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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 20th Dec
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2015, 21:08 
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Thanks Robin! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 20th Dec
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 10:44 
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PART ONE

“It’s Christmas! Almost anyway,” Val Gardiner exclaimed in grumbling tones.

“What of it?” Celia Everett, her bosom chum, demanded.

“Yes! Why on earth are you grumbling about it being almost Christmas?”

Jack Lambert interjected. “I should have thought you’d be glad!”

“Well so I am but nobody’s giving us any nice work to do!” Val complained. “It’s just boring old Maths and English and things. If we must write essays even though it’s practically the end of term and Christmas, I should have thought they could at least have given us something fun to write about!”

“Like a letter to Santa, you mean?” Celia teased her.

“Maybe she wants him to take her off his naughty list?” Jack chuckled.

“You can’t talk!” Val flashed angrily. “What price you being nasty to Jane last term? I bet that didn’t get you on the nice list! And what about the term before that when you got everyone into a heap of trouble just cos you thought your precious Len was ignoring you?!”

“Ah but what is his naughty list?” Renata van Buren asked, puzzled, before Jack, who had flushed bright red and whose eyes were sparking angrily, could retaliate.

“Santa has two lists - a list of naughty children and a list of nice children,” Celia explained quickly. “If you’re on the nice list, you get nice things. If you’re on the naughty list, you get a lump of coal.”

There was no time for more, since the Head arrived at that point, to take them for English. Flavia Ansell, Copper as she was known to her playmates, the only girl observant enough to notice, saw that Miss Annersley’s eyes were twinkling mischievously as she entered. The Head had paused outside the formroom to speak to one of the mistresses and had consequently overheard the conversation, which had given her an idea. She bade them sit and let her eyes rove around the room for a minute, wondering how they would all react.

“Now, as it is almost Christmas, I expect you feel you would like a break from your regular work,” she began briskly but had to pause for a moment, trying not to laugh, as the form looked from her to Val and back again, wondering if she could possibly have heard their conversation and if so, how much of it.

“It’s that coincidence thing again,” Copper muttered wickedly to Jack, referring to a conversation the pair had had earlier that term when Val had gone missing and Jack had found Copper blaming herself. Jack gave her a startled look which turned to horror as she took in Copper’s meaning and realised that the Head had indeed heard their conversation.

“Oh drat Val and her big mouth,” Jack thought to herself. “Whatever’s going to happen now? Surely the Head’s not going to row me again?” The Head was talking again however, so she gave it up for the moment.

“Dear me,” the Head observed, “I must be an ogre if you can all look so surprised at the idea that I think you might like a break from your normal work! No!” she held her hand up as people started to object vociferously to this idea. “Let me continue, please or we shall not achieve anything at all. Now then, at this time of year, it is a tradition for many English children to write a letter to Santa Claus, to tell him what presents they would like for Christmas. You are all rather too big for that now, I think, so I do not propose that you do that,” she paused again to hide a smile as some of the lazier members of the form, Val amongst them, looked disappointed at this. “In a few weeks’ time, you will no doubt be forming resolutions for the year to come but before that, I believe it would be a useful exercise for you to consider the resolutions you have made this year. Not just those you made at the start of the year but others you have made throughout the year. How many have you kept? What event or action prompted you to make a certain resolution? Your essay for this week, therefore, will take the form of a letter to Santa Claus. The purpose of your letter will be to reflect on the things you have done and the things you should have done but did not. At the end of your letter you must decide whether you believe your behaviour over the year has earned you a place on Santa’s nice list or his naughty list. Now, does anyone have any questions?”

“Will you be reading them?” Jack asked nervously.

“I will not,” the Head answered. “Your letters will be posted to the North Pole and he will read and consider them. However, I will expect to have an envelope from each of you handed to me so that I know you have completed the exercise. Remember,” she added, her eyes twinkling more than ever, “that this may be your final opportunity to influence what you wake up to on Christmas morning. You may have until the end of this week to do it. Write it out in your scribblers first so that you don’t use up your writing paper. And for those of you who think you can get away with inserting two blank sheets of paper because you think you know Santa Claus really exists, think again. Do you know for a fact that he does not exist? Can you prove it?”

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 21st Dec
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 10:52 
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Thank you, Robin - what a brilliant idea. Jack's definitely got a lot to think about :evil: .

