by Highland Council

In an article headlined 'Employment and record checks failure exposed at councils' the website has published the following:
'The Care Standards Tribunal has accused three UK councils of failings that could have put vulnerable children at risk by allowing a man with bogus credentials to practise as a social worker.'
The three councils are Denbighshire Council, Wales, Highland Council, Scotland and Stockport Council, north west England. More information from
available here.
Reading the full judgment of the Care Standards tribunal
available here it states that this bogus worker worked for the council between 25 January 2006 to 17 March 2006 through an agency.
This judgement also quotes information supplied on a 'former employee complaint form' by Highland Council, 'The form confirmed that the Appellant had been employed as a social worker with Highland Council – Social Work Service in the Culloden, Children and Families Team. The description of the Appellant’s job duties was stated as “social work in Children and Families Team, undertaking assessments and implementing and reviewing care plans of children in need and looked after children. Contact would include home visits.”
This is all very worrying information indeed. Again according to the Community Care website: 'Highland said it had offered staff "further support and guidance to ensure references and registration are all robustly scrutinised and checked" 'Let us hope that Highland Council now have sufficient procedures in place to stop this happening again and the means to check on all their staff's qualifications and previous employment etc. The Community needs to be fully protected and to be 100% sure that all the council's employees are fully qualified for the roles they may carry out. Will the 'Three Convenors' give us that assurance?
For more on this story, pop into a newsagent's and buy the Highland News.