Gosh! It seems like ages since I last sat down to write a post in this blog. A lot has happened around the Hall in that time, not to mention in foreign parts. I will start there as that is where I have been most recently.
It all started a few weeks ago with a wedding invitation, then ended up giving evidence in a French coroner's court. Quite a rollercoaster ride, which kept me out of the country far longer than anticipated, as a matter of fact, when I could ill-afford the time away from the Hall.
The invitation was innocent enough. My dear old pal Watt Willby was planning to marry the childhood sweetheart he met on a school skiing trip many years ago. Having done quite well in life, with the helping hand of a few well-heeled relatives falling off the perch since leaving university, the romantic old stick wanted the wedding to take place in the ski resort where it all started. He always was a bit of a soft-boiled egg.
So, there we were, almost the entire population of the Hall and surrounding area, boarding a plane that would eventually take us to Piste à Zarat to be met by the happy couple at a ski lodge they had taken over to provide accommodation for us all. Dimitri, the Farr-Quinells, the Forchinellis, Belittle the Butler, our cooks Kate and Sydney Pye, a good number of the local firefighting heroes, plus rather surprisingly, Ivor Parish, the appallingvicarbastard of the Farkhams all queued in the airport to get under way.
The trip was largely uneventful, with the expected bawdy ballads, dirty ditties, sexy songs and perverse poems being shared by the firefighters, Dimitri flirting with the flight attendants (I'm not allowed to say 'trolley dollies' any more), and Ivor Parrish trying to pretend he was with another party.
Friday night was passed in a very pleasant celebration of the forthcoming nuptials with Watt and Kaye, all looking forward to the new experience of attending a bi-lingual wedding in an ancient French church, with what was described as being an almost equally ancient French pastor. If only we then knew what was about to unfold…
To add to the truly international flavour, Farkham Hall's favourite Arikaaner, Arne Von Els was serving as best man. Well, the ageing pastor, who looked like he'd enjoyed more than his share of communion wine was wheezing his way through the ceremony until he got to the part "Do you Watt Willby take Kaye Serah"… He started to choke and chortle and laugh almost without control. He continued "Or should I say will you Que Sera take What Will Be?". His laugh turned to an outright bellow, his complexion matched the colour of his purple stole and maniple as he carried on "Or even Watt Willby will you take Que Sera?". He was struggling to breathe by now. Obviously humorous flashes in the life of rural French priests come few and far between.
Pasteur Louis collapsed. Fighting for breath but still laughing he hit the floor like a badly tied sack of apples. The aged Notweed sisters did their best to loosen his robes and fan some air into his nasal passages but nothing seemed to overcome his chuckle attack. Eventually, an ambulance was called. Luckily, there was no carnage on the piste so it arrived quite quickly and carted the stricken cleric away. We all hoped for the best, apart from the somewhat less than happy couple who were standing, half-wed at the altar throughout.
There was an uncomfortable silence until some bright spark, quite possibly Harrry " the Hosepipe" Hotchkiss, "Is there an appallingvicarbastard in the house", knowing full well that Ivor Parrish was sitting in row 3. All eyes turned to this unwitting potential hero of the hour. Silent stammering and unheard protestations didn't help Ivor avoid the limelight as he was more or less lifted out of his pew and propelled to the altar.
"Well, I suppose as there is only the exchanging of rings, we could make an accommodation" he muttered and faced the couple as a condemned man would face the gallows. "Right, do you Que Sera" he said looking at Watt. "Bloody dog-collared numpty!" exploded Watt before he could go any further. "Bloody get it right!" "I am Watt Serah, Marrying Kay Willby and we will be Mr and Mrs Will Be Sera in French, English or bloody Kurdistani!" "No, wait, I am Kay Willby and am marrying Watt Sera and we will be bloody happily Mr and Mrs Sera-Willby." Watt Willby was sobbing gently, when the calm professional tones of Ivor Parrish took over.
"And as this couple have shown by the giving and receiving of rings I may now pronounce them man and wife. Those who God has joined together let no man put asunder." "You may definitely not kiss the bride you filthy disgusting pervert!" "There are children and infirm persons present." "Besides, you haven't paid the additional fee!"
That evening the wedding breakfast was a muted affair. News of the demise of Pasteur Louis hung like a pall over the assemblage. There were factions within the group who found it all most amusing and I am sure that I don't have to name them here for their shame to be broadcast. The newly married Watt and Kaye Willby mixed somewhat less with their guests than expected and a number of us who had been in the front rows with the best view were already sub poena'd to appear as witnesses in the Procureur's hearing, date to be confirmed. Being one of those persons, I have been obliged to extend my stay in Piste à Zafarte for several weeks until all suspicion of foul play had been eliminated.
So, dear friends, that is why you haven't heard from me in a while, I have been discussing the demise of Louis Pasteur in the state of Piste à Zafarte since the joining of Watt Willby and Kaye Serah. Que sera sera…
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