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 21st Dec
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 11:22 
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Yet another interesting "take". I wish we could see those letters, even though Miss Annersley won't!


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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 21st Dec
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 11:57 
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Tee hee - much looking forward to Part Two....

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 21st Dec
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 12:46 
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Great idea - looking forward to the next part :)


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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 21st Dec
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 12:53 
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What a good idea! I think someone should do a series just made up of those letters !

Thank you Robin.

Again, still not managing to check in as often as would have liked, so thank you to all Robins, a good mix of stories so far, am enjoying this thank you.

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 21st Dec
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 18:18 
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Thank you for these drabbles, Robins. I suppose it's awful to confess that I was very slightly disappointed to find that Jack hadn't fallen off a roof??? :shock: Not terminally, you understand, but enough to shock her into being a bit less horrid?

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 21st Dec
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 19:49 
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PART TWO

Dear Santa,

Miss Annersley, that’s our Headmistress, said that we should write to you and tell you what we’ve been doing over the past year so that we can decide whether we’ve been naughty or nice and which list to go on. But I know that already. I’ve done some pretty awful things this year and I don’t expect I deserve proper presents or anything like that, though of course they would be nice. Especially cos then I wouldn’t have to explain to Mummy and Daddy and Anne and Bobby about why I’ve got a lump of coal. Though I suppose they could put it on the fire at any rate!

I don’t really know what’s made me do silly things this year. Or maybe I do. Everyone likes me and looks up to me and things and maybe it’s made me a bit big headed. It’s nice when everyone does what you say. Except maybe it’s not. I mean, it’s nice if they’re doing it cos they agree with you but not if they’re doing it cos they’re a bit scared of not agreeing with you or cos they’re too lazy to think differently.

Val, one of my friends, just reeled off a list of all the bad things I’ve done this year – or some of them, at any rate. And I deserved it because I teased her about a bad thing she’d done this term. If I hadn’t done that, she wouldn’t have got cross back. Miss Annersley would say I should think before I speak but it’s hard. Especially when I get cross about something. In the Winter, I got cross with Len Maynard because she’d promised to take us for a walk and then she didn’t. I thought it meant she’d just agreed to take us because it would keep me quiet and that she didn’t really care about me or any of us anymore. So I made everyone leave our walk and go a different way just so that we could catch up with her and make her take us on a walk. Only it didn’t work out like that. We got lost in the woods and my friends got hurt and scared and it was all my fault. I did try to help Mary with her foot and to work out which way we were going but it wouldn’t have happened if I’d not thought that Len had broken her promise. And I suppose I wasn’t being very fair to Len. She’d never let me down before and always been kind and helpful. I told Bobby, my brother, about it and he said that I should remember people can’t always keep promises. He said that I always promise Mummy and Daddy every term that I will be good but then I never am, just like him. I said something always happens and then I forget and he said the same thing happens to other people too so why should I get cross with them? Len couldn’t get permission to take us so that’s why she didn’t and I should have realised that sometimes things happen to stop people from doing something.

But I think the worst thing I’ve done is to bully Jane Carew. I get all hot and embarrassed and uncomfortable when I think about it. She was a new girl and I got cross because she was taking my cubey and I had to move out the dormy and then I wouldn’t see Len and she was my dormy prefect and she’d helped me and things ever since I came. I couldn’t exactly get cross at Matey so I got cross at Jane. It wasn’t very nice of me. I got jealous I think cos she got my cubey and then she was able to talk to Len and things and well, she seemed awfully sentimental and called everybody ‘darling’. It’s really kiddish and things and I knew I was being bad and doing the wrong thing but that just made me worse, especially when I thought she got my job about Ferry’s car. And then the news about her Mum came and I realised how stupid I was being and that she was actually quite nice and that it’s just cos she’s been with people who call everyone ‘darling’ that she spoke like that. I made it up with her and we’re friends now but it would have served me right if she hadn’t wanted to be friends with me. Wanda even told me this term that I wasn’t very nice to be around for lots of last term. I said I was sorry but said that she shouldn’t just go along with whatever I want and that if she really is my best friend, she has to tell me when I do stuff she doesn’t like. Not so’s I can blame her or anything or so that I don’t have to make my own decisions but cos I want us to have a proper friendship where we do what she wants as much of the time as what I want and cos friends should tell each other if the other one’s doing something wrong or being babyish or things.

