It is Wednesday morning, and MM is sitting at her kitchen table between the chocolate chip brioche and the Nutella pot with a face longer than a queue for a One Direction concert. She is holding a coffee in her hand, but is dreaming of a big tub of Ben & Jerry’s and a cuddle.
MM should have woken to the sound of her favourite church bells in BFF’s home in the Alsace, where she was going to squeeze her pals in her arms time and time again, see her children blend happily into the group of friends they have had since they were at infant school, and get out into the vineyards with BFF to set the world straight, eat chocolate cake under the wild cherry tree and admire the autumn colours. She had even planned to run with Starman, a pal who shares the running bug.
But Evil Git had planned otherwise. Who is Evil Git, you ask? Come over to the story corner, children, and take a seat. I will do my best to tell this story in my best Joyce Grenfell voice. PN, please stop playing with Linda’s new frilly bed cap, and put that wine and those midget gems down before you throw up in the Playmo box again. Are you all sitting comfortably? then I will begin.
Not so long ago, it was Saturday morning, and MM was on a roll. She was organised, for once, and was ahead of schedule in preparation for PF’s return from Lemur Island the next day. PF is a biologist, and specializes in running off for “business trips” with female colleagues to exotic islands in the middle of nowhere…. Yes, that’s right, PN, that means he gets to play in the mud with his friends, catch crabs, drink beer on the beach, climb up extinct volcanoes, take photos of his bikini-clad colleagues swimming with turtles, watch sunsets, and share his packed lunch with lemurs. Then he returns home with a big smile and bits of smelly, dead crustaceans that he leaves on the kitchen window sill to dry.
As MM strode across the car park towards her trusty Albal, she counted her blessings. Beautiful blue sky and autumn colours, check. Upcoming arrival of PF and a birthday meal, check. Holiday with friends in the Alsace the next day, check. Life was good – in fact, eerily too good to be true. MM knew perfectly well that the stars were therefore aligned for something to go wrong. And it did. Throwing her shopping bags on the passenger seat, she turned the key in the ignition and was surprised to hear Albal’s engine clatter noisily. She switched the engine off, opened the bonnet and peered in, expecting to find a drunken Jamie Oliver jiving with Nigella Lawson and an entire collection of saucepans. Nowt. Zilch. Nada.
So MM checked the oil, checked for disconnected piping, returned to her seat and reverted to kindness, stroking the steering wheel as she apologized to Albal for leaving her on the car park in the dark with no more than the lingering smell of Friday night’s pizzas for company. Starting the engine again, MM bravely attempted driving a few meters in the hope that Albal would roar back into life, but her trusty steed merely clattered again then wheezed asthmatically. I reversed back into my parking slot like a bad-tempered hermit crab and called for help in the form of Bigfoot, our resident mechanical engineer. His eyebrows furrowed, and he disappeared beneath the car. “Have a look at that, Mum”, he said as he wriggled his huge frame back out into the open.
Lying on the floor amongst the dog poo, gravel and leaves, I had a superb view of Albal’s underbelly… and the hastily accomplished visceral surgery carried out by Evil Git, who had taken a saw to the car and carried out the automobile equivalent of an emergency colectomy. In a nifty but relatively neat intervention, he had removed an entire section of the car’s digestive tract and left Albal disembowelled on the tarmac. No wonder she was feeling off-colour.
I felt the disappointment well up, quickly followed by hatred. Now, children. Here comes the cheesy part of today’s story. Hatred is an emotion that MM keeps carefully locked away, because it tends to destroy everything within reach. On Emotion Road, when Hatred hears his neighbour Disappointment whimpering on the pavement, he stomps out of his front door, slams it hard and goes off on a seek and destroy mission. He stamps on the flowers planted by Hope, pees in Optimism’s bird bath, and scribbles angrily over the clearly defined rules on Common Sense’s wall. Then he knocks on the doors of Sarcasm, Self-Pity and Anger before returning home and slamming the door, leaving Positivity to cry with Common Sense on the doorstep. Bad Hatred.
However. Hatred and his horrible henchmen didn’t get much airtime because within hours, MM’s gang of pals here had called to offer a lift to the shops, comforting messages, a car to pick up PF from the railway station, and otherwise salvaged MM’s day. However, If I ever find Evil Git, I will still apply Mrs Playmo’s suggestion to tie him to a chair in public and stuff my pet pythons down his Y-fronts until he has coughed up every penny he has for charity. Cos that’s the way we roll.
