Many Congratulations to the Dunkeld & Birnam In Bloom team on winning two silver gilt awards from Beautiful Scotland and Take a Pride in Perth and Kinross. It is well deserved recognition for all the work done both by the In Bloom volunteers and others in the community who keep the villages looking so lovely through hours of bending, digging, planting and watering. A great big ‘Thank you’ to everyone concerned – we really appreciate your efforts.
This month’s Bridge sees the launch of a new column ‘Connect’ celebrating the new relationship formally begun between our community and Asheville in North Carolina. Every edition we hope to hear from someone in Asheville about what’s going on there – and we will share our news with them. This month I have invited Fiona Ritchie, Chair of the Friends of Ashville group to launch the column by writing an article about the visit of the Dunkeld and Birnam delegation to Asheville to complete the formalities of the twinning process. As she points out there are many comparisons between the two communities albeit Asheville is on a bigger scale than us. How about their ‘creative spirit …with plenty of opportunities to enjoy music and theatre’? Certainly, there is plenty of creative spirit here – however I’m not quite sure what we would mean by ‘down town’! She also talks about Asheville’s progressive ideals. Again, we don’t have to look much further than initiatives such as Dunkeld and Birnam Unplugged, the Orchard and our Community growing project to see links here. Interestingly she also says that Asheville has more breweries per capita than any other American city.
Indeed! I’m not quite sure we can match that – however we can boast about the wonderful Strathbraan brewery. Maybe we need to encourage another couple of people to get brewing so we can keep up with our new twin town. Gin distilling certainly seems to be very popular – maybe we could make our own and export it to Asheville with botanicals foraged from the hedgerows. Let’s ask In Bloom if they could place a few juniper bushes at strategic points around the village. We could have a communal sampling of various recipes – a job I am happy to volunteer for.
We could share other good ideas with our friends in Asheville. For example our contribution to World Porridge Day which this year takes place on Thursday 12th October 9:30 – 11:30 at Birnam Arts. Every year this event is a great success. It is an opportunity for the community to gather and enjoy time together while raising funds for Mary’s Meals which provides bowls of porridge to children in some of the poorest parts of the world. It is a somewhat sobering thought to note that Mary’s Meal manage to keep the cost of giving a child a bowl of vitamin-enriched maize porridge to just £13.90 for a whole year.
I’m somewhat alarmed by Councillor Grant Laing wishing us all a Happy Christmas on page 9. His greeting has sent me off to the interweb to ask it how many days there are to Christmas - and it says 91. Now, I realise that while we may not be able to produce Dunkeld & Birnam Gin in this time I could get on with making some Meikle Logie sloe gin for the festive period. Now that thought has cheered me up immensely. Cheers!
(PS. Don’t forget your flu jab if you need it – 9th & 18th October see dates for your diary for more info.)
Last Updated on Saturday, 30 September 2017 16:43
Notes from a Councillor
The local Government Elections in May seem a long time ago now and this is my first chance since then to thank all of those who voted for me to continue for a second term as a Councillor for Strathtay Ward and to assure those who didn’t vote for me that I will work hard to help and assist all residents of the ward to the best of my ability.
The Council is still in a strange bedding in process, with such a large intake of new Councillors, over half of whom have no experience of being an elected member. From my own experience of five years ago I can say that it is a daunting prospect and requires a sharp learning curve.
Obviously with a change of administration the Councillors who have been returned to Office are coming to terms with the changes in their roles. I am happy and perhaps surprised to have been elected Deputy Leader of the SNP Group at PKC and also chosen for the position of Convener of the Scrutiny Committee, both positions in which, although unexpected, I do not aim to let anyone down.
I am also on the Environment, Enterprise and Infrastructure Committee, the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee as well as being on the Board of Live Active Leisure.
I am getting to know our new Councillors. Councillor Ian James and Councillor Ann Jarvis and feel that although we will have our political differences in the Council Chamber, we are all committed to getting the best possible outcomes for our constituents in Strathtay.
