Time is running out to see the fascinating Perth In Watercolour Exhibition at Perth Museum and Art Gallery.

Closing on Wednesday, March 1, this is a rare opportunity to see a rich selection of watercolours interpreting local Perth scenes.

The exhibition, which includes works from the 19th Century to the present day, is on show for a limited time only to preserve the fragile nature of the paintings.

The ‘Fair City’ as Perth is known, has long provided inspiration for artists. Over the centuries its rich history and the dramatic beauty of its landscapes have been captured by skilled professionals and talented amateurs alike.

Due to the nature of the medium, watercolour artists have to work quickly to capture the views and scenes in front of them.

Artists represented in the exhibition include the self-taught William Proudfoot who specialised in local views of his native city. David Octavius Hall, who is best known as a pioneer in the development of photography in Scotland, but who was also a talented painter. And David Scott Murray, Perth schoolmaster and founder member of the Perthshire Art Association.

Also represented are contemporary practitioner Claire Harkness and the late Alastair Cairncross, a jewellery designer and talented amateur artist.

Perth In Watercolour runs at Perth Museum and Art Gallery from February 14 until March 1, 2017. The exhibition is free, suitable for all ages, and booking is not required.

Perth Museum and Art Gallery, George Street, Perth, is open Tuesday-Saturday, from 10am until 5pm.


Marvel at the world in LEGO® Bricks as the must-see Brick City exhibition comes to Perth Museum and Art Gallery (PMAG) next month.

Featuring over 50 models (created by author and artist Warren Elsmore), Brick City is a celebration of some of the world’s iconic buildings, including London’s St Pancras Station, Rome’s Colosseum and the Arc De Triomphe in Paris recreated in LEGO® bricks.

Aimed at all ages, tens of thousands of visitors have enjoyed Brick City on its UK-wide tour, and organisers of the Perth leg are promising a whole host of exciting extras including special interactive events, competitions and even a mystery Perth landmark recreated in LEGO®.

Exhibition runs daily Tuesday until Saturday, 10am-5pm, from March 7 until May 7, 2017.

Tickets costing £4 (or £10 for a family ticket) are available to purchase in person at Perth Museum and Arts Gallery’s reception desk. Booking is not required.



When The Famous Grouse Experience’s distillery cat went missing from his Perthshire home, his feline friend Glen and distillery colleagues feared the worst!

Mouser-in-chief Turret is quite a celebrity at Glenturret Distillery at The Famous Grouse Experience in Crieff. The popular puss has an important role welcoming 80,000 visitors every year and supervising operations as he patrols the award-winning visitor attraction.

With the freedom to roam Glenturret Distillery’s grounds to put his natural instincts to explore to the test.

Turret follows in the proverbial paw-steps of Towser who still holds the Guinness World Record for best mouser, catching 28,899 mice in her 24 years at the distillery and whose statue and World Record Certificate is proudly displayed on the distillery wall.

But when he failed to turn up for work one morning earlier this month, frantic staff launched a search party.

Despite combing the immediate area – from the grain stores to the popular Wilde Thyme restaurant – there was no sign of the mischievous moggy.

Things looked bleak … until a social media post from a member of staff at the nearby Crieff Hydro on a local Friendship page popped up.

It seemed like Glenturret’s fabulous feline fancied a holiday and decided to check out the accommodation next door.

And, while he waited for his lift back to Glenturret, delighted Hydro staff treated the fussy feline to a marvellous mini break, sampling the upmarket facilities which make the Hydro one of the UK’s favourite hotel destinations.

Now Turret has become an internet sensation after his antics have been captured in a light-hearted video which has now been viewed by thousands.

Check out his adventures here:


Little Ava Clark proves that it’s never too early to join your local library!

Perth’s first 2017 baby, seven-week-old Ava, was signed up this week at Perth’s AK Bell Library.

Ava, along with her mum Zowie, dad David and sister Amelia (3), were given a special tour of the children’s section by librarian Elaine Blair. Ava was also presented with a special certificate to mark the occasion.

Library staff believe that Ava – who was born in PRI at 5.24am on January 2, weighing 8lbs 4oz – could be the youngest library member registered in Perth and Kinross this year.

