A walk among Headstones - Update Dec 18th by Beecharmer
Summary: Set in 2014, a young visitor to the Platz stumbles upon the Chapels and the graveyard set up later.

By the nature of this drabble there's LOTS of main character death. Apologies for any errors on dates, I've tried to make up reasonable birthdays and ages wherever I could. Although set in present day, apart from a few references setting the scene and character, it actually covers events happening from just after the series ends, up until the present day.
Categories: Ste Therese's House Characters: None
School Period: Future
School Name: None
Genre: Angst, Domestic, Family, Friendship
Series: Walking among headstones
Chapters: 14 Completed: Yes Word count: 17545 Read: 42236 Published: 06 Apr 2014 Updated: 18 Dec 2014
Story Notes:
Thanks to JB, Vick and Finn for proof reading. Any errors are likely mine, I'm impatient to start posting.

1. Chapter 1 Avoiding thoughts by Beecharmer

2. Chapter 2 by Beecharmer

3. Chapter 3 by Beecharmer

4. Chapter 4 by Beecharmer

5. Chapter 5 by Beecharmer

6. Chapter 6 by Beecharmer

7. Chapter 7 by Beecharmer

8. Chapter 8 by Beecharmer

9. Chapter 9 by Beecharmer

10. Chapter 10 by Beecharmer

11. Chapter 11 - Start of Part Two - At the San 2014 by Beecharmer

12. Chapter 12 - The noticeboard by Beecharmer

13. Chapter 13 by Beecharmer

14. Chapter 14 by Beecharmer

Chapter 1 Avoiding thoughts by Beecharmer
"Begone with you short and shady senators...Give out the good, leave out the bad evil cries ... I challenge the mighty titan and his troubadours... And with a smile
I'll take you to the seven seas of Rhye..."

Lucy wandered along in her headphones, battering out in the air the rhythm of the song, barely watching where she was going. It had been a hard week, and only now had she begun to calm, after several hours of walking and running with her music as loud as she could go. This was one of Dad's favourite tracks, and the energy of the music both buoyed her up and reminded her too much of him. Dancing with him madly to this track, waving their heads about and playing air guitar. It had only been last year, but that big man full of such joy for life was miles away from the grey silent figure she had visited that morning.

The next track was thankfully a modern one, and so less connected with his memory, and she was able to give herself up to the music, let it distract her real life, from all the thoughts she didn't want right now. The path among the trees had started to thin out, and she didn't want to risk getting lost, so she turned and went back to the main road. She'd explored most of the Santorium end of the Gornetz Platz now, so decided to make her away the wide motor road and then explore the other end. Mum wouldn't be ready to go back up to their rented chalet for several hours, and Lucy needed the space and fresh air, it was too nice a day for much sitting in the visitor's room reading.

She meandered along, beating out the tunes to the latest Disney Pixar film in the air as she went. Her friends were always most bemused by her playlist, even more so if it was set to random, as it was now. Singing mice from Classic Disney could be followed by music of her parent's generation, mixed in with anything from modern day hits; classical orchestral pieces or spoken word tapes. Admittedly copying that last category over had been unintentional, but somehow hearing a chapter of her favourite historical novels or a short monologue from Eddie Izzard every now and again interspersed with the musical tracks worked surprisingly well. Dad always laughed and said that her playlist suited her perfectly - hard to define and interested in everything. She'd noted the words down, planning to paint them on her bedroom wall when she got a chance - she liked the idea of her own coat of arms and motto.

They'd left their house so suddenly that she'd only finished painting half her room, and she hoped it wouldn't have all dried too strangely for her to blend new bits in once she was back. Her room matched her playlist, that was for sure, with copied cartoon or comic characters mixed in with scifi posters, patterns copied from a book on aboriginal art and the original Winnie the Pooh wallpaper still peeking out from behind the patches of inspiration. She'd felt quite sad covering up her old friends, but at 15 she really did need something a little more up to date. Her mother had rolled her eyes and left her to it, saying that it was just a lucky thing that they had no plans to move for years.

Though that might not be true now. Lucy was trying not to think beyond the original expected month of being out here, but that time had come and gone, and she was old enough to see that Dad wasn't going anywhere soon. Mum had just renewed the chalet for another 6 months, and had been arranging with the boys what they wanted to do about their studies. Being that little bit older they had the choice, Lucy didn't expect it, nor did she want it. She enjoyed school, and this limbo of visiting and waiting was doing her no good.

She shook her head, and concentrated on her surroundings. There was a large stretch of grass in front of her, and two sweet little chapels at the other end. She headed in their direction, always interested in exploring churches and similar, there seemed to be a mountain of potential characters and story ideas in memorial signs on the walls of such places. She was to be disappointed today however, for both chapels were locked, a small sign apologising for the need to do so after episodes of vandalism. The key was in the school office apparently, and a number was given to contact the secretary, Miss Rosomon, about access.

She looked around the outside, liking the simplicity of the buildings, and the little bits of the stained glass windows that she could see. She wondered initially why there were two such similar buildings rather than one big one, then found a little notice board with a potted history of the buildings and realised that one was Catholic, and the other seemed to have started as Protestant and was now Ecumenical. As she wandered around the back, she saw a little gate and hedged area, signposted as 'Memorial Garden and Graveyard'

Lucy liked graveyards, there were so many stories to imagine from the people and memorials in them. It would be a good distraction, if some might say a somewhat morbid way to spend her time. There wasn't much else to investigate down this end of the Platz however, as it all seemed to be private land, or blocked off with high fences and probably connected with the school.

She remembered the man who had driven them up here, following Dad's ambulance, bemoaning the relatively new high fences. At least she -thought- it was a man. He or she had close cropped grey hair and wore a suit, and had introduced themselves as 'Lambert, Jack Lambert, of Lambert Cars, nice to meet you.'

Lucy had seen him/her around since in greasy mechanics overalls, and found out from one of her favourite Nurses that Jack owned a local garage and petrol station, and also operated a chauffeur service for patients or their relatives. It was only a stray "she" heard when Nurse Mensch was discussing Jack that made Lucy wonder. Not that it made any great difference to her, but it would be interesting to know before she made any errors by describing Jack to others as either 'him' or 'her'. Whatever sex they were, Lucy had liked the matter of fact person, and their clear love of the Platz, shown in the little stories told to them on their way up to the Sanatorium on that first day.

"Spoils the feel of the place, all these gates and locks and wire fences" Jack had said, with a wave towards the school buildings. "It used to be far more open, and the school could be much more a part of the community, but there's just been too many security and safety issues in recent years. The insurance company insisted on so many alarms and rules about who can go where that they had to comply. It's hard enough getting the liability insurance for a school in such a mountainous area as it is, they couldn't refuse."

The little chapels seemed to have been allowed to stay outside the school boundaries however, thankfully, and so Lucy found the gate open, and simply a sign asking visitors to be respectful of the graves and not to leave behind any food waste in the litter bin, as it attracted wildlife that could get hurt.

Lucy looked around to see if there were any signs saying that the graveyard was private; Finding none she swopped the music off random and onto her "Quiet thinking" playlist, and went through the little gate to see what ideas and stories she could find in here.
Chapter 2 by Beecharmer
Author's Notes:
Thanks for all being so keen to know more - I got totally addicted to writing this drabble, and am finding myself fiddling with it more each update, so apologies to error checkers if I add more errors ! I think updates will probably be a bit random in size, depending on the best points to stop.
She had a choice of three paths, and no particular preference, so she took a curved one off to the right that seemed to head towards little markers that she knew tended to be for marking the place of cremated remains.

The first few were fairly unremarkable to her, swiss german names that matched many of those she had come across up here so far. Then there was a stretch of a few in both German and English, and she paused in front of them.

Dr David James Russell, May 1933 - June 2009 Aged 76

Barbara Emily Russell, May 1937 - October 2011 Aged 74. Sleep peacefully mum.

Barnaby James Julian Russell, December 1965 - January 2013 Aged 48 beloved brother, husband and father. Gone but not forgotten.

Lucy wondered, and decided that it seemed likely that James was the son of the pair above, given the ages and similar styles of the marker stone.

The next collection of stones was marked round by a little wall, the more modern equivalent of a family vault. There was still a lot of space left around the stones that were there, Lucy was glad to see, suggesting hopefully some surviving family.

Doktor Eugen Corvoisier
1916 - 1999

Mdme Bridget "Biddy" Corvoiser
1926 - 2006

Patrick Corvoisier
May 7th 1952 - 3rd December 2009

Marjorie Edith Corvoisier nee Graves
1950 - 2011

Marie Therese Maynard nee Corvoisier
May 7th 1952 - November 3rd 2013

The next little section seemed to be an older one, with mixed graves, memorials and urn markers. Having seen some of the names a few times, Lucy started trying to work out relationships, but generally couldn't beyond guesswork.

She couldn't see a fixed order to the graves, almost as if the space had been allocated by personal request, rather than the more regular modern graveyards she had seen back at home. She wandered along, wondering vaguely about some of the more familiar names. She guessed that some of the Pfeiffen family graves must be relatives of their landlady, and saw a couple of Mensch memorials that might perhaps be relatives of Nurse Mensch.

There seemed to be a few people buried elsewhere but with memorial plaques or trees here, and Lucy vaguely wondered why. She couldn't see the connection between Austria, Guernsey and Armishire, but there must be one, as notice after notice mentioned those locations.
Chapter 3 by Beecharmer
Author's Notes:
Thank you for commenting and wanting more. A comment over on LGM about why people might have memorials here reminded me that I meant to say that my thoughts were that this is in effect the active Platz graveyard now, and so as well as the school, it has local families, and if these families had lived there for half a century there would be quite a collection of people who might end up with memorials there. In addition I could see it being a central point for a few of the families connected with the school, a place where their friends and families might be likely to choose for a memorial. I do know that the mixed religions make this graveyard slightly unlikely, but that is also why there are a few different sections. The school and families were often a mix of denominations anyway, so having a combination seems appropriate even if technically unlikely.

I also wanted to say that the idea behind this is for people to fill in the gaps of what might have happened, and why, possibly even sparking drabbles to fill the ideas in. I'll make the series this is in an open one, so if anyone wants to write any drabblets connected they are welcome to add it to the series.
So many people from those three areas...why?

