JEPPSQUARE / Simon Jepps
The Micro Blog Of Simon E. Jepps

Living With The French ~ Chapter Two


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 pyjamas. Then, like the calm after a storm, I was relieved to find that it was in actual fact Arnaud's white cat.

I knew he had a cat. He told me that. I just didn't know he had a cat who's favourite place to sleep and, apparently fart, is the spare bed in Arnaud's bedroom.

Anyway, after rudely shoving him off much to his alarm, I eventually calmed down.

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'.

We both walked through the large cast iron gates and up the long dusty driveway to the playground area, just in time for the first lesson.

We had a few minutes beforehand apparently, so we gathered with some of Arnaud's school friends, who he introduced welcomingly. I took this opportunity to look about at the building complex which surrounded our place of gathering.

The buildings were quite different to my school, in England, yet whilst still designed with function over fashion, I felt a quietly surreal warmth about them. The windows, rectangular with metal frames, set into soft but firm concrete walls, decored with a horizontal, orange painted waist-height rule about its skirting.

Quite a grande place, I thought, amidst its strangely parallel, bustling yet dusty emptiness.

The first lesson for today was Maths. Most people don't mind Maths as their first lesson as you can get it over and done with, leaving the rest of the day to enjoy without any stress. As would be usual in my case. Only when it's French Maths things don't tend to go as smoothly, as you can expect.

Anyway, the Maths teacher was very much the sort of person you'd find in one of those surrealistic French comedies. She was a tall lady with brown hair that came down just below her shoulders. She wore a brown cardigan, grey dress and a scarf around her neck. The funny thing was she wore these tiny small spectacles which rested on the very end of her very long nose.

As I walked past her into the classroom she grasped hold of my arm and said, "Hmm. Oui, oui, oui. Tu es Simon Jepps, oui? Je te connais bien. Asseyez-vous." I sat down as she asked whilst still rubbing my arm from where she had grabbed me.

The work these children were doing looked ghastly. They were drawing triangles and working out equations. I thought it might be Pythagoras but it looked much more advanced than that. I was hoping that the lady wouldn't ask me to answer any questions for the class since:

(a) I can't speak a word of French.
(b) I haven't the faintest idea what is going on.

I was simply shitting myself right the way through. Luckily however, I wasn't asked a single question during the lesson and it eventually ended in good time.

"Did you enjoy the lesson?" Arnaud asked, smiling and knowing all very well I was absolutely out of my box all the way through.

I just nodded and quietly remarked, "Oui, mais oui."

To my surprise, we then began to walk a very long way along some narrow paths, across some beautiful, freshly cut grasslands until we approached a large hanger-type building.

The next lesson it turns out, was physical education and this apparently, was the gym. I didn't have a kit, which would have been some useful foreknowledge, plus again I didn't understand what this next lady was going on about - and so, I really didn't have the faintest idea what, on planet Earth, I was supposed to be doing!

I noticed as soon as I walked into the gym that girls and boys do P.E. together. This, I thought, was an excellent way of bringing equal rights into the 21st century.

The lady teacher tossed me the ball. She mumbled something at me. My mind wondering, I couldn't help noticing how the jogging pants she was wearing miraculously managed to hold themselves up around the great larder of fat she was storing behind her belly button. Especially when she started dancing around the floor.

"Fait de ça." The teacher said.

I paused for a moment and thought, Why does she want me to dance around the room like an overweight turkey, bouncing a ball between my legs? Nevertheless, I did as she said and to my delight, I got a round of applause at the end.

Basically that was the continuum of the lesson. She would talk for a few minutes, then demonstrate a new trick with her ball and then get everyone else to do the same. Even I it turned out, could manage that.

Well, that lesson went swell. At 11am we went home for lunch. Yes, lunch. To me this was like a great honour awarded to me. In England I don't go home for lunch, instead I would have to stay at school and have it there.

Lunch was a bit of an eye opener. We had green things, red things, blue things - oh and of course the growingly famous "horse meat".

Arnaud's mother looked at me and smiled, "C'est le cheval, Simon," she said.
"Mais oui," I replied, trying not to show my shock horror.
"Tu aime le cheval, Simon?"
"Oh, oui, oui, " I replied... but I prefer them ALIVE.

I sat there chewing on the horse. I ate very slowly, it was a very different meat to the types we have over in England. I don't know anyone in England who eats horse. I watched Arnaud and his mum eating the meat, occasionally turning to me to say something, but instead smile.

The main course was shortly followed by dessert. This was strawberries and cream. Then, like every meal, just to finish it all off perfectly, Mme. Chasseigne boils me up a lovely cup of rich Espresso coffee - the best.

I found out from Arnaud that we don't return to school now until 3pm. This meant that their lunch time break lasts for a grand total of FOUR hours! Brilliant! We only get one hour at my school, in England.

The time was 1pm and so we had two hours to kill. So from 1pm until 2.45pm we played the 'Snes' games console. I thrashed Arnaud a few times at 'Street Fighter 2'. He promptly returned the favour when it came to playing 'Super Mariocart'.

