Archive for May, 2012

Felled Trees in Thurso Boating Pond


During the event of explosive cyclogenesis last November, a tree on one of the the crannogs in Thurso boating pond came down. And still it hasn’t been removed.

As the above snap shows, it now is attracting a stream of algal growth in a spot which attracts the model boat club, paddle-boat users and the canoe club to name but three. Putting aside that, although it is providing shelter for the ducks at the moment, come winter, it will look distinctly skeletal and unattractive.

If Caithness Countryside Volunteers wish to venture into the heaving metropolis of Thurso, this would be a decent enough task for them to tackle.

Further-up the pond, the metal covers on one of the storm drain still has not been replaced. Not only does this let in a sluice of emulsified bilge water and junk, it provides a terrifying maw for a small passerby to fall into.

Not long ago opened with much fanfare is a play park, offering a tempting downwards slope of a few yards to this and the unfenced pond edge. Immediately across the road is the swimming pool with grounds which could have cited a play park, with any water well removed from small children.

Public Toilets in Thurso Being Replaced


After tendering, the dank and subsiding public toilets by Dunnet’s showroom have been pulled down and are being rebuilt.

Confusion occurred, though, with an initial sign directing desperate members of the public to the facilities on Campbell Street; which remain closed.

Scum Who Turn-Up At Rape Clinics To Jeer At Victims


It happened when Lara Logan suffered multiple rape in Tahrir Square. It happened when Mona Eltahawy endured serious sexual assault and physical attack at the same location; including from thick thugs who, not only showed less compassion than the Daily Mail but also jeered that she should not have gone there, seemingly unaware that is Egyptian.

Now, British journalism student, Natasha Smith is witnessing it in response to her blog piece about an attack in Tahrir Square which was initiated by the announcement of Morsi’s victory:


Men began to rip off my clothes. I was stripped naked. Their insatiable appetite to hurt me heightened. These men, hundreds of them, had turned from humans to animals.

Hundreds of men pulled my limbs apart and threw me around. They were scratching and clenching my breasts and forcing their fingers inside me in every possible way. So many men. All I could see was leering faces, more and more faces sneering and jeering as I was tossed around like fresh meat among starving lions.


Quickly followed by certain commenters who, after waving about a talisman marked “I’m sorry for your hurt”, proceed to inform her that she brought it upon herself and, besides, did not know or care about violence against women in Egypt. Quite apart from the fact that she was there to file reports about violence against women in Egypt, her piece indicates she was not a callow tourist [hint, not that it would be relevant if she were] taking cheap holidays in other people’s misery.

Instead, she had gone to Tahrir Square with male companions and did not purposefully seek-out part of the crowd which offered no escape route. As soon as the mood began to change, she recalled attempting to peel off immediately and seek sanctuary.

Without luck.

All of which has presented an opportunity for anonymous Internet users to inform a traumatized victim that she brought it upon herself. Utter, utter filth.

Killer Whales Hunting Dolphins Off Caithness Coast


It took me aback for a mo’ to realize that The Trials of Life was first broadcast almost 22 years ago, when it introduced a great many viewers to the sight of animals killing animals for food with more-than-a-hint of gratuitous violence; including killer whales in Patagonia hunting and toying with sea-lions.


Portland Arms, Lybster to Re-Open


Not yet online as far as I can see (although, it will be once I upload), I am told that the Portland Arms in Lybster is to re-open after being its previous owners closed two months ago. This former coaching inn represents one of the first sights drivers across the Ord of Caithness from down south see, and that of shuttered-up windows has been a poor advertizement for Caithness as more and more people sped through to get the ferry to Orkney.

It has gone through a number of owners over the past few years, although with luck the current owners will make a go of it.

In Ambivalence Towards Ragwort


I wrote yesterday about Highland Council’s move from laxity over its kerbside collection policy for plant waste to humourless enforcement. My main beef was my brown bin not being collected because of a random juice bottle which a passerby had tossed in, and I casually repeated the claim from the Council website that “notifiable weeds” such as Japanese knotweed and common ragwort were prohibitted previously collection policy.

In response, the googlebot fired-up for one Neil Jones at Ragwort Facts on Twitter and website who defends the virture of Senecio jacobaea (it is reassuring to know such eccentrics still exist!), who informed me that there is no such thing as a notifiable weed in this country; and inspection of his Twitter feeds shows he is most displeased that Highland Council is making this assertion.


Caithness Coin Find To Be Displayed Locally


Stretched on the rack of the too easy Dounreay chair, investment in other sectors of the Caithness economy has been utter shite for decades. One only has to look at the tourist campaigns by Orkney in which Caithness is simply a means to catch the ferry with archaelogical programmes (not just Time Team) broadcast from there or regular arts festivals take place to see that.

One means for raising the county’s profile nationwide would be discovers such as Killimster metal-detector enthusiast, Mikie Aitken stumbled-upon in January. For obvious reasons, he still is keeping quiet about precisely where he found a stash of dozens of coins from the mid to late 13th Century – coinciding with the absorption of the county into the Kingdom of Scotland.

Now, however, as reported by the Caithness Courier, Treasure Trove Scotland and Aitken are pursuing arrangements with accredited Far North museums such as the Dunbeath Heritage Centre and Caithness Horizons.

Bin Monitors Deployed in Highland Region


At some point this morning, a passerby popped some juice bottles and crisp packets into my brown recycling bin. On seeing these clearly out of place items sitting atop the weeds and clippings and twigs, the binmen promptly refused to take it and slapped a red notice on.

The excuse reason is new monitors accompanying them on their rounds to ensure compliance to an unpublished white- and blacklist, so to reduce costs in sorting-out the deposited debris (if there even were a system in place to begin with) in preparation for agricultural soil conditioner.

Some of the excluded items are quite reasonable, from notifiable weeds such as Japanese knotweed and ragwort to non-organic garden waste such as furniture or old boots. I cannot quite see how soil will be excluded as, judging by today’s pettiness, residual soil on weeds tossed into the bin could be determined to be contravene the regs.

New Civic Leader for Caithness


It is a shame that SNP councillor for Wick, Gail Ross was caught-up in Rob Gibson’s swinging-of-the-lead regarding expenses, as she remains a highly popular councillor in the town who was returned with a stonking majority at the recent elections.

Now the Caithness Courier reports that her fellow councillors in Caithness have elected her to the titular, non-remumerated role of civic leader for the county. There is little doubt that Rob Gibson is keeping the Holyrood constituency seat warm for someone with her or new Landward councillor, Alex Macleod being likely candidates; so this only will improve her chances in it or the Westminster seat at the next election.

Open Air Car Showrooms in Thurso


The Stornoway Gazette reports on moves by trading standards officers and Northern Constabulary against unlicensed car sellers on roadsides around Stornoway.

With similar operations on the school brae in Thurso, along the fence of the old Mart site, hopefully similar will come here.