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April 2018

Weather-wise
Did I really say, “I’ll be looking out the barbeque and dusting down the garden chairs”? Maybe a little overly optimistic. I signed off last month basking in warm sunshine and within the week we had 40cm of snow! I’ll try to avoid any weather predictions in this column.
Although staying with the snow theme for a moment, how lucky were those folks who live in the villages which still have a variety of local retailers. I am sure the local traders enjoyed a welcome surge in business during the few days of crisis. Hopefully those of us lucky enough to have this facility will continue to support them for more of our day to day shopping. Remember, they rely on this trade to keep going - it’s also a very sociable activity as a wee trip to the shops can involve a number of conversations.
Thank you to the team of roads department workers and local farmers who were out in the worst of weather trying to keep access open for traffic. Especially the farmers, as they don’t get a day off when it snows, farming and livestock is a 24-7 operation, yet they were out at all hours ploughing the snow off the roads. And a big thank you to the team of 4x4 drivers volunteering to go out and ferry the essential workers to and from their places of work. Thank you all.
Something in the air
Glasgow Airport is in the process of a public consultation on proposals to modernise our airspace. This will entail new routes for take-off, landings will remain the same. Basically this means you may end up with planes directly overhead when previously you enjoyed your surroundings undisturbed. A consultation document is available to download at… https://www.glasgowairport.com/media/244297/Glasgow-Airport_-AirspaceConsultationDocument_.pdf.
It sets out in detail what is being proposed and how you can take part in the consultation. Submissions close on Friday 13th April 2018.
Kilmacolm’s History
A Heritage Centre for Kilmacolm is now a reality. This is a project which has been a long time in planning, but finally coming to a successful conclusion and should be open in the next few weeks. The top floor of the Kilmacolm Community Centre will exhibit a series of wall hangings depicting the history of Kilmacolm and its surroundings. I’ve had a sneak preview and it looks fabulous.
Coming Events
This year’s Paisley Food & Drink Festival runs from Friday 27th to Saturday 28th April when the very best of Scotland’s producers will showcase their wares to visitors in Paisley’s iconic Abbey Close. With tasting sessions, street food vendors, interactive workshops, live music and Scotland’s largest real ale festival.
There are a number of village events planned for the coming months. Some of these date back many years and are steeped in history, others are more recent additions to the calendar. They run like clockwork - weather permitting. All thanks to a small army of volunteers who give their time to gather in the wee dark hours of the winter to plan, organise and fundraise.
These various Galas and Fetes are always looking for volunteers. In particular Lochwinnoch Gala, which may not proceed this year if help isn’t found. If you feel you can lend a hand then please contact the various groups highlighted in the Village Section this month. Your involvement will be rewarding for yourself and the community, so why not become a part of your local community and offer your services.

March 2018

The first lambs are in the fields and a wee bit of sunshine breaks through the window as I write this. Thoughts of Spring and not long to go till the warmer days, a part of this is the clocks changing at the end of March (Sunday 25th). “Spring Forward, Fall Back” is how I remember which way to go!
Watching the Winter Olympics, I got very nostalgic to the days of my youth when I played at Greenacres Curling Club. There was a vibrant and enthusiastic young curlers group who met on Sunday mornings. One of the curlers was none other than Rhona Howie, the Olympic Gold Medal Winner and I played against her on a number of occasions. By tracking down a few posts on the internet, I managed to find some friends from those days, plus some footage of a prizegiving back in the 80s which I have shared to my facebook page. It’s wonderful looking at all the faces (and the fashions) again.
Driving out of Kilmacolm towards Bridge of Weir please take care when passing the “Beeches Road” junction at the first Knapps carpark, but even more so at the second Knapps lay-by. My daughter had to brake suddenly last week - she was approaching the second lay-by when she was confronted by someone trying to turn right to go back towards Kilmacolm. On speaking to others this is not an uncommon occurrence and the issue has now been raised with Inverclyde Council. While we await their feedback, if exiting the second lay-by surely it’s more sensible to make a left turn and swing round at the top of the Quarrier’s Road to make your way back to Kilmacolm. Of course, neither option is ideal but the latter offers better sight lines and is therefore safer.
The Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland have launched a campaign for all road users – “In Town, Slow Down”. Research has revealed that over a third of people in Scotland rush through town if they’re running late and over half admit to taking risks such as jumping amber lights and travelling over the speed limit, just to be on time. This also applies to the open road, with some drivers taking incredible risks with ill-judged overtaking or pulling out into traffic, all just to save a few minutes (I suppose that leads on from my previous paragraph). And how often have we caught up with these same drivers by the time we get to the next set of lights?
And not restricted to the roads, I followed a debate on facebook last month as a cyclist complained that he was knocked from his bike by an “uncontrolled” dog on the “Cycle-Track”. I put both terms in quotes as the first is possibly subjective, although I’m sure those involved in the incident might disagree, and the second is certainly a misinterpreted colloquial term. The former Railway Line is in fact a “Shared Use Path” with user’s guidance available on various on-route signage, or from Sustrans at www.sustrans.org.uk/what-you-can-do/cycling/cycling-safety-and-rules/advice-using-shared-use-paths
Sustrans manage these routes and the name stands for “Sustainable Transport”, i.e. not motorised. Sustrans encourage active travel: walkers, cyclists, wheelchair users, parents with prams/small people on or off bikes, dog walkers, horse riders, etc. For this to work effectively, in simple terms, all users of Shared Paths have responsibilities for the safety of all others they are sharing the space with. Over the years I’ve enjoyed this facility as a parent with little ones, a dog walker with dogs on and off the lead and as a cyclist; on each occasion trying to apply the appropriate level of caution, control and awareness of others, and apologising if I was ever remiss. With all the best intentions accidents still happen and I hope the cyclist, the dog and the owner are all fully recovered and once again enjoying our open spaces.
The sun is still shining through the window, so hopefully by my next column, I’ll be looking out the barbeque and dusting down the garden chairs.....
.....or will I be shovelling snow again? Brrrr!

