Monday, 2 July 2007

Madame Grognonne and a poultry matter

Madame Grognonne is being exceptionally vexatious this morning and has complained, without respite, about the chickens which are, at present, sharing her sleeping quarters. I really can not see what grounds for grievance she might have, after all she is busy about the house all day and I believe that poultry are not, by nature, nocturnal.

One would have thought that she might be grateful for the added warmth they provide at night in the unseasonably damp weather. However far from that, she objects to them roosting on her bed posts and laying eggs in her chamber pot. She claims that since Loic clipped their wings and they can not fly, which, I might add, was only done at her request as she was complaining that they swooped on her from the rafters as she got in and out of bed, they have now taken to dropping down on her in the night from her bed head and walking across her bed before hopping on to the bed ends to roost there. She is convinced they have a personal vendetta against her, which is ridiculous as they really do not know her that well.


The only means of placating her would appear to be to re-house them in their old hen coop but to do this I shall have to ask Youngest to dismantle the boat he is building which seems to be a trifle unfair since he, Loic and Jacques have made such splendid progress with it, added to which, it has still not ceased raining to any noticeable extent and, although the danger has, for the moment, passed, we may yet need to call upon its services!

We did after all move them from the hen house because of the imminent flooding and in order to save her the trouble of wading through the water to collect the eggs. A fact that she, I note, conveniently has forgotten. Bearing in mind her own near death experience in the pond yesterday morning, if she had an ounce of compassion in her soul she would not begrudge their being rescued from possible drowning . After all Loic has taken the pigs into his potting shed with him, which was kind as otherwise she would have them for company as well, and I do not hear him complain, and Jacques often as not sleeps with the horse! I am quite sure that all the animals put together make less noise in their sleep than chief Patissier after a heavy dinner and yet no one hears me making an unladylike fuss about the matter!

As for the chickens themselves, they too seem to be becoming quite settled in their new sleeping quarters despite their disagreable bed fellow but I do fear that their living with Madame Grognonne for any length of time may begin to put them off their laying.

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The painting is by Gijsbert Gillisz. De Hondcoeter a Dutchman born in 1604 who ,according to all I have read ,devoted much of his life to the painting of poultry, as did hi sfather before him. Strangely enough I was utterly unable to find a painting of hens roosting on a french housekeepers bed post, a matter that implies to me that it may well be somewhat of a unique occurrence, which only reinforces how doubley fortunate Madame Grognonne is that they have chosen to be so familiar with her.

10 comments:

Crystal Jigsaw said...

There's just no pleasing some people. Perhaps Loic's leg might help as a rooster for the hens. I hope you don't have foxes there. We're just letting our hens out again after three days of them being cooped up inside. All seven of them!

Grouse said...

My dear, you must bid them great haste in finishing the boat, then, with a small sail to shelter them from the rain, the hens can roost on the boat at night, in the middle of the pond, where they will be quite safe from the fox and Loic......with a rope to pull them in in the morning for egg collection!

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sally's chateau said...

She really is the most ungrateful woman is she not ? who in their right mind would object to chickens quietly roosting on their bedposts ? Why are people so narrow in their outlook these days, it is quite beyond me !!

muddyboots said...

there is nothing like a nice newly laid egg for breakfast complemented by marmite soldiers. hens on the bed solves the problem of walking about hunting for eggs in one's slippers. keep everything close to hand especially in confined spaces.

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Only happy hens lay eggs!
Get the pigs away from my hero please..the smell will linger for years and even goosegrease won't cover that up!

Pondside said...

Un Peu, I don't know how you soldier on, day after day , in that household of maladroits!!
I've been thinking about your search for meaningful occupation for a woman of your social standing and sensibility and think I've come up with something....You should take up Exotic Poulty. You sense of beauty would be engaged in the choosing of lovely and exceptional birds - your need for an expression of your artistic talent could be assuaged in the design and decoration of a chicken coop sans pareille! Mission style? Belle Epoque? Arts and Crafts? Victorian? This plan has the added benefit of taking full advantage of Mme G's ability to bond with the birds - she could do the actual day-to-day hen-husbandry and you could save yourself for the really important business!

lady macleod said...

what a a fun blog! I must find a lazy afternoon to read your archives.

just lovely.

Fennie said...

Hey, Hola - Is anyone at home? Il y a personne la bas? Perhaps they've all left - frightened by the rising water - or the nationalists. Like the Marie Celeste here. Look at all these paintings. Didn't even bother to take in their washing. Must have left in a hurry alright. Oh well. Wonder if there's any absinthe in the cellar. Oh there's a horse here. Poor thing and some cats. Maybe they're coming back. I'll just have a nip of absinthe then and tiptoe away q u i e t l y.....

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

How ungrateful of Mme G - and as you say the other servants don't complain - how do you put up with the woman . . rushing on