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.

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