Culture Perth & Kinross is a supporter of the Scotland-wide Every Child A Library Member (ECALM) campaign.

Launched by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in 2016, this innovative pilot scheme encouraged every child in Scotland to become a member of their local library.

Ultimately, it is hoped ECALM will become an established programme with every baby born in Scotland given a library membership card by the local registrar.

Delighted mum Zowie, from Letham, said: “The AK Bell Library is a great place to bring your children. As well as the huge range of books, the wee ones love the fun, colourful and welcoming environment, and you don’t have to worry about being too noisy!”

AK Bell librarian Elaine Blair believes that reading brings a whole host of benefits for youngsters, and she is encouraging new parents throughout Perth and Kinross to get library cards for their babies.

She explained: “As well as helping with language development, reading to children from birth helps to develop speaking and listening skills.

“Reading also can act as a comfort and as a time for parent and child to bond. If your baby is fussy, read to them; if they have a hard time settling down, read to them; if you’re not feeling connected with your kids, read with them.

“Don’t forget that there are lots of books suitable for babies and toddlers in all Perth and Kinross libraries. You can get a library card for your baby from birth and it’s free to join and to borrow books. Enjoy your reading together, share books you both like and have fun!”

Helen Smout, Chief Executive of Culture Perth & Kinross (CPK) added: “I am delighted to welcome Ava as a library member, particularly since CPK is a huge supporter of the Scotland-wide Every Child A Library Member campaign.

“The promotion of reading, literacy and learning is a strategic objective of the current national strategy for public libraries in Scotland.

“And Every Child a Library Member (ECALM) is an important programme both for the library community in Scotland but also because of the role it can potentially play in closing the attainment gap, reducing social exclusion and promoting equality of opportunity.

“Through our busy programme of activities and initiatives such as Bookbug Rhymetime, Chatterbooks and special storytimes, we aim to encourage a lifelong love of reading and learning for all.”

It couldn’t be easier to join your local library. Just follow the “join now” link on the website ( or visit your local library with your child and sign up on the spot.

Libraries in Perth and Kinross work with health visitors to give out Bookbug packs of books for babies to help get you started.

For more information on children’s library services please visit or visit your local library.

Student Blog – A day in the office

In the morning Fraser had a look over the cover letters for the three positions I was applying for as part of the first Supplementary List offered by the Saltire Scholarship. Receiving feedback from a professional over my style of writing and ideas was not only extremely useful but it also gave insight in the way someone receiving such a cover letter would perceive it and analyse it. Fraser said they were all really good having only small suggestions over what should be changed in some or what should be impressed upon in others – this helped built my confidence in my writing skills, for it is one thing to believe you might be a good writer and a completely another to actually hear that from someone who’s opinion is sanctioned and relevant.

Afterwards, I had the opportunity to sit in on another meeting of the PR department and to hear about the progress of all upcoming projects which are currently under development. For example, I learned there will be a huge and rather impressive LEGO™ Exhibition at Perth Museum in March and just by hearing the updates on the exhibition and its publicity campaign made me really want to go visit it once it is open to the public. ­Another story had the Balhousie Care Home at its centre, highlighting the new initiative taken by the care home in giving its residents a say in the selection of their carers and the care process itself – a commendable initiative, in my opinion, which takes into account the most important part of a care home, its residents.

One of the most exciting update for me was, however, the March launch by the Famous Grouse of another type of Whisky, distilled in 1987 and which has never been presented to the public before. The announcement was not exciting due to my love of alcohol (rather non-existent to the sore disappointment of my university friends – though I will always appreciate a good quality drink if the occasion or meal calls for it) but because the week previous I was actually involved in a part of the publicity process – without even realising it until now. Volpa was given two bottles of the precious whisky to help promote it and I was entrusted with the task of pouring one of the bottles into 14 smaller bottles to be sent to different bloggers, connoisseurs, and opinion-makers in order to hear their opinion of it. From the smell of it I can definitely attest it is a very good whisky (even with my rudimentary level of whisky knowledge) but I reckon that Gordon’s opinion who seems very well versed in the whisky world and who did not just smell it but took the “angels’ share” of the bottle (not exactly the vapour released by the evaporation process during maturation but rather the last 15 ml I had left over).

