Eric has been a neighbour of mine since I moved to Kinlochard in 1994. Its perhaps hard to describe and capture the man but here it goes…
Eric was a great neighbour and friend from the get go. When we first met, he had retired from BT, but was running a bed and breakfast with his beloved wife Ann. Following Ann’s death, we worried as to what might happen but all credit to Eric as he built a new life for himself. He had a gentle and funny Staffordshire terrier called Zak. Zak wanted for nothing with regular walks and trips on the loch. To be on the safe side Eric purchased a buoyancy aid for Zak. The phrase ‘ to be on the safe side’ is a good way of describing Eric.
After a Head Injury in 2005, I was floundering around trying to find something to do. Eric helped me to rig up an electric outboard and batteries to my boat. Over the years, Eric was the person who I went to for any DIY issues or more likely disasters! Examples that come to mind include how to rescue a set of keys from an oil tank and how to get a temperamental generator up and running.
Sometimes the conversation came round to local history. Eric came up with a gem—a photo of him and the actress Norah Gorsen who played Jean in the film Geordie. The photo was taken in the football field opposite Aberfoyle school in 1955 when Eric was 19 and she was 23. They were filming Bill Travers’ efforts at hammer throwing and shot putting. Eric had passed a ‘ favourable comment’ on Norah’s looks when someone asked her if she would let them take a photo of her with Eric. Eric said the photo was probably ’ the first selfie’ as she was happy to agree and put her arm around him and smiled nicely. He made the point that as you can see from their comparative eye levels, she was tiny—Eric always had the eye for detail!
Whilst he was essentially a private man, a call or cry for assistance was always met with ‘ What can I do to help?’. Equally he was welcoming when I just called in to say hello. He gave so much and accepted so little. I suspect that laterally Eric was feeling that his time was up and I hope that he can rest easy now.
Thanks Eric you were a special man.