Summary: When members of Dad's Army from Walmington-on-Sea accidentally land on Guernsey, the problems for the Resistance, Cafe Rene occupants and the Chalet School multiply
Categories: St Clare's House Characters: Hilda Annersley, Jem Russell, Jo (Bettany) Maynard, Madge (Bettany) Russell, Maria Marani, Matron Lloyd, Minor character(s), Nell Wilson, Robin Humphries, Simone (Lecoutier) de Bersac
School Period: Guernsey
School Name: Chalet School
Genre: Alternate Universe, Crossover, Humour, War
Series: Allo Allo, This is Night Auk Calling
Chapters: 10 Completed: No
Word count: 11497 Read: 20633
Published: 21 Jan 2012 Updated: 02 Feb 2012
1. Chapter 1 - Don't Panic, Mr Mainwaring! by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
2. Chapter 2 - Jones causes havoc by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
3. Chapter 3 - Overwork and Restlessness by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
4. Chapter 4 - Middles Will Be Middles by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
5. Chapter 5 - They don't like it up 'em by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
6. Chapter 6 - Where's Matey's Boy? by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
7. Chapter 7 - What Robin Heard by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
8. Chapter 8 - The Germans Are Coming by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
9. Chapter 9 - Will there be a raid? by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
10. Chapter 10 - Smelling of roses by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
Chapter 1 - Don't Panic, Mr Mainwaring! by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
Eastbourne and Walmington-on-Sea aren't very far apart. But this doesn't stop some of the platoon, out on exercise, drifting off course and landing in Guernsey.
September 1941 off the coast of Guernsey
‘It’s very foggy, Captain Mainwaring and we’ve been out a long time. And I can’t see Uncle Arthur’s boat at all.’
‘You stupid boy,’ Captain Mainwaring responded. ‘How could you see anything in the fog?’
‘Well I can’t hear the boat either,’ Pike said petulantly, winding his scarf round his neck more firmly.
‘The fog’s starting to lift and I can see land,’ Corporal Jones said. ‘Look, Mr Mainwaring.’
Land could indeed be seen and the spirits of the men in the boat lifted.
‘It’s not Walmington-on-Sea, Mr Mainwaring,’ Jones said. ‘We must have drifted along the coast.’
‘Don’t worry, men,’ Mainwaring said confidently. ‘We’re at Eastbourne. Soon be on dry land and we’ll get a lift home.’
‘Captain Mainwaring, there’s a German flag flying at the top of that cliff,’ Pike pointed out.
‘Yes, I wondered when someone was going to notice that,’ Mainwaring said, self-importantly.
‘DON’T PANIC,’ Jones shouted, almost overturning the rowing boat in his agitation. ‘The Germans have invaded Eastbourne. DON’T PANIC!’
‘Sit down, Jones,’ Mainwaring ordered. ‘The Germans have not invaded Eastbourne. It will be an exercise.’
‘How do you know, Captain Mainwaring, sir?’ Jones asked, pausing in his thrashing about.
‘The Germans would not have invaded without our being informed,’ Mainwaring told him with certainty.
‘Mr Mainwaring, there’s soldiers in German uniforms at the top of that cliff,’ Pike said, urgently.
‘DON’T PANIC,’ Jones shouted, again almost overturning the rowing boat. ‘The Germans have invaded Eastbourne. DON’T PANIC!’
‘We’re doooooomed,’ Private Fraser intoned, in his trademark Scottish accent. ‘Doooooomed.’
‘The fishermen are wearing berets,’ Pike announced. ‘We must be in France. Uncle Arthur says French men wear berets and have strings of onions round their necks.’
‘I can’t see any onions,’ Jones said, peering at them carefully. ‘I could do with some onions for the nice sausages I’ve got for my Sunday tea.’
‘Quiet, men,’ Mainwaring said. ‘We need to land unobserved.’
‘So now it’s not an exercise and it’s not Eastbourne,’ Fraser observed.
‘Quiet!’ Mainwaring told him.
They rowed quietly and landed the boat on the beach. The fishermen were looking at them in horror.
‘Who speaks French?’ Mainwaring asked.
‘Oh I wish Uncle Arthur was here,’ Pike said.
‘You speak to them Pikey,’ Jones encouraged.
‘Bonn Jewer,’ Pike said. ‘Comma allez vooos?’
‘This is Guernsey,’ one of the fishermen said. ‘We speak English.’
‘DON’T PANIC,’ Jones shouted. ‘We’re in occupied territory. DON’T PANIC!’
‘Quiet, Jones,’ Mainwaring insisted. ‘And that’s an order.’ He turned to the fishermen. ‘Can you hide us somewhere till we can work out how to escape?’
‘Come into these caves,’ the fisherman said, with one eye on the patrol at the top of the cliff. ‘We’ll get Michelle from the French Resistance.’
Half an hour later, Michelle arrived to see the worried soldiers. ‘What ho, old chaps,’ she said. ‘Got yourselves into a jolly old pickle, haven’t you? How did you get so far off course?’
‘It was foggy, madam,’ Mainwaring said, very much on his dignity.
‘Well we’ll need to find you a good billet until we can get you orf the island,’ Michelle said. ‘Wait until dark and we’ll come and get you. I need to arrange for distraction for the guards as well. Toodle pip.’
At Café René, a little later
Michelle slid silently in through the window. ‘Listen very carefully, I will say this only once.’
‘If I had a franc for every time I’ve heard that, I could give up the café and retire,’ René said to Robin.
Michelle frowned. ‘There are four elderly British soldiers in the caves.’
‘Is this a new code I am to broadcast?’ René asked, mystified. ‘Instead of “Allo, Allo, This is Night Auk Calling?”.’
Michelle shrugged impatiently. ‘I don’t know what you are talking about. I need help to rescue some British soldiers who have landed on our coast.’
‘What are they doing here?’ René asked.
‘They got lost between Walmington-on-Sea and Eastbourne,’ Michelle said.
‘Oh, the British are so stupid,’ René sighed. ‘What do you want us to do? We can’t hide them all here.’
‘I need to borrow Maria and Yvette,’ Michelle said.
‘With the greatest of respect, Michelle,’ René said. ‘I do not think they are rescuer material. And they might over-excite the old soldiers.’
‘I need them to distract the guards,’ Michelle told him. ‘But there are three so we had better send for one of those tarty girls from the school.’
‘Polly or Violet,’ René said.
‘Oh, let me go instead. Please,’ Robin asked, tugging at René’s arm.
‘You are too young and innocent,’ René said. ‘And Madame Edith needs you here.’
Trained to instant obedience, Robin gave in, pouting.
‘I will go up to the school now,’ Michelle announced. ‘Get Maria and Yvette to meet me at the cliff top at twenty-one hundred hours.’
‘What if Colonel von Strohm and Captain Geering want them then? That’s their usual time.’
Robin looked up hopefully.
‘Say it’s their night off and offer Madame Edith,’ Michelle said. ‘That will put them off.’
‘I heard that!’ came a voice from the corridor.
Michelle didn’t bother to answer and slid out through the window. Robin stamped off to do her work, in the huff.
Nine o’clock at the cliff top
‘Now you know what you have to do, girls,’ Michelle said. ‘Off you go.’
‘Hello soldier,’ Polly said, producing a cigarette. ‘Got a light?’
The German guard tried to resist but Polly was nestling up beside him. Further along the path, Maria and Yvette were doing likewise. Unseen, Michelle and Madge slipped down the cliff path to the caves. By the time they returned, with the four soldiers, the guards – and the girls – were nowhere to be seen.
Reaching the woods, Michelle stopped and spoke in an undertone to the soldiers. ‘We are taking you a farmhouse, old chaps. You can stay there for now. We’ll get you some clothes and you can pretend to be fishermen and land workers.’
