Allie woke up early that Tuesday morning. Thinking she would make the best of it, she got up and went for a good wash. She returned just as the morning bell rang and the girls groaned about getting up 'soooo early'. Allie sympathized - she hated to get up during the winter months - but carried on with her duties: dressing, brushing her hair, and making the bed being among them.
After performing these duties, Allie sped off out of the dormitory down into the grounds where there were some girls already. Allie didn't know that you had to get permission first before going out in the early morning, but it wasn't very well-regulated as girls couldn't go off-site anyway. The Chalet School had avoided some Health and Safety rules because it never was a problem (plus its fictional slant may have done a little to help). Allie had a run, a sprint, and a hop, and came in bounding, ready to take on the day.
She rejoined her dormitory and went down to breakfast, starving. There were cereals or toast or porridge on offer. Allie hated porridge, but ate some toast and some cornflakes, washing it all down with orange juice, and following up with an apple.
Then it was to the form rooms. The girls had their own pencil cases, with pens and things, but they were in the trunks that were to be unpacked that Thursday morning. Lower IVc had the newbie teacher Miss Peak, part of the Geography department. She had been helped by Kathie Ferrars, who, although she was mainly a Maths teacher, also taught Geography to younger students when help was required. Her partner Nancy Wilmot headed the Maths department, and there were four other maths teachers besides, but for now we needn't worry about them, for Allie at the moment had Miss Ferrars for that. And now after this ramble that may prove of use or not, let us get started with the events of that day.
Miss Peak first took register. Smiling when she got down to one of the names, she called out, "Allie," and that young damsel replied, "Yes, miss!"
Allie was sent off to the head's office and Jenna ended up being dragged along by her. Jenna had to shout "Wrong direction!" every time Allie tried to go in the wrong direction - which was very often - and also had to rush faster than she was used to, which got her cheeks red and her breath limited. She was glad when they got to the head's office, and had to wait in line behind the new girls. None of them were 11, that being the main entry age, although younger students did attend, and were waiting.
Time passed slowly for Allie waiting in that queue. Patience wasn't her best point and she did several things to stave off the long time in that line, not really wanting to talk in that oppressive silence. She hopped around the room twice, she did forward rolls and handstands, she jumped to see how high she could reach. Finally finally finally finally eventually finally finally finally finally finally at last and finally she was first in the queue and got into the office.
"Hello, Miss Annersley," Allie said.
"Good morning Allie," the Abbess said, with eyes that seemed brown today, still not needing glasses.
The talk wasn't a particularly satisfying one for the long wait. At the end, Allie did a twirl and a bow and whirlwinded out of the office, taking Jenna's hand and dragging her back down to the form room.
Miss Annersley smiled and changed her coloured contact lenses to her usual blue. She had found the conversation between herself and Allie stimulating, almost overwhelmingly so. It was nice to see a new girl who seemed so settled in this early, although it was also unnerving.
After not long in the form room, Allie and the others were called on to unpack. Allie in her cubey would have been happy to ram everything in where it went in, but the driblet of common sense she had said it was unlikely that it would be acceptable for her to do so, so she carefully and tidily put things in their correct places. She put a photo on top of the dresser, looked at it, and let a single tear roll down her cheek and splash onto the picture. Then, shaking herself, she put away a few more things, took out a bag and a pencil case, deposited her trunk where everyone else in her dormitory did, and galloped back to the form room.
No-one was there. Miss Peak had gone off to do unpacking inspections of her form's unpacking. Allie hadn't known that she'd had to stay, so she hadn't. Instead, she sat at her desk and positioned herself ready for whatever came next.
Miss Peak found it difficult to accept that Allie was a new girl. That girl seemed so settled, she thought, passing inspection on Katrina's drawers. Not scared, not frightened, not moping in the background like other newbies. She wasn't any more excited than anyone else, either, although it was hard to tell with all of that boundless energy.
Checking the unpacking was a dull job, but it had to be done, and so she let girls go one at a time back to the form room.
Katrina got back first (but after Allie, obviously). Seeing Allie, she hissed "What are you doing here, idiot?"
"Err... sitting, breathing..."
