Thursday, 26 July 2007

Loic Fever !

News of the seemingly miraculous recovery of our accident prone gardener would have appeared to have travelled far and fast and the village is heaving with sightseers and thrill seekers from as far afield as Roscoff and St Malo. The village square, in the shadow of the church, is filled, on a daily basis, with an ever growing number of people paying to stroke Loic’s highly waxed and well oiled artificial hand, lost by the Pompiers on final journey home. Of course the swineherd who accidently discovered it when falling drunk into the fosse by the wayside is now claiming it was a divine providence that led him to it and earning himself a nice living retelling his tale for 10 centimes a time. The shrine itself has altered beyond all recognition, no longer an upturned apple box, it now boasts a rather fine granite structure decked with an ornate alter cloth embroidered with, what one supposes to be, images of Loic intertwined with gardening tools and various salad crops. Poor St Fiancre is hardly getting a look in!

The local artisans have been impressively swift to produce a variety of Loic linked ephemera for the tourists and pilgrims to purchase at exorbitant prices and there would appear to be no end to their ingenuity. The potter has sculpted row upon row of small terracotta figures of Loic spread-eagled and legless under a diminutive statue of St Fiancre, and a range of commemorative cider bowls with a primitive painting of Loic waving his artificial limb and bearing the Motto “ Make mine a large one” in Breton. The carpenter is selling wooden Plaques carved with Loics image and apparently made from the very handcart upon which the Pompiers had transported Loic’s crumpled body Chez Nous after the latest of his terrible accidents. One can only surmise that the handcart was in reality much bigger than I remember as some of the plaques are quite large and there are rather a lot of them.

The village Bar is selling a special drink called “Loic’s reviver” which is, or so I am given to believe, a volatile mixture of Absinthe, cider and crème de menthe served in a stumpy glazed clay pot which looks remarkably like those in which Yannick sells his yoghurt . The recipe is naturally a secret but is said to include Absinthe for the fireworks, cider to honour the Pompiers who were drinking it when they discovered Loic and crème de menthe to symbolize the green salad that Loic was wearing when he recovered his spirits. It comes with a lettuce leaf wrapped around a pickled cucumber and harpooned on a wooden skewer which is quite an original touch. Jacques assures me that it actually quite pleasant but he thinks it may well be quite lethal in large quantities.

Our village being unaccustomed and ill equipped to deal with such a sudden influx of travellers the many visitors noticeabley outnumbered the scanty accommodation offered by the one small Inn. Enterprising farmer’s wives have set up auberges in their longeres and barns and are happily making a lucrative living providing overnight lodgings for all and sundry. I understand the going rate is 2 francs per person a night with sheets extra.

All in all, the entire commune seems to be thriving as a result of Loics little mishap, which since we are having such a wet summer will be a blessing in itself, the potatoes rotting in sodden earth and the hay ruined and too damp to harvest.

The only person who finds no joy in this new prosperity would appear to be Nicolai Fartoocozy who, as the chairman of the committee for the commune health and sanitation with special responsibility for fosse septiques, finds himself rather overworked arranging for the emergency empting of communal fosses which are not surprisingly overflowing with all the extra use they are getting.


As you can see from the accompanying photograph even old Jerome and his wife are doing very well selling hand carved and painted effigies of Loic and the Pompiers as ”pignoles” . How effective they will be remains to be seen as of course Loic is rather lacking in the limb department and by tradition the pignoles limbs revolve at speed in the wind to frighten away birds. If you look closely you will see that Jerome seems to have got over this handicap by depicting Loic with a very large spade like attachment in place of his missing hand and has given him to legs, a fact that seems not to have deterred his customers at all.


annakarenin said...

Oh I have enjoyed catching up. That poor old Loic should ascend to such dizzy heights of fame and celebrity, lets hope it doesn't all go to his head or what would become of the poor pigs.

Fennie said...

A great many chapters ago, when Loic was no more than a lad and you were surrounded by easels and paint, I seem to remember you telling me that Loic's marital prospects were rather dim. But now his prospects must surely have been transformed?

He is the hero of the hour and the toast of the sardine filleters, though maybe with his new found fame he could now legitimately aspire to greater rank, becoming an indoor servant even and marrying a housekeeper.

I am wondering just what Mde G thinks about all this? She may be thinking, slightly forlornly, that but for her the entire Loic revival phenomenon would never have occurred. It was only her devotion to duty, was it not, in insisting that she could still prepare a meal despite her kitchen table being temporarily in use as a bier that caused her accidentally to spill hot oil and cold vinegar on her prone and hapless former companion. She must be wondering whether she might not do slightly better at this raising the dead malarkey than any number of carved wooden platters or whirligig dolls. She has got hands-on experience after all.

kathleen said...

Loic’s reviver - uff...sounds like a killer! I had to laugh about the women lining up to kiss a prosthetic hand to ensure fertility. And I had a bit of wit to plug in here, but have just lost it.

Ah well, thanks for visiting my blog, though! You did get in to leave a message, and I hope you enjoyed little Ellie's cute portrait!

Anonymous said...

What a joy it must be to meet Loic. Will there be a que? Is there something I should bring? He is a man on a mission and seemingly, quite sensual.

Crystal xx

Milkmaid said...

Absinthe, cider and creme de menthe now thats sounds like a drink, undoubtedly will be lethal in large quantities
Glad to hear of enterprising farmers wives, somethings never change

Elizabethd said...

Shall we be having a new Saints day? Heaven knows there are enough of them, one more wouldnt make a difference!

lampworkbeader said...

Make mine a large one and I'll also have one of those little terracotta figures of the saintly man. It's a miracle!

Grouse said...

Well......just a small one, frappe, merci.

But my dear....who is now doing all the chores? As it seems young Loic is fast becoming a little above his station?

Cait O'Connor said...

Am enjoying a late night (early morning) catch-up. Great stuff as ever. I love the b/w photos.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Oh I hope it wont end in tears. Rushing on again . .