I’ve been form prefect this term and I’ve tried to do my best to keep out of trouble but I haven’t really tried to keep others out of trouble. I mean, I’ve helped Copper cos she’s new and cos she had that business with the gangsters trying to kidnap her but maybe I should try and help Val a bit. She got into a big row earlier in the term and needs an eye kept on her to make sure she doesn’t get into another. She told Celia the Head might’ve expelled her! And she still might if there’s another row and we don’t want that.

But anyhow, I think I belong on the naughty list. I don’t think I’ve done enough nice things to cancel out the bad. I hope we get to do this every year cos then it might make me think a bit during the year.

From Jack Lambert.

Dear Santa

This is a waste of time. No one in their right minds could think I belong on the nice list. At least, I haven’t exactly been horrible to people, except maybe to Jack just now, but I have been really naughty this term. And I suppose I’ve been naughty the last two terms as well. I just seem to get bored. It’s boring always having to do what you’re told all the time and doing work is boring. But then I don’t like the rows I get into.

I’m in a big row at the moment, really cos I kind of ran away the other week and got into all sorts of trouble. But I really didn’t mean for it to happen and I was so mad with Prudence for telling me off for doing something that she always used to do. I just wanted to see Peter, my brother, cos things were all in a muddle and he helps me see sense but he wasn’t there and it’s a long way to walk there and back and I got hungry and tired and then this man insisted I go into his house. And I knew I was wrong but somehow I just did. And then he drugged me and took me away for six days. I’m glad I slept through it all. But I didn’t mean to frighten Mummy and she got frightened. I still don’t really understand what happened. I think they were some kind of criminals or something. Anyhow, everyone was really cross with me for running off and Miss Annersley has said that if I get into anymore trouble she might expel me. That would be too awful for words. But Celia said to me that I can’t keep making a mess of things and then expect everyone to clear up after me. She said I was behaving like a kid and I needed to grow up and that if I didn’t, even if I didn’t get expelled, I might end up staying down when everyone else moves up at the end of the year. That would be awful! I know I’m forever getting into scrapes so I suppose I’ll have to think a bit about it before I do stuff in future. Jack said to me this week that maybe I should do more at Games cos she thinks I’m not too dusty at them and maybe I will. It has to be better than being hauled in front of the Abbess all the time! Anyhow, I know I belong on the naughty list and I suppose whether you’re real or not, I don’t deserve presents.

From Valerie Gardiner.

Dear Santa

We’re supposed to write to you and tell you whether we belong on the naughty and nice list and why. I suppose Miss Annersley wants us to think about all the things we’ve done in the past year and try to learn from what we’ve done. But I’m not really sure what I have done. At any rate, I don’t think I’ve done anything really naughty or really nice. Not that I’ve been an angel or anything but I’ve not been in any serious rows or anything here or at my last school and Dad and I rub along together pretty well. I suppose I came up with the idea for our form’s evening but that didn’t turn out so well. At least, people enjoyed themselves but they weren’t supposed to laugh at us and it was my idea to do mime and the story was my idea so I can’t be exactly pleased. But then no one else had anything to suggest and the others went along with my idea so it wasn’t all my fault. And I suppose it wasn’t very helpful of me to get all upset when I found out about Val and I did kind of break my word to Miss Annersley when I told Jack all about it. And then we had to tell Len. So I suppose that was naughty of me. But I felt so guilty about it all but then Jack pointed out that if Val had broken the rules and played truant it would never have happened cos she’d have been here and safe. And from what Dad said, it would’ve been a lot worse if they’d got hold of me and he’d have had an awful time. So even though I’m really sorry about what happened to Val, I suppose I’m glad it worked out as it did. I mean, it would have been much better if it hadn’t happened at all but I can see it wasn’t my fault it happened. And the others have said that Val’s been a nuisance for yonks so if this makes her pull up, it’s all for the best. I don’t really mind which list I’m on or whether I get presents or not, I’m just glad that I can spend Christmas with Dad and that we’re both safe.

From Flavia Ansell

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 21st Dec
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 19:54 
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FINAL PART

Dear Santa,

Please find enclosed some letters from the Upper IV at the Chalet School. I happened to overhear a conversation in which a desire to do something different to their normal work was expressed. The form has some rather thoughtless children in it, two girls in particular have been problematic over the last year, so I thought I would ask them to write to you and tell you about their doings. The objective will be for them to tell you whether they think they belong on the naughty list or the nice list and I hope reflecting back on their doings will make them start to think about their behaviour and make them think twice in the future. I hope you find them useful.

