Sunday 21 October 2007

All creatures great and small

Julian remembers...

The boxer dog which bounced across the wide open spaces and the jackdaws in the turrets, blue dragonflies over the lake and cages of exotic birds in an alcove outside Mr Angus's study.

Yes, now you mention it, I remember the aviary in the garden area. I think one or more of the Angus daughters (Paddy?) looked after it.

Stephen Fry remembers ponies and horses, two parrots and a mynah bird in cages near the headmaster's study, and dogs — including Boston terriers, a boxer called Brutus, and another dog called Caesar.


Julian Williams said...

Stouts Hill was a haven, areas of woodland with bluebells and wild garlic in the spring and meadows yellow with buttercups in the summer, the reeds around the lake shimmering in the cool summers breeze and large redwood trees that we could hit with our fists without hurting ourselves.

There was an avery in an alcove outside Mr. Angus' study full of zebra finches, budgies and exotic birds; the star attraction was the African Grey parrot with a red tail and two Spreo Starlings which whistled all day. Later a larger avery was built just outside.

One year Mr. Angus' daughter took in an orphaned jackdaw that had fallen from it's nest in the turrets, it became so tame it would follow us round. In another year some of us caught two baby blue tits which we tried to rear by feeding worms; sadly they both perished.

On warm summers days the boys would be found fishing for perch, roach, carp and tench in the school lake, or catching damsel and dragonflies that darted and basked in the reed beds on the edge of the lake.

In the autumn we would be found throwing sticks into the branches of a large chestnut tree and collecting armfuls of conkers which were then smashed to pieces and scattered across the grounds in a school frenzy of conker matches.

There fossils scattered across the grounds, I remember coiled ammonites in the school gardens where we had our own plots and were allowed to grow carrots or nasturtiums.

Anonymous said...

I remember the number of dogs that were resident in the school.
Mr Angus had 'Rumpus'.
Mrs Cromie had 'Sally' who never barked unlike:
Chefs two 'Judy' and 'Winston'.
Mr Cromie had two black Labrador gun dogs: 'Simba' and 'Sam' who supplied a litter of pups each year.
Abbey and Celia (from Spain), who worked in the kichens had 'Skip'
Can anyone recall others?
Alan Davis

Julian Williams said...

When I first arrived in 1962 there was a very old brown dog that lay around like an old rug. Later there was a boxer belonging to one of the daughters that was a great bounder and good to play with. I think the Knights kept two Boston somethings, they were like black and white minature bull dogs

Julian Williams said...

I just remebered Mr Angus' Pekinese dogs that yapped a lot. We used to have verse that went something like this;

Look at these!

The words included pulling our eyes to make them into slits, first up, then across, then down, finally we pulled the front of our jumpers at nipple level.