The Oban Times - - DISTRICTS -

The Roamer col­umn was the high­light of a Thurs­day for many Lochaber read­ers so he has re­turned with a timely look back at the events and peo­ple that made it into his col­umns in the mid 1980s.

There was I, mind­ing my own busi­ness, walk­ing along the east end of the High Street un­der the Hielan’man’s Um­brella. An ea­ger Southron vis­i­tor ap­proached me, pointed across to the Cow Hill and asked ‘Is that Ben Nee­vis up there?’ And, yes, he did pro­nounce it as ‘Nee­vis’. I for­get how I an­swered him – but it would have been in de­tail!

‘Does ev­ery­one like curry?’ asked the Boys Bri­gade’s al­fresco chef on the re­cent visit to Dud­ley. Sev­eral hands went up, while a few more of the boys thought they might like to try some. So the chef – a Cameron, no less – bus­ied him­self by emp­ty­ing into the huge cook­ing pot all the var­i­ous food­stuffs he couldn’t get the young­sters to eat a day or two be­fore. And ev­ery­one en­joyed the Cameron Curry, with­out chips, which goes to prove a cou­ple of culi­nary points.

An Amer­i­can cou­ple were in Tem­ple­ton’s study­ing the shelves of bis­cuits, hav­ing de­cided to let the calo­ries look af­ter them­selves. By­pass­ing Aber­nethy they asked a lo­cal housewife, ‘Say, are these Bour­bon Creams whisky flavoured?’ Came the re­ply: ‘ Well, if they are, you don’t make very strong whisky in the States.’

The Banavie pic­nic area has caved in. A big hole has ap­peared in the mid­dle of it and around £2,500 will be re­quired to re­turn the sink­hole site to its nor­mal un­used con­di­tion. One Crown Cot­tage res­i­dent ob­served: ‘What pic­nic area?’

A cir­cu­lar re­ceived last week by one of Lochaber’s gov­ern­ment branch of­fices con­cerned ‘a lo­cal troll of board and lodg­ings’. Since train­ing op­er­a­tions play a large part in the gov­ern­ment ser­vice here­abouts, this caused a great deal of mirth among staff mem­bers, vy­ing with one an­other to see who could pro­duce likely-look­ing ‘Lochaber Trolls’ to act as land­lords and land­ladies. Aye, a very drawl trawl!

How about the safety of­fi­cer in one of our au­gust lo­cal bod­ies, who was on the point of gain­ing some light re­lief in the first floor toilets of his new of­fice block when he re­alised that the blinds, which screened the toilets from the out­side world, were not drawn. So our hero fid­dled with the blinds and con­trived to pull them down on him­self, in­jur­ing his hand! If you see a pro­fes­sional gen­tle­man with a white ban­dage on his hand, and a some­what red face, you’ll know what hap­pened.

A cat­tle trailer was be­ing towed away from the auc­tion mart on Fri­day – with a large cow in­side it. Pre­sum­ably un­be­known to the driver, the floor­boards of the float were rot­ten which meant the poor an­i­mal had two hooves in the trailer and two through the floor on the road. It may have sounded funny to hear of the ve­hi­cle and trailer be­ing partly pro­pelled by ‘cow-power’ but it was a bit hard on the cow. For­tu­nately the float didn’t get far­ther than the level cross­ing be­fore the driver re­alised some­thing was amiss.

At the next sale, a Cor­pach wor­thy bought a roof rack. He then drove home, across the road, and re­turned with a trailer onto which he loaded – the roof rack.

A hir­sute per­son, from out of town, in dock at the Sher­iff Court told the Procu­ra­tor Fis­cal he hadn’t replied to a sum­mons be­cause there was no stamped ad­dressed en­ve­lope en­closed with it.

I was just think­ing at the match at Clag­gan Park on Satur­day that the Fort have come a long way since the am­a­teur days when Pasha & Co used to take the field at the Town Park with two large paperbacks wedged into their socks – as shin­guards. Mind you, it would be in­ter­est­ing to see a com­put­erised, sim­u­lated match be­tween Argyll Rovers and Fort Wil­liam FC – be­cause the Rovers could cer­tainly play a bit.

The con­tin­u­ing wet weather is hav­ing strange side ef­fects. Take the case of the fella who ‘lives up the hill’, for ex­am­ple. He went to lock his front door the other night and, hop­ping along the lobby to meet him, was a frog! It’s not of­ten you find one of them on the car­pet, but it was duly – and gen­tly – frog marched out the front door.

Mean­while a 999 call to Fort Wil­liam ad­vised that a tor­toise was on the loose in Caol’s Kil­mallie Road! A squad car was despatched im­me­di­ately to lo­cate it and deny it a quick get­away.

It’s the all-weather cen­tre again. It seems it is likely to be­come a non-pur­pose- de­signed tourist in­for­ma­tion of­fice. In keep­ing with that fa­mous ‘orig­i­nal con­cept’, the two cin­e­mas will be lo­cated up­stairs, seat­ing 110 and 60 re­spec­tively. I still main­tain this came about as a re­sult of some­one con­fus­ing the white ele­phant’s wiring di­a­gram which read ‘110 volts/60 cy­cles’.

Lead­ing of­fi­cials of a cer­tain Lochaber or­gan­i­sa­tion were in­vited to a posh ‘do’ in Aberdeen. Off they set with their din­ner suits and patent shoes. On ar­rival they said: ‘Good evening, we’re from Fort Wil­liam and we’re here for the an­nual din­ner.’ The re­cep­tion­ist looked at the Highland vis­i­tors and said: ‘Good evening to you, too. But you’re a day too early. That func­tion’s not till to­mor­row night.’

That same week­end a lo­cal hote­lier went into an erst­while col­league’s ho­tel for lunch. In the bar, af­ter despatch­ing his gin and tonic, he was in­vited to take a seat at ta­ble in the din­ing room. Then he was ad­vised that he couldn’t or­der a meal from that par­tic­u­lar ta­ble – as it didn’t have a num­ber. Some­what popped, he ex­ited the din­ing room with the words: ‘I came here for lunch, not for a raf­fle!’

A great turnout to say ‘chee­rio’ to Jack Kennedy who is tak­ing his leave of the Vol­ley af­ter hav­ing been called to the bar these past 17 years. It was stand­ing room only – right out onto the street – for his farewell week­end ap­pear­ance.

Pa­rade Garage man­age­ment and me­chan­ics of the 1950s.

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