Thursday, 7 June 2007

Un peu Loufoque and the fishmongers daughter


What a glorious day and how reassuring to be woken by such homely and familiar sounds . There is sharp retort of Madame Grognonne’s rifle as she shoots Rabbits from the Kitchen window, followed swiftly by the clatter of Loics axe as he drops it , freezing with shock at the sudden noise, and over in the courtyard I can clearly hear the deep melodious voice of Jacques, formally known as Henri, mucking out the stables. and singing a jolly Breton Folk song about a fishmongers daughter who one dark night having consumed rather too much eau de vie ,with her lover the elderly by amorous one eyed clog maker, foolishly mistakes her aged grandmere for a lobster and, having accidentally cracked her head open with a mallet, is forced to flee her natal village never to return ending her days disguised as a deaf mute strawberry picker in Plougestal .

With such a merry start to my morning, I am determined not to dwell upon our unfortunate experiences in Brest and therefore have put all thoughts of bed bugs and Elmer Bucket’s unfortunate afflictions behind me, having first taken the extra precaution of instructing Madame Grognonne to scrub the bathroom and the interior of the automobile out one final time with a mixture of lime and carbolic acid which should kill any lingering germs nicely.

Chief Patissier, has recovered admirably from the burns to his leg and one hardly notices the nasty rash he has mysteriously developed , thanks to a timely application of an ointment of sheep fat and sulphur as prescribed by our local pharmacists , whom you may remember my mentioning before, in connection with Monsieur Fartoocozy the president of our twining committee , who broke the heart of the said pharmacists daughter by reneging on his engagement with her and running off with a Russian girl here on a cultural exchange trip. The sheep fat liniment does have a somewhat pungent aroma but if Chief Patissier remembers to stay down wind of everyone and not to stand too near a warm fire I am sure that no one will notice.

Madame Grognonne has managed to remove the coffee stains form his trousers and repair the torn lapels on his overcoat. She is beyond doubt, at times ,a veritable treasure although I personally think it was sheer pigheadedness on her part to attempt an invisible repair with white thread on black astrakhan, but she was determined to prove that it could be done. He has this morning gone with Antoine to the shunting yards to oversee the arrival of the dough mixer and to check that Elmer Bucket’s chest of medicinal mercury and Iodine have been safely dispatched to him by return. I have suggested he also send Captain Bucket a consignment of Sheep fat and Sulphur ointment as a token of friendship.

Despite my protestations that enough was enough after fried veal liver for petite déjeuner and escalope de veau for lunch we are apparently having Veal again for dinner this evening, cooked in a sweet Anjou wine with crème fraiche on a bed of rice. Madame Grognonne professes that it is either that or donuts, the recipe for which Elmer Bucket has telegrammed to us in case Chief Patissier changes his mind regarding including it in the biscuiterie repertoire.

I am certain I would rather eat French veal for a month than American donuts dunked in sweet milky coffee and covered in cinnamon icing. Why they are not all the size of houses is beyond my comprehension when they seem to survive entirely on a diet of fat and sugar deep fried in inferior cooking oil!

I think it might be wise tomorrow if Madame Grognonne and I take the governess cart into the next town and pay a call on their boucherie to purchase some household provisions and a trifle more variety to our diet. It being a Friday we may even go as far as the fishmonger , although having listened to the fate of the fishmongers daughter in Jacques ( formally known as Henri) heart rending folk song this morning I think Lobster and is out of the question. However strawberries I may just be able to stomach.

As an after thought I neglected to mention that Elmer Bucket has very kindly offered to send us by train a small canvas tent which he assures us is easily demountable and light enough to be carried by one person in its erected state. This is can then be put up at a mere moments notice and I am sure will prove extremely useful for placing over Loic during the summers thunderstorms or during heavy rain . In exceptionally bad weather I am considering advising Loic to work within the tent and carry with him as he moves around the flowerbeds like a carapace, thus will save Jacques formerly known as Henri the not inconsiderable inconvenience of searching for Loic and then having once located him lifting Loic in his rigid state and placing him in the stables for safe keeping.

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The painting above is a rather fetching still life containing largely strawberries and was executed by and Artist called Adriane Coote. When I say executed I mean of course that he painted it, not that he killed the strawberries, as far as I am aware no strawberries were harmed in the making of this painting. I did search in vain for a portrait of a deaf mute strawberry picker from the Plougestal but sadly to no purpose it would appear that no one has been inspired to paint this rather charming subject. Perhaps I might consider it as a suitable theme for my next painting .

11 comments:

ChrisH said...

I am receiving you loud and clear and have had a good laugh too.

@themill said...

Tag, Madame.

Pondside said...

So glad that Un Peu is home safe and sound. I wonder if there can be ill effects from eating too much veal?
If you come to Canada I'll take you to Tim Horton's - it's an 'institution' here - donuts and coffee and always packed to the gunnells with customers.

countrymousie said...

Just picking my first strawberries here from my new plantings.
Glad you have found your way back into blog/comment land.
Love the stilllife.

sally's chateau said...

Urgh the donuts, too much detail, what a splendid idea though for your 'man' to garden with the tent over him, you are so considerate to others less fortunate than yourself.

Suffolkmum said...

I love the stilllife too. My strawberries are ripening nicely as well ... glad you're out in cyber land somewhere!

Woozle1967 said...

Ah, the sheep fat and sulphur trick! And there I was thinking, twas only little old me that still used it........xx

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Could be worse...could be goose grease ...I am a great fan of Loic now ...when you have finished with him can I have him please...

LittleBrownDog said...

Fabulously funny, as ever, un peu. How on earth to you keep coming up with these wonderfully entertaining histoires?

Hope that CP manages to keep away from anything dangerous with his pungeant embrocation. Also, I would love to see Mmme Grognonne's invisible repair - she sounds very resourceful.

Frances said...

Bon soir,

Folk tunes, strawberries, where do I begin. With strawberries bien sur. A beautious coincidence, as I read your most recent words, I myself here in America, was nibbling on ... not one of those heavy, unhealthy, greasy doughnuts, but instead several lovely examples of the current season's strawberries. So sweet, so ripe, no additional sugar required. Nor cream. Just the ripe fruits themselves.

I wish you luck with the folk songs, the continuing veal menu, the tent. Take comfort that Madame G is there to guide you through the vexing pathways.

Please do not neglect your painting. It is so easy to let one's responsibilities take precedence over one's calling.

Bon nuit.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Oh no give me doughnuts every time.