Fives versus Squash

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, but that's still CH related.

Moderator: Moderators

rockfreak
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 359
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:31 pm
Real Name: David Redshaw
Location: Gravesend, Kent

Fives versus Squash

Post by rockfreak » Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:36 pm

One afternoon in the late 50s, a friend and I decided to play squash. We knocked on the door of Col B junior housemaster Bob Rae to ask for the squash balls. Rae eyed us darkly and wanted to know why we were not going to play fives. I was a rather shy and deferential youth back then so I failed to say: "Because we happen to want to play squash, you steaming great ****. Why do you think we're carrying squash rackets?" Rae reluctantly gave us the squash balls but gave us to understand that next time he would expect us to be playing fives. To this day I've pondered as to why bashing a ball around a court with a padded glove was somehow superior to bashing it with a racket. One of the strange quirks of CH at that time. Can anyone shed light? Perhaps Dr Scuffil can do the pedagogic shuffle and come up with a suitably rational and academic theory.
I think I've inadvertently put this on the Board Index site instead of CH Stuff. The moderators are much better equipped than I to move it. My relation to computers is still rather like that of Catweazle who was always surprised by "electrickery".

michael scuffil
Button Grecian
Posts: 1363
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:53 pm
Real Name: michael scuffil
Location: germany

Re: Fives versus Squash

Post by michael scuffil » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:31 am

Dr Scuffil has no rational explanation. But maybe asking Rae for squash balls was rather like asking Fryer for soccer balls. Rae did actually play fives himself, and probably looked down on effete squash players who didn't have to bend down so far to hit the ball. Rationally, I suppose, he could have adduced the argument that playing squash in a fives court (there were no squash courts) constituted court abuse. But I think it was just: squash is more fun, therefore less character-building.

This attitude extended even to 'football' (i.e. rugger). On the one occasion that I remember when someone kicked a drop goal, he was damned with faint praise by John Page: 'Okay, but let's have tries next time.'
Th.B. 27 1955-63

User avatar
J.R.
Forum Moderator
Posts: 14808
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:53 pm
Real Name: John Rutley
Location: Dorking, Surrey

Re: Fives versus Squash

Post by J.R. » Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:41 pm

I enjoyed playing both fives and squash.

And as to saying the word 'football' in front of NTF. That would produce a Welsh glare.

Even worse - the word 'soccer' was likely to evoke something akin to a death sentence.

And on the subject of sport and Coleridge B, am I not right in thinking that junior housemaster R.A. (Okay ?) Hewitt played rugby for Harlequins ??
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

User avatar
LongGone
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 283
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:17 pm
Real Name: Mike Adams
Location: New England

Re: Fives versus Squash

Post by LongGone » Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:06 pm

Padded glove! What's wrong with your hand?
If a stone falls on an egg: alas for the egg
If an egg falls on a stone: alas for the egg

michael scuffil
Button Grecian
Posts: 1363
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:53 pm
Real Name: michael scuffil
Location: germany

Re: Fives versus Squash

Post by michael scuffil » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:28 pm

J.R. wrote:I enjoyed playing both fives and squash.

And as to saying the word 'football' in front of NTF. That would produce a Welsh glare.

Even worse - the word 'soccer' was likely to evoke something akin to a death sentence.

And on the subject of sport and Coleridge B, am I not right in thinking that junior housemaster R.A. (Okay ?) Hewitt played rugby for Harlequins ??
You could say 'football' to him -- as long as you meant 'rugby'. He used to put up notices headed 'Football'. I don't suppose he objected to the WORD 'soccer' -- only to the game.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

sejintenej
Button Grecian
Posts: 3097
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:19 pm
Real Name: David Brown
Location: Essex

Re: Fives versus Squash

Post by sejintenej » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:58 pm

J.R. wrote: And on the subject of sport and Coleridge B, am I not right in thinking that junior housemaster R.A. (Okay ?) Hewitt played rugby for Harlequins ??
Kit Aitken played for them prior to WWII
It is hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.

rockfreak
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 359
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:31 pm
Real Name: David Redshaw
Location: Gravesend, Kent

Re: Fives versus Squash

Post by rockfreak » Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:25 pm

RA (Alright! OK!) Hewitt certainly played club rugby for someone, quite possibly Harlequins, because on one occasion he got a less than favourable mention in a report in one of the national papers and protested that it was grossly unfair. Rather predictably, we were all massively amused. The other time one of our housemasters got into the papers was when AH Buck got nicked in London for being what I think would then have been called drunk in charge, in other words, rat-arsed while driving around Soho in his old jalopy. It might not have been Soho - I might be jumping to conclusions there.

