Monday, 30 April 2007

Pole dancing in the hayloft or an unexpected excursion

It is a gloriously sunny day here in the heartland of deepest Brittany, a fact that is extremely welcome after so much rain . The storm clouds all seem to have disappeared, so my head is feeling mercifully a little lighter. A good job too, me thinks as the entire house seems to have gone to pot whilst I have been suffering bravely in my bed of pain!

I came down to breakfast this morning to an empty kitchen still scattered with the remnants of last nights repas, the children not up from their beds and the door still un-mended. It would appear in the absence of myself and the chief patissier Madame Grognonne chose to neglect her duties as housekeeper in favour of entertaining a follower of all things ! One Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch no less if I surmise correctly!!

Evidence of this was everywhere, in the red stains from spilled eau de vie on the tablecloth, the 6 empty vodka bottles , the half washed dishes and the presence of a large pair of red leather knee high riding boots propped by the range. I am rather loathe to picture where the owner of the boots may be at the present moment for fear of my headache returning. However, since his black felt hat and highly embroidered waistcoat have been abandoned in an obvious trail across the yard in the direction of the hayloft I can only ponder on whether Madame Grognonne has embarked upon a course of late night Polish lessons. I do hope her studies do not include anything as vigorous as a Mazurka as the hay loft floor was never designed for folk dancing by some one of her proportions!

Had she chosen to leave the maison in such a slovenly state in order to perfect her jousting skills or take herself to our archery butts I may well have felt less aggrieved, for a healthy mind must needs come first from a healthy body and I am quite used to the sight of her appearing from the ornamental pond decked in weeds after a bit of early morning scuba diving amongst the goldfish but this THIS!! It is a sheer dereliction of duty and an extremely poor example to set les enfants. Further more I shall not hesitate tell her so at the earliest opportunity.

I was forced to fetch the children out of bed and command eldest to dress and bathe the younger two whilst I sought out Chief Patissier to take them all to school. Chief Patissier is “faire-ing a pont today” as tomorrow, being Mayday is a public holiday here in France. To Faire the pont (build a bridge) is a pleasant French custom whereby if there is a holiday close to the weekend then a real break is made of it and an extra day is taken. We have so many bank holidays in the month of May quite frankly everyone might as well stay at home. August is just as bad as the entire country goes on les vacances and nothing is done until September has begun.

These thoughts reminded me to send Chief patissier to call into the bar tabac on the way home and collect Gilles, who will undoubtedly be there, “comme d’habitude”, having an early morning absinthe. Absinthe is banned in France, some silliness on the part of the government I fear, but that has never been a thing to overly worry our local hostilier who keeps a cellar of the stuff and sells the odd glass to faithful frequenters of his bar. He almost came a cropper when a new gendarme arrived and was offered a glass before revealing his true identity and attempting to perform a arrest for the sale of noxious substances and endangering public health and safety! Fortunately for the bar keeper the gendarmes body was found some weeks later floating in the river with his pockets filled with stones. So the authorities were none the wiser. I am always telling the children to be very cautious when playing near water, obviously this poor gendarmes mother was not as assiduous in her childrearing as I have been!

To tell the truth I think Chief Patissier had chosen to faire the Pont in order to avoid taking his midday meal at the “Petit Chevre” in the village, where he has recently taken to eating during the week. I suspect this ruse is a means of avoiding a meeting with Antoine and Jean Claude who, since the last night of the play, seem to be getting along like a house on fire, something which, for some reason I am quite at a loss to fathom, has discombobulated Chief Patissier no end.

Chief patissier having returned with Gilles, Gilles having fixed the electrical system admirably with a piece of gum and some bailing twine he happened to have about his person and then excused himself to return to the bar for a mid morning absinthe. I took stock of what the day must hold for us and how we were to achieve all that must be done without the presence of Madame Grognonne and without alerting Chief patissier to the latter’s absence .

Since Chief patissier seemed so intent to stay chez nous all day under my feet I have set him to mending the door and cutting the lawn as well as tackling the other myriad chores that require attention with such a large residence as our own to maintain. Perhaps with hind site this was not altogether a wise move on my part. He appeared shortly afterwards at the window bearing an entire branch of my magnolia which he had managed to decapitate with the lawnmower . This must have been some feat as it is such a magnificent specimen tree, standing at least 15 feet tall and he is mere 5 feet 8 inches in his stocking feet , added to which the lawnmower is, or so I am led to believe ,quite heavy. One can only imagine that he and the lawnmower were airborne a the time.

Lunch time approached with still no sign of either Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch nor Madame Grognonne. I had earlier taken the precaution of removing the trail of clothes and secreting them by the well where I hoped they would discover them. I am convinced after his reaction to the mere sight of the Polish émigré yesterday that, if my dear husband discovers that Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch has been up all night teaching Madame Grognonne to conjugate her Slavic vowels and thus preventing her from preparing his breakfast this morning, he will take the pitch fork to both of them. I am not you understand concerned for Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch, whom I am sure is quite capable of fending for his own well being, but good housekeepers are hard to find here and I do not wish to be left to peel my own potatoes should Madame Grognonne be incapacitated in anyway !

I hit upon the plan of persuading Chief Patissier to accompany me on my errands. This had the added bonus of proving me with someone to carry my parcels and excusing me from the onerous chore of preparing a luncheon for us both chez nous.

We drove, therefore, to the next town day and had a fine meal at the local inn after which I carried out the weeks shopping at the bustling market. It is wonderful; that a small excursion into the world of commerce in search of trifles can lift ones spirits so! Even with Chief Patissier walking behind with the baskets being most grumpy and tiresome.

I am not, as you will understand, accustomed to organizing the menu for the household myself, under normal circumstances as in all well run households, Madame Grognonne presents me with the weeks menu each lundi matin and I invariably approve it, unless, of course , I have a particular fancy for a specific dish, in which case we take a walk the pair of us to the village shops to purchase whatever comestibles are deemed necessary.

However this morning I have quite enjoyed myself at playing the little housewife I have lodged in my ample panniers a fine assortment of delicacies from which she will one hopes concoct something delightful ! Three kilos of tripe, such a pretty creamy colour, I have never tasted it but it looks delightful, a large punnet of strawberries, 2 cantaloupe melons ,a kilo and a half of gherkins ,and a slightly over ripe ox tongue. What else could a good cook ask for, or even a middling cook such as she for that matter!

We are en route chez nous at this moment via the school where we shall delightfully surprise the boys by collecting them in the motorcar, such a treat! I am looking forward to a nice refreshing pot of tea on our return, always presuming Madame Grognonne has recovered her decorum and ousted her pole from the premises! If this is not the case I can see I shall have to think quickly and devise copious reasons for us to continue to circle the village in the motorcar until she has done so.

I leave you now my dear petite vache as ever your affectionate un peu Loufoque.
For those of you who may be interested the photograph is of the previous owners of Chief Patissiers motor car, Monseuir du Bagnole and his charming wife. They are rather eccentric local chicken farmers and had purchased the vehicle originally to provide housing for for some of their more discerning poultry. Chief Patissier persuaded them to sell it to him for 145 francs and a years supply of gallettes which I think you will agree was quite a bargain!

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch comes to call !

I slept fitfully last night and what little sleep I had was filled with anxious dreams wherein Chief patissier was fighting with Antoine for Jean Claude’s bombard whilst standing on an up turned barrel. The three of them were treading on the bagpipes which kept changing into a highland cow with a metal bucket on its head the way things do in dreams. The noise cacophony was so loud it woke me up and it was then I discovered that the kafuffle was in fact a rather unpleasant combination of heavy thunder and the Chief Patissier’s raucous ronfler (snoring) .

