Houses on Guernsey
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#1: Houses on Guernsey Author: RobLocation: Currently in a rainstorm PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 3:26 pm
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I was just wondering whether it is ever explicitly stated what happened to Sarres, Bonne Maison and Les Rosiers when the school, Joey and Madge etc left Guernsey?

IIRC Sarres certainly, was supposed to have been purchased by the Russells for the school, it having previously been empty and for sale for ages - presumably, even now that it had been 'done up' they would have found it difficult to sell with the German invasion imminent? I suppose the other two could have been rented perhaps? *ponders*

The Lucys and Chesters etc all move back to Guernsey when the war ends so presumably they didn't sell/lose Les Arbres etc despite their absence from Guernsey during the occupation, so what about the houses of the clans?

In At War/Goes To It Plas Howell was supposed to be offered as a tempoary home for the school during the war, the school was supposed to be now based on Guernsey - Jem was even supposed to be re-opening the San on the island. I therefore wonder why EBD didn't move the school back to Guernsey when the war was over, I suppose it must be the old argument that she preferred a fictional location for the school, but given her fondness for Guersey this does quite surprise me.

#2:  Author: JennieLocation: Cambridgeshire PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 3:56 pm
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It's a brilliant question, Rob, I just wish I knew the answer.

#3:  Author: PatLocation: Doncaster PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 5:41 pm
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Guernsey is never mentioned as a possible place after the War, not even when the drains went bad and they needed to find somewhere fast. It seemed to have completely slipped EBD's mind that they had only gone to Plas Howells for the duration.

#4:  Author: SugarLocation: second star to the right! PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 9:09 pm
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Does seem odd that it slipped her mind. My School relocated to a stately home in the war( not that I was there at the time lol) but then moved to its present location in 1945 and has been there ever since. I would have presumed he Howells would have wanted Plas Howell back just as much as the people who lent my school their country seat in Warwickshire...unless of course the rent/rates the school paid made it worthwhile.

#5:  Author: jenniferLocation: Taiwan PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 1:44 am
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It does appear that the Howells don't want the property after the war - it is too big, and requires too much maintenance for just two people. I think they sell it when the school moves to St Briaval's permanently.

It would be harder to move back to Guernsey after the war. The San is now firmly established in Wales and the school has a mainly English student body. The school is also a lot bigger than it was during the Guernsey moves - it was down to 50 when they moved there, and they moved again less than a year later. By the end of the war they were up to around 200 again, and mainly British girls (I do wonder where they put the extra 150 girls + mistresses in the Howell's house).

The Island move was temporary and I suspect got rather wearing after a few years. Finding visiting mistresses would be harder, and the school is cut off from the mainland in bad weather. Moving to Carnbach put them in a much more convenient place, and they could buy there. When they moved to Switzerland it was a new branch, so they didn't have to move all the school fixtures, and parents who didn't want to move their girls out of England could keep them at the old branch - the school in Switzerland starts out fairly small too.

#6: Re: Houses on Guernsey Author: CarolineLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 8:43 am
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Rob wrote:
I was just wondering whether it is ever explicitly stated what happened to Sarres, Bonne Maison and Les Rosiers when the school, Joey and Madge etc left Guernsey?.


Simple answer is, I don't think we're ever told.

More complicated answer: Regarding the various houses, I'm not sure it's actually stated that they bought any of them. Certainly, I had always assumed they were renting or leasing the family homes - doesn't Jo talk about wanting to leave one house and take another which was closer to Madge (when she could find something suitable)? That suggests renting to me.

The Sarres conversation is ambiguous. Considering that it's been empty for years and they are going to do it up, you would think they have bought it - otherwise, surely they are throwing money away on the renovations - but no-one ever actually says "we've bought it", which makes it all very vague. The San, I suspect they have bought, the way Jem clings on to it and won't leave even when everyone else has gone.

Quote:
I therefore wonder why EBD didn't move the school back to Guernsey when the war was over, I suppose it must be the old argument that she preferred a fictional location for the school, but given her fondness for Guernsey this does quite surprise me.


Maybe, when she had got them to England, she realised that Guernsey didn't offer enough scope for school adventures, or felt that she had rather 'been there, done that', after all the La Rochelle books. Or she forgot all about it....

#7:  Author: KarryLocation: Stoke on Trent PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:17 am
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Wasnt there a conversation about the Christies wanting the Big house back, and it was then that Ernest Howells sold Plas Howell to the Nuns for an old people's home? That was when the conversation started about switzerland.

