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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 18 Dec
PostPosted: 18 Dec 2015, 08:47 
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That was lovely. I don't really think about Odette much as a character, she passes me by in the books, so that was particularly thought provoking. I will have to find my copy of Richenda and re-read it.

Thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 18 Dec
PostPosted: 18 Dec 2015, 09:19 
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That was lovely. I wish the friendship between Con and Odette had been allowed to develop more: they both seemed to be odd ones out sometimes. Thank you, Robin!

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 18 Dec
PostPosted: 18 Dec 2015, 11:00 
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Poor little Odette! Her mother should have been more honest with her about her poor health. I am glad Simone treated her in a more adult manner.


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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 18 Dec
PostPosted: 18 Dec 2015, 11:17 
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Just catching up on some lovely stories, thank you Robins! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 18 Dec
PostPosted: 18 Dec 2015, 11:44 
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Poor Odette - she is going to have a hard time of it without her Maman - glad to see that Ricki and Con have broken the ice. Thank you Robin.


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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 18 Dec
PostPosted: 18 Dec 2015, 14:55 
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I think Odette has completely passed me by until now. I shall go and investigate her. Thank you Robin for triggering my interest :)

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 18 Dec
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2015, 15:13 
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The Mensch Family Christmas Post Bag



From: Gaynor Christie, 'The Big House', St. Briavels
To: Jacquetta Mensch, 'Spruce Lodge', Armishire

Jac,

I ran into Nat in Armiford and she said you were back and all I can say is what a relief! On a side note, Nat has got pretty hasn't she? What on earth did your parents say when they saw she had given most of her hair the chop? When I say I ran into your sister I should say that I meant that literally. Her and David Russell were clowning about in the street as they did their Christmas shopping and in my usual clumsy way I ploughed right into them. David, being David, of course rushed to the rescue and took all the blame on to himself. Do you remember how we all thought he was perfect when we were younger? I still say I would have loved him to be my older brother. A younger brother is just not the same, although Binkie is a dear. Of course, he practically was your older brother since Nat and him have been best friends since before they could walk.

I am getting hugely off topic, we are at the Big House over Christmas by the way. They think they have finally gotten to the bottom of why we keep getting stagnating water in the summer despite the outflow. It's only taken them five years! They are hoping to get it fixed for the summer, so no more summers in Plas Gwyn. I'm not sure what the Maynards will do with the house now. They rarely manage to get over more than once or twice a year for one of the boys' half terms or end of term services. Isn't it funny to think that even if the school hadn't wanted to move and we hadn't wanted the house back they would have ended up having to leave anyway! The school does seem to have the strangest luck that way don't they? I'm glad our school is properly settled at Glendower house anyway.

Part of me is excited for a summer on the Island again, think of all the rowing and swimming after all, but no more summers in Howell's village! Think of the adventures we have had: Russell's, and Mensches and Chesters and all your huge extended friends and families.

Speaking of Chesters, please tell me that you are coming back next term. I did, of course, meet up with Janice Chester whilst I was in Armiford (at least, even if I no longer have long summers to look forward to there Mother is up visiting the Aunts frequently enough that you shan't forget my beautiful face) and the smug face she put on about 'the main branch' of the school was the outside of enough. It wasn't so bad last year because, if I do say so myself, Cherry was a bang up head girl. This year with Mercy Bates well all I'll say is we could have used you in the fourth this year if you hadn't been so busy swanning around the States. So just imagine me getting down on bended knees and begging you to come back after Christmas- we need you!

Yours desperately,

Gaynor




From: David Russell, 'The Round House', Armishire
To: Gisela Mensch, 'Spruce Lodge', Armishire

Dear Tante Gisela,

Merry Christmas to all the family. I hope you are all happy to be back. I'm home for the holidays and I hope you wouldn't mind if I cycle over one afternoon to see you all. I always have the fondest memories of days spent at your home. I always associate it with getting away from the hustle and bustle but with Gisel and Jacquetta around I must be remembering incorrectly! Perhaps it's all those afternoons holed away in the book nook with Nat whilst she tried to cram my German back into my head so I could appreciate your library.

