Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Night press review

Pictures of the Wintersong on the front page but the spalsh is with the lampposts in the middle in the pavement on the Inverness road and what the Suburban CC thinks about them. Inside however controversy around the Wintersong rumbles on with an editorial, letters and an article linked to last Friday's events in one way or other. Don Leith and the Rev Tim Power are backing the Gaelic Choir's letter published in last week's edition  and take the matter somewhat further this week.  

Don Leith asks, 'I would like to know along with many others I am sure, who are these people who made the decision to remove Christmas from Christmas, I want them named.' Looks like our new president in Brussels is in the frame at the moment Don.

The Rev for his part wants Provost Liz to get involved in the controversy with a statement à la Lord Provost of Dundee who came out in no uncertain terms in favour of the traditionalists when a similar debate raged in that community. You'll have to get your eyes down and browse the Nairnshire for all this and more tomorrow. 
P.S. another letter too asking a series of questions about the by-pass line. Wherever a by-pass goes (if it ever comes about)  it is not going to please everybody. The opening salvo of many protests to come? Another public inquiry in 2035? Bulldozers in finally in 2051? 

Waiting for you tomorrow 40p's worth of local main stream media delight. Enjoy!

Sliced green beans - the co-op alternative 39% dearer and 10% less veg

Just one example of the Co-op changeover that will probably drive even more shoppers onto the overcrowded A96 in search of better value and choice.

The Somerfield version is no more. It cost £1 and weighed a kilo. The co-op version weighs 907 grammes and costs £1.39.

As the French say, ' c'est la fin des haricots ! '

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Making it more like the movies for you

Big turn-outs reported for the three films shown by Cinema Nairn in the community centre today. If you want to help this group that wants to bring Cinema back to Nairn or if you would like details of forthcoming screenings then put the Cinema Nairn blog on your favourites list.

Jason Rose of Cinema Nairn introduces the third and final film 'I know where I'm going'.

UPDATE: just it from Cinema Nairn:

We had about 150 people in total for the three films with the 1945 black and white Highland-set romance 'I Know Where I'm Going' proving most popular. The audiences loved the films, giving roaring rounds of applause after each screening, and we received a huge amount of very positive comments and suggestions so we really feel we have a mandate to keep things going. Cinema Nairn: The Sequel! We are already thinking about further screenings, possibly around Christmas/New Year time. We'll keep people posted.

It was particularly heartening to have so many children at the Wizard of Oz. None had seen it on the big screen and they cheered, laughed and cried. We received lots of comments from audience members saying Nairn deserves a cinema back, that our ticket prices (£3 or £4 - half of what is normally paid elsewhere) were spot on and that people would attend regularly screenings, either monthly or weekly. There were also comments about how it makes so much sense to be able to walk to the cinema rather than a long drive with all the associated cost, time and traffic stress. Having said that there were actually several people in the audience who had travelled from Inverness and further afield.

I'd urge people interested to keep a check on our website: and we'd like to give a special thanks to the Community Centre for their superb help. They clearly understand the community value in what we're doing.

And of course many thanks to the Gurn for highlighting our efforts.

Lights faulty again?

Gurnite Stewart is telling us that it took him forty-five minutes to get from Tradespark to Boathpark on Friday. He reckons the whole traffic light set-up in Nairn is a disgrace and we have the worst lights in the Highlands.
How was it for other Gurnites on Friday? Anyone else have problems? Time for the engineers to plug their laptop into the Lochloy Traffic lights again?
UPDATE: as usual there is a spin on this.
UPDATE: 30/10 Stewart reports men with laptops at the traffic lights today, 'Here's hoping,' he told the Gurn.

'Winter Lights' A Euro directive to blame!

We publish the following comment received from Des McCulloch on another thread here so it reaches the widest Gurn Audience possible:

'Hi. ‘I’m the Project Director of WINTERSONG, the procession organised and run by INSPIRE, the young person’s working group, and I look forward to seeing the results of your online poll. However I would be grateful if you would correct a mistake.
If I may explain.
The 2009 Winter processions were called ‘WINTERSONG’, a celebration of the coming of winter and all the good things it brings, including Christmas.
The ceremony for the switching on of the winter lights was not called Wintersong Lights, but the ‘Winter Lights Switch On’.

The lights were fundraised by the Rotary Club of Nairn with the bulk of the finance coming from the European Union which issued a directive that they be called Winter Lights to ensure that public money was seen to be used for the good of the whole community. I would add that the beautiful local school children’s designs chosen, include many traditional images of Christmas.

On behalf of all involved with INSPIRE, I’d like to point out that the organisation adopts an open door policy in all its projects and that it’s aim is to provide the people of the area and young people in particular, with opportunities to celebrate our cultural heritage in all its diversity. I believe with WINTERSONG, we’ve succeeded in producing an inclusive celebration and as the song says,

‘Auld and young folk – a’ the same,
Come and sing and light up Nairn!’

With best wishes for the festive season

OBO Alastair McDonald’'

Best wishes to you too Des. Gurn polls are not scientific at all and are basically for entertainment more that anything else, they usually contain a silly option or two. However this time round a betting man/woman might think the traditionalists have it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dirty old town?

Nairn matters is upset about the state of the High Street and is the brae turning green? Why not pop over and see if you agree with 'Admin' over at Nairn Matters.

The Spin's alternative Nairn Calendar

The Spinites are looking for your help to make a calendar that will help attract tourists to Nairn. More details here. 

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanks for the show

Thanks for a great evening's free entertainment everyone. It brightened up a dark night, well done for all the hard work put it.
More pictures now available on the Gurn flickr pages, just click here.

UPDATE: please read the comment in from Des McCulloch

An off-licence closure too far - spontaneous protest erupts on the streets of Nairn!

