Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday picture selection

Dave has been out in the sunshine, he tells the Gurn:
"With the bright sunshine and blue skies, some real signs of Spring are beginning to appear on the A96 opposite Tradespark woods and down to Beech Avenue. Over the next few weeks I hope we will see a lot of colourful displays all over Nairn. These are all put in place by a dedicated band of volunteers who deserve a great deal of thanks by the citizens of Nairn. They help to make our town an even more beautiful place in which to live. Let's just hope that the council grass cutting contractors can be persuaded not to cut them all down until they have died back to give us another show next year."

It was a pretty good sunset last night on the best beach in Scotland and perhaps we'll see similar tonight, images here. 

Watch out for the potholes on the A96 between Bridgemill Direct and Grants Garage. Some drivers are doing their best to avoid the worst of them but that always doesn't help to keep concentration on other potential road hazards. Small pieces of road are now starting to occupy the pavement here and there too, not pleasant for pedestrians at all. BEAR will probably eventually put in more patches but isn't it about time this whole section was ripped up and relaid? Images here.

And thanks too to Murray for this studay of Nigel.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Turriff 0 Nairn 2 - Pictures

Goals from Connor Gethins and Sean Webb today. NCFC club photogrpaher Donald Matheson told the Gurn ealier tonight:

"Great team effort as we were down to bare bones through illness, injury  and suspension. we had 3 youth players on the bench.  The motm was the whole team as they played their hearts out and got a  great away result considering Turriff scored 11 goals this week."

Also there was Graeme MacLeod who reported on Facebook:

" Another fine, solid showing from McCallum in goal, Webby, Bobo and Hen were fantastic at the back, Watty and Ellis chased everything, Adam continues to look a very shrewd addition, great to see Gezza back among the goals, magnificent display from RD in attack and a superb shift from Franny off the bench too, he really put himself about. Let's hope Fonzy's hamstring strain eases off in time for Wednesday night. As much as Turriff had a lot of possession and saw a fair amount of the ball in the final third, our midfield and defence did an excellent job in restricting them to long range efforts and half chances, anything they did manage to get on target was expertly fielded by McCallum between the posts."

Here's Donald's pictures of the action today, individual images here.  Click read more tab to see slideshow

Colbh Gàidhlig 2 - Dàimh

Le crioch an an t-seusain air faire a-nis feumar a radh gur e leaga annabarrach inntineach a th’ ann an leaga na Gàidhealtachd am bliadhna. Gheibhear còig sgiobaidhean fhathast aig a bheil cothrom a’chuis a dhèanamh. ‘ Se sin Inbhir Narann, Clach, Inbhir Uige, Formartine agus Còbh. An diugh thèid Inbhir Narann gu Baile Thurra agus cha bhi sin furasta idir idir, rinn iad math an aghaidh Huntlaidh Diciadain. Cha d’rinn sinn math idir aig Parca Bana-phrionnsa Rioghail air an aon oidhche ge-tà, bhuannaich Uisge Dubh-Eirinn 1-0 ach abair thusa gun robh cothroman gu leòr againn ach gu mì-fhortanach fhuair “Mo” Morisdean ceart dearg, cnap starra nach bu bheag feumaidh mi a ràdh.. 

 Ach que sera, sera, mar a chanas iad. Chì sinn dè thachras leis a sin. Bu toil leam rudeigin a radh a-nis mu dheidhinn cuisean eadar nan cluicheadairean, na luchd-leantainn agus a’ bhòrd. Abair thusa gun d’rinn sin ceum air adhart leais a sin ann an 2013. Thoishich na luchd leantainn airgid a thogail son leasachaidh na Pairce aig deireadh an Fhaoillich
agus cha mhor nach eil £10,000 sa sporann an diugh agus cha do thoisich tachartasan a cuir iad air dòigh fhathast. Tha cuid den bheachd gum bidh sin a’ streap suas gu 20K aig deireadh na bliadhna. Innis mi beagan a bharrachd dhut mu an dheidhinn sa cholbh seo an ath-sheachdainn. Rudeigin a tha bualadh orm ge-ta ‘s e sin ciamar a tha a h-uile duine co-ceangailte ris a’cluba giùlain le càch a chéile leis an iomairt a tha seo. Dhomhsa ‘s e faireachdainn gu math sonraichte gus a bhith a’ gabhail pairt anns a h-uile cail a tha seo..

Friday, March 29, 2013

Freedom for Nairnshire - all hail the wisdom of Iain Bain?

Another paragraph copied from yet another no holes bared Nairnshire Telegraph editorial on this Good Friday fellow Gurnites. Happy Easter to all our regular readers, enjoy yourselves but please spare a moment to digest the erudite thoughts of the editor of the Leopold Street Thunderer. He wrote this week:

"It is over the top to cast Highland Council as the enemy as was done last week at Nairn West Community Council. But it is certain that Nairnites have a fight on their hands to preserve what remains of their community. How can they do that? One solution might be to join the growing but fairly formless organisation that is NICE. Another might be to combine the disparate elements who are the town's three community councils to achieve a force to be reckoned with."

This observer still believes the second suggestion to be the best. The Royal Burgh of Nairn Community Council really would be the bees knees. Not likely in a hurry however but in the meantime the Combined Community Council meetings are proving themselves a force to be reckoned with. If the Subbies, the Westies and the River folkies can continue to come up with initiatives that find universal support among their ranks then they will continue to accumulate gravitas and the same kind of moral authority that used to come signed sealed and delivered with the old Nairn District Council! Keep at it citizens - Freedom for Nairnshire! - Saorsa do Shiorrachd Narann!

Another promise of Spring - pictures Dave Shillabeer

Dave was out early yesterday morning after the snow fall, he told the Gurn: :Between 0600 and 0630 there was yet another covering of snow. By the looks of the weather forecasts, these type of pictures are going to be the norm through April." Individual pictures here.  click read more to see slideshow

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Colin: “We’ve got the wrong system of public service and local government in Scotland, the lines need redrawn”

We reported yesterday on the discussion at the Suburban CC meeting on Wednesday night where the Chair, Dick Youngson, revealed that there will be another meeting of the Nairnshire Community Councils plus Croy and Ardersier CCs in the near future. There was then some discussion centring on the proposed new Nairn Badenoch and Strathspey area committee proposed by Highland Council and whether this or other forms of administration, would be the best format for Nairnshire. Some chat too on the various geographical administrative areas that other public bodies use for Nairn. Colin MacAulay, one of our four Highland Councillors, had some thoughts he shared with the meeting, he started by talking about the moribund Nairnshire Partnership that used to meet regularly in the Courthouse:

“I think the Partnership is the right thing to do in terms of throwing some of these ideas around and not being firm about what shape that actually takes in the future. In terms of the geographies I think there are all kinds of arguments. To my mind I can see the logic of Nairnshire. Beyond that you are into geographies that are of convenience. The Badenoch and Strathspey link is just as convenient as the Ardersier and Croy one. The police are aligned to Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, the bulk of the Council services aren’t linked into Inverness are in Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey and have been since the end of the District Councils and the collaborative, licensing and planning and whatever else. So historically there’s a link there.

