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» Tightwads

Another sad au pair story
I too worked as an au pair, for the pathetic sum of £35 per week when I was 17. The family I worked for were incredibly wealthy, and I moved to Paris with them for 3 months.
At 5'2 and about 7 stone I wasn't exactly a greedy bastard, but they inexplicably wouldn't feed me properly. They expected me to feed myself out of my £35 a week, but as I was only given time off for one afternoon, it was almost impossible to buy any food.
I couldn't eat with the parents, so was often stuck in the kitchen with 3 kids under 6, and had to eat their leftovers! As I often cooked their supper, I'd put bits aside for myself. It's really shocking remembering this.
I had to share a bedroom with their horrible 6 year old kid. I was allowed 5 hours off a week.
The last straw came when I had to go on holiday to the south of france with them.
Stuck in the middle of nowhere, I was not allowed to use the phone in the chateau we were staying in, to find out my A-level results.
So I asked for a couple of hours off, and walked in the baking midday sun into the nearest town, and rang my mum. My results weren't ready, there was a cock-up. 'Ring back at 3 o'clock, they think they'll be ready then'.
So, you guessed it, I walked back to the chateau, got on with more chores, then, again, left at 2 to get into town (they had a car and it would have taken them 5 minutes to drop me there) and finally got my A-level results. My mum and best friend whooped down the phone, I had done brilliantly, against all expectations.
I walked back, and into their extended boozy family lunch.
'How did you do?' the mother disinterestedly asked.
I smiled broadly and told them.
The nasty little six year old sneered at me and shouted 'That's nothing, I got a gold star in my English test at school!'.

When it was my time to leave them, they wouldn't give me the £50 I needed to get the train and ferry home, as they'd agreed in the beginning. So my wonderful older sister, who had come to pick me up on her way back from a trip with friends, paid for me to get home.

I laughed with total relief and hysteria all the way home.

I've never met such a miserable, nasty bunch of losers in my life. Even the baby was a miserable cow. Apparently the kids grew up to be very troublesome and out of control.

(Mon 27th Oct 2008, 13:09, More)

» Family codes and rituals

Words as rituals

Dooshkadoo – said quietly while walking along, while happy

Nutbutler – an idiot. Can also be used as a verb.

Bestings – Money. From ‘best in fives’, no idea where my sister got this as a toddler, but she was apparently insistent that was the phrase for money.

Betterfit – short for ‘it would be better if’ – ‘betterfit we had a quicker way to work’

Triangle – mispronounced mysteriously in a French accent by unfortunate sister as a teenager, now used as a trump card in a disagreement with her, even by senior family members.

When holding my mum’s hand when little, she would shoot my arm up in the air and hold it there while loudly and publicly saying how naughty I was for holding my arm up and not letting it down. She’s getting dafter too.

Just before me and the old man got married, his Grandpa asked his brother if we were well suited. His reply was that it was hard to tell because we spent most of the time with each other crouched on the floor laughing so hard we couldn’t speak. His Grandpa was apparently very happy with that. Two very silly families, united in our love of taking the piss. Aw.
(Fri 21st Nov 2008, 15:58, More)

» Family codes and rituals

Flicking the Vs
Just remembered the best one: after being given a bollocking, me and my sis would be sent upstairs, and the tradition started of flicking the Vs in the direction of our parents as soon as we were out of sight. We confessed to our parents in our twenties, and now the whole family does it when someone's being a boring wanker. Works especially on the stairs. Classy.
(Fri 21st Nov 2008, 16:09, More)

» Common

Baffling pronunciation
My Grandmother pronounced launch (as in boat launch),'larnch'. We didn't question it, as any reference to how a person chooses to speak would also have been seen as irretrievably common.

She also refused to say the words lunch and fiancee.
(Tue 21st Oct 2008, 19:42, More)