Saturday, February 28, 2009
It has been sorted now (I hope).'
They are quoted as saying: '"Tobacco stocks can provide relatively high, stable and predictable returns, particularly relative to other potential investments, particularly during difficult economic times such as these."
For further details head to the BBC site.
Friday, February 27, 2009
The local authority is spending £15m a year on loan charges to service its £146m housing debt.
It has said that if the UK Government "eased that burden" it could commit more money to improving housing stock.
Highland said it might even be able to resume council house building, adding that this would create new jobs.' More on the BBC site. Thanks to Keekabout for the link.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
It could be that very soon there will be a public meeting calling for a single community council in the town and those that oppose the motion would be given the chance to give their side of the argument but the feeling seemed to be (correctly thinks the Gurnmeister) that the public would back the motion whole-heartedly. At present the unscientific survey over on the Gurn on Sunday indicates approximately a 76% level of support for a single council with a significant ‘couldn’t care less’ minority of 17% the rest being for the status quo. This digital journal predicts a single community council for Nairn within 2 years. As we approach the next Highland Council elections in 2011 it will be very hard for that organisation, and especially our four councillors, to ignore the will of the people. Although the Gurn is ignorant of the position of Sandy Park and Laurie Fraser on the issue it is obvious from a previous debate witnessed at the River Community Council that Provost Liz and Graham Marsden share the ambition of the majority.
The Royal Burgh of Nairn Community Council: RBNCC – bring it on!
Strachans Paper Shop.
Samantha adds, 'Hopefully, more Petition sites soon but just a reminder that all petitions and letters of protest have to be in either to Liz MacDonald via the Service Point or Harriet Dempster of the Social Work Department, Highland Council, before the 10th March. '
Despite the splendid facilities for recycling at Park Quarry, this facility remains only of use to those who have their own transport to drive there and don’t mind footing the carbon cost. At least the old facility at Station Park didn’t mean a car journey out of town in order to recycle.
The brown and blue recycle bins may provide a part solution but it easy to see from a few purchases at a supermarket that many items cannot be recycled without a trip to Park Quarry, namely cardboard and plastic bottles. Could a facility to recycle these items not be provided beside the Somerfield bottle banks?
Meanwhile I will await the next recycling message from Highland Council
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
My thoughts went out today as I saw an old dog being coerced to walk towards the beach by its owner. The wind was fairly biting by then and I bet Fido would have been much happier in front of the fire.
Dog owners too are having a rough time on the streets as dog poo vigilantes watch their every move, and the council dog mannie is also on the poo trail seeking to make £40 which must be welcome income for Highland Council in these difficult times.
If we can just find a UK importer an American company has the answer
Owners can now sit and watch TV whilst their pets exercise, no need to go out the front door and I’m sure the dogs wouldn’t mind if their owners had the occasional shottie as well!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
This website provides some handy panoramas one of which is for Nairn. Print out and keep in your back pocket and act with authority as you point out far away mountains and places
It’s not clear if there are any bonuses on top of this salary but a quality required would be to sit very still for long periods and do nothing. If only our bankers had followed this working practice long ago!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Every High street in Scotland could use a bit of TLC so just for once the Conservatives surely have a vote winning policy, I can’t see any town centre turning down a bit of makeover cash ‘No, we look nice enough thank you’.
It’s not clear from the web site as to how the money will be distributed, you are asked to nominate your town centre so it’s maybe just a case of getting enough votes (First past the post?), or the most heart rendering story of rot and decay? Nor is it clear as to how the winning towns can spend it but let’s worry about that when Nairn wins.
There are just over 300 towns in Scotland so if the monies were fairly distributed (Not a Conservative trait) then each town could have just under £200,000 to make their High Streets thriving and pretty once again.
The way councils spend money at the moment a team of consultants would be employed using most of if not all of the hard won cash to tell us as to how to spend it!
Friday, February 20, 2009
'Welcome to the Inverness Forum a Place where Freedom of Speech - Thought And Opinion has its Stand, Feel Free To Talk about whats on your Mind and any Experiences you have had or maybe your looking for a Mutual House Exchange or Local Letting, Well you've found the right place. '
The Inverness Forum see what you think, unlike the publicly open Caithness.org however, you have to register for this forum to see the content.
One member in Australia has declared his interest, so Nairn to Australia via the world on a train,talking about film is definitely on track.