‘Very good, madam,’ Mainwaring said. ‘We appreciate your helping us like this.’
They threaded their way quietly through the woods and reached the farmhouse, where Matey was looking out for them.
‘There’s beds all made up and a nice hot meal,’ she announced.
‘Thank you, Madame Matey,’ Michelle said. ‘I will leave you to look after the men. The young one seems very cold.’
Matey looked at Pike. ‘Oh dear, you don’t seem at all well. What’s your name?’
‘Well, Pike, as soon as you’ve had something to eat, you’re off to bed. I’ll give you a dose of something.’
‘I hope it doesn’t taste nasty,’ Pike said. ‘I won’t take medicine for Mum when it tastes nasty.’
Matey fixed him with a gimlet stare. ‘You’ll take what I give you, young man. I don’t stand any nonsense.’
Captain Mainwaring intervened. ‘I’m Mainwaring, Madame Matey. I apologise for this young man, he’s been terribly coddled, I’m afraid.’ He turned to Pike. ‘You will do what Madame Matey says, and that’s an order, Pike!’
They sat down to a meal and then Matey marched Pike off to be dosed. The others looked at each other.
‘Madame Matey speaks English very well, doesn’t she?’ Jones remarked. ‘This is a nice billet. I wonder how they’ll get us out of here?’
‘They won’t. We’re dooooooomed,’ Fraser intoned.
Chapter 2 - Jones causes havoc by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
Jones goes walkabout
A week later, Café René
‘René,’ said Robin, who was looking out of the café window. ‘Isn’t that Corporal Jones going into the butchers?’
Robin had been making daily trips up to the farm with supplies from the village so had got to know the British soldiers.
‘Oh, Mon Dieu, the silly old fool,’ René said. ‘We need Michelle. Go into the back room and hang about near the window.’
Robin, trained to instant obedience, did as René asked and returned, ten minutes later, with Michelle in tow.
‘That was quick, Maria Cecile,’ René said admiringly. ‘It took you twenty minutes to conjure her up last time.’
They explained the problem and René confirmed that Jones was still in the butcher’s.
‘I will go and get him,’ Michelle said. ‘I will need to bring him here.’
‘Oh don’t worry, Michelle.’ René was sarcastic. ‘I’ll take the risk of being shot for harbouring an enemy alien. It’s not the first time I’ve done it.’
Michelle, disdaining the front door, went through to the back room and disappeared via the window.
‘She’ll never get Mr Jones in there,’ Robin observed. ‘He’s seventy if he’s a day.’
Michelle soon reappeared with an apologetic Jones in tow. ‘I’m missing my shop, you see, madam. And I’ve got civilian clothes so the Jerries won’t know it’s Jack Jones from Walmington-on-Sea wandering around under their noses.’
‘Yes but you don’t have any papers old chap,’ Michelle explained. ‘If you got stopped, you would be handed over to the Gestapo and that would endanger the other men and the school.’
‘I see what you mean, madam,’ Jones said. ‘I’ll get back to the farm. We’re all missing having something to do.’
Robin translated for René’s benefit, adding ‘If they were females, Matey would have them hemming sheets.’
‘Michelle has already had to stop Captain Mainwaring doing drill on the beach and making plans to take control of Guernsey from the Germans,’ René said.
‘Maria Cecile, please could you take Mr Jones back to the farm,’ Michelle said. ‘He can help you carry the supplies and, if you see any soldiers on the way, you can cover for him. Just do what Polly and Violet do.’
Robin looked pleased. ‘Great, I’ll need some cigarettes then.’
René was about to crush such ambitions when he glanced out of the window. ‘No time for that. The Colonel and the Captain are coming in. Get Mr Jones down to the kitchen and put an apron on him! We’ll pretend he’s a new assistant if anyone sees him.’
A confused Jones, who had not understood any of this, was hustled down to the kitchen and introduced to Madame Edith. Although they couldn’t understand each other, Robin explained the situation to both of them and they settled to communicate in sign language whilst Robin sped back to the café.
René served the guests and then spoke to Robin in an undertone. ‘Do your usual trip to the farm and tell them where Monsieur Jones is. We’ll get him back when we can.’
‘Can I take some cigarettes in case I meet any soldiers?’
‘No you MAY not,’ René said, with emphasis. ‘And any behaviour like Violet and Polly and you’re confined to kitchen duties for a week.’
Muttering about René being stricter than Miss Annersley, Robin went off to collect the supplies and take them up to the farm.
Matey greeted her with enthusiasm. ‘It’s so nice to get some girl-talk,’ she said. ‘These men are driving me insane. The airmen are fairly placid but these new ones are bored and restless.’
‘I know. We need to find them something to do before they endanger all of us,’ Robin said. She explained about Mr Jones.
‘Bloody Hell,’ Matey exclaimed. ‘Good thing he’s not a schoolgirl. I’d have him hemming sheets for a week.’
Robin stayed as long as she dared, as Matey was clearly in need of some female company, then cycled over to the school.
‘Hello, Robin,’ Miss Annersley said as Robin was shown into her study. ‘How are things with you?’
‘Usual chaos at Café René then. No more trouble over the painting?’
‘No, it’s ok,’ Robin said. ‘But this problem with the soldiers is a bugger. I don’t know how to solve it.’
Miss Annersley sympathised. ‘If you remember, we had the same sort of problem with the Sixth Form last year. They were very troublesome until we gave them proper work to do.’
‘That’s what we need to do with the soldiers,’ Robin agreed. ‘The problem is what.’
‘Grammar, Robin!’ Miss Annersley said, looking at her severely, with her clear blue-grey eyes which had never needed spectacles.
‘Sorry, Miss A,’ Robin apologised. ‘It’s difficult enough with the airmen working on the farm, there’s not enough for more people and they would be too conspicuous.’
‘I’ll think about it as well, Robin,’ Miss Annersley promised. ‘I hope Mr Jones isn’t causing too many problems in the meantime.’
Over at Café René, Jones had managed to convey to Madame Edith that he made the best sausages in the south of England. He had not been at all impressed by the German-style sausages hanging in the larder and had taken them all out, shredded them up and started making proper English sausages.
‘I must say,’ Jones said to himself, as Madame Edith could not understand him. ‘There’s a lot of bran in these sausages.’ He surveyed the sausage contents in front of him, in which large lumps of canvas-coloured roughage could be seen.
René, calling in to the kitchen to speak to Madame Edith, viewed the scene with dismay. ‘What’s the silly old fool doing?‘
‘He makes the best sausages in the south of England,’ Madame Edith said. ‘So he’s mashed up all the German sausages in the larder to make English ones.’
René sat down suddenly. ‘But one of them contains the picture of the fallen Madonna with the big boobies!’
Chapter 3 - Overwork and Restlessness by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
The Sixth Formers feel overworked and Robin returns to the cafe
Around the same time – Chalet School
‘Have we got time for a coffee, Violet?’ Cornelia asked as they finished their inspection of the dormitories.
Violet checked her watch. ‘We should have. There are no Middles to haul out of prep to tidy their dormitories. This lot are just too good to be true!’
Cornelia agreed. ‘I know. Yvette has been supervising them at prep all week and they’ve never put a foot wrong. I don’t know what Middles are coming to these days. We were never like that.’
They went along to the Prefects’ Room, which was now used by all the older girls, and made themselves some coffee.
‘Thank goodness we don’t have to take it with all those featherbeds of whipped cream like when we were in Austria,’ Cornelia said. ‘My parents were getting worried about my weight.’
‘Mine too. But I’ve slimmed down a lot since we’re on ordinary food and working hard.’ Violet thought for a moment. ‘I bet the staff aren’t losing any weight with all the G&T they’re having. Just think of the calories!’
