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“So, the upshot is that the whole building needs rewiring,” Hilda finished. “It should all be done by September, but it means that we’re going to have to move out for the summer term. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere suitable up here, and places like Montreux or Vevey or Lausanne get far too hot in June and July.”

“I can’t believe that all this happened whilst I was away visiting Simone,” Joey wailed. “Where are we going to go, then?”

“Well, we were rather stuck for ideas, but then we heard about there being a hotel empty at the Tiernsee, and the thought of going back to our roots for a term rather appealed to us. Madge is happy about it, so we’re going there for the term,” Hilda announced. “It’s all sorted out.”

“The Tiernsee?” Joey turned slightly green. “But … but, that’s miles away. And isn’t it going to cost a fortune to move everything over there, as well as the cost of all the electrical work.”

“The insurance will cover it all,” Nell said smoothly. “Of course, they wouldn’t normally cover the cost of rewiring, but we do have such a good relationship with them. Well, we’ve needed it over the years, with all the little mishaps that we’ve had. It helps that the managing director was at school with Jem, I suppose. Anyway, we’d better be going: we’ve got an awful lot to do, as you can imagine. Finished your lemon biscuit, Hilda? Come on. Goodness, I don’t know where we’re going to start!”

“Insurance,” mused Joey as her two friends made their exit. “Yes. Insurance. The insurance will cover it all …”


“Worked like a dream,” chuckled Jack. “Brilliant idea of yours to start reminiscing about Lavender Leigh and that incident with the bath overflowing, Rosalie. Joey left the tap on in the bathroom and then insisted on all the children going out for a walk with her and Bruno. Anna turned the tap off and rang me at the San to tip me the wink to come home, and she and I and Rosli greeted Joey after her walk with the news that the house was flooded and that under no circumstances was she to go inside because we didn’t want her getting herself upset. Anna and Rosli and the girls did the packing, and I saw them, Joey, Bruno and the younger kids off on the train to Tyrol late afternoon. They should already be at Die Blumen by now.

“Steve and Charles are dead chuffed about staying with Dick and Mollie for a week before school starts because they get bored stiff here anyway, and Len, Con and Margot – whom Joey thinks are staying with Biddy, by the way – are looking forward to a bit of peace and quiet with the younger ones away. Anna’s delighted about getting to see her family, Rosli’s looking forward to seeing the Tiernsee, and – nothing personal, ladies! – I can’t tell you how nice it’ll be to have the house to myself for a while, without a constant stream of visitors from the Chalet School.”

“It does work both ways,” Nell retorted. “No offence, Jack, but Hilda and I are the heads of this school and it’ll be rather nice to be able to prepare for the start of term without any …”

“Interference,” Jack completed the sentence for her. “It’s all right: I think we can all see that Joey has far too much to do with the Chalet School. The only one who can’t is Joey herself. Well, maybe this break’ll do her good. I suppose I’ll have to ‘fess up tomorrow that the rewiring stuff was all an April Fool, when she rings up to say that she can’t find any trace of an empty hotel building awaiting the arrival of a school, but she doesn’t need to know that Freudesheim isn’t really flooded just yet. I’ll give it a couple of weeks. I daresay I’ll be missing her and the kids something rotten by then anyway.”

“I think we’ll be missing her as well,” Hilda confessed. “It just sometimes gets …”

“A bit too much,” they all finished together.

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