"There used to be these three Houses, you see," said Nicky, "called after famous founders or headmistresses or people like that; there was Robertson's - known as Bobby's, of course, and the girls are Bobs; Clarke's, which is called Nobby's, because, although you may not know this, not being English, in England Nobby is the nickname of everybody called Clarke-"
"The girls in Nobby's are naturally called Nobs," Kay put in.
"And the third House was Michael's, which became Spike's. Spike's isn't up to much."
"Thank goodness that I wasn't put into any of these mouldering ruins," was Lynette's only comment. "New House is at least bright and clean."
From NEW HOUSE AT NORTHMEAD, Chapter 1, The New House. Nicky and Kay attempt to explain the house system to bewildered newcomer Lynette. Their friendship gets off to a rocky start because Lynette has just arrived from Africa and is constantly complaining about England. The English girls don't take her criticisms well and refer to her as a "rough colonial".