This week’s selection of readers’ letters to The Buteman includes thoughts on the closure of Rothesay’s Scottish Hydro Electric store, a tribute following the recent death of artist, musician and former Rothesay teacher Lyn Bulloch, frustration at ferry cancellations - and much more!
To add your views on any subject of local interest to the mix, all you have to do is email firstname.lastname@example.org - the deadline for each week’s print edition is 5pm on Monday.
Please include your name and address for publication, and also a daytime telephone number in case we need to check any details at short notice (though th elatter will not be printed).
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‘Hard work’ letter was best of the year
Despite having written my first letter, at age seventeen, to Elgin’s ‘Northern Star’, and more than a few to other local weeklies, over the years, I sincerely believed that a letter I wrote to The Buteman last August was my last ever - my grand, or not so grand, finale.
But, no, the Letters to the Editor page in last week’s Buteman, and the page 2 report on the Hydro’s shop’s closure, made me unsheath my quill.
I must thank Robin Dow for his ‘Politicians’ empty words on hard work’ letter. Robin’s humour had me in stitches - and I don’t mean the NHS kind.
His epistle revealed a keen perception - not only of politicians’ empty words but of the reality of the rewards, or lack of them, for working hard all your life.
In addition, Robin’s remarkable honesty was so refreshing. Best letter of the year so far, from me.
Rewards for working hard? The staff of the Hydro-Electric shop in Rothesay have without doubt worked hard for many years. They provide more, much more, than a sales point.
They know their customers very well and lend an ear, not just to queries on electrical supply or goods, but to the troubles, worries and sometimes the joyous events which people want to share.
Because that’s part of living in and serving a small community.
But, sadly, all that is coming to an end. The Hydro is closing all its retail outlets. Another business affected by online sales which can make life easier for many. That’s life, change happens.
Unless I missed it, The Buteman did not mention in its report the fact that we do have other providers of electrical goods - Glen’s, The Original Factory Shop, Bute Tools and Robert Ewing’s in the High Street.
I believe in spreading my custom. Last time that I moved house, three years ago, I bought all my white goods from Robert Ewing. The service was second to none.
Installation of goods was carried out by their qualified engineer who is also an expert on satellite TV and dishes. Delivery is free, as is connection, which it wasn’t with the Hydro.
Their charge was £40, the goods come from their Oban depot, the men are delivery men, not engineers. On two occasions, when I first moved to the island, they were unable to connect items for me, despite the delivery charge.
Steven Cameron, electrician, will confirm that he kindly helped me out to connect the goods. And he left a job he was working on to connect up my cooker. That is service!
Bute Tools have supplied me with smaller electrical items - again, with no charge for delivery and also excellent personal service.
The loss of Hydro staff jobs is devastating and I sympathise; staff of that quality will not be long out of work.
But have no fear, the good folk of Bute still have a great deal of choice when it comes to purchasing electrical goods. Locally, if they can. As they say, “use it or lose it”.
This will indeed be my final letter to The Buteman as, ten years after settling on the island, I am soon to be heading north to live near to my son, his partner and my granddaughter, who live in Bettyhill, Sutherland.
I shall take with me many, many happy memories of a wonderful island and its very special people.
Eleanor Black, 4 St Andrew’s Walk, Rothesay
A kind, caring, loving man
In common with a large percentage of the population of Rothesay, I was in Trinity Church on Saturday morning for a celebration of the life of Lyn Bulloch.
I hadn’t known Lyn very long - a few short years, really - but I always enjoyed his company as we supped a few real ales together in a local hostelry.
These were always accompanied by interesting tales and anecdotes, and much laughter.
I don’t share all of Lyn’s beliefs, but I went along to the church anyway to pay my respects to a lovely man whom I’ll miss greatly.
It was heartening to see so many people there - I’m guessing that there were more than five hundred present, meaning a tenth of the population of Rothesay had turned up to celebrate his life.
