Good Heavens, folks ~ this is the 500th entry to my blog ! I see it was the 2nd of January 2013 when I signed up with www.simplesite.com which proved to be a very good choice as I've had no problems with it at all ~ their system is indeed wonderfully simple ~ I recommend it to one and all ~ my friend Sue has recently signed up with simplesite too. Right ~ 500 entries ~ the first one www.joypeach.com running from number 1 to number 325 which I wrote on May 14th 2015 ~ it has had 350,095 hits to date and people are still looking at it now when nothing new is ever added to it. This blog www.joypeach2.co.uk I started on May 24th 2015 and it has had 55,045 visits already ! Plus 27 Photo Albums (as they are called) ~ between the two, I must have written a million words at least and attached hundreds of photos. I'm so glad I started blooging ~ I only did so because I could not persuade any published to consider the history of this house ~ indeed I called the first blog "My ouse, My Home" but before long it sprawled out to become "My House, My Home, My Life"
Guy, the Aga engineer, was here dead on 8.30 for my annual service ~ I asked him what is the oldest of the Agas he is still servicing for Country Warmth in Norton, Malton which I bought it from when I moved here all-but thirty years ago ~ the oldest still working merrily seem to date back to the forties and fifties ~ pretty amazing ~ I think mine cost about £1,500 including installation ~ I was able to invest in an Aga because I was still in profit from the sale of our humble terraced house in North View Winchester which I'd sold for some £60,000 ~ the same humble property was sold last year for over £625,000 ! Some sent me the sales sheet ! Anyway, about old Agas ~ Guy told me he services one in Harrogate for which the owner still has receipts from 1952 when her mother bought it ~ at that time it cost £120 in cluding installation ! One hundred and twenty !! Today one like mine (cooker only, no hot water or central heating) would cost the best part of £6,000 !
Saturday at midnight : went to bed in good time too tired to read, but then could not get off to sleep ~ I'm remembering my year au pairing in Switzerland ~ so might as wel lget out of bed, wrap up warm, and write it down and then perhaps I can get to sleep. I was 17 when I went out there to Lausanne to live for a year with an old German Mme Hamburger Muller (can't find umlauts tonight) ~ Daddy took me up to London and saw me off at Victoria for the cross channel ferry at New Haven ~ and on to Paris to catch the overnight train to Geneva and Lausanne ~ even at that age I must still have been incredibly innocent ~ the man man sitting opposite me kindly offered to share his rug with me, spreading it over both of us so that we could sleep comfortably ~ BUT before long and once the other people in the compartment were safely nodding off and without so much as by-your-leave,under cover of the rug he'd got his hands up my knickers ~ I was so green, so bloody innocent, I didn't know what to do about it ~ of course I should have thrown the rug off so that the other passengers could see of what he was up to but having pused him off I stumbled out into the corridor I found an excuse to go out in the corridor but he promptly followed me thinking . . . presumably hoping he'd have his wicked way with me in the loo ~ fortunately the guard came along and without explaining WHY (though he may have guessed) I managed to persuade him to find me a seat in another compartment and he kindly helped me move my luggage. I was horrified at the man's assumption that his attention would be welcome, nay ~ be irresistable ! This at a time when although I'd left school I still had a crush on Miss Pickwick, the gymn mistress !!
The train arrived in Lausanne at something like 6.0am and Erna, Mme Hamburger Muller's daughter met me at the station. I didn't even know the meaning of the term in those days ~ I don't remember that it was bandied about ~ but Erna was BUTCH ~ she was professor of engineering at Basle University but came home most weekends mainly to captain Lausanne Ladies Hockey Team ~ the assumption was that all English girls played hockey so I soon found I was dragged down to the Hockey Field on Saturday afternoons ~ Erna's expectations were high ~ she had obviously told her team that this English girl would be joining them, a hockey player for sure ~ the trouble was I'd always been hopeless at games ~ ball games ~ tennis, hockey, netball ~ hopeless ! It was immediately plain for all the Lausanne Ladies to see that I was a dud ~ I could feel their disappointment and Erna's fury that I was letting her down like this ~ from then on our relationship was extremely frosty which didn't make life any easier in the house.
Having arrived safely and settled in, there were more sexual shocks awaiting me. As maid, my bedroom was in the basement of this rather splendid villa, 93 Chemin de Levant, right. Mmme slept on the ground floor and the four student lodgers (she ran it as a 'pension' or student lodgings) were on the top floor, so I was quite isolated down there, and very often she locked the door at the top of the basement stairs ~ one night I realised that the blind which was OUTSIDE the bedroom window would not shut right down ~ investigating next morning, I discovered that someone had jammed it open with a stick ~ presumably so that they could spy on me ! When I mentioned this at breakfast, Mme HM told me not to be so melodramatic ~ who on earth would go to such trouble to spy on me etc ~ but the students came to my rescue ~ Rudi, the charming lad from Egypt organised a surprise for the peeping tom and caught him at it and beat him up for me, bless them. There was another sexual incident I remember ~ it was on the Good Friday and Mme HM had given me the afternoon off and feeling incredibly wicked I went to the cinema ~ (I mean, on Good Friday !) ~ a friendly chap sitting next to me bought me an ice cream and walked me back through the park afterwards ~ I ran into him again a few weeks later when he invited me out for a drive around the lake one evening ~ by then it was getting towards midsummer and still light till quite late ~ so he picked me up one glorious evening and off we went round Lake Geneva ~ he behaved perfectly properly and bought us coffe along the way ~ it was only afterwards that I understood why he had asked so anxiously how old I was ~ seventeen, right ~ had I been eighteen it might have been a different story ~ in Switzerland there were, and probably still are, serious penalties for any man having sex with an undersage girl ! So many close encounters . . . it's a wonder I came back home a year later 'in one piece'.
[right ~ that's enough for tonight ~ maybe having got that off my chest I can get to sleep now.]