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 Post subject: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 22:58 
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A new week, a new discussion thread. :D This week is The Chalet Girls In Camp, first published in 1932, and set during the summer holidays following The Chalet School and Jo. Thirty girls and three staff - Miss Wilson, Miss Stewart and Miss Nalder - head off to the Baumersee for a fortnight on a Guide camp. This is one of the shortest books in the series - according to the handy word count list at the back of one of my GGBs, only Mystery and Rosalie are shorter - and to be quite honest I struggled to find any notable events to list for the first five or six chapters! Things only really picked up when they actually get to the camp:

Elisaveta comes out to the Sonnalpe for a holiday as she has been feeling run down, and the King comes out to visit after she has been there for a couple of weeks. He is pleased at the change in her and says she can go to the camp, and also notes that Jo is looking pulled down with the heat.
Jo and Grizel have several minor squabbles, one of which the staff notice and discuss among themselves, wondering whether to pull Grizel up or not for calling Jo 'child'.
After setting up the tents and having a swim in the lake, a singsong is held round the campfire, and the intrigued locals come sneaking through the woods to listen.
That night the camp is awoken by Rufus barking, having smelt a dog from one of the farms who has sneaked into the commissariat tent.
While gathering sticks for the campfire, Cornelia causes a sensation by dragging a massive, sap-ridden young tree that had fallen in the forest back to camp, leaving a trail of destruction behind her.
Jo falls down a hole hidden by leaves and branches in the forest, and fails to recognise Miss Wilson's voice when she asks if she is all right and addresses some uncomplimentary remarks to her. She is mortified when she is finally pulled up with a rope and realises who she was speaking to, but Miss Wilson takes it in good spirit.
The next morning Jo, Juliet and Grizel row out onto the lake to catch fish for breakfast, and receive a bad fright when they end up hooking what they believe is the corpse of a young woman. The local farmer, Herr Semmering, and his men row back out to see, and discover that the corpse is in fact a lay figure that was discarded by an artist who had been staying in the area.
Miss Wilson and Miss Nalder walk to the nearest village for the post and various oddments, and meet up with Jem and Jack Maynard there. When they get back to the camp, they find it lying abandoned, and only just make it back to the car in time before they are ambushed by a cloud of hornets. It transpires that Elisaveta, Evadne, Maria and Hilda Bhaer had spotted their nest and, not knowing what it was, had thrown sticks at it to get it down.
Madge, Wanda and Gisela come out that afternoon to join them, and as they are all leaving Jack reveals to Jo that Miss Maynard, now married, is moving to New Zealand almost at once with her husband. The girls are deeply indignant that she didn't come to say goodbye to them first.
Juliet and Grizel decide to prank Jo by encouraging her and her friends to search the pit she fell into for anything interesting, and they hide a joke parcel in it for her to find. However, Simone also finds a package bound in leather containing letters and relics from a soldier in the army of Andreas Hofer, who had been left to die in the pine woods and hid his treasures in the pit. They are returned to a great-great-great nephew of the soldier who is tracked down by Miss Wilson.
After Elisaveta, Cyrilla and Paula fall into a pond and have nothing left to change into, the Quintette, who are left in charge of the camp for the afternoon, decide (after feeding them a hideous 'medicine' of syrup of figs, Gregory powder, liquorice powder and senna pods) to launder some clothes for them, as well as some other things which they have been running short on. The result is streaky Guide overalls and whites that have been starched so much they have gone completely stiff. The eight of them are roundly scolded, but are pleased to discover from a declaration of Miss Stewart's that her first and middle names are Constance Elizabeth.
As a result of the Quintette's laundering, it is decided that Domestic Science lessons will be instituted at the school in order to train the girls in homemaking.

So, thoughts on this book? Do you enjoy the descriptions of the Baumersee district and the Guide camp? Thoughts on the various dramatic incidents that happen? Did you like the story of the soldier whose belongings were found in Jo's pit?

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 00:03 
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In this book we possibly get the first hint of the romance to come between Jack and Joey when Jack visits the Camp with Jem and others. Joey tells Jack and Jem she is never going to grow up. When Jack questions this we are told Jem thought it best to change the subject. Jack was almost definitely already interested in Jo in a romantic sense and Jem must have been aware of this.

