Monday, 22 September 2008

Happy Autumn

brilliant sunshine, glorious day, temp 16

A magnificent first day of Autumn. Crispy day - leaves turning, some already on the ground. It's national 'No Car Day' so I walked to the grocery store this morning and kicked leaves and smelt the musky fall air. It really makes the heart soar.

We drove back to Montreal yesterday after breakfasting with Doug and his 12 year old daughter Roslyn. Indeed, Gamache's daughter-in-law, Roslyn is named after her. She's my God-daughter too.

The drive back was easy - about 7 hours - with a stop for lunch. Arrived back to see the US take the Ryder Cup then off to dinner with Jim and Sharon (who we invited out to join us this Christmas in the country) and two other friends, Maureen and Dave. We had spinach pie (which I frankly didn't like much, found it bland and greasy) but Michael loved. But the company was fun.

We're staying in Montreal until this afternoon since Michael has a check-up at the Royal Victoria Hospital this afternoon. This must rate as one of the most frightening hospitals in North America. It looks like a haunted Victorian mansion...built high on a hill overlooking Montreal it's all turrets and grey stone - formidable and daunting. And inside? A warren of dingy corridors.

I spent a number of years volunteering at the Palliative Care unit there. Would sit at the bedside of people dying and hold their hand, so they wouldn't be alone. But the thing I really dreaded was being asked to take paper-work to Admissions. Honestly? I could never find it. I swear to God it kept moving, like the staircases in the Harry Potter books. The guts of the Royal Vic roil and move. And scare me.

Even Michael, who interned there, is perplexed by it.

But we're off there again. Must see if I can find some Holy Water.

Then we drive back home to Sutton. Oh, how we can hardly wait. Gary has finished painting and repairing the outside of the home, and the bits and pieces inside - so it'll gleam. On top of that, Autumn in the Eastern Townships is Heaven. Especially after the Hell of the Royal Vic.

Speak to you tomorrow.


Elizabeth said...

Bill and I had a good laugh at your description of the Royal Vic. I was born there, but have not been inside since. Bill has made jokes about it for years. He tells me that it is going to be torn down. True?

hilary said...

The Royal Vic -- I know it well, and your description is spot on. Any possibility this sinister place is percolating in your mind as a possible setting of some kind?

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Elizabeth,

Isn't that a riot that you should know it. Hilary does too.

Its future isn't clear - at least when last I heard. It should be torn down - but Michael says it might be sold and turned into condos. It's probably considered a Heritage Building, God help us.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Hilary,

How do you know it? It always looks like an asylum to me. Not surpising given its neighbor.

It's possible I was channeling my feelings about the Vic while writing The Cruelest Month and the old Hadley House.

hilary said...

Dear Louise

My younger sister was born there, and fortunately turned out not to be Rosemary's Baby! I also went to McGill University and so studied under the shadow of that looming edifice. Saw my first dead person -- on the road at night smack in front of it -- and no ambulance on the way. Could never take my eyes off it when I went walking by.
I say, keep it -- as a museum of medical history, maybe, with all those torturous Victorian medical instruments displayed inside. Perhaps it would help people view our current medical community more appreciatively.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Hilary,

I laughed out loud - thanks. But how awful to see the body.