Sidey’s Weekend Theme last weekend was “gasconade”, which I am only getting around to now because I was busy not being busy. The word apparently means “excessive boastfulness”, though I had already written this when I looked that up…
The Gasconades have been one of the most famous families in France for over five hundred years now. The earliest recorded ancestor was Claude de Gasconade, known as the fifth Musketeer, proudly wearing the traditional Ladies-Day-At-Ascot hat, complete with the tail-feather of what must have been a pterodactyl.
He met his end over a spot of bother with his wife and one true love, after they met each other at a party. His wife, a feisty girl called Fleur Delis, challenged him to a duel and, as he stood en garde with sword ready, shot him with a musket, a method of combat which seems not to have occurred to any of the Musketeers, though you’d have thought their name was a pretty big hint.
Next came Jean-Luc Gasconade, who boldly went where no man had gone before by joining the Foreign Legion, where he got to wear the traditional cap with the tea-towel hanging down the back. He joined after a spot of bother with his wife and one true love, after they met each other at a party, and although he sent home many French letters begging for forgiveness his wife, Claire Deloon, refused to take him back. He died a broken man, mainly because he fell off a camel.
Pierre-Auguste Gasconade moved to Paris after his wife and one true love (no, this time they’re the same person) encouraged him move there to practice his art. So, wearing the traditional beret he became one of the great French Impressionists, with his impersonation of Gerard Depardieu being an especially big hit.
They do not speak of Marcel Gasconade, who shamed them by becoming a mime artist. In fairness, he doesn’t speak of them either.
The current Gasconade, Thierry, is an amateur weather forecaster, studying the behaviour of cows in the fields to predict how the day will go. If the cows look hot (“les rosbif”) he says that the day will be sunny. If, however, the cows are huddled under an umbrella he will pack up his picnic and bundle his family into the car shouting “Apres Moi, Le Deluge” (“Follow me, it’s going to rain”).