Alistair Donaldson

Alistair Donaldson recalls:

Teachers
Joe Campbell – The only man who could actually play footie with a fag hanging out his mouth – and beat all of us.

Robin Hayles – Really good chess player, let a few of us try his home brew tops – it wasn’t great but it was alcohol so the boys of Room 8 were much appreciative.

John Quin – I’ve read it elsewhere, but what a driver, he would get an amazing amount of us into his big Peugeot estate and then set about trying to make us S*%t ourselves on the way to some loch or river. He was even more mental in his wife’s Citroen 2CV6, personally I think he probably hated French cars. Top Top guy.

Ron Cowels – Another top guy. Better driver and really good climber. I spent many hours with him being tutored in the fine art of falling of cliffs.

The Beak and Beakess – I have really fond memories of them. I do remember Ian Campbell and I driving the Beakess to distraction whilst trying to get her to teach us French swear words. She eventually to told us to “foutre le camp”.

Bob Glaister – The only teacher I remember losing it completely with me (they were deserving of honours these teachers). He chased me around the grand piano in the main hall for an age, threatening to kill me, it was absolutely hilarious until the beak came out his study.

Kenny Speirs – The coolest teacher ever. Not least because of his hot girlfriend, I remember being very much in awe of him for that.

Pupils

I can help you with a few of the pupils.

Campbell Dunlop – was definitely at LMS in 1981, because we went camping. The 2 of us told the school we were on holiday, and told our respective families we were going on a school trip.
Absolute disaster after 3 days we had had our tent robbed (we’d pitched it just off the clydeside expressway in Glasgow on a Saturday night and went out to try our luck with some girls). We were broke and ended up in a children’s home for a couple of weeks. Campbell (Dopey was his nickname) was collected by his mum after a couple of days.

Archie Coull – He was also there around ’81. I remember we had a fight, he left (or was moved shortly after)

Ian Campbell – We were good mates, we also had the odd fight (was it really gladiator school?). There was one such occasion when we were arguing about a math problem and we decided to settle it in the ring. Joe Campbell set up the ring in the sports hall, gave us the gloves and refereed the 3 rounds. Turns out he was some championship boxer at under 16 level and I never laid a glove on him. To be fair, after the first round when I’d hit him instead of touching gloves, he took it easy on me.
I remember we started as friends and parted as friends, what else matters.

I remember Stevie Withers and I getting well and truly sparkled on magic mushrooms whilst hiding in one of the many rhododendron that were around. I also shared a room with his big brother Mark during my time there; we were in Dorm 24 and moved to Room 8 at the same time, another good guy. As I recall he lived on Pot Noodles and lusted over Aston Martin’s.

Phil Brown – Was in Dorm 24 with me. I felt a bit sorry for him, he really was out of his depth and quite timid. I tended to leave him alone. I am sorry to see he died.

Dinger Mullen was still there in 1980. I remember this because he had ambitions of becoming a hairdresser and I let him loose on mine. I sincerely hope he honed some skills ‘cos my barnet was shocking after he’d done with it. He was a good drummer though. I remember he along with Ruaridh (who hasn’t changed in 30 years, as verified by his photo) and Ned put on a concert in the Main Hall, I think Kenny Speirs was also involved. Top Night.

I remember Davy Cox, Chris Henderson and John Nelson – they were all seniors when I was middle. I met John again, at Cardonald College, having left LMS to finish my highers closer to home. He tried to help me settle to college life but I found I just wasn’t equipped to force myself to be educated when the classroom wasn’t 50 yards away. I dropped out a few short months into that foray.

I also remember Peanut. He was equal parts annoying, helpful, clever and belligerent. I recall him selling fags to the juniors at a price way below I was – thus threatening my fledgling fag sales business. I was not happy – but he was adamant that if the juniors were going to smoke they were going to smoke at a fair price.

The only girl I remember is Adrienne Postlethwaite – I don’t think anyone who met her would forget her, and that’s a compliment.

And to Me

I was one of the Wine Cellar 4. We weren’t too bright. My compatriots were Jimmy Havelin, Phil Stanford and Alan Dalrymple. All were expelled except me; I was suspended for 2 weeks.
I don’t know why I was dealt with more leniently, only the Beak knows for sure, but it was possibly because it was only my first or second term.

After all, the Beak had moved out of the flat at the top and into a newly built bungalow up the path. Hindsight would suggest he took his wine with him as part of that move.

As previously alluded to, I left at the end of term Christmas ’82. Having failed miserably to attend college, I got into trouble with the police and was promptly sent to Borstal. First Offence, M’Lud. It mattered not.
Having been in and out of institutions for the previous 5 or 6 years, this held little fear for me. But it did make me realise that I was on a dangerous path.

Anyway, I got out and started my life. Worked various jobs from bouncer to civil service fraud officer. I found my niche in retailing and spent the next 17 years as a retailer, working through the grades to General Manager Scotland with an Office Supplies retailer.

Having hit my ceiling there, I set out and retrained as financial adviser at the tender age of 42. Four years on I am a director of a firm of Independent Financial Advisers.

On a personal level, I got married at 19, was a dad to a boy at 21 (do the Math it, it was love). We had a wee girl 2 years later and divorced when I was 26, it transpires we weren’t that much in love.

I re-married 9 years ago after having been together for a few years, and we have a wee boy who’ll be 6 in March.

Irony of all ironies, I’ve now just completed my training as a Children’s Panel Member, and in the new year will set about trying to ensure kids in trouble or need of supervision, get the help, direction, safety they need and deserve.

All-in-All life is good. I hope that many more FPs reach happiness and settled lives. I’ve really considered doing the whole Facebook thing and coming to re-union, but I’m just not made that way. I reckon my maladjustment might always be there hidden in some deep dark recess of my psyche.
If I can be of any help to any of us, please feel free to get in touch, and be assured that I will dip my toe every now and then in the hope of reading nice updates from the others.

Kind regards,

Alistair Donaldson

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