She gave it up, deciding that there was no way to work it out with the information that was there, and wandered over to the next section of graves. These again seemed to have been spaced quite widely originally, for graves of various ages sat side by side, with small modern cremation plots mixed in along with memorial posts for ashes scattered elsewhere.

She skipped past another load of names that didn't really catch her attention, before stopping beside one with a more ornate font than most.

Commander Michael Maynard July 1946 - May 1982

She guessed that he had been a sailor, for the grave was decorated with various ships, and a small wooden carving of a boat rested just in front. Lucy squinted to see the detail, before carefully picking her way down the side of the grave to read the inscription on the incredibly detailed model.

"To Mike, always proud of you, can't quite believe you are gone so soon. With love and respect to a real gentleman. Tom"

She wondered if this was a brother, or friend, but there wasn't really any way to tell. She looked around, but couldn't see any Tom Maynard anywhere, so continued on to the next little section.

She couldn't help but smile at the name on one stone and take a picture to show her brother later. He loved word games, and would appreciate the unfortunate name for a Doctor, and even more so for a doctor's filled grave. She felt as though she had seen that surname before, on one of the other memorials, but couldn't remember which, so couldn't work out if they were likely to be a relation.

One big stone was fixed flat against the edge of the graveyard and she guessed from the others surrounding that this was a memorial wall, rather than actual burial site. This one at least was a different location, she supposed, and she thought initially that it must have been one of the nurses from the Sanatorium, before realising that it was a religious sister rather than a medical one.


Sister Mary Margaret Maynard
Laid to rest in Hope Foundation Priory,
Order of the Immaculate Conception, Bolivia
Her body may be far from here, but her spirit will never leave"
November 5th 1939 - August 7th 1997


Next to this was a square memorial stone, with a black speckled marble and gold text that caught the eye compared to some of the simpler ones. This again was attached to the wall rather than a particular grave, but didn't have another burial location.


Roderick Richardson
1942 - 1973
Always an adventurer, a life cut short.


That was a difficult one to judge. He would have been only 31, so an accident seemed likely, especially with the message below the name. Lucy had heard that the area was particularly dangerous for climbing if inexperienced, also that there were some very hazardous ski runs. However the fact that it was a memorial rather than an actual grave made her wonder if the accident had been somewhere else, or perhaps the body hadn't been recoverable.

The following one had a more obvious cause, a plaque like so many she had seen in england over the years.


Captain Kester Russell 1947 - 1977
Killed in the course of duty Aged 30 years.


She realised the graveyard might be quite a young one, for there wasn't a list of World War dead, although she was to find memorials for this later on inside the chapel.

Another memorial nearby was much younger, and had a group of names together.

Samantha Walker nee Van der Byl
1st June 1943 to 11th September 2001

Samaris Charlot Smith nee Davies
30th March 1945 to 11th September 2001

Valencia Pertwee
21 August 1945 to 11 September 2001

Solange Marie Louise Germaine Anne Lucy nee de Chaumontel
22nd June 1943 to 11 September 2001

Seeing the date, Lucy had some idea of how they had died, but no idea what the connection to here was. Perhaps they were relations of those buried nearby? Or maybe old girls, since these chapels were meant to be connected to the big boarding school nearby. A school friend reunion perhaps, or maybe they had all lived or gone to work in the same place after school. She gave it up and moved on to the next section of the graveyard, she would probably never know the true answer.

Before the next section started, there was a bench placed at a perfect position to look out over the view. A metal plate on it said that it had been placed there in memory of Margot Venables by her daughters Daisy and Primula. Lucy sat on the bench for a bit before moving on, her imagination still stuck in the stories she had created for herself from the names and facts given so far.
Chapter 4 by Beecharmer
Author's Notes:
A little more, thanks for reading.
The stone next to the bench was weathered but clearly well cared for; the grass was neat around it and reasonably fresh flowers were placed in a vase on the grave.

Sir James "Jem" Russell - Died 3rd September 1981 Aged 81 years
Gone but never forgotten.

Below in similar letters, but much more recent, from the relatively sharp edges on the grooves cut into the stone.

Also his wife, Lady Margaret "Madge" Russell - Died 20th July 2005 Aged 98
Our dear Madame, founder of the Chalet School, beloved Mother, Sister and Grandmother.

To one side, another stone seemed to be a similar age and type, but this time the engraving marks of both names looked much more similar. Lucy looked at the dates, and realised that this pair must have died in an accident, for it seemed very unlikely that both husband and wife would go on the same day. She caught her breath as she looked harder and realised that there was another name nearly hidden by the long grass around the headstone.

Richard Thomas Bettany
July 4 th 1907 - December 24th 1967

Mary Patricia (Mollie) Bettany
February 1st 1912 - December 24th 1967

Theresa Daphne Bettany
10th October 1950 - December 24th 1967

So probably a daughter, and definitely an accident. Lucy wondered what had happened. A car crash perhaps? Christmas Eve, always a dangerous night for drink drivers, her father had said. He should know, for one of his duties before he became a detective had been to stop people and try to determine their sobriety. She remembered him coming back depressed and tired around the christmas period, angry that such avoidable accidents were happening. He refused to even risk the slightest amount in his system if he had been driving, even though a man of his build could in theory drink a small amount and still be technically legal.

It hurt too much to think of Dad, especially when she had to visit him soon, all connected up to tube and monitors. It wasn't fair, none of it was fair, and neither was that little family, all gone in one night. She wondered whether there had been other Bettanys. She hadn't seen any more so far in this graveyard, although a small shelter nearby nearby had the name on a plaque.

Margaret "Peggy" Winterton and Giles Winterton of Jamaica and Canada. Beloved mother and father, sister and brother and ever patient grandparents. This shelter erected in their memory the by the Bettany family trust.

There wasn't a date, but the shelter couldn't have been more than 10 years old, so she hoped that this pair at least had lived to a reasonable age. She guessed that the bodies themselves were buried elsewhere, perhaps in Jamaica, for she couldn't find the names amongst the headstones here.


She sat for a moment in the shelter, looking out over the little garden in the middle of the graveyard. This wasn't like so many places she had seen back in England, with rows of uniformly spaced and uniformly bland stones, plaques or little boxes. It felt more like the old more meandering churchyards, long since filled. The age of it couldn't be that long ago however, as the chapels nearby were dated in the 1950s, and she had found no grave earlier than 1961 so far.

She wandered on, and came back to the centre of the graveyard. She was drawn to a little collection of three trees in the centre, and carefully read the slightly tarnished plaque attached to a post beside them.

These trees were planted in memory of all of the girls from the Chalet School Family gone to higher service and buried elsewhere. Planted 1964.

Lucy looked at the trees, and noticed tiny ribbons attached to various small branches, and secreted in little crooks in the branches, tiny waterproofed packets and little cards with messages on them. Some were very old, and even cut into the bark of the tree, showing it had grown around them, others were new enough to have been put there very recently. Lucy realised all at once that although this reminded her of old semi forgotten churchyards, it was in fact an active, current place of remembrance. She looked around her, almost as if she expected mourners to appear as if by magic, and question her right to be there, if she didn't have a relative in the ground here.

'You probably will, soon' came a horrible, unbidden thought. She gritted her teeth and refused to listen to her mind. Dad was going to get well, he was. That was why he was here, after all, why they had all come to this place, despite the disruption to everyone's lives. They had had the option to stay at home, and neither she nor her brothers had even hesitated, determined not to risk losing a minute with him. It was the school holidays at the moment, but she knew that the new term was coming up fast. She was sure that they would all have to go to school somewhere. The boys would probably go to a college in the valley, since they had both wanted to do the European exams rather than A Levels anyway, but she wasn't sure what would happen to her. The school on the Platz was a private one, so she knew that wasn't possible. Nor did she want to be surrounded by posh privileged girls with unlimited budgets. It had been bad enough at home, with competition for the latest gadget or fashion item.

She was very afraid that the answer would be her being sent back to England, to live with her Great Aunt in Taverton. Not that Lucy minded that in theory, for her elderly relative had always had an attitude far younger than her years, and her second cousins were always fun to be around. But she didn't want to miss a second with Dad, and she knew it would be too complicated to make many weekend visits. School seemed such an unimportant thing, with what was happening with her father right now.

The next grave was kept beautifully clean, despite it's age, and had fresh flowers all around. Lucy frowned, and wondered whether this was a famous person, for there were several little boxes with holes for flowers placed, and looking at some of the dedications on the boxes, there were a lot of organisations and groups. Some seemed to be related to that school nearby, so perhaps it was a favourite teacher or headmistress perhaps?
Chapter 5 by Beecharmer
Author's Notes:
* Drops update and runs ... *

Apologies - there will be more people who lived longer soon sorry!!
Lucy frowned, feeling as if she had had seen that name before, but couldn't quite remember where, apart from the other graves here.


Josephine Mary Maynard

November 27 1918 to December 1st 1962

Mother, Wife, Sister, Friend to all.


It wasn't until she examined some of the tributes and plaques fixed nearby that she realised why she knew the name, and it was quite a shock. A younger sign was placed just beside the grave, with an infographic showing a big cross over someone standing close to the stone. In many different languages below it said:

Please respect the fact that this is a family grave, and do not stand on it to take photos. A marked paving stone has been placed at the foot and to one side as a guide for a more sensitive place to do so. Please also do not remove any flowers or items from the grave. Please leave offerings undisturbed and place any of your own in the various tribute boxes, not directly on the grave. Thank you. Josephine M. Bettany Fan Club.

Josphine M Bettany! She remembered now, the author information on the back of one of the older books had mentioned her married name being Maynard. It hadn't, however mentioned that she'd died, and just how long ago. Most of the books had modern covers, and were promoted as if they were a new thing, but this date was decades ago.

Lucy felt a strange sense of loss, despite the fact that she'd obviously never known the woman. She had been working her way through the books, happily assuming that once she reached the end there would be more to come, but obviously not. The versions that she had read must be a modern reprint, and not the prolific current author that Lucy had recently become addicted to, especially the historical novels. She frowned again, realising that something didn't add up here. She hadn't read many of the school stories yet, but there had definitely been at least one with mentions of things like mobile phones, and computers. Yet if the author had died in 1962 there was no way that she could have written that.

