Chere Julie, dear Jules (Part 29)
I been here just over a month now and I'm starting to get used to it. At first it was a bit strange what with always eating at the table with a napkin and knives and forks and stuff and helping yourself to how much you wants instead of my mum giving me a plate with how much she thinks I want. Sometimes she used to give me twice as much as I wanted but I didnt want to hurt her feelings so I used to eat it all even though it made me feel a bit sick sometimes. She used to do that a lot and it was like the more that she gave me the more she meant that she loved me. She always gave me much more than she gave my sisters but not as much as she gave my dad but that was because he was a man. She didnt used to give herself very much at all and it used to worry me sometimes but she probably wasnt very hungry after stuffing herself with crisps and sandwiches down the social club what she got for nothing.
Theres always lots to do here but with only French telly that I dont watch very much I got lots of time. Jules goes off for a couple hours every morning to walk around and see if any trees have fallen down in the night and I'm left here by myself. If I was in England I would watch morning telly but I dont really miss it or only just a bit. Sometimes I misses it really much and wishes I could just sit down in front of the telly and relax and watch somehing about mountaineering or building your own closets or something like that. I really misses that sometimes. I told Jules that I gets bored when he's out walking around to see if any trees have fallen down and he said that because I could write so beautiful why didnt I write something like poems or stuff while he was gone. I dont think I writes beautiful but I likes doing it ever since I started writing to Jules. Its like when I'm writing something or other everything else disappears for a while and I takes a break from worrying about things like starving children in Africa and stuff like that.
When I was talking to Odile I found out that she's been writing a diary since she was three years old and first started to write proper. In school when they did writing exercises and the others was writing about what toys they wanted and stuff Odile used to write about what she'd been doing that day. She's got a big cupboard full of her diaries and theyre all in order and every day she takes one out and opens it anywhere and reads that page and then she starts crying her eyes out. I dont get to see what she wrote because its private and I wouldnt understand it anyway in French so I dont know why she finds it so sad but if something made me that unhappy then I dont think I would do it. Thats why I'm a bit nervous about starting a diary myself because your supposed to say what you means and be really honest and I dont mind that but if it makes me sad to look at what I wrote then maybe its not such a good idea after all. I told Jules that I was thinking of starting a diary and was a bit worried about it and he said why not write a journal instead what is just like a diary but its not so personal. So thats what I'm going to do and I am starting here and this is my journal.
I woke up this morning about six o clock when the fireworks went off. It took me a few days to get used to that I can tell you. Jules forgot to tell me that at six o clock every morning they sets off a load of fireworks on the lawn outside my window and its something to do with the revolution but I dont know what. They takes it very serious and I tries to join in when they marches around the house but they does it really slow and I'm still half asleep so I bumps into the one in front of me all the time. It takes about ten minutes to march all around the house and this morning it was freezing cold and I'd only just woke up with the fireworks and I was dying for a hot drink but everyone else was putting on their uniforms so I put on mine and joined them. When we was finished with the marching and set fire to this sort of scarecrow thing we went rolling in the morning dew but I didnt take all my clothes off and they says I dont have to and its only if you wants to. That was a relief when they first told me because I thought I was going to have to be naked and I've never been naked in front of other people before. I tries not to stare at them and especially not the grandmother whose a really big woman. After all that marching and rolling in the dew I was really hungry and I ate four croissants plus all the other stuff. Since I got here I've started drinking coffee in the morning instead of tea. Juleses mum gets up about three o clock and makes a really big pot of really strong coffee and drinks about half of it before the rest of us gets up and I tried to drink it like her but it made me really nervous and I couldnt sit still for a moment and my body started twitching but I got lots of stuff done like rearranging my wardrobe a lot of times and ironing all the stuff that needed ironing and even the stuff that didnt need it. Now I waters down the coffee and puts in loads of milk and it tastes quite nice. I could have tea if I wanted to but everyone else drinks coffee and I dont want to be different.
