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June 2017

The month of June is one of the busiest of the year. We’ve got a real high-octane adrenaline rush with the return of the P1 Scottish Grand Prix of the Seas, and for the petrol-heads, St Vincent’s Carfest, Milngavie Classic Car Show and the Erskine Classic Car Show. Lilias Day, along with Lilifest, Bridge of Weir Gala Week, Bishopton Day, Lochwinnoch Gala Day, Kilbarchan Agricultural Show, Houston Agricultural Show and the Hessilhead Open Day are all great fun and entertaining - lots of things for all the family to enjoy. If we’ve missed any we apologise - please make sure we get your details by our issue deadlines.

There have been changes to the local Wards, and that brings a mix of regular and new faces to our list of local Councillors. We’ve got an updated list on p24 and we look forward to hearing more from them about what’s going on in the local area in the coming months.

The Local Plan is under review. The Local Plan sets out local planning policies and identifies how land is used, determining what will be built where. Adopted local plans provide the framework for development across the country. Inverclyde and Renfrewshire residents were asked for their input prior to the deadline at the end of May. I appreciate the need for further housing and the additional income for local traders would be welcomed I’m sure. However, I do question whether there are sufficient resources in these villages for these additional houses. Already places at local schools are at a premium, with lengthy waits to get a doctor’s appointment, congested parking and the roads which feed these villages are in some areas in desperate need of upgrades and improvements.

Staying with development. In Kilmacolm, it is very encouraging to finally see some structure going up at the site of the former Institute building at the Cross. Progress ground to a halt for an extensive period, but at last it’s taking shape. The new build will be a mix of residential flats above two shops, with residential parking and delivery space in the basement area off Smithy Brae. It is hoped that the larger of the two shops will house a much improved Co-Operative store, relocated from Lyle Buildings. There will clearly be some time of disruption whilst works are in progress, but hopefully the completed build and improvement to the village environs will be well worth it.

After a long dry spell, the welcome rain (for gardeners anyway) has caused the foliage to explode. However, gardeners beware. It’s still nesting season and some chicks and young birds haven’t left home yet. Please be wary when pruning and trimming hedges, trees and large shrubs. Have a quick look in the branches before beginning just in case there’s a nest there. Nesting season is nearing an end for most local bird species, so a short delay in the gardening schedule is all that’s needed.

And finally, some local business successes when the month of May brought us a number of Award winners from the local area. Cochran Dickie won Silver at the ESTAS, The Fox & Hounds won Best in Renfrewshire at the National Pub & Bar Awards, and Bluewater Dental and Kilbarchan Dental were both shortlisted in the Scottish Dental Awards.

Well done everyone! Here’s to a brilliant June!

Legal Blog

by Isabella McKerrow, Affinity Family Law

Grand Parents Rights To See Grand Children

Grandparents have no automatic right to see their grandchildren, despite having a biological connection. Their ability to see or have contact with their grandchildren is by virtue of the children’s parents allowing it. Family relations can breakdown or parties can separate or divorce and difficulties can arise where one spouse refuses to allow the other spouses to see the children or have limited contact to the children. This can impact on grandparents. Often the separated spouse does not want the parents of the other spouse to see the grandchildren. While grandparents have no automatic right in law to see their grandchildren, they are able to make an application to the court to acquire such rights. Under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 anyone with an interest in the child/children (there does not have to be any biological connection) can apply to the court for an order for parental rights and responsibilities, contact or residence of the child/children.

The court will grant such an order where it is in the children’s best interest to do so. The court will also take into account the views of the child where it is reasonably practicable to do so. Where the grandparent or person applying for the order has developed a close relationship with the child/children the case will be stronger and the orders sought more likely to be granted. Where there are bad relations between the grandparents and their children (the parents of the grandchildren) the court may be required to balance the benefit to the child/children of maintaining contact with the grandparents with the detriment of exposing the child/children to conflict between the grandparents and the children’s parents.

Optical Blog

by Kerry Taher, New Vision Opticians

Is hay fever affecting your eyes?

For many of us the summer also means the start of seasonal suffering which is hay fever. If the eyes are involved it’s called seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, with symptoms varying from mild irritation to severely itchy, swollen, red, gritty and watery eyes, although vision thankfully tends to be unaffected.

