Monday, 14 February 2011

Saint Frankenswine's Day as told by Mrs Pumphrey

Long ago, in a land far away somewhere near Guildford, there lived a hen. She was pure white in colour (not unlike me), with comb of luscious red and knickers of frilly pink (not unlike me.) Her name was Mademoiselle de Pamplemousse and she was as sweet and charming as any hen could be (unlike a real pamplemousse which has all the finesse and charm of an acid bath).

Now, although Mademoiselle de Pamplemousse was blessed with charm and beauty and a nature so delightful that the birds would sing their way through the entire score of The Pearl Fishers whenever they saw her (not unlike me - 'Pah!' says Mrs Miggins. 'Go away,' says Mrs P, 'I'm Mrs Jackanory today') - she was unlucky in love.

For Mademoiselle de Pamplemousse had fallen foul (ahahahahahahahahaa!!!) of a terrible curse, wrought upon her many years before by the evil Count Sheep of the Romney Marsh. For when she reached her 16th birthday, and her beauty was drawing the attention of suitors from all over the land, well, as far as Swindon at least, Count Sheep came a-courting (as my Gran used to say) and was rejected by Mademoiselle de Pamplemousse. Not cruelly rejected, this isn't a Gothic genre tale you know, and besides, Mademoiselle de Pamplemousse didn't have a cruel bone in her body.

'But why?' he bleated, when she politely returned his gift of a fine pair of dingle-berries. 'I can offer you so much. A whole estate of wild and passionate landscape, a warm fleece to nest in, a fish and chip supper at the Pilot Pub at Dungeness.'
'I cannot accept your suit,' said Mademoiselle de Pamplemousse,' for my heart belongs to another.'
'Who is this blaggard?' demanded Count Sheep. 'And I shall challenge him for your love. No-one can be more deserving of your adoration than is grammatically correct.'
'I cannot reveal his name,' insisted Mademoiselle de Pamplemousse, 'for I cannot allow my passions to put his life in danger. I must remained chaste for him.'
'I think you'll find it's chased by him,' said Count Sheep, which was rich coming from someone who didn't know how to use 'I' and 'me' properly. 'Tell me, I demand it! I have the right to exercise my'
'No! No!' said Mademoiselle de Pamplemousse. 'I shall remain true to my love,' and she swept from the room, pushing her Ewbank carpet-mate before her.

Enough of this, thought Count Sheep, and he went next door to speak to Madame Slowbottom, a nosey hen who knew everything that was going on in Guildford, and Reigate and Leatherhead, too. And she spilled the beans on the identity of Mademoiselle de Pamplemousse's true love in no time at all because she was anyone's for a Ferrero Rocher.

'It's Doctor Frankenswine,' she said. 'Him wot runs that fancy new clinic across the Square.'
'Thank you, my good strumpet,' said Count Sheep. 'Here, have another Ferrero Rocher for your trouble.'
'My, Count Sheep, with these chocolates you are really spoiling me,' said Madame Slowbottom.
'Give it a rest, love,' said Count Sheep.

Count Sheep raced across the Square, his dangleberries clanging against his nadgers (that one's for Andy!) and he banged on the door of Doctor Frankenswine, the one with the big knocker.
'Who bangs my big knocker?' came a voice from within.
'Tis I! Count Sheep!' replied Count Sheep, for 'twas he as you know.
'What do you want, Count Sheep?' said Frankenswine.
'Open the door, you coward!' shouted Count Sheep. 'And you will find out.'

Well, Doctor Frankenswine opened his door and Count Sheep whacked him across the bacon chops with his man bag.

'I challenge you to a duel for the love of Mademoiselle de Pamplemousse,' declared Count Sheep.
'I am bound by the laws of Bacon and Gammon to accept your challenge,' said Doctor Frankenswine, 'although I have to say, I don't like it one bit.'

And so, that evening, at 7 o'clock, Count Sheep and Doctor Frankenswine met in the meadow on the outskirts of town, and drew their weapons. Count Sheep drew a catapult, and Doctor Frankenswine drew a conker on a string.
'This is no good,' said Monsieur Tango Pierre who had been called upon to officiate the duel, him being a goodly fair cock and all. 'You need to resolve this contretemps using real weapons, not pictures.'
'Hark at him with his French,' said Mrs Miggins who had come along for a laugh.
'Real weapons?' said Doctor Frankenswine. 'I like this idea even less. It was bad enough when I snagged my trotter whilst sharpening my pencil. I refuse to fight you, Count Sheep, using a real weapon.'

And that was it. Count Sheep, being an evil sheep with a funny look in his eye, drew forth his sword and skewered Doctor Frankenswine where he stood.
'Er, you can't do that!' said Monsieur Tango Pierre. 'That's not fair, that's not.'

'Mwahahhahahahahahahahaha!!!!' shouted Count Sheep. 'I don't care! If Mademoiselle de Pamplemousse will not have me, she will not have anyone! Curse you, Mademoiselle de Pamplemousse! ' and with that he jumped on his tractor and was gone in a puff of red diesel. (I told you there was a curse.)

The crowd were appalled at this turn of events. As the good and peace-loving Doctor Frankenswine lay gasping his last breath, he beckoned Monsieur Tango Pierre to his side.
'Tell Mademoiselle de Pamplemousse I shall love her forever,' he wheezed through his Frazzles. 'Tell her that from this day hence the Fourteenth Day of February shall be known as Saint Frankenswine's Day, and for centuries to come it shall be the day when our unrequited love shall be celebrated by the masses with the killing of a pig in a meadow using, I must say, a rather blunt skewer. And cards bearing pictures of catapults and conkers on strings shall be sent between secret admirers to declare their love.'

'She'll like that,' said Monsieur Tango Pierre. 'But I can't see it catching on myself.'


Olly said...

Brilliant - cheered my day up!

Denise said...

Glad to be of service - 'tis my aim to write entertaining prose.

Hope your day wasn't too bad otherwise x