Retro roamer – week 44

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* Some weather, eh? And, in the midst of the worst of the rain, poor George arrives at the office here, soaked to the oilskin, bearing a missive from Lochaber District Council. Copies of the document were also to be distributed  to other parts of the High Street. So Dripping George went off to make the deliveries. I opened our envelope. The one small note inside advised that ‘The relevant papers are exempt  – and, therefore, are not for public viewing’.

* I see that the Alex has been devising ‘Designer Menus’ for recent and forthcoming functions. For example, at the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team dinner dance, the various courses were labelled in climbing order – The Ascent, The Lochan, The Ridge, The Range, The Descent, and – The Refresher. And the dishes included Glen Mist Soup, Steak Glen Nevis, Watt’s Misty Cream Syllabub, and Fresh Ground Mountain Crag Coffee. Then, at the Belford dinner dance, the five courses were prescribed and described as The Pre-Med, Casualty, Theatre, On the Ward and Out Patients. The roast beef had incisions and sutures all over it.  ‘After Care Mints’ followed. Oh, and for the ‘Carriages’ the instruction was ‘Ambulances at 1.30am’. Aye, the guests certainly received some treatment.

* You’ll all remember this one – Especially at New Year.
‘As I was walking down the street,
I met wee Geordie Scobbie.
Says he tae me, ‘Could ye go a Real Ale’?
Says I, ‘Man, That’s ma hobby’.
And who, exactly, has introduced Real Ale to the Alex?
The manager, one George Scobbie – That’s who’

* Meanwhile, the Mallaigites held their annual Hallowe’en cum Guy Fawkes party in the Village Hall. Organised by Mallaig Community Council, the fancy dress ‘do’ was, as always, very well attended. And, indeed, some of the Guisers embarked on the sincerest form of flattery. Thus, one of the principal prize winners, wearing dungarees, carrying a coil of electrical cable, and sporting a balding (slightly wig was dressed as ‘The King of Seagull City’. And, apparently, she didn’t feel a right Charlie at all. Indeed, the chairman of Lochaber District Council’s Environment  Committee, Councillor Charlie King, a long-serving electrician in real life, was quite chuffed with the lady’s impersonation.

* Cameron Highlanders recalled. From the very early 1960s.  Just prior to the amalgamation of the QOCH and Seaforth Highlanders in 1961, a troop train carrying Lochaber members of the Camerons  and the local TA boys, double-headed off, overnight, to Catterick. On board there was drink taken . Which explains why, at two o’clock in the morning, a couple of the An Gearasdan representatives were making their way along the darkened corridor.

In true Skeesh and Allan fashion they were hollering, at the top of their voices ‘Last call for dinner now, please’! The result was, that a great number of Camerons (79 some say), came charging through the train, brandishing knives, forks and mess tins. Many of them were clamouring around the CO’s sleeping compartment, demanding to know where the grub was. There wasn’t any, of course, and, in the cold light of day, when all the men were duly paraded at Catterick. the CO was furious. ‘If I get the culprits who were shouting ‘Last call for dinner’, it’ll be their last call as a Cameron’, he bellowed. No names; No pack drill.

* Spare a thought for the local van driver who was delayed on the A830. ‘That’s the second time this year I’ve been stuck behind a HOUSE on the Mallaig road’, he fretted. Previously he had been held up for ages at Craigag Bridge during chalet manoeuvres. This time he had been one of the victims of the Beasdale Bridge fiasco. Clearly, ‘Chalets are not his Darling’.

* Some of our district and regional councillors have been coerced into holding impromptu ‘surgeries’ in John Steel’s Hyperhut. As soon as any of these local members come in to buy a paper or a packet of fags they’re being pounced upon by constituents lurking around the cards display area. If you’re a non-political customer it can be quite enlightening to hear the responses and rhetoric of the councillors when they are waylaid thus in this unlikely setting.

* Plantation housewife came home by taxi. Complete with offspring, pushchair, rolls of wallpaper and four carrier bags of messages. Up the stairs with offspring, push chair and wallpaper. Leaving the shopping on the pavement till she could come back down for it. But, as soon as she retraced her steps she found – what the locals still refer to as the ‘Dustcart’ or ‘Ashcart’ in the act of swallowing up her four carrier bags.  However, as befits LDC’s current policy the lads on duty were able to ‘salvage’ some of the shopping before it was too late.

* AA patrolman, Mickey Miller, went down to the Glasgow Motor Show. ‘It wasn’t all that great’, he was telling me. And Mickey certainly wasn’t impressed when a bloke came up to him and offered to sell him AA membership! ‘I almost felt like telling him I was with the RAC’!, Mickey said when he got back home.

* Two related Caol worthies had a memorable Saturday night out on the bevvy. However, they weren’t so well shot that they hadn’t forgotten to plank a half-full half bottle in the house to provide the hair of the Sunday morning dog. And so it was that they pocketed the half bottle, and took to the Canal Bank around 11am.  Out it came. Followed by a hearty swig by the winner of the toss-the-coin elimination. Then a splutter. Next, a couple of swear words. It seems that the wily woman of the house had come upon the half bottle earlier that morning when she was doing a bit of a tidy-up. Emptied it down the sink. And half filled it with cold tea.