I hope you let me come and revel in an Austrian Christmas again- I did miss it last year when you were away and the year before when we were at the Quadrant. I shall try not to pester Onkel with too many questions but the whole trip just sounds so fascinating. He must have learnt so many new things, and I can just imagine all those American students in their lecture theatres listening to Onkel Gottfried, he has such a way of speaking that you cannot help but become impassioned yourself. I haven't got the brains or the oratory skills to distinguish myself like that in the future but I was often enough at your happy home in my youth that you both must realise that Onkel has shaped how I have spent my first University years almost as much as Dad has.

Speaking of Dad I must leave off. I shall post this just now as we are about to go and fetch the trees- thank goodness the twins are hefty specimens, else I don't think we could have managed ours and the Monier's tree in one journey. Andre chose the perfect time to dish his ankle, although having to do more than his usual share of chores is keeping Kester out of mischief, at least for the moment. I have a sneaking suspicion Mums is secretly grateful, but I suspect you shall hear from her shortly. She is as eager to pounce on you all as I am, even with everything that is going on at the school. If you need any help moving things and getting settled in I am at your disposal.

Cheers,
David




From: Madge Russell, The Round House, Armishire
To: Gisela Mensch, Spruce Lodge, Armishire

G. CS SOS. Some sort of anarchy against the prefects?! Mine Fri 2pm. Dolly and I would love your input. M

PS. Missed you. Please come and calm me down you dear thing.

PPS. At Glendower House of course. Don't tell Jacquetta and Gretchen please. Grapevine, you know.

PPPS. Yes I taught you English- how on earth did you turn out so well? I will try not to throw a tantrum before I see you...but seriously would it kill everyone to behave for one term?

PPPPS. One!!




From: Rix Bettany, The Quadrant, Cornwall
To: Jacquetta Mensch, Spruce Lodge, Armishire

Squirt,

I hear you are back terrorising our shores again. Bride was reminiscing the other day to Mum, always a dangerous pastime, and happened to mention some of our adventures when we were kids. Unfortunately, Mum focussed right in on a few of our misdeeds kiddo and decided she wanted to haul all of you Mensches over here for a squint at you. Apparently the idea that I was a good role model for the younger generation was too much for her to take at face value. Of course, it shall only take a few minutes with you and Gisel for her to realise my influence wasn't necessarily for good, but I can't say I have ever heard you complaining. I like to think I can take the credit for Gisel's career. Just kidding, that curve ball of hers is all David, and I refuse to believe David helped spawn a professional Cricket player.

Do give her my congratulations on that win last week. I always scour the local papers for mentions of our budding star in case she is playing locally.

Speak to Onkel Gottfried and convince him to bring the whole boiling of you over for a few days if you aren't too exhausted from all this travelling. We need to plan your strategy for the rest of the year after all. If you don't make a complete nuisance of yourself this year you just aren't a respectable fourth former. It's practically your duty in that form to wreak havoc and mischief.

Rix





From: Bruno Von Ahlen, Appartement F, Berne
To: Gottfried Mensch, 'Spruce Lodge', Armishire

Dear Gottfried,

I shall start with wishing the warmest of Christmas greetings to all the family. We are looking most forward to seeing you in the New Year. You must be glad to be home again, to have your family reunited and Natalie and Gisel back under your eyes. You must be so proud of them, what delightful young ladies they have grown into and so different from each other. Their visit to us in September was enjoyable from start to finish.

I must say that whenever I get melancholy, and start wondering what it was all worth, that I am here my hands shaking so that I have to go work in a bank day in and day out, away from my calling, I have taken to thinking of my nieces as well as my own strapping young children. Is it not worth everything that I can have a niece with a University degree and another who is so skilled at sport that she plays on a professional ladies cricket team for her living.

