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Flasby . . .

 

I 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).

I'm 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.

One 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.

The 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 hangings.
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

I 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.

If one is allowed to say they love "things" as against persons, then I can honestly say:
I loved Flasby, from our first meeting.

VAL VALENTINE.