There have been several dilapidated buildings in the centre of Wick for as long as I can remember; old buildings of importance that have been left empty for decades, falling into disrepair and becoming an eyesore on the most visited parts of the town.  Boarded up, deteriorating slowly, the once proud and beautiful buildings from the photographs did nothing to alleviate the reputation of Wick as being dark and unkempt.  Local feeling was strong; they were an eyesore and something had to be done but as they were privately owned and the buildings would periodically be made safe, there seemed nothing that anybody could do. When ourRead More →

With only a few days left until voting closes for the regional list candidates, most SNP members should have had a chance to listen to their candidates and make an informed choice in which order to rank them.  There is always contention over these lists as members want “their” people to be placed highest and others  want the reassurance of constituency MSPs at the top as a safety belt in case they don’t retain their seat.  This year, there has been more drama than usual due to the controversial decision to place a BAME candidate in the number 1 spot in four specific regions andRead More →

The hunt is on for yet another leader of Scottish Labour.  Once again, someone has stepped down either to try to bolster the party’s abysmal ratings ahead of an election or because they no longer believe in the message that they have to promote.  Since the inception of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, there have been no fewer than 9 elected leaders for Labour in that two decades compared to only 3 from the SNP.  The Lib Dems and the Tories showed more reliability with 4 and 5 respectively whilst the Greens, although now sharing a collective responsibility, have had 2 consistent leaders.  It isRead More →

With National Conference taking place this weekend on a virtual platform for the first time, I am eager to see how it works as I cannot envisage how it will all come together and am sure that there will be many nervous moments in the run up to it. For me, conference was always a wee holiday, a break away from the kids and a chance for me not just to be someone’s mam but someone in my own right however a new job put paid to that and I have been unable to attend for the last few years, missing it greatly.  The coupleRead More →

On 30 October, the final post office in Wick closes after a 6 month extension to the previous closing date in the hope that a solution would be found.  Over the last couple of years there have been many changes with both dedicated town offices, one serving each side of the river, closing.  A local shopkeeper initially opened a counter in two of his shops and a community premises established a third in their premises but it did not take long before two shut their doors both citing the fact that it was costing them more in running costs than they were receiving recompense for. Read More →

BBC Parliament was interesting.  The debate on the amendement to the Bill flowed swiftly in a very socially distanced House with some contributions easier to listen to than others.  Very few mentioned the big issue with the UK Internal Market Bill – the fact that it was breaking the law.  In a place where you cannot call another member a lair, it should have been incomprehensible that the Bill had even reached the House; that a vote was being held on rejecting it was thankful yet still absurd.  The UK’s own agreement was now to be dismissed and that  the country was to enter intoRead More →

Barnard Castle.  For many years of my life, the name was synonymous with some of the top British swimmers of the 80s but never took up more than a fleeting thought.  Last year whilst on holiday, we found ourselves passing through it several times and upon seeing the name on the road sign on the first occasion,  I became quite excited as I “knew” it as swimming memories came flooding back in the same way that a piece of music can trigger long forgotten times.  Barnard Castle itself turned out to be quite picturesque; a small market town nestled in the shadow of an imposingRead More →

My last blog piece was just as the schools were shut prematurely before the Easter holidays. That feels like ages ago now and the situation no longer feels strange; this is now normal, there are routines and adjustments and we have all just got on with it.  It has been interesting to see how each child has dealt with the changes – the eldest has always struggled with school and friendships so the lock down was a dream come true for him. His desire to work has not increased however and he needs a lot of support but it gets done with good marks andRead More →

As the severity of the situation began to sink in just over a week ago and the rumours about school closures began to intensify, the numbers attending steadily decreased.  By the final day of school, attendance wasn’t far off 50% and it showed – complete rows of dinner tables not set up, lots of space in the playground and less outside noise at break time which was probably the strangest thing to get used to. The children adapted readily as they do; news headlines heard but not fully understood made for some interesting retelling at the beginning of the piece but gave way to acceptanceRead More →

Myself and the youngest were to go off to London for a few days and had been researching things to do when we were down.  One of the trips was to be either the Dungeons or the Tower of London with its tombs, the latter being my preferred choice as I thought it might be more meaningful.  The bairn preferred the theatre and location of the Dungeons however and neither of us were for giving in. Parental responsibility took over and I decided that it would be the Tower and so went to the website to book tickets.  I got no further than the firstRead More →