User avatar
postwarblue
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 329
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 12:12 pm
Real Name: Robert Griffiths
Location: Havant

Re: Fives versus Squash

Post by postwarblue » Sat Jan 16, 2016 3:56 pm

Squash, I have read, was born in the Fives courts at Harrow in the 1860s. Colonel Rookes Evelyne Bell Crompton RE was at Harrow 1858-60 and was later a leading light in Squash and worked on standardising its rules. Before Bob Rae, AH Buck (to whom Bob Rae came as junior housemaster ca. 1953) was a keen Fives player. Drawing a pair of Fives gloves, I discovered, could provide a restful afternoon skiving in an unfrequented Fives court, and delivered a useful contribution to my exercise avoidance drive. I have never discovered why chasing balls about in the afternoon seemed so important to so many. Looking at later photographs of Rae it is not clear that Fives was a useful aid to the maintenance of a slim figure.
'Oh blest retirement, friend to life's decline'

rockfreak
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 359
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:31 pm
Real Name: David Redshaw
Location: Gravesend, Kent

Re: Fives versus Squash

Post by rockfreak » Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:35 pm

You're more up to date on Bob Rae than I am Robert. Certainly he was quite slim, and young looking, when I was in Col B. I guess there are two ways of looking at physical exercise. Some pursue it into later life. Then there is the Evelyn Waugh opinion: "After a while the poisons in the body have about come to terms with each other and shouldn't be shaken violently."

michael scuffil
Button Grecian
Posts: 1363
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:53 pm
Real Name: michael scuffil
Location: germany

Re: Fives versus Squash

Post by michael scuffil » Sun Jan 17, 2016 10:01 am

rockfreak wrote:RA (Alright! OK!) Hewitt certainly played club rugby for someone, quite possibly Harlequins, because on one occasion he got a less than favourable mention in a report in one of the national papers and protested that it was grossly unfair. Rather predictably, we were all massively amused. The other time one of our housemasters got into the papers was when AH Buck got nicked in London for being what I think would then have been called drunk in charge, in other words, rat-arsed while driving around Soho in his old jalopy. It might not have been Soho - I might be jumping to conclusions there.
WPC ('Phil') Davies (junior housemaster, ThB) got into the papers when he lost his shorts playing for England (or the British Lions). John Page, the senior housemaster, cut the picture out and put it in the house record book.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

JohnAL
2nd Former
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:49 pm
Real Name: John Fairfield

Re: Fives versus Squash

Post by JohnAL » Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:27 am

If I remember correctly AH Buck (Buckie) was driving back to CH from London, under the influence and probably slowly and deliberately. He decided to go straight across a roundabout (rather than follow the more conventional route round its periphery). A constable saw him do this and so after a court appearance the exploit ended up in a newspaper report.

Kit Bartlett
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 318
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:58 am
Real Name: Christopher Bartlett

Re: Fives versus Squash

Post by Kit Bartlett » Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:50 pm

The A.H.Buck incident happened in Streatham High Road on his way back from an Amicables Dinner in London. and is mentioned in the book "More than a brother" which was a collection of correspondence between AHB and Edmund Blunden. He had crashed into a central road barrier.

michael scuffil
Button Grecian
Posts: 1363
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:53 pm
Real Name: michael scuffil
Location: germany

Re: Fives versus Squash

Post by michael scuffil » Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:15 pm

It happened just a few weeks before his resignation (aka dismissal), and was thus quite useful in that the school could (and did) imply that his drink was the problem, rather than the other. In fact, in the above-mentioned book, the editors, in an end-note, say the 'over-familiarity' occurred 'after some heavy drinking'.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

rockfreak
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 359
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:31 pm
Real Name: David Redshaw
Location: Gravesend, Kent

Re: Fives versus Squash

Post by rockfreak » Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:00 pm

I don't wish to go into details since John Rutley has already closed down the AH Buck thread after my intervention some time ago, but the "Exonerate AH Buck" campaign seems to have done a very good job in "massaging" this whole affair, with a long dead poet having unwittingly played his part. And indeed Buck's view of it has been immortalised in print. Ah, the power of the printed word! As a retired journo I can attest to that. Since I seem to be the only person posting who was actually in Col B at the time of Buck's dismissal, can I assure Michael that it was indeed dismissal rather than resignation and that no-one in the house then was remotely surprised when Seaman came in early in the summer term of 1956 to announce it.
My own view on this is "good riddance" since, although Buck was a dedicated teacher and indeed had his good points personally, he presided over a house where bullying and nastiness were endemic, monitors were free to throw their weight about, and his own personal failings were a kind of invitation for the older boys to take liberties. Robert Griffiths has made similar points elsewhere. I suppose that back then all this would have been considered "character building" and, indeed, something of a lark. Well, I think we've all been on the proverbial learning curve since those days and the evening TV news regularly throws up instances of abuse, lives ruined and the authorities closing ranks. They tell me boarding schools have changed. I would like to think so but I didn't take the risk by trying to send my kids.

Kit Bartlett
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 318
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:58 am
Real Name: Christopher Bartlett

Re: Fives versus Squash

Post by Kit Bartlett » Mon Jan 18, 2016 12:23 pm

No one would want to open a can of worms on this subject but the arrival of C.M.E. Seaman led to other masters' services being terminated, a polite way of saying dismissed. I know of two such cases who went in 1955 and 1957. I did see a reference in The Blue much later, it may well have been when
he retired in 1970 on the successful task he had made of "cleansing the Augean Stables" .
Norman Longmate in "The Shaping Season " refers to a junior House master who suddenly disappeared at the end of one term. The reason was generally known but not discussed much at the time apparently.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests