Monday, 5 November 2007

Built to Last

Across the way from Madison's beautiful country home live an elderly couple originally from France. Their names are Mr and Mrs Franshpipal and although in their mid eighties, both are as strong as mules. They are also guilty of consistently spying on Madison (hence the need to put up that great fabric). I wouldn't say that they were perverts, but I have on more than one occasion caught Mrs Franshpipal staring at a baguette in an uncomfortably disturbing way.

Anyway, Mr and Mrs Franshpipal moved to the Italian countryside just after the Second World War. Rumor has it that they bought the house with bars of pure gold that they had been hiding under their apartment building during the German occupation. Now I'm not one to speculate or gossip, but I heard that they hadn't actually retrieved what was theirs, but had instead stumbled upon the gold while trying to dig out (with their bare hands) a secret passage under their building. You see, from what I could gather, before the war they were as poor as poor could be and that tripping over the gold was no different than the 'Beverly Hillbillies' striking oil. I also heard that they had found no less than 20 bars of pure gold and that the two of them, using only their hands and their brute strength, lugged all those bars of gold in one single trip across the French border and into the Italian village where they still reside today.

I only mention this because now they are quite rich and with that money they have painstakingly restored their manor with all its original features and then some. Now I personally have only been in the front entrance which leads to the ground floor bathroom, and even those areas were no short of impressive.

They were exactly like this...

(Maison Francaise Sept 2007)

This dark and heavy wood and iron really portray Mr and Mrs Franshpipal very well. It is sturdy and planted like the old couple. It has also stood the test of time, something the Mr and Mrs know much about. But most importantly, it is also very secretive and mysterious. Behind all those strong and fortified exteriors you just know that there must be millions of secrets hiding. I mean honestly, how did they really get all that gold across the border on their own...?

1 comment:

Mélanie said...

I love this notion of building to last . What a wonderful and " funny" french story. I would love to have neightbors like that. Your story lets me think about a begining of a agatha Christie's kind of book .