He handed in his paper and I'm glad he didn't give up in spite of the difficulties.
Cyril has become an old man and he's telling two children all about his trip to England...
In a little wooden thatched cottage, in a forest surrounding Toulouse, an old man is sitting on an armchair. He's sleeping. A cat, curled up between his legs, is purring silently. One of of the old man's hands is laid on its beautiful, smooth dark fur. Everything's quiet., so quiet that we can hear the nigthingales' songs. And the morning promises to be excellent. The old man's grey hair is shining because of the sunbeam coming in through the window of the old villa.
Not far from it, we can hear a background noise. : Two little children , a girl and a boy, are coming near the old man's home.
To go closer to the cottage, they call the old man then they get in.
At first, the old man is wide-eyed, then he exclaims :
«Marion ! Robin ! What a good surprise !
-Hi, Sir Cyril, the two children answer.
-Any particular reason why you've come to see me ? Sir Cyril asked.
-We want you to tell us a story, grandfather, Robin said.
-A story ?
-Yes, grandfather, Marion added.»
"Sir Cyril" or "Grand Father" thought about it.
-Ok, I'll tell you... But you must listen!
-Of course, we will listen !
-So... I think that I'm going to tell you a real story. It hapenned to me when I was about 13 years old. It the story of a trip to England ! Listen !»
Chapter 1 : Preparation.
«It began around the month of November, but we didn't know at that time if we would go on a trip or not. Mrs
Bianchi, the teacher who organised most of the trip, had told us that it should be organised, but that some people couldn't pay for it.
-But how did you do ?
-Let me speak and you'll know.
-Yes, yes, yes... so ?
-Mrs Bianchi didn't know, she didn't want to embark on the trip without all the students...it was a challenge ! Do you understand ?
-Yes, Sir... but you haven't answered my question !
-Yeah... but let me tell you... So... oh... yes... I was close to tell you how she did... How WE did ! We had to
collect one thousand and six hundreds euros, I think... The "Conseil Général" gave us a thousand euros. Yes, yes, Cyril said at the sight of their funny dumbstruck faces, it was very kind... but
it was not enough !
-Mrs Trancart, an other teacher who helped us, had an idea : organize a concert with some students and some of their parents, and of course some teachers, who were a little bit musicians ! It was unforgettable ! We raised lots of money !
-No... not enough, but a lot.
-Let me tell you about it and stop interrupting me !
-...?! Okay ! Very good ! I won't say anything more !
-As you want ! So... oh, yes... Mrs Bianchi got the best idea : helped by Mrs Kemlin, Lome, and perhaps some other parents, she organised a lottery ! And we got, after much work, about eight hundreds euros, more than enough !
-And you had enough to help the students in need ?
-Yes ! You got it !
-When did you leave?
-On June the 6th, at 6:00 pm. Everbody was ready, lugguage were all set ! It was the begining of a great and unforgettable adventure !
Chapter 2 : The real beggining !
«How did you go to England ? Did you fly ?
-Oh ! No, no, no, we didn't ! Do you know how much flying to England from Toulouse would have cost
-It would have been very expensive !
-So I repeat... How did you go ?
-By coach and ferry.
-By ferry ? Whao ! You're so lucky !
-Yes, I know. It was fabulous !
-Was it boring ?
-The coach, a little. But not the ferry.
-How long did it take ?
-We drove the whole night and crossing the channel took about six hours.
-What did you do ?
-Oh... Euh... On the coach, I read, and I played with my Nintendo DS.
-What is a nintendo DS ?
-It's a game console which is from the brand «Nintendo».
-Ah... Yes, I understand.... And on the ferry, what did you do on the ferry ?
-I took pictures (I tried to take a photo of Lisa but she didn't want to... ), I visited the ferry and I read. Then I played a RPG with some of my friends.
-What is a «orpeedgy» ?
-RPG, not orpeedgy ! It's the same as your video games but with paper, dice, and of course imagination. It means Role Player Game.
-Oh... And who were your friends ?
-They were Athur, the two Gaspard and Martin.
-Mmm... I don't know them... and that's all ? Did you do ... ehm... other things ?
-What do you mean ?
-For six hour, you just read, played a game and visited the ferry ?
-Yes. But I played a little role in the movie of the trip.
-What was it ?
-Nothing. You'll never know.
-Come on !
-Ok, ok ...!
-Who was the name of the coach company ?
-What about that of the ferry ?
-«Britanny ferries», and we were on the «Pont-Aven».
-And wasn't there any customs control ?
