Bad Analogies

Anna Loggie (Analogy) being reprimanded

I had planned on announcing the winner of Come and play with Lorna to win an Amazon gift card today, but I can’t yet as I’m waiting for the winner to get back to me about something first. But in short, if you haven’t received an email from me, then you haven’t won. Sorry!

By way of consolation, I have an amusing list of collected bad analogies for you, although wait…most are similes, and…is that a metaphor I see there? Anyway, if you’ve seen these before, then I’m afraid you will be inconsolable around here today, I have nothing else for you…

1) Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.

2) He was as tall as a 6′3″ tree.

3) Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

4) From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

5) John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

6) She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

7) The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

8) He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

9) Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever. (Vanessa’s note – I object to this one being classed as bad, I think it’s actually rather clever).

10) She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

11) The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.

12) The lamp just sat there, like an inanimate object.

13) Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

14) The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.

15) She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

16) The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

17) It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

18) It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

19) The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.

20) Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.

21) The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon.

DISCLAIMER: Online these are purported to be actual analogies from essays written by high school students, but after digging a bit deeper, I discovered that they’re almost certainly not. This was after I had spent all that time creating the hilarious picture at the top of this post, so I’ve posted it anyway, because they’re still funny, not as funny as, you know, if they really were from essays, but funny anyway!
photo credit: Original photo Paula Satijn via photopin cc, hilarious Photoshopping by Vanessa-Jane Chapman

Vanessa’s Getting All Meta Again

How's my blogging sign

Like many bloggers, every now and again I like to get a bit meta, and write a blog post about blogging. Previous examples of mine are An open letter to WordPress, Want to know what it takes to get Freshly Pressed?, Do you suffer from blog envy, Have you lost your blogging mojo lately?, When the real world merges with the blogging world, and The mind blowing world of informal blogging networks. Phew! The current example of one, is this one I’m writing right now, but you knew that right? I give you my latest selected musings on blogging…

Funny spam

Funny spam pic

Those of us on WordPress, and presumably other blogging platforms too, are often amused by some of the spam comments that make it through to the blog. These comments may praise us for writing such insightful posts, or try to engage us in some way by asking for advice, or offering to help solve some issue they have identified with our blog. One of my favourites was a comment I received congratulating me on how brave I had been for tackling such a controversial issue that many people consider taboo, and how important it is for people to speak more openly about this topic – the post that this comment appeared on was a recipe for quick apple pie that I wrote on my Sugarness blog! I ask you, can you think of anything LESS taboo than an apple pie recipe?

The first to comment

Winning a race

On some of the more popular blogs, there is a certain pleasure to be found in being the first person to comment on a post (come on, admit you, you like it too right?) – you happen to be in the process of blog browsing when – Bazahm! (That’s the noise of a new post arriving) a new post is published by a popular blogger you follow. You know that if you read it really quickly, you might be able to be the first to comment, to secure that coveted top spot on the comment list (you might even beat Carrie if you’re REALLY quick!) – that top spot means that all who come after you will see your comment when they get to the bottom of the post. You quickly write a hilarious comment and submit, there! You’re the first, hurrah!…but wait…what’s this? Noooo!!!! You had forgotten that they are one of those bloggers who have their comment order set in reverse so that new comments always go to the top rather than stacking underneath, and slowly, slowly, your comment gets pushed further down and down…Sigh.

The search terms

Child with magnifying glass
This is another source of great amusement for us bloggers. On the stats page we get to see what search terms people entered into search engines that led them to our blog. Usually we can understand how that term led them to us, other times it’s like “What?! Well they’re going to be extremely disappointed if they think they’re going to find anything about THAT here!” Most of the search terms in my blog continue to be about fudge because as you know, I am the wise woman of fudge.

Some search terms that led to my blog in the last month…

- what happens when i put my gooey alien in the fridge
- israel xxl fat kids
- do the people in corfu look like normal people
- is a bushbaby one who clear paths on a safari
- do bears have uvulas?
- do jellyfish have uvulas?
- octopus smoking
- seagull parenting
- if I ask vanessa about my fudge will it go hard

And finally…

On a different subject, don’t forget you have until Monday to enter for the chance of winning an Amazon gift card on my last post, by playing with Lorna!