Kind Regards, Hilda Annersley.

It was Christmas Day morning and Jack Lambert tumbled out of bed to find a stocking crammed with presents and a letter sticking out the top. She gave a curious yelp as she discovered it was stamped from the North Pole.

Dear Jack

Thank you for your letter. You were quite right. You were on my naughty list. However, you have been honest about your actions and that I believe, earns forgiveness not punishment. But beware! If the same thing happens next year, I will not be so generous. I cannot tell you whether your Headmistress will allow you to complete the same exercise again next year, for I do not know. However, you should not rely on this exercise to keep you from doing silly things. Remember that you are an independent young person, with a good level of intelligence and more than capable of applying common sense to your doings. In amongst your presents, you will find a picture. I suggest you hang it in your cubicle and look at them each day. Perhaps, in time, the words on it will stay in your mind and cause you to pause before you do something.

Remember too that you have an excellent skill in your fretwork. Make sure you keep it up. I am sure you will find many uses for it in the future and may even find a job using it. I will watch your progress with great interest.

For now though, have a Happy Christmas!
Ho ho ho!
Father Christmas

Intrigued, Jack fished amongst her presents and presently withdrew a flat shaped parcel which she unwrapped. The picture showed four quotes from A.A Milne:

“Think, think, think!”

"Piglet: Pooh?
Pooh: Yes Piglet?
Piglet: I’ve been thinking.
Pooh: That’s a very good habit to get into, Piglet."

"Did you ever stop thinking and forget to start again?"

"A little Consideration, A little Thought for Others, makes all the difference."

Jack took the picture back to school with her and as Father Christmas had suggested, the words gradually became imprinted on her mind and stopped her from doing many a silly thing in the future. That is not to say she became perfect or even ‘good’ but she was much improved and Father Christmas was well pleased – as was her Headmistress, who silently congratulated herself on her idea.

Val Gardiner tumbled out of bed on Christmas morning and had the same experience as Jack as she, too, found a letter sticking out the top of her stocking.

Dear Val

Thank you for your letter. You did indeed end up on my naughty list. You seem to have made quite a pest of yourself over the last year, all things considered. However, I understand that you have had quite a shock and are now trying to do your best. Remember that if you treat people in the way you would like to be treated, you will get on much better. I have decided to be generous this year but do not take it for granted because if your behaviour does not change, there may be no presents next year. In the meantime, you will find a picture in your stocking. Pay heed to the words on it. Perhaps hang it in your cubicle. A friend of yours also has one. Perhaps you and she may help each other out next year.

Ho ho ho!
Father Christmas.

Val had the exact same picture that Jack had found and she too hung it in her cubicle. She asked some careful questions and found out that it was Jack who also had the picture. Jack, remembering her thought that it would be as well to keep Val out of any major rows, agreed that they should help each other out and try to keep each other from doing mad things. As a result, Val’s behaviour gradually changed for the better, pleasing both her Headmistress and Father Christmas.

Dear Flavia

Thank you for your letter. I am glad to hear all worked out well in the end and you are now able to enjoy Christmas with your Dad. I am sorry you were so upset about what happened to your friend, Val but it showed that you care for people and that is a very good thing.

All children start out on the nice list and some will move to and from the naughty list throughout the year. I am pleased to note that you stayed on the nice list all year. Keep up the good work and see if you can help your friends to keep out of trouble.

Ho ho ho!
Father Christmas.

All of the girls received replies to their letters. Some, like Jack and Val, received presents designed to help them think about their behaviour in the future, and others, like Flavia, received a short note thanking them for their letter. The Head, noting the improvement in all of them, even those who had not been particularly badly behaved, decided to repeat the exercise with all of the Juniors and Middles the following year in the hope of a more peaceful school.

Quotes from: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/81466.A_A_Milne

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 21st Dec x3
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 19:57 
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Thank you, Robin. What a great idea!

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 21st Dec x3
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 20:05 
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Thank you Robin! Glad to see something having an influence on Jack, and thanks to all the Robins. I haven't had a moment to comment recently but I have enjoyed them all and so nice to see so many different characters being portrayed.

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 21st Dec x3
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 20:42 
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Oh excellent work Robin! So much in the spirit of Christmas. I love it.

