can vividly remember my first glimpse of Flasby, in June
1961, when I arrived for an interview with Mr. Rowan Robinson.
It was just after lunch on a warm day. Boys were lying
on rugs on the lawn, presumably having their siesta, and
I had my first view of Sharp Haw with its skirt of trees
(a glimmer of scarlet and mauve where the rhododendrons
broke the ranks of vivid green firs). This was a view
of is which I was never to tire, throughout the seasons.
I will carry this joyfully in my mind's eye, until my
memory fades (that day, so certain irreverent juniors
inform me, can't be far away).
sure one can say that Flasby was a happy house, never
overawing one with its cold grandeur, and yet providing
plenty of space lacking in most homes.
particular feature of the house which evoked admiration
from parents and visitors, and a few boys, was the lovely
graceful staircase so well balanced, so right for the
proportions of the hall. One could visualise the mistress
of the house, descending to greet her guests, with gown
trailing behind her, while the carriages rolled up the
drive in spanking style.
Assembly Hall with its 'Adams' fireplace and the delicacy
of the plaster frieze, just asked to be furnished with
some choice regency furniture, oriental rugs and rich
A house of course can only come alive when it is peopled,
and although I have spent a number of holidays there,
quite alone, yet never felt lonely, I was always happy
to roll back the shutters and if not exactly putting down
the red carpet, welcome back the noisy feet on corridors
and stairs. Flasby always looked its best after Easter,
with blossom and spring filowers in profusion, all planted
with loving care and eye for beauty, some half a century
ago by the Preston family. It also had a singular beauty
in the autumn when the sunset glow was in competition
with the virginia creeper on its walls
remember so many things:
The interest with which we watched the erection of the
observation tower for the bird watchers, and the magnificent
photographs of the falcons and their young. The central
heating boiler and the never-to-be-forgotten occasion
when I shovelled my new glasses in with the coke. The
excellence of the hot water system. The fascination of
the Tower because it was out of bounds. The Country Dancing
(that many of the present fifth might want to forget)
in the Assembly Hall. The Sunday afternoon rambles through
the woods to Sharp Haw and Rough Haw. The popularity of
Sunday fishing. The annual erection of the dam (and the
few occasions when it was possible to enjoy the water).
The annual Fathers' and Mothers' cricket match and the
ease with which the Mothers usually won (wonder if the
Umpires had been bribed ?). The happy week's camp with
the Junior Scouts. The practical "good turn,"
haymaking for our neighbour. The "beating" of
the woods to "keep in" with the landlord, and
the inevitable entanglement of boys and staff in the rhododendron
bushes. The Sunday morning breakfasts and the never changing
menu ("it just HAD to be boiled eggs with such a
small stove"). The coldness of the Form Rooms during
my first winter and the feeling of satisfaction when boys
said they were glad to be there, though this was rare.
one is allowed to say they love "things" as
against persons, then I can honestly say:
I loved Flasby, from our first meeting.