For the second morning in succession I have awoken affected with a most irksome pain in my head, caused in part by the terrible metrological weather patterns with which we have been experiencing. The high pressure brings thunder and rain but with no lightening since the day of Madame Grognonne’s accident and I feel if we do not have some soon my poor brain may explode. My entire being is charged with electricity sufficient I joked weakly, despite my immense discomfort I do try to put on a brave face, to power all of central Brittany . Madame Grognonne suggested I try pushing my fingers into the socket in the kitchen and see if I could revive our own failed power supply. I do try and retain a sense of humour about me even at the most difficult times but I found this rather unfeeling of her.

Gilles the electrician has promised to return Chez Nous this morning to repair the water heating system so tonight at least I hope be able to bathe in comfort.

We are expecting an important visitor this morning a Polish émigré who has been engaged to teach Eldest the rudiments of his native tongue. I myself, of course, speak some Polish but my vocabulary is rather limited to simple phrases such as “Sprawiać przyjemność “( please) , “Dziękują” ( thank you) and Kopalnia jest wielki jed z lodem”(Mine is a large one with ice). All of which I learnt from a Polish air force pilot in my youth.

None of us were in the best of humours this morning. Chief patissier seems to have had some disagreement with Antoine after the play and they are sulking like school boys and I ,of course am feeling justifiably delicate due to my headache.

Neither of our tempers were helped this morning by Madame Grognonne who insisted on crashing and banging around the kitchen preparing Kolachky biscuits for our visitor using so she assured me traditional polish methods. This may be true but I can not be persuaded that they truly required the use of 12 saucepans an bullwhip and a litre of vodka in their preparation.

Having heard of our new tutors antecedence , Madame Grognonne, has unearthed a Polish recipe book from goodness knows where and is busy translating it into French with the help of a Finnish dictionary and a great deal of guesswork. I did hope, Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch, for that is his name , is feeling hungry as , peering over Madame G’s shoulder, I noted the recipe stated the quantity should be sufficient for 250 biscuits. Before I could suggest she might consider reduced the quantities slightly Chief Patissier, appeared in he kitchen and sniffing the aroma of cooking, stormed out in a huff saying that foreign patisseries have no place in our lives. Regarding the state of the kitchen I must say I quite see his point.

My ill temper was further enraged by youngest bursting into the bathroom to clean his teeth whilst I was cogitating there and slamming the door behind him. As a result of which he and I were locked in there together for an hour before Madame Grognonne deigned to answered my cries for help. Youngest, ever resourceful, filled the entire duration of our incarceration perfecting his high pitched dolphin calls which I am sure would be extremely useful if we ever needed to call a dolphin. Since we are an hour from the sea in every direction I think it is hardly likely we will ever have to utilize this unusual skill too frequently. His persistence did not improve my headache one small jot !

At the pre ordained hour our new Polish friend Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch arrived bearing with him a bottle of his very own eau de vie made from cherries to his own recipe and together with a map and photographs of his homeland. At the sight of the bottle, I was unfortunately reminded of the German Rhubarb wine incident and forced to leave the room hurriedly and take refuge inte h lavatory, which I do hope he did not find too rude of me.

Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch was dressed for the occasion in his national costume, which appears to consist of a great quantity of very colourful felt garments all highly embroidered , which bearing in mind the nations propensity to imbibe alcohol and the absorbent qualities of felt can only have be viewed as an act of sheer genius on the part of their costume designers I feel! He was overwhelmed at the sight of Madame Grognonne , whom he had never seen before, her hair in a scarf and face powered with sugar and he quite swooned when she presented him with her Kolachky biscuits. He embraced her firmly, calling her his little” BARYŁECZKA”, I can assure you I do not jest when I tell you it is a rare fellow who can call Madame Grognonne a little dumpling and live to tell the tale!

On hearing Alexis Vlodaflodavodavitch’s arrival ,Chief Patissier returned briefly to meet him and introduce himself. Alexi on seeing the master of the House return, promptly leapt to his feet kissed him enthusiastically on both cheeks, extolling the wonders of Madame Grognonne’s mouth watering Kolachky as he did so. Chief Patissier was unmoved by such unmanly emotions and promptly left for second time that morning slamming the door behind him. Ah me!

Our little émigré told us a lot about his countries long and proud history, of his great sadness at having to leave it and the atrocities that its greater neighbors have over the centuries inflicted upon it. We were all greatly moved as we sat and watched him crying into his vodka.

When I kindly suggested Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch stay to lunch Madame Grognonne was uncharacteristically animated and whisked up a splendid repas of Bortsch. Indyk Nadziewany Rodzynkami and Kasza within minutes. Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch produced a third bottle of his cherry liquor from his knapsack and the children laid the table so that we might all continue our education over lunch. I felt a little demoralized when Chief Patissier returned briefly saw Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch sitting in his pace at the head of the table and marched off again slamming the door so hard this time that glass fell out , thus making it plain to all and sundry that he cared naught for my pain at all!

I fear that at this her first exposure to the new language Eldest did not learn a lot in the way of Polish . although she can now say ” Mijają przecinać sprawiają przyjemność moje szkło jest puste “in quite a passable accent. When she will have cause to use it other than here at home I am unsure.

The meal over and my poor head reeling I set Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch to mending the door whilst Madame Grognonne and the children commenced washing the dishes. I decided it wise to retire to my room and lie in the dark and rest.I had had, I felt, quite enough of the entente cordiale for one day.

A precise translation of “ Mijają przecinać sprawiają przyjemność moje szkło jest puste “ is difficult due to regional diffeneces in pronounciation and the use of patios in the language. However roughly it means, in terms, “Would you kindly pass the Vodka comrade as my glass would appear to be empty”. The illustration above is of Polish dancers, in traditional dress similar to that worn by Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch. Obviously he was wearing the mans costume.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

The last night of the play or Une Nuit Blanche

Last night was the last night of the play and I went along to join in the frivolity afterwards and see what improvements have been made after the extra hours of practise that Antoine and the chief patissier have put in this week.

I decided to walk as, even though it is not a pleasant evening and the sky boded well for rain, I felt far safer to do so than risk the temptation of driving back having partaken of intoxicating beverages.

I took Madame Grognonne to accompany me, I know this may appear a tad foolhardy on my part but if I had to walk home in the dark it was safer to have her with me as a guardian than being shot ,on my return ,having been mistaken by her as an unwanted intruder. Eldest was to stay at home in charge of the other children and I was confident in her ability to keep them safe…providing they do not play with matches.. or open the door to strangers.. or discover Madame Grognonne’s rife collection.. or eat the rat poison under the sink.. It is, I fear a mothers lot to fret needlessly about such harmless happenstance!

I wore my pale lilac satin pumps and wished ,as I picked my way down the lane, that I had on something a trifle less prone to staining , Yannick had been fruitfully engaged all afternoon in attempting to transport his impressive dung heap from one field to another and the lane was ankle deep in fumier. I must suggest he considers building the thing closer to his pumpkin patch next year and save us all such inconvenience. Luckily my quick thinking saved the day yet again and I prevailed upon Madame Grognonne on her shoulders. We proceeded happily alone with me as her rider encouraging her to greater speed with sharp kicks form my kitten heels. It was by no means awfully elegant , but then neither is cow dung in ones diamante shoe buckles. Added to which of course I was perfectly safe to assume none other than Madeline or Claude might espy me thus , and, since neither’s footwear extends further than wooden clogs, I dare say ,I hardly need fear censure from that court in the area of appropriate comportment and sartorial apparel!

