Friday, March 09, 2007



This evening I was lucky enough to attend an event in Paisley Museum which turned out be an extraordinary experience. I arrived in a bit of a bad mood as I had been up since six this morning and didn't sleep well last night, and while I waited for the conversation to start I played with my phone, browsed the web and checked my emails. When the artists entered they immediately catch your attention (not least for their dress sense!) they wandered on to the raised platform and took their seats on their respective sofas beneath the paintings they had created.

Steven Campbell's was to me (and I am not an artist) a bit like a magic eye drawing, in that the more you relax the more you see in the canvass, as I said I am not an artist but, I know what I like and, I liked this. The use of the Paisley Pattern, the mirror, the suited and booted figure and the small child are all at first glance not there but, when you return your gaze you start to see the intricacy in the painting, all of this and it only took him four weeks!! It is truly an amazing sight, whether you like it or not you cannot help but be impressed.

John Byrne's creation on the other hand is not typical of his portfolio that I have seen, it was not colourful, and at the same time the use of colour was something that occurred to me, it was not busy but rather quiet and reserved compared to previous works that I have seen, but nevertheless there was something striking about it, something that drew you in and made you think about the person he was depicting.

The paintings were done as part of a project that didn't come to fruition but the artists were supposed to paint a portrait of themselves and then one of another artist, the paintings displayed in the Art Gallery in the Museum are the paintings of another artist, each other! It was an enjoyable evening and I am glad that I went and I am glad that John Byrne continues to support and come back to his home, he is truly an artist that remembers where he came from, in fact I doubt he looks or acts much different now from when he lived and played in Paisley. This was my first introduction to the work of Steven Campbell but on return to my computer I have googled his name and I must admit that I will be keeping an eye out for any more of these events that he participates in.

Go have a look at the paintings in Paisley Museum and Art Gallery they are well worth a visit, and while you are there go see Buddy the lion.



(Jim Sharkey and Cllr Rayleen Kelly at the 'Beware of the Bogeyman event, Paisley Town Hall)

This morning in Paisley Town Hall there is an event organised by the Police on Bogus Callers, arranged for the elderly in the community and vulnerable groups there was an excellent turn out, including Jim Sharkey (my running mate in the May Elections) the Secretary of Ralston Community Council. Also present were Douglas Alexander MP Secretary of State for Scotland and Wendy Alexander MSP for Paisley North, both were warmly received and it was good to see our elected representatives involved in the community.

The title of this article is the title of the campaign, Reid Kerr College students put on an excellent piece of drama showing the dangers and the approaches that the con men and women use.

To often we think of the Bogus Caller as a young male in work gear but they can take all shapes and sizes as the students drama piece pointed out. Unfortunately I had to leave early as I had a Community Health Partnership Development session to attend but, what I did see I was really impressed with, congratulations go to the Police for the organisation and all of the exhibitors and actors involved.

Thursday, March 08, 2007



(Bessie the Lakeland Terrier and Molly the rescue Staffordshire Labrador Cross)

The reason I am not allowed to go to Cardonald Cat and Dog home alone is the same reason I would never be allowed to Crufts, I would come home with about ten dogs!! Every breed/dog that Comes on I want one of those, I don't think they are any where near as nice as Molly and Bessie (photo above) but, they are not bad looking animals, although some (the Labrapoddle) are really strange looking! I must admit to having a soft spot for the Gun Dogs, mainly because we had a Springer Spaniel but also because you get the Clumber Spaniel in that group.

I don't think that Molly or Bessie would win the full competition the whole obedience thing would let them down, Bessie would want to fight with everyone (terrier) and Molly would just want to know what was going on with everyone else, but definitely best in breed!



4:30pm in the School and the event the school board meeting, this one was slightly different because members of the PTA were also invited and as it turns out this was quite advantageous as they have a number of issues which are equally important to both groups.

The main item I was there to speak on was the update on the Seedhill Playing Fields. At the PTA meeting the report on contamination had been discussed as it was apparently handed out, to be honest I am a little concerned that people are simply handing this out without the health warning.

