FORTROSE -- Much to the amusement of his friends and family, a casket containing the earthly remains of Colin MacAndrews, formerly of Wester Greengates, was spotted outside John Fraser & Son Funeral Services in Inverness early Wednesday morning, in advance of the business opening on the day of his funeral.
"First to arrive and last to leave" is how MacAndrews was described by long-time friend, Ellie Patience, 89, of Rodger Court. The two pensioners formed the core of a group semi-affectionately known to local retailers as "The Window Lickers" for their habit of peering into neighbourhood shops 15 minutes before opening time.
"To be fair, Pa used to wake up at 4:00 in the morning," remembered Reenie MacAndrews, 66 and eldest daughter of the deceased. "He'd fuss about the hoose, doing this and that and by the time the shops opened he was just about ready for his bed again."
"It's as if they think we're going to hurry up and open just because they decide to turn up," said Fiona McIver, 37, of Tulloch Town. We caught up with her at the Co-op, where she spends break time from her Boot's Sales Assistant job by browsing the notice board by the pet food.
"I'm just sitting down to a cup of tea and a wee Jaffa Cake before work and when I look up it's like Night of the Living Dead out there." McIver was referring to a film from 1968, in which a family barricades itself inside a house whilst flesh-eating zombies try to force entry with the intention of devouring the live human beings within. At presstime, it was unclear which aspect of the plot she was referencing.
Attendants at the funeral home were perplexed when they opened the doors for business only to find MacAndrews' casket and his fellow Window Licker already forming a short queue at the door. "That American who runs the pub," joked Patience, as she craned to get a look inside the funeral home, "he always said Colin would be early to his own funeral. Well, look who's laughing, now. Although I guess he's not exactly laughing, like."
This article contains additional reporting by Jess Anderson