As soon as we reached the high road I commanded Madame Grognonne to gently put me down and we continued our promenade towards the village. Several vehicles passed us en route and stopped to offer us lifts but all were happily refused. I was much enjoying our evening walk, breathing the heady scent of spring and feeling the Frisian of the coming storm in the air. I felt it would do nothing for our popularity within the commune to force others to squeeze up in their seats in order that we might be saved the trouble of a bit of exercise, that and the knowledge that Madame Grognonne’s undergarments still bore a strong whiff of sulphur after the lightening incident which at close quarters and in confined spaces can be quite over powering and nauseating for those unaccustomed to it.

On reaching the outskirts of the village the hubbub from the small theatre was clearly audible and vehicles of all description were packed around the building. I say small theatre but , in truth, compared to facilities in an English village you might think it large. It has a “seating capacity of 600 and a stage large enough to host the biggest concerts, all of which are of course necessary in order to accommodate the tradition Festnoz (evening dances) where more than a thousand dancers may whirl away, arms linked, clogs clattering in a complicated gavotte to the accompaniment of the bagpipes, bombards, accordion, fiddle, clarinet and hurdy-gurdy and of course singers.

I sent Madame Grognonne to secure some seats for us whilst I made my way to the stage door to make my “saluts” and wish them all “merde” in the traditional French manner. I have never been quiet sure why the English wish actors to “break a leg” before the performance. English is such a bizarre language at times is it not?

The play went well and all were on top form although during one scene Clothilde got rather carried away and would have had Jean Claude breaches down had it not been for a timely intervention of chief Patissier and a well aimed bucket of iced water! Antoine ( who you may remember played the part of Clothilde the village postmistress) can hardly be blamed for the incident. for it transpired that some witty rascal had craftily tampered with the wine bottles on the stage Thus when Antoine , who as Clothilde is called upon to drink an entire bottle of wine he found a mixture of Burgundy and Jean Jacques famous 97% proof eau de vie in place of the usual fruit innocuous juice.! Understandably he was rather as a inebriated as a result. Fortunately for all Jean Claude seemed to bear no grudges in fact he and Antoine would appear to be closer than ever. A fact that, for some reason I cannot fathom, would seem to annoy Chief Patissier inordinately.

After the final curtain calls and encores, which naturally included several renditions of Breton songs , some of a rather raucous nature. I left Madame Grognonne to tidy away the makeshift bar and sweep the floor whilst I joined the troop backstage for a celebration.

Perish the thought that any might think me callous in my treatment of Madame Grognonne but as I mentioned earlier the odour of Sulphur which pervades her very sinews does not agree with everyone’s stomach and the party was being held in a particularly hot and cramped room. It was fairer to all that oin this occasion she be gently by firmly excluded.

Thus the evening continued, the chief patissier and friends intent on a traditional nuit blanche ( a night without sleep) by way of celebrating their success, and Madame Grognonne empting glasses with gay abandon. I myself, far too aware as I am of the need for my beauty sleep retuned home alone, arriving at 3 a,m having tripped merrily through the misty lanes in the pale moonlight singing happily to myself the words of that gentle Breton ditty “Le Chevalier lavendre” For those of you who’s education is sadly lacking in the fields of French folk songs I have copied the words below and translated them for your ease. I believe, as a footnote, that an English Singer named paddy Roberts released a passable rendition of the song in English..

It is as follows. I hope you will excuse the lack of musical score as I am feeling a trifle fatigued however please feel free to add your own if you so wish ! Bon Nuit ma puce !

Lavender Cowboy(Paddy Roberts)
Yippee-yi, yippee-yayYippee-yi,
yippee-yo, yippee-yay
Which sounds rather silly,
But every hillbilly,
Spends half his life singing that way

He was just a lavender cowboy
With only three hairs on his chest
And he rode on a fillyCalled Daffy-down-dilly
The prettiest horse in the west

Every morning they went out together
While the others looked on in dismay
For he'd round up the cattleA-riding sidesaddle
Because he preferred it that way

He was just a lavender cowboy
Who committed a terrible sin
He went out on a bender
And slugged a bartender
And stole all the strawberry gin

So the posse was sent out to find him
To bring him back dead or alive
And they knew as they went
They were hot on the scent
By the smell of Chanel Number Five

And they found him a-lying unconscious
With blood running all down his chin'
Til they looked a bit closer
And what do you know sir
They found it was strawberry gin
So they shot the lavender cowboy
And they said, as they laid him to rest
"You'll be happier now boy.
You can't be a cowboy
With only three hairs on your chest."
The photograph shows the sonneurs Jean Marie and Pierre Le Coq playing musical accompaniment at his evening performance. However, please note sitting on a wine vat whilst playing a bombard perched on a rickety chair takes years of training and should not be attempted at home.

Friday, 27 April 2007

The unreliable element or the night the power failed me.

After I left you last night to go and wake up Madame Grognonne and get her to check all the doors and windows before going to bed I had an awful fright. I discovered there was a marked absence of functioning electrical light in the east wing. Luckily I was alerted to the fact by the sound of Madame Grognonne bouncing head first down stairs having carelessly tripping over her Kalashnikov rifle on the landing and thence falling over Oscar the cat (who was busy trying to teach her kittens to abseil down the banisters). Imagine what damage I might have done myself had I not found out sooner! I could very easily have stubbed a toe en route to bed and been incapacitated for weeks. Often I dread to think what would happen to this family should I not be here to run it so efficiently and keep everything in order! As it was the only harm done was a few bullet holes in the plasterwork and a dent in Colonels Kromskys hat which “comme habitude” Mme Grognonne was wearing to bed.

Before I had a chance to investigate the scene further .Chief patissier appeared at the door along with Antoine , he of the famous moustache, each holding up the other for support. It would seem that the nights strenuous rehearsals had taken their toll on them and they were both barely able to stand from exhaustion. None the less full of Bonhomie they had a good old ferret in the junction box. Sadly this resulted in nothing ,save their causing a shower of sparks to shoot form the under stair cupboard against which Madame Grognonne has been resting thus resulting in her one remaining eyebrow catching fire.

To be without light is no great hardship for the practical amongst us , and as ever well set to meet nay emergency, I equipped myself with an oil lamp and guided the weary Chief patissier to our room where he could safely sleep of his evenings exertions. I left Madame Grognonne with a candle in an empty wine bottle with clear instructions to fetch a blanket for Antoine, who by now had fallen into a heavy slumber under the kitchen table and was impossible to stir. Past experiences with Madame Grognonne and a lantern have left me uneasy , (you may remember a rather frightful incident at the “Green Duck” when she accidentally set fire to the lounge bar. I believe the ruins are still smouldering even today. Therefore, having carefully divested Chief Patissier of his undergarments and carefully removing my earrings, which for some strange reason he was wearing, I quietly retraced my steps and retrieved the candle from Madame Grognonne, being of the mind that, should Antoine awake, a very unlikely event in his current state of tiredness, then he would be able to see his way to the bathroom by the light of the dying fire.