Our mentors Tilda and Marc are really excited about my wee project and cant wait to see the finished project.
Anyone that would like to help out the Doc with the nairn filming, please let me know, as we have at least 3 members in Nairn, who would like to do something for it.
The Doc would like to start the film with a little piece about nairn and our festival before boarding the train in nairn for his bit of the film ( the subject of which we have decided should be about a favourate film)
We also looking for a name for this short film, so all suggestions welcome!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
My troupe has been going for 3 years, we only dance at community events, family fun days and charity fundraising (we do not go dancing in pubs and clubs). Unfortunately belly dance has an unpleasant stigma attached to it due to peoples preconceived notions or experiences while on holiday. Tribal dancing is about having fun, women supporting each other in a positive atmosphere, being encouraging and developing our dance so it's always evolving and growing as the dancers improve and hone their technique.
Although I enjoy my work life as a Councillor, it can be stressful and at times quite confrontational and Tribal dancing gives me a bit of escapism and it's the best way I've found 'so far' to burn off some steam while hopefully bringing a bit of fun, colour and activity when we perform. I do take my role seriously and always try to represent Nairn and Highlands within the protocols set out with decorum and respect , but I hope I don't have to conform to this 24/7 as I believe I've got as much right as anyone else to let my hair down and enjoy my hobby which is dancing.
I not teaching a regular class at present as I'm focussing solely on the troupe development, but if anyone is interested they could contact me and they'd be very welcome to come along and give it a try.
I believe we should all enjoy and embrace life, not dwell on the past, learn from mistakes and the best way to move is forward (I was never any good at reversing - tee hee)'
Gurnites get involved: go to the MacLean Court campaign tool kit page.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
I am sure charities that rely on our loose change put in to there boxes in shops etc, will be watching with fear at the prospect, as will our big issue vendors
David Brownless the proprietor told the Gurn in another thread that he would also be taking the petition to the next meeting of Auldearn community councillors. He said, 'Sadly, it's only a meeting of Councillors, rather than a CC meeting but any additional signatures that can be gathered will increase the pressure for common sense to prevail, and, as importantly, increase awareness of the situation. We have a parent council meeting at the school the following week, and I'll make sure we get a few more 'onside' on the evening itself.'
Do you have a copy of the petition in your shop or business? If you have please tell the Gurn and we'll let everyone know.
Gurnites get involved: go to the MacLean Court campaign tool kit page.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Cameron has been stirred by the success of the Obama campaign. The Mail states that the President of the United States has an internet army of 3.1 million activists, which he uses to test opinion and perhaps more importantly to raise funds.’
It is a pity the article isn’t online but perhaps it will appear later in the week. Ok Obama has 3 million activists but what could you achieve in this parliamentary constituency if you had, say, 300 active internet followers who were willing to put in a bit of work both on the net and on the doorstep? Is it now possibly more profitable for candidates to have a blog than to be seen at coffee mornings?
Footnote: crazy, my spellchecker wanted to change Obama to Osama!
TEC services are to reduce repairs and maintenance to piers and harbours by 5%, with priority being given to any health and safety issues.
Further to that there will be a 10% increase in harbour dues from the 1st April 2009 for non-commercial vessels.
The hike in dues is way above inflation, and with the cap on improving piers and harbours is a tax on leisure users, which the council has been trying to encourage in recent years with the demise of commercial boats.
With the increasing size of the shingle banks at the harbour mouth many boats will struggle to get out to sea this year, and if funds are only to be used for essential work there is little chance of Highland Council clearing these navigational hazards away.
Will the increased dues mean we will hear less in the way of chinks from Pimms filled glasses by Nairn’s boating fraternity this summer?
We are seeing a steady increase of computer applications being available to use on-line.
The River CC meeting was attended by all the regular community councillors and also Convenor Sanday Park, Provost Liz and Sgt Olga Hansan from the Nairn Police station. She gave a run-down on the considerable amount of ongoing activities that the force are engaging in to protect our community and gave us the latest on how the move was going. There are no cells in Nairn at the moment given the move to the Courthouse Lane premises, looks like miscreants will have to find their own way back from Inverness in the morning from now on.
