All the stuff you never knew you needed to know about life in rural France.....and all the stuff the books and magazines won't tell you.

Friday, 4 May 2012

All change!

Français : Insigne notaire, France, BeauneFrançais : Insigne notaire, France, Beaune (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am most disappointed, Monsieur, and somewhat surprised, that Maitre Plouc could not see me himself.....with a portfolio of interests such as mine I need the most expert advice and I had counted on the personal attentions of Maitre himself now it looks as though the Reds are going to come to power and tax us out of existence.

No one could regret more than Maitre Plouc that he is unavoidably detained, but, my dear lady, one of your character would be the first to understand that some of his more elderly clients are physically unable to come to the office and as the elections loom, time is of the essence.
As his clerk of many years, I am of course, well acquainted with Madame's financial arrangements,but, in any case, Maitre Plouc has left me some notes relating to the management of Madame's portfolio.
What is it? You look as though you had seen a ghost!

Call the gendarmerie! There's an armed man in the garden....they are coming for us already...
Call the gendarmerie, Monsieur! I'm going before they cut off the front door! Sauve qui peut!

Victor! For goodness' sake! What the hell are you doing in Plouc's garden with a shotgun?
Here, I'll open the back door...

Yes, Monsieur Clement? What happened? Mme. d'Enculade came rushing out through the waiting room shouting that the Reds were here and all the other women followed her out....

It's this idiot...come in Victor and put down that gun while I lock the door - the old bag saw him in the garden with his shotgun and thought the Red Brigade was coming for her....pity they're not...
Just in case, Claudine, ring the gendarmerie and tell them she saw the man who'd come to shoot the rooks and took fright...don't want them round here poking their noses everywhere while Plouc is out...anyway, they know what she's like by late morning...

Yes, Monsieur Clement.

Oh, and Claudine...

Yes, Monsieur Clement?

Steer well clear of Plouc in the office from now on. The Constitutional Council has just ruled that sexual harassment is no longer a crime in France.....
He probably won't hear about it for months, knowing him, but just keep out of reach, huh?

Yes, Monsieur Clement.

Now, Victor, what the blazes are you playing at?

Well, I'd been shooting rooks down on that piece by the river and as I had to come by here to get to the car I thought I'd drop in and see whether Plouc had got anywhere with that dispute with the English across the way from me.
I was going in the front way when I saw the waiting room full of old bizzoms - looked like a furriers in there it did - so I thought I'd better nip round the back so as not to frighten them - or get bitten by their blasted pug dogs come to that. Nasty vicious things.

The women or the dogs? No, never mind. No, Plouc hasn't done anything - what did you expect with the elections being on? He's got other fish to fry.

So it's down to you. Why haven't you done anything? They're driving me mad, complaining about the state of the stream running through their garden.
If I've told them once I've told them a thousand times, that's the comes off my land, runs under the road and goes through their garden to the river. Always has done. It's natural.

From what I recall they're upset that there are herbicides and whatnot in the water....

Well of course there are! Where else am I going to clean out my tanks after spraying?

No, Victor, I haven't been able to do anything.
I've been too busy fielding the old bizzoms for the last few weeks - once it looked like Hollande would win they've been panicking about being taxed up to the hilt so they're on my back from morning to night wanting to get their money into cash and back into the mattress.

So what's Plouc been doing then? Sitting on his backside as usual?

Far from it, Victor. Plouc's been busy from morning to night. But not with legal work....he's going into politics.

Well, so you said before...but he'll never get Lepalfrenier to give up.

He doesn't have to. He's got the Deputy to give up.

What! How'd he do that?

I don't know if you remember, but the taxman got his hands on a list of people holding undeclared Swiss bank accounts...about eight thousand of them....but only about three thousand were followed up.
Well, Mme. Plouc's cousin's daughter works in the tax HQ at Bercy and she saw the list, and, more importantly, the names that were taken off it. Including our Deputy.
Well, as Plouc pointed out, if Hollande comes to power, some of the five thousand who thought they were in the clear won't be. There'll be a clear out of civil servants and the new ones in post will want to socialists will still be all right, but people on the right won't be. Especially politicians on the right.

So Plouc wants to be Deputy?

Not just now. He wants Lepalfrenier to stand for Deputy because it looks likely that the socialists will take this seat in the elections for the National assembly in June.
So Lepalfrenier will get the blame, and he'll be past it by the time the next elections come round and there is Plouc - dedicated party man - all ready to take his place.

Bit sure of himself, isn't he?

Oh, he's laid plans...that's why he's never here.
He met up with the big cheese of the Front National months ago and they hammered out an agreement. Plouc helps them and they help Plouc.
Didn't you see the article in the local rag? 'Public spirited notaire helps elderly people to exercise their right to vote'.

Yes, I did. I didn't know it was Plouc, though....

There was supposed to be a photograph of him surrounded by old age pensioners, but it was cut for lack of space. Plouc was furious.

