After her somewhat traumatic time travelling adventures in the 1st term of boarding school, Charlotte Makepeace had never wanted anything like that again, especially now she was in the fifth and a form prefect, with her sister Emma a form below. But one very hot summer day in 1975 whilst diving for a brick during a lifesaving session wearing jeans and t-shirt in her London boarding school's outdoor swimming pool, the bottom suddenly opened up as the other girls and mistress watched in horror. She was in a dormitory in the Chalet School, in the Tyrol in 1941, a slightly different one. Thanks to the death of Hitler by a random bomber in Munich, the Nazi takeover of Austria had never been attempted, with an agreement signed instead. Like in Germany, the Austrian fascist-style regime resembled the Spanish one, only slightly more liberal than either. The school was allowed to remain and not forced to speak only German, but all teaching was quite strictly government-controlled and subject to periodical inspections. Even French democracy was very precarious and there were international tensions. The staff were seriously considering moving to England.
It was the early evening, and very sticky after a long summer day. Thekla Von Stift had just been permitted to come upstairs due to a summer cold, looking for a handkerchief. She was not altogether pleased to see Charlotte, who had somehow shed her modern clothes for the brown CS uniform.
"What on earth are you doing here, I've never seen you before?"
"Oh sorry, I'm Lottie from a 1970s English school, this is very weird"
"So it is. You had better see the headmistress immediately"
Thekla frogmarched Charlotte down to the Head's room, where she was just finishing her after-dinner kaffee and listening to classical music on a bulky radio set.
Mlle. Lepâttre looked amazed as well and said nothing. Charlotte was struggling to maintain her composure.
Thekla introduced her, in heavily accented English.
“This is Charlotte, she appeared here from nowhere and claims to be from the future”. Lottie introduced herself.
“What is your school like?”
“It’s a nice place really, we even have a television room now”
“Like the radio, but with pictures as well as words broadcast on a screen, in colour now too”
“I’ve vaguely heard of that being invented, the wireless is full of propaganda nowadays. Our school was mostly nice for years, but the fascist takeover has ruined it and we may leave Austria altogether”
“Oh right, I’ve read the Chalet School book where you were already forced out by a full German invasion”
“How strange, we’re trying to stand firm but that would have been intolerable. Anyway, perhaps something has brought you here, you can stay until you find a way to return perhaps”
Thekla demonstrated the curtsey to Charlotte and she repeated, thanking the head before leaving the room.