An ideal butcher’s shop…..for a vegetarian


Spooky tales, horror stories and accounts of ghostly manifestations are all grist to my mill. The mill in question grinds them to a pulp of words which I reorganise into something that interests me. The spine chiller genre does nothing for me save chill my spine. If something in my life is to be chilled, let it be a Martini and not my spine. I cannot remember wanting to be frightened or ever believing that the frisson of fear was anything but fucking horrid.

Butcher’s shops fit very well into nightmare scenarios and, although I have eaten plenty of meat during my life, I have never felt at ease surrounded by chunks of wet, bleeding flesh. This would not be a problem in this Boucherie. We have lived here for the last 13 years, and during that time I have never known this shop to be open. The interior has the appearance of a butcher’s shop at the end of a working day. Every surface is freshly cleaned, glass and metal twinkle and the order that is evident suggests that tomorrow will be just another bloody offal day. In order for this state of affairs to have continued over such a time span the intervention of a human agency cannot be discounted, but it has never revealed itself to me. I have never seen anyone in or around the shop on any occasion. My only reason for mentioning this shop to you is the appearance of evidence that confirms a presence within. A hand written note, in red, has been attached to the glass window of the meat display counter, confirming that there will be no opening,…. ever. Fermé définitivement. You can’t be clearer than that.

In my current dietary convictions, this is a shining example of a perfect butcher’s shop.  Is that a hand bag hanging over the bacon slicer?


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in Bad Habits, Digital photography, food, France, Humour, Martini, Meat, Photography, Vendee, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to An ideal butcher’s shop…..for a vegetarian

  1. lulu says:

    How funny. Do you think the shop is open during the dark of night

  2. Amazing post recalling scenes from childhood…When we were far away from cold big shopping centers…

  3. Mad Dog says:

    I wouldn’t mind being a butcher – I’m always impressed at the way they skilfully carve meat from bones and tie joints up effortlessly with little knots. I quite enjoy a good horror film too 😉

  4. Nice looking shop. Too bad they went out of business.

  5. “bloody offal day”

    I love the play on words there.

  6. cecilia says:

    Do you think they will sell me their scales then? and the hooks and oh my god is there a butchers BLOCK in there!? Can I have that too, if they are never opening EVER again.. Right, put the kettle on, i am coming over.. fabulous b&w by the way.. c

  7. Ooh – do you think they have a cellar perhaps?!

  8. Thanks for that wonderful little vignette!

  9. Lori M-I says:

    I’m with Nate above in enjoying “bloody offal day” but I have to say my enjoyment is based on a familiarity with dad (in my case step dad) puns (groaners you hate to love but you do). lol

  10. margaret21 says:

    How funny. Did you know that we live in an ex-butcher’s shop? And that we were vegetarian at the time of purchase (still not big on meat). We still have price lists in francs, labels to be attached to tins of home made jarret de porc and all the usual suspects kicking around the place. Our lives would be much duller if we didn’t constantly have tales from various callers about Life in the Shop, circa 1955 – 1975

  11. My kind of butcher shop. I still haven’t really recovered from the pig legs hanging all over Spain with little cone-shaped cups to catch the drippings. Enough to make a vegetarian out of me. 🙂

  12. catterel says:

    Is this one of those typical French cases of the heirs being unable to decide among themselves how to proceed? I have been waiting for 20 years to get my mitts on a plot adjoining mine …

  13. Now I have a taste for meat…

  14. Janet Rörschåch says:

    “If something in my life is to be chilled, let it be a Martini and not my spine.” Amen, Brother Roger. Extra olives, please.

  15. I actually read about a chef in Denver who has an open kitchen and does demonstration butcherings while the diners are eating. I cannot imagine many things more dreadful or unappetizing.

  16. ChgoJohn says:

    There is a “business” at the end of my street, Roger. I’ve never seen anyone enter nor leave, only a few cars parked in the lot. A person who lives about 50 meters away from the back door swears it is a house of prostitution. Just saying … 😉

  17. Could this be something like Sweeney Todd? Are any of the villagers missing?

  18. Someone finally realized that they owned a butchery?

  19. As a lad of 15 and 16, I worked in a butcher’s shop. As you artfully punned, it was “bloody offal.” Cleverly done, Roger! Despite the smell that never left my clothes, or nose, I remain to this day a dedicated carnivore and greatly miss the presence of those little shops that have since been replaced by supermarkets where the meat is encased it plastic wrap and styrofoam.

  20. Ah, I must remember your spine chilling aversion, Roger!
    Fantastic photo. I love the sign.

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