Dearest sweet Chantal,
I do so hope the signed copy of my new book ‘The Shop That Sells Kisses’ has safely reached you and trust that on this occasion you will refrain from self-harm. I well remember that upon reading my last tome, ‘Gentlemen Prefer a Pulse’ you took a razor to your wrists, silly gal that you are! I’ll not tolerate such shenanigans this time around.
Oh how I miss you Chantal. Even now, all these years on I merely have to close my eyes and you are there taking all manner of things down for me while I sit back and admire the sublime tempo and dexterity of your shorthand. No finer personal secretary has any chap had.
To the point! I need your urgent assistance for I am presently adrift in France and at my wits end. You see there are only so many concussive bumps on the head and attacks by giant hornet a man can take and this 300-year-old farmhouse we are renting in quite the dullest, remotest spot in all of France is cursed with the lowest ceilings and doorways imaginable and murderous hornets infesting the bedrooms to boot. My God it is cold also. Outside the day is sweltering, yet within so cold to the extent I am thinking of changing my name by Deed Poll to ‘Shackleton’. I am convinced that a batch of trafficked, naked illegals in the back of a locked freezer container lorry on a cross-channel ferry have more chance of survival than I in this place. The fact that the property name is ‘Le Maison du Fridge’ should perhaps have given me a clue that all would not be well here. Sorrowfully, I overlooked that point so taken was I with the place upon scanning the brochure prior to parting with a King’s Ransom in advance rental fees. Odd how the pictures in said brochure barely match the actuality of this wretched place.
So unconducive to all but the vertically challenged in the extreme is this property that I note from the guest book none other than Toulouse-Lautrec in July 1890 upon his stay makes mention of the fact he bashed his bonce severely on more than one occasion. Indeed, he goes on to point out that the café/bar Madam Tortionnaire, the owner, had advised was in easy walking distance was, in truth some 87 kilometres away. Gagging for a beer Toulouse-Lautrec, a chap notoriously short in the leg department, it seems eventually successfully made the trek to that bar whereupon he chanced upon buxom Fifi the barmaid who kindly gave him a piggy back home. Interestingly the artist’s notes verify what my wife and I had already concluded, namely that not even the humdrum missionary position was humanly possible in this house of guaranteed celibacy. As to Fifi it seems the poor frustrated girl left empty handed sometime in the early hours.
Another entry within the guest book and signed by an ‘Esmeralda’ dated August 1881 suggests that it was during their short visitation that, her partner, The Hunchback of Notre Dame first developed his hump within the walls of this very house.
Additionally, the master bedroom boasts an ensuite bathroom yet, as I have discovered to my cost access to the loo be it for either a number 1 or 2 can only be achieved by first dropping one’s trousers and underpants about the ankles, bent over at a 45-degree angle and then reversing in taking care to ensure bum cheeks moor themselves in line with the lavatory seat. Ten days have I stayed here now and have yet to have a pee standing upright. Likewise, the shaving mirror is ideally placed for those prone to shaving off their pubic hair rather than that about their chins.
Downstairs, in the lounge are two large settees’ although I’ll wager that the arse on the corpse of my long since deceased Auntie Maud has more spring to it than these arguable ‘furnishings’. Also in that same lounge sits a grand piano that promised, by the look of it to offer some potential diversion from the general misery of being here. That it is hopelessly out of tune and has been for many years has been verified by yet another entry in the guest book. Heinrich Himmler, founder of Waffen SS requisitioned the property during May and June 1943 so as to enjoy a quick break from being generally beastly to all and sundry. He notes, ‘How is a man supposed to belt out a bit of Wagner when the fucking piano’s fucked.’ It is generally accepted that Himmler had a way with words.
Last week I had cause to attend the local Médecin three days’ drive away as Shirley had become worried as to the stoop I have developed since we arrived in France. Gratifyingly he advised that it was nothing six months in traction back in Blighty wouldn’t cure. You see a positive often comes from a bad experience I find young Chantal!
By the way I did gift Madam Tortionnaire a copy of ‘The Shop That Sells Kisses’ just the other day. Imagine if you will Chantal my dismay when popping up to the big house where she resides to beg a little kindling this morning only to see that my treasured poetry book was hanging from the back of the door to the outside privy her servants use when caught short whilst on duty. There’s gratitude for you!
To the nub of the issue then Chantal. We, that is my entire family are trapped within the minute ensuite bathroom all being ‘caught short’ in unison. There is no prospect of escape unaided, more so in that I carry not a shoehorn nor axle grease about my person. You must get that husband of yours, ‘Brian’ by name if I’m not mistaken…regardless, the one who plumbs for a living, and is, so rumour has it, hung like a brewery dray horse the lucky blighter. Have him and his burly plumbing chums drive over to France in that frankly common as muck, awful sign written van thing and rescue us before we feed on each other’s flesh.
I leave the matter in your universally accepted most capable hands.
All my love,
‘He Whose Name Must Only Be Spoken in Whispers’
UK Paperback edition of ‘THE SHOP THAT SELLS KISSES’ at;
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