Tuesday, 30 November 2010

And don't call me Shirley

Overcast, rain in forecast, temps 4

But we haven't been outside all day and don't intend to go. Who would when you can curl up in front of the fireplace here at Hovey manor.

Heard the sad news that leslie Nielson had died. What a fun man, and terrific actor. And a Canadian! In an obit of him I read someone say that most comedy comes from a dark and painful place. But that Nielson's came from a place of great joy. He was a happy man. What a beautiful epitaph.

We're at Hovey manor. Here's a photo of us at breakfast this morning. (Don't tell Michael)

And this is one of me I just took. In our room (I suppose that's obvious). What you can't see if that I'm wearing mis-matched socks. I plan to let myself go completely to seed.

What a very strange feeling...to relax. I realize I've spent 8 months on edge. First writing the next book - called A TRICK OF THE LIGHT (out next September in Canada and US). Then two months touring. Always aware. Switched on. Paying attention. to the weather. To the clock. To people. To flights and announcements and timing and schedules. Always having to go somewhere. Do something. Always something lovely. But still, something.

It is now taking a bit of time to switch off. To exhale. And what joy - I can feel it in my heart...really, genuinely feel it there - this relief. I don't have to pay attention any more. I can shut down. Nowhere to go - no schedule except one Michael and I decide on.

I need to do the edits for A TRICK OF THE LIGHT...the notes sent by the UK and US editors. But they're not difficult. A quite interesting issue but I think that will be solved by adding a small scene early on. And the rest are more or less details. Nothing stressful. And loads to time to do it.

Enough to keep me occupied when we return home - but not enough to stress about. A lovely balance.

Let me tell you about dinner last night....as the starter Michael had squash soup with celeriac and bacon. I had scallops. Then Michael had venison and I had pheasant. then for dessert, Michael had apple donut and apple ice cream. I had grilled pears.

For the breakfast you see, we had the chef's inspiration of french toast, berry compote, whipped cream cheese - and he had sausages (perhaps not as many as he expected) and I had bacon.

Thank God we're back in Pina's exercise class. Will take a month to work this off...but every bite is worth it.

Well - back to doing nothing.

'Surely you're not serious!'

'I am serious, and don't call me Shirley.'

Sunday, 28 November 2010


overcast, some flurries, cool, temps minus 3

Did the very last event today! and where better than with Danny and Lucy at Brome Lake Books? Wish I had some photos, but well, I forgot and so did Michael. But it was the perfect way to celebrate the end of the tour. With friends and neighbours. With new people coming to the books for the first time. One couple came from New York City. Most were far more local. Danny and Lucy and their three sons put on an afternoon tea - and mugs of cafe au lait, made up the street by Janet at Cafe Floral.

Earlier in the day Michael and I were with friends Jane and Jack, who had a brunch. Lots of friends and acquaintances there too - and lots of people we'd never met, which is also fun. We can get to the point where we think we've met everyone - and of course we haven't. New blood, as it were.

Yesterday was a bit of a climatological circus. Blizzard. Snow squalls. Whiteouts. Dreadful. The photo shows Michael brushing off the car just as the storm began. By the end it snowed 6 inches. But it was quite odd. When it wasn't snowing fiercely, it was sunny. It came in waves. But while it snowed it was terribly windy and caused white outs. fun, if you're inside looking out at it. Not so much fun if you happen to be inside a car.

Indeed, Danny ended up in a ditch, and hour and a half from home - and had to wait 3 hours for help.

I had to drive 1 1/2 hours to an event in Georgeville. I was more than a little apprehensive. Not frightened - but aware. The problem isn't really the back roads. For the most part the worst thing likely to happen is what happened to Danny - you go into a ditch. But you don't die. The problem was the 30 kilometers of highway 10 I needed to take.

This particular stretch, between the Knowlton turnoff and the Magog turnoff is notorious even in mildly bad weather. In whiteouts it's literally a killer. And is often closed by the Surete during storms.

But wow, did I get lucky. Because the storms were coming in waves, it wasn't constant, and I happened to hit the highway between waves. I can't begin to tell you the relief.

Any of you who live in a snowy climate knows what I'm talking about.

But I made it...through a whitehout on the backroad after the highway - to the lovely village of Georgeville - one of the inspirations for Three Pines. Michael and I spent a couple of summers renting a cottage on Lake Memphremagog, close to Georgeville. The photo above shows the school house and church off the village green.

I was thinking no one would come to the event in Georgeville - having to drive through the weather - but the community centre was filled. At least 60 people. And so friendly and warm.

Then the drive home, after dark. But by then the worst of the snow was over and I got home just find. Went right to bed, with an apple and an orange. So thankful to be back.

And then today. A party at jack and Jane's. And the fabulous party with Danny and Lucy at Brome Lake Books.

And now it's over. The final event for BURY YOUR DEAD.

I know many of you came out to events and I have to tell you, what a difference you made to me. Giving me all that encouragement. Thank you!

Tomorrow we have Pina's exercise class, then off to Sherbrooke with the Beetle to get winter tires put on (well timed) - then to Hovey manor for two nights - to celebrate the end of a wonderful tour.

I am one happy woman.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

snow, freezing rain, rain - temps minus 1

Blech day outside. In fact, treacherous. We had an 8:30 appointment at the Volkswagen dealership to change the Beetle's tires from All Season to winter tires...as we did last week with Michael's 'real' car. But there were freezing rain warnings out for the Eastern Townships, and the dealership is in Sherbrooke - about 1 1/3 hours away (backroads and some highway).

