Retro Roamer – for Jan 23

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Retro Roamer from the mid-1990s

* ‘Tell the press you were rescued by the three most gorgeous men you’ve ever met.’ That was the greeting from Terry, George and Brian when they made the breakthrough on Saturday morning in reaching two female students who had been cragfast and snowbound overnight on the Ben. Now, I wonder  which of the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team trio spoke those words of welcome – if not wisdom!

* I mentioned in despatches one Samuel Montrose Horner of the Road to the Isles Filling Station. And I conjectured how Sammy had come by his middle name. Sister Mary lost no time in letting me know. And a neat little tale it is. For Sammy was the first baby to be born in Montrose Square in Inverlochy at Number 8 – on the same day that the primary school opened in The Village.

* If you’re in the Plantation, please listen to Stormin’ Norman Johnston’s plea that everyone must remember that bin day is Thursday. So have your bins standing to attention on Thursdays – and no other day!

* Betty, who used to live at Camas Inas in Ardnamurchan, can surely claim a penpalship record. For Betty has been corresponding with Kirsty, from Helsinki, since 1931 when both were in school. Fifty years later they met – in the Peninsula. And now their respective granddaughters have become penpals too!

* The polis are inviting local cyclists to have their bikes security marked at the police station. However, judging by the hassle the officers are having in finding the owner of the stray goats in Roy Bridge, it might be a good idea to have these escapees security marked as well.

* Meanwhile, it’s getting a bit difficult for road users too. For example, have you seen the signs at the turn off for Kinlochleven at Bail Ur? ‘Kinlochleven – 10 miles’ proclaims the Scottish Trunk Roads Authority notice board. Alongside it the Scottish Tourist Board sign states ‘Kinlochleven – seven miles’.

  • Thanks to the postmen’s local knowledge, a letter from Invergarry – addressed to Roamer, Fort William – reached me on Monday. Meanwhile, the Garry’s own popular postie got himself a new ‘coming and going hat’. All was well till he put it on. Then all the dogs in the Crescent started barking at him – because they didn’t recognise him. Then, one day, the postie set off for Kinlochhourn. While he ate his piece alongside the loch, he took off his deerstalker and placed it on the heathery bank. A seagull then swooped on it. And laid an egg it!
  • ‘What weather!’  That’s the daily greeting just now, from under the banks’ giveaway umbrellas, the anorak hoods, and the assorted Lochaber bunnetry of everyone you meet. But, well, it is January!

* Did you see Smokin’ Simon on the telly on Monday’s Good Morning programme? Simon, resplendent in multi-coloured waistcoat, was talking to presenters Anne Diamond and Nick Owen about his smoked produce. And, in the kitchen demonstration Anne plumped for Lochaber Smoked Cheese, while Nick got his teeth into – smoked alligator! Afterwards, in the departure lounge at Birmingham Airport en route for Glenuig, Simon felt a tug at his sleeve. A small boy was standing there, looking up at that multi-coloured waistcoat. ‘I saw you alive  on the television this morning, mister,’ the young lad announced. ‘I’m pleased about that,’ rejoined Simon. ‘It’s good to be alive!’

* Dear Roamer, Reference the demolition of the Distillery Cottages footbridge. We had been using the  bridge regularly for many years having walked over from Annat and, latterly, enjoyed the challenges posed by the bridge and its approaches as  they were being converted into an assault course. We are so sorry to see its demise. Yours etc, Roger Boswell, Banjo and Toby.

* A gentleman knocked at the door of a well known family in Caol. The lady of the house went to see who was there. and shouted back into the living room ‘There’s a fella at the door with a bald head!’  Her husband’s retort? ‘Tell him I’ve already got one, but wish him a happy new year.’

* Bonnie Prince Charlie may not have reached London But now, two and a half centuries later, the Gaels have indeed landed there. A full-time Gaelic-medium community hub is due to open in the Metropolis later this year. But that’s not as strange as it might sound. There are an estimated 300,000 Scots living in the London boroughs.

* Mention of London’s Scottish connection reminds me of a statement made in the council chambers by Provost Margaret Murphie in the late 1950s: ‘The Postmaster General’s confirmation of the downgrading of Fort William Post Office has me thinking that the decision was initially reached by someone in London looking at a map.’

* How’s this for a piece of combined arithmetical genius by the sub-editors of a Scottish tabloid?  I quote: ‘Scotland’s two sweetest smelling towns have been named as Bearsden, Clydebank and Milngavie – the only urban areas in the country with no industrial pollution.’ Can I presume from this statement that we perm any two from three?