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the occasion merited. With "Ivy" Stewart as sergeant we were put through drilling and marching procedures until it was felt that we were smart enough to go out on route marches to Port Seton, before taking part in the battalion parades in Edinburgh. One night a week was set aside as a drill night, with another night set aside for boxing and other activities. The weekend saw the football team in action and it was some team. They licked the pants off every team in the Edinburgh battalion. However, I had nothing to do with that; despite my longing to play, I was just not good enough for selection.
Cuthill School was the starling point for our education. The headmistress was Miss Smith and her assistant was Miss Donaldson. I can remember very little of my time there but what has always been with me is the memory of picking up what I took to be a dead wasp, only to find Out, very painfully, that it was still very much alive and stinging. At the age of nine, we moved to Prestonpans Public School and into a new world. On our way through the High Street we discovered Vantas drinks at Jock Neilson's shop and eucalyptus drops at Mrs Bathgate's, brown sugar at Mr Whitelaw's, fruit at Aggie Bagnall's and broken biscuits by the bag at the Buttercup. New pals and new games were found at Public School, our favourite pastime being found in jeering at the boys passing the old Grey School on their way to Preston Lodge. We did not give any thought to the possibility that we might be joining them if we passed our qualifying examinations. Passing the examinations gave our parents the choice of allowing us to stay on at the Public School until the school leaving age of fourteen, or of moving to Preston Lodge Secondary School. The Public School teaching staff had prepared us well for our step up to a secondary school. What we were not prepared for was the totally different atmosphere, with teachers wearing black gowns and prefects lording it over us first year novices. Being a regular reader of the Greyfriars School stories, I was not going to be surprised if Frank Nugent, Bob Cherry or Billy Bunter appeared round the corner. What did happen in my first live minutes within the school gates was that I was approached by someone claiming to be a prefect. He casually requested that I write out fifty lines to be in his hands at assembly the next morning. Less casually, I asked him what I had done. It turned out that I was to write out fifty times, "I must not laugh in the school playground". He as politely told to go and visit a taxidermist, whereupon he walked away. I wonder if he ever did find someone daft enough to give him the lines. On the whole I enjoyed being at Preston Lodge. Apart from the Rector, Dr Millar, who Was only seen at assembly by the bulk of the school, the teaching staff were very good. They were strict but were still able to lighten the boredom of the

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