Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The smelly ghost
After a hectic summer the village is emptying . At first light the French tourists from Rouen left the little whitewashed gite by the crossroads . At the chateau the German billionaires were packing cases into a fleet of large black limousines. Brunhilda wandered down to the gatehouse, propped herself up against the wall on her hind legs and barked at Wilf - half in proprietorial warning , half in farewell. On our way back from our morning walk the old widow gave me a plastic carrier bag of peaches and tomatoes . '' I know you're all alone at the moment " by way of explanation . Kelly , the hover dog, bounced around us . Wilf remaining completely oblivious to her presence.
The rickety old farmhouse has many peculiarities but one in particular stands out . It has started to develop unusual smells. Not all the time , never during the day, and only upstairs . In fact the smell only blossoms between midnight and four , and then only when the weather is calm. This olefactory phenomenon occurs maybe once every six weeks or so.
Going downstairs at one thirty to let Wilf out I noticed that the upper corridor smelt of vinegar . Last month it was mixture of carbolic soap and bees wax. The time before wet smouldering wood. Never strong enough to offend but just enough to let you know that the septic tank is up to no good . At breakfast this development is mentioned to Madame Bay who listens attentively with a peculiar, somewhat wide eyed , look on her face .
Ever practical , I ask our saintly Septaguenarian to check the cleaning cupboards to see if anything in there might be leaking . She leans across the table and touches my arm with her hand in much the same way a surgeon might impart bad news at a patients bedside . " M'Ongoose , M'Ongoose it is a presence ". Having imparted this news , twice , she then sits there , coffee cup steaming in front of her , one hand clasped to her decolletage , the other hand , motionless , index finger pointing skyward. This, I was not prepared for.
' The font ' will be back later today to deal with the peaches and tomatoes , our smelly ghost, and a part traumatised, part enervated Madame Bay.