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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 26 Oct 2017, 15:16 
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I think that this was a really boring book. The supposedly exciting boat trip was more of what we'd had before, and really, the idea that the prefects would be excited by Jo going with them was just not on.

She was loud and overbearing, showed favouritism, and was generally an embarrassing person to have around.

I know I'm a Jo-hater, but really, EBD should have dropped her, or kept her in the background.

She was a good character to have whilst still a schoolgirl and whilst a young woman before she married, but the mother of eleven children pretending to be a schoolgirl was dreadful, in my opinion.

The only prefect I ever knew at school was such a po-faced pious holier and better than thou person, no-one could stand her. When we received the news that she was engaged, the biggest joke was that last last it was matter over mind.

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A certain edge when she spoke of Mrs Maynard, certainly, but, after all, not everyone could love Joey.
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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 26 Oct 2017, 15:39 
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There's one scene in which Joey gets everyone to go out to a platform on the lakeside, first thing in the morning, and they all jump into the lake, one at a time. It sounds like some sort of Benny Hill sketch. Then they go back to the Kron Prinz Karl, making a load of noise, and dump their wet swimming costumes in the reception area for the hotel staff to pick up and wash. Madge and Hilda would have had forty fits at the thought of them all making a show of themselves in public like that :roll:.

There are some interesting bits, like a comment about Eigen having had a terrible time, which leaves you wondering exactly what happened to him during and after the war, and it's nice to see that the San's still going, but Joey seems to be very hyper and I'm not sure that that rings true. Going back to somewhere which holds so many memories for you is very emotional. It's where she spent her happy years at the Chalet School, where she made her closest friends, and where she met and became engaged to Jack, and which she had to leave under horrific circumstances. I'd find it more realistic if she'd been overcome with emotion and burst into tears, rather than racing round like that. I understand that she and Marie and Frieda and Simone are excited about having a girls' weekend away, with no husbands and homes and kids to look after, but it gets a bit silly. I think even the other adults got annoyed - doesn't Marie have a go at Joey about worrying them all, when she and Mary-Lou eventually roll in?

It's good to revisit Tyrol, but I think it could have been done much better.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 26 Oct 2017, 22:18 
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I like bits and pieces of this book. I do quite like the return to the Tiernsee. I suppose EBD wanted to write it from a rather more adult perspective than she could have done if she'd sent Joey with the triplets.

It is nice to see the Quartette together again, and to see again some of the girls who were left behind when the school initially moved to Switzerland.

Jessica isn't a favourite character of mine, and the Rosamund storyline reads like a throwback to the Victorian fiction EBD would have read as a child.

Mary Lou is a bit inconsistent. Having gone through her school career treating mistresses as equals, she's suddenly shy about approaching Bill about Prudence, a matter she could quite legitimately raise in her capacity as a prefect.

And then telling the other girls they'll hear some news from her when they all get home .... surely it's not going to come as a surprise to any of them that Mary Lou is going to be the next head girl? She's the deadest dead cert there ever was for the post.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 27 Oct 2017, 02:14 
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I can actually see Joey reacting the way she did. She's emotionally volatile, but not necessarily very insightful about her own reactions. So I can see her being really emotionally worked up about the visit, and going into full bouncing off the walls, overgrown school-girl, impulsive mode without really understanding why, or realizing that she might need to pause and dig into some of the complex and conflicted emotions surrounding leaving the area, and the effects of the war.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2017, 02:50 
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Alison H wrote:
I think even the other adults got annoyed - doesn't Marie have a go at Joey about worrying them all, when she and Mary-Lou eventually roll in?


That's after Joey and ML have been 'missing' for a few hours which I always thought was a massive overreaction. They could have simply lost track of time or met a friend and gone off with them.

Sybil even wants to call Madge, not the POLICE, Madge. Who was miles away and would be no help whatsoever.

Joey, with all her feelings for others, completely dismisses her friend's fear and totally doesn't care. I would have slapped her.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2017, 12:08 
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Joyce wrote:
Alison H wrote:
I think even the other adults got annoyed - doesn't Marie have a go at Joey about worrying them all, when she and Mary-Lou eventually roll in?


That's after Joey and ML have been 'missing' for a few hours which I always thought was a massive overreaction. They could have simply lost track of time or met a friend and gone off with them.

Sybil even wants to call Madge, not the POLICE, Madge. Who was miles away and would be no help whatsoever.

Joey, with all her feelings for others, completely dismisses her friend's fear and totally doesn't care. I would have slapped her.


I've just finished a reread of this book and I found Joey extremely irritating. But then, I think her character got worse rather than better during the series.

Throughout the books, there are lots of instances of Joey being insensitive to other people's feelings. It has always puzzled me, since EBD lays such great store by her being the ideal person to sort out problem girls and school crises in general.