January 2018

It’s that time of the year when we seem to be shrouded in darkness from dawn till dusk. Fortunately the beautiful Festive displays provide some light (no pun intended) relief, but it all seems too short a period when no sooner are they up than we’re taking them all down again. Therefore this year we decided to put up our lights and decorations at the beginning of December and we plan to keep them up until the end of February. Putting superstition aside, I hope some of you will join us in keeping the villages a little bit brighter during the winter months.

If we’ve missed any content please accept my apologies. We lost our broadband during publishing week and had to revert to the contingency plan of working from mobile data. We’ve come a long way from the old dial-up modems and it was certainly a wake-up call to just how reliant we have all become on our fast fibre broadband. And I thought it was just the kids that protested when it was down!

We’ve made a few layout and style changes this month. Hopefully these make it a bit easier to find your way around the pages. If there is anything you think we could do to further improve the content or layout please get in touch via the usual channels.

One improvement on the roads, the traffic lights at Deafhillock Roundabout have gone and are not due to return until late Spring. A welcome relief to those who have had to commute through the queues day after day. Hopefully, when they do return, valuable lessons will have been learned and the delays will be kept to a minimum!

To the relief of many, a number of planning appeals have been refused for areas in Kilbarchan, Brookfield and Bridge of Weir. We wait to hear the fate of sites in Kilmacolm. We’ll provide an update in 2018. However, Bishopton continues to be bombarded with development and we believe that over 4,000 new houses are to be built, taking the total housing in Bishopton to over 6,000 houses.

BOLLARDS! I was intrigued to see that someone has decided to plant traffic cones on top of the crumbling bollards on the island leaving Bridge of Weir for Kilmacolm. On these dark nights, with no reflective coating left on the bollards, this is an accident waiting to happen. I presume the cones were supposed to help in terms of reflectiveness, better than nothing but I presume if a car were to hit these cones the resultant damage could be quite significant. Could we have a more reliable and safer fix... please!

Good news for parking in Kilmacolm. In January 2016 I talked about the suspension of the 30 minute parking enforcement in Kilmacolm. In January 2017 this had been raised to 2 hours but was still causing problems due to the requirement for a parking disc to be displayed. Now in January 2018 we finally get the good news that, while the 2 hour parking limit will remain, the need for a disc will be removed. This will surely help regenerate visiting customers to the local shops? And hopefully should plans for parking restrictions in any of the villages be implemented in the future they will be applied having taken lessons from the Kilmacolm scenario.

By the time you are reading this the unwrapping will be over with bundles of wrapping paper and maybe a wilting tree passed its best. Our local recycling centres will take various items including trees.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your continued support and look forward to working with you throughout 2018. A special thanks to our local Councillors and many other contributors who provide their news and updates and, of course, the local retailers, tradesmen and businesses for their ongoing support on which our community thrives.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Heading into 2018…

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this blog for all my readers over the last number of years but this one is going to be a bit different… it isn’t going to be my words! I recently read something from someone else and couldn’t have put it better myself and thought I would share it with you, exactly as it was sent to me…

“We have lost what it means to chase what we want over time. We have replaced the power of the journey with need for immediate gratification. If we can’t have what we want now, we quit now, then pursue lesser goals that are easier to achieve. If it took you 20 years to get horrendously out of shape, no six-week makeover, fad diet, have-it-all-by-Monday idiocy can correct that lifestyle.