Heard on the news that Sherbrooke was an ice rink. So we called to re-schedule. The man at Volks wasn't surprised.

but - in the meantime - we'd had a bright idea. Since my very last event for BURY YOUR DEAD is this Sunday we decided to celebrate. Guess which luxury Inn isn't far from the volks dealership?


So - we'll go to exercise class monday morning, hop in the beetle and drive to Sherbrooke - drop the car off, pick up a loaner - drive to Hovey and spend two days. Doing nothing!!! No book to write. No research. No thinking. Except, when to get up, when to have a bath, when to eat. And what to eat. Jeez, come to think of it, that is a lot of thinkin'.

So, it all works out.

Went to Pina's exercise class in the church hall yesterday. First time in 5 years. But many of the same people were there...including Shirley who is well into her 80's. While I lay gasping on the floor Shirley was working away. Well, one day I'll be as ripped as her.

We do a warm up - then put our mats down and work on them for a while. At one stage, near the end, as I was doing some maneuver I looked down at my mat. The one that had been rolled up in our mudroom cupboard for 5 years. And there I saw sunflower seed shells. And something else.

Double blech.

I turned the mat over, but by then the damage was done. God knows what I inhaled. I'm sure there's a life lesson in there but I'm trying to block the whole thing out.

Am almost crippled this morning.

Still, despite everything, it sure feels great to get back to class. It's really as much emotional as physical. That sense of well-being and self respect. I might not get into better shape, but I'll be in better condition. Shirley condition.

While I was inhaling God knows what, many of you were inhaling turkey! I hope it was a wonderful Thanksgiving for all of you Americans. And that your family and friends were together.

As I look out the window I see snow shooting sideways - not a blizzard, the flakes are very small and I suspect there'll be very little accumulation. Just very strong wind. so great to be warm by the fire.

Have two more events for Bury Your Dead.

Tomorrow at 4pm I'll be speaking at the Georgeville Community Centre. So looking forward to it. We rented a cottage on the lake in Georgeville for two summers. It feels like time travel - back to small villages of the 40's and 50's. Indeed, Three Pines was partly inspired by our time there. So it will be a huge pleasure to go back.

And on Sunday we have a brunch at noon with our friends Jack and Jane - then at 2pm the very last event....at a place where we have in the past done the first events. Launched most of the books there.

Brome Lake Books, in Knowlton. 2pm. With Danny and Lucy. A low-key affair...a party and signing. I might do a bit of a reading, depending on how it goes. But such fun to be with Danny and Lucy, and celebrate the end of a wonderful tour.


Wednesday, 24 November 2010


bright sunny day, temps minus 2

Beautiful, cold, day. Windy. Awoke to some snow on the cars, but the skies cleared. Good thing too. We suddenly had to go back in to Montreal. To see our accountant. And go to the car dealership because the key battery needed replacing. since when do keys have batteries? Well, ours seems to.

Busy couple of days. Bit of a blur. My Assistant Lise came by yesterday with all sorts of business to discuss. she's a marvel, holding together our empire (the military industrial complex that rivals Kraft Foods) in our absence. Should we be worried that everything is now in her name? My Assistant Lise Inc. Nah.

Got our passports renewed and just as we handed our old ones over I remembered I needed to cross the border to the States for business. But later yesterday the border guards let me through with photocopies of my old passport and proof that the renewal was underway. A relief.

Banking, mailing, laundry, unpacking, more mailing. All sorts of details. If I'm found dead it will be at the hands of details. Crushed by them. I realize - and have known it for a long time - that I'm not much of a detail person. I don't care. Give me the broad strokes and I'm happy. I'll tell you, this is a challenging career for someone not naturally given to caring about minutiae.

Gary came by last night to take a few photos for a Globe and Mail article for this Saturday. Luckily the article is on what book I'm reading and where I most love to read. Which is on the sofa in front of the fire. So while Gary and Michael worked on the the lighting, I lay on the sofa. This is exactly the sort of work I'm best suited for.

Then up early today and in to Montreal. Then back home, and more mailing.

Tomorrow - dear Lord - Michael and I are going back to Pina's exercise class. It's in the Sutton church hall. And it's torment. I'm deeply worried about how much it will prove I'm out of shape. Still, apparently this is the best way to get back in to shape, or at least a different shape.

Must be off. Clay pot chicken is cooked. I'd forgotten the pleasure of cooking meals.

Monday, 22 November 2010


rian, sleet, rain, wind, rain - temps hovering around freezing

But who cares??? We're home!!!

Arrived back mid afternoon yesterday. Had lunch on the way down with our friend Louise, in Granby. She's doing amazingly well. It's been just over 2 months now since Jacques died. We felt just awful about having to leave her so soon after - but we tried to keep in touch via email and phone calls - but it's not the same. Luckily she has other close friends who have been there for her every day - including our mutual friend Louise. (Yes - another one!)

Then visited Joan in the Cowansville hospital - she's also doing great after her second hip replacement.

Then....then...home! The place looked amazing. Cheryl must have slaved to get it so sparkling clean, and hardly any fire damage, or evidence of the biker parties they threw. (We kept getting very funny messages from Gary and cheryl describing debauched parties and catastrophic damages - at least, we presumed they were funny - happy to get in and have that confirmed)

Sunday morning Michael and I went off to Nick's in Montreal for breakfast. As I slid into the booth (not our regular one) I was confronted by a haggard looking old woman - then I realized it was a mirror! I was stunned. It looked as though I'd fallen from a great height into a bucket of wrinkles.

Eyes all puffy and, yes, wrinkled. Hair gray and quite wild...not pleasingly touseled, but sort of demented. Skin blotchy. Eyes dull.

