Early days

Created by John 5 months ago

I first met Nigel when he joined Watsons in 1952? I had been a pupil there from primary 1A in 1946 but Nigel came at the start of Senior School. It must have been difficult for him because we were a pretty tightly knit gang having already been together for the previous six years but he never took offence at the way we behaved and he sort of became everyone’s mascot.

We were both passionate about chemistry with “Cappy Dick” (Captain Dickson” and the marks for the regular tests were the benchmark. Sadly for me I was usually second and think that on one occasion Nigel even achieved the magic 100%!

After school, we ofte n played at his home at 37 Fountainhall Road. It was a very laid back environment and both his parents were pretty relaxed about our behaviour. Nigel had his chemistry lab in a shed in the back garden and i remember well him repeating the experiment we had been shown at school. It was a process used on the railways to weld rails together and was a combination of iron filings and i think sodium chlorate and magnesium in a crucbible.  Anyway it got very hot when he lit the blue touchpaper! We had a lot of fun there and if his parents knew what we were up to, they never interfered.

I think I remember a billiard table in the front room and I definitely remember Gorsach? the grey parrot. We all had cats or dogs for pets but Nigel stood out because he had a parrot.

After we left Watson’s and met up again at Uni, we spent many (probably  too many) hours in the Union or at each others homes playing bridge and mah jong. Nigel was always trying new systems and ideas and he was always generous in sharing them.

When I got married in 1961, I asked Nigel to be my best man and he carried out the job impeccably.

Sadly after graduation our contact declined to irregular meetings and regular Christmas cards. I recall us meeting up in both High Wycombe and Edinburgh in the sixties but our paths didn’t cross physically after that. Email and Facebook kept us vaguely in touch however.

I will always remember him as an ever cheerful and optimistic good friend who never crticised regardless of what he might have thought privately.

i shall miss him.

John Percival 11 September 2022.