Polly arrived from her duties in the kitchen. ‘Oh, coffee. Good. I’m ready for a break after chopping all those veg.’
‘Never mind, Polly. I’m on kitchens next week and you’ve got prep with the Middles. They’ve turned into saints so you should have an easy week.’
‘I know. Little prigs. Elizabeth Arnett even said to me the other day that it was unpatriotic to complain about having to do the garden, harvest the vegetables and then cook them!’
The Sixth Formers shook their heads over such unacceptable behaviour and turned their attention to more important matters.
‘Are you going to Café René tonight? There’ll be a lot of soldiers in there,’ Violet asked.
‘But Violet, they’re German soldiers!’ Polly was shocked.
‘They’re also the only guys around here under fifty,’ Violet pointed out. ‘How else are we going to get any practice talking to young men? You know how cloistered they always kept us at school.’
‘Probably a good thing the way you two dress now,’ Cornelia said. ‘And we aren’t supposed to go to Café René without one of the mistresses.’
‘Do stop being all Head Girlish,’ Polly said. ‘You’re as bad as the Middles.’
Cornelia was about to respond with a vehement denial when Michelle appeared through the window.
‘Listen very carefully, I will say this only once.’
The girls groaned.
‘I need your help. We have four British soldiers staying at the farm. They are becoming very restless – one of them has already gone walkabout but we are bringing him back later. You girls could go across to the farm this evening and keep them company for a while.’
The girls brightened. ‘Soldiers? What are they doing here?’ Cornelia asked.
‘Any decent male totty?’ Violet wanted to know.
Michelle made an impatient gesture. ‘I don’t have time to stand here making small talk with you. I have bombs to set.’ She disappeared through the window again, leaving the girls to discuss the latest happenings.
‘Do we need to ask the Abbess if we can go?’ Polly said.
‘You mean if we MAY go,’ Cornelia corrected.
Violet threw a cushion at her.
‘I suppose we had better ask her,’ Cornelia went on. ‘We aren’t leaving the school grounds but she still likes to think of us as schoolgirls.’
‘Well we are still minors and her responsibility,’ Violet pointed out.
‘Yes isn't it reassuring having someone in loco parentis who’s practically dependent on G&T,’ Cornelia said sarcastically.
A little while later
Robin cycled back to the café, happy after her visits. Much as she preferred working at the café to being a dutiful Chalet School girl, it was nice to see the people who had been in her life for so long and whom she regarded as her family.
She walked into a scene of chaos in the café kitchen. Madame Edith was in tears, René was wringing his hands and Jones was looking very puzzled. It took some time for Robin to get the tale from them.
‘It’s ok, René, don’t panic,’ Robin said.
‘Does Miss Annersley allow you to say “ok”?’ René asked disapprovingly.
‘Is this the time to be worrying about that?’ Robin was exasperated. ‘I’m trying to tell you not to panic about the painting.’
‘Not panic? When this silly old fool has mashed it up for sausages?’
‘It’s not the original painting,’ Robin said.
‘It must be!’ René said. ‘The first fake went to Colonel von Strohm who gave it to Herr Flick who believed it was a fake. Then we left the second fake for Herr Flick to find and he thought it was the original. Only it was the original because Madame Matey had switched the labels. When Herr Flick went to send the original to Hitler, we swopped our fake for it. But it was another fake because Herr Flick is a cheating b*****d. But then Miss Annersley swopped our fake for the original in Herr Flick’s office.’
‘I know all that, René. But what was in that sausage wasn’t the painting Miss Annersley rescued from Herr Flick’s office.’
‘It wasn’t?’ René asked, relieved. ‘What was it?’
‘Just some plain canvas rolled up to seem like a painting. In case the Germans came to call,’ Robin explained.
She translated the conversation for Jones’ benefit and explained the background to him. ‘What a relief I didn’t put the original painting in.’ he said. ‘The paint would have ruined the flavour.’
Chapter 4 - Middles Will Be Middles by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
Mr Mainwaring is teaching Economics to the Middles....
(Thank you to Big Nell for the plot lines in this chapter)
Two weeks later
‘Now pay attention, young ladies,’ Mainwaring said, facing IVa. ‘Inefficient macro-economic outcomes can be caused by what?’
The girls yawned ostentatiously.
‘Doesn’t anyone know the causes?’ he asked.
Elizabeth Arnett stood up. ‘Please sir, according to John Maynard Keynes, the famous economist, private sector decisions can result in inefficient macro-economic outcomes.’
‘Very good, young lady,’ Mainwaring said, impressed. ‘Now who can tell me what can be done about it?’
Betty Wynne-Davies stood up. ‘Please sir, it needs active response from the public sector to stabilize output over the whole business cycle.’
Mainwaring was beginning to feel a bit out of his depth and couldn’t find his notes to refer to. ‘Now we’ll move on to look at the principles of supply and demand.’
Mary Shaw got up. ‘Please sir, before you do that, could you explain how monetary policy by the central banks would be part of the public sector response?’
‘Now I wondered when someone was going to ask that,’ Mainwaring said. He gave a long rambling discourse during which he mixed up monetary policy and fiscal policy.
Mary Shaw got up again. ‘But please sir, isn’t monetary policy about controlling the supply of money by using interest rates? You just said that was fiscal policy.’
‘Don’t be impertinent, young lady,’ Mainwaring said. ‘Go and report yourself to Miss Annersley instantly for impertinence.’
Elizabeth Arnett rose. ‘Please sir, it isn’t impertinent to correct something we are being told incorrectly.’
‘And you may go along with her,’ Mainwaring answered.
The two girls left the office and made their way to Miss Annersley’s office.
Hastily putting away her morning G&T, Miss Annersley answered their knock with a low “Enter” in her beautifully-modulated voice.
‘Elizabeth and Mary!’ she exclaimed. ‘It’s some time since I’ve seen you in here. It’s usually the Sixth Form being naughty these days.’
The girls bobbed the regulation curtsey. ‘We weren’t actually naughty, Miss Annersley,’ Mary said earnestly. ‘But Mr Mainwaring thought we were being cheeky because we asked him about an explanation he had given us which was incorrect.’
Miss Annersley sighed. She had been so sure things were getting back to normal, with Middles being Middles.
‘Are you sure you weren’t impertinent?’
‘Really, Miss Annersley, we weren’t,’ Elizabeth assured her. She explained the conversation and exactly what they had said to Mainwaring and Miss Annersley had to admit that they had been quite reasonable.
‘How did you know all this?’ Miss Annersley asked. ‘You haven’t studied Economics before. I hope you haven’t been looking at Mr Mainwaring’s notes.’
The girls looked down and shuffled their feet.
‘I see,’ their Headmistress said. ‘And was this a deliberate attempt to trip Mr Mainwaring up? That isn’t behaviour I would expect of Chalet School girls.’
‘We were just having a bit of fun,’ Mary said. ‘His lessons have been so boring up to now. So we nicked his notes before the lesson. It wasn’t our fault he got monetary policy and fiscal policy mixed up, he shouldn’t have needed notes for that.’
Miss Annersley rose from her seat. ‘I will come along and talk to the class,’ she said.
At her most stately, Miss Annersley glided along the corridor and entered the classroom, whereupon all the girls rose. She asked the girls to sit and suggested graciously to Mr Mainwaring that, if it was a convenient time to end today’s lesson, he might like to go to the staff room and get coffee whilst she talked to the class.
When Mainwaring had left, she faced the class. ‘Now how many of you were involved in this plan to disrupt Mr Mainwaring’s lesson?’
The whole class stood up, quaking. Miss Annersley was very strict about respect for staff and they could expect a sound scolding, to lose their Saturday night entertainment and hem sheets instead, as well as being sent to bed after le Diner each evening for the rest of the week and having to write letters of apology individually to Mr Mainwaring.