Anyway. Back to our story. Another car had suffered at the hands of Evil Git too, so MM called the Gendarmerie. They turned up quickly, and in a very NCIS turn, they whipped out a brush and collected the fingerprints on the bottom of the car door. MM was sorry to disappoint them with the news that they belonged to Bigfoot. They confirmed that the catalytic converter had disappeared – apparently they contain precious metals including platinum, so a few nights of sawing bits off cars can be a very lucrative and addictive business. No shit, Sherlock. This got MM wondering whether Gollum’s ring was actually made of platinum filched from Hobbit cars parked overnight in Middle Earth.
MM spent the afternoon spent filing a complaint with a Gendarme, and gave him a withering look when he enquired why she was holding a pair of trainers in her hand (the answer being that MM’s car had been transformed into a hairdryer on wheels, the gendarmerie is 6km from her home, and silly MM had forgotten her pocket helicopter).
MM’s insurance company were not convinced that MM had not asked someone to steal part of her car two days before she went on holiday, and told her she would have to cough up part of the bill. To no avail, MM pointed out that she had already been the victim of Evil Git, and did not wish to be the victim of her insurance company as well. She added that although her children were being very mature about their holiday potentially going down the pan, the insurance company had the means to make it better for them if they so wished. Translated into basic language, their reply was “Tough luck. Next time, upgrade your cover from ‘bells’ to ‘bells and whistles’“.
So hello house, goodbye holiday. At least I now know that Albal produces luxury, platinum-flavoured farts. Classy bird.
What a rotten thing to happen. I hope they find that Evil Git and do some corrective surgery on him.
Thanks, sweetie. Mrs Playmo would like to help out with the corrective surgery. I have my doubts though: Unfortunately the French courts appear to be very kind to this kind of robber. The latest ones I found reported online were sentenced to three months for the theft of 89 exhausts… And they probably got out for good behaviour after a week.
I want to be a biollollogist man when I am a grown up, if I leave Linda’s fwilly night cap alone can I play in the mud with the Bikini clad colleagues? I promise I will share my miget gems, well apart from the red ones coz Linda ate those…
P.S I didn’t get much for your catalytic converter.
All the best
PN, don’t grow up. Biologists are pretend grown-ups, they just want an excuse to go and have fun. I will ask PF’s colleague if she wants to play with you in the mud – she will probably give you permission to carry the crab basket for her. Keep the black midget gems for me, please.
There is very little chance of me growing up in the immediate future 😜
I will save you the black ones. I have even saved you the one I was sucking. they are a little stuck together now….. Later I will pick off the bits of tissue stuck on them. I normally keep my tissues and sweets in different pockets of my shorts, but I forgot.
I am reassured. Don’t worry about the bits of tissue – it’s just added fibre.
Oh my! What a badly timed thing to happen (well it would have been bad whenever it happened, but just before going off on holiday is particularly unkind). I hope the EG is found or, if not, suffers some kind of bad karma (possibly Mrs Playmo could think of something).
P.S As all the midget gems seem to be spoken for, I wondered if there were any Dolly Mixtures left?
The timing was particularly bad, yup. I am a firm believer in karma, ad hope that someone pinches HIS catalyzer on his journey to deliver the stolen goods somewhere in deepest, dankest Eastern Europe. However, I am convinced that this remains a first world problem, and as such should not take up too much space in my life as things are most definitely much worse for a lot of people. After all, it gives Helga (the VW Beetle) the opportunity to shine on the roads of France 🙂
I love VW beetles – never had one, but always thought they looked like good fun!
I bought Helga when I passed my driving test in my early twenties. She’s not very fast, but nor am I, and she’s fun, and I can be the same on occasions, so we’re made for each other.
Sounds like she’s a faithful companion, ready and waiting to take you on adventures. 🙂
She is! As long as she’s home before dark. She’s a bit of a Cinderella car, tends to turn into a pumpkin at midnight. Then again, her owner turns into a pumpkin long before that… 🙂
Aww, that would look good – two pumpkins travelling together! 😉
PS. You can have a whole packet of Dolly Mixture. Here.
Thank you – very kind. I shall make them last – it would be too greedy to eat the whole packet all at once…
Go on, you know you want to. 🙂
Astrophysicists are also pretend grown-ups though they claim that their female colleagues have plaitable facial hair. I am convinced this is a base lie. As to Evil Git – I suggest that if it isn’t a base lie, we set a task force of female Astrophysicists forth to find him and turn him into a Soprano 🙂
“Plaitable facial hair”? Maybe it’s got something to do with the time and stress involved in getting the doctorate then a permanent position … 🙂 If it’s anything like the rest of the research world, you’re well into your thirties before you’ve got a foot on the career ladder 🙂
I do like your idea though. Mrs Playmo approves, and demands to come along. She is seeking out her hell’s angels leather gear and her tool box as I type.