#8:  Author: RayLocation: Bristol, England PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:45 am
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jennifer wrote:
(I do wonder where they put the extra 150 girls + mistresses in the Howell's house).


I get the impression (particularly from the whole "prefects all having studies" thing) that Plas Howell was a huge rambling stately home rather than just a very large house. There's certainly various comments here and there about not using all the rooms which suggests a building vastly bigger than the original Chalet.

Ray *who personally thinks that the CS tends to exist in L space by and large* *which would also explain the expandable cars that pop up!*

#9:  Author: Mrs RedbootsLocation: London, UK PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 2:26 pm
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jennifer wrote:
It does appear that the Howells don't want the property after the war - it is too big, and requires too much maintenance for just two people. I think they sell it when the school moves to St Briaval's permanently.


This happened to an awful lot of "big houses" after the war, especially those that were requisitioned. Beth and Daisy are right when they tell Gwensi that she should think herself lucky that something as relatively harmless as a school took over Howells. Many houses were all but destroyed by the troops billetted in them, and, of course, materials and money for repairs were in very short supply for many years after the war finished. Think how the Christies were not living in the Big House on St Briavels - presumably for just such a reason. I always found the restoration of his family fortunes one of EBD's most improbable plot lines!

#10:  Author: RobLocation: Currently in a rainstorm PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:50 pm
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Some very interesting points. Having dug out my copy of Exile here are some quotes to mull over:

Quote:
[Madge is speaking to Joey] 'Jem heard of an old house that might be made habitable. Its not far from Jerbourg, where they intend to have the Sanitorium. Its been empty for years, and is rather in a derilict condidtion. But Jem went over it yesterday, and he says it can be put into order, and the grounds are good. Of course it'll have to be a small beginning, as Con Stewart suggests' ... 'What is the name of the house, by the way? Do I know it?' 'You've passed it mant times, its Sarres, that big old place' 'What? The Moated Grange! My dear, its a wreck! However can you put it in order? 'Tisn't as if money was awfully plentiful at present, you know. We've lost a good deal over the Sonnalpe.' 'No; but Jem says that it's not so bad inside as outside, The structure is in pretty good repair, and we must just do it as cheaply as we can'


Quote:
[Sarres] was very large, with big rooms, and a good number of them, downstairs. The bedrooms were smaller, but there were two storeys of them, besides the attics, which would make good domestic staff quarters.


Quote:
'It might be worse,' said Jo critically, as, with Robin and Daisy hanging on either arm, she made a tour of the place. The dining-room is quite nice, and so is Hall. A bit small if we grow in Tyrol; but thats not so very likely. There's any amount of room at present, anyhow. And we can always build, I suppose. The ground's there. Of course, building is what you'd call expensive in these parts'


You're right Caroline, it seems to be worded quite carefully to avoid saying 'bought', though whether or not they did is ambigious!

I hadn't considered that Sarres might not be big enough for the school after the war, although the third quote would certainly back that up - however the suggestion of building makes me think they must have owned the place. (Having said that I seem to remember they rented the original Chalet and despite never apparently buying it, eventually build onto and around it and then sold the lot to Mr. Flower!!)

As regards Plas Howell, Ernest Howell actually seems to sell it twice!!

This is from Changes:

Quote:
[Bride is speaking] 'Oh, didn't you know? I would have thought that Gwensi would have written to your Beth. She wrote to Daisy Venables and Daisy told us when she was staying with us for Easter. Mr Howell has sold it. It's a convent now - or going to be, anyhow. The Little Sisters of the Poor and they're turning part of it into a home for old folk who can't manage by themselves.


But this is Carola:

Quote:
[The speaker is Miss Wilson] ‘Whatever we do finally, there will always be part of the School in England now. Nothing’s settled about the Oberland yet, though we can have Frau Hessell’s house, Frieda says and welcome. It’s quite a big place and we could build on to it in time. A portion of the School will be here for years to come, though, and now the Russells have brought Plas Howell from Ernest Howell, the school is definitely fixed there.’


Rolling Eyes Laughing

#11:  Author: LizBLocation: Oxon, England PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:22 pm
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I think there is a mention somewhere that Madge had bought the chalet from Herr Braun - but I can't remember where it says it or when she bought it. I know he dealt with a lot of the early building bits himself - I think in Princess it mentions that he has ideas to do one or two things for them.

#12:  Author: Alison HLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 8:21 pm
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Never really thought about it before, but I'm surprised they didn't consider moving back to Guernsey when they had to leave Plas Howell. EBD hadn't really "done" Guernsey thoroughly with the CS - all that potential for accidents on the rocks and in the sea! And then she could have moved the San back there too: the absence of doctors when the School moves to St Briavel's always seems odd Laughing .

