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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Nov 2017, 09:24 
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Regarding pocket money, in one of the books when the girls are going shopping during a half term away it is pointed out to them that the sale was coming up so to leave money for that/keep most of their money for the sale.

I thought that was beyond it. No right of the school to interfere and no word the girls might have liked a little memento or a present for somebody from a different part of Switzerland.

The CS sale was a good cause but surely the girls did not have to spend most of their money on stuff they might otherwise not be buying.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Nov 2017, 09:35 
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mynameisdumbnuts wrote:
I can think of a couple of Enid Blyton books that include children making deals with God -- ... Does this not pop up in other books for young people?


There's a part in Rilla of Ingleside where Bruce drowns his beloved kitten in a deal with God to bring Jem home from the war.

His parents are suitably horrified and concerned and the author voice says God does not work that way. I can never read that without yelping - a seven year old holding a kitten under water.

LucyP wrote:
Trials is not one of my favourites. As a Christian myself I find the fact that Naomi says she will believe in God if the San can cure her to be distasteful, to say the least.


It might actually have done her even more harm if she wasn't cured AFTER she'd been taught to believe in God. Teaching her faith and trust in a loving God would have been more helpful to her.

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Regarding pocket money, in one of the books when the girls are going shopping during a half term away it is pointed out to them that the sale was coming up so to leave money for that/keep most of their money for the sale.
I thought that was beyond it. No right of the school to interfere and no word the girls might have liked a little memento or a present for somebody from a different part of Switzerland.
The CS sale was a good cause but surely the girls did not have to spend most of their money on stuff they might otherwise not be buying.


Not to mention a bit self serving! After all, the money goes to the San and the school prides itself on raising more money than the year before.

I would definitely have preferred a souvenir from a special place I might never visit again, rather than the same old embroidered tea cloth.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Nov 2017, 15:22 
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Frankly, I found OOAO rather obnoxious in this book.

Surely a girl of her age ought to have realised that not everyone is a practising Christian, and that atheism and agnosticism exist.

Both my sons asked to get them excused from RE at school but I told them that it was impossible as I, as a member of staff, would be seen as asking for a special favour. I told them to attend the lessons, but not to pay any special attention to the contents of the lesson, if they could get away with it.

I've actually brought up an atheist and an agnostic, but I believe that everyone has the right to their own soul.

I also think that Naomi's aunt needed a good smacking for telling the Head that Naomi's mind was warped. Lost both parents, disabled for life? Give the girl a break; let her work through things in her own way.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Nov 2017, 22:50 
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I feel very sorry for Naomi. At 17, she was presumably well settled into her previous school, and then her life was completely disrupted because her aunt wanted to be with her own daughter. She was sent to a school which clearly wasn't suited to her needs and personality, and her aunt gave the authorities a bad impression of her before she'd even got there.

I also have some sympathy for Mary-Lou, much as her attitude over the religious stuff annoys me. Joey (who shouldn't have been involved in the first place) decided that the way the school should deal with a potentially difficult new pupil was to "put Mary-Lou on to her". Mary-Lou was a pupil, not some sort of school welfare officer. She herself wondered why she'd been asked to take charge of Naomi, when they weren't even in the same form and Naomi already knew Barbara and Vi. OK, after that, Mary-Lou butted in of her own accord, but it still annoys me that Joey, Hilda, Nell and Rosalie seemed to think that it was her responsibility, rather than the school's, to deal with a complete stranger's problems.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Nov 2017, 23:30 
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Jennie wrote:
Frankly, I found OOAO rather obnoxious in this book.

Surely a girl of her age ought to have realised that not everyone is a practising Christian, and that atheism and agnosticism exist.

Both my sons asked to get them excused from RE at school but I told them that it was impossible as I, as a member of staff, would be seen as asking for a special favour. I told them to attend the lessons, but not to pay any special attention to the contents of the lesson, if they could get away with it.

I've actually brought up an atheist and an agnostic, but I believe that everyone has the right to their own soul.

I also think that Naomi's aunt needed a good smacking for telling the Head that Naomi's mind was warped. Lost both parents, disabled for life? Give the girl a break; let her work through things in her own way.


I do have sympathy with Mary Lou over this because at the time this book was written far fewer people would have admitted to being agnostic or atheist.

