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  • Fidra Books - Bunkle's Brainwave
    de Salis took the kettle from him before she spoke again Keep quite calm she said We ve got to have a new car of some kind or other because the old one is no more I ve just walked all the way home from Little Greenham cross roads That s why I m so late and why I said my arm was nearly broken by the weight of that wretched basket The Colonel stared at her The Austin no more he said blankly What do you mean You can t have had a bad smash surely If so you look remarkably cool and collected and unscathed His wife led the way out into the garden and placing the kettle on the path beside her sank into a cane chair and took off her hat and fanned herself with it as she replied No I didn t have a smash But I was feeling anything but cool calm and collected an hour ago I can assure you I was nursing the old car up Butser Hill I really was nursing her Jim we were only doing about twenty when it happened when suddenly there was a loud explosion and a shattering noise and a burst of flame from the bonnet I switched off and grabbed the fire extinguisher quicker than I ve ever done anything in my life before but by the time I d got out and round to the front of the car there was no sign of any fire and when I lifted the bonnet very gingerly there was nothing to see but a large hole in the side of the engine and what looked like part of a piston rod sticking out of it Good Heavens exclaimed her husband History repeating itself It must run in the family What do you mean asked Mrs de Salis bewildered Well don t you remember the same thing happened to that old Morris I got for Robin to play about with said the Colonel Oh dear oh dear Well I know she was pretty well on her last legs but that still doesn t mean that we can afford to buy the Vanguard I m afraid I don t think we can afford not to said his wife calmly Now look Jim You know that decent second hand cars cost more than new ones these days such is the topsy turvy kind of world we live in and unless you can get one you really know all about you re only buying a pig in a poke I m sure Wills wouldn t let us down over one of course but he doesn t happen to have one or know of one at the moment I ve been asking him at intervals about one for the last three months or more because I haven t been happy in my mind about the old Austin for some time now You know I ve hated having to go out alone in

    Original URL path: http://www.fidrabooks.com/publishing/chapters/BunkleBrainwave.shtml (2016-02-17)
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  • Fidra Books - Bunkle Began It
    was so exactly like the maid s that Jill and Robin burst out laughing Do some more said Jill It s exactly like Ada But Bunkle had gone back to his painting I wish I could think of something to do said Robin moodily If only Mummy was here I know It s rotten said Jill Still you can t exactly blame her wanting to be in London if there s any chance of seeing Daddy No but I don t see why we shouldn t all have gone too said Robin Well there s not much point in being evacuated from a danger area in the term if you go back to one in the holidays is there asked Jill reasonably Bunkle don t do that she added Don t do what said Bunkle looking up surprised Don t suck your brush Why not It ll make you ill Bunkle dipped his brush in the very dirty water and sucked it again It never has yet he said and I ve always done it For years and years I ve done it Rot You haven t painted for years and years said Robin I have said Bunkle firmly For years and years and years I ve painted Oh all right said Robin turning back to the window Have it your own way But don t blame us if you die I shan t die said Bunkle sucking his brush Then Why shall I die he asked interestedly Because lots of paints are poisonous said Jill That s why Mine aren t replied her younger brother placidly How do you know they aren t asked Robin I don t Then why did you say Oh do shut up said Bunkle How can I concentrate if you re both jawing at me all the time Wait till you come to Winchester my boy said his brother grimly You won t be so cocky then He kicked an unoffending footstool across the room Of all the utterly beastly mouldy miserable weather he went on crossly Do you realize we haven t even seen the sun since we came here I know said Jill I always thought the West Country was supposed to be so lovely in winter The trouble is she continued seriously that we re just the wrong age If we were older we should all be doing something and if we were little we d just play with toys and things and not know anything about the beastly war It s so awful feeling that Daddy and Mummy may be bombed at any moment and that we just can t do anything at all about it Most of the time I try not to worry but sometimes I can t help it The only thing to do is to concentrate said Bunkle in a smug voice I concentrate like anything What on asked Robin curiously It all depends said Bunkle airily I think I concentrate most on knitting If going

