Richard points out...
The fact is that the 150 acres was quite incredible for a small prep school — some universities do not have as much land. Amateurish and quaint as it may have been, it was really a rather special place.
Indeed, the rural environment was pleasant, and it was good to have so much varied scenery to roam over. Am I right that garlic grew wild in the woods, or was it something else? I'm not good at plants.
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.
I remember the conker season too.
When I went on to Blundell's, I found it quite dull by comparison. Blundell's also has quite a bit of land, but mostly devoted to buildings and playing fields, and relatively flat.
Yes the little woodland was full of wild garlic.
For the record, I think it was nearer 30 acres, but it seemed big to me. I remember raking the hay in the field between the cricket pavilion and the football Ground/Sports day arena, while the rest played hack the can near Jane Angus' aviary.
Who remembers Charlie, the gardener, to whose chagrin we would chant "Charlie is the gardener" to the tune of "Charlie is my Darling"?
According to the 1969 prospectus photographed by Alan Davis, “Thirty acres surround the house; there is a lake suitable for rowing, sailing and fishing, and the School has the use of 100 acres of woodland nearby.”
I remember boys being allowed to fish in the lake and being astounded to actually catch a 2pound carp: the only fresh water fish I've ever landed if you don't count all the eels hooked elsewhere. I was so surprised I had no gear with me beside the rod (and that was a fly rod with the wrong reel on it) I only landed the fish becasue one of the real anglers popped over to my spot with a landing net. (And the scales)
I went through a fishing phase when I was about 11, and I fished in the lake too, but I'm pretty sure I never caught anything, and I'm not sure that I ever saw anyone catch anything. Back home in Nigeria, though, I persuaded my parents to go fishing in the Kaduna river, and we did catch some fish. But my mother caught a fish that growled at her (so she said), and she refused to fish any more after that.
There were an abundance Perch, Roach and Carp. Anglers used to visit from the village too and beautiful blue dragon flies that wizzed across the surface of the water.
My father was Charlie the gardener . He enjoyed so much working for the Angus family for many years who always looked after us well ( I think it was 25 + years ) He used to laugh at your songs about him , but you are not to know that !! sadly he passed away Christmas eve 1995
Thanks, Philip. I'm sorry your father just missed his last Christmas.
My own father died at 47; I think at least yours lasted longer.
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