Saturday, 20 October 2007

Homeward Bound


Whilst our motley band of misfits slept the day away in the cool shade of the woods, and Antoine valiantly stood guard puffing on Madame Grognonne’s pipe to keep the flies at bay, there happened to pass, not far from them, the figure of a young lad intent on his duty.
It was none other than the lost and grubby figure of Jean Luc Perdu, carrying in his satchel an urgent telegram from myself ,which was sadly by now somewhat ragged and stained owing to his unhygienic habit of storing his baguette and bloater paste repas in his satchel along with his mail.
Little did he know that had he but chosen to rest his velocipede under the trees and taken the opportunity to perform some much needed ablutions in the clean waters of the stream he would have stumbled across Madame Grognonne, the rightful recipient of the telegram and thus saved himself several more days on the road.

Of course had he come across Madame Grognonne, there in the woods, he would have very likely not continued along the road to Paimpol and therefore perhaps never had the opportunity to make the intimate acquaintance of one Fleur Fleton a friendly fish filleter who introduced him with to the delights she usually reserved solely for the entertainment of members of the Breton fishing fleet, before sending him on his way back in the direction in which he had come. So overcome was he with Fleur Fletons and her fishy tales that, very soon after delivering his bloater paste stained telegram at Chateau Loufoque, he returned to Paimpol and bound himself as a cabin boy on a cod fishing boat sailing for the far flung shores of Cape Breton in Canada where, having discovered that due to an unfortunate inner ear imbalance he was ill fitted to the life of a sailor, he apprenticed himself to a fur trapper called Finnius Finnigan and eventually married Finnegan’s fine daughter Fenoulla. That however is another story altogether.

Anyway, I digress. As the day began to cool and evening fell the party reassembled themselves and adjusted their disguises, not easy in the case of Loic whose backward facing foot had become inexplicably tangled in the widows garter elastic, then, having eaten a restorative repas of herring fillets and anchovy paste tarts washed down with the remains of the cider, they resumed their journey homewards with many a backward glance fearing with every turn of the carts squeaking wheels that they the perfidious port policemen at Paimpol may even now be pursuing them .

The night being cold, all except Jacques, who was driving the creaking cart, took refuge in the back lying huddled together on top of the sacking in the rear gaining what heat they could from each others bodies and the festering fish guts, which although they make excellent organic fertilizer for the garden do not make particularly desirable bedding. Happily, none of them were discerning characters and were not ,therefore, greatly discomforted by their odiforous mattress although Loic did take the precaution of removing his twisted limb and hanging it over the side in order to avoid further petticoat entanglements and the danger of the joints becoming seized up with sardine scales. There was I am sure many an unfortunate traveller that night who felt their time had come seeing the creaking cart go past in the mist its back piled high with bodies.

On reaching the outskirts of our village the cart stopped with the intention of allowing Antoine to dismount and make his way across country to his home unseen. However he slept so soundly that none had the heart to wake him , and it was in fact lucky for them they had halted for in doing so they narrowly avoided an accident when a small but swift dog cart, its drivers muffled and travelling at speed shot past them unseeing and would have almost collided with them had they not been parked under the protective branches of an overhanging chestnut tree. Who could it have been rocketing past at such urgent velocity and at such an early hour? Fearing they had been found out and suspecting the worst they travelled onwards in silence choosing the little used roads until, as dawn broke the sky with its first shards of tentative light they arrived, Chez Nous ,to find some other person had arrived before them and the door to the silent house stood open...
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The photograph is of none other than that of Finnius Finnigan, future father in law to young Jean Luc Perdu and Grandpere to all the little Perdus that Jean Luc and the fercund Fenoulla produced in the way of offspring, including Fanny, Florence, Fabian, Francois, Felice , Ferdinand, Phillipe and last but not least poor little Elodie . Early on in their marriage they made the sensible decision to ensure all their children were given prenoms starting with the letter F so as to save on the the cost of name tapes for their clothing. Poor little Elodie however was the exception and was named after Jean Luc’s maiden aunt whose crossed eyes she had unfortunately inherited. Phillipe was a spelling error, one that could have happened in even the best regulated families unless sensible precautions are taken.

13 comments:

Elizabethd said...

First again!!
Our postman , I fear , has a lot in common with Jean Luc. the mail has a decidedly alcoholic scent sometimes.

ChrisH said...

More Fleur Fleton, the flighty fishy piece, please!

Frances said...

Bon jour,

I have had my morning coffee and was able to follow every twist and turn of that journey. I do hope that we may in the fullness of time learn who might have also been traveling at the swifter speed through the night.

In these tales, we seem to find that every solved mystery or challenge soon leads us to another predicament. That is but one of the charms to be found here.

Pondside said...

As a Cape Bretoner, myself, I must tell you that I am sure that I know some of the F. Perdu clan. They are well known in those parts, but who knew the interesting story of their origins???
Await eagerly the unfolding of the mystery of the swift dog cart!

lampworkbeader said...

Loved the story but I could have done without being reminded of bloater paste.

Casdok said...

Yes more please!!

Cait O'Connor said...

Great to catch up with your blogs again, they are always such a delight.
I loved your tiles by the way I left a comment, you are multi-talented,
My daughter and famille are off to France on Thursday, staying in Les Herbieres.(wish I could hide in a suitcase!).

Tattie Weasle said...

The idea of sardine scales in one's joints really does sound horrid but there again to wake up and find an extra leg in one's garter??!!!!
Brilliant as usual...

Tattie Weasle said...

The idea of sardine scales in one's joints really does sound horrid but there again to wake up and find an extra leg in one's garter??!!!!
Brilliant as usual...

LittleBrownDog said...

What more can befall the house of Loufoque? Wonderfully detailed as ever. Looking forward to discovering the denoument of this torrid tale of star-crossed Breton folk.

muddyboots said...

the photo, is this a relation to popeye?

Grouse said...

I hope the driver of the dog-cart is hastening to Un Peu the comment I made on the last episode, which seems to have mysteriously disappeared!!!!!!! But we havnt heard of M. L's friend of late have we?

Fennie said...

Mmm. Caught up last night. Always dear little Loic has his foot back to front whenever I come to catch up. I really feel I know him quite well, and Mde Grognonne too, though how much is my imagination I don't know. So I wish them all well in their travels - even the mysterious Antoine - who is shrouded in secrecy. Whatever does he like for lunch? I wonder, and what colour is his hair?

I know this is a fishy tale but the reek of maritime life is everywhere, it rises like a miasma from the script. I can almost taste the salt. I now cannot look at a tin of Waitrose sardines without thinking of the poor girls of Paimpol. But there is a sadness to living one's life in - and indeed on in this case - dead fish. Will your cast ever be smelling of violets again, I wonder.

Still I await the next instalment with trepidation. Meanwhile I am wondering why Phillipe could not have gone Spanish and called himself Felipe but it does make sense using the same initals.

Without thinking too much about it we ended up calling our Catherine and Clare. Too much playing of The Minister's Cat I suppose.