Lively lads, Grey House, Plumtree school.

Lively lads, Grey House, Plumtree School, and it has suddenly dawned on me after all this time that that is in fact just what they were. It passed one by at the time but as time progressed and one left school and became older and older why the good times kept flooding back. Never for a moment at the time would I have thought or even remotely considered them to be good times. It was a hard, tough, bleak place, tucked away on the bottom border bordering Bechuanaland now known as Botswana. I guess then it was all the lively lads, who made this place bearable?


Grey House, Plumtree School, where I boarded.

Grey House, Plumtree School, where I boarded.

Where do I begin, where do I start? I guess at the beginning. So here I am at this great place of learning. New boys dormitory was bottom left of the photo just in from the arches. Problem being, the bulk of your kit was stored upstairs left of the last blind. This was the middle dormitory consisting of second, third year boys and the odd povo fourth year lad. One had to ask permission to enter it and then waltz through the dorm to the end and into the room where your kit was stored. Supervised by Blanche Rorich the house matron and not all quite there but, a loveable old duckie with the most unusual voice. I am just returning out of here when I notice on the balcony the two Drysdale twins whom I went to Junior school with and their younger brother Rusty who is also a new boy with me. They call me unto the balcony where they are busy talking to big fat, Art Burdett, sitting on his bed. Delighted to see someone I know I waltz in. Art promptly kicks me on the shin with all his might for not asking permission to enter this hallowed place. Perishing sore twas too. I look up imploringly at the two twins who asked me across, but I’m met with. It is difficult to describe but, they had the most unusual laugh, let’s just describe it as…..neugh, neugh, neugh, and it can be heard all over the school at any time. Naughty buggers they were, and as a’ metter of fect’ the whole family of four boys laughed the same. Tough as nails too. I called them the black and white minstrel show. Scot, the smaller of the twins had blonde hair, and Bruce the bigger, that’s’ biggerer’, for those of you who may be reading these words, but never availed of the superior education we had here, had black hair, coir like. Both had more freckles on them than they had face. Neugh, neugh, neugh.


Beit Hall Plumtree School.Very impressive.

Beit Hall Plumtree School.Very impressive.

Now this where assembly was held every morning before attending class which consisted of eight periods or classes. Even here where everything was supposed to be hushed the Drysdale twins were always up to some nonsense or other followed by, neugh, neugh, neugh. As it turned out they were both exceptionally bright as well and despite their track record, prime bogs as well. Well they were.

It’s tuck time at Grey House, meaning simply, that your parents had posted you a tuck box to make your stay here more pleasant and as a welcome substitute from the school fare,

Lemon Cream biscuits.

Lemon Cream biscuits.

which put simply was goddamned terrible and all. For some reason my tuck box always arrived at the same time as the Drysdale’s. I’m busy tucking in to my Lemon Creams when the twins spot me and I refuse to share with them (past experience)? Black one Bruce promptly punches me straight in the solar plexus and down I go, neugh, neugh, neugh. By the time I recover they have puzzaed (eaten) all my Lemon Creams. I begin bleating like an impaled sheep and eventually prick their conscience. So they offer me some of their tuck, which always, and I mean always, consisted of one and only one thing. Which was fudge, always burnt, and which one needed a jackhammer to crack, let alone teeth. I give them my most appalled look and a no thanks. Got any Lemon Creams there have you? Neugh, neugh,

Akin to this but not cut up.

Akin to this but not cut up.

neugh. Maybe that is why they were such tough bastards? Blimey if you can eat that crap then you can eat anything? Gradually I have worked my way over a period of time and am now in the senior dormitory. It is very late at night and all are fast asleep. Not quite. Suddenly there is an almighty bang which wakes everyone from a deep slumber followed by………..yes you guessed it, neugh, neugh, neugh. It is the terrible twins again doing God knows what.

The Senior Dormitory.

Grey House, Plumtree School, where I boarded.

Grey House, Plumtree School, where I boarded.

On the right upstairs the last blue blind is the Head of House’s bed and the two open windows is where the Head and deputy-head of house study is. In this case the Head is Dave (Fothers) Brown and a lovely bloke to boot whom I also went to junior school with. Now the Drysdale twins are always teasing ‘Fothers’ and it is high entertainment listening to them. One rest time when all is supposed to be quiet or is it night? The conversation is as follows. ‘Hey Fothers (one of four children), how come your Dad never invested in some FL’s’? Fothers is appalled and replies, ‘ja, I’m sure your Dad did to after having four of you shits’. The Drysdale reply, ‘at least our Dad saved the balloons from the Xmas crackers and used those’. Neugh, neugh, neugh. And on and on it went much along the same vein. Blimey and it was supposed to be a period of quiet where boys could get their beauty sleep and all? Fat chance of that. Except of course for Nobby Neinaber who was a trite hard of hearing but had a wonderful sense of humour and who laughed anyway.

Now it stands to reason from all the above that the Drysdale twins were rugger buggers. Blonde Scott was a very good medium distance runner whereas black Bruce was a sprinter. It stands to reason therefore that Scott played scrum half and Bruce played tighthead

Left=tighthead, middle=hooker, right=loosehead.

Left=tighthead, middle=hooker, right=loosehead.

prop. Go on and understand rugger if you can?Now as it turned out Rhodesia was the host for the Craven Week schoolboy rugby festival that year. Simply, all the South African provinces selected a team to represent them from the various schools in the area. The creme de la creme of schoolboy rugby. Charles Fortune the well known South African cricket and rugby commentator came to do the commentating and was most suitably impressed with one Bruce Drysdale (representing Rhodesian Schools). Now the thing is, I have heard some very fine things said about Bruce as a rugby player. Apparently no one and I mean no one, had ever seen a prop before who was so fast, big and strong and played like a loose forward despite being a prop.

Now the thing is this post is only a prelude to what I want to say and have much more to offer on them all. But peoples attention span is limited these days and one is supposed to keep things short and sweet. What this actually means is that this post is already too long but as in Rusty speak ‘I couldn’t give a shit’. More coming soon, so many people and characters not mentioned yet, John (Jin) Munro, Jumbo King, Nobby and so many others. Next up more on the Drysdales and Rusty and Spook get pissed. Brace your selves people. Neugh, neugh, neugh, neugh, neugh……….neugh.

About spookmoor

I'm a 61 year old happily married man with three grown up children. I lost all my hearing as an eighteen year old whilst doing National Service and then had a Cochlear Ear Implant twenty years later. I love trying to explain these things to people and bits about my life. I never thought so at the time, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Thus one gets Random ramblings from a man who has seen a lot with a touch of humour underlying all.
This entry was posted in Books, Poetry & Writing, Culture & Society, Education, Family and Relationships, Relationships & Family, Schooldays, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Lively lads, Grey House, Plumtree school.

  1. a great beginning to a very worthy tale mate .. but you can’t skip all the “in-between” stuff (< technical term for interesting narrative) .. you went from beginner to senior in 1.5 lines ( < technical term for a few words) .. lol .. I will not try to usurp your humo(u)r (< assimilated African American) anymore. Keep them coming mate …. all the best.

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