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Blair­gowrie Civic Trust

Af­ter a very en­joy­able Christ­mas lunch at the Royal Ho­tel on De­cem­ber 5, chair­man Meg Luck­ins wel­comed speaker Grev Humphries, a re­tired Blair­gowrie po­lice­man, to talk about polic­ing in the past. He joined the force in 1985 when Rat­tray was the al­leged crime capi­tol of Scot­land with the high­est crime rate per head of pop­u­la­tion. He said that the berries were then picked by a large itiner­ent Glaswe­gian pop­u­la­tion with many rough di­a­monds whose ac­tiv­i­ties kept the small lo­cal po­lice force on their toes with the theft of cars and do­mes­tic break-ins. Equipped with a wily in­spec­tor, a sergeant and a new re­cruit, and hav­ing ac­cess to ex­cel­lent lo­cal in­for­ma­tion, what they lacked in foren­sics was counter-bal­anced by a form of rough jus­tice which served the lo­cal com­mu­nity well. These were the days be­fore the crim­i­nal fra­ter­nity ac­quired ci­ti­zen rights and a mas­sive sys­tem of bu­reau­cracy was in­tro­duced with more staff and the al­to­gether more im­per­sonal ser­vice that we have to­day. Grev amused those gath­ered with fas­ci­nat­ing anec­dotes of his rou­tine ac­tiv­i­ties in Blair­gowrie, Aber­feldy and Perth. Sus­pi­cious char­ac­ters could be de­tained with an un­end­ing English break­fast while wait­ing for cor­rob­o­ra­tive ev­i­dence. The in­spec­tor was in a unique po­si­tion of be­ing able to au­tho­rise al­co­hol on duty to re­lieve the te­dious checks on ve­hi­cles and premises in the Glens and there were op­por­tu­ni­ties to try out new fish­ing equip­ment on the Tay, al­beit at the ex­pense of be­ing an al­leged poacher by some un­sus­pect­ing gil­lie who ob­served pe­ri­ods of pro­longed angling with­out an of­fi­cial li­cence. And a sud­den death could cre­ate all sorts of un­sus­pected prob­lems in an ef­fort to dis­cretely move the body in a ho­tel, avoid­ing the guests. Grev was elected to var­i­ous con­ser­va­tion boards, due to his fish­ing knowl­edge, and got to know lead­ing au­thor­i­ties like the botanist David Bel­lamy. Such du­ties prob­a­bly con­flicted with his po­lice work but the give and take at­ti­tudes en­sured har­mony. Polic­ing in the com­mu­nity then, aided by the lo­cal doc­tor and min­is­ter, pro­vided an ex­cel­lent per­sonal ser­vice but this has now all changed with the amount of bu­reau­cracy and pa­per­work re­quired and peo­ple can now wait sev­eral weeks for ”bits of pa­per” re­sult­ing in dis­il­lu­sion­ment in both the force and the pub­lic. His amus­ing and in­for­ma­tive talk con­cluded with a vote of thanks by Pat Hatch.

Blair­gowrie and District Hill­walk­ing Club

Thirty-one mem­bers of the club were out on Sun­day, De­cem­ber 10 for their tra­di­tional Christ­mas walk. Ev­ery­one walked stretches of the Cat­eran Trail from var­i­ous start­ing points down the Isla val­ley, the long­est walk start­ing at just short of Kirk­ton of Glenisla, and all fin­ish­ing their walks at Pitcrock­nie be­side Alyth. Three mem­bers couldn’t re­sist the temp­ta­tion to climb any hill on of­fer and they de­toured from the route to in­clude Bal­duff Hill and Hill of Alyth. It was a crisp, clear, cold, sunny day, ideal for win­ter walk­ing. Christ­mas fare and fes­tive fun fol­lowed at Pitcrock­nie, who looked af­ter the group very well in­deed. An ex­cel­lent day was en­joyed by all. The next walk is on Sun­day, Jan­uary 7, to Amul­ree. For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the club and de­tails of how to get in­volved, see the web­site at www.bdhc.org.uk.

Blethers Group

Fifty-four mem­bers had a most en­joy­able Christ­mas lunch in the Royal Ho­tel on Wed­nes­day, De­cem­ber 6, and al­though it was not of­fi­cially a meet­ing, there was still plenty of “blether­ing” to be heard round the ta­bles. In the four years since the com­mit­tee started run­ning the group it has grown from 23 at the first Christ­mas lunch up to to­day’s fig­ure. A lot of hard work went in to start­ing the col­lec­tion again - but thanks to the gen­eros­ity of the mem­bers we now have a var­ied se­lec­tion of fold­ers pf old pho­to­graphs. These are kept be­tween meet­ings in the One Voice of­fice in Up­per Mill Street. Any­one in­ter­ested in find­ing out more about the group is more than wel­come to come along to one of their monthly meet­ings. The group’s next meet­ing is on Wed­nes­day, Jan­uary 10, and it will then meet on the first Wed­nes­day of ev­ery month from 10am to noon in the Royal Ho­tel in Blair­gowrie for a browse through old pho­tos, a cuppa and of course a blether. The com­mit­tee would like to thank the Royal Ho­tel for the Christ­mas meal and for ac­com­mo­dat­ing the group through­out the year.

Spe­cial Treats

Twenty-six mem­bers from the Spe­cial Treats had a night to re­mem­ber on Thurs­day, De­cem­ber 7, when they vis­ited Scone Palace. Or­gan­iser Shonaidh Beat­tie said: “It was a lovely night for our mem­bers. We had orig­i­nally booked to have Christ­mas lunch at the Palace on De­cem­ber 12 but on hear­ing that the Christ­mas carol con­cert was to be held on the Thurs­day I spoke to the man­ager­ess about the pos­si­bil­ity of com­bin­ing both our meal and the con­cert. “Al­though it is not nor­mal prac­tice for meals to be served on the evening of the con­cert I was de­lighted to be in­formed this would be al­lowed for our group. The mem­bers were de­lighted on ar­rival to find we were to dine in the State room! We all felt like roy­alty. We en­joyed an ex­cel­lent three-course meal served by very at­ten­tive staff and af­ter cof­fee and mince pies we were es­corted to our seats for the carol con­cert with The Fair City Singers - chil­dren aged be­tween 11 and 18 years old from all over Perthshire. It was a de­light for all those at­tend­ing. Our thanks go to all at the Palace for giv­ing the Spe­cial Treats group a once-in-a-life­time night to re­mem­ber. Thanks also go to our driv­ers for the night Rab, Martin and Dave. And thanks to the Royal Ho­tel in Blair­gowrie for the ex­cel­lent lunches served to the group on Tues­days. “The com­mit­tee - Rab, Adele, Ann, Cath, Linda and Shonaidh - would like to wish all our mem­bers a Merry Christ­mas and Happy New Year and ex­tend greet­ings of the sea­son to all.” Lunches restart on Tues­day, Jan­uary 9 at noon when dis­cus­sions for forth­com­ing events take place. Con­tact Shonaidh on email shocar­jen@bt­in­ter­net.com for fur­ther in­for­ma­tion.

On a cold and frosty morn­ing Some mem­bers of Blair­gowrie and District Hill­walk­ing Club at Knowe­head on Sun­day

Fes­tive treat Mem­bers of the Spe­cial Treats group en­joyed a Christ­mas meal and carol con­cert at Scone Palace

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