Nostalgia: Lonely I Wander

A bus stops at traffic lights at the High Street, Dalkeith, Midlothian. It was announced in 1953 that a one-way system was to be introduced to ease the bottleneck in the High Street

A bus stops at traffic lights at the High Street, Dalkeith, Midlothian. It was announced in 1953 that a one-way system was to be introduced to ease the bottleneck in the High Street

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The winds of change in Dalkeith arrived slowly at first but were soon very much in evidence.

But life went on with schooldays at Dalkeith High School, our seat of learning with unforgettable teachers who definitely left their mark on our young lives, names that will live forever in my memory.

As we proceeded along James Lean Avenue during schooldays we would collect, one by one, our classmates the names coming to mind instantly — Ian Macshagnsay, Jim Forrest, Tom Anderson, Charlie Cumming — and then on to Dalkeith High where we formed straight lines and class by class we were marched into school, usually to the strains of the piano played by various teachers, Miss Colqhoun coming especially to mind.

The day was varied and divided into periods and a few teachers left an indelible mark on our young lives.

In the beginning we started off at the wee school where Miss Kingsley, Miss Nicol and the very tall Miss Young ruled.

Then we proceeded to the primary classes and we had only one teacher all the way to the qualifying class at primary 5. This was Miss Williamson, although we escaped her when we had a music class with Miss Irving, better known as Dainty Dinah, or a gym class with Mr Smith or Mr Cosser.

After qualifying we met a variety of teachers again who would have a profound effect on our lives. Mr McKechnie — or Geordie, as he was known — always had my respect, even in later life. He taught technical drawing, woodwork and mechanics, subjects I did not excel at, but Geordie persevered and we got there.

This teacher was an award-winning athlete and as an extra vocation he coached in athletics to a grade such that we gave a good account of ourselves in inter-scholastic events.

Mr Watson, an art teacher and a former Boroughmuir rugby forward, had us down at the sports field at Kirkbank coaching rugby, cricket and athletics.

On game days we would meet at the Wellington statue and carry on to the various sports fields around the city. One week we would play Holy Cross at Meggetland or down to Shirehaugh to take on Musselburgh Grammar. At the time we just did not think of the effort put into arranging the fixtures.

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