Despite what I say about feeling rather down at times, I feel like myself most of the time, even when Frieda was so ill a couple of years ago I was still myself although out of my mind with worry! I may never be a doctor again and that will always hurt, but despite my little complaints and moments of boredom I feel a contentedness I never expected to feel again. As ever your advice has been sound, and I have followed it as best as I could this last few years.

Frieda is blooming you will be happy to know. You would not guess that she had been the subject of so much worry just a couple of years ago. We spent a happy weekend with the Maynards just there, they are most eager to see their boys again. It makes Frieda and I so grateful, when we see how much they are missing their sons, that there is such a good boys school here in Berne. I don't think we could bear to be parted further although Gretchen will soon be a few hours away when she starts at the school.

Frieda is most stubborn about sending Gretchen in the summer even though it is breaking her heart. To her, she feels the Chalet School was the making of her, and of course we always feel a deep, deep gratitude to the school. Were it not for the values taught there who knows what would have become of us.

Louis will be thinking of University in a couple of years. He has really buckled down now and is working most hard. Gerry I am afraid to say still seems to have no concept of hard work and seems content to remain class clown. Surprisingly, considering this, it was our little Carlotta who had to be pulled into the study the other day for a talking too. She had heard her Mother talking to Gretchen about her first days at school, when there were only about ten of them I believe. Frieda mentioned that her and Jo Maynard and your Maria became friends through pranking their elders and betters (ask Gisela about it or write to Bernie I can only imagine how tiresome they must have seemed!).

To cut a long story short, Carlotta powdered the basins at her kindergarten with sherbet and managed to scare several of her classmates. Frieda had to absent herself from the interview she was struggling so hard to keep a straight face.

I hope all your family are very well. Natalie has written a few times and sent some clippings of Gisel's fixtures. I can only imagine how much Jacquetta and Gretchen and Toni have grown- it's almost a year since we saw you last. I hope Jacquetta hasn't started reforming yet, your letters are always so amusing! You have to at least give her credit for not being boring!

With sincerest Christmas blessings,
Your brother,
Bruno.





From: Stephen Maynard, somewhere in Calais
To: Toni Mensch, 'Spruce Lodge', Armishire

Toni,

I hear through the grapevine that you are back in England. I hope that means you will be back next term. The junior Rugger team needs you I tell you! They promoted little old me at your absence but with Simmons leaving and Markwell breaking his arm in a Midnight gone wrong the core of the team is all awry.

Old Jones finally retired and the new master is a tartar I tell you! Awfully fair though. He caught Chas and MacTavish brawling and after skelping them both actually got to the bottom of it all. Chas of course shouldn't have been fighting after that absolute scare he gave us last summer. He's so calm most of the time that you forget it's all simmering under the surface with him, and I guess MacTavish was one person too many calling him a sissy about not being allowed to play sports this year. He learnt his lesson quick enough. I have a feeling you taught my brother that right hook! If so it has been put to good use- it almost broke MacTavish's nose.

I've waited until I got to France to send this, in case you were still collecting stamps. It's a bother all this travelling but it wouldn't feel right not to be at home this time of year, and since we are young enough to not really matter the school did allow us to slip off a couple of days early so we shall have a full two weeks at home. I can't wait to be a bit older though. Uncle Dick took us from school to the boat- and stood us a scrummy tea. Some of the Willoughby's were crossing so they kept us with them on the way over and then Tante Simone is going to meet us in Paris and put us in the care of some of her friends until we get to Berne, where Onkel Bruno is going to nab us for a few hours until Papa picks us up. I really think we should be trusted to manage on our own! Although if we are wily enough Chas and I think we should manage to get a fair few teas out of it.

