KINNESSBURN REUNION NEWS
No. 29 – CHRISTMAS 2004
Christmas, the time for remembering those we haven’t seen recently, seemed appropriate for –
TALES OF THE MISSING
Romney Johnstone continues from the previous newsletter, “I last spoke to COLIN MILLAR in 1996(?) when he was still living with his mother in Galashiels. Although Colin had a degree in history (I think) from St. Andrews he had been working casually in the mills until he trained as an accountant. His brother Ian was also an accountant and had close contacts with the church in Galashiels
“On your list I noticed JOHN CORDINGLEY. Now had I bothered to pass my exams and return to St. Andrews... John and I had organised a flat to stay in in Crail, anyway I did a quick search on the Internet and he was certainly working as a visiting professor in chemistry at the University of Central Arkansas in 2002. There is a PDF file relating to the same appointment which confirms photographically that it really is him although with slightly less hair than I remember - not that I have any to speak of myself. [Correspondence to John at the University has been returned, so we assume that in the intervening period he has moved on without leaving an address.]
“I met John and STEVE HANNAH in London in 1975 when they were visiting some sort of traditional dance convention. I can confirm by the way that I did indeed share a room (first on the left at the top of the stairs) with Alec Coull and for a while there was a bridge club running there led by ROBIN ROSE, until I chucked them all out one day after realising that they were using our room even when Alec or I was not playing!!”
As long ago as 2002 Greg Newman gave your Editor details of DEREK LODGE but the ‘welcome back’ e-mail bounced. Greg sent the attached explanation. “The whole episode was a bit like something from John Buchan’s ‘The Thirty-nine Steps’. I got an address and telephone number from Peter Bear. I telephoned the number concerned and had a message taken. Derek phoned me back and arranged to call at my office one Wednesday lunchtime and go to the pub. The day he arrived we had a disaster on in the office, so I was not quite as with it as I might have been, but we went to The Greyhound and I had a beer – he had cola.
“He explained that he was ex-directory. We chatted about offspring and people we used to know and he gave me his e-mail address. When the e-mail bounced I decided the best answer was to write. Which I did – to the address Bear* gave me where Derek said he had lived the last 19 years. Some weeks later the letter came back marked “not known at this address”. I checked the electoral roll – no Splodge current or last year at any address in that street.
“I am mystified – suggest you contact Bear.” Sounded good - the latter replied, “I’m as mystified as you and Noggin about the Derek Lodge saga, as for donkey’s years we’ve been sending Xmas cards to the address I gave Noggin, and I thought we’d been receiving also. Certainly haven’t had anything returned, so I can’t shed any light on the mystery of the disappearing Lodge – perhaps someone could make it the subject of a thriller novel!!”
*Peter Bear was the soubriquet given to Peter Martin by virtue of his membership of The Three Bears Club, a socio-political fraternity which your Editor feels made the US Republican Party look revolutionary.
So what happened to Splodge? Was he abducted by Hepburnians?
More from Romney, “Well, this has got me thinking about the various friends that I lost touch with after my year at St. Andrews. Looking once again at the list of lost souls I noticed the name of SIMON GORDON. The last I heard he had moved to Orkney, although he had been working as a solicitor in the Borders before moving up to Orkney.”
Graham Fleming, in the photograph referred to below, mentions a hitherto unknown Missing Man, JOHN BAXTER. And Anthony Ashwell refers to his Bejant FRASER HALL, also not listed. Anybody able to give us a clue?
THE ROLL-CALL – Sixty-three Men are still Lost. Please keep looking to see if we can locate a few more. It is an unfortunate reflection on our ages that some may feature in the ‘Despatches’ column of the press, so keep your peepers peeled.
Harry Barker, John Baxter#, John Bennett, Eddie Birkby, Ian Booth, Dave Brewin, John Cameron#, Iain Campbell, Jim Campbell#, Alastair Chisholm, Richard Clark, Tom Conroy, John Cook, John Cordingley#, Brian Crowe, John Cunningham, Paul Davies, Stuart Donaldson#, Dave Eggeling, KM Ferguson, Mike Foster, Andy Green, Fraser Hall, Tony Hancock, Doug Harrison, Lenny Helling, Paul Holloway, Ian Jack, Pete Kerry, PJ Lawrie, Dave Lindsay, Derek Lodge#, John Lowe, Fraser Macdonald, Ian Mallard, PDR Marshall, Sandy McAlpin, Colin Miller#, Alan More, Simon Ollivant, Jock Paton, Dave Pattullo, Rob Perry, Mike Peterson, Iain Prain, JCW Richardson, Brian Rickard, Pete Rogers, JEV Rose, Robin Rose#, Charlie Scott, Pete Shaw, Alistair Simpson, Graham Smith, Barclay Stewart#, Keith Taylor, John Thewlis#, Mervyn Thompson, Peter Thorogood#, Tony Ward, Duncan Watters, Tom Whiteside, David Wright.
# indicates those of whom information received did not lead to contact.
REGULAR NEWS -
RECTORIAL REMINISCENCES – ‘Arch’ has been reading Famous Rectors of St Andrews and sends his memories of the 1967/8 and 1970/1 Rectorial campaigns. Sounds like a good idea to ask you all to trawl through your memories and share your reminiscences of Rectorials. It could make a good third to follow Tales of the Moose and Tales of a Hero. What about it, guys?
