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International Incident at the Chalet School

(1000 Posts)
RueDeWakening Sun 23-Nov-14 22:05:08

Hear ye, hear ye! Gather ye hence, all angels (be-costumed with slightly tacky silver halos and suchlike) with your lark-like notes and prepare to dazzle us all with your charm.

No, not you Joan. Shop bought cake and cheap looks for you, my dear. See Matron for some milk on your way out.

DeWee Sun 23-Nov-14 22:23:12

Angel number 3 (I think) coming up wearing tinsel and halo.

However I've just spent all afternoon and evening wrestling with a spreadsheet of costumes. I've suddenly found myself in charge of costumes for the panto we're all involved in. So I've decided that anyone who objects to their allocated costume will be given one alternative:

Lime green bikini. That goes for the men as well as the ladies. Actually I suspect the men will be happier to accept that than the ladies. <sigh> That's what you get for doing panto. We only have one man in it who isn't cross dressing, and he would like to...
Rather worryingly this one seems to have sold out. hmm

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Sun 23-Nov-14 22:35:14

<makes perfect landing on new thread. Lays out special milk and lemon biscuits>

I believe I'm the Youngest Shepherd this year, with Joey as my voice double. I have brought DD dressed as a lamb for verisimilitude, plus baby DS to be Baby Jesus, and DDog to be a real life animal beside the manger and cause some sort of funny incident --probably barking at Joey's singing--that will cause everyone to fall off their chairs and hold each other up while mopping their eyes weakly.

EmilyAlice Mon 24-Nov-14 05:58:49

Un petit bonjour avant de retourner en france aujourd'hui.
If an ageing lady causes an international incident (or today's equivalent of going viral on Twitter) pirouetting round the Eurostar platform, c'est moi.
A bientôt dans le calvados (the county is called after the drink).

morningtoncrescent62 Mon 24-Nov-14 09:58:49

Bonjour EmilyAlice et tout le monde. Et a thousand mercis, Rue pour la thread nouvelle. Je suis tres excited about le trip to chez Emily pour le performance de Humping la Kapok. Mes fancy twists sont perfects si je say so moi-self.

I'm thinking of trading in my baby angel costume and donning the garb of a Pict or a Celt so that I can audition for the Nativity at Rue's school. Forget cherubic singing and skipping, I want to stage a fight with those Angles.

UniS Mon 24-Nov-14 17:27:32

I've got the baby Bullock, where shall I tether him till rehearsals start.

RueDeWakening Mon 24-Nov-14 18:34:33

Pop him in the cupboard with the other props, he'll be fine in there. Probably.

NellWilsonsWhiteHair Mon 24-Nov-14 18:34:48

Gruss gott! Thanks for the new thread Rue.

Emily if you cause an international incident pirouetting round the Eurostar platform it will make my week.

NellWilsonsWhiteHair Mon 24-Nov-14 21:42:14

I am reading Joey and Co. Ruey's approach to housekeeping is so exactly the same as mine that I am struggling not to take the Maynard intervention quite personally. I do like Ruey.
Also, though, why did the Robin's cave get renamed to 'Joey's cave'? Gah! That's almost as bad as when the Margot Venables prize gets renamed to the JMM prize.

It's nice being back in Tirol, though. I mean it's not in the same league as the proper Tirol books, but it's still head and shoulders above the surrounding Swiss ones. The scenery in it is just as good as ever, I think, which is interesting - it's not solely that she was losing her touch towards the end, it's definitely a difference between Tiernsee/Achensee which she knew and loved vs the vague and flexible Gornetz Platz.

hels71 Mon 24-Nov-14 21:52:44

Oh the renaming of the prize...that really really annoys me. Just why would they do that??

IrenetheQuaint Mon 24-Nov-14 22:12:50

Marks place with a heart-melting rendition of Stille Nacht.

DeWee Tue 25-Nov-14 09:55:45

Renaming of the prize is irritating. You can imagine everyone thinking of it as "Joey's prize" but even Joey calls it "my prize" which comes across as very self centred.

