Thursday, 15 July 2010

Jeannot and the Pink Rabbit

Jeannot Lapin lived in the Lot in France. He was a very young rabbit and he was very curious. He liked to taste all the plants in John’s garden. He had even dug some of them up to see what was underneath, but there was nothing interesting hidden there and he couldn’t understand why this made John so angry.
Jeannot Lapin loved to listen to other people’s conversations. One day he heard Christiane telling the lady next door that they had been to the seaside in Brittany. “There are lots of wonderful things there, including a pink rabbit. C’est une vraie merveille!” she said.
Now Jeannot had never seen a pink rabbit and he wanted to go and meet him. A few days later as he was going for an evening hop around the village he saw a poster saying “Visit to Brittany. Leaves from here tomorrow at half past seven”.
So the next morning, without a word to anyone, because he knew that his Mummy wouldn’t let him go on his own, he hid in the bushes while everyone got on the coach. At the last minute he hopped into the luggage compartment and kept very still while the driver closed the doors. All day the coach rumbled along, but Jeannot didn’t mind, he was used to the dark and he had a long sleep.

 Suddenly the noise stopped and Jeannot woke up with a start. The luggage doors opened and, when no one was looking, he hopped out and found himself next to the sea; it was very big and very wet.

There was a big grey and white bird standing at the edge of the water and Jeannot thought “I could ask if it knows the Pink Rabbit”. So he hopped over to it and said,
“Hello, my name is Jeannot, I’m from the Lot and I’m looking for the Pink Rabbit, do you know where he is?”
“Aaaawk, aaawk, my name is Mme Mouette-Machin-Chouette and I don’t know anything about pink rabbits. Are they good to eat? I can only find fish and crabs here! Aaaawk! Aaaawk!“
Jeannot ran away quickly, hopped over the rocks to another beach and hid in a hole.

 The next day, when Jeannot looked out of the hole, there was a seal sunbathing and looking very relaxed on the rocks at the edge of the water. “Perhaps he knows where to find the Pink Rabbit” thought Jeannot. “I’ll go and ask him.”

“Hello, my name is Jeannot, I’m from the Lot and I’m looking for the Pink Rabbit” he said to the big fat seal. “Do you know where he is?”

“Hello Jeannot, my furry little rabbit” said the seal. “My name is Phillippe “Flipper” Phoque and I would very much like to help you, but I live in the sea and there are no rabbits there, not even pink ones”.

“Oh dear!” thought Jeannot after he had said goodbye to Philippe “Flipper” Phoque, the very polite seal. “I never thought it would be so difficult to find the Pink Rabbit”.

In the evening, after the people on the beach had left, he was hopping along the coastal path when suddenly he saw some rabbits. “Surely they know about the Pink Rabbit” he thought. He went up to the nearest rabbit and said, “Hello, my name is Jeannot, I’m from the Lot and I’m looking for the Pink Rabbit” “Please do you know where he is”?
“Bonjour, my name is Pierre, lapin de garenne of the ancient family Delaplage de Landrellec . Our family are all grey, as grey as the sea and the sky in winter, as grey as our family shield. We know that the grey grass tastes best and we have lived in the biggest holes in the greyest rocks of Landrellec for more years than we can count, but we don’t welcome strangers, and we certainly don’t know any Pink Rabbits!”

Jeannot was very hungry so he tried some of the grey grass, but it was very tough and salty. He also tried some of the bright green seaweed that he found on the beach, but it was very slimy and he spat it out! He didn’t like Pierre Delaplage de Landrellec and his ancient grey family so he carried on along the coastal path until he found a hole to sleep in.
Jeannot woke up next day feeling that he was never going to find the Pink Rabbit. But he set out along the path once more. In the distance he saw a beautiful duck. Now Jeannot knew the ducks in his village in the Lot. They were dirty, white and lazy. They just sat around all day, but this duck had a bright red beak, beautiful white, brown and green feathers and he was paddling in the water. He decided to ask once more about the Pink Rabbit.
“Hello, my name is Jeannot, I’m from the Lot”. He said to the beautiful duck.
“Hello Jeannot mon cher” said the duck. “My name is Cedric Shelduck.”

“Excuse me Sir, but I’m looking for the Pink Rabbit. Please do you know where he is?” said Jeannot.
“Mais oui mon cher, every summer I fly here for my holidays and I have seen him near Ploumanach. He is as big as a house, he is all pink and he has a good view of the sea” said Cedric.
Jeannot thought that this sounded rather frightening and asked Cedric if the big pink rabbit was friendly.
Cedric thought for a moment and said “Il est plutôt très calme mon petit, he is very calm and laid back because he is made all of granite, mon cher! “
Now although Jeannot was a very curious young rabbit he had never heard of granite. “Please M. Cedric Shelduck what is granite?”
“The rock that you are standing on is granite, mon cher petit”, said Cedric.

Jeannot was very disappointed. He had come all the way to Brittany to meet the Pink Rabbit and it was only a big piece of rock. He hesitated for a moment and then decided he would go to see it anyway.
“Please M. Cedric how do I find it?” said Jeannot.
“Continue along this path, turn right at the empty bottle, go up the track and then down to the next path and look behind you! Bonne journée mon petit lapin, say bonjour to the Pink Rabbit for me!” said Cedric.

