Friday, 21 December 2012

Jingle Bells

For an easy read version of Stewart Cree's posts see Nigel's Blog above or follow this link for a full translation
“Jingle Bells, Convener.”
“Oh nae you an’ aa’ Nigel.  I’ve jist aboot hid enough o’ aa’ this Christmas cheer an’ YO HO HO’in aa’ o’er the place.  There’s really difficult decisions tae be made in here an’ Christmas disna’ mak’ it oney easier.”
“Yes, I’m sorry Convener.  The budget consultations will have left you with a lot to think about.”
“Aye, bit it’s worse than that… I thocht I wid stan’ ma’ han’ tae gie the Cooncillors a funcy piece wi’ their Christmas fly cup bit there’s nane o’ them can agree fit tae ha’e.  I think their choices are bein’ affected by their political aspirations.  There’s ae lot needin’ Scotch Buns and anither lot insistin’ on Empire Biscuits!  I thocht I’d keep some o’ them happy by hae’in a Battenberg cake, bit it’s a job findin’ ane wi blue squares in it!”
“Well why don’t you have something more traditional like mincemeat pies or even ‘clootie’ dumpling?”
“Na, Na – that’s nae eese.  Gary Coull disna’ like raisins an’ I canna’ tak’ the chunce o’ him spittin’ them oot!”
“Well perhaps you could compromise and get something else for Gary.  Do you know if there’s anything he particularly likes?”
“Weel, he’s a loon frae Keith - so I’ll nae go far wrang wi’ a buttery”
“But a buttery’s not very festive Convener.”
“Ach, I’ll spread it wi cranberry saace an’ pit a bit o’ holly on’t.  That’ll mak’ aa’ the difference!”
“So do you have any other Christmas festivities planned, Convener?”
“Oh naethin’ much Nigel – fit aboot yer ain lot, the officers, are they daein’ onythin’ 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 aye, I heard aboot that.  Bit that’s naethin’ new - Sandy’s been goin’ doonhill for years!”
“Oh, very droll Convener – but are you all organised for Christmas yourself?”
“Weel, I’m daein nae bad considerin that maist ‘ears I dae ma’ shoppin’ at the Shell Garage on the wey hame on Christmas Eve.  Min’ you, I aye think that ye canna’ hae too mony Winter Car Care Kits bit some fowk dinna’ agree!  So this year I’m mair or less sorted.  I’ve got aa’ the femily’s an’ I’ve even got the hardest ane o’ aa’!”
“Whose is that?”
“Ma mithers!”
“Your mother Convener, why that’s remarkable.  And what have you got for her?”
“Weel, I didna’ need tae think for lang – she tel’t ma exactly fit she wis wintin – a Kindle Fire HD.  I tel’t her it wisna’ somethin’ for gettin’ the Aga goin’ bit she said she kens fine fit it’s for, an’ she’s needin’ tae read some o’ yon electronic books.  Nae bad for 88 ‘ear aal, eh?”
“Quite remarkable, Convener.  And, tell me, which books is she interested in?”
“Oh, am nae affa’ sure, bit I got them aff a’ Amazon for her.  I think ane o’ them’s aboot knittin’ patterns or somethin’ like that.  It’s caa’d 50 Shades O’ Grey so I’m expectin’ a gey borin’ jumper oot o’ that lot!”
“Perhaps not as boring as you might expect Convener!  But what about yourself?  Are you going to be up to anything exciting?”
“Na, na, Nigel.  Christmas is nae the same fin ye’re gettin’ on like me.  Nae bairns stockin’s at the fireside.  Nae Santie Claas - oh I fair miss him!”
“Bur Convener, surely you don’t still believe in Santa Claus?”
“Oh, abso-bloomin’-lootley Nigel!.  Jist ‘cos ye dinna’ understan’ somethin’ disna’ mean it’s nae true.  Jist tak’ a look at wir Annual Accoonts – dae you ken fit ‘Amortisation Of Intangible Assets’ is?  Nae chunce – bit that disna’ mean tae say we dinna believe it, or that the Finance Officer disna’ exist!  Aye, there is a Santie Claas – and I’ve seen him wi’ ma ain een!”
“Seen him Convener?”
“Aye, I’ve seen him.  It wis a lang time ago noo tho’ – fin I wis a young Bobby daein’ ma duty as the scourge o’ Banff an’ Buchan, an’ stationed at Boddam.”
“You mean to tell me that you actually saw Santa Claus?”
“Well, I’m pretty sure I did - tho’ I hiv tae admit that it wis Christmas Eve an’ I’d been daein a tour o’ the village pubs jist tae mak sure they were aa’ adherin’ tae the licensin’ regulations.”
“And did you have a drink in any of these pubs?”
“Weel it wis Christmas - so I maybe hid a wee deoch an’ doris here an’ there.”
“Tell me – how many pubs are there in Boddam?”
“Weel ther wis four pubs at that time, bit I jist thocht I’d be sociable - so I did the anes in Cruden Bay as weel!”
“And then you saw Santa Claus?”
“Aye I did, an’ I’ll tell ye this – he’d a richt reed nose!”
“Perhaps that was Rupert, Convener?”
“Na, Na – it wis Santie aa’ richt.  Listen, like aa’ bobbies hiv tae dae, I wrote it doon in ma’ notebook.  So maybe I’ll look it oot an’ pit that in my blog next Christmas.  Richt noo - I’m awaa.  I’m taakin’ twa or three days aff tae enter in tae this Christmas Spirit thing.”
“Well then – Happy Christmas, Convener”
“Aye, an’ Jingle Bells tae you an’ yours, Nigel!"

