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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Open_Sppej

Introduction

Open_Sppej_Chess_System_By_Simon_JeppsI would like to begin this article by explaining that what I am about to describe is not a “Chess Variant” in the conventional understanding. Of course, the following is indeed a “variation” of classical Chess, yet its function and purpose is one of “evolution”.

As such I regard Open_Sppej as a “system”, that is to say, an algorithm through which classical Chess may evolve.

Anyone who has been following my blog will know I have invented many Chess Variants and even conducted in depth studies into not only their own individual merits, but also into the wider field of Chess Variant design in general.

Amongst these essays are investigations into why the next evolution of Chess, as a world wide embraced phenomena, continues to elude even the greatest of players, whence still, even today, the international community merely continues to snail through an ancient played out game of sixty four squares.

Yet perhaps, as my own studies have finally led me to personally conclude, the next evolution of Chess is not a different game at all. Perhaps, one way or another, all the squares and pieces remain just as they always have been, all the ancient rules in tact and yet everything continues… in another yet more majestic reality.

Aye, recently in fact I proclaimed my Chess Variant, JepKnt, to be the “crown jewel” of all my good games. And indeed it still is.

But in truth, Chess itself is not looking for new pieces, or even more squares. We know this now. For after a century of pursuit we have to surrender to the continuing prevalence of evidence, that mankind and womankind, will not sacrifice the classical game.

And this is not least because, at the end of the day, we love all our Knights and all our other pieces of the board, just as they are and just as they always have been.

For herewith, what all Chess players and Chess itself both agree on, is that amidst all the seemingly impossible odds of an almost defeated challenge, the game itself must harbour the solution to this absolutely paradoxical conundrum… within its own biology.

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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.

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JepKnt ~ The Jepps Knight ~ A Chess Piece

Introduction

JepKnt LogoFollowing a good but somewhat concise educational introduction into the history of Chess Variantism, I will herewith present unto you my “Crown Jewel” in the library of Jepps Chess Variants.

There is a rumour about the world. That rumour is of Chess. It has been said that Chess is both living and dying, evolving and yet devolving. It has been said, Chess is approaching an event horizon, of its next generational fate.

Aye, it is known, Grandmasters of the world agree, Chess will either change for the better of us all, or become merely an old fashion of the intellectual.

The first official promotion of an evolution of Chess was proposed in 1925 by the World Champion Jose Capablanca. He explained how exhaustive studies of Classical Chess will eventually lead to the stagnation of a played out game, prompting a need for it to evolve.

He was and still is, absolutely right.

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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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