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  • Fidra Books - Bunkle Scents A Clue
    she ever did for Sally seeming quite unworried by the extra weight on her back for though small Exmoor ponies are tremendously strong and wiry Now as the ex groom went across to her she stopped grazing and stood looking at him with a quiet kind eye never moving or fidgeting as he ran a hand over her shoulder and along her back and then down her quarter to her leg finally feeling round the fetlock with gently exploratory fingers I don t think there s much amiss now he said after a moment or two That slight puffiness has gone and there s no heat left at all She just strained the tendon a bit some way but you should be riding her again tomorrow Miss Sally provided you take her easy for a bit No racing about on her with them youngsters as is coming to the Priory though Why cried Sally excitedly do they ride What fun Are they bringing their own ponies with them How do you know about them Jan gave Cinders a friendly slap on the rump and as he watched her move away he said with a smile Yes they be all going to ride seemingly Though whether it s riding stables stuff they m used to we ll not know till they m here Jan had a great contempt for what he called riding stables stuff by which he did not mean proper training in a good riding school but the acquisition of just enough knowledge to be able to sit on a dead quiet horse and get taken for an easy ride on smooth down land or in a London park a very different matter from riding over the rough stony moorland or up and down the steep and stony hill tracks of Devon and Somerset They ve not got ponies of their own he went on But the old gentleman has hired three of Mrs Benson s and Tom Dyer s cob for all the time they m to be here and I m to go up to the Priory and muck out stables every day Sally stared at him Do you mean to say that they re going to keep the ponies in she asked incredulously Where are they getting the oats from Jan smiled knowing that oats were a sore subject with Sally They m not likely to get many oats he assured her Mrs Benson do know better than to let her ponies get corned up with strange children riding them but they be clipped out you see for she s had they in all winter and it s too early to leave a clipped pony out at night yet so they ll be in the seven acre field by day if it s fine I reckon and Mrs Benson do be sending over her own hay for them Her would not want for they to get to blown up on spring grass with the pony club gymkhana coming on I ll tell you what Miss Sally if you m thinking of entering Cinders and if the youngsters up along bain t too good on a pony why don t you make up to they and see if one of them would ride your pony and let you ride one of theirs I believe they do be going to have Grey Dawn for one and I m thinking Mrs Benson ll be none too happy about having her rode by foreigners but seemingly she do ve promised the old gentleman to let him have three ponies up there for sure and one she d meant to send is coughing so she s only got Grey Dawn to spare Sally s eyes widened Grey Dawn she breathed You don t mean that absolutely smashing pony with a lot of Arab in her You don t mean her Jan nodded Gosh said Sally Gosh and stared dreamily in front of her Then she came back to earth again She wasn t entered in our summer gymkhana was she Jan she asked Jan shook his head No Her was down to Exeter then he replied But I believe Mrs Benson would be glad to have her shown up here this year Tom Ellis was at the Committee meeting t other evening and he says there s a lot of good entries some coming from a fair ways away Sally s eyes grew dreamy again Grey Dawn she said softly lingeringly Grey Dawn Then her tone changed and she asked briskly When are they due to arrive at the Priory I don t exactly know Jan replied I axed Jim Snape if there is a taxi ordered for the station but he says they be coming by car Sally giggled I meant the ponies not the people she said Jan vaulted back over the fence and started to walk away up the garden path Mrs Benson s bringing all three along tonight he called over his shoulder Round about seven Harry Cobleigh said I was to be up along She ll need to come slow and steady with two to lead and it ll take her a bit of time Must be the best part of eight miles over from her place Sally was not tall enough to do a side vault over the fence so she did a gate vault instead and started to pursue Jan Then suddenly she stopped thought for a moment and turning raced towards the house When she got near it she stopped running and sauntered casually towards the french window of the drawing room but looking in and seeing that her mother was not there she turned right handed and rounding the corner of the house put her head in at the kitchen window instead Mrs Corben was cutting up rhubarb at the sink and Daniel in a clean set of dungarees and with a dish cloth tied round his waist and pinned up to

