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Illustration of a single branch of a plant. Broad, ribbed leaves are accented by small white flowers at the base of the stalk. On the edge of the drawing are cutaway diagrams of parts of the plant.

Carrie was eager to spill the beans, and I don’t mean the caffeine

variety, though we were in our favourite haunt, post-Hallowe’en.

Tiger-Lily told me that Juniper’s mother has been spying on her daughter

via eBlaster, she whispered, looking over her shoulder.  Juniper discovered

that her mother was monitoring her every keystroke and was downloading

her e-mails.

Maybe that’s why her daughter can be so aggressive, I replied.  No one

takes kindly to having their privacy invaded.  I mean, take Hamlet..

Hamlet? Carrie looked confused.

Yes, he put on an antic disposition to cover up his anxiety at living in a

surveillance state.

I’d hardly call the Boothroyd-Smythe’s residence a temple to


No, I continued, but you take my point about Hamlet being annoyed when

people started influencing his girlfriend and manipulating his best mates?

Well, it’s years since I read the play, stated Carrie.  But, apparently Gisela,

Juniper’s mum contacted a company called SpectreSoft and ordered a

product, which she then had installed on Juniper’s computer.

Well, they used to say that people who eavesdropped never heard

anything good about themselves, I remarked.

The thing was that Juniper had only been Googling stuff for her

coursework and was using Twitter to gossip about a Housemistress called

Miss Fotheringay, who is apparently seeing an older man, to the delectation

of all the girls in her year, Carrie expatiated.

So, it has all been relatively innocent trivia?  But did Juniper find out that her

mother was turning into Elizabeth 1, all ears and eyes, like in that Rainbow


File:Elizabeth I Rainbow Portrait.jpg

She was furious and ran away to her father’s house.  He supported her

human right to privacy and all sorts of nonsense was raised re/ access.

Sounds over-inflated, I opined.  It’s half term.  I wonder if things will cool

down and she’ll return before school starts?

Well, her trust has been shattered and she says she would prefer to board.

If the school allows itHer brother didn’t seem too upset. He just threw out

all her yarn and needles and took over her room, as it has much more space,

Carrie added.

Isn’t John- that’s his name, isn’t it?- worried that his mum may spy

on him?

No.  He says he could disable anything that she tried to attach to his

equipment.  But he considers her cool for trying.

An obnoxious little Polonius-in-the-making!  Someone will spear him

through the arras one day! I ventured.

If Juniper’s put into Miss Fotheringay’s house, then she can spy on her

teacher’s comings and goings for the rest of the girls, Carrie predicted.

St Vitus’ is probably as rotten a state as Denmark!  Girls can be so


It’s all about trust and, sadly, human relations were ever thus! I

pronounced. Even Rosencrantz and Guilderstein were traitors and

Ophelia was relaying information about her lover to her father.

Reynaldo was keeping a check on Laertes.  Everyone’s paranoid!

Carrie bit into a piece of shortbread.  I wonder if anyone is spying on

me? I shred all my receipts, but what if Gyles is intercepting my accounts

and he discovers how much I am spending in Costamuchamoulah each

month? What if he sees how many times I have clicked on ‘Artem’, or


Or ‘Montalbano’? I teased.  Just be upfront.  That’s the secret.  Don’t

hide behind an arras.

What’s an arras?  She looked puzzled.

According to the guys, it’s the curvy bit of her anatomy that Ola wiggles

on ‘Strictly’, I informed her.

I shouldn’t worry about Gyles uncovering your secret passions.  All the guys

will be too busy clicking on Ola’s Calendar, by all accounts, so it’s touche and

you can bet that male viewings won’t come in single spies, but in battalions. 

I think your tiny peccadilloes are relatively innocuous and will be below the radar. 

If you’re worried, though, I’d just buy Gyles Ola’s calendar for Christmas.  That’ll

keep him off your tail!