I don’t really ‘get’ school songs. But in the words of the Carmen Glenalmonense, we spent a cheerful evening in the company of the Alumni Montium at their dinner in Oriel. I once described Glenalmond as ‘Hogwarts meets Glyndebourne’. This was rather more ‘Hogwarts meets Brideshead Revisited.’
I ‘sang for my supper’ – unfortunately the script doesn’t bear much relationship, etc., etc. But I said a bit about my inability to go to ‘Old School’ reunions – I think it’s something to do with an inability to relate the person I was then to the person I am now! I visited my early school days and some of the things which connect me to Glenalmond – where I find myself President of the Council. Most interesting to me is the Gladstone connection – Glenalmond was founded in 1847 by Gladstone and others as a school and a Theological College for the Scottish Episcopal Church. It was of course to be English education in Scotland. And Gladstone is important to me because of his efforts to solve the Irish Question even though the Irish kept changing the question, etc.,etc
Which means that there are plenty of opportunities of exploring journeys of identity in the evolving Scotland in which we live.
It was a worthwhile 24 hours in other ways too. We visited my nephew Conor who is reading Physics in Balliol. And we had the chance of getting to know better some of the people whom I work with at Glenalmond and in the wider Anglican world. In Ireland, one always ‘knew even as one was fully known’ by most of the people with whom one was working. But in my life in Scotland and beyond, most of us know nothing of one another’s ‘back story’. Yes there are times when that is a blessing. But more often it means that we see each other in rather two-dimensional terms and that is an impoverishment.