Thursday, February 5

Luftwaffe Gretcha

5th February
The day after the hair rubbing supper I made an English Sunday Roast lunch for some French neighbours. They found many aspects of the meal bizarre, I demonstrated pouring gravy over my plate of chicken and roast vegetables, my friends watched agog and commented that it was un idée trés original, in a tone that translated as 'that looks weird and disgusting'.

Later, as I was about to serve the fabulous walnut and treacle tart, I heard a car draw up - one of the guests said
That'll be Bic Biro and his wife, I have asked them to bring my ducks here
I invited the Bics to join us for dessert and coffee, the ducks, being dead, are stuffed in the (food) fridge*.

Ducks sorted, diners resettled and seated, knife poised above the tart, we heard another car squeal into the yard then someone pushing open the front door and shouting. A strange old lady burst into the dining room waving a shoebox and raving. She gradually calmed down and I understood through her strong German accent that she was called Gretcha ... had been at the November film show ... wanted to give me her butterfly collection ... kept forgetting ... came straight over before she forgot again.

We all stood up and peered as Gretcha lifted the box lid revealing a mass of jumbled up bits of butterflies and moths. I accepted the gift and thanked her, then she pulled out a screwed up knob of tissue from her pocket saying;
I though you might like this too
Everyone recoiled as I unwrapped a grey and rapidly decomposing leech.
Without thinking I said,
Lovely, I’ll put it in the fridge with the others
There was quiet and I realised that people were looking at me strangely.

* I have two fridges, one for the usual reasons and the other for dormant ants, butterfly pupae and any other creature we might find useful for filming later on


  1. Wait a minute, just hold yer horses there pard.

    You tellin' me the French who eat at your table think poured gravy on veges and chicken is strange?

    And, here, all along I thought the French and English BOTH had some mighty strange food habits.

    I guess ya won't be suppin' with me and mine and chowing down on tacos and refried beans any time soon - 'cause we pour salsa DIRECTLY from the bottle on to those dang tasty tacos.

    Heck, we even make gravy pourin' part of our Thanksgiving meal - again, DIRECTLY on to the mashed potatoes.

    Well, that's how it is, here in the sticks.

  2. You should have said "Mais c'est un escargot à l'écossaise - très chic"

  3. oh,dear,your posts get better & better (& stranger).
    the german descendents in this area expect gravy on everything (even on french fries [chips]).
    you will have to translate autolycus' as it sounds too good to miss...
    you will have to do a published memoir!
    bill - like the new photo. are the refried beans homemade?

  4. Mmm.
    You could have said, "What possible difference could one more leech make at this party?"

    I adore dinner long as I am allowed to open the conversation with some Oscar Wildian witticisms..

    I say, it is my belief that Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.

    Yes, quite..

    Wouldn't you agree that the advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray?

    Oh dear..well then, the only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself. a-ha-ha-ha-ha"

    As a parting gift you could have given Gretcha your gently used copy of
    Lustig Als Hölle!
    1,000 years of zany German Humour

  5. Goodness me! You couldn't really make this up could you?!
    Can we have pic of leech?

  6. You seems to have quite a reputation as an Insect Queen. I wouldn't be surprised if some of those yokels think you lay eggs. How do you feel about big hairy spiders?

  7. Will the ants eat the leech? Will we see the food chain in action?

    Maybe they thought you were going to serve the leech with gravy too?

  8. Bill - There's nowt so strange as folk eh?

    Autolycus - nice to see you here 'it's a snail cooked scottish stylee - the hot thing in modern circles donchya know?' would have been the perfect response, if only I was sharper, come over and help please.

    Deb - Bill is clearly having a cross dressing phase - I'm not mentioning it.

    Donn - can you send me your used copy as I've already passed mine on - and you've still got MJ's knickers on your head - you look ridiculous

    Scarlet - I'm having to cut out the more bizarre bits. The leech looks like an amputated thing - it's not a nice image

    GB - I am known as Insect Lady hereabouts, they don't think I lay eggs but they do think I eat whatever I mate with. Big hairy spiders mmmmm.

    Madame Defarge - Actually the leech went straight in the bin after Gretcha left. But yes I'm afraid my guest do imagine it'll turn up in my next meal with or without gravy.

  9. gosh that must have been one HUGE walnut and treacle tart!
    you are one of those hostesses who serves you the thinnest sliver of whichever delicious-looking dessert they've made so that there's masses of leftovers to taunt you with the promise of no second helping.

    and then after all the guests have gone home, you just know she's shoving it all down her greedy gob, straight from the serving dish.

    that will be just me then.

  10. Are leeches served on the half-shell? But, you know, with friends like those you will never go wanting.

  11. Should we be collecting bug samples and sending them to you from abroad?

  12. Are you sure this woman with the leech wasn't just... errr... bonkers? Heck, I used to clean toilets for a living but people never brought me decomposing human fæces when they came to dinner.

  13. TP- I alwys make tarts in pairs - one never knows who'll turn up

    Ian - I think the thing is to serve leeches by the dozen - or it'simply not worth it.

    MJ - I seem to be getting enough bugs delivered thank you

    Gadj - of course she's bonkers, who isn't? Gretcha's strain of bonkers is brilliant though

  14. "two fridges"

    Oh. I have always imagined that the ants sometimes awaken, snack on some nice leftovers, then go back to sleep.

  15. You do seem to have some unusual -yes, let's ettle on that word - people living in your little village.What made you go there? I mean as opposed to somewhere else.

  16. xl- And I love that image too. So I'm sorry to spoil that one for you.

    FF - I think everyone is strange/unusual, it's just that when they're strange like oneself it's hard to notice. I've lived/worked in many places and this lot don't seem especially odd.

    I've chosen here for the project because this property has a lot of neglected land which means that a great biodiversity has been allowed to flourish, it is also close to a massive forest and the area in general is neither very built up or too intensively farmed. The weather is better than UK, but it's not too far away and we have great sheds to use as studios that would cost us a lot more in the UK.

    I am keen to encourage the local people who are interested in being involved with the project, this is why I make it my business to get to know as many people as I can and let them feel included in something that is happening in their area.

  17. I have an award for you at my place!

  18. Is there any treacle tart left?

  19. Scarlet - I'm all of a fluster, thank you

    Kelly - there's always some tart in my house


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