I assume that the buildings in Guernsey just got conveniently forgotten about, like Madge and Joey's aunts in England whom they never visit after the early Tyrol books, and various other things/people!

#13:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:09 pm
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Though of course, Rob, those two quotes are the other way round - Carola being before Changes - way I see it Rev Howells could have decided to sell to the Russells then, when the School was moving to Switzerland, he got a better offer and the Russells were pleased to pull out of the sale! At least - that's how I've written it in my next book! Laughing

#14:  Author: PatLocation: Doncaster PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:58 pm
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How's that going Lesley?

#15:  Author: KBLocation: Melbourne, Australia PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 10:52 pm
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Presumably the one sticking point with Guernsey was the three families EBD had established there in the La Rochelle books. If she took the school back there, she would have to take the Maynards (of course) and that would bring Joey up against Janie. She would either have to quell Janie, which would be a shame when she is such a lovely character in the later La Rochelle books, or have to get rid of her in some way. She certainly wouldn't be likely to leave Joey in the shade! And as Janie has no history with the Chalet School, she wouldn't fit in the way Joey does.

#16:  Author: SugarLocation: second star to the right! PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:14 pm
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Never thought of that KB. And you are right Janie is so different to Joey but EBD would have struggled to fit two mothers in to the storyline effectively and she'd have not axed Jo for all the tea in China!

Nice idea Lesley...can't wait for the next book! Laughing

#17:  Author: jenniferLocation: Taiwan PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:58 am
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I do have trouble picturing these big estates. If the school is 50 students and they can fit five students in a bedroom on average, that's 10 bedrooms - reasonable for a big house.

At 200 students that's 20 bedrooms plus the mistresses get their own rooms, so that's another 15 or so, plus three or four for the maids and gardeners and whatnot. Then you need at least ten form rooms, three common rooms, a prefect's study, two rooms for the mistresses common rooms, an Art room, a music room, a couple of practice rooms, a San with a couple of invalid rooms, two Halls (Protestant and Catholic) and a dining room, a common room/dining room for the household staff, a dozen wash rooms or so, a cloakroom, a secretary's office, a library and a head's office, a full kitchen + pantry.

That's about 40 bedrooms, ten rooms big enough to hold 25 desks, another ten or so bigish rooms, at least four very large rooms, another dozen or so study sized rooms, a dozen bathrooms - it's about 80 rooms total. That's not including storage and the out buildings for the garden, gymnasium and science laboratories, plus an extra kitchen for the domestic science classes.

#18:  Author: KBLocation: Melbourne, Australia PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:11 am
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But then if you think about the sizes of households from the mid- to late-18th century, you would have a family of anything up to ten or twelve people, who would have had their own rooms. They would also have been likely to have a separate room off their bedrooms for them to dress in. Some of the very best houses might even have had a bathroom or two, at least late in the 18th or early 19th century.

Then you would have cooks (probably more than one), maids (ditto), a housekeeper, a butler, a manservant, a lady's maid, a chauffeur, etc., all of whom would also have their own rooms. These would have been pretty small and perfectly useful for staff and the various maids and cooks for the school. Gardeners would most likely have lived in smaller houses further away from the main house.

As far as other rooms go, you would have sitting rooms (one for men, one for women), dining room (perhaps more than one), morning room, nursery for the children, study, library, music room, possibly a chapel, a room where the men would display hunting trophies, a room into which guests could be shown, and many others that escape me a present.

The kitchens would have been made up of many little rooms in which a variety of foods could be stored. There would be one large room with the massive fireplace and huge tables for preparation. They could easily be used for similar purposes by the school.

Of course, these are the very biggest Mr Darcy-style houses, but if you had a large enough school, covering the rent on such a place would be feasible.

#19:  Author: CarolineLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 7:51 am
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Since a lot of schools evacuated to country mansions during the war - Chatsworth House was taken over by a girls school (Penrhos College) for the duration, housing 300 girls and staff for seven years. So, EBD certainly knew it was feasible to take a school to a mansion.

I would have thought the biggest problem was not the number of rooms (Chatsworth has 175 rooms, apparently), but the size of them - that is, that while the majority of the reception rooms would be a bit on the big and echoing side for a class of 10-20 girls (the CS had pretty small class sizes at this point), the majority of the bedrooms would have been a bit on the cozy side for a traditional dormitory of 8-12 girls each in a separate cubicle.

Not that I'm saying Plas Howell was on the same scale as Chatsworth, of course!

