MORE mid-1980s mur­mur­ings from Roamer.

The Oban Times - - Dis­tricts -

I hear there’s a like­li­hood of night classes start­ing at Lochaber High School to teach high fi­nance to some of us lo­cals. This means we’ll be able to co- or­di­nate the in­ser­tion of our cards while press­ing the cor­rect but­tons on 24-hour cash dis­pensers.

The glory hole in the High Street pro­vided a rare lo­cal talk­ing point at the week­end. An early morn­ing warn­ing in­di­ca­tor it was, prior to the ad­vent of pedes­tri­an­i­sa­tion. But spare a thought for the hardy work­men who have had to dig up the street in freez­ing ‘spring’ tem­per­a­tures. One of them even got ici­cles on his mous­tache.

Then there was the rail­way guard’s van which be­gan its new ca­reer as a dress­ing room for our young rugby play­ers and foot­ballers at the week­end. As it was be­ing craned into the ad­ja­cent Black Parks, the van broke in two. No prob­lem. It will now dou­ble as home and away dress­ing rooms.

The colour of the drain pipes in Clag­gan! ‘Rhone Blue’, I’m told. Surely this must just be the un­der­coat? At the mo­ment the pipes look out of place on the walls of the mod­ernised houses. A nice shade of ma­roon would tone in much bet­ter.

The sar­to­rial el­e­gance of the four male Labour mem­bers of Lochaber Dis­trict Coun­cil (LDC) at last week’s meet­ing was some­thing to be­hold. And their ton­so­rial styling was rem­i­nis­cent of the Beach Boys. I was ex­pect­ing to hear them croon­ing for the ben­e­fit of the Coun­cil Cham­bers tape recorder. This could re­ally catch on, you know. Coun­cil­lors in Con­cert. On cas­sette with up-to- date videos shot in the cham­bers. Star­ring roles ‘in cam­era’ for LDC elected mem­bers. It would cer­tainly be more ac­cept­able than hear­ing them ask for their ‘dis­sent to be recorded’.

It was like a ceilidh in Winksy Kennedy’s shop last Thurs­day. BBC High­land re­quests were on the wire­less and Wee Don­ald and a cal­li­ach in from the coun­try were go­ing the Gaelic at the same time. Just then a lo­cal mum and her wee lassie came in to buy su­gar coated al­monds and the record changed to Post­man

Pat. ‘Oh! It’s good here’, said the wee one de­light­edly. ‘They’re play­ing my favourite song!

Here’s a poem re­ceived from Mal­laig in re­sponse to the Lochaber Dis­trict Coun­cil cir­cu­lar ask­ing ten­ants not to keep an­i­mals, hens, pi­geons or seag­ulls in the vicin­ity of their homes – with­out lo­cal au­thor­ity con­sent. It’s called Mut­ton Mut­ter­ings: Ol’ Dog­gie, I’m griev­ing, to see you re­liev­ing Your­self on my vil­lage so clean. The cats they don’t mat­ter; the seag­ulls they scat­ter Their dirt on the rocks all un­seen. The bin­men are sweat­ing, the coun­cil is fret­ting, ‘Keep Mal­laig tidy’, they say - ‘If your pets don’t re­pent, they all will be sent To an­other place – far, far away’. Coun­cil ten­ants are law­ful; the penal­ties aw­ful, But their pets one or two want to keep. My bin is all bat­tered, the pave­ment is scat­tered With the mess of these hor­ri­ble SHEEP! So, let’s just be fair, who put the sheep there? ‘They were here be­fore you!’, crofters scoff. But I don’t agree – if you look you will see ‘Twas the sheep drove all our fore­bears off. Now please, LDC, be sen­si­ble with our plea And let’s have a fence six feet deep. Send your of­fi­cials with klax­ons and whis­tles In your ef­forts to rid us of sheep.

The lo­cal po­lis are in­tent on keep­ing fit. But there ap­pear to be some strange side ef­fects. At five-a-side foot­ball, for ex­am­ple, a PC from down Bal­lachul­ish way ac­ci­den­tally kicked the sur­round­ing wall of the pitch and is now nurs­ing a badly bruised foot. An­other, from Fort Wil­liam, has torn lig­a­ments and a col­league has pulled a mus­cle. Domi­noes and pool might pro­vide a safer op­tion for the po­lice­men’s lot.

What did he do, late at night, with the rain per­sist­ing down on the High Street? He took a taxi home. But the driver of the taxi wasn’t in it at the time! This caused much gnash­ing of teeth till the taxi turned up safe and sound in Up­per Ach­in­tore. The taxi-jacker didn’t even leave a tip!

I’m of­ten ac­cused of mak­ing up some of the sto­ries which ap­pear in the Roamer col­umn. Con­tin­u­ing on the taxi theme, you can draw your own con­clu­sions on this one. A fairly rum­bus­tious trio of young lo­cals had been dis­port­ing them­selves at the disco. On their way out, head­ing for a late night party, they re­moved a wax model of a fe­male from the premises. ‘She’ was elab­o­rately dressed and sport­ing a blonde wig. The men ‘helped’ her into a back seat of the taxi and sat her be­tween two of the trio. Off to the Higher Reaches they went and on ar­rival at the re­quested des­ti­na­tion the three likely lads got out. One of them said to the driver, ‘The girl in the back isn’t com­ing to the party. Will you take her to ------ Place? And she’s pay­ing’. Off to ------Place, then. Af­ter a longish in­ter­val, and no move­ment from the back seat, noth­ing for it but for the taxi driver to get out and open the back door. And out into his arms fell – a Dumb Blonde.

Here’s a fishy tale from Lochaber. To pro­tect the in­no­cent I’ll de­scribe the char­ac­ters in­volved as ‘D’ and ‘A’. Out onto a sea loch in a row­ing boat went they, tak­ing with them a cer­tain amount of ‘the morn­ing af­ter the night be­fore syn­drome’. ‘A’, in par­tic­u­lar, was af­fected by the mo­tion of the boat. As a re­sult he put his head over the side – re­sult­ing in his false teeth go­ing over­board. ‘D’, hu­mor­ous fel­low that he is, took out his own wal­lies, se­cured them to a hook on his line and dropped them into the wa­ter. Af­ter com­mis­er­at­ing with ‘A’, he yelled, ‘I’ve got a bite’ and reeled in his false teeth. ‘A’ looked at him as if he was An­gler of the Year, and a mir­a­cle worker to boot. Thank­ing ‘D’ pro­fusely he shoved the salty falsers into his mouth. ‘They don’t fit. They can’t be mine’!, he cried, dis­con­so­lately. And threw the wal­lies back in.

Wel­come to Fort Wil­liam.

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