The bright lights didn't help, but unless I want to become nocturnal, this is pretty much the lighting of life. Broad daylight. Now I know why they call it 'broad' daylight. I looked like an old broad. It should be changed to old broad daylight.

Normally this wouldn't matter all that much, expect that I have a photo shoot tomorrow. Gary's coming over to take pictures to accompany an article in the Globe and Mail. I'm afraid I will look like a crease. Oh well. Happily most people don't care what writers look like. In fact, the more demented the better. So, this could be considered good news.

Was looking forward to a completely quiet day. We asked everyone to maybe just pretend we're not home until tomorrow. And it worked well until 8am - when I realized I'd forgotten to get milk. Then discovered the Beetle convertible had a dead battery. So by 8:30 I was driving what Michael calls the 'real' car into the village for milk and Michael was calling the CAA for the toy car.

By the end of the day (now) we've returned all the phone calls, opened all the mail (including an odd invoice - someone seems to think I ordered 56 copies of The Canadian Railway Trilogy by Gordon Lightfoot....unless, Gary and Cheryl....

And we've done a load of laundry...and boosted the car, of course. Not exactly the quiet day we'd yearned for. But there's a huge difference between having to do something and choosing to do it. I'm sitting in the living room, in front of the fire, having opened the mail, read two newspaper and have Bach's concerto for violins playing.

The photo above shows Trudy with her 'bone', Michael, the gray day outside - and the beautiful flowers Cheryl and Gary left on the kitchen table. How wonderful it is to be home. But even better, how wonderful it is to be home with friends.

Oh, and had wonderful news about the novella, THE HANGMAN. It was written, as many of you know, for GoodReads, to help promote literacy for adults - so while the Gamache and Three Pines story is, I hope, complex - the style is clear and simple...for adults learning to read. Well, the publisher is in Alberta and she submitted for the Alberta Reader's Choice awards and it has been longlisted! Another GoodREads author, Gail Anderson-Dargatz's book THE STALKER, has also made the longlist! How exciting that books aimed at emerging readers can also be considered literature. Excellent!!!

And - I was just about to hit 'publish post' but Michael came in with the news that AudioFile Magazine in the US has named BURY YOUR DEAD one of the top 10 audio books of the Year!!! This is a huge honour for me - but mostly it's a reflection of the brilliance of Ralph Cosham, who is the reader.

Absolutely wonderful news!!!

Well, this is what happens on quiet days.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Salon du Livres

cloudy, snow, windy, sunny - temps 10 to minus 5

God - it's good to be back! And I know I'm home in Canada because while having coffee at Nick's this morning - having walked over through a mild Saturday morning - we looked out the window to a snow storm. Unbelievable. it suddenly blew up. And sideways. Very dramatic. Indeed, a port-a-potty across the street was blown over. Thankfully it was empty.

and then it was over, and now the sun is out.

Santa claus parade through downtown Montreal this morning. Glad the storms have passed. Apparently the biggest Santa Claus parade in the world is in Toronto - and that's also today.

Flight home Thursday from London was so easy. Through security in no time - the plane boarded quickly (almost empty actually) left the gate, taxied and - took off! No delay, not even a pause. Amazing. And we arrived (after 6 hours) half an hour early.

This was the last flight after almost 20 flights in two months. It's going to be amazing to get back to Sutton tomorrow, and unpack. And put the suitcases away.

Yesterday we were up early - breakfast at Nick's - then off to the car dealership to have the winter tires put on. It's illegal in Quebec to drive after Dec 1st without winter tires. Then I went off to the Salon du Livres to do two book signings...one english, then one french.

Off again today to the Salon du Livres...which is a massive and exciting book fair. tons of people, lots of kids which is wonderful to see.

Tomorrow we're stopping on the way home to have lunch with Louise in Granby - then visit our friend Joan who has just had her second hip replacement. She's in the Cowansville hospital.

then home. And Trudy. I'm dreaming of lighting the fire, making a hot chocolate, reading. having a bath. Slowly unpacking and doing the laundry. Wow.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Catherine and William

overcast, breezy, temps 8

Cool day, cutting cold when the wind is directly in your face. But otherwise very nice.

Thank you so much, Lee Ann, for that beautiful reflection on sacrifice and love.

As you all probably know - yesterday was the big day here in London. Wills and Kate announced their engagement! The capital is abuzz - special editions of newspapers. Wall to wall coverage. Very fun. And wow, do they look happy. And relaxed. Very comfortable in each other's company. So wonderful to see. I think we all remember that image of William walking behind his mother's coffin - such a public grief. If anyone deserves peace and happiness it's him. And you. And me.

And the Queen.

Now, I quite like the royal family, but I think anyone marrying into them must be nuts. Despite my childhood dreams of marrying Prince Charles, I have to say I'm extremely glad I didn't. Or any of them. Though William certainly seems a wonderful young man.

And they announced they want to be known as William and Catherine from now on. Not sure if that will take.

It sure is fun to be here for this moment. sounds silly, but I'm saving The Times from today - to add to our collection of newspapers announcing memorable events.

We're also taking home Marks and Spencer mince tarts - and a couple of their ready-made dinners. If our bags are lost I'm not sure I'd claim them.

Had a wonderful last day in London. Slept in a bit, then Michael and I got dressed and went for a walk. We had 10am reservations for breakfast at The Wolseley, on Piccadilly. So we decided to walk. Cutting through the back streets...a dangerous thing to do given that nothing is as it seems and it's possible to walk for half an hour and end up at the beginning here in London. the streets curve, and meld and head off in unexpected directions.

though that's always part of the fun, and we had plenty of time. Our goal was to head toward Berkely Square, then off to Hyde Park corner and Marble Arch, then across to Green Park - by then we could almost smell the bacon.

