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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 10 Jun 2011, 12:32 
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Tuttsclump wrote:
Next time, I’m on Google, I’ll type in the Spanish Inquisition

:D :D I suspect you won't find many keen followers of that Tuttsclump!

I'm another who is finding it hard to believe that we are now able to closely question someone who actually lived alongside Eleanor for so many years. It's like a dream come true. I hope you don't live to regret "coming out" to us :?

We appreciate it so much......

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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 10 Jun 2011, 17:04 
Tuttsclump wrote:
I ‘m having to pinch myself, over all the interest I have discovered since doodling away on Google, typing Elinor Brent-Dyer, and coming across this board. I knew Elinor had a following in the past but didn’t realise it was still very active today.


I imagine you're baffled by some of the lines of questioning! It's just that in the Chalet School series there's a very clear didactic insistence on certain things as desirable and 'right' (and certain others as absolutely not!) that it's easy to impute them to EBD's own strongly-held attitudes and preferences. For instance, there's an absolute insistence on being 'dainty' and well-turned-out in appearance at all times; an adoration of doctors, who are the ultimate authority in the entire series, and a parallel interest in mentally and physically fragile or highly-strung women; a fascination with 'quaint' continental customs, food and foreign languages; a certain amount of class anxiety (discomfort with nouveau riche people and the urban working class); a strongly-held religious belief.

Does any of this say anything to you, Bryan, as someone who knew her as a housemate? Clearly EBD wasn't a particularly dainty dresser in real life ( :) ) but do you remember her as an obviously religious woman or a frequent church-goer? You made a remark earlier about EBD having feigned illness at some point, which is very interesting as regards her obvious fictional interest in fragility, and the fact that her characters never report or draw attention to their own illnesses...


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 10 Jun 2011, 18:20 
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The question that I want to ask, Bryan, is do you know what Elinor read for pleasure?

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A certain edge when she spoke of Mrs Maynard, certainly, but, after all, not everyone could love Joey.
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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 10 Jun 2011, 18:42 
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It has been a very hectic last few days, trying remembering events over 50 years ago.
I have been in touch with people that also knew Phyllis, Sidney and Elinor as well as myself.
One thing that I wasn’t aware of was that there was a “Friendly” rivalry between Phyllis and Elinor.
Elinor was a religious person attending church every week, until she became ill.
Elinor did appear in one of the Drama Clubs plays directed by Phyllis, but I am not sure what it was.
I have to contact another person I knew who was a great friend of Phyllis and Sidney, and subsequently Elinor


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 10 Jun 2011, 20:35 
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I cannot quite grasp what you are saying, not really understanding didactic insistence or impute.
Being 'dainty' and well-turned-out in appearance at all times; does not describe Elinor at all.
Elinor was always in clean clothes, but a bit on the drab side, in fitting with an elderly lady
She was a bit physically fragile, but she was in her seventies.
She did use to overdo her make up a bit and slightly heavy on the lipstick, and nicotine stained fingers


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 10 Jun 2011, 22:59 
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cestina wrote:
Tuttsclump wrote:
Next time, I’m on Google, I’ll type in the Spanish Inquisition

:D :D I suspect you won't find many keen followers of that Tuttsclump!


Either that or the Spanish Inquisition is what he feels he's being put though...

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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2011, 18:03 
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I have contacted several of Phyllis’s old friends and an Historian, so that I may be able answer your interesting requests, as truthfully as possible.
I have contacted the Electoral Office at Reigate and Banstead office who may be able to confirm the dates of us all.
I have also been in touch with the Surrey Mirror in Reigate who may be able to confirm any obituaries, or adverts advertising the shows that the Matthewman’s produced, and the marriage of Phyllis’s niece Chloe Dixon (Actress) to Peter Rutherford (Actor)
Talking to a very close friend (in his eighties) he also confirms that there was not any serious rivalry (Jealousy) but professional and amicable banter between Phyllis and Elinor.
Another elderly Lady in her late eighties is hoping to send me a photo of members of the Drama Group, with hopefully pictures possibly including Phyllis and possibly Elinor.
She is also hoping to contact other surviving members of the clan, and hopefully the address and or telephone number of Chloe who has moved to Brighton


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2011, 20:33 
Bryan - thank you for all the work you're putting into this! It's so exciting to meet someone who actually knew Elinor and can help to flesh out (our) my thinking of her. Ity's a bit like some kind of fairy-tale ... !


