Bennie Hill and the Bold Gendarmes

We’ve had a plethora of visits just lately….from neighbours dropping in for coffee  to friends coming for dinner via the Man from the Water Board, the CID (or the OIJ as they are known here) and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The Man from the Water Board came to inspect the great water reorganisation project and succeeded in arousing the fury of The Neighbour (cut off from said project) to the extent that he has been busy turning off the stopcocks all over the Three Valleys  in order that pressure higher up the system will burst the pipes…

Let no one say that he lacks a knowledge of physics and roll on the date of the penal court hearing for non respect of the law….though it is rumoured that the man with the tilapia farm is not prepared to wait that long to see The Neighbour get his comeuppance.

I don’t mind the Jehovah’s Witnesses….they feel called to spread the Gospel – which is considerably more than the local Catholic priests get round to doing – are perfectly polite, not at all pushy and we revel in common stupefaction that I can read aloud the Spanish language verses of the Bible  which they present to me.

All I can say is that with the shades of my Scots Presbyterian headmistress hanging over me I am prepared to give it a try in any language….Miss Dickie’s views on reading the Bible were trenchant and had distinct staying power.

Further, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have the approval of Monty the lamb, who has decidedly territorial instincts allied to a fleet turn of foot, an acrobatic capacitywhich would put Olympic champion ice dancers on their mettle and a good line  in charging and butting.

The Witnesses pet him and he behaves…like  a lamb.

The CID (OIJ)  – two young men imbued with a great deal of legal theory and sociological claptrap – came as part of an investigation into The Neighbour’s recent activities, hydrological and other.

Apparently the Fiscalia (Prosecutor’s office) can’t (or more likely won’t) investigate any complaints about The Neighbour while he is awaiting his appearance in the superior penal court for crimes of omission and commission.

Undaunted, people have taken their complaints instead to the OIJ who are not altogether pleased by this, occupied as they currently are by a major fraud on  ‘movement of cattle’ dockets in the local branch of the Agriculture Ministry involving the husband of a mayor; a public employee whose dispute settlement procedure involves a claw hammer and a link to an Anmerican run paedophile pornography business flagged up by the FBI.

I suspect that the boss decided that sending these two tyros out on the track of The Neighbour would get them

A. Onto the ground


B. Out of his hair.

They refused to get out of their car until the Alsatian was persuaded to have his siesta inside the house and then sat down with us in the porch, brandishing clipboards, forms and biros…..

Was this our complaint?

Yes it was.

Did we want them to go ahead with it?

Yes we did.

Were we sure that the whole thing did not arise from our failure to understand Costa Rican culture? After all we came from a North American background, did we not, where everyone kept themselves to themselves whereas Costa Ricans were continually in and out of each other’s houses, the relationship between neighbours being most important….

No we were not North American. Scribble, scribble on the form.

Costa Rican culture was very like that of France, where the relationship with nearest neighbour,  ‘le grand voisin’, was extremely important. Scribble, scribble….

Further, we were not aware that Costa Ricans and more exactly The Neighbour expressed their relationship with their neighbours by trying to hire someone to bump them off, even if done incompetently.

No, it was not normal, they agreed, but how did we know about it? Since we were still alive, as it were.

Because the young man concerned had been to see us to assure us that if we were bumped off it would not have been by him, as

A. He had no desire to go to prison

B. He was not at all convinced that The Neighbour’s revolver was untraceable as claimed


C. He had made enquiries and six hundred dollars was well under the rate for the job.

Scribble, scribble…….

And then Monty appeared.

The gallant duo rose to their feet as one, clutching clipboards and pens to their persons and they and Monty performed a Benny Hill chase round and round the coffee table, Monty becoming more excited at each turn and finally leaping into the air in his version of a triple Salchow and ambushing them on their side of the table at which point the pair fled to their car and shut themselves in.

Disapppointed, Monty peered through the window and they shrank away. They drove away, seen off at the gates by Monty who had by then taken a dislike to the car which was depriving him of his playmates and was keen to make his feelings known.

Why, I wonder, did I find the words and music of The Bold Gendarmes running through my head…..









52 thoughts on “Bennie Hill and the Bold Gendarmes”

  1. Just what I need on this very cold morning – a good, hearty laugh is not unlike a good hearty bowl of porridge.
    I wonder whether The Neighbour will really get his comeuppance from the jucicary or from a disgruntled citizen? I’ll stay tuned.

