First of all, I'd like to point out that this blog about Boarding School is a joint effort between Michelle and myself. We have pooled notes and memories in order to protect the innocent!
Saturday morning, after a nice sleep in comfortable beds, we did our ablutions, changed into uniform, tidied the room and trooped downstairs for breakfast. Mr Malcolm greeted us by asking if we had been having tap dancing lessons in our room the night before. At our blank stares, he explained that it had been a tad noisy, what with the fart machine, us nipping up and down stairs, and then there were the other noisy "toys" he had discovered when the lights went out. He left us to eat our breakfast and do our chores with a curt order to see him in the Staff Room once we were finished. We did so. I retired to our common room to recover somewhat, but michelle's death wish was alive and well and she was foolish enough to cheek Eff-1 again. I watched her following him out of the school, and followed, curious to see why. Poor old michelle was sent to run around the lawn until ordered to stop! She managed quite a good power walking technique and went round about 7 or 8 times in all, and nearly managed to stop to chat to Prof Robertson before she was hauled back into the Staff Room. The usual noises issued forth and I nipped upstairs to get my PE kit for later. We'd been told to fill in the sandwich list for lunch. There was lots of choice, and we were even able to request a second sandwich if we thought we were going to be very hungry. Sarah Robinson obviously thought that Professor Robertson needed some extra rations, especially as he's quite tall and sturdy, so she very kindly changed his "2" to "200". And do you know, he wasn't the least bit grateful! In fact he wrote it down as an offence in her punishment book! I'd made an addition to Mr Malcolm's choice, and added a request for a portion of hemlock as seasoning. He came across this later on in the day, and took umbrage. I couldn't sit comfortably for ages afterwards. Seconds later the bell went, and I made it down to the common room just in time. We were all lined up ready to march across to the classroom block when tommy mac and michelle confessed that they didn't have their PE kit. We waited while they retrieved it, and had "Late" written in their punishment books, then marched off in a neat single file, me at the front behind Miss Liversausage, the others strung out behind me. As we approached the front door, I raised my water pistol grenade to shower Miss Livingstone. Unfortunately, unlike a proper water pistol, you can't tell which side the water is going to come out of too easily, and I only managed to squirt water to one side. Michelle was much more successful though, and thoroughly soaked Miss L's head. The downside for michelle was the fact that the glass entrance door acted like a mirror and Miss L knew exactly who was at fault! We were taken all round the classroom block and shown the usual offices, fire escapes etc, then settled down to the first lesson, Military History with Professor Robertson. I was really excited cos I like history, and I kept firing off all these questions at him about what were we going to do, could we do this period or that period. After he told me to stop talking for the third time, I had to take my book to him for an entry re unnecessary talking, and I thought I had better desist. We had a super lesson. The ultimate aim was to learn about the Evacuation from Dunkirk. Prof took us right back to the WW1, although he just skirted around that because he refuses to discuss the Great War as he considers it was simply murder, and we discussed social and economic conditions between the wars. It was fascinating. Michelle got caught passing sweets to tommy mac. Mr Malcolm spent some time in the room, and gave me and michelle an admonitory clip round the ear whenever he passed us just to warn us to be good. And I was being good! I always am if I'm interested in something! I think Prof was getting a bit peeved too, he seems to be a Beak who likes to control his own class. At the end of the lesson several of us had to see Prof regarding our conduct. We got a stern lecture aboutbehaviour and the consequences of interrupting his lesson which really struck home. He followed this up by saying he would come and find us and inflict our punishment when he was ready to do so. There was a dull thud as four tummies turned over and sank like stones! We went down to get our drinks at break feeling distinctly apprehensive. In fact I think the trepidation must have got to Sarah cos she played truant during the next class! She got caught eventually of course,and had to face the wrath of both Miss Livingstone and Prof Robertson, which is quite a rich mixture!
