Updated 26/2/12 - see bottom of post
I heard this morning that one of those distant but ever-present characters that we all have in our lives has died. Tant has passed away at the age of 87. To those of us who knew him, it's amazing that he reached that age, or anything like it: Tant abused his body unlike anyone else I've ever known.
His name wasn't really Tant, but very few people ever called him Angus except ironically. The only explanation I ever heard for the nickname was that it was due to a childhood speech impediment. Certainly he was difficult for strangers to understand or at least comprehend, and conversation with Tant often involved a lot of grunts and whoops.
When we moved to the village in 1965 he was already one of the local worthies and part of the folklore. He had no regular job, but worked around the farms, digging ditches, shifting things from here to there, anything that required a heavy manual effort and not a lot of thought. I worked alongside him a couple of times and he could certainly put in a fair bit of graft for someone built like a withered stick.