At Random with Martin Laing 29.01.21

Martin Laing

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Wishful thinking

I had an interesting encounter the other day. I was walking in Stirling (no, I did not break any lockdown rules or restrictions) when I fell into conversation with a public servant working for the local municipal authority keeping the streets clean.

He engaged me in casual chat because I was wearing an Oban Live baseball hat and he wondered what that signified. I explained, of course, that it was an annual two-day music festival – probably the world’s best – albeit it didn’t take place last year and wouldn’t this year for obvious reasons.

I don’t know the street cleaner’s name but he looked so wistful talking about Oban and its people that I inquired if he had any links to the area. My new acquaintance – a gentleman of similar vintage to myself I suspect – told me he was originally from Tiree though he had not been back there for donkeys’ years.

He recollected wonderful times and said he loved the ferry rides, and to other islands as well as Tiree. We both reminisced at some length about how blessed the Argyll and the Isles area has been.

It fair made me yearn to get back to Oban.

Heroes in the making

Regular readers will know of the extremely high regard I have for RNLI and all its staff and volunteers.

So I was delighted to read last week that two new recruits had joined Oban lifeboat, the Mora Edith MacDonald.

They are both Oban men, Andy Lockwood and Gillies Pagan, the latter of whom is an acquaintance of mine. Andy has significant maritime experience being a skipper himself whereas Gillies, who runs Fiuran real estate agency with wife Laura, admits to only a little seafaring experience.

The important thing is that both guys have volunteered and will – along with the other crew – risk their lives to help others. Both told The Oban Times they wanted to give something back to the community in which they live. They and their new colleagues are all heroes to my mind.

And, as pledged last week, I’ve rambled on without once mentioning the word Covid. Oh damn…

What do you think? Send your comments to editor@obantimes.co.uk