She checked to see if she had enough signal to use the internet, but there was no service, so she made a mental note to check later. When she did, she was incensed to realise that not only had some of the original texts been amended, but there were now ghost writers using the name to create more modern works, published as if from one person. This explained why she had been so put off the school stories by the ones she had read. As she looked at the titles, only one of the currently published school stories was by the original author, while all of the historical and general children's adventure books were reprinted with at most slight amendments in language style.

It was a lesson for her in how publishing and marketing could work, and also how fragile rights to a body of work could be. Lucy recognised several of the names she had just been examining in an article about a lawsuit involving the books. It seemed that a loophole in the contract had taken several key rights away from the family, who had had close connections within the publishing house and trusted them. No one had realised about the loophole until the mid 1990s, when the small old fashioned publishers had been taken over by a major corporation, and the changes began.

All of this Lucy found out later, once she was back in the chalet with internet connection. She became quite addicted to following links from articles and fan pages, for she was able to piece together some of the stories she had guessed at in her wander around the graveyard. It felt extremely strange, reading information about these people, after having her own imagined lives and deaths from the grave information.

For now, in the graveyard with no phone signal, she could only guess that changes had been made since the author's death, and move on along the path, to an even sadder discovery. Right beside the large Josephine Maynard grave was a much smaller one, with a small engraving of a stork carrying three bundles in blankets.

Louise, George and James Maynard. Born sleeping December 1st 1962.

Lucy gulped, and realised what must have happened. She brushed a tear away and hurried on to the next grave, but this was no more comfort, being only slightly larger than the baby one. The position of this was quite central in the graveyard, and was the oldest dated stone she had found so far.

Phillipa Maynard
May 1953 to June 1961
Sleep well our precious girl.

There was a bible text below, something about no longer being in pain, and Lucy guessed that this had been a child with many health issues. She looked back at the larger grave and wondered whether this was an older daughter of the author, and whether there had been any surviving children. She hoped so. There was that nice doctor Maynard at the San, maybe he was related. She paused and looked at the date and pondered. Perhaps this was his sister? Her elder brothers had found out that he had been a twin too, although his sister hadn't survived to adulthood.

Lucy liked Dr Maynard, with his friendly nature. She was good at picking up adult gossip, and knew that he had relatively recently lost his wife, at quite a young age. Yet he still managed to spread good cheer, and keep the patients and relatives feeling that someone cared. She would never have thought he was 60 though, but grown ups were so difficult to age sometimes, especially if they were fit and into sports. He had been talking to the boys about mountaineering and skiiing, so perhaps he was just young looking for his age.

She put the thought aside to ask someone later, if she could find a way to do so without appearing too nosy.
Chapter 6 by Beecharmer
Author's Notes:
Thanks for comments :-)
The next grave was a joint one, and she wondered whether this was another relation of Dr Maynard, perhaps an uncle or father.

Sir John "Jack' Maynard : 5th May 1910 to August 7th 1992
"Will be missed by many"

Below that was a newer engraving.

Lady Rosalie Margaret Maynard, ashes interred here at the request of her stepchildren. 1917 - 2012

"Thank you for making Dad smile again"

Later, in front of the computer screen on the J.M.Bettany web page, Lucy wondered why Doctor Maynard hadn't been buried with his wife. All of the reports from the time of their marriage suggested that they had been very happily in love, it seemed strange to have the separate graves. She wondered whether perhaps the second Mrs Maynard and he had been together during the marriage, but the date given for their marriage was 17 years after his first wife died, so she doubted it.

It wasn't common knowledge, so Lucy's trek through the internet wouldn't give her the answer. It was in fact due to a simple fact - Joey wasn't really buried there, the grave was merely for show. Jack had followed her wishes, and taken her ashes to the Tiernsee, and spread them partly at the school, partly at their holiday home and lastly in the centre of the lake. A small remainder he placed in a sealed box buried in the Rose Garden they had had such fun building together.

It would have been a nightmare of red tape to do it officially, with the border crossings and different nationalities involved, and the constant media attention after her death. Not to mention that literally hundreds of fans; Chalet Girls and staff wanted to be present. Apart from that there was the fact that cremation was still officially banned by the Catholic church, and even when it was allowed a few years later it was only if officially buried, not scattered. Jack's own faith, lifelong catholic that he was, meant that he had struggled for some time with his wife's request. But Joey's wishes had eventually trumped the guidelines given by religion. He trusted his wife, and if she thought it a vital part of her faith, she would never have asked. She had been right about so many things that later changed within church guidance, and the change a few years later to allow cremation had bought a smile to his face. Joey had been right, yet again.

However he didn't want his children to have to deal with the moral dilemma, and he understood the need to have a point to visit, a place to speak to their loved one. So a funeral was had, and an official grave site set up. But Jack had no wish to be there, and be trampled by the visitors that still arrived to visit the grave many years after her death. He asked only that he be next to Phil, and a rose from the garden be buried with him, and this was done. Much later, he had confided in Len, and asked her to make sure that someone always tended the rose bushes, and that when the time came, he hoped that Rosalie could be as near as possible, unless she asked for anything different.

Only Madge, and later Len and Rosalie had known the truth about Joey, and Rosalie would never have agreed to her own memorial being added to his if she'd realised it was being done. She had a good idea of the speculation it would cause, and although she had never specified as such, she'd expected only a small memorial stone in the staff area. However Len, mindful of her father's request, checked with her remaining siblings and they had agreed unanimously. Rosalie had been a fixture in all of their lives, first as an aunt and later as a stepmother, and they hadn't hesitated when the idea of her being interred with Jack had been suggested.

All of these facts remained family secrets however, and for now Lucy quickly dismissed it as perhaps just a matter of space in the grave, and moved on to the next area, following the last of the three winding paths down to a shaded space with more regular plots this time. A wooden sign marked it as the Staff Memorial Garden, opened by Lady Madge Russell in 1964. The stones seemed to all be one of three types, and most were a simple headstone, or plaque, with very little extra adornment. A school teacher's salary didn't often leave much for extras like fancy headstones. Lucy didn't really notice, other than to feel that the area was perhaps more spartan than the varied and decorative memorials elsewhere. It was still somehow beautiful, and the graves here were often better tended than many of the others in the main graveyard, with at least one fresh bunch of flowers on every single one.

Lucy wandered among the neat lines, noting the mix of nationalities and ages.

Meiders, Denny, Denny, Lachenais, Berne, Nalder, Charlesworth, Armitage, Moore. All uniform and tasteful, simple engraved lettering. Occasional messages and gifts lay on either side of the headstones, and one or two of the simpler stones had a little mark on the corner of the stone, a scroll and the letters CSMBF. A memorial board in one corner listed mistresses and school staff that had died elsewhere, and had apparently been sponsored by the Chalet School Mistresses Benevolent Fund. Lucy hadn't really considered before now how expensive funerals and memorial stones were, but now she looked at the graves bearing the same symbol and wondered whether the fund had helped pay for the stones.

Another bench sat before the memorial board, donated this time by a Bride Carrington, in memory of someone called Elfie. Lucy noticed the elaborate carvings seemed similar to those on the little carved boat on Mike Maynard's grave, and wondered whether there was any connection. She was an inquisitive girl, and good at noticing detail, and there were similarities in several of the shapes chosen for the designs, and the quality of the work. She looked at the signboard and noticed a small line of carved lettering at the bottom.

Woodwork design, tribute boxes and fencing designed and made by Tomadit Young Apprenticeship scheme. [Founder Tom Gay, CBE, formerly of The Chalet School]

Pleased with herself for her correct deduction that the carvings were related, Lucy made a note to google this man Tom Gay, and see what his relationship to Mike Maynard and the school was. It said formerly of the Chalet School, but it couldn't be a student, since the school was still single sex. Perhaps an old schoolmaster, or a member of the school staff. She didn't see any sign of a grave or memorial for him, so perhaps he was still alive?
Chapter 7 by Beecharmer
Author's Notes:
Um. I'm afraid this doesn't so much get less upsetting as more... Sorry ! Thank you all for reading and commenting, it's nice to know people like the drabble as much as I did when writing it Sad as it is !
Lucy took a photo of the bench with her phone, it really was a piece of artwork, not just a useful resting place. Once the tribute boxes had been called to her attention, she noticed that each one had a different design, although all had a slot in the top and several holes for flowers to be arranged neatly.

She paused in front of one of the larger stones, and one of the very rare ones with more than one name on it. The main tribute box here was much larger and one of the most beautiful. Lucy noticed a tiny message carved around the base and leant in to read it, even more sure afterwards that this was another of the pieces not just commissioned by, but made personally by this mysterious Tom Gay.

"For Nancy, who always understood. Teacher, Mentor, Friend. Thank you. Tom."

Beside it, another tribute box, completely different this time. Made from metal parts welded together in a regular sculpture, cleverly arranged to hold gifts and flowers in a small tree formation. This one appeared to have no message, but observant Lucy saw a small engraved plate slipped into a slot on one side. She pulled it out and squinted to see the tiny inscription. "For Kathy and Nancy, in gratitude for support and understanding, lessons in keeping one's temper, and sound advice over many years. Thank you both. You've made the world of difference. "Jack L"

Lucy replaced the message, stood back up, and looked properly at the stone. The engraving was very recent, and infilled with black, so it stood out very clearly from the clean relatively new looking stone.

Nancy Ferrars Wilmot 1920 - 2011 Aged 91
Headmistress of The Chalet School, 1967 to 1987


Kathleen Wilmot Ferrars 1932 - 2012 Aged 80
Deputy Headmistress of The Chalet School 1976 to 1987
Headmistress of The Chalet School 1987 to 1994

A little further on was a grave marked with a stone carving, a strange shape to Lucy, who was too young to recognise it as a nurse's hat from the early 20th century. The grave was another with multiple tribute boxes, although none were marked with names or organisations this time. A welsh woman from the looks of the name.

To the memory of Gwyneth Lloyd.
Died January 2004 Aged 101
Head Matron of the Chalet School from 1934 to 1967

In one central tribute box was a single hole, in which was placed a single rose, cut freshly from the looks of things. Lucy wondered why just the one flower, and why a rose, but it was very effective, far more so than some of the more overloaded graves that she could see.

Lucy moved on to the next row, which were mostly older stones. She didn't see anything unusual until reaching the far end of the row. Here there were another pair of Headmistresses. This time there were no double barrelled names, but the grave area was a double width one, something rare in this collection of school mistresses.