The next lesson was PE, with Mr Malcolm. We started off with some stretches and bends, and followed those up with a hilarious set of games with a balloon. I think the balloon won. He then had me out at the front of the class demonstrating some dance moves. The fact that I have two left feet, no sense of rhythm, and difficulty in working out my right from my left in moments of stress incensed him somewhat. He tried writing L and R on the backs of my hands, but that upset any rhythm that I'd actually managed to find. In the end he sent me back into line, put some music on, and called out the moves as we did them. The others were moving quite nicely, especially tommy and michelle. I side stepped neatly to the curtains, and hid behind them for the remainder of the lesson. I wasn't missed. At least eff-one did ask at one point where is bethany? But I think he probably felt a bethany less class was all to the best. Then there were footsteps, and I heard Miss Livingstone's dulcet tones. As the line of dancers advanced upon my hiding place, I slipped out and tagged on the end. And I got away with it too!
And so to Lunch, dear readers. We will break here, and I will reveal all (or as much as I dare) of the activities in the afternoon. bethany and michelle
Forprep at Boarding School, we were given an essay to write called "The Vanishing Headmistress". This was my contribution.
The Vanishing Headmistress.
The girls of the Liverwort Young Witches Coven School were very excited. In two weeks time it would be Halloween, the most important Festival of the school year. Bethany and her friend Michelle were really, really excited. This year they were Middles, and would be taking a practical part in the Festivities. The previous two years they had been Juniors and were only allowed to watch. This year they were both thirteen years old, so deemed “sensible”. Well, the rest of the Third Form were deemed sensible, there was distinct unrest amongst the Staff whenever Bethany’s or Michelle’s name cropped up. However, Miss Malcoma, their form Mistress, had urged the headmistress, Miss Liverwort, an evil old crone it must be said, to let them take part in the activities. “Both Bethany and Michelle are coming along quite nicely in Potions”, Miss Malcoma had told Miss Liverwort, “especially since we had the reinforced glass put in the windows of the Potions Lab. And that nasty green stain on the floor has almost faded. Perhaps they can work together on a small spell making project. They are both somewhat uncoordinated in broomstick dancing, and anyway there are fifteen in that Form, where thirteen is ideal for a dance exhibition.” Miss Liverwort agreed, albeit somewhat reluctantly, although she did temper her agreement with promises of dire punishment for both Miss Malcoma and the girls if anything went wrong. Miss Malcoma paled perceptibly; Bethany and Michelle however were thrilled. “I know,” said Beth, “let’s do that spell where we change an egg into a chicken and back again. You got a B for yours in the last exam, and even I managed a C.” Michelle nodded eagerly, and the girls went to ask Prof Robbo for the proper ingredients for their spell. They tapped politely on the door and went inside. The room was empty. The girls decided they would just help themselves to whatever ingredients they needed. This was really very naughty, and strictly against the rules. Bethany and Michelle quickly gathered everything they thought they needed, substituting a couple of things they could not find for something similar, and scuttled off to the Potions Lab. The door there was locked. “What do we do now,” asked Michelle. “Kitchen”, replied Bethany succinctly. “I know it’s out of bounds, but we do need to practice.” The kitchen was deserted. The girls took a saucepan and started to mix the herbs and potions, heating it gently until the mixture bubbled, murmuring incantations as they worked. Bethany started to look worried. “It’s supposed to be bright pink, isn’t it?” she asked. “You didn’t put a feather in it,” replied Michelle. “Bother and blow!” snapped Bethany. She let herself out of the back door and scurried across to the hen coop to find a feather. In her haste, she left the coop door ajar, and didn’t notice the hens streaming out behind her. Arriving back at the kitchen, Bethany threw the feather into the pot, and cried out “Eggio, disperatu, henus exactamus”. Michelle started to say that she thought that was wrong, surely is was “disperam” not “disperatu” , but then she gripped Bethany’s arm. “Someone’s coming in,” she hissed. Bethany glanced into the saucepan, the mixture wasn’t bright pink at all, it was brown and a bit muddy looking. She hoicked the feather out of the pan, then followed Michelle who had fled out of the back door. Gwladys, the Welsh maid, a nice girl, but definitely on the simple side, entered the kitchen. “Oh goodo, Cook bach has made Miss Liverwort’s cocoa already. I’ll take her up a big mug cos the old bat is getting a cold, and she’s evil enough when she’s well. Plus she’s all bunged up, and