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Stories & Scripts

Source: Adults

Author: Barry Gee

Title: Chere Julie, dear Jules. (Part 30)

Chateau Lablagues

28th December

I been really busy and I didnt have time to write in my journal but things is a bit quieter now with Xmas out the way but in a couple days its going to be New Years eve and that looks like its going to be really busy as well. I thought I was going to be really bored what with not having telly and there not being any shops around here but I'm not at all bored. Theres loads of things to do around here and in the library whats on the top floor I found loads of books in English and one day I'm going to start reading one of them. Theres all kinds and some of them is really old but I thinks I'm going to start with one of the newer ones. Jules said he thought I would like a book called little women because I comes from a family of sisters and thats what the book is all about.

On the 24th December what they calls Xmas we all got up as usual with the fireworks but we marched really fast around the house and only rolled in the dew for a couple of minutes and then had a really quick breakfast. The day before Jules drove me to the town where theres lots of shops and I spent the day doing Xmas shopping. Jules came back in the afternoon and picked me up and he was amazed by how much I bought. At first it was really hard to find stuff for people I hardly knows but once I got the hang of the French money and what shops sells what then it went really good and I really enjoyed myself. They got loads of stuff they dont have in England and it seems to be really cheap because they kept giving me back loads of change whenever I bought anything. I dont really need any clothes but I bought a pair of shoes and a few other things that I thought might come in handy but I spent most of the time buying stuff for Jules and his family. I found some really good things and I hopes theyll be happy with it.

On Xmas Eve people started arriving at nine o clock in the morning and It didnt stop all day but I didnt have to do no cooking because the two brothers what are chefs was there and they did all of it and they done a really good job. I've never seen so many flames in the kitchen and it seems like most of the stuff they made had to be set on fire for a bit and I can see why they wears those white hats or theyd burn all their hair off. Jules told me that I shouldnt go too close because they dont like it but I could stand in the doorway and watch. I've never heard so much screaming in my life and they shouted at each other so much its a wonder they didnt lose their voices but the next moment they was pouring glasses of wine and drinking them down in one gulp and smiling at each other and patting each other on the back. Sometimes they started singing and once when they tasted one of the sauces they both started crying and hugging each other. Another time one of them takes out a violin and starts playing this really sad tune while his brother did a sort of waltz around the kichen with a goose under his arm but I dont know what that was all about. In the middle of the morning the d'Astugues turned up with their chef Gaston what they always takes with them and I could see there was something wrong immediately. Jules had already told me that the two brother didnt like anyone interfering with their cooking but when the d'Astugues arrived Gaston went right in the kitchen and started putting on an apron. Gaston is really old and he looks it. I think he's in his late nineties and Jules told me that he worked in London with a famous chef during the first world war and he used to work sixteen hours a day in a basement kitchen with no windows and then he walked five miles home just to get some fresh air. Jules told me as well that Gaston saw a zeppelin on the way to work one day and a German was throwing bombs over the side but all the people in the street was clapping and laughing and it was only when the bombs was falling in their street they took it serious.

Anyway the next thing was that the two brothers was turning off the stoves and taking off their aprons and hats and it seems that Gaston told them that they didnt know what they was doing and he would take over the cooking. From what I've heard about the way he cooks we would still be waiting for the meal in the middle of January. It seems that Gaston offered to fight the both of them with one arm tied behiund his back but the two brothers was having none of that and they wasnt going to fight with a man that was nearly a hundred years old. It all ended when Marcelin d'Astugues whose a Marquis persuaded Gaston to go and talk with Juleses gran and whenever I looked in the living room they was still sat together and Gaston was talking away and Juleses gran was nodding her head. I think he fancies her and loads of times he held her hand and kissed it. She must be about ninety but at that time of life age difference dont mean much.

I got so many presents. All the visitors had been told about me and they all brought me something and I got loads of really good perfume and cardigans and books in English and about six egg timers in different shapes. There was loads of other stuff as well but the best one is one I got from Jules. He gave me a tiara that he said had been in his family for generations and I was gobsmacked. I told him I couldnt take it but he said that he'd talked with his dad and the rest of his family and they all thought it was a very good idea because I'd never had a tiara before. Its not very big like a crown or something but theres real diamonds and stuff and its really beautiful. When I puts it on what I does a lot and looks at myself in the mirror I thinks here I am just plain Julie Sanders from Brineham in Essex and I'm wearing a tiara in France. When I first put it on I thought the others was going to stare at me but they didnt and I was wearing it when Jacqueline turned up and because she was wearing one as well it didnt feel so strange. Hers was only a little tiara and when she saw mine she took hers off and put it in a cupboard. I dont know why she done that but for the rest of the time she was there she kept staring at my tiara like she didnt like to see me wearing it but I kept it on all the time. I dont think she likes me very much and she avoids me whenever she comes over here and if she's sitting in the salon what is what they calls the living room and I walks in she looks at her watch and stands up and leaves. I thought I was going to get along with her really good but I was wrong.