There are more similarities with Badenoch and Strathspey than we have with our pals in Culloden or whatever else and I think that is the dilemma you’ve got, as eight Community Councils to me makes zero sense. You have four elected members who cover Nairn and then you have four half councillors that cover the other area, that has to be as bonkers as anything. We’ve got the wrong system of public service and local government in Scotland. The lines need redrawn. They’re not going to be redrawn in the short term so someone’s suggesting there’s this style of fuzzy management. That’s what we are into for the short term, it’s making the best of illogical things. The Scandinavians would sort this in a minute, they would just…”
Colin was then interrupted by John Hart who said:” The suspicion is that its nice to keep it fuzzy because it’s nice and confusing.”
“Oh, that’s a conspiracy,” replied Cllr MacAulay.
“That’s my cynical view, you change it!” countered John.
Colin laughed and said, “I can’t change your frame of mind or I would.”

This observer awaits the promised developments with the (possibly revamped) Nairnshire Partnership with interest. Could we have the nucleus of a body that could become a focus for those many individuals in the community that are willing to help carve out a better future for Nairn, or will we just have talking shop mark 2 with more officials from Glenurquhart Road coming through to practise their PowerPoint skills?

Disappointment at Princess Royal Park - Vale 1 Nairn 0

The return journey, curiously, did not have the despondency of the midweek defeat against Clach seven days beforehand. Maybe the road from Banff is more conducive to the philosophical approach than the landscape of the Merkinch that resonated at the time with the mocking cheers of the Clachers. Talk too, on the way home of the Highland League cup tie on Saturday the 6th of Aprill at Station Park against the Merkinchers and when football was exhausted there were rich seams of other parochial affairs to mine to take one's mind off the defeat. 

Another cold night out but not as cold as last Saturday afternoon at Station Park. A quick look out of the window this morning indicates the low temperatures have not gone away yet - will we ever see warm sunny football again before this season finishes? 

Soccer is such a bitter sweet game and there were moments where one was very satisfied with the County performance yet stunned by the failure of the ball to go in the net. It wasn't going to go in last night and to this observer that feeling was at the height of its definition when Andy Neill decided to go all the way on one of his piecing runs on the wing: the gods denied him and the sound of the crossbar rattling violently echoed loudly across the floodlit Princess Royal Park panorama - then John Cameron was to fail to capitalize on the loose ball, maybe if he had been a couple of centimeters better placed? Plenty of other maybes to discuss too.

Bizarre injury time moments as the Ref went down, he eventually got up but the stoppage interfered with a long period of County domination. Then the blow that was Mo's second card. County hung on with determination however and seemed to fight even more for every ball. The late Vale goal sealed it though. 

A look at the table this morning doesn't look too dispiriting  but more than ever we look to other results in the run-in and we have an even harder task to accomplish.

Here's some images from club photographer Donald Matheson. Click read more tab to see slideshow

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Seasonal Traffic warden for Nairn still wanted

Colin informs the Gurn that the Police have had no applications so far for the post of Seasonal Traffic Warden in Nairn. He told us this morning:

"Inspector MacLeod has said that if anybody is interested they should contact him on “101” – ask for Nairn Police Station and ask about the post or to speak with Inspector Macleod."

Nairnshire, Croy and Ardersier – a potential union of disaffected communities?

Would an alliance of Nairnshire, Croy and Ardersier make more sense than the current plan Highland Council has to herd us into a Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey area committee? This observer would go as far to suggest that that, in the not too distant future, could be one of a series of potential outcomes from a meeting planned of all the Nairnshire Community Councils plus Croy and Ardersier. 

At the Suburban Community Council meeting last night in the Academy Dick Youngson gave details of the next meeting of the councils, he said:

“We’ve been asked to set up another meeting of the seven, and now eight community councils. To again discuss what are our requirements and what are we to do about Nairn and everything that has been taken away from Nairn. Because really if we don’t get it right at this stage, and set up clear sort of ideas we’re going to lose out as a result of a shrinking budget. Because Highland Council and all the other Councils are in extreme difficulty at the moment. I think the auditors are looking very keenly at a lot of the cash which has gone out to different organisations and been used in all the Council areas. So really things are going to get tighter than we ever imagined and yet we haven’t really had our fair share of cash and allowance and I think we again should get together.

We’re going to include Ardersier this time because they felt left out. We had Croy and Cawdor and East Nairnshire which is really Glenferness and Lethen and Roger Milton (Auldearn) and out three Community Councils here. It went down quite well and we discussed a lot. It’s going to be an open meeting, we’re not going to have a small contingent from each Community Council. It’ll be open and we’re really going to tackle all the issues that we’re going to lose if we don’t speak up now.

Dick then discussed potential dates for the meeting Weeks commencing Monday 22nd April or 6th May seemed to suit best, he went on:

“This isn’t the same as the three Nairn Community Councils getting together, this is a much larger. It’s Ward 19 together with the Councillors and part of Ward 18 or most of it.
Because Croy feel completely left out as do Ardersier. So if we can actually get together and debate keenly what is required and how we can perhaps put up a decent case for a form of thinking and management…there’s been quite a lot of discussion with senior members of Highland Council over the last few weeks. There’s quite a lot of support and interest from them for this. So we are not going against Highland Council this actually takes us forward along with Government thinking and what Highland Council can perhaps achieve with us as partners.

It isn’t as if we are going to give ourselves a heap more work, we are still going to exist as a Community Council. That’s our responsibility; we’re not changing the Community Councils. It’s just that we will be free then to set up as development companies and to look for funding and to get funding through government and Highland Council. So it’ll be channelled in a slightly different manner. Unless we speak up we are going to lose out all the way along.”

More on this initiative/discussion later this week in the Gurn. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rudi wins County Keeper's penalty stopping gloves

Nairn County goalkeeper Callum Donaldson’s gloves which stopped a penalty and helped Nairn to a historic Scottish Cup victory over Clyde have fetched £100 in an on-line auction. The big popular keeper is a firm favourite with the fans and has been backing them in their campaign to raise funds for ground improvements which is already generating thousands of pounds.
The winning bid for the gloves, which were auctioned on the Nairn County Fans “ We Believe” Facebook site was tabled by Rudi Morganti, the grandson of Angelo Morganti, a former club Chairman and President of the Highland League who was with Nairn County when the stand was built in 1937,
Rudi was locked in a titanic bidding war with Ian Finlayson, son of former County Secretary Sandy Finlayson. When bidding closed it was Rudi’s £100 donation which won the day.
Rudi is pictured receiving the gloves from Callum in the Royal British Legion Nairn after the recent encounter between the Wee County and Strathspey Thistle.

Police appeal after man knocked unconscious at Nairn Railway Station

Details on the Highland News Site.

