The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

Author:  Secret Santa [ Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:23 pm ]
Post subject:  The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

Prologue – the Envelope

She opened the stiff white envelope with some puzzlement. It wasn’t her birthday, it was a bit early for Christmas cards, and in any case they weren’t usually as large as this. A soft shimmer of glitter fell into her lap as she drew out … an Advent Calendar!

‘What a strange thing to send me,’ she thought. She looked at the snowy scene with its little numbered doors waiting to be opened and thought about Austria, those early years…

    … the snow came, and with it the winter. All that day and the next it snowed, a huge whirling blizzard, and the clouds were so heavy with it that they seemed to be lying on the mountain-tops, and still the snow fell. On the Thursday there as a lull which lasted for two hours, and the girls, well wrapped up, played about the Chalet during the whole time ... they would have to take advantage of fine weather when they could. So from ten o’clock until twelve they rushed about in the dry, powdery white, which was so unlike English snow, and had a glorious time. Just before twelve the great flakes began drifting down again, and they had to go in, and then once more everything was veiled in whirling white, and the blizzard raged until the Sunday. When the girls got up in the morning the wind had gone down, the snow had ceased to fall, and it was freezing hard … Mountains, path, and level grass were thickly covered with a white mantle against which the lake lay, still and black beneath its veiling of thin ice. Overhead was a leaden sky, giving promise of yet more snow, and the whole world seemed to be wrapped in a mantle of stillness …

She started awake as the stiff card began to slip from her hands. ‘This won’t do,’ she thought. Time for a nightcap and bed. Tomorrow was the first of December; she would be able to open door number one.

Author:  PaulineS [ Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – A Secret Santa Drabble for Lottie

Thanks Santa.

Author:  Alison H [ Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – A Secret Santa Drabble for Lottie

Yay, the first Secret Santa drabble :D ! Thanks, Santa.

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – A Secret Santa Drabble for Lottie

Really glad the secret santa drabbles are back

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – A Secret Santa Drabble for Lottie

Thankyou Santa :D

Author:  Lottie [ Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – A Secret Santa Drabble for Lottie

Ooh!! Thank you, Santa! :D How lovely to have an Advent Calendar - it will make Christmas come all the sooner. That snowy scene is so seasonal, and appropriate for my corner of northern England at the moment, too.

Author:  Secret Santa [ Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – A Secret Santa Drabble for Lottie

Door 1

The next morning she awoke strangely excited. It took a moment or two to realise that this was because of the Advent Calendar. She told herself off for being so childish, and deliberately waited until she had finished breakfast, walked to the corner shop for a paper, and was sitting down to her mid-morning coffee before she allowed herself to open the first door.

‘Though I don’t know,’ she thought to herself, ‘why I’m expecting anything out of the ordinary.’

And indeed, when she had carefully folded back the flap of thin card to reveal a blue toy train, a rueful chuckle escaped her lips. What an anticlimax.

It was not until she was falling asleep that night that she thought again about trains – they had, after all, cropped up quite frequently in her life …

    … there had been gooseberries on that first Paris train … the fire on the train when Frau Berlin was rescued … the train Peggy had caught by mistake when she first brought the Wintertons to School – who would have thought that they would become her sisters-in-law? … the train that crashed and where little Marie-Claire had been rescued … and trains to and from Austria, Wales and Switzerland over all the years…

As she fell asleep she wondered what would be behind the second door.

Author:  Abi [ Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – A Secret Santa Drabble for Lottie

This is nice... thanks Santa!

Author:  PaulineS [ Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – A Secret Santa Drabble for Lottie

Thanks Santa for a calendar we can or enjoy.

Author:  jayj [ Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – A Secret Santa Drabble for Lottie

This is quite lovely - thank you, santa!

Author:  Lottie [ Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – A Secret Santa Drabble for Lottie

Thank you, Santa! A blue toy train is lovely - sadly I never had a train to play with as a child, although I went on many rail journeys then, and still do sometimes, so it's great to think about more train rides. I wonder what else might be behind the doors of the Advent Calendar. I think it would be futile to guess, so I'll just wait for the surprise.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – A Secret Santa Drabble for Lottie

This is very exciting! I can't wait to see what else comes out. Thankyou Santa.

Author:  Myth Tree [ Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – A Secret Santa Drabble for Lottie

This is fun. Now I'm remembering some of my train journeys too, good ones and bad.

Author:  Secret Santa [ Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – A Secret Santa Drabble for Lottie

Door 2
Over coffee the next morning, she turned once again from her perusal of the daily paper to the Calendar. Door number two, when carefully peeled back, revealed a sprig of holly. She thought back to the pageant in the early years of the School, when Holly had been personified as a character in the School’s Christmas offering, which was to raise money towards making Christmas happy for any children at the Sanatorium…

    …The little orchestra they had collected struck up the air of the first carol – “Torches”, an old Spanish carol which comes from the province of Galicia. The quaint tune was quite unknown to most people, and the young, fresh voices singing the innocent words held a charm of their own. The orchestra, though limited in numbers, was, as Frieda once remarked, very choice. Herr Anserl himself was at the piano, and Herr Helfen and Frau Linders, who taught the stringed instruments in the School, played respectively a violin and a cello. Plato added the flute, to which he was addicted, and Miss Stewart contributed a viola. The result was delightful, for all were very good, naturally, and all were heart and soul with the feeling of the Pageant.There was a short pause after the last line of the carol, and then the curtains parted, and the Spirit of Christmas came forward. The part had been given to Simone Lecoutier, who, clad in her long gown which was looped up here and there with holly, and bearing a wrath of mistletoe and Christmas roses on her black head and a spray of fir in her hand, made a very charming Spirit. She made a short speech, welcoming all present, and then called on her faithful servants, Mistletoe, Holly, Christmas Tree, Candle, Snapdragon, Carol, Frost, and Snow to come and tell her what they were doing for mortals.

    They marched in a jolly band. Mistletoe and Holly led the way, clad in short green tunics and knickers, with clusters of their own leaves and berries about them. Christmas Tree (Thekla) wore a white underdress, the skirt of which was held out by a hoop at the hem. From waist to hem were fastened long sprays of fir, and shorter ones adorned the bodice. From the tips of the fir sprays were hung gay glass balls and streamers of gold and silver tinsel were twisted in and out, while her fair head was encircled by a silver band. Thekla was a tall girl, and she looked very well indeed. Candle wore a straight, up-and-down dress of stiffened white sateen, and on her yellow head was fixed a tiny electric torch, painted white, the bulb shaped like a tiny cone, and glowing golden with all its might. Snapdragon was all in weird blue and yellow paper stiffened with wire as her headdress. With dreamy expressions, very much at variance with their usual alert ones, it was quite difficult to recognize those two imps, Cornelia and Evadne. Carol wore a tunic of scarlet and and gold, with golden notes painted on the scarlet, and she carried a scroll in one hand, on which was illuminated in glowing paints the first verse of “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht”. Frost and Snow were all in white, Frost in a short tunic, heavily frosted, and with a gelatine crown which also gleamed with frosting, while Snow’s robes were of heavy material, sweeping on the floor, and her hair was covered with a cap of cotton wool.

    But these were not all, for Peace came in, clad all in silver, and led by Goodwill who was gorgeous in crimson; and people were amazed at the difference of quaint dresses made in shy Carla and pleasant, matter-of-fact Sophie. They all saluted the Spirit, and told in blank verse of mortal doings.
    Finally, there was a low, sweet strain of music, and Love drifted in – such a tender, rosy little Love, with her great wings soaring above her curly head, and a golden aureole set on her black locks. She had only a few lines to say, but she said them with such emphasis that many people felt the truth anew, and wondered to think how little we remember Love, even on Love’s own Birthday.
    But they had little time for thought then, for the whole court broke into the old Czech carol “The Birds”, the choir joining in from either side of the stage where they stood behind curtains…

She wondered anew who had sent her the Advent Calendar, and why.

‘Whoever it was,’ she thought as she rinsed her coffee cup at the sink, ‘did me an even better turn than they thought, if it is going to bring me so many good memories. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.’

Author:  Alison H [ Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – A Secret Santa Drabble for Lottie

Oh good, I'm glad there's more of this :D .

Author:  lexyjune [ Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 2 Dec

Enjoying this very much.

Author:  PaulineS [ Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 2 Dec

Love the memories of the Christmas pageant, thank you Santa

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 2 Dec

What very beautiful descriptions. Thankyou Santa!

Author:  roversgirl [ Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 2 Dec

Very clever ideas and lovely descriptions. Thanks very much :-)

Author:  Abi [ Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 2 Dec

This is fascinating and very clever. Thank you Santa.

Author:  Mia [ Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 2 Dec

I'm in awe of your planning for this Santa! Lucky Lottie!

Author:  emma t [ Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 2 Dec

This is lovely :)

Author:  Lottie [ Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 2 Dec

Thank you so much for this, Santa! It's wonderful, and I'm really glad everybody else is able to enjoy it, too.

Author:  MaryR [ Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 2 Dec

That was beautiful, Santa. Thank you. :D

Author:  Secret Santa [ Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 2 Dec

Door 3
The phone shrilled through the house just as she was sitting down to coffee the following day. After a long conversation with one of her nieces, she forgot about the Advent Calendar until she was clearing up lunch. She opened the third door to reveal a little drum and a trumpet. She began to chuckle – ‘Corney’s orchestra!’ …

    … ‘Where’s the list?’ said Evadne, ‘I’ll read it out, and you can choose what you’ll have. And don’t all try to choose the same thing, either,’ she added severely. ‘Here you are,’ said Cornelia, handing over the list in Evadne’s unexpectedly pretty handwriting. ‘I’ve bagged the saxophone. ’ We’ve only got one of him, he was so expensive…The instruments were certainly varied. They included jews’-harps, ukuleles, mouth-organs, whistles, a drum, a tambourine, castanets, cymbals, a bugle, and a zither…Kitty and Emmie were out of it, having their own instruments already. Joyce swooped down on one jew’s-harp, and Faith put in a word for the other. Stacie, by common consent, was awarded the zither, though she made wild protests.

    Evadne herself had claimed a ukulele, and the other came to Giovanna Donati after a fierce argument between her and Violet Allison, who had ambitions that way. Violet was soothed by being offered the cymbals, tambourine, and castanets. The drum went to Ilonka, and the other pair of castanets to Ruth, who was not musical. The three whistles were distributed between Ilonka—who complained that you couldn’t drum all the time—and two additional members they decided to co-opt—Lilli van Huysen, a Dutch girl, and Greta Macdonald, a very shy Highlander, who was Violet’s great chum…As they began to climb up the narrow path leading through the woods, a burst of sound reached them which was only comparable to the dying efforts of an elderly bull. At the same time a wild squeaking arose from their left, and the tang-tang- of two ukuleles played by people who seemed to know very little about their instruments came from the right…

    …‘Good Heavens! Who is being murdered?’ exclaimed Jo. She pushed up through the black tree-trunks, and came upon a touching vision—Cornelia standing in a little clearing, an enormous saxophone set to her lips, while, with distended cheeks, she was bringing from its trumpet the remarkable sounds which had first startled them. At a little distance stood Ruth with a mouth-organ, though this they had not heard at once. The squeaking of a tin whistle sounded much worse here, and Jo jumped to the right conclusion at once.

    ‘Great Caesar’s bath-mat! Frieda! D’you understand? These babes are starting an orchestra, if you please! And a jazz one at that, if one can judge by the sounds! There’s enterprise for you!’

    Frieda collapsed on the ground, and rocked with laughter. ‘Oh, Joey! How I wish I had my camera with me! I should so like a snap of Corney looking like that!’

    ‘You shall have one, my love! Not a word to anyone! You stay here and keep guard, and I’ll scoot back and fetch it. I’d bring my own, only I used the last film yesterday. Corney hasn’t seen us, luckily. Lie flat, and don’t make a sound. I’ll be as quick as I can.’

    With this, she slipped off again, and ten minutes later she was back, flushed and panting with the speed she had made.

    ‘Here!’ she gasped, holding out the kodak. ‘I was as quick as I could be. Be quick, now!’

    Frieda took the kodak, opened it, and pulled it out to its fullest extent, while her friend dropped noiselessly down on the pine-needles, and mopped her streaming brow. Carefully the younger girl focused the unconscious Cornelia, who was still standing blowing, looking as if she were about to break a blood-vessel, and producing sounds that none of the banshees Ireland ever produced could have hoped to rival. There was a moment’s pause, and then Frieda snapped the player. Just in time, too, for at that moment Cornelia took her instrument from her lips and surveyed it gravely. The prefect dropped at once while the middle shook her saxophone with a professional air. Jo was nearly strangling in her efforts to keep from laughing, and Frieda herself was very little better. Finally, having made up her mind that the instrument was all right, Cornelia applied herself to it again, making sounds which, as Jo truly declared, were enough to bring the bell-swinging herd wending its way slowly along the banks of the stream below them to inquire if a member of their family were expiring.

    The prefects took advantage of her preoccupation to crawl cautiously away on all fours. ‘For she simply mustn’t see us!’ explained Jo, when at length they were sufficiently hidden by the trees to stand up and progress in a more usual way. ‘Well! So this is the middles’ latest? I shan’t worry about this, I can tell you!’

    Frieda leant against a convenient tree-trunk and laughed till the tears rolled down her cheeks. ‘Oh, Jo! Shall you ever forget Corney’s face? She looked ready to burst!’…

    …Anxious to show the powers of her orchestra, Evadne had decided that they must have a concerted piece, if it was the only one. Unfortunately she couldn’t get anything that would do. So she had finally arranged that each girl should play two or three bars of the thing selected—and of all things, she had chosen ‘Land of Hope and Glory,’ from Sir Edward Elgar’s march ‘Pomp and Circumstance’!

    Evadne opened it herself on the ukulele—and the effect can better be imagined that described!—and was followed by Kitty on the violin. Stacie managed two bars on her zither, and Greta Macdonald piped about three correct notes on her C major pipe. The mouth-organs followed with many halts and false notes, and then came a shock, for the mouth-organ experts suddenly discarded those instruments, and essayed to play the next bars on jews’-harps! The audience, of course, was almost incapable of following anything by this time; but they sat up at the next sounds—both literally and metaphorically. For Cornelia came in next with her saxophone, and produced some sounds that transcended anything that had gone before.

    Jo was hanging over her chair, sobbing with laughter. Frieda and Marie had tears streaming down their faces. Simone was almost hysterical, and the Staff and other girls were in no better case. Even Anne, who had been exceedingly subdued since her silly adventure, was sitting back in her chair and shouting with laughter.

    It was just as well that here it had been decided to give the drum, castanets, tambourine, and cymbals a chance—of which they certainly made the most!—or what might have happened next there is no saying. When they had ended, Giovanna Donati plucked the tune form the strings of her ukulele; but that was bearable after what had gone before. Finally, Cornelia suddenly dropped her instrument, jumped to her feet, opened her mouth, and began to sing the grand chorus. Cornelia’s voice was not to be compared with Jo’s, but she had a very sweet little pipe of her own, and before she had sung three words the rest of the orchestra had joined in, and were signing it with might and main. Naturally the rest of the School joined in by degrees, and by the time they had sung it three times they were all more or less normal.

    That ended St Clare’s concert, although, as Evadne and Cornelia calmly informed their own prefects later, they had intended calling on Frieda for a harp solo, and Marie for her violin. Simone, not being musical, learned nothing, so was exempt from this. However, they thought they had better bring the affair to a close with the chorus; and when it had ended, Evadne got on to a chair and informed the audience that the concert was finished, but next term, when they should all have had time to practise more, St Clare’s orchestra hoped to give another.

    After that, Mademoiselle Lepattre rose and thanked the orchestra for the unexpected—here she paused before she went on—treat. She knew that everyone wished St Clare’s orchestra every success in the future. And now Abendessen for everyone would be ready at Ste Thérèse’s, so she thought they had better go over.

    There were cheers then, both for St Clare’s at Ste Thérèse’s, and finally the girls formed into line and marched across to the original house, where a gorgeous supper, beginning with chicken sandwiches and ending with ices, awaited them…

‘What young monkeys they were,’ she thought, after laughing almost as much in memory as she had at the occasion. ‘And another lovely memory to cherish.’

Author:  Alison H [ Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 3 Dec

Loving this :D .

Author:  Lottie [ Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 3 Dec

Alison H wrote:
Loving this :D .

As am I. Thank you, Santa! :D I'm a very lucky girl.

Author:  PaulineS [ Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 3 Dec

Thanks for renewing our memories as well.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 3 Dec

One of my favourite ever moments from a book - thankyou!