‘That was a very naughty thing to do,’ Miss Annersley said. ‘I do not want to hear of it happening again.’ She turned and left the classroom.
She could barely contain her laughter until she got back to her study. Later in the day when she and the other staff, minus Mainwaring who had returned to the farm, were relaxing over their G&Ts whilst the girls did prep, she regaled her colleagues with the story.
‘I don’t know how I kept a straight face,’ she said, smiling now at the memory. ‘He’s such a pompous little twerp and the girls had him completely tied up in knots!’
‘I hope you didn’t let them know what you thought,’ Simone Lecoutier said, grinning.
‘I could see they were expecting me to wipe the floor with them,’ Hilda said, laughing again. ‘And impose lots of dreadful sanctions. I normally would have done, but it’s so nice to see Middles being Middles again I couldn’t bring myself to do it.’
‘They have been unnaturally good,’ Nell Wilson agreed. ‘But didn’t you let them off a bit lightly?’
‘If they’ve got rid of him from pontificating in here when we’re trying to relax, they deserve an award,’ Miss Annersley said.
‘But surely you’re going to insist they apologise?’ Simone said. ‘Normally they would have to do a letter each!’
‘What! And encourage him to continue? You’ve got to be bloody joking,’ Miss Annersley said, pouring another G&T.
Unfortunately, Miss Annersley had reckoned without IVa. As soon as they had some free time, they formed a deputation to go and see Mainwaring and apologised very prettily for their behaviour. He graciously accepted their apology and said he would be back at school on Monday morning to conduct more lessons. Miss Annersley was incandescent when she heard about it.
‘The little prigs!’ she exclaimed, pacing up and down the staff room. ‘That’s it! They’re getting no Saturday night entertainment and they can go to bed after le Diner each evening.’
‘Hilda, get a grip on yourself!’ Nell Wilson said. ‘If you don’t watch out you’ll spill your G&T. You can’t punish the girls for apologising when you didn’t punish them for misbehaving. We’ll find another solution.’
‘What about reorganising the timetable?’ Simone suggested. ‘So that Mr Mainwaring is the only one to have a free period at particular times. The rest of us will be in class so we won’t have to listen to him.’
‘There’s still break time,’ Nell Wilson said gloomily. ‘At least it’s not a long time.’
‘I hope the plans to keep the other soldiers occupied are working better than this one,’ Hilda said.
Same day – at the farm
‘Mr Fraser, do you think you should be wearing those clothes to work in? Matey won’t like it.’
‘Och, away with ye,’ Fraser said irritably. ‘That’s all you ever say these days. You’re turning into a right little Matey’s Boy.’
‘Well it’s me that has to help Matey with the mending,’ Pike pointed out. ‘Now she doesn’t have schoolgirls to do it all for her. And her sewing’s terrible.’
‘I don’t see what our clothes matter,’ Fraser said. ‘After all, we’re dooooooooomed.’
Jones came in and sat down. ‘Any tea going, Pikey? It’s been a hard day at the butcher’s.’
‘I wish Michelle would get me some fake papers so I could work in the village,’ Fraser said. ‘It would be better than staying here making a new hen house.’
‘We need a new hen house, Mr Fraser,’ Pike said. ‘The last one fell to bits. And we’re getting some chickens soon. Matey says I can look after them.’
Pike made a pot of tea and passed cups to Jones and Fraser. I’ll just take a cup through to Matey. I think the airmen are out in the woods at the moment.’
He went out and Fraser looked across at Jones. ‘We need to do something about that boy. He’s getting too attached to Matey.’
‘It’ll be a problem when the time comes to go home,’ Jones agreed.
‘Home man? Don’t you realise? We’re doooooooooooooooomed.’
‘Let’s have a look at this henhouse you’ve been making then,’ Jones said, to distract his colleague. They went outside and Jones stopped in shock. The new hen house was exactly the shape of a large coffin.
Chapter 5 - They don't like it up 'em by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
Just another normal day for Robin in wartime Guernsey
The next day – Café René
‘Welcome to my humble café,’ René said to an invisible audience in his empty café. ‘It’s just another normal day. Michelle slid in through the window first thing this morning to warn us not to let Private Fraser make us a new hen house, Maria Cecile is looking for a new hiding place for the painting of the Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies, Edith has started putting canvas in the sausage-meat to make it go further and my tryst in the broom cupboard with Yvette was interrupted by the arrival of Colonel von Strohm who expects first dibs on the maids.’
René sighed. ‘And to add to my problems, here comes Corporal Jones.’
Jones came in and René greeted him without enthusiasm but Jones didn’t notice. ‘I came to see how Madame Edith is getting on with the sausages,’ he said.
As Robin was absent, René didn’t understand, but he had an idea of the subject and took Jones down to the kitchen.
‘Ah, good. Proper English sausages instead of those long German ones,’ Jones said with satisfaction. ‘That’ll be one in the eye for the Germans! They don’t like it up ‘em you know!’
Madame Edith didn’t understand but Robin, who had just entered the kitchen, obligingly translated. However even in French she didn’t get it. ‘What does that mean – “they don’t like it up ‘em”?’ Madame Edith asked. Robin explained.
René was not amused. ‘Maria Cecile! A little girl like you from an expensive boarding school should not know about such things!’
‘I’m not a little girl from an expensive boarding school any more, René. I’m a young woman working in a café which is basically a knocking shop!’
‘I will not have such language!’ René exclaimed. ‘Miss Annersley has entrusted you to our care and Madame Edith and I expect you to behave like the young lady you are. Go and do your delivery to the farm and don’t let me hear you use such expressions again!’
Robin went off sulkily to pick up the basket of provisions and get her bike. She cycled over to the farm where Pike was ensconced comfortably in the kitchen with Matey. Robin had been looking forward to a chat with Matey and she felt very hard-done-by. Matey went out to take the airmen a cup of tea and Robin helped herself to a freshly-baked scone.
‘Don’t eat one of those, Matey won’t like it,’ Pike told her. ‘She’s saving them for the headmistress lady at the school.
‘Get stuffed,’ Robin told Pike. ‘I’m hungry and I’m having a scone.’
‘Matey won’t like it,’ he warned.
‘Why don’t you just bugger off?’ Robin said. ‘I want a word with Matey.’
Pike went, complaining, just as Matey arrived.
‘Pike, have you got your scarf?’ Matey asked. ‘You know how susceptible you are to colds.’
‘Yes, Matey, it’s here,’ Pike said meekly. ‘I won’t go further than the woods.’
‘Very well, but try not to get your feet wet.’
Pike left and Matey turned her attention to Robin. ‘Now, Robin, how are you? You’re looking a bit peaky. If I had any spare rooms I’d get you to bed with a nice hot water bottle and some milk.’
Right at the moment, it seemed pretty attractive to Robin, even with Matey being part of the equation. Still, Matey had no room and Robin had a lot to do.
‘Well stay and eat with us anyway,’ Matey said. ‘I’ve got some lovely sausages. Mr Jones is a dab hand with an English sausage.’
‘There aren’t any unexplained beige lumps in them are there?’ Robin asked suspiciously.
‘Oh no, these are his finest quality sausages,’ Matey said. ‘He’s helping out as a butcher’s assistant now and he brings home some meat and makes the sausages here.’
‘Good, because there’s some very dodgy stuff going into the ones in the café,’ Robin explained.
‘Mr Jones says he’s putting some horrible things in the German sausages he’s making at the butcher’s - he’s doing it on purpose. But according to him, a German sausage is inferior to an English sausage anyway.’
‘Well I suppose he would think that,’ Robin said.
‘He keeps chuckling about putting nasty stuff in the German sausages and saying “they don’t like it up ‘em”. What does that mean Robin?’