Almost one year to the day when Nairnites took to the streets in their thousands to protest at the closure of their beloved Woolies, the people of this retaily deprived town let their feelings be known again. Let it be a lesson to the powers that be that this community will not take the shift to a co-opoly lying down. The protest was good-natured but how long will the patience of the townsfolk last. The Scottish Government will turn down Sainsbury's coming to town at their peril.
This time Nairnites blocked both ends of the High Street, one group near the latest victim of closures (Victoria Wines) and the other up in the High Street's toxic banking district. Already sensing trouble perhaps the Northern Constabulary were on the scene early but they were not needed as the protesters' own stewards kept order. Things have now returned to normal but a strong police presence remains.
Here you can see two police officers watching as the block paving is ripped up to make barricades (and parking spaces) on the brae.

The protest crowd was much bigger up the other end of the High Street.

Vicky wines doomed too - do the Co-op now have a bevvy carry-oot monopoly on Nairn?

Thanks to Anon who pointed us in the direction of a Herald article. That article gives a link to further list of booze stores to close in Scotland. Sadly Vicky wines is to go too. Recently the shelves in there have been pretty bare, so if they still have any of your favourite tipple left you'd better get down there fast because soon you'll have to go to one of Nairn's many co-op outlets if you want to get a carry-out in Nairn. The lights are going on in the High Street tonight but inside another shop they will be going out soon. All over Scotland 128 stores are closing and 700 workers are losing their jobs just in time for Christmas. Economic recovery?

Kopparberg pear cider no more soon? The bright lights still shine tonight however

Excitement builds in Nairn today

The scene is set for the Christmas/Winter lights switch on. What should they be called? You decide! See opinion poll to your right.
UPDATE: the text of Coisir Ghàidhlig Inbhir Narann's letter to the Nairnshire on this matter now available on line.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A dark corner of the street now

I suppose we got used to the bookies being closed but now with the lights out in Haddows there is such a big difference once darkness falls. Hopefully it won't be too long before both buildings come back to life.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Morganti Juventis triumphant!

We've had a few memories in of the days when Morganti businesses were a big part of the High Street scene. Now Tommy Hogg has sent the Gurn a picture of the day Morganti Juventis swept all before them.

Team Photo is season 1969 Morganti Juventis F.C. Dunbar Cup Winners
Back Row L-R Dave Mackintosh, Ali Tolmie, Alan Watson, Taffie Macpherson, Dave Grant,Tom Hogg.
Front Row- Dougie Storm, Fred Mcwilliam, Graham Macpherson, James Walker, Dennis Johnstone.

Three trophys are Dunbar Cup, Morganti Cup, And League Shield

Thanks Tommy. Good to see the young Jac in the back row too. Any more pictures out there connected with Jac?

A Royal Burgh Community Council – Tain has one – the time has come for Nairn to follow suit!

Regular readers know that the Gurn has backed efforts for a single council before and that the title ‘Royal Burgh’ should be part of that title. With politicians at Holyrood level showing increasing interest in the role of community councils now surely the time has come for us to make a leap forward in restoring local democracy to the town.

Suburban Community Councillor John Mackie attended a recent meeting of the Association of Scottish Community Councils at Holyrood. He told members of the public at Nairn Academy last night that it was a very useful and well attended meeting and reflected the growing interest in community councils across Scotland.

He mentioned how the main political parties (apart from Labour at the moment) were interested in using the Community Councils to fill the role and democratic deficit left by the demise of many former town councils. He mentioned how one speaker said how it was important for communities to keep their former ‘Burgh’ titles alive.

The citizens of Tain are already streets ahead of Nairn here and their council is already called Community Council of the Royal Burgh of Tain’ and is referred to as such on Highland Council documents.

Now letting the world know we live in a ‘Royal Burgh’ won’t solve any of our problems but it would be a great marketing tool for Nairn. We have a great chance to move forward and demand out of the consultation process our own Royal Burgh Community Council.

If you think we should have a single council for the town then take part in the consultation. We would urge you to do this Gurnites, yes it is a bit of a pain taking part in all these consultations but this has to be done.

'The closing date to make submissions is Wednesday, 23rd December, 2009. Emails should be sent to Written submissions should be sent to CC Review, Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX.'

Incidentally, there is an article on community council issues and themes in the A96 corridor over on the APT blog.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hamish remembers

The recent request for information about the former Morganti premises inspired Hamish to get in touch with us with the following:
The following does not answer directly the enquiry regarding the Morganti/Asher’s shops but if may be at least of some interest.

Since long before the war started in 1939 Morganti had a shop on the Brae. It was sited on the left hand side looking down from Gordon Street and was quite a large premises, Access was into the shop area from where confectionery, ice cream, cigarettes, postcards and the like could be purchased.
At the back of the shop was a room – fairly large – where tea and cakes were served but other than during the holiday season it was not in use much as I recall. That room also had access from Gordon Street

In addition to this Sunday newspapers could be bought from the shop. Campbell’s and Strachan’s probably did not open on that day of the week. Apart from selling newspapers over the counter arrangements existed for four or five young lads to be given papers on a sale or return basis. Each lad has his own ‘round’ of something in the region of twenty deliveries to make and for every dozen papers sold he was paid two pence. (The figures may not be absolutely exact but they are very close. Two pence is correct but maybe ten was the number but then since we did not have decimalisation then a dozen may be correct)
There was quite a waiting list for vacancies that were only filled when a boy got full time work as an apprentice or an errand boy in say Cooper’s or Rose Brother’s or joined one of the Armed Forces .

During the war years the shop and the tea room was very popular with R.A.F. personnel who were based at Brackla as a rendezvous with local girls and to quote one of them “the only place in Nairn for somewhere to go”

In the light of that certain knowledge the business did not move from the High Street to the Brae

The shop shown in the Blog may well have been Haldane’s fishmonger shop. That shop certainly was in row between Lipton’s and Falconer’s Lane and was there before the war started. I was acquainted with Findlay Ross
who was the manager there before going with the local “Terriers” to France in 1939 and being taken prisoner at Dunkirk I think.. The shop may well have been occupied by the Victoria Wine Company before Haldane’s took it over.
Thanks Hamish, great to hear from you again!

