Living With The French ~ A Novelette ~ Chapter Eight

VIII

A French Easter Bunny

Sunday 11th April 1993

The cat woke me up last night. It was jumping up and down on my bed. I didn’t get much sleep, so I stayed in bed until 11:30. Then, realising it’s Easter Sunday, I jumped out of bed with joy! I washed and dressed myself neatly, as I was expecting many chocky eggs.

“Bonjour,” said Mme. Chasseigne, “Comment vas tu?”
“Bonjour!” I replied, “Trés bien merci.”

Then Mattieu came along and presented to me a tiny little Easter egg. I opened it from the silver foil and tasted it… it was delicious! So small yet delicious!

“Merci!” I said, and Mattieu scuttled off back to his room.

As I journeyed towards the kitchen, I noticed through the gap in the door, where it was ajar, a very big shadow coming from the table and across the floor. I slowly pushed the door open and walked in.

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Living With The French ~ A Novelette ~ Chapter Seven

VII

You’re Nicked!

Saturday 10th April 1993

I wouldn’t say today was one of my better days. However, I did have a delicious breakfast of fried eggs, fried bacon and fried bread ~ a true fry-up. But I have to say, that was the only good thing about it.

Most of the family would be going on an outing today. Arnaud, myself, his younger of two brothers and both his parents.

We visited the centre of Bordeaux where for the most part we wandered the shopping centres and cafés. Pleasant as it may have seemed, but all was not good. Something about today was beginning to stir…

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Living With The French ~ A Novelette ~ Chapter Six

VI

Tears

Friday 9th April 1993

Today would be a sad day. It was my last day at a French school. All the friends I had made would become but a memory to me and unlikely to meet again.

I woke up at 7am this morning, but stayed in bed until 8am. Luckily school started later today. As I dozed I remembered all the good times I had had with my French school friends, like chatting in the school recreation grounds, the magnificent Handball match and oh, of course, those rare moments I got to be near Blondine and exchange smiles.

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Living With The French ~ A Novelette ~ Chapter Five

V

The Sporting Event

Thursday 8th April 1993

Today was the most exciting day yet. It was the day of the Handball match. It was a sunny day and as I woke, the rays of sunlight came streaming through the French windows and across my bed.

Of course, like everything else, I had no idea that there was to be a Handball match today. I only found out when the time actually arrived.

The day passed sooner than expected and towards the afternoon Arnaud announced, “Simon… Il y a un match d’Handball aujourd’hui.”
“Ah…” I said, “A quelle heure?”
“Maintenant.”

Right now? I thought to myself, but I don’t know how to PLAY Handball! Nevertheless, I followed Arnaud along some pleasant paths near the back of the school towards a very big gym.

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Living With The French ~ A Novelette ~ Chapter Four

IV

The Trials Of Life

Wednesday 7th April 1993

I woke this morning to find Arnaud already getting dressed. It was a quarter to eight! I was half an hour late! I quickly got out of my bed, ran down the stairs and got washed as quickly as I could. I didn’t have time for my Miel Pops this morning and so I just ate a Chocolatine.

When I had finished my breakfast, I collected my bag and coat and got into the car. Arnaud’s dad drove us to school.

Today, I thought, is going to be a brilliant day – a Wednesday.

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Living With The French ~ A Novelette ~ Chapter Three

III

The Nightmare Continues

Tuesday 6th April 1993

I woke at 7am this morning feeling very tired. I slowly rose out of my bed, kicking the cat off it in the process. As long as I keep away from mad animals I won’t catch rabies, I thought. The cat had slept on my clothes! Only God knows what business it may have been up to in the middle of the night! Possibly passed water! Oh no! This didn’t help to calm my nerves about rabies.

Anyway, for breakfast I had ‘Kellogg’s Miel Pops’, a simply delicious cereal to start the day. This was shortly followed by a quick “down the hatch” drink of orange juice and then rushed quickly into the car so as to be driven to school.

School today started off very relaxing and calm. The first lesson being – Music! Fantastic! The greatest form of communication. The universal language. The subject I love and adore.

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Living With The French ~ A Novelette ~ Chapter Two

II

My First Day At School,
Re-Lived In French

Monday 5th April 1993

I had woken up at 8am this morning and I felt awful. I lifted my head and looked down the bed – Aaaaaagh! A ghost! I froze in my bed. Then, like the calm after a storm, I was relieved to find that it was in actual fact Arnaud’s white cat.

So, feeling more relaxed, I got out of bed, washed and dressed, ready and waiting for the big day ahead. Yes, today was the day when I’d walk back down the alley of wisdom – my first day at school, all over again.