But a lot about the prize is irritating: Everyone voting on it would not end up with the best person-just the most popular, and probably a Queen Bee type who is definitely not kind and helpful if my experiences of voting for anything like that are correct.
Like School Council at school never goes to the person that really would be best, or it would be good for. Every year I hear some child saying in total perplexity "but A (who got it) speech said "I want to be on the council" and nothing more and B did a really good speech, with good ideas and would have been good".

Then you have the time for the coming of age (I think it is) when Joey basically says you have to award it to Mary Lou-and then doubles the prize this year knowing it was going to her. And then apparently "every blessed person had voted the same way"... and having been told that everyone was too stupid to work out who had it. And when she talks about it the first time it sounds like she and Mrs A choose, and then they vote. Or do they award it twice to ML?
Although maybe Joey's meaning of "everyone has voted the same way" is actually "my vote is the only one that counts so anyone who disagrees doesn't count". grin

Why couldn't Joey have awarded a different prize? In fact considering my old school, they actually had remarkedly little prizes. Are there any mentioned other than the Mme Lapattre (can't spell!) scholarships, and Margot V prize, oh and the lifesaving one which is clearly produced to give M-L (and Joey) more prizes? We don't even hear much about Guide badges after the early years.
You'd think Madge would have done one. A logical one might have been one for a pupil going onto medicine/nursing.
But then you'd expect to have a few prizes, probably a few form prizes and some others. My school was a bit bigger, and we had 1 prize per form and then prizes for subjects for after GCSE and Alevel and a few more social/extra curriculum one. We even had a "Nobel prize for Physics". Mr. Nobel (the physics teacher) thought this was hilarious when he donated it, we didn't really get why. grin

NellWilsonsWhiteHair Tue 25-Nov-14 10:35:13

There's also the Karl Anserl scholarship, which is what Jacynth actually ends up going for in the end - some kind of further music training, obvs, but I forget the details. To me this seems loads as my school had done at all, but then my school was very, very unlike the CS!

And yes, I also get unreasonably annoyed when the prize to ML seems to be both decided well in advance by Joey and some foundation stones, and then put to the most implausible vote ever. And also because, even as a child, I always wondered whether this meant ML had voted for herself, since every last ridiculous vote was for her? And isn't it decided to be awarded at random intervals - I do understand them not wanting it to lose its value by ever seeming to go to someone who was just 'best in an uneventful year', but surely you either decide it's only for the truly deserving staff-nominated occasional winner, or it's voted on? You can't say "well we can award it this year because ML is special enough" and then risk the school voting for Jo Scott or someone instead.
ML could still have been a shoo-in - like Gay Lambert - without it being made quite so ridiculous.

I like the Guides stuff, even though it is all Greek to me as I was never a Guide or anything, and I feel a bit disappointed when EBD clearly loses interest in it.

Listening to Irene's singing, I am moved to widen my eyes in wonder: why do I feel like crying?

NellWilsonsWhiteHair Tue 25-Nov-14 10:42:19

Does Madge give the Therese Lepattre prize, actually (like Joey originally gives the MV prize)? Or is it from her will like Herr Anserl's? If not, you're right, it is v odd that she doesn't give one.

I was re-skimming Auchmuty's World of Women yesterday and she describes it as being really quite remarkable that the CS has at least four girls go into medicine, given the time - especially when you compare it with the 'career novels' at the time which were almost exclusively nurses and air hostesses. I think that point is a nice counter-balance to the awfulness of Daisy promptly jacking in medicine for marriage. She also cites a lengthy piece EBD wrote in I think one of the annuals or maybe the newsletters, about careers for girls - apparently it basically gives a throwaway mention to marriage in the opening paragraph, and then goes on to a rather esoteric list of possible careers, including doctor, nurse, lawyer,,architect, bank teller, preacher, vet...

DeWee Tue 25-Nov-14 11:08:53

I have an interesting family story with a Great Aunt who went into medicine.