I loves Jules more and more and he's a real gentleman and we spends most of our time together and I never gets tired of him because he's really interesting. In the evenings we've started to watch telly together and he tells me what is going on because I dont understand none of it. You wouldnt think I done five years of French in school and I wonders what I was doing all that time. Everyone else was the same and I dont think any of us learned any French what is really strange when you thinks about it. I was one of the best in the class and I was rubbish. I think the teacher knew what he was talking about and it was just us who learned nothing because we was thinking about something else and I was day dreaming about being a famous dress designer and in some French lessons I fell asleep although nobody noticed. Its a pity really because now when I'm living in a house with two languages I can see how important it is to speak both of them or you really misses out on half of whats going on. Yesterday Jules learned me all the colours in French and I've been practicing the numbers and the days of the week but I'm still not ready to have a real talk with any of them and especially not the visitors. Its really slow going learning French but I'm really going to do it.

I likes watching the telly even if I dont understand none of it because sometimes you gets stuff where theres hardly any talking and its mostly pictures and music and stuff. It helps me to relax in the evening and me and Jules sits on the sofa and holds hands and sometimes we kisses if theres nobody else in the room. Its really nice to just sit there and not have to think about too much. During the day I goes around thinking really much about the things that I got to do and the things that I already done and how to say something or other in French but now I carries a little dictionary around with me and when I thinks of something I wants to say in French I looks up the words. This morning I looked up the French for spider and I knows that you spells it arraigner but I got no idea how you says it and I'm going to have to ask Jules later.

Jules has started to eat meat again after I told him there was no real harm in it. I could see that he was really happy about it but he said that he was going to keep it back for special occasions instead of eating it all the time. Juleses dad Jules eats meat all the time and this morning he ate a whole chicken for breakfast. Sometimes when we're watching telly in the evening and the rest of us is eating chocolates and stuff Juleses dad sits there with a plate of cold meat and eats it like it was sweets.

I'm learning a lot about cooking and I spends hours in the kitchen with Jules and sometimes I just stands there stirring a pot of gravy or something for the longest time and other times I just cuts vegetables into different shapes or peels tomatoes what you does by putting them into boiling water for a moment and then all the skins just comes off really easy. Jules is very clever when it comes to cooking.

He says he's going to learn me how to drive a car but I dont know about that. I never learned to ride a bike very much. I learned how to balance but as soon as I started trying to pedal I used to fall off or ride into things. My dad always done all the driving in our house and if I needed to go somewhere I used to ask him to take me. Jules says that it is really important that I learns how to drive even if I dont take a test or get a licence as long as I knows how to start a car and drive places in case of an emergency. I think that if I was driving then that would be a bit of an emergency and everybody should get out of the way. Jules says that we will go over on the other side of the estate where theres no people or cars and I told him that we better go somewhere where theres no trees or bushes or sheep or anything because I told him that I wont be responsible for any damage I causes. I'm a bit excited anyway. Fancy me Julie Sanders driving a car. Next thing you know I'll be flying an aeroplane.

I've started to walk around the park by myself and its really big and goes on for miles but I havent gone that far myself but Jules tells me how far it goes. I only goes as far as when I can still see the house because I'm still scared about getting lost but as long as I can see the chateau then I feels safe and because its so big it means that I can go a really long way and still see it.

I misses not having shops almost next door and in Brineham I only had to walk to the end of the street and there was the shops. On the corner is what we used to call the cheapo shop and the man who ran it we called the cheapo man but I think he was called Andy. The stuff he sold was really cheap and he was really friendly. He had all kinds of things like biscuits and crisps and soft drinks but he had incense burners as well and coffee grinders and things like that. You could buy balloons and pencil sharpeners and home made pet food that the cheapo man made in the basement. I really misses having a shop like that up the end of the road. Living here is a bit like living in a park what is really nice but parks is places I used to go to sometimes and the parks around where I used to live was nothing like as big as here except for the one that you had to pay to visit so we never went there. Outside the front door here is grass and I sort of misses the pavement.

They gets visitors here every day and I kisses all of them although its not really kissing its more like putting your face next to theirs and making a kissing noise but I'm starting to get used to it now although in the beginning I hated doing it. Kissing for me is really personal and these are complete strangers who I've never seen before. Then you got to kiss them again when theyre leaving even though they only been there for two minutes. I still dont really like it but I puts up with it because thats what they all does.

And its true what they says about French people and them waving their hands around when they speaks and I've never seen anything like it. When theres some of them together their arms is flying all over the place and they looks a lot like that man you sees on English telly at the races and he's talking about prices on horses and stuff and he moves his arms a lot. Its a bit like that. I dont know if you got to do it when you talks French but I havent started to learn it yet. Jules hasnt said anything about it. Jacqueline wants me to go and visit her at her chateau what is not far from here and she wants me to go for the whole day and stay there overnight and she says she'll send her helicopter to pick me up. I dont know why she's inviting me because we dont get along very well even when we're only together for two minutes but she says that she wants to get to know me better and she got stuff she wants to tell me. She seems to be really nice but I'm a bit nervous about spending a whole day together. Jules thinks I should go and he says I shouldnt worry but I do worry a bit.

I'm going to have my French lesson now and today we're going to start on verbs. I got no idea what thats all about but Jules says I got to learn some of them or I'll never be able to talk French proper.

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