|8 Oct 2022|
Normally at The Wynnstay Hotel in Oswestry and following the recent sale of the hotel my brother Bernard was tasked with finding an alternative venue for our September gathering. When he announced to me over the phone that he had booked us in at The West Arms in the pretty village of Llanarmon, just a few miles west of Oswestry, something rang a bell.
As we continued our conversation I suddenly remembered that almost ten months previously I had written an article about a group of over-exuberant Old Oswestrians who were ejected, luggage and all, from The Wynnstay during a late night/early morning party in December 1960. The alcohol-fuelled party took place in one of the hotel rooms following the Annual Old Boys' Dinner during which a small group of OOs walked out in noisy protest when Headmaster Frankland rose to speak for what would prove to be his last address to Old Oswestrians as Headmaster of Oswestry School. Inevitably the late-night partying got out of hand and an extremely irate manager banned us from his establishment for the foreseeable future, necessitating a change of venue for lunch the following day.
After a short discussion on Sunday morning, about ten of us found ourselves heading towards the West Arms in the picturesque village of Llanarmon. The hastily rearranged lunch was a great success and the party mood continued into the afternoon, unabashed by the shenanigans of the previous night, and we all agreed to reconvene there again at some point in the future - little did we know it would take sixty-two years! On that cold December day back in 1960 Tony Hughes entertained us all with his special driving skills in a black Morris 8 car, driving crazily at breakneck speed up and down the hill behind the West Arms. Quite understandably, nobody would join him in his death-defying antics, and fortunately, both Tony and the car emerged unscathed.
Our previous visit to Llanarmon had long faded from my brother's memory, and it only remained in mine thanks to my Diary entry for 11 December 1960, and it appears that Bernard had inadvertently stumbled, sixty-two years later, upon this venue from the distant past.
Serendipity, synchronicity, kismet, call it what you will, but it felt rather surreal to be retracing our tracks to The West Arms to be reunited with other Old Oswestrians who had partied so enthusiastically during that infamous Old Boys' weekend of December 1960.
Thus it was that on Sunday, 18 September, 2022, we found ourselves in this delightful setting for a convivial catch-up with Old Oswestrian friends and their wives and the afternoon went with a swing.
Once more it was a pleasure to have Vicky Evans as our guest and we were careful not to repeat the excesses of 1960! Time is a great mellower and I am pleased to report that by the end of the afternoon nobody lay prostrate under the table, nor were there any scuffles and not even one empty bottle found itself on the dining room floor. Another memorable gathering.
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