Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Tour des Taxes, and des Arts

mainly sunny, humid, growing hot, temps 29

It started out sunny but cool and has grown hotter and more humid as the day's gone on. Spent this morning at the Canadian gov't tax place, but finally got the forms stamped for the German publisher. We seem to need to do this every 2 years. Also got the Spanish contracts signed and mailed.

Then Michael and I headed back to the country.

One of the really fun annual events out here is called the Tour Des Arts - where artists who live in the area open their studios to the public for 10 days. There are 40 artists on the Tour, from all different disciplines. Cheryl called the other days and made a few suggestions so when we drove back to the country we decided to do the 'Tour'.

Started with the Potton Valley Quilters - a group of elderly women who do fantastic quilts. We put our name in for the raffle. Fingers crossed. Then we had lunch - home-made. I had French Canadian pea soup - which is made from yellow peas and loads of smoked ham. Michael had a hamburger soup - which was good, but not as good as the pea. We segued directly to dessert. Michael did the carrot cake and I had the jumbleberry - both with vanilla ice cream.


These quite substantial elderly women floated around the small room sometimes serving, sometimes sitting and eating, sometimes just chatting. We all sat at each other's tables, since there wasn't all that much seating. It was great. Went next door where there is a permanent garage sale. Bought old Life, 17, Chateleine and Saturday Evening Post magazines. Dollar each.

As I get older I realizing I'm spending more and more time trying to crawl back - not to the womb, but to the 1950's. This place was a good fit.

Then we hopped in the car and went into the mountains and found two other stops on the Tour des Arts. A woman who makes jewelery (bought 2 necklaces) and a man, Craig Skinner who does oil painting. They both live next to, almost on top of, the Ruiter brook. Stunning location, this is a stream that really rushes and tumbles, eddies and pools. Wonderful.

Craig's home is like something out of a fairytale. Cheryl said we'd love it and she was right. It's a tiny place, which he built himself, out of wood. There's a winding stone path with bushes in flower and steps up to an old wood door. Inside it's one room, with old kitchen one side, living room the other, dining table in between, and stairs leading up, with a walkway from one side to the other of the cathedraled room. One open bedroom up there. His bathroom sink is a flower urn. I just wanted to curl up there and never leave.

But couldn't. Had to scoot home, pick up puppies, change cars, get the organic vegetable from Yan's farm and am now at the Sutton office waiting for Gary to come and take a chest of drawers away we're giving to his son Evan, who is leaving home to go to CEJEP in Montreal.

CEJECP is a system unique to Quebec, as far as I know. After grade 11 kids change schools and take 2 years in this kind of college. It's meant to fight the drop-out rate, prepare some kids for vocations and others for University. It seems to be working quite well, except...

In the cxountry there aren't any CEJEPS, so kids here have to move to Montreal, or Sherbrooke to go to school - which means leaving home at 16. It've very hard - on the kids and the parents. Evan though is a great young man and will do great. But it's still scary.

I'm off - take care...Gary's knocking. Too bad the chest of drawers is so awful. But I suspect a 16 year old might not notice - here's hoping.


Elizabeth said...

Sounds just like the Montgomery County (Maryland) Studio Farm Tour that I used to go on 2 or 3 times a year. Wonderful days in the rolling Maryland countryside (Civil War country) with incredibly creative people selling one-of-a-kind stuff. Quilts too, hanging on a clothesline all around a farmhouse. Amazing that so much is the same.

Louise Penny Author said...

Yes, it is amazing. And this is well worth a visit. Terrific to support the local artists. And bakers.