Everyones really kind to me and they smiles a lot when I turns up and offers me things and I smiles back and sort of curtseys because I dont know what to say. Bernadette who is Juleses mum keeps giving me money and puts her finger in front of her lips and I knows its because its supposed to be a secret and I'm not supposed to tell nobody. I think she likes me but because she dont speak no English and I dont speak no French we dont talk to each other. When I first got here I called her Madame what is French for Mrs but after a few days Jules told me that she wants me to call her Bernadette what is her name. I finds it really hard to call her that because she's Juleses mum and she's older than my mum and it feels strange. Most of the time I dont call her nothing because I dont see her very much because she's gone shopping. The shops is miles away and sometimes she goes ten times a day and sometimes she comes back with just one thing that wasnt needed anyway. Yesterday she came back with a 24 pack of toilet paper and theres already loads in what I calls the toilet paper room what is a room with only toilet paper in it. There must be hundreds and hundreds of toilet rolls in lots of different colours and she must have been collecting for years because its quite a big room and its nearly full. I know they got lots of toilets in the chateau but I think its taking it a bit far. Theres another room where theres just soap powder but I've never been in there and Jules told me about it. He told me his mum got a fear of shortages and you got to be careful of what you says in front of her because if you says that because of some palm tree disease theres not going to be as many coconuts as usual the next thing you know she'll be coming back with all the coconuts she can find and even drive to towns a long way away to see if she can find some more.
I dont see Juleses dad very much but he's really nice when I sees him. I'm supposed to call him Jules but thats really hard because I already got one Jules. He talks really much to me when I sees him but I dont understand much of what he's talking about. I know he talks a lot about Mrs Thatcher and I think he really likes her because he keeps kissing the ends of his fingers whenever he talks about her what is quite a lot. I was really young when she was around so I dont know much about her but my dad didnt have a good word to say for her and he used to get really angry if anyone said the name Mrs Thatcher in the house what we didnt do much anyway. I saw my dad break a thick piece of wood with his bare hands once when Mrs Thatcher came on the telly but later when he tried to break a piece of wood with his hands he couldnt do it.
Jules has started to learn me French but its really hard and I dont know much yet but I'm really trying. Every day when Jules comes back from looking for fallen down trees we goes into the library which is upstairs and he tells me how to say things in French. I can say hello and how are you and stuff like that but I dont know enough French to have a real talk with anyone. At the moment he's learning me how to talk about the weather because he says he knows we likes to do that in England so I can say its raining or its cloudy or the suns shining and stuff like that. I can say that its very windy in French as well.
Me and Jules is getting along really well and we spends most of our time together. After we've done the French we goes into the kichen to make lunch although Jules does most of the cooking and I just does what he tells me to do. Its really interesting and Jules is like a real chef and wears a big white hat and an apron. He's got a lot of knives and theyre really sharp and I said I was afraid I was going to cut myself but he said not to worry because its more probable that youll cut yourself with a blunt knife than a sharp one for some reason or other.
After lunch what takes about an hour and a half because theres lots of food with starters and main courses and stuff everybody goes to their rooms for a nap but when I first got here I couldnt sleep in the afternoon because I wasnt used to it but what with getting up at six o clock and having a big lunch with a couple glasses of wine I finds it really easy now and sometimes I sleeps for a couple of hours. At four o clock we haves a sort of afternoon meal what is cakes and pastries and stuff and although I'm not really hungry after such a big lunch I eats quite a few because they tastes really good. Then when we're finished me and Jules goes to the kitchen to do stuff for dinner.
Juleses brothers and sisters all speaks really good English so I always got someone to talk to and even Pierre has started to talk to me what he didnt do in the beginning. At first I really missed my family and sometimes I dreamed about them and I cried a bit but now its not so bad. I still misses them but I dont think so much about them any more. On Sundays I phones them up and I gets to speak to whichever ones is there and that makes me really sad and happy at the same time because its lovely to hear their voices but it makes me miss them really much.
Its Xmas in a few days time and I'm really excited but over here its not real Xmas because they does it on Xmas eve. On real Xmas what is the next day they dont do nothing special and thats really going to be really strange for me not waking up on Xmas morning and thinking that todays Xmas. I stopped hanging up a stocking years ago but I can still remember what it felt like to to wake up on Xmas morning and suddenly be really awake when I remembered it was Xmas day. I'm going to miss that this year. Over here they celebrates in the evening on the day before and thats going to be really strange.
I can hear Jules coming back so I'm going to stop for now and go and learn some French before going to help him in the kitchen. I'm learning really lots and a couple of days ago Jules let me make some home made mayonnaise by myself and then he showed me how to mend it when it went wrong and looked like a bowl of oil with yellow bits in it. It was really good how he made it look like real mayonnaise after I'd messed it up.
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