If you suffer, there are various ways to relieve your symptoms. Firstly, try not to rub your eyes because this will make things worse. Cold compresses are nice and soothing. Ocular lubricants flush out and dilute the allergens (eg pollen) – these are surprisingly effective and can be used as often as necessary. If you wear contact lenses, using daily disposables will be more comfortable. Other tips include wearing close-fitting wraparound sunglasses, and keeping car windows closed.

Oral antihistamines don’t fully reach the eye so something more direct is often needed to provide more relief. Over-the-counter anti-allergy eye drops (mast cell stabilizers) are very good but can take 2 - 4 weeks to start working effectively. Annual hay fever sufferers often start using these preseason to prevent symptoms occurring. For instant relief, a decongestant combined with an antihistamine can be used but only for a short time as prolonged use can cause more symptoms.

Drops containing both antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers will provide instant and prolonged relief, but a GP prescription is required. However, before rushing to see your GP, you should have an eye exam to confirm the diagnosis. If any prescription drops are required, we can contact your GP to request them.

With all that said, most of the hay fever sufferers still wouldn’t wish away the good weather so let’s all enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!

For any further information, please call the practice on 01505 614 700.

Dental Blog

by Sheila Macintyre, Practice Owner, Kilbarchan Dental Practice

National Smile Month

Every year Kilbarchan Dental Practice supports National Smile Month - the UK’s largest and longest-running campaign to promote good oral health.

Dentists and other Health Professionals, Schools, Community and Workplace Groups across the country are all encouraged to get involved in whatever way they can by running events, promotions and activities.
National Smile Month highlights three key messages, all of which go a long way in helping develop and maintain a healthy mouth. They are:

  • Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
  • Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

Get Involved;

- Discover fun facts on the website (our favourites are below):

Did you know it takes 43 muscles to frown but only 17 to smile!

61% of us have been attracted to someone by their smile alone.

Two thirds have less respect for a boss with bad oral hygiene.

£1 is the most common amount left by the tooth fairy (per tooth)

- Nominate a Smile - as part of National Smile Month you have the opportunity to nominate someone who always raises a smile to receive the recognition they deserve.

- Enter the Smiley Selfie Competition – Smiley’s available from the online shop.

If you, your group or organisation would like to get involved in National Smile Month visit the website at www.nationalsmilemonth.org where you will find a wealth of information and online resources.

IT Blog

with Colin Fyfe of Colcom

In August, last year I encountered two separate instances of the Cryptolocker Virus. Although not for the first time, it prompted me to conclude in my article here the following month that, ‘these threats are going to become even more prevalent in the coming years and will probably become, in one way or another, the primary data security threat that we will face.’

The now ubiquitous ‘WannaCry’ ransomware variant made international news headlines last month on the back of its viral proliferation in our private and public services networks and localised infections over the globe. The following working day I wrote a quick email to my customers reminding them of the most important prevention and data security measures. These were to be on guard for suspicious emails; don’t click on suspect links or attachments. If in business and in doubt then check with your IT support. Check that all Operating Systems and Anti-Virus are updated. Finally, ensure a backup is in place and operational.

A lot has been made of the point that Windows XP is the problem and that the NHS is running off old XP kit. This probably isn’t the case. Windows 7 is the most likely OS to be affected by the WannaCry variant due to its mass appeal with around two thirds of business machines running the OS and its older ‘Windows Update’ process. This process, in large office networks is often governed by a server that in turn is governed by an IT department. The security patch for Windows 7 that would nullify the infection was released a couple of months before the event unfolded; putting it on a to-do list oh-so-near the top of an in-tray heap.

Keep in mind that this threat is an urgent reminder of the importance of backup. With Cryptolocker, the encrypted files cannot be recovered.

Financial Blog

by Carl Melvin, Affluent Financial Planning Ltd

Final Salary Pension Transfers

The Pension Freedoms and flexibility available to non-final salary pension plan holders and the very high transfer values offered for Final Salary (or Defined Benefit or DB) schemes has led to an increasing number of DB scheme members seeking a transfer value. The transfer values currently on offer can be eye watering, especially for those with long service, high earnings or both.

