Will Martin, B'lin Wallis (in her car), Herry (on the bonnet), Piers, Cilla Klempson, Cilla's sister Rosie's boys (the one on the left being Robert, Edward and Anthony), Penny Hitchcock, Nick Duke, unknown. Photo probably by Rosie Bryans.
My earliest party memories (prior to ten) are of hunting for gold dubloons in a huge pile of sand at HMS Dryad, where the Navy held a childrens' party every year.
In my teen years we were lucky to be surrounded by friends with long-suffering parents and large houses. Summer holidays were spent playing tennis - at the Archdall's, Mack's and Hulbert's, the Duke's, the Cooke's and Kelburn's - and of course at Stocks.
I went to my first ball at my Aunt Ruth's house at Warnford when I was about 13 and therafter the winter holidays were filled with dances to which my parents kindly drove me - and picked me up from - almost nightly.
Particular friends were B'lin Wallis, Nicky Boyle, Will Martin, Annie Ommanney, Nick Duke, Charlie Skipwith and Tony Ashforth. There was a noticeable lack of 'pairing off' in the early years; as Annie puts it, we enjoyed 'rushing around in a heap' too much. And the boys had the usual predeliction for toys -Scalextric racing on a huge circuit set up at the Ashforths and later in the Skipwith's squash court. And later, go-carting on the Skipwith's lawn or on the private lane at Stocks.
In those days, holidays were rarely taken abroad, and in the summer, I used to stay sometimes with Richard and Julie Courtauld (who lived in West Meon) at their house in Polzeath - Medla (which Richard still has). On one summer holiday I was sent to study French with 'Tante Lily' and on another I stayed with one of my nannys at her flat in Cap d'Ail. One winter was spent in Engleberg, looking after the guests of distant cousins - Frau Prof and her daughter Elsa Hauthal and learning to ski.
Later Nick Duke, Charlie Skipwith and I were known as 'The Three Musketeers' as we could invariably be found at the same parties. Later still, when we had cars, pubs became important meeting places, coupled with racing about the countryside for no discernible purpose - a pursuit on its own.
Click on the link below to hear what we were listening to in those far-off days
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