Nairn's identity still in danger

The Nairnshire Telegraph this week details anger expressed at last week's West Community Council meeting  about the way Nairn's tourism ambitions are handled by Highland Council. The satirical headline "Welcome to Smithton East!" says it all really. All those that are deeply concerned about how our civic identity has been going down the Inverness drain over the last thirty years or so will share the sentiment expressed in the article  and editorial in this week's Nairnshire Telegraph. In that editorial Iain Bain details:

“It comes in the same week that a press release from Highland Council dropped the name of Nairn from a local government appellation. Inverness, Badenoch and Strathspey was how this area was termed in a statement relating to new Leader operations. We asked Highland Council’s press office to clarify Nairn’s position and were told that Inverness included Nairn.”

Quotes again this week from Michael Green and also from Liz. Iain Bain also goes on to detail more worries that there is worse to come for Nairn in the future. He also details some positive suggestions to reverse this situation. 

It is time surely for Colin and Liz, to detail a road map of what their ruling administration intend to do to reverse the decline of Nairn's civic identity and just what autonomy they intend to return to this community, after all they are the Glenurquhart Road masters now. Scotland gets a vote to decide its future in 2014, how about one for Nairn to decide if it wants to stay part of Highland Council?

Update: Support from one Inverness Councillor

Monday, March 25, 2013

Comment from the local political sidelines

This observer would gently suggest that Oor Graham was part of the centralising Glenurquhart Road machine for around four years and perhaps he and his LibDem colleagues could have done a lot more to stop the incessant drip-drip of power towards the Highland Capital  during that time. His intervention is timely however, because it is a reminder that the new SNP led administration in Inverness will be judged by how much power it devolves back to Nairn. Regardless of what happens in 2014 and whether Scotland gets Independence or some sort of DevoMax package from the London parties isn't it essential that communities like Nairn have more say over their own affairs? 

Monday morning miscellany - opening soon - Harleys Cocktail Bar and Grill - a Regal Transformation - Plus the Social Club becomes the The Playhouse

Two facebook pages out there in Gurnshire quickly gathering followers and positive comment are Harleys cocktail and grill and The Playhouse Nairn.   Regular readers will know that there has been an incredible amount of work going on in Church Street in the last few months and now the eyesore that is the Regal is about to be transformed too. Good luck to the entrepreneurs who are bringing these buildings back into circulation.

Elsewhere this weekend the Wee County had a successful fund raising event in the Royal British Legion, The Highland Hall there has had a makeover too and makes a magnificent venue, images of An Afternoon with Stan Boardman here. Coming up , anyone into the Real Ale scene might want to bookmark the Braeval's beer festival, there will be over 100 ales to try out. 

Also for the week ahead, Wednesday night is a big one again for the Wee County, they will be heading through to Banff for the rematch with Deveronvale. Another exciting ninety minutes in prospect here, there are still half a dozen contenders for the Highland League title and County and Vale are in there. Vale will be smarting from the 2-1 defeat at Station Park (pictures posted below) and Les's squad will be feeling at the top of their game after the stylish performance witnessed on Saturday. Hopefully the match will survive the weather, the local forecast looks bad for midweek and they will probably have similar along at Princess Royal Park, certainly still not time to try planting a couple of rows of early tatties.

Finally, worth a look at the information and pictures in the article on the Access Panel's recent Awareness Day. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

U-15 Buckie 0 Nairn 9

While the Station Park stars joined the Wee County fundraising dinner at the Legion this afternoon the potential stars of the future were doing the business along the coast in Morayshire. Well done the U-15s.

Sorry no pictures of that stunning win. Hope more pictures of the 2-1 over Deveronvale yesterday at Station Park will do instead however. Individual images here. 

Access Panel Awareness Day - Pictures

On Tuesday the 14th the Nairn Access Panel run their annual Access Awareness Day in the Community and Arts Centre. Auldearn, Cawdor, Millbank and Rosebankd primary schools took part and experienced a set of “hands on” workshops. This year the panel enjoyed the participation of Deaf Awareness Services from Dingwall, the Aviemore Disabled Ski School who brought along their equipment. There were also several other workshops involving a wheelchair course for the children, a visual impairment corner involving a guide dog and a handler and a table with various pieces of assistance equipment for the children to try.
The Panel also presented their Access Awareness Award, this year the recipient was Lyods Pharmacy.

Thanks to Liz Bow of the Access Panel for the images in the slideshow below. Individual images here. 

Surgery Appointments system further tweaks - statement from Nairn HealthCare Group

The practive have taken stock of progress so far and public input, now the appointments system is evolving.  Gurnites will remember that Dr Baker said  at the recent meeting between Highland Council and the NHS in the Couthouse that further changes were under consideration . Here's the latest from the Health Care Group:

Statement from Nairn Healthcare Group regarding GP appointments

The new appointment system was genuinely felt to be an appropriate vehicle to deliver the improved access we as a practice, and our patients via previous feedback, were looking for. However, the figures gathered reflected a much higher level of demand compared with comparative sites, which stressed the system severely. Allied to the difficulties patients were genuinely feeding back regarding the difficulties in booking appointments meant we listened to all such feedback and decided the totality of the system was challenging all concerned.  

Thus we have modified the system and are in the process of looking at all aspects again of access, appointments and demand.

We are therefore allowing patients to book some appointments in the modified system but would appreciate all stakeholders’ patience while we seek to develop a suitable alternative.

In sharing this experience with other colleagues in the Highlands, Moray and Grampian, we are aware that pressures on GP access is a stress felt uniformly in Primary Care and all are striving to square such a circle.

We equally have a strong sense of realisation of the importance of taking patients along with us, informing key people such as councillors, community councils and others, and are looking at strengthening such lines of communications.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Nairn 2 Deveronvale 1 - Pictures from Wee County club photographer Donald Matheson

Individual pictures here

Colin talks Nairn bypass with Keith Brown at the SNP conference

  Click the thumbnail to see a larger image uploaded by the Provost to twitter earlier today.

The seach for superlatives begins - County exorcise the pain of Wednesday night - Nairn 2 Vale 1

Beyond tremendous, a result that puts us back in the race and a fantastic spirit shown by the players and the big crowd who braved the cold. Perhaps this was the coldest day on the terraces so far this season but it didn't dampen the spirit of the supporters as they waited nervously but vocally for the second goal. The moments after that second goal were priceless as players and those on Asylum Seaker's Hill celebrated as one. Magic moments. Goals today from David Watson and John Cameron. More later but here's a couple of pictures for now.

Tourism funding for Nairn - Give us our fair share?

The Nairnshire Telegraph this week detailed how poorly Nairn’s Visitor Information Centre is funded in relation to other parts of the Highlands. The figures speak for themselves and so does Michael Green’s argument. If you haven’t read the article and the accompanying editorial yet then get a copy of the Nairnshire.  Liz wishes to Nairn area targeted for marketing and has been speaking to the relevant official, Michael  will be beating a path to his door soon too. Again, an example of having to talk to someone in Inverness about matters essential to Nairn? Wouldn’t it be better to let that marketing be Nairn based, with those who know the strengths of the local market deciding where money is spent? And also, wouldn’t it be much easier if we had more decision making power here about how we could use our equitable financial share of what is dispensed across the Highlands? 

