It was good to go down to the shop yesterday afternoon for a paper to find Dave Fraser of D&S Forecourt Services, Inverness, working on the three fuel pumps. Our association with Dave and his company goes back....
....to the time we first bought the shop, and to the shattering news when the old petrol station was condemned by Highland Council's Protective Services because the unleaded tank was leaking.
The dips on the unleaded tank used to go up and down in an erratic way: we later discovered that the holes were in the bottom of it, so the fuel moved up and down with the water table. The diesel tank, being above ground, was fine, as was the leaded.
We were saved by a grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise which enabled us to rebuild....
....the whole fuel station, all the fuel-related work being done by D&S's predecessor company, Fuel Tank and Pump Services. They were excellent, as was the company which did the building work, MacRae Brothers of Laide.
With the grant, we were offered brand new electronic pumps but refused. We reckoned that the existing pumps, the diesel being a Wayne and the petrol pumps Gilbarco Trimlines, all with Veeder-Root heads, were easier to maintain and mend, and would last longer in the exposed, salty, windswept environment. They've lasted another twenty years, far longer, Dave told us, than the electronic ones they were installing in other stations at the time.
Our eldest daughter Elizabeth painted the local wildlife on the front of the pumps, and they became quite a feature with visitors.
To Dave's knowledge, no other public petrol station is still using these pumps so they're probably the oldest working public fuel pumps in Scotland.