I also was interested in the part at the beginning where the Belsornian king thought Jo had been ill as she looked so delicate. Jem had been unaware of this but immediately showed concern. It also let the reader see how Jo must have suffered physically and mentally when she thought Robin could have had TB the previous term.

I loved the bit where Jo and the others thought they had found the body and also enjoyed the laundry episode.

Never having been a guide I enjoyed the organisation and how the tasks were split and generally reading about life in a guide camp.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 01:49 
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Jo and Grizel have several minor squabbles, one of which the staff notice and discuss among themselves, wondering whether to pull Grizel up or not for calling Jo 'child'.


Oh do NOT get me started on this! I detest the way the staff practically deify Joey to the point that noone is allowed to tease her. So what if she is head girl :banghead: ... oh dear... don't get me started.

Other than that, I really love this book. The typical camping bits of the girls cooking out of doors and enjoying camp life. The 'corpse' made me laugh like crazy the first time I read it because I was clearly a sadistic child. :D

But she overdoes the romanticism when the girls are singing and the 'natives' crowd round to listen to them and she describes the beauty of the various girls. It's a tad sickening.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 03:43 
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I'd think that the locals might have some pretty good musicians, considering that they'd be producing a lot of their own entertainment. I imagine the peasantry wouldn't have a lot of access to radios or record players. They could be interested in the different type of music, though.

I also really dislike the conversation about the dignity to which Joey is entitled. Grizel and Juliet are mistresses, and Joey is a student, but Joey is allowed to tease them (including, at one point, about romantic relationships), but they aren't able to call her 'child' because of dignity of the Head Girl position. And later, a group pranks Joey fairly fairly thoroughly without reprimand.

The rest of the book, though, is a nice, gentle series of adventures. I do particularly like the dead body fishing - over the top, but in a very fun way.

I was a Guide for a few years, but my troupe sucked, so I didn't have anything nearly this fun. I think the most memorable event was coming to the Guider's house one Saturday for a baking session for a badge, and her being hungover.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 08:36 
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Picking up on the introduction of domestic science lessons, there's a whole chapter on this in Rosemary Auchmuty's "A World of Girls". There were social conservatives who were in favour of it in the hope that it would reverse the greater freedom women had gained during the Great War and push them back towards the domestic sphere. Then there were the more sensible, practical people, prompted initially by concerns about malnutrition amongst volunteers for the Boer War, who argued that most women, of all classes, would be running their own homes at some point, and so they should be taught about housework. Arguing against both groups were those who said that it would put girls at an academic disadvantage if they were spending time on domestic stuff whilst boys were focusing on academic work. I'm not sure when the idea of boys doing woodwork and metalwork as a suitably manly :lol: equivalent of girls' domestic science lessons came in? So the CS was getting well in there with the educational politics of the time :wink:.

I much prefer EBD's approach to those of DFB, who had Dimsie's headmistress saying that girls should concentrate on "housecraft" now that the war was over, and leave Games etc to boys, and EJO, who had Rosamund telling Patch to pack in her history degree and do a course in childcare instead, seeing as she'd be spending most of her time in the future looking after the umpteen kids she was bound to have! And, of course, domestic science lessons have so much more potential for accidents than other lessons :lol:. My big quibble is that the rather preachy speech about introducing domestic science lessons is given by Miss Wilson, the last CS mistress I'd've expected to be arguing in favour of it.

I only ever went on one Guide camp, and it rained all the time. And we had one horrible chemical toilet for the whole lot of us - but that was probably a lot better than the CS girls would have had, not that EBD mentions that side of things :lol: . I think this book is good fun, though - it's nice to see all the girls together, out of school.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 09:21 
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Alison H wrote:
I only ever went on one Guide camp, and it rained all the time. And we had one horrible chemical toilet for the whole lot of us.


I went camping with a school group and we literally had to dig a hole in the ground. It was truly revolting. And the only time we had proper showers the water was freezing cold. Put me off camping for life.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 12:46 
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I've gone on two week canoeing trips. In October, in Canada. At campsites, there were boxes - you open the lid, there's a hole, and the lid shields you from view of the campsite. The rest of the time it was behind trees. And, of course, it was too cold to swim, so you made do with washing out the stinky bits as needed. Wonderful!

