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 Post subject: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2018, 08:43 
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Watching Great Indian Railway Journeys featuring Shimla (Simla) last night reminded me that, reading School At at the age of about 8, I had no idea what "the Hills" were, and I think I assumed Juliet's "Hills school" was part of a chain of educational establishments founded by a Miss Hill :lol: . Hilda's reference to "girls who'd been called to higher service" was another one - it sounded as if she was dedicating a stained glass window to people who'd been promoted in the Armed Forces. And the most confusing one of the lot was Lady Acetylene Lampe! That threw me completely :lol: .

What else :D ?

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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2018, 10:11 
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Lady Acetylene Lampe confused me when I read the book for the first time as an adult! And I knew what acetylene lamps were, when I stopped to consider that; it was just that that whole first scene was so off the wall...

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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2018, 11:22 
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I can't really remember being confused by anything as I read the books. The Hills were familiar to me from Kipling and Lady Acetylene Lampe was exactly the sort of scene I was enacting to myself, and later with friends. There was always some sort of on-going fantasy and I used to wander around muttering to myself. I suppose I garnered some strange looks!

But it made Peggy one of my favourite books from the start.

As other things emerge in this thread I wonder if I will recognise some confusion that I have forgotten about.

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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2018, 13:12 
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The emphasis on 24 hour times.

This really threw me, because EBD was insistent that this was how it was done in Central Europe, but all the German and Swiss people I knew used the 12 hour clock in speech. I only ever heard the 24 hour clock used for flight and train times.

Also in German classes we learnt that they say half to rather than half past the hour, but she made no mention of that. I think in one book Miss Annersley refers to 'half past 19 hundred', which just sounds.. wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2018, 13:31 
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AilidhNoor wrote:
The emphasis on 24 hour times.

This really threw me, because EBD was insistent that this was how it was done in Central Europe, but all the German and Swiss people I knew used the 12 hour clock in speech. I only ever heard the 24 hour clock used for flight and train times.

Also in German classes we learnt that they say half to rather than half past the hour, but she made no mention of that. I think in one book Miss Annersley refers to 'half past 19 hundred', which just sounds.. wrong.


I was also taught the same about saying half to the hour not half past. It just occurred to me that EBD missed some potential storylines, as she could have used confusion over the times in lots of ways.

Is there an incident in the books where problems are cqused by someone's confusion over the 24 hour clock? Apart from new girls, I can't think of one.

I don't like the way people in the books say 21 o'clock. It just sounds wtong to me. I would say 21 hundred (hours).

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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2018, 13:40 
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In German they do say "Um zwanzig uhr" "Zwanzig Uhr dreißig" etc...but they also might say "Acht Uhr abends"...I think 20.30 sounds fine but not half past 20.

But yes, the confusion with the half before and half after could have been fun. I first came across "halb sieben" and "halb acht" in Germany. I had never heard "half seven" or "half eight"in English until I was grown-up. The result is that I am totally at ease in German with halb sieben meaning 6.30 and halb acht meaning 7.30 but always have to check what an English person means if they say half seven or half eight! :?

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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2018, 17:40 
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cestina wrote:
I had never heard "half seven" or "half eight" in English until I was grown-up.


I think this is a North-South divide thing :lol: :lol: . I always say "half seven", and am used to hearing everyone else do the same, but I don't think it's used much in the south of England.

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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2018, 17:45 
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Well, to throw a spanner in the works, I say half seven [meaning half past] too, and I'm very much from the south ... but I can't remember how long I've been using the term, and I've spent so much time with people from all over the country that it's difficult to know where I got it from...

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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2018, 18:23 
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I once confused one of my Dutch friends by telling him I would be online at half seven. He thought I meant half past six, i.e. halfway to seven o'clock. I've been careful ever since to be more specific! :lol:

One thing I've never got is why they refer to the school hall as simply Hall, and not the Hall. Is this an actual thing, or is it a Chalet-only quirk, like the word Splashery?

