Saturday 20th. September, 2014 – 50th. Anniversary Reunion 

This is Woodlands Hotel in Barnhill which is less than a mile from where I lived for the duration of my primary education. I took the photo because it is the venue for the fiftieth anniversary of my school year leaving Dundee High School

I got up and walked Mix and then got my bits and pieces together before setting off shortly before lunchtime for Dundee where I was to attend the fiftieth anniversary of leaving school. I had agreed to attend this event many months ago and it was a bit of a disappointment that the date clashed with the final of the one-day competition at Lord’s in which Durham found themselves up against Warwickshire. Any other date and I would have been on a train heading south. Instead I was in my car driving north.

It was a pleasant journey and I booked into my hotel room on a glorious summer afternoon around about half-past two. As there was no one else about (that’s not true because the hotel was buzzing with a wedding in full swing – thank goodness they are not now my concern) but no one else from my party is what I meant to imply, I went swimming in the hotel pool. I was surprised by how warm the water was but it was extremely pleasant.

I took this snap from the top of Reres Hill, a wonderful wild spot in the middle of an otherwise totally built-up area, surrounded by houses

And this is a picture of one of the paths leading up the hill -- a lovely walk for a Sunday afternoon, or a haven for small children to play 'cops and robbers' or 'Cowboys and Indians' or whatever is the modern equivalent

Next (with my ipad in hand so that I could keep in touch with the cricket) I set off to explore, walking along to Reres Park, a small hill in the middle of Barnhill and one which became a public park in 1867. As a child I remember that it was here that we played wide games (a more violent form of tig) and enacted battles. Today I climbed to the top and then walked down to the main Monifieth Road into Broughty Ferry, walking through Orchar Park (named after a nineteenth century Provost) where I spent hours each week playing cricket or football or just having fun. Orchar park abutted Panmure Street where we lived.

This is the main entrance to Orchar Park just across the road from our home ....

... and this is a view of the park with shadows falling over the large expanse of grass on which we played cricket almost around the year

I wandered down under the little bridge over the railway and made my way to the beach complete with genuine sand-dunes and beautiful real sand. I took in the tennis courts where I remember my father and Jim Meff playing and then returned to the hotel by way of Panmure Street, first having sat on a park bench and watched Durham gradually gaining the upper hand in the cricket match on Sky television on my ipad (isn’t technology amazing?).

Back in my room the game reached its climax and a Durham victory by three wickets, the winning runs being struck by Gareth Breese, who had also taken three wickets in the Warwickshire innings. I was delighted because this was Gareth Breese’s last game before retirement and he has always been one of my heroes. Today he did exceedingly well and it was appropriate that his colleagues prepared a guard of honour for him as he left the field.

A picture of Broughty Ferry Beach. It is not much more than the throw of a cricket ball from our house and just behind here were tennis courts and a putting green. We were fortunate children

A picture of the house in which we grew up -- and, except for the new rubbish bins, it is just as I remember it

I got ready for the dinner and made my way down to the restaurant. It was a good event; strange to be in the company of people many of whom I had not seen for fifty years, some in truth whom I didn’t recognise, but with all of whom – after just a few moments chat – I felt an affinity because we had had known each other so well so many years ago. As I listened to the stories I was sorry that some of those whom I had known best were not able to be present, sorry too to learn that quite a few have died, but everyone seems to have used their lives well and to have enjoyed them.

The event was well organised – a buffet with several tables so that folk could get something to eat and move around meeting different people. It was at least one in the morning when I called it a day (others were still going strong when I went up to my room). I am glad that I went and, having renewed friendships, I hope that I will see some of the folk again, perhaps even down here in the Borders.

I was glad to get to bed and I was soon asleep in my hotel bedroom.


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