The report does make scary reading when taken out of context and without the expert knowledge that I have been lucky enough to have had access to. I advised the board and the PTA that I would get the Council's technical experts to write a plain English explanation of the contamination issues and the plans as they stand at present. I was glad to see that the PTA, the School Board and the School itself are looking positively to what they can gain from the upgrading of the facilities for the school and the pupils. It should be noted that this will be a full community resource and that will mean improvements to the facilities available to ALL of the schools in the area.

Also on the agenda was the Parental Involvement Act and the implications for the school board and PTA, there has been an awful lot of work went into this not only by the Head Teacher but the parents and I am sure that they will have an excellent response to their plans, I personally wanted to thank everyone involved for their work, it makes the Education Authority's job so much easier when you have the full involvement of everyone in the school community.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007



The full council meeting for this month was moved forward to today and although it lasted longer than most it went very well. Although the meetings are long there are usually some interesting topics and nuggets of information that come out of them. For instance did you know that Cllr Vassie thinks that Cllr McDowell is fantastic? No neither did we! Did you know that Cllr McCartin thinks that there are THREE MP's covering the Renfrewshire area? Answers on a postcard as to who joins Douglas Alexander MP and Jim Sheridan MP!

Post office consultation

On this item the SNP and Liberals were not so clear about their objections, Cllr Lawson (B) suggested that the Government were taking more and more business away from the Post Offices by allowing people to do more things online, he even said that it was better for the customers but then said they shouldn't do it? Although I poke fun at their reasoning the actual amendment was fairly OK it didn't really say anything new just backed up what the report already said so it was accepted.

Paisley Town Centre

There are major problems with the Town Centre, no one is disputing this fact but the SNP's suggestion that the wardens were their idea is laughable, especially as they voted against the provision of wardens almost every time they came up. It is quite obviously a political ploy to try and win votes on the upcoming election, look out for it on a leaflet!

Childcare First

As there were a number of motions to this particular issue the Provost decided to take them altogether and so the first was the motion and the rest were taken as amendments, some of the information put forward was ridiculous and totally inaccurate, the 'collapse' of Child Care first? I am sure they will be delighted to hear that elected members who were so complimentary about the service they provide think that they are no more! The biggest Fax pas by far though was the Liberal Democrats, Cllr McCartin's amendment went on about the UNICEF report, however, was not impressed when more than one person pointed out that the report did not include Scotland, not one person/organisation/elected member from Scotland was interviewed or asked their opinions, oh dear and she had connected it to the so called 'collapse' of the Children First out of school care service!!

The rest of the agenda went pretty smoothly and there was even some agreement (SHOCK HORROR!) a number of amendments were accepted and even a bout of bartering across the council chamber, the next council meeting take place on the 26th of April and will be the last before the elections.

Monday, March 05, 2007



Thanks to the Local Community Policewoman, I have an update on the reported incidents of crime in the last month. Not surprisingly vandalism and breach of the peace make up almost half of the crimes reported, and detected. The graffiti problem is one which is ongoing, the Police and Council are thankful to the community and the businesses in the area for their swift reporting of the graffiti as it appears and the swift removal by the owners of the property.

There is light at the end of the tunnel and I know that there have been a number of people charged for the graffiti and the Police are still working on catching other culprits. If you have any information on the graffiti vandals please do not hesitate to contact either myself or the Local Community Police at Mill Street.



The only word for it was amazing, I have been interested in astronomy since I was a child, the moon, stars and planets, when I was in University I even took a basic course in it and it never ceases to amaze me how beautiful the night sky is.

My sister and I were in the house on Saturday and had read in the Paisley Daily Express about the Lunar eclipse and we were determined to see it! The photo above was taken with my mobile phone in night mode, not too shabby considering although it doesn't show it properly the real thing was so much more exciting.

If you are interested in seeing more images of the Lunar Eclipse the BBC website has a number of more professional shots and they are definitely worth a look. Also worth a look would be Saturn, seeing it through even a small telescope is something else and on stronger telescopes you can see the rings and the moons it is absolutely out of this world!

Check out the Sky at night website for more information. You may also want to check out the opening hours of your local Observatory, in Paisley we have the Coats Observatory the public viewing nights are on a Thursday and they are free of charge, follow the link for more information.


Please note all postings on this blog are of a personal nature and do not reflect the opinions of either Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Labour Party or Renfrewshire Labour Group. NB No annonymous comments will be published on this blog if you have something to say have the courage to identify yourself.