Monday, 12 September 2011
Ann Arbor - Prince Edward Island
Charlottetown - sunny, lovely day - temps 20
Back in Canada after what feels like an eternity away....but a GREAT eternity!! Certainly a life-changing time. For the past two weeks we've (you and I) have criss-crossed the US - doing events in a differnt city every day. It has been amazing fun, to see you all! And you can see the crowd yesterday afternoon at the Kerrytown Book festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan - organized by a lot of people including the remarkable Robin and Jamie Agnew - of Aunt Agatha's bookstore. Robin and I sat at the front of the tent and all these wonderful people came out to listen and talk - and we just had the best time.
A great way to end the American leg of the A TRICK OF THE LIGHT tour. Just magnificent.
It was a day of great contrast. Like many of you, it started for me by watching the Sept 11th memorials. It was so moving, and dignified and terribly sad.
And then Stefanie Pintoff was generous enough to offer me a lift to the Kerrytown festival, where she also had an event - so off we went and had a fabulous time - as you can see!!
Then Stefanie and I drove to the airport - she to catch a flight to New York City and me to get into the smallest plane I've been in in a long while....for the short hop from Detroit to Toronto. It was an Air Canada flight - but a prop plane. Can't remember the last time I was in a prop plane - and an old one! Very few seats, no flight attendent - we were in single seats down the length of the narrow plane.
but it was very relaxing...and I realized how much I like the older, prop plane. I remember them with great affection and comfort from all the flights I took all over Northwestern Ontario when I was a reporter there. They sort of job down the runway, then gently lift off, and like a butterfly they float higher and higher. Very civilized.
Got to Toronto - then hopped another flight to Charlottetown PEI. Arrived after midnight. Great flight - but no taxis....we waited at least 20 minutes, perhaps longer, in a bitterly cold wind - for one taxi, then another, then another to dribble in. Another woman and I shared a cab. Too bad really - not a friendly way to arrive. But things could be worse.
The hotel - the Holman GRand - is brand new. Wonderful, clean, great design. LOVE it. Only open about a month and a few teething pains. Seems confusion over whether they have room service or not. Phones didn't work and the internet couldn't be connected...but after several calls to the very nice receptionist, all has been solved.
This is the first time I'll have more than 2 nights in a hotel - for the most part it's been a different hotel every night for more than 2 weeks....so it is lovely - indeed, very meaningful, to have a nice place to settle in to. Some people don't really care about these things. But I do. I think because I'm a home body - and just want to curl up in the bed, order room service, read, watch TV - and not think. Until my next event.
Have an interview with Karen Mair at the CBC here in Charlottetown in about an hour. Then nothing until a dinner tomorrow and event at 7pm - open to the public - at Studio 1 at the Confederation Centre.
I'm in Prince Edward Island because they've chosen Still Life as their One Book, One Island book! I am SO happy about that!!! This is my first book event in Atlantic Canada....and PEI is one of the great islands in the world. Check it out on line. I visited a few times decades ago when I worked at CBC in Moncton. Looking forward to actually getting out of the dressing gown and heading into this wonderful community....
Oh - I'm back. did you miss me? The wonderful librarian who is coordinating this visit for me - Trina - just rung up from the lobby. I thought she was coming at 11:45 - but she showed up at 10:45 and I was in my bathrobe. Except....I suddenly remembered, as I flew around the room tossing clothes on - that PEI is an hour ahead....and I hadn't changed my watch.
It was 11:45! And I was in danger of being late for my CBC radio interview. Lovely Trina got us there on time. And I did it with Karen. then Sarah asked if I could do a TV interview. I'd tossed whatever clothes I could find on, fortunately I'd brushed my hair - but I had no make up on. And, as luck would have it, Sarah is luminous. Absolutely drop-dead gorgeous.
Happily, I figure the bar is set pretty low for authors. If I'm dressed and sober they should consider themselves lucky. though I'm sure I looked demented. At least I didn't have a fork in my hair.
After that I wandered the centre of Charlottetown. Found an ice cream place called cows and had my first food of the day. Yum!!! A wowie cowie. double yum. Then went to the bookstore and the library. Heaven.
Now back to the hotel to try to rest a bit...I find now I'm getting tired easily and early. Though I blame the Wowie Cowie. Far too sensational.
Hotel does need a bit of snags ironed out. There's a hilarious and wonderful BBC show called Hotel Inspector, where this really very anti-social potty mouthed woman, who happens to be a very successful hotelier, visits down on their luck hotels and tries to help turn them around. I love that show.
I'd LOVE to be the Canadian hotel inspector. Not that I have any expertise in running a great hotel - but I've stayed in so many. For instance - this room - in a very high end hotel - has no pen. Or stationary. And when I called down to see if they could please replace the coffee capsules I'd used that morning (the housekeeper must have missed it), the lovely and very friendly young woman admitted it took her forever to show up because she'd forgotten which room I was in. And then gave me the wrong capsules.
Not big things...but again, if you're aspiring to be the tops, it really is the details that matter. Like writing, I think. Or any career. Get the details right. We have a guest cottage, and when people come to stay we make sure it's not only clean but that there are fresh flowers in summer, or a baked treat in winter, and that everything they could need is there. Granted, one cottage is easier than a hotel with rotating (and demanding!!) guests.
However - I would stay here again in an instant. And would love to bring Michael. It's a great modern hotel - that just needs a few more months to smooth things out.
Loving charlottetown - the weather's spectacular. And now, am off to relax. Having a chicken and pear sandwich from the deli around the corner.