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2011, 22:02 
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Bryan, thank you so much. I have a question; do you happen to know what Elinor's politics were?


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2011, 22:16 
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I think I can safely say that she was Conservative, both in her attitude and Government party.
I am almost sure that both Elinor and the Matthewman’s were staunch conservative supporters, and I believe were in the local conservative party


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2011, 22:36 
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This really is fascinating, Bryan - thanks for giving us so many interesting details.

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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 13 Jun 2011, 19:17 
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When I joined this group I had no idea what I was entering into.
Living with Elinor has dulled my perception on how much following she has gained not only in her lifetime, but years after.
I am acutely aware that what you want to know is factual rather than fiction, so I am wary of my replies.
I have now contacted the Electoral offices of Leeds, Hereford, and Reigate and Banstead.
I have also contacted the Local papers of the same counties, including South Shields, who provided a lot of information for “Behind the Chalet School”, by Helen McClelland, Elinor’s Biography.(Yes I Have ordered a copy)
I can understand your scepticism, over my claiming to have lived with Elinor in her last ten years or so, but I promise you, I did, and hopefully will convince you of my sincerity
Bryan


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 13 Jun 2011, 19:18 
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Tuttsclump wrote:
I can understand your scepticism, over my claiming to have lived with Elinor in her last ten years or so, but I promise you, I did, and hopefully will convince you of my sincerity
Bryan

Oh I think we are convinced Bryan - and very grateful to you for these insights...... :D

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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 14 Jun 2011, 10:11 
Bryan - another question: I was reading Joey Returns to the Chalet School last night and there was a comment which occurs fairly frequently in the books.

Quote:
... she went along the corridor to the pretty room with its wide, sunny windows, pleasent pictures, and all the little daintiness which spoke of the cultured woamn who inhabited it.


So, my wondering is, what was Elinor's room like? Was it 'dainty' at all? I find it hard to imagine because she (and Phyllis) was such a heavy smoker, so unless the windows were permanantly open (and probably, even then!) walls would have been smoke-stained (my father was a heavy smoker anad I grew up in such an environment).

Did Elinor go in for the pretty daintiness she talks about in the books, or was sher interior design taste actually different?


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 14 Jun 2011, 13:08 
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At Albury Edge the windows were nearly always open as was the patio door.
At Woodlands Road both Elinor’s and Phyllis’s studies were at the back of the house overlooking the back garden
Both studies had book cases lining the walls, and were rather cluttered, with books stacked on the floor
Both had their desk set at a 45 degree angle to the window and placed so they could sit at their desk, and have a fresh breeze blow in
Both ladies had a feeling towards fresh air, so the windows were open most of the time


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 14 Jun 2011, 18:39 
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Both Elinor and Phyllis being writers were also avid readers of authors such as Catherine Cookson, and books from similar type authors.
Both the Matthewman’s and Elinor had a vast library of books
Sidney and Phyllis had a wide variety of books including Fiction, Non Fiction, and reference books
Phyllis’s books were stacked in wall to nearly the ceiling bookshelves around the house, in the study; the sitting room, the hallway, the dining room, and their bedroom, what couldn’t be stored in the shelves were stacked in piles on the floor.
Elinor’s were in bookshelves in her study and her sitting room with the surplus in piles on the floor


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 14 Jun 2011, 19:51 
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Sounds familiar! I have books in piles on the floor too. A lot of Elinor's children's books, which you'd have seen there, Tuttsclump, are now in the Children's Collection in the University of Reading Library - she bequeathed them. A number of them have inscriptions, several from Phyllis to Elinor. This didn't include any of her own writings. Among others there's a complete set of the Elsie books, and others she mentioned such as The Adventure of the Amethyst.


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 14 Jun 2011, 20:50 
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Please remember when asking questions or referring to characters in the books, that I have never read any of Elinor or Phyllis’s books
How is it that the books in the University of Reading Library were bequeathed, and by whom?
I of course live in Reading, but don’t think I could visit their library
I do read books especially Dick Francis, as this from local knowledge (Lambourne) and the downs within a short car ride away


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 14 Jun 2011, 21:06 
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Elinor herself bequeathed them to us - she'd heard about the large collection of children's books already in the Library, and was looking for a good home for her books after her death, where they'd be kept together and be available for others to read.


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 14 Jun 2011, 21:13 
Tuttsclump wrote:
Please remember when asking questions or referring to characters in the books, that I have never read any of Elinor or Phyllis’s books ...


Do you think you might read one, now?


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