School: Practical subjects

Old Deer: A local scene

In the Advanced Division the boys had "Woodwork"—the Woodwork room was built at the back of the school. They made pot stands—a triangle [Diagram in the MS, Ed.] shape—and their mums were very pleased to get them as most homes had to cook on open fires or small ranges. The other "advantage" was the Cookery classes. Miss Laing, the Stuartfield Baker's daughter, came one afternoon a week to Cookery and Housewifery.—(I still have the book, printed in Dundee)

The sinks in the Cookery Room were so huge, so deep, that my father had to make little platforms for us to stand on!

My first "washing and ironing" was a man's handkie—and my first cooking, I remember, was toast (on the Range) and then a poached egg—no poacher pan—we had to stir water around a small pan till it made a swirl in the centre & then, having cracked the egg—had to drop it in. I remember Katie Hepburn (her father was a gamekeeper and lived at the Kennels in Aden) stirring and stirring—& never having the courage to drop the egg into the water! We were all very serious about everything—and we had to "write up" what we had done. Making starch, folding a tea-towel, making milk pudding (ouch!) cleaning vegs, ironing (flatirons heated on the Range) and always tidying all at the end of the lesson.

"Drill" played an important part throughout the school—more like square bashing than gymnastics but we liked it, as we also liked "singing"—mostly the Psalms and always the National Anthem. Miss Rennie played the grand piano in the hall. We had a service every day—marched in sang a hymn/psalm—The Major would make some point—we said the Lord's prayer, amd marched to our classrooms. Nobody spoke or got out of line. He was a Major by nature as well as name yet most of us liked him, and all of the parents appreciated his insistance on obedience. We observed all the National Days—especially Victoria Day—and all trooped out round the flagpole for that—the only time the front door of the school was used.

(Revision date: Tuesday 21st February 2012)