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.

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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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The Work Of God

There was a silence. Nothing to be heard. There were only the hands of God which made the sound of life of which we know it. Why did God wish to take such a risk, of such danger and alarm, which may have caused him such harm? No one knows, no one cares. But the risk God took and had not shook his head at resisting the danger of the fate of his own and to leave the silence all alone. God tightened his fist and wished, for a sleeping thought of great bliss, to awake and then make a storm which would form a world of great love and happiness. Within that tightened grasp of nothing, that secured case of uncertainty, arose tremors. The fist began to tremble and inside began to assemble an almighty explosion of great tension and emotion. God wanted to set free the awakened dream but could not seem to unclench that tightened grasp, of which held the first world, or even the last. It was all building up inside and even as he tried, he could not hold it in, what was all part of him. Away came the once tightened fingers and as away came the thumb, with it had come, a light which was so bright that it filled God with fright. God could not see what he had created. And with this light came a sound of much might, which sang the song of creation. God closed his eyes as he could not stare at what in reality may be a nightmare. As the sound subsided and the light became dimmer, he heard sweet chirping, which made God smile. Then he felt slightly warmer and so began to wonder if it was safe to look or if the heat would burn his eyes. He slowly lifted the blankets which covered his sight to see alive what he once dreamt in the everlasting night. His dream had come true. Time passed and God observed the world of which grew fast. But God had no clue as to what would become of his dream come true. The creatures of which were very strange soon began to change into uncaring intellectuals who damaged their world by misusing their tools. They grew to hate each other. They took the life of one another so to settle a certain matter. God didn’t know what to do, the end to his world would be through war – and what more – he may never dream again. God watched the truth unfold as more bombs blew. The world was at war with itself. God’s world didn’t seem to be a world anymore. As they tore and tore and tore and tore – until there was no more. There was no smell, no sound, no scenery, no love. There was a silence.

~ Simon Jepps, 1990 (Aged 11)