Excellent – rumble in the Herault! You are right about the effort it takes to get established in Research in any discipline. Two Brains is considered a stripling by two of his reports aged 90 and 87 respectively! He just tells me the women are hairy to shut me up btw 😉
Two Brains? 😀 LOVE. PF’s other nickname is “Calculus”. We are always told that any female colleagues accompanying our men have one eye in the middle of their foreheads, big butts and huge amounts of facial hair. It’s what they say to reassure us on occasions. This time he didn’t dare, though, because I already know that she’s lovely and very pretty.
hope they catch up with ‘evil git’ and do something nasty to his crankshaft
p.s. how does one go about becoming a biologist – [a friend wants to know] 😳
Osyth has had a very good idea. I suggest that we bait EG with a brand new Citroen, then hide behind a wall and pelt him with tins of baked beans.
To become a biologist, you have to spend years on end learning about plants and animals, then find a very strange topic, specialise in it, and get a Ph.D. in it. PF chose stress in prawns. And that is one of the more credible topics I’ve clapped eyes on.
which areas of expertise are most likely to include field trips with colleagues in bikinis – [again, a friend wants to know] 😆
I’d say any field of expertise where you have to go to islands with baobab trees and lemurs. Having said that, he spends a lot more time giving lectures and teaching students how to dissect amphibians than he does having fun on field trips 🙂
There is also a guy in Italy who wants to know…. Couldn’t I do a Ph.D on the stress Black Sheep endure whilst living in Italy ??
You could, but stress in black sheep will probably involve waiting around fields filming sheep, with the help of hippy rastafarian students wearing baggy trousers and green wellies rather than bikinis.
Evil, evil people. (That goes for insurance companies, too, who are apparently evil everywhere.) I’ve heard of siphoning gasoline and stealing tires, but I’ve never heard of exhaust theft. I dearly hope these people fall victim to the urban legend that has people waking in a tub of ice with a kidney stolen. I’m so sorry this ruined your trip to Alsace. It’s a lovely part of France (which I know you know, but you needed some lovely after this experience.)
Please give my regards to Mrs. Playmo.
Hello, beautiful! Take a seat! Cup of tea? Midget Gem?
I didn’t believe in evil before, but I now think he’s selfish’s big brother. Thank you for the comment about kidney trafficking – you may have got Mrs Playmo on the road to sobriety. Although nobody would want her liver, she says she is going to stop getting so drunk that she wakes up in the bath instead of under her quilt. She says hi, and wants to know if she can be your impresario – agent if she wears her sequined underwear and brings Shufflebottom’s designer handbag along to impress the New York literary circles.
B*****D! Good on you girl for finding some humour in the situation. We’re on a little jolly ourselves and each time I park up I’m worried I’ll return to an Evil Git. Don’t you just want to grab these people by an ear, twist hard and tell them, very politely of course, to get their backsides down the job centre and earn their living in an honest way like the rest of us! Rant over. Hope you get it sorted soon. Xx
I hope you’re having a lovely jolly. It’s the first time anything like this has happened to us here, so I suppose that once in five years isn’t so bad. On the other hand, I’d only been parking overnight there for the last three months; Won’t be doing that again in a hurry 😦
I won’t be twisting their ear if I find them, I’m gunning for another part of their anatomy that I will be twisting VERY hard before using it to drag them down to the cop shop. On foot, over 6 km of vineyard track, just like I did when I filed my complaint on Sunday 😀
Noooo! That’s EG for you, no consideration for other folks’ holiday plans. Mind you, I think Helga sounds a lot more fun for a road trip, especially if the in-car conversation focuses solely on stress in prawns (that’s actually the best thing I’ve heard all week!!)
Helga is a sweetie, but she’s too old to be doing long distances now. We shine in her locally, on short distances.
Stress in prawns is all the rage, darling – you have no idea how clever they are adapting to changes in the environment. Maybe if I was a prawn, I’d find life much easier. 😀
What a bummer! If these Evil Gits put as much effort and imagination into legitimate business, I’m sure they’d turn the country round!
At least the weather’s been nice for you (mostly) here.
If only, Sarah… and the Albanian ones I saw online who got caught were given three months in prison for stealing 89 catalyzers. 89 people at a minimum of 500 euros cost each (franchise + lower cover because of the age of the part) = 44 500 euros damage to innocent civilians who will pay out again in taxes for their (albeit short) stay in a French prison before they start again.
And the way things are these days, if the sentence is less than 2 years they don’t actually do any of the time. So they probably walked out of prison free. However, if you criticise the system and describe certain people unfavourably, you can find yourself behind bars in the flick of a cat’s whisker.
That move was in shocking bad taste. Evil Git didn’t even leave a note on your dash, “Hey, don’t waste your time trying to drive today.” So sorry that vacation plans had to be scrapped. So much for being organized and getting ready on time.
