Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Madame Grognonne and the deluge.


Alas mon Cher Amis It would appear I spoke too soon of our fine weather for mother nature has indeed been most unkind trick upon us and stolen our soleil, sending in its place a vrai tempête with thunder, lightening and torrential rain.

As we returned in our motor, Chez Nous,having retrieved our darling offspring from school the heavens opened and all had to dash for the portico where Madame Grognonne , looking I must say slightly the worse for wear, and glowing most uncharacteristically , stood waiting ,welcoming us into the kitchen with hot chocolate and brandy. I checked carefully but discretely and thankfully there was not a Kolachky biscuit in sight

Thankfully Chief Patissier was too occupied with attempting to navigate along the drive through the deluge to notice the figure of Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch, hiding amongst the rhododendrons , red boots in hand. What he was doing there I have no idea, perhaps he was loitering in the hope of approaching me to petition me to engage him for further Polish lessons but thought better of it. For whatever the reasons as soon as we alighted he rushed off under cover of the shrubbery at great speed. I do hope his felt costume was pre shrunk otherwise I fear he will encounter some difficulty disrobing after a 30 minute journey on foot to the village in the pouring rain.

I was incredibly relieved to find Madame Grognonne at her rightful post but, having just this minute seen the departing figure of the Polish émigré, can not for the life of me imagine what she and Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch can possibly have spent the day doing together.
However, since the kitchen looked remarkably clean it may be he has been assisting her with the housework. I do hear told that Poles are extremely gallant men, and must presume it to be true for, to be truthful, I can not see the Chief Patissier volunteering to spend an entire night helping me conjugate and then turn out of the hayloft in the morning to wash up the previous nights supper dishes. Not that, of course I require his conjugations at my time of life, I am quite capable of conjugating on my own, nor are we ever likely, God forbid, to sleep in a hayloft, Although he and Antoine did spend some considerable time in ours last summer searching for Antoine’s Opinel knife . In fact I clearly remember they were at it for several nights , before I insisted they deceased from the silly venture and affimnred that if Antoine were that attached to it I would be more than happy to purchase him a new one the likes of which he had never seen before!

I am of the opinion that French men are inordinately attached to these knives which they carry in their pockets and seem eager to whip out at the slightest provocation. It would seem to me that a man is judged by the size of his Opinel here in Brittany . So much so that they are often passed down from Father to Son and to be unlucky enough to have been handed down a small one is seen as most unfortunate indeed. Sadly Chief Patissier lost his own Opinel several years ago and although I have managed to replace it several times he swears none are as good as his first one and can be quite despondent about the whole thing. .


Anyway I digress! Whilst the children were changing into dry clothes and Chief patissier was bringing in the provisions from the motorcar I tried to subtly beard Madame Grognonne regarding her earlier absence. However my questioning was greatly impeded by the fact that any conversation had to be carried out in hushed stilted whispers as my dearest husband kept entering and leaving the pantry with various parcels. Eventually I decided it prudent to leave the matter unresolved for as far as I could venture no real harm had been done, and providing the smooth running of the Loufoque household was not further inconvenienced I was willing graciously to let the matter lie.

I handed over the tripe to Madame Grognonne with a great flourish , sure that she would be mightily impressed at my resourceful marketing but, much to my surprise, she immediately berated me rudely for not having the sense to purchase a pigs trotter also, thus enabling her to prepare Tripe a la mode for the evening meal! I really am a loss to know how one is meant to deal with domestic servants in these changing times.
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This photograph is of Jacque Opinel whose Grandpere Joseph was the inventor of the Opinel knife. Look closely at the photograph and you can not help but notice that he has an exceptionally large one on his wall above his head. If you delve deeply into the trouser pockets of any true Frenchman’s do not be too surprised if there you discover his faithful friend and symbol of French manhood, the Opinel!

10 comments:

Pondside said...

What a saga! You are,indeed, a patient friend to Mme G.
I will take your word for it - regarding the size the Opinals in frenchmen's pockets. I don't think I'll go rummaging around to find out for myself. You never know what a girl might find!

sally's chateau said...

You are indeed a Queen of all things culinary too it seems, why His Lordship has just polished off a pigs trotter for breakfast, boiled for hours and hours and hours and the thick jelly juice used to bolster up sauces. Move over Nigella !!

UN PEU LOUFOQUE said...

Oh good lord Sally I think I'm going to be sick !

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Opinels have hit the Welsh Marches - himself has one secreted in pocket - they wash well! The number of times his has been clanking around in the washing machine doesnt bear thinking about. Have a lovely May Day. Have started TP book - "The Amazing maurice and his educated rodents" I think your blog could take over from 'The Archers' here - every evening at 6.45 I read it out to hubby - an every day story of country folk - in France! Use bad French accent and lots of gesticulations- very theatrical -hope no one else can see me!!

Inthemud said...

Sorry to hear you've had such bad weather , it's lovely here in SE England!

Your blog always amuses me, such fun, and in a hay Loft too! Not sure could eat tripe! Even the dog dislikes it.

Interesting photo.

Suffolkmum said...

You cerrtainly are a good friend to Mme G, I hope she appreciates you. I too will take your word for the size of the Opinels. Hope the weather improves.

ChrisH said...

Hmn, thinking it's worth a visit to France to check out those Opinels.

muddyboots said...

bonjour, you 'ave 'ad ze rain non? we 'ave 'ad a drought. no rain, no thunder, no lightening, just fog & it's tres cold, very tres cold. it gets right into ya bones like. pass the cognac

muddyboots said...

bonjour, you 'ave 'ad ze rain non? we 'ave 'ad a drought. no rain, no thunder, no lightening, just fog & it's tres cold, very tres cold. it gets right into ya bones like. pass the cognac

UN PEU LOUFOQUE said...

Its Ok muddy I shall send you some water Salle floor is awash with the stuff at the moment due to flooding . To be fair we have new gutters adn dopwnpipes adn I htink the water got just a littleover excited with itself so wanted to ocme indoors adn show off!