François is sitting at the table, dressed in his best Marks and Spencer dressing gown he bought in London while there recently for the Paralympics, humming to himself while leafing his way through Peter Antonioni and Sean Masaki Flynn's gripping 2007 paperback "Economics for dummies".
Enter Valérie, designer hairnet (???) holding curlers in place and sparks metaphorically flying from her eyes as she slams the door and stomps across the floor.
"Croissant darling?" asks François, putting the book down as he puckers up his lips in anticipation of delivering a morning smacker.
There's a grunt as Valérie ignores the proffered kiss.
"Coffee maybe?" he continues.
Another grunt as Valérie pulls out a chair and plonks herself down opposite him, glowering.
"Sugar?" he asks, adding four teaspoons to help sweeten the temperament of the (second) love of his life.
"Er...is there something wrong dear?"
The quiet is broken only by the sound of a spoon being stirred; the pace increasing, with François realising that at any moment now the volcano is about to erupt.
There's a sharp intake of breath followed by a shriek...
"HOW COULD YOU?"
François rolls his eyes, feigning innocence and hoping against hopes that his beloved is not referring to what he most fears.
He says nothing.
"YOU'VE INVITED THAT WOMAN TO LUNCH," roars the country's first journalist.
"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU PLAYING AT COSYING UP TO THAT B....."
"Valérie. Language please. Jean-Marc might hear," interrupts François. "You know he's in the next room waiting to be briefed."
"Oh I don't give a rat's arse about Jean-Marc," replies the woman who has a gift not only with the written, but also the spoken word.
"He's just as much of a wimp as you are. In fact that whole bloody government of dimwits you've cobbled together is band of wusses. The only one who's got any balls worth speaking about is Martine, and you, YOU, were too frightened to include her."
The minister of jealousy was on her habitual early morning roll and François knew better than to try to interject.
"Cowards, spineless weaklings, chickens - that's what your government is," says the woman who had clearly been at the thesaurus again."
"I mean just look at the way the whole lot of you virtually pooped your pants when I sent the Tweet in support of that fool Farlorni," she continues.
"And here you go again sucking up to HER as though she has any sort of role to play in politics. And why? I'll tell you why...."
Just a few months in office has taught him this is the best way to deal with the daily diatribe he has to endure before getting on with the real business of trying to pretend to run the country.
He knows she can't help herself. She's a woman of character after all; one who has perfected the art of the poisoned pen 21st-century style, whose talents as a writer go largely ignored even though she has flair and style in huge measure. He muses in wonderment at her most recent œuvre, 'François Hollande President; 400 jours dans les coulisses d'une victoire'.
"Yes those photos were all right. But the accompanying text, written by Valérie's fair hand...well it was simply magnificent," he thinks to himself.
He can't for the life of him work out why it's not selling well and he understands her frustration.
"Ah yes," he thinks. "That's the problem with strong women. They constantly need challenges and are so easily riled when things don't go quite how they expect. If only she wouldn't take things so seriously or personally. Maybe she should stop trying to put on a false front of pursuing a profession and get on with some real first lady like charity work," he ponders.
"Oh, oh. I had better not even think those thoughts - very politically incorrect. I would be in for a real dressing down if she knew what was going through my mind..."
"...And then to top it all, the children turned around and said they didn't want to see me. You know who turned them against me, don't you?" Valérie takes a sip of her coffee.
"Well, don't you?" she pauses
FRANçOIS!" roars the minster of jealousy.
"You haven't been listening to a word I've been saying. That's just so typical. Well sod it. And sod HER."
And with that the country's first journalist stands up, flings her napkin on the table and storms out of the room, shouting as she goes, "And if you think I'm going to stick around for lunch with HER and the rest of them...think again."
BANG, as the door slams shut behind her.
"Er - darling....do you mind if I finish your croissant?" mumbles François into thin air.
|Ségolène Royal (screenshot interview with BFM TV)|
Yes, Wednesday saw the first meet and greet session at the Elysée palace between François Hollande and the presidents of all 26 regional councils, including of course the president of Poitou-Charente - a certain Ségolène Royal.
It was her first political appearance since being humiliated in the national assembly elections back in June and journalists were on hand of course to mark the occasion as a smiling Seggers wearing a "flashy orange jacket in a sea of grey" (as she was described) found herself again the centre of attention.
And Valérie Trierweiler? Well, she had excused herself from the proceedings.