Today the Contesse visited her elderly mother (la Duchesse Veuve de Culdechat, who has graced these pages before) in a seaside town not too far from here, on the way to Ingerland. Alas, the poor old lady is not keeping very well these days; one result of this is that she has a house in this seaside town which she does not get to visit very often. In consequence, today my dear Contesse had to meet with an engineer, who was to service the heating system, and - as ever on these visits - a few oddities came to light, all connected with the strange, twilit world which surrounds houses which are mostly unoccupied.
[At night, they say, the stones do not sit peacefully with one another; the customary laws of Nature only apply sometimes, and grudgingly...]
For a start, it seems that the telephone at Maison Culdechat had not only disconnected itself, but may even have changed its number without outside encouragement. This may seem odd to the casual outsider, but to those of us who are more familiar with this twilit world it is just another example of the sort of thing for which we have to shrug and suspend judgement.
However, today's pièce de résistance (or "fixed impedance" as Marconi would have termed it - and, yes, that's Marconi Cheese) turned out to be a pork pie which had been in the fridge since some time before Christmas, we think. If you have ever wondered what such a thing might look like, here it is...
The Contesse was understandably aghast. With rubber gloves and anti-bacterial cleaner she removed the offensive object. The next twilit snag, of course, is that the Duchesse's dustbin almost never gets emptied, so the normal arrangements for domestic waste disposal in this case would fail to cope with an item of such toxicity. We shall draw a discreet veil over the actual steps which the Contesse took to get rid of it - let us simply say that we trust that Nature will, in fact, look after her own and reclaim the pie in the traditional way.
As a potentially useful byproduct, we may have unintentionally helped a local problem with excessive numbers of marauding seagulls - some herring gull is going to have a mighty sore gut by tomorrow. Or else he may have become resistant to all known viruses.