Saturday 27 May 2023


We are fortunate on Lewis in that in Stornoway - a town of about 12,000 people - we have 5 banks: Bank of Scotland,  Royal Bank of Scotland, TSB, Virgin Money and, of course, the Post Office Bank. 

When I came to Lewis nearly half a century ago the banks all had Managers and they were People of Importance in the community as, indeed, were the Deputy Managers and even the Cashiers were well known. 

As far as I know there are no Bank Managers in Stornoway now although I assume that all the banks are managed and, on the face of it, very well managed. 

I go into the bank quite a lot: partly because I like my bank (the Bank of Scotland), partly because I use my phone to pay for almost everything and therefore need £1 and 50p coins for tips and car parking (on the Island - mainland it's almost all via an app).

Recently I went in to change a large sum of old £20 notes into current currency which had to be done through my bank account. My Canadian visitor was with me (it was actually her money) and, as there was no queue after me (there was the commercial cash counter and another teller anyway) we had a good yarn. I've known the teller (I wonder if they are still called tellers - I bet they are not) since she was a new recruit to the bank as a teenager. Since then she had been in charge of the Tarbert Branch and was now back at her original branch.  She was telling me that she will be retiring this year. It made me very aware of my advancing years.

All except one of the 'original' staff from the '70s and '80s will then have retired and the final one will probably depart this year too. 

I wonder how much things will change. There will still be some familiar faces but it will be one way. I will know their faces but they won't know who I am. 

However, I am hoping that the sense of service will be maintained. When I had a problem with the B of S app on my iPhone recently I just popped in and one of the tellers who knows me found a 'youngster' who was very app aware and she knew exactly what to do. Now that is service.

Thursday 18 May 2023

Visitors and Things In General

There was a time, many years ago, when I wrote interesting blog posts. Now my life is of great interest to no one but me and I struggle to come up with a hopefully readable post every so often. And I really do appreciate the occasional message which makes me feel that I'm missed. Thank you. 

The last three weeks has seen a change in my usual routines. I've had visitors. It's been a wonderful time.

The first visitor was a friend of half a century who lived here on Lewis until not too long ago. That was a social visit ie not a sightseeing one. She visited all her friends during the day and I happily acted as chauffeur and sometimes joined her with mutual friends and sometimes did my own thing. In the evening we ate, relaxed and played dominoes (amongst other things). 

My second visit was by the daughter (Heather) of a late friend (Mo) from my teenage years who emigrated to Canada in the Sixties. Heather is a Canadian and a recent widow whom I have known since she was born. 

The last time we spent a lot of time together was in a villa in Belforte, Italy, to celebrate a significant birthday of her Mother. who died several years ago. I blogged about it here. Since that was written Heather's husband has died too. 

Heather's visit was a time of remembering and a time of new experiences for us both. She has lost a Mum, Aunt and Husband in the space of a few years and I have lost one of my dearest friends. However, I have got to know Heather so much better and I would like to think that we both benefitted greatly from the visit.