she needs to be able to smell properly on Halloween.” Gwladys tipped most of the contents of the girls’ pan into a large mug, and carried it off to the Headmistress’s study. “About time too, Gwladys, you lazy girl” snapped Miss Liverwort, drinking most of the mug's contents at one gulp. “Groogh, everything tastes foul today.” She glanced out of the window while Gwladys stood by the door, pleating her white apron between nervous fingers. “Oh Gwladys, the hens are out. Get some of the girls, we must round them up.” As Gwladys hurried to do her bidding, Miss Liverwort stood up. She felt rather peculiar, maybe this head cold was turning to flu. She really felt as if she was shrinking, and her wings were scratchy. Her wings? Miss Liverwort peered down, she was covered in brown feathers. She fluttered and hopped onto the window seat, and just as Gwladys re-entered the room she fluttered into the garden and joined the flock of hens running hither and thither across the lawn. Gwladys ran outside and bumped into Bethany and Michelle. “Miss Liverwort has vanished Miss Bethany. Her clothes are on the floor, and I saw a hen jumping out of the window. And Miss Liverwort never finished the cocoa I found in the kitchen either.” Michelle and Bethany looked at each other horror stricken. Then they turned and ran round to the Headmistress’s garden. Several girls and Mistresses were already there, shooing the hens back into their coop. Twenty-five identical brown hens looked balefully through the wire. Bethany and Michelle quietly melted out of the crowd. Next morning, in the absence of Miss Liverwort, Miss Malcoma took Assembly. “Girls”, she announced, “something very serious has happened. Our beloved Headmistress…..” she paused as a suppressed murmur rose from the assembled girls, many of whom were casting their eyes up to the ceiling, “our beloved Headmistress, Miss Liverwort,“ continued Miss Malcoma firmly, “has vanished. We have decided to bring forward our Halloween Feast to today, as once the Authorities are let loose in this school, it will probably be closed down. People outside the Magical World do not understand our Scene. We will be called bad names. So after the Feast, all the Junior and Middle girls will be sent home early.” One of the doors at the far end of Hall drifted open. A smell of roast chicken wafted around the room. “As a special treat,” continued Miss Malcoma, “we will be having barbecued chicken, all lovely and fresh from our own hen coop.” Bethany and Michelle gazed at each aghast. “Looks like we may get away with it, Shell,” murmured Bethany to her friend, “but do remind me to go for the vegetarian option at the Feast.” The End
On Friday, my Guardian dropped me off at the Headmistress's house so that I could be taken to boarding school. The whole trip was a bit too far for my Guardian to drive, and the School Authorities refused to let me be sent on the train by myself as (in role) I am only thirteen and three quarters. Tommy mac had been ordered to report to Miss L too, as she had decreed that "two of the naughtiest pupils in the school" would be better off directly under her eye. We weren't too sure because we wanted to plot, but we had to do as we were told.
In actual fact the journey was quite uneventful. We started off a bit late cos it was decided that we should go in convoy with Mr Reamon, and he had to bring Katherine. I'm sure the three of us could have managed to travel across country all by ourselves quite successfully, it's awful when you gain a reputation! Still, we were allowed to stop at a motorway cafe and we had burgers and chicken, and tommy had something veggie and then we were off again!
The cars bowled along quite merrily, and eventually we reached the school. It's gorgeous, nestled in the country, miles away from towns, and motorways, and it was a long way from a train station so it was as well Miss L took us.
We helped to carry everything in, and had a good look round. There was that wonderful school smell of polish, and dust, and old cabbage and disinfectant that is so heady. Mr Malcolm and Michelle had arrived a few minutes ahead of us, and Prof Robertson turned up not too long after with Sarah Robinson in tow. Apparently none of our Guardians had trusted us to travel alone, even Nicola was dropped off at the school gates and trundled her school trunk along the drive.
Miss Liversausage took us upstairs and showed us our dormitories. Me, Michelle and Sarah were in the big dormitory, and Tommy Mac was in the boys' dormitory. Miss L had put Nicola and Katherine in a smaller girls' dormitory further along the corridor, I believe she thinks we are a bad influence. Can't think why. We had a quick nose around the staff corridor. It was a bit galling to find that one set of stairs from our floor opened up directly outside Mr Malcolm and Prof Robertson's rooms, and the other stairs were disturbingly close to Miss Liversausage's room, while Mr Reaman was close too. We could see that was going to cause us some logistical problems when it came to feasting.
