Dicky Tummy and Tisane

by | Feb 19, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Monplaisir, (or was it Mondésir?). She owns both.

“I must stop trying to eat what the French eat,” I said on my umpteenth trip to the smallest room. I’d almost worn out the carpet between there and my bedroom which had been my home for the last forty eight hours.

The short stretch of water between our two countries has a lot to answer for. The immune system of our Gallic cousins is like chainmail compared with our own fragile defence system. Enabling them to eat seafood straight from the beach and salad straight from the field. Try that nowadays and you end up like me, a prisoner of your own sphincter!

I remember as a child, stealing a turnip from a field, rubbing off the soil and peeling it with my teeth, before devouring the sweet peppery flesh inside. Snadgies, we called them. No ill effects there! Then when my Mam placed a pile of orange gunk on my Sunday dinner, I’d turn my nose up at it. I also recall placing two rook’s eggs in my mouth while descending a giant elm tree. God knows where Mrs Rook’s arse had been. No ill effects there!

Anyway, as I lie here in my little haven, (the bedroom), I contemplate the last couple of days. Apart from researching every symptom on my phone as it occurred, like some twenty-four hour news programme, I did little else. I did, however, watch All the Light We Cannot See on Netflix. A powerful production with an excellent cast and a star performance by the beautiful port town of St Malô. Look it up, if you can. I’ll only start crying again😭.

My first venture into the outside world came yesterday as I shuffled around the village in my tracksuit and coat, no care about my appearance, nobody bothers what you look like here. As I walked past the church a little black Renault Twingo pulled up alongside me and the window rolled down.

“Brian? Is that you?” Emphasis on the ‘a’.

I looked into the vehicle to see my friend Muriel smiling at me.

“Ça va?”

“Très mauvais merci”


“J’ai mal au ventre.”

Reverting to English, the first since Scottish Brian departed a week ago, my friend asked if I would like a ‘tisane’. I remembered this from my time with Lina. She’d call it that or Shai hamam, translated from Arabic as ‘toilet tea’. It was a disgusting combination of herbs and spices which would have been better served as a poultice on a leg ulcer!

Muriel’s kind smile prompted me to accept her offer, surely it couldn’t be that bad. She opened the door and I promptly received a lift, fifty yards to her house. Monplaisir, (or was it Mondésir?). She owns both.

After allowing her tiny dog Lucky to bark at me furiously, sniff my ankle then proceed to ignore me, I was made to sit at the kitchen table, somewhere in the middle of the eighteenth century. On the way in, I’d almost fallen over the biggest pair of bellows I’d ever seen in my life, the size of a Norton Commander motorcycle.

I was served with a pleasant cup of honey and liquorice brew, the first thing to pass my lips, other than water for two days. The vile Jordanian was despatched to history, (the tea, I mean!). I quizzed my host as to why she lived in not one, but two very old manor houses. Her answer was curious and enlightening.

“A couple of years ago, I thought I was going to die. So I bought this place because I thought it would be a nice place to do so.” She went on to explain how it’s important to have a nice death, like the time she fell on a local beauty spot and knocked herself unconscious.

“Now that would have been a nice place to die too,” she said, sipping her tea. Food for thought indeed.

It was, indeed, a solid piece of French craftsmanship

After I’d finished my tea which left a pleasant taste of liquorice lingering in my mouth for some time, Muriel beckoned me into the garden. At the far end around a hundred feet away stood a door in the wall. 

“It leads to the church yard,” she said, “I’ve just had it renewed.”

I’ll let you decide.

It was, indeed, a solid piece of French craftsmanship. However, pride of place was the plaque he had made for her, which decorated the outside. Adorning a wooden barrier between My Desire, My Pleasure, and the place of God, was an image of Himself the fella downstairs. It may not win any popularity contests with the congregation, but it shows guts! I’ll let you decide. We said our farewells and I wandered back, the pleasant taste of liquorice still in my mouth.


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