HOW was Mary Lou meant to know that not everyone was religious? OK she might have known in theory but this was the first time she had actually come up against it.

Remember she had mixed with very few girls before the CS. She was taught at home as far as I remember. She had no young female relatives to share ideas with. The CS was a Christian school. There would have been no classes giving other points of view. There was no internet, no TV, only radio programnes and newspapers which probably mainly gave the same POV as that held by ML.

At the time Trials was written it was a different world. Only 250 years before this book was written an Edinburgh University student was HUNG for blasphemy - for saying he did not believe in God.

Although ML did not understand Naomi she tried to help her which was more than most people were doing.
I admire ML greatly for that.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Nov 2017, 17:48 
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I agree with Audrey, and the same can be said of the 21st century. I have very strong views on certain subjects, and while intellectually I know there are people out there with opposite views, I might be taken aback to hear them espouse those views in front of me, especially if I've been tasked with chaperoning/minding/guiding, etc. them. I consider Mary-Lou a sensible, mature, intelligent teenager, but she is still a teenager being raised in rather a closeted environment. She's going to encounter people and situations she may have never considered or considered only in an abstract sense.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2017, 02:53 
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To something different, this is the book where Joey brings Cecil to the pantomime and this happens:

Quote:
... Mary-Lou arrived with Cecil, who was kicking joyously in the big girl’s arm. Unfortunately, her final kick caught the tray, which still bore about a dozen brimming cups, and over it went. Evadne let it go with a smothered shriek, and at least three cups descended into the lap of a total stranger just as the Head Girl deposited her burden on Joey’s lap.

The lady gave a howl, for the tea and coffee were boiling hot, and she had taken off her coat and her dress was only a thin woollen. Evadne sprang forward with a square of fine lawn edged with lace, and began to mop up the mess, exclaiming incoherent apologies, while the cause of the trouble, flung her arms round her mother’s neck and tugged at the thick plaits Joey wore in great flat shells on either side of her face, pulling one down completely.

“I’m most awfully sorry!” Mary-Lou gasped, bring her own handkerchief into play. “I didn’t know Cecil was going to kick like that, though. I do hope you aren’t scalded? Let me mop you up. I’ll run and fetch a cloth!”

The stranger glared at her. “Why couldn’t you stop her?” she snapped. “A big girl like you ought to be able to manage a baby like that, though what a child of that age is doing at a show like this is more than I can say!”


Yep. I'm with her.

Joey offers to pay for the laundry but what about the sheer pain of having three cups of coffee in your lap? And the stranger has to sit through the rest of the pantomime in a wet dress.

It's interesting that it's a stranger who scolds ML and Joey. I am curious though - are we meant to sympathise with her? Or does the 'author voice' think she is overreacting?

Joey tells Cecil she should have spilled the coffee on a friend rather than a stranger because presumably a friend would find it funny, or at least be sympathetic towards Joey. I dunno about that - I might think twice about scolding a friend (to her face!) but I most certainly would ask her to replace my ruined clothes and anything else that is affected.

Other parents in the CS world are criticised for their parental abilities but seldom, if ever, Joey or Madge.

This is the only time, I think, that someone scolds Joey on her parental decisions. Why did she bring Cecil? How many times have we been at the movies/restaurant/church and a child ruins the experience by misbehaving?

Given she has Anna and Rosli (not to mention ... ahem ... Jack!) why not leave her at home?

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2017, 09:14 
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That scene really annoys me! It seems to happen more and more often now, people take very young children to things for which they clearly aren't old enough, and the kids - understandably - scream and spoil it for other people. Sorry for being a grumpy old woman, but my sympathy is all for the poor woman who got tea and coffee all over her and could have been badly scalded! There was some excuse about Anna and Rosli being busy, but Joey didn't have to go to the pantomime - and we're told that it meant Cecil missing her afternoon nap. Then Joey eventually takes Cecil out, and goes on at Mary-Lou about the sacrifices that parents have to make!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2017, 09:42 
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Is this scene supposed to make us sympathetic towards Joey, ie the sacrifices mothers make, because if fails for me.
Cecil should not have gone, the child missed her nap because of it and was fractious.If no one else was available then Joey should not have gone either but stayed at home with her child.A screaming, crying child spoils it for everyone,presumably half the audience couldn't hear the actors over her because I doubt there was a sound system.
As for the poor woman who got scalded, the drinks were boiling hot,then she had every right to be angry.I actually don't blame ML though, Cecil was Joey's responsibility, not hers.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2017, 17:11 
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It's quite an interesting scene. If a stranger's child had knocked a tray of hot drinks over one of the CS people, then obviously it would have been because they weren't trained to instant obedience, even though you can hardly expect a 2-year-old to sit still and keep quiet for 3 hours or so. At best, it would have been because the parents were irresponsible and should have known not to take so young a child to a pantomime. It wasn't Mary-Lou's fault: Cecil shouldn't have been there in the first place.