-Not in France, but In England, there was one.
-And did everybody...
-Yes, everybody was allowed to go.
-And what did you do after the ferry ? Did you go to your host-families right after ?
-No, we visited Plymouth a little before going to the families'.»
Chapter 3 : The firsts visits...
«Where is Plymouth ?
-It's in the South-West of England.
-And what was it like ?
-It was very beautiful : we visited two areas only. The Barbican, and the Hoe. The Barbicans is more the old place than the new place of the city, and there were small houses. In fact, it used to be a fisherman's district. In the Hoe, there was lots of grass, very huge houses, and amazing dwellings... I prefered the Hoe, because it was calmer, and more soothing. The barbican was calm also but... I don't know how to say...
-It was civilized.
-Yes ! That's it ! More civilized ! The Hoe made me feel as in fields, as when we were on the
-On the moor ?
-Let me speak and you'll know. And If I start to tell you what happened in the wrong order, it's going to be confusing...
-So... We had a woman as a guide. She was very kind and she could speak French.
-What was her name ?
-She was called Janet
-How long did the visit take ?
-I don't remenber very well... Perhaps one or two hours... I don't know. Ah ! And just one more thing : There were some young boys and young girls, perhaps about fifteen or sixteen years old, who were toomb stoning.
-What is it ?
-They jumped from coast to sea, and it was a 30 metres jump. Janet was scared because she didn't like it, she thought that they could die on the rocks... which was perfectly understandable...
-Were there any other things which were unusual ?
-Yes, but it's less funny : I had just started to use my camera and I realized it was flat, so I had to buy some for 5 pounds !
-Oh... It's expensive, I think...
-Of course it is !
-Yes... yes... and how much money did you have ?
-Ok... 20... 19... 18.. 15... Oh... So you had only 15 pounds left...
-Is that all for this day ?
-No, don't forget the families !
-Oh yes ! Was your family good ?
-Euh... ehm... yes, a little... We didn't talk a lot... But first, we ate bread with pizzas' side dish. It was very good.
-Ehm... no comment...
-And when did you get up on the next morning ?
-About eigth o'clock am. The father of the family opened the door and said very loud : «Hey guys», closed the door than started what he was doing again.
-How hard ! And did you wake up ?
-Yes, of course we did ! And now, listen to me, I'm going to tell you the following events.
Chapter 4 : From very old to extremely new...
-How was your first day in Cornwall and Devon ?
-Cool... But not the weather : It was a Monday, and as the old song : «le lundi au soleil, c'est une chose qu'on aura jamais...» It's in French.
-What does it mean in English ?
-It means that we'll never have a monday without bad wetaher. Verbatim, you can say «the sunny Monday, it's a thing that we'll never have...»
-... It's not true... Look, today is Monday and the sun is shining...
-It's a song...
-Yes but it's false.
-Oh... don't annoy me with this hopeless and foolish remark !... So... yes, it wasn't sunny when we went to Tintagel, Arthur's castle... The castle was built by Richard of Cornwall.
-Was it in a good state ?
-Of course not ! Do you really think that this castle could be as beautiful as Queen Elizabeth's ? No... it was in ruins, and we could see some sites where they were, in Arthur's day, the houses and the rooms of the old castle, but no more...
-What was the lanscape like ?
-It was majestic ! The cliffs where enormous, and the hills were emerald-green in colour ; it was marvellous !... There were seagulls, and I loved to imitate them...!
-Can you imitate them again for us ?
-No... hahaha... no, it's too ridiculous...
-... I think that you won't do it even if I beg you to do so.
-Yes, and you're going to understand my personality...
-Of course I am !
-So, I imitated the gulls, but I didn't do it too much, because I thought some people didn't like to hear a shriek
all the time.
Then, we went to the village of Tintagel, and if you understood, it was an old and very charming village. I bought two postcards for my grandfathers, but I never sent them because I lost the two stamps which were with them... Then, we went to sa much more contemporay place : the Eden Project !
-Let me speak ! So, we went to the Eden Project ! The Eden Project is a group of green houses with different climates : the first was damp and hot, as the tropical climate . There, there was the vegetation you can see in countries with such climate. Then there was the mediterranen climate ( which wasn't hot, but mild ), and dry. It looked like Greece, or Provence... there, we imitated cicadas... tss tss tss tss tss tss... Then we went back to the family... and we ate some very fatty food... As the other next days... listen...
Chapter 5 : A desolate territory after masses of people.