Madame Grognonne was rather reluctant to relinquish the candle and it took some time to prise it from her fingers but as I pointed out to her, she hadn’t had a light during her night time raids with the French resistance and yet had still managed to unman 7 German commandos ,wearing nothing but a cotton nightie and a balaclava purely by threatening them with her sabots. For such a woman as she, I declared, a 50 yard walk across the pitch black courtyard and the climb up to the hayloft which serves as her bedroom was nothing! In any event the rain would help ease the pain in her burns which she was still complaining about insistently. I short aside here, I am not awfully “hot” on military linguistics it may be the correct term for what Madame Grognonne did was in fact “ disarm” but I really can not be too sure, I seem to recall they certainly spoke in much higher voices afterward she had tackled them if that is any help in verifying the correct mot,

Oh dear !, I have just re read that last little snippet and I realise with some embarrassment that , due to my sheer ineptitude and anxiety to complete my story I may have misguided you a trifle! I must, therefore, rush to clarify a point ! It was of course, not the 7 German commandos who were clad in nighties but rather Madame Grognonne. The Germans were as far as I remember dressed as Breton milkmaids. No ! I am certain of it for it was a minor discrepancy in their garb that gave them away as frauds! Any Breton could tell immediately that the hats they were wearing, though, certainly made of white lace were obviously the short hats worn by the female fish filiters
s in Finistere and certainly nothing like the high stiff chapeau of the Quimper milkmaids they were trying to carry themselves of as! I am convinced in my own mind that it was silly errors like this , coupled with too much picked cabbage, which resulted in the downfall of the third Reich and the liberation of France from the those Bockworst bully boys in Berlin!.

Anyway the long and short of it is that we are still without a electrical supply in the East wing and therefore no hot water in the taps with which to bathe. I have therefore taken it upon myself to add to my day’s numerous chores, the task of walking to the village to seek out the electrician and persuade him to return with me toute suite and restore our power supply.

As I left I passed Antoine, sitting in an old oil drum filled with hot water from the kettle, in front of the kitchen range with Chief Patissier merrily scrubbing his back as he hummed along to a jolly Breton folk tune. Never have I seen the two of them look so happy and boyish. The only disagreeable fly in this happy little vignette being the scowling face of Madame Grognonne who has been standing at the kitchen sink all morning rubbing hard at her long johns in an effort to remove the scorch marks.

Is that woman never happy I ask myself!
The illustration shows unmarried female fnistere fish filiters in traditional dress of the same style as those worn by the Germans. Of course the married fish filleters lace caps have filigreed anchovy designs which makes it easy to differentiate them from the unmarried girl. This saves a lot of time and embarrassment for the men during the traditional courting season.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

The end of a tiresome day

It has been a trying day, what with Mr Google the schools land agent losing the key to the main door so that everyone coming back after cross country was locked out and everything else that has happened.

We have had tremendous thunderstorms here in our little bit of Brittany today and an awful lot of rain. Sadly when I came back from French classes this morning I found Madame Grognonne had been out practising her Kendo in the garden with the dogs and, what with all the metal reinforcing in her body armour and breast plate (and the fact that she has lost her proper head gear and mask and so was wearing Colonel von Krompts German helmet with the spike on top) made herself a bit of a sitting duck.

Too be fair the lightening only struck her twice and it could just have easily have hit the dogs, which everyone agrees would have been much worse, and the good thing is, of course, that the rain put the fire almost immediately so there was no need for me to get myself grubby by getting the hosepipe out. Her Kendo uniform is a bit scorched in places and I suspect we shall never quite eliminate the faint small of burning in her under garments alas. No doubt we shall get used to it. She is rather upset about her hair which has gone alarmingly frizzy on top as a result and there a few very small bald patches, hardly noticeable at all in truth. I honestly cannot see what the fuss is about after all a little electric shock therapy probably won’t do her too much harm, in fact she has been remarkably docile considering since it happened.

Despite her unfortunate accident this morning I insisted she walk with me to the village after lunch to collect some provisions. I do think an after lunch perambulation is so important for ones health. It is invaluable for the digestion, and in Madame Grognonne’s case it is always wise to try and get her to walk off some of the alcohol in her system before she attempts to prepare the vegetables for the children’s tea. I know some people have reservations about her capabilities , but she is perfectly safe in the kitchen providing someone hides the spirits and the sharp knives.

I wore my long Dior raincoat with the frogging and my rather smart walking shoes and Madame Grognonne a grey felt hat and her black bout de carachoute (Wellingtons). She had thought she might wear the colonels hat again but I persuaded her that that really was just trying to temp fate a touch too far, should we have further inclement weather . The children were all at school of course and the Chief Patissier at work so I was looking forward to a quiet contemplative amble with her to carry the bags.

En route to the village we passed Madeline and Claude’s little pottager where they were busy toiling in the earth. They do not speak French, nor do we speak Breton so we have no common tongue. However I like to think that lack of a shared language should not be allowed to hinder conversation untowardly , so I struck up a hearty discourse with them regarding what they doing.

“What are you growing?” I asked in a loud voice, enunciating clearly and gesticulating with my hands. I find this method invariably works wonders, especially when accompanied with a broad smile. I intimated to Madame Grognonne to take of her hat and smile too. This seemed to disturb our kind neighbours as they hurriedly took a step backwards and crossed themselves, each clutching the others arm.

It appears that we may have had a slight breakdown in communication for some reason as they hurriedly thrust a 25kg sack of seedling potatoes At us , presumably a gift to to plant in our own vegetable plot chez nous. Luckily I had Madame Grognonne with me otherwise I may have had to leave the potatoes behind and thus risk causing offence, which is not a wise idea if one wishes to make ones mark in a small rural community.

Madame Grognonne however merely shifted the empty basket to her other arm and threw the sack over her shoulder. One must admire her, any other woman would been ashamed to be seen looking so ungainly but Madame Grognonne ,stoical as ever , merely brushed the earth out of her eyes. We carried onwards, having shouted our fair wells and “a Bonne après midi” to the stumbling figures of Madeline and Claude who by now were rushing towards their little cottage, glancing back at us with darting terrified looks. I imagine that they had suddenly remembered some urgent business which required their immediate attention and were embarrassed at their not being able to afford us the time to engage in further pleasantries.

I was particularly keen to get some ducks for dinner so sent Mme G running along ahead whilst I sauntered quietly at my own pace happy to take in the views and the wild flowers, listen to the myriad birdsongs and to breath in the tranquillity of the countryside.

We do try to be as organic and self sufficient as possible but I refuse to keep ducks. They may seem attractive creatures to the casual observer and a pretty addition to country life , however resent experience has taught me that in reality they are dirty unreliable birds who have a nasty habit of turning on one especially in the spring when their dander is up, so to speak. Give me a cow any day. Claude keeps a small herd of Les Vache Violette and the children trot down to him in the mornings before school to collect a canteen of milk for their breakfast. Madame Grognonne of course invariably has her breakfast milk warmed with a raw egg and a large tot of cognac. Personally I prefer tea.

When I eventually got to the butchers I found Madame Grognonne’s basket groaning under the weight of two well hung birds so we continued to the grocer, Eduard le Gumes, where we purchased some white asparagus and a bottle of local cidre as well as a few other small essentails such as a 15 litre cask of kerosene, some pumpkin seeds and a dozen bamboo canes.

The journey back was made tiresome by Madame Grognonne complaining that the potatoes and bags and basket were getting heavy. Quite a ridiculous thing to say as we had not put any thing further in them since we picked up the bread, fruit, library books and Chief patissier’s 250gms of tobacco from the bar tabac, after leaving monsieur le Gumes premises. Nevertheless I indulged her and offered to carry the tobacco home to ease her load, which I did., and for which I might add I got no more than a petulant grunt for thanks.

