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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 01 Sep 2016, 07:43 
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Especially as it happens only a few years after Janie, Anne and Elizabeth were all living in reduced circumstances :roll:.

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 01 Sep 2016, 11:10 
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I can see the extra difficulty of suddenly reduced circumstances when they had no warning

Quote:
Paul had to have an operation in the spring of that year. They wanted him to have the best, naturally, so they had taken him to London, where he was six weeks in the nursing home. Anne had gone with him and taken the twins and they'd put up at a decent hotel. No reason why they shouldn't as far as they knew then. they'd had a lot of the old roses cleared out and made a proper rose-garden. Anne had had a new fur coat and on her birthday Peter had given her a little car of her own. It wasn't extravagant as they thought they were situated; but when it meant that there was nothing but the practice, well, you can see what happened.


So it sounds like they had either worked through their ready cash, or they still had outstanding bills, when the crash happened. For a while, then, they'd be below the level they would have been if they had always been of modest means.

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 01 Sep 2016, 11:23 
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[quote]So it sounds like they had either worked through their ready cash, or they still had outstanding bills, when the crash happened.[/quote]

Yeah, when the thee girls arrive in La Rochelle, they know they won't have much to live on whereas the Chester's have 'poverty' thrust upon them.

But at the time of writing, it's been two years. Surely they would have had time absorb the shock and make adjustments as required. It just sounds as if Anne is in denial, and Peter is so in love with her he constantly gives in to what she wants.

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 01 Sep 2016, 11:42 
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I think it comes down to EBD blundering about not quite knowing what she is doing and tying herself up in knots (if you'll pardon the mixed metaphors). The reader is left totally confused as we are surely meant to sympathise with all of them, but I end up irritated with the lot of them!
The 'only his salary' thing might stem from the fact that EBD had a legacy/income from her canny maternal grandfather which perhaps made her think that that was the norm.


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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 01 Sep 2016, 12:13 
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I always find the attitude to money a bit of an anomaly in EBD's writing. Most of the values she promotes are Victorian middle-class values, but the Victorian middle-classes were very big on hard work - the devil makes work for idle hands! - and saving. Even better-off working-class people would often save money in friendly societies, and pay into sickness clubs, burial clubs, etc, so that they'd have some money to draw on in time of need. Yet no-one in EBD-land seems to have much money put by, even though people like Peter Chester are in jobs which pay high salaries. Herr Laubach doesn't retire until about 15 years after losing his savings in the war, yet he has absolutely nothing when he retires. Surely the CS didn't pay that badly!

I get the impression that EBD felt that relying on money you actually earned was a bit too middle-class/working-class :lol:. For example, why did she have to say that Dick Bettany had inherited a house? Why couldn't she just have said that Dick and Mollie had bought a house? He must have got some sort of pay-off when he left the Foresters. I would have thought that the "Victorian values" system would mean we were meant to look admiringly on someone who had saved up to buy a house, but it doesn't come across that way.

Clearly they should all have been taking financial advice from Jem :wink:. Before the Anschluss, he advised both Jack and Gottfried to get their savings out of Austrian banks and into British or Swiss banks, so it sounds as if he kept a substantial rainy day fund and advised his colleagues to do the same.

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 01 Sep 2016, 12:20 
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[quote]Herr Laubach doesn't retire until about 15 years after losing his savings in the war, yet he has absolutely nothing when he retires.[/quote]

Yeah, what exactly has he spent his money on? He lives at the school and has his meals there, so unless he has a few mistresses on the side ... then what exactly are his expenses? Did he have relatives to support we don't know of?

And then he apparently has money to leave the school for scholarships when he dies. Or was that the music master? I can't remember and the books are in the other room.

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 01 Sep 2016, 21:11 
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Quote:
even though people like Peter Chester are in jobs which pay high salaries.

Pre NHS, country/small town GPs like Peter Chester probably didn't make a huge amount of money. Most of his patients wouldn't be very well off and wouldn't call the doctor very often, and Peter probably kept his fees low and didn't press for payment. If he did his own dispensing he might've given away medicines too rather than charging for them.

There were sickness clubs, as Alison says. But unless you could be absolutely certain of keeping up the payments, week in, week out, there was no point.

If you missed a week, say because the husband had been laid off work, membership lapsed and you lost everything you'd already paid in. For many people it came quite low down the list of priorities, after rent, food, fuel, etc.

I think EBD was middle class by virtue of her profession(s), but her origins were lower middle class. She could write very convincingly about things she knew about - teaching, music, etc. - but she didn't really know first hand about landed gentry, world-renowned specialists, and so on.

