It has only just dawned on me that the two different variety of door signify the importance of the rooms ~ six-panelled ones are for parlour and master bedroom, the rest are four-panelled.
Monday morning and I so regret not realising that my recent visitors were Bill and Sue's daughter Francis and her daughter Jodie ~ they must have thought it was a very cool welcome when they'd come all the way from Chelmsford ~ thinking back to my year in Lausanne (aged 17/18) I am remembering with shame that reading my miserable letters, Mum and Dad somehow found £100 ~ a small fortune ~ which they intended for trail fare etc to get me home instead of which I bought a smart woolly coat and a sophisticated green umbrella ~ and stuck it out till the end of June when muy year was up ~ my room was in the basement of Mme Hamburger Muller's villa ~ if I needed a wee in the night I sometimes went our in the garden rather than face the old lady's wrath at being disturbed ~ her room was on the ground floor across the hall from the loo I was allowed to use ~ mind you, there was a bathroom and loo upstairs where the student lodgers were, and a locked door in my basement which I suspect was another loo, the one the washer woman who came every fortnight to do the bedding ~ this one was kept firnly locked however which made life very difficult for the au pair ~ once in desparation I was forced out in the garden for a pooh - ibly that once and in desparation ~ the bathroom was a splendid affair in pale green marble which even the students were rarely allowed to use but I guess they had showers at Uni ~ wth great reluctance on her part Mme HM did allow me to have a bath every six weeks, at last, though she would stand outside the bath room door banging and shouting things like, "Servants may not use fancy soap ~ you are taking far too long in there ~ how dare you lock the door ... The poor old woman, an exile from Germany, could never forgive me for winning the war ! Her daughter Erna was a Professor of Engineering at Basle University and (I realise now) as butch as they come ~ she was captain of the Lausanne Ladies Hockey team and had this convuction that all English girls played hockey as my predecessor had ~ in this she was sorely mistaken but insisted I joined her team neverthelss ~ you can see I was a big disappointment all round. To punish me, Mme HM regularly trid to prevent me going to French classes at the University which were part of the 2au pair2 deal ~ about as old as I am now,when she knew I was off to lectures, she would almost invariable start something preposterous considering her age and frailty ~ picking plums, cleaning out the "cave" (the storage cellar), re-planting the cactus plants on the flat roof ~ or her colony of tortoises ~ sometimes rather than face accusations that I was failing in my duries, I caved in and stay and help, but not always. As well as Mme herself, and her daughter Erna, there was a grand daughter whose name I can't recall ~ she must have been 7 or 8 when I was there and she was an absolute pain ~ she had been sent to her grandmother in Lausanne by her mother back in Germany ~ one of my jobs was to walk her to school in the morning ~ school out there started at 8am ~ she insisted I carried her school bag, and that as the servant I must walk behind her ! Such a charming child !! In spite of all this there are good memories of what Mme referred to as "your exile en Suisse" Sometimes Erna would drive us out into the countryside on Sunday evenings for 'cafe complet' in some village bistro, and I even got to learn to ski (slightly better than my enforced attempts at playing hockey !). Although I was not a Christian then (as I am not today) I joined the Scottish Presbyterian Church partly as a way of escaping for an hour on a Sunday and also to meet other English-speaking people ~ as often as possible, and to make up for shortage of baths, I'd cycle down for a swim in the lake. The French class at the university was full of American girls from their Finishing School ~ their language studies were poor as their main purpose in coming to Switzerland seems to have been to find husbands, prerably rich husbands ~ as one of the few serious students these girls would pay me to do their homework for them ~ as we still had sweet rationing home in England, I'm afraid I over-indulged on chocolate and soon got rather fat ~ photo tomorrow if I can find them.
Tuesday and pouring, fairly bucketing down and poor Barbara has to splash across to the library ~ she'll pop in on her way home ~ wasted an hour looking through old photos ~ sadly MADLY a couple of years back when I decided to start sorting out some of the clutter, I began with photos ~ from our Buxton days, and Norfolk ~ by the time I came to my senses it was too late to save a good many of them ~ there's plenty of clutter to be sorted out and in some cases chucked out but not family photos ~ and the sad thing is that there were no other copies ~ I should have given copies to Howard when we split up ~ poor man, chucked out and without any record of the happier times ~ how could I have been so stupid ! Oh I suddenly remember that that horrible child out in Lausanne was called Ursula ~ she'll be in her seventies now and has hopefully improved over the years.