It actually went surprisingly well. Normally we spend at least as much time standing on street corners staring at the A to Z as we do walking, but this time Michael had oriented himself, and I just followed. Saying, encouragingly, 'Are we lost?' 'Is this the right way?' 'haven't we been here before?'

Michael, for some reason, ignored me and kept walking.

And sure enough, there we were at the Marble Arch....with the most wicked traffic buzzing in all mad directions between us and the Arch. we stood bewildered. perhaps this was the Great Divide. you can't get there from here.

then we noticed the pedestrian underpass, and were saved. Up we popped right at the spectacularly moving and simple Australian war memorial...and Winged Victory. You can see the photo above.

then we crossed to Green Park. London is riddled with these magnificent parks. Makes walking a genuine pleasure. As you can see. That's Michael strolling through the park at about 9:30 this morning.

We arrived at The Wolseley just as Stephen Fry and David Frost were leaving. Stephen (as I like to call him) and I locked eyes and had a 'moment' - which means he must have mistaken me for a transvestite. Not, perhaps, for the first time. David (as I like to call him) calls me 'Excuse me'.

Michael and I had another terrific breakfast, though this time we were seated at the very back facing the waiter's station. I asked, I hope nicely, if we could possibly get a better table, and were told, 'no'. Still, someone has to sit there, and the food was the same....and after a few minutes the ambiance from the rest of the room catches up.

I started with stewed prunes in an orange syrup, with very thin slivers or orange rind. It's worth the trip to London just for that. Then Michael had the full english breakfast, which means scrambled eggs, toast, grilled tomato and mushrooms, sausages, bacon and blood pudding. Oh, and baked beans. he ate it all and if the server hadn't shown up he was in danger of eating the utensils too. I had scrambled eggs and bacon, on thin whole wheat toast. With marmalade.

And strong 'American' coffee, as they call it. White. Which means with milk. Hot milk.

Such a wonderful place for breakfast. And other meals. the first time I was there was for lunch with Andrew martin, my American publisher. We were both over for the London Book Fair and Andy thought we should meet at the Wolseley for lunch. he was right, as he so often is.

Michael and I walked some more and were planning on going into the Royal Academy, but were getting a bit tired so we hopped on a double decker bus back to the flat.

We also had great fun yesterday, spending most of it at the Victoria and Albert...Michael painting in the garden and me wandering the magnificent museum. The photo above shows the scene from the courtyard garden where Michael painted. We both grabbed coffees and lemon cake - and sipped. He painted, I made notes on the book - then left him in peace.

on the way home we stopped at The Capital Hotel on Basil street for Afternoon Tea - you can see part of our feast, in a photo above.

We're almost packed. Car coming at 11 tomorrow morning - flight about 2pm. Home to Montreal by 5pm (with 5 hour time difference).

Friday I'll be at the Salon du Livres in Montreal...english signing from 5-6pm, french from 7-8:30. Then again on Saturday, English from 11 to noon and French from 1 to 3.

Then home to Sutton on Sunday, after two months away. So much has happened in those 2 months - almost all of it amazingly good. Great.

But I'm almost afraid to imagine what it'll be like to walk through the door, to smell home, to see the gardens and the mountains. And Trudy. To have peace and quiet, and our own rhythm.

But in the meantime we're so enjoying our last evening in London, reading about Catherine and William and their happiness.

Monday, 15 November 2010

The Gift

main sunny - beautiful day in London - first frost last night here. Temps 5

Every year for the past few years a woman named Lee Ann Doerflinger has agreed to write the Nov 11th blog. This year sounded so hectic and stressful for her I didn't ask - didn't want to impose.

I made a mistake.

I should have asked, instead of assuming.

Lee Ann was busy that day, I knew, giving an address marking the new Veteran's Day plaza in her community, not far from Washington, D.C. We'd emailed back and forth a bit and she said how anxious she was about getting up in front of everyone and talking. Anyone would understand that! But, of course, speaking on Veteran's day is even more emotional. There are a couple of photos at the top of the post here, showing the event, including one of Lee Ann speaking.

And the third picture is of Thomas and Anna, on the day they said goodbye to him.

On Nov 12th I asked Lee Ann how it went and if she could send me, privately, the text of what she said. She did. And it was so beautiful I wanted to share it with you. With Lee Ann's permission, here's what she said, on Veteran's Day/Remembrance Day/Armistice Day.

Gold Star Families

November 11, 2010

Lee Ann Doerflinger

92 years ago today, World War I -- known as the Great War, the war to end all wars -- came to an end. November 11th became such a significant date that, under various titles, it has been observed ever since as a day to honor our veterans and to remember those who have died serving our country. In the United Kingdom and Canada, November 11th is known as Remembrance Day, and people in those countries wear poppies in tribute to the fallen.

Six years ago, this date took on another meaning for my family. My son, Army Specialist Thomas Doerflinger, was killed during combat operations on November 11th, 2004 in Mosul, Iraq. I watched the notification team approach my house with an extra layer of disbelief: how could Thomas have died on this day of all days? And yet, as I later told anyone who would listen, I think Thomas might have picked Veterans Day if he’d been given the choice. He was proud of his grandfathers, both of whom had served in the Navy in the Pacific during World War II. For a while, he carried my father’s dogtags everywhere. Neither side of our family could be said to have a military tradition, but what our families did have was a willingness to serve when called upon. And so, when Thomas saw a need, he enlisted in the Army. On the day he died, he had volunteered to go on a dangerous mission because they needed one more soldier.