See you next term,

Steve


On a technical note this is set the Christmas after Ruey. I apologise for any EBDisms but the Menschs ages seem to be all over the place! I have kept Natalie a similar age to David Russell although in later books she seems to become the same age as the Bettany twins. Jacquetta, Gretchen and Toni are all born in England with Toni the youngest being a baby in Highland Twins. As such Jacquetta must be younger than the triplets and Toni a little older than Stephen. I think! There is also a reference to the Mensches being in America for a while (i think this may be in Reunion but I don't have the books to hand) I have interpreted this as Gottfried doing something similar to Jen's Canadian and Australian trips, and I have left the Mensches in the Welsh mountains on their return since they never seem to turn up at the Swiss San like we are told they do. Thanks, Robin

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 19th Dec
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2015, 16:12 
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Thanks for all the drabbles

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Last edited by Sellenger on 19 Dec 2015, 18:25, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 19th Dec
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2015, 16:38 
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Thank you, Robin, for a lovely long drabble. How nice that they're all friends.

Thank you to all the Robins for the hard work put in at a very busy time of year. I'm sure that most people here thoroughly appreciate it.

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 19th Dec
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2015, 16:38 
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Alison H wrote:
Thank you to all the Robins for the hard work put in at a very busy time of year. I'm sure that most people here thoroughly appreciate it.


Definitely, just like my advent calendar, I look forward to reading one each day.


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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 19th Dec
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2015, 17:12 
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Reading the Advent Drabbles is one of my favourite parts of Christmas. Thank you all the Robins, I may not comment much but I do appreciate all your efforts.


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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 19th Dec
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2015, 17:30 
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This is a completely lovely drabble Robin. It features so many of my favourite characters and I think the letter format works brilliantly. Thank you so much!

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 19th Dec
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2015, 01:10 
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Thank you, Robin, for a lovely drabble! I like the way you have captured the many different relationships that rose from the stories!


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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 19th Dec
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2015, 12:32 
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Many thanks to all th Robins, I know I haven't commented on the last three, but have really enjoyed them, too. Well I did try to comment yesterday, but my iPad ate the message!

I really appreciate the effort all the writers are making at this very busy time of year; I do hope you realize just how much we all enjoy your efforts. I know I am not the only one who eagerly awaits each new story.


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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 19th Dec
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2015, 15:10 
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Thanks again Robin! That was great :)


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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 19th Dec
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2015, 15:12 
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A warning in advance, I really struggled with an idea for this Christmas, having said airily that I'd just take whatever gap was needed.

Then on top of that have been quite suddenly taken ill this past week, so till yesterday there was only about 100 words and no idea where I was going. This is what eventually arrived. If you prefer more christmassy and a bit less stressy perhaps it might be an idea to skip this one.

Given more time and brain I'd have tried to come up with something a bit more cheery or festive, or at least a bit more christmas linked, but decided at least there's a drabble to read, and people can always choose to skip it if they want.

This is the christmas around Feud.


-----------------------------------------------------------------

The night was wild, snow whirled around, and the wind bit fiercely at any exposed skin. The last thing she wanted was to go out in it, brave that cold and darkness.

She knew she had to go, though. One of the girls needed her, and that was all that mattered.

Nancy leaned out of the window, and gulped as the weather pulled her sideways before she held to a firmer grip. It was madness, someone of her size and bulk attempting gymnastic displays like this. She was strong, but she wasn't that flexible. Surely someone else would have been a better choice?

Just for a moment she contemplated not going. That wasn't going to happen though. There was a girl loose on the roof, and they needed help.

A relatively easy swing for two monkeys of middles, the movement from the window onto the roof felt as if it lasted an age. Nancy felt oddly weightless, then as if someone was pulling her down, arms almost wrenched out of her sockets. Dimly she felt this didn't make sense. She would either have reached the roof or fallen by now.

'Must hold on! Must...'

She kicked about. Surely there had been roof there when she started moving? There seemed to be - well it wasn't quite air, it was like quicksand; No, it was cold, it was like being pulled down, down into a snow drift...