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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2018, 18:32 
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abbeybufo wrote:
Well, to throw a spanner in the works, I say half seven [meaning half past] too, and I'm very much from the south ... but I can't remember how long I've been using the term, and I've spent so much time with people from all over the country that it's difficult to know where I got it from...


I'm from the south - west country actually but now living south, and I use half seven too, though not all the time, and I hear it around me quite a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2018, 19:59 
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I always subscribed to Alison's north/south divide because I first heard it when I was engaged to a man from Yorkshire.

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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2018, 22:12 
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I have no idea what the Bubbles haircut that Gay and Hillary Burn have is. I believe Bubbles is a character with a tight curly crop? I tried Googling it, but I get a bunch of results for hair salons called Bubbles, so that's not helpful.

The leafy cake Rosamund Lilley's mum serves to Mrs. Gay. Apparently leafy cake isn't a kind of cake but a cake with a decorative leaf pattern.

I still find "The Wrong Chalet School" and the circumstances of Katherine Gordon's arrival at the school completely confusing. I think people here have explained it quite clearly, but every time I read the book, I'm lost again.

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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2018, 22:21 
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'Bubbles' is a painting by Sir John Everett Millais, featuring a little boy with blond curls:
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O7032 ... t-millais/

It was used to advertise Pears' Soap, so would have been very familiar to EBD's generation. And indeed I knew the painting when I was a child, so EBD's readers in the 1930s and 1940s probably knew it too.

I first read the books in whatever order I could get them from the library, so I was very confused about some of the characters. Especially Dr Jem and Dr Jack - it took me quite a long to time to work out that they were the same people as Dr Russell and Dr Maynard.


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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 22 Mar 2018, 00:00 
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Leafy cake is the same as lardy cake

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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 22 Mar 2018, 08:51 
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Aquabird wrote:
One thing I've never got is why they refer to the school hall as simply Hall, and not the Hall. Is this an actual thing, or is it a Chalet-only quirk, like the word Splashery?


That confuses me too, especially as they also refer to the Austrian town of Hall in some of the Tyrolean books! It sounds like an Oxbridge college type quirk, but I might be imagining that. The use of the definite article has changed over the years - Fanny Price in Mansfield Park is always having "the headache", CS characters are often in "the mid-thirties" rather than "her mid-thirties", and American English tends to talk about "the hospital" and "the university" when British English would omit the "the", but I've never come across just "Hall" before. It's not as if other rooms are just referred to as "Gym" or "Dining room"!

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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 22 Mar 2018, 09:00 
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I was always confused as to why Prunella wasn't awarded the bravery medal, if I remember rightly she didn't satisfy conditions? And why did Hilda announce that to the whole school.
I confess it also confuses(annoys) me that ML was awarded a special prize....just why?


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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 22 Mar 2018, 09:17 
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And Mary-Lou's leaving present. Why her and no-one else?

Thermogene confused me when I was about 8, but Mum had some in the first aid drawer and showed me. Strange ancient pinky-orange woolly pad.

eta ancient


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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 22 Mar 2018, 11:26 
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Incidentally, the boy in the 'Bubbles' painting was William James subsequently rather a successful admiral in the Royal Navy.

I'm from the south and say half seven. It does get a bit confusing when talking to German friends though!


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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 22 Mar 2018, 22:11 
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Thank you, JayB and abbeybufo. I'd never seen that Pears' Soap advert before, so that does clear things up.

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 Post subject: Re: Things that completely confused you!
PostPosted: 22 Mar 2018, 22:40 
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I was also confused by the 'girls who have been called to higher service' - I thought she meant girls who were working for the Royal Family!

The first CS book I read was New in it's abridged Armada form, and I couldn't figure out who all these adults were who were wandering around and why we should be interested in their doings! A disproportionate number of the school scenes fell victim to the knife in that edition, I fancy...


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