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 21st Dec x3
PostPosted: 06 Jan 2016, 12:19 
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December 22nd's drabble


(Inverted commas seem to go a bit weird when copied over - hope no-one minds!)


“Oh, Kathy, I'm so glad you came back! I was quite resigned to not seeing you until next term!” Nancy Wilmot stretched out luxuriously on her friend's bed, quite regardless of the fact that she was crumpling the counterpane in a manner that would horrify Matron.

“Case of having to! I was so bored at home I could have screamed. I was even longing for those wretched Middles, the ones I was in the process of sorting out when I collapsed. What was that all about, anyway? And surely you would have come to see me over the Christmas holidays, no?”

“Oh, the Seniors had got their goat somehow, not quite sure how, so they had decided to pay them back. Very unoriginal, I told them, and very unpraiseworthy. They will think twice before trying anything like that again!”

Kathy laughed. “I bet they will. Anyway, Christmas. Wouldn't you have come to me if I'd stayed home?”

“Not I, my lamb,” explained Nancy. “Well, no, that's a bit unfair, but you see, I couldn't go to England and not spend the time with my own parents, and they are right the other end of the country from your family. By the time I'd have been able to get to you, we'd have been due to pack up and come back here.”

“I suppose so,” said the younger woman. “But are you going to England these holidays?”

“No, it's a long way if you don't want to fly – and I never do – and it seems hardly worth it. I see my family in the summer, and that's usually enough for me. What about you? Are you going home?”

“Not this year. I love Auntie and Uncle, but really, I've seen enough of them for now, and I rather suspect they've had enough of me.”

“So what shall we do?” The “we” caught Kathy by surprise. She tended to feel her friendship with Nancy was a term-time thing, to be taken up again at the start of each term, and discarded at its end. That Nancy was actively recruiting her company for the holidays came as a not unwelcome surprise.

“I suppose we can't stay here?”

“We could, but I don't really want to if we can help it; Joey Maynard would be sure to invite us to spend Christmas Day with her family, and although that would be great fun, it would be extra work for them, and with Phil having been so ill, I don't want to add to their burdens.”

“How is Phil now?”

“Making progress, they think, but she's still very weak and that left leg of hers will never be the same again.”

“Oh, poor child. Such a horrible illness; you see all too many kids in England with calipers or crutches, and even in wheelchairs.”

“It is horrid. But this isn't deciding what to do about Christmas. I wondered about going to the Exelsior in Interlaken – they aren't too eye-watering, if we share a room, and their food is lovely. We could go down on Christmas Eve, and come back on Boxing Day.”

“Oh yes, let's! That would be lovely. Is it all right camping here the rest of the time, though?”

“Oh, it's fine. There will be several girls who don't go home, and although they do their best to get everybody fixed up with friends, there are always five or six who end up staying, so they don't close the school. We just let Matey know when we'll be there and when we won't, it's not a problem.”

And so, on Christmas Eve, the two women caught the mountain railway down to Interlaken, and then, feeling rather extravagant, a taxi to the Exelsior Hotel. Kathy was rather startled to see their room contained a double bed, rather than the twin beds she was expecting, but she thought they could probably manage with a bolster down the middle, as she had done with a cousin on one memorable holiday.

The two friends spent the afternoon wandering around the town, enjoying the shops in all their Christmas finery, and treated themselves to Kaffee and Kuchen in one of the many cafés in the town. Then they returned to the hotel and changed for dinner, Kathy feeling conscious of a desire to change under her nightie, as she used to at school. Nancy, however, had no such qualms and happily pottered about with nothing on, and even left the door open when she had a bath.

The women descended to the hotel dining-room in their pretty evening dresses, and were seated by the attentive waiter, who brought them menus and offers of drinks. Kathy, who had little experience of fine dining, was rather overwhelmed, and grateful for Nancy's wider experience in such matters.

“It all sounds so good!” she sighed, as she studied the menu.

“I should keep it fairly simple,” advised Nancy. “We choose our starter and our main course, and later on the waiter comes back to see if we want pudding or cheese or both or neither!”

Thus advised, Kathy chose a vegetable soup, to be followed by lake trout with seasonal vegetables. Nancy's choice was similar, except that she chose a clear soup. Just as their soups were being brought to the table, ¬she suddenly gasped and chuckled.

“Don't look now,” she said, “but I think other people have had the same idea we had!”

