Saturday, 30 June 2018
Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques
Once again ... Mevely ... has provided the inspiration for a humourous story for you to enjoy. Just go back to yesterday's Blog post and read the comment she has left me about "The long trip of coffee". Also don't forget to visit Mevely HERE.
It was a very hot summer and we were travelling in France on holiday in one of those big motor homes type vehicle. You know the one I mean? A large vehicle that includes a small bedroom, kitchenette and toilet facility. We had hired it as soon as we got to France and we intended to tour the countryside for a week or so in La Belle France!!! Olé.... sorry, we may have taken a wrong turning into Spain.
Anyway ... after our short diversion due to my wife reading the map upside down, we were in France and we stopped by the roadside in the middle of nowhere to consult the map properly, having massaged my side due to a sharp elbow in my ribs whilst I was driving. (Some people lack a sense of humour ... ouch ... again).
Anyway ... again ... let's get on with this story with no further interruptions. It is very hot here in the French summer sun.
We'd been stopped for a few minutes when there was a knock at the door of the motor home. I opened the door and standing there was a monk.
Not a chipmunk ... you've miss heard me ... I said a monk. One of those religious people who live in a monastery and grow their own vegetables and make wine and things for tourists to buy. You could tell he was a monk because he was wearing one of those dark brown Saint Francis of Assisi habits or uniform.
I thought he was one of those religious people who knock at your door to tell you about God and salvation. So I said, "Sorry mate ... we are Catholics ..."
He must have been taken aback by my English language. He stammered and said, "Excusez-moi ... eh ... veree soree ... Moi no speakee ze English good ... ere in ze car, (pointing to the car behind him, an old dusty Citroen), zere iz Père Martin ... e iz veree old and e wantz to do ze wee wee veree quicklee ... OK e go in your toilette s'il vous plaît?"
Being a very charitable Christian man whose heart and soul yearn to help others worse off than myself, I quickly replied, "Sorry mate ... the toilet is broken ... la toilette ... eet iz ze broken ..."
I thought if I talked to him in French he will understand and go away. It was then that I received yet another sharp elbow in the ribs. My wife, being more charitable said from behind me, "Oui ... oui ... monsieur ..." and opened the door widely to invite Père Martin to wee wee in our toilet.
Out of the car came Père Martin, followed by a nun called Sœur Celeste, (Sister Celeste), and Mère Supérieure Anna, (Mother Superior Anna). The original monk introduced himself as Frère Joseph. Would you believe it? They all wanted to use the toilet!!!
I have read about being charitable in the Bible, but there is nothing there about sharing your motor home toilet with complete strangers. What if they were not monks and nuns at all? What if they were gangsters running away from a crime they committed and dressed like religious people? What if they wanted to steal our motor home? What if ... ... ...
I found my old school Catechism in our luggage and I wanted to test their religiousness by asking them some questions. But yet another sharp elbow to the ribs put paid to that strategy.
"Oh ... c'est merveilleux," said Joseph the monk, "vous avez un ... eh ... ah au vin!"
I had heard of coq au vin, a French delicacy cooking chicken with wine, so I thought he was asking me for some wine.
"No ... no ... I have no wine," I said, "no vin ... oui beer ... beer ... glug glug ... good English beer, not like the watery French stuff you have over here ... beer?"
"Au vin ... au vin ..." he repeated pointing to our kitchenette.
"Ah ... oven? Yes this is an oven," I said having understood what he was on about.
"Voulez-vous des saucisses?" asked Mother Superior, "saucisses de venaison?"
"Venaison?" I repeated, "yes ... France is a great Nation ... so is Britain mind you. Have you ever been to Britain? You know ... God save our gracious Queen ..."
Mother Superior ignored me and opened the boot of the Citroen and brought out a large packet of dry sausages like salami or chorizos
"Saucisses de venaison ..." she said, "c'est vraiment délicieux ..."
As she offered me her venison sausages the other nun brought out a huge panier type basket full of other goodies ... French baguette bread, a variety of French cheeses, a couple of bottles of wine, and a variety of other goodies fit for a party. The two monks brought out a foldable table and chairs and they sat down ready for a picnic to which we were invited.
They stayed there for about an hour or so, speaking with us in broken English and French and enjoying their food and wine and our beer ... although they were not that keen on our black pudding, haggis and faggots which we had in the fridge.
As we were enjoying this lovely French picnic a police car drew up and two gendarmes came out. At first I thought perhaps we were parked in the wrong place, or no picnics were allowed where we were.
The two policemen conversed with the nuns and monks in their local language. They spoke quickly and I could not understand a word they said.
"They probably are criminals after all," I whispered to my wife, "we'd better move away!"
Then, without asking for permission or anything, the two policemen entered our motor home. I tried, as best I could, to speak to the monks about it. It transpired that the policemen thought the motor home belonged to the monks and they needed to use the toilet too!
After the policemen left, and we finished the picnic, the monks and nuns thanked us and left on their way.
Moments later I saw a big bull from a nearby field approach us slowly. We got in the motor home quickly and left, just in case he too wanted to use the toilet.
The following day we took a deliberate detour and visited the monks monastery some twenty miles away and spent the day there visiting.
Oh ... and to return the favour, we used their toilets. I went more than once to make up for the four of them using ours!