Afterwards, Fraser had a couple of meetings he had to attend and he left me with the job of compiling a list of all written Scottish publications and their daily ABC totals (the number of physical copies sold each day by the publication). Volpa uses the figures when delivering coverage reports to their clients in order to give tangible evidence of the approximate number of people reached by a particular advert or article. It was a tedious job but at the same time with each new line or sheet added to my Excel document that sense of satisfaction and pride in yourself that you have when make something from scratch, with your hands came over me. I suppose it is because it was one of the first important/official documents I was writing which will actually help Fraser from now on (not to mention that I was pleasantly surprised of how naturally writing it and coming up with a formal, yet easy to understand format was). I managed to finish the entire list just a few minutes before 5 o’clock which was just in time for Fraser to have a look over it and be pleased with my results – at least I know I can do basic data presentation right.

Peebles Hydro help brew up the perfect recipe for visitors’ ale-ments

Peebles Hydro has joined forces with a local entrepreneur to set up a microbrewery on the grounds of the historic hotel.

The one-man brewhouse, paid for by a local crowdfunding campaign, has set up home in the grounds of the 19th century hotel. Peebles Hydro was first opened by the Hydropathic Company in 1881, using water therapy as a way of treating the various ailments of guests.

Occupying a repurposed old joinery building located in the extensive grounds, the microbrewery has been taking advantage of the flowing spring water from the slopes of Dunslair Heights to brew up a range of craft ales, which are sold in the bar and shop at Peebles Hydro as well as several other pubs across the region.

Founder Richard White set up Freewheelin’ Brewery Co. in his garage in 2012 after taking redundancy from a 30-year career in manufacturing and computing. A crowdfunding campaign by friends, family and the local community helped Richard raise enough to move into a small unit in Peebles in 2013 before taking up residence in the grounds of Peebles Hydro in summer 2016.

Since then, he’s been busy perfecting three successful ales and has recently released three more limited edition brews to celebrate the Six Nations Rugby tournament. Talking about the new partnership with Peebles Hydro, Richard commented:

“After being faced with redundancy, it seemed like the perfect time to start a new venture and with some fantastic support I began Freewheelin’ Brewery. We’ve settled in well to our new home at Peebles Hydro and have been busy brewing a selection of craft ale for casks and bottles and are getting a fantastic response. We’ve had guests pop in for an informal tour and everybody has been really interested in what we’re doing and I’m looking forward to developing this partnership.”

Patrick Diack, General Manager at Peebles Hydro added:

“This has been an exciting partnership and we’re delighted to have Freewheelin’ Brewery calling Peebles Hydro home. We’re committed to supporting local community projects and with our natural supply of one of the most important ingredients in beer, water, it seemed only fitting for them to join us here at Peebles Hydro.

“The three beers have been very well received here at Peebles Hydro and our sister hotel The Park, with many visitors enjoying an ale at the bar or taking one of the special gift-packs available in the shop home with them. With three more beers to celebrate the Six Nation’s, our guests can get behind Scotland with a truly-Scottish craft ale!”

Freewheelin’ Beer is available by the bottle in the bar at Peebles Hydro and The Park Hotel and gift packs are available in the Peebles Hydro Shop.

For more information about Peebles Hydro, visit:

Historic RRS Discovery receives another £55,000 in funding towards rigging project

The historic RRS Discovery in Dundee has just secured an additional £55,000 in preservation funds towards essential repairs of the ship’s rigging and masts.

The historic vessel, which took Captain Scott on his famed exploration trip to the Antarctic in 1901, has been awarded £50,000 by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT), set up to preserve and promote British Antarctic heritage. An additional grant of £5,000 comes from the South Ayrshire Waste and Environment Trust via the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund.

The ship, now a leading visitor attraction docked at Discovery Point in Dundee, entered a vital period of restoration last November when its masts and rigging were removed in an intricate three-week operation. Now the equipment is with specialist shipbuilding company T. Nielsen & Company in Gloucester, which is working to repair the masts by this summer.

RRS Discovery, an award-winning five-star tourist attraction which also holds private events, received a huge boost to the £350,000 cost of the rigging project when it raised more than £40,000 through a public crowdfunding campaign.