Every day; slowly and one step at a time. You may never be what you were, but you can be the best you can be, and your best days in life might be tomorrow instead of something lost in your past.

This chase for personal improvement should never end, you must never quit trying to be better than you were yesterday. The path of least resistance becomes an easy step, then a habit and finally a life. Sometimes, the best of all things come with the hardest journey.”

(Stella Bartram, 2017)

If you are reading this and you’re overweight or out of shape, and you really want to do something about your current lifestyle, don’t be that person that gives up when things don’t happen right away. Stop hoping that you will get magical results in a couple of weeks. Don’t quit because you find the journey tough. Don’t accept the now if the future could be happier and healthier. And stop letting the old habits become the easy, safe option. Make a commitment to yourself and enjoy the journey.

I want to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year, I hope 2018 is a great year for you all.
Lesley

For more information or advice on personal training contact me on 0773 627 4925 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pet Blog

by PetVets

Why Do We Vaccinate Dogs?

Vaccinations protect against infectious diseases which can be fatal.

Vaccinations protect your dog against:

  1. Parvovirus
    A highly contagious virus spread through contact with infected faeces. The virus can also live on shoes, clothes and floors for many months. Symptoms include vomiting, severe bloody diarrhoea and lethargy. Parvovirus can be fatal in up to 90% of cases. Puppies are especially susceptible.
  2. Canine distemper
    A contagious virus spread through saliva, blood, or urine. Initial symptoms include red, watery eyes, nasal discharge and fever. Later symptoms include lethargy, coughing, vomiting, diarrhoea and seizures. It can also cause hardening of the footpads and nose. It is fatal in up to 50% of cases.
  3. Leptospirosis
    A bacterial infection spread through infected rat urine and contaminated water. Symptoms include fever, muscle tremors, vomiting, diarrhoea, increased thirst, jaundice and breathing difficulties. In severe cases dogs can develop kidney damage and liver failure. It can be fatal even with the best treatment.
  4. Infectious Canine Hepatitis
    A viral disease spread through urine, saliva, blood, faeces and nasal discharges. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, vomiting, coughing, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. In severe cases the disease can cause jaundice and liver failure, and can result in seizures and coma. Even with the best treatment severe cases of infectious canine hepatitis can be fatal.

Optional additional vaccinations are also available for Parainfluenza and Kennel Cough which cause upper respiratory tract disease.

Puppies can start their vaccinations from 6 - 8 weeks old with a second vaccination 2 - 4 weeks later. Pups should not mix with other, potentially unvaccinated dogs until their primary vaccine course is complete. 

Booster vaccination are required for distemper, parvovirus and infectious hepatitis every 3 years and for leptospirosis every year.

The History Spot

Smeath Hill Homestead

Over the last year members of the Forum have been revisiting a number of archaeological sites in the area. One interesting site was Smeath Hill Homestead. The site (NS 3155 6609) lying to the south of Smeath Hill, was first surveyed by Frank Newall in the nineteen-sixties. 

The remains of a massive circular stone wall, 2.5 metres wide, surround an enclosure, measuring 15 metres in diameter. The stone built walling is intact with two entrance gaps, one on the east of the wall, and the other on the northwest. Since Newall’s survey, the enclosure has become very overgrown. Evidence of interior structures is obliterated by vegetation and only the tops of a few stones remain apparent on the surface. 

However, Newall’s survey gives a detailed interpretation of the structural evidence he found in the interior of the enclosure in the nineteen-sixties. Newall states that the enclosing wall surrounded an internal circular corridor or passageway, which in turn surrounded a large single roundhouse. The corridor was bounded by the enclosing stone wall and the wall of the roundhouse. 

The East entrance gap in the enclosing wall led across the corridor to the entrance to the roundhouse. The wall’s North-West entrance led to the northern section of the corridor which was subdivided into three separate cells. The southern section, also subdivided into three separate cells, was entered from the East gateway.

The remains of numerous Bronze Age roundhouses are to be found in the surrounding landscape, but those enclosed by defensive stone walling are considered to be Iron Age. The site can be accessed from the track leading over the moor from Muirshiel Country Park to Hardridge Farm. The homestead lies some distance to the east of the track. The moorland terrain is boggy underfoot and the site is best visited in dry weather.

© 2017, Helen Calcluth, Renfrewshire Local History Forum

Legal Blog

by Isabella McKerrow, Affinity Family Law

Powers of Attorneys and the Role of the Public Guardian

Having a Power of Attorney “POA” in place lets you plan what you want another person to do for you in the future should you become incapable of making decisions about your own affairs. Previously, I explained the benefits of having a “POA” in place, no matter what age you are, and the different types of POA’s that are available.