Robin didn’t feel equal to explaining the situation. For all her practicality and bustle, Matey lived in an innocent world where she thought Lieutenant Gruber would meet a nice girl someday, darning a man’s socks was the height of domestic romance and Miss Annersley’s gin supply wasn’t being paid for in kind.
Jones arrived home for lunch, the airmen came in and Fraser stopped his work on the finishing touches to the hen house. Pike did not appear but Matey wasn’t worried.
‘He’s always wandering off. I’ll keep his lunch hot for him,’ she said.
The sausages were indeed excellent and Robin was much cheered by the friendly company. By the end of lunch time, Pike still hadn’t appeared.
‘You don’t think anything could have happened to him, do you Matey?’ Robin asked.
‘We’re dooooooooooooooooomed,’ Fraser intoned. ‘Dooooooooooooooooooomed.’
Jones got up. ‘Don’t panic, Pike’s missing, DON’T PANIC.’ He ran up and down the kitchen wielding an imaginary bayonet. ‘We’ll get the buggers. They won’t like it up ‘em!’
It took some time to calm Jones down.
‘Perhaps we should have a jolly old search party, eh what?’ Fairfax suggested.
‘If there are Germans around, none of you should go out,’ Robin said. ‘I’ll nip over to the school and get some help.’
Robin left, pursued by Fraser’s voice of doom.
Chapter 6 - Where's Matey's Boy? by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
The search for Pike is under way.
Meanwhile, at the school, things were not going to plan. Miss Annersley’s morning G&T had been interrupted by the need to take a class, as Mademoiselle Lachenais was not feeling well. The Fifth Form soon discovered that their headmistress was not in the best of tempers and kept their heads down.
‘She’s missing her morning G&T,’ Enid Sothern muttered to Lorenz Maico. Lorenz only nodded in return as Miss Annersley had ears like a bat.
Miss Wilson was also having problems. The rearrangement of the timetable had not entirely worked and she spent her free period trying to appear to listen to Captain Mainwaring pontificating without actually listening. The marking she had planned to do did not get done and she was spitting feathers by break time.
Madge was doing Elementary Code-Breaking with IVa and found them unusually obtuse. They had been so well-behaved and attentive that the staff were almost forgetting how to deal with Middles. It wasn’t actual bad behaviour, Madge though, so much as a general lethargy.
‘Is there something I should know, girls?’ she asked in her soft, low voice. ‘Were you up late last night having a midnight feast?’
The girls looked injured. ‘No Madame,’ Elizabeth Arnett said. ‘We’re behind with our knitting and so we all agreed we’d catch up after we went to bed.’
‘I’m sure the intention was good,’ Madge told them. ‘But you girls need your sleep more than the troops need more socks. You’re excused lessons for the rest of the morning and you are to go to your dormitories and rest. No talking or reading.’
At break in the staff room she regaled the others with the story. ‘They’re completely out of control!’ she complained. ‘They’re being so good they’re nauseating. We’ve never had a bunch of Middles like this before. It’s going to get the school a reputation for being killjoys!’
All thoughts of the trying morning vanished when Robin arrived while the school was having its early afternoon rest and Miss Annersley was enjoying a belated G&T. Robin explained the Pike situation to Miss Annersley. ‘We need to get a search party out but not make it too obvious we’re looking for something in case there are Germans around,’ she said.
‘What do you suggest, Robin?’
‘If the Middles could go on their normal walk, maybe with Miss Wilson or Mademoiselle, they could keep a look-out as they go. Then I was thinking that maybe Miss Lecoutier could take the Sixth Formers cross-country running.’
Hilda grinned. ‘You’ve got an evil streak, Robin!’
Robin smiled but continued, ‘Then maybe Joey could take the trips out towards the village, and Jem might go too if we ask him. I’m going to alert the Resistance and Michelle can mobilise her girls. Madge and Maria Marani should be with the Resistance this afternoon anyway.’
‘You’ve got it all thought out, Robin,’ her headmistress told her. ‘You’re such a credit to the school. What would you like me to do, dear?’
‘It would be useful if you could stay here and be the communication centre,’ Robin said. ‘Or if you think the walking might be too much for Miss Wilson, she could do that and you could go with the Middles. And definitely don’t tell Captain Mainwaring that Pike is missing or he’ll be straight back at the farm causing chaos.’
‘Fine, we’ll sort it all out at this end, Robin. You go off and find Michelle.’
Robin cycled back to the café and explained the situation to René. ‘I’m going over to Resistance HQ to get Michelle.’
‘It would be quicker to hang about in the back room,’ René suggested. ‘We can’t do a thing in here without her turning up.’
Robin went into the back room and, within five minutes, Michelle appeared. Robin explained about Pike going missing. ‘He told Matey he would only go as far as the woods,’ she said. ‘So I don’t think he’s absconded on purpose. He’s a proper Matey’s Boy and his favourite phrase is “Matey wouldn’t like it”.’
‘We’ll concentrate on the woods first, along with the cross country runners,’ Michelle said. ‘Then if we don’t find him, we can widen the search.’
Several hours later, Pike had still not been found and the search had been called off for the day. The Middles and Sixth Form were back at school and the Resistance were at the farm, being given tea and sandwiches by Matey. Captain Mainwaring had just returned and was not amused at being kept out of things.
‘You couldn’t go out searching old chap,’ Michelle told him. ‘It’s safe enough for you to go from here to the school but being out for any length of time is too dangerous.’
‘But madam, it’s one of my men,’ Mainwaring blustered. ‘I need to be kept informed.’
‘You were at the school doing war work old chap, teaching the next generation, eh what?’ Fairfax said kindly. ‘We wanted to help look for the young chap but it would have been too dangerous for everyone for us to be out there. Got to follow orders, eh what?’
Joey, who had called round with the triplets on her way back from checking the village, added her mite. ‘I know it’s difficult for you Mr Mainwaring, when you’re used to command. But there’s times when you have to delegate.’
Her conciliatory tone soothed Mainwaring a little and he was distracted from his grievances by a huge din from outside.
‘Bloody Hell,’ Robin said, dashing for the door. ‘Whatever’s that? We’d better get it stopped before all the Germans in Guernsey land on us!’
They all ran outside to discover that the noise – yelling, banging and thumping – was coming from the henhouse. Robin unbarred the door and opened it to find Pike, nearly hysterical with panic.
‘Whatever happened?’ Matey asked, shepherding Pike out and into the kitchen.
‘I must have gone to sleep in the henhouse and when I woke up I couldn’t get out,’ Pike said.
Captain Mainwaring looked at Pike. ‘You stupid boy.’
Chapter 7 - What Robin Heard by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
After the excitement over Pike's disappearance, everyone was hoping for a quiet evening. But that's a rare occurrence at Cafe Rene
‘What did you want to go into the henhouse for, Pikey? It was a bloody stupid thing to do.’
‘Grammar, Robin!’ said Matey.
‘I went to put some straw in for the chickens we’re getting,’ Pike explained. ‘I remember lying down to get the straw spread out well – the henhouse isn’t very high, with it being a coffin.’
‘It’s high for a coffin,’ Fraser said indignantly. ‘I had to use extra materials to make it taller so you can get the straw in.’
‘I don’t understand how the door came to be locked though,’ Matey said.
‘I’m afraid that’s our fault, eh what, Matey,’ Carstairs said apologetically. ‘Fairfax and I were coming in for lunch and the plank was lying beside the door so we put it on to tidy the place up. Frightfully sorry, old chap.’
‘Never mind,’ Matey said, handing Pike a cup of tea and a dropped scone. ‘Finish that and then get along to bed. You’ve had a shock and you’ll probably need to stay in bed for a couple of days.’