Finally, just as she felt her arms would give in, she felt the roof arrive beneath her feet. Nancy found the rocks roped to the roof and steadied herself using them, just as the girls had earlier.

She squinted up, snow and hail driving into her skin and making her gasp. What had happened to the weather? When Matron first sent her out it looked bad, but it hadn't seemed anything like this intensity. How had the girls managed to stay on the roof in this storm? She was far heavier than them, but was sliding all around, losing grip more often than she felt she was holding on.

Again it seemed like madness, she couldn't tell where she was, what she needed to do. Still she had to get there, had to help.

Nancy pulled herself bit by bit towards the top of the roof. It seemed to have stretched out, was a small hill in size, and the pitch was almost vertical.

Was the girl even still there? There was a sillhouette, no, hang on, there were two of them, three, no four, what was going on, half the school seemed to be up on the roof??

"Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way!"

She paused. That damn song had been a craze with some of the American middles, and had spread through the school. Surely no one would be singing it now?

"Once in Royal David's city..."

She peered up. There were people standing on the roof, how could there suddenly be so many?

She made out Jack Lambert, Margot Maynard, Tom Gay and Emerence Hope grinning down at her. They were standing on tiptoes on the roof, holding hymn sheets, and ... carol singing?

"Away in a Manger..."

She closed her eyes and shook her head. Opening them, she looked up and saw what she'd expected to see: Jack Lambert, alone, with a bundled cat attached to her waist. It must just be the stress of the situation, her mind was playing tricks on her.

"Oh Miss Wilmot, help, please help!"

She doubled her efforts. She would never admit it, but she had a real soft spot for the tomboy middle. So many of the girls were the same, and after a few years they began to blur a little, become so easy to predict. Jack, whatever else she might sometimes be, was never monotonous!

"Help! Help, I can't hold on I can't! Miss Wilmot please heeeeeelp!"

Nancy started up again, but to her horror, it was too late. Jack screamed, and disappeared over the other side of the roof, as Nancy leapt up the last part, her fingers just missing the girl.

She could only watch as the pair plummeted to the ground, and a sickening thud came as the inevitable collision of child and earth happened.

Then silence.

"No! No ! No! Jack no!!"

"Nancy!"

"No! Nooooooo! Jack, Jack!"

"Nancy!"

Small hands were shaking her, she could hear Kathy's voice. That was even worse, Kathy mustn't be out here, she would be blown away, she mustn't see the body below, the blood that Nancy was sure must be oozing out by now. The ground was hard as iron, there was no way the child could have survived that fall. But she couldn't move! She couldn't get to Kathy, warn her away, make her stay inside. She was trapped, and being pulled every way by the storm, her hands feeling as though they must break with the strain.

"No, Kathy, no, go back, go back!"

"Nancy..."

The picture was fading, though the darkness remained. The pull of the wind turned itself into a whirl of bedclothes, the ends of which were firmly knotted around her feet. She looked around her in confusion, still struggling with the panic.

There was so much danger, she had failed. Little Jack was dead, she should never have tried to rescue her, not without a rope at very least. One of the alpinists should have done it, or Gaudenz, she should have insisted. She had failed, her strength was not enough, Matey should never have called her.

A flash of Emerence Hope held only by a thin rope, a dead weight over the edge of a cliff came into her mind, then a whirl of images of girls or friends at risk, of very real chances of them dying. Floods, snow storms, ice breaking, Nancy fell through them all, as she drifted back into sleep without properly waking.

"Nancy..."

She tried to wake, but kept falling back, always ending with that scream, that thud and Jack Lambert motionless in the snow.

"NANCY! WAKE UP!"

Finally, it all stopped. She was there, in bed, awake.

It had seemed so real, it took a moment even so for her to work out that it must all have been a dream, a nightmare. She was drenched in sweat, and still struggling to breathe, just as if she was out in the storm.

Kathy, still groggy from sleep, pulled Nancy close. She wasn't quite awake, but this wasn't at all like her partner.

