"Hello this is Rosemary McGuinness, I have an appointment with "?? bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep, plunk ..... "I have an appointment with Mr. Thornber at 2 p.m., I'm "..... bleep, bleep, bleep, plunk.... "I'm ??. bleep bleep bleep plunk?? I?m afraid that I will possibly be ten or twenty minutes late?. A friendly woman?s voice enquired, ?Where are you now ??

Details were given, directions were noted.

The number 23 bus left Stirling soon afterwards. An elderly couple sat in the front right hand side seats and I in the second, They asked questions about Ireland, I asked questions about Scotland. Yes, they knew where the top of Naemoor Road was.

After the couple got off at Muckhart the bus driver began to chat. He asked questions about Donegal. I asked questions about Glasgow. I chuckled privately at some of his Glaswegian expressions, many of which I hadn?t heard before.

The bus neared the top of Naemoor Road, Lendrick Muir School ? the name registered worry and concern in the bus driver's eyes. "Ach hen, that?s no  place for a young girl like yourself''. As I stood up he leaned over and whispered, "That's a bad boys' school".

I wanted to quiz him, to find out all he knew about the school, but the bus had drawn to a halt.  The door of the bus opened, a hand stretched inside to take my bag. Soon the sympathetic look on the busdriver's face was but a faintness in the distance.

A friendly, pleasant, well-spoken man introduced himself as Mr. Thornber. But surely this was not the headmaster . Neither his attire nor his car was akin to one in such a position - old pants a good two inches from ground level  co-ordinated an unshapely woollen sweater . A Small white car with its interior and rusty exterior and one loosely hinged door was parked nearby. Confused and slightly bewildered I accepted a lift a short distance along Naemoor road.

Then followed my first evening at Lendrick. An informal chat with a Mr. Bob Glaister enlightened me on the term 'maladjusted', an informal chat in the headmaster ' s study constituted the dreaded interview ; an informal evening at the Kimnits in Clubs introduced me to many of the pupils. There was a restless, fidgety boy from Shetland who never stopped talking, a cute-looking obviously intelligent boy who genuinely fooled me into believing he was from Northern Ireland with his 'good' Belfast accent.

Back at school later supper was served in the drying room. A boy Sandy made an impression with Mohican hairdo, his foul language and in  particular with his startling lack of security and peace with himself. It was a Monday night so there was a hair check - nits beware !

I left next morning with fresh memories of the events of the day before. It had been a dull, cloudy day with some drizzle, but I brought home many bright and sunny memories - the majestic and magnificent hillfoots road, the hospitality of the Lendrick staff, the genuine concern and patient they had for the kids in their care and the sense of belonging to the place some of these kids had.

I had arranged to phone Mr. Thornber at 2 p.m. on Thursday to tell him my decision. Lendrick would be a challenging and interesting place to work; my colleagues there would be welcoming and supportive; Scotland seemed a nice country (despite the awful telephones), who knows what I might find but it was not for me ? I wavered,.

A supply of 10ps were at hand. I lifted the receiver. There would be no bleeps this time. "Hello, this is Rosemary McGuinness ringing from Dublin. Could I speak to Mr. Thornber please"??.

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