Monday, 7 May 2007

A new President is elected or Madame Grognonne helps out.

I was awoken this morning by the unexpected presence of Madame Grognonne standing silently at the side of my canopied bed bearing the silver tea pot and my Limoge cup on a tray. It is so long since this early morning regime has been adhered to Chez Nous that I had almost thought it gone forever. After the rather dramatic events of yesterday , it appears that she and I have come to a unspoken agreement. She will resume normal domestic duties as if nothing toward has occurred and I will not mention the Alexi Vlodaflodavodavitch. So far it would seem to be working admirably as the tea was very good and she has promised to prepare comfit de canard for lunch.

Along with my breakfast cup Madame Grognonne thoughtfully provided me with a freshly ironed copy of the local journal “ Le Menteur” and a pristine pair of white cotton gloves so I might read it. If you have not already adopted this habit may I suggest you do so immediately? Newsprint is so grubby and without this precaution one soon finds the smut rubs off. and one ends up with ink all over ones visage, most unbecoming. This sudden rash of civility in Madame Grognonne is trifle unnerving but I am sure I shall endeavour to become accustomed to it.

I was quite shocked to read the words “New President Elected!” printed in bold ink across the front page for, what with visiting the King of Spain, ejecting Poles and generally caring for the many and various demands of my household, I had quite forgotten that this weekend was the Presidential election and there to prove it was a picture of none other than the new President, not, as I had hoped, Madame Le Tricheur, but that dreadful little foreign upstart Monsieur Nicolai Fartoocozy ! What is France coming to I wonder!

Of course had I been involved in the affair at all then the outcome might have been very different indeed , but sadly, I had omitted to cast my vote in the Scrutin, a scrutin being as you well know, a ballot or poll. It was very remiss of me to neglect my political obligations thus but, since I have vowed never to have any truck with Poles again, I think I may be excused.

You understand I hope, we are discussing not the matter of a National election for a President of France , but a far more important event, none other than the election of the President of the Comité de Jumelage for our little commune. Since no right minded Breton pays any heed to the machinations of Paris and its Ministers nor of its decrees or Laws, it is no great import to us whether the French elect Louis XIV or Madame Lafarge as their leader. Our election and its consequences are far far more serious and far reaching than theirs, for it is the President of our Comité who has the final say as to which foreign town our tiny Bourg is twinned.

Sadly the last President got so old and senile that the mayor and a handful of village elders, including Chief Patissier had to dupe him into resigning his position. They achieved this by cunningly replacing his water with eau de vie at the last village fete so he eventually collapsed face down into his plate of pigs trotters in red wine sauce. After which, a fountain pen was placed in his hand and the mayor clasped his wrist and managed to get him to make a passable signature on a hastily concocted letter of resignation.

Initially we had three candidates for the fortuitously vacant post, Monsieur Francois Cochon a rather jolly and dynamic pig farmer ,who was naturally popular with the peasants ,but sadly failed to gain sufficient support amongst the remainder of the commune to be considered a real contender. He is a delightful man, we have bought sausages from him on many an occasion and will continue to do so as the need arises. Alas although he knows a great deal about agriculture, one feels that if one is going to embark on a career in International relations, as one must do if one is to elected President of the twinning committee, one really ought to have , if not actually left the commune, at least be aware that there are other places outside it.

The other two candidates I have already mentioned en passant , my personal favourite Madame Le Tricheur and the invidious Monsieur Nicolai Fartoocozy.

I have always had quite a soft spot for dear little Sylvie le Tricheur if only because I remember she and her sisters spent a great deal of their childhood with cropped hair and wearing breeches as their father, the rather officious deputy mayor was very disgruntled at their not being boys. I have always found her to be a clever little thing and quite pretty , even with that rather awful haircut. She is , it goes without saying, far better travelled than Francois Cochon, she has at least been to Paris, and thus better equipped to face the tasks of President. Although I fear her sausages are not in the same class. I choose to ignore the fact she has managed to have four children despite remaining unmarried in the eyes of the church, for which I fear blame must lie squarely on the shoulders of her rather unpleasant father.

The winning candidate, Monsieur Nicolai Fartoocozy, whose rather greasy smug smile was enough to quite put one off one’s croissant this morning, is hardly French at all, being ,as he is, the son of a Hungarian Émigré . He was always a rather jealous and disagreeable child and not terribly bright at school, quiet a bully as I recall with a particular thing against a rather pleasant Arab family who sold couscous at the local market every Thursday. He was forever shouting at them to go home, which was rather strange I felt as they had lived in the commune. I suppose this means we shan’t be twinned with Marrakech, which is quite a pity as one can get some simply splendid bits and pieces in the souks there and a rather fancy an Arabian theme for my boudoir.

Since it seems we shall be forced to accept young Nicolai as President one must be grateful at least that he has chosen to turn his back on his Slavic origins as otherwise there is a real risk we may end up twining with somewhere awful in Hungary or Heaven forbid even Poland ! Nicolai has quite a penchant for the United states, too many movies as a child I fear, and quite frankly we are all rather dreading he will insist on our being twinned with New York. I think we can all agree we have quite enough Americans here already thank you!