    Original URL path: http://www.fidrabooks.com/publishing/chapters/BunkleScentsClue.shtml (2016-02-17)
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  • Fidra Books - Bunkle Brings It Off
    that the mother earwig looks after them as devotedly as a hen with chickens â He sat for a moment staring into space and then added gloomily â Bother now Iâ ve got that J U F feeling again just when fighting with Jill had made me forget it for a moment or two â Robin picked up a tiny bit of wood with a pair of tweezers and added it to the model he was making He wasnâ t particularly good at brain work but at making things of all sorts he was clever particularly things that required neat fingers and patience to put together â Whoâ s being J U F now â he enquired â God â replied his young brother â J U F God is â â Bunkle â exclaimed Jill scandalised â Well He is I think He arranges things very badly and if I didnâ t have to I wouldnâ t put up with it that I wouldnâ t â â Such as â queried Robin grinning â Aunts â said Bunkle â Fancy making the sort of aunts that go and fall downstairs and break their legs in the holidays Fancy giving Mummy the sort of sisters who are always doing things to themselves or getting things wrong with them so that she has to go rushing off to the rescue and looking after them instead of fun with us I donâ t know how she sticks those sisters of hers honestly I donâ t â â I think all our aunts are nice and Aunt Susanâ s a darling â said Jill â After all no one falls down stairs on purpose and actually I think Mummyâ s quite enjoying being here Sheâ s awfully fond of Aunt Susan and hardly sees anything of her when weâ re at home â â Queer â murmured Bunkle shaking his head â Families are pretty queer things really arenâ t they I mean Iâ m quite fond of you sometimes though I canâ t think why But Jill surely you canâ t like all the aunts Not Aunt Evelyn sheâ s awful â Jill was busy counting the stitches of her pattern and did not answer so Robin said â I donâ t like her much I must say But then sheâ s not a proper aunt sheâ s only by marriage and anyhow why bother about her Sheâ s out in Kenya most of the time and we hardly ever see her â â Iâ m always feeling she might come back and live near us â replied Bunkle darkly â Uncle Robert will have to retire some day and they both like Mummy Thatâ s the worst of it everyone does like Mummy even horrors like Aunt E I pray like anything that the natives or a lion will get rid of her before Uncle Robert is due to retire â â You really mustnâ t pray that sort of prayer Billy â said Jill using his proper name instead of his nickname to show her disapproval â Why not When thereâ s a war on people always pray theyâ ll win it and you canâ t win a war without killing off a few enemies and I donâ t see why I shouldnâ t ask God to kill off some of mine whether thereâ s a war on or not â said Bunkle in a reasonable tone of voice â Wars are quite different â said Jill firmly and started counting again â Why are wars different â â Oh Bunkle do stop talking just for the sake of talking â said his sister â I canâ t concentrate on this pattern and argue with you at the same time Look I donâ t think itâ s raining so hard now Why donâ t you get your bike and take that bill down to the butcherâ s for Mummy She meant to take it herself I know but she rushed off in a hurry and forgot it and itâ s early closing today â Bunkle went over to the window and stared out â I canâ t think why anyone ever lives in this sort of place â he said â Think of all the things we can do when weâ re at home and here thereâ s nothing decent we can do absolutely nothing â â I expect thereâ d be plenty to do if one was grown up â said Robin â Not to day when itâ s raining thereâ s not all that much we can do at home when itâ s soggy wet except that weâ ve got our own muck room where we can make more mess and we havenâ t got a living in maid like Aunt Susan has so we can cook and make toffee and things in the kitchen but if Daddy was here and it was fine we could sail and if Mummy wasnâ t so busy doing all Aunt Susanâ s jobs for her weâ d have the car more and could go for picnics and things and in summer the bathing would be super â Bunkle looked unconvinced â No decent garden only a horrid lawn and flower beds no fields or farm Itâ s all â if onlyâ and itâ s J U F of God to make Daddyâ s job take him away from home just when heâ d be useful Oh well I suppose I might as well swoosh down to the butcherâ s Itâ s better than doing nothing â It was quite true that there did not seem much for children to do in Sandalford during the Easter holidays In the summer the town would be gay with holiday makers and the streets full of people in sailing clothes but it was not a good centre for winter sailing for the coast needed knowing and the currents could be dangerous so that at the moment most of the boats were still laid up and their owners either elsewhere or occupied with overhauling sails and ropes or busy painting and caulking Robin might have been