Reflections on a Life

A STUDENT IN THE SIXTIES, PART TWO

Photo – Military wedding photographer – alexbucklandphotography.co.uk Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, 1967, I’m 21. I live in a row of imposingly tall houses dating from the 1700s, way past their former glory. A dark stone staircase winds up from the wide street to our front door, and through that another, this time carpeted, rises up into a large, square hall with…

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A STUDENT IN THE SIXTIES, PART ONE.

1965, Atholl Crescent College of Domestic Science, Edinburgh. I’m nineteen and studying Institutional Management for three years which will qualify me to run large organisations on the domestic front. I’m not bright enough for University, according to my school, but I’m practical, so this will do. Because I’m never going to tell anyone that my dream is to be an…

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A ROLLER COASTER EXPERIENCE

It was the early 1980s, I was thirty four and out of work. A few years earlier I’d left the family business to find out what life was like on the outside, and I ran a start up retail company that was initially successful. But by year three sales were less impressive, and I was out pretty much overnight. Not…

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LETTING GO OF LOSS

In my early twenties I met Sami, who became my closest friend for over twenty years. It wasn’t her given name, but one she had chosen in place of Jane, which she felt was far too dull. Being a lot more conventional myself I thought this a little exotic, and I shortened it to Sam, which was as far as…

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LEARNING TO CONFORM

It started with the uniform. A very long list arrived from the boarding school I was to join in a couple of months time, to be bought at a certain department store. It was 1960, I had just turned thirteen, and the world was about to wake up to a fashion revolution centred on the young. And I was to…

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SETTING A COURSE FOR LIFE

It isn’t difficult to see some aspects of my father in a heroic light. He was a risk taker and a natural entrepreneur who went right out on a limb to follow his instincts, creating a business and a life entirely his own way.  He was the son of a monumental stone mason, and my grandfather’s yard was immediately across…

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THE STRAIGHT JACKET OF SELF DOUBT.

Looking back, there were many times when lack of belief in myself made a lasting impact on my life, and not least when I was coming towards the end of my five years at boarding school. I’d arrived at thirteen, from a country life of considerable freedom, and the culture shock was huge. Discipline was rigid, and hierarchy was enforced,…

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NO MAN IS AN ISLAND…

…entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. John Donne Many people have left an imprint on my memory, for all kinds of reasons, and they slip into mind now and then when something triggers a recollection. An image, a conversation, a story – and there I am right back in that…

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DANCING IN THE SWINGING SIXTIES

When I was thirteen we moved house, and I was sent to boarding school and only home for holidays, so there was little chance of making friends. I mooched about moodily, spending an hour choosing my clothes before walking three miles to the cinema to see Elvis in GI Blues. Someone might see me. Or on Saturdays I’d get the…

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IT’S NOT WHAT YOU LOOK AT…

…that matters, it’s what you see.”  Henry David Thoreau. When I was four my parents took me to a show on ice. We were sitting in the front row, and there’s only one thing I can still remember. A man in a sparkly costume came whooshing across the ice towards me really fast, leant over the barrier and said “hello…

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