Diary from Limousin Part 11

By Madeleine Dickson Monday
Gemini 21 May- 21 June Try to relax a little, Gemini, avoid confrontations. This week's humdrumness will be relieved by progress in personal projects, joyous events
 
5.30 Have forgotten to neutralise alarm clock. Stretch out arm. Wailing banshee leaps off table, breaks neck on floor. Go back to sleep. It's Easter Monday after all, day off for the exhausted workers of France.
 
9 a.m. Pig out on waffles and maple syrup. John already punching keyboard. Is up to employee benefits in repulsive accounts translation, muttering re staff arriving late, drinking too much coffee, etc. Remind him of conspicuous lack of employee benefits in my life, had earmarked the weekend for leisure activities. Pour another coffee, too much blood in my caffeine system anyway. 
11.30 Abandon Provision Reconciliation. Write six paragraphs of chapter 9. Decided last week must have romantic angle in murder mystery. After all, Kay Scarpetta had on-off intrigue with Wesley for years. Didn't seem to interfere with her work. Remember weeping buckets when Wesley died. Think P. Cornwell made literary error killing him off. Still, v. good to learn from mistakes of others.
7 p.m. No gym tonight, but spend 30 mins on exercise bike. Well, 10 actually, plus 20 trying to adjust tension to lowest.
 
Tuesday
Gemini 21 May- 21 June Matters are moving swiftly on a major project. Expect a decisive meeting today
 
9.30 Bernadette phones. Very businesslike, wants to discuss format of submission to mayor. She will come to tea this afternoon.
9.35 Check supplies for ye olde English tea. Have 4 wrinkled hard-discount teabags left. No biscuits. 
10.15 Browse through Intermarché’s new range of green tea. Good for whole bunch of disorders apparently. Add plain and orange versions to très cher Afternoon Teabags with double drawstring.
Am running a bit late. Zip round to diet section, grab low-calorie biscuits for Bernadette. New alarm clock for middle-of-night reveilles.
 
4.35 Have actually vacuumed salon, checked no bras, Y-fronts, snotty tissues down sides of seats. Found elegant china tea set, removed incrustations from same.
Make tea. Bags look like shrivelled monkey scrotums when drawstrings drawn. Not sure whether plural actually scrota.
Fight with biscuits, find easy-open red strip. See the REAL Europe with Rail EuropeAfter hacking at impossible-to-open packaging with knife.
Bernadette in square-patterned tweed suit, sensible brogues. Looks bit like on-course bookmaker.  Will give her some fashion advice when I know her better.
Leaf through submission, reduced from 25 to 7 v. clean pages. No coffee stains, cigarette burns etc.

"I've put it into more, er, comprehensible language," Bernadette says, finding a passage in the original screenplay. "Some of this is execrable. Look." Follow her finger, recognise my handwriting. Notice she gave me 2/20.
"It needs a few illustrations to break up the text, make it easier to read - a site plan, a few sketches." This woman is brilliant. Feel like hugging her, but do not as might be a breach of French etiquette. Like using tu for someone not a child, dog, Gazelle etc.
 
"Hmm. Can't think offhand of a Gazelle with embedded Da Vinci code."
 
"I do a little sketching myself actually," Bernadette suggests modestly. Accept eagerly, no cost involved and she will get them done by weekend.
 
Urge her to try elegant biscuits. "Practically no calories, Bernie."
Notice slight wince. "…sorry, er, Bernadette...But dieting should include regular treats."
Take one myself, even though would prefer cholesterol-rich Jaffa cake. Hmm. Glad I do not have to diet. Very sharp, herby. Olivey.
Make more tea. Surprised Bernadette so keen on brew, has drunk 3 cupsful. Still good for diet, and she has been very restrained with biscuits. Make another pot. Read description on biscuit packet. Rosemary and olive savoury snacks. Perfect with aperitifs, cheese.
 
"Um...I'm thinking of spending a few days a week at the cottage, save Emile the trouble of showing purchasers around."
Just avoid spraying guest with tea, choke instead. Assure Bernadette am fine, tea went down wrong way. Wonder whether two-timing Scumbag-d'Arcy-spouse is aware of said bombshell.  
"…'triffic, Bernie....-adette, great idea."
Am only half-listening to morose description of apartment life in city, surfeit of cultural distractions etc. Wonder if B. actually knows about Floozy Suzy's regular inspections of next-door bedrooms.  No. If Bernadette moves in next door, Emile Scumbag will have free rein to ride Floozy in their city apartment, surely?  
"...feel my roots are here anyway. And our son Paul is settled, has his own business..."
 
Make mental note to call Denise re her Paul.  Feel a little hurt that she has not phoned with progress report on new boyfriend.
 

Wednesday
Gemini 21 May- 21 June Indulge your passion for knowledge, some surprises are in store
 
11 a.m. Check progress of planning application at Mairie for new English residents. Skim through list of official communications. See notice prohibiting consumption of ragondins until April 20.  Ragondins? Must be obscure field vegetable.
 
8 p.m. See on news Banque de France guilty of dodgy management, staff getting oodles of our hard-earned dosh in huge paper-clip, staple allowances etc. Am outraged. Still have no time to write to Mr. Rafferin as France v. Israel after news. Anyway, now think he is rather rude man. Has not replied to any of my emails.
 
10.45 Dear me. 1-1. France in danger of not qualifying for next World Cup. Due to meet their next Waterloo against Ireland.
 
Check ragondin in dictionary. Large S. American aquatic rodent.  Amazing how far some amphibians can swim.
Known as coypu. Prized by Romans as delicacy. Hmm. Consult other tomes. Can find nothing re Limousin villagers consuming same. In fact, dearth of information re Limousin.
 