Similar is said about Dorothy L. Sayers, country vicar's daughter, writing about the aristocracy. Harriet Vane is much more realistic, because DLS knew about Oxford and writing.

(Come to think of it, Harriet's father was a country doctor who just managed to put her through Oxford, but didn't have anything to leave. Harriet says that since leaving Oxford everything she's had, she's earned herself.)


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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 02 Sep 2016, 14:39 
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JayB wrote:
Quote:
even though people like Peter Chester are in jobs which pay high salaries.

Pre NHS, country/small town GPs like Peter Chester probably didn't make a huge amount of money. Most of his patients wouldn't be very well off and wouldn't call the doctor very often, and Peter probably kept his fees low and didn't press for payment. If he did his own dispensing he might've given away medicines too rather than charging for them.


I'm never very clear on this. I've read books where country GPs are said to be just scraping by, but then send all their kids to boarding school - would this have been with family money then?

On the other hand, can't see Peter getting much money from the de Garises, for example. How much were better off patients expected to pay?


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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 02 Sep 2016, 17:18 
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Quote:
I'm never very clear on this. I've read books where country GPs are said to be just scraping by, but then send all their kids to boarding school - would this have been with family money then?

Used whatever they inherited from their parents, if anything, perhaps.

Or spent every spare penny in school fees and had nothing left over for anything else, so lived with a shabby house, old clothes, rusty old car, etc.

As discussed on other threads, boarding school fees were proportionately much lower in the past. And if you wanted your children to be educated for university or for a career and there was no good day school locally, boarding school was the only option. That was the dilemma Mrs Winterton was in, in Peggy. And it was partly why the Trelawneys moved, in Three Go: presumably there was no high school near enough to where they lived in Cornwall for Mary Lou to attend.


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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 03 Sep 2016, 07:22 
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[quote]Pre NHS, country/small town GPs like Peter Chester probably didn't make a huge amount of money. Most of his patients wouldn't be very well off and wouldn't call the doctor very often, and Peter probably kept his fees low and didn't press for payment. [/quote]

But doesn't that make it even worse they make no practical effort to live more within their means? Anne seems to be in denial and neither Janie nor Elizabeth seems to have talked to them about it.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 03 Sep 2016, 08:19 
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I think country doctors and ministers were often short on cash and high on training/education, which can be a tough combination. They want their kids to get a good education and go on to professional careers, they way they did, but can't afford things like private schools (in the UK), or university (in Canada/US). My mom grew up as the daughter of a minister, in the days when some of the salary came in kind (as in "here are some dead chickens"). They weren't poor in the sense that they were worried about being hungry or homeless, but things were very tight beyond that, and any education they got beyond high school (which was free) was up to them to fund. Definitely no private means - my grandfather was from an immigrant family, and worked his own way through school.

I suspect Peter was like Julian, in that he trained for a profession because he wanted to, with no particular expectation of needing his salary to live on.

One thing that stands out for me when Janie is describing Beth's situation is

Quote:
The few others are kids who want to pass exams and go to jobs away from Guernsey. Our homes are here and we adore the place. Anne doesn't want Beth to start turning up her nose at it.


which is a pretty clueless thing to say. By the sounds of it, jobs outside of fishing, farming and the tourist industry weren't all that plentiful on the island. So any kid who was ambitious and wanted to do something else would need to leave, rather than hanging around and being picturesque for tourists. And a year or so later, when war is threatening, the Temple clan was certainly quick to leave, when most of their neighbours didn't have the resources or connections to do so.

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 03 Sep 2016, 11:50 
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Yes, the whole Temple clan were out of Guernsey pretty quick at the start of the war. People living in London, Liverpool and Glasgow and all the places so badly bombed did not have the option of leaving. On the other hand if they had the money to leave and lots of children to protect who can blame them?

In the 1980s relatives of mine sent their children to a little private school that was falling down just because it was private.

I know Anne Chester was bitter and snobby in this book and the way she treated Beth was unforgiveable. It must have been difficult for her to have been the one that was always having to take in that book though. Both her sisters still had plenty of money. I actually went off Janey a bit in that book. I dont really know why.

EBD really piled on the Chester's agony. Surely after only a couple of years the house would not have been shabby and faded and why did she give the them such a huge family?

EBD did come from much humbler beginnings than most of the people she wrote about. The lifestyles of her characters was maybe what she wanted. I do hope she was happy with her life or at any rate as happy as the next person.