What do you have to say about blogging then huh?

photo credits:
Blogging sign - Scott Beale via photopin cc
Funny spam – Joelstuff V4 via photopin cc
Race winning - Mitchell Media via photopin cc
Boy searching - woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

Come and Play with Lorna to Win an Amazon Gift Card!

Lorna Lee talking

Would you like to meet Lorna? Would you like to play a game called Truth or Fiction? Would you like to win a £10 (approx $16 USD) Amazon Gift card? Of course you would!

Lorna Lee has just written and published her second book, a wonderful novel called Never Turn Backwhich I LOVED. 

Never Turn Back

It is based on the life of her grandmother and is part fiction, part reality, which is what led Lorna and I to come up with this genius idea of playing Truth or Fiction. I’m SO excited to play this!

First, let’s meet the lady herself. Hello Lorna, welcome, could you please tell everyone about the game?

Hi Vanessa, thank you, yes certainly I can, but first maybe we should tell them about…

Hang on! Sorry to interrupt, but I’m too excited! I’ll just tell everyone about the game myself! Is that ok?

Er, well yes, but maybe first we should tell them about the bo…

Wait! First we should tell them about the book. I’m surprised you didn’t think of that Lorna!

Indeed, glad YOU thought of that Vanessa. Ok, here’s the book blurb:

Meri Vaarsara had a dream and something to prove. She also had incredibly bad fortune and even worse timing.

Her dream was to become a famous fashion designer in Paris, a dream born from a need to prove herself worthy of love and a happy life, something her stern Finnish mother never fostered but her seafaring father always knew was hers for the taking. So at the tender age of eighteen, Meri left the security of her family and her home for a country where she didn’t speak the language and she didn’t know a soul.

Paris in the late 1920s was not friendly to immigrants, even those with extraordinary talents. Forced to find work as a domestic, Meri forged ahead through turns of fate and misfortune as Paris braced for Hitler’s invasion. By choice, Meri becomes a single mother caring for her half-Jewish daughter throughout the occupation of France. Once the war was over, she used her feminine wiles to find her way to America, the land of milk and honey, with the hope of finally being able to work as a designer in a New York fashion house. But that too was not to be, until fate and a kind stranger stepped in to help.

Great, thanks Lorna. Now do you want to tell them about the game? Oh no wait, I’m too excited! I’ll tell them! No, you tell them…go on!

Ok, well if you’re sure. I’m going to read out eight statements about myself, and some of them will be tr…

Hush now Lorna, I need to tell them about the game!

But you sai…

Sshhh! Some of the statements will be true and some will be fiction, and all everyone has to do is guess which are which! The person who gets the most right wins, and if there’s a tie then we’ll do a random drawing from those! Anyway, go ahead with the statements Lorna, we haven’t got all day.

Whatever you say Vanessa, right…

1. I hate chocolate and never eat it.

2. In my spare time, I crochet afghans (the blankets, not the people).

3. I have been struck by lightning twice.

4. My biggest phobia is of worms.

Worm saying he won't hurt Lorna

5. I am so enamoured with gorgeous blonde cultural icons, that my engagement ring is a replica of Princess Diana’s ring.

6. As someone who loves and respects language, I ensure that I always use proper English in my blog posts.

7. Since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to have a large family.

8. I am a non-violent, Buddhist who happens to be a great shot with a pistol.

Thanks Lorna! Now, tell them that regular followers of your blog, and those who have read your memoir, may be at an advantage with some of those.

Erm, well I think you already…

Also tell them that they have until Monday, November 17, to submit their answers using this form (nobody else will be able to see what is entered and submitted using the form) -

Again Vanessa, I don’t think I need to tell them because you already tol…

Tell them that the contest is open to anyone, from anywhere in the world, and the winner will receive a £10 (or equivalent in their currency) Amazon Gift Card. Go on, tell them!

You want me to repeat what you just said?

Oh I’m so excited! Anyway, no need to tell them those things Lorna, I already did, why would you want to repeat what I’ve already said?