Author:  roversgirl [ Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 3 Dec

One of my favourite parts too, and actually, one of my favourite books. This is fantastic! Thanks :-)

Author:  Abi [ Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 3 Dec

Oh, I loved the orchestra! Thanks, Santa!

Author:  Secret Santa [ Sat Dec 04, 2010 3:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 3 Dec

Door 4
The next day it snowed so hard that she didn’t bother about a daily paper. She knew her fridge and freezer were well stocked and saw no point in risking her now fragile bones on slippery surfaces. It wouldn’t have been so once, she remembered …

    Miss O’Ryan glanced up at the grey sky. ‘There’s a lot more to come down yet, or I miss my guess. Pair off, girls, and remember, you must keep moving. This way, all of you. We’re going along to Kittiwake Cove first, then right along to the Merry Mermaidens. We’ll come back by the high road, by which time I should think you’ll all be ready for Mittagessen and a quiet afternoon. Go carefully; it’s slippery with this frost.’
    She was quite right. Slippery it was, and before long the girls were hot and breathless with trying to keep their feet on the frozen surface. She revised her first ideas about a walk, and presently announced that they would go to the Cove, but there would be no going along the cliffs. It was much too dangerous with the paths like this. The girls, floundering along, quite agreed with her. Walking properly was impossible. At any moment your partner might utter a wild squawk and grab you, and if you weren’t prepared the pair of you might go headlong. Not that anyone wanted to turn back. It was far too good fun for that.
    The way to Kittiwake Cove led down the side of a field, through a deep lane, usually full of ruts, and out to the cliff where there was a path cut deep into the rock, leading down to the Cove.
    ‘Can we go down to the shore, Miss O’Ryan?’ Bride Bettany coaxed.
    ‘We’ll see what the cliff path looks like first,’ Biddy said cautiously. ‘I’d like to be taking you all back with unbroken bones. I’ll try it first myself, and if it’s not too bad I’ll let you come.’
    With that they had to be content. In any case, at that moment Polly Winterton slipped, grabbed at her partner, Jean Ackroyd, and the pair of them staggered wildly about, trying to keep their balance, while the rest stood still to watch the fun. In the end they managed it, and then Biddy, with an eye to the keen air, moved them on.
    ‘I feel like a hen on hot peas,’ Sybil said presently to Carola whom she was partnering. ‘We really ought to have nailed boots like we had in Tirol.’
    ‘Well, something, anyhow,’ Carola replied breathlessly. ‘The backs of my legs are beginning to ache like fun – Ough!’ as she just contrived to avoid sitting down violently.
    ‘It may be easier in the lane,’ Clem said hopefully. ‘I say! Listen to those kids yelling! I can hear Mary-Lou above everyone else!’
    On the sharp, clear air, they could hear faintly wild shrieks coming from the direction of St Briavel’s village whither most of the Junior Middles had gone in charge of Miss Bell, Miss Stephens, Miss Edwards, and Miss Burn. The Juniors were kept to the grounds and the Seniors had gone off in little groups, each with a mistress, so the School was widely scattered over the island.
    The girls gazed with interest over the well-known scenes, now so different from what they had hitherto known. The field was a wide white plain; the trees, bare and leafless, creaking beneath the weight of frozen snow on their branches; no birds or rabbits were to be seen and the cows were all snug in their byres. Miss O’Ryan glanced at it, and then turned anxious eyes at the shy. However, she felt reassured when she saw it. Snow was certainly there, but it seemed unlikely to come back for a while yet. She led the way out of the field and into the lane where the ruts had filled up, and walking was no more easy than it had been.
    ‘It’s warmer here,’ Gillian said suddenly. ‘I suppose the hedges act as a kind of protection.’
    ‘Some protection!’ Clem jeered. ‘I shouldn’t like to be here in a wind. It ‘ud be a bit draughty.’
    ‘All right, girls? No one feeling cold?’ Miss O’Ryan called from the head of the file.
    A chorus of protests arose. No one could feel anything but warm, thanks to their wild struggles to keep their feet and most folk had crimson cheeks, even if they were rather dishevelled by this time.
    Miss O’Ryan surveyed them with a hidden smile. She had expected this. ‘Well, since you’re all nice and warm, we’ll go on,’ she said. ‘Be careful, though. We don’t want any broken bones. Besides, I don’t see how we could carry any one of you home if you did break a leg or so.’
    With this most unschoolmarm-like warning, she turned once more, and finally they came out to the common-like space on the cliffs. Here, the ground sloped up to the edge of the cliffs, or the young mistress would certainly never have contemplated bringing her flock. Breathless as the early part of the outing had been, the girls found it even more so as they struggled up the slope, and finally found themselves opposite the opening to the cliff path leading to the Cove.
    ‘I doubt very much if we’ll be able to negotiate that at all,’ Miss O’Ryan remarked, eyeing it thoughtfully. ‘Sure, it’s as slippery as can be.’ She looked round. ‘You can come to the head here between the rocks and wait a moment till I see for myself. No one is to come further than where I’m standing this minute. Bride, take charge, please.’
    Bride went forward carefully, and the girls crowded into the space. They were not sorry for the shelter, for the wind came sweeping across the island from the north, chill and cutting, and making eyes and cheeks smart under its lash.
    ‘I’m simply boiling!’ Jean observed, ‘all but the tip of my nose, that is. Gill, you’re scarlet! You must be cooked alive with all the clothes you’ve put on!’
    ‘I’m hottish,’ Gillian agreed, ‘but it’s a nice change after being frozen to death for the last few days. D’you think Miss O’Ryan will let us go down, anyone?’
    This question was answered by Miss O’Ryan herself. She appeared, puffing and blowing, round the curve in the path, shaking her head. ‘Sorry, but I’m afraid ‘tis impossible it is. I’ve done quite a bit of alpine climbing in my time, and I wouldn’t try to get down there without an alpenstock for anything you could mention. Besides, it’s taken us quite a while to get this far, and we’ve all the way home to go. We’ll have to turn and I’ll bring you here another day when it’s less of a break-neck business. Back you go, and no grumbling!’
    The girls turned and began to go back. The mistress made no attempt to get them into line. She said afterwards that she thought it would be wiser to wait for that until they were safely back in the lane. At a word from her, Bride headed the crowd which crossed the cliff-top path, and began to struggle down the slope. She was a sure-footed creature, and old memories of Tirol were coming back to her legs. Moving carefully, she was soon half-way along to the lane. The rest followed, Biddy O’Ryan bringing up the rear to act as whipper-in.
    ‘This is a lot easier than coming up was,’ Clem said cheerfully.
    The next moment her foot slipped, and with a wild yell she slid downwards, crashing into Bride and sending her flying as she grabbed at her, and the pair rolled down to the bottom of the slope, locked in each other’s arms, and, as Biddy graphically told the rest of the Staff later on, yelling blue murder the whole way!
    It was fatal for most concerned. One or two people began to laugh, and then discovered that they themselves had begun to slide, and once that happened they were fully occupied in trying to keep themselves on their feet. Polly Winterton, screaming the whole time, slid gracefully to the foot of the slope and ended up in a gorse bush. Gillian, with a truly thrilling squall, staggered wildly halfway down, sat down suddenly, and tobogganed on the tail of her coat the rest of the way. Loveday Perowne followed suit and arrived on top of her. It was left to Carola to put the finishing touches to what looked like becoming a regular football scrum. She skidded, swung completely round, and slid backwards to the bottom, clutching at all and sundry as she passed them, so that some folk went over at once, while others managed to keep their feet, but had, perforce, to slide the whole way, some ending up like Polly among the gorse bushes which dotted this part of the ground, and others arriving on their backs. All, it is hardly necessary to state, shrieked at the tops of their voices.
    Miss O’Ryan, seeing what was happening to her walk, made the fatal mistake of trying to rush to the rescue. For half a dozen paces she kept her footing. Then she, too, slipped, and with arms outstretched like a tight-rope walker, joined the sliders, and brought up with a minor crash against a telegraph pole which she embraced affectionately.
    She recovered herself almost at once, and turned round cautiously to see what was happening to her lambs. The next moment she was on the ground, rocking with laughter. Two girls, Annis Lovell and Tom Gay, who had been last, had gone down on all-fours, and were crawling down the slope with small regard for the knees of their stockings and their gloves, but considerably more safely than most of the rest had done it.
    The girls at the bottom, seeing the mistress in convulsions of laughter, turned to look, too, and the sight of Annis and Tom set them off as well, so that by the time the pair joined up, the whole place rang with their mirth.
    Tom, having reached the bottom, got cautiously to her feet and looked round with a disgusted air. ‘What on earth is up with all you idiots?’ she demanded.
    ‘You!’ Clem choked. ‘O – o – oh! I shall be sick if I laugh any more!’
    Miss O’Ryan, who was also on her feet by this time, assumed an air of dignity. ‘Look at your stocking knees!’ she said in shocked tones.
    The pair hurriedly looked, and two more chapfallen persons it would have been hard to find at that moment.
    ‘Crumbs!’ Tom ejaculated when she could speak. ‘Matey will have something to say!’ She glanced at her thick woollen gloves. ‘Oh, lord! This means hours of darning! I never thought of that.’
    ‘In the meantime,’ Miss O’Ryan said with what severity she could muster, ‘we had better try to get home before we meet anyone. You two are a pair of ragamuffins.’ Then she added with some anxiety, ‘Have you hurt your knees? Anyone hurt at all?’
    Some of them were suffering from bruises and bumps, but no one had even thought of it since they had watched the exploits of the pair. No one was badly hurt, however, not even Bride who had gone with a real crash. Miss O’Ryan satisfied herself that any injuries were of a minor nature, and then set to work to get her flock home before anything worse could happen.
    ‘Now then, pair off,’ she commanded. ‘Tom and Annis, you go on the middle of the croc. We may not meet anyone; on the other hand, we may, and it’s no advertisement for the School the pair of ye are at present.’
    In the general upheaval, she was forgetting all resolves, and becoming richly Irish. Bride Bettany, who had been a very junior Junior in the days when Biddy O’Ryan had been a stern but much loved prefect, nudged Primrose Day, another of the same vintage year, and the pair of them chuckled. They remembered what the young mistress had been like in those days, and it was a treat to hear her relapsing from her very beautiful English into the Biddy O’Ryan they had known.
    ‘I always knew Biddy would never keep it up all the time,’ Bride murmured to Primrose.
    ‘Well, could you expect it?’ Primrose asked reasonably. ‘She’s always had an Irish accent ever since I could remember.’
    ‘And before that,’ Bride informed her. ‘Come on! She’s yelling for us to join up – Auntie Jo!’
    She made a wild leap forward as a tall, well-known figure suddenly appeared at the end of the lane, and fell full length as a natural result.
    Jo gave her a quick look as she struggled to her feet. What she saw was reassuring. ‘I knew you liked me, Bride,’ she said sweetly, ‘but I didn’t know your liking was mixed with sufficient awe to make up prostrate yourself at my feet.’
    Bride greeted this pleasantry with a wild giggle. ‘Oh, Auntie Jo,’ she protested. ‘Anyone would flop with the roads like this. You should just have seen us coming down that slope a few minutes ago!’
    Jo looked round the laughing throng. ‘I did notice you all looked as though you had been in a free-for-all of the most violent kind. Tom Gay! What have you done to your stockings? And Annis Lovell, too? Don’t tell me you tried crawling down!’
    ‘Sure, that’s the very thing they did,’ Biddy told her. ‘The rest of us came down on our feet – more or less.’
    ‘Carola came backwards,’ bubbled Clem. ‘I do wish you’d seen it, Mrs Maynard.’
    ‘You can’t talk!’ cried the justly indignant Carola. ‘You barged into Bride and the two of you rolled down fighting like a pair of wild cats!’
    ‘Dear me!’ Jo looked suitably impressed. ‘ “A good time was had by all,” in fact. We heard wild howls proceeding from this direction, so I volunteered to come and see what all the row was about. Tom and Annis, I’d advise you to enter School in the middle of a large crowd, otherwise Matron will tell you all about your stockings. Coming, everyone?’ She swung round, and strode alongside them, chatting gaily as she went.
    ‘Auntie Jo, how do you do it?’ Bride demanded with point when they were nearly at the end of the lane.
    ‘Do what?’ Jo demanded.
    ‘Walk so easily. The rest of us are sliding –’ She did it at that moment and only Jo’s hand gripping her arm kept her from going full length again.
    ‘You’re as bad as any baby learning to walk,’ her aunt told her. ‘As for me, I raked out my old nailed boots. Haven’t used them since our last winter in Tirol – no; I was forgetting. I was in India that winter. The winter before, then – but I’ve kept them well-greased and they’ve come in very handy today, thank you.

… so it wasn’t until later in the day that she suddenly thought about the calendar, and opened the little door to find – a snowflake!

Author:  Alison H [ Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 4 Dec

This is amazing, Santa.

Author:  shazwales [ Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 4 Dec

Thank you Santa :D

Author:  Elbee [ Sat Dec 04, 2010 5:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 4 Dec

Thank you Santa, I'm enjoying these reminisces. I always found that scene very funny, especially Biddy embracing the pole!

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sat Dec 04, 2010 5:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 4 Dec

Another brilliant scene - thankyou Santa!

Author:  PaulineS [ Sat Dec 04, 2010 6:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 4 Dec

A lovely happy post, and so apt for this week. Thank you Santa.

Author:  Lottie [ Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 4 Dec

Thank you, Santa! So funny, and seasonal, too.

Author:  Elder in Ontario [ Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 4 Dec

I think I'm glad I'm alone in the house at this minute - I always find that particular scene 'laugh-out-loud' funny, especially since no-one really gets hurt, and have been sitting here giggling madly to myself as I read!! Since I'm also sitting here looking out at snow, with a promise of more to come, though thankfully no hard frost - yet!! - it's particularly appropriate. Thank you for the day brightener.

Author:  Secret Santa [ Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 4 Dec

Glad you are all enjoying this ... Ho! Ho! Ho!

Door 5

There had been rain in the night, which washed away most of the snow, so her trip to the newsagent was made without incident, and when she had settled in a comfy chair with her morning coffee, she opened the Calendar door to find a picture of pink and green bonbons.

‘We all made sweeties like that once,’ she remembered. ‘I suppose these days people buy them, but it was fun to make them ourselves…

    ...“Now, let’s have your fondant recipe, Simone,” said Jo. “It’s quite the best I ever tasted, and fondant is the foundation for so many kinds of sweets, we must have it in.”

    “I will give it to you, Jo. But it is not easy to make successfully, for it means hard work, and so many people have not the patience to go on with the beating. However, here it is:



    By the way, you had better add that if you cannot obtain glucose, it will do to use one teaspoonful of cream of tartar. Dissolve the sugar in the water very, very slowly, until the last grain has disappeared. Then add the glucose or cream of tartar, whichever you are using; put on the lid, and boil up to 240°F or ‘soft ball’. When the bubbles have died down, pour the syrup into a large, earthenware basin – never use enamel! – which has been rinsed out with cold water. Leave till it is half-cold. Then take a wooden spoon, and beat the syrup till it turns, that is, becomes creamy and white. This takes a lot of doing, but it will not be fondant if it is not carried out. Besides, if you do it properly, your fondant will keep for weeks, wrapped in wax paper and not exposed to the air.”

    “How about flavouring and colouring?” inquired Jo meekly.

    “That, too, needs care. You must add a drop or two at a time of each, and knead very thoroughly. First coat your hands with icing sugar, and then knead in the flavour before you add the colour. And you must be careful to see that both are spread throughout your ball. When it is ready, you pinch off little balls, and shape with your fingers. Mould the ball by rubbing in your hands. Then, instead of rolling round and round, roll up and down the palms two or three times, lay on your board or marble slab and press it gently so that the base becomes flat. You can make conical shapes by just pressing the round ball. If you can get some hazel nuts, peel and half them, and press a half on the top of a ball, or you can use almonds for ovals. To make peppermint creams, sugar your board and your fondant, roll out to half-inch thickness when you have flavoured it, and cut out little rounds about one inch in diameter. You can vary this as much as you like. With the vegetable dyes for cooking, you can tint your bonbons most lovely colours.”

    “Or,” said Marie, “if you stone a date, and put fondant into the date instead, it makes a most delicious sweet.”

    “You can do that with French prunes, or figs,” added Jo.

    “What flavouring would you advise?” asked Frieda.

    “Well, peppermint, vanilla, almond, lemon, orange-flower water, rose water, all make delicious bonbons. And you can get dyes to match. Keep peppermint white, of course, or pale green.”

