Alistair Mackay
Primary: 1941-48
Secondary: 1948-54
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Autobiography

I started Morgan Academy in 1941, in the class known then as ‘ First Infants’. I progressed uneventfully to Primary 5 passing my ‘ QuAlly’ in 1948 and starting Higher Grade in 1B boys. In these days leisure time was spent playing golf at Downfield GC and Tennis at Stobsmuir tennis club in the summer, football and rugby in the winter, and visiting Dens Park to watch Dundee FC which was the ‘Billy Steel’ era. Happy days!!

All went well in Higher Grade until 4th year when a dislocated left hip during a Rugby house match hospitalised me for almost 5 months so I had to repeat 4th year which was not a problem, except French, which was one of my favourite subjects, suffered. So instead of going into 6th year to obtain higher French I left at the end of 5th year in 1954 with 2 highers and 2 lowers (I also managed to take part in the school trip to Austria) and started work as an apprentice civil engineer firstly with WM Wilson & Partners then with the Dundee City Engineers attending Dundee Technical College as a day release student. Five years later I obtained my HNC giving me entrance to Institution of Civil Engineers as a Graduate Member.

Two years design experience in Arbroath Burgh Engineers and one year’s site experience with Baptie Shaw & Morton on the A74 gave me the practical experience to apply for full membership of the Institution which I obtained in 1964, ten years after leaving school.

By this time I was married to Jean and living in a Betts house in Ballinard Road Broughty Ferry and playing Rugby for Morgan FP’S with legends like Ian Norrie and Frank Stott, and training twice a week in the Breadalbane Pub.

First son Graeme was born 1964 and Stewart 1965 so with no real ties in Dundee I applied for and obtained a post with The Ministry Of Overseas Development as an Out Island Engineer in Nassau Bahamas. We all left together which was a big adventure with 2 babies but we soon settled down. When Caroline was born in 1967 I was moved to Freeport Grand Bahama where a Government house and car were available. My job took me round all the major Bahamian Islands with Jean and the children joining me on occasions. Happy days again!!

All good things come to an end so in 1969 we returned to Scotland where I obtained a job with Leonard & Partners in Edinburgh. Housing in Edinburgh was a problem so I bought ¼ acre of ground in Longniddry where I built a house employing various tradesmen, with me as the labourer, project manager and general foreman - how I kept my job I will never know.

The house was finished in March 1970 and we are still here 40 years and 7 grandchildren later.

Career moved on and I obtained a partnership with Kirkpatrick & Partners in 1975 and when Kirkpatrick retired in 1984 I bought him out including the property. Fortunately business flourished so when Carl Bro, a large Danish Consultant offered to buy me out in 1990 I jumped at the chance retiring finally in 1994.

Retiring was like starting a new life but I have managed to keep myself busy, playing golf, joining the board of Longniddry Golf Club, the committee of East Lothian Housing Association, meeting ex colleagues and occasionally doing a few days work in the office although new technology has now left me behind.

Jean and I have enjoyed many holidays in Scotland and abroad and particularly in Nice, France where our son Graeme lives with his wife Ann and their 2 children. Caroline lives in Musselburgh with her husband and 2 sons who both play fooball for Tynecastle Boys Club. Stewart lives in Edinburgh with his wife Clare and their son and two daughters. We are very lucky to have most of our family living within a 20 mile radius.

We are both now in our 75th year and keeping relatively good health although Jean appears to be fitter than me. I had to have a left hip replacement operation in September 2011, the result of the rugby accident in 1951. The operation at that time was a success as the hip has given me no trouble for almost 60 years. I am now on the waiting list for a new right knee...

If the new hip and knee last for another 10-12 years I will have no complaints!

Longniddry, December, 2011