Talking of the most recent funding, Brian Kelly, Development Officer with Dundee Heritage Trust, said:

“This is an extremely generous and most welcome contribution towards the substantial work we are undertaking on the ship. The conservation project, which has involved the removal of Discovery’s masts and rigging for specialist care offsite, is the most extensive to be carried out for many years.”

Camilla Nichol, Chief Executive of UKAHT said: “We are delighted to be able to contribute to this vital project to conserve and protect this incredibly important piece of British Antarctic heritage. Securing the future of the RRS Discovery in this way not only ensures it will be enjoyed by future generations, but also helps preserve a historic trade which might otherwise be lost.”

Dundee Heritage Trust, formed in 1985 to preserve and interpret Dundee’s industrial past, operates RRS Discovery and social history museum Verdant Works, both five-star rated attractions and winners of numerous awards.

For more information and to donate to RRS Discovery’s preservation work, visit

Student Blog – My first client meeting

Whenever you see businessmen in films going to meetings they have this omnibus of documents with them, as if trying to impress the customer through the sheer size of the stack of papers they have. It somehow infers that unless you present yourself with all the documentation and information which you have amassed over the years in physical form people will not take you seriously and neither will they consider you prepared. Today started off with a meeting with the owner and senior staff of St Andrews Aquarium and Fraser showed me how you are supposed to truly be in a meeting with a client. Sure, he had some documents with him but only few with the most important pieces of information, but what he truly had and required was knowledge; in-depth knowledge of the project he is working on, the expectation of his client, and – maybe most important – what kind of person his client was in regards to how he liked to be interacted with.

The meeting had one main focus and that was the new website of the Aquarium, together with the its new booking system, one which is state-of-the-art and even more advanced than the one used by Edinburgh Zoo. Fraser enquired about the thoughts and opinions of the owner and senior staff regarding the layout, display, and ease of use of the new website (which had gone live a few days previous), not forgetting to ask about the accuracy of information displayed (especially in concern to the animal descriptions). Fraser was like a fish in water – what an apt comparison since we are speaking of the Aquarium – he knew what to say and how to say it, he knew when to listen, what questions to ask, and when to offer suggestions. One could tell he was well versed in all aspects regarding the Aquarium and the project itself, coming across as not only knowledgeable and genuinely interested, but also as very confident on his proposal and expertise – but without seeming full of himself. He was genuine and personally vested in project’s success and that is exactly the kind of person the Aquarium wanted to do business with.

Seeing Fraser in action was a very educative and invaluable experience which taught me a lot about how I should be and want to be in the future when I will work in the field of business. It showed me how important it is to establish good rapport with your client in order to not only get to know them and the way they think to understand their expectations but, most importantly, to build trust. The outcome of the meeting was a very happy client who gave very positive feedback, being extremely happy over how useful, all-encompassing, and straightforward the website was (and ditto to the system behind it).

After the meeting I had the chance to have a look through the Aquarium – which I had never visited up until that point – and I was charmed by it. It was so lovely to go from area to area and from tank to tank and actually see the animals I comprised lists of and designed poster around. I even had a stingray come smile at me (granted, she was only up for some air but the timing was right and it put a smile on my face for the rest of the day) and a some very friendly penguins making jumps and tumbles in the water. I even had the chance to take a sneak peek to the Amazon Room which is now under construction and promises to be an experience on its own. I will definitely come back with my friends once it has its grand opening in April!

Once we were back at the office, Gordon and I had a look over the rough body of the poster we were discussing last week and I was pleasantly surprised of how it is beginning to look – especially since Gordon is helping me with a project which is not planned in the break-down and allocation of his working hours.

Afterwards, Fraser gave me the task of actually coming up with a presentation of my proposed advertising campaign for the Aquarium – one that I could then present to the owner. It gave much more gravity and importance to my work and research and motivated me to ensure that I will create and deliver the best quality presentation I can – now all I need to do (apart from extensive research and planning) is keep my fingers and toes crossed in the hopes that my ideas are not only viable but, also, to the liking of the Aquarium owner.

