At Random with Martin Laing

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Safe crossing is needed in retail park

I met a distressed woman tourist last week in Oban.

The lady, from Lancashire, was using a mobility scooter and trying to cross Lochavullin Drive, the stretch of road that runs between Homebase and Tesco in the retail park.

The visitor was attempting to cross from the Homebase side towards Tesco’s filling station.

The problem was that while there was a dropped kerb on her side of the road, there wasn’t one directly across on the other side.

The woman was forced to edge out into a very busy road – as it often is – and turn right across the traffic and travel a good 10 yards or more to the next nearest dropped kerb.

Luckily, the courteous drivers who had to brake to allow her passage showed patience and respect.

I’d like to know which dimwit designed that particular crossing point.

At the very least, and as a matter of urgency, Argyll and Bute Council should take action to put a safe crossing in.

A trend I loathe

At risk of being an old curmudgeon, I have loathed the modern development that sees children ‘graduate’ from schools – even primaries.

Now, however, it’s become even worse with pre-school children ‘graduating’ from nurseries – or ‘early-years’ facilities as they are unnecessarily dubbed.

This is beyond the pale. It is completely ridiculous to dress the tiny tots up in graduation gowns and mortar board hats to graduate when they have not even started school yet.

What’s more, it must be confusing for the wee ones, who will fail to understand what is going on.

Nursery children don’t graduate. Primary and secondary children don’t graduate. University or college students graduate.

And as for the utterly lamentable adoption of that other American trend for school ‘proms’ … don’t get me started.

Too many chiefs

We reported last week that the number of high earners at Argyll and Bute Council has increased, as has the amount of money they are paid.

This anomalous situation has arisen during a period of austerity that has seen positions at lower levels remain unfilled. And, according to a union representative, the gap in salaries between the top earners and lower paid workers is increasing.

The union rep also said that people at the bottom of the scale are working harder than ever to cover for unfilled posts.

How can this happen?

How can the council require more managers to manage fewer people?

How can the council justify a rise in salary for high earners during  a period when it has, for instance, chopped the school library service?

Surprise, surprise

I was enjoying a pint or two in a busy and popular Oban hostelry on Tuesday evening and paying cursory attention to a football match involving Glasgow Rangers.

When the opposition – a team from Luxembourg, I discovered – scored, there was much cheering.

Who knew there were so many visitors here from little Luxembourg?