    “And if you want to use them for a Christmas present,” put in Marie, “cut some little squares of the paper one uses for lining shelves. Fold them from corner to corner four or five times, then open them, and you have a dear little crinkled case for your sweet. And you know what pretty boxes we make with wallpaper coverings. I call it a lovely present.”

… ‘Yes,’ she thought. ‘I might even make a few for all the children’s stockings this year.’

Author:  Lottie [ Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 5 Dec

Thank you, Santa! This is starting to make me feel really Christmassy.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 5 Dec

I want peppermint creme now...

Thankyou Santa!

Author:  Alison H [ Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 5 Dec

Ooh, that brings back memories - we made those in the very short-lived school science club once :D . Thanks, Santa.

Author:  roversgirl [ Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 5 Dec

The scene for the 4th is also one of my favourites in the whole series... and those lovely lollies have definitely made me hungry now! Thanks :-)

Author:  Secret Santa [ Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 5 Dec

Door 6

With that thought in mind, she had checked her supply cupboard, and her morning walk to the shops had taken longer than usual. She was well supplied with sugar, so her bag was not heavy, and she arrived home triumphant. It took more effort than she was used to expending to beat the fondant properly, but she stuck to it, and by the end of the day, she had several sets of coloured sweetmeats ready to be wrapped. It was not surprising, therefore, that she didn’t remember to open the Calendar until she was sitting down with her bedtime cocoa.

Behind door number six, as befitted the date, was a picture of Father Christmas – or Sinterklaas: Santa Claus…

    St. Nicholas and all his attendants will hold
    Court in Hall at the Chalet School
    tomorrow night. Be prepared to meet them and to
    receive your just deserts for your deeds during the
    year just passed.

    “Gosh! What does it mean?” Betsy gasped, staring at it.

    No one could tell her except some of the continental girls and they had all been warned the night before to hold their tongues. The staff, when approached, flatly refused to enlighten anyone. All that was to be got out of them was a warning to wear their usual velveteen evening frocks and to be prepared for anything to happen!

    “And a lot of use that is!” Ruth Barnes wailed on the evening of the sixth when they were all changing after Kaffee und Kuchen. “We don’t know what to expect and it may be all right—or it may be anything but!”

    “Oh, nice, I expect,” Hilary laughed. “St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children. Doesn’t he bring presents for them in some of the European countries? And isn’t our Santa Claus just a short for St. Nicolas?”

    “You may be right,” Vi said gloomily, “but I don’t like the hint in that last part of the notice one little bit!”

    “Don’t you think your deserts may be good!” Mary-Lou called across from her cubicle. “What have you been doing, Vi?”

    Hall had been barred to the girls ever since morning Prayers. Now they knew why. The staff must have had a busy day of it. Wreaths of evergreen and painted pine-cones hung round the walls. The side-lights blazed as usual, but the two great centre chandeliers had had their bulbs encased in red paper which imparted a cheerful atmosphere to the place. The forms which usually stood across the room had been set back against the walls, ready for the girls who were hurrying to claim seats in pairs or groups.

    A pair of crimson curtains had been hung across the back of the platform, dividing it in half. Against these had been set the Head’s chair, draped with another crimson curtain and wreathed with evergreens. On either side, in a semicircle were the small chairs belonging to Form IIIA. Crimson electric lamps had been set along the front of the platform between all the pot plants Peggy Burnett and Nancy Wilmot had been able to beg, borrow or steal. The tall lectern had vanished and the piano had been set on the floor in front. It, too, was draped in crimson and decked with branches of fir and long trails of ivy.

    “They’ll have to be jolly careful if they’re all going to sit up there,” Hilary observed when she had taken all this in. “Those end seats are awfully near the edge.”

    “But why is there no one here to tell us what to do?” Jo Scott demanded.

    “Ask me another!” This was Vi. “Anyhow, here they are! Listen!”

    Everyone listened and sure enough, they heard the solemn marching of feet. The top doors were thrown open and St. Nicholas entered, complete in full canonicals, including a mitre so high he seemed to tower a good two feet above his attendants, a pastoral staff and a perfect bird’s nest of a beard. Behind him came a bevy of angels clad in all the colours of the rainbow, with wings soaring above their shoulders and the school’s gold and silver haloes of painted buckram on their heads. Behind them again, marched a solemn procession of lithe black figures, each carrying a switch in his right hand and his tail over his left arm!

    The girls stared in awe-struck silence. Then little rustlings of curiosity began. Who was St. Nicolas? Not the Head, for there she was, taking her seat on his right hand, her long, flowing robes of blue sweeping about her. Besides, even with the mitre, she wasn’t tall enough for that amazing figure that had seated himself in the big chair while the angels took the smaller ones to form a colourful crescent round him and the black demons crowded together behind him.

    They got another shock when he began to speak, for it was a man’s deep bass voice that issued from the beard and at first no one could imagine who it could be. As usual it was Mary-Lou who got it first and she had to keep it to herself, for he was speaking and in any case, what he had to say was of such interest, that she set even his personality aside as she listened.

    “Welcome, all!” he began. “This night, Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, patron saint of all children, comes to hear how his children of the Chalet School have deserved of him throughout the year. He has rewards for good children; punishments for bad. But rewards or punishments, none shall escape. Behold, a record has been kept. My Recording Angel shall read it and as your name is called and your record made known, join the prefect of your own house and wait for what shall come!” He turned to the Blue Angel who rose to her feet, conspicuously pink in the face—it was all the Head could do to keep from laughing outright—and produced a lengthy scroll from which she read every name, adding one sin after each name.

    “Elizabeth” Lucy was accused of acting before she thought. Katharine Gordon sinned in the way of tidiness. Carola Johnstone did not think at all—and Carola, one of whose favourite remarks was, “I didn’t think!” went to take her stand as Head of Ste. Thérèse of Lisieux House with scarlet cheeks.

    One by one the girls had to leave their seats and take their places in the group of their own Houses. When the last name—that of little Dorothea Young—had been read, along with her besetting sin of spilling ink on every possible occasion, the Blue Angel sat down, rolling up her scroll and St. Nicholas rose from his chair again and turned to the Demons.

    “You know your duty!” he thundered. “Lead them forth!”

    The Demons—Rosalie Dene, Peggy Burnett, Biddy O’Ryan, Ruth Derwent, Joan Bertram and Nancy Wilmot—bounded to the floor, taking the lamps and plants in their leaps, and two each made straight for one of the houses, flourishing their switches.

    “March!” St. Nicholas roared. “Off with them to the place of chastisement!”

    Stunned by the unexpectedness of it all, the girls meekly marched off through the connecting passages to their own Houses where they were assembled in the big room each contained. Then, at a signal from one of the Demons, one of those girls who knew all about it, shrieked for mercy and fled, a Demon after her. The rest quickly picked it up and fled likewise. Up and downstairs they flew; along corridors, into dormitories where the beds were distinctly upset by people scrambling across them and hurling themselves under them; then down to the big room and round it, swinging chairs into the path of the agile demons who seemed to be able to be in half-a-dozen places at once.

    Some of the youngest girls began by being frightened; but in this glorious romp all over the place, they forgot their fear and rushed and shrieked with the best.

    Vi, wriggling under Jo Scott’s bed in an effort to escape the switch of the Demon, collided with Elinor Pennell who had had the same idea, and the pair rolled over and over while the Demon lashed them lightly and then left them to go racing after Mary-Lou, who uttered a squawk, made a leap upwards onto a chair and from there, scrambled on top of a cupboard standing at one end of the corridor. Only the guide-lights were on and in the general melée, Miss Bertram missed her victim and went on after Carola who took the stairs in about three leaps and sought refuge in the linen-cupboard. Several people who hoped to escape by the connecting-doors found themselves checkmated, for as the last one had passed through, the Demons had locked them.

    It was tremendous fun, for no one got more that a light tap, and the girls enjoyed the rushing about and screaming at the full pitch of their lungs with all their might. Finally, the school bell began to peal and the Demons shouted to their victims to return to Hall forthwith.

    It was a dishevelled crew that finally arrived. Everyone was breathless and panting and one of the Demons had lost his tail while another had draped his round his neck when it came off!

    When it seemed as if the last girl was there, and everyone was sitting down, getting her breath again, a sudden outcry rose from the forms occupied by the Gang.

    “Mary-Lou’s not here!”

    Everyone looked round at once. It was an odd thing for Mary-Lou not to have come with the rest, for she was obedient as a rule and, in any case, would not have wanted to miss any of the fun. St. Nicholas called her name promptly, but no Mary-Lou stood forward to answer it. It was quite plain that she was not in Hall. Somehow she must have missed hearing the Demons’ call and been left behind when the rest came back.

    “Can I go and look for her?” Jessica cried when this was clear.

    The cry was taken up by a good many voices, but St. Nicholas, after an exchange of looks with the Blue Angel, vetoed it promptly.

    “Not so! Remain seated!” he ordered. He swung round on the smallest Demon who happened to be standing next him. “Go! Seek her!”

    Biddy O’Ryan needed no second telling. Breathless or not, she was over the plants and racing out of the top door with much display of long black tights. The girls waited eagerly for her to return with their missing member. She came back all right, but she was alone. The Blue Angel turned an anxious look on her; but the Demon came forward and announced her find in tones that reached everyone present.

    “Please, St. Nicholas, would you be coming to help me?” she asked. “I’ve found her all right but she can’t get down and I can’t help her—too small!”

    “What on earth—where is she?” St. Nicholas demanded.

    The Demon gulped before she announced in tones that were shaking with laughter, “Sure, she’s on top of that cupboard in Ste. Thérèse’s where we keep the extra stationery. It’s tilted forward against the corner of the wall—she says it did that when she tried to come down—and I can’t push it straight and she can’t get away in case she brings it right over sideways. There’s not room for her to get down the other side.”

    There was an electric pause and then the school broke into peals of laughter. It was a good minute before even St. Nicholas could pull himself together sufficiently to settle his mitre more firmly on his head, gather up his robes and follow the Demon from the room. It was ten minutes before the pair came back, leading a purple-faced Mary-Lou between them. Her face was smeared with dust and so were her hands. Her plait had come un-twisted, and she had ripped her frock across the front of her skirt. But she was obviously unhurt, though highly embarrassed.

    The Demon and the Saint released her and she shot across the room and made haste to hide herself among the Gang who welcomed her joyfully. They had not known what had happened to her and it was a relief to see that she was unharmed.

    It was a relief to the Blue Angel, too, though she said nothing. St. Nicholas stalked to his place and in a voice deepened by smothered laughter to a growl, told the girls that since chastisement was ended, rewards were now in order. The Angels brought forward great sacks and the girls were called up one by one and invited to dip their hands into each and take one parcel.

    Presently the place was filled with exclamations of delight as they opened their parcels. The gifts were mere trifles—a slab of chocolate; a handkerchief, collar and cuffs, string of pretty beads or small brooch; a tiny carved wooden statue of one of the saints—but they came as a delightful surprise.

    They were given a few minutes to examine their rewards. Then they were summoned to Abendessen when they discovered that a very extra-special meal awaited them. The finishing touch came when baskets of crackers, gorgeous in green or scarlet and gold, were handed round and the air was filled with the noise of snapping crackers and everyone was soon wearing a gaudy paper hat or crown.

    It was at Abendessen that most of them discovered the identity of St. Nicholas. Remarking that you couldn’t be expected to eat decently with a haystack on your face, he had carefully removed his beard to reveal the twinkling eyes and straight features of Jack Maynard! His own daughters shrieked with surprise. Most of the time, he had been so consumed with suppressed laughter, that his voice had dropped two or three tones and the fuzz of beard had been an excellent disguise.

    After Abendessen, they went back to Hall and there Miss Annersley, who had now discarded her robes, told them some of the stories and legends that have gathered round the Saint before she took Prayers and then dismissed them bedwards.

… ‘We always tried to include international customs,’ she thought. ‘I suppose nowadays they’d make it part of a lesson, but somehow we were doing naturally. Of course,’ as she looked out at the clear starlit sky before settling down for the night, ‘it’s much easier to inveigle extras like that in when you’re running a boarding school.’ And she drew the curtains and climbed into bed.

Author:  Alison H [ Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 6 Dec

I've always wondered what excuse Jack gave for not turning up to work that day :lol: .

Thanks, Santa.

Author:  jayj [ Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 6 Dec

Totally awesome! I'd never read that before.

This is really good - it's even making me feel Christmassy, and I'm normally the Christmas Grinch.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 6 Dec

Yet again, a wonderful scene choice. Thankyou Santa!

Author:  roversgirl [ Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 6 Dec

St. Nicolas is one of my favourite traditions (from any part of the year)! This is really very clevel! Thanks :-)

Author:  shesings [ Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 6 Dec

This is just beautiful! :santa:

Author:  Lottie [ Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 6 Dec

Thank you, Santa! I love the way you're finding CS scenes for each day.

Author:  shazwales [ Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 6 Dec

Love your choices,looking forward to todays :D Thank you

Author:  JS [ Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 6 Dec

Congratulations Santa, most ingenious :)

Author:  Secret Santa [ Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 6 Dec

Door 7
Unsurprisingly she was tired the next day, but it was the day her cleaning lady came, so she dressed as normal, knowing she would not need to go out, as the cleaner always picked up her paper on the way in. They had coffee together as usual, and she caught up with the village gossip – or hanes, as it had been termed in Armishire – so it was not until her afternoon tea that she was able to open the seventh door. Behind it was a brightly coloured ball. Ball games were always part of the School’s normal routine, of course, but one of the biggest excitements had been the reintroduction of lacrosse …

    Ruey was … surrounded by a crowd of people, all demanding to be told what she knew about lacrosse.

    “How many to a team?” Heather Clayton demanded when they were standing at the top of the steps that led down to the sunk garden.

    “Twelve.” Ruey paused and then began to name them to the excited crowd. “Point—Cover Point—Third Man—Centre—two Wing Defences, left and right—the same in Wing Attack—First, Second and Third Home—Goal.”

    “Twelve; that’s one more than in hockey,” Margot said thoughtfully. “I suppose the Wing Attack and Wind Defence are the same as Outside and Inside Right, for instance. What are the Homes and Third Man? Are they the same as Backs?”

    “Somebody give me some paper and I’ll draw you a diagram,” Ruey said obligingly as she fished for her Biro.

    Len produced a small notebook and Ruey dropped down on the top step while the others squatted or stood round her, watching as she proceeded to draw the diagram, talking all the time.

    “This oblong is the field. Goal here at each end and this square round it is the Goal Crease. I’ll print it in. Now Point stands here at the right and Cover Point at the Left. Third Man is in the middle. Centre stands in front of her, but right up, of course. Wing Defences are in front of Point and Cover Point, more or less, midway between Third Man and Centre. This is the Centre line and the two Wing Attacks are on the far side of it. Third Home is here in the middle, and nearer the opposite goal. First and Second Home are here, marking the other team’s Point and Cover Point. That’s roughly the way you stand before the game begins. Got it?”

    “Looks as if it might be exciting,” Priscilla Dawbarn commented. “Can’t you put in the other team so that we get an idea of the whole show?”

    Ruey had put initials for the first team. She marked in the others in the same way and then handed back the book to Len who was nearly overwhelmed by people standing round her, poking their heads round trying to peer at the sketch and get an idea of how the teams stood.

    “It’s frightfully small!” Primrose Trevoase objected, trying to get a glimpse of it over Len’s shoulder.

    Len had made a discovery. “But every man in the field is marked except the Goalkeeper!” she exclaimed.

    “No? Not really?” Ted Grantley said. “No,” as she tried to tuck her head under Len’s arm and nearly sent that young person tumbling headlong down the steps. “It’s no good! Tell you what, Ruey!” She swung round, addressing the gifted artist in English. “You go to Deney and get a big sheet of drawing-paper from her and do another diagram—one that we can all see. She’ll let you have it if you tell her what it’s for. Sorry, by the way, Len! I didn’t mean to jiggle you like that!” For again, she had nearly sent Len flying.

    “I’m not standing here any longer,” Len said with decision. “You’ll be making me sprain an ankle or a wrist or something.” And she moved back firmly. “You do as Ted says, Ruey, and get the paper. Ask Deney after morning school.”

    “Sorry, but I can’t. I’ve got to go to Miss Burnett for remedials,” Ruey replied with a grimace. “She says I’m round-shouldered.”

    “Well, never mind that,” Tina Harms interjected. “Tell us instead, Ruey, how long is this field on which one plays?”

    But here, Ruey could give no help, never having bothered about it. “I have no idea. I should think it might be a hundred yards—what’s that in metres, someone?—about that, anyhow, or perhaps a hundred and fifty. The goal posts must be six feet apart—I know that, and the crease has to be three feet on either side and six feet back and front. The goalposts are exactly in the middle of the crease, you see. The centre line is the exact centre of the field, of course. Oh, and you have two umpires, one at each goal. That’s about all I can tell you.”

