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More Roamerisms from the early 1990s :
* Lochside Recreation and Entertainment Committee’s latest event – a bingo evening in Treslaig Hall – was well attended. The prizes, too, were widely distributed, with Blaich players faring best of all, followed by their counterparts from Achaphubuil, Duisky and Treslaig itself.
* Two couples bowled in to the BA Club on Friday evening where one or two of the regular patrons were enjoying their recreation. ‘Are we the first?’ Ian asked when he got to the bar. ’Where are the rest of the members, the buffet and the band?’ Which brought the response: ‘The other members of what, sir?’ Ian replied: ‘Of the bowling club, of course. Are we too early?’ Came the reply from behind the bar: ‘Aye, you’re too early, all right. The bowling club do isn’t till the end of November!’ Then, on Monday, the bowling club committee held one of its regular meetings. It was the right night and, on the table, there were the usual regulation carafes of orange juice, lime juice cordial and iced water. But also standing on the green baize-covered table was a 40-ouncer of Grouse. Or, to be precise, a 20-ouncer, as the bottle was only half full. ‘That’s a nice touch by John, the steward,’ everyone agreed, prior to the drams being passed around. Some of the glasses had iced water added. But then the contents bubbled! Closer inspection revealed that the steward’s ‘nice touch’ had stretched to half a bottle of – cold tea!
* Donald ‘Skeegan’ Cameron was the accomplished after-dinner speaker at the Rotary Club of Lochaber’s annual charter night in the Grand. As the nickname – bestowed by Mrs Connochie – implies, Skeegan was comparatively brief with his address. So, here goes, for a few extracts which I’ve selected as the ‘best’ of what certainly was All Right on the Night. As he stood up to speak he did a brief alphabetical check. ABC (always be comfortable) to XYZ (examine your zip). Then, majoring on local authority business, he regaled his audience of 100 by revealing that radio and TV interviews given by Lochaber District Councillors are to be dubbed by Gerry Adams so that the elected members will be seen and heard to ‘speak with one voice’! Next Skeegan claimed that one of our local councillors is to have words with Archie at the bakery for using his signature on hot cross buns!
* Off to Pitlochry went the Lochaber Curling Club members for their bi-annual match against Edinburgh Medical Curling Club. The Edina men ‘sooped up’ curling’s equivalent of a couple of holes in one at golf by landing all eight stones in a counting position – with Lochaber registering a big round zero in reply. Still, our representatives did get some large drams out of it while their opposition went one over the eight to celebrate.
* I promise I won’t continue to go on about Lochaber District Council. I’ve written plenty about our local authority, in any case. However, in the midst of the Lochaber House turmoil there were a couple of cameos which, hopefully, will bring some light relief to Roamer readers. The eight members who were present at the latest Lochaber House meeting constituted a quorum. However, if one of them left the chamber for a fag, or to visit the loo, or made a foray to one of the downstairs offices, then, if you’ll pardon the expression, the council would be caught short. Thus it was, on Tuesday, when Councillor Purdon excused himself as he walked out of the chamber, leaving the meeting inquorate. When he returned he received some baleful looks. ‘I needed a comfort break, chairman,’ Cllr Purdon explained. After all, there was no mention on the agenda of the provision of a commode.
* Norrie Bruce bought a car. Filled it up with petrol. However, a wee bit flustered, Norrie noticed that a red light had come on. So he called on Dougie’s expertise. ‘The petrol light keeps flashing – but the tank’s full,’ Norrie moaned. Till Dougie replied: ‘Look. watch this,’ he said. Dougie switched on the ignition and, sure enough, a red light came on. Whereupon Dougie let off the handbrake. And the red light went off.
* ‘Please ring if you have any queeries.’ That’s a direct quote, including the mis-spelling, from The Star – The Morning Star – in its advertising rate card.
* William Austen Duncan, of That Ilk has been haranguing me because Eric Wallace was credited in the paper with having been a joint founder of the Lochaber Soccer Sevens Primary School League. It seems that the Austen Sevens were set up by the schools themselves, and that Willie has been arranging their fixtures ever since.
* I liked Benny’s classic on Nevis Radio the other night. At the close of one delightful musical item, Benny told us: ‘That was the unmistakable voice of Michael Marra. Oh, sorry, no it wasn’t! It was Peter Nardini.’
* I seem to have gone on at some length in Roamer this week. Maybe I should have remembered the Brevity Clause: ‘The Lord’s Prayer has 56 words’, ‘The Ten Commandments contain 297’, The American Declaration of Independence 300. However, locally published Letters to the Editor from Councillors Michael Foxley and Eric Wallace average 3,000. So maybe there’s hope for me yet.
* Us yins in the local meejah were intrigued to read in the minutes of a recent council sub-committee meeting that the leisure services co-ordinator is to investigate whether a particular applicant is, and I quote, a bonified charitable organisation. Aye, that descriptive term has come a long way since the days when we used to sign names like Yuri Gagarin and Andy Capp in the visitors’ book in local hotels so we could get a drink on Sundays – as bona fide travellers!