We have a new administration in Glenurquhart Road that has indicated it wishes to hand some power back to local communities. How about that administration reinforcing that committment by giving Nairn a fair  share of the money the Highland Council spends on tourism? The operation out of the community centre receives £2,000 support according to the figures examined by Michael Green and reported in the front page article. We cannot be delivered to the promised land immediately but surely that £2,000 could be doubled this year?  If we are to see a genuine new dawn in the relationship between Glenurquhart Road and communities beyond Inverness then issues like this will have to be examined and far-reaching moves towards localism put in place.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The McDermott years - coming soon at Nairn Museum

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What a difference a day makes - pictures of Nairn in the early morning light

Dave Shillabeer was up at the crack of dawn, he told the Gurn:
"This morning saw a soft pink dawn from about 0630. This type of light tends to illuminate all of the lichen and algae growths down on the river. It also creates deep contrasts in the scenic views along the front. By 0730 the light was too harsh and the subtle colours were lost." Click read more here

Clach 1 Nairn 0 - pictures

March Police report to Nairn's Community Councils

In the report that was presented to River Community Council last week, Inspector Murdo MacLeod wrote: 
“I make no apology for the “thin” report this month which is testament on the low levels of crime we have in the Highlands and long may it continue.” He then listed the following under Noteable incidents:

Between 2000 and 2359 hours on 16th February 2013 a door window was smashed at a property on Albyn Court Nairn. Although the property was not entered a considerable amount of damage was caused.

Between 1635 hours on 16th February and 0600 hours on the 20th of February 2013 an insecure car was entered on Moss Side Drive Nairn and a camera, laptop and hard drive were stolen.

Whilst there were other serious incidents during the month of February in Nairn it would be insensitive to provide levels of details within this report. 

Should any person have any information regarding these crimes they should contact local police or alternatively report anonymously via crime-stoppers on 0800555111. ”

The information listed by Inspector MacLeod also detailed how the new Scottish Police Service website would go live on the 1st April. The notes stated: “Designed specifically to enhance communication with the public, the website will provide communities across Scotland with access to crime prevention advice and information about policing in their local area. Information will be tailored for each community with individual web pages for each of the 353 ward areas across Scotland demonstrating our commitment to doing all we can to reach out to our communities.”

An article on Nairn’s new area commander ( the first female area commander for Nairn) is available here.

Clach 1 Nairn 0 - County slip on the heavy Grant Street Turf

Grant Street is normally a happy hunting ground for the County, we were there to lift the North Cup only  a few months ago. The massive turnout of Nairn fans were to be disappointed last night though as they witnessed a setback to this season's campaign. 
Nairn started with promise but then Clach took command of the game and narrowly missed a goal with the ball coming off the post. County had chances too but against the run of play. The temperature fell but the level of County discomfort was increasing, anxiety grew amongst the impressive assembly of the faithful who had gathered in large numbers around the flag on the west terrace. 
The second half saw an early penalty to Clach. It was a heavy blow and despite some valiant efforts County never came back. At times we still looked embarrassed by Clach domination of the midfield but those moments of County magic that went against the grain still failed to make something of the game.  Towards the end of the game Clach were happy to head to the Nairn corner flag to draw things out even more. 
It was a sombre convoy of the faithful that streamed across the Black Bridge in the direction of the A96. This was a setback for this season's campaign  and Les Fridge will have to motivate the players to come out strong for the home fixture against Deveronvale this Saturday and make sure we have an impressive victory. 
The invigorated Clach fans took the opportunity to taunt the away supporters as they made for the exit: "You'll never win the league," they chanted with joy in their hearts. What significance now for the Highland League Cup tie on the 6th of April at Station Park for these two sides! 

To those who made their first away trip last night to support the County, please keep coming we are much better than this and "We Believe!". 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Recent phone problems at the Surgery - further comment from Nairn Health Care Group

Barbara Graham, the practice manager, was on leave during the recent period where the phones were down at the Surgery. She apologises for the late response on her part and says:

"The phones were down in several areas of Nairn on Monday morning. Our switchboard is managed by NHS Highland, so they worked very hard with BT to try to address the problem promptly. The problem affected all of the building, not just the practice, as well as neighbouring houses. By lunchtime on Monday calls to the practice were being diverted to the Raigmore switchboard, but the volume of additional calls that the Raigmore team had to handle meant it was difficult for patients to get through. Local media were informed of the problem to try to alleviate frustrations for patients hoping to contact the surgery.

The problem continued into Tuesday and was eventually resolved at around 4pm. In the meantime, we were receiving calls on our internal switchboard via Raigmore.

It is my opinion that the diversion of our number to the Raigmore switchboard was unacceptably slow, and I, jointly with other departments within the building here at Nairn, will be raising with NHS Highland so they can in turn raise this with BT.

I would like to apologise to those patients who were inconvenienced by the problems that we encountered."

Police issue warning about man asking to buy pets from Nairn residents

Police in Nairn were contacted by a concerned female who had been approched by an unknown man at her home address asking to buy her dog.

She refused to sell her pet to this man, who is described as approx 40's, medium/well built, 6ft, wavy brown hair, spoke with Irish accent, blue denim shirt, jeans and yellow work boots driving a silver transit type van.

Anyone who has any concerns is urged to contact Police on 101.

Keep your pets safe Gurnshire, report any such incidents to the poilis!

Colbh Gàidhlig 1 – Brogan ùra

A new weekly Gàidhlig (Gaelic) column on the Gurn 

Halo a chàirdean. Chan ann gu tric a tha mi a’ sgrìobhadh sa Gàidhlig sna laithean seo. Mar sin, chuir mi romhan gum sgrìobh mi colbh gach seachdainn air a’ Ghurn. Ma dh'fhaoidte  bi fios agad gu bheil blog Gàidhlig agamsa aig “Cha bhithinn as a h-aonais”. Uill gu mì-fhortanach tha mi air a bhith caran leisg thall an sin. Co-dhiù Carson nach cuir beagan a-steach dhan struth bheurla air a’Ghurn. Chithear gu bheil colbh Gàidhlig sa P&J agus a’ Chourier. Ma bhios sin ma gu leòr dhaibhsan uill nì sin a chùis ann a sheo cuideachd.

 A-nis, puing cudromach dhuibh, nì mi mearachdan. Ma tha thu nad bhall den pholieas gràmar uill b’fheàirrde dhut le làrach Bord na Gàidhlig son rudeigin ceart sa h-uile dòigh. 