    1. Apparently it’s not just the chap with the tilapia farm….others are keen to have a go as well…but while Costa Rica is in the World Cup football will take precedence.

  2. Helen!! I am dying laughing at this! How do I get up to speed on The Neighbor?? Am I going to have to read your entire past blog? Triple Salchows, Jehovah’s Witnesses, lambs, and hit men all in one post? So wonderful.

    1. Costa Rica has it all!
      For The Neighbour look at the top of the blog, above the header…The Neighbour..The History.
      For Monty…there’s a post in February of this year…..
      I’m glad you enjoyed it!

          1. Helen, this was a pure delight. I’m sure living through this was just a bit less fun than reading about it from afar has been but I am totally hooked and can’t wait to hear what The Neighbour does next. The Hat. The Judge. The Lawyers. The Police. It’s all too rich. This should be made into a movie. Who would we cast as The Neighbour? Let’s think about that one for a while….

          2. I could live without The Neighbour, it has to be said…..and I could have lived without walking into a contested development plan too…but i’ve learned an enormous amount about Costa Rican law, administration…and it has upgraded my Costa Rican Spanish to an alarming extent.
            Whom could we cast?
            The Neighbour is in his fifties, usually sporting a black eye and busted nose after a fiesta weekend when he has insulted some lady whose husband takes exception to his remarks; he has a shaven head – could no longer afford to go to a salon to have his hair dyed black; has a voice like a crow on speed….

          3. Your physical description only adds to my delight. The dyed hair is consistent with my image of TN. I think Robert Duvall might be a good choice – he is chameleon-like and does rage well. Perhaps James Gandolfini might have worked. He did petty rages and self-pitying, womanizing behavior exceptionally well. The voice like a crow on speed: Joe Pesci? Too Italian?

  3. Any post that starts with Yakety Sax theme music and ends with an opéra bouffe selection has to be a winner and this one does not disappoint. A funny tale and told so well.

    I think Monty is the wise one. He’s likely aware of the sacrificial role of lambs in religious rites and that explains his befriending of the Jehovah Witnesses. The Alsatian has some explaining to do. Exactly why did defense of the family fall to a ruminant. Not that there’s anything wrong with ruminants, mind you, but they’re typically rather, well, sheepish.

    As for the evil Neighbor (I won’t even grant him the “u”) …600 bucks for a hit job? Really? Hasn’t he checked inflation recently? Oh wait, that’s not the right thing to point out, is it?

    1. The Alsatian takes a relaxed view of life…if the ruminant wants to take on the upfront role, well, it just makes for more snoozing time, gathering his strength for when a real hero is needed.

      Yes, The Neighbour seems to be looking for a bargain basement job….a taxi driver I consulted reckoned that twelve thousand would be the going rate for a proper job – where the victim disappears completely leaving no body.
      But that could be inaccurate…he might have been quoting me a gringo price on the assumption that I was contemplating bumping off The Neighbour…but I still don’t think that six hundred is in the running.

    1. I could live without having walked into a battle over development with that obnoxious pest taking a leading role, it is true……and I suspect the price was for a job lot. Not only nasty, but strapped for cash.

  4. Hello Helen,

    Well, if it were not in Costa Rica, it could be a Whitehall farce, we think. As one idiot exits stage left so another idiot enters stage right. Meanwhile, goodness knows how much tea/coffee/water/wine and how many biscuits/snacks/lite bites are consumed in the process of all these goings on. Whatever, we absolutely admire your stoical stance on it all. Lesser people would have crumbled to dust under the onslaught of it all before now.

    France has certainly given you plenty of experience for dealing with all of this but did you ever imagine that you would play out a parallel set of nonsense in South America? Whatever, we do suggest that you steer clear of Hungary where similar ‘comedies’ with neighbours, officials and The Establishment are enacted daily and conducted, to top it all, in an impenetrable language. Better the devil you know!

    We have a feeling that this ‘series’ will run and run and run and run…..

  5. I think it’s a useful ploy to have various animals on hand to unsettle the odd unwanted visitor. We exercise various levels of restraint with ours, directly related to how much we like the visitors. I can imagine you with a benign but smug smile, Helen, saying gently but not forcefully enough to make Monty stop, in a Joyce Grenfell like way, ‘don’t do that dear’. Lovely!

  6. Never a dull moment chez vous! Visitors, dogs, lambs and the Neighbour, they provide endless hilarious blogging tales! Loved this latest in the saga.

