Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Un Peu Loufoque and the dunking donuts.. amongst other observations.

Finally this morning I have awoken with hardly an itch at all and the bites seem to be healing well. I think the topical administration of a mixture of iodine and absinthe recommended by Jacques, formerly known as Henri seems to have worked! Now, I must tell you about our encounter with Captain Elmer Bucket and his amazing dough beater, after which I promise to never mention again our trip to Brest or if I must to do so only briefly and then with sufficient warning, for I am beginning to feel terribly as if this tale is far longer in the telling than it was in the actual doing.

During breakfast taken in our tent, a place not ideally suited to entertaining visitors as it was somewhat lacking in furniture, I sitting on my bed and Chief Patissier and Elmer on the other each of us cautiously clutching tin mugs, which had obviously seen quite a deal of war service, I ventured an attempt at pleasant conversation and enquired of our host, or rather since he was in our tent our guest, why it was that he still remained in Brest ? Still languishing on French soil whilst most of his compatriots have left for home?

Why indeed? He is here, he told us, for his health, or rather due to his lack of it and until he recovers that health, here , apparently, he will remain, for, sadly he is unable to be cradled within the bosom of his mother country due to a rather persistent and virulent disease of a rather personal nature, which he inadvertently acquired whilst becoming a tad over familiar with the local girls of ill repute and low moral standing. What with his telling me the above and giving a rather over detailed description of the de lousing operation performed on all the American servicemen before they were allowed to leave la Belle France I was beginning to wish I had not offered him breakfast, and was immeasurably grateful that he sat upon Chief Patissier’s bed and not upon my own! . If it were not for the fact that I am a woman of the world and as such quite unshakeable I might even go so far as to suggest that I was shocked.

Whilst one can do nothing but admire the urge to offer succour to the troops who have travelled so far around the globe to protect and defend “la Belle France” from the onslaught of the German hordes one must also consider that it might have been more sensible all round had the girls in question offered succour to the troops by sewing on their missing tunic buttons or serving them good decent strong French coffee as and when needed rather than in the more intimate way they chose. Of course had they done so we may never have had the fortune, good or otherwise to make the acquaintance of Captain Elmer Bucket of the US Aviation corp, but at this moment that would seem from my position a small price to pay.

Enough of this let us turn to our inspection of Elmer Buckets splendid toll, for Elmer Buckets machine for the mixing of Dough was indeed impressive he had devised it originally for the preparation of an American patisserie called strangely a “doughnut” a strange greasy deep fried sugar coated confection which the Americans dip in their coffee. On those grounds alone one might condemn them as an uncultured and uncouth nation , but since over two million of them fought for our liberation I feel in no position to cast doubt on their moral character nor their cuisine. However tempting it may be.

Anyway, suffice to say, Chief Patissier examined Elmer’s implement with obvious excitement and they discussed how it might best be adapted for the making of galletes. Plans were drawn, an agreement made and the dough making machine is even now en route to the biscuiterie ,Chief patissier having brought the patent outright in exchange for a six month supply of iodine and mercury, which hopefully might help alleviate Elmer Bucket’s little problem.

Business finished with we made our farewells as hastily and politely as possible and boarded the train for home. A journey which was as unpleasant as the previous one but made less so by the knowledge that clean sheets, hot soapy water and the administrations of Madame Grognonne awaited us.

Despite Chief Patissier telegramming Chez Nous with news of our expected arrival Jacques otherwise known as Henri was late arriving at the station at Guingamp. This was most inconvenient as we were moved along by the Gendarmes twice who were of the mistaken impression, due to our travel soiled state, that we were some sort of itinerant beggars. I was not amused. When the car did arrive it was lacking in a drivers seat and Jacques, was thus obliged to sit on an overturned cider barrel. Nonetheless it was pleasant to return home.

All seems in proper order Chez Nous although there a strange odour about my salle de bain which I cannot for the life of me identify and I note some strange red stains on the marble floor therein which I am certain are new. Madame Grognonne, for some inexplicable reason, appears to have developed quite a fetish for veal and has served it up in some disguise or another at every meal since our return. Perhaps she feels we need restorative nutrition after our foray into Finistere, however I can not for the life of me imagine where she is buying it all from since I understand our local butcher is currently in hospital as a result of an unpleasant incident between him and Yannick concerning the inexplicable disappearance of one of his prize calves. The Butcher, poor fool, has only himself to blame for he should know better than to rile Yannick, whom everyone knows, has exceptionally large clogs.


The photograph is of Captain Elmer Bucket and a team of volunteers greasing the wiggets on the Dough making machines sprangles after the flange slipped inadvertently. Captain Buckets has assured us that the machine is now perfectly safe as the flange has been braced with a grommit. However as a precaution Chief patissier has issued an edict stating that under no circumstances is anyone to operate the machine whilst wearing braces.


MaidofKent said...

Yes that I can see how that could cause a problem!
So glad the medication appears to be working, a note will be made for the medicine cabinet.

PS I am the EuroBank. I take Euros and pay in pounds. I am holding ramsom your skool uniform, and that of your husband, until such time I recieve payment and postal instructions. Headmistress will advise further.

snailbeachshepherdess said...


ChrisH said...

Ah, as my ex-mil used to say 'Those who go to romp must bear the bumps!' as Elmer himself now knows. I look forwards to hearing the verdict on the adapted dough making machine (I trust Madame Grognonne has given it a good rinse first - one can't be too careful!).

The Country Craft Angel said...

I am pleased the medication seems to be working!

warm wishes

Frances said...

Bon jour,
Having heard the rest of what happened in Brest, I can better understand your relief at once again being in residence at the chateau. And veal at each meal, too!

P.S. I do plan to see the R. Serra exhibit, though, like you, he is not in my listing of faves. I tend to like his work out of doors better than in galleries. The last time I saw a Serra show, at the Gagosian Gallery, he was there (talking to a collector perhaps.) A sculpture on display was composed of two very tall curved metal walls that were very close together. Visitors were walking the narrow path between these two rusting hedges; I could not quite manage it. Intellectually, I knew that they must have been firmly secured to the floor, but what if they were not?.....


muddyboots said...

words fail me for once!

Suffolkmum said...

Fantastic. Hurrah for the medication.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

At least the trip was worth it - the dough machine - sounds . . er . . .wonderful.