Talking Point with Gazette chief reporter Ron Harris

Digging into his roots...find out what the sole surviving Harris alma mater now is
Digging into his roots...find out what the sole surviving Harris alma mater now is
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Find out why oor Ron doesn’t judge a book, or anything else, by its cover...

AH learned early oan in this racket NEVER tae judge a book by its cover.

Fur example,look at ME; ah suppose few who mave met and talked tae me will even suspect ah have alternative careers as a ballet dancer and chess Grand Master, never mind mah other ‘sidey’ as a Mother Superior...

Ah mind wance, when working oan anither newspaper elsewhere in Bonny Lanarkshire, having a Chief Reporter who, despite being wan o’ the maist intelligent and skilfu’ writers ah ever had the pleasure tae work wae, looked like living proof that Neanderthal Man had in fact survived intae the 20th century.

Indeed, when ah first entered the office and was directed by the editorial secretary tae report tae him, ah replied: “Report tae THAT? Listen hen, ah’m no’ going onywhere NEAR it until ah hear it talk!”

However, as ah said, mah first impressions o’ the man frae his physical appearance o’ overhanging brows, sunken eyes and hair sproutin’ frae cuffs and collar like some burst sofa were entirely wrang.

Mind you, he DID have his bestial side as ah foond oot tae mah cost when the then-traditional seven Wee Goldies in the pub at lunchtime gave me the Dutch courage tae comment tae him: “Ye know whit ah resent aboot you? It’s that, when the archaeologists dig ye up oot o’ the cemetery in ten thoosand years time, they’ll think we ALL looked like you.”

Weel, tae be fair tae him, he later apologised for his over-reaction tae this slur when he visited me in hospital the next day.

Onyway, wrang first impressions can apply tae buildings as weel as tae folk.

Those o’ ye who dinnae lose the will tae live or die o’ boredom reading this might just turn elsewhaur in the Gazzy tae find another piece ah penned aboot the final days o’ the auld Forth Primary School.

Noo, ower the past two years, thanks tae Sooth Lanarkshire Cooncil’s school replacement programme, ah seem tae have written mair ‘obituaries’ for auld primaries and secondaries than for folk.

Noo, ah’m the kinda sentimental eedjit who disnae like ONY auld building being pulled doon, even the wans which are aboot tae fa’ doon onyway.

However, ah suppose you cannae expect modern weans and teachers tae soldier oan in delapidated schools whaur the grafitti in the Boy’s Cludgie includes gems like “Hang the Kaiser” and “Peter Manuel is Innocent, OK”.

That being said, it came as a shock tae me tae realise recently that, of the four schools ah attended in this coonty in mah youth, only WAN remains staunin’ today - and THAT was the wan ah thought wid be the first tae be demolishedl!

Although Lanark-born, mah first school was Kirktonholme Road in East Kilbride which all the weans attending thought was, if ye’ll pardon the Sixties parlance, really cool man, because it looked exactly like Marineville in the then hit sci-fi puppet series Stingray. It was the very FIRST tae go.

There was later Lanark Primary and Grammar Schools, baith o’ which ah confidently felt wid see not only me but mah grand weans oot.

Aye, the sole surviving Harris alma mater is the auld Crawforddyke in Carluke.

Ah sometimes pass the vacant site whaur the auld Lanark Grammar stood in Albany Drive and muse whit yon archaeologists ah mentioned previously might find, digging there ten thoosand years hence.

They’ll probably conclude that ALL Lanark teenagers in the Seventies wore an auld Motherwell FC top, Rid Injin moccassin boots, orange satin flared troosers and carried two, er ‘herbal tobacco’ cigarettes in their back pocket. Weel, of COURSE we all did!