Murd asked Liz if she’d heard anything from the Access Panel with regards to a decision on funding for disabled access to the Firhall Bridge. It seems the Access Panel is still deciding priority. Let’s hope Murd’s project wins support, it would make such a difference to a lot of people if they could enjoy both sides of the river on a round trip instead of having to return and go back the same way
And then some talk of what will happen to the Corsee building, local Highland Council members will be consulted it seems. The meeting was given a reminder that the Balmakeith planning inquiry had been moved to the 16th of June.
There was a gurn or two, supported by Sandy, about the level of paperwork the community councils have to deal with and how the inclusion of licensing applications would add to the burden facing these volunteer groups. The Chair Jean Tolmie did urge the Convenor that it would be helpful to be given the Highland Council Agenda however, something that she hasn’t been getting for a while. Sandy agreed that that would be useful.
There was debate, as usual, of the Somerfield/Co-op town centre plan, ongoing epic, saga, drama, etc, etc. Sandy Park told the meeting that it was the most frustrating issue he had faced for 10 years. Liz too told off her dissatisfaction with the issue. There is also the regular issue of Trunk Roads Department permission raising its ugly head every time this issue is debated. Someone should really get their finger out in that department because it would stop a supermarket rebuild even if anyone wanted to do it.
Speaking of regular chestnuts what would a River CC meeting be without a mention of the Bailey Bridge. Sandy Park, perhaps bravely, asked the council if they thought that perhaps they might receive opposition to allowing traffic to use the bridge once more if money could be found for repairs. He suggested that some people seem to be very happy with the pedestrian environment down there. The Gurnmeister has to admit it is nice not to have to worry about traffic when crossing the road on the way to the beach down there on the caravan site side of the river. The discussion then moved on to potential funding sources.
There were a few other things that the Gurn hasn’t got the time to include folks so head along to the newsagent’s on Tuesday and treat yourself to the usual 40p analogue device to find out more.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Taxes are never universally fair; depending where you swing from the tree of life there will always be one group or another who will pay more under one government, and less under another.
In Scotland our current SNP government set a manifesto in 2007 in which they stated they would scrap council tax in favour of a fairer local tax. This hasn’t happened yet, but for the second year running we have seen a freeze on the amount of council tax we pay.
In theory this sounds good, more pounds in our pocket and our local councils having less of our money to fritter away on flowerpots or new road signs.
Through inflation the reality is that our councils have had a cut in monies for two years and have had to decide upon cuts in services in order to meet their new budgets.
The Highland Council revenue budget reveals their planned spending cuts, all of which have been carried through bar (Thanks to Nairnites efforts) the closure of MacLean Court.
Scrutiny of the budget document reveals that several services currently providing for our more vulnerable citizens are frozen in terms of funding, or are going to be scaled back or closed.
Rather than having a freeze on council tax should the SNP have not allowed an inflation only increase, that way many services could have been saved?
In hindsight of this winter's weather one cutback brings a smile:
‘There has been a decline in the overall level of winter maintenance activity over the past number of years, with an overall reduction in the days of lying snow.
This proposal reduces the budget for winter maintenance, and proposes that where additional resources are required, the Winter Maintenance Emergency Fund (currently around £1.4 million) is used to cover any budget overspend’.
And if we thought our pavements were slippy this year!
Gurnites get involved: go to the MacLean Court campaign tool kit page.
These days the battles between the Scots and the English are mainly confined to the sports field. Due to fears of Scottish devolution The Times reports that in the 1970s plans were afoot to redraw the boundaries of Scotland’s coastal waters so that it had less claim to its oil. There were even plans to divide Orkney and Shetland from Scotland.
Who knows what Westminster has up its sleeve should Scotland become independent in the near future?
Friday, February 13, 2009
Certains croient déjà
Qu'on la parlait dans le jardin
Le premier jardin
Et que les fleurs la parlent encore
Cette pomme la plus haute
Ce langage d'une nation
Une nation en renaissance
Cette langue parlée seulement
Sur les lèvres d'un pour cent
Mais à côté d'une montagne
Et de tous les bijoux du monde
Ses mots scintillent plus brillants
Chacun, comme une lumière
À travers la belle Écosse
Elle s'accroche par un fil
Son destin est peut-être décidé
Mais aujourd'hui, je peux encore partager
Ses trésors vivants
Écoute sa magie
Viendras-tu sur la piste de danse?
Je l'ai écrit autrefois, mais je dois avouer que c' était avec l'aide d'une amie Québecoise
Mais loin de plus important au jourd'hui citoyens: sauvez les services de MacLean Court!