Monday, 17 December 2012


For an easy read version of Stewart Cree's posts see Nigel's Blog above or follow this link for a full translation

““Aawww yeuch!  Aawww gyaads! That’s disgustin’ that is.”
“Morning Convener – why the grimace?”
“Oh!  Fit like Nigel – you’d be puuin’ faces tae if ye were readin’ this report!”
“Report Convener?”
“Aye, it’s a report that wis up at the Committee the day.  It’s aboot aa’ the unsavoury practices that this Cooncil his tae deal wi’.  A’ve jist got tae the bit aboot dog poo – for gyaads sake it wid pit ye aff ye’r denner!”
“Ah yes!  But I think that it’s more delicately referred to as dog fouling these days”
“Nigel – this is jist you aa’ ower.  Dog fowlin’ soun’s like ma collie’s been chasing a hen.  Ye’d be better caa’in’ a spade a spade and this is jist dog shi……”
Convener!  That’s highly inappropriate language!
“Ahh weel, ‘ave nae doot that’s fit you’ll say if ye stan’ on’t.”
“So what does the report suggest that we do about it?”
“Weel the report says that we’re daein’ quite a bit aboot it a’ready.  The Community Wardens hiv been sharpenin’ their pincils an’ they’ve already got the names o’ five offenders in their books.”
“Five offenders?  What like,  Fido, Rover, Rex and ……”
“Nigel! I’m nae tellin’ you again.  I dae the funnies in here!!  This is a serious business.  This report says that lots o’ fowk are respondin’ tae this initiative an’ there’s a wheen o’ reports comin’ in aboot faa’s daein it.  An’ afore ye start – it’s the owners’ names, nae the dogs!  I’ve heard there’s even a group o’ dog owners hiv jined the gather tae fecht this menace – jist like fit I used tae dae fin I wis the scourge o’ Banff an’ Buchan”
“Ah yes, Convener.  That would be the Green Dog Walkers.  A very worthwhile initiative.”
“Richt enough.  Bit there’s only one problem – there’s an affa’ shortage o’ 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 cwid encourage then a’richt.  I cwid gae them an encouraging size 12 richt 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!”
“Aye… well maybe ye’re rich bit there’s ither hooligans costin’ the Cooncil money by their antisocial behaviour.   Tak’ graffiti for instance – I canna’ stan’ grafitti, an’ it costs the Cooncil money tae clear it up.  De ye ken we spent £8,000 last ‘ear removin’ aa’ these vile slanderous remarks aff o’ waa’s aa’ oo’er Moray?”
“Slanderous, Convenor”
“Aye.  Dae ye ken fit ane o’ them said?  It said ‘Stewartie Cree’s a baldy gype’.  Is that nae slander?
“Well, as it’s the written word, it would be more correctly called 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!”
“Aye, weel moss disna’ groww on a busy road.  Bit it’s worse than that.  There’s fowk dumpin’ rubbish in lay-bys an’ car parks an’….. oh aa'wey.  The’re jist a menace!”
“Ah, yes – the fly tippers”
“Fly tippers?  There’s naethin’ fly aboot them.  We’ve tae come along an’ redd up aa’ the mess that they mak’ – an’ that’s even mair money spent.  Fit are we goin’ tae dae aboot 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 nae mair buzzwords Nigel.  Jist tell it like it is.  Gie ma a list o’ aa’ the numbers that fowk kin phone tae report the grafitti mongers an’ the sofa dumpers an’ I’ll pit it at the bottom o’ ma blog.  If we can get the fowk oot there tae help us then we’ll maybe mak’ 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

