It’s been said that you can’t discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore

Wise words there from Jeff Zycinski who, this week, stood down as Head of Radio, Scotland at BBC Scotland, for a range of reasons including, of course, various projects still to be discussed. Jeff and I did not always see eye to eye but I’d like to say thanks for all the nice things he said about my last ever radio documentary seven years ago on the subject of prostate cancer and the kindness and understanding I received from him, and the rest of BBC Scotland, when my father passed away many years ago. Those words may yet prove inspirational. 😉

And nice talking to you, Jeff, in Queen Street Station the other day. Both our families are doing well. 🙂

Anyway, dear listener, I did return from Oban last Monday afternoon and it was one of those galling moments when the guard tells you that it’s on time and you actually want it to be twenty minutes late as then it will only be five minutes until the train to Summerston which also leaves from Queen Street Upper Level and I might not have to pay a fare cos the guard/conductor person doesn’t always collect fares on the way out given that 99.9% of the people on the train must have come through a barrier anyway but it’s a long way to have to pull a suitcase from Summerston station to my house.

So I took a taxi.

I had a good weekend – with much wandering. 😀 😀

I like harbours and the photos would show that, so having checked in I went exploring and had my first fish and chips of the weekend at a caravan on the North Pier……and visited an ice cream shop called The Pokey Hat and had a cone with two scoops of Toffee Ripple and effectively ruined any chance of making that t-shirt last more than one day.

The Saturday was braw and given that the B&B was at the far end of the Esplanade, after I’d posted some postcards for people who are not on my Facebook (sorry rrm – I didn’t have your address), I kept walking away from Oban to a place called Ganavan Sands and I would like to thank Argyll and Bute and anybody concerned with them for the provision of an excellent public toilet at this particular location. 😉

These things are becoming more and more rare (Irvine Beach had a good one) but there’s also a pretty good one on the North Pier at Oban which looks as if it once took money which is a wee bit like the one at Glasgow Queen Street which is also free at the moment because of the state of the station. The Gallery of Modern Art in the City Centre is also good but I always have a good look in the shop before going downstairs otherwise I feel guilty about using it.

But I digress.

I then walked back to Oban.

I had been talking about going on a wee ferry trip just to get some sea air about me but I happened to walk past a gaily coloured small blackboard advertising a boat trip to and around a seal colony. To an extent I could hear it calling to me. Are seals kelpies, trying to lure me to my death on those rocks? It was a tenner and I felt it was worth the risk. 🙂

And it was a very pleasant, if wet, excursion with a very brief history of the area given out by the skipper for the benefit of those Canadians who seemed to make up the rest of my companions. Not a lot of seals but I held on tightly anyway.

Lunch was in one of the restaurants on the North Pier and was large prawns with a parmesan shavings’ dressing and a very nice scented soap in the Gents’ Loo. 🙂

The rest of the afternoon was spent watching the comings and goings of sailing schooners, Cal Mac ferries, the MV Balmoral and a whole range of other craft. I have the photos to prove it. I then went back to my B&B where I used the en-suite facilities to freshen up before going out for, well what turned out to be scallops and langoustines in a tempura dressing and I didn’t need the chips but another brilliantly dressed salad. I slept.

The next day was pouring and I tried to get up the hill to McCaig’s Folly but the wind forced me back. I tried to walk to the Pulpit Hill but the wind blew me over. I went to find the auction mart where years ago I’d produced a radio programme with Jimmie Macgregor and found it was now a supermarket with an addiction centre just round the corner.

I had a toastie for lunch cos it didn’t seem a good food day but I’d a cone with single scoop of toffee cheesecake and nobody thought it strange. And even the toilets weren’t as fascinating the second time around. But a smashing museum called the War and Peace Museum (and nothing to do with Tolstoy) grabbed my fancy and was brilliant and just along the road was a chocolate shop and altho’ I’m not a big hot chocolate fan I did have one. 🙂

(Y’know, Skippy, people often ask me what inspires the music I play at the end. Hot chocolate, eh? I wonder)

And then things began to drift. I did have roll mop herring as my final dish of the day and, indeed, the weekend.

It was from another outdoor stall where despite the rain, Japanese tourists seemed to be enjoying a massive seafood platter with a massive lobster in the middle.

And finally, no, I don’t know what the salad dressing was that it came with.

Oban – Salad Dressing Capital of the Highlands

And loads and loads of sky – all made up of different sizes

And the music? You’ve guessed it, haven’t you?

(the clue was in the word ‘drift’)

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