That is enough of the navel gazing about matters in 2 High Street Perth. I cannot believe that the swallows have gone this week and that the clocks will be going backwards soon. While hoping for a mild winter the Winter maintenance plan has been discussed at Council and I hope that all eventualities have been covered, if however you have local difficulties with getting grit bins filled, pavements cleared or gritted then do not hesitate to get in touch.
Getting in touch with me should prove easier now that the Bridge will be updating my contact No’s which are 01738 475023 or 07557732080 or 07881 500501 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many consultation processes going on at the moment, unfortunately being a cynic I wonder how many of these consultation events are robust forums for consultation or are just Corporate box ticking, especially when they are held at times that many members of the public find inconvenient. I will leave you to decide.
Good news is that the road from Dunkeld to Fungarth past Dunkeld Golf Course will be resurfaced in October, the bad news is that to facilitate this work will involve road closure between 8 AM and 5 PM Monday to Friday for 3 weeks.
As I will not be writing a Column again until the New Year may I be the first to wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS. I leave you with that worrying thought.
Councillor Grant Laing
Local SNP Councillor, Strathtay Ward 5
email@example.com or Tel: 07557 732080, 07881 500501 or 01738 475023
Last Updated on Saturday, 30 September 2017 16:42
Thought for the Month
The Church of Scotland Congregation took the difficult decision earlier in the year to stop services at St. Anne’s Church, Dowally and as you will see elsewhere in ‘The Bridge’ this will finally happen on October 8th.
A number of things led to the decision being made. Dowally has always been a small congregation (and getting smaller recently.) Most of those who attend drive in from elsewhere and are not from the Dowally area so when looking at maintenance and running costs we had to consider what purpose it was serving. Added to that, the proposals for the new A9 will take the dual carriageway right through the car park of the church and make access much more complicated. That would probably have taken the decision out of our hands so, all things considered, we decided to stop using the church now.
No one likes taking decisions like that and for many people it will be a sad day to see it close but we have to remember that the Christian faith has always been about moving – being on pilgrimage – and that nothing in this life is permanent. We are called to live in the Spirit and that means being on the move. This is not just about physical movement like a missionary heading off into some unknown place to serve but it is a state of mind, a spiritual state that learns to cling only to God and not to anything temporary.
The Bible testifies again and again to the pilgrim nature of faith. The people of Israel were on the move in the wilderness searching for the promised land but even when they settled in it, their physical journey may have been over but they still had to travel light in terms of the faith.
They had to move forward to what God wanted them to do and be. Jesus spoke of how ‘foxes have holes, birds have their nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ He said this to would be followers to say to them ‘are you prepared for the adventure that faith is because you cannot follow me and remain stuck in a rut?’ The Letter to the Hebrews speaks of ‘there being no lasting city but we are seekers after the city which is to come.’ It is all about movement, going forward and the journey of faith requires that we be ready to move forward to what God wants us to do.
The People of Israel lived in tents when in the wilderness and tents are for travelling people. Our Celtic forebears understood this well and when they set up their mission on the banks of the Tay on the site of the Cathedral, they built with wattle and daub, temporary materials, aware that when their task was done they had to move on. It is no surprise that a Celtic symbol of the Holy Spirit is the wild goose – faith can be a bit like a wild goose chase, you never quite know where you will end up! Nothing in this world is permanent and the Christian faith is not about bricks and mortar but about faith and people.
The trouble with journeys is that sometimes we can’t see where we are going and that is particularly true of the church just now in our part of the world. Big changes have taken place and we will have more to face, but the important thing is that we cling to Jesus and not to anything temporary of this world. We follow Jesus in the strength of his Spirit because he will always lead us to green pastures. God is always making things new – the question for us is are we ready to go with him on the journey?
Last Updated on Saturday, 30 September 2017 16:46
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