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It's the engine that counts

I had a great soft-drinks night out in the pub with my pal CP a couple of weeks ago. He's a charity worker - actually he teaches in a private school, but it's the same thing, isn't it?

It was a feel-good evening of nostalgia, news updates and debate. I have decided that I will never argue against private education again. Rather, I will always take a pro-state school stance. Gosh, with such a non-negative attitude, perhaps I should join the Liberal Party, though I've heard that bald politicians don't fare well.

CP has kept all his hair, save for the voluntary removal of a moustache that he realised, long after everyone else had, made him look like a pornographer. I told him I was thinking of writing about our night oot. He assumed I would tackle the independent-state argument but I'm not going to.

I did have a tortuous analogy in which his Mazda MX5 convertible and my Kia Shuma, both with essentially the same 1.8 litre twin cam fuel-injected engine, assumed monstrous metaphorical roles (one looks slick but the other has to cater for more people, blah blah blah), but life's too short.

Anyway, he's got me a free ticket to see the rock musical Tommy, so I don't want to offend him, if the pornographer moustache comment hasn't already blown it. CP and I were at Moray House together. Socially, it was a brilliant year, with a soundtrack by ZZ Top, Status Quo and Meatloaf.

There were parties. The best was the black and white one. The girls were in French maid outfits, CP had James Bond's shirt and jacket on and I wore a bin-liner. Interspersed with this revelry were times when we went to schools and began to learn how to be teachers.

Looking back, our views on the time spent in college differ. I enjoyed mine, found psychology fascinating and had thoroughly competent subject lecturers. Perhaps I was in danger of being one of these people who found college preferable to the classroom.

A Scooby-Doo villain of a teacher - if it wasn't for the meddling kids I'd get away with it. I think it took me significantly longer than CP to be fully at ease in the classroom, and possibly the staffroom as well. Two decades on, and contributory to the feel-good nature of the night in the pub was the affirmation we both made that we actually like being teachers (voice from the gallery: "That's easy for you to say with another chunk of secondment on the horizon").

It was good to speak the words out loud. Home we went in Kia and Mazda, both the same under the bonnet even if only one of us could have the "wind in the hair" experience.

Gregor Steele can't stop singing "Pinball Wizard".

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