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'The girls' boarding school! What a ripe theme for the most observant verbal artist in our midst today - the absurdly undersung Ysenda Maxtone Graham, who has the beadiness and nosiness of the best investigative reporter, the wit of Jane Austen and a take on life which is like no one else's.
When I asked a group of girls who had been at Hatherop Castle in the 1960s whether the school had had a lab in those days they gave me a blank look. 'A laboratory?' I expanded, hoping to jog their memories. 'Oh that kind of lab!' one of them said.
'I thought you meant a Labrador.''The cruel teachers. The pashes on other girls. The gossip.
The giggles. The awful food. The homesickness.
The friendships made for life. The shivering cold. Games of lacrosse, and cricket.