We went back to the dormies, and changed into uniform, then went downstairs for my favourite, Shepherds Pie and vegetables. We set the tables, and just as the food was ready, our School cook and her assistant arrived, and we were all set for the term. The cook, Mrs Lovett, and her assistant Miss Todd were given the room next to ours, and we were put on our honour not to disturb or annoy them during the night. So of course we didn't, being on your honour at New Grange Manor is taken very seriously by all the pupils.
It being the first night, we had a bit of free time which we put to good use by finding an empty dormitory and hiding all our booze, erm I mean our lemonades of course, in the bedside cabinet. Sarah, michelle and I spent some time blowing up a couple of inflatable men, an inflatable woman, and a crocodile. We were annoyed to find that a couple of the things had punctures, so later on, tommy mac filled the bath with cold water and we dunked the things in there to find the holes. Tommy had brought some white plastic tape, and it made quite good puncture repair plasters! We hid the men under the spare bed, and popped the woman into the wardrobe, ready for action.
Mr Malcolm caught me trying to go out of bounds and sent me to the Staff Room. I didn't think I'd get into much bother on the first night of term, but Mr Malcolm gave me one of his skin stripping reprimands about behaviour, good manners, adherence to rules etc, then dealt with me in the usual NGM manner with, to my mind, somewhat more enthusiasm that the occasion demanded! However, you can't argue with Beaks, and I retired to the kitchen for a comforting cup of hot chocolate! Once the sting had abated somewhat, vengeance occupied my mind!! I sought out michelle, cos I knew she had several suitable toys.
Lights Out came first though. We were far too excited to go to sleep. We chased in and out of each other's dormitories, and then michelle hid a fart machine in Mr Malcolm's room, along with a couple of noise machines. We just got out of there in time, cos he came up the stairs while we still hovering and gave us a lecture about what would happen if we went into his room! We ran back upstairs, and he came along to put the Light Out and tell us to go to sleep.
Sleep was well out the question though. I'd put new batteries in my snoring teddy, Nelson (he only has one eye) , and the other two were on the edge of their beds chatting away. I'd given tommy mac one of the walkie talkies I'd brought, and we tried that out. It was fairly successful. Then Mr Malcolm came storming in. He'd had to come back upstairs cos of all the noise and he was a bit cross. However he didn't have any of his "toys" with him, so I cheeked him back and didn't turn Nelson off when he told me to....... Sadly I hadn't noticed what Sir was wearing on his feet, and I found myself face down on the coverlet, getting several swats from one of his slippers. I hopped back under the covers and pretended I was going to go to sleep.
He turned the light off again, and departed. Michelle and I gave him five minutes, then we crept out onto the landing. We could hear the Beaks and the Cooks chatting away down in the kitchen. Not clearly, you understand, we weren't eavesdropping, just listening to see when they were going to go to bed. It took a while but eventually they trundled off one by one. While Michelle kept watch, I eased myself down a couple of steps, and aimed the remote control at Mr Malcolm's door. We were rewarded by the most amazing growling fart which reverberated all round the Staff landing . Encouraged, I jabbed the button two or three times more, then scuttled up the stairs as his door suddenly opened.
This time he brought his strap upstairs with him. Suitably chastised, we did actually settle down to sleep.............
Just home from boarding school, and it was even better than last time. Didn't think that was really possible, but it was! We had such fun! We had lots of interesting lessons, and we were so full of mischief that the Staff Room reverberated night and day to our cries of woe once we had been caught, which we invariably were. Anyway, first of all I need a hot drink and a chance to quieten down from my excitement, then I will share all (well nearly all ) with my readers. Bethany Grant Head Girl
It will be boarding school soon. We have got so much mischief planned!! My guardian is busy washing and ironing my uniform, including my PE kit all ready to pack in my suitcase. I have one or two things to go in there too! I'd love to share with you all just what we are going to get up to, but as I've said before, the odd Beak occasionally casts an eye over this, so you will have to wait until term is over, and I can reveal all! Bethany