Friday, 21 December 2012

Jingle Bells

“Jingle Bells, Convener.”
“Oh not you as well, Nigel.  I’ve just about had enough of all this Christmas cheer and YO HO HO’ing all over the place.  There’s really difficult decisions to be made in here and Christmas doesn’t make it any easier.”
“Yes, I’m sorry Convener.  The budget consultations will have left you with a lot to think about.”
“Yes, but it’s worse than that… I thought I would treat the Councillors to some cakes with their Christmas fly cup but there’s none of them can agree what they’ll have.  I think their choices are being affected by their political aspirations.  There’s one lot wanting Scotch Buns and another lot insisting on Empire Biscuits!  I thought I’d keep some of them happy by having a Battenberg cake, but it’s a job finding one with blue squares in it!”
“Well why don’t you have something more traditional like mincemeat pies or even ‘clootie’ dumpling?”
“No, No – that’s no use.  Gary Coull doesn’t like raisins and I can’t take the chance of him spitting them out!”
“Well perhaps you could compromise and get something else for Gary.  Do you know if there’s anything he particularly likes?”
“Well, he’s a native of Keith - so I think I’ll not go far wrong with a buttery”
“But a buttery’s not very festive Convener.”
“Oh, I’ll spread it with cranberry sauce and put a bit of holly on it.  That’ll make all the difference!”
“So do you have any other Christmas festivities planned, Convener?”
“Oh nothing’ much Nigel – what about you own lot, the officers, are they doing anything for Christmas?”
“Oh just the usual, a few office parties here and there – nothing too disorderly.  Of course Sandy Riddell will be off skiing again with the jet set.”
“Oh yes, I heard about that.  But then that’s nothing new - Sandy’s been going downhill for years!”
“Oh, very droll Convener – but are you all organised for Christmas yourself?”
“Well, I’m getting on not too badly considering that most years I do my shopping at the Shell Garage on the way home on Christmas Eve.  Mind you, I always think that you can’t have too many Winter Car Care Kits, but some people don’t agree!  So this year I’m more or less sorted.  I’ve got all the family’s and I’ve even got the hardest one of all!”
“Whose is that?”
“My mother’s!”
“Your mother Convener, why that’s remarkable.  And what have you got for her?”
“Well I didn’t need to think for long – she told me exactly what she was wanting – a Kindle Fire HD.  I told her that it wasn’t something for getting the Aga going but she said she knows exactly what it’s for and she wants to read some of these electronic books.  Not bad for 88 years old, eh?”
“Quite remarkable, Convener.  And, tell me, which books is she interested in?”
“Well, I’m not very sure – but I got them from Amazon for her.  I think one of them’s about knitting patterns or something like that.  It’s called 50 Shades Of Grey so I’m expecting a pretty boring jumper out of that!”
“Perhaps not as boring as you might expect Convener!  But what about yourself?  Are you going to be up to anything exciting?”
“Oh, no, Nigel.  Christmas is not the same when you’re getting on like me.  No children’s stockings on the mantelpiece.  No Santa Claus, oh I really miss him!”
“Bur Convener, surely you don’t still believe in Santa Claus?”
“Oh, abso-bloomin’-lootley Nigel!  Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean that it’s not true.  Just take a look at our Annual Accounts – do you know what ‘Amortisation Of Intangible Assets’ is?  Not likely!  But that doesn’t mean to say that we don’t believe it, or that the Finance Officer doesn’t exist!  Yes, there is a Santa Claus – and I’ve seen him with my own eyes!”
“Seen him Convener?”
“Yes, I’ve seen him.  It was a long time ago now – when I was a young Bobby doing my duty as the scourge o’ Banff an’ Buchan, and stationed at Boddam.”
“You mean to tell me that you actually saw Santa Claus?”
“Well, I’m pretty sure I did – though I have tae admit that it was Christmas Eve and I’d been doing a tour o’ the village pubs just tae make sure they were all adhering to the licensing regulations.”
“And did you have a drink in any of these pubs?”
“Well it was Christmas - so I maybe had a small libation here and there.”
“Tell me – how many pubs are there in Boddam?”
“Well there were four pubs at that time, but I just thought I’d be sociable - so I did the ones in Cruden Bay as well!”
“And then you saw Santa Claus?”
“Yes I did, and I’ll tell you this – he’d a really red nose!”
“Perhaps that was Rupert, Convener?”
“No – it was Santa all right.  Listen, like all policemen have to do, I wrote it down in my notebook – so maybe I’ll put that in my blog next Christmas.  Right now I have to dash - I’m taking two or three days off to enter in to this Christmas Spirit thing.”
“Well then – Happy Christmas, Convener”
“Yes, and Jingle Bells to you and yours, Nigel”