As for Mary Lou, I almost laughed out loud when I reread the scene where Miss Annersley tells her late at night that she is to be the next Head Girl. I found it totally unbelievable. I know she was tired and probably emotional following the events surrounding Jessica, but she's been headed that way at least since she was head of the middles (sorry, can't remember which book) and all the other girls would have expected it.

As for her getting the Joey Maynard prize: enough said. Did she vote for herself? (Sorry, someone's sure to have asked that already!)

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2017, 23:10 
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I am quite sure ML did not vote for herself and that would have gone for any of the girls. A matter of honour back then.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 30 Oct 2017, 09:06 
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Audrey25 wrote:
I am quite sure ML did not vote for herself and that would have gone for any of the girls. A matter of honour back then.


I think that's the joke - the only way the vote could be unanimous as we are told it is, is if ML votes for herself.

But in her overeagerness to highlight ML's extraordinary popularity, EBD simply overlooks that aspect.

And besides, even if ML voted for someone else, there is simply no way everyone else could have voted for her without screams of "rigged!"

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 31 Oct 2017, 01:43 
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EBD really would have assumed without saying that ML would not have voted for herself. Unbelievable as it seems now back in the "old days" people did not vote for themselves. Readers "back then" - like me - knew without being told that ML would not have voted for herself because nobody else would have either. Nowadays everybody would but then went without saying they did not. Different eras, different values!

ML was exceptional - she wasn't bitchy. She was kind and helpful. She did have faults but she helped many people in the school. People like Emerence might have been expected to have voted for someone else but ML was kind to Emerence after ML was nearly killed by her. Probably many more other similar incidents.

They are story book people and EBD is the storyteller so she can do what she likes with the characters. We are all buying into it by still discussing it on forums like this nearly 50 years after she has died.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 03 Mar 2018, 20:57 
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I skimmed through this earlier looking for a quote and was interested to see that Peggy Bettany consents to Miss Ferrars coming on a trip to Thun when they meet for the first time as "she rather likes the look of her." (Nancy smooths her way to joining the trip). Kathie and Peggy have a mutual friend in Nell Randolph! I find it odd neither of them have ever mentioned her. Did Peggy never visit Nell at Oxford? Kathie also went to Oxford with Joan Sandys, another friend of Peggy.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 04 Mar 2018, 00:26 
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My attachment to this book comes from the glaring confusion about the money raised. That fed a bunny which led to Rosalie becoming a secret agent!

The other EBDism I love - though it is presenting difficulties with a sequel - is that Miss Bubb is carted off at death's door but doesn't actually pass through it till about three years later!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Nov 2019, 21:06 
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I have been wondering recently just who would have come to the CoA weekend.

This was partly triggered by my continuing to wonder about the realities of moving the St Mildred's girls into the school proper. The reason for doing this is to accommodate the visitors. Now, as that would clearly make no sense to move people out for a whole term if the visitors are coming only on one weekend, we are told that people who can't come for the Weekend proper are coming at weekends throughout the term...but who are these people?

Surely when you go to this kind of thing, you go to look at the school (the buildings and area) to which you went, and you hope to meet up with your comtemporaries?

We know that the school must have lost touch with many of the Tyrol-era pupils during the war and it's unlikely there was much reconnection after the war (for a 15 - 16 year old, 6 - 8 years is a very significant period of time). The majority of the people from that era with whom the School was still in touch were the "English" girls (and possibly Joey's friends!)

The CS was in England for many years so there muct have been a significant number of people whose school days coincided completely or largely with the Plas Howell/Island days. For them, going to celebrations at Glendower House would make more semse. They'd get to see Carnbach, able to go to the Island, possibly mooch about the Big House gardens, even visit the Plas Howell area. Most of these pupils would be "English" anyway and this would be a much cheaper option. Given that the Swiss school is no more familiar to the Tyrol-era pupils that the English school, it would seem that would also be the more sensible choice for those former pupils from the Tyrol days who are English.

The CS has only been on the Platz for round about 3 years. Even the pupils who attended it there and have left would have been likely to spent most of their schooldays in the UK!

So who is attending? The only real group is going to be the people who have left in the past couple of years and still have friends at places like Welsen and people whose main friendships are with people who are now on the staff (or with Joey). Even then, it makes more sense for Gill Culver's friends to go to the Glendower House celebrations than to trail out to a place they don't know just to see her.

It's hard to see how that can possibly add up to enough people to make it worthwhile turfing out St Mildred's for an entire term


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Nov 2019, 23:08 
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Some of the Tyrol people come. Anita Rincini's mentioned - Lois Graves is given the middle name of Anita after her, although I don't remember Hilary and Anita ever being particularly friendly, and thought Hilary was the same age as Giovanna. Margia, Evvy and Elsie all come too. But that was only for the Sale. I don't remember anyone coming at any other time - why would you go unless old friends were going to be there at the same time? I doubt if even the recent leavers came - none of them were based in Switzerland, and it would have been a long and expensive journey, and most of them would have been at university or college anyway. It's all a bit mad!