Captain Mainwaring muttered about coddling the boy but, when he saw Matey’s gimlet eye on him, he subsided.
Robin set off for the café to do her evening’s work, now that all the excitement was over. She was serving Herr Flick and Helga when she caught the word “farm”. She moved over to the bar and started polishing the already-gleaming surface assiduously. René looked up to ask her to do something and realised what was happening so he asked Yvette instead.
‘Why can’t Maria Cecile do it?’ Yvette complained, going to clear tables as she had been asked. ‘She’s not doing anything important.’
‘Yvette! Just do as you’re told!’ René said urgently. ‘And keep your voice down!’
Yvette flounced round the tables, clattering her high heeled shoes, making it difficult for Robin to hear the conversation properly between Herr Flick and Helga. She went back to the table, on the pretext of filling up the salt cellar and managed to catch a fragment of conversation which nearly caused her heart to stop beating.
Leaving Yvette and Maria in charge of the café, René followed Robin through to the back room, but Madame Fanny had made one of her rare forays downstairs and was complaining loudly. Talking in the corridor was impossible as customers, including the Germans, were going backwards and forwards to the WCs. Robin opened the broom cupboard and went in, followed by René.
She had just explained to him what she had overheard, shocking him as much as she had been shocked, when the door opened and Madame Edith appeared.
‘René! What are you doing in the broom cupboard with that child?’
‘You stupid woman!’ René said. ‘She has just told me what she’s overheard the Germans saying and we can’t get a place to get a minute’s peace!’ Turning to Robin, he said, ‘Maria Cecile, go to the back room and see if you can conjure up Michelle. It’s getting a bit late in the day but there’s always a chance.’
‘Yes, René,’ Robin said obediently. ‘And don’t worry, I’ve got a plan.’ She disappeared quickly, leaving Madame Edith and René looking fondly after her.
‘She’s like the daughter we never had,’ Madame Edith said, looking at her husband.
‘True,’ he admitted. ‘I grow fonder of her every day.’
‘Me too,’ Madame Edith agreed. ‘I just wish we could keep her after the war, but she is the ward of the Russells.’
‘Yes, and they are rich and can give her a life so much better than we can in a “café which is basically a knocking-shop” to quote Maria Cecile herself.’
Madame Edith laughed. ‘She can be so naughty sometimes. When she came here, she would have had no idea what a knocking-shop was!’
‘True,’ René said. ‘We have contributed to her education at least!’
The broom cupboard door opened and Robin’s head appeared. ‘When you two love-birds have quite finished, Michelle is in the back room.’
‘Impertinent child,’ Madame Edith said, following her, but she was smiling.
‘Has Madame Fanee gone back upstairs?’ René asked. ‘We could do without anyone else hearing.’ In view of Madame Edith’s presence he refrained from his usual description of his mother-in-law.
‘Yes, I hauled her upstairs before Michelle got here.’
They went into the back room and Robin explained that she had overheard Herr Flick and Helga talking about extra activity having been spotted at the farm.
‘Herr Flick mentioned something about “more coming and going than usual”,’ Robin said. ‘It has to be the school farm they were talking about.’
‘I think it must be,’ Michelle agreed. ‘We need to evacuate the farm at once.
‘But it won’t be long till it’s dark!’ Robin exclaimed.
‘Best time to get them out,’ Michelle said. ‘If the Germans are going to raid the place, they’ll do it first thing in the morning.’
‘It’ll look a bit suspicious if the place is empty, after they’ve spotted extra activity,’ Madame Edith put in.
‘I’ve got an idea about that,’ Robin said.
René and Madame Edith exchanged a “that’s our girl!” look.
‘What do you suggest, Maria Cecile?’ René asked.
‘I could go and ask Miss Annersley if we could borrow some girls,’ Robin said. ‘We’ll get them across to the farm under cover of darkness and then paint spots on their faces with lipstick. Matey can tell the Germans she’s running a quarantine ward.’
‘Brilliant!’ Madame Edith said, putting an arm around Robin. ‘You are a little genius!’
Michelle agreed that it was a great idea and looked as if she wished she had thought of it. ‘Come with me now, Maria Cecile,’ she said. ‘There is no time to lose.’
‘Run up and nick a red lipstick from Yvette’s room,’ René said. ‘You won’t get one at the school. I bet none of those boot-faced hags has used make-up in living memory.’
Robin ran upstairs and returned in her school uniform. ‘I’ll need to stay there tonight too,’ she explained. ‘I can’t risk coming back after dark and getting caught being out after curfew.’
Madame Edith looked fearfully at René as Robin went to get her coat. ‘Does she need to go, René? It means she will be there in the morning if the Germans raid the place. She could be in danger!’
‘The girls from the school will be in the same danger,’ René pointed out. ‘And Michelle will have enough to do getting the airmen and the soldiers into hiding. We have to be brave.’
Robin returned and, to her great surprise they both gave her huge hugs and told her how proud they were of her. She set off with Michelle on their bikes and were soon at the school.
‘You go on to the farm,’ Robin said. ‘I’ll leave my bike here and walk over with the other girls.’
The school was just finishing le Diner when Robin appeared and she explained the situation to Miss Annersley quickly.
Miss Annersley spoke to the assembled girls and explained what was needed. ‘I will ask for volunteers but I must warn you that the farm may be raided by the Germans and neither I nor anyone else will think ill of any of you who does not wish to volunteer.’
All the girls rose to volunteer, along with Miss Lecoutier. ‘It would not be unusual for a member of staff to get measles if the girls did,’ Simone pointed out. ‘And I could pass for a schoolgirl anyway.’
‘Wish I could,’ Miss Wilson said, which caused a ripple of laughter amongst the girls. They drew lots and four girls plus Simone went to prepare to sleep over at the farm. Cornelia went with Robin to get spare sheets and pillowcases and then they set off, keeping out of sight as far as possible.
When they got to the farm, Michelle had taken the British servicemen and Matey was fretting about Pike. ‘He wasn’t really fit, and we could have hidden him here, but Michelle was insistent.’
‘It’s safer for everyone for him to go,’ Robin said to Matey. ‘He’ll be fine. There’s nothing really wrong with him except being coddled all his life.’
Matey wasn’t convinced but consoled herself by making everyone a cup of tea. The girls made up their beds and hid the dirty sheets under the beds until they could be dealt with the following day. They didn’t want the Germans finding a pile of dirty sheets in the washhouse.
Robin set the alarm clock for five a.m. so that they could get the spots done before any Germans arrived and they all settled down in the three bedrooms. But no-one slept much, thinking about the following morning.
Chapter 8 - The Germans Are Coming by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
Lipstick spots in place, the girls await the raid....
Next morning – 5 a.m.
Robin didn’t really need the alarm clock as everyone was awake. She went round and put spots on their faces and the girls got back into bed, waiting for the sound of vehicles arriving. They waited, the tension growing stronger every minute but nothing happened.
‘Did Herr Flick say the raid would definitely be today?’ Simone asked.
‘He didn’t say when. He didn’t even mention the name of the farm but it’s too strong a coincidence that increased activity has been spotted at a farm.’
By seven o’clock, Matey decreed breakfast would be served, Germans or no Germans. ‘If they come to raid the place they’ll just have to wait,’ she said.
‘That’s the spirit, Matey,’ Robin said approvingly. ‘As Mr Jones says “The Hun don’t like it up ‘em”!’
Robin suggested that each of the girls collect her breakfast and take it upstairs to their beds. Matey tutted over doing this when they weren’t really ill.
‘But if we heard the vehicles and everyone suddenly had to scram up to bed, leaving all the breakfast on the table, it would look a bit suspicious,’ Robin pointed out.
Breakfast passed, was cleared away and washed up and still no Germans.
