Authors: S.K. Sheridan
The TOP SECRET Diary of Davina Dupree (Aged 10)
First in the Egmont School Series
S K Sheridan
For Bethan, Olivia and Ben
Hello New Diary,
My name is Davina Dupree, I’m ten and a half and I’m kind of in shock because my parents have just left me in Egmont Exclusive Boarding School for Girls. They took off in our deluxe helicopter from the middle of an enormous hockey pitch about five minutes ago and for once no one stared because arriving by helicopter is a normal thing here. A couple of girls even touched down in private jets - there’s a landing strip squashed next to the tennis courts with a big sign next to it saying, ‘NO Ball Games, Walking, Running or Cycling on the Runway Please’. Can you imagine!
So here I am. Abandoned. Mum shoved a brochure about the school on to my bed a couple of months ago. It had glossy photos of girls in pink, purple and white uniforms doing things like painting huge pictures, riding horses, learning to fly small aircraft (yes, really, it’s that kind of school), swimming in a dolphin shaped pool with multi coloured water slides, feeding chickens in the school farm and doing gymnastics. The school building itself looks like a fairytale palace, all white marble and turrets with violet roses climbing up its walls. Quite impressive.
Mum then announced that this incredibly expensive private school would be my new home for a while as she and Dad had been assigned secret posts on an island in the Pacific Ocean. I’m never sure what their job is and they say they can’t tell me for my own safety, but I think they work for the Secret Service as spies or something. They are good sorts really but we don’t spend much time together. It’s my wispy haired old nanny, Carrie Whepple, who usually looks after me. She’s really kind and always smells of strawberry and vanilla cakes because she bakes them so much. She says they’re her speciality. Mmmm,
But the sad news is that Carrie’s just had to retire because her arthritis is so bad and she’s nearly seventy, which is mega old to be working. I cried when she told me she was leaving and actually her eyes looked a bit weepy too. She gave me a photo album full of snaps of her and me from when I was a baby and she promised to write lots and come and see me when she can. Last week, I tried to teach her how to send emails but she says she doesn’t trust computers and that you can’t beat a good, honest, handwritten letter.
I told Mum and Dad that I DID NOT WANT TO GO TO BOARDING SCHOOL because I wanted to stay near Carrie, but they didn’t listen. Instead, they just muttered things I couldn’t really hear, that sounded like, ‘the school will be good for you’ and ‘other girls your own age’.
So hey ho, here I am actually sitting on my own bed in the incredibly expensive private school, wearing the pink, purple and white uniform, with Carrie’s photo album next to me. I’ve just looked through it again. You, dear Diary, are a present from Mum and Dad. As always, they’ve paid for the very best and you are have a white leather cover with a pink buckle to do you up and small yellow flowers embroidered over your front. Very
. Mum knows I like writing so she’s probably hoping you’ll keep me busy.
I’m kind of used to being alone anyway, because I’m an only child. I know some people think only children are spoiled brats and I suppose I am when it comes to money because my parents have got so much of it! Honestly, I don’t know where they get it all from. Altogether, they own two mansions - one in the city and one in the country, a villa by the sea and four holiday apartments in different countries around the world. As well as the helicopter, they’ve got five vintage cars, a speed boat and a yacht. I heard Dad saying once that he’d like to buy a private train and track one day. But what’s the point of having all that if you’re never around to enjoy it? I don’t know, I really don’t, I do despair of Pip and Sally. (I like to call my parents by their first names sometimes because we have that sort of relationship). I know they don’t spoil me with attention because Mum says when she’s away (which is ALL the time) she sometimes forgets she has a child, which is charming isn’t it? I was a bit upset when she said that actually, but Carrie said they do love me in their own way and not to take any notice of silly comments and that she, (Carrie), loves me VERY much. And I love her. I hope she comes to visit soon.