It is beautifully quiet here tonight. The Chief patissier has gone out to the village salle for one final rehearsal of that troublesome scene in the play where he has to grapple the two buxom girls. I am incredibly proud of him he is very intent on achieving perfection for the final nights performance tomorrow night. The children and animals are all a bed and I am sitting here listening to the gentle sounds of the night at night.

Madame Grognonne is sitting here by the fire snoring loudly, mouth open and dribbling, her bald patches glistening in the fire light through her singed hair. I cannot not imagine why she is so tired , after all ,she does very little of any import wit her day as far as I am aware.

I must go and give her a sharp kick now my dears before she wakes up the entire house with her nocturnal nasal noises, so I shall sign off now and wish you all bonne reve and sweet dreams !

Bonne nuit!


The photograph is of dear Madeline and Claude working in thier tiny potager just prior to our hailing them and thier suddenly recalling something urgent which forced them to hasten away.

Oh lawks Girls what a night !

I must say, well done all of you who copied down the recipe for German Rhubarb Wine and had a go at making it last night after lights out. Madame Grognonne will be around later in the term to test them. Please do not see this as any form of competition it is merely that she enjoys rhubarb wine immensely and, since the recipe is as, you know, an old family one she naturally feels obliged to try at least one bottle from each batch in order to maintain some sort of quality control. For those of you who have drunk yours already may I just add that the idea is to let it mature slightly longer than the 4 hours you allowed. I know adding surgical alcohol gave it an extra kick ChrisH but I still maintain it deadens the fruity bouquet a trifle.

Some of you seem to have tried adding a few extra ingredients to the original recipe. Countrymousie, we all know how much you like pink dear but don’t you think adding beetroot may turn out to be a bad mistake ? In my experience it adds a rather earthy aroma to the wine which can make it quite unpalatable unless drunk with gin and with a peg on ones nose. Well if you like it like that then you drink it dear. No inthemud you are NOT to try it, put the glass down at once. Faith you know we do not feed alcohol to birds, now look at them flying around in circles. No Fennie they are not Buzzards circling they are drunken doves.

Now look here, despite my warning about remembering to sterilize the demijohns if you got them form the janitor. Warnings which we reiterated by Head herself I might add, SOMEBODY did not pay attention (snailbeachshepherdess I think you know who I mean). Poor Matron has been up all night dosing several students with sheep liniment and the Janitor had to search out the Sports masters repair kit to cobble together a makeshift stomach pump. Actually the football pump worked very well considering, but I doubt he will ever be able to use it to inflate his balls again, not after Milla swallowed the nozzle. Luckily Tattie weasel was there with the calpol… By the way Tattie where id you get 40 cases of calpol? No I not believe for one moment your mother sent it to you. Really, you better think of a better excuse before Head calls us all in to Assembly!

The photograph is of Matron and the school secretaries in Heads office this morning writing to parents to explain why they have had to cancel the exeat this weekend. If you look carefully you may notice Blossom sitting on the chair at the back with her head bowed. Blossom you have only your self to blame , anyone with a ha’pen’th worth of sense would have realised that lighting fireworks in the belfry was not a good idea. I know petrol is a wonderful way to light a fire dear but wood is highly flammable especially when mixed with gunpowder. You really should have let Madame Grognonne help as she so kindly offered. She did after all mastermind a splendid blitzkrieg on the Gestapo head quarters during the war.

Speaking of which , Madame Grognonne will be around later for donations to kick of the fund for the rebuilding of the clock tower. If you have any left over fertilizer, bags of sugar dynamite or fireworks I think, under the circumstances , it might be wise to hand them over too. Suffolk Mum its no good you protesting you were marooned at home all week you were seen and there are tell tale burns marks on your gym slip dear. Francis and Pond side and Sally stop sniggering.

We really should be ashamed of ourselves. Poor Head left us here on our own and trusted us in the common room whilst she and staff went out for a well deserved break and she comes back to find we have blown up the bell tower, flooded the playing fields (Pipany I think you must accept the blame there don’t you ? The leaflet on loo installation stated perfectly clearly that "the life of fittings of tank will be shorten probably if cleaning by the ground water with the feature of higher rigidity."that “ but you did it anyway. That dear is just stubborn.

I have already talked about the poisoning with rhubarb wine so I think enough has been said. What with that and Jackofall being found hiding under my bed in the dorms by Matron I think we will all be very lucky if we get off with anything lighter than 2 weeks detention ,100 thousand lines in copperplate and no tuck shop for a month.

Oh Waily Waily! What a night and now I have to go off to extra French and I haven’t even looked at my conjugations !

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Recipe for German Rhubarb Wine

As promised here is the recipe for German rhubarb wine, It is a very old one and Mme Grognonne has had it in her family for a long time. I believe her grandmother extracted it from a German officer in the first world war somewhere along the Siegfried line, where she over came him whilst she hanging out her washing. Mme Grognonne still wears his helmet and boots for gardening on wet days. Sadly his white gloves have long ago fallen pray to moths.

Old Fashioned German Rhubarb Wine
3 lbs. rhubarb (stalk only)
1/4 pt. white grape concentrate or 1/2 lb. of light raisins (chopped)
7 pts. water
2 1/4 lbs. sugar
1/4 tsp.tannin
1 tsp. yeast nutrient
1 campden tablet (crushed)
1 pkg. wine yeast (champagne)
add the following in a linen straining or "hop" bag fromthe start of fermentation until SG 1.040: 3/4 oz. fresh ginger root (chopped)3/4 oz. whole cloves You will probably want to sweeten rhubarb wine back up a little beforebottling by adding 1/2 tsp. stabilizer (sorbate) and 1/4 to 1/2 lb.dissolved sugar (or to taste) per gallon. Makes 1 gal.
Please remember that the Janitor has surplus demijohns if you need them but under no circumstances should they be used without first sterilizing them. Some of you will recall the very nasty accident last summer when Penelope Pothleswaite took one the jars ,previously used for mixing weed killer, for making lemonade . The whole upper sixth were hospitalized for a month and matron was run off her feet empting bed pans.
footnote: If you are unable to get German rhubarb I beieve the local purple variety will work jsut as well.

The photogrpah is the only existing one of Colonel Von Krompt, from whose family the recipe originated. I find there is a startling resemblence between he and Mme grognonne, athough of course thier moustaches differ greatly.

A touch of decorum please..

I am a trifle concerned that matrons recent unruly behaviour with the janitor may be ,in part at least ,my fault for putting too many photographs of scantily clad men on the chat forum. I fear that the man with the pompom hat, coupled with her extra responsibilities in Head mistresses absence yesterday, may have sent her over the edgeI am therefore posting this image of a charming Ontario farmer in the hope it will bring her t o her sense and remind all of us of our rural homeland from whence we were so cruelly forced to flee after the ducks turned vicious.You will all no doubt be very relieved to hear that Nice computer man has fiddled with my motherboard and that I now have a spell check facility. Sadly the same can not be said for my brain so still dyslexic I’m afraid, Now if I could only work out how to use the wretched thing (spell checker not brain dear) I am sure you would all be very happy!
Of course it would be a lot easier if someone invented a keyboard that could keep pace with the speed of my typing !
I shall be posting an old german recipe for Rhubarb wine on my blog later in the day as I fear Matrons excesses have radically depleted the wine cellar and there will be nothing left for the high table by May unless steps are made to replenish it. If you all managed to produce 8 litres each then we should be able to keep the cellar going until half term if we are prudent and Headmistresss hides the key. I understand janitor has spare demijohns in the boiler room if any one needs them but please remember to sterilize them thoroughly before use.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Bad housewife arrested for neglecting family

All my cunning plans to blog and look as if I was being a good housewife at the same time were to no avail . The electrician turned out to be a dog charmer and thus able to hypnotise the noisy brutes into silence and tiptoe up to the front door to catch me at laptop with mouth full of Breton cake and large mug of cappuccino in hand. Sad really as had he arrived 5 minutes earlier I would have been mid ironing and looked very pukka femme de foyer indeed! I’m pretty sure under French law you are only allowed to drink coffee at specified times never ever without something to eat as well .It was his own fault for being two hours late. If I hadn’t been eating the cake he probably would have needed therapy.
Nice computer man came this afternoon and twiddled with laptop to do fine tuning on microsoft word and read my blog in progress on screen whislt waiting for something to load. He now knows all about Mme grognonne Chief patissier and the wheelbarow incident. I thnk I am going to be sick.

