Durham House Reunion 2011

The second annual 60's Durham House re-union was held at the Boot Inn, Berwick St. James, Wiltshire on Wednesday 5 October. "Old boys" travelled from far and wide to attend, Russia, Italy and from all points of the compass in the UK.



The attendee's were Ralph & Elizabeth Mann House Master and Matron, and the Old Boys:-  Nick and June Bonnett, Tony and Daphne Dee, Michael and Olga West, Nicky & Iain Helstrip, Nick Thompson and Charles Carter and Simon Howlett, the latter by special invitation as he was not in Durham during the 60's, although a Durham boy (79-84).

"putting name to faces on House photo 1965."

It was a good day, and as described by one attendee " We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, great company, great lunch, great to catch up on gossip – will there be another one next year?"

It just shows how a group of Old Boys can get together and enjoy reminiscing (full and unreserved apologises to the wives) and have a great day without the need to return to the hill.

Will this start a trend of other "local" house or year re-unions?



As Charles Carter's feedback letter was the last runner-in (hmmp - reminiscences of cross  country runs that!) I'm going to plop my feedback and thanks letter onto his reply cut-out thingy ....so  here goes :-

WHAT A BLAST FROM THE PAST! (7-8/10/11 - still slightly shell-shocked!!).

I wish Olya and I had got there a bit earlier - when did you all assemble? - for you all seemed to be in 'full-tilt boogie' mode when we came in, having long since got beyond the ice-breaking stage, and it would have been then that the salient interesting snippets of information about each and all were to be gleaned. The following are just scratch notes towards some subsequent longer write up for my files, hopefully to be aided then by impressions of this event submitted by other persons present.

What I learnt : Tony and I both share being effectively fatherless in our lives : his due to divorce and mine due to death (I was posthumous); also that his career was also in the RAF like Nick Thomson's Ralph told me about those West Indian authors again of his Barbados days - must get the names of these again and "read more", as Mum's currently adjuring to me to do so. About Hackett going round with Ralph lifting upthe floorboards :"this is where the thief hides his loot" said Hackett. .[this was in reference to the spate of thefts  in Durham in the 60s but also in Ralph's response to my main crit of KHS religious education: (lots about the Devil but precious little about how to avoid falling victim to same in later life), which was that KHS itself was already itself so bedevilled].

Anthony Dee's wife Daphne is very nice says Olya.(& I echo this). She was brilliantly perceptive with Olya who found she could understand her English which was so clearly spoken and we learnt that this wasn't just our opinion but an American's who likened her to Julie Andrews!

Ian Helstrip said he designed the cigarette packet that fell out of my bag when I was rooting about for my wallet for the 20 quid for Ol and me which was really quite reasonable in price I suppose.

Nick Bonnett was rather quiet - just listening to everyone (it was very difficult to take it all in witheveryone  talking about this and that AT ONCE at table. ) He invited me over to his place.. for which I'd like to express my delight herein in accepting, and to which I also respond in kind.

Nick Thompson! Could you repeat again what you were trying to tell me at table across the lively din: couldn't quite catch it - something about how you didn't in the end fly in at Old Sarum airfield! ? Funny about you running into Boll Weevil recently though - tell me more. Didn't have time to catch up on Charles's (Chaz sometimes then?) Carter's subsequent post-KHS destiny, fate. Wish I had.

Not a lot gleaned by me but altogether a very enjoyable experience . Full marks to Iain for getting it probably 'just right' : i.e. relatively short and sweet so that we all probably mentally noted 'doesn't time go fast when you're having fun' ; but withthe possibility of p.e.p.s (post encounter post scriptums!) through this medium. Our thanks to you for theorganisation that you put in behind this event.

Heartfelt best wishes to all. And please enjoy the photographs which Olya has just brought me toput into the email to you which will immediately follow this one.

Michael West

PS Ralph Mann tells me he doesn't think they'll be another one so I say let's find the British equivalent of that rumbustious Polish happy birthday song : STO LET! ('We wish you a 100 years of life!) and sing it to him! ...Probably without the Dubrowka Vodka with the fern in it though!!


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