At the moment I’m sitting on my bed in my ‘dorm’, which is what they call a dormitory or bedroom here, although it’s not one of those horrid old fashioned ones with rows of metal framed beds and scratchy blankets like you read about in books. There are only two beds in this ENORMOUS room, with purple and pink heart duvets. Along one wall there are three windows that go right up to the ceiling. Each window has purple and gold, velvet curtains draped over both sides of it, which are held in place by gold tassels. The view looks out over the school’s riding stables. I can hear the ponies braying now, it’s actually quite a sweet sound. I might ask if I can go riding later as I’ve never tried it before. I like the silver carpet that covers the floor of the dorm because it’s very deep and squashy and my feet literally sink down when I stand on it.
A large flat screen TV takes up the whole of another wall, which Carrie wouldn’t like because she says watching too much of it rots your brain, so I might forget to mention it to her. There’s a little shower and toilet room attached to the dorm, that has flashing star lights around the mirror over the sink.
In the middle of the room there are two baby pink leather sofas with fluffy white cushions on them. Over to one side are two wide, wooden desks which must be for all the hard work they want us to do here. On each desk are identical new, shiny laptops, iPod’s still in their boxes, fresh new folders and lots of unopened packets of pens, pencils and felt tips. Wowzers! I haven’t touched any of mine yet, because everything looks so lovely in its packaging. I’m just enjoying looking at it.
The girl I’m sharing with is acting strangely. She got here first and has had her face squashed down in to her pillow ever since I arrived. She’s still breathing, I checked. All I can see from her back view is that her hair is bright red and curly and her legs are extremely long and thin. When I sat on her bed and asked what her name was, she told me to go away through her pillow. How rude! Oh well, maybe she’s shy or something.
Hang on, a bell just went. I think it’s time for dinner. Brilliant, I’m absolutely starving. See you later, Diary.
Yum, I had the best dinner yesterday evening. I don’t know what they eat in other boarding schools but here they laid on a three course feast! I hope they do that every evening. To start, I had melon and ham with fizzy apple juice to drink. Then for the main I chose roast chicken with sweet potato mash and peas and for dessert I had triple chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream which was SERIOUSLY DELISH! We were sitting four to a table in a large dining room that has crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Each plate of food was served by a French waiter in a puffy white hat, who came zooming out of the kitchen with different dishes balanced all the way up his arms, shouting and arguing with all the other waiters at top speed. Once or twice, plates crashed to the floor and then the waiters went in to complete uproar, screaming and jumping around, with a couple actually crying. It was better than watching a play. Can you imagine!
My roommate must have been hungry because when I told her it was dinner time she lifted her head off her pillow and I saw streaky tear marks down each of her red cheeks. I pretended not to notice and started chattering away about rubbish, trying to cheer her up. She didn’t talk much but she did tell me her name is Arabella Rothsbury. We ended up sitting on the same table at dinner, together with a couple of other new girls called Clarice and Cleo, who I didn’t really take to as all they did was look in pocket mirrors and brush their long, swishy, blonde hair with foldaway brushes.
After dinner, our lovely, cosy housemistress, Mrs Honeysuckle, knocked on our bedroom door then came in to say goodnight and to find out how we’re settling in. She’s in charge of us for the whole of the first year. I saw the second year’s housemistress, Miss Ferret, at dinner and she had a rather sharp and serious face so I’m glad we’ve got smiley Mrs Honeysuckle at the moment.
Arabella and I couldn’t be more different and opposite. She has fiery red hair like I already said, pale skin, freckles and is as thin as a pencil. I, on the other hand, am definitely not as thin as a pencil but I’m not as fat as a tomato either, so I must be somewhere in between. My hair is golden brown, straight and so long I can sit on it. I always wear it in a plait down my back, just because it’s easier like that. Arabella is quiet and serious but I like chatting. Carrie says I could talk the hind leg off a donkey although I’ve never actually tried it. Yet.
Arabella, who doesn’t smile much by the way because she’s homesick, says her favourite subject is maths. Now maths is OK but my favourite subject has got to be art, I seriously love painting pictures and want to be a famous artist when I grow up. I’ve been studying our time table and have seen that we’ve got one whole hour of art on Tuesday. At my old day school, we had the same teacher all the time who taught us pretty much everything but he wasn’t that interested in art so we did it about once a month. A boy at my old school used to call me a boffin because I liked staying in at break times to do extra painting, but he didn’t realise that I
to do extra art because I need to practise. I’ll never be famous otherwise, will I?