In the six years since Thomas’s death, many more Montgomery County residents have lost their lives while serving their country. As a county, we have decided to honor their memory by naming the Rockville library, Rockville Memorial Library. In May and November, for Memorial Day and Veterans Day, we put up displays at the library commemorating their service. These residents never got to be veterans. They did not come home to raise their families, or tell us funny stories to avoid telling us the horrible stories, or be celebrated in parades. And yet, it is entirely fitting that we celebrate them today along with the living. The veterans we thank for their service were the friends and comrades of our fallen. The sons and brothers, husbands and fathers that we have lost supported these men and women, protected them, and died for them. It is a moment for all of us to consider not only what we lost when they died, but how much we gained by their decision to serve.

Since World War I, blue star banners have hung in the homes of servicemembers who are in harm’s way. If the servicemember dies or is killed, the star on that banner turns to gold. It is difficult to be a Gold Star family. It can be exquisitely painful when someone thanks us for the service our loved one gave. Every new death renews our own sorrow. But the gift our loved ones gave us is the legacy of service, of caring for our friends, of understanding that sometimes we must do the difficult thing and reach beyond ourselves. All who have placed their lives at risk to protect the helpless and the innocent have given us that gift, and for that we thank all our veterans.

Thank you, Lee Ann.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Creaking back to place

Overcast, cool, temps 10

Sunday in London - that can mean only one thing....walking up to the Brompton Road, getting The Times, and finding a nice cafe or pub to sit in, and read.

A tradition here is the Sunday Roast. It's a pub meal. Most pubs offer three choices...roast beef, chicken or pork. We might wander down to The Kings Road and try the Cadogan Arms for Sunday roast. But, frankly, it's more likely we'll just come home. Via Harrods.

Still haven't been in! and it's just down the road. But I think today's the day. Need to pick up some gifts - and love wandering around the food court (what else!) After I won the Creasy Dagger a few years ago we celebrated by going to the oyster bar at Harrods. I don't actually like oysters, but Michael adores them - so I thought it was the perfect way to celebrate, and to thank him. Such fun to see him and his oyster rituals. He's a very measured man. Unlike me - I hare off all over the place. Michael takes his time, and considers things carefully, often apparently quite gravely.

He studied the platter of assorted oyster varieties for what seemed an age - I got so antsy I also ate the oysters, just to have something happen. Then he carefully placed condiments on each one (a bit of horse-radish, a squirt of lemon, and dash of a kind of vinegar thing. It was his ritual. And he looks so serious doing it, as though if he didn't get it right the oysters would explode and kill us all.

But, when finally finished, he looked up with the most joyous expression on his face.

Then he ate 'em.

It would be fun to go back there today.

On a more prosaic note, we need to do laundry and we can't quite figure out the washer/dryer in the flat. Because space is so precious in London - and the two square feet the machine is sitting on is worth more than our house in Sutton - Londoners don't go in for separate washer and dryer machines. They're combined. One machine does both.

Or neither.

Ours does the latter. We've pressed every button - twice. Stared at it. Even Michael took to staring at it with such gravity you'd think it was an oyster.

But nothing. We called the people who rented us this flat - it's a vacation rental management company - and their person is coming over. Which is a very nice thing to do, on a Sunday. She asked that we perhaps stop pressing every button, which seemed a reasonable request. Wasn't working anyway.

How amazing to have no agenda....and the rough one we have includes the harrods oyster bar.

We hope to get to Westminster later in the week, before we return home on Thursday.

And wonderful news - Aunt Agatha's bookstore, this magnificent mystery and crime bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, named BURY YOUR DEAD one of their top 10 books. You can see the whole list if you go to the aunt agatha website. Congratulations to everyone on the list - including two personal favorites, SJ Rozan and Stefanie Pintoff. yay!

Be well - off for lunch tomorrow with Michael's sister Carol and her husband David - then dinner tomorrow with agent Teresa and her husband Charles.

Friday, 12 November 2010

2 minutes

partly cloudy, mild, temps 13

Nice day - and a day when nothing is happening. Absolutely no appointments - nothing. Well, I had an interview I had to do, but that was easy.

Michael and I headed off early and walked over to Chelsea Green and a restaurant we like for breakfast (it's about a 25 minute walk) called Tom's Kitchen. As promised, though, here finally is the view down our street (Basil street) to Harrod's a block away.


We turned left at Harrods then followed all sorts of windy roads to the restaurant, where we had cappuccino and fresh squeezed orange juice - then Michael had a brioche french toast and I had scrambled eggs, toast and bacon (which I shared with him just to keep his crying from upsetting the children at the next table).

Then we walked down a block or so the the Kings Road and a favorite haunt. Starbucks. I'm not kidding. it wouldn't normally be our first choice in a city renowned for great cafe's - but this one has a second floor with huge floor to ceiling windows looking out onto the Kings Road. It has become a traditional place for us to go for a hot chocolate or coffee, and read our manuscripts. This time I was actually reading a book for research for the next one I'm writing. Such fun to sit there, reading and making notes.