To fill me up and get me perfectly ready for the day ahead, I had a delicious breakfast. To start with I had ‘Kellogg’s Smacks’. Hmm… beautiful. That delicious little snack was shortly followed by a ‘Chocolatine’, which is a bread roll filled with a stick of chocolate down the middle. Then, to finish it all off, I washed it all down with pure orange juice. Absolute bliss!

But, even though the delightful breakfast may have raised my spirits a little, I still felt nervous about today. It’s not every day you re-live your first day at school. I put on my coat and shoes, then collected my bag from the bedroom. Arnaud led me to the car where we got in and were driven to school.

Arnaud’s mother was driving. We continued along some dusty roads until eventually we arrived at a tall building with grey panels, which divided the floors and windows. This sixties styled building was Arnaud’s school.

As I got out of the car and said goodbye to Mme. Chasseigne, I looked at the side of the building which stood hideously before me. Nailed to the side of one wall were the words, ‘Max Linder’.

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Living With The French ~ A Novelette ~ Chapter One

I

One Small Step For Man,
One Giant Leap For Mankind!

Sunday 4th April 1993

“Oh, and it’s a bitterly cold morning, this morning! But that’s OK because you can just lie there in bed, all snug and warm, listening to the best radio station in the world! Radio Two!” said the voice on the radio.

My alarm clock had woken me up at 5:30am this morning! The last thing I wanted to hear was some DJ talking about how I can lie in bed this morning all snug and warm, when in actual fact I had to get up to catch a plane at 7:00am!

Anyway I got out of bed, got washed and dressed and then went downstairs for breakfast.

After I had eaten my Kellogg’s Frosties, I gathered my suitcases up and put them in the boot of the car. Mum, dad, my sister and I then all got in the car and off we went, to Bristol airport.

Horrible thoughts went through my mind. My God! What am I doing? How am I supposed to cope living with a French family if I can’t speak a word of French? What do I say when I meet them? What do I do? Do I shake hands? Do I kiss? Do I suddenly burst out in laughter and start dancing in the street? What do I do?

When we got to the airport and had taken my boarding pass, we went to the waiting lounge for a drink. I had an airport Tango which tasted more like a Piranha’s vomit. But I drank it anyway. I mean, I needed something to calm my nerves. This was my first ever flight and everyone’s nervous on their first flight… aren’t they?

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Living With The French ~ A Novelette ~ Introduction

Living With The French by Simon E Jepps“To the Chasseigne family,
Who showed me what life was all about.”

Living With The French is the childhood diary I kept when living with a French family for a week on The Bristol – Bordeaux Exchange.

The diary was by no means a ‘literary masterpiece’ since it was only written by a young boy, but still, following a recent and thorough editorial by myself, this new revision which remains true to the events of the time, will no doubt keep you entertained until the very end.

Originally self published on the Lulu platform, purely as a literary experiment, I decided whilst it is not really worthy as “sales” material, it is nevertheless a very entertaining read from the innocent mind of a young adventurer.

I have decided therefore to publish the chapters on YllwChlk as a series of blog posts.

Indeed this true story is perhaps more special to myself than it would be to any reader, but at least in confidence I can say, the experiences described and the story to be told, bring a warm leaf to one’s shoulder.

I was about fourteen years of age at the time and so the whole experience was simply amazing for me. The diary portrays how, amidst all my anxiety, confusion, nervousness, fears and all the other feelings one would expect to have when venturing into a foreign country alone for the first time, I came to find the French people and their country to be the most beautiful in all the world.

Long live the French.

Blogroll : lwtf

Zaan ~ A Novelette By Simon Jepps

Zaan ~ A Novelette By Simon Jepps
The original draft cover art for my working story.
“He is Yantov Zaan of Shria Moon… master of sorcery and of the staff…
… his race has been here before… and Egypt is not all ancient history…”

This is a literary project I began over a decade ago but never really took it any further.

I should explain, I am not a fiction writer, I am most adept in the fields of poetry, philosophy, chess, philoscience and music. I keep a lot of my modern day writings personal but will endeavour to publish more as time progresses.

Zaan was my first true attempt to create a fantasy. Of course I know I have the passionate will to create rich concepts and good dialogue, but the core energy of my writing spirit will always be philosophical, factual and musical.

As such and, after some time, I was not in the end able to find the motivation required to continue, develop and complete this story.

I thought however, since the premise of this fantasy is certainly unique and exciting, I would compile and tidy all the notes into an essay format, to publish on my blog.

Whilst the reading material found here is only two dozen paragraphs or so, I felt at least, if I am not actually going to write this book, then at least it might be interesting for others to hear the original working story.

The character artwork was actually created from my old DC Universe Online avatar.

I hope you enjoy.

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