Yesterday, I was delivering a training session in Dunoon, and I took the opportunity to visit an old stomping ground – Castle Toward. For those who are possibly unaware, Castle Toward was a residential centre where many thousands of young people, myself included, spent many happy times learning and teaching music. The building itself is a magnificent old place and it was not unusual for pupils to be in tears when they left there for the last time before they left school.
In recent years, however, it has stopped being used as a residential centre, and had fallen into a state of disrepair, as a local community group tried to buy it from the council, who disagreed with the sale, and a lengthy legal battle ensued.
I went along yesterday to see if I would be allowed to see the place, and lo and behold, I simply walked up the drive, and there the old girl stood. Not only was the building still there, but there were people working in and around it. On speaking to a friendly workman, I discovered that it has been sold to a local businessman with the view to turning it into a wedding and function venue. With that information, as I looked around I could see that the terrace has had new concrete finials installed, there is a state-of-the-art security system in place with cameras everywhere, and the rooms inside are in the process of upgrading to modern standards, by all accounts.
I posted a picture of the castle on facebook, with the caption saying that I’m not sure what type of emoji to use. I’m happy that the castle is going to be used again, but not happy that it is no longer going to be a residential centre that many future generations of children can benefit from, in the way that many past generations have.
So I suppose the emoji should be the one with the straight mouth – neither happy nor sad.