More mid 1980s roamer items

The Oban Times - - Districts -

THE ALL Weather Cen­tre now looks like be­ing the ‘All Whether Cen­tre’ or, as I heard it de­scribed re­cently, the All Wet White Ele­phant Cen­tre. Now roll on the two cin­e­mas to pro­vide a long-lack­ing town amenity.

Mean­while, I won­der if some­one in the lo­cal author­ity will see fit to pro­vide lo­cal res­i­dents with a visual or per­spec­tive view of what Cameron Square will look like when all its holes are filled in. Then we – the com­mon five eighths – might be able to ap­pre­ci­ate what the fu­ture holds there. It would be nice if an artist’s im­pres­sion of the pi­azza, ter­razza, or what­ever could be dis­played on a panel or hoard­ing in the Square, thus em­u­lat­ing the days when we knew what was hap­pen­ing lo­cally thanks to the beau­ti­fully sign­writ­ten no­tice boards which were al­ways at­tached to the rail­ings in front of the Kennedy Mon­u­ment.

Word reaches me from the ter­mi­nus of the West High­land Line of high jinks with a telly. It ap­pears that when a cou­ple of young­sters knocked the fam­ily TV off its stand, their un­cle took it into Seag­ull City to be sorted. As Mal­laig is such a homely place, an ar­range­ment was made whereby the re­paired telly could be picked up from the boot of the fixer’s car parked in his drive­way. Un­cle goes along to where the car is parked, opens the boot – and out falls the TV with a clat­ter. The TV is duly fixed – again – and, apart from a few dents and scratches on the screen, is work­ing. It is de­liv­ered, firmly, into the liv­ing room from whence it had come. Re­pairer has told un­cle if it breaks down, or breaks out, again, it will be the sub­ject of the first £1,000 TV re­vival job.

Tales of the West High­land Line abound and an­other cou­ple of sto­ries are worth re­call­ing. One was an in­ci­dent in­volv­ing the Bri­tish Rail (BR) chair­man – you may re­mem­ber his let­ter to our rail­way friend in ‘ Wal­lace Road, Glas­gow, Fort Wil­liam’. It seems the BR boss re­ally took the strain when he opted to travel by sleeper from the Fort to the real Glas­gow. Dur­ing the trip he was awak­ened three times by a faulty fire alarm. At 5.30am he was flung to the floor of his first- class couchette when a bro­ken brake pipe forced the train into an un­sched­uled stop at Tam­worth, Stafford­shire. There his sleeper coach was un­cou­pled and he had to dress and move to a lower- class seat. The train ar­rived at Eus­ton 90 min­utes late and the chair­man made straight for his of­fice with­out hav­ing had the chance to change. I would like to have seen the in­ter­nal memo of this episode which, no doubt, he would have com­piled for ‘lower author­ity’.

Aye, well, that’s the Fort Wil­liam tele­phone ex­change switch­boards silent af­ter al­most a cen­tury.

The splen­did ser­vice by our lo­cal op­er­a­tors will be greatly missed. I hear one of them was more miffed than missed be­cause she re­ceived a re­tire­ment cer­tifi­cate in­stead of a thank you scroll from BT.

So you folks who sim­ply had to pick up the phone and ask to be put through to Mar­ion Weir’s or the Pulp Mill Club, that was okay up un­til 11pm last Thurs­day. Now you have to be some­what more spe­cific when speak­ing to the In­ver­ness ex­change.

One of the most hu­mor­ous episodes in the changeover – and there were many – came when a per­son, not un­con­nected with switch­board op­er­at­ing in the Gear­as­dan, phoned through to 192 and asked for the num­ber of ‘Johnny Fish’s Taxis’. Af­ter a pause, the re­sponse was that there was no- one listed un­der ‘Fish’ who had a taxi busi­ness. ‘ Well then,’ pur­sued the caller, ‘can you get me Leek’s Taxis?’ Sic tran­sit...

Have you tried the new High Street card game? It puts the Ir­ish three card trick, or pon­toon, in the shade. You sim­ply in­sert your cheque card into a bank dispenser and press a few but­tons. Then you wait for a cou­ple of min­utes. Next you have to go into the bank, which you’ve avoided do­ing in the first place, to get your card back. We used to play a sim­i­lar game to that in View­forth. It was called ‘Face or a Blank.’ Now it’s ‘Pace to the Bank’.

A wee bit of mump­ing and moan­ing at the plan­ning com­mit­tee meet­ing. And quite a lot of stir, stir and dig, dig. Ah, but the col­lec­tive eyes lit up when there was a sug­ges­tion of a site visit to find out how the New York free­ways op­er­ate.

If it takes four coun­cil op­er­a­tives and a metal de­tec­tor all of one morn­ing in Clag­gan to lo­cate a stop­cock and an­other squad of four men all day to put up a no­tice stat­ing ‘No dump­ing of rub­bish’, what do you get by high noon? An­swers – water, water ev­ery­where and the no­tice pulled down and dumped in among the rub­bish that’s not sup­posed to be dumped.

High jinks last week with the re- de­cant­ing of ten­ants from car­a­vans back into their Lochy­side houses. It ap­pears the amount of no­tice given by Lochaber Dis­trict Coun­cil to those mov­ing out and those mov­ing in was any­thing but suf­fi­cient. Con­se­quently some ten­ants got into a right bu­rach. And they were none too pleased with of­fi­cial­dom. In fact, one oc­cu­pier, tak­ing the air from his tem­po­rary car­a­van home, found his own house key stick­ing out of his front door. And not a work­man nor bu­reau­crat in sight.

Mean­while one of our elected cus­to­di­ans of the pub­lic purse railed against the ar­rival in Mal­laig of three dis­trict coun­cil of­fi­cials – in three cars. And they didn’t even take any sur­plus refuse back to the Fort.

A busy Fort Wil­liam High Street in years gone by.

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