Sometimes you hit pure gold and that is what the last hour and a bit feels like. We had a visitor Val, who dropped in some posters for the Ecar which is coming to Applecross next Tuesday and information that the Filling Station was not performing as it should. So it was on the bike with Dougal and Eildh a strong southerly on my back, beautiful strong sunshine and fresh feel to the day. Bit apprehensive about the Filling Station but called in at the Inn for the key and with instructions from Alison and another phone call got it up and running in time for a customer leaving town. Not too worried and hope it is just a glitch. Last night for about an hour I could not load a photo on twitter, these things happen, it is just that when it is a Community Service it means, more than a little inconvenience. As I was on the road, came back through Camusteel and picked up a paper for Raymond, up for a couple of days. Ewen was in and mentioned he had been to Broadford and seen my Mum and the conversation quickly went onto Dolly Macdonald, also at An Arcasaid. I knew she was born in Camusteel and asked Ewen where and then it was a journey into the past. I was taken 60 to 80 years back into what was then life in Applecross. Alistair came in then and it continued. Dolly was one of 7 and I knew “Buttons” a brother who lived in Camusluinie on the shore of Loch Long. The story went on to describe the house, three rooms, a kitchen and bedroom with the third room a small bedroom!!. Told where it was and on the way home was drawn to take a snap of it and imagined the family, the lives they lived on the edge of the land overlooking Camusteel Bay, very powerful living oral history. Possibly meaningless to anyone seeing this remnant of a wall but to me it is now a snap shot of Applecross history that stretches across the world.
One of the stories involved a brother of Dolly’s, Alasdair and Roddy Macbeth, a cousin of Roddy, whose son Rob is putting out the great food at the Inn, were working up at the Walled Garden under the tutelage of Alistair’s father. Anyway they came home one day at the beginning of WW11 and decided they would head off as they did not want to be placed where the country decided to place them. Turned up in Glasgow where they joined the merchant navy, Roddy sailed the world and survived but Alasdair was on his first voyage and coming home on an oil tanker was torpedoed off Africa on his first trip at sea and lost his life. Then it was the turn of a teacher story, Mrs Ross was at the PO when she heard of a local casualty of the war and commented “You just never know who is next” and yes she then received the telegram saying it was her husband. Wee follow-up to this, when I came home I mentioned this to Alison and told her the minister’s wife filled in the teaching role when Mrs Ross found her husband had died. Alison then told me that she has been in contact with the son of a Jewish WW11 refugee practically adopted by the minister,Macleod and his wife. The teacher had taught Alistair and seemingly showed him some numerical tricks to add to his obvious bent towards maths. He ended up as a civil engineer so they must have worked. As I said pure gold and I in a way of thanks said that this is what TESCO is putting in danger. You cannot put a value on what I experienced, it was priceless. And in leaving we all shared the same opinion of the TESCO vans. Feel very fortunate that I do not have to go a genealogy site or a museum to experience a bit of local history. I can just go to my local shop.
So a glitch in The Filling Station turns into listening to tales of the past related by men who were there, little wonder I do not mind volunteering here.