Also, why on earth didn't Margia know that Evvy's fiancé had been killed in the war over a decade earlier?

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 20:36 
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Poor Glendower House gets completely forgotten in all this.

I'd like to think that Madame was at their CoA celebrations (either the weekend before or after the Swiss ones) but you wonder what they were doing to celebrate. Would they have launched an appeal to pay for significant building work to mark the occasion and would those rich OGs have been donating to the GH appeal as well? Or would they have been ignored in favour of the "more important" Swiss branch despite being as big (and possibly bigger)?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Nov 2019, 09:51 
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I rather think we're supposed to feel that the CS isn't location dependent - a bit like a church, oddly enough. The ethos is what counts, and any activity that arises from it, not the buildings or the setting. Any proper Chalet School girl would come to Switzerland because that's where the main action is - not very realistic, in my view, but that's not where the books are going by this point.

St Mildred's having been mentioned because of them moving into the main school this term to make accommodation for Old Girl visitors, one thing has always stuck in my memory. It's actually in Mary-Lou rather than in this book, but we're definitely told that the main school and St Mildred’s are to be more closely run together - beyond starting with mutual challenges at netball and lacrosse at that point, I can't see that it is, and it does rather beg the question 'why?' When St Mildred's is set up there's a lot of emphasis put on the fact that it's not just an extension of the CS for older girls.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Nov 2019, 16:29 
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Noreen wrote:
St Mildred's having been mentioned because of them moving into the main school this term to make accommodation for Old Girl visitors, one thing has always stuck in my memory. It's actually in Mary-Lou rather than in this book, but we're definitely told that the main school and St Mildred’s are to be more closely run together - beyond starting with mutual challenges at netball and lacrosse at that point, I can't see that it is, and it does rather beg the question 'why?' When St Mildred's is set up there's a lot of emphasis put on the fact that it's not just an extension of the CS for older girls.


Perhaps it was a cost-cutting exercise when it became clear that the Finishing School wasn't actually financially viable...share the staff so you need fewer of them, share the expensive equipment, share the admin and stationery...

But yes, it starts sounding like "third year 6th" rather than a finishing school.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Nov 2019, 17:30 
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I suppose it might give opportunities on both sides - girls not going to Millie's could still acquire a bit of the polish and girls at Millie's got expanded academic opportunities? Would also give staff the chance to work at both and have a more varied working life.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Nov 2019, 01:30 
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I think that EBD wanted to establish the Swiss branch as the One True Chalet School. That makes sense for the series - the exotic location and international aspect was always a big part of the CS, which was disrupted by real world events. But logistically, it didn't make a whole lot of sense.

I can't buy that most of the parents in the school would be totally up for significantly increased costs, a whole new outfitting and their kids going to Switzerland, on a term's notice (not to mention the sixth not taking their exams!). A setup where they can do the final year of languages in Switzerland would be a much easier sell. In reality, most of the parents would keep their kids in England, or even look for a new school, given that most of the staff (with the exception of the Junior mistresses) are leaving at once.

Moving the finishing branch to the main school for a term seems odd too. About half the students are not former Chalet girls, and would be emotionally uninvested in the 21st anniversary of someone else's school. Not to mention that 1/3 of their year of European finishing school involving being jammed into a large boarding school, with increased regimentation, less independence, and worse food. In the Welsen book, we see the girls getting served dinner by the maids in a relaxed atmosphere, a quiet, more adult environment, little supervision, no prefects, and activities like going to concerts rather than attending shows hosted by the middles.

I think that a lot of the discussion among the middles in Mary-Lou was wishful thinking. We don't end up seeing much of the finishing branch or its mistresses outside of tennis matches and the sale, and the occasional outing on rambles. The fraction of CS girls who go there drops off gradually as well - first, almost all the girls go there instead of Upper Sixth, and spend two years, then one year after Upper Sixth, and then only a few girls.

I see the finishing branch becoming almost totally separate - expensive, intended for girls who hadn't come through the CS system - and St Briaval's becoming a totally different school - a solid, moderately affordable school serving UK students and concentrating on languages (but aimed at native English speakers).

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Nov 2019, 16:03 
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I agree with the illogic of the move to Switzerland. I feel that EBD missed a trick in not making the Swiss school a smaller, highly flexible organisation to which the relaxed atmosphere of the original Austrian school would have been appropriate, and I agree with everything you say about the problems of moving the finishing branch into the School proper.

Given the fb overlaps the 6th form in age, it made me wonder about the problems of (potentially) having 16 year olds at the fb swanning around smoking while 18 year olds at the school were not permitted to do so....


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