As a society, we like to talk about Christmas being stressful. But for most of us, that stress is encapsulated by Christmas shopping, writing cards and visiting relatives.
For postal workers, the stress of Christmas is rather more literal: the strain on mind and body of numerous sacks of letters and packages that must be emptied, sorted, re-packed, and hauled up hills with darkness overhead and ice underfoot and a chill wind blowing in the face.
Royal Mail’s busiest day of 2011 was the 15 December, when 149 million items were handled: almost three times the average daily mail bag of 58 million. In all, two billion letters, greeting cards and parcels were delivered to 29 million addresses in time for Christmas.
It was a real privilige to see at first hand the immense effort that postal workers put in at this time of year. I would like to thank postal workers in Scotland and across the UK for all their hard work and commitment, and wish them all the best for Christmas and New Year.
And just in case you haven’t seen them already, here are some useful dates:
Last posting dates for UK mail:
18 DECEMBER 20 DECEMBER 22 DECEMBER
Second Class First Class Special Delivery
In stark contrast to most high street banks, Airdrie Savings Bank pays no shareholder dividends (it does not have shareholders) but is run by a board of unpaid trustees. This means that any profits made are reinvested into the business, rather than being salted away into the pockets of a select few.
It is a responsible bank run according to the traditional virtues of prudence and probity. It does not take reckless risks, and it provides secure deposit and lending facilities to its loyal customers.
As a Central Scotland MSP, I am delighted that this Airdrie institution has expanded outwith its traditional Lanarkshire base by opening a branch in Falkirk. I am sure the new venture will be run according to the same principles, and will provide the same excellent level of service to local residents.
I look forward to further branches of Airdrie Savings Bank being opened throughout Scotland.
I very much enjoyed my recent visit to Inver House Distillers in Airdrie.
Inver House is now owned by International Beveridge ltd, the international arm of the Thai Beveridge Company, and is responsible for the distillation and bottling of all the group’s Scotch Whisky. It sells over 12 million units per year, and exports to 85 countries around the world. Amongst the many products it produces is Old Pulteney, which was awarded World’s Best Whisky of 2012 for its 21-year-old single malt.
Its Towers Road site was first established as a distillery in 1964, and although it is no longer used for alcohol production, it has remained open and involved in the whisky industry ever since, and today operates as a storage and packaging facility for a range of quality whiskies and gins. Inver House employs 176 staff across Scotland, with 126 based in Airdrie and 5o in its 5 distilleries.
After an interesting and informative meeting with senior management, I was lucky enough to be given a guided tour of the warehousing and bottling facilities. The sheer volume stored and packaged at the site is really quite staggering, and stands testament to the quality and commitment of the staff and workers, some of whom have been employed at the site for well over 10 years. A slow workforce turnover is always a good sign, and suggests that relations between staff and management are very good.
Inver House Distillers is a great asset to Airdrie, and it was interesting to hear the reasons behind retaining it as the Scottish headquarters. Not only does Airdre provide a good source of local employees, it has excellent road and rail links to both Edinburgh and Glasgow, and is in close proximity to two 2 major airports.
Given the recent announcement regarding the new BioCity life sciences hub at Newhouse and Chapelhall, it is clear that Airdrie remains a very attractive proposition.