quite interested in helping with that sort of a job but Bunkle always wanted to be on the go and there did not seem to be much to explore in an area largely built up with small houses in small gardens nor was the shore interesting for the tide just rose and fell and never seemed to go out more than a yard or two On this wet April morning the High Street was almost deserted By twelve oâ clock most people had already done their shopping for provisions and gone home to cook the lunch or the mid day dinner as the case might be and Bunkle having delivered the bill and the cheque at the butcherâ s stood irresolute not knowing quite what to do next He thought of leaving his bike by the shops and walking down to the sea but rejected that idea when he remembered that from the windows of the two attic bedrooms which he and Robin and Jill were occupying they had seen when they woke a grey leaden sea merging into a grey leaden sky and they had already discovered that the beach held little of interest in the way of shells to be picked up and unless there was a good storm with big waves there was never much worth finding in the way of flotsam and jetsam Where else could he go Where hadnâ t he been Nowhere really except up the narrow road behind the bakerâ s shop which he had not thought worth exploring because it appeared to be lined with small bungalows on either side However for want of any better idea he set off along it and was surprised to find that he soon had to pedal quite hard and the road became so steep that he had to get off and push his bike It curved round as well as rising so sharply and soon the bungalows ceased and the road narrowed and the tarred surface changed to gravel studded with potholes full of water He started to ride again weaving his way in and out between the potholes and then saw that ahead of him practically blocking the lane was a large furniture removal van into which as he came up to it two hot and red faced men were trying to lift a large and unwieldy piece of furniture The van appeared to be almost full already and he wondered where all the stuff in it could have come from Then he noticed that behind the shrubby bushes and grass verge on his right there was a high brick wall thickly topped with broken glass and he realised that the back end of the van was alongside a pair of rusty iron gates beyond which he could see a very narrow moss grown drive curving away down hill to some house which was completely hidden among trees â I say can I help â he asked dismounting and propping his bike against the wall One of the men rested his end of the tall boy on the of the van and glanced round â You son Yes you can Hop up beside that desk see and hold that piece of sacking over it soâ s it wonâ t slip down then me and my mate can give this piece a proper shove Weâ re a man short to day and itâ s awkward thereâ s a lot of good stuff in this van we donâ t want to risk chipping â Bunkle climbed up into the van and scrambling on to the top of a couple of wooden cases managed to lean over the desk from the back and hold the large square of hessian covering the front of it firmly in place as directed With a lot of puffing and blowing and ejaculations of â To me a bit Bert No to you now Thatâ s right together now Over a bit more Easy does it â the heavy piece of furniture was fitted in and it was not until it was in place that Bunkle realised that he could not now possibly get out of the van again â I say â he said peering past the tall boy â where are you going I canâ t get out Iâ m stuck I canâ t possibly get through either in front or behind â The younger of the two removal men shoved his cap to the back of his head and wiped his forehead â Strike me pink â he exclaimed â No more you canâ t We ainâ t been so clever after all What are we going to do now Bill â Bill the grey haired one looked harassed â Where do you live sonny â he asked â Far from here â â Miles and miles â said Bunkle cheerfully Then as he saw the dismayed expressions on both menâ s faces he relented and added â But Iâ m staying just in Cliff End Road The thing is though that I must be back in time for lunch My auntâ s maid Florence creates if we arenâ t â â Coo â said the younger man â You a relation of Mrs Radburnâ s That Florence of hers is a proper Tartar Small wonder as sheâ s never married Ticked me off proper one day she did when I took a mattress in from the shop as â ad â ad to be remade Said I â adnâ t wiped me feet proper before going into the â ouse She can cook though Iâ ll say that Made a smashing cake for the Church sale the other day My missus won it in the raffle and we enjoyed it a treat â It was obvious that Bert was a talker but his talk was not helping to solve Bunkleâ s problem as to how to get out of the van and it was the grey haired man who asked â Supposing we was to lay your bike alongside of these cases I reckon that itâ d just about go could you come along of us as far as Colyton Weâ re only taking this load to the repository there and so soon