The grave had an appearance much more like the Maynard family ones in the other part of the graveyard, and was another one with multiple tribute pots around it. Another sign asked people to avoid standing on the grave to take pictures. A similar stone had been recessed at the foot of the grave as a marker for an appropriate place to take pictures. Lucy looked at the signs and a small fence dissuading anyone getting too close to the headstone, and guessed that this grave was almost as much a place of pilgrimage as that of the author.

This was confirmed by the worn print on the photo marker stone, scuffed by many years of photographer's shoes.

"Stone laid by J.M Bettany Fan Club. Please be aware that although the occupants of this grave are known to most fans as the basis for "Guide Leader Wilhemina" and the "Nan Randolph, Headmistress" series they were also much loved members of the staff here. Footprints on their graves cause much distress and out of respect we ask that no photos are taken any more beside the headstones."

Lucy hadn't read either of those books yet, although she had been looking at them in the library only a few months before. She knew how close she had felt to some of the characters in the books, and clearly other people felt the same way. As she stood there, she dredged up a memory from an old TV series, and realised that that was why the name 'Nan Randolph' seemed familiar. Only, she thought it had been called a different name, maybe Anne Randolph, Superhead. She had been too young to watch, but her mother and father had been addicted to it, such that she could remember the theme tune even now. She had rarely seen more than the titles, since it came on just after her bedtime, which was 7 pm at that stage, but her brothers had occasionally watched some and said that it was quite good - 'for a grown up program'.

She looked at the headstones in front of her, and wondered what the story was here. The little fence enclosed two neighbouring graves, and both appeared to have been headmistress of the school for an overlapping period of time, which was slightly confusing. Perhaps they had jobshared, like Lucy's mum had done while she and her brothers were small.

Baroness Hilda Mary Annersley Born 1904
HeadMistress of The Chalet School 1937 to 1964
PhD in Educational Policy, MA English Literature.
UK Ministry of Education Special Advisor 1966 to 1976
Advisor to the European Parliament on Educational Standards.
Member of the House of Lords from 1990 until her death in 2002.

The other grave included in the little fenced off area was a little older, with some weathering but still kept spotlessly clean. Lucy wondered whether perhaps this was a sister or other relative, since the designs on the gravestones were clearly meant to be complementary, the only difference being that one had clearly been out in the elements for a few decades more.

Helena Margaret Wilson Born 1907
Msc Geography, London School of Economics
Headmistress of The Chalet School & Finishing branch 1943 to 1967

Died 24th December 1967 Aged 60 years.

:: Gone but never forgotten ::

Lucy frowned - another death on Christmas Eve. Had she been in the same accident as the others? If it was an accident, after all she only had her own imagination saying that it was a car crash.
End Notes:
(I couldn't think where the idea of a retired headmistress becoming a member of the house of lords had come from, and wasn't sure whether it would be practical,or possible. However it niggled at me as an idea so I started to research, only to find details of Baroness Brigstock, who it appears did that. I couldn't think why the name was familiar, before realising on investigation that not only was she an old girl of my own secondary school, but I then remembered her giving the Commemoration address at least once at end of term. So somewhere deep in the murky depths of my memory I must have been listening to the speech (which was rare, these things used to go on forever and were usually very boring) and also have enjoyed what she had to say and remembered details enough to have this idea 20 years later She sounds quite fun, going to meetings in her pajamas as she couldn't be bothered any more with the dressing up, although that could well be urban legend.)
Chapter 8 by Beecharmer
Author's Notes:
Glad people are enjoying. This is a bit horrible, now, it actually upsets me a bit rereading it, but it's the way the story went. It gets more cheerful again straight after at least.
She couldn't remember whether the year was the same, so she made her way back to the Bettany Family Grave and confirmed it. Yes, 24th December 1967. She wondered what had happened, and wandered back through the various areas, paying a little more attention to the dates some of the other graves. As she looked, she realised that it couldn't have been a car accident, unless it was a bus, for there were at least ten other names with that same sad date. Most of them looked like they were in german, but every now and again British name showed up, most of them on the memorial wall.

Bennet, Hilary, PT Mistress.
Chester, Janice, Journalist.
Christy, Francis Michael, Student.
Culver, Gillian, Secretary to The Chalet School, St Mildred.

The ages weren't given on the memorial boards, but as Lucy looked more carefully at the graves, she found various children, and began to wonder whether it had been some sort of epidemic, before realising that even if that were so, they wouldn't have all died on the same day. No it had to be an event, but what had happened she couldn't work out. An avalanche perhaps? But she was sure that she had been told the area was safe from serious avalanche risk due to the trees just above them. It wasn't until she found another triple grave that she had her answer.

Dr Neil Sheppard
2nd March 1914 - 24th December 1967
His Wife Griselda Sheppard nee Cochrane
7th May 1917 - 24th December 1967
Their Son Nigel Sheppard
2nd April 1958 - 24th December 1967

Lost to us all in the 1967 mudslide.

Lucy put her hand to her mouth, realising that she had her answer, and how many people must have been caught in the mudslide. Once back in her room and able to check, she found various articles and a full newspaper story, and realised that the mudslide itself had been only the start of the story. It had happened across the path of the mountain train, just as it was leaving a station, and the force had been too great, rolling the carriages over and over, and adding momentum to an already deadly force of moving earth. This was why there was such a range of ages and types of people.

She was glad to have some explanation, but the vividness of her imagination worked against her, and a few times in the next week she was to wake up gasping from a nightmare of being in a mud-filled train rolling down the mountain. In the end she resolved the matter in her usual way, by writing a story about it, getting the demons out through description.


This was still to come however, for the moment Lucy had enough of an answer to stop her search for others lost to the tragedy. She had had enough of graves now, and had a lot to think about. Her brain was already forming stories and theories about all of these names, and she had managed to put her own worries nice and far back in her mind. She made her way back round to the front of the chapels, vaguely thinking about going back to the San to make some notes on her ideas, and maybe see whether she could get access to the Guest wifi to check some facts.

To her surprise, as she reached the front of the chapels, she saw that the door to the Catholic chapel was open. A tall, white haired lady was just inside the entrance, arranging piles of hymn books neatly on a small table. She looked up as Lucy peered in, and smiled.

"Would you like to have a look around?"

There was a friendly look in her dark brown eyes, a startling contrast to her peaches and cream complexion and white hair.

"I noticed you were exploring our memorial garden. There's some more in here, and our sister chapel too. Both are open now 'til sunset. Just ask me if you have any questions."

Lucy nodded, and stepped into the cool peaceful room. The decorations were more ornate here than she was used to, and she saw from notices on the walls that many of the items had been bought with money collected by the school or donated by grateful families of patients at the sanatorium. She was pleased to recognise some of the names here, almost feeling some of them to be old friends.

There were many personal dedications, and messages of thanksgiving and Lucy could tell that this wasn't just an old dusty mausoleum, it was an active place of worship.

Donated electronic pianos and sound systems sat in pride of place in both chapels, donated by someone called Nina and dedicated to "Miss Sarah & Mr Tristan Denny"

She recognised the names of the various deceased headmistresses on a few of the dedications in the chapels. The names Annersley, Wilmot and Ferrars were repeated several times in the now Ecumenical chapel, and Helena Wilson in a few places in the Catholic one.

A carved lectern in both chapels bore those now familiar designs and Lucy was finally able to find out more about the mysterious Tom Gay in the Ecumenical Chapel. A noticeboard beside a collecting box explained the various charities that the school and community supported. One was the Tomadit foundation, helping disadvantaged youngsters keep busy and away from drugs and gangs, supporting them into work or further training.

A foundation for improving healthcare and education in Bolivia was named for the nun whose memorial she had seen outside, and she saw that there had been several other girls from the school in the same order, now spread all around the world doing all they could to help.

"How are you doing there?" The voice echoed in the quiet chapel, and Lucy jumped, turning to see the white haired lady in the doorway. "I'm sorry to hurry you, but I have to go soon, and wondered if you had any questions?"
End Notes:
I have various plot bunnies up for adoption here by anyone that wants to flesh out a story. I had pretty much come to the point that the mudslide, losing so many loved ones so soon after losing Joey, was just too much for Matey, and she decided to retire (though thinking about it it should perhaps have been 1968 she retired, I suppose if this all happened the night before christmas.) But she lived several more decades - what might she have chosen to do, hobbies, life or work wise, if not Matey at the CS? Would she have felt the need to leave the area, or would she stay? The other one is that in my head Francis Michael Christy and Janice Chester are a couple, so if anyone has any ideas for their story. The obvious other ones is writing the mudslide itself and the reactions of those who survived.

Some other bunnies set loose by this update are the setting up of the Tomadit foundation, and a last one is who might follow Margot into the same order, when and how and why was the Hope foundation set up by Emerence and Margot, and how might Margot have died. I have too many stories and not enough time at the moment to write these in fill stories myself, but would love to read them if anyone wants to write it.
Chapter 9 by Beecharmer
Author's Notes:
Probably penultimate post, it's a short one though. Happy Easter everyone.
Lucy shook her head, much more used to looking things up online than asking questions. The lady smiled, then both of them turned at the sound of another person coming along the path towards the chapel.

Lucy couldn't help but gape, for this woman looked almost identical to the first, the only difference being her eyes, which were a pale violet, and a very slight difference in height. The woman she had been talking to suddenly grinned, making her face seem much younger.

"Seeing double? We keep being told we get more and more alike each year, especially since our hair colour went. First time since we were babies that people mix us up, and far too late for us to get as much fun as we could have done as naughty middles!"

Lucy wasn't quite sure what a 'middle' was, but she smiled politely and repeated that she didn't have any questions. The faces seemed familiar somehow, and she wondered whether these two were famous, like so many of the Chalet School alumni, or maybe whether she had seen them at the sanatorium. As she concentrated she realised that they did look slightly like the lady who lived in the chalet next to them. Lucy's mother chatted with her quite a lot, and said that she had been born on the Platz and returned there in recent years as a form of semi retirement. Probably these women were sisters or cousins, or maybe people all were related up here. There were quite a few people who looked similar after all.

She couldn't think of a polite way to phrase a question about who these ladies were, however, so she started to make her way out of the chapel, feeling shy now that she had an audience. As she passed the taller of the pair, the lady put out a gentle arm restraining her, and looked into her eyes with a searching expression. She exclaimed and called to her sister.

