Still in Lausanne
As an 'au pair' I was supposed to be able to attend French lectures at the University ~ to start with at only 17 there was a problem enrolling but once I had done, I was able to go to lectures three afternoons a week ~ old Mme HM was not at all happy about this and almost invariably on those afternoons would think of some reason for me NOT to go :" Today we pick the peaches ~ today we clean out the cellar ~ I was expecting you to help me put the tortoises away for winter ~ I need to sort out all the bed linen ~ You knew I was expecting you to help me make the raspberry jam . . . " Her reasons to stop me going were wonderfully imaginative. However the times I actually got to my lectures were an antidote to the steady crushing the Hamburger Mullers were dishing out, not only the old lady herself, but Erna too, and the obnoxious nine year old granddaughter whose name I have forgotten. Most of my fellow students were girls, from a posh Finishing School in the town and most of them were Americans ~ I was definitely the Cinderella in the class but ~ and an important BUT ~ I was damned good at French ~ it had been my best subject at school (O level distinction) and on top of that I was speaking French and sometimes German round the clock ~ I made quite a good living out of my class mates who were only pissing about as far as French went and were really over in Switzerland to give them a bit of polish and prepare them for High Society ~ I was kept very busy in the evenings doing their homework for them ~ translations, essays or simple language exercises ~ some of the girls paid me, others brought me payment in kind which usually meant chocolate !
At home in the UK the war was long over but there was still rationing, and sweet rationing was particularly difficult for us kids ~ I remember how we'd gather round the kitchen table on Saturday morning and Daddy woul d dole out our week's ration ~ he generally chose dolly mixtures or smarties and we would all watch greedily as he counted out the piles and pounce on him if he missed one of us out ~ six piles as Helen was still a baby when I left home ~ a bar of milk chocolate was sometimes included from which we would maybe get two squares each. Was it 4oz each, the sweet ration ? I could look it up but can't be bothered ~ I think it fluctuated and might one week be reduced to 2oz ~ we must all have been sugar deficient and gasping for a toffe ~ anyway the result is that that generation, my generation, have pretty good teeth.
So it is not surprising that with all Mme's rich food, and chocolates galore from my class mates in payment for cheating, I became quite fat ~ Oh, I thought I had a photo of me swimming in the lake and quite podgy, but I can't find it ~ I may have ripped it up in shame ~ thankfully by the time my year was over my body must have adapted to this new rich diet, and when came home I was back to normal.
Sue was here this morning, bless her, to change my sheets ready for the laundry tomorrow. It is wet again tonight with more severe weather forecast. On their latest statemen E-on the energy supplier has alerted me to the fact that my GAS consumption is costing roughly £1, 620 per annum which is hair-raising except that these days thanks to all the allowances I am given by the State I can afford it ~ for which I am truly thankful as in years gone by, by mid morning I have been curled up on the sofa with a hot water bottle and rug suffering from rigor mortis ~ so there you go ~ it is true that old people suffer more from the cold than others. I truly count my lucky stars that I have survived long enough to enjoy such blessing !
Right ~ getting on for 9pm and the second part of the fascinating programme about the archaeology of the Orkneys coming up ~ just time to make a mug of tea. . .
Tuesday morning : Well ! I'm totally GOB-SMACKED !!! The Orkney programme was fascinating particularly when they were trying to fathom out how on earth these Stone Age people travelled between their islands and mainland Britain ~ there was no timber on Orkney so how were their boats made ? After much discussion, they decided the boats must have been made of animal skin stretched tight over a basketwork frame. They had cattle so there was no problem with the hides ~ from the animal bones they could make glue with which to paint over the finished boat to ensure it was watertight ~ once they'd worked this out, our team of archaeologists set to and had soon produced a Stone Age boat which looked incredibly fragile but easily carried half a dozen hefty fellows across the treacherous Pentland Firth to the Hebrides and so on to the UK mainland. The experts were all astonished that such a frail vessel was viable, that a seaworthy boat could be made like this but . . .
BUT a good few years back I was roped in to be hypnotised and regressed on camera for a TV programme my friend Chris Wise was producing ~ I wrote an article about the experience for Mensa Magazine and I see that I quoted from it in my first blog : www.joypeach.com entry number 88 ~ Hypnosis ~ without going into all that again, something significant came up in last night's Orkney programme ~ those early people's boats were made from a simple basket work frame covered in tightly stretched animal skins. In that long ago regression under hypnosis I found myself in two different times ~ in a hovel on a mountainside with a baby in a basket on the floor beside me as I made some rough bread ~ I could smell the bread dough, I could hear the baby gurgling in his sleep, and I knew my man would soon be home and wanting his supper ~ it was so real, so vivid.
But then the Hypnotist took me further back ~ back and back to maybe to the Stone Age ~ I was a girl of about ten, lying on my tummy on a high grassy clifftop looking down on my tribe all busy on the beach below ~ some of them working on a boat ~ a boat made of animal skin stretched across a basketwork frame !! As I looked down at the activity, I knew that young as I was I could have made such a boat myself, no problem. It was a peaceful scene with maybe 50 people all engaged in useful tasks and when the Hypnotist asked me, I knew I could have named all of them ~ names such as Ug and Broon and Sell. As before, Mr Proudfoot took me even further back and ~ oh my stars ~ something awful has happened ~ a tidal wave, a tsunami perhaps, had struck flooding the caves the people lived in and drowning several of them ~ "How many were drowned ?" he asked me and here's the funny thing, seven of our family had been lost, I could have named them all, but for the life of me I COULD NOT SAY THE NUMBER SEVEN ~ I tried to hold up seven fingers ~ and tried again to speak the numberbut I simply could not ! Talking about it afterwards, the hypnotist suggested that because this was before those ancient people had given the numbers names, I was quite unable to say "seven" !! That was a reasonable theory as I'd been talking non-stop before this describing where I found myself and what was going on around me ~ interesting. But it's because of the skin boat I'm telling you all this ~ look up blog 1//88 if you want to know more.
In spite of the experience being so vivid, and everything so familiar to me, I have found it hard to beieve what happened under hypnosis ~ I wondered whether I was just making it all up. But the Orkney programme last night dispelled my doubts ~ those experts presenting the programme seemed completely astonished that a boat could be made out of no more than a simple basketwork base covered with tightly stretched animal skins and the whole sealed with glue from the boiled animal bones ~ but hey ! I 've known this for years, ever since that TV programme ~ made in York and broadcast some three weeks later in front of a live audience at 11.0pm one Saturday night in Newcastle !!
One thing that energes out of this is that if there is indeed re-incarnation, if we come back time and time again, then we always get another chance, a chance to make a better go of things ~ NEXT TIME ROUND. [Sorry ~ no appropriate pictures to accompany this entry !]