…..'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'…..

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menory Lane; Alba 4

The computing course I undertook was based down at the Scottish College of Textiles (SCOT) which was down in my birth town of Galashiels! SCOT is a campus of Heriot-Watt University (Edin) where textiles and design are the key disciplines.  Tucked away, though, was a lively and 'happening' department in computing. These were the very early days of the information technology boom.  Until recent times anything to do with computing was arrived at via various engineering, science or mathematics disciplines; one almost 'fell' into the field as the computer was simply another tool to progress in calculation.  The arrival of the desk-top computer, however, had opened up a potential explosion.  Things were moving fast.

Now, there are many different 'threads' within computing itself!  For me though, it was an all-in-one situation.  Programming (hexadecimal, binary, Fortran, Cobol - Pascal was only just being invented!); Peripherals (which meant the hardware engineering side); Info Tech (which at that point meant only statistics and data manipulation); Systems Analysis (what have you got now and how is it working for you?); Systems Design (here's what we think will be better than what you have got); ...you get the idea.

I loved it.  The tutors were great.  In particular Mr Webb will live long in memory. A man of sharp wit and strong engineering thinking he also had a wonderful philosophy on life.


This view means even more to me now but I always loved it.  I asked questions of him about this. He applied it to the fact that so much of what takes place and what we make for ourselves is just stuff and nonsense; we get all wrapped up in the 'importance' of details which are just expressions of desire and actually play no part in living, beyond cluttering it.  Oh if I could only discuss it with him now!  Vedanta (and even quantum physics) provide the logic that all which is 'matter' is NOT life. Life informs 'matter'. 

How many times Mr Webb leaned over and held my gaze.  "It...does....not....matter..." True Teachers come in many guises.

I missed the graduation party - was already headed for OZ.  The application had been successful and in June 1989 it was farewell Scotland. 


  1. How interesting the course was at a College of Textiles. Weavers wasted no time applying the ability of computers to weaving design, drafts and draw downs. Still buried somewhere on this computer, completely unusable, is an old DOS program for a pattern schematic, dating probably to 1982 or 83.

  2. I am wondering did anyone at that time foresee the internet?
    Cheers, Gail.

  3. First the CALCULATOR... THEN the COMPUTER... and Nothing has been the same since.
    It has been Amazing to watch the evolution of the INFORMATION AGE, has it not?

  4. I took a while but enjoy my little computer now when it's not playing up.

  5. Oh how thrilling to have been in at the start of the real computer age. I played around with binary but didn't get very far. It was the hardware (the insides) that fascinated me. Hubby and I built our own PC for several years.

  6. I was thinking about how it has changed us, technology. How much we adapt and are adaptable. Thoughtful post.

  7. Who could have imagined where we would have gone in 20 years? Actually, we are thankful for those who did imagine!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley


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