"Con! Look here. Doesn't her face remind you of someone?"

She startled Lucy, who wasn't very sure whether to break away, or stay still. The lady was quick to see this and removed her arm, although still looking at her face intently.

"My apologies dear, you must think me very strange. But I'm sure that I know you, or rather someone who looks like you. Are you a relative of a Chalet Girl?"

Lucy shook her head, sure that she couldn't have any relatives among rich girls from a Swiss Boarding school.

"A mistress then? Or someone who works at the San?"

Lucy shook her head again, and suggested that she must have seen her around the Platz in the past month. The woman shook her head. Looking puzzled.

"No, I've been away for 6 months. A trip to visit relatives, given by the girls when I retired."

Seeing that Lucy was looking even more confused, she explained that she had been the Headmistress at the Chalet School until the previous year, and the girls had collected to give her a Round the World trip.

Meanwhile, the other woman had been staring at Lucy's face with the same concentration, before exclaiming in excitement and pointing to various parts of the girl's face.

"OH! Can't you see, Len? She's the spitting image of her ! Here, here and here. Even the same crisp movements and expressions!"

Con looked between Lucy and Len, her face alight with the discovery. "Come and stand here, look at her profile." She said, moving her sister about with the casualness only a sibling could get away with. "Now throw your memory back 50 years or so - can't you see who it is?"
Chapter 10 by Beecharmer
Author's Notes:
This is the last post, but I have a feeling that Lucy is a character who may insist upon returning at some stage, so we will have to see ! Thank you all for such a lot of encouragement and clearly enjoying this AU / Future Universeas much as I enjoyed creating it. The CS Encyclopedia says she was crisp in her movements, and I thought they lived near. Taverton, but I could be wrong, in which case apologies for red herrings !
Len frowned, then her expression cleared. "Peggy! Peggy Burnett! Now I can see it I don't know why it wasn't obvious from the start!"

"Talk sense, Len." Con retorted "We haven't seen her for nearly 40 years after all. We all lost touch when she left. If you remember, it was just after Mamma died."

Lucy was now starting to wonder if she was dreaming. These people knew her Great Aunt Peggy? She often heard the phrase that it was a small world, but now she understood it first hand. She didn't quite know what to say, other than to nod when asked outright whether she was related to Peggy Burnett.

"Yes, she was Grandma Mary's sister..." She began, before being almost pounced on again.

"Mary ! Mary Burnett's granddaughter! Oh Rosalie would have been so pleased ! She said so often to me that she was sad she lost track of her cousins over the years. We all did... Oh this is wonderful! I can't believe that a Burnett has just wandered back all of a sudden!"

They grinned at her even more widely, and Lucy smiled nervously back especially after they mentioned possibly having their nappies changed by her grandmother. Lucy was only just coming to terms with her Grandma Mary's death, and it was confusing to have these strangers tell her things like that.

"How is she... Oh no wait, you said she WAS your grandma's sister. Has Peggy passed on?"

Lucy shook her head. "No, I meant Grandma - Grandma Mary died a couple of years ago. Aunty Peg is still alive, though she lives in Canada now, so we don't see her much."

Len looked at the girl and realised that in their enthusiasm they were overwhelming the child a bit. The discovery had just been such a surprise, and the Burnett sisters such a part of their family and school history, they hadn't been able to resist trying to find out all that they could.

"You must forgive us, my dear, we are just overexcited to hear about an old friend. Are you here to visit someone? Or maybe join the school?"

Lucy wasn't quite sure whether this counted as talking to strangers, but she decided that they clearly did know her family, so seemed harmless enough.

"My father is at the Sanatorium." She said, and they nodded, faces more serious all of a sudden.

"Well we must make sure that we catch up with your family, and get contact details for Peggy... Ooooh - and Kitty ? Kitty Burnett. I almost forgot. Is Kitty still alive?"

Lucy nodded, wondering quite what her father would think of all this enthusiasm. He wasn't hugely interested in family history, although he had mentioned that his eldest brothers were twins once, she remembered that. They were much much older than him, and he'd always described them as more like uncles than siblings really.

"Yes, it was her idea that we came out here when... when dad got his diagnosis." She replied politely. "Only she isn't Burnett any more, she's Kitty Ackroyd"

This sent them into a flurry of questions about whether a Jean Ackroyd was any relation of Kitty's husband, and Lucy was unable to help, although she did her best to think of any details she could.

She answered as well as she could, and plucked up courage to ask about some of the memorials she had seen, guessing that the Headmistress of the school must be likely to know at least a few of the names. In an unguarded moment she must have shown her concerns about having to go home while her father stayed here, since they looked significantly at each other and asked a few questions about how long he was expected to stay, and what their plans were.

Finally Lucy looked at her watch and made her excuses, saying that it was nearly the end of the visiting period, and her mother would be looking for her. They let her go most reluctantly, and only with promises that she pass their details on to her parents or her Aunts.

She wandered back along the road to the Sanatorium, lost in thought. She had only been looking for distraction, but it had ended up being a very interesting afternoon. This seemed to be a very interlocked, tightly woven community, much more so than the rather anonymous town they lived in back in England.

She looked at the houses she passed along the way, and wondered how many of the inhabitants knew and loved the people she had just been reading about. As she passed the garage with it's lone petrol pump, Jack Lambert looked up and grinned at her, and Lucy grinned back. She had found the answer to her him/her question, for Jacynth "Jack" Lambert was listed in one of the chapel fundraising panels as a former Chalet girl. Beside Jack a large St Bernard dog sat surveying the road. Lucy had seen the dog around, along with several other similarly marked St Bernards owned by various of the Platz inhabitants.

She saw the Sanatorium buildings coming up, put her headphones in and changed her track list to something a bit more upbeat. She was tired now, after nearly a full day exploring, but nicely so, feeling somehow encouraged by her afternoon. Although there were some real tragedies in the information she had seen, most of the people seemed to have been loved and remembered, and lived their lives to the full, even those cut shorter than average.

A few weeks later, she found that she had been suggested for a scholarship to the school, given to those with relatives in the San. Her parents were most bemused, since they couldn't think who could have put her forward for it, glad though they were for the opportunity. Lucy had her suspicions, and she often thought back to that afternoon wandering, especially once she settled into the school and learnt more of it's history.

She would always remember that day, walking among headstones, remembering strangers, and making up stories. Some of them had turned out to be correct, others miles from the truth, but each of those people lived on now in her memory, just as their descendants lived on in the chalets nearby, with offshoots of the Chalet School family all around the world.

A family even she was apparently a part of, which made her feel quite proud and somehow...safe.

The End
Chapter 11 - Start of Part Two - At the San 2014 by Beecharmer
Author's Notes:
This universe and character wouldn't stay quiet, so here is some more. Slightly different in style but following the same principle, of Lucy as a stranger learning about the modern day Platz and it's history, telling the story through notices, museum and similar bits of information. Can't promise quite as frequent updates as last time, but fingers crossed can update about weekly hopefully.
Lucy frowned and looked away from the bed, frustrated with the tears that threatened with every blink. She didn't want to show how this situation was making her feel - visits were supposed to be to cheer Dad up, not making him feel worse.

Normally she managed it, chattering about her explorations around the Platz, telling him about her story ideas or just reading to him. But recently they were trying a new medication, and he seemed barely aware she was there. This made hiding her feelings a little easier, but she was glad when the nurse arrived to help him wash and give him his medication.

She packed up her bag and told her father she'd see him next time, pushing a grin back onto her face as she got closer to him, just in case he was more awake and alert than he seemed. Lucy greeted Nurse Mensch in as cheery a way as she could, and left, not seeing the thoughtful look the nurse gave her, or her father's eyes follow her out.

Mum was in the visiting room, fast asleep. One of the volunteers who staffed the little visitor cafe looked up as she entered, ready to warn her not to wake the tired woman, but stopped when she saw the girl, merely smiling a welcome. Lucy was a familiar sight after all these months, although Felicity had never seen her looking quite so tired and pale. She knew Lucy was to go to the school soon, and had been pleased when the suggestion was made.

It wasn't just the fact that it might help with Lucy's schooling, but the volunteers could see she needed a break, to be able to focus on something other than the greyness of days and weeks in the hospital. Felicity had been more than glad to agree to Lucy having the family scholarship.

The one benefit of the appalling behaviour of the publishing house was the constant supply of funds coming in from television and film rights, as well as the sales of the reprinted books. Somehow none of the Maynards could bring themselves to use the money themselves, knowing how much Joey would have hated some of the errors, soulless ghost writing and revisions.

Once it became clear that there was nothing more they could do to fight the publishers, the remaining family had agreed to make the best of a bad situation, and used the money to set up scholarships for both branches of the school, and for funding the San itself.

This visitor cafe had been another positive result, making the lives of countless family members just that little bit more comfortable by offering a welcoming place to get affordable, healthy food. So the Maynards had become resigned to seeing a "New" Josephine M Bettany book coming out every year or so, deciding to only see the good that the money did, and ignore the increasing levels of commercialisation of their mother's legacy.

Felicity busied herself making a hot chocolate, adding twice as many marshmallows as normal. All of the regular volunteers knew by now that Lucy had a childlike delight in gradually stirring them round, eating them just before they melted completely away. She could see the girl needed something extra today, she was very brave, and always positive, but the strain was starting to show.

Lucy smiled and thanked her, knowing Mum would have paid for it with her own coffee earlier. They'd fallen into a regular routine, splitting the visiting hours between the family. By now Lucy knew the exact time it would take for Nurse Mench to have washed and resettled him, and how long they had before visiting ended.

She decided to leave her mother to sleep for five minutes more, wishing that she could leave her until she woke naturally. Mum looked older and more exhausted than Lucy had ever seen her. The fact that she was sleeping in public showed how much she needed it, and it wasn't as though a few minutes would matter. After all Dad didn't really seem that aware of anything at the moment.

Lucy was tempted to leave her mother dreaming, it would do more good than it felt visiting did at the moment. She waited another ten minutes, slightly hoping mum would wake by herself, but finally had to do something, as visiting hours finished soon. The San schedule was strict, and if too late then Mum wouldn't be able to see Dad until the next day.

