Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sunday in Viewfield

Above is a copy of the the programme of musical talent that will be appearing at the Jubilee Celebrations in Viewfield on Sunday. The event was discussed at the Suburban CC meeting on Tuesday night and Dick Youngson who has been working with the museum's Yvonne Cotter, gave an account of what is planned for the day. Unfortunately for the organisers the Community Centre will not be available in the event of wet weather but the Sports Club and the Bowling Club will be open, the Musuem is also offering free entry. 
Fund-raising for the event has raised £600 but expenses so far have reached £939, with the hire of the stage and payment for musicians being the main expenditure (jazz club £240). There will be a raffle on the day to raise further funds.
The organisers will no doubt be keeping an anxious eye on the weather forecast as we near the Jubilee weekend.
UPDATE: John Urquhart tells us that there has been a programme change: "Re the timetable shown on the Gurn site. The Timetable is an old one and The Howlin Gaels and Accidentals have swapped times at the Gaels request."

Thursday miscellany

A Nairn loon will come of age at the Oylmpic games. Torch bearer James MacDonald will become 18 whilst at the games: "In July he is heading to work as a Young Ambassador with Coca Cola at the Olympic Village and he will spend his 18th birthday on 22 July at the Games." More on the Highland Council site.

The Highland Council are also making much of the Keep Scotland Beautiful flag award for Nairn and other Highland beaches. This observer has always thought that the Marine Conservation Society Good Beach Guide was the benchmark that many holiday makers chose their preferences by however. Anyway, again more on the Highland Council site. 

This observer noticed an English based orienteering club recommending Parkdean Nairn Lochloy as potential accommodation for competitors in the 2013 Scottish 6-day orienteering event. The website for this competition shows some of the action will take place very close to Nairn. There is a link to Visit on the 6-day event page and also one to this is Moray. Maybe the organisers should make folk aware that there is also a large choice of accommodation just over the Moray border in Nairn. Maybe some of our tourism movers and shakers can influence that?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Blue-green algae blooms on Lochindorb

Summer is here and bad news from Lochindorb, a popular spot for many Nairnites. This from the Highland Council:

People visiting Lochindorb near Grantown on Spey are being warned of the presence of blue green algae at the Loch

Recent samples taken by SEPA at Lochindorb have indicated the presence of blue-green algae. Lochindorb is situated near the A939 approximately 6 miles north of Grantown on Spey.

As a precautionary measure, The Highland Council’s Environmental Health has posted notices next to the loch warning that contact with the algal scum should be avoided.

Food Parcels - Blythswood helped 55 people so far in Nairn this year

In light of the airing in the Nairnshire (also published here on the Gurn) of the recent revelation that there is a school of thought in Nairn that feels that giving citizens in need free food parcels is "not only an empty gesture, it is a futile gesture and its going to all the wrong people",  we thought we would ask the Blythswood charity for their response to this allegation. The organisation's Lorna Dempster told the Gurn: 

"All I can really say is that the people we help are as carefully assessed as possible by our partnering agencies. With an increase in job losses and low paid employment it is really difficult for many in society to manage with little resources. Currently we are helping a family, not from Nairn, who have been waiting for 12 weeks for child benefit to be processed. The mum of the 12 week old baby is using other resources to buy nappies and baby milk as she is not entitled to free milk until child benefit kicks in – this is leaving her in a tight position financially."

We also asked for some statistics to put a clearer picture on the situation in Nairn, recent media reports have  indicated that several hundred people in the Nairn area rely on parcels. We know the economic situation is still deteriorating for many people but what is the accurate picture of the current numbers in receipt of food parcels in Nairn?  Lorna was quick to respond:

"So far this year we have helped 55 people in Nairn – 35 adults and 20 children. With the exception of maybe a couple of this number they are all different people. Each food allocation to a single person is valued at roughly between £25 and £30 and for a family between £33 and £40. 

The Gurn asked how those who may want to donate cash to alleviate the worsening situation could help. Lorna told us:

"Although all of our food is donated, the cost to run such a project is phenomenal. At present we have three agencies who refer clients from Nairn and for one of these Blythswood Care takes responsibility in delivering Emergency Food Boxes to them.

Any financial donations should be sent to Blythswood Care, Highland Deephaven, Evanton, Ross-shire, IV16 9XJ and highlighted ‘For Foodbank’ "

The Gurn also understands that Tommy Hogg and Dick Youngson, the chairs of River and Suburban CC's respectively, today purchased £200 worth of food for food parcels, these are now on their way to Blythswood. Sainsbury's supermarket, where the purchases were made, also donated another £30 worth of food. Image of the food on the Blythswood
lorry on the left.
West CC's donation will be given to Blythswood in the next few days.

How not to light a living room fire

"A porch at a Nairn flat was damaged by fire after the occupants tried to light a living room fire using a can of petrol." More on the Inverness Courier site.
Also in this week's Tuesday Courier John Oliver has a letter in reply to criticism of his Charlie Chaplin walk plans. Tommy Hogg is mentioned too (complete with picture) and he gives the Courier an explanation of what motivated him to insist that the Community Councils gave £100 each to the food fund as well as £100 to Jubilee celebrations.

Tuesday night - folk night - The Vic

One short video, unfortunately this observer hadn't recharged the video camera since the hustings and was only had a few minutes left of battery life, another music fan present made some smart phone recordings however and they may appear on the Gurn. Shortly after this song two Irish musicians turned up and joined those already present and the excellent music and craic continued right up to the midnight hour.  Here's the Vic website for further information

Monday, May 28, 2012

More pictures of weekend events

Murray MacRae sent the Gurn a few images from the Harbourfest on Saturday, you can see them here.  Alec Munro was there too, here's some images he took
The car boot sale in the Showfield was very busy on Sunday, see some images here. The next car boot sale is on Sunday 1st July and more information is available here.

Petrol Station no more!

What was left of the petrol station got a quick shift today. Images here. 