After one and three quarter hours of computer playing, Arnaud's mum called us out to get our shoes and coats on as it was time to go back to school.

The first lesson back at school was Science. In this lesson, I think my romance journey had started. I knew somewhere along the lines, I would meet a girl whom I had very much fallen in love with. Now, as it seems, I have.

The class had started an experiment, at which point I noticed that the girl I had taken a fancy to had not appeared in any of the other classes.

She was also very much different from all the others. She smiled, yes, laughed occasionally, yes, but she was still rather on the quiet side of things. She was the sort of girl I liked. Not too ambitious - that can lead to problems in the long run. She had beautiful long brown hair which reached all the way down to that cherry-like bottom - just the type you want to pinch! She had crystal blue eyes and a bunny-rabbit nose. Her cheeks were as rosy as the queen rose herself. She made me feel so fine every time I looked at her.

I started to dream about her and I sitting on a park swing together, her on top of me. The swing swinging to and fro, gently so, as we hold each other. Then she huddles closer, just jerking the swing slightly, but not so as to knock us off completely.

The sun is just setting and there is a light breeze sweeping the Autumn leaves across the park. Then slowly, our lips touch, the atmosphere sweeps us up together like two stray feathers, as we hold each other tighter and tighter, pressing our lips together harder and harder, wrapping our warm tongues together over and over again, as she, in her essence of euphoria, gives off quiet sighs of tender love and excitement, and bonding for all eternity.

"Oh Simon," she says, sucking my tongue more tightly, "Simon, oh Simon! Simon? Simon? Simon?!"

Who, what, when? Hey? Oh! I felt a tapping on the shoulder. A dark skinned boy sitting at the desk behind me was trying to get my attention.

"Simon? Simon! Halo. Do you have beautiful girl in England?" he asked.
"Yes." I replied.
"Not here. French girls are not the best."

I sat back in my chair. I beg to differ, I thought, smiling to myself.

Open Vault / Alt Pages ⧎

Games Vault

Chess Variants

Many of these PDFs are from an archive created over the years whence originally hosted on previous personal blogs, as such they may show cosmetic detailing of a particular website theme, which is different to that of

Jeppscha'nga ~ PDF
8x8 variant of Chaturanga employing Classical western pieces and also Conkers.
Conqueror ~ PDF
10x10 variant featuring Wizards & Conkers.
Conqueror 64 ~ PDF
8x8 transposition of Conqueror.
Genie Of The Lamp ~ PDF
8x8 variant featuring counter pieces.
Chec Toe ~ PDF
4x4 variant featuring dice, infinite movement & wizardry.
Jepster Chess ~ PDF
10x10 variant featuring an evolved Jester piece.
Siceirawan ~ PDF
8x8 variant featuring a modified Seirawan ruleset.
Ckess ~ PDF ↷
The JEPPSQUARE featured game, whilst not officially a Chess Variant, is played with a Chess-like philosophy and strategical mindset. A two player Checkers variant, featuring a touch of Chess and Indian Chaturanga.

Other Games

SKEIGHT / Simon JeppsSkeight ~ PDF
Quite possibly the best dice game ever conceived! Played like boules/bowls, Skeight is a two-player tactical dice game utilizing eight D20s (twenty sided dice) of different colours, as rolling ballistics. A Jeppsquare favourite.

Wxyzaerds ~ PDF
A majestic, multi intuitive diceword strategy game, for two or more players. The objective of the game is to create highest scoring words through the rolling of letter dice, whilst juggling your strategical providence with the Cobra Paw die. Yet the true magic of this game resides in the creativity of the players, who can create their own Wizard Words and Wizard's Dictionary, opening a whole new universe of magic, chance, chaos and ultimately the wonder of spells.

Krikkit ~ PDF
Download Score Sheet
A strategic dice game for two or more players, based on The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy novels. It is played similar to Yahtzee, but also features a challenging quiz, risky space faring obstacles, extra abilities to outsmart your opponent, and the opportunity to trade in cosmic real estate!

Hippo ~ PDF
A humbling variation of Conkers, played by rolling them across the ground and attempting to maintain a continuum of points accumulation, before all your Conkers are eliminated. This is a simple yet very warming game for all the family and can be played with as many people as you like. I invented this game once upon a time, whence meditating under a Horse Chestnut tree.

Alt Pages

CKESS / Simon JeppsThe Game Of Ckess
A two player strategy board game, played with and like Checkers, only featuring much more indepth tactical challenges. A modest blending of Checkers, Chess and Indian Chaturanga.

JEPPSAX / Simon JeppsThe Jeppsax
A hybrid musical instrument made by marrying a custom styled
Hohner Melodica with a custom configured Seydel Big Six harmonica.

LWTF / Simon Jepps
Living With The French
The short novel, or "diary story", of myself a foreign exchange student,
whilst living with a French family during my childhood in the 1990's.

JEPPSQUARE / Simon Jepps