Sunday, 21 March 2010

Before I talk about Jane Beaton's Rules, I thought I'd also mention the London Children's Ballet. They are performing Ballet Shoes in April and the poster (see link) is beautiful. I've never been to see them before, but I've bought my ticket and will have to remember change for an ice cream. Always easier when you do. I'm looking forward to it - the ballet and the ice cream as Sadler's Wells does have a delicious selection.

One of those interesting things about childhood books and returning to them as an adult is your changed perspective. A New Mistress at the Chalet School, for example, is far more appealing now. I wasn't that interested in the private life of a teacher when I first read the books; I wanted to know what my 'old friends' were doing, not hear about a teacher's fears etc. However, I finished a reread of New Mistress and then realised that the second of the Downey House books was finally available. The publication date kept being changed and I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever see it. Never mind. Now that it's here, Jane Beaton has made a follow-up novel equally interesting. Maggie Adair is shedding some of her old preferences and habits and struggling to cope with family and work dragging her in opposite directions.

Working in a boarding school whether it be Downey House, the Chalet School or Malory Towers must have been isolating. Almost entirely female company and very little time for yourself. Unlike Kathie Ferrars (New Mistress), Maggie is spared a room full of floral chintz, a bath rota and a picture rail, but she does have an elegant bedroom in the tower (no, I'm not making a point of it) and a shared study with a chic French colleague.

As a commuting read, I'm quite happy with angst and adventures. Wasn't there a Zelda needing reformation in one of Blyton's boarding schools? I like the lifts from other school stories with Alice Trebizon-Woods a nod to Anne Digby. It was a good start to my weekend and I'll prolong it by rereading Class (again). Nothing like an indulgent reread.

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