It takes a special kind of teacher to let you stand at the classroom sink grating potatoes while all around your classmates are studying history. But 45 years ago Mrs Greig was just that. A special kind of teacher, a very special kind.
She taught me for my last two years at primary school, and among other achievements she helped me experience the exhilaration of exploring new ideas with single-minded determination.
Quite how it began I don’t recall, but I’d developed a fascination for glue (not the sniffing kind, these are innocent times I’m talking about) and between us we’d discussed the principle that you might be able to turn a humble potato into strong adhesive.
The process involved grating up a heap of spuds, placing the results in cold water, running this through a sieve, then filtering the mixture to capture the starch which – finally – had boiling water poured on it, to produce the end result. Glue.
What I remember above all was Mrs Greig understanding my enthusiasm and giving me carte blanche to carry out my manufacturing mission when really I should have been learning about Tudor England.
The feeling you get when your curiosity inspires you to seek out an explanation, and perhaps to go somewhere or do something as a result, is a powerful one, and a great way to give yourself a boost.
So be on the lookout for things that make you go ‘Huh?’, then happily spend a little time searching out some answers.
It’s fabulous to do this. As Mrs Greig knew.