I want this cardigan.
When I started reading the books (at the time I was living and working in a boarding school in an old castle in the middle of the countryside in England and the third book was just about to come out. The girls lent me their copies, but would only let me take them overnight... I went a couple of nights with no sleep to get them read) I loved them. I particularly loved the three main characters. I particularly loved the bossy, over-bearing little know-it-all for whom I felt a certain sister-of-the-heart affection.
I read them curled up in my little half-room, tucked away under the roof, looking out over the orchard. The bed was old and creaked and I had to share toilet and showers with the oldest girls (they were about 14, the youngest were 6 or 7). They had a 'rota' in the mornings and evenings and I fit in around them.
A lot of the time I was there I felt like I was just having a bad dream and when I woke up I'd be back in Australia. This was exacerbated by most nights' vivid dreams of being in Australia and panicking about how I would get back to the school in time for duty the next morning. The dreams felt more real than the living. It was a learning experience and a little bit of escapism felt like a very good thing.