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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2017, 10:09 
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Sending a trunk by rail "luggage in advance" was standard when I was a student in early '60s. We all sent our trunks a few days before the beginning of term and they were delivered to our landlady -don't remember any not being there before we were. We mostly left them there over Christmas and Easter vacs and just took a suitcase to and fro, then sent them home at the end of the summer term.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2017, 10:37 
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JayB wrote:
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So someone at the post office just picked a school and went with it? Again, noone in this whole mess thinks to make a phone call :D


The trunk was sent by rail, not by post, and someone did make a phone call - Matey did. It's said that when Katharine's trunk didn't turn up, she hassled the railway people by phone. Presumably they had the incompletely addressed trunk and were wondering what to do with it, and Matey's phone call led them to decide it must be meant for the St Briavel's CS. (Mary Kate's trunk had also evidently been delayed, for whatever reason.)


Heavens, she does too. Sorry - I must stop relying solely on my memory and actually go through the book.

Pollyana wrote:
Yes, banks really did hold mail for Expats and travellers(at least the wealthier ones!). In fact even when I first came to Australia, not quite 20 years ago, many banks and post offices were willing to hold mail for backpackers and the like who had no fixed address. Back in the days of EBD of course post offices didn't have all the extra duties like selling insurance, banks didn't have all the credit issues to deal with, the service was a lot more personal and so lent itself to things like mail holding.


This just sounds like a much simpler (and much easier!) world. I guess it's because I am only used to thinking of banks in terms of my local branch of a massive conglomerate, and anyone trying to get hold of me in that way would have buckleys.

But I guess if you were backpacking, someone could address a letter to a bank branch in an out of the way town and it would be held onto.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2017, 10:43 
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Once upon a time - though well within my adult lifetime - banks provided a service and knew their customers individually. Their function was not to sell stuff by any means possible.

It was to look after you and your money; your bank manager may well have known you personally - mine certainly did - and yes, one could write to people c/o their bank.

The changes in the so-called "service industries" are amongst those that I most regret in our present-day lives. And the introduction of those fiendish phone systems where you are forced to listen to mostly horrible music and press multiple buttons before you can talk to a human being. I often think I should don my blood pressure monitor when trying to call a company.

As far as trunks go - ours were certainly always sent "luggage in advance" to boarding school in the 1950s.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2017, 12:16 
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There was a report this morning about how most people prefer to do their banking in a branch, in person - which you would think was patently obvious, but which banks don't seem to care about. And I nearly lost my rag completely on Tuesday, when I tried to ring a so-called service provider and every single "press button" option just took me through to a recorded message until, in desperation, I tried the "If you're thinking of leaving us" option (that one generally works!) ... and got put through to someone whom I'm sure was doing her best but who barely spoke English and kept calling me "sweetie" :banghead:. /rant.

Needless to say, I can't think of an example offhand :lol:, but there are definitely umpteen references in the Chalet School series and other GO books to contacting someone through their bank.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2017, 16:48 
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In my family history research I have a relative who frequently went to New York, and he often gave his bank as his "last address in UK" . AS he went to and fro at least once every year, staying several months each time, he didn't have a UK home address, sometimes he gives a sister, sometimes the bank.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2017, 03:25 
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Alison H wrote:
And I nearly lost my rag completely on Tuesday, when I tried to ring a so-called service provider and every single "press button" option just took me through to a recorded message until, in desperation, I tried the "If you're thinking of leaving us" option (that one generally works!)


Press the option like opening a new account or want a new card, something that the bank will make money off or get new business.

Then when you are talking to a real person, say "sorry, but while I have you on the line..." They still might put you through to another department, but usually they will stay on the line and talk to you.

It is sad, as Cestina says, that we have lost that direct contact with service industries. But the days when the local bank manager was a friend and knew you personally, much in the same way the local doctor or local lawyer would, are pretty much gone.

Back to Wrong - despite being mentioned numerous times, does Katherine ever play at Wimbledon? The sports mistress don't actually do anything to help that along though.

And how would she actually go about it because she stays at the CS until she's 17. Then does she need to go to the UK, get a proper coach and play some local contests and work her way up?

