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.'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. This book has been my constant companion ever since it appeared'A. N. Wilson, Evening Standard'A wonderful book'Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday
Ysenda Maxtone Graham was born in 1962 and educated at The King's School, Canterbury and Girton College, Cambridge. She has written widely for many newspapers and magazines, as features writer, book reviewer and columnist. She is the author of The Church Hesitant: A Portrait of the Church of England; The Real Mrs Miniver, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Biography of the Year Award; and Mr Tibbits's Catholic School. She lives in London with her husband and their three sons.