…why the hell did I ever leave the place?… Tobermory, Isle of Mull…

…some of yeez who follow my wee Blog will know that over fifty years ago I WURKED in the Clydesdale & North of Scotland Bank in Tobermory, situated amongst God’s gift to scenery in the fabulous Isle of Mull in the Scottish Inner Hebrides… I departed the island in 1970, transferred for a while to Campbeltown, before being  plunged into Darkest Deepest London Office for 10 years in Lombard Street, the  springboard to a life and career in foreign shores ever since… 25 years in Asia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, (with a side jaunt for a coupla years in OzzieLand)… for the past 12 years, home has been here in the Middle East… but NONE compares with the time spent all those years back in Tobermory.. well, I’m heading back there next week for a seven-day amble around my memories… watch this space for updates… just to put yeez in the mood, I wanna repeat a piece I did on here just over two years ago, about Angus Macintyre, one of the most remarkable human beings ever to grace this planet… he crafted much of what my life and philosophy has become…



…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

20 responses to “…why the hell did I ever leave the place?… Tobermory, Isle of Mull…

  1. have a great time in your old stomping grounds and i love angus too !)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ken J MacAulay

    I suspect, Seumas, that had either of us stayed in that beautiful place, we might ultimately have shared the fate of the late Findlay MacAskill in the waters of the Ness 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Angus sounds like quite a man, Seumas. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your trip back thoroughly. We’ll look forward to your future stories resulting from it. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a lovely blog, Seamus. I left Aberdeen one year before the black gold was discovered in the North Sea. The west coast is rather special though. When there were strikes on the ferries, I used to ‘manage’ the smuggling of Radio Times by fishing boat to Northern Ireland. The hospitality in Portpatrick was so overwhelming I often wondered how the boats ever made the crossing? Maybe they didn’t! Have a wonderful time next week.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. He sounds like a great character and you write so well. Life seemed to have been much less complicated back then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ..thanks you for the comment, m”Lady… he was a larger than life character for sure 🙂 The last time I met with him on a brief visit back to the island was around the late seventies …and he’s still my primary role model 🙂


  6. I hope you come back with even more great stories. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mull sounds wonderful. I haven’t been there but since my daughter married and moved to Kirkliston I have spent a marvellous wind-swept week on Skye and had a very interesting visit to beautiful Ardnamurchan.
    In answer to your question, Why did you ever leave? You went in search of adventure as I did to central Africa in the early eighties. I left for two years and stayed for thirteen. Have a wonderful time ‘going back’ – it’s great to revisit old haunts!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ..please send me your email address, m’Lady, on mine at seumasgallacher@yahoo.com cheeeeeeeers 🙂


  9. Looking forward to reading more about your trip down, up, and around Memory Lane. xo

    Liked by 1 person

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