Food Fund - All food and cash donated in Nairn is used in Nairn

The Gurn hears from Tommy Hogg that the Rev Steven Manders has been assured by Blythswood that all food and cash donated in Nairn to the Highland Foodbank goes to the Blythswood depot in Evanton.  It is then returned to Nairn via boxes Blythswood gives to agencies within our community to use as, and when, the need arises.

South Nairn - Balblair Consultation.

In the Community Centre last Thursday this observer took a look at the latest proposal for what the planners have termed South Nairn, or rather that part of the Nairn metropolis of the future that will be in the fields opposite Firhall. Regular readers will remember the article Consultation Fatigue in which we described Rosemary Young’s displeasure at having to consider yet another plan for this spot.

Here you can see the plan at present. Plenty of trees, a nice football pitch and lots of allotments up in the left hand corner. Seems very nice and if we must have expansion of the town maybe it should look like this. There is a slight problem in that Mr Allenby doesn’t own all of this land (as this image explains) and there is another application in for part of this site. Putting in an application yourself for something you would like to see built on someone else’s land is allowed under the planning legislation however so we may see such an application soon. Lots of Firhall residents had apparently attended the latest consultation and they were vociferously opposed to the other application and this observer has no reason to believe that they have softened their stance to development in their area. Mr Allenby can expect at least 50 letters of objection if and when his application goes in?

Is all this in the lap of the by-pass gods however? You would think that such a major development couldn’t go ahead without a by-pass but remember Highland Council’s Malcolm MacLeod who indicated that some house building might be permitted on this site without a by-pass.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Nairn Thunderbolts in Viewfield

Donald tells the Gurn that he was invited to go and watch the Thunderbolts perform in a mini-tournament in Viewfield this weekend. "It was a well attended event with teams from Moray and as far away as Wick, Caithness. In between the rugby the teams had a  competition of tug of war." said Donald. Here's a few images from Donald Matheson.

The Thunderbolts mini-rugby club website is here.  Individual pictures here. 

Portgordon 0 Nairn Saint Ninian 3 - The Elginshire cup now in Nairnshire - pictures

Pictures from a perfect Friday night out in Forres. Well down Sharpie's Saintly Silverware Squad! Indivdual pictures here. Full screen slideshow here.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Temporary closure of Firhall footbridge

Highland Council Press release:

"Firhall footbridge on the popular River Nairn footpath will be closed by The Highland Council for essential works to take place commencing Tuesday 5th June.
The works to remove a redundant and deteriorating water pipe are expected to last for five working days.

The Highland Council is notifying the general public and especially local walkers and dog walkers who use the path as a circular route, that the bridge will be closed.
The Council apologises for any inconvenience that this may cause but gives assurance that the works are taking place to ensure public health and safety."

Friday, May 25, 2012

Saint Ninian bring home Silverware - Elginshire cup - Portgordon 0 Saints 3

Get the bigger picture here.  More images to follow this weekend. A large crowd tonight through in Forres and  a perfect end to Saints season on a perfect night at Logie Park home of Forres Thistle JFC. 
Donald Wilson was one of the big Nairn contingent there tonight, he told the Gurn: "Well done Saints - worthy winners and great to see such a big crowd cheering them on. Good luck next season.Donald Wilson."

Good luck to Nairn Saint Ninian JFC in the Elginshire Cup Final Tonight!

Last game of the season: Tonight Elginshire Cup Final - Portgordon Victoria v Nairn St Ninian, Logie Park, Forres 7:30

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A trip to the Highland Folk Museum via Grantown prompts comment from Vix

Gurn correspondent Vix Sinex is not amused that there is not much happening on the Jubilee front in Nairn's main thoroughfare. He has some outspoken thoughts on local politics too. Click on the slideshow to see the pictures he refers to or here to see them individually. Do you agree with Vix's opinions? Yes or no we'd be delighted to publish your views too. In the meantime without further ado here's Vix:

"I was fortunate enough yesterday to accompany members of Nairn Literary Society on their annual outing to The Highland Folk Museum at Newtonmore. To those Nairnites who haven't been before, apart from a great day out there is another great incentive. ITS FREE! No 10% reductions for age, families or those holding a specific card. No BOGOF's, everyone is free, so for those with kids during the holidays, here is one day to think about. 

Anyway, on our way home we stopped off in Grantown. Bunting all over the place, (see pic) and shops gaily decorated for The Diamond Jubilee. One of our number explained to me after I had bemoaned Nairn's poor performance that the last crop of councillors, (of which we still have 2) felt there wasn't enough time to organise anything and there was also the election to think about. Whether or not this is true, we have had 60 years to prepare and correct me if I am wrong, didn't Grantown have the same election's on the same day? There was also apparently not enough interest amongst the Nairn retail fraternity but some were prepared to give support to the Curtis Cup. Come on Nairn retailers, what a wasted opportunity.

Charlie Chaplin Walk

Recently John Oliver made another attempt to have a Charlie Chaplin walk installed as a tourist attraction in Nairn. Murd reports that another seaside resort, Sharm el-Sheikh, have beaten us to it however.

Coming to the car boot sale on Sunday? Why not make it a day out in Nairn.

The forecast is good for Sunday, why not come to Nairn for the day. Pop into the carboot sale at the Showfield on your way into town. Perhaps you might even want to sell a few unwanted items. £5 per car. More details here. 

Trees trashed in Old Bar Road

An example of vandalism in Old Bar Road. Quite a few trees were planted up in this part of town and most of them are doing very well. In the future the new Lochloy housing estates could become, quite literally,  leafy suburbs but not if more trees are vandalised. Let's hope this incident was just a one-off. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday miscellany

A regular gurnite posed the question ”Where have the dolphins and the Golfer gone?  Are they away on their holidays and when are they coming back?"  They are referring to the flower displays which are usually at the top of Harbour Street and out by Balmakeith. Does anyone know where they’ve gone?