    “How long does a game last?” someone else wanted to know.

    “Two thirty-fives, I think, but I’m not sure.”

    “Anything else you can tell us?” demanded Maeve Bettany who had come along to see what the huddle was about and now coolly plucked the notebook from Len’s hands and examined the diagram with interest. “By the way, keep to German, you folk. I don’t want to fine you, but you all know the rules—or if you don’t, you ought.”

    “What do we wear?” Odette Mercier asked shyly.

    “Just what you wear for other games—shorts and woolly jumpers as you get very hot and it keeps you from catching chills. In my club, we always wore special lacrosse boots—rubber soles and sides up to the ankles—but I believe one can wear any shoes so long as they have rubber soles. The Goal-keeper wears leg and body pads and padded gloves as well. You see, she is the only player who may use her hands to stop the ball and it’s jolly hard—made of black rubber, I think, though I don’t really know. By the way, she can only stop the ball with her hands when she’s in the crease. Otherwise, she must use her crosse.”

    The bell ringing for the end of Break put a stop to any more questioning just then, but Ruey had said quite enough to convince many of her hearers that lacrosse was the game for them. By the time Miss Dene could spare a moment to go and look at the lists, she found that about half the Seniors had put down their names, not to mention the whole of Upper IVa and all those people in Lower IVa who had had their fourteenth birthday. They hoped that the Head and Staff would stretch a point and make fourteen the age at which they might begin…

... ‘Yes,’ she thought, ‘games kept everyone out-doorsy and healthy, and hobbies kept them busy indoors. Thank Heaven I’m pretty healthy for my age!’

Author:  shazwales [ Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 7 Dec

Lovely! thanks :)

Author:  Lottie [ Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 7 Dec

Thanks, Santa. That takes me back to my long ago schooldays with all that information about lacrosse.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 7 Dec

Were that our PE lessons could have been more like that! Thankyou!

Author:  roversgirl [ Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 7 Dec

I never got the chance to play lacrosse and would have liked to! I'm not really the sporty CS girl type! Thanks :-)

Author:  Secret Santa [ Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 7 Dec

Door 8
As long as nothing happened to disturb it, her routine was now established to open the Calendar door as she sat with her morning coffee. So this morning she took her tray to the large window overlooking the garden to watch the birds. But when she opened the latest door and found a picture of a robin, it was not the avian kind that she immediately thought about…

    …In the warm Speisesaal Miss Bettany sat down and carefully drew back the rug in which the Robin had been wrapped to protect her from the cold and the icy mountain wind which was sweeping down the valley. The girls pressed forward eagerly.

    Such a lovely baby-face! With curly black hair clustering over the small head, and long black lashes resting on the check, which were tear-stained. She was very fast asleep – so fast, that the two mistresses were able to undress her and put her to bed all without waking her, and the upcurling lashes never even fluttered. They lighted the night-light to which she was accustomed – for it was growing dark by this time – then they crept out of the room and ran downstairs to join the others.

    The Robin had arrived!…

And the Robin had become part of the family and the school, improved vastly in health, been to Oxford and tried Social Work in London, and had finally given in to her Vocation and entered an order of nuns in Canada.

‘Dear Robin,’ she thought. ‘I must write her a Christmas letter.’ And she fetched pen and paper and devoted the rest of the morning to doing so.

Author:  cestina [ Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 8 Dec

Aw....the Robin is one of my very favourite characters. I was incensed when she was banished to Canada....

Thank you Santa :D

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 8 Dec

Bless! And I hope that she got a lovely letter, too! Thankyou!

Author:  Lottie [ Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 8 Dec

Thank you, Santa. And that reminds me that I must write a Christmas letter, too.

Author:  2nd Gen Fan [ Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 8 Dec

I haven't been on the board in a while, and loved reading this. It's really clever way of linking some special moments at different points in the series.

Author:  Secret Santa [ Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 8 Dec

Door 9

The following day’s little picture was of a pair skates. She had done a lot of skating in her time, but one occasion was etched on her memory …

    … It was five o’clock in the afternoon—or seventeen by continental time—and Joey Bettany was up in her dormitory with the rest of her clan, changing for the evening. They had had a glorious time on the ice that afternoon. Jo always maintained that the first skating was the best, and she was arguing this out with Frieda Mensch, who refused to see it, when her eyes were suddenly caught by some dark figures on the lake near the old tree that overhung it, not far from St. Scholastika’s. ‘I say!’ she exclaimed. ‘See that!’

    Frieda, Mary, and Simone crowded to her cubicle to look out of the window, while Marie von Eschenau, who had the other ‘lake-window’ cubicle, promptly went to hers.

    ‘But there are people skating there!’ cried Frieda. ‘That is where the big spring is, and no one ever goes there, for the ice is never safe! Who can they be?’

    Jo shook her head, and looked up the lake to the St. Scholastika end, where a warm glow betokened the blazing of a huge bonfire. The same had been lighted at the Seespitz end and in both parts skaters crowded the ice. It was a clear night and the stars shone frostily in the sky, giving a pale light, which enabled the girls to see as far over the lake as was possible from their windows. The moon was not yet up, but when it rose the ice would be covered with people from all round. But everyone would avoid that part by the tree and the part near the dripping rock, for there lay the two biggest springs which helped to fill the lake, and which kept it so cold even in the hottest summer weather. Skating there was never safe, and the people living in the two hamlets always struck out well to the centre before they turned in any direction. Therefore the consternation depicted on the faces of the girls who were watching was justified.

    ‘It must be the Saints,’ said Mary at last. ‘But didn’t anyone warn them?’

    ‘I’m sure Herr Braun would,’ replied Joey. ‘Look how he came to tell my sister that first winter. I say! What are we to do?’

    ‘Tell Mademoiselle,’ suggested Simone. ‘She will then ring up Miss Browne, who will at once call them in and take them to a safer part.’

    There was a silence, and Mary looked at Joey. Simone caught the glance, and at once her grave little face became graver.

    ‘Do you mean that you think they are there without the knowledge of Miss Browne?’ she asked.

    ‘Well, what does it look like?’ asked Mary. ‘It’s rather dark—we are never allowed to skate except in the daytime, and I don’t suppose Miss Browne will think differently from Mademoiselle on that point. They’re in a most dangerous part, and we can be sure that they have been warned. They’ve broken out—little asses! And—’

    She was interrupted by the banging of the door. Joey had flown, just as she was, in her dressing-gown, her hair standing all dishevelled, and only one stocking on, straight to the study to find Mademoiselle.

    The others went back to their own cubicles and went on with their dressing soberly. It was out of their hands now. Or so they thought. They were mistaken, however. Ten minutes later, Jo came tearing back and, casting aside her dressing-gown, was scrambling into the rest of her clothes at a rate that seemed likely to end in disaster for them. ‘Wires down!’ she panted, as she struggled into a frock—any frock! ‘Mademoiselle and Maynie are off to Le Petit Chalet… some of the kids are out in spots, an’ it looks like measles! Bill’s gone to Innsbruck for the week-end, and Nally’s gone up to the Sonnalpe to see Madge about something or other… I don’t know what… and there isn’t a soul to settle those idiots over there but us!’

    The prefects gasped in horror. Then Mary made for the door.

    ‘But where are you going?’ demanded Marie.

    ‘To get my outdoor things!—Jo, you skate better than most of us—you and Frieda! Buck up, and skate across and tell them! I’m going round the lake to St. Scholastika’s to tell someone to fetch them in.’

    She was off, and the door banged behind her, just as Simone cried, ‘But Jo! You promised Madame on your Guide honour that you would never go off again without telling someone in authority!’

    Jo stopped, her face white with worry. ‘So I did!’

    ‘That cannot be helped,’ declared Frieda with unexpected decision. ‘Madame would never expect you to wait when there was life in danger.’

    ‘I’ll have to go!’ Jo’s face hadn’t cleared, but she felt that her duty lay plain enough before her. ‘Madge will understand, I know.’

    She finished her dressing, and made for the door, followed by Frieda, and a wail from Simone of, ‘But, Jo! Your Guide honour?’

    ‘Guide honour’s all right,’ said Deira. ‘I only wish I could skate decently; I’d have gone then! But I can’t get a dozen yards without falling down.’

    ‘If—if anything should happen to Jo?’ faltered Simone.

    The other girls went white at the idea. Jo was a favourite with all of them; and they all knew what she and Mrs. Russell were to each other.

    Marie ran to the window and looked out. ‘They are still at it,’ she announced in her own language. ‘They cannot skate at all, and they are just falling about. The ice will not stand much of that!’

    ‘I’m going to Mademoiselle,’ said Deira shortly. ‘She ought to know.’ The next minute she too had gone.

    It was a case where action had to be taken swiftly. There could be no doubt that the Saints were in actual danger. The only wonder was that some of the people on the lake had not seen to it that they left that part. As a matter of fact, it was discovered later that one man had come up to the girls and warned them that they were not safe where they were; but as he had no English, and their German was a negligible quantity so far, he accomplished nothing, and they only shook their heads at him. Finally, Maureen managed to get out, ‘Ich verstehe nicht!’ but, as her accent and grammar were atrocious, it is doubtful if he understood her any more than she did him, and finally, seeing that he could do nothing, he left them and went in search of someone who might have more authority than he.

    The anxious people in the Green dormitory of the Chalet still thronged round the window, and were presently rewarded by seeing Joey Bettany at the edge of the lake, getting into her skating-boots as quickly as she could. She didn’t take time to lace them properly, contenting herself with missing most of the holes and tying the laces firmly round the tops. Then she stood up on the ice and struck out at once, with the easy swing that spoke of much practice. Frieda followed almost at once, though she paused to lace her boots better than her friend had done. She had not finished plaiting her long hair in its accustomed pig-tails when she had gone off, and it came loose as she went and floated behind her like a banner. The girls in the dormitory clutched at each other as they watched the scene. The Saints were still tumbling about, trying to get their balance, and one or two of them must have taken some hard knocks. But they were a plucky set and made nothing of their bruises. What was worse, they made nothing of the long flaws that were beginning to forming the ice. It is true that Doris looked at them rather uneasily once or twice, but when she drew Maureen’s attention to them, that young lady only shook her off with an exclamation of impatience. She was beginning to find that she could keep up better if she leaned forward a little, and was deeply interested in her own progress.

    Joey and Frieda, skating fast, reached the limits of the safe ice, and then paused, and Frieda gave a call. ‘St. Scholastika’s! Hé, there!’

    No one paid any attention, and Joey skated slowly round the boundary, trying to get near. Her years in the Tyrol had taught her what those long shining marks on the black ice meant, and she thought with vague horror of the catastrophe that overhung the Saints.

    ‘What are we to do?’ cried Frieda in German. She was prepared to go on to the unsafe ice if necessary, but she feared to add more weight to what it already had to bear. Judging from the cracks that were appearing in all directions it would not be long before it gave, and there would be a catastrophe.

    Joey recognised Maureen at this moment, and, balancing herself carefully, shouted, ‘Maureen—Maureen, I say! Get off this ice! It’s dangerous!’

    Maureen, startled by hearing her own name from a strange person, looked across, and went down once more. The ice creaked and groaned as she landed on it, and she suddenly woke up to the danger. Unaccustomed to tackling things in an emergency, she lost her head and began to scream. Joey saw no help for it. Lowering herself till she lay at full length, she began wriggling her way over the bending ice to the group of startled girls. As she did so, she called to them to get to the shore at once. Frieda followed her example; and one or two of the elder Saints who had managed to keep their wits about them began to stagger to the shore, leading such of the middles as they could catch. The others at once followed them; and they were all more or less safe, leaving only Maureen, still lying huddled up and screaming, on the dangerous part, when the ice suddenly seemed to give a tremendous heave; and there was a cracking and a groaning, and then a splash, and Jo and Maureen were struggling in the water.

    The first shock of the icy water nearly robbed Jo of her senses. Maureen, however, promptly fainted from horror, and the slighter girl bent all her energies to grabbing at her and holding her up, while she tried to tread water. Jo was an excellent swimmer, hours of practice during the summer having made her expert; but she soon found that swimming in summer weather, when the sun is shining down with a glorious glow and one is hampered by nothing heavier than a swimming suit, is a totally different matter from trying to swim in water that is full of broken ice, laden with another girl who is unconscious, and both clad in winter garments all well-soaked through, with skates in addition. Also, swimming by the light of the stars is a difficult matter at any time. Now ti make things even more appalling than they already were. Jo began to sink beneath the weight she was bearing, and it seemed to her that the cruel numbing cold was creeping up to her heart and stopping it. She cast one agonised look round for Frieda, but could not see her. The girls on shore were mostly screaming with terror, though one or two of them were trying to pull branches off one of the old trees. The wood was tough and slippery with ice, besides which, they were all tired, and they found that their strength would not prove equal to the task. Still they persevered. It was a ghastly position, and no one quite knew how to deal with it. Meantime, Joey Bettany of the Chalet School was obviously weakening, and Maureen lay—limp, grey, and to all appearance dead—across her shoulder. The freezing cold was doing its work, and Joey knew that she was gradually losing consciousness. It scarcely seemed worthwhile to struggle as she was doing. It was so vain, and soon it would all be over. Vaguely she wondered what Madge would say when they told her. Dick would be upset, too, and the Babies would never remember ‘Auntie Joey.’

    It was at this moment she heard a cry and managed to turn round. Frieda had worked her way round to the nearest point of safety, and now lay prone on the ice, her arms held out, her skate-tips digging desperately for a hold. ‘Joey!’ she gasped. ‘Swim this way! I can hold you up till help comes!’

    Joey tried, but she was too numbed with cold to manage, and the whole affair might have ended in a tragedy had it not been for a new-comer, who was running swiftly along the road from Seespitz, where he had been summoned to attend to a sick child. They discovered that he had met Mary, had caught her words, and had torn away at full speed to render what help he could, leaving her to go to St. Scholastika’s with her message.

    At the same time help came from the other direction, as two men, carrying a rope, came flying over the ice, stopping as they reached the danger-spot with commensurate ease, and while one lay down and wriggled onwards, the other coiled the rope lightly and flung it so that the noosed end went well over Jo’s head and shoulders, and then drew tight with a jerk that made her feel as if she were being sawn in two. With a little gasp she fainted, but by this time the one who was lying prone had caught the line and was drawing the two girls towards the safer ice.

The aftermath of that, she remembered with a shiver, had been distinctly unpleasant, but she had pulled through, thanks, everyone said, to the Robin. She pulled out the nearly-finished letter to that very dear person, and added extra love before she sealed it.

Author:  Lottie [ Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 9 Dec

Thanks, Santa! It's great to be able to read the full version of that - there are bits missing in the PB.

Author:  lexyjune [ Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 9 Dec

Thanks Santa, one of my favourite bits in the books.

Author:  roversgirl [ Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 9 Dec

Robin is also one of my favourite characters. Thanks! :-)

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 9 Dec

I, too, had only ever read the abridged version, so thankyou very much!

Author:  2nd Gen Fan [ Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 9 Dec

One of my favourite scenes too, thank you.

Author:  JS [ Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 9 Dec

Tears again in my eyes after reading that, thanks Santa (I think). You do know how to pick them.
Also, is this the first time in the series that Jo actually faints?

Author:  Secret Santa [ Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 9 Dec

Door 10
The next day was drizzly, but she made the effort to walk out for her newspaper, trying to have at the least a short walk in the fresh air, however damp, each day. Life was harder now she was on her own, but she was determined not to be a burden to any of her family, and had refused to go and live with any of them, despite the many offers.

‘Not now,’ she had said. ‘I can do for myself quite well at the moment. When I can’t then you may come and cart me off.’

So she had sold the big house, and bought a ground-floor apartment in what had once been a manor house at the edge of a village. Part of the house was a nursing-home, but there were cottages in the grounds, and several flats and maisonettes had been made from the rest of the house and the stable block. There was an emergency system, a full-time warden on site, and the flats were fully serviced, so she had been able to persuade Anna, who had been a friend and supporter as well as her housekeeper for so many years, to retire to Briesau, where her family still lived, and have a well-earned rest. She herself had settled in rooms that included the former library of the house, and was near, but not too near, both to London, and to where some of her children were living.

This morning’s post had brought a letter from one of her daughter’s friends, so when the tenth door opened to reveal a teddy bear, her thoughts were not about the stuffed toy that was before her eyes….

    “Here she is, Mamma! Theodora, this is my mother.”

