Sunday, 1 June 2008

Nocturnal Omissions

I am not, alas, at my best this morning. I slept badly last night. It was hot and I was unaccountably plagued by a fly that seemed intent on tangling itself in my coiffure, and, if that were not enough , after Chief Patissier finally retired to bed I had to contend with unwanted attentions from another quarter.

The evening itself had been a pleasant enough one, Antoine had joined us for dinner and Madame Grognonne and the widow had prepared a veritable feast, with oysters, lobster and Wild Boar , followed by chilled champagne on the terrace by candle light. The tranquility of the latter only slightly marred by the robust, if muffled, accompaniment of Madame Grognonne and Jacque singing traditional Breton sea shanties in a somewhat discordant harmony , as they made space in the cave for next weeks delivery of wine. I have stopped purchasing Absinthe for the horse, much to Jacques disquiet, but he seems to do very well on rough cider and it saves a fortune on the vintner’s bills. After dessert Mademoiselle Delacourt had retired to her room early with a headache, a restorative gin and lemon, and her revolting Tom cat Fleur, her absence making the end of the evening far more agreeable than it might have been otherwise.

Antoine and Chief Patissier had, comme habitude, taken themselves off to the library to look at some new purchases, which include a rather rare first edition copy of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ " Les liaisons dangereuses", which I understand to be an early treatise on health and safety in the workplace . I must admit I find the idea of spending an evening perusing such a book quite tiresome. I understand , of course that , since his brothers unfortunate accident, it is a genre that interests Chief Patissier immensely, although I am sure poor Antoine must have been bored to tears.

About 1.30 this morning, I was disturbed by Chief Patissier entering my boudoir, and was startled , a short time later, by an altogether unexpected stirring under the bed sheets and the rather unpleasant sensation of something hard and damp against my thigh. I lay absolutely rigid not wishing to alert Chief Patissier to the fact that I was awake, I find on nights, such as last, where he has over indulged with Antoine in the Library, it is better to feign sleep rather than risk being forced into activities best suited to the day light hours, activities such as discussing whether Antoine's cuff links are in fact real diamonds and where he might obtain a pair for himself.


Beside me in the dappled dark , Chief Patissier's breathing was heavy and laboured and as the hard damp object dug against my skin I fell an extremely unpleasant sensation of moisture on my night attire and a strong smell of something fishy. Realising instinctively that something was horribly wrong, I shrieked in alarm and flung back the bed covers to reveal a nauseating sight, a sight that no woman married or otherwise should be forced to view without sufficient warning, that of the wretched Fleur devouring the remains of a large crustacean in our bed.

Having been woken untimely from his somewhat intoxicated slumbering and not being quite awake, Chief Patissier grabbed the offending feline without a seconds thought for his own safety and hurled it with great presence of mind , out of the open shutters where it landed with a crash beneath. I was so overcome at this unexpected bravery I quite forgot myself.

Luckily Mademoiselle Delacourt ,being unable to sleep and seeking the comfort of her pussy and the cool night air , had chosen that particular moment to take a turn in the courtyard below our bedroom and it was therefore, she on whom the cat landed, the Lobster still clasped in its jaws. Had she not been there there is every possibility that the foul creature might well have landed in the large ornate flowerpot below . An event which would have caused poor Loic deep distress as he has been training a rather impressive passionflower for weeks to entwine itself around the obelisk therein which he and youngest had cunningly constructed from his discarded artificial leg and a few old iron bedsteads acquired at the local decheterrie. As it was all was well and only a few tendrils were displaced. Mademoiselle Delacourt however was most taken aback and retired to her room with her cat where both have remained since.
.........................................................................................................................................