as the tall boy is out youâ ll be clear â â Whereâ s Colyton â asked Bunkle â About three miles inland â the man replied â but it would be all down hill for you to ride back I reckon youâ d be home by one oâ clock if you didnâ t stop off anywhere â â I should think thatâ d be all right â said Bunkle â It would be something to do But shanâ t I suffocate when you shut the back up â â Not you â said Bert lifting the bicycle in and fastening up the tail board and starting to close the doors above it â Thereâ s a little window up front opening into the driving cabin what we use when we sleep in the van on long trips Iâ ll open it in a minute Just you climb forward over those other cases You canâ t do no harm to them theyâ re solid as you make â em Youâ ll find a big settee up front and a couple of armchairs The chairs are on top of the settee but I reckon youâ ll sit comfortable enough â For a moment Bunkle was in darkness then a small square shutter in the front wall of the van was pushed back and Bertâ s grinning face appeared in it â There you are all fine and dandy â he said â Youâ d best get settled up front before I starts driving Something shocking this road is for potholes Wonâ t never be no better till itâ s tarred and that wonâ t be till old Sir Harry dies and they sell the Manor Mill land for building â A moment later the van started to lurch and bump along the narrow road and Bill the older man said quietly â Iâ ll be sorry when that day comes When the Manor land goes there wonâ t be no proper country for three miles round Sandalford â â I didnâ t think there was any now â said Bunkle â All the roads Iâ ve biked on so far seem to have houses along them I didnâ t know there was a bit with proper fields and things so near the town â â Reckon there must be a hundred acres or more goes with the Manor Mill and it must be worth a packet as building land but the old gentleman wonâ t sell Says itâ s a sacred trust to keep it for his grandson whoâ s not been seen or heard of for years Went on a walking tour somewhere abroad he did and didnâ t come back but the old man wonâ t believe heâ s dead nor the old lady wouldnâ t neither when she was alive Kept his room dusted and the bed made up week in week out so that itâ d be all ready for him to come back to â â Hadnâ t he any mother or father â asked Bunkle curiously â Went west in a car smash they did without never knowing the boy was missing Lucky they was I reckon but it fair broke the old couple up Now thereâ s only the Colonel left and he hasnâ t lived in the Manor Mill these five years past Not since after his wife died He went a bit funny with losing her on top of the other three wouldnâ t do nothing to the place nor â ave anyone in to look after â im Then he moved himself into a private hotel and just locked the old place up â â Yes â said Bill â a crying shame it was really for it was a right pretty place one time Fond of her garden the old lady was and the roses were a show But Sir Harry didnâ t care for nothing but fishing and now heâ s grown too shaky on his pins to go after the salmon he just sits there wanting to die â â Which he donâ t look likely to do neither â commented Bert â Mr Bell thatâ s the senior partner of the solicitors what â andle the property for â im said to the â ouse agents the other day that â e wouldnâ t be surprised if the old gent lived to be a â undred â â Where used he to fish â asked Bunkle â I havenâ t seen any water here except the sea And how did the mill work was it a windmill one â â Lorâ bless you no it was a water mill Thereâ s three or four of them in the river valley between here and Colyton â said Bert â Perhaps youâ d not rightly call it a river â put in Bill â just a fairish sized stream the Sandal is but itâ s spring fed and never runs dry Them mills used to grind all the flour for the bakeries round about when my dad was a boy but thereâ s none of them working now â â But where does the stream go into the sea â asked Bunkle â Iâ ve walked from end to end of the beach and Iâ ve not seen a stream running out anywhere â Bert laughed â It donâ t â he said â Leastways not directly It turns away behind Sandalford and runs parallel with the main road for quite a way only

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  • Fidra Books - Four Plus Bunkle