Family and friends read and spoke so eloquently - often with great humour - about Lyn and what he meant, and will continue to mean, to them all and to the community he served so well.
I couldn’t help but look around and think that each and every one of us there could tell such tales of the man ourselves.
Lyn was a kind, caring, loving man, and he will be sadly missed.
So may I, through the columns of your newspaper, offer two thoughts of my own on Lyn?
The first is this: it has been said that no-one ever dies as long as there is someone alive who remembers them with love, and if that is the case then Lyn will live on for a very long time.
The second is this short poem.
If the worth of a man
Is what he puts into the world
And what he leaves behind,
Then Lyn is a rich man
When counting’s brought to mind.
And we are all a little richer,
For having known him.
Alan Carter, York House, 15 Argyle Terrace, Rothesay
Poor service from CalMac
April the first is universally known as April Fools’ Day - but it would appear that as far as CalMac is concerned, it is the Bute travelling public who are the fools.
In the morning, ferry sailings were diverted to Gourock. At 1.45pm the service was suspended. I had family travelling to the island that day; they were informed at Gourock that the 2.45pm and 3.45pm ferries were cancelled.
Maybe a ferry would leave at 6.30pm - but maybe not.
They made the decision to travel to Colintraive and were in Rothesay by a quarter past four.
Atseven minutes past six, all sailings between Rothesay and Gourock were cancelled. By seven o’clock, the bay was similar to a mill pond - not a ripple in sight, with two vessels tied up at Rothesay pier with no where to go.
The weather forecast - which is available to all, including CalMac - stated that the winds would abate in the late afternoon.
Perhaps the money spent at Wemyss Bay should have beenspent on ferries that can actually provide a service across a quiet bay in April.
I feel sorry for the passengers marooned at both sides of the crossing, and I hope CalMac will respond to these concerns about the standard of service they are providing.
Perhaps the rival bidder for the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service contract will provide a service that satisfies its customers.
Stan Gaston, 31 Battery Place, Rothesay
SNP failing rural areas
The failure of the SNP to pay farmers money owed under the Common Agricultural Policy has taken hundreds of millions of pounds out of the rural economy.
Liberal Democrats will guarantee to increase the resources deployed in advance of the future rounds of EU agriculture payments to ensure there is no repeat of the shambles we have seen this year.
We will also establish a restitution scheme to compensate farmers who incurred extra banking costs because of the delay.
Sorting out issues like this is what the next Scottish Government should be concentrating on. Instead, the SNP leader has promised that if the SNP wins they will continue to make the case for yet another referendum. This is pointless. The next Scottish Government must concentrate on growing our economy and improving our public services.
Alan Reid (Lib Dem candidate for Argyll and Bute), 136 Fairhaven, Dunoon
Can you bury a pet on Bute?
A friend of mine recently had the dreadful and upsetting news that her beloved family pet dog had died.
She came to me asking the question: is there a place on this island where I can bury him, mark his grave, honour the loyal loving dog he was with a stone?
I’ve asked this question of a few folks on the island. The answer appears to be ‘no’.
As a relatively recent member of the dog-loving world, I too would like to have such a place on the island.
So is it possible? And do we need it?
Tracey Guy, 27 Wallace Avenue, Rothesay
Charity auction thanks
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who donated items, made abid on items or donated money in lieu of bids to my recent online auction on Facebook for the Alan Morement Memorial Fund (AMMF), the UK’s only cholangiocarcinoma charity.
Cholangiocarcinoma is a rare type of liver cancer and my Mom died from it in December 2013, just five weeks after being diagnosed.
This was my third auction to raise money for the AMMF in Mom’s memory, and the auction raised £169. A further £45 was given in donations, making a grand total this time of £209.
More than £1,000 has been raised for AMMF so far and I am very grateful to everyone who has supported this good cause. Thank you.
Kaz Molloy, 10 The Terrace, Ardbeg