    Theodora looked, her mind in a complete whirl. What she had expected, it is hard to say. Certainly not what she got. A tall woman with laughing black eyes turned from the window where she had been standing, and held out both hands.

    “Welcome to the Chalet School!” she said—and Theodora thought she had never heard a lovelier voice, not even the Head’s.

    “Shall I leave Theodora with you and come back for her later?” Len asked.

    Mrs. Maynard laughed at her. “Theodora?” She turned to the stunned owner of the name, and asked plaintively, “Must we?”

    “Must you what?” Theodora gasped.

    “Make it the whole thing? No one on this earth ought to have to answer to four syllables every day of her life! Won’t one do you? Mayn’t we make it ‘Ted’?” Then, as Theodora stood staring dumbly at her, she added, while her eyes danced, “Of course, if you’ve any special objection to that, we could always make it ‘Theo’.” She sat down, pulling Theodora to a seat by her side on the broad windowsill. “You’ll have to make up your mind to it, my lamb! ‘Ted’ or ‘Theo” but not ‘Theodora’! All right, Len; you may leave her and come back for her in ten minutes.”

    Len nodded and skipped off, and Joey, still holding one of the thin hands, continued, “Come along! Make up your mind which it’s to be, for call any girl ‘Theodora’ whenever I speak to her, I will not! And I warn you, the school sees a lot of me in one way or another—as a general rule, that is. Which is it to be?” Then, as Ted still remained dumb, she abandoned her whirlwind tactics, and said gently, “Don’t you understand? You’ve come here to make a new start. We’re washing all the past out. It’s done and gone. We can’t do anything about that. But you can do quite a lot with this fresh chance. As a beginning, we thought you’d like to forget all about Theodora and all the horrible trouble she has been in and see if Ted—or Theo, if you prefer it—couldn’t make us glad she had come. Don’t you like the idea?”

    Theodora came to her senses at last. “Do you mean,” she said slowly, “that it doesn’t matter to you that I’ve been chucked out of three other schools already?”

    Joey shook her black head with its deep fringe and great flat whorls of plaits over each ear. “Not unless you force it on our notice. It depends on you. We have a theory in this school that expulsion is a very bad thing, and only to be used for real wickedness—like stealing or continual lying or things like that; and only then if we’ve tried everything else and it’s all failed. What’s more, we consider it wrong to hark back. Once a thing’s paid for, it’s paid for. Whatever you may have done in the past has been paid for. It’s no affair of ours, and we aren’t interested in it. What we are interested in is what you do here. You’ve a chance to make good—turn into a different person. What about it—Ted?”

    “Theodora” vanished into thin air at the last word, and, with a sudden smile that wiped all the sullenness from her face and explained to Joey her mother’s statement that the girl was attractive to her own kind, “Ted” replied, “I’ll be Ted! And—and”—she paused and then went on with a rush—“and I’ll try to make good. It’s the first really decent chance I’ve had since they fired me from the Beehive when I was just a kid of nine. If I’m really to have it, I’ll take it—and that’s a promise.”

…and Ted had made good, she thought, and become a very good friend of the whole family, especially Len. And she turned her attention to the last few Christmas card envelopes that needed addressing.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 10 Dec

These are such lovely memories, Santa - for Joey and for all of us. Thankyou!

Author:  Secret Santa [ Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 10 Dec

Door 11

The following day she opened the door to find a jolly little boat pictured. She thought of cross-channel ferries, of the lake steamers on the Tiernsee, and then she began to laugh at the memory of a particular time when she had been in a boat …

    The boat went rocking out on to the broad bosom of the lake, where the early rays of the sun were just beginning to strike down, and the girls made good time with their oars till they reached the part they wanted. Then, while Juliet and Jo let down the anchor in case the current should move them, Grizel unpacked her basket, and they were soon enjoying the sandwiches and coffee with good appetites. The apricots followed, and then Juliet brought out her lines and proceeded to bait the hooks for them.

    ‘How dark the water is here!’ remarked Joey, peering gown at the black depths. ‘Are you sure this is the best place, Juliet?’

    ‘I asked at the farm when I went for milk last night,’ said Juliet. ‘They told me it was generally possible to get a good catch hereabouts.’

    The three lines went over the side of the boat, and the girls sat quietly, talking in undertones at intervals. For twenty minutes or so they caught nothing, and Jo the impatient was just about to suggest their rowing farther along, when Grizel uttered an exclamation, and began to haul in her line.

    ‘Gently — gently! You’ll lose it if you tug like that,’ said Juliet, coming to her assistance.

    A moment later, the catch was over the side of the boat and being disengaged from the hook by the elder girl. It was some kind of trout, about half a pound in weight. Juliet sighed for her rod and line; but fishing with it would have been difficult here, for she did not know the water, so they had to be content with their ordinary lines. Grizel was very proud of her capture, and Jo, for once, refrained from trying to take her down a peg. Besides, her own line called for her attention in a few seconds, and after that, they were all kept busy for some time.

    Presently, since the catch seemed to be ending, Juliet suggested that they should up anchor, and try again farther along. They had not nearly enough to satisfy the appetites of the camp, and it would be difficult to choose who should eat fish and who should not.

    They did as she suggested, and were rewarded by further good hauls. Finally, when the two baskets were full to overflowing, and they had enough to give everyone a good breakfast of fish, Juliet suggested that they had better return. The camp was awake and at work now, for they could see the busy figures on the other shore. Whistles and bugle-calls rang out, and Jo remembered, much to her chagrin, that she had forgotten to blow the reveillé Then a darker patch in the water caught her eye. ‘Let’s have a shot over there,’ sh pleaded. ‘I should love to catch a pike, if I could!’

    Thanks, I’d rather be excused,’ said Juliet, nevertheless doing as she wished. ‘Don’t you know that pike are known as “fresh-water sharks,” Jo? They are the fiercest fresh-water fish known.’

    ‘Still, I’d like to be able to say I’d caught one,’ argued Jo.

    Above the dark patch they anchored once more, and the three lines were thrown out again. Grizel caught two more little fish, and Joey got one which was quite the biggest they had taken.

    Juliet did nothing, and was just about to suggest that they really must go back, when she suddenly felt a tug at her line. ‘A bite!’ she cried. Very carefully she began to draw in; and then it struck her that whatever she had caught this time was considerably larger than anything which had gone before.

    ‘Whatever can it be?’ asked Grizel.

    ‘I bet it’s a pike,’ said Jo, who was leaning perilously far over the side of the boat. ‘I believe I can just see it down there — like a shadow — Juliet it’s huge! Whatever it is, it’s simply enormous!’

    Juliet had no breath left with which to answer. She was bending all her energies to drawing in this mysterious catch. The wet line was cutting across her hands, and her muscles felt like cracking. The other two lent a hand at this point, and slowly — very slowly — they pulled it in. Gradually it neared the surface — a long, dark object, wider at one end than the other. Suddenly, as it swayed in the water, the three girls caught sight of its face.

    There was a united scream, which brought most of the Guides on the opposite shore to the water’s edge at a run. Then a splash, and the next minute they were furiously struggling with the anchor, hauling it up anyhow and with little heed as to what happened. The boat had keeled over dangerously for a moment; then, as Grizel, who had kept her head better than the others, flung her weight on the opposite side, it slowly righted. The next moment the anchor was aboard, and they were rowing as if sharks pursued them.

    ‘What could have happened?’ exclaimed Miss Stewart, who had joined the Guides on the shore.

    ‘Something must have frightened them,’ said Miss Nalder, who had caught a glimpse of the white face of Grizel as the latter turned her head to see that they were heading for the right spot. ‘Frieda, run for the captain.’

    Frieda turned and ran, and came back with Miss Wilson just as the boat grounded. Its three occupants stayed where they were — Joey, indeed, was very sick at the moment — and they had to be helped out.

    ‘What has happened?’ asked the captain anxiously, as she slipped an arm round Juliet’s waist and supported her to a rock where she could sit down. ‘What is the matter Juliet?’

    With chattering teeth Juliet tried to answer. After a moment she succeeded. ‘Oh, captain, there’s a dead body in the water over there, and I — HOOKED — IT!’

...It hadn’t really been a dead body, of course, but the shock had been as bad for them all as if it were.

‘What a lot of things I’m remembering,’ she thought.

Author:  Alison H [ Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 11 Dec

Thank you, Santa - it's funny how little things can bring back memories.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 11 Dec

Reading that again has given me the chills. Thankyou Santa!

Author:  Abi [ Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 11 Dec

Thanks Santa; I'm loving these memories.

Author:  Lottie [ Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 11 Dec

I love the way you've managed to link extracts from the books to windows in an Advent Calendar. Thank you, Santa!

Author:  roversgirl [ Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 11 Dec

I jsut caught up on two days. I also lvoed the passage where they hook the mannéquin. Thanks :-)

Author:  Secret Santa [ Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 11 Dec

Door 12
It was quite exciting to open each day’s door, and she enjoyed the miniature ritual that had evolved, of sitting by the big window with her coffee and the Calendar. The twelfth door opened to show a candle…

    Now came Marie’s turn. She produced twelve candlesticks of the flat variety each with a candle set in it. These she arranged from one end of the room to the other in two lines a good distance apart.

    “And what is this, mon enfant?” asked Mademoiselle.

    “This is to see which months will be fortunate for you,” said Marie. “Each in turn must jump over the candles. Those that remain lighted will be happy months; but those that go out will be months of bad luck. Now who will begin?”

    “Well, what about yourself?” suggested Jo.

    “Oh, but won’t Mademoiselle try?”

    Mademoiselle shook her head and laughed. “You forget, chérie, that I am an old lady now, and not so agile as I once was. But Miss Nalder – “

    “Oh, I don’t mind beginning,” cried Miss Nalder. “Light them, Marie, and we’ll see what luck I have.”

    Marie lit them, and Miss Nalder, beginning at November, leaped lightly over them, one after the other. Up one side, and down the other she went; and when she had reached the last, the twelve little flames were still burning brightly.

    “What a jolly year I must be going to have!” she said, laughing, as she returned to her seat.

    The girls applauded her effort heartily. Later, they wondered at it. The Junior staff were prevailed on to try this, and big Miss Durrant did it as well as the light little gym mistress. Miss Norman put out three lights, and Miss Edwards seven. Then Mademoiselle Lachenais was called upon.

    Now Mademoiselle Lachenais was small and dainty and the girls expected to see her go the round as easily as Miss Nalder. But they counted without their host. Mademoiselle shut her eyes, leaped as high as she could, and landed on both feet with a thud that shook the room. The tiny light flickered and went out promptly. With an agonized expression on her face, the foreign languages mistress repeated her tactics on the second. It was blotted out, too. On she went, the girls not daring to laugh, and suffering severely from keeping their laughter in. When the final thud came in a dead silence, Mademoiselle Lachenais looked back, and saw that not a single candle remained alight. She threw up her hands with a shriek of horror. “Ah! Mais c’est affreux! What bad luck lies before me!”

    She looked so really scared that Marie hastened to comfrt her. “It is only a game, Mademoiselle. See; someone else will do it – Jo.”

    “Rather!” said Jo promptly. “Light them, Marie.”

    Marie lit them, and Jo set off. She got over the first three in grand style. Then she misjudged her distance, and leaped not over, but on to the fourth, which came down with a sizzle and a smash that made a fine mess of grease, especially as the candlestick upset, and Jo sat down abruptly, her long legs shooting out in front, and sending the candle before her flying into the sixth, which collided with the wall, and went out n a flurry.

    “Three at one stroke!” gasped Frieda, who was nearly weeping with laughter. “Oh, Joey!”

    Joey got up, looking slightly crestfallen. “I never expected that to happen,” she said dazedly.

    “Come and try these others,” said Marie, choking back her laughter as well as she could.

    Jo went, and contrived to finish the round without disgracing herself any further. Then she retired, to be well teased by Miss Annersley and Miss Wilson, while Frieda herself hopped neatly over the whole twelve – Marie had brought another to take the place of the squashed one.

    The girls found this fine fun, though the Junior staff, with horrified eyes on the clock, insisted on marshalling their little band, and taking them off to their own house. The Sixth went to see them off, and came back just in time to see Thekla taking her place. Throughout the evening, Thekla had seemed to be enjoying herself. She had been quite civil, even to the Hamels, and they, being good natured girls, had met her half way. It is true she had begun badly, for she had had an argument with Matron over the dress she should wear. The domestic tyrant had caught Miss Thekla just about to put on a blue muslin frock over her frilliest underthings, and had promptly ordered her to remove them and get back into the sensible gym knickers they were all to wear. She had refused to listen to a word, and had only gone when she had seen Thekla beginning to remove them. But Thekla was obstinate. Once Matron had gone, she had refastened her petticoat. She dared not do anything but put on her brown velvet frock, which was the ordinary wear of the girls in the evenings; but she argued that no one was likely to ask her what she was wearing underneath. Thekla had a passion for what Joey stigmatised as “fluffies” and there were far too few opportunities for wearing them at school. She resolved not to let this one slip.

    Thus, while the girls who were sensibly clothed came to no harm, it was a different matter when she began to leap, wearing a petticoat of muslin, made very full and frilly. Just as she was leaping over the third candle, it suddenly flared up, and the flame caught the edge of one of the frills. The petticoat was too long for the velvet frock, and Thekla had tucked it up in a tape tied round her waist. But the exercise had loosened the tape, and the frills slipped down. At once the inflammable muslin was ablaze, and Thekla, screaming at the top of her voice, was rushing wildly to the door with some idea of making for the bathroom. It was not allowed, of course. Miss Wilson and Miss Stewart were on her in a moment and threw her on the ground, while they beat out the flames with their hands. Joey, with a wild desire to be helpful, seized the big tub of water in which they had been ducking for apples, and flung its contents over the group on the floor. Water, apples, and a towel which had been dropped in by accident and left there, showered on the luckless trio, while Jo herself, staggering under the weight of the tub and water, slipped and crashed down on top of them, soaking herself as thoroughly as they were soaked. Any fire left about Thekla gave up the ghost after that. Mademoiselle rushed to the spot, ejaculating and exclaiming, while Miss Nalder pulled Jo to her feet, assisted by Mr Denny, who had watched the whole proceeding with amazed eyes. His sister snatched up two of the other towels flung down, and began to scrub at Jo’s drenched frock, while Matron, without a word, went flying upstairs to see to hot baths and blankets and call to Luise from the kitchen to set on a large pan of milk to heat.

    This ended the evening. It was obviously impossible to go on when four of the company were streaming with water and several of the others not much better. There was a small pond on the floor, and in the bustle and scurry, baskets of nuts and apples, as well as chairs, had been upset. Those of the guests who lived out of the School got ready, and departed. The wet ones were sent off to bed, where Matron dosed them with quinine and cinamon, and big drinks of treacle posset. The rest set the common room to rights – as well as they could for giggling when they remembered the faces of Miss Stewart and Miss Wilson as that icy douche of water mingled with apples and a towel had descended on them...

It really was incredible, she thought. I’m being shown scenes from throughout my life. Half the doors are open now. I wonder what I will find behind the other half.

Author:  Abi [ Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 12 Dec

I love the bit where Mademoiselle puts all the candles out. :D

Author:  Alison H [ Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 12 Dec

Thekla setting her frilly underwear on fire always makes me giggle :lol: . That party always sounds like so much more fun than the ones with paper games.

Author:  2nd Gen Fan [ Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 12 Dec

That party always sounds like so much more fun than the ones with paper games.

Yet another example of why the Austrian books were the best in many ways?

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 12 Dec

It's a scene that always makes me giggle too - thankyou Santa!

Author:  Secret Santa [ Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 12 Dec

Door 13
The next morning was bright and frosty, and her walk to the paper shop was enhanced by meeting a fellow-villager and her dog. He was a cheerful mongrel with a sizeable helping of boxer in his make-up, giving him a quizzical expression and cheerful disposition. No dog would or could have matched up to Rufus or Bruno, naturally, but she still missed having a dog around, so had been pleased to stay awhile while her new friend fetched sticks thrown across the village green, and she chatted to his mistress. Pets were not permitted in her apartment complex, though, as she ruefully admitted, she was too old now to train a young puppy. The expedition had taken most of the morning, so it was with her after-lunch coffee that she opened today’s door. The little picture was of a yule log, adorned with snow and holly…

    On the Sunday afternoon Kathie, wishing heartily that she had never said she would go, set off for Freudesheim, the Maynard's house. It was a chilly October day, for the clouds had come down during the night and though the mist on the Görnetz Platz was thin enough not to be dangerous, it was damp and chilling. Kathie wrapped herself up in her big winter coat and an enormous scarf and set off down the drive, her heart in her boots. Biddy o'Ryan had advised her to cut through the two gardens which were linked by a gate in the dividing hedge of arbor vitae, but she refused to do that. So she left the big gates, walked briskly along the curving road and turned down to the white gate leading into the Maynard's house. Nearly rigid with shyness, she crawled up the drive and arrived at the foot of the steps leading up to the house. The front door flew open and a tall dark woman, with a delicate, mobile face under a deep straight fringe of black hair stood at the top of the steps, holding out welcoming hands.