Indeed it suggests despite the high salaries these officials are paid they simply hadn't done their homework.
One wonders how many other budget cuts were approved by councillors last week based on incomplete, flawed or dare we suggest inaccurate information.
Yes, the campaign continues Nairn Spelding, Liz is setting up an official action group next week, meanwhile please keep gathering signatures everyone.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
A huge valentines card would have been hand written by some poor urchin dragged off the street so that AyeRight’s ardour would remain mysterious, and Post Office counter staff would have gasped at the expense of the 1st class postage.
Candle wicks were trimmed, and the dimmer switch checked and made ready for the mood lighting.
A selection of romantic tunes would have been culled from the slightly warping vinyl in the attic, and a reminder to get a new stylus would have been noted.
Sunday best was dusted down and the jacket and troos despatched for a good dry clean if deemed necessary (Usually after ‘that’ stain refused to be shifted with soap and water).
Those were the days but now deep in the economic depression AyeRight has decided to handle Valentine’s Day slightly differently this year.
So positive that the new Valentines gift will be well received AyeRight is sharing it with you here
Another great freebie from the Gurn
We hope your loved one enjoys!
Now here's the official speil read out by the chair of Social Work at Glenurquart Road today.
'Additional and new information regarding difficulties at MacLean Court has been bought to my attention.
The budget line is about service improvement.
I am advised the we cannot deliver personal care to the frailer service users in the existing building.
In consultation with the Chair I am now advised that we will bring back a full report to the next Housing and Social Work Committee on 11 March 2009 which will provide information on how we can maintain, or improve, the current level of service to the people in Nairn.
If we are not content with the assurances given in the report we will then look far savings elsewhere in the Social Work budget.'
The 861 that have signed the petition and those that wrote letters and e-mails have already influenced the Highland Council. Together we can go the whole way and save the Day Care Centre! Keep going folks we can win! Nairn is a caring community and we want to keep it that way!
How can you help? Any campaigning suggestions? Please leave a comment if you have any ideas.
Tha e a' cur sneachd a-rithist - It's placing/putting snow again (as they say in the other language)
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
But the government is considering following the example of other European countries in the form of a ‘scrap’ payment on vehicles that are over nine years old.
In Germany this can amount to £2,200 and has greatly helped the ailing car industry, as drivers are tempted to trade in older cars for newer models.
With the current economic depression the Gurn can see that this could be applied to many consumer sectors to boost sales of new goods.
Rather than pay Highland Council £15 to collect your old fridge the government could pay you £30 to trade it in for a new one, this would cut out Highland Council as the middle man.
The possibilities are endless and would indeed get the economy on a roll again.
Maybe we could get a trade in for Nairn?
The award ceremony took place last Saturday at Nairn’s Newton hotel, with first minister Alex Salmond handing out the cash.
The Press Ball is always well supported by Highland media folk, the event raising welcome funds for charity with a great night being had by all.
The seasonally chill weather seemed to keep many participants inside the hotel on the Sunday morning; historically a bracing walk along the bankie is the order of the day in order to blow the remnants of the previous nights ‘small sherry’ out of the editorial systems.
It will be of no surprise to regular Gurn readers to hear that the esteemed blog was not nominated for any of the awards this year. This is of great relief to Gurn staff as all have two left feet when it comes to dancing, and a definite allergy to sherry
One person will do there piece on a miniature railway and the person in Australia will catch a train that only comes through there way once every 4 days , one member in China is going to be doing a train journey from Xi'an to Bejing and will do her piece on that train for us !
I think this might turn out to be a world first if it all comes together and it all came to me in a dream !! " Long live the state of cinema "
The way the doc sees the pieces of film merging together is that each shot ends with a shot of what is the scenery outside the moving train and then cuts in to the scenery of the next country and that person does there little clip about film of there particular country and then pans to the scenery outside and so on,, The journey will begin in Nairn (home of the festival) with me entering the train doing my little piece and then cutting to diff countries and the journey ending up with our Australian friend on his train journey in the outback! What a project, but if it comes of then what a wonderful little piece of film that would be, made with worldwide effort !
'Readers of your Blog might like to note that the Advert giving 21 days to inspect the plans etc and make representation was wrongly worded by Planning (It gave the address where plans could be inspected as Golspie). Therefore a new notice has to be inserted by Planning. This gives extra time and also gives us an insight into why the Council are overspending and trying to save some money at Maclean Court(They will have the cost of 2 adverts instead of one )Mind you if they worked in a bank they would probably see that as grounds for a bonus.'
