Saturday, May 18, 2024

The Vintage Calvados

April 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Prose

My host smiled as she handed me the bottle, ‘ Treat it with respect, use it as a medicine, not just for pleasure’, her words spoken in the strong earnest manner of the French farming community of the Calvados region of France.

It transpired that this was one of the few remaining bottles, which her Father had laid down on her birth for consuming on her 21st.birthday, that she informed me was some years ago, and was even then so strong, that it had to be treated with great discretion.

The old Farmhouse had scarcely changed in the forty years since my first visit, when it provided shelter and rest for a company of very tired Guardsmen and proved to be a very useful first aid post for the wounded.

The old farmer, now no longer living, but whose generosity will never be forgotten, was equalled by his daughter, who was now running the farm, hence the rare bottle of Vintage Calvados.

I took great heed to her advice, using my Calvados wisely, at the first sign of affliction of any kind, a small tot before bed was all that was needed and the morning would be greeted without even a twitch of the affliction.

It worked not just on people, but birds and animals as well. A poor tiny Blue Tit, crash landing on the conservatory door and laying on the concrete path, looking as though it had gone to meet its maker. However, a drop from my magic bottle, administered with a toothpick, caused a flutter and a shaking of the head and a somewhat circuitous flight to the top of the conservatory, singing at the top of its voice, I swear the tune was “Nellie Dean”.

The local Postman arriving with a bevy of bills was so obviously ill he could scarcely walk up the the path, a heavy cold or similar was about to overwhelm him. However, a tot from my magic bottle and a cup of coffee, sent him whistling on his way.

The time came when my bottle was almost empty, just a few dregs, perhaps a double measure was all that remained and I was saving that for a real emergency.

At this time one of the sheep turned very poorly, and lay under the hedge refusing to get up, none of the usual ploys to get her up worked.The Vet could not come out until the following day. Resisting all my Wife’s pleas to try my magic bottle, I swore that the darn sheep could die, she was not getting my last drop of Calvados.

Of course, the inevitable happened and I relented, taking the bottle to the sheep, I opened her mouth, pushed the neck of the bottle well down her throat and tipped the precious liquid in.

Nothing happened for a few minutes, and just when I started lamenting on the fact that it had been a complete waste, the wretched animal belched, struggled to her feet, broke wind which echoed round the hills like a clap of thunder, and tottered away like a Dowager Duchess, after too much Champagne, dancing the Congo, and breaking wind every fourth step or so.

Now lying in bed with a raging temperature, head throbbing, bones aching, trying to get off to sleep by counting sheep, all I can see in my mind, is one sheep tottering away, and breaking wind. I give up and dream instead of an Old Calvados Farmer generously bestowing his special Calvados to a crowd of youthful soldiers.

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