Uill mo chuid bhrogan ùra. Cha mhòr nach eil mo sheann bhrogan air an rathad dhan t-sitig. ‘S ann gu math dèidheil air na seann bhrogan ud a tha mi. Nam bheachd chìthear cruth agus coltas gu math comhfurtal orra – cruth a tha mi air fas cleachdte ris. Ach mu dheireadh thall tha iad tuiteam as a chèile. Chaidh mi a-null gu DE Shoes son paidhir ùr. Cha robh brogan freagarrach dhomh aig an àm ach thainig iad as dèidh da latha. ‘S iomadh rud a tha mi a’ ceannaich air loidhne ach ‘s fheàrr leam brogan a cheannaich bhon bhuth. Chan ann leis a h-uile duine a tha sin ge-tà agus bidh DE Shoes a dhùnadh mur a bheil companaidh no cuideigin eile ga cheannaich. Nar linne gheibhear mòran ag atharrachadh agus gu h-àraidh coltas na prìomh sràide. Cò aig a tha fios cia mheud buthan a bhios air fhagail dhuinn sa bhaile seo aig ceann na Bliadhna. Dè nì sinn leis na toglaichean falamh seo? Tha cruaidh fheum againn air tachartasan agus aiteachan inntinneach ann an teas mheadhan a’ bhaile. Feumaidh sinn a bhith smaoineachadh seachad air meanbh-reic (retail) a-nis. A bheil beachd agad? 

Sin agad e bhuamsa an-diugh, bidh mi air ais aig an aon am an ath sheacdain. Tioraidh

Doggie jobbies - local company spots gap in the market!

 Video here.

More "Spring" in Nairn - pictures from Dave Shillabeer

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Surgery phones working again

The Nairn Health Care Group stated just before 5 p.m. that the Surgery phones are working again. They also said earlier today that there was no truth in a rumour that the surgery had changed their normal number for a premium rate line. 

Nairn's Jemma Tweedie at St Pancras Station

Day 2 of the phones down at the Nairn Healthcare Group Surgery

The Healthcare Group have contacted the Gurn and said that the phones are still down today. A spokesperson said:

"  BT have been working on the fault which has been given the highest priority.  Patients can still phone the practice but will be transferred to Raigmore switchboard and they will then divert your call to the practice.  Alternatively, patients can come in and reception will deal with their enquiry."

Monday, March 18, 2013

Problems phoning Nairn Healthcare Group Surgery at the hospital today

Here at the Gurn we are hearing complaints that some Nairn residents have been unable to phone the surgery for an appointment today. I tried to phone around 16.00 for comment and were answered by (what it emerged was) the Raigmore switchboard and was asked if it was the Clinic or Hospital that was required. "The clinic," I said and the phone rang, the same switchboard operator answered and asked me if it was the Hospital or the Clinic I wanted. "The Clinic," I repeated. The phone rang and when she answered again with the same quesiton I asked her for details of the phone problem. She could only confirm that there was one at that it was a fault in Nairn. 

We have e-mailed the surgery for details of the extent of any problems and any advice they might have to callers.

UPDATE Comment from Dr Adrian Baker: "The entire building has had no working external telephone lines this morning and no outgoing lines this afternoon. This has been a major problem today. BT engineers are working on this and have yet to find a solution - 18.10

This area including the hospital, Nairn Healthcare Group and surrounding houses have had a major telephone fault which has resulted in no incoming telephone calls or outgoing calls today for the building or local residences. Calls have been routed to Raigmore switchboard, which was experienced by the Gurn.

BT are working on resolving the situation for this area of Nairn.
The GPs have been using mobiles to call patients, all patinets arriving today have been seen.
We have had some emails regarding this problem and like our patients hope that it will be resolved very shortly. 18.35 "

Occasions no more (definitely) - Highland Council comment

We reported on Friday the possible closure of another shop on the High Street. Details and picture here.  This one is slightly different from other recent closures in that the building is owned by the Highland Council. Older Gurnites will remember the building as formerly being the Co-Op "Bun shop." It later became Highland Council property and in the late to mid eighties (correct this observer on the date if you wish) there was a large public campaign to keep the property as a shop. The local authority at the time was planning an extension to the Courthouse on the site. 

Back to the present however and a Highland Council spokesperson told the Gurn:
“The Council regrets that it has been necessary to enforce this decree for eviction. Action for recovery of possession is only taken as a last resort after tenants have had many opportunities over time to address their arrears and have failed to do so.”

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Town Centres - Fort William getting a better deal than Nairn?

One of our readers has been reading a page on the Lochaber News website and is in a foul, gurny mood. Our correspondent tells us:

"£540,000 to refurbish Fort William's town centre (Cameron Square)!  Funny how Highland Council can produce over half a million of public money for that, while their only proposal so far for the regeneration of Nairn's town centre is to do some demolition then put up the site for sale (and/or sit on their hands while they see whether NICE can come up with a plan and a large pot of money)." Lochaber News article here. 

Our regular reader also stated: "Interesting that Ft William is also finding £5,000 of Council money to tart up their high street shop frontages, and £4,500 for floral displays.  Meanwhile in Nairn the only money for high street redecoration comes from Sainsburys, while the budget for local floral-displays has been cut  and there seems to be an expectation for volunteers to become involved."  

The article indicates that the floral desplays and the shop frontage work will come from the local discretionary fund and the  540K from Scottish Government funds for shovel ready projects, but one still cannot help but wonder if we have missed the boat here in Nairn for cash that might have helped NICE realise the Social Work building project and one or two other things in the town centre.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Highland League Cup - Nairn 3 Strathspey 0 - Pictures

Two for Robbie and one for Ross Naismith. A repeat of the scorline up at Grantown last Saturday but fair play to Grantown, they are not a side without ambition and work ethic, today they had more chances than they did last week. To this observer they look like a side with potential to move a wee bit higher up the table and .
All in all a good performance from a very changed County side including a run out for Junior Mendes in the second half. A polished performance that has set the scene for the trip to the Merkinch on Wednesday night for a massive encounter with Clach.
Here's some pictures from County official photographer Donald Matheson, individual pictures here.

Grant and Tommy present River CC £100 cheque to County fans Ground Improvement Fund

Another wee boost to take the Ground Improvements Fund past the 8.5K mark. Die hard County fans Tommy and Grant were up on the hill as usual today as the Wee County beat Strathspey 3-0 in the Highland League cup. They are pictured above handing over the River Community Council's contribution to the fund raising effort to Stevie Bain.
On the pitch more success and the reward is a home draw against Clach on the 6th of April, a chance to go to the coffee morning in the legion and take in this important game later in the afternoon. On Wednesday the faithful will make the trip through to the Merkinch to see the league encounter between the same two sides. As the exciting run in continues every game is a big one and the Clach encounter next week is a monumental fixture. Pictures from today's  game soon.

Time for the bypass campaign to go “in your face”?

This observer was in conversation with a regular reader last night.  Someone who has been paying close attention to the recent correspondence that West Community Council have put into the public domain. His suggestion is that it is now the time to up the ante to get through what he terms the “treacle” that those civil servants that fashion the responses for the politicians are laying down with their recent communications. His reasoning being that we have to have a campaign that catches the attention of Holyrood far more than regular correspondence with Civil Servants does. This thesis doesn’t take away anything, of course, from the work that West CC have been doing with their excellent correspondence: if nothing else, they are helping to inform the public of where we are and the minutiae of what Holyrood (via the Civil Servants) are saying, that in itself educates and leaves the community under no illusions of the task in hand.