    "Come up come up!" cried a golden voice. "Hurry up and come in out of the cold and damp! Don't, for goodness sake, stand there being polite in this weather! What a change from yesterday!" She pulled her guest into the hall and slammed the door behind them. "Come and hang your things up. Why didn't you cut across the gardens? My eyes nearly fell out when I saw you at the gate! No one at the school ever treats me with such prim manners. Besides, it's yards nearer."

    “I—I didn't like to," Kathie stammered as she got rid of her wraps.

    'Well, don't ever do it again! Ready? Then come along to the salon. We've had an open grate put in this last summer and we've got a gorgeous fire waiting to welcome you. I hope you like babies, by the way? And dogs, too? Because I always have my babies to myself till bedtime on Sundays and my St. Bernard, Bruno, goes pretty well everywhere with me. Come and meet the lot!" Joey chattered as she ushered the visitor into a great room that ran from back to front of the house with a fireplace opposite the side window where a glorious wood fire was blazing away behind the high guard and two tiny, very fair people were building houses in a corner while in a basket framed playpen, a six months old baby lay gurgling and kicking.

    "You know my triplets. They're in your form, I hear. And here are my twins," Joey said as the primrose fair pair jumped up and scampered across the floor to her. "This is Felicity and the boy is Felix. Say 'How do you do', darlings.”

    Felicity greeted the stranger very prettily, but Felix, at four, was growing manly and he shied away from Kathie's offered kiss. "I don't kiss girls," he said.

    "Then shake hands," his mother said. "No one wants to kiss you if you don't want it, Felix, but you must mind your manners, my lad."

    Felix shook hands and then rushed back to his building. His twin followed him and Joey, with a grin, informed her visitor, "That's just how his cousin David Russell treated me years ago when I was still at school and he was Felix's age." She stooped over the playpen and scooped up the baby.
    "Never mind him! Admire our latest instead. There! What do you think of that for an effort! "

    She exhibited the baby proudly and Kathie admired the silky dark curls, the dark eyes with their absurdly long lashes and the pink cheeks each with a dimple in it. "Rather nice, isn't she? Would you like to take her?”

    She sat Kathie down in a low chair by the fire and put the baby in her arms. "There! What do you think of her?"

    "Oh, she’s lovely! " Kathie cried, all her shyness gone in face of this friendly warmth. "She's so soft and cuddly! But isn't she unlike the twins!" she added with a glance to the comer where the two flaxen heads were bobbing about.

    "Oh, quite. You see, I'm very dark and I had the luck to marry a fair man so we have no monotony in our family. Con and this small thing and Charles, our second boy, are all dark. Steve, Mike and those two are fair, though the twins are the fairest of the lot. And Margot and Len are red, though even then it isn't the same. Len's chestnut and Margot's golden red. And they're just as unlike in character as I expect you know where the three girls are concerned. Did you ever know triplets more unlike each other?"

    "I've never known triplets before," Kathie said demurely.

    Joey laughed. "I don't suppose you have. I’II show you the boys' latest photo. You'll probably meet Mike. He comes up for week ends at present, though when the real winter weather begins, that'll have to stop. Here you are. The big one is Steve, that's Charles; this curly top is Mike. Not much alike each other, are they?"

    "No," Kathie agreed as she studied the photograph. "Mike's like Margot, though."

    "How right you are! And it's more than looks!” quoth their mother darkly. "Mike has as big a share of mischief as Margot. And Felix is turning like him Twins! I hear Bruno whining at the front door. Run and let him in, will you?"

    The twins dropped their bricks and scampered off and she turned to Kathie and said with a chuckle, "Yesterday, Felix had been very naughty and disobedient I was talking very seriously to him when it suddenly dawned on me that he wasn't paying much attention. I said, 'Felix!' No reply. 'Felix!' Still no reply. 'Felix! I'm speaking to you!' And he replied, very distantly, 'I fink we won't discuss vis any longer'."

    Kathie burst into a peal of laughter while Joey took the baby from her and grinned at her. "Neat, wasn't it. Of course he didn't get away with it. I kept a straight face and rebuked him pretty sharply. But I can tell you it was an effort."

    "It must have been," Kathie said, still chuckling.

    Then the door burst open and a handsome gentleman in a very damp coat of gold and white tore into the room and tried to fling himself on his mistress who retreated promptly behind a chair. Foiled, he turned his attention to Kathie and had washed her face very thoroughly before Joey had managed to call him off.

    "Bruno Bruno! Sit down! Lie down! " She crossed to put the baby back in the playpen and turned to Kathie. "I'm most awfully sorry. He’s young and silly and abnormally affectionate." She paused to rub behind the beautifully set ears as Bruno thrust his head against her and beat the guest over the knees with his flail like tall. Joey laughed. "All the same, I'll bet you aren't feeling shy with me now. It's impossible for anyone to do so in this house. What with dogs who go mad and small folk who come out with the most unexpected remarks, my only wonder is that anyone cares to come and visit us. Let's go and see about tea, twins. Kathie I'm going to call you that straight away can you keep an eye on Cecil for me? And you might pull up that little table for the twins and those two small chairs if you will."

    She departed, escorted by the twins and Bruno, and Kathie did as she was asked and then knelt down by the playpen to hold a conversation with Cecil who gurgled and cooed cheerfully at her, looking the picture of a contented baby.

    Felicity, stumping back with a dish of cakes, came to join her. "Isn't she pwetty Auntie Kaffie?”

    "She's lovely," Kathie said.

    The trolley was wheeled into the room by a proud Felix. Joey followed, laying a hand to guide it round traps of rugs with which the floor was scattered. Then they sat down to tea, Joey remarking, "I'm a spoiled woman when all my boys are at home. My husband has always insisted that as soon as they're old enough they learn to wait on me. I'm sorry you won't meet him today, but he was called out to a village up in the mountains and told me to expect him when I saw him. So it may be midnight before he returns."

    It was a delicious tea with cakes from one of the pâtesseries in Montreux, wafer bread and butter and tea that was rich with cream. When it was over the Coadjutor, a young Swiss girl who helped Anna, the Maynards' factotum, arrived to bear off the twins to the playroom for the short time left before their early bedtime. When they had gone, the two ladies pulled up their chairs to the fire and Joey initiated a delightful talk about the school.

    In the course of it she gathered something of the situation between the young mistress and Mary Lou Trelawney. She looked first startled and then grave, but she made no comment. She told of her own schooldays and kept Kathie in fits of laughter over the adventures she related. Finally, she whisked her off to help with bedtime and by the time the twins were safely in bed and Joey herself had carried Cecil to her own room to attend to her needs, the girl felt a stranger no longer.

    "I've had a gorgeous time," she said when the grandfather clock in the hall chimed seven and she had to go. "Thank you so much, Mrs. Maynard."

    "My name's Joey," that lady said promptly. "Might as well begin as you're bound to end. Are you sure you can find your way back?"

    “Oh, yes. The mist's thinning out and there's a young moon, too.”

    "O.K. Go through the gardens."

    “Very well. Thanks so much for my lovely visit."

…I miss my open fire, as well as my dog, she thought. But time would not be turned back, so she made the best of the afternoon by finishing her last Christmas letter.

Author:  Lottie [ Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 13 Dec

Thanks, Santa. These are wonderful.

Author:  KathrynW [ Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 13 Dec

Thank you Santa, what a wonderful idea and how lucky Lottie is!

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 12 Dec

Secret Santa wrote: she ruefully admitted, she was too old now to train a young puppy.

And what was her excuse with Bruno? :lol:

Thankyou for the update Santa! It really is nice how you're spanning so many different scenes.

Author:  Secret Santa [ Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 13 Dec

Door 14

The following day was when her cleaning lady came again, so once more, her afternoon tea was enhanced by the calendar. The little doll behind the door was dressed in a dirndl like the ones in La Maison des Poupées…

    It was great fun to be in the nursery there and to play with "La Maison des Poupées" as the big dolls' house was grandly called. Uncle Jack had made it himself, and most of the furniture too, and it was a toy to gladden the heart of any small girl, for it was a Tirolean chalet, down to the very frescoes on the outer walls, and the imitation porcelain stoves in the rooms. Even the beds had plumeaux on them, just as Auntie Jo had described them. The dollies were all dressed in Tirolean peasant costume, and, of course, they never spoke anything but German now that the school had returned to its old trilingual ways. As Auntie Jo frequently played with the family, the Triplets had given in, and were learning German fast.

‘It served its purpose, too,’ she chuckled, ‘all my girls were pretty much trilingual before they even went to school. I’m jolly glad they had that bit of their path eased for them, anyway.’

Author:  Abi [ Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 14 Dec

I actually can't place that quote. But I always loved the idea of the doll's houses... thank you Santa! :D

Author:  Secret Santa [ Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 14 Dec

Abi wrote:
I actually can't place that quote. But I always loved the idea of the doll's houses... thank you Santa! :D

It's from Three Go

Glad people are enjoying this so far

Ho Ho Ho

Author:  Lottie [ Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 14 Dec

Thank you, Santa. I'm definitely enjoying this. I thought the extract must be Three Go, although I didn't recognise it - presumably it was cut by Armada.

Author:  roversgirl [ Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 14 Dec

Thanks for the updates. I too would like to know her excuse for Bruno's lack of training! :-)

Author:  Secret Santa [ Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 15 Dec

Door 15

The following day’s door had a tiny Christmas tree behind it. She thought of all the trees she had decorated through the years, for her children, her grandchildren, and then she thought further back to one of the most magnificent she had ever seen…

    … the younger girls … reached upstairs, thrilling wildly; for now there was coffee, and then – then there was the Christmas-tree … Frieda, Joey, and the Robin were so excited they could hardly eat anything, and Frau Mensch, laughingly remarking that they must make up for it at Abendessen, led the way into the salon, where the curtains had all been taken down and the Christmas-tree in all its blazing glory in tinsel, glass toys, candles and frosting stood before them.

    ‘Oh!’ gasped Joey. ‘How beautiful!’

    Bernhilda laughed. ‘It is a lovely tree, mamma – the best we have ever had. It is like the tree in the book of Marchen!’

Her first Christmas in the Tyrol — how long ago that was now, and how many Christmases she had lived through since!

Author:  jayj [ Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 15 Dec

Thank you, Santa! This is lovely.

Author:  Lottie [ Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 15 Dec

I love that scene. Thank you, Santa.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 15 Dec

Just had two to catch up on - lucky me! Thankyou Santa! It's lovely being able to relive so many snippets of the books like this.

Author:  Secret Santa [ Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 15 Dec

Door 16
The next morning on her walk to the village shop, she fell in with the friendly neighbour and her dog. She discovered it had been a rescue dog, and thought of how she had come by Rufus …

    Joey was a sight to behold. She was soaking, and her hair was on end. Her face was splashed with mud; her gym tunic was torn, so that a great triangular piece hung down in front. She was crying, too – an unusual thing for her; and in her arms was a soft little roly-poly ball, which she cuddled to her.

    Leaving the people in the study to do as they chose, Madge fled to the door, and caught the child in her arms. ‘Joey! How could you?’ she cried reproachfully.

    ‘Oh, Madge! Oh, Madge!’ sobbed Joey exhaustedly; ‘I could only save him! The rest were all drowned! Oh, Madge! Such little young things! But I pulled him out and saved him! And, oh! the poor old mother! If you’d seen her eyes! Oh, I can keep him, can’t I?’ She thrust the little wet bundle against her sister. ‘He’s such a baby!’

    ‘Hush, Joey! Don’t cry so, darling! Yes; of course you shall keep him! Eigen! Go and change at once, and tell Marie to give you some hot coffee! –Come, Joey! Come and have a bath!’

    They all flew round. An hour later, Joey, cleansed and in her right mind, with her new possession cuddled up to her, told her story to an attentive audience.

    Eigen had told her about the two-week-old pups, and their destiny, and she had torn off with him as soon as prayers were over. They had arrived too late to do anything but save this last pup, even though they had scrambled over rocks and through thorns to do it. Joey, clutching the poor baby-thing to her, had harangued the man fiercely in a mixture of French, German and English, which luckily he had not understood. She had cried all the way home over the memory of poor Zita’s frantic grief; and Eigen had cried too – mainly out of sympathy, Madge suspected.

    ‘I can keep him, can’t I?’ wound up Joey passionately.

    ‘Yes; you may keep him,’ said her sister. ‘He must go back to his mother for a few weeks, and I will pay for him, so that they can keep her. I’m going now, to see about it. If things are very bad, Zita had better come here for the present. We can feed her better than they can, I imagine, and that will be my birthday present to you, Joey. Until I come back, you can give him some warm milk and water with a very little sugar in it.’

    She set off, and on reaching the little hut found that things were as Marie had said. The people had enough to do to feed themselves, and there was no margin for keeping such a huge animal as Zita. The herdsman at once fell in with her suggestion that he poor brute should go to the chalet for the winter. He also agreed to accept some money for the pup, and his wife wept for joy when the kroner notes were laid on the table. The money would make all the difference to them. Then Zita was unchained and handed over to her temporary owner, and Madge arrived back at the Chalet with her.

    The joy of the poor mother over her restored baby made Joey cry again. Zita washed her puppy thoroughly, and then lay down with him snuggled up to her, thumping the floor ecstatically with her big tail, and looking her gratitude out of her pathetic eyes. She had reached a dog-paradise. For the first time in months she had had a good meal. She was in a warm place, with plenty of fresh, sweet hay for her bed, and she had got back one of the babies they had taken away from her. What more could a sensible dog ask?

    ‘I shall call him Rufus,’ said Joey, as she reluctantly shut the door of the shed where they were, and went in to Kaffee. ‘I love him, and it’s the nicest birthday present I ever had!’

… and Rufus had stayed with her until he died of old age, and by that time she was living on the Welsh borders. Then, after the School – and she – had moved to Switzerland, she had been presented with a new St Bernard puppy, whom she had named Bruno.

Somehow – she supposed it was because she had so many other things to do by then, whereas she had been single-minded in training Rufus – Bruno had never quite been as polite and biddable as Rufus. He would never knowingly harm anyone of course, but he had really been far too boisterous in his youth.

When he, too, reached a fine old age, he had matured into a rather less excitable creature … ‘As we all do,’ she thought, as later that morning she sat down to her coffee, and opened the sixteenth door to find a picture of – a puppy.

Author:  Alison H [ Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 16 Dec

Aww, bless :D .

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 16 Dec

Thanks for answering the question Santa! :lol: That was a beautiful scene to choose, thankyou.

Author:  Secret Santa [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 17 Dec

Door 17

She spent the following morning wrapping her small presents for the children – well, it was grandchildren mostly now, her own were all grown up, and her one — so far — great-granddaughter, Polly. All the children she would see on or before Christmas day had a few of the fondants she had made, together with an envelope of money. She was still comfortably off with the investments she had made, both after selling her share of the School and with what remained from the sale of the family home. An occasional royalty cheque still arrived from her publishers, but few of her titles were in print now, just a few paperbacks, so it was not the regular income it had once been. But all this and her state pension meant she could put a bit aside for presents at Christmas and birthdays.

She had agreed rather reluctantly with her children that there were too many of them to give presents to once they became adult, and the rule had held for the grandchildren now, once they ‘came of age’. She still found it hard to think of eighteen as adult; even twenty-one was so young, she felt — so much time ahead to live — and she wished she could give proper presents to everyone. But Len, ‘the sensible one,’ she thought ruefully, had talked to everyone in the family, and the ‘rule’ had been established that Christmas presents were only to be for the children, and the children should at the very least produce a picture, or something they had made, for the adults who gave them presents. There were ways around this, of course, and she tried to make up for it a bit at birthdays.

‘But I can’t say I’m sorry,’ she thought as she tied the last bow round the last little box of sweets, ‘that I don’t have to rush around a lot of shops with a complicated list, and remember what I’ve given to whom, and whose shoe size is X and whose dress size is Y.’

She looked with satisfaction at the neat little row of packets, made sure that she had written cheques for the grandchildren she wasn’t seeing, and went to make herself a sandwich for lunch, remembering as she did so, another time she had made sandwiches…

    “Some of them are a trifle – unusual,” she remarked to Daisy, who was arranging little tables in the Saal and the study.

