good as an ashtray on a Harley. Since
then I have been to the University of Life.
What degrees or training specialties have you
Degrees, mmmmmm. Well, I have four good Scottish
ones, but not gained from university!
careers have you pursued?
have more than one hat today in my community.
school, my first employment was in the hotel
trade. The salary was poor and the hours long, so I was out
of that pretty quick.
I then became an agricultural engineer for a few
years, but again the pay was poor, so I doubled my pay by
moving to the highway department in Killin. This job
entailed looking after the trunk (main) road network,
keeping the highways snow free in the winter. (That’s back
when we received snow; global warming has since put an
end to this.)
Twenty-eight years ago, I also joined the local
Retained Fire and Rescue Station. This is a 24 hours, 365
days a year commitment. Just love the job: it has its
but it is so rewarding. One of my most
impressive accolades was becoming the Watch Manager
(Fire Chief) 10 years ago.
Oh aye! Nearly forgot, I have a wee job with the best
Vacation Company in the USA, Home At
What do like best about your work? What do you like
Well where will I
FIRE SERVICE: When
my fire pager goes off and we are mobile to an
the personal satisfaction of being able
to help someone in that time of need.
if it’s only just being able to talk and
reassure someone that things will
be all right.
My highway maintenance work I don’t enjoy at
all but I suppose
pays the mortgage.
Home At First: The job with Home at
First I do enjoy and really don’t class it as
To me its fun meeting and working with our
visitors (…well most of the
Do you belong to community, social or volunteer groups?
I am part of a community
newspaper production team: “The Killin News”.
Also I am a co-founder of the Killin’s village
I’m involved with kids aged 8-18 in the fire cadet
scheme with Central Scotland’s Fire and Rescue Service.
What hobbies do you have?
I love vintage British Motorcycles, I have restored a
few now including a 1932 Matchless 350cc, a 1931 BSA
600cc, but my pride and joy is my 500cc 1953 Velocette
Venom Clubman, an ex Isle of Man TT production racing
Do you like to travel in Scotland? If so, where?
The Island of Harris has got to
be one of the last unspoilt places I have ever
visited. When you land on the Island it’s like
stepping back 30 years. The white, sandy,
deserted beaches with rolling blue waves crashing in from
the Atlantic are just a majestic sight. (Just don’t try diving
in; it’s usually freezing.)
What’s the thing you like best about Scotland?
When the sun shines!
What thing surprises you most about Scotland?
From a native Scot’s perspective, probably the
surprisingly early time meals stop being served in the rural
you like to travel outside of Scotland? If so, where?
and Portugal, but we’ve been to Florida now for
the past 5 vacations. Once we had been to the US, we just
wanted to keep coming back, as it was very
inexpensive for us and the weather was
Do you have anything special you'd like to say about
your experiences with the guests?
I have been so lucky
to meet guests from Home At First whom we keep
in touch with and can call friends. We
have met up with former guests in America when on
vacation, and we were shown real American hospitality.
Fantastic folks, there have been so many offers to return
the hospitality if we ever get to their part of the USA.
What is the most interesting thing about your work with Home At
Every week there are new
faces, new challenges, and it’s so good to see
“well ken’t” faces coming back for more
do you like to tell American guests about
Scotland that surprises them?
Scotland’s gun culture and laws seem to surprise
What about Americans surprises you?
The inability for many to use a fork and knife
you please provide us with a favorite anecdote
from your experience with Home At First guests?
at a Home At First group dinner being held at
the Lochearnhead Hotel, I heard a couple — staying in a
cottage in the Main Street, Killin — telling the other guests
at the table about a workman from the highway department
they had seen in Killin’s Wee Bake Shop. They explained he
was buying food for lunch and he was talking in Gaelic to his
colleagues. They were over the moon to have heard Gaelic
being spoken in Scotland. I did not have the heart to tell
them the guys were Polish migrant workers.
What are your future aspirations and lifelong goals?
I have all I need. We have
food on the table, and our house is nearly
mortgage free. We are all in good health, what
more do I need?
I would love to return to Malaysia’s Island of Penang
someday, and I have this dream of running down the old
Route 66 on a Harley Davidson.