#20:  Author: JayBLocation: SE England PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 8:52 am
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This is Benenden School, Princess Anne's old school:
http://www.benenden.kent.sch.uk/prospectus_intro.html

Cobham Hall is another girls' boarding school:
http://www.cobhamhall.com/

And Wycombe Abbey School:
http://www.wycombeabbey.com/

Roedean is one of the top girls' boarding schools, but the site seems to be down at the moment. (roedean.co.uk)

I don't think Plas Howell was supposed to be as big as these, but it gives an idea.

I don't think EBD always thought it through herself. She talks about the Middles' Common Room; when the School was at its biggest in Switzerland, that would be around a hundred girls in one room. That would need to be a big room. (And must have been absolute hell for anyone who wanted peace and quiet. I'm surprised there weren't more like Eustacia, sliding off to find somewhere quiet to read.)

Query - when the triplets were in Inter V at 12/13 years old, did they sit in the Senior Common Room in the evening? I can't imagine they or the seniors would have been too happy with that arrangement. We never did find out whether Matey 'let them be Seniors out of school', so did they have Senior bedtime, or did they have to do Senior prep and then go to bed with the Middles, which meant they had very little free time in the evenings? Sorry, digressing here.

#21:  Author: RayLocation: Bristol, England PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:01 am
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Vis-a-vis the common rooms, EBD isn't consistent in the Swiss books (which I'm sure astonishes everyone...!), but she does, from time to time, mention junior middles and senior middles common rooms, rather than the middles common room, which makes a little more sense. I've got a vague feeling that there might even be a mention once or twice about year-group common rooms - which would make even more sense - but that might be me confusing CS with MT!

Ray *agrees that EBD didn't fully think things through!*

#22:  Author: jenniferLocation: Taiwan PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:56 pm
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I get the feeling in the later Swiss books that EBD hadn't really though through the ramifications of making the school bigger and bigger and bigger. By the end of the series it's at about 450 students, but it's being run much the same way it was when it was 150 or so.

They still have one secretary, one Art mistress and one PT mistress. They also shift the school schedule to go out skiing or on rambles in good weather and come up with rained out half term activities on a few hours notice - plausible with the Tyrol school, but the sheer logistics of feeding or providing prizes for 450 girls in that time frame (or taking 450 girls down to the lake to swim, or having the lot of them all going out skiing and sledding at the same time) is mind boggling. The Christmas pageant still manages to find parts for every one, and Miss Annersley and Matron still seem to know all the girls by name and reputation.

#23:  Author: JayBLocation: SE England PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:21 pm
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The last bit's not so unreasonable. My grammar school had 600 pupils. The headmistress (who was the Deputy Head, we had a headmaster overall) took every first year form for Scripture, and knew every pupil by name throughout their school career. That was in a day school. In a boarding school, where there's much more contact with the pupils, I can imagine that Matey and Miss A would know all the pupils quite well. They had some of them from 8 to 18, after all, and so many of them were the daughters of Old Girls.

But I agree that EBD doesn't really think through the logistics of moving 400+ girls plus their mistresses around, or the staffing requirements for such a large number. Aren't Mdlle and Miss Denny still the only language teachers? But I suppose most of her readers wouldn't think about it either, so it didn't really matter. It's only as adults we pick up on these things.

#24:  Author: RayLocation: Bristol, England PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:33 pm
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JayB wrote:
The last bit's not so unreasonable. My grammar school had 600 pupils. The headmistress (who was the Deputy Head, we had a headmaster overall) took every first year form for Scripture, and knew every pupil by name throughout their school career. That was in a day school. In a boarding school, where there's much more contact with the pupils, I can imagine that Matey and Miss A would know all the pupils quite well. They had some of them from 8 to 18, after all, and so many of them were the daughters of Old Girls.


I have to admit that, much as I disliked her, the head mistress of my school knew an extremely large number of the 500 or so girls in the senior school and she *DIDN'T* by and large teach. (The only think I know she taught was Ancient Greek GCSE - and as you can imagine, there weren't *many* people taking that!)

Of course, some of us managed to find ways of distinguishing ourselves and thus bringing ourselves to her notice, but that doesn't explain how she greeted even the most unassuming and mild mannered members of my year...

Ray *was not a naughty middle but did manage to make herself known in other ways...* *and no, she isn't telling how!*

#25:  Author: CarolineLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:55 pm
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I can kind of buy the common room thing when the school is on the Platz. They start out with a school of only about 150 girls (no Juniors, no KG, and half the school staying in the UK), and then later on they seem to have some wacky house system of linked buildings. Doesn't EBD tell us that each house had its own common rooms? So, with four houses of ~100 girls each max, that means about 30 girls in each of the junior, middle and senior common rooms.