And, sure enough, on the other side of the dining-room, there were Hilda Annersley with her close friend Nell Wilson, now head of St Mildred's, the finishing branch of the Chalet School.

“I am in exalted company,” laughed Kathy. “All these headmistresses and acting headmistresses, and me merely a poor governess!”

Nancy laughed. “A very much ex acting headmistress, thankfully! Never, ever again, not if they begged me on bended knee!”

“Really not? You were doing a great job when I took ill, and from what I've heard, you did an even better one afterwards!”

“Case of having to. Oh Kathy, you wouldn't believe how ghastly it was – there was you, doubled up in agony and nobody yet knowing what was wrong, and those wretched children needing to be disciplined, and all I wanted to do was rush over to the sickroom and find out what was going on, and I couldn't! Worst couple of hours of my life!”

“Oh, come on Nancy, it wasn't that bad! I admit I had an outsize in tummy-aches and have never felt so sick, but it didn't last long. They had me on the operating table in nothing, flat, and really, I could have been back at school within a couple of weeks. I don't know why they insisted I take six whole weeks off, I was bored silly!”

“I know, love, but I did so worry about you until I was able to get up to the San and see you for myself. You know, I didn't know how much I loved you until then!”

Kathy was saved from having to reply by the waiter bringing them a glass of champagne each. “Compliments of the ladies over there,” he explained. There was also a note: “We won't tell if you won't! We hope you will be as happy as we are. Love, HA and NW.”

“How kind of them,” exclaimed Kathy, and raised her glass to the women across the room, who returned the compliment. “But what do they mean, as happy as they are?”

“They love each other. As I love you, and I hope you love me?”

“Oh Nancy!” said Kathy, and fell silent. But her hand slipped gently into Nancy's under the table.

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 21st Dec x3
PostPosted: 06 Jan 2016, 12:20 
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December 23rd's drabble

It was December, as would be expected. Jack was suddenly aware that his wife was moving.

“Ngh,” he moaned. “Jo – it's six in the morning!”

“I've got lots to do,” Joey said, unravelling her plaits. “The triplets will be back today, Mary-Lou is going to be joining us as well, and Charlotte's getting discharged from the San as well. And the school's play is on today as well, and Felicity and Cecil are both in it,”

“You didn't have to invite Charlotte,” Jack pointed out.

Joey thought to the woman she had met whilst taking a visit to the San. “She's got no family and nowhere else to go,” she said. “And I just thought, it's nearly Christmas, we've got the room, and Mike's old enough to know not to disrupt visitors now,”

“It's Phil you have to worry about in that regard,” Jack muttered. “You go sort the world out, and I'll just get some more sleep,”

“You do that,”

***

It was about a week before Christmas, and the younger Maynards were being taken on a shopping trip at a large department store.

“I love escalators,” Phil stated.

Her siblings looked at her blankly for a second, but were distracted by all the goods on offer in the store.

“Careful,” Joey said. “Make sure not to overspend on anything,”

Felicity and Cecil found themselves drawn to sparkly and shiny things, jewellery mainly. Felix tagged along with them, mainly because he didn't want to go with 'the kids'. Jack kept an eye on this group, while Joey took Geoff, Phil, and Claire around. The two adults felt themselves giving a lot of nudges and tidbits of advice to their offspring, whilst picking out an item or two themselves. Amongst other things, Felicity had chosen a small ballet figurine for her friend Lucy Peters, Claire had picked out a doll for Erica because it was something that she herself would want, and Geoff had chosen a woodcarving of a bird for Mike.

They returned home to hear a cacophony of voices. “Is that supposed to be Good King Wenceslas?” Jack asked, frowning.

“I believe so,” Joey replied. She got out of the car. From one of the highest windows came a number of voices. Margot, Mike, all three Richardsons, and Erica were all singing.

“Hello, Mother,” Margot grinned down.

“I'm surprised the whole Platz hasn't come to protest, hearing that noise,” Joey said.

“It could be worse – Mike was thinking we should do it on the roof!”

***


Simone was partaking in some last-minute Noel shopping. Her younger sister Renee and family were coming to visit, and so supplies were needed. As she stopped on the edge of a large crowd, she was suddenly collided with. She found herself on the ground while a young lady was above her.

“I'm really sorry, I didn't see you there and I'm in a bit of a rush and – Mme de Bersac!”

