James (Jim) Storrar
Other schools attended in Kenya: Nakuru school, Lugard school in Nakuru, Strathmore College, Nairobi.
Memories of School:
Mozzy nets and school hats were compulsory pieces of kit. If you were lucky and knew somebody who was already at The
Patch, you would be warned not to remove said items from your trunk and in fact never admitting ownership of what were
universally regarded as effete and the sort of thing that the okes from Duko might own. Failure to heed such a warning
or being unfortunate enough not to receive it until too late, resulted at best in a pretty painful dondering and at worst
a stigma that could last for a long time.
The CCF was compulsory in all but name, which always struck me as odd, for a school run on Naval lines, despite being
over three hundred miles from the sea. Opting out of Cadets was not an option unless you had good medical grounds or,
god forbid, a letter from your mother! So most guys had the prospect of years of square bashing, spitting and polishing,
blancoing, saluting and parading to look foreword to. Everybody readily and enthusiastically joined, as a failure to do
so labelled you as a deviant, a shirker, less than patriotic and signalled that that you had no intention of joining the
There was, however one honourable way out, despite some inevitable nudge-nudge-wink-wink ribbing; and that was to become a
Scout. The 2nd Nairobi troop, was the Prinso troop and had its Hq. and centre of activity in the school hall down by the
There were about seventy of us and we learnt a hell of a lot of really useful information and how to make a whole bunch of
stuff, under the tutelage of the Scoutmaster, whose name, I vaguely recall as being .... Mr.(Norman?) Wheeler. I can't
remember what subject he taught. He taught us how to shoot on the rifle range.
He took us on terrific expeditions into the bundu, including trips to the top of Kili, the long way and Lenana on Mt.
Kenya, as well as Mt. Suswa and Longonot all in the CAV. qv. He taught us survival and bush craft in the Mustoni and such
arcane matters , .. as how to dispatch an unfortunate Dassie and roast it in a Baring biscuit tin.
He was very much into the Baden Powell ethic and took us to see his grave in the foothills of Kirinyaga. His long shorts
in contradistinction to our broeks, testified to his Englishness, he smoked a pipe and had horn rimmed gigs but nobody
took the piss as he had three Wood Beads and knew all the hundred and one uses of the Panga.
The CAV. was the acronym for the Covered Austin Van. It was a pukka safari lorry made by Sikh fundis in Nairobi. It had
a wooden back with roll up canvas windows and loading space on the roof. The wooden benches had lockers under them for
stowing gear and it seemed to be able to go anywhere.
It was used for all sorts of expeditions, collecting and taking the guys to the station for the upcountry trains, visiting
other schools for sports fixtures as well as being used by the school as a lorry.. One of it's functions before the advent
of the tuck shop, was transport for the institution known as "Shopping Lorry". There was some sort of rota between the
houses for shopping trips into town, securing a place on the lorry was subject to great competition and you had to have
some pretty good reason, to go on what was little short of a smoking trip. If you were "gated" and I frequently was,
then you automatically lost your booked place on the shopping lorry, which was unfortunate if you had already pocketed
the monies from all you mates, for whom you were to run errands. Before my time, it was reputed that the good burghers
of Nairobi used to view shopping lorry days with some trepidation , as the okes from Prinso were no strangers to scrapping
and other forms of violent disorder.
He was quite young and a Kenya boy and shared some considerable empathy with us. I think his grand father was Mervyn
Cowie, who was one of the founding fathers of Kenya and had something to do with "The Permanent Way", He had a lot to do
with school sports, overseeing those interminable hours spent doing athletic and swimming "standards".
I can't remember, for the life of me, what he taught me, I was much more interested in contemplating the possibilities
of "The Dark Continent", out of the window,. However he had an acute intuition for identifying those of us whose attention
may have wondered and an unerring aim with the board rubber, thrown with all his strength, at the unfortunate dreamer.
You had milliseconds to raise your desk lid to deflect what was a lethal missile. The resultant report of rubber on desk
startled everyone out of their reveries and guaranteed our undivided attention for a while. His close association with
sports, meant that he always had on his person , .... a starting pistol, he would wonder nonchanently over to some
miscreant in his class and discharge the pistol behind his ear, the frightful blast would rock everyone back in their
seats and the object of his anger would be unable to hear whatever it was he taught, for at least a week.
I vaguely recall that his nick name was ..... "Bundu" Cowie.
"Bones" or "The Commander", was an inveterate smoker and would light up, to fuel his time between classes.
Normally he would only have time to smoke half a "Bwana Masafiri", (Sportsman), which he would extinguish and flick
under the class room, a highly dangerous practice, considering that the classrooms were wooden buildings on stilts and
by no means fire proof. The trick was, to leave the room on some pretext, such as incontinence and retrieve the mangled
but still usable stompie from under the veranda, to be traded or smoked later at the finder's convenience. Should his
subject matter on logarithms, trigonometry and Pythagoras become too deep for us, we could deflect his flow with ....
"What did you do during the war, Sir?" ... the result ... a relaxing 40 minutes time waste.
There was the game of Followies or Followies nick faunching nick enning. There was the game of Ringies.
There was a game called Escalado, .. this involved a shoe box, owned by an enterprising fellow with a lot of balls
and plenty of marbles. The box had gates of various sizes cut into its side. The width of the gate determined the score.
From a line, determined by the shoe box owner, you could fire at a particular opening, should your nyab miss it's mark,
it became the property of the entrepreneur, however should you manage to fire through a gate, your return in marbles, would
be high for the narrowest port and the tariff becoming less with the increase in gate width. This was a game that could
seldom be played if your stock was low. Violence was common if there appeared to be fraud or sore losers.
Some nyabs were called "Spiders", "Bloodshots", "clayees", "Cats eyes" and cleeries". depending on their appearance.
Nyabs were not played at Prinso.
The Young Farmers' Club
This institution was a good wheeze, although farming was in the blood of a lot of us, it gave us the opportunity to skip
"Rest" in the afternoons and go and work on the School Shamba, this was on the extremities of school grounds and furthest
from any surveillance by anyone in authority. Naturally we grew cabbages, as well as mealies and other mbogas which went
into the kitchens. We grew Tombaco or African Karaico, which made Roosters and Ten Centies seem positively sophisticated.
We had a team of two oxen to do the major cultivation, they were eventually superseded by a Tinga. There was no way out of
doing a lot of the work with a Jembe but the rewards were stimulating as we got the chance to fraternize with our female
counterparts at the Boma and elsewhere, get free tickets for Agricultural Shows and go to Club braaivleis and meet lots
of "Dames", ay . The crowning glory was, that we built a Nine hole golf course within the grounds, and as the builders we
had certain rights and privileges for the use thereof. The fairways were for a while, mowed by our two oxen, pulling a set
of gang mowers until the arrival of the old Fordson Major.
My grandparents took my mother to see all the dignitaries opening the School. She, like most colonial children in the
area, went to Nairobi High school. This was situated where the old St. Andrews Church with the red mabati roof is or was
on Uhuru Highway. My mother then went to the Boma, once it had been built. My sister went to Msongari
Since leaving School:
Married with Three children aged 24 -17. Parents still alive living in Sussex. My mother went to The "Boma" as a pupil
and a teacher.
Occupation ... Countryside Ranger. Looking after approx 2000 acres in Surrey Hills.
(Registered - 30th July 2005)
If anyone wishes to contact Jim, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
to obtain his contact details