Sunday, October 19

The Great Escape

19th October
In Real Life I’m a cook, but I try not to let on, once people know what I do, I find that I don’t get invited to supper.

With what turns out to be uncanny timing, I’ve accepted a job cooking in a chateau for a few days. I don’t know this area, nor had I previously met the owner. I arrived just before the guests, meeting the Chateau Owner briefly before he dashed off back to the UK. He spent the little time we had together explaining the peculiarities of the tv remote control unit.

I ask what he does, he says that he works ‘in the City’ advising people how to invest.
Are you busy?

Well no there’s nothing to do because my clients only invest borrowed money and no-one is lending - I still go to the office but I’m getting all my photo albums sorted out.

This is the first time the property has been let out. The kitchen is a classic TYPE I MAN KITCHEN; fashionable wide drawers, lots of stainless steel and granite. Eight industrial-sized gas burners and not a single pan big enough to sit on one. The big drawers contain electric drills and the small ones have a collection of corks, corkscrews and orange neoprene Champagne wrappers. The cooking equipment is not dissimilar to what I had in my first bedsit; mismatched, slightly broken things. Clearing cupboard space I collected up eight part-used super-large ketchup bottles, several opened boxes of Chocolate Nesqik and many bags of marshmallow-based sweets.

The Chateau has a very grand website, one would expect to arrive at a high class private hotel. The guests are American, half the party are elderly and they are horrified that there’s not a proper grown-up in charge. None of the bedrooms has a bedside table or reading light. They spend their first day moving tables and lights upstairs, I spent mine trying to find a town that isn’t an extended gift arcade so I can buy cooking pots.

There is a plague of flies in the Chateau, originating from a circular room, sort of done out as a bar, in that it has a bar and bar stools but no liquor or glassware, the flies are coming from somewhere in here that no one wants to investigate. We shut the door tight and listen to the buzzing in horrid fascination when we walk past. Downstairs the lamps have all disappeared. In the gloomy candlelight we now appear to be part of a Murder Mystery event where someone has cut off the power - no-one can work the telly either.

The Chateau Owner has written lists of instructions but couldn’t print them, he has asked me to get everyone to read the file on his computer. They are mostly things you have to do to take care of his chateau. It has become a parlour game; the guests take turns to go and have a look, when they come back into the room they recite their favourite part while the rest of us roll around laughing
Please ensure the chateau is secure when you leave
To close the kitchen shutters you need to climb first onto the worktops and then on to the window sills, then you will be able to lean out, and, using the hooked stick, pull the shutters in and fasten them.

The guests are here to celebrate the birthday of Mother, her children and siblings are here with their partners.

Mother is the neatest, trimmest cattle rancher you ever did meet, someone who knows how to take care of antiques and 'doesn’t like a fuss’. On our second day she sought me out to reassure me that she wasn’t wearing the same clothes every day
It’s just that I have five identical sets of black slacks and peach blouses in my luggage.
Then she admires my jewellery and says,
I have some turquoise earrings but they’re too pretty to wear

The elder daughter tries to control proceedings, I am not sure whether style-wise she is channelling Groucho Marx or Deputy Dawg but I’m finding it hard to resist the urge to offer her a cigar.

The brother is as misshapen as his sister but he has inherited her share of charm, he recounts a childish escapade and his mother laughs heartily, the daughter whines
Hey, whenever I did that I’d get into trouble
Mother snaps at her
I know you all did the same stuff - it’s just that you were so irritating when you did it I couldn’t help but bawl you out

I am just beginning to build a head of sympathy for the daughter, when they get the television going and Barak Obama comes on, her attention is riveted, she yells at the screen.
Tow-well Heead


  1. Aarr yes I know that man kitchen very well and they don't make good husband material!

    I saw your comment Chez Dumdad re oriental food, if you are within travelling distance of Bergerac I can direct you to a shop that has Chinese, Thai and Idian ingredients. Debs x

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for visiting my humble blog. Without rubbing it in, the Japanese meal was VERY nice. Last night we all had raclette which is more in keeping with the colder weather.

    I see Debs (above) has visited as well. Right, I'm off to have a look round your blog, if I may.

  3. Debs - Would be good to know where that shop is as I could take some back south with me. Thanks

    Also good to know that you agree with me on CO's eligibility, did you make the mistake of marrying a MKT1 man?

    Hi Dumdad, I'm off to Bergerac to get fish sauce - so there.


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