Wednesday, April 01, 2009


TourScotland uploaded this photograph to Twitpic today. It's Cornaigmore school on the Isle of Tiree - my very first school. I started Primary 1 here in 1967 and didn't leave until we went back to the mainland four and a half years later.

Just looking at this photograph is bringing back memories of the headmaster Mr McDougal standing outside that lean-to with a great big whistle in his mouth; big boys with tackety boots streaming through the hallway; wet coats, cremola foam and the occasional sheep in the cloakroom; and the perfume of my very first teacher Miss Dodds. The area at the front of the school is the machair which stretches all the way down to the beach - a great place for a game of rounders in the summer.

The school seems to have changed a bit since then.

(Thanks Sandy)


nmj said...

What a beautiful place to have gone to school, I can imagine it's evocative for you seeing this pic. We must be similar ages, I started primary in 1968, no sheep in the cloakroom though. I do remember a janitor with ginger hair, he put the flag up on sunny days, which meant we could go on the grass.

Le laquet said...

my Lesley - you are Katie Morag! We learn all about you in school every year!!

*winks* Yeh I know that's Coll not Tiree but I can live my dreams of meeting her can't I??

Jordan said...

Lovely! Thanks for sharing this, Lesley.

Ms Mac said...

Ever since I saw this, I've been on a fruitless search for my own first primary school- a beautiful old building right on the Clyde before they moved us up to the new, souless building in the name of prgress.

deborah said...

Seeing photos of houses with no trees nearby makes me think of the word bleak ... but your description doesn't sound bleak at all.

Like Ms Mac I'm also on a fruitless search for an old photo of Farnaby School, Kippington Road in Sevenoaks, Kent.

I've found what it looks like now though thanks to an Estate Agent's blurb (it was converted into flats years ago). My memory not too hot so am getting sister J to double check that it really was a Grade II listed building ... No beach on the doorstep, Lesley, but plenty of beeches which we climbed whenever we could!

Lesley said...

nmj: I can't remember anything about our janitor except that he wore a blue boiler suit and turned up with a pail of sand any time a child was sick in the classroom.

Lelaquet: Yes, I am Katie Morag!

MsMac: Keep trawling. Where was your first school?

Deborah: There isn't a single tree on the whole of the Isle of Tiree but it's not bleak, a bit as I imagine the Mongolian Steppe must be.

Anonymous said...

Tiree! That's where they have the world windsurfing championships, eh no?

Looks like a lovely place to start out one's education. If I hadn't been a fancy expat, this is where I'd have gone.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lesley, my that brings back memories. Do you remember we sometimes had lessons on the beach in Summer (Tiree gets more sunshine hours than anywhere else in the UK)
I remember it as bleak and windy in the Winter and sunny and windy in the Summer and the machair as a stunning carpet of wild flowers in the early Summer.
Ronnie (Lesley's wee brother)

beaverboosh said...

Wow, I'm definitely old school on this one!

Sarah Mackenzie said...

Ah... the bucket of sand. I can remember my first day at school very clearly because I was sick on my desk and the teacher thought that I might appreciate sitting in front of it for the entire day - buried under a few inches of sand of course. Those were the days, eh?

Lucy said...

'Machair' reminds me of Iona.

Katie Morag and Peedie Peebles were great!