Irene MacKintosh provides us with a few details of the Old Free Kirk that will soon be vanishing from the landscape: “I believe it was started in 1842 by several notable people Sheriff Falconer, Dr. Bayne Firhall, Mr. Robertson of Newton,and others in anticipation of what would happen.  On the third Sunday after the disruption they held their first service, the church still not completed, no glazing in the windows  and pitch still dripping from the roof.  With the exception of one free church in Edinburgh our church in Nairn was the first Free Church opened in Scotland.  It continued until 1882 when a new church was erected on High Street at the cost of £8000.”

Nairn otters are in the news with orphans “Flash” and “Flood” being re-homed after their rescue from a Nairn burn in spate. Details and a picture on the Highland News site. Local otters get a mention in the Nairn blogosphere too. “One more predator for the Swans and ducks to worry about !” says the swan blogger. Sorry Joe, but if the odd duck or even a cygnet gets snacked by an otter then that’s just nature and let’s be glad that we have otters on the river too. The biggest disaster to befall the Nairn swans in recent years was from swan on swan violence when one pair of swans committed mass murder on another couple’s young. At the end of the day who are we as a species to make judgements about how other animals behave? Anyway last night the swans looked unconcerned about otters.

This observer notes from the Nairnshire Telegraph that Laurie is quoted: “I would love decentralisation. I’d love to see something like Nairn District Council recreated. Sadly, we’re not going to get that.”
Well Laurie, for several years you were part of an administration at Glenurquhart Road that was going full speed in the opposite direction to decentralisation. Supporting a single community council for the town too would have been a step in the right direction. Maybe most people don’t care these days but when asked in the past, the majority of respondents have said that they would prefer a single council. I appreciate there is a growing number of people who are concerned (perhaps alarmed is a better word) that such a body would be dominated by the present West CC members but the Westies would have to get themselves elected to the new body. The West is actually the smallest community council in Nairn with only around a thousand voters while River has around 5,000 voters in their area. Would the Westies come out on top in a town wide poll? 
Perhaps the first thing we should have is a referendum on a single CC? A Royal Burgh of Nairn Community Council would be the ideal body for the new Highland Council administration to hand back some power too.

Nice to see too that Cllr Michael Green is keen to get street markets and other events back on the agenda. I’m sure most of the residents of  Nairnshire would love to see a regular market during the summer months. Well done Michael, here’s hoping your vision of a regular series of events (commercial, cultural, sporting and artistic) comes to fruition.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Double Demolition in Sunny Nairn - Game on!

Preliminary work has began to make the Old Kirk/Community Centre secure, allowing demolition without incurring any risk to the public or passing traffic on the A96. A section of the Library car park has been sealed off and the A96 end of Courthouse Lane will soon be closed too. A line of wooden posts as been cemented into the ground parallel to the main road and the old Social Work building is the temporary headquarters of th e contractors. Individual pictures here and a full screen slide show here. Demolition - stay in the big picture with the Gurn!

And from the Highland Council website: "Phase I of the demolition will involve stripping of the interior of the building and this will last for 3 weeks. Phase II will involve the removal of the two Nissan huts. Phase III will be the demolition of the main building.

Under Phases I and II, 33 parking spaces in the Library Car Park will be out of use to the public as they are needed for the contractor’s compound. Under Phase III, a further 16 parking spaces will be out of use to the public in the Falconers Lane Car Park and the Courthouse Lane exit will be closed to traffic."

Stop Press - 'Tornado hits town'

Thanks to our Correspondent Vix Sinex for the following eye-witness report and image: "At 1130 this morning a 'Tornado' not so much as wreaked destruction but calmly and sedately passed through Nairn.

In 1990 a group of people came together to share an extraordinary ambition - to construct a brand new Peppercorn A1 Pacific. They formed The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and after nineteen years of incredible effort that locomotive, No. 60163 Tornado, moved under its own power for the first time in 2008 guaranteeing that we have steam on the main line in the 21st Century. Tornado is now fulfilling the dream, hauling specials on the mainline and giving joy to thousands of passengers and linesiders who want to witness the legend in action."
Vix Sinex

Picture will enlarge Gurnites. Marvellous image Vix, I'd heard about this project on the TV, fantastic to have this image of the Tornado passing through town. Hopefully they will build a few more one day. 

A Links litter incident

Cllr Graham Kerr of West Community Council is a vociferous proponent of stronger action on litter and over the last two meetings of his organisation he has questioned the police representative present, Sgt Olga Hansen, on litter matters. At the most recent meeting he related to Olga a recent incident that he’d heard about from one of his constituents:

“The lady was crossing the Links near the bandstand and there were some youths in there drinking and throwing the bottles out of the bandstand. She asked them to refrain and pick up the bottles to which she got some foul and abusive language. Fortunately she was actually on the phone at the time, it was her sister that was on the phone, who said, “Get yourself out of there and get home.” She phoned the police and her sister phoned the police. The police went down to the Links

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Oh Dear! Oh Dear!

Our correspondent Vix Sinex was out of town when the chain was restored to the correct recipient. Read what he has to say below a few of his latest pictures. Individual pictures here.  

"I go away for a few days and you become embroiled in a little spat over watts and tutu's. What an electrifying performance. I caught up on the Gurn last night. Well done Liz on getting the chain back. I don't agree with your party politics but at least you fight for Nairn. Justice has been done and a salutary lesson has been given to others. Nairnites, do not complain too loudly, especially over the state of the roads

Wood-related goings on in Viewfield this weekend

Thanks to Murray MacRae for these pictures of Saturday's display and exhibition in Viewfield.
Individual images here. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Co-op Cash Contribution to Cludgie

More on the Nairn Allotments Society site. 

Fort William FC in dire straits

Could the Western outpost of Highland League Football vanish from the scene? reports:
"The future of Fort William will be decided on May 30th with an SOS being sent out to the local community in an attempt to find volunteers to fill key rolls behind the scenes to avoid the club withdrawing from the Press and Journal Highland League after a 26 year stint in the SHFL." Lets hope the problems at Fort get sorted, it would be a shame to see them go. More here.

