Friday, 23 January 2009

Quebec City - alors

light snow, windy, temps minus 15

We're in Quebec City! Arrived by train at 4pm...waited with a very long line of fellow travellers (so to speak) outside in the snow and blow for taxi's. None. Not a one. And then, when one did arrive and stopped to let someone out, someone at the back of the line tried to take it.

There was almost a riot.

Happened almost everytime a taxi didn't stop exactly where it should, someone at the back, or someone who couldn't be bothered to even join the line, tried to steal it. I cut in once and made someone take their luggage out of the cab and waved to the man at the front of the line to grab the taxi instead. When I finished and walked back to my place in line the others in the line applauded.

I'll tell you, it felt better than a good reivew (and those feel pretty good).

But eventually our time came, and within minutes we were at the home we've rented for a month.

It's better then I dreamed! We haven't been outside yet to explore the immediate neighborhood, but we have unpacked. That always feels good. That and going to the washroom for the first time in a new place. I think maybe I have more in common with Maggie than Michael.

You'll never guess...I howled with laughter. Up above our bed there are these stunning B&W photos of New York City...and the one right over my side of the bed is of the Flatiron building. Certainly iconic. But it also happens to be where my publishers offices are. St Martins Press has the Flatiron. Can you believe it? Not sure if it's a good omen or not. I choose to think it's a great omen for A Rule Against Murder...and for the book I'm researching here in Quebec City.

let me tell you about the home.

You walk in directly to the large living room with a fireplace, wood floors and three huge windows with shutters. The walls are 2 feet thick. Off the living room is the kitchen (small but totally modern with stainless steel appliances) and dining room combo. This is the real 'wow'. The entire wall is exposed old stone, with two more huge windows and a cathedral ceiling going up to the top of the house - 3 floors.

Up a narrow, uneven wooden stairway, worn down by centuries of feet - grasping the stunning, simple wood railing - up a floor to a loft office, a bathroom and a large guest bedroom.

Then to the top floor - up more narrow wooden stairs - to the open concept master bedroom, with cathedral ceiling, beams, dormers. It's immense. And a wooden railing looking down onto the dining room below.

In the basement there's another bedroom - with windows...and a kind of makeshift powder room - but there're wonderful LG washer and dryer. Heaven.

The only drawback is only one real bathroom, and it's on the floor below the master...and one of us often gets up in the night...hmmm. But Michael has test-driven the stairs and says they're perfectly safe. I suggested a bedpan, but he's strangely resistant.

We're off in a few minutes to find dinner and a general store (depanneur) for soft drinks, milk, chocolate bars. The essentials. Ate Lesa's gummi bears already. Yum.

I suspect this is the home Gamache will be staying in when he visits Quebec City. My plan is to have him come here on his annual visit to his mentor in the Surete - now retired. I mention him in Still Life. And I think this is that mentor's home. Though I think I'll add another bathroom.

This magic I do.


Cece said...

It sounds unbelievably lovely-a fabulous blend of history and mod. cons. done with gentle, loving hands. But you are braver than I...I fear I would sleep in the large guest room to avoid a sudden "trip".

Lesa said...

Ate the gummi bears? Probably the only food you had on the flight from Phoenix. Thank heavens I gave you food!

I cracked up when I read you were sleeping under a photo of the Flatiron building. Oh, definitely a sign of good luck, Louise!

Your home for a month sounds beautiful. I'm going to enjoy reading about your visit, both now, and in a future Gamache book.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Cece,

And, wouldn't you know it, we had coffee after dinner last night at the restaurant (something we never do when we eat at home) and Michael was up and down those stairs all night, like Edmund Hillary. He's sure claimed his territory.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Lovely Lesa,

I will NEVER forget my delight at being given that mug filled with gummis. And now I'm filled with gummis.

Yes - we are so lucky in this old home within the walls of Quebec City. The owner, Eric, called last night to make sure we're comfortable. What a nice man. that means a lot. I can put up with problems, easily, as long as I know the people in charge care. And - there are no problems here!

Lesa - it's minus 25 and windy!!! And I bet it's 75 and sunny at your place.

Anonymous said...

The house in Quebec City sounds delightful. Well, maybe a lovely master bath with a fireplace? Be careful going up and down in the dark!

I can't comprehend temperatures like that. Although it was cold here (for us) today.

Loving A RULE AGAINST MURDER, Louise. I'll write a review when I'm finished. Your words are music to my ears as usual!

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Kay,

How lovely you are - in person and in print. Love the idea of putting a fireplace in the masterbath!

And thank you for telling so many others about the books - it means so much to me.