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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 24th March 2001
Issue No 224

112 Years to get to Aberdeen

As postcards go it was unremarkable. It offered no information about the local culture, the weather, the food or travelling conditions.

It was "just a few lines" to say hello form someone starting a new life in Australia, but no doubt it would have brought a smile to Miss Wardrop, the recipient - if it had arrived on time. However, due to a slight hiccup at the Australian end it turned up recently in another world, another millennium - and 112 years late. On January 12, 1889, a man named Colin handed the card in at a post office in Brisbane, Queensland. An express mail service had been introduced and, although it was weather dependent, the card should have taken no more than 41 days to reach its destination. This was considered extraordinarily fast - how small the tea clippers had made the world. It was posted when Victoria was on the throne, the Marquess of Salisbury was Prime Minister, and Australia was a loose federation of six colonies, three years away from joining the Commonwealth. It was the year the Eiffel Tower was completed, and that Bismarck was pushing through welfare reforms in Germany. Though the message gave little sense of time or place, it does reveal that postcards were new in Queensland. It said: "Just a few lines to say I am still in Brisbane and have enjoyed my six weeks' leave. I reported myself today at the bank, but have not yet heard from my destination. "Thanks awfully for letters from you and Gerty. Trusting you are all well and wishing you all a happy New Year. Will write in a day or two. "This is the first time postcards have been issued in Queensland. Colin." The Royal Mail could offer no explanation for the delay. When an optimistic postman attempted to deliver it to Miss Wardrop at 32 Carden Place, he found that her home was now a dental surgery. Undaunted, the Royal Mail said it would like to deliver the card, and has launched an appeal to find relatives of the late Miss Wardrop.

It's a First

City status for Inverness has sown the seeds of a new name for a blossoming florist's business. Arcade Florists in the Victorian Market has become one of the very first local businesses to seize the opportunity of promoting the new status. It has officially changed its name to City Florists. And in recognition of the new name, a hand painted sign has been hung over the entrance to the shop in the historic market. Muriel Fraser owner of City Florists said: "We have been known as Arcade Florists for 31 years but I thought a change of name would be a bright new future for the new millennium." The sign was produced by well known local historian Hector MacDonald and is apparently the first hand painted "city sign" in Inverness. Hector said: "I have painted a few signs for the market. This is the first city sign I have done - but no doubt it won't be the last. "I began sign painting when I was in the navy. I painted the names on the ship's lifeboats and it has been a hobby since then. "The City Florists sign is of two yellow sunflowers. It looks sunny and bright which is a good omen that the City of Inverness will have a sunny outlook.

Braveheart Sword Auctioned

Celtic powerbroker Dermot Desmond has forked out a small fortune on buying a sword, not just any sword The Dublin based tycoon paid a staggering 116,000 for the sword used by Mel Gibson in the Oscar winning movie Braveheart. Gibson donated the five foot long broadsword for auction to help combat the spread of AIDS in Africa. Organisers were stunned at the amount the Irish financier and majority Celtic shareholder was prepared to pay for what amounts to a movie prop. But no one is surprised at Desmond's readiness to part with big bucks. Last year, he paid 1 million for a flag from the US Golf Open at Pebble Beach, signed by Tiger Woods. And it seems to run in the family - son Ross paid 37,000 for a Star Wars lightsabre used by actor Liam Nesson at the same auction. Desmond bought the sword at the Sotheby's auction to help UNICEF Ireland prevent African mothers passing AIDS to their babies. The sale, hosted by Liam Neeson and held in aid of the charity Movie Action for Children, made 277,000. Neeson, who gathered the lots from Hollywood friends, said: "I am told this is very very high for an auction of this type."

Calling it a Day

Scotland's hardest working man, who held 15 different jobs on a Hebridean island in his prime, has finally retired and said he planned to "calm down". Seamus McSporran who has spent more than three decades serving the tiny population of Gigha in a wide range of capacities, latterly as postman, is no stranger to retirement. He stood down as the island's sub-postmaster, school taxi driver, pier master and rent collector in September last year and moved to the mainland but, at the age of 62, he has worked his last shift. For three months he has been travelling 60 miles, six days a week, from his new home at Ardrishaig in Argyll, to ensure the 200 strong community got their mail. Reflecting on his decision to put his feet up he said: "Now that I have finally called it a day I hope to collect a sizeable cheque from the Royal Mail and clam down." In a colourful career he has been the island's policeman, fireman, pier master, shopkeeper, ambulance driver, school bus and taxi driver, petrol pump attendant, registrar of birth, marriages and deaths, insurance agent, rent collector, undertaker, sub-postmaster and bed and breakfast operator. Mr McSporran was born and educated on the 10 mile island, off the Kintyre peninsula, and has lived there all his life apart from two years of national service with the RAF. Asked how he coped with the responsibility he shouldered when juggling more than a dozen jobs at the same time, he said: "A lot of days I just got up in the morning and kept going until nighttime and that was it. "It is a different pace on the islands, you have time for your fellow man and there is a bit of caring and sharing." Mr McSporran, who officially retired in December says he now looks forward to travelling with his wife.