Also caught out by Chief patissier at lunchtime . Having prepared lunch, laid table, tidied kitchen and strategically placed pile of ironed clothes on end of table all within half an hour , I thought I was home and dry, but clever use of seemingly innocent questions on his part revealed that in fact the morning had been spent at the purple cow and not shackled to the stove.
I knew I should never have introduced him to you lot. He probably has some devilish thing on his computer which can show him when I have been on line and for how long so he will discover that housework does not take me all day after all. I should have stuck to reading trashy novels you can’t trace log them .

Sexy french dog handling electrician has wired in kiln without blowing up the house or killing himself so it is now sitting empty and open mouthed waiting for me to fill its void with test tiles. I suppose this means I shall have to do something potteryish and earn my keep and not spend my life at purple coo . I have waited two years for my kiln to be up and running and I am really really excited... well would have been if I hadn't discovered blogging in the mean time.

Ah well at least if I pot it gives me another excuse for not doing the housework…and if I work in the kitchen instead of my studio I can probably blog and pot at the same time. Must remember to clean the clay finger marks off the keyboard before he comes home though !

A visit to the Theatre part the second

Ah my little chou-fleurs here we are again , how delightful you all look today, may I say, absolument ravissant , all except for you dear, well yes I know you like that scarf but do you really think that green duck motifs say anything positive about you? Well if it was a present from Claire then all I can say is it wasn’t very kind of her and you should consider whether she was just might have been trying to make you to look foolish? You do feel foolish ? Well there you go dear. That’s right dear, take it off and I shall give it to Mme Grognonne to polish her rifle with. I will not have sulking, that’s quite enough. Didn’t anyone ever tell you have a striking resemblance to a ferrets hind quarters when you make that face and it is not at all attractive.. No? Well perhaps they should have. If the wind changes you will be stuck like that.

Now I shall continue with my description of the Chief patissier’s theatrical foray in front of the French footlights. Where was I ? Ah yes I left Clothilde explaining in dramatic terms to the village priest how the mayor, the bakers wife and the altar wine had all disappeared along with Madame Putains perambulator.

The play is a French farce set entirely in a farmhouse kitchen and naturally, as the genre demands, relies heavily upon a great deal of mistaken identity, exposed under garments , numerous bottles of vin ordinaire and , if I remember rightly, several raw eggs.

At one point in the proceedings Chief patissier’s character is called upon to struggle with and overcome two buxom young women who are intent on disembowelling an uninvited guest, who, for reasons known only to the author, has chosen to polish his muddy shoes with Grandfathers underpants which had previously been drying in front of the kitchen range.

This scene, and a later one (where Clothilde the postmistress grapples with the uninvited shoe polisher, thrusts him backwards on to the kitchen table and gallantly attempts to perform, what appears to be, an emergency tonsillectomy with nothing but her tongue and her quick wits to aid her) took several intense hours of rehearsals alone. Apparently Clothilde’s moustache kept getting caught in Jean Claudes earring.

The Audiences here , unschooled as they are in the appropriate way to comport oneself at the Theatre, have a strange habit of clapping and cheering each time someone they know enters the stage. Since the entire cast ,bar of course chief patissier, were born here in the village the audience is almost entirely made up of friends and relatives .As you may imagine it is hardly surprising therefore that what should have been a short two act play in fact took 7 hours.
The proceedings were extended even further as one of the cast, Jean Jacque Le Bete, who is a bit of a local celebrity, was called upon by the audience to lead the cast in an impromptu rendition of well known Breton folk tunes. This occurred midway between the scene where the uninvited visitor is discovered by Father under the table with the youngest daughter during the midday repas, wearing only grandmothers string vest and a feather boa ,and the scene where the parish priest administers the last rights to the family aardvark.

Sadly these interruption did make the whole thing rather difficult to follow for someone who, like myself is a non native speaker and whose home life is , happily, very far removed from what appears to pass as normal here in the depths of the French countryside.

After the play cast and friends, myself happily included, were invited backstage for a small aperitif. Plates of pate and cold meats were passed around, together with hunks of bread and fresh butter, a thoughtful gift from one of the farmers in the audience. Several hearty toasts were made to each member of the band of players and a great deal of wine was consumed. Afterwards we were treated to an animated display of ancient Breton drinking rituals and my language has been wonderfully enriched with several new phrases in the language.

Happily a thoughtful villager had brought his wheel barrow with him and we all merrily took turns to trundle those unable to walk, back to the safety of their own homes.
We were the last to leave, living , as we do, the furthest from the village and, as I and the children pushed their father home up the hill, watching the lights in the village below being extinguished one by one ,I pondered on how lucky we are and how very pleasant it is to be made to feel we are truly accepted as part of this community.

It reminded me so much of all my dear dear new friends at the purple cow.
The photograph is of little Gilles, captured on camera happily pushing his mother (Marie-Yvonne Le Ivrogne) home after the performance. Marie Yvonne played the youngest daughter in the play.

Bonjour copied from the chatroom

Bonjour ma petite amis!

Just a quick dashed off wave to you all and a speedy hello to say good morning ! Isn't it pleasant to be able to write something in here that doesn't necessarily involve farrow and ball or Latin plant names or organic products or something worthy ! AND without anyone getting huffy!!! First sign of grumpiness I shall send Mme G around with a rolling pin. .. be warned.

I am meant to be doing housework as the electrician is due to arrive any minute ( which means probably about midi french time ) but have done a swift sweep of the kitchen floor, filled sink with hot water and put on a pinny so when I hear his van I can rush to my Post and look like a good femme de foyer (housewife... mind you sound's more like a woman of dubious attractions who hangs around cinemas trying to pick up passing trade!) . That way he will not realise that it always looks like a dump here.

He is supposed to be wiring in my kiln so I can go back to my real trade and be a potter and tile painter again..Hope it works !

This mornings hunk is wearing a particulary intersting hat and apparently "normalizes his data" whatever that means. I wonder should we all be wearing hats like that and if so would our data be normallized automatically? Do any knitters out there have a the pattern for it ? I imagine its from lapland knitters monthly or something simular. Headmistress might allow us to have it as part of the winter uniform!

Gosh I do hope so, just look at those fluffy pompoms!!

Monday, 23 April 2007

A night at the Theatre part the first.

Mme Grognonne and I have spent all day chatting to people visiting new blogs and catching up with the housework and have hardly had a chance to think , let alone blog ourselves, and if Mme Grognonne doesn’t blog soon I shall have to dig the syrup of figs out of the medicine chest again to avoid a nasty accident.