This is what happens next:
Quote:
And Joey, weak with laughter, woke to realisation that her youngest daughter was definitely “on the howl”, and something must be done about it at once.
Cecil was well away. At first, the music and the bright lights had interested her, but now she was frightened at the noise. She was accustomed to an hour’s nap in the afternoon and had not had it. She had dozed off now and then, but the last gale of merriment had wakened her properly, and a very cross baby she was.

Joey tried everything, from rocking her and murmuring soothingly to her to popping a piece of chocolate into the wide open mouth. Cecil merely screamed louder, and as for the chocolate, she spat it out! There was only one thing left. Joey got up, clutching her howling daughter to her and stalked up the gangway and out of the auditorium into one of the siderooms, where she shut the door and got down to work in earnest. Cecil was well away, however, and it took a good quarter of an hour before her yells softened, first into sobs and then into tired whimpers.


Then:
Quote:
She’s tired out, poor lamb. It’s all right, Mary-Lou. When you have babies of your own you have to be prepared to miss things—and they’re worth it every time,” Joey said, as she quietly rose.


Poor Cecil - she shouldn't have been there in the first place. And Joey should have taken her out as soon as she started yelling.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2017, 18:07 
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I suspect that many of the scenes and anecdotes in which the Maynard children (especially the younger ones) feature are taken from life - things EMBD observed, or was told by people that she knew at church (knowing that she wrote children's books, they may even have made a point of telling her). By this point she might well have worried that she was losing touch with the realities of children and childhood a bit - but the problem is that if these incidents are anecdotal, they probably got edited, or even exaggerated. And they probably didn't all come from the same family, so what was a relatively rare incident that the parents may well have felt embarrassed about sounds as though it's normal and maybe even fairly acceptable (whereas to us it may come over as a bit much).

Purely By The Way, I was seven in the year Trials was published, and knew a fair number of younger children, and I know I never heard of anything remotely like this incident with Cecil, though I think there was a bit more of an 'accidents are bound to happen' attitude then. WW2 was still very much in most adults' memories, which may account for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2017, 00:30 
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Alison H wrote:
There was some excuse about Anna and Rosli being busy ...


The two Fs aren't there so unless Joey shoved them under a bush, Rosli looked after them. So why not Cecil as well?

Joey sounds very selfish in this section - she brings Cecil out to an event she wants to attend without considering the needs of her daughter, Cecil is then passed around like a parcel which no child really enjoys, she doesn't acknowledge the right of the stranger to be annoyed and doesn't consider the feelings of the people in the audience when Cecil starts screaming.

Quote:
And Joey should have taken her out as soon as she started yelling.


I agree, but how many times have we sat in church etc and the child starts screaming and is not taken out? I guess it's because the parent thinks the child may calm down and then they will have walked out for nothing.

Rereading the section, Evadne actually drops a tray of 12 cups of coffee, three of which end up in the stranger's lap. So presumably someone also had to clean the floor before the guests could go back to watching the pantomime. Either that, or the floor was covered in coffee and broken cups and left like that.

I think we are actually meant to sympathise with Joey and co because the stranger glares and scolds and generally leaves the reader with an unpleasant taste. Meanwhile, Cecil chuckles, gurgles, "kicking gaily" and sounds like a cute baby.

So even though Joey is scolded for bringing Cecil it's not by the author voice or a character we are meant to like such as Miss Annersley.

But I wonder how many people saw Joey walking up with yet another baby and mentally groaned.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2017, 08:18 
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I would actually put school plays in the category of things where bringing small children is okay. After all - the audience tends to heavily lean towards parents of the students, who often have younger kids as well. However - someone with a child who may start crying or get restless should be sitting near the back and near the aisle, so they can get out quickly if the kid starts screeching. And if attending means that a toddler will be missing their nap and cranky, the parent should have enough sense to figure out that this well end badly, and not bring them.