Simone glanced at the force that had knocked her to the ground. “Odette Mercier!” she exclaimed, wondering exactly when the girl turned into a feasible battering ram.

“Here,” Odette said, holding a hand out. She helped Simone up. “Sorry about that,” Odette said. “Can't stop now, though, very very busy,” She flashed a wild grin before speeding off, with only a touch more care.

What just happened? The last time Simone had seen Odette with anything resembling a smile, had been before Mme Mercier had passed away. And there had certainly been no enthusiastic running and energy back then. She preferred this new version of Odette vastly already, even if she had taken all the wind out of her lungs.

***

The Maynards and Richardsons and all of the other people staying at Freudesheim were sat at the breakfast table.

“It was great to see Nina perform again,” Mary-Lou, one of the endless people visiting, said. “You should really try and make it to one of her concerts sometime, Aunty Joey,”

“I mean to,” Joey said. “I hear she'll be performing in London near to when I'm in next in England, so I might take the boys and we can go and hear her then,”

“You two know Nina Rutherford?” Charlotte Baumann, who Joey had got to know whilst visiting the San, said. “Her music is sublime, isn't it? For all my years of practice I never could play like that,”

Up the table were the triplets and Stephen.

“I've had news from Sybil,” Len said. “She's travelling Canada right now, with her husband, and they've been meeting lots of new people there,”

“That sounds nice,” Con said. “You haven't opened that letter there, Stephen,”

“It's just from Toni, I'll open it later,” Stephen replied.

Further up the table were the younger Maynards.

“I wrote a letter to Santa,” Claire asked. “I hope he's brought what I asked for,”

“Don't be silly Claire, Santa doesn't exist,” Phil said. “He's just Mamma and Papa trying to trick us,”

“He does too exist!” Claire replied.

“Doesn't,”

“Does too!”

This argument repeated for some time.

Anna brought in breakfast.

“Shall I help you with the Christmas dinner later?” Joey asked.

“No thank you, mein Frau,” Anna replied. “I would worry that you would explode the custard,”

Joey just stared while, next to her, Charlotte dissolved into giggles which she hurriedly stifled by putting her hand to her mouth.

Reg arrived after breakfast had been finished. He and Len went upstairs, past the playroom (conveniently not noticing the mouse tail which was hurriedly stowed into the hole the two mice were in), and into her room for a few private moments.

Meanwhile, everyone else was unwrapping presents. Joey found herself in possession of The Clocks, the latest Agatha Christie book, courtesy of Frieda. Erica found that she had to force herself to thank Claire for her gift, but was more enthusiastic about the perfume she'd received. Rosli found a blooming cherry stick next to the stove, having forgotten to check it in the preparations for Christmas. She would have to tell Fredrick, who she'd been seeing rather a lot lately. Many other presents had varying levels of appreciation associated with them,from those that were secretly traded off later to things that would be used again and again.

***

“Rockin' around the Christmas tree,
Let the Christmas spirit ring
Later we'll have some pumpkin pie
And we'll do some carolling,”

“I was enjoying that!”

“Yes, love,” Nancy said. “But I don't think everyone else appreciated you singing along at the top of your voice!”

Kathie tried to look pouty, but it took only a few seconds before she started giggling like a maniac. She looked around; a number of people staying at the hotel were in the room. She blushed a little. “Put it back on, Nance,” she said. “I promise not to sing along again,”

Nancy amiably switched the radio back on, but it seemed to be having technical difficulties. “I wonder which Christmas songs will be played on the radio in years to come,”

“Probably the same ones we're listening to right now,” Kathie said. “Maybe with the odd new one stashed in there somewhere. Why do you think?”

“Anyone with a brain thinks, my dear,” Nancy grinned. “As for that particular thought, I have no idea. It just came to me,”

“And I thought it would be something really deep,” Kathie said.

“Nah,” Nancy said. “I'm not an English teacher,”

Kathie giggled. “They're the deepest people you can think of, are they?”

“So where do you see us in ten years time?” Nancy asked.

“As a pair of vampires constantly getting killed without actually dying. Why, where do you see us?”

“Together.”

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 21st Dec x3
PostPosted: 06 Jan 2016, 12:21 
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Additional drabble kindly provided by Brie:

Cecey Maynard looked up at the tree with a gleefulness she had never managed to suppress as she grew up. Something about the glistening tree with all its assorted baubles always brought out her inner child. Her family, of course, would have argued that her inner child was never far from the surface.