You can give up a valuable guaranteed lifetime income in return for a cash sum to be invested in a pension fund under your control. You exchange an income stream for an asset and certainty for flexibility and choice. For many accepting a transfer value won’t be appropriate, but for an increasing number a transfer may achieve their retirement goals. So, what should you look out for?

  • You must take professional advice – if your transfer value is £30,000 or more, you must take professional advice from a pension transfer specialist to ensure you understand the risks involved.
  • Complicated – this is very complex and the decision is not straightforward.
  • High Risk – this is high risk advice for an adviser to provide. You are also taking on risks when you transfer and you may make a poor decision you later regret.
  • Advice is not cheap – high risk complex advice is never low cost. Expect to pay thousands of pounds in professional fees.

For those who are unmarried, in poor health, overburdened with debt, have other income sources or want to retire early a DB transfer can be a good choice.

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. Carl Melvin is a regulated pension transfer specialist.

Call us for a FREE financial review on 01505 59 50 60 or 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

The History Spot

Robert Lang Campbell, on the Mormon Trail to Salt Lake City

In 1846, after the loss of his young wife in childbirth and himself suffering from ill-health on the arduous Mormon trek from persecution in Nauvoo, Robert Lang Campbell (1825-74), a young Mormon priest from Kilbarchan, arrived at winter quarters. Within weeks he recovered his health.

In Scotland, Robert had trained a clerk and, because of this experience, he was appointed as clerk to Brigham Young, John Smith and Willard Richard. This was a prestigious post for a young man. Later he was appointed in charge of the Post Office and was a volunteer in the Pioneers led by Brigham Young. The Pioneers surveyed the area searching for a suitable site for a permanent settlement. In 1848 they found the ideal site and Salt Lake City was founded on the 24th of July.

In the same year, Robert received the sad news from Kilbarchan that his father and maternal grandmother had died. In 1850 he was pleased to be given a mission to return to Scotland. During his time in Scotland he married Mary Stewart. In 1854, as leader of a group of Mormon converts from Scotland, Robert with his new wife set off for Salt Lake City. The group included an older widowed lady, Elizabeth Jordan (née Beveridge). In his diary Robert had recorded visiting Sister Jordan in Stevenson in 1844. The group sailed from Liverpool and arrived at New Orleans in May. From there they sailed up the Mississippi to St. Louis, and then to Kansas. The last part of their journey was by wagon train alongside the River Platte to Salt Lake City, where Robert and his group of converts settled. As was the Mormon custom, he took a second wife Jean Miller. Robert with his wives, Mary and Jean, had 21 children. In 1857 he married a third polygamous wife. This wife was his old friend, Sister Jordan from Stevenson. Robert was well-respected in the community as a good husband and father to his large family.
Furthermore, Robert Campbell, the young clerk from Kilbarchan, also became a prestigious figure in the Mormon Community. He was appointed as Superintendent of Schools for the Territory of Utah and as Mormon Chancellor from 1857 until his death from cholera in 1874. His obituary in the Deseret News stated that he was “an industrious, useful, upright, trustworthy man”.

© 2017, Helen Calcluth, Renfrewshire Local History Forum

Robert Lang Campbell’s Diary and further information can be found at: https://lib.byu.edu/collections/mormon-missionary-diaries/.../robert-lang-campbell/

Pet Blog

by PetVets

Raving about Rabbits

Rabbits are the third most popular pet in the UK.

There are three main points to consider to ensure your rabbit leads a healthy, happy life:

  1. Rabbits are sociable
    Wild rabbits naturally live in large social groups. Pet rabbits should therefore be kept in pairs or groups. This provides companionship and allows rabbits to carry out normal behaviours such as mutual grooming. Rabbits that are kept alone suffer from loneliness, increased stress levels and increased health problems. The ideal pairing to avoid potential aggression between rabbits is housing a neutered male with a neutered female.
  2. Rabbits are active
    Wild rabbits cover an area equivalent to six football pitches every day. This means your pet rabbit needs plenty of space to exercise, a hutch or cage is not enough. Ideally rabbits should have free access to a run or enclosed area in the garden (or house if an indoor rabbit).
    As a general rule a hutch or cage should be large enough for a rabbit to take three hops and tall enough for a rabbit to stand upright in. A run should be a minimum of eight feet long (approximately four rabbit hops!).
    It is also useful to provide tunnels and toys within the run for your rabbit to keep them active and entertained.
  3. Rabbits eat grass
    Rabbits are designed to eat grass for several hours every day. Rabbits have continuously growing teeth and a complex gastrointestinal system designed for this high fibre diet. The wrong diet can lead to severe dental and gastrointestinal problems in pet rabbits.