Gurn Christmas/winterfest compromise songs solution/suggestion

Ready now everyone...

'In the formerly bleak midwinter prior to global warming
Good President van Rompuy looked out
Sonically Challenged Night (Lärm-Smog gefüllte Nacht)
Away in a Branch of ToysRUs
Arrest you Merry Gentlemen
The First Winterfest
Ding Dong Many Folk are High'

Stolen from Seonaidh at

Monday, November 23, 2009

Telegraph review - Sensational as usual - plus Nairn Gaelic Choir criticises the Wintersong Festival for a lack of Christmas content

The Local paper splashes with 'Sandown Showdown', next year's forthcoming public inquiry promises to be a feisty affair if the pre-inquiry meeting was anything to go by. We won't spoil your fun, go and buy the Nairnshire for further details. Inside there is news of how bus passengers were kept in the dark over timetable changes, the River CC election, an article on the by-pass (as discussed at West CC). There's much, much more, including pictures from the 'Celebrating the Community event held at the Community Centre on Saturday. Perhaps the most controversial item in the paper this week is a letter from the Nairn Gaelic Choir however.  All guns blazing the Gaelic choir are criticising this Friday's festival. Here's just a flavour of a long letter that speaks out about this event and political correctness concerning Christmas in general:

'...As a choir we have always made every effort to support the community which so generously gives its support to us in our endeavours to promote Gaelic music

But we feel we cannot let this occasion pass without expressing our views at the abscence of any reference to Christmas.

Wintersong is essentially a seasonal festival built on the back of the switching on of Nairn's Christmas lights. But the word Christmas seems to have been eliminated from the celebrations. 

Whether this is an attempt by the funding bodies Highland Council, Leadar Fund and the Scottish Arts Council to appease the PC brigade we know not.... '

Have a read of the full letter tomorrow Gurnites and let us know what you think. Is Winterfest simply a jamboree for the politically correct brigade and should it be more Christmas-like or is it just fine as it is?

Telegraph review - no not the Nairnshire one!

Jermain Defoe's 5 goals against Wigan in the English Premiership prompted a telegraph journalist to look at the record books. Defoe scored 3 goals in seven minutes, a premiership hat-trick record. But the journalist discovered: 

'The world record for fastest hat-trick belongs to former Ross County player Tommy Ross, who scored three goals in 90 seconds, versus Nairn County in 1964.'  

There Nairn got a mention in the Telegraph today.  

More Nairn bloggers - Nairn Academy at Murrayfield

The PE department at the Academy have a blog to keep parents up to date with the sporting curriculum and other activities. They have posted an article about the pupils that were down at Murrayfield to witness Scotland's victory on Saturday.  An article complete with pictures over on their blog.
A few of the teachers at the Academy have blogs too, you'll find the on the blogroll on that page.

Other blogging maters: does anyone know what has happened to the Liberal Democrats Nairn by-pass blog. It seems to have been down for quite a while. If it has vanished then there is a specialist subject for someone to take up. Nairn matters has had some good content posted earlier in the year but seems to be in hibernation.  Have you got a Nairn blog that hasn't featured on the Gurnosphere yet? Let us know if we've missed anything. You might also be considering taking up blogging, if you are let us know what you are thinking of. If you have any questions the existing Nairn bloggers will only be too willing to help, even the sometimes grumpy ones :-)

Help St Ninian FC - find the flag

Another request today, this time from Colin Black he requests Gurnites for help:

Can you ask your readers if they can help find the League Championship flag the once flew up at the Showfield for Nairn ST Ninian.
Also if anyone has any programs, info etc in fact anything to do with Saints to get in contact. We are in the process of gathering as much info as we can on Saints for a new website.

UPDATE: this in from Donald Wilson:

'Sorry to hear St Ninian have lost their league flag. I was an official with the club at the time the changing rooms were built by Tullochs of Nairn. Sandy Tulloch, who was our Chairman for a while donated the flag as a gift and it was unfurled when we opened the changing rooms in March 1983 - a bitterly cold day if I remember.
The flag incorporated our league wins of 1975-76, 77-78,78-79 and 81-82 if my memory serves me correctly.
It was a great period in the clubs' history and Davie Johnstone was manager during the last three title winning seasons.
The changing rooms cost nearly £25,000 to build and they replaced the old stables which were used by Indian soldiers who were billeted at the Showfield during the Second World War. We secured a 21 year lease from the farmers and got grant assistances from the Highlands and islands Development Board, Highland Regional Council and Nairn District Council. I certainly hope it turns up. It's part of the football history of Nairn and commemorates the achievements of the club and its players who received no payment but played for the shirt.'

Donald Wilson.

Request for information: Morganti family businesses in Nairn, summer 1940.‏

Received this morning at Gurn digital head-quarters:

Hi, I'm hoping that a mention on your blog could produce an answer to this question. The Morganti family ran businesses on Nairn High Street in the 1940s. There was a cafe where the Thai Cottage now operates, and a fish and chip shop now run as the Dolphin. The Morganti family eventually sold up and left the town. But specifically in the Summer of 1940, I'm trying to find out if what is Ashers Cafe today, was then another Morganti business, an ice-cream parlour. To remember this, takes a person at least aged 78 or so, and I opinions seem to vary. I've also been told that it was a fishmonger and game dealer at that time. Of course, the Morgantis may have acquired it a little later on, or even after the war. I would be grateful if anyone with a long memory could give a definitive answer.

Thanks, Jim

PS. I'm attaching a pic of Ashers Cafe, if that might jog someone's memory.

Lack of gates makes new harbour ramps a safety hazard?