For an easy read version of Stewart Cree's posts see Nigel's Blog above or follow this link for a full translation.  Follow me on Twitter - @Stewart_Cree
“Morning Convener, what on earth are you doing under your desk?”
“Oh, fit like Nigel?  I’m jist hae’in a good rake aboot.  I ken I hid a lottery ticket lyin’ aboot somewey an’ I canna’ find it.  It micht o’ fell on the fleer under ma’ desk”
“Is it a winner Convener?”
“A’ve nae bloomin’ idea Nigel – bit I’ve got tae find it ‘cos there’s only eight ‘oors tae go!”
“Eight hours to go?  To go to what Convener”
“Eight ‘oors tae go until I canna’ mak’ a claim on it.  Did ye nae hear the news?  There’s a jackpot ticket worth £64 million oot there somewey and if it’s nae claimed by eleven o’clock the nicht - then it’s tatties o’er the side”
“Tatties? Convener”
“Aye, tatties – ye ken po-tat-oes, pommes de terre.  An’, if that ticket’s nae fun’ afore eleven o’clock, then the ‘pommes de terre’ will be richt ‘dans la mer’.
“Oh whatever Convener but what makes you think that you’ve won it?”
“Ah dinna ken Nigel but a’ve got a feelin’ in ma waaters that something good is comin’ oor wey.  Last week I won a raffle at the Sports Moray Awards and twice this week I found 20p in the coffee machine.  Things is definitely lookin’ 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 nae taakin’ ony chances.  Wi’ a hole in the budget like we’re goin’ tae hae, £64 million’s worth scrabblin aboot on the fleer 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 – fittie?”
“Video Conferencing, Convener.  It’s a way of attending a conference without actually being there.”
“Waaait a mintie.  Attendin’ wi’oot bein’ there?  Are you haein’ me on?  A’ve been at plenty meetings wi’ fowk that are ‘nae aa’ there’ but at least their bums wiz on the seats!  Foo can a’ be there an’ nae 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.”
“Fit, 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.  Dis 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 ‘am aa’ for that.  Sign ma up – Scotty.  Jist one thing though.”
“What’s that Convener”
“I wint tae be in the top row!”
“I’ll do my best Convener, now what about some other savings.  Christmas cards for instance”
“Oh dinna’ mention Christmas Nigel!  I’m daein’ ma best tae ignore it, bit it’s richt on top o’ us noo.  I even got ane o’ yon Christmas cards far they gie ye the hale story o’ their life ower the past twal’ month.”
“Oh yes Convener – a Round Robin
“Aye, fitiver, bit the ane I got disna’ bob along!  It’s frae a wifie bummin’ aboot Lucinda winnin’ the gymkhana and Torquil ‘findin’ himsel’ in Kathmandu.  Fit’s that got tae dae wi’ 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”
“Awa’ ye go!.  Ye’d be better gettin’ Roddy Burns tae dae that – he’s short and tae the point!  Look, there’s nae been much o’ a festive feel aboot the last 6 months an’ a’ dinna wint tae pit the dampers on fit’s left.  Maybe I’ll leave that tae the New Year” 
“So no official Christmas cards this year then?”
“Na, na, Nigel – this is anither belt-tichtenin’ opportunity.  Hiv ye seen the price o’ stamps?  50 pence for second class!  It’s a liberty. 50 pence is ten shillin’s.  Fin I wiz at College I could ha’e a first-class denner and a guid nicht oot for ten shillins - and noo aa’ I can dae is send a beggin’ 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?”
“Aye, oh dinna tell ma they wiz yours!”
“No Convener – I believe they were your change!!”