Its been an awfully busy weekend here at "la vache violette", what with the early start to the green duck hunting season, the unexpected onslaught of Swiss Haus Fraus hurling cuckoo clocks in our general direction and Matron hitting the gin we quite forgot to tell you about Chief Patissier’s performance in the village play !

Its an annual event put on by the school PTA or as it is called here the "Amicale laïque" – which means incidentally, friendly non secular people. I know that France is terribly keen to separate Religion from Education but I really think that someone could have come up with a snappier name don’t you ? I strongly suspect that Chief Patissier had to sign a pledge in blood to say he had never nor met spoken to God concerning the school syllabus or other related matters and had no intention of doing so in future. As long as they continue to confine their conversations to email he should be alright I hope.

Anyway back to the play, Excuse me a minute will you please ? "Mme Grognonne I meant that metaphorically speaking , take your hat off and get on with cleaning the brass immediately or we shall have words!" Good lord sometimes I do wonder if it would be fairer to all of us if we had her committed you know.

The first night of the play was Friday and Chief Patissier trotted off all freshly showered and smart, which is a pity really as he plays the character of a rather grubby mechanic of some sort so might just as well have saved water and not bothered to ablute .

Since the internal workings of the motor combustion engine are, and sadly always will be, a closed book to him it was an extremely challenging part and we were all most grateful he didn’t have to dismantle an engine on stage otherwise we might have had to call upon Mme Grognonne to reassemble it afterwards, she having like the dear Queen, worked with lorries during the war. Mme Grognonne’s particular field of expertise lies in the blowing up of German convoys but nonetheless she is quite the dab hand with a monkey wrench.

No dear, not Mr World, I meant Elizabeth Regina of England not Juan Carlos of Malaga, I’m pretty certain he would not know how to tinker with an engine, although he might be able to help in a cross stitch emergency should one arise.

It being a warm night the children and I walked the 30 minutes to the theatre in the village, my intention being to exhaust them before we arrived in order that they would sleep all through the performance. I left the dogs at home to look after the cats and Mme Grognonne.

Ordinarily , I would have course have included her in the outing ,but sadly, with alcohol being available during the intermission, it was not something I was willing to risk. Last year she spent so much time at the bar trying to teach Claude to crack walnuts with his biceps that the takings for the evening were 300 Euro higher than expected. This, although in itself was gratifying as it meant that the children could all have a trip to the mountains . meant it took Mme Grognonne six months to pay off her bar tab and left quite a dent in the family coffers.

As Mme Grognonne was not of our party I was compelled to have all three of the children sit with me in the audience. It may come as a surprise that French rural theatres do not run to "boxes" so we had to sit in the middle of a row of farmers and their wives.. I think this will give you a fair indication of just how rural it is here! I was very relieved that I remembered to bring my Palma violets.

I gave the boys strict instructions that they were to sit as rigid as little Englishmen and remain in their places in silence until the interval. This caused a lot of sulky looks on their parts but I can not be having with the way the French allow their children to run screaming through the auditorium and slide along the floors on their bottoms during a performance.

What if one of them had distracted Chief Patissier during an intricate piece of method acting and he had dropped a spanner? His hands are his livelihood , if anything happened to them I dread to think what we would do for biscuits. Afterwards I discovered we had been sitting behind the chief patissier’s big boss so I was extremely relieved that I hadn’t been forced to get the restraint out and tie the children to their chairs as I had feared.

The play was naturally a French farce, and was a great success as it was set in a small Breton farming village and so true to life it was almost surreal. There was even an alcoholic postmistress called Clothilde just like our very own!

I shall leave you with the image of Clothilde, played by Antoine our village butcher( the group is rather short of female members sadly) explaining to the village priest that the mayor has just run off with the mole catchers wife and taken the sacristy wine with him. Try not to be distracted by Antoine’s moustache. It would have seemed rather cruel to ask him to shave it off when there were only 4 performance and it has taken him 45 years to grow it this long . It has rather become his trademark, and since our own postmistress has one similar the audience merely took it for part of his stage makeup.

Tomorrow , providing I can sober Mme Grognonne up long enough to collect the children from school, I shall tell you a little more about the play and the party afterwards.
Until then my petitte pois I wish you all a bonne nuit!

The painting above is "The Woman's Club," by the artist, David Robinson, dated 1927.It is interesting to see that the same fashion in hats seems to be in favour in our village today, which is why I was reminded of some of the women in the audience on Friday and hence posted it by way of illustration.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Setlle down girls and lights out ...time for bed!

Can't be that time already surely! Good lord Monday tomorrow ! Where did the weekend go ?Ah yes I remember blogging, trip to the other side for a rescue mission or two, blogging, wine, blogging, visiitng the sick, blogging, bit of gardening, blogging, grass cutting (well to be honest chief patissier cut the grass whilst I was blogging). I think we all have the general idea now thank you.

Oscar has been busy too, she spent the day trying to persuade her kittens to come out into the sunshine for a walk which, bearing in mind their young age was a bit ambitious of her. That’s the trouble with these pushy mothers want their kids to run before they can crawl. Next thing it will be piano no doubt. Smallest black kitten did manage to get herself as far as behind the sofa in the study , where she promptly got stuck as she hasn't learnt reverse gear yet. which I suppose is a start. Cuckoo is so fat she only made it as far as the cupboard door. Not a born athlete that one I fear.

In the end youngest and I constructed a hasty playpen for them on the study floor with some lengths of wood that Chief Patissier had conveniently left lying around in there , thus unwittingly confirming his theory that it’s a good thing to abandon planks in odd places as, sooner or later, someone in the vicinity is bound to want them for something. Thus he saves them from hours of searching. He is either a very far thinking kind soul or a real feignant (lazy so and so).

As she couldn't drag the kittens out to visit the relatives this afternoon ,Oscar had the ferals in this evening to see her offspring, lots of chirruping sounds exchanged like a pack of maiden aunts clucking over babies. Then they trotted off outside , presumably to tell white feral all about it. She having been lying in the sun all day recovering form her traumatic car journey and not being able to make the trip herself ,what with her bad foot etc. Oscar has just gone off to bed looking frightfully smug so they obviously were suitably impressed.

School tomorrow Hooray! (oops didn’t mean to say that out loud sorry) so I may get time to do the ironing, and a bit of blogging , and the washing, and a bit more blogging, and perhaps some shopping and …. Oh well you get the picture.

Mme Grognonne and Un Peu Loufoque forefill a Sunday serivce!

It being Sunday I thought I would pop over and do my christian dutyand visit the sick and dying at CL .I had a quick wave at a few people but its \wfully empty. I see fennie wants to do an anthology...I left this posting...Sally its for your mum rally as she was sweet enough to ask after me!

Good lord its quiet in here. Have we come to the right place? I'm sure it used to be held in here? Of course its been a few ays so perhsps they have moved. Probably a double booking withe the Wi knitting club, I think they're knitting angora socks for premature spring lambs this week. Mrs Newby suggested it, she's lives in Kensington I think, awfully hot on counntry matters and green issues. Rumour has it she once rugby tackled a pensioner for the last packet of Argentinian organic beef at Waitrose you know. Awfully organic in all the right places.

Oh Mme Grognonne do put down that pitchfork and help me find the matches will you? The light switch doesn't seem to be working. Probaly haven't paid the bill again. Light the oil lamp dear , do stop being silly. Thank you. No you hold it. Well becasue I don't want to finish the day smelling of oil that's why. No, no body will notice if you smell of oil, the pondweed will disguise it.