-We began in the morning with the visit of a English school, Hele's school, and we attented two french lessons. It was very funny to see the teacjer say «Un, deux, tchwois, plou peusone ne paale !». They had a very strong accent , especially when they tried to say a «r»! Hahaha, it reminds me of many amazing moments... I will keep happy memories of it.
-Did they wear uniforms ?
-Yes, they did, and Lola and Zoé said that it was hopeless, because they could not see which boys were the most handsome and the ugliest...
-Girls, you know...
-Yes... so... yes... the boys I was with didn't speak French very well, so I had to talk in English and they did too... it wasn't difficult, but the English didn't understand a word of what I was saying in French and I had to explain to them...
-Did you go to other places after visiting the school ?
-Yes... to a desolate landscape, to an uneven land, the moor of Dartmoor... There were horses, rivers, but no trees, only grass... But we began by visiting the museum of the prison of Dartmoor, called Princetown prison too... it wasn't interesting.
-...You said «We began...», so you did something after this museum...
-Yes, we went hiking... It was funny because we had a guide again, a man this time, but... hmm... I don't remember his name... He looked serious, but at one stage, he madea joke : he told Aurore and Clémence that we had to go down a little slope, then he took another direction. Aurore clémence had to come back up... Mrs Bianchi laughed out loud... that's true that it was funny. The landscapes were wonderful... very green, but as every day in England, I remember that the sky was very cloudy... but green and grey look lovely together... it sounds lovely too ! It was one of the best days of the trip... and listen to me telling you about the worst day : it was the day after, it was a little spoiled...
Chapter 6 : A day in Torquay... a spoiled day...!
-The next day was spoiled : the bus arrived late in Torquay, and we nearly didn't arriveat time on the little boat, where there weren't many seats available...
-Why did you go on a boat ?
-Because we were supposed to see the native home of Agatha Christie. Do you know Agatha Christie ?
-No... Who's that ?
-She was a writer... I didn't like her at first, the topics of her books... polar books, as «An d then there were none», the story of ten people who were invited on an island and were killed one by one, and then there were none...
-And what was missing at that moment ?
-We thought that we could visit the house, but we could only see it from a distance, with trees in front of it... So we only saw the roof of the house...
-It's not funny...!
-Of course it is ! Hehehe... So... but you can't have done only that...
-Yes, we ate in Torquay, then we went to the museum of Agatha Christie...
-Her again ?
-Yes... But we were late at the appointment... and the museum wasn't only a museum of Agatha Christie, but a museum on the Egyptians too...
-Was there at least a good moment on that day ?
-Yes, and we deserved it ! After the museum, we went to a restaurant to eat a cream tea ! It was an exquisite snack ! The scones, the clotted cream were very good with jam... and the tea was delicious ! I bought four scones for my family... but I had taken some clotted cream, it would have been turned sour before my father could taste it... but don't think that there was another day like that !
Chapter 7 : The last day in England... Boo hoo...
-Tell me if I'm wrong, that day was your last day in England, wasn't it?
-Yes, it was.
-What did you do ?
-We visited the Minach Theatre, an outdoor theatre built on the rock of Porthcurno. It was built in 1932 by a woman. She built it all by herself !
-A woman ? by herself ? Ok, if it had been built by a man but...
-Don't be male chauvinist, it would have given the same result if it had been a man... So... Ah ! Yes ! Do you know how long it took her to build it ?
-... I don't know... hmm... fifty years...
-Well done !
-What ? Hhoooo ! I'm the best ! I just said any number...
-Do you understand ? Fifty years to build a theatre all by herself ! It's a record ! It was too spectacular, too beautiful... the stones were engraved with drawings... it took about half of her life ! And we could see the sea behind the stage...
-Yes... yes... yes... and did you do anything else after this visit ?
-We went to Plymouth and went shopping !
-We went to Plymouth and went shopping.
-You went shopping ? And what did you buy ?
-Me ? Almost nothing... I didn't find what I wanted... And I only bought an ice cream...
-How long did you shop for ?
-About one hour.
-And you only ate an ice-cream and looked for something that you didn't find ?
-Then afterwards you went to the bus and to the ferry ?
-We ate Fish and chips, on the harbour, at the restaurant West Hoe Fryer !
-Hmmm... yuuuuuum ! You're so lucky !
-Yes, it was very good ! And it's after that that we went to the ferry... Bye bye England...
-It's the end of your trip ?
-Yes it is. And it's the end of this story...
The two little children stoodd up and went to the door.
-Bye, Sir Cyril !
-Bye, my little children, and come again as soon as you can, okay ?