Auldearn demolition

Bob Stewart sends us a few pictures of the demolition work in Auldearn and he tells the Gurn: "since demolition seems to be topical in the Nairn area, please find attached a couple of photos showing the gap where the old Lion Hotel used to be in Auldearn. Work is ongoing."
Thanks Bob, much appreciated. Individual pictures here. 

Hole on the promenade

This hole appeared suddenly on Wednesday according to an anonymous correspondent. The hole is situated just below the Golf View Hotel.

From Here to Infinity - not so simple for some BT customers?

This observer has heard one or two gurns around town about the new BT upgrades to Broadband that are being rolled out in Nairn just now. We've had a couple of posts on old threads and here they are.

Nairn tells the Gurn on this previous post: "I've had BT Infinity installed for a week. In that time it worked for two days. New BT router and and now a BT engineer to call tomorrow to try and fix the problems.
Pretty poor service for a business line, and I too have heard of others with problems since BT installed the new fibre in Nairn
Sometimes it just doesn't pay to be first, and as for their technical support line...":

Tez Watson also commented yesterday: "Since May 1st when BT upgraded my tariff to 20Mb broadband the service has been appallingly bad. Having to restart router up to twenty times a day which in my business is a nightmare. Unable to collect/ send large files, use online banking, check email, etc.
Another heavy duty user nearby has identical problems yet BT insist it's my equipment."

How is it for you, did you upgrade and are you delighted or otherwise?

UPDATE from Nairn (slightly techie but may help if you have any problems:

"Just to add to my comment. According to the technical helpline (the one I ring is based in Alness) BT applied a patch last Sunday which caused 'issues'

The procedure for the TH is to run through a crib sheet to see if they can fix your problem, if not they email BT wholesale who are in charge of the engineers etc. They seemed keen to blame my new BT router and sent out a new one from Newcastle which despite assurances takes two days not one to reach Nairn

Once you have the new router and Infinity still doesn't work the Alness TH then email/eChat with BT wholesale and another line test is made. If this fails then, and only only then will you get an onsite visit from a BT engineer

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday miscellany

A traffic nightmare as four events, including the Curtis Cup, clash on June 9th? Some Gurnites may also be interested in the Highland Council's new Apple Map. Some will question if this is an appropriate use of tax payer's money but interestingly there could be economic benefits for the Highlands in years to come if some traditional apple growing areas find it difficult to continue with global warming affecting the health of their trees:

" With the south of England getting less rainfall, new orchards will planted further north as apple trees need plenty of moisture to grow and set fruit. Our survey discovered here are only a handful of commercial orchards in Highland." 

Obviously there is potential to grow some more fruit in the north. Gurnites may be interested to know that a group of plotters are going to establish an orchard on part of the new Sandown 2 allotment area and intend to grow a variety of  Scottish Heritage trees, they hope to encourage others to do the same locally. Perhaps one day the community could plant a couple of thousand trees on Sandown   and sell the fruit as a sustainable business? (maybe it's because this observer is a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...)

South Nairn - Consultation fatigue?

Roesmary Young launched an attack last week on the amount of time that it is taking for her Community Council in having to deal with the many plans that have come forward for Nairn South. She said:

"I must say I was absolutely seething, I'm sorry to say that, but I was seething when I read this. We now have, it's been in the Nairnshire this week obviously. This chap Allenby has now applied for planning permission across the whole of the other person's land which I know is legal to do that. It seems a bit odd but there you go. I'm just thinking of the time and effort. I have been to, I don't know how many consultations for Scotia for Nairn South. I've been to private ones, public ones, said my piece, I don't know how many times but now we've got to start it all over again and presumably paid officials in the Council have to go through this all again. I just think we've gone mad in this country."

The tale of South Nairn continues Gurnites and if you are one of those who have paid attention up to know, then you might want to go to the forthcoming consultation that will take place in the Community Centre on Weds 23rd (12.00 - 3.00pm and 4.30-7.30pm) and Thurs 24th (12.00 - 3.00pm). 

State of path beyond Firhall to Broadley causing concern

The path beyond Firhall towards Broadley along the Cawdor Road was debated recently at River Community Council. Cllr Sheila Maher was particularly concerned that mud on the path mad it difficult for wheelchair users from St Olaf's who were attempting to use this route. With both Highland Councillors Liz and Colin taking notes at last week's meeting perhaps we'll soon see an improvement in the state of the path?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Chilly and breezy weather for the newly hatched Nairn Cygnets of 2012

The temperatures remain low for the time of year and despite occasional sunny spells the weather is generally miserable.

Demolition begins (at the petrol station)

A demolition crew plus equipment is now in situ at the old petrol station. The landscape on this corner of King Street is about to change. Still no activity at the Community Centre though. For the bigger picture from across the road click here. What will this view look like in a few weeks? 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Liz is back as Provost of Nairn!

A unanimous decision it appears. It's on the Courier website so it must be true :-) Congratulations Liz!
See a new picture of the chain here. 

County fund raising success

NCFC's sportsman's dinner raised an incredible £23,000 last Friday night followed by the the Ceilidh on Saturday night bringing in over £1100 for the club. A club spokesperson said: "Without the effort of a select few these events would never take place and it is difficult to stress how important they are for the Club's future and so a massive Thank You to all."

Monday, May 14, 2012

In the Nairnshire this week

"Cemetery Unrest", it looks like things are getting worse, much worse up at the Cemetery as we enter the second year of the grass cutting being out to tender. Liz speaks out once agan for her constinuents who are alarmed at the state of the cemetery. This week's front page article is disturbing reading - time for the new Highland Council regime to take the cemetery contract back in house and get the local guys back on the job? 
Plenty more in the this week's local paper including  Iain Bain attacking the new traffic arrangements at the Station Brae on Cawdor Road, he says: "This is not the arrangement that will sit happily with major housing development in South Nairn."
UPDATE: Comment in from Old Boy, saying it like it is?

