Who needs a nip with a sheep called Morag?

Ken Macdonald, BBC Scotland's ebullient education correspondent, was just the chap to spark the banter after dinner on the first night of the secondary heidies' conference.

Macdonald was, emphasised chairman Michael Doig, of Cumbernauld High, both education and science correspondent, a remit that impressed Glasgow heidie Tom Bradshaw at the back of the room: "Some module that."

Our Ken had at times been writing and broadcasting around the world from Kirkcaldy to Canada and the US, Doig said. "Oh, hardship," muttered an envious heckler at the front. "Bet he never got there on the Fife Free Press," added another as the pace quickened.

Macdonald, man of many tartan ties, was equal to the contest. He reminded his effervescent audience he had been invited months ago to address the "movers and shakers" in Scottish education. "I never knew the jannies had a conference, " he jousted to the expected jeers.

But visiting schools was always a delight and he recollected a stop at Milne's High, Fochabers, largely because it led to a gift of whisky. Beat that, Macdonald challenged, proudly holding up the miniature.

Eddie Broadley, depute head at Glen Urquhart High, Drumnadrochit, thought he could. "We can't offer whisky but we have a sheep called Morag," he said. Goodness knows why Macdonald blushed.

After a spin round the sometimes tense relations between schools and the media, it was left to Charlie McAteer, of Dumfries Academy, to offer thanks. "Trying to follow that is like a picaresque novel," he confessed. "What's a novel?" asked Bradshaw.

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