Walter Pigeon strutted into the Volunteer Arms in Fort William the other day.
Desperate for a drink.
But, as you can see from the picture, Hughie MacPherson ruffled his feathers a wee bit.
Walter was sporting a ring tag which indicated he had flown all the way to the Volley from Billericay, in Essex.
So, having given him the bird at first, Hughie relented and served Walter bits of roll from his piece – washed down with a dish of pure Lochaber water.
After the drink Walter, slightly mollified, took flight – upwards. For a time he was quite at home ruling the roost on the Volley ceiling, among what Skeesh used to describe as these "B----- helicopters", which were fans that blew his tobacco all over the place when he was trying to make himself a roll-up.
Later, a couple of pigeon fancying punters shooed Walter out the door.
Incidentally there was "a bit of a doo" in mid-Loch Linnhe shortly afterwards, when Dougie Robertson and Forbes Maclean, the joint skippers of the Fort William-Treslaig Ferry discovered a pigeon flapping about in the water.
They rescued it and gave it a lift to dry land. Wonder if it was Walter?
CERTAINLY, for the last couple of weeks of May, Lochaber has had the best of the UK weather, and ice cream sales.
But then Tuesday’s temperatures were half of those of Monday!
So now it’s time to retiterate: "Cast ne’er a cloot – till May’s oot".
Lots of Lochaber locals have their own pet theories as to the traditional meaning of this well-worn rhyme. I’m leaning, as usual, towards the school of thought which reckons: "Don’t shed your semmit until the hawthorn (May Blossom) is out – and summer can be said to have begun".
ONE of the daily papers, in commenting on Tuesday on the high degree of sunshine in Fort William, described our town as "the port".
Well, "the port" it certainly wasn’t on Saturday.
"’Pull out all stops’ for cruise ship", had been one of the earlier headlines.
Instead, the cruise ship pulled OUT of the stop.
But I’ll leave you to explore Stuart Taylor’s "Marco Polo" story.
Stay safe out there
FORT William High Street. 9.15am. Tuesday, May 29... You’d think we’d have seen it all by now.
Large lorry, with lifting gear, parked across from Geddes’, and facing the "wrong way".
Behind it a pick-up loaded with free-standing plastic barriers, facing the "wrong way" etc.
Inevitably the usual heavy delivery vans come through the street (the "right way" – and WITH the right of way) – to be confronted by lorry and pick-up which hadn’t left enough room for any other vehicles to pass.
Meanwhile, smaller motors are doing u-turns in the street – and going back "the wrong way".
And the company name emblazoned on the side of the visiting vehicles?
"Traffic Management Safety Solutions"!
A very unassuming gentleman from a well-known local family was in the Book Shop the other Friday morning, and just happened to mention: "I’m 88 today and 89 tomorrow". Many of you know him –
I may even tell you if you don’t!
THAT same day, Councillor Henderson, according to the itinerary of his Provostship, was declaring open the new community hall on the Isle of "Much".
THEN there was the young "mountaineer" from the college, scaling the ramparts of the Old Fort.
A quiet word with him as he eventually raised his head above the parapet, elicited the response.
"It’s just a brick wall to me".
DID you read that Spike Milligan’s gravestone epitaph "I told you I was ill" – which is engraved in Gaelic - in Winchelsea in Sussex, was voted the nation’s favourite farewell.
Half a century ago, at Swiss Cottage, where I worked as an evening shelf-stocker in the Fine Fare supermarket, two colleagues and I had a memorable meeting with Spike Milligan.
We were carrying boxes of messages across the road to the Swiss Cottage Pub, and were standing on a traffic island waiting for the constant stream of motors to subside.
Along came this yellow Mini. It screeched to a halt. The driver got out, gave us a grand salaam, and bade us cross safely in front of his car. That driver was Spike Milligan!
NOT long afterwards, well, about this time of year in 1967, my mate, Ralph Palmer, and I, went to Wembley to watch Scotland beat John Motson’s World Cup holders.
Aye, and we were on the pitch at the final whistle to collect our piece of Wembley turf – and I carried mine off in a Coca-Cola cup.
Can I have some more?
WELL done to Lochaber Show-stoppers for their rousing performances of "Oliver!" the weekend before last.
A lot of people put a lot of work into the production – much appreciated by around a thousand Nevis Centre theatregoers.
That was the casual greeting Davie Corrigan received – in Lanzarote last week – from Euan Paterson, chief reporter of the Oban Times.
WHAT’S Wee Jessie Jamieson’s Journal saying to it for the end of May beginning of June, 1959?
May 29. A dull day. mum bought me a new dirndl skirt. It’s smashing.
May 30. Another dull day. Helen and I went a run up to Spean in a car with our visitors. Afterwards I finished the front of my polo neck.
May 31. It was pouring rain, and I’m feeling very sick. The rabbit got out and Elvis nearly swallowed him.
June 1. I didn’t go to work. The doctor came in the evening.
June 2. It was showery. But I got a new suede jacket and a cosmetic bag, and that cheered me up.
June 3. It rained all day. There is absolutely nothing doing.
June 4. It poured the whole day. It was so awful I even went to bed early.
THE West Highlands will be well represented at the Queen’s Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames on Sunday, June 3 - as a number of Lochaber folk take to the water to support the celebrations in a historic ex-Thames police launch.
Skippered by Drimnin resident Roderick James, the party will represent the Lord Lieutenant for Inverness-shire, Donald Angus Cameron of Lochiel.
Lochiel’s daughter Lucy will be aboard, as will one of his deputy lieutenants, James Wotherspoon, along with Roderick’s wife Amanda and Jane Stuart-Smith and Hugh Raven from Ardtornish.
They’ll all participate in the grand flotilla aboard the 1958 retired ex-Metropolitan Police launch ‘Priority’, as part of the historic boats fleet.
I spent a day at Loch-an-Eilein, near Aviemore, last week, to escape the Lochaber sun – and stumbled upon Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends on Tour.
"Toot! Toot!", cried Allan (The Fat Controller) Reid, breezing into the car park. "Keep up chaps!".
Frenchie the Fire Truck wailed:
"I can’t see Ben Nevis from here".
"No wonder!", exclaimed Tony (Ticket Man) Moynihan, "You don’t see anything when you’re cycling behind Allan!".
"Hurry up, you guys!", yelled Ollie (who had a tender behind).
And, as they gamely rode off into the distance, I thought: "Yes, Allan, it DOES look big in those Lycras!
But, then, maybe it was the heat? Happy days.
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