Then off to Marks and Spencer to more food - picked up the Telegraph and the Times - and home.

yesterday was a long but fun day. Started with a phone interview with a British publication called Women's Weekly. Then a hair appointment up on the Brompton Road -

(just interrupted writing because we could hear horses clomping down the road below...leapt up and sure enough there was a carriage, with two horses, and two Harrod's men in livery. I wonder if that's how they deliver their famous harrod's hampers? Worth ordering one just to see)

Then grabbed a cab across town for lunch with my editor, Dan Mallory. The cab suddenly slowed down and I strained to see what the delay was, only to discover that two cars ahead was the Queen's carriage! Gold and enclosed and flanked by horsemen - returning for the Cenotaph for the Remembrance Day ceremonies. It's very solemn here. Everyone observes it the 2 minutes of silence at 11am. Indeed, one of the top selling video's in Britain is exactly that. It's put out by the Royal Legion and is 2 minutes of silence. Featuring men and women, some famous, some not, just quietly staring into the camera - with just the background sound audible. Excruciatingly beautiful and moving. Michael emailed later and said he was in the shops and at 11 am everyone just stopped. customers in the aisles, clerks, checkouts. Everyone stopped. After 2 minutes there was a sound and everyone started again.

We followed the queen down the road. She turned in to Buckingham Palace, and we didn't.

A few minutes later the cab dropped me at Lutyen's Restaurant, on Fleet Street. I had a few minutes to spare so I went in to St. Bride's church. Known as the journalists church - which surprised me since I always thought journalists were a godless bunch of heathens. But apparently I was wrong. This being Fleet street, a huge number of printed papers and magazines had their names on pews.

But what staggered and humbled me (yet again) was the memorial. To the journalists killed covering conflicts. Including a 23 year old photographer stoned to death in Somalia. Dear Lord.

And the poppies, of course. Remembering.

Dan and I had a fabulous lunch in what had been the Reuter's building (he had chicken, I had dover sole) and we gabbed for hours. Then headed back to the litte, Brown offices for tea. There's a photo of the Little, Brown team. Dan is standing on the far right. How kind they were to do this, so that I could meet them all at once. Such an amazing group of people. I'm really looking forward to getting to know them better. But what I do know is that they treated me - a new author from Canada - as though I was the most important person on their list (which clearly I am not). So gracious.

Teresa, my agent, was also there. Afterward she and I walked for about half an hour along the Thames. It was dark and we could see the London Eye (the huge ferris wheel, lit up all red - as a poppy. for remembrance day. Then the underground home. I got off at Sloane Square. The photo with the bus and the christmas lights is of Sloane Square. Most of London has just been decorated for Christmas and is as beautiful as you might imagine.

What a magical time. Je me souviens.

Nothing on the agenda tomorrow. No lunches, no meetings, no interviews. Just us. Wow.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Deb and Ann

bright sunny day, cool, temps 10

Gorgeous day here in London! Michael and I woke up and had breakfast in the flat - then he headed out for lunch with his sister Carol and David and I headed out to meet up with Deborah Crombie and Ann Cleeves for lunch. Deb had chosen a restaurant in Notting Hill called Le Pain Quotidien - french for Daily Bread. It's a very good chain of bistro type restaurants. Great soups and breads...a bakery essentially.

Since it was such a lovely day (and there was no easy underground or bus route from Knightbridge to Notting Hill) I decided to walk. London is a magnificent walking city. Almost no building is over four floors. Many are Victorian or older. the newer ones are because of the Nazi bombings in WW2. There's no grid system. Streets meander, alleys and mews' appear - and end abruptly in a wall or a house.

After studying the map I decided the best, and prettiest way, would be to get up to Hyde Park and walk across it, cutting over to Kensington Park.

It really is a perfect day to stroll through Hyde park. I wandered over to see the Albert Memorial - put up by Queen Victoria when her beloved husband Albert died. It's magnificent and aches. Always so sad to see the huge, gold statue. It's above.

Then walked down the tree lined path through the park.

Made it to the restaurant early and drove the waitresses mad by moving from section to section. The first had too many screaming children and inattentive mothers. The second had no kids, but a very loud speaker playing music right above it. And the third? it was just right.

We Canadians long for the middle bear.

Ann arrived first and we had a wonderful time getting caught up. If you don't know her series - she has two. There're her 'Vera' books, which have just been made into a TV series here in Britain and will air in the spring...and the other series is set on the Shetland Islands in Scotland. Wonderfully written - beautifully atmospheric. That is a four book series and might I suggest you read them in order? The first is called Black Raven and won Ann the Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the year.

The Deborah Crombie swept in. Rooms always brighten when Deb arrives. Smiling - filled with energy and warmth. Deborah is a writer I loved even before I started writing. Her latest is called Necessary as Blood, and is just brilliant! She and Ann had never met but they immediately hit it off and talked about people they had in common - then eventually we began comparing notes....things we hate about the publishing world. Things that break our hearts (mostly dashed hopes...we hope a book will do well, find a huge audience, and when it doesn't, and we can't even find a copy in the bookstores - it really does break your heart). And things we really love about it - like just getting to do it. making up stories. Writing them. Meeting other writers. But mostly, meeting readers.

Because we're readers too. We have so much in common with people who read our books. It's such fun.

So we ate and gabbed for hours. Then Ann was off to meet her publicist and Deb and I walked back through Hyde Park - to Harrods. Talking about our latest books, our series - choices we'd made - things we weren't sure of. Such a relief to find my fears are Debs. Are Ann's. I'm not alone. And if I'm nuts, so are they!

The photo above, obviously, is of Ann, Deb and me. Ann is on the left of the photo - I'm in the middle - and Deb is on the right.

Honestly - it doesn't get much better than to meet two of the best crime writer's in the business - whose books I love to read - for lunch in London.

Pinch me. OK, that's enough.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Yay - PW!

raining torrents - cool, temps 7

God - we had better weather in Montreal! But this new flat in London has a huge bath and I'm planning to brew up a nice cup of tea and take it, and some cookies, into a bubble bath with me. Bliss.