Oh that's better! Good gracious! Who are all those strange people, and what are they all doing sitting in the dark! So many newcomers in the countryside these days , strange how they all suddenly popped up and so many look and sound alike. I suppose they must have come from the same neighbourhood.London probably. Oh now there's a familair face! Coee Mandy, ho's that lovely swiss village of yours! Oh look Ragrug has just nipped into the taproom, don't worry we'll catch her later. .

Now everyone smile and wave at the camera , do you know I think thats a journalist in the conrer of the chatroom. Oh do stop doing that Mme G it isnt very ladylike, I don't care if have got pond weed up your nose what will people think? Oh look there's Sallys Mother form the Chateau! "Hello dear, I said HELLO DEAR" ( I think she is a bit deaf you know, you'll have to shout louder, oh never mind just wave at her and smile ! )

Yes that's right, No not with the hand with oil lamp in it you idiot! Oh mon dieu look what you've done , now you've dropped the wretched thing and we'll be in the dark again. Oh no its alright it hasn't gone out its landed in straw on the floor ,so that's much brighter. very rural touch straw strewn floorboards, must suggest it to Interiors team.

Goodness getting a bit warm in here. Lot of smoke,something must be on fire. Oh lawks ! Think its time we left, gosh all that smoke hides everything! See if you can fumble your way to the exit... You grab Sally's mother and I'll grab the port decanter! I need a drink after that don't you.

Very unsettling. La Violette vache do you think? yes me too always so welcoming there. Hang on I can hear someone calling! Is that you chickenlicken ? I can hear you but I can't see you so If you're here Chicken licken , pop over for a chat at the La Violette Vache iin the village will you? I need to ask you about piano tuning, Oscar moved her kittens into the grand piano in the drawing room and now the middle C is flat. Oh look here comes someone with a wet blanket, that should put out the flames!

Toodle pip! mme Grognonne if I find you have drunk all the calvados again I will be very cross.

Its no good crying that doesn't make it any better...

Oh deary me quelle horreure ! (or quelle bummer as Eldest says)

I not only have dual characters , what with un peu and Mme Grognonne but I now have two blog pages one of whom I can not get to. But if I stick my nose to the window I can see you all there chatting away popping friendly commetnbs on it and you must think me terribly rude no saying anything back, or worse still think I have run away after my first blogs!

In all the excitement of day one I set up a blogpage with a brand new email addres courtesy of Chief Patissier. He has so many he has several different identities for various projects. One day a strange cyber woman will appear on my screen and tell me he has been mascarading as Mr 9X7pY from Evesham and is the father of 4 million bloglets world wide and will demand computer maintenance for them all. Oh damn, digressing again... Anyway my new email address was super sooper wonderful, got in to blogger set up blogpage postedpicture redecorated put up new wallpaper, dragged in sofa and pot palnts and a cat basket for Oscar. Locked door went to bed.

Oh Wailey Wailey (hands up who is a Mcfeeggal fan!) next day I was barred, denied acess, ! "No love your name is not on my list, sorry now push off" Goggle swore they had never heard of me, didn't have an email address on their records... you know why ? I know why, its a dud, out of all the spare email names in his box of cyver tricks I get teh void one. Je Suis null!!As I said in my title, its no good crying it doesn't make it any better, so I shall jsut go and wake Chief patissier up adn shout at him instead. That always helps.

I must find a way to tell you read this one instead! Meanwhile I blog on in search for a front door key for the old blog or a man with a crowbar to jemmi the lock so I can empty out all the junk and sublet it!

The picture if there is one is of a mcfeegle from Terry pratchets Tiffany novels. If you find me funny you should read him...

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Stilll standing...just..

Very hectic day what with having to change identity twice and being locked out of the purple cow (sorry coo, hey good name for a pub that! shall we open one of those too?!) and then all the other stuff that goes on in the real word like washing ironing and feeding masses.

I have promised Muddy I will remember to put in paragraphs breaks in future so am concentrating very hard. Just popped back to rebuild my blogsite, repost my blogs and check I am still here.

Gosh there are lot of us here aren't there? Shall we have a knees up ? I have a wicked recipe for vodka punch , it is based on 10 litres of vodka so you either have to be very thirsty or invite a lot of freinds! I'll whip up a couple of batches shall I. Oy Sally you got any pastis left at the chateau if so bring that with you and soome olives there's a dear!

Do you think we should be civillized and wait until the sun is over the yardarm ? ... We could work on French time if you like we are an hour ahead of you!

Somebody bring some cheese straw will you ! Oh Mme Grognonne you are too kind a plate of snails stuffed with anchovies!!

France ... the day after the lunatics have taken over the assylum

The day after the end of the update from France

I am still fumbling around in the dark trying to find the light switch in this my new blog room so bare with me girls, ooh I see we have a few chaps too with us, so you are very welcome too, must have someone to do the heavy lifting after all, Johnny Depp is that you dear ? Good lord heronthehill will be pleased to see you!

I like it here, and I am sure I will get used to it once I find my way around. Mme Grognonne did have a map but used it to light her cigar so I am having to guess. It took me an hour this morning to work out how to get in to write another blog!

Do hope you like the new wallpaper and the poster! I got quite carried away when I found I could make my blogroom more homely, I am thinking of bringing in a pot of geraniums for my desk and a basket for Oscar and the kittens. Then of course there is the coffee perker and the wine rack. Family photos a few soft toys, some snacks and nibbles a couple of easy chairs.. fluffy bunnies cuddly toys fondue set…craft books…Mme Grognonne says she would like an ashtray but I think its probably no smoking here..

Nice computer man came back yesterday to almost sort out Eldests machine, he will be back next week with a polish speaker. Not for the computer but for Eldest who is off to Poland next month to represent her country as a symbol of effective youth (not sure which country she is representing but apparently she and several other game young things are off to meet some poles in um Zesomething or other to discuss the fate of the planet). Computer man has promised his friend will teach her a few useful phrases and told her to think of some in readiness. She is thinking along the lines of "you look cute can I have your number ? " And " is this skirt available in a smaller size" I am working on "one step closer and I scream" and " where are the toilets". Computer man says, not to worry, Poland is lovely and she will have a great time.

I always wanted the children to travel but rather hoped I might go along too! Eldest has promised that when she is famous she will take me to her film premieres, she thinks it will be good for her public image. But only if I practise getting out of a car elegantly and get some decent clothes.

White cat came limping back yesterday her leg furless but it is clean and healing, and she obviously managed to stagger as far as a sunny patch on the grass just the other side of the dog fence where she lay and watched the dogs going berserk trying to get at her. I picked her up and Chief Patissier put gunk on her wounds and we fed her so hopefully the daft creature has survived her journeys inside a Landrover engine. Youngest is very pleased she is safe and not dead, Middle, who came back from camp yesterday, is very disappointed that he missed all the excitement ( I think he is talking about the cat not country living) and wants us to pop her back in the small hiding place under the bonnet so he can see.

Eldest is stomping around muttering rude words about Country Living and demanding she read all my blogs from day one, I am trying to put her off for the sake of her mental well being. It is always hard to find out your parents are human, little trickier to find out your mother is bonkers and has to alter egos!

Must go before I am discovered but band of roaming children searching for breakfast. The person who invents the silent keyboard will make a whole generation of seret bloggers very happy!

Until later chaps hang on in there!

The Adventures of un peu loufoque

Hello hello is this thing working!!
eventually got here, phew big type face I can read !

SO this is a blog . Oh lord now HIM says I have done it in the wrong place.

Oh Bugger I do hate it when I dont understand things!!

I have had to re do this whole thing again!!