Sunday, 16 December 2012


““Aawww yukk!  Aawww goodness! That’s just disgusting.”
“Morning Convener – why the grimace?”
“Oh!  How are you Nigel – you’d be pulling faces too if you were reading this report!”
“Report Convener?”
“Yes, it’s a report that was before the Committee today.  It’s about all the unsavoury practices that this Council has to deal with.  I’ve just got to the bit about dog poo – for goodness sake it would put you off your lunch!”
“Ah yes!  But I think that it’s more delicately referred to as dog fouling these days”
“Nigel – this is what you always do.  Dog fouling sounds like my collie’s been chasing a hen.  You’d be better calling a spade a spade and this is just dog shi……”
Convener!  That’s highly inappropriate language!
“Ahh well – I’ve no doubt that is what you’d say if you stood on it.”
“So what does the report suggest that we do about it?”
“Well the report says that we’re doing quite a bit about it already.  The Community Wardens have been sharpening their pencils and they’ve already got the names of five offenders in their books.”
“Five offenders?  What like,  Fido, Rover, Rex and ……”
“Nigel! I’m not telling you again.  I do the funnies in here!!  This is a serious business.  This report says that lots o’ folk are responding to this initiative and there’s a pile of reports coming in about who’s doing it.  And before you start – it’s the owners’ names, not the dogs!  I’ve heard there’s even a group of dog owners that have joined together to fight this menace – just like I used to do when I was the scourge of Banff and Buchan”
“Ah yes, Convener.  That would be the Green Dog Walkers.  A very worthwhile initiative.”
“Yes – you’re right.  But there’s only one problem – there’s a dreadful shortage of green dogs!”
“No Convener – you don’t have to have a green dog.  A Green Dog Walker is someone who cares for the environment and who, when walking their dog, encourages other dog owners to act responsibly and to dispose of any dog mess that may occur.  They’re only GREEN in the environmental sense.”
“Encourage them?  I could encourage then all right.  I’d give them an encouraging size 12 right up their …..”
Convener. The days of geriatric bobbies dispensing summary justice are long gone.  Better behaviour can be achieved by education and good example – not by brute force!”
“Yes… well maybe you’re right but there’s other hooligans costing the Council money by their antisocial behaviour.   Take graffiti for instance – I can’t stand grafitti, and it costs the Council money to clear it up.  Do you know we spent £8,000 last year removing all these vile slanderous remarks off of walls in Moray?”
“Slanderous, Convenor”
“Absolutely.  Do you know what one of them said?  It said ‘Stewartie Cree’s a baldy nitwit’.  Is that not slander?”
“Well, as it’s the written word, it would be more correctly to call it Libel.  However, I suppose that it could be argued that in some ways it’s a fair description as you must admit that you’ve lost most of your crowning glory!”
“Be that as it may but moss doesn’t grow on a busy street.  However, it’s worse than that.  There’s folk dumping rubbish in lay-bys and car parks and….. oh, all over the place.  They’re just a menace!”
“Ah, yes – the fly tippers”
“Fly tippers?  There’s nothing fly about them.  We’ve to come along and clean up all  the mess that they make – and that’s even more money spent.  What are we going to do about it?
“Well, one thing that you can do Convener is to remind the public that they can report these sort of incidents to our Hotlines.”
“Hotlines?.  Oh not more buzzwords Nigel.  Just tell it like it is.  Give me a list of all the numbers that folk can use to phone to report the grafitti mongers and the sofa dumpers and I’ll put it at the bottom of my blog.  If we can get the folk out there to help us then we’ll maybe make a difference”
“And does that hold true for unserviceable street lights Convener?”
“Fit lights, Nigel?”
“Oh just a minute Convener - I think I know that one – ‘Nae bad, foo’s yersel?’”
 The Council's Environmental Health Section will accept complaints relating to dog fouling and will make contact with the dog owner to prevent a recurrence of the practice. Tel: 01343 563345.  Or Report Dog fouling using our online form

