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Seven happy years

 

It was with many misgivings that in August 1958 1 agreed to Mr. Rowan-Robinson's request to take over the running of Eshton School Tuck Shop. My misgivings were entirely unfounded and I have thoroughly enjoyed the seven years I have spent with you all.
I estimate that during that time I have travelled to Eshton or Flasby at least 1,000 times and I feel it is quite remarkable that I have never once missed opening the shop when I should have done. I must have sold some 40,000 sticks of licquorice, enough Crisps to fill the Tuck Shop and enough 'pop' to float a sizeable ship during that period.
In the past seven years we have seen many changes at Eshton. Only one member of the teaching staff was there in that capacity when I came, and I think that probably Mrs. Straker, Frank, Harold, and the ubiquitous Mr. Savill are the only other people who have been at Eshton longer than I. The Chapel, The Coulthurst Hall, the Squash Court and the Hard Tennis Courts have all been built and the Studies (with the resultant increase in the consumption of baked beans) came into being. I expect that many Old Boys cannot now look a baked bean in the face. The amount that Keith Baker's study consumed has never ceased to amaze me.
The frustrating pastime of "Watching the Clock" is surely peculiar to Eshton. I shall never forget the first time I experienced a boy engaged in this 'inactivity'-a certain Lancastrian, Bradley I think, having incurred the wrath of "The Colonel" was told in no uncertain terms not to be such a fool and instructed to stand in front of The Clock "until I tell you to go." He stood there for at least an hour and I suppose he would have continued to stand there if the Bell for "Prep" had not rung.

Boys, I have found, are peculiar animals, though having been one myself I shouldn't really be surprised. For some four years Mrs. McKell baked countless Pasties, Iced Buns and Bread Loaves. Suddenly tastes changed and kitchen bread became popular, much to Mrs. McKell's joy as it meant much less work for her.
A succession of head boys and prefects have been a very great help to me. It is strange but nevertheless true that I know many more boys by their nicknames than by their correct names. I suppose that at no time have I known more than a dozen boys by their own names. It always pleases Mrs. McKell and me when an Old Eshtonian calls to see us in Gargrave. We shall be pleased to see any of you at any time and I look forward to "Old Boys Matches" and if I am told when they are taking place I will do my best to be present.
It was a charming gesture by all of you when, on my last night at the Tuck Shop, you gave me an elegant Table Lighter. The gift was entirely unexpected and because of that, all the more delightful. I shall value it always.
Thank you all for Seven Happy Years.

Donald McKell.