Saturday, 6 October 2007

The story behind the tale...


Over the past week I have been able to piece together, from accounts given by the various members of the household, exactly what it was that happened here, Chez Loufoque, in our absence and an explanation for the appearance of the phantom figure in the kitchen. The story is a strange and complex one but I shall do my utmost to render if faithfully.

As I had discovered from Madame Grognonne’s somewhat idiosyncratic carte postales which I received whilst taking the cure in the South. After a series of unfortunate events she and Jacques had been left in a spot of trouble arising from the Police maltreatment of animals and in consequence had unconscious Gendarme in the confined in the cellar. Jacques immediate reaction had been to finish off the Gendarme and bury his body in the garden however he and Madame Grognonne had been unable to agree on a suitable spot in which to safely inter him, the melon beds having already been earmarked for possible later use, and were in the midst of a heated argument regarding this topic when who should arrive buy Loic and his widow friend who had come to deliver the latest produce from the widows orchard . Cider, and a few bottle of Pomig , a deceptively strong spirit made form cider, of their own fabrication. Loic had of course been in hiding with the widow after the religious fervour surrounding his miraculous body appendages had got a trifle out of hand.

This momentarily distracted Jacques and Madame Grognonne who were, out of politeness, forced to taste the latest alcoholic offerings, a social obligation that inevitably took sometime. However after all were well lubricated from their tasting it was decided to store the remaining drink in the cellar and allow it to mature a little. Loic being the steadiest on his feet, an interesting fact in itself since he has an artificial leg which I understand had at that time an attachment for crushing apples. Unfortunately, whilst removing the cider to the cellar Loic ,who had not his apple picking attachment on his false arm and therefore his grip was not as well as it might be, was startled by the sound of groaning, obviously this was the gendarme gaining consciousness, and accidently dropped the barrel in fright, it smashing on the Gendarmes head and drenching him in the cider. Miraculously, bearing in mind this was the second major blow to his cranium within a relatively short period the blow did nothing worse than render him unconscious again.

Hearing the commotion in the cellar Jacques the widow and Madame Grognonne rushed to Loic’s aid fearing he had been set upon by sardine gutters lurking in the dark , and having discovered the cause Jacques and Madame Grognonne were obliged to tell the whole sorry tale of the Chief Druid and the Gendarme to Loic and the widow. After which they were all in need of further refreshment so they made themselves comfortable, by sitting upon the recumbent Gendarme ,and opened a bottle of absinthe which was fortuitously to hand, whilst deciding what course of action to take next.

It was after the Absinthes bottle was emptied and they had moved on to sample some of the special wines Chief Patissier had arranged to be sent up from Bordeaux that they hit upon their cunning plan. A plan which requires an explanation all of its own and which revealed to me the identity of the terrifying creature whom I encountered upon my return here, the identity of whom I have discovered and will reveal to you. Meanwhile, all I shall add is that, bizarre although the entire tale is it only proves that as I have always perceived it to be, that is that fact truly is stranger than fiction.

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The rather idyllic painting is called The Cider mIll and was painted in 1880 by John George Brown an American artist of rather fanciful tastes who specialized in idealised portrayals of impoverished peasant children at work and play all of them looking remarkably well nourished and clean. I can not imagine that Loic and the widows cidre production however it is cidre none the less for that. I am given to understand from Loic and the widow that hygiene and health and safety is not high on their list of needs when it comes to producing their products and that the odd dead rat in a ask only serves to add to the flavour. I shall not I think be sampling their Pomig.

16 comments:

Frances said...

Bon jour.

If I do promise to return to this very spot at this very same hour tomorrow morning, will I at last find the complete explanation of the spectre in the kitchen.

Not wishing to appear impolite, I do thank you for the information presented today, about the goings on, the cidre, and the plotting.

xo

Blossomcottage said...

I have little doubt when allis revealed we will all be truly amazed, I do however fear that Loic may well be in need of much more refreshment before the day is out and the tale fully told.
I wait in anticipation.
Blossom

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Oh Poooooooooooo - now I won't know until after my holiday . . . .UN PEU - NAUGHTY CORNER . . .sigh . . looks round for stomping arrows - can't find any so stomps off anyway.

Pondside said...

Lovely clean and shining peasant children in the accompanying illustration! If we had peasants at Pondside they'd also be clean and well-fed, but as it is just the Great Dane and yours-truly doing all the peasant work we are quite willing to take any of the cidre - no matter what the hygenic standards of production!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I can't believe you've done this to us! When can we expect to know?

Crystal xx

LittleBrownDog said...

Golly, Un Peu. It gets stranger and stranger! Looking forward to the next instalment with eager anticipation...

PS I've awarded you another well-deserved award on my blog.

lampworkbeader said...

Um I didn't quite follow that. Pass the absinthe please. I need it to clear my brain a bit.

sally's chateau said...

Another bizarre twist in the tales of the unfortunate M Grognonne, edge of seat stuff indeed and a credit to the writers imagination, and showing once again, true aplomb in re-counting the tales for us all to enjoy !!

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Oh dear....you do know how they make sure cider is of the best quality with lots of protein dont you? Yuk and poor old Loic and the gendarme have just had a bath in it......

ChrisH said...

Zut alors! It has all been happening whilst I have been incarcerated!

Grouse said...

So are you saying the sighting of the spectre and the drinking of the Absinthe are somehow connected????? Well...you have lost me now!!!!!!!!!

Fennie said...

I remember the good old days when the only problems at Chateau Loufoque revolved around a loose carthorse and a Polish woman - or was it vice versa? As, Madame de Stael, who was Talleyrand's lover, though in time she dumped him, much to his chagrin, used to say "Tout comprendre rend tres indulgent." To know all makes one tolerant. I hope M. le Gendarme remembers this when he wakes up.

Suffolkmum said...

Can hardly bear not to know - please put us out of our misery!

bodran... said...

I'm going to have to do some catch up reading, i do like the sound of loics appendages ver useful...xxx

Inthemud said...

Hi UPL,
I guess Ugly Betty hasn't reached France!
It's an American programme about the fashion Magazine industry and full of cut throat bad behaviour, but Ugly Betty, is the assistant to boss who saves the day each week, they made her look "ugly" by glasses and braces and the wrong clothes, she's actually very pretty. Very silly prog but addictive

CAMILLA said...

Bonjour Un Peu,

Apologies, I am just catching up, a mystery - when will all be revealed.! I just love that painting Un Peu, The Cider Mill, children look so beautiful, yet they as you say may be given to hard labour in the fields.

Your writing is truly amazing! have you ever thought about writing a book Un Peu?

Camilla.xx