If you see anyone dumping rubbish illegally then call the Dumb Dumpers Stop Line on 0845 2 30 40 90, or contact Moray Council at 01343 557045 -  email:

For all other cases of antisocial behaviour - call 0800 58 77 197.  You can also use our - online form  to report such behaviour.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Economy Drive

“Morning Convener, what on earth are you doing under your desk?”
“Oh, how are you Nigel?  I’m just having a good rake about.  I know I had a lottery ticket lying about somewhere and I can’t find it.  It might have fallen on the floor under my desk”
“Is it a winner Convener?”
“I’ve no blooming idea Nigel – but I’ve got to find it because there’s only eight hours to go!”
“Eight hours to go?  To go to what Convener”
“Eight hours to go until I can’t make a claim on it.  Did you not hear the news?  There’s a jackpot ticket worth £64 million out there somewhere and if it’s not claimed by eleven o’clock tonight - then it’s ‘tatties o’er the side’”**
“Tatties? Convener”
“Yes, tatties – you know - po-tat-oes, pommes de terre.  And, if that ticket’s not found before eleven o’clock, then the ‘pommes de terre’ will be right ‘dans la mer’.
“Oh, whatever you say Convener, but what makes you think that you’ve won it?”
“I don’t know Nigel, but I’ve got a feeling’ in my waters that something good is coming’ our way.  Last week I won a raffle at the Sports Moray Awards and twice this week I found 20p in the coffee machine.  Things are definitely looking up!!
“But Convener, the missing lottery ticket was sold in Hertfordshire six months ago – how on earth could you be the winner?”
“That’s as maybe, but I’m not taking any chances.  With a hole in the budget like we’re going to have, £64 million is worth scrabbling about on the floor for.”
“Convener – I fear you’re going to have to be more realistic and look at other ways of saving money.  I see you have a meeting tomorrow in Edinburgh – have you ever thought about Video Conferencing?”
“Video – what?”
“Video Conferencing, Convener.  It’s a way of attending a conference without actually being there.”
“Waait a minute.  Attending without being there?  Are you having me on?  I’ve been at plenty meetings with folk that are ‘not all there’ but at least their bums were on the seats!  How can I be there and not be there?”
“Well, you’re image will be there and the other members of the committee will see and hear you because you’ll be connected to the meeting through a video link.”
“What, like the telly?”
“Yes Convener, although you’ll actually appear in a box on a large screen along with other members who are Video Conferencing”
“Oh!  I see – like Celebrity Squares.  Does Terry Wogan run it?”
“No Convener, this has nothing to do with game shows or Terry Wogan.  It’s simply a way of saving time and money”
“Well I’m all for that.  Sign me up – Scotty.  Just one thing though.”
“What’s that Convener”
“I want to be in the top row!”
“I’ll do my best Convener, now what about some other savings.  Christmas cards for instance”
“Oh don’t mention Christmas Nigel!  I’m doing my best to ignore it, but it’s right on top of us now.  I even got one of those Christmas cards where they give you the whole story of their life over the past twelve months.”
“Oh yes Convener – a Round Robin
“Yes, whatever!  But the one I got doesn’t bob along!  It’s from some woman boasting about Lucinda winning the gymkhana and Torquil ‘finding himself’ in Kathmandu.  What’s that got to do with me?”
“Yes, well these annual updates do tend to guild the lily somewhat.  But you could do something similar in your Blog – you know, a short, to-the-point, resumé of your first 6 months in the Convener’s chair”
“Get away with you!.  You’d be better getting Roddy Burns to do that – he’s short and to the point!  Look, there’s not been much o’ a festive feel about the last 6 months and I don’t want to put the dampers on what’s left.  Maybe I’ll leave that to the New Year” 
“So no official Christmas cards this year then?”
“No, Nigel – this is another belt-tightening opportunity.  Have you seen the price of stamps?  50 pence for second class!  It’s a liberty. 50 pence is ten shillings.  When I was at College I could have a first-class dinner and a good night out for ten shillings - and now all I can do is send a begging letter!  My granny could……”
“Please Convener – If you’re going to bring up your granny again I feel it’s time to leave.  But before I go - remember those 20p’s you found in the Coffee machine?”
“Yes -  oh, don’t tell me they were yours!”
“No Convener – I believe they were your change!!”
 **    Tatties o’er the side:-          A Doric colloquialism inferring that a stage has been reached when there is no turning back from a course of action.  Believed to have arisen from the practice of jettisoning vegetables from fishing boats when a decision has been made to return to port.  The subsequent absence of provisions prevented further prevarication on the matter.  See also “Ba’s on the slates”