Nairn Kung Fu disciple

Thanks to Iain for pointing us in the direction of an interesting P&J article: 
"A Nairn man has become the first person in Scotland to be made a disciple of the famous Shaolin temple in China – home to kung fu fighting monks." More on the P&J site. 
And now more on the Scotsman website

Free permaculture workshop

FREE permaculture workshop for anyone in Nairn who is interested in gardening and good food.
Everyone is welcome - kids too.
There will also be an opportunity to chat with each other after the workshop about ideas for a good food network in Nairn.

Date: Friday 18th
Time: 6 to 8pm followed up a pot luck supper 8pm onwards
Venue: Kate's garden. Riverside Cottage, (off Mill Road) by Jubilee Br

“Some people very, very against the idea of giving out food parcels.”

The headlines, local and national, about the situation of families in Nairn needing food handouts have gone away but for those in receipt of the parcels the situation has not gone away at all. In response to the crisis, the town’s three community councils have donated £100  each to buy food for Nairn families. This food will be distributed locally and will not leave the town according to Tommy Hogg at last week’s River CC meeting. 

There are those that feel that giving free food to families is not an appropriate gesture in these troubled times. This observer would contend that they are a minority in our community but they do exist. Perhaps those that disagree with food parcels have a stereo-typical image of social security scrounger in their minds when they articulate their complaints but poverty in 2012 comes in unconventional forms however, and it only needs one member of a family, where both parents work, to find themselves out of a job, for that family to find themselves in distressing circumstances. Imagine how it must feel to have to go and ask the CAB, the Social Services of the minister for help in feeding your children? Some people in Nairn are in need and thanks to the headlines recently in the Nairnshire Telegraph that situation can no longer be hidden.

An insight into the thinking of those that are against food parcels was given at that River CC meeting on Tuesday evening of last week when Cllr Simon Noble related his experiences of earlier that day. He said:

”I was at a meeting at lunchtime and I talked with some people very, very against the idea of giving out food parcels. Now I don’t agree with that but the fact that there are people in the community who don’t support it because they believe that it is abused by the recipient. It is really important that we are clear what we are donating, why and that we are expecting that it can be accounted for in the way we are making a donation.[…] There will be people in the community who will say that it is not only an empty gesture, it is a futile gesture and its going to all the wrong people.”

Tommy Hogg said in reply to Simon’s Statement: “If they can’t take the minister’s word for it these people want to have a look at themselves.”

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ceilidh Cash for County

Last night the Wee County Floodlight Fund Ceilidh raised over £1100 to help keep Station Park lit up during the winter months. Well done to MC Donald Wilson and all those involve in making the Ceilidh the great success that it was. Here's a video of the shirt auction.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cashline trashlined?

The Lloyds TSB machine is out of service tonight.

Vix Sinex waxes lyrical

Our correspondent Vix Sinex is again in good form: 

"Hey, what's that strange yellow thing in the sky? I went out to Cawdor this morning to see if the bluebells were blooming and the new beech leaves had burst to give the canopy cover that lovely dappled shade. Still no go but about another 10 -14 days and the woods should be a joy to behold.

The rape is getting to its fullest bloom now and with the sunshine will be really vibrant. The trees have a mixture of colours just at that point of bud burst.

Scammers phoning Nairn numbers

A regular Gurnite’s relative received a phone call this afternoon (Friday) from a foreign sounding gentleman.  He informed her that after her complaint several weeks ago about unwanted calls he was now in the position to reassure her that her calls would be screened from now on and she would no longer be bothered by nuisance or scam phone calls.  When she said that she hadn’t spoken to anyone regarding this, he went on to say that, perhaps someone else in the household had been in touch with ‘them’.  Alarm bells had started ringing by this time as she is the only one in the household and, when the foreign gentleman asked her to confirm her bank details she was on full alert.  She told him that she was not giving him this information and he then explained that it was ok, and that he already had her information and only required her give him her details in confirmation.  She reiterated that she was not going t do this and the gentleman promptly hung up.  No doubt he then moved on to his next victim.

So, Gurnites, once again, be vigilant, if you get a phone call of this type or a variation of the scenario, do not give your details.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Uncle Bob's 5 Nairn United 3

Action from the AJG Forres-Nairn league down at the Riverside tonight.

River CC writing letters on Cemetery and Library concerns

The election is done and dusted but River Community Council are following up two subjects that were prominent at the hustings meeting. Both issues have an urgency about them. Space in the cemetery is running out and will be totally used up within 12-18 months. A site for a new one has not been agreed although a site on Granny Barbour's Road is favoured by the powers that be. River CC are writing to ask how much has been budgeted for both the purchase of land and the costs of the infrastructure of a new cemetery. Well done River CC, the community needs assurances that once a site is agreed the funding is in place to implement the plans immediately.  

On the library situation, Gurnites will remember Laurie Fraser's election leaflet which stated: ”The Library’s lease is due to expire in two years and a new location will be required.”
River CC have written to the Arm's Length Organisation that runs the Libraries now (they are no longer under the control of Highland Council) to ask them what are their intentions for Library provision in Nairn once the lease on the current library building runs out.
Videos of the hustings debate on these two issues are available here and here

In Nairn on Saturday 19th? - There will be something interesting happening in Viewfield

More information here. 

Police report for April

Sgt Olga Hansen was present at both community council meetings earlier in the week to deliver the latest police report and answer questions from the councillors or members of the community. Here's a summary of the statistics she had for April:
"The detection rate in the Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey area was 74.7% . In Nairn there were 8 petty assaults and 2 more serious assaults. 19 breaches of the peace, 21 noise calls, 6 domestic incidents, 21 positive drug searches and 2 houses searched which resulted in sufficient evidence for persons to be reported as being concerned in the supply of drugs. There were 7 child protection cases and 10 reports of vandalism. 1 drunk driver and 7 crimes of dishonesty. 15 road traffic collisions, 6 vehicles with no insurance, 7 people caught using mobile phones while driving, and various other tax and motoring offences concerning vehicles e.g. no seat belt."

