Monday, 25 June 2007

Un Peu finds herself a trifle out of her depth!



I was mightily pleased with myself having managed a good three hours painting yesterday before I was disturbed by the arrival of Madame Grognonne wishing me to approve the menu for the evenings soiree, grumbling as she habitually does under her breath.

Considering she had such short notice and that the larder was uncharacteristically bare after our being confined to the house due to the unseasonal weather, I must say that she had put together the makings of a rather impressive repas .

Loic and Eldest had managed to procure a quantity of offal from Yannick as well as a side of Beef and plenty of cream and butter. En route, Loic had clumsily caught his leg in a pot hole and fallen into the fosse by the side of the road. Eldest in her attempt to rescue him, tumbled in on top, so that by the time they arrived at the farm, both were almost entirely sodden with mud and therefore there was , thankfully, no fear of her being recognized by Yannick .

Youngest had discovered quite a fine cache of eggs which the hens had laid in Madame Grognonne’s best boots, and middle had salvaged several pounds of raspberries and the odd strawberry as well, despite stiff competition form the slugs.

The menu thus boasted an entrée of pate a la champagne, followed by roti de bouef with new potatoes asparagus and artichoke hearts as la plate de resistance and a selection of desserts including syllabub, meringues filed with whipped cream and fresh fruit puree and sweet biscuits.

Having informed her the menu would do, I sent Madame Grognonne off to find Chief Patissier to allow him to check his chosen wines against the approved menu and managed a further two undisturbed hours before having to stop again, alerted to a impending disaster by the strong smell of smoke drifting up the stairs.


Jacques had performed his task splendidly had dutifully lit blazing fires in the downstairs hearths, which were warming up the place wonderfully. Unfortunately we had all forgotten about the Hirondelles nest which had it appeared to successfully have blocked the chimney and the house was filling rapidly with smoke.
Thinking quickly Chief Patissier , affixing Loic’s dibber attachment to his leg and the leg to the kitchen broom handle, and, giving it to youngest to hold, pushed child, artificial limb and broom handle up the chimney where, with a few well judicious thrusts the nest fell down in a shower of sparks! As you may imagine I was quite anxious as chimney fires can be notoriously disastrous and I really not relish the task of redecorating the salle. Chief Patissier was much relieved as he said that he really could not have a soiree with our guests choking on smoke!

Busy as I had been all day with my art, I had totally forgotten that my little dinner party had been nothing but a clever ruse to rouse the household from their turpitude and, with a rising sense of panic, it dawned upon me that, in less than a few hours Chief Patissier, along with everyone else would be expecting guests to arrive. Since I had none invited I could clearly see a fatal flaw in my plan and a creeping feeling that once they discovered my duplicity, I would, yet again, be persona non grata chez nous! I was sorely tempted to make a dash for it in youngest’s boat!
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The photograph is by the Scottish photographer John Thomson and is, not wishing to state the obvious, of a chimney sweep and his boy. I am happy to say that neither Chief Patissier nor youngest were quite so dirty after the chimney fire incident, which just goes to show that had chimney sweeps the sense to employ a combination of small boys, artificial limbs and broom handles their job would be far less messy. I wonder if I might ask Chief Patissier about designing a chimney sweeps brush attachment for Loic’s leg?

9 comments:

sally's chateau said...

You sound a very devious woman and not one to be trifled with, however under the very trying circs of the last few days I am sure your clever ruse was appreciated by your dear family

snailbeachshepherdess said...

I told you that Loic and I were soul mates...that is how I had my accident as well! Destiny!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

It's a laugh a minute in your household. How do you manage to hold a paintbrush and concentrate at the same time? Poor Loic, his leg doesn't half come in for some stick!

Suffolkmum said...

So how did you rescue the situation? A woman of your talents can overcome a trifling matter like no guests, I'm sure.

ChrisH said...

I could do with someone making a gastronomic delight out of the contents of my fridge - as it is it looks as if I will have to go out foraging myself. Perhaps the builders opposite will have left something in their lunchboxes to keep me going.

Fennie said...

Having a dinner and no guests is not quite as bad as having guests and no dinner. Besides in any respecting French village there are always those who will oblige.
But I fear occasion will need particular spirit if it is not to turn into something akin to Robert Scott's last journey in the Royal Hotel in Cardiff whence he set out on his boat for his camping trip to the Antartic.

I remember being told at school that his death was entirely due to the isotopes of tin of which there are two one of which becomes unstable at low temperatures. In consequence the parafinn leaked out of his fuel cans and it was that lack of fuel, rather than the weather that did for them all.

Still if you advertise the dinner as a selection for a new colony for 'La Bretagne Outre Mer' you may obtain a suitable selection of interesting folk.

Meanwhile: sherry in inclemencies and vintage port in storms.

muddyboots said...

aye aye aye, tut, tut, tut, umm hmmm.

Pondside said...

I think that you'd better have a well-timed swoon or become quickly 'indisposed' and say that you've sent the regrets round to all the guests. I don't think Chief Patissier is a man to be trifled with!

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Ah no guests . . . . .rushing on . . .