Here we have suggested in the recent past that we should have a DIY bypass day where we all turn up on a section of the route, after seeking the relevant landowner’s permission, and get to work with our spades, barrows and even JCBs if someone could bring one or two  along. Shades of a “Calum’s Road” effort if you like. Perhaps some Gurnites might agree or think that a bit OTT but does anyone else have any ideas that might liven up a bypass campaign?

Our Correspondent suggests the idea of making the bypass the top issue for all forthcoming elections, the next, depending on Westminster events, being the Euros. He detailed how you could have a league table (points out of ten and gold stars etc) for the party that had done most to help the campaign for a bypass and indicating that perhaps they should get the public vote in Nairn. The community could persistently ask all the politicians on the doorsteps and in the press what they are doing to ensure that Nairn gets a bypass sooner rather than later. There could also be a regular bypass campaigner of the month award for the citizen or politician who had done the most on bypass affairs.
Any thoughts out there Gurnshire? Is this the sort of direction we should go in as a community? 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

More good news for the Firhall Bridge project - Gordons sawmill to help with materials

Last night we published the good news announced at the River Community Council meeting yesterday evening by campaigner Murd Dunbar and Provost Liz MacDonald - more here. Today we heard from Murd who said he had been contacted by the sawmill who wished to come onboard the Firhall Bridge project and help with materials. 
Murd told the Gurn: " I am well pleased that Gordons Sawmill have made this offer and are willing to work with the Royal Engineers 34 squadron and Council officials on this important community project to install ramps on the Firhall Bridge."

Planning: "So my impression is that of a less than transparent system; wholly mysterious and operated within a mindset of exclusion"

Serious questions of the planning system are being asked on the APT blog.

Friday night at the movies - the Community Centre - The spy in black

The Spy In Black
(Cert U) 1939
A Powell and Pressburger classic! A WW1 film set in Orkney, about a German U-Boat captain’s spy mission to guide the German Navy to the British Fleet..
Friday 15th March at Nairn Community & Arts Centre - starts at 7.30pm
Tickets from the Community & Arts Centre.

Blot on the landscape after tree surgery?

Picture Murray MacRae

The Gurn understands that some residents bordering the A96 opposite the industrial estate are less than pleased by some work that took place over the weekend on conifer trees that border the industrial estate. Concerns are reportedly the loss of amenity, and potential loss of habitat for wildlife. 

The trees look as though they were originally planted as hedging and have been left to their own devices for a number of years. With such neglected plantings the question one day arises about what to do with them. There is a school of thought that the trees were attended to by a squad of contractors working for BEAR Scotland which would make sense, as the trees are on the grass verge bordering the road, although a considerable distance back from the A96. If indeed it was BEAR that had the work carried out then they will have their corporate reasons for doing so. Any debate that arises will perhaps centre around the amenity and screening aspect as the trees would have had little value for wildlife and any birds that might use them for nesting will probably be happy to use the higher branches that remain. The Gurn also understands that representations may be on their way to at least one of our Community Councils. It is certainly one for debate, one citizen’s idea of careful tree surgery can be another’s blot on the landscape.

This may be a moment for local representatives to consider what amenity planting of native species could perhaps take place on the verge to further screen the industrial estate and add to the visual aspect of the entrance to Nairn from the east. Obviously in these cash strapped times there would have to be community involvement in such an initiative should it come forward and find favour and support with the BEAR folkies.

Spring in Nairn – Images from Dave Shillabeer

River Community Council to give £100 to the NCFC supporters ground improvement fund

While Nairn County were putting on a masterly display of football flair up at Station Park last night, down in the URC hall and around 35 minutes into the first half, Nairn River Community Council voted to give £100 to the NCFC Supporters Ground Improvement Fund. Chair Tommy Hogg proposed the sum and he was supported unanimously. The 3 CCs in Nairn only have yearly funding of about £2K each so this is quite a big donation for one of them. They were impressed that the fundraising campaign is run by the fans and supported across the town. 

One of the Community Councillors, Freddie Holmes said that this campaign was not just the supporters it was the town getting involved. Fred is right, that's surely what it is now, the town showing its pride in the nearly 100 yr old institution that is the club. Folk getting involved whether they support football or not - they understand the importance of Nairn County FC to the heritage of Nairnshire, contemporary times and for the future too.

One of the fundraising committee, Donald Wilson, on hearing the news said later: “Thanks to Nairn River Community Council for their generous support. Their £100 automatically becomes £200 with Scottish Football Partnership Funding. The purpose of this appeal from the outset has to be to engage with the wider community and the support of the community council is recognition is a further endorsement of the goodwill there is for the club in the town. The Panel Beaters campaign and Ground Improvements fund is receiving donations from many individuals who don't go to the football but have the club at heart. Thanks again to Nairn River CC (and of course everyone who has contributed to the appeal). You have no idea how much this donation means to everyone involved.”

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Provost Liz “Hold onto your seats,” - Success for Murd's Firhall Bridge campaign!

At the River CC meeting in the URC Church Hall tonight Murd Dunbar spoke to the meeting under AOCB. For several years now Murd has spoken at all the three CCs at most of their meetings on the subject of the Firhall Bridge. He has also spoken at joint meetings and ward forums, attended Highland Council consultations and pushed the case for ramps to improve access on the Firhall Bridge with an indefatigable will. He has been a persistent visitor to the surgeries of MSPs and the local MP. His favourite phrase during this campaign has been “A Cameron never yields.” Tonight he spoke again, he didn’t yield, not yet, but he signalled his intention to stand down.

Tonight it was different, so different, Murd finally had good news to share. Actually he didn’t make the announcement, he gave that honour to Liz who has been quietly active behind the scenes in recent months.
“Hold onto your seats,” said Liz. “I’ve had a communication from the army today that they are going to be doing the access improvements to the Firhall Bridge.” She had to stop for the applause, cheers and smiles that broke out. “So well done, Murd,” she added.

The work is to be done by the 34th Squadron when they return from manoeuvres. Liz said that the CO Andy Sturrock had been a tremendous help. The Army will liase with the Council over the project, specifically with officials Ron MacKenzie, John Ord and Stewart Easthaugh. There’s a bit to do yet before things start and Liz said: “As the project progresses Murd will be fully involved all the way along.” And she joked, “I don’t know why he’s saying he’s not having any more to do with it.”