"Celebrity" Squares

Friday, 30 November 2012


For an easy read version of Stewart Cree's posts see Nigel's Blog above or follow this link for a full translation
Chortle, Chortle
“Good morning Convener”
Chortle, Chortle
“Is there something about my appearance that’s amusing you Convener?”
“Na, na -  its nae you Nigel.  Mind you, that’s nae tae say that you dinna’ look funny as weel.”
“So what’s funny on this occasion Convener?”
“Weel, I’ve jist come doon frae the cooncil chambers an’ this Movember lot are jist a picture!”
Movember, Convener?”
“Aye, ye ken, there’s a bunch o’ Cooncillors hiv been growin’ moustaches a’ through November.  They’re daein’ it tae support some mannies health initiative - oh bit they look a richt motley crew noo.!”
“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.  Ther’s ane o’ them looks like Groucho Marx an’ anither ane looks like Fu Manchu.  Syne ther’s Fermer Giles and a fair impression o’ Adolf Hitler.  I’d an afa’ dae tae tell fa wiz fa.”
“Well I suppose it must be difficult on occasions recognising them in their new guise”
“That’s the pint.  See doon in Westminster, fin the Speaker invites an MP tae address Parliament, he says, “The Chair recognises the Right Honourable Member” Well I felt like sayin’ - I dinna recognise ony o’ you lot.  An’ the Chief Executive telt ma I would be oot o’ order tae say  - ‘A richt Fu Manchu, fit hiv you got tae say’.”
“Yes Convener, but it is for a very good cause.”
“Oh I ken that.  Far too mony macho mannies are ignorin’ their health an’ nae takin’ responsibility fir lookin’ efter ‘emsels.  So, maybe haein’ a shufty at that lot ‘ill be jist the shock they need tae bring them tae their senses.”
“Quite so Convener, but I notice that you haven’t joined them in their tonsorial celebration.”
“Tonsorial?  I hid ma tonsils oot fan I wiz a bairn, fit’s ‘at got tae dae wi’ it?”
“No Convener, in this context tonsorial means hair grooming.”
“Weel, I’m nae growin’ anither moustache.  I hid the last ane fir damn near forty ‘ear an’ that wiz lang eneugh.”
“So why did you remove it Convener?”
“Weel, I grew it fin I wiz a young bobby.  I thocht it made ma look aall’er, an’ that it added tae ma gravitas.  Ye see – ye need a bit a gravitas -  fin ye’r dealin’ wi hardened criminals!”
“Hardened criminals Convener?  I thought you were a country bobby”.
“That’s richt! - I wiz.  I wiz the scourge o’ Banff and Buchan.  See onytime there wiz dogs attacking livestock?  I wiz yer man!”
“Oh, I understand Convener -sheep worrying
“Oh a’ the time, they were jist on the edge o’ their seats - fair frettin’!”
“So Convener, if you grew the moustache to make you look older, why did you shave it off?”.
“Nigel - get a grip.  Tak’ a guid look at my fizzog.  Dae ye really think I need onythin’ nooadays tae mak’ ma look aller?”
“Point taken Convener.”
“Na, I’ll nae be growin’ anither moustache - but I will be lendin’ the loons ma moral support, an’ maybe pittin’ a bit o’ siller intae their collection.”
“Collection Convener?”
“Oh aye, they’re raisin’ money for men’s health charities wi’ this lark and onybidy that wint’s tae gie a donation can go ontae the Interweb thingy and pledge their support.  An’ jist for us Cooncillors - there’s a wee collectin’ boxie ben the hoose.  In fact, I think a’ll awa ben and pit simthin in it iv’noo.  For a’m weel kent as a generous contributor!”
“Quite so Convener”
“Wait a mintie tho’……….. hiv’ ye got change o’ 50p?”
“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.
Click on this link to donate.

Friday, 23 November 2012

The best laid schemes.....

For an easy read version of Stewart Cree's posts see Nigel's Blog above or follow this link for a full translation.

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

“Oh just hingin’ the gither Nigel.  I’m in an afa mineere.   I’ll hae to hae a redd oot”

“Redd oot” Convener?

“Aye, it’s this budget consultation, a’ve got bits o paper an’ e-mails an’ a’thin a’ ower the place.  I’m in a richt redd up.  So - fin you’re in a redd up, you hiv tae hae a redd oot – see?”