GRAHAM FLEMING reports, “Following my retirement earlier this year, my wife and I have taken the opportunity to return to Scotland and are now living in Perth. One of the many pleasures of living here is that we are within easy striking distance of St Andrews, which we enjoy visiting.
“Although I have been a regular visitor to St Andrews over the years (I have family living in the town), it was a particular pleasure just this very weekend [that was in August] to stop outside Kinnessburn while giving 2 visiting cousins a tour of the town. The view from Kinnessburn is even more stunning than I remembered, though the building itself now looks somewhat lifeless. I recalled one incident when the residence's piano was left outside in the front garden after a Ball - essentially because we were too lazy to bring it back in - and eventually rotted there after several weeks in the snow, though not before a few midnight sing-songs were given. No doubt the long-suffering neighbours are pleased Kinnessburn is no longer a hall of residence but it does now seem so quiet there.
“One of the benefits of a removal is the serendipitous uncovering of all sorts of items long forgotten. As a result, I include a transcription of an article which appeared in The Scotsman in 1968.” [The article and its associated photo describe the presentation at the 1968 Rectorial of a catapult to Sir Learie Constantine. It has been earmarked to feature with other Rectorial reminiscences in the special edition mentioned above.]
The Revd ANTHONY ASHWELL writes from Dorset that he recalls the Kinnessburn sports scene and other events. “The earnest tiddlywinks team undermined by a lady's f--t at a crucial moment; the Kinnessburn hockey team, twice victors over the College Ladies XI; the rugby XV who trounced the arrogant Hepburn Hall; golf of course - on The Old with putters at midnight, seeing if it was possible to achieve level-8s - and my humiliation by my bejant, Fraser Hall, who claimed to play to scratch......he did; then there was "Scat", ever more complicated as we invented new rules, and spent more time arguing over the cards than actually playing.
“Tony Williams (Piano) and John Thewlis (Flute), both most gifted musicians who delighted the ear; Friday evenings "out" leading to complete weekends "in" (bed and/or the loo) - Phil Wheeler starred at this; and sobering up by 4 or 5 of us piling into my tiny 600 cc car and doing the block (Strathkinness, down to main road, back into town) with windows wide open, as fast as possible. Oh, dear.”
TED HILL asks whether a Mitty story will do. Of course it will.
“As a diffident bejant, I was ushered into the presence for a "glass of sherry". I was shown to a comfortable chair, doubtless to be put at my ease! Scratching at the door commenced, "...it's only Major....". Enter Major (a white bullterrier of uncertain temperament), who came snarling across the room towards me. "It's all right - it's just that you're in his chair.........". Needless to say I spent the rest of the our little chat in a very uncomfortable chair as Major sat and glowered at me from "his" chair.
“Could that have been deliberate or what..........?”
GRAHAM ROBERTSON has been researching the oft-rumoured connection between his old rugby-playing school, Merchant Taylors’, Great Crosby, and Football Club Barcelona – with surprising results! Those famous red-and-blue striped shirts actually originated in West Lancashire!
WILLIE THOMAS wrote that he enjoyed reading about the Men of Kinnessburn, though sometimes he had to stop to think whom he was reading about as he knew many of us by a nickname.
Of himself Willie says, “I lived in a Kinnessburn annexe in John Street which I shared with Richard Clark [another Lost Man], Donald Findlay and Murray Touche. It was in fact the home of Provost David Niven and his wife Jenny. Mrs Niven often chatted to us about life in the town and in such a relatively small town – as I recall St Andrews had about 10,000 inhabitants not counting students – the councillors knew that if anything went wrong they would have to answer to their neighbours.
“About a year before Kinnessburn closed I became a hall librarian – there were two of us who bought books for the library which was housed in the Kinnessburn Common Room. All the books were taken by Hepburn Hall when Kinnessburn closed. I read that Hepburn Hall itself has been closed. The recent announcement that Hamilton Hall has been sold makes me wonder what plans the University has for its halls of residence.
“Donald Findlay and I were amongst those who went to live in Southgait Hall when Kinnessburn closed. After graduation I got a job in the Civil Service. Most of my colleagues were pleasant but the work itself was boring. To keep my brain alive I took an Open University degree in physics and chemistry. A part-time degree course is very hard work, but the OU courses are very carefully thought out, the students are enthusiastic and there is plenty of help available from the tutors. Our Civil Service office was closed down in 1996 and I took voluntary early severance.”
Willie closes by regretting that he never met Major Mitford, whom he correctly describes as a “colourful character”, and remembering Dr Frame as a good Warden known for his sense of humour and repartee.
Hardly was the ink dry on the March edition before some of you said you’d enjoy a visit to the former capital of England.
The third Reunion will take place at 1 p.m. in Winchester on Saturday 4th June 2005 (this appearing to be the only Saturday thereabouts which does not clash with national cricket, golf, horsy things, motor-racing, rowing or tennis). The venue is still uncertain as only ‘parties’ are being booked in this far ahead and a ‘party’ consists of twenty (30 at one eatery). Cost will be about £20 each for a two-course lunch including coffee. A Blue Guide has been booked for a ninety minutes’ optional tour commencing at 11 a.m.: including a visit to the Cathedral: this will add a fiver to the fee. Partners are, as ever, most welcome to join the junketing. Full details will follow early next year.
Anyone requiring accommodation should get in touch with the local Tourist Information Centre at The Guildhall, Broadway, WINCHESTER SO23 9LJ.
BOOK THE DATE NOW
in your nice new diary
Saturday 4th June 2005
Produced for the Men of Kinnessburn by Graham Robertson