He's been round every old peoples' home in the area signing papers authorising the grannies and grandads to let someone else vote for them - the someone else being their son or grandson in the Front National - and he's collared Doctor Sangsue to go round giving out medical certificates stating that the grannies living at home aren't fit to go to the polling station and then gone round himself with the voting papers.
I reckon he boosted the FN vote in the first round by a good thirty per cent.

But that's working against his own party!

That's what he wants. He's out now doing the second round papers and his agreement with the big cheese is that they'll all vote socialist this time to boost the socialists before the National Assembly elections when they'll knock out Lepalfrenier.

So what happens when Plouc stands?

Same thing. They vote FN the first time and Plouc the second and Deputy Plouc joins the right wing of his party and co operates with the FN in the assembly.

And what happens to his legal practice?

He reckons his son will be qualified by then and can take over....he's a lot brighter than Plouc and a nasty piece of work to boot.
If they don't put sexual harassment back on the statute book Claudine will have to watch out for that one!

Claudine! What is it?

The gendarmerie on the telephone, Monsieur Clement.

Yes, Clement here.
Adjutant LeBoff, bonjour.
Yes, Maitre Plouc is helping pensioners to sign the procurations in the old peoples' home at St. Ragondin today...that's right.'ll be calling here, then....
Well, thank you for letting me know....goodbye.

What did they want?

Apparently a bunch of the grandads have got Plouc holed up in the bathrooms over at St. Ragondin.
The warden told the gendarmerie that they've got him on the hoist and they're ducking him in the bath.

Oh ho! There's a lot of old railway workers over there....old communists....still, I suppose the gendarmerie will get him out sharpish...

Not that sharpish, Victor. They're coming here first to interview you.

Me! What for? I haven't done anything...I've been shooting rooks all morning.


What! Nothing illegal about shooting rooks! Get the young ones just as they leave the nest.

No, agreed, Victor....but it's illegal to shoot at the nests. Endangered species of birds of prey might use them.

How in blazes am I supposed to shoot the rooks and not the nests?

Don't know, Victor.....but it's a two hundred euro fine in any case....

It's a scandal! No wonder people vote Front National!

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Replies
    1. As practiced by the Bismarks of la France Profonde....

  2. Sir Humphrey could learn a thing or two from your characters, Fly. They make a corkscrew look like a ruler. :-)

    1. Too true.
      I've had a maire stand on a dangerous bend in the road and declare it straight.
      I often think that they must be acquainted with Alice through the Looking glass, where the White Queen advises her to practice believing six impossible things before breakfast....

  3. Hello:
    Well, this would be really, really amusing if it were an excerpt from a novel rather than a scene from real life!!1

    However unsettled you may feel the political situation in France is, spare a thought for those in Hungary. Never mind the 27% tax on everything.....yesterday a tax on chips and sugar, today a tax on mobile phones and tomorrow a tax on that really is the last straw!!!

    1. All too real...names changed to protect the guilty...

      Costa Rica is suffering a wave of new taxes - coincidentally after a visit from the EU two years ago 'helping' review government finances.

      Companies have been taxed - not large ones, just the tiny ones - and as from Monday there will be a new 13 % tax on all sorts of 'luxury' items - like aubergines....

      But even they wouldn't dare to tax coffee...!

    2. Merry-go-round, n'est ce pas?

    3. I just wonder what it will take to break the mould....

  4. I have read that if Hollande gets in many of the well-to-do French are planning on decamping to the UK - the London area in particular. They may help the UK economy until, heaven forbid, we suffer the same fate in three years time.

    1. Well, there certainly seems to be a panic on, especially among those investing in the tax'd think the Cossacks were at the gate.

  5. When you don't know much about politics, like me, it's quite an eye-opener to read posts like this. It's almost impossible to believe it's true.

    (And nothing at all to do with this post, but being obsessed with an invasion of ticks at the moment, when I opened your blog and saw the pic at the top I thought it was a tick...I really need to get my eyes tested)

    1. Dirty work at the crossroads, for sure!

      And as for ticks...well most notaires would rate well behind ticks in the public utility ratings!

      We're having a tick invasion as well- every time they go out they pick up more despite being Frontlined.

    2. We had ticks too and I re-read the Frontline packet as we'd done them not long before. It proudly states that it protects your pets for 4 weeks but then adds casually that the protection is only for 2 weeks for ticks!!

    3. Ah! Here they sell you Frontline by the phial so I don't have the box to go by, but two weeks protection at the price they charge is a bit much!

  6. Du vrai? ... you shock me not. But hopefully this 'Cunning Plan' will become so convuluted it will strangle itself.

    1. With a bit of luck. I would dearly love to see the gentleman referred to here as Plouc come unstuck.

  7. I'm in England at present and am dumbfounded at the mess and muddle in London, the expensive and hardly-running railways and the proposal that each district elects officials rather like in cowboy movies.
    The world's going bonkers!
    Oh! I had 3 ticks while in Spain!

    1. I was last in London last summer...and after France it seemed a haven of sanity....until I tried to stuff my Oyster card into the slot at the gates on the Underground....mark you that was well before the pre Olympic panic started...

      Seems to be the year of the tick!

  8. You got a couple of great snorts out of me with that story, Fly. Sorry to say, I believe every word of it!