No 13 August 2000


 AUGUST 2000: ISSUE NO. 13

BILL ALLAN writes, "Since Bill Mackechnie has given in to editorial prompting, I guess I have to do likewise (also gracefully). I spent four years (1967-71) as an undergraduate in Kinnessburn, and then two years as a privileged visitor while really living in Deanscourt. I moved to a flat in Ceres in the last year of my PhD. Unfortunately,  my last memory of the inside of Kinnessburn is as a Student Health Service patient after Kinnessburn was converted to that purpose; not a pleasant memory!

Memories of Ceres are much more pleasant. My next door neighbour was a New Zealander named Sylvia, who within a couple of years became my wife. I spent that couple of years as a Postdoc at Cranfield Institute of Technology, while Sylvia planned the recreational facilities of nearby Milton Keynes (which I found to be a pleasant place to live, despite much noise to the contrary).

Not being greatly enamoured  of Cranfield, we returned (or at least Sylvia did!) to New Zealand. I began working at the late lamented Department of Scientific and Industrial Research on the physics of hydromagnetic waves in the Earth's magnetosphere (honest!),  which I managed to keep going in DSIR and one of its successors (the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) until 1998. At that point, my research was declared "irrelevant" to the national economy, and I now work on relevant greenhouse gases such as methane in the lower atmosphere, and carbon dioxide at the air-sea boundary. I've managed to keep the space physics going as a hobby, thanks to a great collaboration with Andy Wright, now a Reader in the St Andrews Maths Institute on the North Haugh. I was in the first 1967 batch of students to use the Maths Institute, so it's quite poignant when I go back to work with Andy, and I see Kinnessburn just up the hill.

I'm half Scots and half Kiwi now, having spent about 25 years in each country. My daughter Kathryn and son Iain are both fully-fledged Kiwis, being born and brought up here. Kathryn is working her way up in the insurance business, and Iain is in his last year at school. When Andy Wright came out here to work with me in 1995, he persuaded me to take up golf again. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I've managed to get my handicap down to 25; that's a Kiwi 25, which Andy reckons is a St Andrews 18. I like golf, but it doesn't like me very much.

If any former Kinnessburnians happen to be in New Zealand, get in touch with me (e-mail: [not published on website]), and I'll show you the sights of Wellington and around.

To end, congratulations to Sven Sigurdsson on his Reykjavik Mathematics Chair. Sven was my Senior Man at Kinnessburn. I'll always be grateful he gave me a small jigsaw puzzle as a Raisin Receipt rather than a toilet bowl or a donkey."

PETER BINNS admits in the millennium edition of the alumnus chronicle (capital letters presumably Costing Extra) to being Chief Examiner in Advanced Level French for the Oxford Board. In the same august publication Dr GEOFF CRAVEN cannot make up his mind whether he is Geoff or Frank, and so qualifies for the sobriquet of "The Dr Jeffkyll and Mr Hyde of Kennedy Gardens", while our other GP, ALISTAIR FORRESTER, comes in for congratulation on his award of the Fellowship of the Royal College of General Practitioners. The same page also carried a  news item about BAREND ter HAAR.

In my last e-mail I broke out into French as a sop to Brussels. Our man in the Grand Duchy, MIKE DICKINSON, gently chides me for forgetting that French is spoken also in Luxembourg. "We have to cope with German and Luxembourgish (yes, it exists and relates to German like broad Agricultural Fife or Buchan relates to English) as well as French!"



[not published on website]


[not published on website]

BASIL POGUE e-mailed his latest joke....

Hilary Clinton dies and goes to Heaven. As St. Peter is showing her around she notices there are clocks everywhere.

So she asks St. Peter, "Why are there so many clocks? What are they for?"

St. Peter replies, "Well, you see, everyone has a clock and every time they sin, their clock ticks on a minute."

"That's interesting," says Hilary.

St. Peter points. "See, that's Mother Teresa's. She had a couple of small sins, so her clock has ticked on two minutes. And that's Henry VIII's. He had a few sins, so his clock has moved quite a bit."

"Wait a minute," says Hilary, "where's my husband Bill's?"

"Oh," says St. Peter, "THAT one!! Actually, Jesus is using it in his office as a fan!"

GILL and GRAHAM ROBERTSON have joined the 'down-sizing' trend and are currently between homes. Letters will be forwarded by the GPO and the e-mail address is still good.

DAVID SMITH responded to your Editor's call by sending two photos of a Kinnessburn Charities Float on one of which a small portion of the front of the building features - many thanks, David: these will join the portfolio of Kinnesspix. A full-frontal view is still being sought, so all please sort through your attics.

The British Post Office has commemorated Fife on a stamp two years running! This month's 45p issue features the Kingdom of Fife Cycleways, described as 'one of the most comprehensive regional  networks of cycle routes in Britain'. Overseas postings may qualify for one of these tiny masterpieces (!) which may actually get to be posted in St Andrews.

Published  by Graham Robertson

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