"Celebrity" Squares

Friday, 30 November 2012


Chortle, Chortle
“Good morning Convener”
Chortle, Chortle
“Is there something about my appearance that’s amusing you Convener?”
“No, no – it’s not you Nigel.  Mind you, that’s not to say that you don’t look funny as well.”
“So what’s funny on this occasion Convener?”
“Well, I’ve just come down from the council chambers and this Movember lot are just a picture!”
Movember, Convener?”
“Yes, you know, a bunch of Councillors have been growing’ moustaches all through November.  They’re doing it to support some men’s health initiative - oh but they look a right motley crew now!”
“Yes, I have seen some rather hirsute upper lips in the Chambers in recent weeks.”
“Hirsute?  It’s like a rogue’s gallery up there.  There’s one of them looks like Groucho Marx another one looks like Fu Manchu.  Then there’s Farmer Giles and a fair impression of Adolf Hitler.  I’d a real job telling who was who.”
“Well I suppose it must be difficult on occasions recognising them in their new guise”
“That’s the point.  You know, down in Westminster, when the Speaker invites an MP to address Parliament, he says, “The Chair recognises the Right Honourable Member” Well I felt like saying - I don’t recognise any of you lot.  And the Chief Executive told me that I would be out of order to say - ‘All right Fu Manchu, what have you got to say’.”
“Yes Convener, but it is for a very good cause.”
“Oh I know that!  Far too many macho blokes are ignoring their health and not taking responsibility for looking after themselves.  So - maybe having’ a shufty at that lot will be just the shock they need to bring them to their senses.”
“Quite so Convener, but I notice that you haven’t joined them in their tonsorial celebration.”
“Tonsorial?  I had my tonsils out when I was a child.  What’s that got to do with it?”
“No Convener, in this context tonsorial means hair grooming.”
“Well, I’m not growing another moustache.  I had the last one for damned near forty years – and that was long enough.”
“So why did you remove it Convener?”
“Well, I grew it when I was a young bobby.  I thought it made me look older, and that it added to my gravitas.  You see – you need a bit a gravitas -  when you’re dealing with hardened criminals!”
“Hardened criminals Convener?  I thought you were a country bobby”.
“That’s right, I was.  I was the scourge of Banff and Buchan.  Any time there were dogs attacking livestock?  I was your man!”
“Oh, I understand Convener -sheep worrying
“Oh all the time, they were just on the edge of their seats - fretting!”
“So Convener, if you grew the moustache to make you look older, why did you shave it off?”.
“Nigel - get a grip.  Take a good look at my phizog.  Do you really think I need anything nowadays to make me look older?”
“Point taken Convener.”
“No, I’ll not be growing another moustache - but I will be lending’ the lads my moral support, and perhaps putting a bit of cash into their collection.”
“Collection Convener?”
“Oh yes!  They’re raising money for men’s health charities with this lark and anybody that wants to give a donation can go onto the Interweb thingy and pledge their support.  And just for us Councillors - there’s a small collection box next door.  In fact, I think I’ll just pop through and put something in to it right now.  For I’m well known as a generous contributor!”
“Quite so Convener”
“Wait a moment though……….. you wouldn’t have change of 50pence on you by any chance?”
“Oh Convener !”
There’s still time to contribute to the Team Moray’s Movember efforts and help raise awareness of men’s health issues.  All donations will go to men’s health charities – in particular testicular and prostate cancers.
Follow this link to donate –

