Turn right and there is the Ballroom.....repository of so many memories....speech-day, badminton (the shuttlecock eating chandeliers are gone), plays, pantomimes, dances and much more. The sounds of the fountain and the smell of the chlorine is the same today as it was back then. The little yellow coloured, tubular frame chairs with their colourful striped canvass seats and backs are also gone, and the verandah is left alone to contemplate it fate. Mike Roche and his piano are also gone, and so is Tony Beauberon and his.
Turning immediately left as you pass through the entrance tunnel, lines you up with what was known as "The Verandah". It is here that Pinky Lloyd's farewell was held, the aluminum cask with the potent rum punch stood on a small wooden table doubling as a bar up against the wall at the end. On the immediate left are the steps leading up to the library and the door to the club manager's office. Can hear the sounds, smell the smells, and feel the excitement of walking in to a Saturday night "Verandah Dance" like it was yesterday.
Adjoining the "Verandah" is the main bar......home of too many stories to tell, too many bottles of Alsops beer and too many of plain old "hard rum".
Past the bar is that little corridor that went down past the tennis and squash court booking and ladder boards, past a little corridor that went to the back of the Snack Bar, past the Gent's room, and to the inner sanctums of the sacred "Men's Bar". The corridor remains unchanged today....same stale-water smell, the court booking board is the same one, and the fire extinguisher looks like it may also be the original thing.......not many water extinguishers around these days.
Oh sacrilege!!! This is what is left of our Men's bar. In this day of gender awareness and political correctness, the demise of this icon would be celebrated as the end of a period of male domination, and the tales and strong stories of male bonding and experience sharing, especially dangerous experiences like drunken car racing and accidents, fights etc. would be considered as sexist and would be made redundant by todays values. But it must be said that among the memories I have of relationships, as caveman as it would seem today, those forged here night after night as we checked out the loyalty, and mental and physical strength of our fellow adventurers and warriors, prior to launching out in to the unforgiving San Fernando night, rank among the strongest and closest to my heart.
Much of the Snack Bar is the same in a physical sense. The big change cannot be seen as it relates to the people who are not here any more. Too many to count and name all but Codrington, Mabel, and Barbara would rank among the classics.