Volpa gets top industry accolade for ninth year running

For the ninth consecutive year Volpa, the award-winning Perth-based PR & Marketing agency, will be included in the international Recommended Agency Register. The accolade places the firm among the UK’s top marketing services suppliers as rated and endorsed by their own clients.

Run by The DRUM, the biggest marketing website in Europe, RAR is the world’s leading source of insight on marketing services companies and provides consultancy to a wide range of clients across every sector. The customer satisfaction ratings have been made by brand owners and marketing professionals. For those agencies that score highest, their inclusion in the Register is affirmed.

Volpa, which provides marketing, public relations, design and digital services, was set up in 2002 by Perth serial entrepreneur and marketer Tricia Fox and will celebrate 15 years in business later this year. Their inclusion in the register this year has seen them rated highly across an impressive 18 separate services including media relations, design and web development.

The past two years have seen rapid and healthy growth for Volpa. In 2016 the firm took on a slew of new clients, expanded its staff rosta to 13 and moved into new office space at Castlecroft’s King James VI Business Centre in Perth to accommodate the burgeoning team. The firm recently welcomed Alison Lowson, former editor of Scottish & Universal Newspaper’s title The Perthshire Advertiser, to the team in a PR role, as well as two other recruits in January this year.

Volpa’s client list features high-profile names in Scotland’s tourism, hospitality and the food and drink sectors including The Enchanted Forest, St. Andrews Aquarium, The Famous Grouse Experience, The RSS Discovery Dundee, Verdant Works, Perth Museum & Art Gallery, Inveralmond Brewery, Horsecross Arts, Stirling Venues and Scone Palace.

The team are currently working with Perth & Kinross Council on Perth’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021. Currently the bookies’ favourite to win the contest, community engagement online will be a key focus of the judges’ evaluation of the city’s proposal and Volpa is responsible for delivering all digital communications surrounding the bid.

Tricia Fox, Volpa’s founder and managing director, commented:

“I am extremely proud that our team have once again received this endorsement from the Recommended Agency Register. Volpa is rapidly becoming a player in the industry and our RAR endorsement cements our position as one of the UK’s top independently owned marketing agencies. We have our clients to thank for this endorsement – it’s their satisfaction that ensures we are included in the Recommended Agency Register. We’re excited about what 2017 holds for Volpa as a business and we look forward to delivering services worthy of client recommendation over the forthcoming twelve months.”

Celebrity deaths highlight inheritance tax woes


The recent series of shocking celebrity deaths – including Harry Potter star Sir John Hurt in late January – are a timely reminder that everyone should make solid financial plans before they pass away.

It has emerged that David Bowie left his $100m estate to his wife, Iman, and his two children. Carrie Fisher’s $25million fortune will go to the Star Wars alumni’s daughter Billie Lourde through a trust, while Wham legend George Michael’s big sister Melanie will receive the bulk of his £105 million fortune.

However, not every celebrity who died left such a clear legacy. Much of Prince’s estate could be lost to the taxman after it was revealed that the Purple Rain hitmaker made no plans for his $300million fortune.

And while you may not be famous, you might be richer than you thought, and it’s important to pass on your estate to your loved ones as tax-efficiently as possible.

An increase in house prices has caught more ordinary families in the net of Inheritance Tax (IHT) charges. And Tayside solicitors’ firm Miller Hendry is advising homeowners to seek out other methods of IHT planning if they want to minimise IHT due on their deaths.

Commented Leann Brown, a Senior Solicitor at the firm’s Dundee office: “According to a leading financial services company, there was an estimated rise in 2016 to almost 500,000 millionaires in the UK. This looks set to soar further, reaching almost 600,000 millionaires by 2020, meaning more money for the treasury in the form of IHT charges.”

“One way to minimise the IHT payable when you pass away is to utilise the new residential Nil Rate Band.

“This new tax free allowance relates to the family home and is set to be introduced in April 2017.

“This will start at £100,000 and will rise to £175,000 by 2020.

“By 2020, a married couple will be able to leave up to £1,000,000 before IHT is due.

“As you would expect, the rules surrounding the new residential Nil Rate Band are complicated!

“It is best to seek advice if you are concerned about how it affects you.”