Scarhelldeath Hall

This weather reminds one of one’s schooldays, in particular my prep school on the rain-lashed east coast of Scotland. It was called Scarhelldeath Hall just outside the village of Killcarcass. An excellent school with a very good survival rate for boys.

Although I was always a sporty cove & school champion, one didn’t always fancy a run along the cliff edge in this sort of weather. So I’d often pay one of the younger boys to do the run for me. Well, when I say pay, I’d promise not to thrash them if they didn’t. Occasionally a boy would be blown off the side of the cliff during a run, but it helped make men of us. No-one would’ve dreamed of complaining.

I sometimes regret not getting blown off more often at school. Who knows what levels of manhood to which I could’ve risen?

Learning to avoid the runs was a vital lesson. Persuading little boys to take my place or else taught me the people skills I still use today. Scarhelldeath Hall is now a golf club & luxury health spa whch seems a shame. Apparently, they dug up the graveyard to build a tennis court. I was cold, unhappy, hungry & lonely every single day at Scarhelldeath Hall, but it made me the man I am today.

Did I mention we wore a kilt as uniform? Strictly no underpants. Frostbite of the orchestras was a regular affliction.

We had one teacher, Mr Maestri, known affectionately as ‘Bastard’ to us boys. He’d lost both arms in the Boer war. Or was it Crimean?

But he didn’t let being sans arms stop him beating the living daylights out of us boys at every opportunity. One respected a man like that. Never worked out exactly how he beat us or with what. One was bent over his desk, kilt ahoy, & he was behind us. Peeking doubled the thwacks.

Happy days! Well, desperately unhappy, actually, but I wouldn’t have had them any other way.

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