Good point Vanessa, good point. Sigh.

And finally, tell them where they can buy Never Turn Back from. Never mind, I’ll tell them, you’ll probably just get it wrong:


And they can also read my review of the book on those links.

Well thank you so much for stopping by Lorna. A little bit of advice for you – in future try to be a bit more prepared, I had to cover your back a few times there, I don’t think anyone will have noticed though.

Sure Vanessa, I’ll keep that in mind, thanks for having me, and good luck with the contest everyone!

Things I Don’t Like That Happen in Restaurants

Man with sandwich board outside restaurant

1. When the server memorises your order rather than writing it down. It makes me nervous. Listen buddy, I didn’t come here to be impressed by your incredible feats of memory, I just want you to get our order right, and I’d feel much more relaxed about that if you wrote it down, ok?

2. When you finally decide what to order after having turned the waiter away an embarrassing number of times, and then it turns out they’ve now run out of that thing because you took so long, so rather than going to your second choice, you panic order something that hadn’t even made it into your final shortlist of five, something that you don’t even like, but once you’ve said the words it’s too late, you would look a fool if you said “No, wait! I don’t like that!” Far better to eat and pay for something you can’t stand.

3. When you order a load of drinks and they add it up in their head, far too quickly for my liking, and throw a random figure at you. Well ok, it’s probably not a random figure, but it may as well be for all the confidence I have in it. Again, I don’t need a demonstration of your impressive mental arithmetic skills my good man, I just want to know that you’re charging us the right amount!

Vanessa looking at drinks

Ok wait, nobody drink anything else until I’ve added this up myself…

4. When they think you’re stupid. I had a waiter in a restaurant once try to convince me that spinach turns white when you cook it. This was in response to me questioning why my spinach risotto was completely white. Seriously.

5. If you’ve gone to a restaurant with a group of people, and you deliberately only order a small bowl of soup and a glass of tap water in order to keep your costs down, and others have had lobster, filet mignon, a crate of wine each followed by aged whiskey, and then someone says “Let’s just split the bill equally, it’s much easier that way!” Yeah, much easier for you if I pay six times as much as my meal actually cost!

6. This is one for my fellow introverts – when you’ve gone to a restaurant because it’s your birthday, and despite you giving strict instructions to the people you are with NOT to tell the server it’s your birthday, they do anyway while you are momentarily distracted by a falling napkin, and next thing you know, you’re being forced to lead a balloon and pineapple dance around the restaurant wearing a penis hat and doing monkey impressions, whilst everyone sings a hilarious alternative version of Happy Birthday and throws peanuts at you.

7. When you’re with people who want to try your meal, and want you to try theirs, and they start shovelling forkfuls of their meal onto your plate and then they’re cutting bits off your meal and loading it onto their plate. No. I’ve ordered this because this is what I wanted. You ordered that because presumably that is what you wanted. If I wanted that I’d have ordered that and if you wanted this, then you should have ordered this!

8. When the meals arrive and you wish you’d ordered what the person next to you has got. But that doesn’t mean you want to start swapping some of yours for some of theirs, oh no no no, number 7 above still applies, got it?

I know at this point, you’re probably thinking “Gee that Vanessa sounds like a real joy to go out with!” so in order to redress the balance, I will finish on a positive note and tell you something that I DO like when I go out to restaurants…

- I like it when numbers 1 to 8 above don’t happen.

There, see, I AM fun to go out with after all!

Vanessa grinning

photo credit (top photo of man with sandwich board) : pheezy via photopin cc

What Constitutes a Hand Cream Emergency?


Whilst browsing the backside of my hand cream tube (you know how much I enjoy reading packaging, as demonstrated here and here), I was amused to see a phone number to call “In case of emergency”. This got me wondering what might constitute a hand cream emergency? They can’t be talking about some kind of medical emergency like a severe allergic reaction, because in that instance you would surely seek proper medical attention, not just call a number on the back of the tube right? No, can’t be that, so what can it be? Maybe one of these situations…

1. Your hands are suddenly unusually dry, you reach urgently for the hand cream, only to discover the tube is empty! What do you do? Well you call the emergency number of course, and they will no doubt rush you an emergency supply over, pronto.

