RETRO Roamer

The Oban Times - - Districts -

THE HIGH­LAND Home­spun sale at­tracted the crowds – vis­i­tors and lo­cals. In the midst of it all an Amer­i­can de­cided he wanted the very kilt sported by the (inan­i­mate) male model in the shop win­dow. So, off it was whipped, leav­ing the model in his shirt tail. The rest of his re­galia was in­tact – Prince Char­lie jacket, tie, socks, sgian dhu. But from then on it was bed­lam, with dozens of ‘towrists’ clam­our­ing to see what the male model had been wear­ing un­der his kilt.

A LOT of folk are call­ing for ‘sign­post­ing san­ity’ in Fort Wil­liam. It ap­pears that, nowa­days, all the signs and no­tices in and around town are for the ben­e­fit of mo­torists. If you don’t be­lieve me, take a look up Bank Street. Mean­while there’s the sign be­hind the Cameron Cen­tre which reads ‘Tots’. It’s sup­posed to say ‘Toi­lets’ but the mid­dle part - ile- is be­hind a tele­graph pole.

MY TALE of Wee Don­ald’s two left-footed slip­pers had an in­ter­est­ing se­quel at the week­end. A Bal­lachul­ish na­tive has been in touch to say he’s in­ter­ested in do­ing a part ex­change as he, ap­par­ently, bought slip­pers in the same shop. When he opened the box at home, he found he had, yes, two for the right foot. So, Don­ald, if you’d like to get back on an even keel just con­tact Roamer at Box No LRLR. The game of ‘Hunt the Slip­per’ will then be com­pleted.

I SEE the ‘AA Wind­sock’ at the West End Car Park is fly­ing at lower than half mast these days. In fact, af­ter last week’s gales, it al­most dis­ap­peared down the loch. While a re­in­forced pole is awaited for the wind­sock to be re­hoisted, Roamer has it Sea King he­li­copter pi­lots and nav­i­ga­tors will have to take their bear­ings from the wash­ing hang­ing on the lines at Mary­burgh Court.

TWO SIS­TERS were out for the mes­sages at the week­end. Laden with car­rier bags, they stag­gered to the bus stop at the Pa­rade, where two buses were wait­ing. The girls piled into the sec­ond one and one sis­ter col­lapsed into a seat un­der the com­bined weight of two lots of shop­ping, while other sis waited to pay their fares. ‘Two 45s, please,’ said she. ‘It’s not 45p to Kennedy Road,’ the driver ad­vised. Slightly popped, the fare payer ex­claimed: ‘But we’re not go­ing to Kennedy Road’! The driver, all smiles now, replied: ‘No, but I am.’

‘VAN­DAL­ISM and dis­tur­bances are a sad fea­ture of the times we live in. And I’m sure we had all hoped it would never hit Lochaber. But our hopes have been dashed. You see the ef­fects fre­quently in the High Street. You hear about houses be­ing bro­ken into and ran­sacked. Our hall win­dows got it this week, just af­ter be­ing re­paired. Is any­one ever caught? Can we get the bobby on the beat back, please’? Are these Roamer com­ments? No, those of Canon MacNeil in the St Mary’s news­let­ter.

WEST High­land hos­pi­tal­ity? Or, put an­other way, ‘never on a Sun­day – in Mal­laig’. When a mid-1980s steam train pulled in at the plat­form there, and the pas­sen­gers filed out to savour the sights and sounds of Seag­ull City – and be­yond – they found their progress barred. Lit­er­ally. The sta­tion gates were chained and pad­locked. Did I say ‘filed out’ ear­lier? Well, that’s ac­tu­ally what hap­pened. A file and a hack­saw later and the ‘towrists’ had the free­dom of Mal­laig. ‘ We’ll take care it doesn’t hap­pen again,’ a ScotRail spokesman was quoted as say­ing in a Scot­tish Sun­day news­pa­per, in re­sponse to the fact Mal­laig sta­tion had locked in 250 steam train pas­sen­gers. So, what do you think? As most peo­ple in Mal­laig were read­ing that Sun­day pa­per the fol­low­ing week­end, the same sit­u­a­tion arose. The sta­tion was again se­curely un­der lock and key on the third suc­ces­sive Steam Sun­day, this time caus­ing the pas­sen­gers to form their own es­cape groups to gain ac­cess to the vil­lage. The fi­nal prob­lem arose be­cause the locks of the main gates had been changed, but the rail­men had been is­sued with the pre­vi­ous set of keys!

Men­tion of ‘ key work­ers’ back there re­minds me ScotRail is now em­ploy­ing a 75-year- old rule book pro­ce­dure of hav­ing a flag­man walk­ing in front of the trains at Mo­rar Cross­ing so that safety can be assured. Aye, that’s one way of run­ning a rail­road.

WHAT would you do if you no­ticed a fiver down a drain bran­der? You would rake about dili­gently un­til you wheeched it out. That is ex­actly what a young lady of this parish did the other day. Crafty with it, too. She put glue onto the end of a stick and en­ticed the note out of the drain. If you are of­fered a £ 5 note wrapped in poly­thene, you’ll know where it has been. QUITE a stra­mash out­side the Fer­ry­boat Inn the other evening. A bus­load of SWRI mem­bers ar­rived, with most of them wish­ing to spend what would amount to quite a few pen­nies. But there was no avail­abil­ity out­side the inn in the fe­male sec­tion of the toi­let block. But one gallant, re­doubtable Lochaber man sorted things out. He posted him­self as sen­try out­side the gents and the ladies went in there two by two. HERE’S a fishy tale. Two newly-ap­pointed of­fi­cials of a lo­cal an­gling club ar­ranged to meet out­side the Royal Bank of Scot­land to ap­pend their names - in­side – as joint sig­na­to­ries for the club’s fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions. One turned up on Mon­day morn­ing and waited for an hour. Mean­while, along at the Bank of Scot­land, his col­league was keep­ing a lone vigil out­side. It seems the lat­ter had al­ways been un­der the im­pres­sion the B of S was ac­tu­ally the Royal! But what’s an hour, when both an­glers could spend a whole day along a bank and not catch a sin­gle fish?

Sheep may safely graze in Glen Coe.

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