Carrie used to work in an art gallery in London, so knows all about already famous artists, alive and dead. She’s the one who first got me interested in painting. We used to paint together in the evenings when my parents were away and she said I have a ‘natural talent’. Her favourite artist is a French one called Claude Monet because he painted feathery pictures of beautiful landscapes and
favourite is one called Vincent Van Gogh, who painted swirly pictures and went mad and chopped his ear off. Can you imagine, what a mess! They both died a while ago. Carrie says lots of artists are a bit crazy because they have so many emotions rushing round inside them which they channel to help them create amazing works of art. My absolute favourite painting by Van Gogh (you always call artists by their surnames, I’m not sure why), is one called ‘Starry Night’. It is of a pretty village at night that is being looked after by the most ENORMOUS starry sky. The stars are so big they look like planets or suns and I like it because it makes me feel magical.
Gosh, I hope Arabella cheers up a bit, she’s so gloomy. I do like her but it’s like living with a rain cloud. We’ve got maths this morning so maybe that will make her smile. I’ll report back to you, dear Diary, after my first, glorious art lesson.
Hello again, Diary,
Well! Where do I start? I went to the art room for the first time yesterday and am pleased to report that it was as arty and colourful as I’d hoped. I was so excited when I saw it, like a chocolate addict whose been given the most delish box of chocolates in the world.
The art room’s walls are painted snowflake white and it has a glass ceiling so that lots of light comes in. I looked up a couple of times during the lesson and saw birds flying - one actually went to the toilet on the ceiling above my head while I was watching –
. No one else noticed.
Two of the high walls are packed with shelves. They are full of colourful paint bottles, which stand to attention like soldiers. Piles of brushes, glue sticks, trays, clay, felt tips, cardboard and rainbow coloured pencils are squashed in around the bottles and there are rolls of bumpy material lined up under the bottom shelf - I’m not sure what these are for but they look interesting. The whole room smells divine, all painty and gluey and arty. Honestly, when I saw all this I couldn’t wait to get started.
But the two art teachers – they always teach each lesson together apparently – are SO STRANGE! Not what I expected at all. They were both standing together with their hands behind their backs when we arrived and just stared at us without smiling as we came in and sat down. Because they didn’t say anything and just kept eye balling us, the whole class got the giggles and for that they gave us a detention. Can you imagine – how unfair!
We have quite a small class. In my old school, there were thirty of us squashed in to a room but here there are only ten to a group. There are thirty of us in the first year altogether but we’re divided in to three groups and each group has been named after a precious stone. Our group is known as Sapphires and the other two groups are called Rubies and Emeralds. In our group, as well as me and Arabella, there are Cleo and Clarice, who brush their hair, file their nails and look in pocket mirrors together. Woo, what fun. Then there are the identical twins, Moira and Lynne, with their tumbly brown hair and freckly noses. They’re very naughty and keep getting told off for whispering and passing notes. They love horse riding and have each brought their enormous black stallions to keep in the stables at Egmont, which is where they go whenever lessons are over. Sometimes they actually whinny like horses when they’re happy.
. Melody is a very pretty girl, who sits day dreaming at the back of the class. She has chocolate coloured, shoulder length hair and big grey eyes with enormously long lashes. I’ve sat on the same table as her at dinner a couple of times and I like her, she’s funny and she wants to be a famous actress when she grows up. Zoe wears glasses and finds learning difficult, I sit next to her in the writing class to try and help with spellings. Hannah has long legs and is very sporty, she hangs around with the older girls a lot because she has two older sisters at Egmont and Joan is very mousy and quiet. I don’t know what she’s like because she never says anything. Maybe I should get to know her better. When I looked around and saw us all sitting there in front of our big, white canvases, (which are stretched material blocks I’ve painted on before), waiting for the freaky teachers to actually start the lesson, I thought we all looked like proper artists.