The Pink Rabbit was exactly like Cedric had said, “As big as a house, all pink and it overlooked the sea. It was very fine and impressive but only a little bit like a rabbit.

As he sat there, looking at the enormous pink rabbit, Jeannot thought about his home in the Lot. He had been away for a long time and he was missing his family and the nice fresh green grass of the Lot. He didn’t like the salty grey grass or the slimy bright green seaweed, and he was very hungry, so he picked up a small piece of pink granite and went to take the coach home again.

When he got home his mother had been very concerned about him. “Jeannot, you’re a very naughty boy. Your father and I were really worried about you, going off like that without a word to anyone. We thought you had had an accident. We looked everywhere; we even asked the rabbits who live up near the Mayor, but nobody had seen you! ……… ……… ……..”. She carried on like that for a full half hour and when she had finally finished scolding him, he told her where he had been, what he had done and showed her the piece of pink granite. “Well that’s all very interesting I’m sure but I hope you’ve learnt something from all this!” she said.

Jeannot thought about that for a while and decided that he had learnt not to believe everything he overheard.

As he went to sleep Jeannot was thinking that tomorrow he would go and see what the man in the house with the swimming pool had planted in his vegetable garden. “You never know, “it might be interesting, tasty and different”.

“And don’t you go digging up things in the neighbour’s garden either!” said his mother, from the other end of the rabbit hole. 

You can read more Jeannot stories here:
Jeannot and his Little World
Jeannot has a Narrow Escape

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Oscar and Oscar-Nini the Sweet Corn Monster

Once upon a time there was a little boy called Oscar. He was a lovely little boy and he was very good.
Oscar adored sweet corn. One day he was eating his dinner and he had not just one, not just two, not just three, not just four, but FIVE pieces of sweet corn. Then his sister Georgia asked for a piece of his sweet corn.
Suddenly he changed into a monster. His hair went all green, spiky and stood up on end, his face went all yellow and he started spitting little yellow pieces of sweet corn all over everybody and everything. Pfft! Pft! Pft! He went.
He spat over the table, he spat over Mummy, he spat over Daddy, he spat over Georgia. Pfft! Pft! Pft!  There were little pieces of sweet corn everywhere! Help! Help! Oscar-Nini the sweet corn monster has appeared. “What we can do?" said Mummy.
Oscar-Nini ate everybody’s sweet corn and then he started to yell.
Aaaargh, he screamed. “I’m hungry, where's my sweet corn?"
Mummy didn’t know what to do. Daddy said “perhaps he likes carrots?”.
They gave him a carrot; he took one bite, spat it out and carried on yelling.
They gave him a radish; he took a bite, spat it out and carried on yelling even louder. "Aaargh, aargh", yelled Oscar-Nini! He was a real monster!
They gave him some spinach; he didn't even chew it but just spat it out and yelled and yelled. "Aaargh! Aargh", screamed Oscar-Nini! They gave him a raspberry; he put it in his mouth, but then spat it out and yelled even more. "Aaargh! Aargh", screamed Oscar-Nini the sweet corn monster!

“Why don’t you give him a strawberry?” said Georgia, who was fed up with all the yelling.
So they gave Oscar-Nini, the scary yellow sweet corn monster, a strawberry and suddenly all was quiet.
His hair went blonde and flat, his face went pink and their little lovely boy Oscar had reappeared.
“Please can I have another strawberry?” said Oscar.

Friday, 2 July 2010

A Thousand Protesters Outside France Inter

Yesterday 1st July a thousand people gathered outside Radio France to protest against the sacking of Didier Porte and Stéphane Guillon . The two humorists are not having their contracts renewed. Stéphane Guillon said in his penultimate “chronique” last week that he found this out by reading “Teleloisirs” a TV listing magazine, in which there was an interview with Phillippe Val the Director of France Inter.

M. Val was on the 7 to 9 sequence this morning presented by Nicolas Demorand, who is also leaving today. The only reason M. Val gave for not renewing the humorist’s contracts was that he was fed up with continually being insulted by them when he gave them every freedom.
Both of the humorists have over stepped the line between humour and good taste many times. They have also upset the politicians more than a few times, but this makes for lively radio.

Nicolas Demorand has a reputation for being a tough interviewer, but compared to the Today Programme presenters he’s a pussy cat. We don’t know whether Nicolas is leaving because he was asked to or he requested it. We do know that he will be presenting a 5pm to 7pm cultural slot on France Inter instead. So the protesters suspect political pressure from above, a possibility that M. Val, who is a smooth tongued political animal himself, was quick to repeatedly deny.

What astound me is that the bosses of France Inter did not foresee the public reaction and prepare for it in advance by leaking the news early and making announcements before the event. There is little culture of news management in France. Even senior politicians rarely use those techniques to lessen or limit the impact of their announcements, with the change in the retirement age being a notable recent exception.

I can’t decide whether this is due to arrogance, incompetence or the fact that there are elements in the culture which prefer confrontation. Perhaps it is all three!!