Friday, 23 November 2012

The best laid schemes.......

Good morning Convener, and how are you this lovely morning?

“Oh just hanging together Nigel.  I’m in an awful mess.  I’ll have to de-clutter.

“De-clutter” Convener?

“Yes, it’s this budget consultation, I’ve got bits o paper and e-mails and everything all over the place.  I’m in a right muddle.  So – when everything’s in a clutter I have to have a de-clutter – see?”

Well, whatever you say Convener - but what was it that you wanted to see me about?

“Well I’ve just heard that David Cameron has got something’ called an ‘App’ on his phone to help him run the country.  So, I thought, I could have one of those to help me run the Moray Council.  Only thing is - I don’t know what an ‘App’ is.”

Well Convener, an ‘App’ is a small computer programme that you can have on your smart phone to help you do things like book a hotel or find the nearest restaurant or..

“Could it find my car keys?”

Well,  I presume there is an ‘App’ for that too Convener but I really don’t think that it’s the sort of ‘App’ that the Prime Minister would have.

“Oh I wouldn’t’ bet on it!  Anyway I want an‘App’, I want a Sat Nav ‘App’

Sat Nav ‘App’ Convener? But you already have Sat Nav in your car.

“I know, but what I really want is a Doric Sat Nav”

Doric Sat Nav? Whatever for?

“Well the lady in my Sat Nav’s got a very snooty voice.  She keeps saying’ things like “continue on the A96 for 31 miles”.  What I want is something’ that says, “Keep going until you reach Inverurie”.  And then, when I don’t do what she tells me, or miss my turning she says “Recalculating, Recalculating, Recalculating.  It gets on my wick.  I’d far rather she just said “Where on earth do you think you’re going you dunderhead!”. 

Yes Convener, I’m sure that’s all very interesting, but I doubt whether there’s much of a market for a Doric Sat Nav ‘App’.  Perhaps you will just have to manage without one.

“Well I won’t know where I’m going”

I doubt if anyone will notice the difference Convener!

“Are you suggesting’ that I don’t know what I’m doing?  Or which direction the Council’s going in?

Not at all Convener. Not at all, but it’s something I have been meaning to speak to you about for some time.  It’s the new Development Plan you see.  

“Development  Plan?”

Yes Convener.  One of the big jobs for any Council is to publish a Development Plan which sets out how land should be allocated for the next 4 or 5 years.  In that way we can make provision for land for housing, industry and recreation amongst other things.

“So what’s the big deal about that?”

Well Convener it’s extremely important to give everyone a steer on where the Planning Authority wants to see new houses or industrial estates being built or, indeed, not built as may be the case.

“Planning authority? Is that us?”

Yes Convener, the Council acts as the planning authority for the whole of Moray and right now we are starting the process of producing the next version of the Development  Plan. So, like everyone else in Moray, you have an opportunity to make suggestions about how the land should be used.  The Council will then decide which of these proposals will be included in the Development Plan.