I re-read the section and Joey brings the twins, too. She dumps them on some of the students near the front, then takes Cecil near the back, in case she needs to be taken out. But when intermission comes, she has no idea where Cecil is (it turns out Miss Ferrars has her), and sends Mary-Lou to get her. When Mary-Lou brings her back, she kicks over the coffee. Later, the lights go out and the twins are scared and start crying and have to be soothed by the students. Next, Evadne is holding Cecil when she starts getting cranky due to lack of nap, and Joey is too overcome with laughter to notice until she starts howling. She then tries cuddling her and feeding her chocolate before giving up and taking her out. That's when she makes the speech about the responsibility of children.

So basically she took three small children to the event, and spent maybe 15 minutes taking care of one of the three, leaving the rest to other people. During which time all three of the children start crying loud enough to be heard across the room, in addition to the coffee accident.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2017, 09:11 
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Quote:
I would actually put school plays in the category of things where bringing small children is okay.


I would still think twice. Clearly there is a mixture of people who attend and we are told in another book that the St Mildred's pantomimes are 'professional' productions, so it's not supposed to be amateur hour.

And it still requires the kids to be quiet for two-three hours. Not like a Wiggles concert which is specially designed for young kids and they can dance around.

jennifer wrote:
I re-read the section and Joey brings the twins, too. She dumps them on some of the students near the front, then takes Cecil near the back, in case she needs to be taken out.


Yes, she does. Sorry, I missed that part on my reread through.

And even if she sits at the back, she doesn't take Cecil out until the kid is clearly losing it. So the people round her have to put up with the yelling for a while.

And she gets off very lightly on the coffee incident. The stranger scolds her but she doesn't end up actually paying for the laundry or having to aid the woman in any other way.

Quote:
That's when she makes the speech about the responsibility of children.


Though you just know that had Anna/Rosli been there, she would have shovelled the responsibility onto them. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2017, 11:24 
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jennifer wrote:
She dumps them on some of the students near the front, then takes Cecil near the back, in case she needs to be taken out. But when intermission comes, she has no idea where Cecil is (it turns out Miss Ferrars has her), and sends Mary-Lou to get her.


I am now confused lol.If Joey takes Cecil near the back how does she then not know just where the child is later on? Did she let random strangers wander off with her?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2017, 11:54 
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Terrygo wrote:
jennifer wrote:
She dumps them on some of the students near the front, then takes Cecil near the back, in case she needs to be taken out. But when intermission comes, she has no idea where Cecil is (it turns out Miss Ferrars has her), and sends Mary-Lou to get her.


I am now confused lol.If Joey takes Cecil near the back how does she then not know just where the child is later on? Did she let random strangers wander off with her?


There's a comment about Cecil having been whisked away from her right before the show started.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2017, 12:19 
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To be fair, I think Felix and Felicity were with Maeve, who's their cousin, and no-one could have anticipated that there was going to be a power cut. So I think Joey can be excused there :D . But Cecil seems to have been being passed around like a parcel.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2017, 12:24 
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Alison H wrote:
But Cecil seems to have been being passed around like a parcel.

I really don't think that is unusual with babies, particularly those at the tail end of a large family....

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2017, 16:03 
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Just going back to Evvy, who was holding Cecil when she started howling, I think hers is one of the great untold stories of CS-land, although I know it's been written about in drabbles. She pops up at various points over the years, but I don't think we hear the sad story of her lost fiancé until Coming of Age, which is a decade after the event. I was watching one of the Remembrance Sunday events yesterday, and the reporter referred to the Queen and Prince Philip as "wartime sweethearts", which somehow made me feel quite tearful. At one end of the spectrum, you've got wartime sweethearts like them, who are now in their 90s and great-grandparents, and, at the other end, you've got people like Evadne - and it's nice to see her so happy in this book. Carla, who lost her husband and child during the war, is also at the pantomime, but her story was cut out of the paperbacks, and I don't think she's ever mentioned again anyway. I like it when old friends from Tyrol days reappear :D .

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Trials for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2017, 18:52 
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There's a brilliant, really sad drabble in the archives about Carla's wartime experiences, The Broken Taxi by ravenseyes. I really recommend it to anyone interested in Carla's story.

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