Archive for June 2011

Walton Electrical v Mike Mackenzie builders Ltd

This is an update on the case, heard in Oban Sheriff Court on 28th June.

Mike Mackenzie Builders Ltd formally dropped both their counter claim against Walton Electrical and their defence of the case. The defence of the case in this instance seems to be Mr Mackenzie’s claim that Mr Walton’s electrical work was flawed.  However, in legal terms this means that Walton Electrical has won the case and Mackenzie Builders has to pay up. As we have seen in the last few weeks Mackenzie Builders has changed its name to EB Joinery and the address  of its registered office to E. Thornton’s solicitors in Oban, and Mr Mackenzie and his wife have both transferred all their shares in the company to Iain Mitchell, so with all this uncertainty Mr Walton wanted the case kept within the court system until Mackenzie Builders pays the debt of £4,089.72. With this case having dragged on for more than 3 years Mr Walton’s legal costs and time spent pursuing Mike Mackenzie will be considerable; we  are led to believe a further sum of around £8,000 on top of the original sum.

Sheriff Douglas Small has set the 20th of July for the the two sides to come back into court to make sure Mike Mackenzie MSP  has indeed paid his debt.  

We will give a further update in late July.   




Four Poppies from Helmand

The radio and tv news last night told of more young soldiers killed in Helmand, and other theatres of war. George Doyle, our former ferryman, wrote a poem for Remembrance Day a couple of years ago, and he has given us permission to reproduce it here.


Megan: 37. Husband Tom: 39. Two children. T.A. Medical. Roadside bomb.

            My dear kind man has gone to war.

            “Make sure the kids don’t fret too much.

            I’ll be alright, it’s just one tour.”

                        Yet Poppies grow in Helmand.

The kids were his whole life, he doted on them. He was sure he’d be home. “No worries,” he said … but … sorry … I think they should all come home now.


Serena: 15. Brother Kieran: 22. Bomb Disposal. IED casualty.

            My best brud Keery. Such a fool.

            “See ya Sizzla. Don’t touch my stuff.

            This bomb disposal. Hey, it’s cool.

                        Poppies explode in Helmand!”

He was like my best real friend. He called me Sizzla. Said it like a Baltimore Blood. You know, “Sizz-LA” I shouldn’t worry ‘cause “he was Super Scouse”. Indestruc-TABLE! He wasn’t though … was he?


Sally: 50. Son David: 19. Infantry. Shot on patrol.

            My big bold son has gone abroad.

            “Stop fussin’, Mum. They won’t get me.

            I can’t stay home. I get so bored.

                        All my mates are in Helmand.”

He was just drifting really. Couldn’t settle. He and his mate Robert signed up together. He made loads of mates over there. Some of them come round now and then. His Captain sent a lovely letter. Yeah, it’s hard, but you just have to carry on. It’s what he would want. Isn’t it?


Lynn: 39. Daughter Helen: 21. Logistics. Landrover blown up.

            My baby girl has gone to sign.

            “This bloody job is killing me.

            Of course I won’t step on a mine,

                        I might not get to Helmand.”

Oh yeah, boy was she a wild child, but when she joined up, complete change. I was so proud. She got to be Corporal. Her boyfriend Max is out there now. He might get home when she …

… she was so … so full of life.



            The family Brit and all the rest

            at Wooton Basset, standing proud

            to welcome home and lay to rest

                        four Poppies killed in Helmand.


© George Doyle, August 2010.

Walton Electrical v Mike Mackenzie Builders Ltd

UPDATE 15th June 2011

Today Mike Mackenzie of ertswhile Mike Mackenzie Builders failed in his attempt to defer the next dates for the case Walton Electrical v Mike Mackenzie Builders scheduled for the 4th and 5th July, an application which was made on his  behalf  by his solicitor E. Thornton and Co. His solicitor also tried to lead by saying that Mike Mackenzie Builders would be dropping the counterclaim for damages against Walton Electrical, only to be stopped by Sheriff Mclory who said he felt that, because the case was already being heard by Sheriff Douglas Small, it wouldn’t be appropiate for him to take over and hear this application. He said Sheriff Small was away on holiday and would be back to hear the application on the 28th June. The solicitor for Mike Mackenzie Builders added they would be trying to settle the case then. There was also mention of the business name  of Mike Mackenzie Builders Ltd. changing to EB Joinery & Building Ltd., with the new address being at the offices of his solicitor E. Thornton & Co.

Eilean Eisdeal meets Cap’n Jack Sparrow

If you’ve got hold of a copy of Eilean Eisdeal’s Newsletter No. 46 you’ll have read that:

“work is progressing on the solar powered facelift for the playpark … The children spent an afternoon … creating pirate sounds and pictures which will be incorporated into the project.”

 However, you may have missed the full imaginative glory of this scheme. For the interest of our readers, here is the sketch that was produced during the kids’ brainstorming session with Rob Welch, showing the … erm … “Sustainably Haunted Pirate Ship”.


It seems that the pirate ship will feature solar-powered motion-activated lights and sounds. Presumably we can therefore look forward to the air being rent with Cap’n Jack Sparrow-type noises, the moan of the aeolian harp (imagine that in the winds we had recently!), the whir of the Jolly Roger wind turbine (ditto!), solar lights flashing on and off as the kids scramble around, while colour-changing lights constantly illuminate the scene.