Although none of them admitted it, there was an element of superstition to their family visiting pattern. If her mother missed seeing him today, she'd worry all night that it would be the last time, or that the omission would bring bad news the following day. It wasn't logical, but the few times they'd been unable to come had coincided with deterioration in his condition. Her mother was usually the last person to believe in fate and omens, but ever since then was almost obsessive about taking advantage of every visiting time.

So Lucy knew she had to let her mother make the decision about visiting, not leave her to sleep, however much she seemed to need it. She sighed and reached across the table, gently swiping the back of her hand down her mother's cheek.

Mrs Douglas opened her eyes instantly, then smiled at her daughter.

"Couldn't think where I was, getting that signal !" She said, grimacing slightly as she straightened up. "Half expected to see Dad or one of the boys telling me you were awake and needed a feed!"

Lucy grinned, and pointed to the clock just above the serving hatch.

"The boys taught me, didn't realise they used it when I was a baby" Lucy smiled. "Didn't want to wake you, really, but there's only 20 minutes left, so I thought better let you know."

Her mother nodded, and thanked her, before gathering up her book and leaving with a kiss to the top of her head, and a suggestion to 'Have an explore outside for a bit, love, get some fresh air'.

Lucy didn't bother pointing out that it was raining, and she already knew every inch of the little courtyard garden. She wished it really was possible to go out, for her head buzzed with a dull ache and it would be good to clear her thoughts a little.

Stirring the melting marshmallows into her drink, she gazed around the room, but it felt as though every picture and smudge on the wall was etched onto her mind, the only thing changing being the various white and grey haired ladies staffing the counter.

She knew they were volunteers, often family of the staff or previous patients, and occasionally tried to work out who they might be, or what their connection to the San or School was. Nearly everyone up here on the Platz seemed to be involved with one or the other; With Lucy's interest in people and their stories, she enjoyed noticing details, working out the links.

The lady behind the counter she already knew, one of Dr Maynard's many sisters. This one had been a dancer or maybe choreographer for many years. Lucy had seen her name and picture in a fundraising magazine, so she guessed that Felicity might have been quite well known at some point. She seemed to be retired now, although still helping with cafe and the shows put on to help raise money for the San. A folder sat in the corner of the room, with programmes and photos going back decades, and Lucy had spent many an hour looking through at the names and wondering what the shows would be like. They always seemed to happen in the Easter term, so she would probably never know, since the winter term began next week. Lucy was still hoping fiercely that they would be able to go home by Christmas, and the idea of still being at the school next year was unthinkable.

It had been kind of the ladies she met to arrange the scholarship, and she'd accepted and shown what enthusiasm she could, but secretly Lucy was dreading the new term. She was sure that an independent girls only school would be full of privileged snobs, and was expecting a lonely term ahead. However, since the alternative was to be back in England and away from being able to visit her father at all, she was making no fuss about it, even pretending to her mother that she was pleased.

She'd comforted herself until recently with the fact that she could be a day girl, and school hours would pass quickly enough. However reading the letter from the school more closely, she had seen a 'strong suggestion' that Lucy board for at least the second half of the term, due to the typical weather conditions. The idea of boarding, and the constraints on her free time was even worse, she'd always been able to do as she pleased as long as her homework got done and she was home for meals.

What could she do, though? Her mother was in no state for an argument, and her brothers were too occupied with their own lives at the moment to do more than listen to her worries and tell her to 'just sneak out' if she needed a break. Not that she'd even discussed it much to them. It felt such a petty thing to be worrying about, when her father wasn't able to have any free time at all. Or able to leave his bed, even.

Lucy blinked fiercely again, and set her jaw. She would just cope with whatever she had to - after all it kept her near her family. The school was expecting her to be visiting Dad, so that was the important thing. The school secretary Miss Rosomon had come to visit them, apologising for the headmistress not being back yet due to family commitments in the UK. Lucy had taken very little of that meeting in, feeling slightly overwhelmed by the speed that things were moving. The critical fact was that her school timetable would have allocated periods for visiting her father, and that was all that Lucy really cared about.

She sat back in her seat, and frowned, not wanting to think about all these things right now. She didn't feel like reading, and had gone through all of the puzzle books she had with her. The noticeboard caught her attention, and she decided to see if there was anything new. She knew most of the adverts and rule lists by heart by now, but they did change sometimes, so it was worth a look, would kill a little time at least.

She skipped past the familiar cards advertising things like Lambert's garage and the fundraising events that always seemed to be happening. There was yet another request for a home for three St Bernard puppies, with a picture of adorable balls of fluff. Having seen the size that some of the many St Bernards on the Platz had reached however, Lucy wasn't surprised that the puppies still seemed to be looking for a home. She would have loved to have had one, but even she knew that dogs took time and cost money, and one that big must eat an awful lot. She'd never be able to look after it at home, although she day dreamed every now and again about walking down the High Street with one beside her, if only to see the stares.

A cat called Minnettini seemed to have gone missing, and Lucy wondered whether it was related to the San's resident cat, Minnerret, Minny for short. Dad hadn't been well enough yet for the animal therapy, but Lucy had seen the cat winding it's way around the legs of some of the patients, or asleep in the sun on one of the wide window sills. She wasn't that keen on cats, much preferring dogs, but Minny seemed to be more friendly than most, and had even come to sit next to her once or twice.
Chapter 12 - The noticeboard by Beecharmer
Author's Notes:
Thanks for welcoming this back so nicely :-)
There was a clipping from a magazine pinned up in the fundraising area, an interview with a famous character actress, Jane Carew. Lucy was surprised to see that Dame Carew lived nearby, and had done for many years. She wasn't sure why she was surprised, other than Jane Carew was such a well known name. Somehow that sort of actress was so very English she expected them to live in London or in an old mansion in the countryside.

The article was mainly about her latest role in a period drama, but mentioned the Sanatorium as a cause Dame Carew campaigned for and always used as her charity of choice on reality shows. The photo showed her smiling alongside another actor, Felix Maybeard who also campaigned for the San, reportedly donating 15% of his salary to the free bed scheme. There were some very unsubtle questions asking about her relationship with him, since they appeared in productions together so often, but Dame Carew apparently laughed the idea away and said that he was far too young for her, and was just a good friend.

Lucy squinted at the picture of the two of them together and wondered why the very fair man with huge beard seemed so familiar. She hadn't seen him in anything, she was sure, since he seemed to be primarily a Shakespearian actor with occasional roles in american films and television shows, none of which she recognised.

It hadn't yet occurred to her that with a name like that he might be yet another Maynard, but when she looked him up on the internet later that night she realised it was the family resemblance she was seeing, and Maybeard was only a stage name. She laughed at herself later, realising she had been standing next to the man's twin sister and not made the connection. For now she contented herself with reading the article and moving on to the rest of the noticeboard.

There was a new copy of the poster Lucy saw on every noticeboard in this area.

TUBERCULOSIS - Not a disease of the past...
3 or more symptoms ? Think outside the type - avoid late diagnosis.
:With or without cough:
:Unresolving flu-like symptoms:
:Weight Loss:
:Night sweats:
:Unresolving swollen glands:
:High temperature of unknown origin:
:Loss of appetite:
Any questions ring the Bettany Trust hotline, or visit www.Bettanytrust.com

Her mother said she'd seen a similar poster in hospitals in the UK. Apparently the risk of TB had been considered so low in recent decades that it was easily missed, but the risk was increasing in recent years. The TB ward was in another part of the sanatorium, so Lucy didn't know much about it at all. She had overheard conversations with the staff about how many more rooms were having to be reopened in recent years, and how the San was recruiting for a new TB consultant. Dr Maynard's father had been the last full time TB specialist in the San, and he had died several years before. Since then there had been mainly doctors with mixed specialities, although apart from small teams in the Maternity and Accident and Emergency department their special interests were always Lung and Heart disease. The reputation for excellence in TB had remained, in part due to the continued work done in the developing world by the English branch of the San, and the requests for treatment were suddenly coming from all over Europe.

To the side of the clipping were more of the usual advert cards. Lucy had seen some of them in a few places around the Platz, and knew most of the people involved by sight now. Most of the adverts rarely changed, with health and beauty treatments, odd jobs and plumber's cards side by side. For some reason, Lucy had noticed, the postcards rarely stayed in the same place. It might be that the cafe staff moved them in their boredom, but Lucy wondered sometimes whether the owners of the cards were changing the position, fighting amongst themselves for the the most noticeable spots. As yet she had never been in the cafe when a postcard was moved, but the boredom of her days passed better with wondering each day whether today she would catch someone in the act, and have an answer to the mystery.

Only one thing seemed to have been updated, the faded old picture of an old inn had disappeared. There had been a battered postcard there with a "We are still open during the renovations" note hand written on it, and it was one of the few postcards that rarely moved. Now it had been replaced by a double sized professionally printed glossy card. The image from the old postcard was still on it, as part of the logo, but the rest was far clearer and brighter than any of the others.

Lucy knew there quite mixed views on this Auberge, depending on which Platz resident was talking, and sensed that it had been a hotly debated bit of news in this little community. From all that she could tell from local newsletters and overheard conversations, the Auberge had been a major draw for tourists in days gone by, but fallen into disrepair and lost business when the last owner had died, her English relatives having very little interest in it.
A local company called 'Pfieffstar Catering' owned the old inn site now, and until recently hadn't made many changes. However the next generation of the family had now taken the reins, and a few years earlier had put in for permission for a much larger and more modern building to be added onto the facade of the original inn.

As Lucy read the new advert, she wondered how big the Aubgere had been before, since the number of "attractions" seemed huge. She liked the sound of a museum and guided tours of the area, but wondered slightly at the sound of the "Echoing with excitement at every corner!" 3D interactive exhibit and film, and hang gliding simulator ride. Not that she objected to that sort of thing, but it seemed a bit strange to her to go halfway up a mountain and then do something inside.

She knew there had been campaigns against it and several objections. There was a lot of concern the area would become busier with a tourist attraction like this nearby. Similar regions nearby had become more and more developed, starting with new roads and buildings for the tourists, and the peace, wildlife and sense of community had gone forever. Lucy hoped that wouldn't happen here, as it was a very gentle place, with a quiet almost timeless atmosphere. She hadn't yet been to visit the Auberge, but she knew that many among the Platz residents considered it theirs, an extension of their own community.