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

“Well I’ve jist heard that David Cameron has got somethin’ ca’d an ‘App’ on his phone to help him rin the country.  So, I thought, I could hae ane o’ them to help me rin the Moray Cooncil.  Only thing is - I dinna’ ken fit 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 ma 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 widna’ bet on it!  Onywey I want an‘App’, I want a Sat Nav ‘App’

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

“I ken, but fit I really want is a Doric Sat Nav”

Doric Sat Nav? Whatever for?

“Weel the wifie in my Sat Nav’s got an afa’ snooty voice.  She keeps sayin’ things like “continue on the A96 for 31 miles”.  Fit I want is somethin’ that says, “Haud gan til you reach Inverurie”.  An’ fin I dinna dae fit ‘am telt, an’ I miss ma turnin’ aff, she says “Recalculating, Recalculating, Recalculating.  It fair gets on my wick.  I’d far rether she jist said “Far on earth do you think yer gan, ye gype”. 

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 winna’ ken far I’m gaun”

I doubt if anyone will notice the difference Convener!

“Are you suggestin’ that I dinna ken fit I’m daein?  Or fit direction the Cooncil’s gaun 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 Local 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 fits the big deal aboot 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 ‘at 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 richt.  Onybody can mak’ a proposal or suggestion an’, if the Cooncil agrees, then it’ll be in the Development Plan an’ that’ll be fit the grun is used for?”

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

“Richt! I want to mak’ a proposal.  I propose we hae a Casino”

A Casino, Convener?

“Aye,  I propose that an island in the pond in the  Cooper Park in Elgin be allocated for a Casino.  Will that dae?”

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 o’ mine is jist back fae his holidays in Las Vegas and he says that there’s a Casino in Las Vegas wi’ Gondooolas”

Gondooolas? Convener?

“Aye I’m nae afa’ sure fit they are but apparently they go in the waatter.  So I wis thinkin they might be a bit like the swaans and jukes that we hiv in the Cooper Park. An’ maybe, if we got a pair o them, they wid breed syne we wid hae plenty o’ Gondooolas for oor casino”

Convener! You're 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 nae only clear - but it’s afa close to makin’ sense!.

Thank you, Convener.

“So I suppose fit yer really sayin’ is that the Gondooolas is oot 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 here.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Photies Frae Forres

's nae Monopoly

Ah Jist thocht ye wid aa like tae see ane or twa photies frae Forres on Friday nicht.  So here ye are!!!

A good turnoot!

A Cooncilor deep in thocht

Colin mak's a point!

Friday, 16 November 2012


For an easy read version of all Stewart Cree's posts see Nigel's Blog, and for the translation of this post use this direct link.
“Two forty five … two sixty five … two seventy five … two eighty.  Nae enough!”
“Good morning Convener, still figuring out the budget?”
“Aye Nigel, rich noo I’m on the Catering Budget.  It’s a bit o’ a job though.”
“So how much have you got so far?”
“Well ‘am at two eighty, but it’s nae enough!”
“Two hundred and eighty thousand pounds off of the catering budget?  That’s remarkable – and you don’t think it’s enough?”
“Awa’ ye go!  I’ve got two pounds an’ eighty pence!  But it’s nae enough for a three poun’ sandwich for ma denner oot o’ thon vendin’ machine.  My budget’s jist like the Cooncil’s – my stomach has demands and expectations that canna’ be met wi’ ‘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”
“Weel I wis goin’ tae hae ‘Tai Chicken in Chilli Sauce’ but I’ll jist hae tae mak dae wi’ 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 ayewis gave us corned beef.  I had corned beef every Tuesday richt up ‘till 1964”
“1964 Convener?”
“Aye, that wis’ the year o’ the Typhoid ootbreak in Aberdeen.  It wis blamed on the corned beef – so efter that we jist hid tae mak’ dee wi’ a biled egg - until Edwina Currie came alang and put the kybosh on them!  Syne wi’ BSE in hamburgers and Listeria in cheese.  It’s a wunner we’ve onythin’ left tae eat a’ ta.  Have ye seen fits in sandwiches nooadays?”
“In them? Convener?”
“Aye, look fit it says on this sandwich packet -“This product contains mechanically recovered chicken”.  Sounds like it fell doon a hole an’ then they howked it oot wi’ a JCB!
Convener! - you’re off at a tangent again!”
“Aye, bit my granny wid 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 thingie.  I’ve got the first ane in Forres the nicht an’ I dinna ken fit I’m supposed tae say or dae.  I’ve never been tae a workshop before – dae ye hae tae tak’ a hemmer an’ saa?”
“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 nae up for rinnin’ on the spot or star jumps.  Nae at my time o’ 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 nae aboot me tellin’ them fit tae dae an’ then listening tae fit they hiv tae 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.
“Ye mean they’re goin tae tell me fit tae dae?”
“Absolutely, Convener”
“Well that’s a new idea.  Fa’s idea wis that?”
“Mine Convener!”
“Ah weel, dinna’ get too cocky, ‘cos we’ll probably need aa’ the ideas we can get. Mind you, I’ve nae heard oney frae you – can you help an’ a’?
“Of course Convener”
“A’ richt – lend me 20 pence for ma 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