Oh Deer What Can the Matter Be

A trio of roe deer ended up in the freezing waters of the Beauly Firth during the recent cold weather and had to be rescued by RSPCA. Officers from the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were quickly on the scene to return the animals to their woodland home behind the Clachnaharry Inn. Senior Inspector Andy Brown and Chief Inspector Ian Allan quickly got the startled creatures back on shore before shooing them across the A862 and into the woods. Mr Brown said the highly strung animals had probably had a fright and had headed to the water's edge for cover. "One had already got out of the water," said Mr Brown. "The other two were very cold. One had actually been sitting in the water. That was probably because of fear - they tend to lie still when stressed." Two deer were eventually moved across the road but one was not quite fit for flight. "The last one got caught in brambles. It was very cold. "We wrapped it up and kept it warm for a while until it perked up then it made off for the woods." Mr Brown said that last year's young would now be fending for themselves. "The hinds will be pushing them away as they will be coming into the calving season. "These three deer were young, inexperienced deer, just learning about the world on their own. Let's hope they learn from their mistakes."

Devolution Unfair - Tories

The shadow leader of the Commons accused Labour recently of introducing devolution without any thought to the "unfairness" it created in England. Angela Browning said a Conservative government would "sort this out" by barring Scottish MPs from voting on issues that only affected England and Wales. She was responding to the fact that a number of Scotland's 55 Labour Westminster representatives voted on a bill that was introduced by Home Secretary Jack Straw. Ms Browning said: "Labour introduced devolution to Scotland without any thought for the unfairness that this created in England. It will be incumbent upon us to sort this out. "When it comes to office, matters that are purely English and Welsh matters, will only be voted on by English and Welsh MPs and hunting is a classic example of this." Mr Ernie Ross, MP for Dundee West dismissed the protests saying the Tories had made "no apologies" for voting on purely Scottish matters in the past. He said the electorate would choose Labour's continuing constitutional changes ahead of the Conservatives' pledge to bar Scottish MPs from voting. "As we get involved more and more in the very necessary changes in order to expand democracy in this country, there will be people, and I believe there are not that many of them, who will talk of anomalies and it's our job to explain and ease those." A spokesman for the SNP said: "We objected throughout the long, dark Tory years when English Tory MPs interfered in the domestic affairs of Scotland, for example by imposing the poll tax on Scotland. So, on point of principle, SNP MPs' normal practice is not to vote on English legislation."

Next Stop Rannoch

Rannoch Station on the West Highland Railway could become the third on the scenic line to be turned into a bunkhouse for anglers, climbers and nature lovers. The remote station on the edge of Rannoch Moor would join its nearest neighbours - Corrour Station and Tulloch Station - in providing facilities for outdoor enthusiasts. The century old chalet style station, complete with three bedroomed stationmaster's house and signal box, is on the market. Already more than 200 inquiries have been received by commercial property agents CKD Finlayson and Hughes. All the locations have one thing in common - those who book into the station bunkhouse can let the train take the train. For although all three are unmanned, eight passenger trains a day stop at all of them.

Charity Event

Staff at the Hilton Community Centre in Inverness are being thanked for their efforts in helping to stage a charity sale which raised 1500 for Highland Hospice. Organisers behind the Sale of Work for Hospice Day, which was held last year at the community centre, said they were indebted to the staff for their support.

Political Roundup

Ministers Challenge

Highland Council officials are pressing transport minister Chris Mullin for clarification of his dismissal of campaigners' demands for an air link between Inverness and Heathrow airport. Speaking in Parliament recently the minister said that the regions should "wean" themselves off thinking about links to Heathrow and should set about building international services from other airports. But Highland Council convener David Green said the comments went contrary to what officials were told by Mr Mullin at a recent meeting.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Sleet/snow showers easing p.m. Bright spells. Winds fresh E-NE'ly. Temperature 3c to 4c.
Saturday Night
Patchy sleet/snow. Clear spells. Fog patches. Winds moderate NE'ly, NE-E'ly in the W.
A few wintry showers over hills but mainly cold and dry with periods of bright sunshine. Mod/fresh winds.
Most parts fine and dry with broken cloud and periods of sunshine, perhaps cloudier on E coast.

Glenmoriston Arms Hotel and Restaurant

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Glenmoriston Arms Hotel

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This is Caledonia ( Caley for short ) A Ness-Scape family member and mascot. She is a White German Shepherd. Caley has decided to take over the editing of Nessie's Loch Ness Times, and she's sure she'll make a good job of it. What do you think?

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