On the other side of the debate was the fact that the area depended hugely on tourist trade for the local economy, and this would help a lot of the younger families be able to afford to stay in the area. There was always a supply of literary J M Bettany tourists, but they tended to be on the frugal side, and didn't have enough spare money to be spending on higher priced goods, although "M&M's" the local bookshop and internet cafe always did well. The owners (yet another set of twins, male and female this time) always made Lucy laugh, as they bickered amicably between them, as each of them sat on opposing sides of the debate. They clearly adored each other despite the arguing and they never seemed to mind if she sat in the cafe part for hours without buying anything.

The global recession had meant many people being forced to move down to the cities to find work, and those among the supporters of the new tourist scheme that hoped it would allow their families to stay in the area or even be able to move back. There was a real shortage of housing on the Platz and affordable properties were hard to find. She had overheard Felicity Maynard saying ruefully that it wasn't helped by the fact that quite a few of them, herself included had become household names over the years. Any one celebrity living nearby tended to increase desirability of an area, having a few all together made things even worse. Rich British and American people bought second homes in the area, pricing the locals out and causing huge frustration when they often only used the houses a few months of the year.

"Time to go, Lucy"

Her mother's voice suddenly from behind her, and she turned, surprised that she was back so quickly. No explanation was forthcoming, and she could tell that Mum was in no mood for questions, so she gathered her belongings and followed her out of the hospital, nodding goodbye to people as they went. The San was far smaller and friendlier than most hospitals Lucy had been to in England, and they had come to know many of the regular staff quite well.
End Notes:
The poster is lifted nearly word for word from an NHS poster I saw recently in an X ray department.
Chapter 13 by Beecharmer
Author's Notes:
Sorry, this took a little longer than planned to get on with an update, real life got in the way !
Lucy had to walk quite briskly to keep up with her mother, and didn't have time for much wondering, otherwise she would have noticed the frown on Mum's face, and probed more as to what was wrong. Instead she just wondered why they were leaving so early. She wouldn't have got an answer to either question, for it wasn't an emotion Mrs Douglas was able to articulate even to herself. Her husband had been barely able to communicate, but had managed to make his meaning perfectly clear. He didn't want them to come in the next day, said it was too tiring, and Nurse Mensch had for once backed him up. Normally she encouraged them to be there as often as possible, since she knew that it helped both patient and family. But the exhausted look of both mother and daughter was clear to everyone but themselves, and Nurse Mensch had come to know Mr Douglas well enough to know that he saw and understood far more than people assumed from his current drug induced state. It wasn't helping him to see his family so tired and drawn.

Mrs Douglas had been shocked to be told she wasn't wanted there, and set to argue, but quickly saw that it would do no good. If he didn't want visitors, the San staff would have to back him up, and she could do nothing about it. She was torn between secret relief at a day off, and feeling hurt and worried that he knew he was getting worse and was trying to keep them away at a critical time. She wanted to argue, insist that the routine, the superstitious rituals be kept, but she knew her husband had made up his mind, and would not agree. One of her biggest fears was having an argument, then him deteriorating, and never being able to make up. So she had taken the only option she could, and left early. Now she was outside, all the mixed feelings of exhaustion and panic that she had been suppressing with the rituals were attacking her, and she didn't know quite what to do with herself.

Once back at the rented chalet, she was short tempered and on the edge of tears. She didn't want to end up hurting Lucy, so after letting her know that the following day there were no visiting plans, she retired to bed, finally letting things out in a good cry, and falling asleep, both of which did far more to help her heal than the headache tablet she had intended to take.

The next day found Lucy at a loose end. Her mother clearly meant to rest in the chalet all day, and had no need for her company, so Lucy asked for permission to go for a full day walking. She was feeling the need for some exercise, and a change of scene. Once she had given a promise to remain on the marked paths only, and to be back by dark, her mother was happy enough to agree. Mrs Douglas was struggling to keep awake, and having Lucy out for the day would mean that she could rest and catch up with herself far more than is possible when anyone else was there. Once she was sure that Lucy had the first aid kit that she always insisted upon for a hike, she was happy enough to wave her daughter off and go back to her bed.

Lucy set off, music playing, feeling relaxed and happy. She had no specific plan in mind, but wanted to make the most of the day, so she made her way to the collection of small shops and cafes near the school. She remembered seeing an information stand with local walks and leaflets there, and decided to see what her best options were for a good walk and explore before she had to get back. She grabbed a handful, and then made her way to M&M's bookshop and cafe to look through them all.

Arriving at the cafe, she was surprised to see a "closed" notice in the doorway, since both owners were early risers and rarely shut their door. She slowly turned away and looked for a bench to sit on to check through her leaflets. As she did so, she heard her name being called and looked around in some confusion, since she could see no one around on the little square in front of the shops.

"Lucy! Up here !" The voice said finally, and Lucy looked up in some surprise at the window above M&M's cafe. One of the owners, Maeve, was waving out at her and beckoning for her to come nearer. Lucy smiled and made her way to just below the window.

"We aren't open today, sorry Lucy. Forgot to put a warning notice up, as nearly everyone knew we'd be busy today. Haven't seen you for a while, otherwise would have told you today was a holiday. Hope your dad is doing a bit better?"

Lucy was amazed at the way information seemed to pass round the Platz. She had enjoyed her times sitting in the cafe, listening to Maeve and Maurice bicker between them about the Auberge but mainly been a spectator, never mentioned her father or why she was there. Just as she was feeling a little exposed, wondering if EVERYONE knew their family situation, Maeve correctly interpreted her look of surprise and explained.

"Sorry Lucy, I've confused you! We've probably never explained who we are - the Maynards are our cousins, and we are part of the group that decides who deserves the Maynard scholarship. Was an easy decision with you, you'll fit in beautifully at the Chalet."

Lucy doubted that very much, but answered politely, thanking her for the scholarship and the compliment. Sharp eyed Maeve wasn't fooled for a moment, there was a clear flicker of animosity at the mention of the school. She could see that Lucy wasn't that happy about the plan, and in the family tradition of 'butting in', made up her mind to do something about it.

"Hold on for a moment." She disappeared inside the room and Lucy heard her call to her brother. "Mau! Let Lucy in, will you, I want to have a word with her without shouting our business all over the Platz."

Lucy heard a reply and a few minutes later found herself sitting at a table in the cafe, with Maeve smiling accross the table at her, and Maurice making a hot chocolate with marshmallows without even asking. Lucy was touched to realise that they remembered her favourite and even more when he refused payment and said not to be silly, it was a 'social call'.

"You look like you have plans for the day?" Maeve asked, indicating the piles of leaflets Lucy was still clutching.

"Dad needs a quiet day, and Mum is busy, so I was planning on a walk, but wasn't sure where to go. Can you suggest anywhere?"

"Easily! Come with us, it's the opening of the new Auberge. Nearly everyone from the Platz will be there, whether to enjoy the opening party, or like my curmudgeonly brother, complain about how much better things used to be!"

Lucy liked the idea of seeing a new part of the Platz, but was a bit shy about being invited along with the cafe owners. Maeve wasn't taking no for an answer however, and soon Lucy found herself walking along the path towards a gate she'd seen but always found locked before. It had been one of the questions she had been unable to answer about the Platz, since it had the initials G.P.M.R.S on, a time table that seemed to be only every third Sunday, and no indication what was behind the gate at all.

Today however it had a big notice on, and Lucy caught the words "Special event" and "Auberge" but was whisked past by Maeve and Maurice before she had a chance to properly see what the event was, or even get a clue as to what lay beyond the now open gateway.
Chapter 14 by Beecharmer
Author's Notes:
Sorry for such a delay, life really just ambushed me and though the first part of this has been written for ages the bunnies just haven't been willing to play till now. I've done quite a long update as it gets the story to a reasonable pausing point till I can get back to it properly and get Lucy into the school itself. Thank you for your patience with me taking ages !
Lucy didn't have to wait long to find out what the initials stood for, as a turn in the path quickly brought them to a beautifully decorated little station platform, and a huge sign with the words "Gornetz Platz Miniature Railway Society".

She was amazed to see just how many people were already there, collected in little groups chatting to each other, obviously waiting for something. What that was became obvious as a little quarter size steam engine came puffing around the corner and stopped in front of the platform, to cheers and whistles from the spectators. Lucy grinned, for it was a beautiful sight, and clearly newly renovated. The clouds of steam hid the engine cab initially, only to clear to show two drivers, one a white haired man in his seventies, the other Jack Lambert, a train driver's cap set jauntily on her head, and a giant smile on her face.

"All aboard!!" came a ringing cry from the other end of the platform, and Lucy nearly dropped her bag in surprise to see that it came from the actor she had just been reading about, Felix Maybeard. He was grinning from ear to ear, dressed as a train guard and clearly enjoying every opportunity to blow his whistle and use his booming voice to make passengers jump. She didn't have time to think about it for long however, as Maeve hurried her into a carriage just behind the engine, and they set off.

The little engine puffed it's way along, an occasional whistle as the cane to corners. Lucy was soon struggling to hide her giggles, as the two drivers were clearly both wanting to be the one who pulled the cord for the whistle, and kept nearly scrapping over whose turn it was. Maeve rolled her eyes and called forward to the pair.

"Honestly Steve, you two could be juniors, I hope at least ONE of you is looking where we are going !"

The man turned round to her and grinned, making the point that the train was on tracks, so they didn't need to know where it was going.

"You still need to see whether there is anything in the way !" Maeve returned smartly, and matched the grimace her cousin gave her before he turned back to at least occasionally looking forwards.

Lucy watched as the little tracks twisted and turned to make their way through the trees and gradually away from all the areas she was familiar with. She could tell that in distance they hadn't really gone that far, and it would have been far faster to walk, but this method was a lot more fun. They finally wended their way up to another little station platform, more decorated than the little halts that they had stopped for along the way.

"Thank you" she said shyly to Jack and Steve, and they grinned at her and hoped she enjoyed the day, before starting their preparations to turn the engine around for the return journey.

Lucy had to run slightly to catch up with Maeve and Maurice, who were bickering amicably about the new development already. Lucy was still a little unsure which side she supported, but she was inclined to feel that the Platz residents overall were supporting the new business. There were crowds of people queueing to enter the games centre and 3D film, and the Auberge itself had people crowded on every available table outside.

