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

Living With The French ~ Chapter Three


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.

I was somewhat nervous at the speed this all took place, the whole morning process seemed to have just shot off like a rocket. Anyway, a short drive later and we had arrived once more at Max Linder.

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 so love and adore.

Needless to say I was actually quite looking forward to it.

The teacher in this lesson was very kind to me. As soon as I walked into the room she shook my hand and said, "Hello Simon!" She walked with me to Arnaud's desk and courteously pulled my seat out for me to sit in. I was very taken by this polite behaviour.

She smiled and made her way back to the front of the class.

The teacher started telling the class about classical music and how the instruments play different parts in each piece. Being a musician I didn't need to know much French to work that out. The whole class was extremely interested in the lesson, including myself.

And so it all seemed to be going quite pleasurely, until, all of a sudden a terrible loud noise filled the room and made everyone cover their ears.


As best as I can articulate and translate into words, this is what the said terrible noise actually sounded like. It really did not agree with me at all.

I tried to see if I could work out what it was and indeed, shortly after trying to see around people's heads the revelation was made known. A tape player.

The teacher had decided to put on a really old and boring tape of really old and boring classical music, through a really old and dying tape player. Thus if it wasn't the tape player itself that would shut my brain down for the afternoon, it was the ever, ever so dreary classical music.

So at which point I dropped off to sleep.

Whence, following a somewhat interesting flight amongst wild ducks, I woke up, I happened to find the Music teacher looking at me DEAD in the eyes.

"Simon... la leçon, c'etait intéressant? Oui?" She asked.

Wondering how to bluff it, I responded, "Oh! Mais oui! Oui. C'était bon. J'aime le cassette de musique classical, Madame. C'était trés bon." Some rampant nodding, smiling and thumb raising assisted my tactical counter measure response.

At which point, Arnaud and I, being opportunists, made polite notice of the time and quickly ran out of the room to our next lesson - Geography.

I hate Geography. I really, really do. It's like witnessing the evolution of a snail; you know something's taking place but haven't really the inquisitive urge to notice.

Anyway, the class eventually filled up and the lesson began. I noticed many things in this lesson:
  1. The teacher's long curly side-burns (even though she's a woman).
  2. All the pictures/photos of flooding and seas.
  3. How they do a lot of work on computers.
  4. That fascinating girl who I have fallen desperately in love with.
While I've been sitting quietly in my chair, writing my diary, I have noticed something about French girls. Some of them can be really bugging! All I've had non stop this lesson is little notes being passed to me which read: 'WE LOVE YOU... WE LOVE YOU... WE LOVE YOU' etc. It's flattering, yes, but also highly annoying.

I can't say I really complain though, in fact I've kept them as a memoire of my French school days.

The Geography lesson swiftly moved on and passed to the English lesson, which when it finally came I cheered up tremendously. This will be fun, I thought.

However, to my surprise, the lesson for today wasn't a literary study, or a majestic opportunity to demonstrate my native tongue and finally feel like I somehow know something - but to watch a video. And not just any video I must add - a video entirely in French! That's right, in FRENCH! I mean, what is the purpose of an English lesson where you do nothing but study French?!

I then noticed that plastered all along the walls were French poems. There was even a photo of La Rochelle at the head of the room! I just couldn't get my head around it! How bizarre.

I nudged Arnaud.

"Arnaud, Arnaud... are you SURE this is the English lesson?" I asked.
"Oui, mais oui." He laughed and I sank down into my chair.

Eventually when the film had finished and the lesson had almost ended, the teacher approached to talk to me in English about this and that. We chatted about many things to do with England and the Royal Family.

I don't know why, but the French seem to be completely potty about the Royal Family. To be honest I hate royalty and power. But the French seem to love it! They really are intrigued by it. I remember noticing in another lesson, I think it was French, how all along the walls of the classroom were hundreds and hundreds of photos of Princess Diana...


For heaven's sake! English in a French class and French in an English class?! HELP! What are they on? It must be the horse meat. It must be. It simply HAS to be.

To lunch then, and the first course back at Arnaud's was Chicken - cooked. I think the chicken was meant to be a way of making me think, Hmm, they really do have good taste. However, as I discovered for the second course, they had nothing of the kind.

Ladies and Gentlemen, for the second course, I present to you... COOKED SEA-WEED! Needless to say a few dashes to the toilet were required this lunch time. Crunchy, greeny-black slime is not exactly my "forte". To eat something like that, I have to say, you would have to be somewhat more than 'foreign'.

At 2pm Arnaud and I journeyed back to school by car, for the first lesson in the afternoon - Technology.

The girl I had a crush on was sitting in this lesson. This turned out good for two reasons, one I am of course IN LOVE with her and two I am utterly rubbish at technology meaning I have something exceptionally more interesting to study.

Thus, I now knew via a little birdie that her name was Blondine.

She kept turning around and looking at me. Yes! I may have struck gold at last! I just cannot get over how beautiful she is. She sits there, over the other side of the room, working and talking, always with a smile. It's those lips! Those priceless lips. They're just perfectly kissable. Perfectly. The best.

Needless to say I learnt a great deal this lesson. Except however, any FRENCH.

This whole foreign exchange experience has of course been very pressuring because I know very little French. Plus I'm always using a dictionary wherever I go and today of course... I've left it at home!

Anyway the final lesson of the day soon finished and all was over. The storm of guilt from not speaking any French was soon replaced by a new irresistable urge to learn every romantic phrase under the sun and in time I calmed down. Arnaud said that he had to buy a new joy-stick for his computer and so when the bell rang for end of school, we ran to his father's car and he drove us to the Supermarché. Arnaud bought his new joy-stick and put it to some use back at the house.

At tea time, as usual I froze and generally tried not to scream. On the table were green things, blue things, red things, black things and white things. As usual I sat through the whole meal trying not to pull faces, or at least too many, whilst trying to stomach these weird oddities. Yes... nothing quite beats a French dinner.

As it happened, the evening was very satisfactory, due once again of course to the delicious coffee that Mme. Chasseigne boiled up for me. A game of Tarot with all the family finished the evening off with a shine and so I went to bed, gave the cat a stroke and fell into a long, long sleep, which Blondine had drifted into.

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