At Random with Martin Laing

Martin Laing

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Hope springs…

I bumped into the ever ebullient Gordon MacGillivray the other day while out walking.

Gordon was sitting in a red van beside his famous but resolutely closed tartan MacGillivray’s Seafood business on Railway Pier, appearing to contemplate forlornly the lack of customers and trade.

However, as usual he greeted me with a cheery and bullish halloo, his face lighting up the otherwise grim day. We chatted for only a few minutes – and socially distanced – but Gordon spoke animatedly about reopening and how eagerly he was looking forward to feeding the crowds once more with his superb local produce.

I very much admire his positivity, which some might say flies in the face of the gloom which seems to be starting to permeate the local economy. The excellent business pages in last week’s Oban Times were replete with key figures in the local business community warning of tough times ahead as the impact of the pandemic continues to wreak havoc among entrepreneurs, especially those in the hospitality and tourism sectors.

Thankfully, the vaccine – yes, I have had mine – is beginning to change the picture and, hopefully, will enable local firms to salvage some kind of season this year. I hope so fervently.

Welcome progress

My thoughts had been rambling randomly – as, indeed, they are supposed to here – these past few days, as I pondered what to declaim about this week.

I found myself considering the story about the women volunteers who help to save lives at Oban RNLI by serving the lifeboat in various capacities. It is perhaps an indication of the progress made that women are valued members of that team, which once was very much a male preserve.

This is in keeping with my thoughts of last week, when I wrote of the welcome ground covered in persuading more people to embrace diversity, as evidenced by growing acceptance of Oban Pride.

Sadly, there are still those who dwell in a bygone era when discrimination was commonplace. Happily, however, we are changing for the better.

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