On Wednesday night Sgt Hansen was questioned by the Westies on litter and other matters. More of that on the Gurn this weekend if time permits. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Local democracy broken in Scotland

Reading this post on the APT blog led this observer to a document called The Silent Crisis - Failure and Revival in Local Democracy in Scotland. Gurnites that take the time to browse that document will recognise some of the symptoms that demonstrate the democratic deficit that we have not only here in Nairn but throughout Scotland. There are statistics that clearly illustrate how little local government we have in comparison with other European countries. Many of the issues that have been to the fore in Nairn in recent years have their origins in this democratic deficit. A town the size of Nairn should be able to decide a lot more for itself and should not be dictated too by an Inverness based centralised local authority.  Here are three quotes from that document that perhaps might interest you in reading it in its entirety. The first is from the forward by Lesley Riddoch:

“What’s the average budget of a community council in Scotland? Go on. Guess. It’s £400. That says almost everything you need to know about local empowerment in Scotland. Of course money can’t buy you democracy any more than it buys you love. But the near zero budget for Scotland’s “community tier” of governance matches its near zero powers and near zero number of contested elections. This is not local democracy.” 

"This is mainly because Scottish local authorities are very large and are in no really meaningful sense ‘local’,

NFU Scotland concerned over Graham's ceasing production in Nairn

Concerns over the price producers of milk will receive in this area and the cost of transporting milk to the Central Belt and back raised by the Scottish NFU. More in a Farmers Guardian article here. 

Over the garden wall

Vix Sinex reports: "Not feeling quite so liverish this morning saw this over a garden wall whilst walking the dog."

Merryton little green men doing it for themselves again

One of our Gurn traffic light observers reports that the little green men at Merryton are once again doing their own thing unaided by pedestrians and will be adding to the usual delays that can be experienced when trying to drive through sunny Nairn. (And that's without a simultaneous demolition of the old Free Kirk and the petrol station to add to the fun - that should start next week according to Liz)
As we mention in the post below, last night Bill Young was in possession of correspondence that seemed to show that it is agreed at official level that the lights are not working as they were intended. The Nairnshire Telegraph were very interested in Bill's letters and hopefully we will hear more next week. 

Mediation service needed for Nairn parking disputes?

On Tuesday night Tommy Hogg and Stephanie Whittaker of River CC outlined how they are increasingly being approached by Fishertown residents who have concerns/issues about parking in their area. 
The Fishertown obviously was not designed for the modern lifestyle where many families will have two or even three cars. In the Fishertown and other parts of the Nairn where there is limited space for parking, often have unwritten informal arrangements about where to park, the necessary manoeuvring and conventions having been formed over many years. Sometimes this can break down if a new person moves into an area or someone from a neighbouring street decides to park in a different location. Things can become quite heated when parking issues arise and this observer too has seen neighbours fall out with each other once or twice over the years as too many cars try and fit into a small space.

Saints winning streak continues Bishopmill 0 - Nairn St Ninian 6

That result from the juniorsinfo twitterfeed. Also on their website a match report here of Saturday's game where the Saints beat Fochabers 1-4. Pictures of that game have been posted here. 
Last night the Welfare League kicked off in Nairn with Jackos playin Nairn Wanderers. A picture here on the Welfare League Facebook pages.  Jackos went on to win that game 6-1

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

West CC disappointment with bus station flats and supermarket go-ahead.

Disappointment was expressed at the West Community Council meeting tonight over the recent decision to give planning permission to the controversial bus station garage development.

Rosemary Young expressed her dismay that issues raised by West CC were not presented at the planning meeting and that the views of the West should have carried equal weight with River CC who were the statutory consultees. The development is on the dividing line between the two councils’ areas and River were in favour with West opposed. Perhaps most forthright in condemnation of the development was former West CC member Graham Vine who said:
“I was utterly horrified to read that when one of our elected members suggested that there should be a site visit to decide whether or not they should build a 4 storey block at the bus station, another of Nairn’s elected members vetoed it and pushed it through without such a site visit. If and when a child is killed by a lorry reversing into that supermarket because there is nowhere for children to play, and they’re family flats. I will make sure that it is well publicised in the Nairnshire that that particular councillor is responsible for that child’s injury or death.”

Food hygiene information scheme to be rolled out in Nairn

Thanks to APT Sec who forwarded the following Highland Council press release:

Consumers in the Highlands will have a new way to find out how well local food caterers and retailers are performing thanks to a new scheme launching this month. 

Still not summer

The sparrow picture was sent to the Gurn by Bob in Auldearn he told us: "this wee sparrow possibly hoping the warmer weather will arrive soon...Yes, he was going "cheep" as this was taken, early on Monday morning in Auldearn. No idea why I want to share this : beats vandalised bus shelters, however..."
Click on the image to enlarge.

Unsightly Bus Shelter

Our correspondent VixSinex is in a gurny mood this morning. "I wonder who will try to deny responsibility for the repair or replacement of this eyesore on the main approach to Nairn. Another little job for our newly elected overlords who profess to put Nairn first."
No honeymoon period for the new set of councillors with Vix. The shelter does look dilapidated however. Larger image here. 

Ceilidh news

Donald Wilson has two items for auction at the Floodlight fundraiser Ceilidh on Saturday night (see Gurn sidebar for details. In an e-mail going the rounds he says: " I have two items for auction. A Rangers football signed by all the current players.  Anyone interested in bidding get in touch. Also Dale Gillespie’s shirt from the Nairn County Highland League Cup winning team of 2010-11."

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

River CC supports principle of candidate with most votes to be Provost

Freddie Holmes asked the River CC meeting earlier tonight if they supported the principle that for the Highland Council elections in Nairn the candidate with the most votes should become the Provost. The River members agreed with that prinicple. 

