Ah yes, another most enjoyable early morning catching up with everyone's pilots whilst sipping some fresh coffee. So many wonderfully written new adventures and reports, many thanks to you all for sharing them.
2nd Lt. Randolph Swanson and his G/O Captain Daniel Craig had several fairly quiet outings before the dud weather settled in two days ago. They only had to battle the Eindeckers in one sortie, and the two EA that did bother them did not hang around for more than one pass before turning tail to the east. Apart from that it was nothing more than a couple of recces of the situation at Vimy and a rail yard attack on Loos Junction. Then, on the afternoon of Tuesday the 21st, the wind picked up and the rain started and there has been no flying from Bruay since.
On the Saturday prior Swany had been talking with his friend James Collins, who stated that he was wanting to get back up to Auchel and do a thank you dinner for the Poiriers in return for all the kindness they had shown him while he'd been rooming there. Jim wondered if Swany's language teacher une copine, Georgette, would be willing to serve as head chef for the gathering, with themselves and Jericho acting as her kitchen staff. It was with this request in mind, among other things, that 2nd Lt. Swanson made the five mile trek on his own to the café in Auchel later that morning. James had offered to come along once he was back from his morning patrol, but Swany said that he'd prefer to make the visit alone, if Jim didn't mind. Collins laughed. "I imagine you would prefer to be alone, given the atmosphère d'amour that floats about her when you are there." Swany blushed as he stammered, "Ya, ya, I suppose."
Georgette smilingly agreed to do the favor for her star student and intérêt amoureux, giving him a large kiss on the cheek while she ran a delicate finger along the purple and white ribbon that now adorned the left breast of his tunic just below his RFC wings. However, her mood changed abruptly when Swany assured her that his friend Jim would certainly pay her for her services. She shot her pilote a dark scowl that made him want to crawl under the table.
"I do this for you because you ask, not because of your friend", Georgette scolded. "Would you pay me too? Is that all I am to you, kitchen help!"
Swany immediately began apologizing and assuring her he meant nothing by it, only that with money being tight and things hard to come by his friend simply wanted to help by compensating her for her time and culinary expertise. She would be doing him a very big favor after all and he didn't expect her to be using any items from her own larder to do it.
Georgette smiled, then acquiesced. "Oui, I suppose, I could use the money. And I am always fighting to keep enough food around for my own meager menu here." She gave her young man a hug around his neck. "It is settled then!"
With apologies made and accepted Georgette suggested the following Sunday, the 26th, as the date for the dinner. The café would be closed that day and she would have lots of time to prepare. She went on to say that, while she had most of the staples needed to put together a proper banquet, what would be required more than anything would be a main dish. She suggested a nice, large cut of pork and hoped Swany and his friend could provide it. The young airman was not quite sure where they were going to lay their hands on such a thing, given the shortages, but he assured her that he would do his best. He did make an alternative suggestion of quail, as he had come across several active bird runs in the woods near the field during his morning jogs, and he could easily trap a few of the tasty foul.
"Très bien! Yes yes!" Georgette cried. "Quail would be wonderful too. I could serve them as the rôti after the pork! You are so generous, my Swan-eee!"
Well this was certainly not what he meant, but there was no taking it back now. Swany assured his comely madam that he would do all he could to provide the necessary entrée.
It was quite late in the afternoon by the time the Lieutenant made it back to Bruay, and upon returning to camp he went immediately to find Jim and relay the pertinent information from his visit. He located Collins, along with Mark Jericho, in the makeshift stables where the two men were tending to their horses, having just returned from a ride. When Swany outlined the plans for the dinner there were raised eyebrows all around at the mention of pork. But a brief moment later Mark gave a sly grin and in a matter-of-fact tone announced, "You know pard, I might just have a thought as to where to lay my hands on all the pork you'll need for this little shindig, provided y'all don't mind wild boar as a stand-in for pig." Swany and James gave each other a nod and a smile. They had no doubts that their rusticated friend could do precisely what he said. The hunt would soon be on.