RETRO Roamer

THE ROAMER col­umn was the high­light of a Thurs­day for many Lochaber read­ers, so it re­turns this week with a look back at the events and people that made it into Roamer col­umns be­tween 1985 to 2016...

The Oban Times - - DISTRICTS -

■ There was the big Black Five let­ting off steam at the pre­cise mo­ment that ‘The Man in the White Suit’ was hav­ing his photy took be­side the en­gine be­fore send­ing it on its way to Mal­laig. The re­sult, as the train de­parted, was ‘The Man in the Black and White Soot Suit’! In fact cloth­ing seemed to play a big part in the in­au­gu­ral steam ex­cur­sion. For a semaphore-style mes­sage on, shall we say, un­der­gar­ments, was spelled out along a li­ne­side build­ing as the steam train passed by. ‘Slainte Mhath’ it read!

■ The Pipe Band marched through the High Street last Satur­day. Out­side the Argyll the drum ma­jor’s mace, hav­ing been despatched into the air, came to rest across the High Street tele­graph wires, and that caused a bit of a black­out for a while! How­ever the drum­mers didn’t beat a re­treat, and the pipers just gied their bags a squeeze and played an­other key.

■ Has any­one seen Gin­ger Wilson’s new bun­net? £7 it cost him a cou­ple of weeks ago. But then he left it, along with his walk­ing stick, on a peg ‘some­where’. When he re­traced his steps it was gone! Gin­ger thought it might have been lifted by mis­take. But I reckon if it has been half-inched I’m sure Gin­ger would like to ad­min­is­ter a dose of the Bal­lachul­ish Bag­pipes to the cul­prit!

■ ‘No­tiss’! ‘No­tiss’!, as Fort Wil­liam Bell­man, Don­ald MacDougall, used to shout. Well, the BA Club no­tiss board, sorry, no­tice board which reads, ‘The club will not be re­spon­si­ble for loss or dam­age to ve­hi­cles parked on club prop­erty’ is it­self, at pre­sent parked on some­one else’s prop­erty. If the com­mit­tee want it back they’ll find it ly­ing round the back of St Mary’s Hall, where it has been fre­quently ‘no­tissed’ over the past week.

■ I liked the de­ci­sion at the coun­cil’s en­vi­ron­men­tal health com­mit­tee meet­ing where it was agreed that ‘ac­tion will be im­ple­mented’ fol­low­ing com­plaints by the Plan­ta­tion Ten­ants’ As­so­ci­a­tion about dogs foul­ing the pave­ments. It was min­uted that ‘the fog war­den is to make spot checks’.

■ Mean­while, fur­ther down the hill, Mal, a very an­noyed long-time res­i­dent of Alma Road went on record as saying: ‘If the coun­cil doesn’t do some­thing about this dog dirt I’m go­ing to take it into my own hands’.

■ John rolled home from the Vol­ley at 8.30pm on Fri­day. His din­ner had been ready, and cool­ing, since half six. ‘ What’s this?’ John queried, ob­serv­ing that he was re­ceiv­ing the cold shoul­der. Came the re­ply: ‘That’s your af­ter eight mince.’

■ Then there were the two well-made-up lo­cal lassies who went to the model ex­hi­bi­tion in the Fort last week. Ap­par­ently they were some­what miffed to discover it was all about trains and boats and planes. They had ex­pected a fash­ion show and man­nequin pa­rade.

■ Con­ver­sa­tion over­heard in the High Street this week. Lo­cal, hav­ing given di­rec­tions to over­seas vis­i­tor, asked: ‘ Where do you come from?’ Tourist: ‘From Luxembourg.’ Lo­cal: ‘We don’t see many of you over here as a rule.’ Tourist: ‘Oh, there is a party of 20 of us.’ Lo­cal: ‘As many as that? I hope one of you put the lights out be­fore you left’.

Down Fort Wil­liam’s mem­ory lane.

■ Youngish-look­ing Lochaber cou­ple go­ing their hol­i­days. They took the Glas­gow bus on the first stage. Hav­ing paid their fare they re­alised they’d been given too much change. So, to­tally hon­est, they pointed this out to the driver. ‘Oh! Thank you,’ said he. I took you for se­nior cit­i­zens, and charged you ac­cord­ingly.

■ Did you know you are not hav­ing Hog­manay this year? Ac­cord­ing to a lo­cally- pro­duced calendar the date of De­cem­ber 31 doesn’t fig­ure in 1985. Ap­par­ently the year ends on De­cem­ber 30. Mind you, for many of us, De­cem­ber 31 has of­ten been a lost day any­way!

■ It must have come as some­thing of a surprise for a lo­cal mem­ber of the le­gal pro­fes­sion to find him­self be­ing re­ferred to in Fort Wil­liam Sher­iff Court as ‘Learned Ad­ver­sary’, rather than ‘Learned Friend’.

■ Pity the lo­cal busi­ness­man who was search­ing the High Street at the week­end for a – knit­ting nee­dle. So he could give his bro­ken arm in plaster a wee scratch. ■ Crossword com­pe­ti­tion win­ner was Mrs Jean Bayliff, Glen­pane Street, Caol.

■ As it is nearly Scot­tish Six Day Tri­als time, Malky reck­ons some en­ter­pris­ing out­fit could start up a busi­ness man­u­fac­tur­ing mo­tor bikes. He has even come up with a few trade names – in Gaelic and English – to com­pete with Yamaha. Like Seo ma tha ( pho­net­i­cally Shawmaha), Cia­mar a tha (Kim­mer­aha), agus De an uair a tha e (Chaynooraha). Oid­che Mhath!

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