    “Unusual? What have you been up to?” Daisy demanded with suspicion.

    “Just trying a few experiments,” Jo said meekly. “Will you and Laurie be dog?”

    “I thought there was a catch on it somehow.” But Daisy obligingly helped herself from the nearest plate and nibbled cautiously.

    Jo watched her while she chewed. “Well?” she said.

    Daisy looked at it. “It’s – peculiar,” she said. “What’s in it?”

    “Mashed-up sardines and slices of banana,” Jo confessed.

    Daisy gave her a horrified look. “Jo! Whatever possessed you to mix two things like that together? You’ll have everyone sick!”

    “Do you feel sick?” Jo demanded with point.

    Daisy grinned at her. “No, but I always did have the digestion of an ostrich. What’s in this lot?”

    “Cream cheese and chutney – Indian chutney. And these are egg and lettuce for conservatively minded folk – oh, and these are apple slices and garden cress.”

    Laurie chuckled and helped himself to one made of rye bread. He took a healthy bite. Then he removed it rapidly.

    “Oh, no, Jo!” he protested. “Have mercy on your guests’ mouths – and tummies! What under the sun have you put into this?” He removed the top layer of bread and examined it with interest.

    “That’s ham spread with curry.”

    “Curry? Don’t you tell me! There’s a lot more than innocent curry in that!”

    “Curry – and one or two red peppers,” she returned.

    “Half a pound or so, more like! Hi, Jack! Come here! Your wife is trying to bump off her innocent friends with sandwich fillings! Come and stop her!”

    “Well, you get so sick of the ordinary things,” Jo pointed out. “I thought I’d be original. And there are some of the more ordinary kinds, as I told Daisy.”

    “A lot too original by half if the thing I tried is a true sample. You’d better let us know the worst. What’s this conglomeration, for instance?”

    Jack came and peered at the creamy-looking pink mixture. Then he sniffed. “Garlic, as I’m a living sinner! What else, Jo?”

    “Finely minced beetroot. But these are ground peanuts and paprika pepper. You can’t say anything about those,” Jo argued.

    “And these?” Jack had opened yet another. He sniffed at it suspiciously. Then he tasted it. “This isn’t too bad. What is it?”

    “Cream cheese and orange marmalade.”

    “Well I’ll give you credit for being original if you like. But some of those mixtures of yours are the abomination of desolation.

    Jo protested, but the men were firm. They cautiously sampled all she had made and flatly declined to allow some of the more striking combinations to be used.

    “You turn to and cut a lot of the ordinary kind that everyone likes,” her husband told her severely. “And the next time you want to be original about sandwich fillings, just you come and have a heart-to-heart talk with me about it first.”

… She had been so busy that morning that she hadn’t stopped for coffee, so with her after-lunch cup, she opened the Calendar door to see a gaily-wrapped present.

Author:  PaulineS [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 5:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 17 Dec

Thank you for these, they are a lovely reminder of Joey's role in the books.

Author:  jayj [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 5:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 17 Dec

Excellent! though in that episode, I am a little fearful for Joey's sanity...whatever possessed her, really?!

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 5:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 17 Dec

jayj wrote:
Excellent! though in that episode, I am a little fearful for Joey's sanity...whatever possessed her, really?!

She couldn't have been busy at the time, could she?

Thankyou Santa!

Author:  JS [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 5:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 17 Dec

Chicken tikka sandwich anyone? She was just ahead of her time :)
Thanks Santa.

Author:  Lottie [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 17 Dec

I always think those sandwiches sound disgusting, but then I'm not very adventurous when it comes to food, or anything else. Thank you for another giggle, Santa.

Author:  Alison H [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 17 Dec

It always sounded like something a teenager'd do, not a woman in her thirties :roll: :lol: .

Author:  Abi [ Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 17 Dec

The sandwiches are a little terrifying... :lol:

Thank you Santa!

Author:  Secret Santa [ Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 18 Dec

Door 18

The next morning was another bright day, she met her new friend and played with the dog on her morning walk to fetch the paper, and sat down to the Advent Calendar as usual with coffee. Behind today’s door was a toy soldier. Rix and David had had toy soldiers in the Die Rosen nursery, she remembered, vaguely, and carried on with her day …

    … For five days they walked, often hungry, almost always aching. The two youngest girls were carried whenever it was possible, but Jack and Gottfried were tiring more quickly now, for food was scant, and they had gone on for so long. Over and over again they were obliged to make long detours. Over and over again they had to slip through holes and into ditches to avoid being seen.

    On one occasion, when Jo and Jack and Robin had got left behind and they had no chance to hide anywhere, they heard a band of mounted riders coming after them. Jo breathed a prayer for help, and when the men drew abreast with them, called out to them in Romany, of which she knew a phrase or two, holding out her hand for an alms in true Romany fashion. She had to dodge a cut from a whip, and was freely cursed, but the men rode past, never dreaming that the fugitives they were after had spoken with them.

    It is doubtful if even Madge and Jem would have recognised the trio. Jo’s face was drawn and lined with what she had undergone. Her hands were seamed with dirt; her clothes were stained and torn; her black hair was dusty, and untidy — though that was no new thing for her! — and her shoes were broken. As for Jack Maynard, with several days’ beard blurring the outlines of his face, and lines of worry etched sharply on his features, he looked a regular ruffian. Even Robin, white and weary as she lay in his arms, bore little resemblance to the rosy-faced schoolgirl of a week before.

    The others of the little party had been able to hide, and were horrified when they heard of the narrow escape. But Jo grinned one of her old grins for the first time since they had been forced to flee.

    ‘Not much to worry about,’ she said cheerfully. ‘Did you ever see such hooligans as we look? I offered to tell their fortunes in Romany, and got nicely sworn at for my pains. But I’ll bet they’d no idea it was me, so to speak.’

… She hadn’t repeated that journey in nightmare for years now, and as she surfaced out of the dream, she turned towards Jack beside her in bed — to realise with a sickening blow to the pit of her stomach that he wasn’t there. As she struggled to consciousness the full hit of remembering that she was alone now made her gasp for breath. But Jack had been older than she was; over ninety when he had died. He had faded into a non-definable illness and after a few weeks, slipped away with his family around him. Everything had worn out at once, according to the doctor, and Joey knew he had been ready to go.

She sat up in bed and switched on the light, contemplating whether to go and make herself a hot drink. She looked at the bedside clock; 2.30 a.m. Definitely a cup of cocoa was indicated. There would be enough of the night to have the rest of her sleep out, if she could banish the horrors of that escape. For the first time, she wondered if the Advent Calendar was such a blessing, if it was bringing the bad memories with the good.

But when she was back in bed and snuggling down again, after the warming cocoa, and having read a few verses from The Book of Psalms, she was more logical. ‘My life hasn’t been all fun, though it has been amazingly blessed,’ she decided, ‘and if I only remembered the good things, not the bad — and in particular, how I came through the bad — it would be ungrateful, to say the least.’

This would be the third Christmas without Jack; and wondering how long it would be until she joined him, she drifted off to sleep again, holding tight to his rosary.

Author:  jayj [ Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 18 Dec

Very moving, Santa. I think this is my favourite of all the days so far. Thank you!

Author:  PaulineS [ Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 18 Dec

Thank you, pleased Joey was helped by the Psalms and Jack's rosary, her faith comes over as being an important part of her life as well as her family.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 18 Dec

Thankyou Santa. A sobering reminder of what we all know in life - that good can come of bad, and bad of good, but that we must always remember both.

Author:  Lottie [ Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 18 Dec

Poor Joey - it must be hard for her to carry on without her SLOC after all those years. Thank you, Santa.

Author:  Elbee [ Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 18 Dec

Thank you, Santa.

Author:  Abi [ Sat Dec 18, 2010 8:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 18 Dec

Thank you Santa, that was a great episode. It must be so hard for Joey without Jack after so much time.

Author:  Secret Santa [ Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 19 Dec

Door 19

After such a night, it was not surprising that she was heavy-eyed the next morning, and decided she would not bother about a Sunday paper. The nearest Roman Catholic church was some miles away, so although she went to Mass about once a month when a friend or one of her family were available to take her, she had got into the way of attending evensong at the village church.

She had decided long ago that each church was ‘only one of the roads to God. If you think that way, then it’s best for you. If you think another way, then that’s best. But they all go to the same end.’ So although she had converted to Catholicism after she and Jack were married, and had brought up her children in that faith, she found no difficulty in attending C of E services occasionally, and the little village church was a fine example of Early English; better still, it had not been over-restored.

That afternoon was to be the children’s Christingle, a particularly attractive and symbolic service, at which each child would receive an orange decorated with a candle, red ribbon, fruit and sweets. The orange represents the world, the red ribbon around it the blood of Christ, the fruit and sweets symbolise God’s bounty, and the candle stands for Jesus, the Light of the World.

She sat with her morning coffee looking over towards the church, and smiled to find that behind today’s door was an orange.

More information including instructions to make a Christingle here

Author:  PaulineS [ Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 19 Dec

Thank you Santa. Our Christingle service is at the end of January as our choir and a local school are joining together for it.

I concur with Joey
She had decided long ago that each church was ‘only one of the roads to God. If you think that way, then it’s best for you. If you think another way, then that’s best. But they all go to the same end.’

I think that agreeing to differ between the denominations and worshiping together when appropriate is a good example, rather than falling out over minor differences. (Although I recognise they may not be minor to those involved.)

Author:  Secret Santa [ Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 19 Dec

The quote is Joey's words to Eustacia in Eustacia if anyone didn't recognise where it came from.

Author:  Alison H [ Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 19 Dec

This is totally irrelevant but there was a guy in my hall of residence at university whose name was Chris Tingle. No-one liked to ask him if his parents'd done it on purpose or just hadn't thought when choosing his name :lol: .

Author:  Lottie [ Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 19 Dec

Thank you for the update, Santa, and for the christingle information, too.

Author:  cal562301 [ Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 19 Dec

Alison H wrote:
This is totally irrelevant but there was a guy in my hall of residence at university whose name was Chris Tingle. No-one liked to ask him if his parents'd done it on purpose or just hadn't thought when choosing his name :lol: .

I have friends (we were at Uni together) who live not too far from here, whose house is called Christingle - long story involving their surname. It did come in handy once, because I was in the area and found what I thought was their road. I guessed it was unlikely there would be two houses with the same unusual name in the area, so with some trepidation, I knocked on the door. Sure enough it was my friends, and we spent a happy couple of hours trying to catch up on 30 years of news!

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 19 Dec

Thankyou Santa - I missed our service this year, but it is always beautiful.

Author:  Secret Santa [ Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 20 Dec

Door 20

The service had been calming and uplifting. The hope and reverence in the children’s faces led her thoughts towards the future, rather than dwelling too much on the past. When, next morning, the twentieth door revealed a sleigh, however, she did think back – once again to that Christmas in Innsbruck, their first in Tyrol …

    There was a rush and a scramble to get into woollies and furs, and old Frau Mensch was to be heard reminding her son that he must take many rugs and hot bricks, and be sure that all were warm.

    ‘Isn’t this gorgeous fun?’ giggled Joey as she snuggled down between Frieda and Bernhilda, with the Robin wedged in, in front of them, while Herr Mensch and Gottfried tucked in the bearskins round them. ‘O-o-o-oh! Listen to the bells! Isn’t it topping!’

    ‘Glorious!’ agreed her sister as a loaded sleigh drawn by two horses dashed past, the bells on the harness making silvery music in the snowy world. ‘Joey, are you sure you are warm enough?’

    ‘I’m cooked!’ declared Joey. ‘I couldn’t get on another thing if you paid me for it.’

    ‘Josephine,’ said Aunt Luise’s voice, ‘here is my fur-lined cloak for you. We cannot have you ill at Christmas-time.’

    Joey groaned aloud. ‘I can’t get out,’ she said.

    But Aunt Luise was in the sleigh, fastening the great cloak round her, and tucking its folds well over her. ‘No,’ she said, ‘we cannot run any risk of bad colds. Now you will be safe, I think.’

    She climbed down, and went back to the house, while Gottfried got into the driver’s seat with his father beside him. Frau Mensch and Madge sat facing the girls, and an extra rug or two was tucked into the bottom of the sleigh under the hot bricks which were to keep their feet warm. Aunt Luise was not going, for someone had to stay with old Frau Mensch … they drove off towards the bridge … They were going at a fine rate now. The horses were young and in excellent condition, and Gottfried was a good driver. They had left the main streets of the city, and were driving through the suburbs in the direction of the Brenner Road. Other sleighs were going in the same direction, and the usually quiet streets were gay with the jingle of sleigh-bells, the shouting of merry voices, and, here and there, bursts of song, as sleigh-loads of young men went flying along. All round lay the mountains, beautiful and remote in their snow-clad splendour, and over all the grey sky, heavy with snow yet to fall.

    Herr Mensch, pointing to it, turned round. ‘We dare not go far,’ he shouted. ‘I had hoped to make the expedition to Bern Isel, but it will not be safe with that sky. We must return when we have reached Wilten. See, Fraulein, that is our University Klinik – where we take the sick. Now we shall turn out of the streets, and it is the country. Over there lies our cemetery, which we shall soon pass; and we return from Wilten by the road that winds out into the country, past the Exercier Platz and along the banks of the river.’

    Madge nodded. She was enjoying the drive as she had never enjoyed anything. Innsbruck under snow has a loveliness all its own, and out here in the country she felt as though she were living in a story.

    ‘Christmas-card land!’ laughed Joey. ‘This is topping – the jolliest ride I ever had! Just look at those trees!’

    All too soon they reached Wilten, and there Gottfried turned the horses' heads to the west, driving towards the river. Just as they reached the Exercier Platz, which lay bare and white under its covering of snow, the first great flakes began to drift slowly down from the skies, and by the time they reached the bridge they were enveloped in a whirling white mist, which made driving difficult. Luckily they had not very far to go, and ten minutes later they drew up before the tall house in the Mariahilfe suburb, where Aunt Luise was standing at the door, looking anxiously out for them.

‘How young we were,’ she thought, ‘and how happy!’ Madge had not even been engaged to Jem at that time, though they had already met on the occasion of the train crash. Now they were both dead too — ‘gone to sleep to wake with God,’ as Madge had always put it, about ten years ago now, within a few months of each other. But there, Madge would have been a hundred if she had lived until this year; she had had a long and active life, and lived to see the School she had founded acclaimed around the world. ‘It’s good and right to remember the people who have gone before,’ she reassured herself. ‘If they are alive in our minds and our memories, that must surely contribute to their immortality.’

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 20 Dec

Aww, Santa, what a beautiful update. Thankyou.

Author:  PaulineS [ Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 20 Dec

Thank you for a reminder of people enjoying snow, when we are struggling with it here.

Author:  Elder in Ontario [ Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 20 Dec

I don't think I have commented on this earlier (so much to read, so little time!! :( ) but I have really been enjoying each day's piece. I like the way you have used extracts from the books in each day's instalment; each fits so well into Joey's reminiscences. I will be looking forward to opening the last few doors.

Author:  Alison H [ Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 20 Dec

I could do with a sleigh!

It's nice that Joey has these happy memories, although it's always sad remembering people who are no longer with us.

Author:  Abi [ Mon Dec 20, 2010 8:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 20 Dec

That's such a gorgeous passage; it just feels so festive! I love the combination of sad and happy here... :)

Author:  Secret Santa [ Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 21 Dec

Door 21

This would be the last day before Christmas that her cleaning lady was coming, so a few of the bon-bons and a cash ‘Christmas Box’ were waiting. Sally was going to be a bit later today, as she had undertaken to bring extra shopping for some of the other inhabitants of the sheltered complex, as well as Joey’s usual newspaper. So she sat down to an early coffee, and opened the latest Calendar door. Behind it was a Christmas cake …

    … André turned up in the garage, and agreed to take her wherever she liked. The babies were dressed, and tucked up in their basket. They were good little things, spending most of their time in sleeping, and only crying on those occasions when, as their mother phrased it, ‘Any self-respecting babe would yell.’

    Then Joey got into her cap and coat and scarf, and looking with the pink in her cheeks more like a schoolgirl than ever, settled herself comfortably in the front seat beside André, and they drove off going round by Torteval to give her a glimpse of Madge.

    That lady was discovered in the midst of Christmas cooking. Joey dismissed André for half an hour, brought the babies in, and perched herself on the dresser to chat with her sister, while she watched the compounding of the Christmas cake.

    ‘If it weren’t for the children, I shouldn’t bother at all,’ sighed Madge, putting back a wisp of hair with a floury hand. ‘But it is the children’s festival, and one doesn’t want to sadden it for them. Poor Onkel Florian! Who knows what he must have suffered in Germany!’