    says Hush hush job ahead That means he can t say where he is going in a wire or a letter and I don t suppose it is in Paris He probably only wants me to meet him there If I don t join him tomorrow so that he can take me with him I shan t be able to go at all still I suppose it can t be helped Mrs de Salis s cheeks lost their pretty pink flush and she looked rather wistfully out of the window Jill gazed at her for a moment then she drew Robin aside Don t be a selfish pig Robin she whispered Can t you see Mummy is simply dying to go and have a beano with Daddy only she is too decent to say so After all it can t have been very thrilling being here just with Bunkle and Mademoiselle for three months and there ll be all the rest of the hols for us to have her You d far better go Mummy she said out loud Robin and I can go in for the golf monthly medal instead of the tennis tomorrow But what about Billy darling I thought that you were playing with him So she was playing with me said Bunkle calmly but I ll play in the tennis tournament with Madame Fieve instead if she hasn t got a child and I haven t got a parent they re sure to let us enter together Jill stared at him Bunkle you can t she protested Madame Fieve is enormous everyone will laugh Besides I didn t know she d asked you She hasn t but she will said Bunkle complacently and if we lose she ll give me a box of chocolates Madame Fieve m adore Jill turned to her mother You know you really ought to do something about Bunkle she said gravely He ll be exactly like some horrid little French boy soon he s getting more and more like them every day We can t even get him to talk English properly now Her mother smiled I wish I could get you and Robin to talk French she said I haven t been having Mademoiselle all these months in order to make Billy speak English you know By the way where is Mademoiselle Elle a la migraine she has a headache said Bunkle in a tone of deep satisfaction Mrs de Salis looked at him severely Billy she said there are moments when I think you really are rather a horrid little boy You said that as if you were thoroughly pleased that poor Mademoiselle has a bad headache Poor thing she does seem to get them badly If she is feeling ill I really don t think that perhaps I ought to go away Oh go Mummy said Jill it will be quite all right honestly Mademoiselle s headaches never last more than a day I expect she ll be

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  • Fidra Books - The School on North Barrule
    that Mrs Quilliam had not been herself during the past few days She had written a good many letters and had been vague and absent minded At that moment the door opened and a voice cried cheerfully Good gracious Why are you both in the dark Brrr It s gone cold and I m frozen The light flashed on and Voirrey sprang out of the armchair tossing back her light brown hair and dropping the scrapbook on the table I ll make up the fire Come and sit here Mummy We we were feeling rather dismal Why Mrs Quilliam threw aside her coat and sat down in the chair her daughter had vacated There s nothing to be dismal about In fact there s every reason to be extremely thrilled Just wait till I tell you both my news Is it good news then Voirrey asked in astonishment putting on a reckless amount of coal Of course it is Did you think something awful was happening But I didn t want to tell you till it was more or less fixed up Sit down on the stool here by me and listen Andreas drew the curtains and sprawled on the sofa and Voirrey dropped at her mother s feet Please tell us We knew something was happening Have we inherited a fortune Nothing like that though I think you may feel that this is just as good I don t quite know where to start and Mrs Quilliam looked from her daughter to her son All three were very much alike with the same bright brown hair and very dark blue eyes She went on slowly I know how much you have both always wanted to see the Isle of Man especially Voirrey Voirrey jerked upright her face suddenly tense Mother We re not going For an Easter holiday For the High and Grammar Schools which she and Andreas attended had broken up on the previous day No not for a holiday for much longer than that Voirrey sat very still suddenly conscious that she could hardly breathe Go to the island that had never seemed real Go for longer than a holiday It was unbelievable Are we going to live there Her voice cracked oddly and Andreas merely stared in silence Well you are You and Andreas You see you remember my aunt Mrs Elizabeth Rigby Aunt Beth You ve heard about her though you ve never seen her The rich one asked Andreas unexpectedly Yes the rich one Well I never expected that she would do anything for us in the first place there was really no reason why she should and in the second I have always thought her rather mean She likes to spend money on certain things that interest her but oh well anyway I was quite wrong because she has suddenly decided to pay for your education But we don t need it paying for said Voirrey hopelessly bewildered We we passed for the

    Original URL path: http://www.fidrabooks.com/publishing/chapters/NorthBarrule.shtml (2016-02-17)
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  • Fidra Books - Chiltern Adventure