Sure enough Gurnites, a new ad appears today in the Nairnshire with a little footnote:
The Highland Council would like to apologise for the incorrect office address which was published on last week's advert....'
Hardly inspiring is it? If they can't even get the ad right what hope is there?
An intrepid Gurn reporter discovered yesterday that the Gurn is read by folk in high places. Councillors Sandy Park and Graham Marsden are confessed Gurn readers, and our Provost Liz MacDonald is now both a fan and a contributor.
The P&J continues to highlight Highland Councils folly with a story that the installation of the returned Three Graces statues in Inverness could have amounted to £355,000.
What would we rather have folks, some forgotten stookies restored or day-care for our elderly citizens?
AyeRight has been sent a photo of support for saving MacLean Court. It seems readership of the Gurn has gone across the pond and allegedly is being read by someone in the highest office on their favourite mobile device.
‘Can’t prise the Gurn out of his hands’ is the quote given by a close aid.
Monday, February 09, 2009
I'd like to thank the Gurn for helping organise the petition to save McLean Court day care service. There is no similar alternative provision in Nairn at present, the attendee's are too frail for the lunch club and too able for the Manor (which cares for people with high dependancy needs).McLean Court provides an excellent service valued by attenders, families and the people of Nairn and should be retained.A proposed budget cut of £35K which enables this service is unacceptable and I shall be moving against it at the Highland Council meeting on 12th February.
UPDATE: successful petition session outside the Courthouse today 10-12 a.m. Several Gurnites turned up to help including Doc Grigor, in the picture below we keep his face hidden to preserve his anonymity (anonymity that all contributors to the Gurn are guaranteed if they wish it) . Provost Liz turned up too and helped encourage members of the public to sign the petition. Sandy Park, Graham Marsden and Larry Fraser emerged from the Courthouse towards the end of the petition session, none of them signed the petition but perhaps they have already done so elsewhere? Sandy Park stated that he was a Gurn reader, Graham too said that he had recently discovered the Gurn's existence. Will Graham change his mind and try to get the Lib Dem group to support the day centre? Can Sandy move mountains? We'll have to wait and see. Many folk stopped to say that they had already signed the petition in their churches or at coffee mornings etc, a few said they were still collecting signatures themselves.
Due to the economic climate many folk in the Highlands have lost their jobs, or maybe will this year making it more difficult for them to meet even existing council tax payments.
We have to ask what level of service we want from the council and as taxpayers do we welcome the proposed freeze or would we be prepared to pay more?'
There is no way services can be improved and will very likely suffer severely due to these massive cuts in essential front line services.'
The web site Tescopoly outlines the negatives of the company, but in reality is Tescos any better or worse than any of our major supermarkets?
Is this what Nairn really wants?
‘From a nation of shopkeepers to Clone Town Britain?
As the white stuff keeps tumbling out of the sky the Met Office offers some snow education
'How does snow form?
Snow crystals form in clouds when the temperature is below freezing. They are made by water droplets freezing onto ice particles. As an ice crystal falls through the cloud it bumps into others and becomes a snowflake. This processing of bumping into others, along with some melting and re-freezing helps to form their complex design. The air that the snowflake falls through has to be below freezing otherwise the snowflake will melt and turn to rain.’
Friday, February 06, 2009
Forres-born Mary Lewis, a former nurse, said yesterday that she and others using the McLean Court facility in Nairn’s Albert Street were shocked by the council’s decision.
She was intrigued to know how those making the decision would feel if their parents faced the same plight.'
For the first-class mailman provides invaluable respite care for families of vulnerable youngsters.
Hugh, along with wife Mandy, draws on the strength and experience gained caring for their own terminally-ill daughter Anastasia. '
The supreme irony of it all is that while the Coop shelves are bare of milk tonight there is enough milk up the road in the creamery to probably fill every bath in Nairn. And a workforce that from time to time has reason to worry about the future. Proof that supermarkets should be forced to source more goods locally? Let’s hope the future Sainsbury’s will be happy to have some supplies barrowed across the road. It is so silly that we don’t have more of a chance to buy the milk that is produced locally and thus help some of our friends’ and neighbours’ employment prospects.
Nairn milk for Nairn shops?