They may have been right, for Cecey was currently curling up in her favourite armchair (some of her earliest and dimmest memories were of being ensconced in this chair and having it fenced around with cushions) and listening anxiously for sounds coming from upstairs.

Her Mother had been reminiscing last night about her first Christmas in Innsbruck and the beautiful sleigh ride she had been treated to. Whilst this was going on her children had been involved in silent warfare, with a plethora of ridiculous faces being pulled by the normally handsome Maynard offspring.

There were more of them gathered together than usual, and it must have gone to their heads for their had been constant jokes and pranks since their arrival en masse at Freudesheim two days prior. Jack had been heard saying that he had expected a little calm to fall on their household now that all its inhabitants were grown up. However, he couldn't have been particularly upset for the hand wash and shower cream had all been emptied out that night and exchanged for custard. A sin which had caught out everyone except Jack.

Jo had retaliated by placing snails on their bedroom window but that had backfired, for she lay awake listening to them moan horrendously for most of the night whilst Jack snored obliviously on.

Everyone had been eyeing Cecey suspiciously since this outpouring of pranks began. It seemed unnatural to them that she could possibly be innocent in this matter. Cecey had bided her time however and after everyone was in bed she had set to work.

She still couldn't understand how Roddy and Geoff had slept through her wrapping them in Christmas paper. Predictably this morning, Steve's yells were first and Pippa's the loudest. Cecey, stretched out luxuriously and awaited her fate with a calm smile. Sure enough, Steve and Pippa, after almost colliding on the stairs, stared at each other both sporting identical foam beards and eyebrows, before proceeding with their plan of strangling their only sibling who had not been disfigured or trapped in her bed.

Their plan came to an abrupt halt as they came to the long line of stockings arranged haphazardly, each with a name sewn on by what looked like a small child but in reality was Cecey's signature stitch. As ever Cecey proved herself the master prankster as Steve came in trailing his stocking and merely patted her on the head and said a quick 'thanks kid' whilst being careful not to dislodge his foam beard.

Merry Christmas.

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 21st Dec x3
PostPosted: 06 Jan 2016, 12:22 
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December 24th's drabble

Hilda sat in her chair; glasses perched on the end of her nose, staring straight ahead at the building due for demolition with unseeing eyes. Her thoughts were on Christmas’s past and how the school had shown the true meaning of Christmas each and every year with their attitude towards one another. Her eyes wandered to those gathered around, Len, Rosalie, Jack Lambert and even the Robin and made the journey for this day. She closed her eyes and imagined those that should have stood here but did not, Joey, Madge, Nell and so many others. It was good school she thought, a good place to learn, a place where Christmas was held in the hearts of so many every day of the year. Peach on earth and goodwill to men was not only preached here but practiced she thought. An achievement not many could claim a voice like Nell’s whispered in her mind. She heard the faint sound of church bells marking the hour and almost unconsciously she began to recite

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men

She faltered slightly as the building in front of her began to implode the noise drowning out the ringing of the bells even from this distance and took up the poem once more.

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

The verses capturing how she and the other felt at this moment, seeing a piece of their past being destroyed all for the sake of easy money. A hotel she was told would be built in the New Year. Whoever would have thought David Russell would do this; destroy their beloved school because it didn’t make enough money. Suddenly the silence was overwhelming and pile of rubble with smoke billowing was staring back at her.

She looked around and saw the others holding hands, supporting each other and as the church bells were heard once more her mind wandered to those long ago Christmas’s and all of the excitement and quiet moments. We’ll be alright she thought, our faith and the lessons learned at the Chalet school will get us through. Peace on earth, good will to men was a good way to live and one she tried to practice daily. She began to murmur once more.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!’

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - updated 21st Dec x3
PostPosted: 06 Jan 2016, 12:24 
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So there we are - just in time for the Julian calendar Christmas tomorrow! счастливого Рождества :D . Thanks again to all the Robins, and, for those people who like to try to guess the Robins' identities, please now feel free to do so :D .

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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - all drabbles now posted
PostPosted: 06 Jan 2016, 12:35 
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Thanks for posting those, Alison - and happy Julian-calendar Christmas!


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 Post subject: Re: Advent Drabbles 2015 - all drabbles now posted
PostPosted: 06 Jan 2016, 12:39 
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How good to see this complete and I echo the Russian wishes - С Рождеством!

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