Tonight we are going en famille to the Salle de fete to attend the celebration meal in honour of our newly elected President Monsieur Fartoocozy. Despite ones feelings one must after all respect the wishes of the masses. Madame Grognonne (despite detesting Monsieur Fartoocozy with a vengeance ever since he broke the heart of our local pharmacists daughter by reneging on his engagement with her and running off with a Russian girl here on a cultural exchange trip. Madame Grognonne’s mother was the pharmacists third cousins aunt on her grandfather’s side . Family ties are very strong here you know.) kindly volunteered to organise the catering.

The menu she has chosen is very ethnic, with an entrée of
kebab Koutbane, followed by couscous with lamb and traditional Arab pastries served with a rough Algerian red wine. I do hope Nicolai Fartoocozy enjoys African cuisine.

The painting is of our local pharmacist reading in the “ Le Menteur”that Nicolai Fartoocozy has been elected as President of the village twinning committee. I think you will agree he does not look very happy.


Hopping Moon said...

Perhaps you could be twinned with Walsingham and we could all have tea in the Cottage garden cafe - it would be such fun to meet Mme Grognonne!

Frances said...

Bon soir, it is very late here in New York, but I do thank you for your post-election words. It is so difficult to imagagine that any choice will make a difference, but it does seem that many in France decided to make a choice. Perhaps that is better than remaining at home and avoiding the decision. Over here, few vote, many complain. I always vote, and always complain.
I am always surprised when someone for whom I vote actually wins. But then, I am also quicky annoyed by what that winner does after being elected. Do I seem a bit French?

Pondside said...

Perhaps Nicholai will choose a twin in Canada - ici on parle francais! We always end up getting twinned with a small town in Japan - Pacific Rim and all that.
It sounds as though you will be in for some excitement in France!

toady said...

I meant what I said yesterday, contact the BBC. Your stuff is far better than some of the drivel they've been putting out lately.
Now send over the CP I have a fancy for a pain au raisin for breakfast. Toady

chief patissier said...

Can't leave the ovens, I'm afraid, if they're not sufficiently fired up what comes out is not really up to scratch - a bit like my own dear wife, in that respect.

muddyboots said...

is he, n fartoochoozy, releated to the n t-cozy the new president of france? these names, we all call the iranian president mr dinner jacket much to the amusement of masoud! words don't you just love 'em! have you manged to get mapp & lucia on r4 yet?[try bbc listen again on bbc web thing page stuff]- l have been driving all the youngsters insain by manic laughs & 'did you hear that' dear old georgie, have a great day among the crepes & cafe creme xx

ChrisH said...

Thank you, Un Peu, I now understand the mysteries of the French electoral system. I suspect that eau de vie and pigs trotters may be employed in this part of rural Wales too.

Fennie said...

Ah! You know if these splendid chronicles are ever published, earnest and unsmiling students will diligently prod your texts and write their Ph.D thesis on something like 'Political satire in the Chronicles of Madame Grognonne.'

I was once vice-chair of our local twinning committee - almost twenty years ago now - (involuntary shudder. We are twinned with Clisson, that was I suppose once upon a time in Brittany. Our elections were much more civilised affairs and did not usually involve candidates, there being the usual and sensible reluctance of people to volunteer.

For all that I would have gone for Mde Le Tricheur, I think. The Menteur (or should that be 'Super-Menteur') will now, presumably, go from strength to strength the editor in chief now having more time on his hands.

Elizabethd said...

Our village is very down in the mouth. They all voted for the glamorous lady.

Blossomcottage said...

Please could you record this in "spoken word" and put it on CD then sell it I would be a BIG purchaser I would love to listen to it when I am going around in my car.

Suffolkmum said...

Loved this, much preferred Mme Le Tricheur to the unberably smug Nikolai Fartoocozy. Great blog, should be in Le Canard Enchainee or whatever it's called.

Inthemud said...

Thanks for explaining the French voting system in such colourful terms! You have me in stitches, I can just see you sitting there in bed with your white gloves reading the paper!! Thank goodness normal service has been resumed re: Mne G!

elizabethm said...

now it all becomes clear, thank you. loved the resigning mayor. don't know how you can produce this stuff and what it must be like in your head but you are wasted on our small blogging stage! Get yourself a radio programme as blossom says.

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Yes Yes do all what they say above- be famous on the radio- but dont leave us will you? What would I read to himself each evening at 6:45? How could a soul cope without a daily dose of Un Peu and MMe Gorgonne?
Wonderful blog!

countrymousie said...

Wonderful tales - not sure that I like the look of the pharmacist. I quite like the look of the New President of France though.Still, would he look at a mouse though!

Frances said...

Bon jour and merci for your interesting comment. I had been following the French election for months, from various press sources, so your local take was very instructive.
Best wishes to you and to all of Brittany!

Urban Chick said...

i met someone last night whose brother went to mr sarkozy's post-election celebration party

the invite was issued on saturday

kinda presumptuous, no?

tsk tsk

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Oh good grief - everyone has already said it all. Great fun as usual.

Tattie Weasle said...

Do pass onto Mme G my grateful thanks for the tapers they went up in a bit of a startling pouff and I nearly scorched my eyebrows. There was an exceedingly strong alcholic stench that accompnaied them - the remains of the of vodka I presume...
Do get these on audio/and or published or I'll have to do it myself and a fear I would never do justice!