It was an overcast Saturday afternoon in late September, which threatened rain. While the Chalet School's finishing branch was getting under way at Welsen in Switzerland, the main part of the school had finally returned to Plas Howell, which they now owned, after a massive overhaul of the drains. Madge had also taken the opportunity to carry out several other repairs and/or improvements, like replacing very old and dangerous wiring in some parts of the house. Most notably, they had dug an outdoor swimming pool which was fed by a channel from the nearby river and heated by turbines. She had considered having the school's badge set into the bottom, but thought it would look a bit silly. So the pool just had plain blue tiles.
Ruth Barnes and Lesley Malcolm were sitting in their freshly painted and refurbished common room just as the rain began to tip down. There were a lot of girls in there, getting increasingly bored with their various activities like board games and somewhat fractious. Katharine Lucy, the form prefect, had gone to the splashery, for a slow crap and book read in the cubicle. So the duet rushed off before she came back, determined to do something daring.
Both had been there before the St Briavel's move, and remembered the way through the rather confusing corridors. Fortunately they met no-one else and after a stop at a cloakroom to get their raincoats, went outside through a side door.
"What are you up for?" said Ruth.
"Whatever it is, I bet you a shilling you won't do it" said Lesley skeptically.
"If you wimp out, I won't be your friend anymore and will spread it around. I'll bet you too" Ruth said more aggressively.
"Ok let's shake hands and swear on guides honour (which they did). What are we going to do?" Lesley said, looking anxious.
"Well, I've always wanted to roll all the way down the hill, preferably avoiding any of the shelters. You?"
"I'll dive into the swimming pool fully clothed if you do that, perhaps can finally master the technique. Swimming in open water is different and I've never been allowed to visit the public pool at home in the holidays because of the polio risk"
"So let's do it"
Ruth continued straight on, while Lesley went left.