2. You do that thing where you accidentally apply too much hand cream and after rubbing your hands together for quite some time, they are still way too greasy to do anything with. What do you do? Do you keep rubbing your hands together for longer? Do you grab a cloth of some kind to wipe the excess off? Or do you decide to spread it further by extending your rubbing zone beyond your hands, right up your arms across your back and down your legs? You can’t possibly make that decision alone, no, you need advice from the hand cream emergency team.

Hand cream emergency lady

See what lovely hands she has? She can help with all your hand cream emergencies.

3. You are distracted while squeezing your tube of hand cream and totally miss your hands, a dollop lands on the carpet, or the couch, or your clothing. Oh no! Can you just rub it in? No, you can’t do that, it’ll stain…won’t it? You’re not sure. Can you grab some tissue and blot it it? That probably won’t be enough…or will it? You think you might have read somewhere about a paste you can make involving baking soda and vinegar…or was it lemon juice and borax? No, white wine! What ARE the ingredients to that hand cream removing paste you read about damn it! You need to act quickly or it will be too late. If only there was an emergency number you could call. Oh, wait.

4. You realise that you’ve spent way too much time thinking about hand cream and may need to reassess your priorities. Who can you talk this crisis through with? Yep, you’ve guessed it.

Any other hand cream emergencies you can think of? Or any other non-emergency emergencies you can think of? Or any other strange things on packaging you’ve spotted to feed my obsession?

Photo credits:
Top photo of hand cream: Vanessa-Jane Chapman
Call centre lady: via photopin cc

When Advertisers Get It Wrong, Especially You, California

Some of you may have seen this picture circulating on social media recently. It’s particularly worrying that it’s an advertisement for an educational establishment…

Education poster

You just think “Really? Nobody noticed before it went out?” However, Salesian College in Farnborough probably doesn’t have a particularly large advertising budget. But what about the California Travel and Tourism Commission? They presumably have a pretty significant advertising budget, they are after all representing a whole state. They probably spent a pretty hefty sum of money on this advertisement in 2011 trying to encourage people to visit California. Do you remember it? It was shown on TV here in the UK, and no doubt in many other parts of the world too. Overall I think they did a pretty good job of making California seem like a fun place to visit, but why did none of the people involved in making the ad spot the big fail in the very first sentence:

If you’re not inclined to watch it right now, the first sentence is “People have a lot of misconceptions about California, but none of them are really true.” Hmmm. Anybody see what’s wrong with that? Some people blamed Kim Kardashian, the utterer of those words for the error, but that’s probably a little unfair, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t responsible for the script. Although having said that, she is reading a book about Quantum Physics in the ad, so you’d think she’d have been able to spot and point out the error in the words she was being asked to say.

What about this one, on the first reading all seems well, but give it a minute, think about it…

Action banner
Presumably they’re using some kind of brain washing tactics?

This next one isn’t strictly an advertisement, but a sign printed on a shop door. A friend posted it on Facebook and added the comment – “That’s a bit mean, considering they are working for charity and everything!” -

Shop dog sign

He was of course referring to the bottom line, which if you can’t read properly with the glare says “No dogs accept guide dogs.” Ha!

And finally I must give mention to supermarket giant Sainsburys who blundered in a different way here in the UK last week when they accidentally put a poster up in the window of one of their stores that was clearly meant to be posted only in staff rooms -

Sainsburys 50p poster

It says “Let’s encourage every customer to spend an additional 50p during each shopping trip between now and the year-end.” I have to say I was a little shocked by this. I guess I must be somewhat naive, because whilst I understand that businesses are of course always looking for ways to get customers to spend more, I didn’t think they would be so brazen as to produce a poster about it like that. Makes me wonder what kinds of methods the staff will be using to encourage this extra 50p spend on every shop. Any ideas?

Have you spotted any advertising blunders lately?

