Archive for the ‘The Grandmother’ Category

My Witch-In-Law

Almost exactly a year on, from my first post about The Grandmother, here I am again in a state of disbelief.

My Hubby’s Grandmother is certainly not my ideal vision of a French mamie, she doesn’t make jam, she smokes like a pompier and is the rudest, meanest French person I have ever had the bad fortune to come across in person on a regular basis.

One thing I will give her is she is sure damn consistent and she is an excellent dog trainer… read on.

A year of polite “bonjours” and me mostly ignoring her, has come and gone and there haven’t been too many upsets to speak of. We’d kind of settled down into a routine of just saying hi, and then having nothing to do with each other until now. But all that is to end, just like last year – June is obviously her witching month.

Every time I visit the Beaux-Parents, I absolutely dread her visit and was actually relieved at the beginning of the year when she had tripped up (over her broomstick?) and ended up in hospital for a few months. That is a really horrible thing to say and I do feel incredibly guilty for even thinking it, but you do not know how awful this woman is and how much upset she causes everywhere she goes. I will also add that she wasn’t ill at all, and was only kept in the hospital as she couldn’t care for herself at home due to broken bones – which mended incredibly quickly, hence confirming her status as a witch surely? She was up and walking around all over the place a week after going in!

Anyway, onto this weekend. As usual, she arrives and as is custom in this part of France, greets everyone with three pecks on the cheek. Standing next to my Sister in Law whilst she is greeted by the Witch, I wait expectantly my turn, breathing deeply, forcing myself to be calm. Then, in what seemed to be slow motion, the Witch turns to me, stares straight through me, her cold stone eyes hovering in my direction for a few seconds, and then continues turning and walks off. No “Bonjour” was muttered or sign of recognition given.

Rooted to the spot in total disbelief I just stood there gawping. I’d thought we’d got passed this and were at least on polite terms now.

Not so. And she’d obviously trained her dog. Still rooted to the spot, the dog charges at me and wees all over my feet, spraying my brand new shoes with almost fluorescent yellow dog pee (as if he’d been saving it up, especially for me!). I was speechless and then cried out “I don’t belieeevvve it!”, Victor Meldrew style.

The Witch then turned round, looked at me, rolled her eyes and walked off. Not a murmur of an apology. Thankfully Hubby came to the rescue and helped me wash my feet and shoes as I’d turned into helpless zombie like state, incapable to do anything so much I was seething with pure, white anger. The Witch had done it again.

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Since marrying my French husband nearly two years ago, I’ve always congratulated myself on the relationship I have with my parents in law. We get on like a house on fire, despite me being English and having rather different views on life, the economy, food, families, careers… pretty much everything really! They choose to accept me for who I am; I make their son happy and us getting on well means that we see each other regularly so everyone’s happy.

Anyway, all that changed last Autumn when my husband’s grandmother got divorced, upped sticks and moved to live in the same Provencal village as my hubby’s parents.

Its as if, overnight, a witch moved in and every time we visit his parent’s she digs her claws in a little further. For example, this woman has been divorced no less than 3 times now, has never managed to maintain a stable relationship and doesn’t have anyone that she considers as a friend. And yet, she chooses to criticize every part of my marriage, the way I treat her blessed Grandson and everything about me.

Things came to a head at Christmas when I had the flu and she told me to pretend I wasn’t ill so my hubby wouldn’t worry. I told her it was none of her business and that it was rich coming from someone in her position. Maybe I should have bitten my tongue but I dread going to see the parents-in-law as she is always there, staring at me and scotched to my husband like a pot of superglue!

I now maintain a polite relationship with her to try and avoid creating waves. Even that she has a problem with, and this weekend she stopped answering me when I ask her a question.

The family are starting to notice though as yesterday she spectacularly blanked me at the dinner table in front of everyone! Needless to say that the French dinner table is a sacred place and time for family and this type of behaviour does not go unnoticed! Hubby declared that we wouldn’t be staying on to spend the Pentecote holiday with them as we’d be leaving that afternoon. Moral support greatly appreciated!

Is it because I’m English and she believes that her Grandson should be with someone French? I don’t think so, I truly believe that she is just bitter and wants to keep her family for herself. After all, they’re all she has left.

Fingers crossed that my next encounter will go smoothly, thankfully I have the parents-in-law coming to stay next weekend. Now just have to worry about what to cook and making sure the house is clean and tidy.

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