Janet Hyde-Clarke writes
My time at Kaptagat: 1939 to 1945. Chris and Malcolm Young were headmistress and master. The system was coed and PNEU - we numbered about 60 (among whom Robert and Francis Foster). Where are my other contemporaries on your site?
Short reminiscence: I was working in Kenya in the early 70's and visited Kaptagat. Was shocked how much the field had shrunk, and amused to hear the cabin just out of bounds called "Fernicketes". It was constructed in my day to house the only other man on the staff apart from Malcolm - Mr. Fenwick. I don't think he can have lasted long because I can't even remember what he did*. I do, however, remember taking mock Kenya Prelims in "Fenwick's Cottage"** long after he had left. (We were very spoilt during those sessions - allowed to roam free, and fed on the teenage equivalent of champagne and caviar, with the result that I always enjoyed exams.)
* Janet now realises that Mr Fenwick was the games master, who left in 1940 to join the Navy, as recorded in Zoe Foster's letter in the 1958 magazine q.v.
** so presumably the name Fernickites derives from "Fenwick's Cottage"??
Sue Ballantyne (nee Hyde-Clarke) adds:
When we first went to Kaptagat in 1939/40 I was 3 , as our father was (along with other able bodied men) on the 'Abyssinian' border with his knobkerry or elephant gun or what have you supposedly ready to defend us all from the Italians, whilst our mother was doing 'valuable war work' (goodness knows what, typing boring letters I believe) in Nairobi. A group of us always went up on the train from Nairobi to Eldoret with an escort, usually one of the mothers. Our mother got left behind once at Ravine Station (does that still exist?) collecting a thermos of chocolate icecream for us from our great aunt Jessie, wife of Leslie Tarlton, one of the early 'great white hunters' so of course we did what we liked for the rest of the journey. We collected our bed rolls on departure and always examined them thoroughly for ticks, of which there were many. Chris and Malcolm (M.T.) Young ( the Heads) ensured we worked hard, but we also had a lot of fun, like taking part in paper chases on horseback (Janet of course, with the older group, climbed out of windows at night to have midnight feasts or go exploring). The two baths in the girls' bathroom were known as Oxford and Cambridge; food was pretty poor, puddings were 'Kaptagat Glue', Foundation Stone, Boiled Baby etc and of course the ubiquitous frogspawn; iodine was alway put in the drinking water - if you dropped a bit of gravy in it, it turned blue. Chris Young once arranged that lunch for the whole school was salad with lettuce leaves wrapped round toothpaste, as she reckoned we were all too profligate with the stuff.
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