‘I hope we haven’t gone through all this for nothing,’ Matey said.
Robin was already feeling anxious and this really got her goat. ‘Hell’s teeth, Matey, I’m sure I’d rather they didn’t come and we didn’t have a raid than wish for them to be here just because we’ve prepared!’
Over at the school, Jem was sitting at one of the upstairs windows, training his binoculars on the approach to the farm. ‘Nothing so far,’ he said, in answer to Madge’s enquiry. ‘We’ll just have to hope Robin was wrong and the preparations were for nothing. Better safe than sorry, anyway.’
‘If the Germans are watching, we had better make it look like a normal day,’ Madge said. ‘I’ll get Hilda and we’ll go over to enquire about the supposed “invalids”.’
‘Good idea,’ Jem said. ‘You could maybe take some books over for the girls. They’ll be getting bored sitting round there pretending to have measles.’
In fact they were having a whale of a time, playing poker, eating Matey’s scones and making up rhymes about Herr Flick. It was like a holiday, even though they were confined to their bedroom and they made the most of the unexpected freedom. Simone conveniently forgot she was a teacher and joined in the fun.
For the sake of appearances, Madge and Hilda didn’t enter the farmhouse but stayed at the doorstep asking about the “invalids”. Matey spoke to them, with Robin keeping within the shadow of the corridor and talking over Matey’s shoulder.
‘Are you sure it’s this farm?’ Madge asked.
‘No, I’m not sure,’ Robin said patiently. ‘But isn’t it better to be prepared?’
‘I hope those poor soldiers and airmen didn’t have a night out in the cold over a half-baked story,’ Madge said.
‘That’s right! Blame me!’ Robin yelled. ‘Bloody Hell, I’m doing the best I can. I’m taking all the responsibility and I haven’t got anyone to turn to.’
‘Grammar, Robin!’ Miss Annersley said.
Robin gave her a filthy look and stormed off.
‘Just a teenage strop,’ Matey said. ‘She’ll cool off when I give her a dose of something.’
‘She never used to be like this,’ Madge said, worried. ‘She’s so grown up and sensible most of the time that we forget she’s very young to be taking all this responsibility.’
‘I’ll look after her,’ Matey promised. ‘A dose of my medicine and some nice hot milk and she’ll be fine.’
Hilda shuddered at the thought. ‘Poor Robin,’ she said to Madge as they walked away from the farm. ‘I know she was a bit cheeky but that’s a very heavy price to pay!’
But Robin had no intention of being dosed by Matey. ‘You know where you can shove that filthy stuff,’ she told Matey. ‘I’m going to the café.’
‘Robin, it might not be safe to go out!’ Matey said. ‘The Germans could be watching the farm.’
‘Well all they’ll see is a girl going to the village,’ Robin said. ‘Nothing wrong with that.’
No argument of Matey’s could prevail and Robin, now dressed and with the lipstick spots off her face, left and headed over to the school to collect her bike.
When she got to the café, Michelle was in the back room talking to René and Madame Edith. ‘I hope we didn’t have to get the men out in the cold last night for no reason,’ Michelle said.
She got much the same response as Matey, Madge and Hilda. Robin, when roused to fury, was extremely fierce and Michelle left, vanquished. As soon as Michelle slid out of the window, Robin burst into tears.
‘Now, now,’ René said, putting his arms round Robin and hugging her. ‘Nothing to cry for. You did what you did for the best. Better safe than sorry.’
‘René is right,’ Madame Edith said, patting Robin’s back gently. ‘You’re a very brave girl and we’re proud of you.’
‘Everyone keeps telling me that the poor soldiers and airmen might have had a night out in the cold for nothing,’ Robin said tearfully.
‘They are servicemen, ma petite,’ René said. ‘They’re used to roughing it. I’m sure they would rather do that than risk being captured by the Germans.’
Robin smiled through her tears. ‘I’m not sure how much Captain Mainwaring is used to roughing it! And how will Pike be coping without Matey?’
‘That’s better,’ Madame Edith encouraged her. ‘Come along to the kitchen and have some coffee with me. You’ll feel better with some of my cake inside you.’
‘That’s debatable,’ René murmured as his wife and Robin went out. Fortunately for him, Madame Edith did not hear, but Robin gave him a wink as she left.
Chapter 9 - Will there be a raid? by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
Thanks for the reviews and the plot bunnies!
The wait continues. Was Robin wrong or are the Germans playing chat et souris?
Michelle and Madge had decided that the girls would be better to stay at the farm for another day, in case the raid had been delayed for some reason. The delighted girls continued their pyjama party and Matey’s scone-baking went into overdrive.
‘We’re going to have to get some more flour from René if this goes on much longer,’ she complained. ‘I don’t know how he manages to get so many supplies from the Germans.’
Simone, to whom this remark was addressed, thought it better not to enlighten her and distracted her by suggesting a cup of tea. There were only the two of them in the kitchen as the girls were in bed and the Resistance women had just left to take more food to the fugitives.
Michelle led the way. ‘There is a cave we have used before,’ she said to Madge as they threaded their way cautiously through the wood and across to the head of the cliff. There was no-one in sight and they made their way down the rough path to the tiny beach. Further along was a cave whose entrance was partially concealed by a protruding piece of rock.
‘There are no footprints which means no-one has been here since last night’s tide,’ Michelle said. ‘We should be safe enough to enter the cave.’
‘It must have been pretty cold down here, even with the blankets we gave them,’ Madge said. ‘And the tide was very high last night.’
They reached the cave entrance and entered quietly. Michelle used her torch and they picked their way through to a gap which led to the main chamber. It was empty!
‘Michelle, look! The water has been right in here,’ Madge said. ‘You don’t think they’ve been drowned and washed out to sea do you?’
Michelle paled. ‘But the cave cannot have filled with water. They might have got wet but they wouldn’t drown.’
Madge privately thought this was optimistic as the roof of the cave wasn’t high and the walls seemed wet all the way up, but she said nothing. ‘We’re doing no good standing here, anyway,’ she said briskly. ‘Let’s head back and see if they’re hiding in the woods.’
They searched the woods carefully, with help from Jem and Joey, who had been hastily summoned, but there was no sign of them.
‘I don’t think you need to worry, my dear girl,’ Jem said to Michelle. ‘Those soldiers strike me as the type of chaps who always come out smelling of roses.’
For once, Madge was glad of her husband’s patronising certainty, as it bolstered Michelle who had started to look very worried. It wouldn’t look good on her Resistance Performance Chart if she managed to lose six Allied servicemen, especially all in one go.
Over Dejeuner at the school, they reluctantly agreed to abandon the search. ‘They’ll find their way back eventually or get in touch with the butcher’s or the school, I’m quite sure,’ Jem said as Michelle prepared to leave. ‘There’s nothing more we can do at the moment.’
‘We’ll keep a look-out anyway,’ Joey added. ‘I’ll take the trips out for a walk and the school staff can check for any signs of them when they’re out with the girls.’
At Café Rene, Robin was arguing vehemently with René about doing her daily delivery to the farm.
‘They’ll just get at me again about what I heard,’ she said. ‘It’s not my fault if it wasn’t the school farm. I only reported what they said. If Yvette hadn’t been clip clopping around with those ridiculous tarty shoes I’d have been able to eavesdrop more.’
‘Now that’s enough,’ René said sternly. ‘Madame Edith and I have told you we believe you did the right thing. Imagine what would have happened if they had raided the farm and no-one had been prepared. The consequences for the men and the school don’t bear thinking about.’
‘No-one else thinks that,’ Robin said sulkily.
‘That’s not important. The delivery to the farm is. Go now before I make you listen to Madame Edith practising.’
‘It might be worth it,’ Robin told him defiantly.
René searched his brain for a more effective threat. ‘I’ll send you up to live with Joey for a month and help with the trips.’