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2017, 07:31 
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We don't hear anything about Katharine after she leaves. I think she was planning to go to Bedford/Chelsea and become a PT mistress, so it doesn't sound like she had serious plans to train to become a tennis champion.

I took the "should play at Wimbledon" as a bit of hyperbole - that Katharine was well above the usual level of a schoolgirl, but not actually trained to a competitive level.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2017, 18:38 
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I find the plot crazy but otherwise enjoy the book. Carola was expected to have full uniform - but Katherine is fitted out -why? Also why is Matey suspicious of mischief when Katherine says that the trunk (belonging to Mary K) isn't hers? There's some harshness in this book over the gardening from Miss Everatt (not a favourite of mine) when it appears that it is compulsory to put in an hour (?) a week on the form gardens - and the 'scarifying.'
I love Aunt Luce especially when she writes that the pubs aren't up to much wherever she is - a secret tippler? Of course too many coincidences. As a child, before I read it I thought the book would be about a girl who did go to another CS which would turn out to be horrible.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2017, 19:07 
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Quote:
There's some harshness in this book over the gardening from Miss Everatt (not a favourite of mine) when it appears that it is compulsory to put in an hour (?) a week on the form gardens

Yes, compulsory gardening was reasonable in the war years, when it was war work, but I don't think they're still growing veg by this time, are they? Even though rationing was still ongoing.

They could have made it a choice between gardening and games or the compulsory walk - I'd have taken gardening like a shot if it would have got me out of games!

Tricky one, though, as I don't suppose they could get the labour, and the terms of their lease probably required them to keep the grounds in good condition. Plus it wouldn't look good to parents and visitors if the grounds were overgrown.

Wasn't it refusal to take part in voluntary weeding that caused Jan Scott to be written off as bolshy and uncooperative at Kingscote?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 22 Jul 2017, 01:24 
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Some banks are both horrible to visit and horrible to phone. In one of the banks I frequent, even although once or twice recently there has not been another person in the place, the tellers will do anything rather than serve the customer immediately. Always must keep us waiting.

The lengths that the talented tennis players have to go to get on are amazing. Andy Murray had to go off to Spain at about 14 to get the training he required.

The daughter of a girl I used to work with is quite a good tennis player. She is about 20 now and seeded around 360 in the world. She has improved about 300 places since the beginning of the year. She lives in Spain but a couple of years ago changed her nationality from British to Australian for playing purposes as Australia would give her more help.

When this girl was 9 or 10 the whole family upped and moved to Australia to give her a better chance as they had been told she had real promise. (The parents had previously gone to live in Australia for a couple of years before they had family so it wasn't totally new to them). The girl's brother was nearly 16 and three months from sitting Standard Grades when they upped sticks.! Very ambitious mum!

They had to come home a few years ago for financial reasons but left her there for a year or two (at terrific cost) and then she eventually went to Spain. She was being educated for a while through open learning.

This has all been in our press courtesy of her father complaining about lack of Scottish money for tennis so not giving anything away.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 22 Jul 2017, 01:40 
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The girl's brother was nearly 16 and three months from sitting Standard Grades when they upped sticks.

Poor lad. They could have waited, or let him stay with family until he'd done his exams. I wonder if he felt any resentment.

Of course, it was all very different in Katharine's day - Wimbledon was an entirely amateur tournament, and there was nothing remotely like the money that there is in the game now.

The Scottish climate isn't really conducive to playing lots of tennis, unless you play on indoor courts. And anyone who lives outside the Glasgow-Edinburgh region is probably faced with long drives to and from training sessions.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 22 Jul 2017, 03:14 
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Audrey25 wrote:
Some banks are both horrible to visit and horrible to phone. In one of the banks I frequent, even although once or twice recently there has not been another person in the place, the tellers will do anything rather than serve the customer immediately. Always must keep us waiting.


Mind you, the online banking is pretty good. I just spent 15 minutes online doing all my banking and it's done. If I had to go down to the branch and stand in line, it would have taken hours.

But yes, I've also been at the bank and there are tellers there doing something or other, but not seeing to customers even though there is a long line.