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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 03 Sep 2016, 12:05 
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I believe that there was a lot of bad feeling in the Channel Islands after the war, between those who left for the duration and those who suffered it out. Some of it was very unfairly directed at children who'd been evacuated, but most of it was directed at people like the Chesters, Lucys and Ozannes - although maybe a lot of those who stayed would have gone if they'd had the money to get out before the Nazis came, and somewhere to go.

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 03 Sep 2016, 13:08 
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In the end, none of the OCL girls that we know of returned, or were planning to return, to Guernsey, are they? They're all either married and living elsewhere or training/in higher education elsewhere.

Quote:
People living in London, Liverpool and Glasgow and all the places so badly bombed did not have the option of leaving.

All school age children in big cities, and mothers with young babies, were strongly encouraged to join one of the official evacuation schemes. From Dunkirk, children from the possible invasion areas were also evacuated.

All non-essential civilians were also strongly encouraged to leave the most vulnerable parts of the coast. They were firmly told that if they chose to stay and an invasion did take place, they wouldn't then be allowed to leave; the government didn't want streams of refugees clogging up the roads, as had happened in France.

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 04 Sep 2016, 04:19 
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[quote]none of the OCL girls that we know of returned, or were planning to return, to Guernsey, are they? They're all either married and living elsewhere or training/in higher education elsewhere. [/quote]

The Lucys and Ozannes end up in Armiford coincidentally near the school:

"‘It all depends where we go. The Lucys are leaving. They are closing Les Arbres for the duration, taking what furniture they need with them and storing the rest. They’ve got a house outside of Armiford to be near the Ozannes—you remember Paul Ozanne got the Recordership there."

But I think the Lucys and Chesters at least do end up going back after the war cos in Bride Leads, Nancy mentions that Vi's special 'holiday' friend is Mellie de Garis. Then in Changes it says:

"“Oh, cheers!” This came from Nancy and Julie who were cousins. Both lived in the island of Guernsey and both were accustomed to almost unlimited boating and bathing in the summer months,..."

But none of the girls end up staying there to live and work once they are adults as they all end up marrying or studying far away.

And btw, what the heck is a Recordership?

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 04 Sep 2016, 07:02 
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Joyce wrote:
And btw, what the heck is a Recordership?

For the period about which we're talking, a Recorder was "(in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland) a barrister or solicitor appointed as a part-time judge" (OED online).

So as Julian was in the RAF and Paul's job was already in England, the Ozannes and Lucys at least may have had a bit of an easier time going back to Guernsey after the war - though much more likely that it would have been deemed something unsuited to a children's book, even if EMBD was aware of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 05 Sep 2016, 14:22 
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Joyce wrote:
And btw, what the heck is a Recordership?


I was reading Goes to It at the weekend and was wondering exactly the same thing. In my head I was connecting it was a Parish Recorder :?

I don't blame anyone from the Channel Islands for leaving - if I was in a country likely to be invaded by the Nazis that's exactly what I'd do. Really the government should have evacuated them.


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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 05 Sep 2016, 17:30 
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Cherie Booth/Blair was or is a Recorder, I think.

There's quite a good article on Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evacuatio ... y_evacuees
I'm always cautious about accepting anything on Wiki as absolute fact, but it seems the ferries were running up to a day or two before the Germans arrived, and anyone who wanted to leave could have done. It must have been difficult for farmers, though, who'd have had to leave their livestock, not knowing if it would be looked after.

And speaking of livestock, was it on here that Appointment with Venus was recently recommended? Also, We Couldn't Leave Dinah, by Mary Treadgold, about a fictional Channel Island in 1940. (Dinah is the pony belonging to one of the protagonists.)

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 06 Sep 2016, 10:39 
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Yeah, I think it would come down to the fact that the Temple clan *could* leave fairly easily, without sacrificing their livelihood. They have private means, and professional jobs that are portable - they can get a new position, move the family, rent a nice house, send the kids to a new school, and have the option of moving back and settling down again.

I don't blame them at all for wanting to move out of the area with the threat of German invasion. But a lot of the other, less wealthy, people would be facing choices like abandoning their homes and farms and livelihood, and moving as refugees, or sending away wives and children, but really needing their labour on the farm, and having to figure out how to support them wherever they go.

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 Post subject: Re: Beth bullied in Janie Steps In
PostPosted: 07 Sep 2016, 11:19 
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[quote]For the period about which we're talking, a Recorder was "(in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland) a barrister or solicitor appointed as a part-time judge" (OED online).[/quote]

Thanks!

For some reasons, as a child, I had visions of Paul Ozanne dancing round playing the recorder :D

Cheers,
Joyce

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