- Text Size +

Author's Chapter Notes:
This presumes the School was still in Armishire in 1948 based on Carola's statement that she was born in March 1936 and was nearly 15 when she arrived on the island

November 1948:

“Oh, it's lovely to be driving this beautiful old girl down an Armishire country lane again!” carolled Meg Kelly.

“To which beautiful old girl do you refer, Dr Kelly?” asked her companion with a mischievous grin.

“I was referring to this stately shooting-brake, Mrs Buchanan! For one thing, she is a lot easier to control than you – ouch, be careful, you daft besom,” as Gren poked her sharply in the ribs, “you'll have us in the ditch! However, it is good to be driving you around, though you're more sober than you usually were in days of yore!”

“Cheeky! Still, we did have some good times though, didn't we?” returned Gren. “Despite all the bull and the boredom we managed to keep ourselves amused!”

“We did, indeed!” agreed her friend. “Of course, in those days we were young, daft and a long way from home!”

“The Chalet crowd weren't far from home – or at least not from authority, anyway. If Hilda and Nell knew the half of it...........to say nothing of Matey!”

“I think Matey knew a lot more than she ever let on,” laughed Meg. “According to Jesse James, she was a bit of a flamer in her young days! And Nell had her moments.....”

“So did Hilda, if you come to that.” mused Gren. “Do you remember the night she had to be carried out of the Black Swan? Granted, she had turned her ankle, but if she hadn't been determined to put that Yank colonel in his place she wouldn't have been trying to prove she could still do a pirouette! I think it's a bit dull for them all these days. Hilary was saying in her last letter that now that both Mary and Gillian are engaged she has a hard time getting them the length of the cinema far less to even the most respectable dance and Grizel seems to have retreated into her shell again. I don’t understand that woman; she's obviously unhappy with her job so why the heck she doesn't do something about it is beyond me. You would think some of Skinny's gumption would have rubbed off on her!

“It’s not so much a lack of gumption as the inertia of comfort, I think!” said Meg thoughtfully. “Grizel has always had three square meals a day and a comfortable bed to sleep in and she does know that the Chalet School folk care about her. When Dolly Skinner went from the orphanage into service she was kept so hungry that she ate the stale bread she was supposed to throw out for the birds! On her first afternoon off she went into a café which had a Help Wanted card in the window, found the owner struggling to cope with a lunchtime crowd, mucked in and ended up with a job and a shakedown bed under the stairs. Grizel probably won’t move until the proverbial knight on a white charger happens along or someone hands her an attractive job on a plate. Rosalie used to be quite a keen dancer though?”

“Hmm, yes, Rosalie..............” Gren’s voice tailed off.

“What does that cryptic remark mean?”

“I meant to mention it earlier but we got so caught up in other things. It's just that when my parents went to the Savoy for their anniversary lunch last month who should they bump into but Rosalie and....guess who?

“How should I know? She was never short of a dance partner but there was nothing serious that I saw. In fact, the only man she seemed to spend any time..............Gren, you are not telling me that Rosalie was at the Savoy with Spooky Morrell?” gasped Meg.

“The very man! Maman did say that though Rosalie looked startled to see them, and a little embarrassed, she did not pick up any hint of amour – and Maman is very good at that. Spooky, of course, was cool as a cucumber. That man wouldn't bat an eyelid if his trousers fell down while the King was dubbing him knight!”

Meg chuckled. “I wonder what their connection is. We always knew he was Intelligence - and probably he still is - and she did seem to do a lot of typing for him during the war. There was always more to Rosalie than met the eye. I remember how well she frustrated the infamous Miss Bubb’s efforts to find out details of the Chalet School’s finances! Do you think she's still working for Spooky?”

“Who knows? I asked Uncle Jerome but he just shrugged and said he knew nothing. As usual! Still, I am looking forward to seeing everyone if I am not looking forward to doing this wretched talk! When I told them we had finally got permission to take the car to Scotland and would like to call in and see them on the way home I didn't expect to have to give a version of my wartime experiences as a prelude to their Remembrance Services!”

“I don’t know why you are complaining! At Hilda’s behest, I have to talk to the Seniors and to the domestic staff about the National Health Service. I didn’t bother to tell her that Megan and co will know all about it and will have probably already used it. I had a quick check to make sure I was au fait with the system south of the border so I suppose I’ll be fine with most questions even from Special Sixth.”

“What is the difference? I know it's separate but linked.”

“Nothing that much matters, mostly administrative. We followed the Highlands and Islands Service more closely and, of course, Tom Johnston had set up the Emergency Hospital Service during the War. And here we are at Plas Howells! Round to the kitchen?”

“Where else?”


“Dr Meg! And Miss Gren!” Megan’s smile was wide and welcoming. “A sight for sore eyes you are! Miss Annersley asked me to bring in tea as soon as you arrived. She is in the library so, Gwladys cariad, put the kettle on then come and show the ladies your new spectacles!”

A blushing Gwladys came forward to show off her plain but useful glasses! “They are wonderful, Dr Meg, I can read labels on the highest tins in the larder and the paper is no bother.” she confided, “and I am on the list to have my adenoids out!”

Meg and Gren complimented Gwladys on her new look, and, promising to come back for a proper chat later, went to seek Hilda Annersley.

“I rest my case!” smirked Meg as she shut the kitchen door.



Enter the security code shown below:
Note: You may submit either a rating or a review or both.