Not so much as an “I’m sorry to have wrecked your week”, nothing. I would love to draw up a list of all the people the scumbag affected by stealing a bit of my car, including an 85 year-old lady who was deprived of a day out with her family.
Just awful. Not to mention the pain of having to explain it to her. 😦
She was disappointed for us, and for herself too as the Old Peep’s home dessert is no match for MM’s cheesecake…
What a nightmare ….I’ve never heard of car bit theft…I think self respecting car bit thieves would pass by most cars that I have owned in the sure and clear knowledge that no profit for them lay under or in that vehicle. I do, however, know of the hell of French, or any other nationality, insurance…it doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles, they don’t like paying out:)
Our other car is a VW Beetle – they won’t nick the parts, but they’ll probably nick the whole thing 🙂
Friends of mine who had all-inclusive cover recently found out that their cover included everything, except a lot of things written in very small print on an obscure annexed document. The woman who fell asleep at the wheel and drove into their car at 130km/h on the motorway had a new vehicle to fall asleep in within little time. They got offered a third of the value of their car, six months later. Vive la France, huh.
Finally catching up having been hors de combat for a while…what a lousy thing to happen – and how typical the reaction of your insurers. Perhaps we could revive the pastimes of ancient Rome and put EGs and insurers into an arena armed only with car parts. Oh, and it’s thumbs down in advance, buys…
As insurance companies refuse to play ball unless I provide them with the name of the thieves (yeah, right) I will be having a word with our local mayor next week (we will be attending a meeting together) to suggest that he uses state funding to put up CCTV in the car park. A couple of years ago, five cars were burnt there. The public loos have been constantly vandalized and are now closed. Big Brother on a stick could at least save the citoyen from further damage to his property and his pocket.
And should you provide them with the names you might find yourself accused of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud…how else would you know the names…
I pointed out to them that if I had seen them under my car, I would have been in prison for sitting on their heads the moment they reappeared. Apparently if you can’t prove that it’s theft, you have potentially committed fraud yourself so you pay franchise just in case. Charming.
Eew. This certainly puts my own run-in with Evil Kitty in perspective. The security cam is a great idea. It may not deter thieves — after all, how do you identify someone who rolled into town, spent most of his/her time beneath cars, out of camera reach, then rolled out? However it might give pause to the local kids who probably do the vandalizing and burning.
Evil Kitty? Tell me more! (MM imagines cat woman-esque car thief figure prowling through car parks). I asked the local council if they would consider putting cameras at the car park – i was told that they “don’t believe that it decreases the occurrence of criminal activity”. I suggested that although it may not do so, it at least provided the means to drag criminals through court… including, you are right, the vandals who have completely wrecked the only public loo in the village.
Well. Wait a minute, while I climb on my highest horse. There. I’m ready.
My beloved and utterly perfect little Westie and I had just arrived from the city. The pup was exercising his gods-given right to run off a little pent up energy when he chanced upon Evil Kitty. EK was trespassing. I have zero tolerance for outdoor cats, so I was happy to see my little guy chase EK deep into the back garden. The chase continued until they reached a tall stand of shrubby grass. Why was it there? I’ll have to blog about that. The point is that EK must have been cornered — just a guess as it was pitch black out there. EK must have turned on my sweet little baby. His eyelid was scratched — not the eye, or it would have been death to all trespassing cats. Did EK stop there? No. As my little marvel turned and made a run for it — he had made his point, after all — EK pulled the cowardly kitty equivalent of shooting the sainted pup in the back. EK reached out and gouged my baby’s butt. Painful? Bloody? Yes and yes.
Fortunately I found a vet on 24-hour call. We treated my little soldier’s wounds. It’s two weeks later and he’s all healed and even chasing rats. Will he go after a cat again? I sure hope so!
Poor thing 😦 Cats can be evil – they always go for the eyes, to escape. They are as mean to each other – Murphy (my unlucky black cat) has had two abscesses caused by scratches and bites. I’ve even had to remove a claw buried in his head… Very Frankenstein – meets – Kitty Godzilla.
French outdoor countryside kitty is a force to be reckoned with, particularly when you’re a little dog from the big city. He probably had to recover territory that had been annexed to local cat county long before you bought the house – poor wee thing.
I have a dog and a cat – the cat became an outdoor kitty when we moved here, because the local cats (strays fed by my neighbour) beat him up every time he set a paw outdoors. Southern temperament, they are wild! The dog got in on the deal and encouraged the cats to go and live somewhere else, and now the two of them police their territory together – at nearly nine and ten years old, they’re not as fast as they used to be, but no-one in the whiskers mafia dares to step on their claws any more.