A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Hooptedoodle #74 - La Duchesse Veuve Culdechat



This Christmas season at Chateau Foy we have been honoured, once again, by a visit from la Duchesse Veuve Culdechat, the cherished mother of my dear wife, the Contesse.

As ever, it has been a joy to have the company of the old lady and – as ever – it has been a welcome opportunity to receive some timely reminders of the areas in which our hospitality and the comfort of our humble abode fall short of what might be expected in more esteemed circles.

A bed-chamber in the Guest Wing at Chateau Foy - too chilly for comfort

La Veuve is very partial to unattainable levels of heat in the home, for example, and is deeply suspicious of any food which is unfamiliar, or which might possibly reflect some undesirably foreign influence. She has unusually extreme views on a wide range of topics, any of which she is prepared to share at any time, regardless of the context or occasion (somehow it is never too much trouble – a selfless habit acquired during a lifetime of endless giving and suffering in the interests of others, bless her). These views are remarkably uniform in being based mainly on articles in certain right-wing newspapers which she has failed to understand fully – possibly as a result of the time pressures inherent in caring for so many others, and also as a sad consequence of the short attention span with which Nature – sometimes so callous – has blighted her. In truth, one or two of these pearls may come from a friend of a woman she met at the bus stop, but we value them all.


This morning her carriage was summoned as early as possible, and she went on her regal way, with all our staff lined up in the drive and waving, dabbing their eyes. She left us sad that she could not have stayed longer, yet quietly grateful that we had her company for the limited time possible, and relieved that we got through the holiday period without inflicting serious injury upon her.

Once again we are left with the need to examine carefully our values and our priorities. We may be slow learners, but I believe we are now agreed that there is a need to distinguish between the seasonal traditions which might be appropriate to (for example) theoretical families in story books and those which are appropriate to us. Whilst I have to treasure these most recent, brief moments of insight and lofty disdain, I also have to accept that I am not worthy, and would prefer  not to repeat the experience very often.

Next year, I believe we may pack up our plate, our hampers and our bottles of cordial early, and travel with our household to spend the Festive Season in the mountains, or near the lakes, or anywhere, really – with no forwarding address.


Well said, young man

12 comments:

  1. Didn't realise my mother had a twin sister :)

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    Replies
    1. Scary or what? All the best - MSF

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  2. My deepest respect for having the b*lls to put such subversive and even heretic words on the net...and then...not even anonymous. You must be one formidable wargames opponent. Although, with such a mother in law, I now understand why you play solo most of the time...
    That runner up price you've promised...is that an untruth too?

    Pjotr

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    Replies
    1. The Contesse and I are of one mind on this matter, so all is well. This time the lesson has stuck.

      The runner-up prize is in hand (mine, not yours) and will be with you shortly. If you are good, and you believe, the postal pixies will bring it to you.

      You will be underwhelmed.

      Tony

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  3. "Sherry and Hemlock Trifle" sounds very British...she may go for it?

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    Replies
    1. What a horrifying idea. If you have a recipe, please send by email - thanks.

      Cheers - Tony

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  4. Love it! Happy Boxing Day however.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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    Replies
    1. Happy Boxing Day, Stokes - and Happy New Year when it comes!

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  5. Being a suspicious soul I am always looking for hidden meanings. My wife spotted that Culdechat is cul-de-chat, which could be French for cat's arse. Apart from being generally abusive it doesn't seem like an obvious name.

    Whats that about then? Merry Xmas btw - Lou

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    Replies
    1. Are you suggesting that Culdechat is not a real name? How dare you, sir? No - well spotted, Mrs C.

      I thought it was a well-known colloquial description of a disapproving expression - "mouth like a..." etc etc.

      Never mind. Merry Btw to you, too, Lou.

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  6. My thanks for posting that story! It is terribly un- PC and hilarious and terrifying at the same time. Must have been pleasant to live through. If it helps, I know a very anonymous island in the Faroes. Not much to do there but think, read or drink but ideal for someone on the run from the law or the inlaws.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is an automatically generated response to a Comment you have left on my blog. I am afraid I am out of the country at present and am not sure when I will return. You are advised not to call at my home, but if you do, make sure to watch out for the helicopters.

      The dogs will probably not attack you, but you should keep away from them, especially when the moon is full. If you bring any parcels, please place them on the ground outside the razor-wire fence, raise your hands and walk back the way you came. Do not look around.

      I shall probably contact you when I return. Thank you, and Happy New Year.

      Delete

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