A Wife of Fulmer’s Tale


by Ron Lewin

A casual visitor to Fulmer could be forgiven for thinking that our organisation was either laboratory, games facility or perhaps a music academy; in fact it was all three.

Staff will tell you that when going for a first interview they were often asked what games they played.  My school friend who was a very academic chap said he was a chess player, I mentioned that I played scrum half for my school rugby team and competed in the hurdles at the County sports.  To my knowledge we were not asked about our scientific knowledge but for some reason we were the type of staff they were looking for.

It was traditional that the staff who had attended Oxbridge would go to Twickenham for the annual Oxford and Cambridge match, while another Old Wykehamist would spend a day at the Eton/Winchester Cricket Match.

Two of the main attractions at the original Country house were a fine tennis court and a croquet lawn. Within a short time a cricket pitch was constructed in the paddock together with a small football pitch. Some of the less sporty staff played chess, bridge and an ancient oriental game called Go. One of the highlights of the season was the inter Company Sports day when staff would train hard in the extended lunch hours.

Finally, music met the artistic needs of other staff who were players, singers and performers.  For instance in the Physical Chemistry Section one of our team was a choral conductor, pianist and oboist; another played the violin, viola and clavichord but mostly enjoyed playing quartets with elderly ladies, which he did one afternoon a month.  I was just a humble cellist.

My wife’s favourite phrase is ‘If you didn’t spend so much time thinking we might get somewhere’: she has little time for planning diagrams, flowcharts, scientific method and deliberation.  Her nursing background fits with the motto of the father of British surgery, John Hunter, who said ‘Stop thinking and get on with it’.  I humbly disagree!

Mar 2017

FRHG ref: V101