Friday, 30 January 2009

Champlain's dream - if not his body

flurries, milder, temps minus 8

We had such fun yesterday. spent a few hours at the marvelous Literary and Historical Society on St Stanislas. It's the oldest museum in North America and is actually, now this terrific library. Not very big, but with a balcony lined with old books, and books below, and a leather sofa and chairs and a wooden table (when I arrived there were fine china cups from a previous meeting). Toured and talked with Patrick Donovan.

Then Michael took me to the Saint Amour restaurant on Sainte-Ursule for lunch. It's considered by many the best restaurant in Quebec City, which is saying something. We celebrated making the 'list'. We were clearly English, though speaking French to the servers and maitre d' - but English to each other. And the people, where possible, spoke English to us. As a courtesy. The English was often halting, but it was like being offered something small but precious...tiny sweet bits of our own language, and their respect for it. How lovely.

Then we wandered through the narrow, snow clogged streets, slipping and sliding, since we were either climbing up a steep hill or skidding down. The city has soddered hand rails to the sides of buildings so we can steady ourselves.

When I got home there were tons of messages from friends and former colleages and Jacquie Czernin, who hosts the local CBC afternoon show, invited me on to talk about the New York Times bestseller list! Such kindness and support.

And now it's Friday. We're off for breakfast with Peter Black. He's a producer and journalist at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation...he knows everyone and everything. Except plumbing. We were supposed to meet yesterday but in the storm somehow a pipe burst at his home...and he (poor delusional man) thought that was more important.

But we're meeting in 10 minutes for breakfast and a catch-up, and I get to run some murderous thoughts by him. Then at noon there's a lecture by the author of Champlain's Dream - he's from Brandeis University and won the Pulitzer with his last book. Really looking forward to that!

then home and a weekend of relaxing.

Be well - and thank you.


humble.pie said...

if truth be told i don't give too much of a huge fig where the remains lie. the theory that the gravesite got dug up & the earth transferred to landfill in the port sounds practical & possible to me.

however, now that all the excitement of the NY times bestseller & the blizzard have passed, it feels like december 27 here chez louise, those days between boxing day & new year's when all the frivolous activities break out. so perhaps i could launch a wildly improbable thought.

in the articles of capitulation to the battle of the plains of abraham, everything seems so marquis-of-queensbury, like toy tin soldiers settling up. i especially like the detail that the french soldiers are to march out from the walled citadel with drums beating, tambours battants, and be escorted onto waiting british ships that are to deliver them to the first french port.

interesting how the british just happened to have all those extra empty ships at anchor, ready & provisioned to take a few thousand prisoners on board and set out on the perilous 2-month journey across the north atlantic.

did they manage to take champlain with them. after all, he was supposed to be the illegitimate son of the french king, wasn't he.

well, it's more fun than chinese vegetables.

btw where are montcolm & wolfe buried.

frouch said...

Dear Louise,

This is wonderful! I am so glad for you. Thanks also for reminding me that dreams are not just something that lay deep inside the heart.

This being said, let's talk about the serious stuff. So, Michael invited you at the best restaurant in Quebec, and we don't even get a tiny peak at the menu??? You leave us drooling without knowing exactly why??? How cruel...

Take care!

Frouch XXX

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Hum -

Hmmm - there's a thought - they took the father of Quebec back to be buried with his royal family. You combine a bunch of conspiracies. And, though you don't give a fig whre he's buried you're have a year and a half (until this book comes out) to develop a passionate caring. Get started, Hum.

Thanks for the idea - fun!

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Frouch -

Quitye right! OK - here goes...sadly Michael and I had exactly the same thing but it was fabulous...

Started with Terrine, with paper thin sliced yellow beets. for the main course we had confit de canard (duck) and for dessert a chocolate mousse with mango.

And a marvelous espresso.

Oh, oh. Now I'm drooling. Michael!!