Wednesday, 28 October 2009


rainy, cool, temps 10

I'm in Norwich now, tucked up in a four poster bed at the Norwich Inn.

Had the most wonderful time last night at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont. Evening started with dinner at 5:30 with Pat, the events co-ordinator and George who works at the store and at the library. he was the one who, a few years ago, discovered Still Life and told everyone about it.

Hand selling. Very powerful.

They were very kind and took me out to dinner at a restaurant called The Black Door. Terrific meal. Then we scooted across the street back to the bookstore. The place was packed. Standing room only. After spending some tours speaking to myself and the janitor, this is always a relief and a delight!

They were so welcoming, so warm. I felt completely comfortable. After the talk and questions I signed books, then headed up the hill to the Montpelier version of the old Hadley house.

Barely slept. I actually turned the room light on. The place gave me the willies. By 2am I still hadn't slept so I read some more then tossed and turned until it was time to call Michael. I'll tell you, he almost got a call at 3am.

Breakfast was a dreary affair with a television going in the background and a single table set for guests. The other guests, though, were delightful. A young couple from England, an older couple from Syracuse, NY, a tug boat captain on his way to South Carolina. We could not, of course, discuss our various experiences in the Bed and Breakfast since the owner and her surly help were listening, and had knives at their disposal. I wondered if everyone found it as dreary as I did. Like a rundown boarding house.

I leapt in the car just after 9am and headed south, toward Norwich. Michael, lovely man, had programmed our GPS for all my stops, so I just put it in and off I went. My 'plan B' - hatched amid the brocade curtains and screaming wallpaper of the B&B, was to go to Quechee and maybe do a massage somewhere. But I adjusted that plan in the night.

We were now on plan C. Which was, to find the Norwich Inn, book a room for the day, and finally get some sleep. But since I left so early I dropped into the village of Quechee, Vermont to visit the Simon Pearce glass factory. It's in an old mill...and is stunning. Beautifully renovated into a showroom for this hand-blown glass, but also local pottery and wood work...all sorts of beutiful pieces for the home. I bought Michael a Christmas gift then filled the car up with gas and headed to Norwich.

Found the bookstore...which looked absolutely picture perfect. White clapboard, traditional. huge windows, comfortable chairs, wooden bookcases...and warm, friendly staff. Apparently my event tonight is sold out. Such a relief to hear that!

By noon I was in a room at the Norwich Inn, reading, then napping.

Sleep would not have been an issue except after the event tonight I need to drive the 3 hours back to Sutton...hoping to arrive home by midnight. This is never optimal, but with very little sleep the night before it is even worse. And, God knows, tomorrow will be a long day.

But the people at the Norwich Inn could not have been kinder...finding me a lovely room and even giving me a reduced rate.

So now I'm awake, showered...and lying in bed writing to you. Not sure if I can blog tomorrow. We're heading to Montreal first thing. Michael has an 11:30 eye appointment, I have a 3pm dentist, then off to the airport and fly to London. We're being picked up by a car service at Heathrow and driven to John and Moira's village in Norfold - Eye. Hoping to see John that afternoon...then we'll take it from there.

Thanks for keeping me, and Michael, company. Hope you packed the hot water bottle for England - we're going to need it!


Bev Stephans said...

Dear Louise,

So glad you had such a good reception at Bear Pond Books. It sounds like a wonderful place.

Safe journey to you and Michael.

Bev Stephans

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the trip to Montpelier wasn't totally awful for you. I told you our dear state Capital is a place that one generally tries to avoid, though I'm happy you lucked out with dinner. Fotunately I live close enough that I'd never have need of staying at the lovely B & B you've described. I do hope you ate the gummy bears before returning their as I'd hate to think of those poor little gummies scared witless in the dark! Best of luck to you in Norwich tonight and to you and Michael and his friend John and family. I do hope the overnight accomodations won't keep you from returning to the area, though I can certainly understand no returning to THAT place! phil

Cornflower said...

If you feel like a break from detective fiction, Louise, you could write a hotel guide next - it would be great!
I don't know what the weather's been like down south today, but here in Edinburgh we've had a positively summery 17 degrees. Will you be coming to Scotland? Have a good trip anyway!

Ruth said...

Hi Louise It has been such a long time since I have seen you. I am delighted to have found your blog. The last time we saw each other we shared a roomette on the way to CASA'S Annual General meeting.
You were the CBC Radio media star and I was the Alliance Quebec staffer. I still keep in touch with many of the old gang. Life has taken you on some very exciting experiences and I would love to catch up on over a drink.

Be well and all the best Ruth

lil Gluckstern said...

I'm so glad you got a great reception;hopefully, you will never have a bad B & B again. Atmosphere does matter! Sounds as if Norwich made up for it. I used to live in Connecticut and Massachusetts, so did a lot of traveling , and hitting lovely shops and beautiful views. Have a good journey, and I am thinking of you and Michael. This trip is poignant, isn't it? Take care, and drive and fly carefully.


Amy said...

I attended the event in Norwich last night. I was thrilled to be pulled off of the wait list at the last minute. You certainly did not disappoint! It was wonderful. Thank you for making the trip.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I discovered your books. We have recently moved to the Mid-West, but I would much rather be in Morgan, Vermont. We spent several Feb. vacation weeks skiing Orford, Owl's Head, Sutton when our kids were young. Love the Magog area and love your books. Movie in the future??? Kristina

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

Again, apologies for the mass response. Seems I'm doing that a lot lately. But I do read each and every comment and SO appreciate them. And yes, Norwich was great!!! Amy, I'm glad you en joyed it - but I can't believe you liked it any more than I you could probably tell.

Thank you all for being so supportive. Hope you enjoy our/your trip to England. A difficult time, but some fun times ahead too, I know.