The ideal diet for your pet rabbit is composed of approximately 80% good quality hay, 15% fresh leafy vegetables and 5% good quality commercial rabbit food, in a uniform pellet mix. Starting out with these three basic rabbit facts can make a big difference to the health and welfare of pet rabbits.

Photography Blog

by Lauren Russell, Owner, Little Studio Kilmacolm

Can your baby have their cake AND eat it?

Well the short answer is YES, at a Cake Smash Photo Session. Which is when babies visit a photography studio to celebrate their birthday’s in style with a fun and interactive Cake Smash Photo Shoot, but for me a Cake Smash isn’t ‘just’ about babies eating cakes, they are simply a celebration of that baby’s first year in life. Who doesn’t want to scream and shout about how adorable, clever and cute their baby is on their first birthday and show them off in beautiful, professional photographs to mark the occasion?

A combination of new tastes, textures and noises make Cake Smash Sessions the perfect way to celebrate your baby’s special occasion by doing what they do best….exploring!

My Cake Smash Sessions always start with lovely clean portraits first. Parents bring along a pretty dress or smart outfit and we take some adorable photos of the babies looking very grown up and smart.

Next we move onto the main event, the cake smash! The set is creatively put together to tie in all the little details. Parents will choose from a fantastic range of specially made cake smash outfits. From pretty pastels to bright colourful sets, I have something to suit all tastes!

Parents watch with delight as their baby explores a whole new world…CAKE! Some babies go straight for the cake, others have a play with the colourful balloons. Baby is free to explore, taste and play with the cake at their leisure, once they’ve had enough we move onto a bubbly and warm ‘Tub Time’ where baby can splash around in a cute bath and clean up after all that messy fun! To round off a lovely photo session parents get to take away the remaining cake home to enjoy a slice with a nice cuppa.

The Result? Super cute professional photographs to mark your baby’s very special first birthday. Parents truly treasure these photos as they symbolise how much their beautiful baby has grown in the last year.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Weight Training

Whilst training one of my clients the other day, a friend of his approached us and laughed saying he could never do what my client was doing as he was too old for it... My client was 63 and was lifting a 30kg bar doing a chest press on a bench...

Weight training in the gym has a lot of misguided beliefs surrounding it; women think it will make them bulky and elderly people think it will injure them. The issue is, these populations that think weight training is bad could be seeing massive benefits if implementing it in their training.

The fact is, building muscle is hard work, and it doesn’t come easy to a huge amount of people. Many men struggle for years to build solid muscular tissue and this struggle is compounded more so in females; as females’ have 10x less testosterone than men, (a key muscle building hormone). You also need a calorie surplus when looking to gain muscle, so you need to eat more than your body normally needs to stimulate new muscle growth. It is rare for a female to increase calories if they are health conscious and trying to improve their body composition.

Muscle creates shape and many women want more shape, firm legs, toned arms, and to create the ideal body. Weight training is actually an essential path to creating that ‘look’. Weights, often heavy weights, need to be lifted to condition the muscles under fat tissue, and then reduce the fat tissue enough to see it.

The elderly are another population put off by the apparent negatives of weight training. Often there’s a perception of a high injury risk with weight training in a gym, or perceived as being for the ‘young’. Strength in old age becomes important as the body naturally declines in overall function/condition, joint integrity, bone strength and muscle flexibility. Lifting weights just once a week can protect against these issues. Strong bones, muscles and joints will dramatically reduce the risk of injury and comes from being active and resisting your body against heavy objects, such as weight training or other activities.

Lesley

For more information or advice on any aspect of Personal Training, or for a free consultation contact me on 0773 6274925 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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