Tag Archives: Tobermory

…PART FOUR of ‘the magic of a return visit to Mull in the Scottish Hebrides’…

…they say ‘nostalgia ain’t what it used to be’… my Docklands Govan-spun response to that is ‘borrox!’… these past few days’ blog posts of meandering back through the mists (and sum’time fog) of fifty years ago has been a wunnerful throwback, captured in a glorious week spent in Tobermory on the idyllic Isle of Mull in the Scottish Hebrides... yeez doubt it’s beauty?… just look at this photo taken from the bedroom window of my hotel, The Western Isles Hotel…


…the island (thankfully) has thus far avoided the invasion of the mega-star hotel chains, relying instead on the WURLD-famous Scottish hospitality in its smaller hotel offerings and numerous Bed and Breakfast outlets… have a typical Scottish breakfast then try claiming yeez are hungry within ten hours afterward…  won’t happen… the hotel I referred to above, the Western Isles Hotel, is a majestically imposing building sitting above the town… as a young, apprentice, trainee future Master of the Financial Universe back then, like my peers, I spent the non-banking hours doing part-time work around the various hotels and bars in Tobermory… at times my skill set was added to as a cocktail barman, and silver-service waiter in the very dining room where others ployed me with the daily breakfasts of champions during my stay this time … here’s the hotel from the outside…


…downtown Tobermory, next to the pier, another establishment sits where one day they may put up the ‘heritage plaque’ that ‘Master Gallacher did part time WURK here too’, the Mishnish Hotel



…an oasis and honeypot attraction for sailing people for years and years… under new management from the family of dance band leader Bobby MacLeod (with whose band Master Gallacher sang from time to time), new ownership has revamped the hotel, but wisely retaining the essence of the Mishnish as was, as is… and coincidentally, the new owners are also Macleods (no relation)… here they are, Meg and Les with yours truly at the fireplace (how many places do yeez know that still have one of those!)…


…ach, indeed, Mabel, nostalgia’s here to stay… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…another wee glimpse of a Celtic past in the Scottish Hebrides… #TBSU…

…a couple months or so ago, I posted a blog piece about my time as a teenager, employed as a trainee banker in Tobermory, a township with less than a thousand souls, nestled at the edge of the beautiful Tobermory Bay on the Scottish Hebridean Island of Mull…




…many of yeez have asked for a few more snippets of what it was like living there… and I must confess, when I sit back and think of these days, I yearn for them more and more… folks had time to talk with each other…emb’dy remember what that was like?… the internet and SOSYAL NETWURKIN was a thing of the far-distant future… the stuff of H.G.Wells-type novels… what sticks with me most clearly are the mem’ries of people… every one a character… every one a real personality…. Gaelic music sat at the heart of the informal house ceilidhs, or gatherings at home with neighbours and friends… from that day forward Celtic music has been tangled round my heart, it never fails to pull me toward the nostalgia of a time a mere fifty years ago… I put on here a wee while ago the beautiful ‘Ubhal As Airde’ (the Highest Apple) by Runrig… the video that comes with it is as poignantly stirring to me as the music… here it is again;

…the reason I play it again is that it reminds me so vividly of one old ‘bodeach’ (older man) singing an old gaelic tune in a house ceilidh one evening… his eyes were kinda half-closed… the voice strong for a man of such vintage… but yeez could hear and yeez could feel the timbre as he sang… his soul was singing to us… everybody present took up the chorus… half love song, half a lament for past times…haunting… it was among the most engrossing song renditions I have ever heard… if yeez click on the video, yeez’ll get some idea of what I mean… so yeez will have to forgive me if I indulge this stuff every now and then…  if we have no real sense and love of some of the beautiful things of our past, then I think we have no real future to pass on to our children, nor they to theirs… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…my Most Unforgettable Character… Angus Macintyre, The Bard of Mull… #TBSU…


…exactly five decades ago, in 1964, I first stepped ashore on the Island of Mull in the Scottish Hebrides… as a raw lad of fifteen (and a half, Jimmy!… don’t forget the half!)… I was set to begin six unforgettable years working in the illustrious Clydesdale & North of Scotland Bank, Tobermory Branch