Meeting Another Blogger

Vanessa with JM

Last week I met one of my bestest blogging pals from the States for the first time, jmmcdowell, hurrah! I had heard a few months before that she and her husband were planning a trip to England, so of course I insisted on a meeting. She tried to put me off with cries of “Oh but surely you’re far too busy!” But no. I wasn’t. And so she had no choice. Leading up to the day I was excited and a little nervous about meeting her, not that there was anything particular about her that would make me nervous, but as an introvert, meeting new people is always a bit scary! Would I be awkward and stuck for things to say? Would I chatter on incessantly in an overcompensating-for-my-introvertedness way and not let her get a word in? Would JM be happy with the British weather and British food during her visit (both of which I obviously felt personally responsible for. Thankfully both weather and food were fine thus far at the time of our meeting. Phew), but most importantly, would those people on the table behind us mind being in our photo?

I needn’t have worried. Both JM and her husband were lovely, and it was a pleasure for Neil and I to meet both of them, there were no awkward silences and hopefully I didn’t chatter on maniacally too much (I’m sure JM would be far to gracious to say anything if I had!). It was early on in their trip when we met them, and I’m very much looking forward to hearing how the rest of it went. I won’t say anything about where we met, or what they did on their trip because I think JM will want to talk about what they did on her own blog, so look out for that any day now (no pressure JM to get on and post about it quickly ok? Just ANY DAY NOW is fine). Meeting a blogger that I’ve been following and reading for a long time felt a bit like meeting a celebrity – JM likened it to meeting a pen pal which is also a good comparison. So kind of like meeting a celebrity pen pal. There.

Have you met any fellow bloggers before? Or any celebrities? Or any pen pals? Or any blogging celebrity pen pals?



I haven’t been around blog world for about a month now, and I’ve missed you all. I was busy finishing off my last two essays and dissertation, and so had to stay right away from blog posts to avoid distraction. Yesterday I handed it all in and I’m finished, hurrah!!! It was definitely a challenge doing it in one year rather than the three years that was the more usual option, but I’m so pleased that I chose that route because now I’m finished, hurrah!!! (Did I say that already?).

In the year of my course I wrote six 4,000 word essays and one 18,000 word dissertation, obviously it’s all the reading and research around each one that takes the most time. With each essay, and the dissertation, I seemed to go through the same kind of anxiety pattern, and I decided to turn that into a chart for your entertainment (To read it, you’ll probably have to click on it to open it up bigger, unless you’re on a phone or other small device in which case you’re going to struggle to read it whatever, and therefore I wouldn’t bother trying, just accept that you would have really liked it if you’d been able to read it, so just smile and nod).

Essay anxiety chart

What’s been happening in blog world then? I clearly won’t be able to catch up on all the posts I missed, but I will gradually make my rounds and visit my regulars. In the meantime, if there are any posts you wrote (or saw) in the last month that you really think I should read, then by all means pop a link to them in the comments and I shall endeavour to visit soon.

Hope everyone is well, and I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things around here again now!


Disconnected Reflections As I Enter The Home Straight

Equality does not mean justice

This picture is a good representation of some of the issues I’ve looked at. There are so many versions of it online I don’t know where it originated in order to credit properly

We’ll be back to some funny stuff around here soon, but not yet. I’m nearing the end of my Masters Degree, and over the year that I’ve been working on it, I’ve kept note of little facts and quotes that I’ve found interesting, or things that I’ve learned which I wanted to remember because they’ll be useful in other contexts. There are far too many to share in one post, so I’ve selected a few…

I’ve learned that:

- If I reach the point where I feel blocked in my writing, whether from writing exhaustion, or lack of inspiration, and I’m just staring at a blank screen, I can break through that block by simply changing something physical about what I’m doing. This usually means either picking up my laptop and moving to a different room, or switching to writing a few paragraphs in longhand on paper instead (yes, I still have to type it up later, but it’s worth it just to break through the block). I can’t fully express quite how incredibly effective this method is for me. Previously I would have either taken a break, or switched to a different task, but this way I can carry right on with what I’m doing which is sometimes what needs to be done.