Once again no matter how much the Spin tries to have a bit of a laugh sensible comments seem to come in and start serious debate. For further details have a look at this page.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wintersong next week - don't miss it!

Just when we're looking for new Nairn blogs again, well up pops news of another one. Nairn Wintersong blog is 'A youth led community celebration for Nairn 2009'.
'The Man in the Moon is very honoured to be Master of Ceremonies for the Wintersong evening on Friday the 27th November' The song is there online for everyone to learn. See you there Gurnites.

Finally something sensible on The Spin - Nairn needs more bloggers

The rot must be setting in now, after an increbibly creative and industrious start for the brand new blog on the block post number 73 contains sensible suggestions which you may want to comment on yourself. Why not nip over and say something silly to get them back on mission? And why not get blogging yourself? Remember though a blog is not just for Christmas!

Christmas lights hit squad

A fleet of Highland Council cherry-pickers arrived in town earlier this morning and had many of the Christmas lights up well before the morning rush for newspapers. Ashers High Street premises was also receiving a delivery of bread and cakes.
Christmas is coming yes, and there is a concerted effort to convince us that the economy has turned the corner, the Government has gone up a little in the polls with a 'feel-good' factor allegedly returning. Elsewhere though the odd dire warning being sounded, pessimistic noises in today's Sunday Times about the prospects for Scotland, for example, where the economy is more dependent on the public sector which will surely soon take a hit. More widely, I was watching a programme on the Fox news channel where, unusually, heretic views were being voiced. It was basically a conversation between two commentators that believed America had to stop living beyond its means immediately or the inevitable consequences will be even worse. It was suggested that Americans (relative to the real strength of their economy) should be living a lifestyle similar to that of the average Mexican. Perhaps the same criteria could apply to us?
What do Gurnites think of the prospects for the economy both locally and nationally, have we really turned the corner or are we just deluding ourselves if we think that the good times will come back? Will you be out with the plastic again this Christmas or will you be cutting back?

Celebrating Community

The Community centre was crowded with community groups and the community. A very successful event.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Could Nairn follow Forres cuts?

It doesn't sound good along the A96 in Forres, the inevitable is happening as council funds dry up. The Forres Gazette reports:
'If approved by councillors, the proposals would see archives moved out of the Tolbooth, and the council no longer using the building. Nelson's Tower would also be closed to visitors.
Jobs could go at the library, with the introduction of self-service machines, the swimming pool will not be open in the morning, and mobile library services are set to be withdrawn by 2012.
'The Forres Gazette' also understands that there are plans to close the town's remaining public toilets.
Across Moray, the cuts would also see an end to free bread and milk for schoolchildren, whole fruit replacing sliced fruit for P1 and P2 pupils, and an end to morning swimming lessons.' A few other setbacks for the community could be in the pipeline too, the vice chair of the Community Council is worried about parking charges. Read the full Gazette interview here,
'Council cuts could create a ghost town. '
One wonders how Highland Council will try to balance the books and what nasty surprises might be in store as the cuts begin to bite here. Is nothing sacred now? Are councillors that sought public office to help their fellow citizens now simply going to be functionaires in the act of dismantling many of the services offered to the public?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Down with the President!

Off topic but then perhaps not really. Soon most of us in Nairn will have a chance to vote for our community council (any 5 from 7 on the coupon will do) but we are soon to have our first 'President' and excuse me but I didn't get a vote so not my president. Please go to another recent post and read the bad language Mr President. Yeah Mr Pres, you're not my choice, don't get me wrong Mr Pres, free trade and cooperation is a cool idea but no we don't need you. I want to live in Europe but not Euroland thank you very much. At least the Afghans had a vote (sort of) to choose their President.

River Community Council - Margaret Mackintosh bows out

Whatever complexion the new community council takes next month there will be one face sorely missed. Margaret Mackintosh is stepping down after 14 years on the council. Over that time she has been to the forefront of debate and many of the issues that the River Council has campaigned on. Only recently she was asking serious question of the planners at the Highland Wide Plan meeting at Nairn Community Centre. She told the Gurn that she thought it was time for someone younger to step forward. Her biggest concern on stepping down is what she sees as the gradual erosion of care services for the elderly in Nairn. Hopefully Margaret will still keep an interest in local affairs and still be prepared to put her views forward when she feels it necessary. The community needs her input and more from others like her. Well done Margaret, enjoy a rest but please still keep campaigning when you can.

Margaret campainging in February 2008. The Community council organised a March backed by around 200 people in an attempt to save the Harbour Street Post Office.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More of Bexley 98's pictures of Nairn

The last time we looked at Bexley's Nairn pictures was in March. There's been a few more very good photographs posted on his flickr file since then.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

4,900 Nairn residents get to choose the new make-up of the River Community Council

At the Courthouse tonight there were 7 nominations for 5 seats on the River Community Council. The seven candidates are, Jean Tolmie, Lesley Bolton, Tommy Hogg, Bill Murdoch, Stephanie Whittaker, Carol Clark and Ian Henderson.
The election process starts next week and ballot papers will be issued to the voters who can vote between the 27th of November and the 11th of December. The result will be announced at a public meeting in the Courthouse on the 15th of December.
This is an historic event and a chance for the 4,900 voters that live in the River CC's area to indulge in a little local democracy. Happy voting :-)

Cinema Nairn making media waves

Cinema Nairn hitting the headlines in the Scotsman, the Press and Journal, an Inverness based bi-weekly and the BBC. Book early to avoid disappointment?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Referee accused of swearing at Nairn player!

