Life in Chalmers West is always busy, and this half of the term has flown by. The boys new to the school settled in straight away, and new friendships were formed. Chalmers West is a natural entry point for many boys, so we get lots of new faces. This year we have boys joining us from Lagos, Switzerland, Brazil, New York, Hong Kong and of course some from closer to home. New routines have been learnt, new teachers met and new places discovered; I have been incredibly impressed with how the boys have embraced Chalmers West and adapted when needed. I was very grateful when one of our boarders returned after weekend leave with a mountain of eggs from his mum's farm. The boys were equally as thankful with the pancakes, french toast and muffins that I was able to make for them. Keeping growing boys well-fed is always a winning formula!
With the current COVID restrictions life at Merchiston is a little different from usual; however, one constant that we can always rely on in Chalmers West is our excellent Housekeeper Heather. I have been Housemother over the Middle Years for over seven years, but Heather has been dutifully working away here for over 25 years! She is a fountain of knowledge and often my first port of call with questions or pleas of help. I would be lost without her. Heather and her team keep the house tidy, clean, safe and welcoming. Not to mention the piles of laundry that get sifted through! The boys all are very fond of Heather and know they can approach her at any time; they often like to have a chat with her. When tours of 'old boys' (Merchiston alumni) are in the house, they often ask for Heather and reminisce with old stories. Heather and the rest of the domestic teams are the ones who really keep Merchiston thriving. Heather's daughter Brenda is also Front of House Manager on the catering side, so we are equally lucky to have her on board too. As a Merchiston stalwart, I decided to ask Heather a few questions about her time here.
How long have you been at Merchiston?
Which Houses have you worked in?
Two; the old Upper Sixth House (before Laidlaw was built) and then Chalmers West. I have worked in all the Houses and School buildings at some point though.
How are the current boys in Chalmers West getting on?
From what I have seen, they are doing great! Due to the current restrictions, I have had fewer interactions than I would normally have had, but they are a lovely bunch, and I'm enjoying getting to know them.
How many Housemasters have you worked with?
Mr Anderson, Mr West, Mr Rossiter, Mr Pyper, Mr Ogilvie-Jones and Mr Lane.
Mr Rossiter; we worked together for 11 years and formed a great relationship.
How many children have Housemasters and Assistant Housemasters had whilst resident in Chalmers West?
5. Mr Pyper had two, Mr Roach one, Mr Lane one and Mr Noble recently had a daughter. All girls!!
Maybe best not to say! Water fights, lots of laughter, boys dying their hair with no gloves on, broken hearts, gossip and a few tears. I've seen it all, even the Gibson Ghost! Once I kept finding shredded paper in a bedroom, I finally found one of the boys was hiding a hamster in his wardrobe!
Who have you worked alongside the longest?
Sheena in Chalmers East.
What will you do after Merchiston….retire!
We will always be incredibly thankful to Heather and her team for looking after all of us in Chalmers West.