Saturday, 5 June 2010


sunny, mild, temps...not sure actually

Thank you SO much for your Anthony nomination celebrations - I'm still flying!!!

Train down was one beside me! Like winning the lottery...and, icing alert...the nice person in front of me didn't put his seat all the way back. And - my window seat on VIA1 actually had a window. Many have just a wall with a curtain...with a wall behind it. No glass.

And - the meal was actually yummy. I spent the 5 and a half hours listening to music on my ipod and staring out the window. Just pondering the books. Imagining scenes from the book I'm writing...and even had some ideas for the next one. Brought my notebook and made notes...and stared...and made notes. And stared. Very, very relaxing. Lovely trip.

But VIA is pathetic. Used to be a magnificent train service, something to be proud of...but they haven't updated the interiors in literally decades. Toilets barely work - only one in our compartment worked. Everything looks and feels shabby. BUT - the VIA workers are wonderful!

One thing I thought was weird was the this lovely older couple sat behind me. Clearly a little befuddled and sometimes querulous, but very adorable with each other (I could hear them talking behind me) - but they were placed in the emergency row. Before we left the conductor came and gave them instructions on what to do if there's an emergency (breaking glass, deciding if it's safe to leave by that window, help others out) and they were totally confused. And even if they weren't, they just were not going to be able to help. So since I was pretty close I just told them I'd help if need be.

Then I spoke to the conductor quietly and said I was amazed that VIA wouldn't find them an equally comfortable seat and move someone more able to help. It's not as though there have never been an fatal VIA accidents, on exactly this Mtl to TO route.

He just said it was the ticketing people's fault. I left it at that - but felt very badly for the elderly couple who spent at least part of the trip trying to figure out what they should do - asking each other, and fretting. I tried to help, but they'd sort of gotten themselves into a bit of a state...and I also felt badly for people in the car who thought VIA would do all possible to ensure their safety, and clearly did not.

Happily, of course, nothing happened...and it is extremely unlikely...but such an easy fix.

Am in a wonderful room in Toronto - they booked me into a suite...and Donna of Hachette Canada will pick me up at 10:30 tomorrow morning to drive to Orangeville for the culmination of their One Book, One County event. Their book this year is The Brutal Telling. Yay.

At 1pm I meet with 10 contest winners, then do a talk/reading/question and answer starting at 2pm...a signing...and then Donna drives me back to the train station and I grab the 6:30 back to Montreal - arriving about midnight. I could have stayed the night in Toronto, but if I get back tomorrow night that gives me all Monday to write/edit.

Bliss. Otherwise I lose the day, and even more momentum.

Probably will not blog tomorrow...but will try on Monday.

Thank you again for ALL your good Anthony wishes!!! Yay.


Marjorie said...


So glad to know that the train didn't crash - on so many levels!

The outpouring of happiness for your Anthony nomination, here and on Facebook, just shows me again what kind of a person you are to generate all of that support and caring. Congratulations.

--Marjorie from Connecticut

Candy said...

Congratulations on your Anthony nomination!

I feel sorry for the older couple on the train. It's too bad that the conductor didn't help them trade places with someone who could have handled the emergency exit more easily. It troubles me to see elderly people worrying, especially when it's something that could be easily remedied.

Have fun in Orangeville!

Dana said...

I took the train from Drummonville to Halifax with my 4 year old Grandchild, Maya Rose. We had a sleeper and she loved the top bunk. The breakfast was horrible, so we ate candy instead and had a wonderful time. I will always remember the scenery and she will always remember the candy for breakfast (I hope). I think Orangeville should set an example for the country. How wonerful for them.

Diane said...

Wonderful news about the Anthony nomination. Congratulations.

I was saddened to hear about the deteriorating conditions of our National rail service, and the eldery couple, oh my, no wonder your heart went out to them.

Hope you are able to rest on the trip back to Montreal so you are free to write all you want on Monday!

Reen said...

That kinda happened to me once, on the train from Copenhagen to Odense. I can only say one word in Danish that can be understood by Danes- Hej (hi). So when the conductor walked up to me I said, "Hej." He talked to me for about 5 minutes, pointing and gesturing. The woman seated next to me interjected her own comments in Danish. She talked all the way to Odense- a really long ride. By that time I was too embarrassed to speak English, but it didn't seem to matter to her, and nothing went wrong. I think.

Lesley said...

Really enjoyed hearing you speak in Shelburne yesterday, lots of laughs! Especially loved winning the Gamache cafe au lait mug but would have preferred the copy of Bury Your Dead!!!:) Looking forward to its release!

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Lesley, So glad you enjoyed it! So did I.

And thanks for all the posts about train travel - and misunderstandings...and candy.