My Grandad's family were financially a little bit tough (as in middle class tough, not really poor) as his dad died when he was about 10yo. He wanted to go into medicine, but realistically knew they couldn't afford it, so went for maths/physics instead.
His little sister was at the local doctors one time when she was quite small and said that she really wanted to be a doctor when she grew up.

The local doctor had only one child, a boy, and had put money aside for training his son to be a doctor if he wanted to be. When it came to it, his son did not want to be a doctor, so he went to my Grandad and asking him if his sister still wanted to be a doctor. When my Grandad said she did, but they couldn't aford the training, he offered the money he had saved up for his son, for my great aunt, which was greatfully received.

So she was a very early female GP, by no means the first, but she began just before the war, I think. She did not jack in medicine upon marriage-in fact her husband was also a GP and they worked together, owning their own practice, until retirement, and I think quite a bit beyond!
I remember her telling me off for running round outside without shoes on, as she had had too many removal of foreign bodies from feet in her time. grin I still walk around barefoot outside so I didn't learn though. and have never got anything stuck in my feet

And, in case you're wondering, my Grandad had a very succesful career: after being in the RAF he became a test pilot. He was very proud of his younger sister, and I don't think begrudged her luck at all, although he did stay interested in medicine.

(and if that outs me to any family members, then please note it wasn't you I was talking about on the AIBU wink)

Fallingovercliffs Tue 25-Nov-14 11:39:24

Oh how exciting. I've just been told that I'm to replace another girl, whose gone home to take care of her mother, as Angel no 3 or 4 or something. I must write home for my white ballet dress.

EmilyAlice Tue 25-Nov-14 11:46:42

You may wear a white ballet dress, but please note that I, as the Dancing Star Soloist, am the only person allowed to wear a tutu. I wish to be quite clear about this in order to avoid any unpleasantness backstage.

Fallingovercliffs Tue 25-Nov-14 11:50:07

My dress is from my performance in Les Sylphides so falls beautifully to just above my ankles. I say, do you think Matey would be annoyed if I tore up my pillow cases to make wings?

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Tue 25-Nov-14 11:58:57

They do have form prizes - mentioned in Theodora as the reason why it's OK to bump Ted up a form halfway through the term.

DeWee Tue 25-Nov-14 12:06:39

You're right Cheddar. Are they mentioned anywhere else though? Or just a plot devise to say no one would mind ted going up.
And really I can't think of much worse to a school girl to be pulled out from her friends mid term and put with others. Bride was cross about that in Lavender, and would thought would be worse if it was mid term-think of all the "you learnt that earlier in the term" comments you'd get.

I would have though there would be a few mentions that M-L had the form prize for the twentieth time running despite coming 6th, and how Len always got it so no one else need bother.

Fallingovercliffs Tue 25-Nov-14 12:10:35

I've just finished reading The Island. Up until now I have sometimes found Joey a bit ridiculous or OTT, but in this book she is quite dislikeable at times. She shows little or no interest in Annis until there's a bit of drama around her, then it's Joey pushing herself centre stage and trying to make a big production out of telling the shellshocked girl that her father is home. Even EBD seemed to realise it was a bit much as, for once, Miss Annersley basically told Joey to back off and let her deal with it.

Then, in the following chapter, having landed in on the Christies to stay with her six kids on their way home from Penny Rest, she starts banging on for a couple of pages about how exhausted she was after Michael teething and how she so badly needed a break (to a couple whose daughter had infantile paralysis) and then boasted about how she'd given Annis' aunt a piece of her mind (despite it being absolutely none of her business whatsoever).

She really was Joey at her attention seeking, limelighting seeking worst in this book.

NellWilsonsWhiteHair Tue 25-Nov-14 13:54:06

I love those occasional little hints that even EBD seems to acknowledge that Jo might be a bit much sometimes. But I'm also perversely thrilled by the moments where she seems to not notice it at all - I'm sure she can't have meant Jo to seem crass when she whines to the Christies about 'needing a break', but no other reading is at all possible! Likewise the moment when Jo "detachedly" snubs Phil Graves' comment about Hilary's hefty baby the very day she(?) is born.