"Miss Peak is inspecting our drawers and we're supposed to stay until she's done ours," Katrina said. "Go, quick, to your cubey, hurry - she won't be impressed if you aren't there!"
Alert, Allie sped off quicker than usual, hoping to beat time.
"Do you think she'll be any good at sport?" asked another girl, who'd also been released.
"If she is," Katrina replied, "Then we have a good chance at winning the Sports Tournament this year."
Allie did just about make it in time, and she sat on the edge of the bed to let the air back into her lungs.
"You know you're not supposed to sit on the bed, don't you?"
"No," Allie jumped right off of the bed as if it was on fire and spikes had suddenly come out of it.
"Well, it's only the beginning of term," Miss Peak grinned.
The inspection was far quicker than it had been for anyone so far - evidently some of the pupil's energy had rubbed off on the mistress - and at the end Allie whizzed off again back to the form room. Her spot had been taken by someone Allie didn't know, but she didn't mind particularly. She sat near Katrina and Jenna.
"Hey Kat, hey Jen," she said. "What's next on the agenda?"
"Assignment of lockers, and the handout of Prep diaries and notebooks," Katrina said.
"And timetables," Jenna added.
Miss Peak entered the room and everyone shut up.
"I will be giving locker keys and timetables out one at a time," Miss Peak said. "Meanwhile, Xanthe, would you give out these, please, and Helen, if you give out these, that will be very much appreciated. Girls, make sure you write your names and forms on these. If Margaret would come to the front first, please?"
A low mutter tore over the class again.
"That's Helen?" asked Allie.
"Yep," Jenna said. "She comes last in the register, poor thing,"
"And Xan's second-last," added Katrina.
After all of everything was sorted out, it was break. Lessons began at 8:30 each day usually and ended at 12:30 for lunch, with a quarter of an hour for break at 10:00. Each lesson was three quarters of an hour. Lunch was half an hour, followed by any of the following: PE, Drama, Music, Art, Cooking, Needlework, Technology (Woodwork etc.), or extras. Extra coaching was also in these times for weaker pupils. Plenty of the Middles just had the main seven, and, apart from PE, they were once a week. PE was twice a week, and was totally compulsory, but if a student had guardian permission, and also wished to cancel any of the others, it was permitted, although only one could be dropped. The normal route added up to 8 out of 15 sessions a week - in the others, you were trusted to get on with some prep - most people didn't bother - or at least not disrupt anyone else's classes.
At 4, there was a break which ran for an hour. Drinks and biscuits and other food stuffs were available but non-compulsory. This was a popular time for clubs and societies to run. Some of the clubs, such as the STEM club, were organised by the teachers, but others, such as the Book club and most of the Sports clubs, were run by Prefects and other students. The teachers liked to let students have the hold over the clubs, but some clubs either needed an instructor or needed someone on hand to make sure that disaster didn't happen. Anyone had the power to start up a club, which often meant that they started but got discontinued. After this break it was Prep time until supper - 6 for the Juniors and 7 for the Middles and Seniors. Middles went to bed at 9 and Seniors at 10, Seniors were allowed to do any prep, work, or revision until 9, but no longer than that.
Allie spent her break with Jenna and Katrina and after that lessons would be in order, but for now they chatted away, Allie doing the occasional sprint up and down to release some of her infinite energy.
After Break on a Thursday came some English with Miss Derwent. Exercise books were given out first, and English books were blue - the exercise books were colour-coded so that it was easier for girls to retrieve the right books. They were instructed to put their names and forms - and yes, there were a mixture of Lower IV-ites in there - and to put English and Set 2 on them. Jenna and Katrina were in a different set, and Allie had two Lower IVb pupils on each side. The one on her left punched the air and high-fived her friend at this, while the one on her right groaned loudly.
They went over some grammar that lesson, specifically word classes. It was expected that they knew these, evidently, and Allie threw herself into work. She was so eager she almost tore through the paper, but somehow it managed to hold together. She noted the Prep on the day it was due - to revise and make sure to know the word classes - put her stuff into her bag, and moved off to the labs for Science.