“So let me get this right.  Anybody can make’ a proposal or suggestion and, if the Council agrees, then it’ll be in the Development Plan and that’s what the ground will be used for?”

Well that’s a bit simplistic but I think you’ve got the gist of it Convener.

“Right! I want to make’ a proposal.  I propose we have a Casino”

A Casino Convener?

“Yes Nigel - I propose that an island in the pond in the Cooper Park in Elgin be allocated for a Casino.  Will that do?”

Well I suppose, in theory, that’s a competent proposal although I can’t see it gaining any support.  Why on earth would you want a Casino in the Cooper Park?

“Well a pal of mine is just back from a holiday in Las Vegas and he says that there’s a Casino in Las Vegas with Gondooolas”

Gondooolas? Convener?

“Yes Gondoolas. I’m not very sure what they are but apparently they go in the water.  So I was thinking they might be a bit like the swans and ducks that we have in the Cooper Park.  So maybe, if we got a pair of them, they would breed.  Then we would have plenty of Gondooolas for our Casino”

Convener! You are off at a tangent again.  What you should be doing is encouraging people to make contributions to the Development Plan so that they are not faced with any surprises over the next 5 years.  By having this debate now, we can allow everyone, developers, community organisations and private individuals, to make plans for the future based on what they can reasonably expect from the Development Plan.  Does that make it clear?

“Oh absolutely, Nigel.  It’s not only clear - but it’s very close to making’ sense!.

Thank you, Convener.

“So I suppose what you’re really saying is that the Gondooolas are out of the question?”

Yes Convener!


For full information on how you can help shape the next Moray Development Plan visit the Moray Council Website by clicking this link.

Friday, 16 November 2012


“Two forty five … two sixty five … two seventy five … two eighty.  Not enough!”
“Good morning Convener, still figuring out the budget?”
“Hello Nigel, right now I’m on the Catering Budget.  It’s a bit of a job though.”
“So how much have you got so far?”
“Well I’m at two eighty, but it’s not enough!”
“Two hundred and eighty thousand pounds off the catering budget?  That’s remarkable – and you don’t think it’s enough?”
“Don’t be silly!  I’ve got two pounds an’ eighty pence!  But it’s not enough for a three pound sandwich for my lunch from the vending machine.  My budget’s just like the Council’s – my stomach has demands and expectations that can’t be met with ‘current resources’.”
“Well, we’re all going to have to make sacrifices Convener.  I suppose that you’ll just have to choose something less expensive”
“Well I was going to have ‘Tai Chicken in Chilli Sauce’ but I’ll just have to make do with tuna or cheese”
“Well that’s the sort of choices that are facing us now.  It’s no good having a caviar lifestyle on a corned beef budget”
“Oh I like corned beef!  My Granny always gave us corned beef.  I had corned beef every Tuesday right up ‘till 1964”
“1964 Convener?”
“Yes – that was the year of the Typhoid outbreak in Aberdeen.  It was blamed on the corned beef – so after that we just had to make do with a boiled egg - until Edwina Currie came along and put the kybosh on them!  Then it was BSE in hamburgers and Listeria in cheese.  It’s a wonder we’ve anything’ left to eat at all.  Have you seen what’s in sandwiches nowadays?”
“In them? Convener?”
“Yes – look what it says on this sandwich packet -“This product contains mechanically recovered chicken”.  Sounds like it fell down a hole and then they dug it out with a JCB!
Convener! - you’re off at a tangent again!”
“Perhaps, but my granny would never have ….”
“Yes Convener, I think we’ve heard quite enough about your granny, this is getting us nowhere.  What was it that you wanted to see me about?”
“Oh!  It’s this budget workshop thingamajig.  I’ve got the first one in Forres tonight and I don’t know what I’m supposed to say or do.  I’ve never been to a workshop before – do you have to take a hammer and saw?”
“No Convener.  A workshop is an event where people get together to work on options for saving the Council money.  The have discussions and exercises to go through.”
“Exercises?  Oh, I’m not up for running on the spot or star jumps.  Not at my time of life!”
“No Convener.  They’ll be undertaking desktop exercises that help us prioritise the way that money is spent.  You see, our budget’s really about choices – we know we’ll be getting less money so it’s what we use it for that counts.  The people at the workshops help us make these decisions by comparing different council services and deciding which, in their view, need to be protected from any cuts or alternatively those that might be reduced.
“So, it’s not about me telling them what to do and then listening to what they have to say?
“Not at all Convener. That’s not the way it works this time. We want to hear ideas from the public.  That’s why the workshop gives them the opportunity to introduce their own ideas and to challenge the way things are done at present.
“You mean they’re going to tell me what to do?”
“Absolutely, Convener”
“Well that’s a new idea!  Who’s idea was that?”
“Mine Convener!”
“Oh well, don’t get too cocky about it because we’ll probably need all the ideas we can get.  Mind you, I’ve not heard any from you – can you help as well?
“Of course Convener”
“All right – lend me 20 pence for my sandwich then!”
“……..Yes Convener.”

