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!
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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.

12 comments:

Milkmaid said...

Extremely amusing blog as per usual, made me laugh on a trying day

Fennie said...

What a laugh! Ha, this is turning into a saga. A real saga. Don't know how you do it. Brilliant absolutely brilliant. And those pics.

Our twin town, Clisson, mentioned in my blog today, claims to be in Brittany and I supposed one upon a time it was, but it is some way south of the Loire. But people do dress occasionally in the national costume - funny hats and all and play odd shaped bagpipes. We ought to be seeing that now but our traditional spring visit has been postponed thanks to the activities of S├ęgo and Sarkho who should I feel feature in the Grognonne chronicles. All best Fxx

toady said...

Madame G may have to resort to some Cillit Bang or a good steep in some bleachy water. The longjohns that is not Mme G. Well on second thoughts......Toady

Her on the Hill said...

God, my life is dull!

Himalayan Blue said...

I think my life is dull too, her on the hill! Un peu, where do you get the fab pictures from?

KittyB said...

Bonsoir ma chere UPL, grosses bises (?) to Mme G aussi.
A DH is a DarkHorse - i.e. writing own blog and reading nobody else's. Sorry, was I being too cryptic?

Your blogs are so funny, please keep it up, you can make me laugh even on miserable days!

elizabethm said...

how do you do it? it is all i can do to write about eggs and veg. like the photo.

@themill said...

Mammmoth catching up on your blogs today, just don't get time to pop over to see all the neighbours everyday, especially France. Connections from Northumberland a bit slow. Exhausting life you have, but tres, tres amusing. I had already linked you to my nieghbours list. I am http;//mutteringsfromthemill.blogspot.com if you think your neighbours would like to pop by.
A bientot

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Wonderful - as was yesterday, and the day before ....and the ....etc etc.... started a Pratchett book as advised.

muddyboots said...

what have l been missing whilst getting sunburn on high mountain craigs?

IrishEyes said...

Brilliant! Loved every bit of it, and absolutely adore the pictures!

lixtroll said...

How fortunate for the would-be courting men that the charming young ladies have anchovies on their bonnets! We do the same here with Arbroath Smokies dangling from the sporrans of the anattached male. Although not filigreed, they do have a rustic charm and smell very alluring too. Mme G would be spell-bound!