FORTROSE -- Journeyman electrician, Whim McIntosh, 36, of MacKeddie Drive, recently noticed the passage of time since making an appointment with a local plumber in an usual way -- by the appearance of a beard.
"Aye, the other morning I was having a cup of tea and a wee Jaffa Cake," he explained, "and when I went to wipe me mouth I felt a bit of bristle." It is a long-standing custom among Fortrose locals to eschew the Continental fashion of employing a napkin, in favour of the prosaic -- and some say more efficient -- 'wipe o' the haund'.
McIntosh went on to detail events leading up to the surprise discovery. "I like to have a shave of the morning. You might say it's a wee ritual of mine. I have my soap and my [Gillette] Mach 5 all set on my favourite sink, lined up just so. But one morning I went to turn on the hot tap and the bastard was stuck faster than [local pensioner] Dodo McShane to a bar stool."
McIntosh continued his tale. "Try as I might, I couldna get the tap un-stuck. So, I went on to [Facebook group] Highland Homers to see who was aboot." After several posts went un-answered, McIntosh took the next viable step. "I was going to the Co-Op to check out the multi-buy anyway, so I took a gander at the notice board over by the pet food. And right in front of me, plain as day, was a card with a picture of a dripping tap on it. Even though that was sort of the opposite of my problem, I gave the manny a ring anyway." It was then that the trouble began.
"He said he'd be over to look at it at the back of 4, like. Personally, I never know if that's before 4 or after 4, but when he hadn't turned up by half-5, I figured he wasn't coming." McIntosh then went on to experience what has become known locally as the 'two-week rule'.
"So, two weeks later, he turns up to look at the sink," mused McIntosh as he absently stroked his newly-acquired facial hair. "And then two weeks later, he calls with a quote, but says he can't start the job for another two weeks. By then, I was thinking that I might get fingered to play Santa Claus up the Seaforth Lodge."
We asked McIntosh if he could simply shave in a different sink. "Oh, aye, but it wouldna be the same, would it? It's like asking a man to drink his tea out of a pint glass. It just wouldna be the same."
This article contains additional reporting by Jess Anderson