For an easy read version of all Stewart Cree's posts see Nigel's Blog, and for the translation of this post use this direct link.

“Good morning Convener.”
“Fit like Nigel foo’s yer doos?”
“Foo’s my what Convener?”
“Oh it disna metter. Fit’s new the day?”
“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 been nae bad.  I wis up at Aberlour the ither nicht and there wis a fair turnoot.  Mind you, it cwid hae been better ‘cos we were up against Inverness Caley playin’ Rangers in the League Cup.  So maybe that hid somethin’ tae dee wi 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’m nae afa sure.  There wis a gey few o them seekin mair money to be spent upgrading roads and pittin on mair buses and improvin’ libraries and the like, fin a’ we’re tryin to dee is save money I dinna ken foo tae 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!  Noo there’s a good idea.  Fit 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 mintie!  That’s nae fair – we collect the rubbish, trail it a’ the wye to Dallachy an sine we’ve to pey £64 a ton to pit it in the grun!”
“Precisely, Convener.  And the really bad news is that the cost rises by £8 a ton every year.  Its 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 nae a “get oot” clause?”
“Get out, Convener?”
“Aye.  Ye ken, nudge, nudge , wink, wink.  You boys hiv aye got weys o getting roon aboot this sort o’ thing.  Is there nae some wey we can avoid peyin?”
“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 - fairly that, I’ve been recycling since I wis a bairn.  I even hid a bitsa bike!”
“Bitsa? Convener.?”
“Aye you ken, it wis made frae bitsa ae bike and bitsa anither een.  We got them up at the dump an’ jined them thegither . Syne ye hid a bitza bike!”
“Yes, very good Convener but I think we need more modern examples to encourage people to recycle.”
“Well they can pit their lemonade bottles back for a start!.  My granny aye sent me tae the sweetie shop to get thrupence back on ivry ane.  And it wis the same wi the milk bottles, a quick sweel oot and they were oot the door for the milky in the mornin’ – recycyled!.”
“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 nithin new aboot that either.  My granny used to keep a bucket at the back door and onythin that wis left ower efter oor denner – mind you there wisna muckle – went in the bucket and syne she fed it tae the hens.  Then, every noo and then, we would recycle a hen”
“Recycle a hen Convener?”
“Aye, she wid dra it’s neck an’ we wid hae it fur wir denner!.  Then a day or twa later, nature wid tak it’s course an’ we wid recycle it”
“CONVENER!, that’s far too much information.”
“Aye but that wis 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.
“Fit aboot a poem?”
“A poem, Convener?”
“Aye, like we hid at school fin we needed tae mind something. Ye ken – Thirty days has September, April June and November .. it made it easier tae mind fit ane wis fit…”
“Well it might work, Convener…”

“A’ Richt, here we go
Dinna’ throw your food waste oot
Nae foosty loaf nor rotten fruit
Nae cabbage leaves or tattie parins
Or brussel sproots left by the bairns
Jist pit it in yer grey container
There ye go -it’s a real no brainer!
“Will ‘at dae?”
“Yes Convener but perhaps you should start with the line “With apologies to William McGonagall””

For further information on how you can help save money by recycling all waste (including food waste) visit the Moray Council website by clicking the link here.