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 Post subject: Canaries
PostPosted: 03 Mar 2017, 22:29 
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I'm re-reading Problem, but haven't had the uncut version before. It says that there was "A large cage of canaries which were singing deafeningly" in the Middles' common room. Are the said canaries mentioned anywhere else? Who had to feed them and clean out their cage? Were they allowed out? What if Minette got them?!

Were there budgies in the Juniors' common room and parrots in the Seniors' common room in any other books which I've only got in pb :lol: ?

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 Post subject: Re: Canaries
PostPosted: 04 Mar 2017, 00:33 
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I think EBD liked canaries. There is one in the Speisesaal at the Mensches in Jo of, and also one in the new prefects' room in New House. No mention of who cared for it though!

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 Post subject: Re: Canaries
PostPosted: 04 Mar 2017, 10:57 
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I don't know about who looked after those canaries, Alison - I'd completely forgotten about them! - but Eva von Heilinge was Pets Prefect in some of the Tyrol books (And Jo through to New House, though she's off-duty in In Camp, of course). In Exploits Jo says to Eva that she doesn't think they've anything much beyond dogs and cats and rabbits that term, adding "Some of the babes have canaries with them, but their House Mistresses will see to those." Lucky House Mistresses! Not that canaries are hugely hard work to look after, but still...

In a retrospective paragraph on the same page, it's commented that in the previous term Cornelia had brought a chameleon back to school with her, with no idea of how to look after it. It had been let loose in the garden, and disappeared after some colder weather during the holidays. This lack of thought about the animals is one reason I never find this sort of 'own pets at school' stuff very convincing, even in Antonia Forest's books - yes indeed, there would surely be problems with keeping prey and predators together; there's never any mention of vets or health problems; and the implication is that the pets are kept confined, which is not something that would be thought OK now for cats or dogs. Do any CBB-ers who were at boarding school remember keeping their pets there?


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 Post subject: Re: Canaries
PostPosted: 04 Mar 2017, 11:06 
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My neighbour leaves her odious dog in the garden (and the gardens in our street are not exactly very big) all the time, and it barks its head off all the time, presumably because it wants to go for a walk. Bruno is always being taken for long walks (not that that seems to improve his behaviour!), and there are various references to quarantine, so surely EBD must have realised that keeping pets at school wasn't practical. I don't know what she was thinking of with that bit about Eva as Pets Prefect! Maybe she'd been reading whichever one of the Dimsie books it is that involves pets :lol:.

The house mistresses probably did get landed with looking after the canaries, in the same way that parents usually end up looking after pets even though the kids have promised faithfully that they'll do it!

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 Post subject: Re: Canaries
PostPosted: 04 Mar 2017, 17:04 
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We were allowed to keep tame mice in the Junior Study. I don't remember any other pets at all. Other boarding houses may have had different rules though. The housemistresses had a reasonable degree of autonomy.

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 Post subject: Re: Canaries
PostPosted: 05 Mar 2017, 14:40 
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'Some of the babies had canaries with them'.
The mind boggles. Did they carry these, cage and all, on the train across Europe? Or was it only local pupils who could bring them, I wonder? And isn't one canary so like another, I'm imagining labelled cages here, did they have canary singing contests, did the Housemistresses (plural? How many 'babies' housemistresses were there at this point?) clean them out?
This must be one of EBD's silliest throwaway lines ever!


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 Post subject: Re: Canaries
PostPosted: 05 Mar 2017, 16:14 
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I did wonder if it might be just the local pupils, Lucy, if only because of the travelling- though the birds would probably have spent their entire lives in cages anyway. Canaries were popular in many countries, after all, and there is a particularly fine (and vocal) strain of canary that was developed in the Harz mountains in Eastern Germany, so it's not as if they would be impossible to come by in Austria. And fortunately even within the yellow range the birds have a considerable variety of markings, though I admit it's sometimes a bit subtle!

As so often, the practicalities are a bit vague... :D


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 Post subject: Re: Canaries
PostPosted: 05 Mar 2017, 16:58 
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Ah yes, the Harzer Roller....I spent three years in the Harz Mountains but never came across one :(

I carried a budgie to and from Germany in a little wooden travelling cage when I was 17; he had to have a vet's certificate to enter England and I remember cycling across Hamburg with my friend's brother who had Barry the Budgie dangling from his handlebars, in order to get this. I was so terrified of the traffic there was no way I could carry him myself.

