by Colin Campbell
APPARENTLY Johnny Foxes pub on the riverside has started distributing hot water bottles – the kind your granny curls up with – to customers braving the October chill for an outdoors evening drink. Another hostelry has invited people to bring their own blankets. Good luck to these establishments with these innovations, which display imaginative thinking. I hope it works for them.
Inverness city centre otherwise is about as welcoming after dark as Brixton during the Blitz. When, or if, pubs are allowed to reopen as normal things will brighten up a bit. But after a cold spell it feels like winter’s just around the corner and good cheer of any kind will be in very short supply.
Therefore let’s hope that plans for the Riverlights programme are shaping up and a few sceptical councillors are now seeing sense.
If the latest lockdown hasn’t shown them that the city centre needs a spectacular lights show cutting through long months of sombre darkness nothing will.
There’s never been a time when Inverness has needed it more.
The Riverlights programme would involve “eyecatching light shows and projections mounted at city buildings and locations”. That could involve Inverness Castle, Abertaff House, Inverness Town House, St Andrew’s Cathedral, Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, the Northern Meeting Park, and Eden Court Theatre.
What’s being proposed would lighten and brighten the centre, would make it a more appealing and welcoming place to visit and would lift morale and mood.
The money would come from funds already saved from the cancellation of the Winter Festival so overall not an extra penny would be spent.
Councillors wanted more details from their events team before giving this the go-ahead. And when they get that detail it would be curmudgeonly in the extreme to reject a positive move to bring some sparkle to the city centre in the coronavirus winter ahead.
A popular pub having to distribute hot water bottles to its customers highlights the fact that these are times we’ve never seen before.
Councillors have to recognise that and back anything which will play any part in dispelling the upcoming winter glaur and gloom.