Jessie Gilchrist was the Cook. When did she retire?

She put pen to paper for the final souvenir edition of Image, the school magazine:

"I went to Lendrick Muir as Cook in September, 1960. At that time it was known as Naemoor School. Mr. and Mrs. Grieve ran it then. They of course started the school.

The kitchen at that time was much smaller. Where the hatches and hotplates and dishwasher are now was the Matrons' Room. There was an Esse Cooker (very temperamental and an oldish electric cooker - nothing else electric and no fridge.

I do not remember how many pupils there were then but there were two dinners, younger pupils first, the older ones later. The assistant cook and myself took a trolley with the food along the passage to the dining room.

I remember the time the Grieves produced a Shakespeare play. A stage was built in the hall and was there for some time. Steps led up over it from the inner hall door and down near the kitchen passage. It was a wonder nobody broke a leg. It was impossible to clean up under it. All sorts of things were pushed in there. I don't think I ever saw the play. It was a great success but I did see some of the pupils in blue costumes. Mr. Grieve turned off the electric in the kitchen the day of the main performance so that the footlights would work around the stage.

It was a job to get the tea urn to boil on the Esse!

I was at the school on the morning of April 1st, a Sunday, and was surprised to find a dining room table outside the door and a trolley. Then Mrs. Grieve came and took Mrs. Lester, who had come to do the dishes, into the dining room. All the tables were upside down and the forms they sat on.

The dishes had been put inside the tables. I thought 'I hope Mrs. Grieve makes them sit at the tables like that' and she did. The boys who usually sat at the table that was outside were sent out there to have their breakfast. As it was a windy morning the cornflakes didn't stay on the plates. There were some tall long legged boys at that time, so it was rather funny to see them trying to sit at their upsides down tables.

Two small boys [ David Hope and Michael Cousins ] always seemed to be in trouble. Their punishment was scrubbing the kitchen corridor and it was not covered then, just the bare stone. They did that often. Another boy would play a whistle. His punishment was to play it all the time and he never played it again.

It was quite an upheaval when the kitchen was done up one summer holiday. I think the holiday had to be extended and we cooked for some staff in a small place around where the sick bay is now.

One year the pupils were taken up to Glenshee to ski. They went in an old bus the school bought. I always wondered how the young teachers managed to get them there and back without any breakdowns. They took the old gas stove, a large pot of stew and other things of course. Different pupils went each day.

Then there was the year the power cuts hit the country. We cooked when the electric was there and at other times had to make do with the old gas cooker. I don't think anybody went hungry but hot water was a problem.

There were the sad times too. I saw a party off one Friday afternoon, all very happy for a weekend at Loch Earn I think. I was there the next morning when they returned very sadly as one boy had been drowned. It was a terrible morning too when Mrs. Crozier, a Housemother, was killed in her car on the way to the school. One could hardly believe it.

One May, I forget the year, the Lord High Commissioner came (Lord somebody or other) for a visit. We practiced curtsies beforehand.

He came into the kitchen and all he said to me was "fine big windows - easy to let the smell out when you burn the scones" (I didn't). There were Christmas parties and dinners - I nearly got stuck once. The turkeys for the Christmas dinner were quite large. It was easy to get them into the ovens but getting them out was another story. It was done of course somehow or other. Parents Day was held a week or two before the school closed for the summer holidays. It usually turned out a lovely day and once or twice tea was served outside.  During the summer there was a great demand for packed meals. I must admit they nearly drove me up the wall. There were other things to be done as well.

For a while there was a peacock and peahen in the grounds. A shed was made for them but they hardly ever used it, preferring to sit in the trees.

They were great amusement to us as who ever was on making the breakfast there they were at the windows. They stayed there until they got a feed. The peacock got hurt and died and the hen wandered away but was found and taken to where there were more of her own kind.

I always admired Lendrick Muir in the spring and when the daffodils were in bloom, then it was beautiful. Surely some former pupils and members of staff will think of it like that.


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