JayB wrote:
Quote:
There's some harshness in this book over the gardening from Miss Everatt (not a favourite of mine) when it appears that it is compulsory to put in an hour (?) a week on the form gardens

Yes, compulsory gardening was reasonable in the war years, when it was war work, but I don't think they're still growing veg by this time, are they? Even though rationing was still ongoing.


I don't like Miss Everett either and it sounds like the gardening in free time was an unwritten rule but she makes it a 'rule'. There is limited free time anyway, so why can't the girls spend it as they like?

But this is coming from someone who would definitely have skived off in order to read.

jennifer wrote:
so it doesn't sound like she had serious plans to train to become a tennis champion. I took the "should play at Wimbledon" as a bit of hyperbole - that Katharine was well above the usual level of a schoolgirl, but not actually trained to a competitive level.


In Trebizon, the main character is a serious tennis player and the effort required to get her to matches, train her etc , is seriously crazy. No way could they have managed it with nutty Aunt Luce in charge. :D

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 22 Jul 2017, 13:15 
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Quote:
In Trebizon, the main character is a serious tennis player and the effort required to get her to matches, train her etc , is seriously crazy. No way could they have managed it with nutty Aunt Luce in charge.

By the time of the Trebizon books, the game was professional, and nothing like it was in Katharine's time.

It was Aunt Luce who enabled Katharine's development as a player to that point, wasn't it? Doesn't Katharine say Aunt Luce was good herself and used to play with her?

But it comes back to the question of how far other family members should be required to subordinate their lives and interests for the benefit of one child who happens to be talented. Should Aunt Luce have been expected to put her career on hold to facilitate Katharine's development as a tennis player?

What if one of the Murray brothers hadn't been keen on tennis but had wanted to pursue music or dance or eventing or any other interest which requires a major commitment of time and money? How do you prioritise?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 22 Jul 2017, 18:21 
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I won't write an essay about this, but I think the younger brothers of Jennifer Capriati and Mary Pierce, to name but two, have got plenty to say about what happens when a family decides to prioritise one child's sporting ability over the interests of everyone else :roll:.

I'm not sure that all the "headed for Wimbledon" stuff would have worked out. Being the best player your school has ever produced doesn't mean that you're going to end up being world class. She only ever plays for the school - there's no mention of her playing county matches, or in the national championships, where she'd have come up against the top players in her age group. In Switzerland, I'm not sure that she plays against anyone apart from other CS girls. She'd left before the match in Wins the Trick, and I think there's one mention of a match against a school in Lausanne but I might have imagined that. it must have been very frustrating for the girls in all the sports teams! It would have been fun to've heard that an Old Girl had won one of the Grand Slam events, but it seems more likely that she just ended up as a good club player.

Having said which, the CS producing three top-level musicians and a famous author but no famous sportswomen probably reflects EBD's own interests :D .

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 23 Jul 2017, 03:02 
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Alison H wrote:
Having said which, the CS producing three top-level musicians and a famous author but no famous sportswomen probably reflects EBD's own interests :D .


But music and writing is something you can do for your whole life, but sport has a limited shelf life.

EBD would have had to show Katherine getting extra training and playing in matches etc while she was still AT school which maybe she didn't have the same level of knowledge about.

Whereas with Jacynth, Margia etc she can put in a line about specialised training AFTER leaving school and leave it at that.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 23 Jul 2017, 07:35 
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Back in the 1950's it was really normal for tennis players to start developing their careers. If you read some of the biographies of the famous tennis players of the time, you notice that most of their careers and training didn't start until they left high school, though there was some exposure before then.

I think if Katherine herself was desperate to have a career in tennis, she would have stayed at Carnbach and made sure she had some good competitions at least with other schools. She herself didn't express the desire to be a tennis great.

There is an awful lot of sacrifice of other things, and not everyone wants to sacrifice everything to be good at one thing. That was one thing Monica Seles found when she had taken time off after the stabbing. She found it hard to go back in part because she was enjoying doing things she had never had the chance to do before

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 23 Jul 2017, 10:00 
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Joyce wrote:
Alison H wrote:
Having said which, the CS producing three top-level musicians and a famous author but no famous sportswomen probably reflects EBD's own interests :D .