"Take some ...yawwwwn...breaths, I'm ... Mmmm...here. It's ok... Jack won't hurt you, he's a very nice man...".

It was only as her cheek touched Kathy's and she noticed the dampness of her own skin that Nancy realised she must have been crying. She lay in Kathy's arms, and tried to calm her racing thoughts.

The snatches of dream still replayed, as she pulled herself back to reality, felt the sheets beneath her, took comfort from Kathy's presence. She lay back on the bed and stared at the ceiling. Still those images flickered as if on the edge of her brain.

"Tell me the dream, Nancy."

Kathy had finally woken up enough to realise there was something badly wrong, and pulled Nancy even closer, so much more soothing than words. Slowly, Nancy started to explain, and Kathy held her tighter with every extra girl mentioned, as the list of casualties grew.

"I just...couldn't stop it, any of it."

"I know, my love, I know. But it's over. None of them died, they all survived. This very moment Jack Lambert will be lying in a bed somewhere, dreaming of opening her presents and eating far too much food. They all made it through. All of them."

"I know, I know they did, there's no logic to it. But..."

"But nothing! They survived, and those you had anything to do with, you helped. Nancy think about it! For most of these events you weren't even there, and when you were, you did everything you could, and more."

Kathy felt the tense body soften just a little, and carried on.

"I've said before, the staff rely on you too much for your strength. Matey should never have asked you to go out there, it was madness. And I'll tell her so!"

Nancy half smiled at the idea of anyone laying down the law to Matey. If anyone could, it would be Kathy.

"Now settle down, try to sleep. I've spent too much time wrapping all those presents, I want you to be awake enough to enjoy them!"

Nancy obeyed, although sure she would never manage it.

Almost before she knew though, she was dozing and then much later was blinking awake, the sun far higher in the sky than she usual. Kathy was gone, but back as soon as sounds of movement reached her sharp ears.

Nancy was still a little drained, but actually deep down the nightmare had done it's job, and she felt calmer than she had for some time. The talk with Kathy, a deeper sleep and a late morning breakfast in bed had acted as the best medicine she could have had.

She had set herself up as calm, unflappable, strong Nancy Wilmot, and forgotten that she was also human, and these things had to take some toll on her over the years. Even she hadn't realised how much her unconscious was worrying about one day being unable to stop the disaster.

The fun and laughter of Christmas Day finished the job, and she fell into bed that evening far too tired to even start to dream. Kathy was true to her word, and spoke to Matey, and more importantly made sure Nancy took the time to talk through more of her worries, clear her mind so that she could process and be done.

Soon it would be new year, and there was sure to be new challenges, new dramas and risky situations.

It was the Chalet School after all.

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 20th Dec
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2015, 15:53 
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Thank you, Robin! Not surprising that Nancy would have an occasional nightmare with all the wading through floods, clambering over rooftops and other heroics she was called on to perform!


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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 20th Dec
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2015, 15:57 
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Hope you're feeling better now. And all those avalanches and other mishaps would stress anyone out: Joey does a lot of collapsing but the poor staff are expected to cope with whatever happens.

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 20th Dec
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2015, 16:20 
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Declaring it to have been the best term
Declaring it to have been the best term

Joined: 29 Dec 2004, 17:16
Posts: 1089
Location: Ontario, Canada
That was fascinating. We always tend to think of Nancy as being completely unflappable and able to deal with any crisis without turning a hair (with the notable exception of Kathie's collapse in Challenge). And yet it would be very unusual if she never suffered any reaction; this spectacular nightmare just brings it all together. Thank goodness Kathie was able to produce just the calming influence needed.

Thank you, Robin, I do hope you are feeling better.


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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 20th Dec
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2015, 17:02 
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Presenting your school report
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Joined: 13 Aug 2009, 18:41
Posts: 2675
Location: Czech Republic and Herts UK
An excellent contribution to the series of drabbles- drama and a satisfactory resolution.....thank you Robin

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