Had magnificent news, as some of you already know. BURY YOUR DEAD has been named one of the Best Mysteries of 2010 by Publisher's Weekly! There's a link:

Best Books of 2010

Congratulations to everyone on the list. Such fun to think of the Publisher's Weekly editorial staff going to the bar (as they describe the process) and hammering out the top 100 books of the year published in the US. Amazing to think Bury Your Dead is one of them!

I was in the Tate Britain having lunch with my agent Teresa when John sent a message to Facebook. I'd gone to get my coat and picked up a few messages and saw his - read it - and then Teresa and I celebrated! It's an incredible feeling to be in the Tate, having lunch with my agent, when news like that arrives. The whole thing just feels too good to be real.


In fact, the whole day was perfect...except the rain, but London has been known to have a drop or two of rain in the past, so that shouldn't have been a surprise. We woke early, headed out to Knightsbridge tube station to top-up our oyster card. (that sentence would not have made sense to me a couple of years ago). Basically an 'oyster card' is the transit system's credit card. You put money on it, then everytime you use a bus or tube you pay. Very easy and effective system. Then we hopped on the tube and went three stops to Green Park and walked the block to where we were meeting Michael's sister Carol and her husband David for breakfast. A fun block, made of almost entirely of The Ritz hotel.

Last time we were in London Teresa, Michael and I met my new editor there, for tea. Or were supposed to. But Michael wasn't wearing a tie, and was barred! Only at the Ritz.

Must say, while it was upsetting that we didn't know, I quite like places where there's a dress code. When we were in san francisco, staying at the Johns Hopkins InterContinental we paid for the upgrade to the club room...but found when we visited said club room that people were sitting around eating McDonalds (which smelled up the whole place) and walking around in bare feet. Now - I love McDonald's, especially their fries and milkshakes, yum - and God knows I love bare feet - and flannel pajamas. But I don't think the club room in a supposedly upscale hotel is the place for either. But perhaps I'm hopelessly old fashioned and rigid.

I digress.

Michael and I walked past the Ritz, to The Wolseley - this quite magnificent restaurant in what looks like an old bank. Massive open room with marble and pillars. It manages to look impressive without being ridiculous or way too pompous. Carol and David arrived and we had a great time catching up. Carol is stunningly beautiful and an immensely kind person. A published poet and accomplished artist. David is an opera conductor and is working on a few recordings (he already has many) and is now completing the last in a series of definitive books on the works of the British composer William Walton. such fun to hear David describe reading the scores and realizing Walton said something should be in G when it was clear to David it should be in C.

I, of course, nod and smile and completely agree. Huh?

The time flew by, and then it was time to leave. Pouring rain outside. David, Carol and Michael hopped on a number 19 bus and headed back home. I grabbed a cab and went to the Tate. I was early for lunch (as you see, our time in London really is pretty much uninterrupted eating...the only interruption is being transported to the next trough). so I wandered around and came upon the exhibition above. Two fighter jets in adjoining rooms. One lying on it's side (a jaguar fighter) and one suspended from the ceiling - as you see from the photos. It's a Harrier. Amazing, riveting. It actually looked not modern at all close up, but ancient...its hull like elephant skin, or some old, gigantic fish. A shark. And then to stop within inches of the floor. Very tense. I thought you might like to see it.

Then Teresa and I had lunch in the basement restaurant. Gabbing and enjoying each other's company.

Tomorrow is a day just to ourselves. Oh, heaven. Nothing at all planned. No commitments or appointments. Nothing to do, nowhere to be. Phew.

Wednesday is going to be such fun!!! Am having lunch with two of my favorite writers ever. Deborah Crombie and Ann Cleeves. and they're really lovely people too - of course, otherwise, quite frankly, I wouldn't choose to spend time with them.

We're sitting at home, reading the Times and the Telegraph. Trying to figure out how recycling is done here. All these little things that make having an apartment in a city fun and even exciting.

Ahhh, London.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The kindness of strangers -

mainly sunny, temps 10

London! Probably my favorite city in the world. Except for Montreal. (I feel I have to say that, but between us? I think I prefer London to even Montreal). A great city. As Michael and I sit in our rented flat I can hear the distinctive UK police sirens, hear the distinctive thud of a black cab's door slamming shut. Hear British voices in the street below.

Love it.

We can see Harrods! Will try to take a photo tomorrow to show you the view down our street. Basil Street. We are bookended by Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Dear Lord. Sauve qui peut. Every man for himself.

Yesterday was fun, but long, of course. Drove 3 hours to Arnprior. Very relaxing drive. Listened to music and thought about the next book. Arrived a few minutes early and went into the Arnprior Book Store. Met Gwen, the owner. Such a lovely woman. Then headed to the connecting tea room. hmmm - a bookstore with a connecting door to a place with scones and sandwiches and coffee. Reminds me of something....

Made notes on the book and passed a pleasant few minutes. Then Andrew Pyper arrived and we started the event. The room was packed! So wonderful to see so many people. In fact, it was standing room only. And everyone so welcoming. It really felt like being with well-wishing friends. Andrew talked about his latest amazing book, The Killing Circle, and read two chilling excerpts. Remarkable.

Then I talked about Bury Your Dead and read a short piece. Then it was time to chat and greet people and sign books.

I had to hightail it out by 2:30 - and Gwen was very respectful of that. At 2:30 exactly I zipped out. Fortunately as far as I know I'd just signed the last person's book.