    worry and heat of the day Usually she was fond enough of the High School but worrying over School Certificate and the tired feeling that assailed her so often lately were making the term something of a burden She knew herself to be a somewhat undistinguished member of the Upper Fifth though she was popular and had plenty of friends I m ordinary she sometimes thought with regret I don t do anything a bit well Mother Mother we re back And half roasted called Petronella but there was no immediate answer Then there was a small absorbed grunt and a child s voice said Mother s gone out And I m getting the tea Getting the tea cried Petronella as her eyes swept round the sitting room which was high and at the moment shady The big windows were open to the rather dusty garden and a bowl of fresh pink roses filled the air with perfume The polished table was devoid of cloth or any sign of a meal and Francesca lying on her stomach on two cushions on the floor said calmly Don t fuss Peta please I m getting it right now And of course you can help me now you re here Bless the child She s got another Ballet book gasped Deborah bending over the thin little figure on the floor Oh Pav The Ballet in Britain 21 Where on earth did you get it Francesca raised her small pale face blandly smiling up at her eldest sister She was ten and the youngest of the Englands and her consuming passion was Ballet hence her nickname of Pavlova given her by Deborah long ago before Francesca was ever entered at the Ballet School She was a shrimp of a child with long thin limbs and a cloud of dead straight hair that she kept back from her face with a scarlet ribbon tied on top of her head I ve been saving my two birthday tokens and Mother gave me the other five and six in advance of pocket money I do wish Ballet books weren t so terribly expensive But this one has some lovely pictures Look at Les Sylphides and Spectre We d sooner have tea said Petronella Really Pav you might have got a move on considering you get in about three quarters of an hour before us Where s Mother gone Gone to see Mrs Bets she said She won t be long Francesca rose reluctantly and with grace She never made an awkward or ungainly movement though when not moving she looked an extremely ordinary little girl It s sort of half ready she remarked making her way towards the kitchen Potato salad and cold meat and a lovely fresh fruit salad I m going to wash first I do wish I d time for a bath and Deborah bounded up the stairs to the bedroom she had to herself She rummaged in the wardrobe until she found a

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  • Fidra Books - The School on Cloud Ridge
    expected so early in the year But it was not the undoubted chill in the hill wind that had made Kerridwen leap so suddenly off her perch it was the sudden remembrance of all that was waiting to be done up at the school Sheets to mark curtains to finish lists to type endless correspondence to be dealt with equipment of all kinds to be checked And I ve been dreaming here for at least half an hour she thought opening the gate a foot or two and slipping through into the drive The heavy old iron clanged shut behind her and she glanced over her shoulder with satisfaction The graceful iron gates of Cloud Ridge House gave her much pleasure for up on the crest of the ridge was a great deal that was aggressively new though it would mellow in time She ran up the drive and emerged on the lawns at the front of the school buildings The windows on this side were all open to the sun and wind It was a big building built in the golden local stone only the previous year but no more than the long south front could be seen from the top of the drive Away to the left quite close to the house was the second thing that gave Kerridwen particular pleasure an orchard filled with old gnarled fruit trees Just now the cherry blossom was surging in a white froth over the trees nearest the house and only that morning she had wasted a further twenty minutes sitting perched up on a strong bough with the waxen flowers all about her Oh come on do she urged herself and made for the open main door The old gates and the orchard had belonged to the manor house that had stood on the crest of the ridge until two years before She had never seen it but it had been empty for many years and had finally been burnt down The evidence of the earlier house which she imagined with old twisted chimneys and soaring gables seemed to mitigate the extreme newness of the school buildings She could see Jeremy Osborne across the garden deep in one of his endless discussions with the gardener and handyman a Scot called Angus Bethune Both men were gesticulating vigorously as they prowled round a neglected piece of ground Kerridwen chuckled and left them to it She darted into the big shining entrance hall where primroses from the sheltered banks in the valley were massed in low bowls On one side of the hall was the door to her uncle s study and on the other Gretli Osborne s sanctum at the moment given over to some of the endless sewing though there was a sewing room upstairs where the school Matron had a vast collection of household linen in process of being marked The telephone bell in Mrs Osborne s room was ringing violently and with a steady purpose that suggested it

    Original URL path: http://www.fidrabooks.com/publishing/chapters/CloudRidge.shtml (2016-02-17)
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