Thursday, 13 March 2008


Tranquillity 2, originally uploaded by North Light.

I don't often do B & W, but this image struck me as I worked on the colour version that it would be better in Black and White.

Anyway, I need images like this when I listen to our Politicians on the subject of alcohol.
Why do they think that the solution to drinking problems is to increase the costs, ie duty and the cost of licensing premises?
Do they not understand that the Tourist and Hotel trades are important to Scotland?
Reading some of their comments they obviously do not.
Licensing costs, the new cost have increased by a factor of 5 for renewals for our hotel, plus annual charges.
I accept things change, and do not have a problem with the concept that the fees should pay for the system, Yet Councils are employing extra staff, surely this suggests the new system is more bureaucratic and hence not as cost effective?
I strongly object to some of the comments that have been made by politicians, I quote Mr MacAskill, our Justice Secretary,

"They would dispense with the "outdated and dogmatic" mindset that selling alcohol was a right."

"It is not," he added. "It is a privilege."

Hmm, as an operator of a Three Star Hotel, that brings a lot of tourist trade into the area, to be awarded the Three Start rating I have to have a Bar, it's one of the criteria! It's not a privilege, it's a requirement.

As for heavy increases in duty to help curb binge drinking, the vast majority of people drink in sensible moderation, and a good operator will, as his license requires not serve alcohol to someone who has had too much.
Cheap alcohol will still be available, the supermarkets sell for less than I can buy for! Having high duty on alcohol will only increase the illegal import of Alcohol for sale from other parts of the EU.

Alcohol abuse is a problem, but the solutions are not as easy as putting the taxes up! It's a cultural problem, the solution is to change the culture. Its about education, not penalising one of the countries major industries, who are already having to cope with big rises to their operating costs due to rising energy costs.

Oh I need to go and look at the photograph again!

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Bi-lingual road signs

67 - In Between Showers, originally uploaded by North Light.

Time for a rant!

I note with less than amusement that we are to benefit from bi-lingual road signs, the Highland Council has recently voted that as part of the Gaelic Plan these signs are to be implemented as a Highland wide policy.
In doing so, the Highland Council meeting rejected by 36 votes to 29 a notice of motion by 8 Caithness Councillors who wanted their area excluded from the policy stating: “…the blanket roll out of bi-lingual signs in the Highlands should only proceed where there exists significant local demand for such a policy.”
I should add that Caithness only has a total of 9 Councillors, so much for democracy!
The vast majority of Caithness was not Gaelic speaking, its language deriving from Norse, as the majority of place names do.
Would it not be better to spend this money on attracting more tourists to the area and hence helping the economy of Caithness!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008


A Sea, originally uploaded by North Light.

Hmm, so much for more consistent posts! Will have to do better!
We have our first Tour in the Hotel next week, so its starting to get busier, which ironically means I will have more time to post on the blog.

February has produced some great weather for photography, some of which may be seen on my Flickr pages. As the days are getting longer I am looking forward to photography on warm evenings, and on that wishful note its time to sign off.