Thanks to Station Parker for the following comment:
'Any questions marks over our take on the match on Saturday read today's P&J and The Sun. The referee is pilloried for his handling of the game and little wonder. The P& J acknowledges that the ref was the only person in the ground to see a hand ball for the first Buckie penalty which sparked all the problems and Gregg Carroll the Buckie manager even admits his players were waiting to get decisions from the referee. In the Sun Craig Campbell accuses the referee of swearing at him twice during the match. Referees have too much protection from the beaks. This merits an investigation but true to form nothing will be done.'
After reading that the Gurn rushed out to buy a copy of the Sun as nothing was available online to confirm our incredibly reliable and top quality source's comments. Actually the Gurnmeister had heard from three other sources that the Referee had sworn at a player on Saturday but in normal circumstances that is something you just can't use because folk are normally not willing to go on record with the like. Today however the player concerned has spoken out about his ill-treatment. Isn't it ironic that in the Gurn we have complained before about visiting managers swearing at referees. Anyway here is what Nairn striker Craig Campbell told the Sun:
'I don't want to go into it too much but he swore at me. I said to him, 'you're swearing at me - twice' and he sent me off. He said 'f*** off' twice.'
For previous Gurn reports and analysis of this game or namely the referee's bizarre performance see here.
UPDATE: Wedensday 19.43
'I don't want to be seen to be having an all out attack on the manager, who I think is doing a good job in difficult circumstances. I just don't think any football club can take the moral high ground when it comes to swearing at football.'
An anonymous comment earlier the same anon contributor had said (we don't publish all of it):
'Maybe Station Parker should take a look closer to home before getting on the high horse about the referee allegedly swearing at Campbell.The NCFC manager has just come back from serving a lengthy touchline ban for swearing. As for Campbell, he should have known better. We were down to eight men and clinging on for a draw. No matter how wronged he might have felt, given the circumstances, he should have zipped it and dealt with the through the appropriate channels after the game. It very nearly cost us a point. Hind as captain should have known better than to get involved and given the abuse referees have to endure from players, managers and supporters across the league, is it any wonder this one might have had enough and sworn back?'
Our anon correspondent points to Les's discipline record which is available for all to see on the this SFA doc. Fair enough anon about the moral high ground but these were exceptional cirumcstances to say the least and I think most of those that were present at Station Park, including the Buckie fans will agree with Station Parker's and the Gurn's take on events.
'Warning: comments contain strong language from the start, in fact, these comments contain nothing but strong language!'

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Could the Highland League as we know it vanish?

The SFA have proposals on the table to adopt a pyramid system that would enable clubs to enter the Scottish League proper in the same way that the english league operates. The top ten clubs in the Highland League would become division 4 North and the same sort of thing would happen in the south of Scotland. There would be a play off between the champions of the North and South leagues for an automatic promotion, the losers of the play-off getting another play-off with the second bottom team of Div 3 for a place in that division. A bit complicated but I think that that's about the gist of the matter. Here is more on the proposal with analysis and comment over on

2C's to rub together? Close-up

As spoted by Bill in a post earlier this weekend. The C-situation has been fairly dire on this bend for some time perhaps at least two years? Is it just another ploy to keep tourists in the town longer?

BEAR essentials dictate the final position?

Thanks to one of our unreliable sources for news of this new lamppost.

U-17 Nairn 3 Forres 4

A good game at the Showfield this afternoon as the wee County's U-17 side entertained the local rivals Forres Mechanics. A good show by the home side and quite a few of their friends supporting them from the touch line too. Looks like the County's youth policy is set to pay further dividends. More pictures here.

Douglas Street 24 hour taxis - are all bets now off?

Could this empty building become a 24/7 taxi office?

Attention now turns to the former bookies at 44 High Street and the new planning application received by Highland Council. Nairn seems to have no shortage of taxis, in fact the recent advertisement in the Nairnshire asked readers to use local drivers in preference to others. The taxi driver's licence is a Highland wide one and thus a free market exists. Recently there were complaints in Inverness by some taxi drivers who complained that too many licences had been issued in the capital thus making it harder for existing licence holders to earn a living. Sheer economics is obviously making some of them come through to Nairn to look for customers.

Can the residents of Douglas Street now stand down their campaign to stop a taxi office in their patch?

Does any of Nairn's rubbish goes to China?

Recent media coverage has highlighted the scale of UK rubbish heading elsewhere in the world, somtimes to be recycled or even to be dumped illegally. The Mail on Sunday has an investigation into the amounts of Scottish rubbish going to China. It highlights the obvious fact that it makes no environmental sense at all to send rubbish to the other side of the world as efforts of 'green' households to recycle are cancelled out by the pollution involved in the shipping process. The paper's article (not on-line) at the moment states:
Nearly half of all councils use companies whose main market is in the Far East to dispose of recycled waste. This includes more than 8,000 tons from Fife Council, which is annually exported to China; 5,000 tons from Highland Council, and a proportion of the 35,000 tons collected each year in Dundee.'
So when you put your rubbish out for the scaffies next week it that just simply some of the contents of your green bin taking the first step in a long journey overseas? It is a question of priorities for our society isn't it? Obviously there are dangers involved if we leave recycling to the free market without any contingency should things in that market fluctuate too much. If the government can keep banks going as charity cases then surely they could provide a base line of support for the recycling industry that would mean we really were green instead of pretending to be so as a fleet of trash ships head for China every week? Ironically we probably buy some of it back as the ships might bring goods for our High Streets as they return.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nairn 1 Buckie 1 or the tale of how a referee ruined a game of football