…pitched out of the Govan Docklands in Glasgow to this totally foreign environment as a mid-teenager was a formidable undertaking… they even spoke a foreign language…Scots Gaelic… intense trepidation hardly covers how I felt… however, into my life appeared the man who will forever be my Most Unforgettable Character… Angus Macintyre, The Bard of Mull, Bank Manager, father of four sons who each excelled in their own chosen field… from the eldest down, Angus Jr, an extraordinarily gifted mathematics scholar, who used to teach his own professors at Stanford, to which he won a scholarship… Lorn, a noted poet… Kenny, a celebrated athlete, and later broadcaster… and Eric, a highly-talented junior golfer… Angus himself had even broader gifts… I’ve described him elsewhere as a cross between Einstein and Groucho Marx, with a sharp, droll wit, and an ear for doggerel poetry unmatched anywhere in Scotland (or elsewhere for that matter)… his greatest touch was his inbuilt humanity and humour… the talent to make others feel at ease and worthy I have never seen equalled… one of his many official and unofficial titles as the centre of the business of banking and survival on an island of 2,000 people was Chairman of something called the Mull and Iona Council of Social Services… this was basically a charitable organisation to help the needy from time to time… and we’re talking only a few pounds here and there occasionally… but back then, that was often sufficient to make the difference for the recipients… on one monumental occasion, the  organisation decided to run a ceilidh in the local village hall… a sort of musical, poetry, story-telling night for the community to which entrance money was a mere couple of (old money) shillings… people would come and play the fiddle, or bagpipes, or, like myself, sing a song or two… as a wee ‘thank you’ gesture to these performers, Angus often wrote out a cheque for, say, a pound or two (quickly exchanged at the local pub), which cheques were drawn against the Council’s bank account with the Clydesdale Bank… unfortunately, on this occasion, the amount that Angus wrote exceeded the revenue, and the account went overdrawn… a huge No-No in banking regulations… and into the Bank the very next day came the Bank’s surprise annual audit team… the Chief Auditor pounced on the offending overdraft and asked for an explanation… ‘Och, well, y’see, we held a wee ceilidh to try to raise funds,’ said Angus… ‘most irregular, Mister Macintrye, most irregular’ wheedled the Chief Weasel, ‘and what do you intend to do about it?’, to which my man responded, with a twinkle in his eye, ‘well we could always hold another ceilidh!’… suppressing laughter for the attendant staff was the most difficult thing we all had to achieve that year! … see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!




Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…I’ll never forget old whatsisname?…and the art of giving…Angus Macintyre…#TBSU…

…they tell me ye can’t experience true spirituality unless ye can first embrace GRATITUDE...I’m not sparking on here about religion, by the way…if folks wanna indulge religion, that’s their business…let them get on with it…no, I’m harping at that sense of inner wellness…kinda the ‘being-at-peace-with-the-world’ and whatever foibles it throws up in the course of daily living…this old Jurassic’s no different from the majority of so-called ‘normal’ people (I don’t think I’ve ever met a ‘normal’ person in my life)…it’d be grand to have a mega-billion-winning lottery ticket…to swan around on luxury yachts and wave at people from the windows of a pink Rolls Royce…or p’raps bask in the glow of supra-bestselling iconic-author infamy…we can but dream, Mabel, we can but dream…the reality for 99.9999% of we common or garden hoi polloi is that mundanity seeps in everywhere..IF WE LET IT...there’s that wonderful ‘IF’…I apply an antidote learned from an inadvertent mentor from my callow-youth years…when I was in my mid-teens, my employer at the time was the mighty Clydesdale & North of Scotland Bank Limited (of whom the IMF said ‘Who?’)...in their wisdom they transferred this wee lad from the slums of dockland Govan in Glasgow to their branch at Tobermory, in the idyllic Isle of Mull in the Scottish Hebrides…what a seismic jolt that was…forlorn, lost, confused, hardly covered it…but salvation was at hand in the form of the branch manager, Angus Macintyre... a legend in his own way amongst the Highlanders of the day…the man was a cross between Einstein and Groucho Marx…over six feet tall, a Highland Games athletics champion in his youth…he easily filled the role of ‘my most unforgettable character’…the enduring legacy he left with me borders on that ‘spiritual’ thing I tried to refer to above…the man had humour in abundance…the droll, Scottish, dry-witted type that makes ye think ‘I wish I’d thought of that’…but even more than that, Angus was possessed of the biggest heart I’ve ever known…no-one who crossed his ken was ever left not feeling the better for his words with them…the kinda man to whom ye would confess ye’d just blown up the tax office, and dreadful as that would be, he’d make ye think maybe it was the best thing ye ever did in yer life… that same generosity of spirit I’ve found in bushels her on the internet with the wonderful global writing family…ye all know whose yeez are…thank you all for you…Angus, this one’s for you …cheers ! 🙂

Blog Scratchers Corner


Blogs To Follow









Yeez know the drill, share and enjoy…:):)


Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff