Dunblane BB Camp

Dunblane BBs recently went to Malawi to help build a local school I think it was. What an amazing experience. Different continent, African skies, landscapes , wildlife, new faces, languages, cultures you could only see on tv. What memories.

My first BB camp, in 1978, we went to Leven. Fuckin Leven! I was literally the smallest and youngest boy there, 10 years old. It was a bit daunting, surrounded by teenagers (big lads).

We camped in big tents, six of us, three on each side. Every morning there was a tent inspection, while we stood to attention outside.

There were tales of being blackballed. That’s when a group of lads would get you alone in your tent, pin you down , pull doon yer trousers and out wi the boot polish….. so being the youngest I was shit scared.

I mind of phoning home fae the red call box by the golf course, two bob in the slot…beep beep beep… please come and get me… beep beep beep.. more money in slot…please can you..beep beep beep. Ran out of money. A schoolmate, his folks came and took him home. Lucky bastard you lucky lucky bastard !

I survived the week but not before they all grabbed me and flung me up in the air. Time and again. And then, when I was catapulted miles up, they all stood back. Thud! Lying there, looking up at the clouds, gasping for breath but it’s not there, wonder if I’ve broke anything. Bastards.

I think they call it character building. They accepted me after that coz I never gret… or grassed on them.

Next year,1979, we went to Pitlochry. It was actually really good, we would walk up the river watching the salmon jumping, walk along the huge dam go into town and see the amusements.

I caught a bad cold, I was delirious. Heard the lads talking, officer arrived and gave me medicine. Next morning I was excused inspection- ‘leave him, hes no well’. I was fine within 24 hours and grateful to my tent mates. We were a team now, brothers.

On the last night there were whispers. Deep voices , serious words from another tent. ‘We’ll deal with this in the morning’.

Tent inspection. Officers are very serious, mood sombre. The Captain stands in front of us all, at his feet is a massive carry out. Cans, lots of cans, bottles too. Disappointed in you boys, you’ve let us down, let yourselves down, let the company down, let Dunblane down. God is fuckin ragin’ at you (am paraphrasing here).

And then, I’ll never forget this, he lifted a can, opened it and poured it onto the ground. And another. Another. Then the bottles, glug glug glug. On and on it went. I reckon we stood there for twenty minutes, at attention , while all this alcohol was poured away.

So, on the day Bjorn Borg won Wimbledon for the 4th time in a row, we went home in disgrace. And I’ll bet you, pound to a penny, all the officers and Captain went out and got pished that night.

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