Thursday, 3 May 2007

Madame Grognonne horses around!

Foolish, nay reckless, woman that I am, it did not occur to me, when retiring to bed in an exhausted state after yesterdays exertions, to ponder on what arrangements were in hand regarding the large Breton mare and her farm boy. I presumed , understandably I feel, that , having towed our stranded automobile home, with us inside it, the young man in charge of the horse would simply turn the creature about and return to whence they had come. Indeed should I have paused to ponder at all as to whether they were still on the premises chez nous, I am perfectly sure you would have thought me quite bizarre in doing so for why should a woman such as myself concern herself with such inconsequential matters as the nocturnal arrangements of the labouring classes and their livestock. Why indeed? Well ma petites poulets it transpired that if I had paid some little attention to the matter it is doubtful that I would have awoken this morning and, upon gazing out of my boudoir window, been assaulted by the sight of a large Breton horse devouring my pottager !

For reasons comprehensible only unto herself, Madame Grognonne, far from sending them on their way or at the very least , billeting the horse in the stable block, as any sensible domestic surely would have done , apparently allowed the gargantuan quadruped to be tied to one of the young apple trees in the Orchard. Leastways I surmise as much as the horse was happily dragging an uprooted tree after itself, its branches heavy with pale blossom, as it ploughed its way steadily through the familial spinach patch en route no doubt to the asparagus bed. I refrained from cogitating for even an instance as to where the horses guardian spent the night. There are only so many questions a lady can surmount before her morning ablutions have been taken, the latter not being one of them!

Since Chief Patissier had already left to start his working day some time previously one can only assume he had either not noticed a large Breton Mare of a full 16 hands high ruminating amongst the vegetables, had deliberately ignored the apparition or saw nothing abnormal in its being there, none of which I feel sure says a great deal regarding his current mental state, about which I am beginning to become truly concerned of late.

It is my nature to be optimistic whenever possible and thus I do endeavour to find the silver glow within each of our seemingly endless domestic dark clouds and one such is the fact that our embarrassingly large collection of cut flowers acquired yesterday on our outing, would have appear to have been devoured by the horse for its petite dejeuner so one must at least be thankful for that. Though what it will do for the horses digestion I dread to think!

When I came down the stairs to investigate why my early morning beverage had not been brought to me in bed as one would expect, I came upon the entire household, barring myself and Chief Patissier of course, sitting at the kitchen table laughing uproariously at the tales of farm life spouting from the mouth of the renegade horses keeper, whilst he merrily consumed a far heartier breakfast than he ever ate at home I warrant! I am hardly surprised my housekeeping funds seems so inadequate at present when it appears that not only has Madame Grognonne taken to entertaining the Polish Émigré Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch, but she also seems to be providing bed and board for itinerant horsemen.

Since I was obviously not going to be allowed my normal pot of tea in peace I was forced to either go without or join the ensemble at the kitchen table . Dressed as I was, in my pale lilac peignenoir and ostrich feather mules, and being to my veritable core a lady of high standards and breeding, I mustered my sangfroid and maintained my decorum as best I could directing my attention to the children and pretending he and Madame Grognonne were not present, thus I hope indicating to them my disapproval.

When, having been ignored by all for a good half an hour, I coldly indicated to Madame Groignonne it was the hour for the children to begin their walk to school should they wish to arrive on time .. The young man poured himself another large coffee and, chewing on a hunk of Brioche, instructed me not to fret as he would happily give Madame Grognonne and the children a lift to the village on his horse!

I was so taken aback by his forwardness I was quite unable to answer, a state that Chief patissier would verify, if he were here, for which there has been no precedent! Such impudence! The children were of course delighted at such an adventure, and it was all I could do to keep a firm grip on my temper as he captured his beast and threw each up on her back in turn with himself at the front and Madame Grognonne at the rear. I was quite horrified seeing Eldest riding astride clinging on to the waist of a male she barely knew and hoped that no one of any consequence would see them thus!

After their departure I surveyed with deep distress the state of my pretty jardin and the trail of horse excrement that led in a long odiferous line across the lawns through the flowerbeds and out of the driveway onto the lane. It would appear that I was right and Lilly of the valley are not an ideal staple food stuff for large horses.

Ah well, at least I thought to myself as ever attempting against insurmountable odds to inject a jolly air into what is without question a deplorable state of affairs, once she returns from her promenade au cheval, I shall have the satisfaction of watching Madame Grognonne spending the remainder of the morning collecting the horse manure and depositing it carefully by hand , around what remains of the half eaten rose bushes. With that thought I quite cheered myself up!

The painting, which is I believe by a French artist named Monet, shows a rather stunning and undoubtedly well bred woman reclining in her immaculate garden. I have placed it here as I hope it will give you a small idea of how charming I looked under my Chinese parasol , quietly regarding Madame Grognonne spreading manure around the roses. I have no idea whom the second woman in the painting is meant to represent but she is obviously of no consequence to us so therefore please do not bother on her account.


Pipany said...

Good morning to you, UPL and thank you for the lovely comments. Also, while I think of it, thank you for the help re-probs of yesterday. Turning computer off worked a treat! I do love your blogs. They make me laugh so much although I would have killed the lady with the horse! Lily-of-the-valley does sound rather nice though xx

ChrisH said...

Oh you and your ostrich feather mules! You put my clumpy frumpies to shame!

sally's chateau said...

Do you know I think that other well bred and elegantly clad lady (albeit slimmer in stature) could well be Le Chatelaine of a rather well known establishment ?

Suffolkmum said...

Do love to see you well-bred and elegant ladies, matching your English beauty to French style. Mme G really shouldn't be intruding into the picture like that, should she? Has she no decorum?

Inthemud said...

goodness, it's all go at your place, fancy Mme G taking in the horse and keeper! What fun she is to have around!

Great blog! Keep it up!

countrymousie said...

Keep up your great work, and thanks for comments you leave on my rather more mundane ones - love mousie

muddyboots said...

get to your wirelss woman, Mapp & lucia are on R4 Womans Hour. l was rolling around the kitchen listening this morning.... couldn't but help think of you & your blogs & artisic frivolity! pass the vin rouge merci!

Woozle1967 said...

I do love your blogs - bring 'em on, girl. You make me smile every day.x

Himalayan Blue said...

You do make me laugh! Though I do feel for your poor potager, but on the bright side the horse did leave some free manure behind!

Frances said...

Day after day, week after week, you continue to give us all such rich reports of the complicated layers of your domestic situation.

You do not ask us for help. You are too discrete and brave for such an appeal. Taking solace and inspiration from whatever source may best appeal, you forge on to the next dawn.

We can only hope that you are strengthened by knowing that we are your comrades.

Bon nuit.

Pondside said...

When will Mme Grognonne appear in a 15 part series? She is too much to keep for yourself!
Love the lilac peignoir and feathered mules. My wooley socks and hand-me-down hoodie are obviously NOT up to French standards. I'll save that picture so that I'll know what a proper lady wears for the garden!

KittyB said...

Have so enjoyed catching up on the last few days, send some of those muguets over this way, I can't get them to grow here.

I have a lovely mental picture of the peignoir and mules. Fantastique.

Fennie said...

I have so many fantastic mental pictures chez Un Peu, that it would be invidious to single any ones out in particular. But I do hope you're keeping all this somewhere safe. It's such wonderful
stuff bursting with joie de vivre