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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Highland Twins at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 26 Jun 2017, 12:57 
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In Michelle Magorian's A Spoonful of Jam the working class family go to Kent to work in the hop fields as a yearly event, staying in primitive sounding huts or cabins. It's considered the family 'holiday' and includes grandma, children etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Highland Twins at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 26 Jun 2017, 13:37 
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Rose-Next-Door (100 on 2nd August DV) used to go hop picking with friends from the East End. We have only chatted briefly about it but I will do some more digging when I am back home at the end of July for her birthday.

From what I remember her saying a very good time was had by all....

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Highland Twins at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 26 Jun 2017, 13:41 
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Conditions were poor in the middle decades of the 19th century, when the railways first enabled the mass migration of workers to the hopfields. (Special trains used to run from London Bridge at the start of the hopping season.) No proper water supply or sanitary arrangements, and outbreaks of cholera. Probably no worse than the normal living conditions of many of the families back home, though.

Conditions gradually improved, until by the 20th century conditions were probably equivalent to a camping or caravan holiday. Churches operated missions in the hopfields, too.

My mother went hop picking during the war in a family group. She earned enough in two weeks to buy herself new shoes and a new winter coat. She says the farmer gave them big sacks which they filled with clean straw to make beds.

Some of the regular pickers used to furnish their huts for the month with things brought from home, though. Rolled up mattresses and everything but the kitchen sink loaded onto the baby's pram.

People I know who grew up in hop growing areas say the combination of the locals, the Londoners and the Gypsies meant things could get quite lively at times.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Highland Twins at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 05 Jul 2017, 15:40 
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My Dad, born October 1939, remembers going hop picking when he was a boy. He is from West London (Hammersmith). Probably late 1940's - early 1950's.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Highland Twins at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 24 Oct 2018, 22:34 
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Bumping this to talk about the mysterious Jean Mackenzie. I know some people think she's Con Stewart but I don't - she's in Singapore and I think EBD couldn't have gotten her name so wrong at that point in the series.

So she's from Edinburgh, went to school in France, her mother is named Mrs Robertson (she also knows Joey). Jean has a small son, Alan, and her husband is Ken Mackenzie. Someone said she may have been from Taverton, though that seems odd if her parents live in Edinburgh. Likewise, no India trip is mentioned, just a long trip to America with her parents.

She says that Jo "you were very good to me and Alan when we stayed with you," - could she have been an evacuee? Could she have been Con's sister-in-law by marriage?

I know we will never know!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Highland Twins at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 24 Oct 2018, 23:45 
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Kenneth Mackenzie is one of the names given to Mollie Maynard's husband. There's also Kathie Robertson who I think comes from Edinburgh. Yet another coincidence of names!

As you say, we'll never know!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Highland Twins at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 25 Oct 2018, 00:43 
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Mia wrote:
and I think EBD couldn't have gotten her name so wrong at that point in the series.


Having received my GGBP copy recently, I discovered that Biddy o'Ryan is called Biddy O'Hara in this book - rather a major error considering how many books Biddy has appeared in up to this point in the series.

I also noticed a reference to Friedel von Helfen instead of Friedel von Gluck. So EBD had a few issues with characters' names in Highland Twins.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Highland Twins at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 25 Oct 2018, 00:53 
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I agree that she can't be a mistake for Con Mackenzie - not only the points you made Mia, but Jean's husband is in the RAF, which I'm sure we'd be told if Con's husband were. I've always wondered if Jean were an elder sister of Kathie 'Mops' Robertson, and not just the coincidence that ivohenry suggests .


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Highland Twins at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 25 Oct 2018, 07:44 
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IIRC, there's a Friedel von Helfen in The First Violin, a book which also features a Eugen Courvoisier whose real surname is von Rothenfels. Maybe EBD had been re-reading it just before she wrote this :lol: .

The Jean Mackenzie thing is very odd. EBD obviously needed Joey to have a contact in the Highlands, but there are all sorts of ways she could have explained that - an old friend from Taverton whose family had moved there because of work or marriage, or a friend or relative of one of the CS people, or someone who'd come to Guernsey on holiday, or maybe someone connected with the San - a former nurse or patient or patient's relative. It would only have taken a few words to explain the link!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Highland Twins at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 25 Oct 2018, 10:55 
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Wonder if there was a chapter - or few pages - about Jean, which got cut out because the book was too long, and not replaced by a short paragraph. There's a gap between CS goes to it and this book - wonder if she ever wrote or started to write something in between. Could be Jean's backstory was clear in EBD's mind even though we were never told. Maybe an evacuee as Mia suggests? Or maybe needing somewhere to stay as husband in RAF, maybe wanted to be nearer wherever he was stationed than Edinburgh?

She's unlikely to be Con's sister-in-law unless there were 2 brothers both called Kenneth - possibly there were cousins with same name though.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Highland Twins at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 25 Oct 2018, 21:47 
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Was Con Stewart Scottish?

I agree about the missing backstory! Like the story of Queechy.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Highland Twins at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 25 Oct 2018, 21:54 
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I've just checked this in the Encyclopaedia, because I thought she was Scottish, but then wondered if my brain was making some strange Jacobite link because she was nicknamed Charlie due to being C E Stewart :lol: . Apparently, in Jo Returns, she goes home to Herefordshire to recuperate from laryngitis, but is later described as being Scottish. In Eustacia,, it says that she had a Highland accent.

EBD sometimes seems to get rather confused about whether Herefordshire's in England or Wales, so maybe she sometimes thought it was in Scotland as well!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Highland Twins at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 26 Oct 2018, 07:41 
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Alison H wrote:

EBD sometimes seems to get rather confused about whether Herefordshire's in England or Wales, so maybe she sometimes thought it was in Scotland as well!


:lol: :roll: :lol:


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