At Random with Martin Laing 15.01.21

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A few random thoughts this week, prompted by the turning of the new year and the opportunity in lockdown to dwell aimlessly on life.

First, I was intrigued to read in The Oban Times about the couple who took an enormous leap of faith in abandoning their existence in high-powered city jobs in exchange for a new reality of life on Tiree.

Yvonne and Jason Lancaster now earn a living by making woolly hats from their new ‘family’ of sheep. Good luck to them, and I can only bow to their willingness to embrace wholesale change. Most of us wouldn’t have the courage.

It is, of course, January and that means the New Year’s Honours being awarded to all kinds of people from hugely diverse ways of life.

Hats off to all those people whose remarkable efforts have been recognised.

I was, however, particularly pleased for Dee Bradbury, the Oban woman who made international sporting history in recent years by becoming the first female president of a tier one rugby nation. She was awarded an OBE. Dee, thank heavens, is recovering from a very serious cardiac arrest last summer and her honour is well deserved.

Looking ahead, I have commented before on the pandemic and the amazing resilience of Oban and Argyll businesses to endure dreadful trading conditions. So I would echo the call by MSP Donald Cameron for people to consider holidaying at home when the Covid restrictions are eased.

I certainly have no intention of travelling overseas this year (and did not last year) and will remain within our home area.

We have an absolutely fantastic part of the world to enjoy, with stunning scenery, brilliant people and so much to see and do.

I think many people spent their holiday time on ‘staycations’ last year, possibly for the first time, and had a real eye-opener at how good the ‘product’ (business-speak jargon) was.

Let’s all make new year resolutions to support our own economy and have a great time to boot by holidaying at home.

What do you think? Send your comments to