Thursday
Gemini 21 May- 21 June Your boss will display unexpected generosity today. Take full advantage of the opportunities presented
 
11.45 Annual accounts finished! CEO grants dispensation from further translations until Monday. Ask J. If feeling okay.
Check lottery results. Hmm. Have just missed winning €3.10. "Money isn't everything," J. announces with irritating lack of realism. All I want is the chance to prove it can't make me happy. 
Wash kitchen floor. Would dust salon if could find duster. Remember buying set from Ali the itinerant salesman during '98 World Cup.
Not quite sure what to do with all this free time. Raining, so no gardening. Pour glass of grapefruit juice. Decide must face inevitable. Start cleaning fridge.
Yuk. Chuck laboratory specimens, suppurating lettuce etc.
Fridge now empty. Still have found 6 dishes, missing for months.
Empty larder. Hmm. Find sculpted potato, tiny torpedoes in vegetables. Dust for paw prints. Summon Gizmo and Whinge from hair-spreading activities in salon. Said useless felines fail to spot clues, stare dumbly at empty cat troughs, mew sleepily. Give cats notice to quit, evict.
 
Friday
Gemini 21 May- 21 June Grab whatever opportunity presents itself to pursue your creative talents. Watch your diet
 
1.45 a.m. Am measuring distance to hole on 9th green while Tiger looks on approvingly. Merde. Ball clips edge of hole, bounces out, rolls down slope into bunker. Damned phone ringing in clubhouse put me off.
Phone still ringing. Race downstairs, frantic with worry. Phone stops. Listen to message from Babette. Huguette has had triplets. Will ring back in morning. Grrr. It is morning, Babette.
 
1.49 Boot computer. Make green tea. Looks like pollution control sample from Canal du Midi.
Must christen Apolline's boyfriend. Search names files. Hmm. Clovis perhaps a bit passé. Cézard....Donat....Eustache...Guillaume. Aha. Henri. Nice safe name. Noble, regal even. Hmm. Could make him minor aristocrat. But will have to endow him with brain in that case. And job. Idle aristos went out with D. Sayers. Will make him financial consultant. Not 100% sure what they do, but not strictly necessary to describe. Anyway, am confident my public have good imaginations.
 

Saturday
Gemini 21 May- 21 June Spend time this weekend with friends, but be firm with the younger generation - they may need guidance
 
Have been peeing all night. In loo, of course. Have decided Eau de Canal not for me.
 
10 a.m. Visit mayor with Gazelle SWAT team, Martine's idea. Make sure poor man coping while Huguette in hospital. Do not think he is poor man in any sense of word, but may be good opportunity to score brownie points, ingratiate oneself.
10.45 Regret Samaritan tendencies. Entire village school rampaging through mayoral abode. Sheepdogs arguing in hall. Grizzelle and sister witches stirring huge cauldron in kitchen. Mayor has wisely decamped to commune with his cows.
 
10.46 Martine ejects children and other animals.
10.47 Nadine sends witches home with instructions to start knitting matinée coats, bootees in sets of 3.
10.48 Françoise orders mayoral twins upstairs to tidy bedroom. Twins whinge, whine. Feel like walloping them but resist, as is illegal in EU countries.
Sniff cauldron, analyse contents. Contains some peasant's carrot, turnip surplus. Cannot identify meaty lumps. Hope is not stewing squirrel, hedgehog. Or coypu.
 
10.55 Investigate twinly war upstairs.  Banish Charlie and Camille to garden. Lock back door. Is raining hard, but have equipped them with umbrellas.  
 
Sunday
Gemini 21 May-21 June Spring has sprung, Mother Nature's gifts warm your heart. But storm clouds gather later this evening
 
1.30 p.m.John playing again with new paper shredder. Advise cats to remain in garden for own safety. Go to hospital with minibusful of chattering Gazelles.
Maternity wing on 8th floor. Wait for elevateur. Heart skips beat. Still, am in right place for cardiac irregularities.
Floozy Suzy standing barely two yards away. Well, not literally bare, actually dressed in expensive suity thing, probably bought by Scumbag-d'Arcy-sugar-daddy. High heels like stilts. No wrinkles, tuck scars. Undeserving bitch.
 
2.30 Stand in line to hug Huguette. She looks shell-shocked, confused as baby in a topless bar. And deflated.
Inspect triplets. Look like cut and pasted wizened monkeys. Make mental note to instruct Grizzelle & co to knit numbered clothes. 
Huguette displays abdominal folds. Gym Mis. Arlette advises gentle exercise to remove stretch marks. Refrain from saying major liposuction needed to eliminate megaflab, as might distress patient. Not entirely sure what liposuction involves, but am certain Huguette will need industrial sucker.
 
6.30 Check mail, defrag desktop. Machine hangs. Hmm. Run virus scan, even though I know program updated, no risk of menaces.
 
7 p.m. Huh? You have low-level worm. Thought all worms low-level. Consult help file.
Grrr. Fat lot of help. If builders built buildings the way programmers write programs, the first woodpecker to come along would destroy civilization.
Send outraged-of-Limousin email to NoBugs Inc. Am now living in house infested with mouse and worm.
9.50 Denise phones at last. Listen to long description of new boyfriend's qualities. Paul this, that and lots of the other. "You know, chérie, I sink sex ees like zuh air. Ees only important if one ees not getting enough."  Disgusting.
Wait till giggling subsides.  "What exactly does Paul do? Where does he live, this non-virtuous paragon?"
"Euh....'e ees zuh computer, euh...'ow you say - burff?  'E 'as zuh appartement in town, but 'is muzzer 'as zuh cottage de weekend in zuh village. You must know 'er....Madame d'Arcy."
 
Bonne semaine
Madeleine Dickson
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