The other thing was the domestic science lessons was the development of the field as an applied science in the early part of the century. So it wasn't just learning cooking and housekeeping, but also doing it in a new, better, scientific way! (Unlike the unscientific way women had been doing it up until then).

I agree with the EJO and Patch scene though. Particularly coming from Rosamund, whose plan after leaving school was "hang around the Manor, living off my allowance and waiting for my father to send for me". Although this scene occurs well into Rosamund's drunk with power phase. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 14:35 
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Ooh, what phase was that?

I really like this one, particularly the dead body :lol: although as a child I wasn't so keen on it because it wasn't set in the school (and also, irrationally, because I didn't like the front cover of the book).

Now I find all the camp details fascinating.

Also, as a child, I didn't get the distinction between Grizel calling Joey 'child' and Joey calling Grizel 'my child'. Now I do see the difference, and I do think Grizel was being deliberately patronising. I don't agree no-one is allowed to tease Joey - Juliet and Grizel prank her later on; and she gets teased for telling off Miss Wilson for years afterwards.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 19:37 
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I am re -reading some of the Abbey books at the moment and I would say Rosamund became power mad soon after she became Countess. There were touches of it though from the moment that Roddy was born.

We were spared the worst though. In the last Abbey book EJO had begun to lead up to Geoffrey dying with the remarks he would not be able to survive another serious illness. If EJO had written more books, with Geoffrey gone, Rosamund would have had total power of Kentisbury. Maybe she would have got Bill to give up his naval career to back her up and be a father figure for her children!

After Hugh marries one of Maidlin's girls (probably the Rose one!) I can see Rosamund marrying a duke!

Sorry, sorry for going away from dear EBD.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 19:45 
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I have just received my unabridged Camp. I didn't enjoy the paperback version at all and I didn't try tracking down a complete copy until very recently. Maybe it will improve on a second reading.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 19:50 
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According to the NCC website the Armada of Camp is uncut? If this is not the case, I should add that that was the version I did the OP with, it's one of the few titles I've yet to acquire in either HB or GGB format, so if I've missed anything that was cut from the original text I do apologise.

I was never that fond of this book either until I reread it, but, as with And Jo last week, I liked it a lot better this time around.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 20:21 
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It was so long ago since I read it that perhaps I've not yet noticed any difference or else there are none!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 21:29 
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This was one of the few CS books I had as a child and I loved it. I've never been to camp ( wasn't even a guide) and I found all the details fascinating. I also liked seeing the characters outside of school. I'm not sure about the people at camp though; would most of them not have gone home in the summer holidays? For some of them, it would be the only holidays they would spend at home with the length of travel time. Or was the camp tacked on at the end of the summer term or start of the autumn term?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 01 Mar 2017, 00:53 
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Aquabird wrote:
According to the NCC website the Armada of Camp is uncut? If this is not the case, I should add that that was the version I did the OP with, it's one of the few titles I've yet to acquire in either HB or GGB format, so if I've missed anything that was cut from the original text I do apologise.

I was never that fond of this book either until I reread it, but, as with And Jo last week, I liked it a lot better this time around.


Camp is probably my least favourite Chalet title, and even the majority of the fill-ins rank above it. Not sure exactly why, I think maybe I have never understood the appeal of camping and it seemed odd that the girls didn't go home for the holidays.
But the appeal of Guides is a bit odd in my world too. I adored being a Brownie, but we moved house just as I hit 11, and I knew no-one in the Guides when I joined. They were very unfriendly, snobby and clannish, didn't seem to want to welcome newcomers and I was really glad we moved again after a few months. I refused to join the Guides in our new village, the whole idea had gone sour. I discovered the Chalet books after my bad experience, and could never bring myself to enthuse about the Guides the way the Chaletians did as my experience was just so different. I have never really understood the issue in Rivals where people believed being a Guide could be such a Good Thing, but at least I now realise its down to my own experience, which was very unusual.
Did anyone else feel that Guides just didn't work for them for some reason?

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 01 Mar 2017, 04:04 
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Audrey25 wrote:
I am re -reading some of the Abbey books at the moment and I would say Rosamund became power mad soon after she became Countess. There were touches of it though from the moment that Roddy was born.


