Friday, February 22, 2008

Early Social Life 1950-1970

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 dance (black tie) at my Aunt Ruth's house at Warnford when I was about 13 and thereafter 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 put 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 nannies at her flat in Cap d'Ail. One winter was spent in Engleberg, looking after the guests of Frau Professor Hauthal (who's husband had taught Griffith Pugh to ski) and her daughter Elsa and learning to ski myself.

Sally Farmiloe's Coming Out party at Riversdown c1964. Nick Duke, Charlie Skipwith and I went as the three musketeers, in costumes from Nathan's. Here, on the left of the picture, Herry has changed and is talking to Charlie and Nick beside the pool. Sally Farmiloe was then Nick's girlfriend and I am with Penny Hitchcock. Photo by Tom Hustler 

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

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