And, actually, another example I wanted to bring up from ^Joey and Co^: I gather that talking about people's weight seems to have been a much more acceptable thing, but I can't believe she condones Josette thinking it so bloody hilarious when Jo writes that awful letter to Madge saying she's so fat she made the ceiling come down. sad If Madge really shrugged it off, it would still be not-very-funny IMO - but actually she checks herself straight into some kind of weight loss clinic. And nobody else (apart from lovely Jem) seems to think the whole thing is anything other than wonderfully hilarious.
It's not dissimilar to the one a few books earlier when Nancy Wilmot accidentally exposes some poor woman without her wig on, or something. But it's slightly more shocking, because this is Madge and not some random non-character, and because with the wig incident there seems to be a touch of embarrassed regret from Nancy, even if it's lost in all the bloody hilarity.

I am just a humourless old git. Probably also a gentle soul like Doris, or "that sweet woman" like Fat Madge becomes.

The other thing that interested me in Joey and Co is part of the story of how the Richardsons are related to Laurie Rosomon. Quick recap - Ruey's mother was the youngest daughter and her mother explicitly forbade her to marry, even though she'd met a man she wanted to marry, because she (the mother) would be lonely without her. Ruey and the triplets are furious at the thought of her selfishness. Fortunately, Ruey's mother just runs off and gets married anyway, hurrah (this doesn't stop Ruey still feeling very angry - "I haven't got to meet THAT woman, have I?" and hearing that the woman loses both of her sons in the war before dying herself doesn't seem to draw much sympathy, only comments that justice has been served).
I can't help wondering whether this speaks at all about how EBD felt about her own life as a spinster who lived with her mother until the latter's death. I've not got a strong inkling either way but I think it's an interesting parallel - and of course this book was written after her own mother's death, so she wouldn't have had to worry about her mother reading it and interpreting it (in)correctly.

NellWilsonsWhiteHair Tue 25-Nov-14 13:56:47

Also, why is Madge "not really fat - just chubby, I suppose" at a few pounds over ten stone and a fairly average height, but Nancy is fat as one of her defining features at ten stone and tall?
Granted Nancy is usually described as 'plump' rather than being a house-end, but it seems to require constant remarking upon, and there's that accidentally-poignant moment when Fat Winnie Embury turns up and Nancy realises she doesn't want to be a house-end. sad

DeWee Tue 25-Nov-14 14:39:06

I don't find that sort of tactless remark from Joey as irritating as that because I find it believeable. I know people who are like that.

What I find irritating is the unrealistic bits: universal adoration of Joey, the rewriting history to make sure that Joey did everything best, consulting her at every turn, and particularly the way the triplets boast about their "mamma" and laugh about her silly exploits.
In reality some people would hate her, and the triplets would be totally embarrassed about her. In fact I can imagine Margot pretending she's not related.
It's usually the first thing they tell new people, and "mamma is a poppet". When really, even if she was the most conventional mother, the triplets would be embarrassed by her mere presence at the teenage years. And certainly they'd be cringing at her trying to join in with schoolgirl rowdy games.

The other really unrealistic thing is the huge cheering of the whole school when old pupils/Madame come back. I remember people coming back and it wasn't more than passing interest among anyone other than their own crowd. Altough I think it was mostly Joey and ML returning for real cheers. So that explains that. wink

I would have thought that Ruey, who is a nervous sort of person, would have felt more scared at meeting her grandmother than angry.

Fallingovercliffs Tue 25-Nov-14 14:44:20

I always found the cheering for old pupils odd. I mean, half of the current intake wouldn't even have known them. I remember huge cheers when it was announced that Simone had had a baby even though it must have been years and years since she left the school and at least ten years since she taught there. I think it was even said that 'some of the sixth formers would have remembered her from their kindergarten days'. Why would this news even be announced, never mind garnered cheers?

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