- Goal setting doesn’t work for me. I always knew this really but because it’s repeatedly put forward as the best way to achieve things, I kept doing it, and kept feeling like a failure when I didn’t achieve my goals. During my course I read an article by Joanna Swann who is fiercely opposed to the practice of goal and target setting; she speaks particularly about the field of education, but what she says can be applied wider. In short, she puts forward an alternative method of achieving what needs to be achieved, by articulating it as a series of problems that need to be resolved rather than goals or targets that need to be met. Clearly everybody is different, but what she said really resonated with me and it’s worked when I’ve put it into practice. (I have already mentioned this to a few other bloggers individually).

- When I’ve completed a writing session, it’s worth spending a couple of minutes jotting down where I had got to in my thought process and what I was planning to write about next. It makes it much easier to get right back into it next time. It’s so easy to forget where we were in our thought process if we leave it, even for a day.


A picture from one of my study days at home – not too shabby right?

A couple of quotes I liked:

- “We become conscious of many of our expectations only when they are disappointed, owing to their being unfulfilled. An example would be encountering an unexpected step in one’s path: it is the unexpectedness of the step which may make us conscious of the fact that we expected to encounter an even surface.” (Karl Popper)

- “He who loses his crown and lives without it is more than a king: from the rank of a king he rises to the rank of a man.” (Jean-Jack Rousseau)

A couple of things that came up which made me think:

- The Chinese (as I understand it) believe that the differences in educational achievement between students are attributed primarily to the different rates at which people learn, and not to different ceilings that people are capable of reaching. Whilst I don’t wholly embrace that view, I do think it’s worth considering in part, especially when we talk about helping children to “reach their full potential” which is a term that I’ve always been a bit uncomfortable with, because I find it actually quite limiting.

- If a teacher said that they had a child of 14 years old in their class who couldn’t read or write very well, or couldn’t add up simple numbers, we would probably describe that child as having special educational needs (or in the UK we would, other countries have other terms of course). Whereas if a teacher said they had a child of 14 years old on their class who wasn’t very good at composing music, or remembering dates in history, we wouldn’t attribute that to special needs, we’d just say that different people are good at different things.  So some subjects are deemed to be the deciders of whether people have something wrong with them or not. There are reasons behind that of course, but it’s still worth a little ponder before we make those judgments.

Studying with the cat

Another study day, with help from the cat

Right, better get back to those essays now…

Hurry Back Valerie

Me and girls in France

From L to R: Me, Emmanuelle, Joanne, Valerie. France, 1976, shortly before we moved up to the mountain.

Visitors to the mountain were extremely rare. In fact, aside from the night that I’m about to recount, I can only remember one other occasion in the year when we had visitors, but that’s a tale for another day.

The other children and I slept in the same room. We had a motley assortment of beds and mismatched bedding, and I was in charge of making the beds every morning. We generally slept well after our daily wanders in the mountain air. On this particular night, we had gone to bed. As usual. And drifted off easily. As usual. I couldn’t tell you what time it was, but sometime after we had fallen asleep, we were awoken by the sound of loud bangs. Pounding bangs. We sprang up sharply in our beds. Confused. Fearful. More bangs. After some whispered discussion we concluded that it must be someone at the door. Somebody was pounding at the door. Who? It wasn’t a noise we were used to.

We sat very still. Unsure. Afraid. Shortly afterwards, we heard the adults lumber down the stairs. More bangs. Raised voices . The door must have been opened because the banging stopped, and new voices were heard. Muffled. We couldn’t make out what was being said, and people were shouting over each other.

Next, the sound of something being dragged. Furniture being moved? Why? Doors being open and closed. Still the raised voices. What was happening? Why was nobody coming to tell us what was happening? We had instinctively clustered together on the same bed now and held each other tightly. Joanne said that she would creep down the stairs a little to peep. Joanne was brave, but we said she was too young, so Valerie went instead. We urged caution, and let her go. We waited. Clutched each other in the darkness. Hurry back Valerie.

After a short amount of time, she scampered back in. She didn’t speak until she was right back into our huddle, and in urgent hushed tones announced “C’est la police!”

This is my fourth memoir piece from the year I spent as a child living self-sufficiently with my mother and another family in an abandoned village in the French Alps, with no electricity, or any modern conveniences. If you missed the previous parts, they are here: A year in the French Alps