8-man Nairn walk off the pitch with their pride intact after 3 red cards, countless yellows and two penalties awarded against them. I can't remember a worse performance from a referee at Station Park. You need conformation? Ask the two bus loads of Buckie fans, it really is incredible when you have opposition fans sympathising with the way the referee dealt with the home team.
On the bright side all the pies sold out but a potentially great game between two fluid attacking sides was reduced to the bizarre and will not be remembered for the performance of the many star quality players on the park. What was the man in black thinking of? Please don't ever come back!
The full details available on
UPDATE: view from a 'Station Parker'
There's no doubt the refereeing left a lot to be desired and I am convinced the injustice of that early penalty was a contributory factor to Nairn loss of discipline.
The ref could only award a penalty and send Brian Macleod off for deliberate handling. It was clear to most fans that he simply threw his body between the ball and goal - what any defender worth his salt would do. If the referee wants to find out why there was such an angry reaction form players and fans he need only look at the photo in today's Sunday Mail which captured the moment perfectly. Macleod had his back to the ball. It appears to have struck the upper part of his arm which was by his side - absolutely no intent at all and that's what the crowd saw. It shouldn't even have been a penalty let alone a sending off.
The game was littered with bad refereeing decisions but the next key moment for Nairn came long after they equalised when Willie Barron was booked. He won the ball brilliantly but one of the Buckie lads went down and it was another bad call by the ref to give the foul. This incensed Nairn's captain who was booked then later sent off when he lost it after Zander Diamond went down in the box for Buckie's second penalty. The reporter on Highland called this one correctly in his on-line report. He described it as a soft award. I was yards away from it on the touchline and there was no contact from Main. Hind reacted and he got his marching orders.
Fair play to Nairn for a battling performance. They deserved their point and Ridgers was outstanding in goal. Let's hope it gives him a confidence boost and we see more of that kind of form from him. Station Parker.
UPDATE: Monday 09.25
The Buckie manager's quote in the P&J is interesting.
'Buckie Thistle manager Gregg Carrol said: “We should have won the game in the first half but when your players are looking for the referee to make decisions to help you win the game it is a disgrace. I am not happy with that or with them as they didn’t work hard enough in the first half to win the game.'
Full Press and Journal report here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

High street to get loadsofmoney

As earlier reported on the Spin but perhaps they have the figures a little wrong. Anyway Gurnites here's some comment from David Brownless:
'Perhaps old news now................ but Nairn has been awarded £800,000 as part of the Scottish Executive town centre regeneration programme.

Given that parts of the Highland Council , quite deservingly at times , come in for a fair amount of flak, I would like to take the opportunity to applaud the efforts made by those responsible for the bid application.

So a period of upheaval awaits the High Street but, given that one of the criteria of this award is that the money needs to be spent quickly, hopefully things will progress at a pace.
Not everyone agrees about overhauling High Street but, with the alternative being that another town could as easily have been awarded this thick end of £1 million, I reckon , like ‘Cheddar cheese and pickle, the Vincent motorsickle’ it’s a ‘reason to be cheerful’.
David '
Well let's hope it's done in a sensitive fashion David, I recently heard one High Street resident saying, 'What can we do to stop them wrecking the High Street like they did the brae, it's far more dangerous down there now.'
UPDATE: (Saturday 11.21) Sandy Park is quoted in the Press and Journal today (makes a change, it is usually Liz who dominates the Saturday edition of the paper that puts Cawdor in Inverness-shire):
'This is just what the town needs. The first phase of the improvements have been well received and I am sure the people of Nairn will welcome the facelift that awaits part of the High Street.'
Sorry Sandy but from what the Gurn has heard most people seem to be upset with what was done on the brae and feel that it is now more dangerous than it was before.
UPDATE: (Saturday 13.41) Nairn wouldn't have got this money without the Tories?
'Mary Scanlon said:“I am delighted this money has been awarded to such worthy communities and I am pleased to say it was Scottish Conservative Pressure which secured this fund. Taken together with the £40m of funding allocated in August as part of Conservative success in the 2009/10 budget, communities in many areas of the Highlands, from Lerwick and Stromness in the Northern Isles to Fort William and Nairn in the East and West, have benefited.”'

November mid-afternoon gridlock

Picture will enlarge.

The Indy-Lab-Lib Administration at Glenurquart Road will it survive long?

The Inverness Courier leader examines the decision not to exclude Councillor Clark from the Independent group for speaking out against an unpopular council decision. The Courier seems to think there are simmering tensions below the surface: 

'Peace is set to break out for now, but the issue will almost certainly raise its head again in the coming months because group leaders are facing an impossible task. The Independents still comprise the largest single body on Highland Council and are an essential partner for any political party looking to take control. An alliance with the SNP collapsed because members refused to be whipped on crucial votes, so when the Liberal Democrats and Labour came calling the Independents promised to keep their house in order.'

The Courier also says that Councillor Clark and his colleagues are banned from speaking to the electorate or the media on the issue that caused his suspension. Full Courier article here. 

Tough decisions indeed lie ahead, jobs and services will be under threat, will the Independents be able to withstand the heat that will come from their angry constituents?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

'The blog is more powerful than the vote'

We go off topic and mention again the famous blog 'Muck and Brass' that brought down 11 out of the 15 Somerton town councillors. Worth a read is blogger Niall Conolly's article 'The blog is more powerful than the vote' and the comments on the article are interesting too.

Stop whining about seagulls and make wine out of them instead

Thanks to Nairnbairn for pointing us in the direction of a solution which he feels could go some way to solving both the problem of our burgeoning seagull population and the economic threat to our off-licences. Could Seagull wine be our saviour?

Nairn County - financial stabilty - Chairman's report.

Click on the picture to read Peter Mackintosh's report.

Gurn Emergency Warning to the community!

The town clock has been fixed!
Please cease to rely on the wrong time immediately!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cinema returns to Nairn

'A group of local enthusiasts calling themselves ‘Cinema Nairn’ have arranged for a day of classic movies to be shown on the big screen at the community centre on Sunday 29th November to gather reaction and, it is hoped, begin the revival of silver screen entertainment in the town... '
You can find out more about this worthy initiative, including details of the films that will be showing over at the new addition to the Nairn Blogosphere: Cinema Nairn.