The words “this can’t be serious” spring to mind; as do the words “planning permission”. Shurely … ?? 

“Jim the Bus”

Alice shares her memories of the 418 bus.

I was sorry to hear about the proposed changes to the 418 bus service to and from Easdale.

 While we have benefited from an enhanced service these past few years, it seems that due to stringent cuts to council budgets, we are going back to where we were when I first came here 32 years ago.

In those days there was (from Easdale), a 10.50 in the morning and one at 15.30 in the afternoon. The high school children stayed at the hostel and there was an early bus on Mondays, leaving here at 08.00 and a late one back on a Friday at about 16.30.

Having a toddler of 18 months and the week’s shopping to do, it was the 10.50 bus for us. Jimmy Robertson (Jim the bus) was the driver and Betty Dunlop his “clippie”. Both had been on the Easdale run since it started, in fact Jim had been with about 4 different companies as each took over the route. It was a very friendly bus and you soon got to know the other passengers. The first time I got on the bus, I heard someone ask Betty who we were. Betty then proceeded to tell everyone on the bus who we were, where we lived and how long we’d been there. I was gobsmacked as I certainly had never met her before and hadn’t been on the bus before.

When we arrived in Oban, we headed straight for the Co-op or William Lowe’s supermarket, did our grocery shopping, packed it into boxes, stuck a label with “2.10 Easdale Bus” on the front and left it to do the other shopping (Boots, Menzies etc) and have a cup of tea, maybe even lunch.

The shopping was then delivered to the bus and after checking that your boxes were there and Menzies from the station having put the papers on board (sometimes Jackson the butcher brought a parcel of meat to be delivered or the florist came with flowers for some lucky lady) Jim and Betty would check everyone who was coming back on the bus was there and off we went.

Jim didn’t believe in designated stops and stopped at everyone’s request where he would help the older people with their bags. He also threw out the papers into the appropriate gardens as he travelled along and stopped to hand over the meat or flowers.

We the passengers, meanwhile, had a good old blether and compared purchases and bits of news we’d picked up in town.  

People brought all sorts on the bus with them. One guy used to take his wilks into town to sell, another would bring back some coal, and I brought the Christmas tree home one year. Sometimes we even had to get off the bus so it could get up Kilninver hill or over the Clachan Bridge.

This was the old way and we were all sorry to see it go when Jim retired and the rules and regulations had to be adhered to, although we got more buses and people could get to work in Oban and the kids didn’t have to stay at the hostel, we also lost something precious too, a friendlier, easier way of doing things that is just a memory now.

I know that there is a distinct possibility that some of the runs will have to go because of financial restraint but I hope it will be possible to at least keep the Tesco stop at 14.00 as this at least means we do not have to try and drag our weekly shop all the way to the bus stop at the bank. Some of us are getting on and I can’t imagine trying to do that with a youngster in tow. The 17.15 bus is also needed if people are to be able to work in Oban as not everyone has a car or can get a lift to suit their hours.

The Scottish Beaver Trial

Colin (formerly of No. 39) has become a Beaver Ambassador for the Scottish Beaver Trial, and has sent in a report on what’s happening down in Knapdale.

Many of you will now be aware of the trial reintroduction of wild beavers into the Knapdale Forest in Argyll following the publicity generated by the recent BBC Springwatch series.

Four families were released at different locations in 2009, and the trial ends in 2014. For information regarding the aims of the trial go to the SCOTTISH BEAVERS website.

There are many common misconceptions regarding these animals. The most common is that they eat fish – they are actually completely vegetarian. Trees are felled in order to reach the succulent new leaves and bark at the top and also to use as building materials. Lodges are built as secure homes, and dams are constructed. They are the second largest rodents in the world (adults can reach approximately 1 metre in length), are nocturnal in habit and can make significant changes to their habitat and that of the wildlife they share their territory with. One of the aims of the trial is to determine what effect these changes have on other species, including man.

For those of you who would like to see the differences they are making the Scottish Beaver Trial are organising conducted walks every Tuesday throughout the summer, meeting at Barnluasgan Information Centre at 6pm. To reach Barnluasgan take the B814 towards Crinan and follow the road signposted for Tayvallich. The Information Centre and car park is next to Barnluasgan Loch at the point where the Achnamara road branches off. Bring lots of midge repellent, and if you want the chance to actually see a beaver leave your dog at home.

SNHG to record Easdale’s plant life

On 28th June, Seil Natural History Group are organising a biological recording field trip to Easdale, looking mainly at the plant life on the island.

As everyone may frequently stop to look at things, the trip  is not suitable for someone who wants a bracing “walk”, but it is ideal for anyone interested in finding out more about our local natural history. 
All are welcome, there is no need to be a SNHG member, but there is a charge of £2.50 for non-members.  The group will meet at Ellenabeich at 10 am to get the next ferry from Seil to Easdale, so anyone already on Easdale can simply meet the 10.15  ferry.
Let’s hope the weather keeps fine, and that some exciting discoveries are made! It will certainly be interesting to see the results of the survey.
There is more information about what the field trips involve HERE, and there are some beautiful photographs both on that page and elsewhere on the SNHG website, as well as details of other activities and how to become a member.