Against this, of course, is the fact that although EBD *tells us* they did things by house, she pretty much never shows this happening. When we see e.g. Jack's gang in the common room, they all seem to be there not, say, only 25% of them. And there doesn't seem to be anyone else present - it's almost like each form has its own common room.

Add in the fact that people change house randomly as it suits EBD's needs (EBD's grasp of the house system always reminds me of Malory Towers, where in theory there are four houses, but all the girls are actually in the same house - North Tower. Where are the others? We pretty much never meet them... Rolling Eyes EB seems to forget that for each year group there should be another twenty or more girls out there somewhere living in East and South and West Towers).

Plus the fact that no matter how many times EBD tells us the lay out of the Swiss school, I find it completely impossible to visualise them, with those linked buildings via bridges etc. Can't get my head around it at all! I still think it should be a big chalet or two, no matter how many times she tells me it isn't, that it's an ex-resort hotel.

I suspect this is all one of those CS things that one shouldn't think about too much, because it just doesn't work in "reality"....!

#26:  Author: MiriamLocation: Jerusalem, Israel PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:34 pm
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Alison H wrote:
... EBD hadn't really "done" Guernsey thoroughly with the CS - all that potential for accidents on the rocks and in the sea! And then she could have moved the San back there too: the absence of doctors when the School moves to St Briavel's always seems odd Laughing .

I assume that the buildings in Guernsey just got conveniently forgotten about...


I n some ways it could be argued that she picked up on those themes by taking the school to St Briavels. She had the possibilities of the sea and so on, but for the first time she also moved the school to a fictional location, where she had a lot more literary freedom. She originally moved the school to Geurnsy in order to 'collect' all the La Rochelle families as members. Once she had done that, and did not have the war to provide material, she may have felt that anything else set there was likly to be rather repetitous, and she would have more freedom in a new location - but created one that would also have the features of an isalnd.

On a more 'within the story' note, Sarres waht not in great condition, and the Germans were not kind to what they found. It could e that after five or more years of at best neglect and at worst ill treatment, that the condition of the building had detriorated to that point where it was not worth refurbishing again. At that point they had no plans for an english branch, and the idea was just to wait until they were able to return to the Tyrol. THey may have decided to just cut their losses and sell Sarres as real estate, while looking for another temporary home for the school.

Also in the immediat post war years, some parents may have looked askence at even sending their children to school in the Channel Islands. Staying safe in mainland Britain might have been a generally more accptable option.

#27:  Author: RosieLocation: Land of Three-Quarters Sky PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 10:45 pm
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Caroline wrote:



Add in the fact that people change house randomly as it suits EBD's needs (EBD's grasp of the house system always reminds me of Malory Towers, where in theory there are four houses, but all the girls are actually in the same house - North Tower. Where are the others? We pretty much never meet them... Rolling Eyes EB seems to forget that for each year group there should be another twenty or more girls out there somewhere living in East and South and West Towers).

Plus the fact that no matter how many times EBD tells us the lay out of the Swiss school, I find it completely impossible to visualise them, with those linked buildings via bridges etc. Can't get my head around it at all! I still think it should be a big chalet or two, no matter how many times she tells me it isn't, that it's an ex-resort hotel.


See, I'm fine with Malory Towers, and can just about picture that one, with the towers as houses. And EB does sometimes mention other girls - Betty, Alicia's friend - but I agree they don't appear much! I'm sure there are a few mentions of the other girls resenting North Tower's dominance in Darrell's form, so maybe they were just a strong bunch, apart from containing the protagonist?

And no, I simply cannot imagine the layout of the Swiss school either? I just don't bother!

#28:  Author: jenniferLocation: Taiwan PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 2:55 am
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Rosie wrote:

And no, I simply cannot imagine the layout of the Swiss school either? I just don't bother!


If I try to picture it I see a main, hotel like building, surrounded by a series of large house like buildings which were previously smaller cottages. The big building has all of the big rooms and the kitchen and classrooms, while the smaller are fitted up into dormitories. Then they are connected by covered walkways for bad weather.

From a story perspective, though, they all seem to be in the same big building, and only have to go outside when it's a plot element.

#29:  Author: JennieLocation: Cambridgeshire PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:55 pm
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What I think is that EBD visualised it very quickly to begin with, forgot about it for most of the time, and remembered it only when she needed to stress that the school was big and rambling, and there was a new girl to show round.



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