Science exercise books were green and they also got textbooks. This time, for Set 1. This session was to be known as their 'practical' session and so was a double, but today they couldn't do an experiment mostly because it was their first session and so nothing along those lines had been planned. They went over the lab safety instead "For our new girls," Davida Armitage had explained, glancing at Allie and another girl, "and also for those who might have forgotten," specifically in Jenna's direction. Jenna made a face behind Miss Armitage's back.
"Just because of last term," she grumbled.
It wasn't particularly fun but it had to be done, and at the end they were told to make a poster of one of the safety rules for Prep. And now it was time for food - or, Lunch.
Allie walked with Jenna to lunch, meeting up with Katrina on the way. Katrina was evidently pleased at the moment, for she had got into the top English set. Jenna's place, Allie learned, was on the brink between the middle and bottom sets.
They ate gladly, their morning's work having made them suitably hungry for this delicious spread, and all in a magic puff of enjoyment it became time to head up to get their kit and down to the changing rooms for PE.
"Now we'll get to see if Al is any good at this," muttered Katrina to the girl she'd seen that morning.
Miss Fletcher, Miss Simons and Miss Austin first sent them for a jog around the field. The Lower IV collectively groaned and went for the lap. This proved to Katrina and other girl; I'm fed up of calling her 'other girl' so I'll give her the name of Ashley; that Allie was no good long-distance. Allie hated jogging, with her it was usually fast pace or no pace and jogging was slow pace, so she disliked it.
They then performed stretches, static, each one for 10-15 seconds. After stretching came some exercises, catching and throwing. Katrina and Ashley worked hard and forgot about Allie, intent on catching the ball and throwing it well.
Then came a rounders match, well, a couple of simultaneous matches, half of each form group against the other half at first. Somehow, Katrina, Ashley and Allie all were on the same side while Jenna was on the other.
Allie turned out not to be very good at rounders. She was enthusiastic, but she never caught the ball even when it was thrown to her and when she got it she threw it so badly that it may well have been faster for the recipient to run to her and be given it. Katrina and Ashley hoped that maybe she was a good batsman as a saving grace.
But here again they were to be disappointed. Each of them had two goes at batting. The first time, Allie missed, tried for first post, and got stumped out. The second time, she managed to hit the ball quite well, but was so surprised she almost forgot she had legs! When she realised she was supposed to run, she ran like a leopard on steroids and managed a run, but it was unnecessarily close. They gave up, but hoped secretly that it was just a bad day or lack of practice, rather than inability.
Straight after PE came art. Another new teacher to the school, a Mr Ogleby, took art - mostly instructed by Ros Yolland. The CS kept a one-term contract for new teachers to get a feel of how they were before accepting them or rejecting them. This guy was going to be rejected when that time came, but no-one knew that yet, and so the girls waited anxiously to see what he was like.
"Girls," he said. "Today you will draw this,"
He lifted a blanket-sheet-type-thing to reveal a plastic bowl of fruit. "Go," he said.
The girls all tried their hardest at it so that they'd impress this new teacher. But, the first time he came around the room, it seemed obvious that they just weren't going to get the grade. He criticized each and everyone's drawings for every tiny little imperfection. Allie came under an average amount of criticism, she thought, not really noticing that anyone got any more than what she did. But Allie wasn't bothered. To her, Art was just a waste of time and she never really bothered to hide that opinion, instead, she just grimaced and got on with it, making it worse than ever before. Each time he got around to her, the criticisms list just got longer and longer, until it was time to go.
"Thank goodness that's over," Jenna said, as they headed to the common room with some free time. "That man is just so... so..."
"Ridiculous? Worthless? Nasty?" Katrina said. "All he did was criticize my work and make me feel I'm rubbish at Art even when I know I'm average,"
"It looked like he was reciting the Bible to you, Allie," Jenna said. "What he said just went on and on and on,"
"Did it? I didn't notice," Allie replied, calmly. "I bet the nicest Art teacher in the world would have issues with me, though, so I don't really care. Most of that stuff just washed over me,"
"I bet it did," Katrina said. "Ah, well, shall we do some prep? And then have a very empty time of Prep?"
Jenna and Allie agreed.