The painting today is by an unknown 19th century Indian Artist . After the disintegration of British Colonial Rule in India, which inevitably resulted in a lack of patronage for artists, Bengali art turned away from the Mughal and traditional Hindu schools of art towards the rustic styles of folk art. The area around Kalighat , its art typified by its sweeping brushstrokes and bold forms, of which this is an excellent example, producing some of the most invigorating. Initially the Kalighat art concentrated mainly on Hindu religious subjects for themes. But later turned to more contemporary social and political Indian Artist . This painting is entitled “Cat with Lobster”. How horribly apt.

24 comments:

LittleBrownDog said...

Goodness gracious, UPL - the things you have to put up with! Being awoken in the small hours by the amourous goings on of a cat and a lobster. I think you're far too tolerant of Mlle Delacourt's little ways, and where on earth did Fleur obtain that lobster? And more importantly, was it deceased?

I do like the picture, by the way (although probably not one you would now want hanging in your boudoir for obvious reasons).

Leatherdykeuk said...

What a delight to read on a Sunday morning.

Blossomcottage said...

Wonderful wonderful UPL you at your best.
Blossom

Frances said...

What a night, what an aftermath!
Is there any chance that your Tooting Bec governess might be so offended that she and cat will depart in a huff, or even on foot?

I also very much like the painting. Know that I have seen an exhibit of these paintings somewhere, some years back. Perhaps at the V & A?

xo

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Fabulous innuendo, UPL. It was innuendo, wasn't it? All rather spectacular all the same.

Crystal xx

lampworkbeader said...

You've had me in tears, of laughter of course... A classic

Faith said...

Very good UPL! X

babooshka said...

Tjis is the most diverting blog I have seen in a very long time. I like being in this other in between world, very engaging.

Fennie said...

Where did the widow come from? - feel I ought to know but I have forgotten.
Love the vision of champagne on the terrace at midnight, with the evil Tomcat prowling in the deserted kitchen before lugging the remains of the Thermidor into Madame's bed. At least though he didn't pee on Madame's pillow; she must therefore be thankful for small mercies.

UN PEU LOUFOQUE said...

Good gracious woman you call yourself a fan and yet can not rememeber that fateful day in August when Loic was left in the care of the widow he met at the Lavoire when he was hiding awaiting Antoine, disguised as a itinerant spoon sellar to run up to transport him en route to the blacksmith who had promised to manufacturer a replacement limb courtesy to a design cunningly drawn up by Chief Patissier! . You really must try harder othewise how are you ever to get your Englsih NVQ in Un peu studies at clacton high school for girls! Sometimes I do despair dear!!

Sally's Chateau said...

This one had me laughing out loud, and I mean LOUD. The style and wit of your writing is superb.

Fennie said...

Oh - THAT widow! Trop de veuves dans ces histoires. Trop de veuves!

Incidentally, I have naughtily borrowed your Mother's (?) famous squelching - 'Wonderful are the Workings of a Wheelbarrow' for my latest blog.

CIELO said...

It was nice reading your post; it almost felt like reading Jane Austen or watching a foreign movie :) So nice meeting you! thanks for stopping by my house in the roses.

Cielo

CAMILLA said...

This one is of your best yet Un Peu, absolutely BRILLIANT.!!and love the painting.

Camilla.xx

Pondside said...

Ah UPL - I've been away from blog reading for too long! What a treat to drop by to find two new posts. The widow is an interesting addition to the household. I wonder how long she'll last? Your writing is, as always, brilliant - so good to laugh at something truly witty!

muddyboots said...

pl-eeze relieve me from the fly-that-buzes-all-night, it is truly awful when armed with a rolled up newpapers you can't see the beasty due to the generator having die3d due to lark of diesel. merde.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Good grief that was a close shave for the passion flower . . .

Moannie said...

I have to believe that SOMETHING of your posts are buried in some sort of reaity...Good God! Either that or you have an imagination that most of us would envy. And if only a tiny bit of you and your life is in there somewhere, phew!Love Mademoiselle Delacourt, and the Patissier and the cat and your writing...obviously I have a lot to catch up with, being new.

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