Maeve and Maurice were constantly being stopped to talk to friends and neighbours. Seeing the girl beginning to get a little fidgety, Maeve suggested to Lucy that she go and explore. The crowds were quite overwhelming just in front of the Auberge, so Lucy made her way to a quieter area to work out what she wanted to do first. There seemed to be a long queue over by the fencing in front of the Auberge, so she decided to wait a bit before investigating "The Echo Experience", and she wasn't particularly interested in the 3D film or hang-gliding ride. Just to one side was a queue that was much less busy at the moment, so she made her way over to the museum.

Most of the exhibits were much like any other museum, with explanations of the geography and geology of the area, information about historical events and various interactive exhibits to entertain children. It was the second half of the museum that Lucy found more interesting, given her recent explorations of the Platz and the people she had learnt about in her walk among the gravestone.

There was a display described as "Change comes to the Gornetz Platz" showing a small group of doctors and nurses standing outside a building that looked vaguely familiar. It took her a while to realise that it was the part of the San that now made up the visitor's cafe and staff offices. The buildings that surrounded that now had obviously been added over the years, but this must have been the original San, and these people the ones who had started it. She looked hard at the photos, wondering which one was Dr Maynard's father. She knew that his father had started the San, from the visitor information displays in the San, and had seen pictures of "Dr Jack" but it took a while to find him in the picture. Finally she found him, half hidden at the back of the group. A tall woman beside him was grinning at the camera and had her arm around his waist, and Lucy recognised the author J M. Bettany - or she supposed it must have been Maynard really.

The text explained how the area had been a ski resort until various weather and practical supply issues had made it uneconomical to continue. There had been some very difficult times until the Sanatorium had been set up, and the area had become famous as a place for a rest cure. The building of new roads, jobs provided by the San and then the school had revitalised the area, and allowed many local people to stay in the area rather than having to migrate to the towns for work.

The wall display beside was covered with copies of newspaper cuttings about famous patients and the work done by the surgeons towards beating TB and other lung diseases. Lucy noticed an article about a Mrs Carew, and guessed that it must be some relative of Dame Carew, which maybe explained her support of the San now.

Next to this was a panel commemorating JM Bettany, and discussing how her books had introduced a whole generation of children to the Alps, and how the area still had tourist visits regularly throughout the year. Lucy looked at the smiling face and could see some of the people she knew, Con and Len Maynard particularly had a look of their mother about them. She could see that Dr Geoff had his mother's smile however, and it made her sad to realise that he must still have been quite young when he lost his mother and twin sister.

The next few displays were about local mountaineering groups. Some of the names seemed familiar, and Lucy had quite a strange feeling, looking at photos of these people she had just been visiting in the graveyard, and realising just how long ago all of these things had happened.

Another display about geology of the mountainside followed into a collection of pictures and newspaper clippings about the 1967 mudslide. To one side of this was a screen, and Lucy tapped on it, to see what it would show. A picture of a very old battered looking book came up, with the title "We will remember" on the front. Swiping across the screen 'opened' the book and Lucy saw page upon page of tributes to those lost in the mudslide.

'Nell, can't believe you are gone. Godspeed my friend"

"Aunty Grizel, Uncle Neil and Nigel, sleep well and we will always miss you."

"Missing you always Janice, we will never forget you. "

"Blinky, all love, Mother"

"Miss Wilson, you helped me so much over the years, wishing you a peaceful rest now and can't quite believe this has happened. Tom"

"For my twin Dick, his wife Mollie as like a sister as anyone could be, and little Daphne. For friends who felt like family, and children I remember being born, there are just no words."

"In Memory of Nell, will be missed forever"

"Too many to list, love to you all and hope you are all at peace"

"Mum, Dad and Daph, we won't forget. Peggy, Rix, Bride, Maeve and Maurice. Xxx"

Lucy realised with a jolt that the twins who had been so nice to her had obviously had a major loss in the mudslide, which brought the impact of the event home to her all the more. These weren't just names, they were people, parents, children and siblings. She brushed away a tear and spoke to herself fiercely, making herself move on to a different display. It wasn't as if she knew these people after all, but her own worries and emotions were so near the surface, it was too much just now to read these things.

The next few displays were more positive, showing the growth of the School and the beginning of the movement of famous actors and actresses to the area, making this a fashionable part of Switzerland to live in. Lucy smiled to see pictures of Felicity Maynard dancing, she really hadn't changed much at all, except in hair colour and a few laughter lines.

The last personal display was about the Pfeiffen family, who had started Pfeiffstar industries and Lucy saw that yet again there was a connection with the School, a picture of the family matriarch mentioning her many years working at the school. Here again was another familiar name, as Karen's daughter had been able to start her catering business with a grant from the Helena Wilson foundation. The text explained that this was a trust set up on the death of the Headmistress, with the proceeds of her estate, since the original recipient hadn't wanted any of it herself. The foundation had helped many young women manage to make their plans a reality, and the Pfeiffen family had since topped up the funds and a proportion of any ticket sales went towards this and other local causes.

The last few displays were about the Auberge itself, and Lucy saw that it had been a tourist spot for many decades, due to the echo created by the position among the mountains. There were pictures of the run down old building, and plans of the new development, along with pictures of the work being done. There were some pictures of an original regeneration back in the 1980s, although on a much smaller scale than the current development. She was pleased to recognise Steve Maynard in one of the pictures, a hard hat on and clearly directing something on the site, completely unaware of the camera.

She left the museum, blinking as she went back out into the bright day. It was getting close to lunchtime, so the queue for the Echo Experience had gone down a bit. She joined the end and paid her ticket price. The queue wound back and forth between wooden fences, with "Did you know?" notices, adverts for other attractions and safety warnings every few metres. Finally she got to the last turn and came to a desk with a set of small cubby holes behind it. She gave in a part of her ticket, and was given the choice of a cow bell, xylophone or mini banjo. Slightly bemused, she chose the little xylophone and moved on to the next stage.

Now she understood the need for the high fences, as the noise from so many people experimenting with the echos would have swiftly driven other visitors mad. She listened to children shouting, other's yodelling, and some fairy music played by the various musical instruments before it was her turn. She moved into position and tentatively hit the xylophone keys. The few notes came back amplified and converted to almost mystical tones, and she spent a merry few minutes experimenting before giving up her space to the next person.

She was starting to be hungry now, and decided to see what the meal options were. She had some sandwiches with her, but a drink and some hot food might be nice. She went in the door of the Auberge, and paused just inside the entrance, disorientated by how big the new complex was inside. It had been cleverly designed so that it seemed you were entering a small old fashioned inn, but once through the door the buildings attached to the old facade clearly went a fair distance back into the mountainside. There was a gift shop, cafe and restaurant all centred around a collection of central tables. She didn't have long to look, as all of a sudden Maeve appeared at her shoulder, and insisted on getting her some lunch.

"Our own grandchildren aren't here very often Lucy, let us treat you a little" she said, and steered the girl over to a little group in the corner. Lucy smiled shyly at the people there, not sure what to say. Next to Maurice was a middle aged couple with a daughter. Maurice was too busy complaining about how commercialised everything was to the adults to introduce her, but Lucy quickly gathered that this was another part of Maeve and Maurice's family.

"Now calm down Uncle Mo, it's not that bad"

"Not that bad? Have you seen the plastic toys and those garish magnets? It's madness, real madness..."

The woman was clearly trying to get a break in the conversation to say hello properly to Lucy, but unsuccessfully. Her daughter however seemed to be able to tune her great uncle out better, and stuck a hand out to shake, with a cheery

'Hello, I'm Peg, nice to meet you.'

"Lucy. I mean, I'm Lucy, nice to meet you too." Lucy replied in some confusion.

The girl had seemed to be younger than her, but now she was nearer she wasn't so sure. She was very fair, and Lucy could see similarities with Maeve and with the lady sitting next to her, who finally managed to make a break in the conversation and introduce herself.

"Hello Lucy, nice to meet you. I'm Mary, and this is my husband Peter. We're here to visit family and drop this terror off ready for school."

Maurice realised finally that he had been rude and added here the fact that Lucy was going to be going the school, and that they thought she probably would be in Peg's class.

"Oh really? That'll be good, our form is far too small at the moment, we really need some fresh faces!" Said Peg cheerily. "How old are you? 15 ? Same as me then ! Sure you'll be with us, you don't look like you'd be a dud."

Lucy wasn't quite sure what a dud was, but she guessed it was a compliment that Peg didn't think she was one. This was something she was to find time and time again in the Chalet school. So many of the girls were third or fourth generation in their family to be Chalet girls that they were surrounded by similar people and words, so the slang of their grandparents had held on within the school even while the outside world had moved on.

"Have you tried the echos?" Peg was chattering happily on, not noticable needing replies. "It's fun isn't it? We haven't been able to come up here in recent years as the building work has taken so long, but I remember coming up when I was a junior, it was great."

Maeve by now had returned with food and drinks, and the conversation moved on to the amount of people at the open day. Lucy sat quietly eating, listening to the family bickering and teasing, and then being told all sorts of unrememberable facts about her future school and form group. She could tell that Peg was a chatterbox, but she seemed friendly enough, and at least she would know one person at the school.

The rest of the day passed in a bit of a blur, as once Peg had taken her under her wing Lucy was taken round everything with a running commentary. They all went on for a walk on a very narrow path, the view slightly spoiled by rigid safety fences - although from the stories Maeve was telling about girls nearly ending up falling over it was perhaps a good thing!

It seemed barely any time at all before it was starting to get dark and the elders suggested it was time to go back. They reached the little station just as dusk was falling, and just managed to catch the last train back. The station was lit up by fairy lights, and the train had several wrapped around it too, so it was quite a magical feeling.

It wasn't Jack or Steve driving this time, but was clearly another member of the extended family, as Peg launched herself at the driver and convinced him to let them go in the cab on the way back. It was quite a squash but great fun.

Back on the Platz Lucy thanked them all politely and promised to meet up with Peg soon to look around the school. She made her way back home to find her mother far more rested and more herself than she had been for some time. She was very pleased with the little gift Lucy had bought her from the gift shop, and the pictures Lucy had taken. It reminded her of stories her grandmother had told her about being at school in the Alps in Austria, and they had a cosy evening talking about everything Lucy had learnt about the are.

It had been a lovely day, and one that Lucy would remember for a long time.
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