    ‘Well, we may be thankful that it’s over now,’ said Joey gravely. ‘Oh, how I would like to put Hitler, Göring, Goebbels, and the rest into the very worst concentration camp there is! And then their suffering couldn’t pay for what they’ve done!’

    Madge stirred her mixture carefully before replying. ‘Isn’t that rather against the feeling of the League, Joey ?’

    ‘No!’ said Joey vehemently. ‘I don’t hate Germans—I’m too sorry for them, poor wretches! But those men aren’t human! They’re Evil made flesh, and we must hate what is Evil!’

    Little Len uttered a cry just then, so Joey ceased her diatribe, and got down from her perch to hush her. Madge smiled as she watched them. ‘They’re lovely, Joey. And how they are growing! They’ll be quite big girls when Jack sees them. Do you know when he gets leave?’

    ‘This year—next year—some time—never,’ quoted Joey. ‘I’ve no idea. I wish he could get it. I’m dying to show him his daughters!’

    ‘Well, it may come soon,’ said Madge soothingly. ‘Do you mind coming away from that cupboard, Jo? I want a cake-tin or two.’

    Joey moved from the cupboard-door against which she had been leaning.

    ‘That’s a sloppy way to cook! You ought to have got your tins ready first. Frau Mieders always taught us that.’

    ‘I dare say! When you’ve got a baby to look after, and two small people to watch as well, you can’t do everything according to Cocker!’ retorted Madge. ‘Where are those two, by the way? They’re awfully quiet. Do go and see what they’re after, Jo, while I get this into the tin!’

    ‘Right; but leave me some decent scrapings if I do,’ bargained Jo.

    ‘Jo Maynard! You baby! Fancy wanting cake-scrapings at your age! And with a family of your own into the bargain!’

    ‘I’ll want cake-scrapings when I’m ninety and have great-great-grandchildren—always supposing I live as long,’ returned Jo, departing to seek Jacky and Sybil, whom she found busy with scrap-books, and quite good and happy, if very sticky…

‘I haven’t made cakes for ages,’ thought Joey, ‘but yes, I do still enjoy cake-scrapings, even though I’m getting on for ninety, and have a great-grandchild!’ And she went to open the door for Sally, who was just then coming up the path.

Author:  PaulineS [ Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 21 Dec

Thank you- love Madge's comment about the children being too quiet! :lol:

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 21 Dec

Aah, what a lovely scene. Thankyou!

Author:  Lottie [ Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 21 Dec

I've just caught up - those were two lovely scenes - thank you, Santa.

Author:  Secret Santa [ Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 22 Dec

Door 22

The shortest day just over, and with the thought that although mornings wouldn’t get lighter for a bit, the daylight hours would start to get longer from now on, Joey began to look forward to Christmas Day itself. These days she didn’t ‘do’ Christmas lunch — living in a single-person flat meant there was no room for big family gatherings. But she would be collected by one of her daughters, and this year it was her eldest son’s turn to host the celebrations.

Not everyone would be there, naturally; Con lived in Scotland now, Margot, as always, was somewhere in Africa, Mike was with his ship, though expecting to retire from active service next year. Felicity was coming ‘home’ to England for the New Year, but the ballet company for which she was now principal choreographer was touring the States, and their last show would be on Christmas Eve. But she would not be ‘alone in a foreign land’, as Corney had invited her to spend today with her and her family.

Still thinking of her own scattered family, she sat down with her coffee, and opened the little door on a view of the Magi and their camels, looking up at a star…

    The … tableau showed the Three Kings pressing on after the Star. One bore a glittering crown; one a box which glistened with glass jewels; the third swung a censor from which the blue smoke curled sweetly and slowly. The Austrian carol, "Drei Königen", was sung during this, and almost as soon as the curtains had fallen, they were swept back again to show a merry Christmas in the days of Charles I, with holly and ivy decking the scene. The talk was of the service in church. A stately sarabande and a jolly coranto were danced and the scene ended with everyone singing a Latin carol, "Laus Deo".

    The next tableau was symbolical. Against the midnight sky was shown a procession headed by a king, crowned and sceptred, followed by a beggar in rags. A monk and a nun came next and after them a jester and a man with a zither. Children in the dress of many centuries came in a group; an old shepherd in smock-frock and carrying his crook; a jolly sailor, an airman and a soldier formed a trio, after which came a housewife, complete with brush and dustpan and a sportsman in flannels and carrying a cricket-bat.

    Once more, Margot Maynard sang the accompanying carol:

      "Behold how strange a thing is here!
      'Tis winter's chill. The ice doth sear
      Earth, water, air. Yet all men come
      To worship in the stable-room.

      "What wondrous monarch do they seek?
      No mighty king A baby weak,
      Laid in a hay-filled cattle stall,
      Watched by a Maid more fair than all.

      "While angels and archangels sing
      The praises of this Baby King
      Man cannot fail to join their cry
      And worship God come from on high."

... Len was widowed too, now, and living alone, so she was collecting Joey to take her to Stephen’s house on Christmas Day.

‘Three more sleeps, as we used to say to the children,’ she thought as she went to bed that night.

Author:  PaulineS [ Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 22 Dec

Thank you. Good to know where the children are.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 22 Dec

Thanks for the update on all the family - you've got me all excited with three more sleeps!

Author:  Alison H [ Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 22 Dec

My Advent calendar said "Three more sleeps" this morning :lol: . This is lovely: I'll be sorry when it ends.

Author:  Secret Santa [ Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 23 Dec

Door 23

The following day was still cold, and there was still some snow on the ground. She decided to do without a paper, and sat with the radio news instead. With her coffee, she opened the penultimate door of the Calendar that had come to mean so much to her over the last few weeks. There was a picture of shepherds, with a sheep and some lambs …

    …As the last notes died away on the air, the curtain was raised again, this time to show the ‘shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night’; and, to the great delight of all the little people in the audience, there was a mother-sheep with her two baby-lambs beside her. This was a great surprise, as lambs, even round Howells village, are not as a rule born before the end of January.

    But Mr Griffiths-the-Court-Farm had sent round three nights before to say that they had arrived, and if the School would like to have them, he would bring sheep and lambs down to the hall for the shepherds’ scene. He himself was also on the stage, got up rather hurriedly in a loose burnous and Palestinian head-dress, lent by one of the doctors at the Sanatorium, who had been some years in Palestine. Big Rufus, with his wise face laid on his paws, was also there, watching the very new babies with deep interest. The mother-sheep seemed rather nervous, but Mr Griffiths had kept her and the babies with him ever since they had arrived, and she knew her master.

    Luckily, there was only a brief time, for this was a tableau, with the shepherds looking amazed at the great group of angels with soaring wings and folded hands, and eyes and faces uplifted at the far end of the stage. The curtain was raised long enough for the audience to see the beautiful picture. Then it fell, and while Mr Griffiths took off his charges to the Rectory glebe for the present, the choir burst forth into ‘Out of your sleep arise and wake!’

… that had been the year she had first written a Christmas play; and the Christmas Jack had come home, after so nearly being lost at sea.

That term Betty had been the second-ever pupil to face expulsion, though she at least had made good since, and still kept in touch. Her letter had arrived the other day, full of news about her own family.

‘Just one more door to open,’ thought Jo, ‘then I shall have to find something else to do at morning coffee times!’

Author:  jayj [ Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 23 Dec

Secret Santa wrote:
‘Just one more door to open,’ thought Jo, ‘then I shall have to find something else to do at morning coffee times!’

As will I! I'm really sad this is coming to an end, it's been such a nice christmas treat.

Author:  shesings [ Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 23 Dec

It has been so heartwarming - thank you, Santa!

Author:  Lottie [ Thu Dec 23, 2010 7:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 23 Dec

Thank you, Santa. It's sad to think that tomorrow will be the last day.

Author:  Secret Santa [ Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 23 Dec

Don't forget there was a Prologue ... there might just be an Epilogue too :lol:

Author:  JS [ Fri Dec 24, 2010 9:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 23 Dec

Hope so, Santa, this has been delightful.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 23 Dec

This has been a wonderful drabble, Santa, and I don't want it to end either!

...Though I am amused by " up rather hurriedly in a loose burnous and Palestinian head-dress, lent by one of the doctors at the Sanatorium, who had been some years in Palestine" I wouldn't have questioned where it came from in any case! :lol:


Author:  Secret Santa [ Fri Dec 24, 2010 2:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 23 Dec

ChubbyMonkey wrote:
...Though I am amused by " up rather hurriedly in a loose burnous and Palestinian head-dress, lent by one of the doctors at the Sanatorium, who had been some years in Palestine" I wouldn't have questioned where it came from in any case! :lol:

EBD's words, not mine!!

Author:  Secret Santa [ Fri Dec 24, 2010 3:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 24 Dec

Door 24

The last door. She looked at it in the morning, and decided to leave it until her afternoon drink, perhaps to savour the anticipation, maybe to string out the pleasure, she wasn’t sure. One thing she did know was that she would miss this small daily ritual; it had come to symbolise far more than a piece of coloured card and glitter. Finally, as she finished her tea, she reluctantly opened the last door to find the expected Nativity scene …

    ... the choir sang the old Swedish carol ‘Congaudeat turba fidelium.’ As they finished, the Glockenspiel chimed in once more with joyous pealing, and once more the stage was shown. This was the hillside at Bethlehem, with the ‘shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night.’ To one side, and poised above them, were a throng of angels, clustered together. This part of the stage was flooded with rosy and amber light, while the rest was in shadow, so that the eye was swiftly led to the angelic choir. For a few minutes the audience saw it in silence. Then it was blotted from their sight by the curtains.

    But almost at once, they were swung back to show the Three Kings—Melchior, Caspar, and Balthasar—bearing their gifts of mystic meaning, while above them swung a great silver star. Slowly they came forward, one after another raising the gifts to show what they had. Melchior swung chains of gold; Caspar swung a censer; Balthasar raised a white flask.

    Then, even as they turned to go on their way, the curtains came down, and when they were lifted, it was on the Stable in Bethlehem.

    Angels clustered round the central group, in which St Joseph—Thora Helgersen—stood protectingly behind the Madonna—Louise Redfield.

    For the last time the curtains fell, to rise on the same place. But now the angels crowded to the back, while at the feet of the Madonna, who stood holding the Bambino were the shepherds and the kings. The various characters from the other scenes were grouped at the sides, and at either end of the wooden trough, which was in the centre, with St Joseph still behind it, stood the Spirits, only the Spirit of the Bells standing beside St Joseph.

    Almost simultaneously with this, the Glockenspiel rang out in a very ecstasy of joyous music. The orchestra chimed in; the music changed; and the sound of the glorious old Latin hymn ‘Adeste Fideles’ rang through the hitherto silent hall. With full hearts and throats the audience joined in singing it; the curtains fell; and the play was ended...

With a full heart and throat indeed Joey sat in her window, thinking back over all the memories this flimsy sheet of card had brought, and wondered again whence it had come.

Author:  shazwales [ Fri Dec 24, 2010 3:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 24 Dec

Thank you Santa,that was wonderful :santa:

Author:  thefrau46 [ Fri Dec 24, 2010 3:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 24 Dec

Thank you, Santa. That was a lovely ending but are we going to find out "whence it had come" in an epilogue? I hope so! :D

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 24 Dec

So many memories for Jo and for us. Thankyou.

Author:  PaulineS [ Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 24 Dec

Thank you for the memories, I enjoyed it along with Joey.

Author:  Alison H [ Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa updated 24 Dec

I've really enjoyed this. & am also hoping for an epilogue :wink: .

Author:  Secret Santa [ Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec


On Christmas morning she looked at the Calendar, all its doors now fully open and the little pictures showing in the snowy scene that had reminded her so much of Austria. Each day had brought her a small sliver of her past life.

‘Well, I can always look at it again,’ she thought. ‘I have no reason not to keep it on display until Twelfth Night.’

Len collected her, and as they drove across Hertfordshire and into North London, she asked rather abruptly, ‘Did you get a calendar or something from Con?’

‘I did get an Advent Calendar,’ said Joey, ‘but there was no indication where, or whom, it was from.’

‘That must be it!’ Len’s face cleared. ‘We couldn’t understand why Polly was sent a calendar of photographic scenes; it didn’t seem appropriate for a five-year-old. I’m sure Jas will be glad to pass it over, she rang as soon as it arrived to ask me if I’d sent it, but it wasn’t until Con said on the phone that she hadn’t heard from you – or my lot, come to that – that we realised she must have mixed up the envelopes.’

‘It might not have been intended for me,’ Joey felt slightly guilty, ‘but I have been enjoying it! Each day that I opened a window, it brought me a wonderful memory. I haven’t felt so much wholesale enjoyment since your father died.’

Len was silent for a moment, thinking of Reg, who had died just a few months after her father, of a heart attack. ‘When you see the calendar,’ she said slowly, ‘you may find that it will bring you memories too.’

    * * *

After lunch Len’s son Paul, daughter-in-law Jas, and little Polly, so far Jo’s only great-grandchild, came across to where she was sitting, and held out an envelope with a definite ‘family resemblance’ to the one which had contained the advent calendar.

‘Thank you for my sweeties Geat-ganma,’ said Polly.

‘I’m sorry that I didn’t realise the advent calendar wasn’t meant for me,’ Jo looked at Jas and Paul apologetically, when she had told the child how much she had enjoyed making the bon-bons for her. ‘I just opened every day’s door and found a memory behind each one.’

‘It really doesn’t matter, Polly had two other Advent calendars. Don’t worry,’ Jas was sympathetic, ‘It wasn’t until we looked properly at the calendar that we realised that was really intended for you.’

‘We were just going to use it ourselves next year,’ continued Paul. ‘until Mum looked through it yesterday.’

They handed over the envelope and she drew out the calendar. It had a large colour photograph for every month; each was of a place she had lived in: there were scenes from Austria, Armishire, Canada, Wales, Switzerland – even one of India!

Tears were streaming down Joey’s face, and her family were looking anxiously at her. But she was smiling too, and with difficulty she managed to assure them that she was fine. She was fine. This new calendar would give her a whole year of memories, to go with those that had been prompted by the Advent Calendar.

This was truly a Happy Christmas.

I plan to post a fuller description of this calendar on 1st January. Would people prefer the whole year shown briefly then, or to have just the January one described, and then have a more detailed post on 1st of every month during 2011 for each month’s picture?

Author:  Alison H [ Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

Personally speaking, I'd like to have one post each month, to keep the treat going throughout the year, but either way'd be great.

Thank you so much for all the hard work that must have gone into this.

Author:  cestina [ Sat Dec 25, 2010 11:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

What a lovely idea - I too would opt for one each month.

Thank you so much :-)

Author:  shazwales [ Sat Dec 25, 2010 12:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

I'm another that would enjoy one each month.
Thank you :santa:

Author:  Lottie [ Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

Thank you, Santa. It's fantastic that there's still more of this. I look forward to hearing about the photos in Joey's calendar whenever it's most convenient for you to post about them.

Author:  PaulineS [ Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

I vote for the monthly update. THANK YOU.

Author:  Elder in Ontario [ Sat Dec 25, 2010 11:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

I'm another who would enjoy seeing the descriptions posted each month, if it's not too much trouble for you, Santa - I've really enjoyed this, and am delighted to know that there will be more memories to come. Thank you.

Author:  Abi [ Sun Dec 26, 2010 2:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

I'd like one each month, too; this has been so enjoyable. Thank you, Santa!

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Mon Dec 27, 2010 4:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

Another who would love to have a memory every month. Thankyou, Santa, you are truly amazing!

Author:  jayj [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

Every month! Every month!

*jumps up and down excitedly*

Author:  thefrau46 [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

Many thanks for the epilogue! I agree, every month, please.

Author:  Chris S [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

Thank you so much Santa. I would love to read one a month.

Author:  JS [ Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

Thanks to Abbeybufo for this (now she's been revealed). It was lovely to be reminded of just how good EBD was at her best - which is presumably why we're still discussing her in so much detail today.
I'm also looking forward to the calendar calendar (as opposed to advent :) )

Author:  abbeybufo [ Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

Thank you everyone for being so appreciative :santa:

Look for the prologue to The Calendar as a new thread on New Year's Eve :D

edited to add link

Author:  Elbee [ Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

Thanks abbeybufo, just caught up on this. I really enjoyed the memories. Looking forward to seeing the calendar.

Author:  roversgirl [ Sat Jan 01, 2011 8:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Advent Calendar – for Lottie from Santa, epilogue 25 Dec

Thanks very much for this lovely drabble. it was my favourite Christmas drabble and am looking forward to hearing about the other one ! :-)

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