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 Post subject: Re: Canaries
PostPosted: 06 Mar 2017, 03:02 
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The Pets prefect is mentioned a couple of times over multiple books - Eva von Heiling holds the position when Joey is Head Girl, with Louise Redfield as assistant in the last term, and Ida Reaveley takes it when the schools merge. In Lintons, the "usual activities" for the term include Guides, Hobbies Club and Pets. So it's a fairly consistent throw-away line!

But yes, I don't think it was thought through. Who would look after the pets in the holidays, how would they be transported across international borders, where would they be kept? The dogs would need exercise, even in bad weather, the dogs and rabbits would need to be kept separate (and the cats and canaries). Cages would need cleaning, vets would need to be brought in, smaller animals would escape from their cages. The only pet we ever actually see is Rufus, and if I remember correctly, he goes up to the Sonnalpe for much of the time.

It was actually not uncommon for there to be a class rodent (gerbil, hamster, guinea pig), when I was in nursery school through early elementary years. But it was basically the teacher's responsibility, although in some cases individual student's families would take it home over the holidays. In kindergarten we hatched chickens, but that was only because my teacher raised them at home.

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 Post subject: Re: Canaries
PostPosted: 06 Mar 2017, 03:16 
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Didn't EBD breed alsatians at one point? I seem to remember something in one of her newsletters. She may also have had at least one spaniel.

I think she was keen on animals, especially dogs, generally and maybe wanted to include them. I can well understand this viewpoint. I am dotty about most animals, especially dogs, and when out for a walk with my own adored spaniel, I notice the dogs long before their humans!


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 Post subject: Re: Canaries
PostPosted: 06 Mar 2017, 11:48 
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Audrey25 wrote:
Didn't EBD breed alsatians at one point? I seem to remember something in one of her newsletters. She may also have had at least one spaniel.
Interesting about the Alsatians, Audrey - you'd certainly think so from They Both Liked Dogs, and to a certain extent The Lost Staircase. Helen McClelland's Behind the Chalet School refers to EMBD's pet Alsatian, Bryn and cocker spaniel Sarah, as well as her cat Bobby, and a friend's remark that "Elinor really preferred all cats and dogs to any of her friends"...

jennifer wrote:
The Pets prefect is mentioned a couple of times over multiple books - Eva von Heiling holds the position when Joey is Head Girl, with Louise Redfield as assistant in the last term, and Ida Reaveley takes it when the schools merge. In Lintons, the "usual activities" for the term include Guides, Hobbies Club and Pets. So it's a fairly consistent throw-away line!
Though the "throw-away line" referred to was actually "Some of the babes have canaries with them, but their House Mistresses will see to those." - and made as indicating that their care would be nothing to do with the Pets Prefect...


Last edited by Noreen on 06 Mar 2017, 11:49, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Canaries
PostPosted: 06 Mar 2017, 11:49 
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It was a thoughtless idea to have pets, especially the dogs and cats. There is never a mention of dogs being included on walks or rambles which is just as well given the adventures that befall them.


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 Post subject: Re: Canaries
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2017, 14:32 
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I always think the Pets Prefect thing is a spur of the moment thing that EBD forgets about a couple of books later - since apparently the girls are allowed to have dogs with them but Rufus lives on the Sonnalpe (unless that was because of Rufus's size).

I get the same sense in AF books - that the pets sanctuary was invented to fit with Esther's storyline.

The cage of canaries in the middles common room actually makes more sense to me - the girls are old enough at this stage to look after the birds themselves.


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 Post subject: Re: Canaries
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2017, 20:55 
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I remember Miss Annersley commenting about getting herself a dog in Switzerland (Redheads, I think) and whoever she is talking to suggests restarting having pets at school. She then says how hard it was with quarantine, etc; presumably someone had pointed this out to EBD.


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 Post subject: Re: Canaries
PostPosted: 10 Mar 2017, 20:31 
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We certainly never had pets at school, not even in class. But my sister got some mice when she was training as a teacher, and I think their descendants still live on to this day - and every school in Sussex, at one stage, had gerbils that were descended from a breeding pair a neighbour of my grandmother's introduced to her school!


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