But music and writing is something you can do for your whole life, but sport has a limited shelf life.

EBD would have had to show Katherine getting extra training and playing in matches etc while she was still AT school which maybe she didn't have the same level of knowledge about.

Whereas with Jacynth, Margia etc she can put in a line about specialised training AFTER leaving school and leave it at that.

Cheers,
Joyce


EBD did show the school providing specialist music teachers for all of her musical prodigies, though (is it Nina who gasps at being told she would be taught be THE Karl Anserl - or was it THE Trsitan Denny??) - and ensures that she tells us that the school's nonresident music teachers are all of a super high standard. She doesn't do either of those things with sport. Did people even have specialist sports coaches in the 1940/50s in the same way that they had specialist music teachers?

Having said that, though, I would agree with Alison; EBD knew that sport was an expected part of a school story, but she wasn't especially interested in it. Whereas music was an important part of her life, outside of her writing.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 23 Jul 2017, 10:07 
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Added after seeing last post which crossed - As last posters have said EBD was a lot more interested in / knew a lot more about music so wrote about that which kind of reflected her view that people should write what they know about. Judging by her descriptions of the few tennis matches she wrote about though, she does seem to have known a bit about tennis. Did she play herself does anyone know?

I haven't checked up on this but around 1965/1970 one of the tennis greats, an Australian, Margaret Smith (Court) who won countless Slams in doubles and mixed as well as singles, seems to have taken a year or two out at the peak of her career specifically to find a husband and get married. She might even have had a child before she went back to competing. This was obviously another aspect.

(Margaret Court has been in news recently for extreme religious views).

Back then though, when the players didn't travel with huge entourages, they had to rely more on each for friendship and company. There would not have been the extreme training and fitness stuff there is now so Katherine might have had a happier, more sociable time as a player back then.

It doesn't sound as if she pursued a tennis career but I wonder what Katherine did do in life?

Isn't there a bit in the book where they get news about her father and she calls him "Dadda". A bit like the Railway Children with "Daddy! My Daddy" or whatever. A shame she did not have him during all these years he was abroad - and her mother. They were doing great work and Katherine seems happy with Aunt Luce but I wonder...


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 23 Jul 2017, 12:02 
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Caroline wrote:
EBD did show the school providing specialist music teachers for all of her musical prodigies, though (is it Nina who gasps at being told she would be taught be THE Karl Anserl - or was it THE Trsitan Denny??) - and ensures that she tells us that the school's nonresident music teachers are all of a super high standard. She doesn't do either of those things with sport. Did people even have specialist sports coaches in the 1940/50s in the same way that they had specialist music teachers?

Having said that, though, I would agree with Alison; EBD knew that sport was an expected part of a school story, but she wasn't especially interested in it. Whereas music was an important part of her life, outside of her writing.


She definitely knows more about music training and what sort of work someone who would want to specialise in music would need to know, but she doesn't really go into much detail. We never go into a lesson with Nina and Herr Anserl for instance.

But we do get rather long winded descriptions of lacrosse matches, rowing contests and tennis games so she shoves them in as 'entertainment' but only at school level. And she seems to get those descriptions right. But she makes fun of Ouida in Island by mentioning a massive mistake the writer had made about rowing which I always thought was tempting fate.

And is EBD the one who makes a mistake somewhere with a cricket match where the school wins by XX runs AND XX wickets which is impossible unless they somehow managed to play two games within the time given? I always thought it was her but I can't find the reference.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Wrong Chalet School
PostPosted: 23 Jul 2017, 12:45 
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Joyce wrote:


And is EBD the one who makes a mistake somewhere with a cricket match where the school wins by XX runs AND XX wickets which is impossible unless they somehow managed to play two games within the time given? I always thought it was her but I can't find the reference.

Cheers,
Joyce


Yes it is EBD - think it's in Wrong CS. She also has tennis scoring a bit odd - a couple winning by 8 games to 5 I think - but scoring might have changed since her day?


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