Gurnites will be fully au fait with the various innovative initiatives that Murd has taken during this campaign and I’m sure there will be many out there in Gurnshire that will join us in congratulating him over the success of his campaign.
Update: a few comments below already but this one from Spelding hits the spot:

"I confess I had my own view that in the times of austerity in which we live, funding a ramp at Firhall Bridge would be difficult to justify. But Murd’s story has a resonance to the wonderful tale of Calum Macleod on the island of Rassay who embarassed the authorities and built his own road to help save the island from depopulation when successive governments and council’s turned their backs on the islanders. So lets take our collective hats off to Murd. The Gurn is right, he has ‘never yielded’ nor given an inch because he believed his cause was a just cause. I’ve sat at meetings where there have been groans of despair when Murd go on what many viewed as his own personal crusade. But like the regiment of which he is so proud, he has soldiered on and got his reward. Well done Murd"

Nairn 5 Fort William 1

Good times for the faithful tonight at a fairly cold Station Park, a feast of football fueled the supporters though as the goals started to stack up. Next up on Saturday is another home game as Strathspey Thistle come to town for a Highland League cup encounter.

Nairn Patients Group Facebook page

The new facebook page states: "Nairn Patients Group is the Patient Participation Group re-formed to foster improved communication between Nairn Healthcare Group (the GP Practices for Nairn and Ardersier) and its patients." 
Gurnites will recall that there have recently been issues raised about accountability and transparency re the old Participation Group and this observer believes the new group will receive a welcome from all quarters. 

Meanwhile elsewhere in the Nairn facebook sphere the fledgling Spotted Nairn page has hit the spot, giving local facebookers the opportunity to unleash their thoughts on the subject of doggie jobbies. 

County Fans Ground Improvement Fund news

The fund for Improvements to Station Park is now at the £8,000 mark and every penny will receive matched funding, pound for pound, from the Scottish Football Partnership. The money has been raised over the past two months by the incredible efforts of the die hard Wee County fans. The main contributions so far have come from the Panel Beater initiative (explained by Donald Wilson in this video) but now other funds from merchandising projects and advance sales of a series of events planned for throughout 2013 are starting to come in.

Donald Wilson, chairing the meeting in the Star, said to the 20 plus individuals present that only a few years ago the numbers present would have have comprised the total attendance at a regular County game. Those days are in the past now as the Club looks to the centenary next year. After his introduction Donald handed the meeting to  Director of Football Peter Mackintosh Jnr, he praised the initiatives and described how the chairman and committee were delighted with how things were going and how the work of the fans had inspired the players too. He told the meeting: "we were all on an exciting journey together."

The meeting discussed forthcoming events including the Sportsman’s Lunch on Sunday March 24th at the Royal British Legion with entertainment from comedian Stan Boardman. The dinner is not specifically a fans' event but has the full support and engagement of the fundraising committe - see below for one of the items that will be auctioned in the Legion on the 24th. Also discussed was the Coffee Morning on Saturday the 6th of April which promises to be quite an event with some very good prizes and articles donated for the raffle and other stalls. The Ceilidh on the 20th of April has now sold out and the same applies to the Whisky Tasting event in the Classroom on the 14th.

On Thursday April 25th BBC Sportsound journalist and authour Richard Gordon will be in Nairn to give a talk at the Little Theatre on his book "Glory in Gothenburg", Tickets for this event are £6 and can be obtained from fans' spokesperson Dodo Graham himself at Station Park home games or from Uncle Bob's, the Westerlea or the Dunbar Golf Club.

One to put in your diary will be the Fish and Hits Sunday at the Dolphin chipper on Sunday the 19th of May. County fans Alan and Donna will be selling a range of suppers for the price of £2.50 with proceeds going into the supporters fund. There will also be simultaneous entertainment in Castle Lane from several musicians and a range of County merchandise will be available. 

Sales of the tickets for the music showcase on Saturday the 1st of June in the Community Centre are going well too and fans going to this gig will be able to experience the considerable talents of  Jemma Tweedie, Furry Vengeance, Emma Mitchell, Josephine Sillars and Hollie Atkinson. Here's a review of  three of these artists/bands  from the Inverness gigs site.  

Anyone wanting tickets for any of these events or wishing further information then please  e-mail and we will forward your requests to the fundraising committee. To keep up todate with all the County latest, including new  merchandise and some great auction items, you can follow the news page on the official site or ask one of the "We Believe" members to add you to the facebook page.

And don't forget to visit the fans online shop - for payments to the fund via paypal  also use the shop address contact

For auction at the Sportsmans Lunch on the 24th of this month, the top pictured below, signed by the County side that one the North Cup earlier this season.
County North Cup winning top

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Pookie meets Sam

A fictional book and farts critic interviews a fictional author about a piece of fiction. More on the Tittle Tattle Times. 

Transport to the Hospital/Surgery

Although there is a bus service to the hospital it is obviously not ideal for everyone and the issue of getting to the hospital is still a live topic. At the joint meeting of the NHS and Highland Council held in the Courthouse last Friday, a member of the public present Simon Noble agreed to go away and examine aspects of this issue. It obviously makes sense to enable as many patients as possible to get to the hospital for treatment. Here are a few notes from the meeting for anyone with an interest in the matter:

Monday, March 11, 2013

A96 busy - yellow hatching boxes and Fishertown exit difficulties

Thanks to Iain for the pictures contained in the slideshow below. He reports that there were problems with the traffic today, with the queues causing difficulties both in the yellow boxes and on the King Street roundabout where he tells us that the exit from the Fishertown seemed to be continually blocked.
Please take care before entering the yellow boxes and give way to drivers coming out of the Fishertown when you are in the traffic light queues at the roundabout. 

Another cold start in Nairn

Earlier this morning the dawn was struggling to make itself felt against the continuing snow showers. The heavy goods vehicles had helped keep the A96 clear  but on all other roads the overnight snow  was still there, helped by low temperatures. The frist pedestrians in the town centre were grateful for the timely work of the Council boys who had been out and about with their wee gritter on the pavements. Last March we experienced some remarkably warm temperatures, that all seems a long way away today. At the time of posting this on the Gurn (07.40) the temperature is -4C outdoors and in no hurry to go upwards. A few more pictures here. 
And a picture from Visit Nairn of the Fishertown this morning.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Graeme MacLeod interviews County keeper Callum Donaldson

Interview originally posted on the Nairn County Fans "We Believe" facebook page. This interview highlights the incredible atmosphere these days, both at  Station Park and at away games. 

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Fantastic afternoon out up the Grantown Road - Strathspey 0 Nairn 3 - Pictures

Onwards and upwards for the Wee County (fourth in the league now with games in hand) - a fantastic performance from the squad and an equally fantastic vocal support from the many fans who made their way up the brae today. Next up is Wednesday night and the visit of Fort William - so be there or be square! Your town, your County, your team - a chance to show the world we exist and that we are "County til we die!"

Sadly, the VIc is to close its doors on Sunday night

The Victoria Hotel is to close its doors on Sunday night. More bad news for the High Street as the venue, a favourite with local musicians, advertises its final fling. A chunk of local culture, popular with locals and vistors during the summer months, will vanish from the town centre. "The times they are a changing".

The surgery appointments system debated in the Courthouse

Yesterday afternoon (Friday) the Nairn and Ardersier Practice's appoinments system, the subject of much controversy since its inception, was debated at the NHS/Highland Council partnership meeting in the Courthouse.