I agree that it kicks in once she's got the title. Which is a shame - the entrepreneurial, half-brother raising Rosamund is probably my favourite character of the whole series. But after she marries, it's a combination of her self-confident side coming to the front, and the fact that everyone who meets her goes "a Countess!" and rolls over in adoration, and then names their babies after her.

She starts laying down the law, and deciding how things will go, and giving unsolicited advice. She's not nasty about it and means well, I think she's just the kind of person who does best when she has something to fight against - like needing to earn her keep, or protect Roddy, or help Maidlin.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 01 Mar 2017, 04:20 
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Loryat wrote:
Also, as a child, I didn't get the distinction between Grizel calling Joey 'child' and Joey calling Grizel 'my child'. Now I do see the difference, and I do think Grizel was being deliberately patronising. I don't agree no-one is allowed to tease Joey - Juliet and Grizel prank her later on; and she gets teased for telling off Miss Wilson for years afterwards.


But the teasing about Miss Wilson does not happen until well after she leaves school. While she was still at school as HG, she's untouchable.

And even now I can't tell the difference between the way Grizel speaks to Joey and the way she responds, but perhaps that's because I only ever read the p/back. Maybe it's clearer in the h/back.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 01 Mar 2017, 08:36 
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Pollyanna, I didn't like Guides either, but I think that was the leader's fault. The Brown Owl we had in Brownies was brilliant and organised all sorts of activities for us, but the Guide leader just left everyone to hang around in the hall and entertain themselves. If you were part of one of the cliques, that was fine, but it was very lonely if you weren't, and I gave up after less than a year. After my bad experience, my sister joined a different Guide group when she turned 10 a couple of years later, and that was really good, and I wish now that I'd gone there instead.

I've only got the pb of this book, and it must be cut, because Rosemary Auchmuty quotes a very melodramatic speech made by Miss Wilson about introducing domestic science lessons, and it's not in my copy:

Quote:
Eve's first work when she left the Garden of Eden was to be a homemaker ... the woman who is above tending her husband and children or - if God does not give her those - helping other women who need such help, is a poor creature ... deliberately deforming her nature ...


I'm not surprised Armada cut it!! I don't know whether to laugh or cry. It's so unlike Miss Wilson - I'd have thought that "Next term, you're going to be learning how to make apple pie," would have been more her style!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 01 Mar 2017, 10:40 
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Grizel is in a difficult position. It is only a year since she left school and she knows most of the girls as fellow students. She needs to put some distance between them and her if she is to be regarded as a teacher or Guide leader.

Jo is not Head Girl at Guides. She is a Patrol Leader and is equal in status to the other PLs such as Frieda or Marie. It must be difficult in a school company to keep school stuff out of Guides. Many years ago, I ran a Brownie Pack where most of the girls went to the same school and playground issues kept creeping in to the meeting which caused problems. My current Pack go to a wide range of schools and are friendly and welcoming

I enjoyed this book and the camp scenes remind me of camping with the Guides.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 01 Mar 2017, 14:52 
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Alison, I'm also not surprised Armada cut that slightly strange speech from Miss Wilson - although I do like (and in the pb I also like) that EBD is hammering home the message that no-one (well no woman) is too good to do housework.

I'm now desperate to read these books where Rosamund goes power-mad, although this is sad - she's such a nice character in the books I've read (she's only a Countess in one of them). She sounds like the new Jen!

I re-read a bit of Camp this morning and I think, although she's not in most of it, we see Robin has grown up a bit - she is offering to help Joey with her sewing, and when Grizel remarks on Elisaveta's freckles Robin points out that she has them too.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet Girls In Camp
PostPosted: 01 Mar 2017, 16:17 
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Camp seems to be dividing opinion more than any other book. I'm on the 'loved it' side - I really enjoy the slow build-up, seeing the older set in holiday mode, and then the journey there and setting up, and the wonderful sense of actually being there with them - I think it's one of the best bits of scene-setting in the series. I like that Veta is allowed a break from being Royal, too, as she's one of my favourite characters.
Maybe I'm influenced by having thoroughly enjoyed Guides and camping myself, dens in the woods, campfires, latrines and all!


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