River CC to give £100 to Jubilee celbrations and £100 to Nairn's food fund

River Community Council had been asked to give £100 to the proposed Jubilee celebrations in Viewfield in June. Tommy Hogg the Chair of the council was only prepared to give £100 if another £100 was given to help feed those families in Nairn that are having to rely on hand-outs in these troubled times. Tommy was forthright and passionate in his belief that a donation to what he termed a "hooley" should be matched by similar to ongoing efforts by Steven Manders of the URC and the Blytheswood organisation to feed those in need.

The other members of River CC agreed tonight at the organisations meeting in the community centre. £100 will be going to the Jubilee celebration committee and another £100 to buy food for the less fortunate in our community. 

Diesel theft from Council depot

The Gurn understands that diesel was taken from several vehicles at the Council's Balblair Road depot over the weekend. The return to work was disrupted on Monday morning as police arrived to  inspect the break-in and theft. Word on the twitter street is that diesel to the value of £700 was stolen. 

SNP-LibDem-Lab pact to rule at Glenurquhart Road

The Independents thought they had all the trump cards but things have turned out rather differently this time round. Cllr Colin MacAulay breaks the news on his Facebook page tonight:

"We now have an SNP-Lib Dem-Labour administration working together for the people of Highland!
We've always said that we would do our best and this now means setting aside our various politicial diffferences for the good of the Highlands.
Labour's Jimmy Gray will replace Sandy Park as the new Convenor.
Our very own Drew Hendry will be Leader of the new Council administration - and David Alston of the LibDems will be his Depute."

Dairy rumours

Rumours out there on twitter about the Nairn Dairy, hope they are just that.
UPDATE: sadly it seems the community might have to brace itself for bad news concerning part of the dairy's operations.
UPDATE: This morning it is being reported that Grahams are contemplating stopping production at the Dairy which would result in the loss of 13 jobs. If that were to happen the Dairy complex would be converted into a distribution centre only.

Big Bloomers Curtis Cup display

Park Street Pete commented on the Gurn this morning: 

"While heading up to The Co-op to get a Nairnie noticed the flower shop Big Bloomers window display, what a fantastic effort which is celebrating The Curtis Cup Golf Tournament hitting The Town next month what a delight to see that someone has put a lot of thought & effort to bring a splash of colour to our drab High Street, maybe the newly elected councillors should nip in to the BB shop & ask the owner for some advice on how to brighten up Nairn"

Pete is correct, Big Bloomers have made a magnificent effort. We hope to get a picture of the other window later today, too many reflections this morning to do it justice. Worth a trip down the street to see this display.

River CC meeting tonight (Tuesday) 7.30 p.m. Community Centre

Here's a copy of the Agenda: 
  1. Apologies / In Attendance
  2. Approve Minutes Of Previous Meeting
  3. Police Report
  4. Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan
  5. Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
  6.  New Site For Nairn Cemetery
  7. Nairn Library
  8. Correspondence
  9. AOCB
  10. Planning
  11. Date Of Next Meeting 12th June
This meeting should be quite interesting as no doubt the alternative plan for Nairn South will be discussed under item 10. Some Gurnites may be interested in the situation concerning the cemetery. It is filling up and Nairn only has 12-18 months to find a new site. There was debate on this at the hustings. The library too will need to find a new home in two years time according to Laurie.Again this was debated at the hustings.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Question 9: How should the next Provost of Nairn be selected or elected?

Bearing in mind recent comment on the Gurn perhaps a flashback to the hustings is in order. There was also a question from the floor of the hall specifically for Oor Graham: "Why shouldn't the person with the most votes be appointed Provost?" 
There's comment on this issue in the Nairnshire Telegraph this week too. 

Salty falls in love with his own reflection?

Salty had been delivering nesting material to a shop door on the High Street and was totally obsessed with his own reaction.

Another short Salty video here. 

Jubilee events across Nairnshire

An article in yesterday's Sunday Times was suggesting that Scotland has been less than enthusiastic in its willingness to celebrate the Jubilee: "There are a handful of events organised at significant tourist attractions but more than half of Scotland's 32 local authorities have no plans to celebrate."

That no longer seems to be the case locally. Things were slow in getting off the ground here but now a programme of events has emerged and a list has come the Gurn's way.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Liz for Provost Facebook page started

To this observer it is only fair, and the best thing for Nairn, if the chain were restored to Liz as soon as possible. For anyone with a facebook account there is now a page where you can show your support if you agree with that sentiment. 

Turriff 0 Nairn 1- Pictures

Pictures from club photographer Donald Matheson. Donald told the Gurn: 
"Great to get 3 points today for 3rd place in the league. A one-nil  win doesn't reflect the chances we had and their stand-in trialist  keeper was outstanding. It took a wonder strike from Gethins running away  from the edge of the box, blasted over the keeper into far corner. It was  special. Paul Macleod had several chances but again the keeper kept him out."
Individual pictures here. Full screen slideshow here

Friday, May 04, 2012

Liz on top but Laurie enjoying the support of the silent minority?

The breakdown of preferences have been published on the Highland Council site, you have to download a spreadsheet (click on the preference summary on this page) but here's a snapshot put up on the Gurn Flickr pages if you prefer that.

What is remarkable is that Laurie came second behind Liz in numbers of votes. He was a good Nairnshire mile behind her with 621 first preference votes compared to her 1120 but it is still quite an achievement and mirrors the second place of Sandy in 2007. 

Check out the second preferences that Colin received, 834. He eventually became Nairn's second SNP councillor as the stages of the count moved on. There's nothing you can take away from Liz however, and the total of second preferences (academic only at that stage) she received was 662. Liz is beyond doubt the people's choice and this observer feels there will be a riot this time round if she is not restored as Provost. 

Ashley Broadbent could be forgiven for having a few drams tonight, he came fourth in the initial first preferences with 458 votes, behind third placed Michael Green on 483, but the vagaries of the STV system eventually rejected him.

Ritchie Cunningham came 7th in first preferences behind Oor Graham. Can we deduce from that that voters in Nairn are not very interested in candidates that want to centre their campaign on attacking the SNP?  The Tory wifie came bottom of the list on first preferences. 
Can Gurnites detect any other trends in these figures?

