I taught a great many years at Tallis.
A friend in the Maths Department got me my first job on supply working mostly in music and humanities. I was going to earn a few pennies before going travelling again. I stayed about thirty years. Just couldn’t drag myself away.
So many stories. So many fantastically talented and challenging students. So many lovely staff.
And Inverliever. I calculate I shared Inverliever, or Arran, with over 1000 students over the years. I led many a Year group trip but if anyone would have me along ( Music, Humanities, other year groups ) I would volunteer my half-term away. Those who experienced Inverliever know of its magic. It’s a place you don’t easily forget. All the trips held their magic but two in particular are never to be forgotten.
The first involved a small group of lads ( they will remain anonymous but they know who they are) who made the staff's lives miserable all week by not sleeping, raiding the girls’ dorms and more. I can’t name staff either but we were fed up and found ourselves poring over a huge sheet of paper on which we had made a map of the premises and upon which we devised a battle plan to end all battle plans. It involved the staff breaking into groups and placing themselves at strategic places around the dorms with fire hoses and buckets of water in preparation for the revenge on the lads who, without doubt would leave their dorms to raid the girls’ dorm at a given time. We had got a few of the girls to write them a note ‘inviting’ them to their dorm at a certain time. All we needed to do was reel them in.
They fell for it! They were annihilated as they broke out of their dorm. Fire hosed, soaked by buckets they could run nowhere. A couple even found themselves dunked in the washing up sinks! They were then locked out of their dorms to face a few minutes in the Scottish February frost before we let them back into the warmth of a shower and bed.
Such fun! Such revenge!
Twice we took groups to the top of Ben Nevis. Couldn’t do it now …..elf and safety.
One group included the usual few for whom it was going to be the biggest challenge of their life and I was at the rear cajoling them to make it to the top. In the end I promised them a MacDonalds from the cafe that we would find at the top. The fib was enough to get them there and I knew that their disappointment, when they realised my lie, would soon be overcome by the awe they would feel by the view and the certain knowledge that they were the ‘ highest people in the whole of the UK’ at that moment.
Yes. Inverliever had a way of helping us all find our little place in a big Universe.
Kind of sums up Tallis. Challenge, fun, friendship. Achievement.
-- Tim Joyce