Dr Baker began his presentation with an admission, stating: “We didn’t do particularly well at the preceding practice “
 He then went on to say that the new practice offered “ a substantially different and very, very local model of care that we do deliver and we strive to continue to deliver.” He continued: “We’re at the forefront of integration with health and social services, here and establishing a single point of access.”

He then went on to the mechanics of the new appointments system: “In terms of delivering holistic and overall care to the population we are doing our very best. We’ve discussed our new appointments system in the run up to it with patients in the summer of 2012 and in the autumn as well. We implemented our new system on the 5th of November funnily enough and we’ve seen a few fireworks since then.

What we have dealt with since then in the last four months we’ve had twenty four and a half thousand telephone calls, we’ve seen 7,000 patients of which 5,000 we’ve seen on the day , 6.and a half thousand which were seen within seven days of calling. In comparison with our previous model, people were waiting 3 to 6 weeks to see a doctor. So it’s done what it’s said on the tin really which is to improve access. It’s not pleased everybody and we as a practice accept that and apologise that we can’t please everybody. We are working and revising the current system to improve that.

 What we have been surprised with really is the volume. We weren’t quite expecting 10% of the population to contact us every week, which is quite a lot of calls. But we have dealt with that and we’re looking to do a little piece of research with NHS Highland and public health to look at what’s coming in and why and why our contact rate seems to be quite high.”

The meeting also learned that the system was in the process of continued improvement and the practice looking for constructive feedback and are looking at significant changes in the future.

Liz then asked if there had been recent changes to the appointment system.

Dr Baker indicated that they are looking at accommodating people who are at work better. He said that the practice recognises that some people at work are unable to take telephone calls we are looking at that.  He confessed that they had been criticised on their speed of response He told the meeting that there were a limited list of people who can book directly such as people with vision, hearing impairments and those patients with mental health problems and dementia.

Liz continued her questioning and asked “Will there be any more public information going out about the service?

 Dr Baker replied, “We fully accept that we have not been as good as we could have been in publicising the service and we accept responsibility for that and once we have significantly refined what we are doing we’ll be publicising that with more detail.”

Liz then commented, “I’ve certainly not had any complaints from anybody over the last week, two weeks. I think it must be getting ironed out a bit now.”

When asked about what the contact rate was before the new system. Dr Baker said that it wasn’t measured before and he didn’t know where the people that got fed up went. He stressed, “Clearly a lot of people got fed up and just gave up.”
He said the contact rate for the first of January was 12%. He gave a normal contact average figure for other areas of the UK of within 5-10%.

There were a couple of questions later on from the public benches at the end of the meeting. Graham Vine asked Dr Baker, “I noted your point when you say you had some people who had got fed up and you don’t know where they went. Bearing in mind that the Nairn and Ardersier practices are now merged and are a sort of monopoly provider in the town, Where could anybody go who was dissatisfied with the practice in Nairn?”

Dr Baker replied, “I don’t personally know, however some self-limiting conditions get better of their own accord and within some weeks some things improve. We all recognise that. There are other providers of health care in the town, we’ve got the third sector, we’ve got pharmacies[…] It’s not just the GP that provides health care, there’s an awful lot of provision out there and if you are waiting 3-5 weeks you may make alternative arrangements.”

Another comment from the public benches followed. One patient thought that the appointment system was only set up for people who made one off calls and that for somebody with a long-term condition it doesn’t really work.
Dr Baker replied that for long-term conditions they tried to give a long term patient the same GP.
“I tried to get an appointment with my own doctor but he didn’t know who he was,” came the reply from the member of the public.

This observer feels that the heat and intensity that was expressed in recent weeks in the Nairnshire and on the Gurn has faded somewhat. Liz indicated a few weeks ago that she was constantly receiving complaints and now they have ceased. Either the teething troubles with the system are receding or weary resignation has set in with those that have found that the system hasn’t worked for them. The system does seem to have worked for a lot of people however and it is obviously here to stay. What is interesting is that significant changes are promised, we will have to wait and see if these changes placate those still upset with the new system.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Nairn Police appeal for information to trace man

Police in Nairn are looking to trace a male in connection with an incident involving lost property in Nairn Town Centre at about 0900 hours, Wednesday 6 March 2013.

The man is described as white, of large build with short greying/receding hair. He was wearing a dark grey/olive jacket, black trousers with light coloured footwear and was carrying a small green canvas bag with brown handles.

The man was last seen in the vicinity of Asher's Bakery, 9A High Street, Nairn.

Police would like this man to get in touch with them on 101 or to hear from anyone who may have any information regarding the identity of this person.

Liz: “Folk in Nairn might say a new partnership in Nairn - so what? "

For the first time in many months there was a meeting open to the public held in the Courthouse today chaired by the Provost. It was called the Badenoch, Strathspey and Ardersier Partnership. As was pointed out from the public benches the title is confusing and could be mistaken as a body with the duites of  the like of the Nairnshire Partnership or the local Ward Forum. It was held at 1.30 p.m. and as far as these things go there was a good turnout on the public benches. What was it all about then? Well according to a recent Council press release :

“The multi-agency Partnership will meet in full for the first time as part of the new ground breaking arrangements under the Integrating Care in the Highlands partnership between The Highland Council and NHS Highland.
The agencies are leading the way in Scotland in overhauling the way key caring services are delivered. NHS Highland is the lead agency for adult services and the Council are the lead agency for children’s services.” More here

Seated around a semi-circular table were Liz, the Council’s William Gillfillan, Louise Clark, a councillor from Strathspey, Cllr Roddy Balfour representing Ardersier, some NHS high heid yins, Dr Baker, a youth worker and a couple of others.

Once Liz was elected Chair for a year there was a bit of guidance “officialese” from William and then things got underway. Liz introduced proceedings. She said:

“Folk in Nairn might say a new partnership in Nairn - so what? And I think as partnership members we have to say that in a very positive tone. We should be saying so what can we be doing for our communities and what can we do to make services better and really try and target into the areas where we can make a difference and set action points for things that can be achievable and can be met and can make a difference to people in our communities, the young and the old alike so I’m hoping that we can work hard together in a very positive nature and bring forward improvements for Badenoch, Nairn and Ardersier.”

And so it began, with talk of a range of issues, including the new appointments system, the Arthritis Care Pilot, drug and alcohol issues, mental health, care workers, patient participation, transportation to the hospital and a few others.

There were plenty of action points that came out of the meeting, some formidable outbreaks of jargon, and the names of officials, groups, agencies and initiatives elsewhere flew thick and fast. We’ll have to wait some time to see where it all goes, there will only be four meetings a year and presumably at least another two of them will be in Badenoch and Ardersier.

It was informative and occasionally thought provoking, but at the same time some of the old hands on the public benches had seen this type of multi agency stuff in the Courthouse before and afterwards, a feeling somewhere between caution and low level dismay perhaps pervaded conversation on the street outside the Courthouse. We’ve seen the high heid yins come and go before after setting out their stalls and sometimes we have been very cynical about the outcomes or the lack of them. Let’s hope this health partnership is a different kettle of fish and real improvements for the community come out of it.