Liz, Colin, Michael and Laurie in - Oor Graham oot!

Laurie the surprise there to this observer anyway,  but that's the make up of Nairn's representation on Highland Council. Congratulations to the successful candidates. Here's the official result on the Highland Council site. It'll be interesting to see the breakdown of where 2nd, 3rd and 4th preferences went when that is eventually published. 
A 43% turnout, down drastically from the 58% in 2007.

Next question is: Who would the voters of Gurnshire like to see as the next provost? - Poll in the sidebar. 

Nairn not in the Good Beach Guide again

The Marine Conservation Society has left us off their Good Beach Guide again. Both the Central and East Beaches only passed the mandatory level and thus failed to make it into the publication. 
Here are the SEPA figures for both the East and Central beaches. Of course most people in Nairn refer to the Central Beach as the West beach. The tag "Central" is just an official invention. A casual glance at those documents seems to indicate that the East Beach is the cleaner of the two. 

Thursday, May 03, 2012

The black boxes keep their secrets until the morning

The doors shut on the day's democratic process at the Seaman's Hall tonight. By now the ballot boxes will be on their way to Inverness for tomorrow morning's count. The candidates can go home, unsure of their fate wondering what the electronic voting machines will tell them in the morning. Ambitions and even political careers may lie in tatters but, just  like the eight contestants,  we'll have to wait and see too. 
Will the Ward 19 Nairn vote be up or down this time round? According to the BBC tonight: "Early indications point to a record low turnout amongst Scotland's four million voters."  All will be revealed tomorrow.

One of the Inverness Candidates is predicting the first Highland results in by 10.30 in the morning. Richard Laird's twitter account might be a good spot to watch for results too. 
Also the hastag HCvote might be worth watching.

No Green candidate in Gurnshire but does it matter?

Donnie MacLeod has resurfaced over the border in the Ardersier ward as a green candidate. Maybe he just might scrape in but the Highland greens just don't seem to be able to get back to the polling highs they had in the days when dozens of environmental activists were heading for the GM crops at Munlochy with scythes hidden about their persons. With this in mind a non-Green party greenie gurnite sends in the following comments:

"Purses are near to empty so choosing the Green way of life or the cheap option is a no brainer for many folk. A poorly thought out short term philosophy over the future of the planet maybe, but for many the current and only way forward.

Nuclear power or coal, as long as they can still flick the switch how many care. Scotland's future looks as though monetarily it's going to be built on oil revenue rather than wind farms, not very Green but the majority want cheap oil and the promised revenue it may bring. The token recycling of bottles and paper helps clear consciences, and in return it means we meet a EU directive and HC (us indirectly) doesn't get fined

Saints 3 Fochabers 0 - Pictures

Saints finished off their home programme this season with a 3-0 win over Fochabers.
Full screen slide show here and individual pictures here.

Gurnshire goes to the polls

Vote early and vote often Gurnites. Mmmmm, well over the last few days this observer met increasing numbers of people that are only voting 1,2 or simply 1. A common theme seemed to be that some people were less than impressed with some of the candidates and would thus reflect this in their choices. 
Maybe you are considering not voting at all, before you go down that road why not take a quick crash course on what's happening - visit this Gurn page. 

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Teresa the Traffic warden is back!

Time for illegal parkers and motorists behaving badly to up their game a little. This from the Northern Constabulary:
"Northern Constabulary in Nairn is pleased to announce that the position of part time Traffic Warden for Nairn has been filled after the completion of the recruitment process.

Teresa Cameron will take up post from Tuesday 8 May 2012. Teresa who lives locally

Saints last home game of the season

 Tonight, last home game of the season Nairn St Ninian v Fochabers Showfield Nairn 7pm.

Images of May Day

A JCB removes the masses of wood from the beach, the result of the recent spate, in the background out in the Moray Firth the Saipem 7000 (the world's second largest barge crane) sits on the horizon. Park Street basks in sunshire and later in the day Jackos were in action down at the riverside. 

Ward 19 Nairn - Eve of poll analysis

Results of the Gurn unscientific fun poll - 581 votes were cast. 

Liz MacDonald                 133         22.89%
Ashley Broadbent              94          16.8%
Michael Green                   85          14.63%
Ritchie Cunningham            80          13.77%
Colin MacAulay                 68          11.7%
Graham Marsden               60          10.33%
Rossie MacRae                  33          5.68%
Laurie Fraser                      28          4.82%

Good morning Gurnshire and welcome to our eve of poll analysis. We have made two predictions based on the information in the unscientific Gurn fun poll which closed earlier this morning. Liz will top the poll and

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Car boot sale clash no more – Saints and NAS to run joint event

Unbeknown to each other Nairn St Ninian JFC and Nairn Allotment Society had both arranged to run a series of car boot sales on the last Sunday of the month during the summer. The clash became apparent when the two ads appeared in the Nairnshire Telegraph last week. NAS had organised an event down at the Maggot and the Saints at their Showfield base. As it was both events were successful. The two groups met up however to discuss the clash and the result is that they will jointly run a series of car boots at the Showfield over the summer months.
They will take place on the last Sunday of the month and the first one will be on Sunday 27th of May. Visit this page for details of the events.

Gurnshire election fun poll closes tomorrow morning

The Gurn's unscientific fun poll closes tomorrow morning. It's only fun but in a past poll we came very close to one or two of the Holyrood results.  There is only one poll that really matters though and that is when the doors open across Nairnshire's polling stations on Thursday morning.
Have you voted yet in our poll however?  It's in the sidebar and from the unscientific information it presents this observer will be rash enough to make two predictions. Liz will come top and the Tories (Scottish Conservative and Unionists) will come bottom. More analysis about the chances of the rest of the candidates tomorrow.
In the meantime, if you still haven't decided where to put your preferences, why not have a look at all the Hustings video's and questions - click here. Here's where Stephen Manders introduces the candidates, to see more videos click here.   All the videos and questions will be available for future reference.