  7. The Lion and the Lamb will lie down together, but the lion will not get much sleep.
    I suggest the OIJ will not return, the neighbour might meet with an accident and life will improve for you if you allow the lamb to visit your neighbour late one night.

    1. The OIJ will certainly not return……its boxes have been ticked and that is that…..and if Holland beat Cista Rica in the World Cup The Neighbour might rise in the priorities of the tilapia farmer…and the vision of the lamb as The Terminator is very tempting.

  8. I used to like Benny Hill, quite clever I thought. Fem me does not of course, but times were as they were. The days when kids were allowed to play on ashphalt and climb trees. Anyway, somewhat different to Offenbach I think. My dad loved that one. It probably reminded him of the pirates of Penzance.

    But I hope you get some joy. Costa is doing well, but I do fancy the NL esp if it helps your case.

    Please post a vid of Monty next time. At the very least a photo. Oh and the snoozing GSD too. You know sensible people love dog pics 🙂

    1. I will do my best with the pics. Monty is generally either snoozing, chewing the cud or leaping….so you’ll probably get a pic of the first two activities.
      Snoozing Alsatian not a problem!

      I suspect Holland will win….but it would be lovely if CR managed to pull off a surprise even if it does mean that The Neighbour is on the back burner for a while longer.

  9. Well I certainly will never need to buy your local paper – we get it all straight from the horses mouth and without the need for paper and printers ink!
    Have just one complaint – too long between instalments. I keep forgetting who is who and what their problems are lol
    I must ask my JW friend if she comes across any stock when she does her home ministering ( or as I call it ‘walking the streets) – she’s the sort who would pet a lamb here and there.

    1. I haven’t been blogging for a while….rather a lot going on with visitors and future plans….but I sometimes think that if I were to post once a week with the local events as recorded on our town’s FB page people would start to think my life very tame indeed in comparision….

    1. No we’d never planned to do so…he will in due course replace the current ram.
      I wonder about armour for Monty…on mediaeval warhorse lines with a metal bodger on his bonce….

  10. Another gem, Helen, which had me holding my sides when Monty came on the scene. 🙂 The Neighbour really is excelling even himself. I do hope his comeuppance isn’t too long delayed.

    Will now head for bed with the shades of your Scots Presbyterian headmistress keeping me company. “Miss Dickie’s views on reading the Bible were trenchant and had distinct staying power.” Marvellous!

  11. I feel I want to know more about Miss Dickie, and of course, I need to follow this saga through until all is resolved. The video extracts are perfect…let’s run them all in. Hilarious stuff Helen, thanks. Jx

    1. Miss Dickie was the old fashioned sort of feminist…she would take no girl who was not capable of and aiming for university and she and her staff would spare no effort in making sure that her girls made the most of their abilities.
      I still remember the whole school being sternly addressed on the occasion that a girl left before sixth form to become a secretary….

    1. It’s quite a shock for the unwary when he launches himself through a stand of gingers to investigate a new visitor….perhaps i should have a warning notice on the gate….Beware of the Sheep.

    1. Oddly enough, the reverse…..I am much more relaxed in Costa Rica where I do not have a load of restrictive regulations and retroactive legislation to deal with.
      If I had walked into a similar problem – a grand reorganisation of the water supply – in rural France as a newcomer I don’t think that people would have involved me to anything like the same degree…if at all.
      The Neighbour is a perfect pest…and has been for years… but his type is not unique to Costa Rica.
      I’ve had la chasse in my garden in France, armed to the teeth and promising to have ‘an accident’…and being pretty sure that an ‘accident’ is how it would have been regarded….so no, on the whole, life is considerably better here.

  12. That’s always a good tactic to dissuade people from taking action, isn’t it? Of course you don’t understand the local culture, the way things are done round here. If you did, you’d realise there’s nothing to complain about etc. There’s a lot of that in Northern Ireland….

    1. Oh yes, once you hear the words ‘local culture’ you know you’re on a hiding to nothing about getting something done…it’s the great coverall to avoid taking any responsibility.
      They never qwant to take the point that ‘the way things are done round here’ may, in certain circumstances, be in direct violation of the law they are supposed to enforce…

  13. Viva Monty! What brave lads your OIJ are! 😉 Post gave me a real smile with my coffee which the cricket currently doesn’t.
    Catching up on blogs as now home after op [all went textbook perfect] and stomping round on crutches.

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