River Community Council election next week

Last night was the last meeting of the River Community Council before the election on the 17th of this month to be held in the Courthouse. Nomination papers are available if you wish to become a community councillor, you need the signatures of 6 voters who live in the area on your papers. If there are more than 5 candidates there will have to be a election by postal ballot. It seems you can even turn up on the night with your six supporters and submit yourself for election.
The Gurn understands that Margaret MacKintosh will not be standing for re-election this time round which is a pity as she has been very forthright on many issues that affect the community. Last night the council discussed many of the usual subjects, doo & horse poo, a bus service to the fisthertown, planning issues, the Firhall bridge ramp plan, proposed boundry changes, ltterbins, taxis in Douglas Street and elsewhere, Dutch Elm disease and many more interesting topics.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Clock - BBC Alba star

Heard this evening from a reliable source (unusual for the Gurn) that Sandy Park suggested switching the apparatus off for an hour but it wasn't even possible to do that.

Gleoc an Taigh Chùirt air Rèidio nan Gàidheal agus Telebhisean -

The Courthouse clock on Raido nan Gaidheal and Telly.

News of the clock's predicament is spreading and was featured on Aithris an Fheasgar (the evening report). The town clock will also feature on BBC Alba Television sometime during 'An Là' between 20.00 and 20.30 tonight, you can see that if you have Sky TV (channel 168).

The accent was on the fun side with mention of how this might be beneficial for attracting tourists if we have summer time all year round. Seems the electrical mechanism put in six years ago is refusing to have anything to do with the return to winter time.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Nairn through the eyes of a holidaymaker.

It is always interesting to look at the sights we take for granted through the eyes of those here on holiday. Here's a set of pictures that have appeared on Flickr.

Press and Journal persist with Cawdor in Inverness-shire line

' a low-key ceremony in an Inverness-shire village yesterday.' Read more here. Incidentally Mrs Gurnmeister was just speaking to someone that stood for five and a half hours in the freezing weather to see the stars going into the church. Hardy, fairly hardy.
But back to the point, we've already gurned once but today we have to gurn again about the P&J's terrible knowledege of local geography. Are they part of the conspiracy to stamp out Nairnshire? At least the Daily Star had the deceny to say 'Cawdor near Nairn', according to a regular reader.

Scoop for The Spin

The Spin blog has discovered why the three big red container ships are anchored offshore, it's all to do with a fantastic new shop that has opened on the High Street. More on The Spin. Brian takes a look at High Street too but perhaps the best of the day comes in a wee comment from Nairnac:
'I'm still surprised Highland Council allowed Nickel & Dime to open at all, after all, there's one in Inverness which Nairnites could easily use whilst they're at the Job Centre, Dole Office, Court, Planning Dept, Supermarket, Bonfire, Hogmanay Party etc etc etc.. '
The Spin is also going in for local media studies today too.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Remembrance Day Nairn

A large crowd gathered at the War Memorial today in the bright November sunshine. A few more pictures here.

Cove 4 Nairn 2

The game was closer than the scorline suggests as this report tells.

Nairn shopper loses nerve - shop too busy!

One of the Gurn's regular unreliable sources told us earlier today how he was looking forward to having a browse around Nickle and Dime but once he arrived there this afternoon (sorry yesterday afternoon) he couldn't go inside - it looked far too busy! 'The times they are a changing' on Nairn High Street. Reports again of at least one other consumer heading down the High Street with a new ironing board, could this too become a daily occurrence?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Gurn cares about sofas too - stop Sofa cruelty now!

This video proves that sofa cruelty is now an international issue.

Warning this video contains profanity!

Just how expert can Highland Council expert opinion be when it comes to Nairn issues?

At Gurn headquartes we’ve had a chance at last to go through all the council documentation concerned with the proposal to part demolish the Woolies building and over develop the site with five ‘town houses.’ This documentation was made available in the Courthouse service point after the intervention of Sandy Park. One thing that emerges clearly is how thoroughly the planning officer Andrew McCracken did his job in investigating the validity and relevance of the various elements of the many objections that were made. He wrote in an e-mail to the Colin Anderson of the Highland Council’s Housing and Property department:

…’There are a lot of objections, several of which are claiming the development conflicts with town centre regeneration objectives. Their argument is along the lines that if the area of the store is reduced it becomes less attractive therefore less likely to appeal to potential tenants therefore more likely to remain vacant thus blighting the High Street.
Is this something you feel you could comment on. I said to a couple of the objectors that I’m not qualified to assess shop viability and suggested that they should try getting an opinion from a letting agent who deals with retail properties if they want the point to be considered.’

A reply came back from a Matthew Johnstone.

…In my opinion, I would be more inclined to argue the opposite in that there is likely to be less demand for such a large retail unit in a relatively small town such as Nairn. The size of the unit (4,868 sg ft) and the level of rent (£25,000) is such that this shop is only likely to appeal to multiple/national retailers, the majority of whom will have presumably already been targeted by the landlord’s letting agents during the course of the last 7 months. In other words, the smaller the store, the cheaper the rent, the more likely you are to achieve a letting, even though the tenant is more likely to be a local or independent trader. Notwithstanding this, I am sure the landlord will struggle to achieve any letting given the recession. High streets generally up and down the length and breadth of the country are struggling with vacancy rates at previously unforeseen levels. You need only pick up a newspaper to see that retailers are struggling in the current financial climate with consumer spend down considerably on previous years.

In short, I don’t think they have a particularly strong argument, although A N Other letting agent may well have a different point of view…’

Now the Gurn has correspondence from another individual who wished to rent the Woolies building but was beaten to it by Nickel and Dime. Local folklore has long held that the Nairn Woolies was, pro rata, one of the most profitable of all the Woolies stores. This just goes to prove that the Highland Councils out of town experts don’t know what is best for Nairn, only Nairnites know that! We really have to take our own town back under local control and get on with it ourselves. Just look at the vibrant activity inside Nickel and Dime and you can see how off the mark the Highland Council’s expert advice was. The Gurnmeister feels that we could do a lot for ourselves if only we had less interference from Highland Council. Nairn should be allowed to stand on its own two feet. Nairn has to decide how the community grows and what the priorities are for the future and not the Highland Council.

