I left school at the age of fifteen, couldn’t wait to get away. Absolutely no academic qualifications at all which meant that I had to start studying at the same time as holding a job down and bringing up a family. And it was possible and it was relatively easy. I mean, I found within the fire brigade we were ... Probably the most important subjects in the fire brigade would be, apart from man management which is a bit of a waffling subject ... I mean, I’ve got quite strong views on man management. It’s an awful lot of waffling, talking about man management but it’s basically about patting heads and kicking arses. You’ve got to get it the right way round. If you get it the wrong way round you’re in serious trouble! Anyway, the main subjects are physics and chemistry, neither of which I did at school, so I did start in my mid-twenties studying chemistry and physics ... And legislation of course! I found being bi-lingual ... I found legislation quite easy because the type of English I was taught at school was very much the type of English that legislation is ... I mean, every comma and every semi-colon stands and is there for a reason and when we were ... When they were trying to knock Gaelic out of us at school and teach us ... God, what they were trying to teach us to become? Probably colonial administrators or something like that! (laughs) You’d spend hours and hours pausing and analyzing and studying Latin roots and ... But I found that quite useful when I started studying for exams in the fire brigade because I found the legislation quite easy whereas the average English man, who accepted English as the norm, somehow had great difficulty deciphering legislation.

  • Donald MacLeod (Cowboy)
Saturday 13th September 2008