At Random with Martin Laing – July 8

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I’m a masked chancer!

Aulay Dunn is a splendid fellow altogether.

He is, of course, mine host of his eponymous pub in Oban town centre, and something of a legend in the local business and hospitality sector.

So it will be no surprise that I dropped into Aulay’s bar the other day and was fair taken with the face covering the man himself was wearing: a stylish black mask adorned with the pub’s name and a McCaig’s Tower motif.

I inquired of Aulay if he had any more and said I’d like to buy one. Ever the generous and good-natured guy that he is, Aulay presented me with a new mask, sealed in its own plastic pouch, free and gratis.

Cue howls of outrage from a number of regulars who instantly demanded to know why I was entitled to the face covering when they hadn’t been given one.

Great dollops of green cheese were evident. Bertie, Jim, Rab, Baz et al: you should have asked first! Tough luck to them, and many thanks, Aulay!

Doing the business

I bumped into Andy Spence the other day while strolling in the sunshine along Stevenson Street, home of Bid4Oban, the business organisation of which he is chief executive.

I also stuck my head in the door to say hello to Andy’s colleague, Kay McDonald, a fabulous town ambassador, about whom I have written before.
We chatted about how the town’s recovery economically has been gaining momentum, and I was chuffed by Andy telling me the place has been ‘manic’ in the past few weeks.

In fairness, that has been manifest to anyone as visitors flock to the coast, encouraged, no doubt, by the generally excellent weather.

The downside, if there is one, is that Andy lamented the cancellation of visits by various cruise ships which had been scheduled to call at Oban, and Kay regretted not being able to continue to provide guided walking tours as she had been doing a couple of years ago.

That aside, Oban is bouncing again, and I hope it continues.

What do you think?

Send your comments to editor@obantimes.co.uk