There are still places available for the forthcoming Budget Workshops which will be held as follows;
  • Forres area - Forres Town Hall on 16 November 7-9pm
  • Buckie area- Fisherman’s Hall on 19 November 7-9pm
  • Elgin area - TA Centre on 21 November 7-9pm    
  • Keith area - Longmore Hall on 27 November 7-9pm
  • Lhanbryde area - Community Centre on 29 November 7-9pm
  • Elgin area - Bishopmill Hall on 30 November 7-9pm
  • Speyside area - Fleming Hall, Aberlour on 4 December 7-9pm
  • Lossiemouth area - Lossiemouth Town Hall on 6 December 7-9pm
Places can be booked by calling 01343 563996 or via the budget consultation section on the Council website at   If there are still places available on the night then every effort will be made to accomodate anyone who might turn up, however it should be stressed that this will be strictly on a first come first served basis and we cannot accomodate more than 64 persons at any venue. 

Friday, 9 November 2012


“Good morning Convener.”
“Ah, how are you Nigel, and how are your pigeons getting on?”
“How are my what? Convener?”
“Oh it doesn’t matter, how are things today?”
“Well I was wondering how you were getting on with the budget consultation exercise?  We really need to make sure that our message is getting out there and that people recognise what’s in front of us.”
“Well it’s not been too bad.  I was up at Aberlour the other night and there was a fair turnout.  Mind you, it could have been better but we were up against Inverness Caledonian Thistle playing Rangers in the Scottish League Cup.  So maybe that had something to do with it”?
“And do you think that the people in Moray now understand the scale of the problem and the sacrifices they may have to make?”
“Well I have real misgivings about that.  Quite a number of them were looking for more money to be spent upgrading roads and putting on more buses and improving libraries and so on when what we’re really trying to do is save money.  I really don’t know how to get the message across.”
“Well what about recycling?  Recycling costs a lot of money you know.  For every ton of rubbish that the Council sends to the landfill sites, it costs us £64 pounds in landfill tax.”
“Landfill tax!  Now there’s a good idea.  What do we spend that money on?”
“No, no Convener, you misunderstand.  The landfill tax is imposed by the Scottish Government.  The money goes to the Government not to the Moray Council.”
“Wait a minute!  That’s not fair – we collect the rubbish, truck it all the way to Dallachy and then we have to pay £64 a ton to put it in the ground?”
“Precisely, Convener.  And the really bad news is that the cost rises by £8 a ton every year.  It’s a way of encouraging local authorities to stop sending their refuse to landfill because of the environmental impact that this has on all of us.”
“Is there not a “get-out” clause?”
“Get-out, Convener?”
“Yes.  You know, nudge, nudge , wink, wink.  You guys always find ways of getting around this sort of thing.  Is there not some way we can avoid paying?”
“I’m afraid not Convener.  The process is strictly monitored.  The only way we can avoid it, is by recycling.  Are you a keen recycler yourself?”
“Oh - absolutely, I’ve been recycling since I was a child.  I even had a bitsa bike!”
“Bitsa? Convener.”
“Yes – you know, it was made from bits of one bike and bits of another one.  We got them up at the rubbish dump an’ joined them together.  He Presto - a bitza bike!”
“Yes, very good Convener but I think we need more modern examples to encourage people to recycle.”
“Well they can put their lemonade bottles back for a start!  My granny always sent me to the sweetie shop to get thrupence back on every one.  And it was the same with the milk bottles, a quick rinse out and they were out the door for the milkman in the morning’ – recycled!”
“Yes, Convener.  Most illuminating - but we need to concentrate on the here and now.  Perhaps you should do more to encourage waste food recycling.”
“Waste food recycling?  There’s nothing new about that either.  My granny used to keep a bucket at the back door and anything that was left over after our dinner – mind you there wasn’t much – went in the bucket and then she fed it to the hens.  Then, every now and then, we would recycle a hen”

