Retro Roamer

Want to read more?

We value our content and our journalists, so to get full access to all your local news updated 7-days-a-week – PLUS an e-edition of the Oban Times – subscribe today for as little as 56 pence per week.

Already a subscriber?


Subscribe Now

More mid 1980s Roamer items

Visiting motorist kicked up blazes when he visited a filling station in the peninsula and found petrol was £1.79 a gallon.
‘I get my petrol for £1.49 in London,’ he raged. Filling station proprietor switched off the pump in mid flow and responded ‘well, I suggest you drive back to London, sir’.

You can’t get moving for ‘towrists’ in that well-known establishment in Viewforth – Ladbrokes. They’re in there, day and daily, asking for change for the parking machines (when they work), for the phone, for the loo. Often they are overseas visitors who think they have to pay at Ladbrokes for the privilege of parking in Viewforth. I gather a missive is on the way to head office from local staff suggesting that, as Ladbrokes are commission agents, the company should charge a weekly fee to Highland Region, Lochaber District Council and BT.

A local ‘legal eagle’ out for a meal in Fort William at the weekend opted for a curry. Unfortunately, when it arrived, the waitress spilled a sizable amount of it down the solicitor’s shirt at which, of course, the recipient got very hot under the collar. He calmed down a bit when, to curry favour, the restaurateur arranged for a taxi to take him home and back. So the lawyer didn’t have to keep his shirt on after all.

There were several police and mountain rescue team tests at the weekend for one of these new fangled ‘go anywhere’ tracked vehicles. Initially it got stuck on the Caol foreshore and then became bogged down on a forestry road out Muirshearlich way. Ironically it had to be extracted by the present vehicle which is, technically, past its use-by date.

Local extras are flocking to see themselves on screen in Highlander. I gather quite a few of them are planning to charge for making guest appearances in the Lochaber pubs and clubs. They’re also alleged to be thinking of circulating signed photos of themselves and they’ve been sounding out Equity for further film roles.

Scene – dining room of the Ben Mhor Hotel, Grantown. Principal characters – Fort William FC manager Henrick Madej and a couple of American ‘towrists’. Action – Henrick, with menu in hand, goes round the tables to take the teatime orders for players and officials on the return journey from Keith. Male half of the USA duo gets up from his chair and approaches Henrick. ‘Can you come over to our table in the corner when you’re ready, please?’ The Fort contingent, amid roars of laughter, immediately rename him Manuel and the name sticks all the way home. Henrick’s brother Marek, who was in the side that day, breathed a sigh of relief when he read the team line-up in the Sunday papers which confirmed he is Marek and not Manuel.

First the Sunday papers credit Gary Dunlop’s goal against Elgin to John Dennison. Then, last Sunday, Gary was named as the Fort scorer in the Keith game instead of Jim Jordan. A case of ‘overlooking Jordan’.

Our own referees and linesmen at Claggan Park are in the news. I’m told Geordie was controlling a needle match last Monday night when he discovered, with 15 minutes to go, that he had pulled a muscle. Geordie didn’t lose his gift of the gab, however, so he asked linesman Chick to take over. No doubt Geordie will be back next Saturday afternoon to give vocal support to the Fort in his capacity as their leading international fan.

Alister Grant was telling me about the foreign ‘towrists’ who have been making ‘practical’ use of the lay-by across the road from his house at the 30-mile limit sign down Achintore. He reckons he has had to put up with the sight of more bare bums this summer than he saw in all his years as an ambulance driver and receptionist at Belford Hospital.

‘Allo’! ‘Allo’! If you thought the set of that particularly funny series had come to the Fort, you were wrong. It’s just that Hector, Neil and co are having to wear the new regulation issue Royal Mail uniforms. This apparel makes them look like a lot of Bosch as the cut is Teutonic and the creases are razor sharp. And for summer wear? Battledress jerseys, of course.

Meanwhile I can’t wait to see the faces of our local British Telecom workforce when they receive their regulation issue of the new CIC Autumn Collection. CIC stands for ‘Corporate Image Clothing’ and the lads are set to be resplendent in blue breeks, sweaters and jackets. Their faces? They’ll be a bright red.

Kate needed the loo – in Corpach. So she called at her cousin’s house and, after attending to the urgent business, found herself being asked to sponsor the daughter of the house for £1 for this week’s World Wildlife Fund Sponsored Walk. I suppose that’s what you call ‘In for a penny – in for a pound’.

Overheard in the High Street, one English lady imparting to another her knowledge of the noble sport of shinty. ‘It’s a bit like hockey, only very wild – and they play it on horseback’, she declared. Which, of course, explains why there’s been all that manure lying around lately. Indeed, it was bad enough with the underpass flooded last Thursday, but what do you think happened there the day before? It seems our four-legged friends had also ‘dropped in’ to the underpass and left their fertiliser behind. Yes, that’s right, real horseplay was the order of the day.

At last I’ve found out why – apart from the cost – no-one plays on the putting green any more. Attached to the hut is a notice which proclaims ‘No Ball Games’. Well, have you ever seen anyone playing putting without a ball?

Fishing competition last week and the anglers from the village were casting well. Bob reeled a nice three pound trout into the boat. The Inverlochyites fished on but with no further luck. Then the rain came on, and, at the same time, the boat sprang a leak. Nothing for it but all hands to the baling cans. And you can guess what landed back in the water. Yes, the three pound trout. The boat didn’t sink, but the trout did.

Minibus full of foreign gentlemen unloading their climbing gear at the entrance to the Belford. They all looked a bit surprised, obviously wondering ‘is this really a parking area’? They were in the right. The sign on the A82 is wrongly positioned and points to the Belford and not to Viewforth. At least it didn’t say ‘The Climbers’ Hospital’!