The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 gives the Public Guardian “OPG” the following duties and responsibilities relating to Powers of Attorney:

To register POA’s that meet the registration criteria.
To maintain a public register of continuing and welfare POA’s.
To provide advice and guidance to continuing attorneys on the exercise of their powers.
Certain powers to investigate concerns and take steps to safeguard financial matters of the adult where it appears they are at risk.

For a POA to become effective it must be registered with the OPG. The fee for registration is currently £74. If you are in receipt of certain benefits you may qualify for a fee exemption. Most solicitors will recommend that the POA is registered straight away. Some people may take the view not to register straight away as they may never need to use it, thereby saving £74. Before the OPG will register the POA, they carefully scrutinise it to ensure it complies with the criteria of the 2000 Act. If they reject it and the adult has already lost capacity it may not thereafter be possible to correct the error. Consequently the POA is ineffective and resort will have to be made to the lengthy and expensive process of applying to the court for a Guardianship Order.

(For more information on the role of the Public Guardian and about Powers of Attorneys visit the website: www.publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk- Telephone: 01324 678300)

Financial Blog

by Carl Melvin, Affluent Financial Planning Ltd

Pension Annuities – Pros & Cons

Annuities provide an income for life, so why don’t more retirees opt for an annuity? Annuities have fallen out of favour as low interest rates mean a lower income is on offer. However, annuities can still be attractive to some individuals. So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of this option for your pension fund?

Advantages

Simple and easy to understand
Offers a fixed and secure lifetime income – the income will never run out, however long you live.
Available for pension funds of all sizes.
No need to review, not affected by stock market and no investment risk
You could get more income if you have poor health and/or you are a smoker

Disadvantages

Annuities can be inflexible
Inflation proofing can be expensive
Cannot be passed on to your beneficiaries as a lump sum (unless you buy capital protection)
Widows benefit must be chosen at outset and is lost if your spouse dies before you
You don’t benefit from stock market rises
Annuity rates are generally perceived to be low.

This information is not financial advice. If you require advice you should consult a professional adviser. The first meeting is normally free and there is no obligation.
Call us for a FREE financial review on 01505 59 50 60 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Alternatively, pop into the Affluent office opposite Amaretto restaurant on Main Street, Bridge of Weir.
www.affluentfp.co.uk

IT Blog

with Colin Fyfe of Colcom

I wrote here recently that Microsoft were due to release a large update for the Windows 10 operating system, dubbed the Fall Creators Update, it would be a cure-all for the bugs and security glitches that the operating system has, generally, done well to negate.

The update landed a couple of months ago now with all the bells and whistles that these updates come with these days, a polite reminder here and an over-friendly welcome message there. After the faffing about, the update procedure would take a couple of hours, or for the unlucky ones with an un-desirable anti-virus programme or a peculiar driver requirement, a whole evening.

The resulting update, if successful, left the machine no better off to look at although I believe there are slight performance improvements throughout the operating system. These improvements are, to many of my clients, completely undone by the update’s damage to their Office program or the fact that they can no longer access their computer at all.

Windows 10 will update itself, there is little you can do to stop it. As polite as Microsoft may pretend to be, it has a heads-down approach to ramming updates your way – look out.

Happy New Year,
Colin

Dental Blog

by Sheila Macintyre, Practice Owner, Kilbarchan Dental Practice

Happy New Year

January is the time for New Years’ Resolutions so we thought we would suggest a few to help you Care for Your Smile:

  1. Drink More Water and Cut Down on Sugar (especially sugary drinks)– as well as quenching your thirst and hydrating your skin water helps to rinse away bits of food and bacteria.
  2. Eat More Fresh Fruit and Veg – fibrous foods such as celery help to clean your teeth as they are chewed but do remember some fruits can be high in acid so try and eat with meals and brush your teeth an hour after.
  3. Chew Sugar Free Gum – evidence has shown that chewing sugar-free gum can improve our oral health by producing more saliva.
  4. Make sure you Replace Your Toothbrush or Brush Heads at least every 3 months. If you didn’t get an electric toothbrush for Christmas treat yourself to one in the January sales, they are proven to remove 100% more plaque than traditional manual toothbrushes.
  5. Quit Smoking – smoking causes discolouration of the teeth along with a whole host of health issues.
  6. Cut Down on your Alcohol Consumption - drinking too much has been linked to an increased risk of developing mouth cancer especially when combined with smoking. Red wine is particularly bad for staining teeth and other drinks and mixers can be high in sugar.
  7. Visit Your Dentist Regularly – usually at least once every 6 months for a check up and any maintenance like a scale and polish.

If you have any queries about any areas of dental health visit us at Kilbarchan Dental Practice, call 01505 704969 or click www.kilbarchandental.co.uk where you’ll find lots more free tips and advice.

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