Respect from the Sun newspaper

We’ve already reported today how the P&J pathetically refers to Cawdor as an ‘Inverness-shire’ village and how the Sun was nearer the mark with ‘Cawdor near Nairn.’ Well it gets better than that, further into the article the Sun takes the trouble to explain: ‘The Castle sits on 49,400 Cawdor Estate, which covers half the County of Nairnshire.’
The word Nairnshire in print at last! Now that’s proper respect from the dead tree daily and as for the P&J, does anyone else think they are on the slip?


Display in a High Street shop window.

It's Haddows that will close - plus other High Street matters.

A startled Gurnmeister was shocked to learn (whilst buying the evening's supply of Pear Cider) that it is Haddows that has been selected for execution by the administrators, it seems the Vicky Wines outlet made more money than the counterpart store up the street. It is hard to believe because Vicky wines always seemed to be a lot quieter. But there you go, the only bonus is perhaps even more people will be tempted to walk further down the High Street to purchase alcohol from a source other than the Co-op monopoly.
Speaking of the Co-op, a source told the Gurn of how she was horrified to see how much her son's favourite snack had gone up in price when the brand name changed from Somerfield to the Co-op. Disgusted, she returned home and in a flash of inspiration went on-line to order her weekly shop from ASDA. Not only is she now spending approximately £100 per week with another company but her mother has followed suit and is also ordering on-line. That is the sort of behaviour that could become contagious. Memo to the Co-op: Nairn punters can fight back - stop taking the piss. Sainsbury's bring it on!
Coming later the Highland Council expert who thought there would be little demand for the Nairn Woolies store, plus more evidence of how the Sun has more local Nairnshire knowledge than the Press and Journal on Take That wedding issues, neither of them have the profound local knowledge of the Spin however and the new blog on the block has even got a google map to help you.

That wedding!

A serious complaint from Mrs Gurnmeister this morning, we usually get a real dead-tree, non-virtual copy of the P&J every Saturday morning and today she nearly spat out the conrflakes whilst reading the news. The cause of her rage? The Press and Journal in its wedding coverage begins (after the headline), 'An Inverness-shire village..'
Even the Sun says 'Cawdor near Nairn.'

Could day-care services for the elderly in the Highlands disappear?

Liz thinks they might:

'Nairn councillor Liz MacDonald claims the lack of reference to the facilities in either the ruling admin-istration’s three-year programme or the council’s draft proposals for the future of community care suggest they will disappear. '

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Doc, Dexter and a sofa

Is the Doc both a sofa and a dog whisperer? Introducing Dexter the Doc's new canine pal.

Spinning sofas

Is the Spin taking the Nairn blogosphere's penchant for sofa worship too far?

Remember last year's Enquiry by Design process?

It was organised by the Prince's Foundation and concerned future development to the south of Nairn. Most of those that took part seemed to be impressed but not everyone went away happy. A lot of people that weren't there probably wondered what it was all about but you can see an explanation of the process on a Foundation PDF on -line, there is even a picture of the event in Nairn :
'The masterplan is a shared vision, resulting from energetic discussions within a wide sta keholder group (Nairn, 2008)'
This entire process has come in for some journalistic criticism however in a recent Times article. The APT blog takes an in depth look at EbD in the local and Scottish context and makes reference to the Times article. For students of all the development proposals in Nairn this latest APT post will no doubt be a must.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bill is unimpressed with Highland Council

...on recycling and town clock issues.

Nairn to lose an off-licence

Ironically on a day Nickel and Dime blew a little retail sunshine into the High Street there is news of an off-licence closing. The First Quench Group that own Haddows and Victoria wine recently went into administration and today the BBC business news gives a breakdown of stores to close.
'Stores will also close in Perth, Fort William, Nairn, Bellshill, Alloa, Bathgate, Kirkintilloch, Stirling, Lanark, Bonnyrigg, two in Dunfermline, and eight in Edinburgh. '
Thanks to Derek T for the information. Derek also offers Gurnites the following quote:
"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong." [Voltaire]

Woolies building reopens as Nickel and Dime

Good to see the shop open again, at 10.00 a.m. a steady stream of people were heading into the store. One woman left carrying an ironing board and seemed very happy with her purchase, others emerged carrying smaller items. 12.45 update: a quick walk around finds a store where space has been utilised far more intelligently than woolies ever did. It does although have a woolies feel about it, it is after all the building we all know so well. It was great to see Nairnites greeting each other and chatting as they moved around to inspect the thousands of items to chose from. Many were buying. 'Haven't seen you for ages,' said someone to a friend. And you are indeed more likely to see Nairn people in Inverness, Forres and Elgin retail outlets rather than Nairn High Street. Nickel and Dime have gone some way to redressing the balance. All we need now is a Sainsbury's for Christmas but in the meantime Nairn's wet weather retail therapy centre is open once again.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Saving Clachnacuddin FC - wise for Dave Stewart MSP to start an on-line petition?

Clachnacuddin footbal club are in dire straits and now in administration as money and time finally run out. Hopefully the fans and Inverness's business community will rally round to save Inverness's Highland League side. An unseemly row has broken out between the club and Highland Council over circumstances that forced the club into administration
David Stewart MSP (and former MP) has intervened and started an on-line petition. Perhaps not a wise thing to do because so far several of those signing the petition seem to be doing so simply to take the opportunity to make critical statements about Mr Stewart MSP. The petition is here.
Politicians can make a big enough mess of politics, perhaps they should stay out of sport and just leave the ordinary Invernessians and those elsewhere that are sympathetic to Clach's plight to sort this out.