“Recycle a hen Convener?”
“Certainly. She would draw its neck and we would have it for our dinner!.  Then a day or two later, nature would take its course and we would recycle it”
“CONVENER!, that’s far too much information.
“Maybe - but that was real recycling”
“Well that’s what you’ve got to do now Convener.  You’ve got to help persuade people to use their food recycling containers and cut down the amount of food waste that is sent to landfill.  Remember, every ton of food waste is another £64 pounds.” 
“How about a poem?”
“A poem, Convener?”
“Yes, like we had a school when we needed to remember something. You know – Thirty days has September, April June and November .. it made it easier to remember which one was which…”
“Well it might work, Convener…”
“All right, here we go ……
Please don’t throw your food waste out
That’s not what recycling’s all about
No cabbage leaves or potato skins
Or Brussel sprouts put in green bins
Just put them in your grey container
There you go - it’s a real no brainer!
“Will that do?”
“Yes Convener but perhaps you should start with the line “With apologies to William McGonagall””
For further information on how you can help the Council save money by recycling (including food waste) visit the Council's website by clicking the link here.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Lost In Translation

Well this is not at all what I had intended.  I had hoped that, when I persuaded the Convener to become a Blogger, that would be the end of it; but now it seems that I bear the responsibility of turning his idle Doric ramblings into something that everyone can understand.  This marks the interface between Diversity and Equality, however I must point out that there are occasions where no English equivalent is available for Doric vocabulary but I’ll do my best to maintain the sense (or nonsense!) of the text.  Here goes ……
“Nigel! Nigel! – come through to my office a minute”
“What’s up Convener?”
“It’s this thingymablog thing – it’s not working!”
“Not working Convener?”
“No – nobody understands a word I’m saying.  Here’s Rupert, being very kind about what I’m trying to do but the poor man’s not got the foggiest idea what I’m on about!”
“Oh dear, Convener”
“Oh dear precisely! – It was your blessed idea!!  What are we going to do?”
“Well Convener, I do agree that I should take some responsibility, but it seemed like such a good idea.  Perhaps I could tidy it up a bit – you know – take out some of the more unusual expressions?”
“Not on your Nellie, Nigel!”  ‘That’s the way I speak and I’m trying to communicate in my mother tongue”
“But Rupert’s right Convener.  There’s little point of trying to get a message out if it sounds like Greek to a large section of your intended audience.”
“Don’t mention the Greeks!  They’re in a right mess as well.  But we’ll have to do something.”
“Well maybe I could provide an alternative version – you know, on my own blog.”
“What? Have a Nigel’s blog as well?”
“Yes Convener”
“Not a bad idea - then when someone’s having a bit of difficulty with the Doric they can still get the message somewhere else.  A bit like having a Google Translate for Doric?
“Yes Convener”
“Well that should please Rupert – I hope he doesn’t bear a grudge.  Bear a grudgeRupert – do you get it?”
“Unfortunately yes, Convener”