Robin went immediately, almost knocking over Madame Edith who was on her way into the café area. ‘What’s wrong with her?’ she asked.
René explained, omitting his threats to Robin. ‘You know, Edith, I think we need parenting classes on dealing with stroppy teens.’
Night fell, with no return of the servicemen and the following morning there was still no raid. The girls had got up at five o’clock again and carefully reapplied the lipstick spots but nothing happened.
‘I rather think Robin was wrong,’ Miss Annersley said to Miss Wilson. ‘I think we should recall the girls to school.’
‘We can’t bring them all at once,’ Miss Wilson pointed out. ‘If the farm is being watched, it would be unlikely that they would all recover at the same time.’
Jem got the horse and cart and he and Miss Annersley headed over to the farm. The girls were not at all happy about their holiday being interrupted to return to school but eventually decided to draw lots to agree in what order they were to “recover”. Lorenz drew the lowest number card and went to get dressed, grumbling quietly to the other girls. She was almost ready when the sound of vehicles coming along the farm track was heard. Polly looked out of the window.
‘Lorenz, get undressed again quick! The Germans are coming!’
Chapter 10 - Smelling of roses by Dizzy Miss Lizzie
Matey soon sees off the Germans. But what's happened to the servicemen?
At the same time – Café René
‘Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once.’
René groaned. ‘Michelle, why don’t you just **** off.’
Michelle stood her ground. ‘We have to send a message to London to let them know we’ve lost the servicemen.’
‘And what exactly do you mean by “we”?’ René demanded. ‘Last time I saw them, they were with you.’
In her own inimitable manner, Michelle conveniently ignored the comment. ‘Is the radio back in the room of Madame Fanee?’
‘Yes, but you surely aren’t planning to use it at this time of day? ‘
‘The Germans have been spotted going to raid the farm. There’s hardly enough of them left to man the base. There will never be a better time than this.’
‘Very well then,’ René said. ‘But what London will think when Night Auk suddenly becomes the Lark, I don’t know.’
They went up to Madame Fanny’s room and unearthed the radio, to loud complaints. ‘Onion soup, all they ever give me is onion soup!’
René told her to be quiet and tuned the radio to the right frequency. ‘Allo allo, this is Night Auk calling.’
‘Night Auk? What are you doing calling at this hour?’
‘Never mind that,’ René said. ‘Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep.’
‘How many sheep has Bo Peep lost?’ London asked.
‘Six? You only had two!’
‘Bo Peep brought us four more,’ René explained.
‘I don’t know why you’re blaming me for everything,’ Michelle said crossly.
‘Perhaps because it’s all your fault,’ René said.
‘Are the four new sheep from an auxiliary service?’ London asked carefully.
‘Dad’s Army?’ René asked. ‘Yes, they are.’
‘Radio again tomorrow,’ London said. ‘Over and out.’
René looked at Michelle. ‘And exactly how did that help?’
‘London needed to know we had lost them,’ Michelle said. ‘Now I must go and find out what has happened at the farm. And then I’m teaching the Intermediate Sabotage class.’
‘Such a rivetingly interesting life you lead,’ René said as they headed downstairs. Michelle said nothing but disappeared through the window.
‘I wish she would use the door like normal people,’ Madame Edith complained. ‘I’ve just cleaned that window.’
Robin came in to the back room. ‘Is it true they’re raiding the farm?’
‘So Michelle says,’ René told her. ‘You heard right after all.’
‘I would rather have been wrong,’ Robin said. ‘I hope the girls and Matey are ok.’
Matey closed the door after the departing soldiers with a huge sigh of relief. Their arrival at the farm, though not unexpected, had proved even more scary than she could have imagined. Fortunately, as Robin had forecast, they were very disconcerted by the sight of the girls with red spots on their faces. As a result, they had only undertaken a cursory inspection of the bedrooms, searched the rest of the house whilst keeping Jem and Hilda outside at gun point and taken their leave, disgruntled at finding nothing.
‘Are we taking the old bat with us?’ one of the soldiers had asked in German.
Not by a flicker of an eyelid had Matey let on that she understood every word.
‘No,’ the other one said. ‘Herr Flick would kill us if we brought her back. He had enough trouble with her last time.’
As soon as they were sure the Germans had gone and would not be returning, a celebratory tea-party was held at the farm.
‘We’d better leave the girls here for a day or two more in case they return,’ Jem said. ‘We’ll start moving you back in ones or twos from tomorrow.’
The girls were delighted at getting another day’s holiday but said little about it in front of their headmistress.
Jem and Hilda set off back to the school. ‘It’s a relief that’s over,’ Hilda said. ‘If only we knew what had happened to the servicemen!’
Early the same evening – Walmington on Sea
‘It’s quiet without Napoleon,’ Mr Hodges said to the vicar. ‘Annoying as he is, the place isn’t the same somehow.’
‘The men are feeling the loss of him and the others badly,’ the vicar agreed. ‘I think we should stay around this evening to give Sergeant Wilson some support.’
The platoon had just fallen-in when the outer door opened and Captain Mainwaring entered, followed by Jones, Fraser and Pike. ‘What sort of a line do you call that, Sergeant?’ Mainwaring asked. ‘I see there’s been back-sliding in my absence.’
The men broke ranks abruptly and surrounded Captain Mainwaring, everyone talking at once and asking what had happened.
‘I told Pike we were off course,’ Mainwaring said. ‘The stupid boy.’
‘No you never!’ Pike said indignantly. ‘You said we were at Eastbourne till I spotted a German flag and a German soldier.’
‘Oh dear, that must have been very distressing,’ Godfrey said. ‘My sister Dolly gets upset if she sees a picture of a German soldier, never mind the real thing.’
‘We were doooooooooooooooomed,’ Fraser intoned. ‘Doooooooooooooooooooomed.’
‘The Resistance rescued us from the beach,’ Pike said. ‘We were on Guernsey. And we stayed at a farm belonging to a school.’
‘Need to know basis, Pike!’
‘Sorry Mr Mainwaring. I helped Matey while Mr Jones went to work in the butcher’s and Mr Mainwaring was teaching at the school.’
‘And what about Fraser?’ Walker asked.
‘He made a hen house that looked like a ….’
‘Pike!’ Captain Mainwaring said. ‘If there’s a spy in our midst, they would know where to look for the people who sheltered us.’
‘There’s no spies here, sir,’ Sergeant Wilson said. ‘What an awfully exciting adventure! How did you get away?’
‘Ah yes, well,’ Mainwaring said self-importantly. ‘It took a lot of meticulous planning and strategy.’
‘Mostly a lot of luck,’ Fraser said.
Mainwaring ignored him. ‘We were hiding in a cave when the tide came in,’ he said. ‘We had to find another way out of the cave and we came out on the cliffs. But there was a German guard on lookout.’
‘We knocked him out,’ Jones interrupted excitedly. ‘The Hun don’t like it up ‘em you know. They don’t like it up ‘em.’
‘We saw a fishing boat in the next bay so we got down there and he took us aboard. There was only room for the four of us so the airmen said they would stay behind. I think they like it at the café.’
‘Café? I thought you were at a farm. Are you making all this up Napoleon?’
‘This is a military matter and has nothing to do with you, Hodges,’ Mainwaring said, at his most pompous. ‘The airmen have been hiding in various places. Decent chaps.’
‘The fishing boat can’t have brought you all the way home,’ Wilson said. ‘The Germans would never have let it that far away from Guernsey.’
‘There was a lot of fog again and we drifted off-course,’ Pike explained. ‘We were picked up by a Royal Navy ship and they brought us back.’
Hodges shook his head and spoke so only the vicar could hear. ‘How is it Napoleon always comes out smelling of roses?
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