Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Either this wallpaper goes, or I do

overcast, mild, temps 14

Am in Montpelier now, at the Bed and Breakfast. Dreadful place. All heavy Victorian wallpaper and furniture. Glum landlady. Dark and dreary room. I was hoping to arrive early and spend a few hours relaxing in the room before the event. But could not wait to get away. Especially when I had to take a broom to this huge cobweb on the wall.

Happily I'm only here overnight, and this has convinced me that sometime in the future, when Chief Inspector Gamache et al are investigating a murder away from Three Pines (if such a thing exists), they need to stay in a dreary, sullen place. So, actually, this is great! Wasn't really looking forward to yet another stay in a spectacular, large, lovely, clean hotel room, with flatscreen TV, jacuzzi, spa and no spiders. How antiseptic.

I'm feeling itchy...bed bugs? ugh. Still, I have to say this really is part of the book tour territory. I've stayed in some horrible places and some astonishingly fabulous places. Crap shoot, really. The publishers do their best, and Sarah - the publicist - sent me links to three places here inMontpelier...and I chose this one. D'oh.

not that long ago I was at a book festival and my room was so small my feet went off the end of the bed and were in the bathroom. The walls were also made of paper so I could hear everything anyone said in the corridor. I was at another book festival and the hotel was infested with young americans who streamed across the border (this was a Canadian border town) because the legal drinking age in Canada is lower than in the US. So on Friday night the kids booked into the hotel with the sole purpose of getting drunk. And running riot. At least they had the great good sense to book into a hotel and didn't try to drive home.

Had a great drive down here to Montpelier...two and a half hours. Denis in Cowansville had put the winter tires on the volvo this morning...lovely man made space for us in his hectic fall schedule. But I'm driving the other car since it has GPS. Arrived with three hours to kill before going for dinner with the BEar Pond Books people. As soon as I saw the B&B room I wanted to flee. A reader who will be at the event tonight suggested place called La Brioche, on Main Street...it is an off-shoot of the New England Culinary Institute, so I skidaddled out of the B&B and raced over to La Brioche for a medicinal Cafe Latte and eclair. Yum.

but am back at the B&B now. Hoping, with familiarity, it will seem less dreary. It seems to be working. At least I don't have to share a bathroom. And the place, despite the cobwebs, actually seems clean. Just dark and dreary.

Loved the comments from yesterday's blog - and all the odd placenames...I thought no one could ever beat the Brits, but I have to say Intercourse, Michigan, just down the road from the town of Blue Balls is pretty good. Though, as I said in the comment, in Quebec it would be Saint Intercourse. And Saint Blue Balls. We put a saint in front of everything. We have a Saint Louis de Ha Ha. Can't imagine what he is the patron saint of.

Off to Bear Pond Books for a dinner at 5:30 then the event at 7pm. Then driving tomorrow (probably crack of dawn) to Norwich for an event at the Norwich Bookstore at 7 tomorrow night.

Speak to you tomorrow.


Elizabeth said...

I'm so envious of your travels in New England, even with the dark and dreary B&B. Better than standing in line for hours to get the H1N1 vaccine while wondering how to convince James, my son at U of T, to do the same. Twenty-year-olds think they can stop speeding bullets with their bare hands! Good to know that some have the sense not to drink and drive. Enjoy the trip.

Shelagh said...

Dear Louise, "Medicinal Caffe Latte and eclair"...you are my type of person! From now on cafe au laits and lattes will definitely be for medicinal purposes!

Your description of the B&B room is a stitch. Can't wait to read about it in a future book.

Will be thinking of you and Michael on Thursday, and wishing good thoughts and peace to Michael's friend John.


Bev Stephans said...

Dear Louise,

Years ago, I decided not to stay at another B&B. It's too much like staying in a stranger's home. The privacy is almost non-existant. You never know if your host is the Bride of Frankenstein or Mary Poppins. You could always ask your landlady if Queen Victoria herself hung the wall paper.

Give me a good old hotel or motel any day. Room service is a lovely thing you don't get at a B&B.

Good luck with your 2 day book tour. As always, sell lots of books!

I'm wishing you and Michael a safe and serence journey to the UK.


Bev Stephans said...

That was supposed to be a serene journey!

Anonymous said...

Atmosphere is so important, isn't it? I'm not a big fan of B&B's even though i am an extrovert..people have to be together in an intimate table setting..seems odd to me..have to be friendly but too
careful and all the time wondering, 'should i sat this..should I say that?'..and the clink, clink of the tableware..the clock ticking.... haha it makes me feel like I have to be gracious, and that ain't always easy!!

but driving around New England --wow, and wow , wow, wow ..just finished 'The Brutal Telling'...up until about 2 a.m.! Can't wait for number 6 but will have to! Worth the wait..

Enjoy the rest of the tour. Thoughts are with you when in England.

Donna K, Wisconsin

hilary said...

The full name is Saint Louis de Ha! Ha! It's part French, part first nations, and the Ha! Ha! I believe is the first nations part and means something like..."Wow! Look at that!" Drove in there one time -- just a few houses and a convenience store -- and nobody selling a Ha! Ha! t-shirt. Quite disappointed about that.


lil Gluckstern said...

I loved New England, but B & Bs can get dreary from all that Victorian furniture. Poor Gamache; how will he stand it? Wish you a better stay elsewhere and a safe journey to England.

Kelly Bernstein said...

Hi Louise, love the blog!

Your post reminded me of another fabulous Canadian author, Michelle Wan, who writes a mystery series about- of all things- orchids. Great books! And the heroine is from St. Louis de Ha-Ha.. www.orchidsaremurder.com

Happy travels

Skeeter said...

I'm dying (ha!ha!) to know the name of the B & B.


Marjorie said...

In case any of you wondered
(cut and paste):


--Marjorie from Connecticut

Louise Penny Author said...

hi all,

Now you tell me about b and b's!!! Actually, I've stayed in lots in the past and like you have had mixed results. We will also be in one in Eye, but I think the choice there is very limited.

I debated telling you the name of the B and B but that seemed unfair...so you're on your own if you visit Montpelier!!

We just received our H1N1 vaccination schedule from the Quebec goverment. Because we are of a certain age and healthy, we won't get ours until December. Might see if we can slip into a clinic in London. Doubt it, but will see.

Hope you are all well.