Got home just before 5:30 - time to freshen up before the airport limo and Steve arrived. Michael and I whisked off to Trudeau International. Now, Trudeau can be a bit of a dogs breakfast. The french are VERY good at many things, but I'm not convinced efficency is one of them. Unlike Toronto and anglo Canadians. We can have a stick up our 'you-know-whats' - but we're very efficient.

I like efficency. Chaos. Disorder. They upset me. On the outside I think I give the impression of being relaxed and going with the flow. Might as well look like that. I've discovered scowling and stamping my feet and crying don't add anything to the situation. But inside my stomach is in knots.

So, going to Trudeau is always an almost spiritual experience - of prayers of acceptance and letting go. At least now I trust the planes will stay in the air. I know my life isn't in danger, just my sanity.

But this time it was so smooth it was uncanny. almost frightening. We had our bags checked and were through security in record time.

The flight itself was easy and fast. Great seats. I'd books the extra legroom, emergency exit. We could have pitched a pup tent in the space we had. And it had an ensuite. the toilets were right there. Note to fellow airline passengers. Please close the door after you leave.

The trouble didn't start until we'd landed and were rushing to customs. In Heathrow it's almost always a sprint because all big overseas flights arrive at roughly the same time, and everyone is funneled to the same weary customs clerk. Never good. Quite chaotic. I began gently stressing over Greenland. Poor Michael knows the routine now. Where he'd be happy to amble along, reading the ads on the terminal walls for The Lion King, I'm marching ahead, trying to get around strollers and wheeled bags. We were doing quite well until we turned the corner and bam.

A massive plug of people. We weren't even at the customs hall yet and there was a solid rock of humanity. Blocking the entire corridor. Except one small sliver off to the left. People were squeezing by....and the solid rock wasn't protesting. So I marched Michael and me over there and we became the river, skirting the rocks.

Further and further we went - past hundreds and hundreds of people. It was like an archeological dig. You could see the stratas of flights by the colours of the people. But we kept, miraculously, moving forward, along the wall, with a chosen few other people. In my mind I wondered how it could be that every other human on the planet was stuck in that unholy line - except a chosen few. We were like the Jehovah's Witnesses...the Heathrow Witnesses, future Terminal fearing generations would call us. The chosen ones, who got to customs. Who moved to the head of the line because...


That was what was bothering me. Why?

Because everyone else in our stream was a resident of the UK or EU. Which, apparently and shockingly, Canada is not.

The stern customs officer looked at my crest fallen and desperate face and pointed to where we'd come from.

'You'll have to go to the back of the line. I can't let you in.'

'Please?' I pleaded, as though to a saint, who had the power of making miracles occur.

Seems an exhausted middle-aged Canadian and her exhausted (and it must be admitted quite annoyed) husband weren't ready for the miracle.

But the day wasn't over yet. We started trudging back. Past all the people we'd glided by moments ago. We were not the stream after all. We were the rock.

Until a kindly woman smiled at us, and I smiled back and paused. Dare I? It goes against everything I believe in. I deeply dislike people who cut in, who feel better than the rest, who feel things like lines and waiting are for lesser mortals. Pisses me off.


I glanced at the literally endless plug ahead of us - the rock had become a solid mass, a mountainn, a geological phenomenon, and was moving at the speed of continental drift.

'May I?' I asked her, indicating the sliver of space in front of her. And not daring to make eye contact with the people behind her.

'How kind of you to ask,' she quite unexpectedly said. 'Most people would just butt in.'

Can you imagine being that gracious? To make someone who is clearly doing something morally wrong, feel somehow all right about it?

she and her daughter stepped back slightly, and Michael and I slipped in. We were still miles back, but not nearly as far back as we would have had to have been. The line stopped somewhere around Dublin, I think.

So for the next hour and a half, as we inched forward this wonderful woman and her daughter and Michael and I talked. We actually had a terrific time. They'd had a 25 hour flight from Sydney and were in London because the tall, glorious 16 year old daughter - Laura - had qualified for the international ballet competition. It was a huge achievement and young people came from all over the world to compete. The olympics of ballet. They'd rented a flat in Earl's Court and were going to enjoy London while Laura prepared and competed.

I gave them a copy of Still Life - and signed it to them - as a thank you. I always carry a couple, to give to kind people. We find a lot of kind people when traveling. I gave one to Genevieve the flight attendant too.

it was a pathetically small gesture for these people who had not only been nice, but been so kind about it. And not made us (me) feel guilty.

Miracles. And saints.

And now we're in our own flat. It's huge, and warm. Got in supplies from Marks and Spencer. Napped. then decided to stay in. I made Michael a tea-time of our own.

Meeting his sister Carol and her husband David for breakfast at The Wolseley - near the Ritz - tomorrow. Then meeting my agent Teresa for lunch at the Tate gallery.

I think it's bedtime.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Debut Dagger

rain, cool, temps 2

Oh oh. Getting colder. Didn't see that coming.

More wonderful news (I know - it feels to me like I'm making it up too.) But heard that Ralph Cosham's audio version of Bury Your Dead had been named to the Amazon Top 10 Audio books of 2010. At number 2! Just behind the Keith Richard's book read by Johnny Depp. Not too shabby!

Congratulations, Ralph!!

Had an email from the Crime Writers Association in Britain with the great news (no, not about me - oddly) to say that this year's Debut Dagger competition has just opened. which means, those of you with unpublished crime novels really need to scoot over to the CWA website and find out more. The Debut Dagger is the competition that gave me my start (I didn't win, but being shortlisted was enough). It's open for manuscripts from around the world. Good luck!

Had fun yesterday at the Contactivity Centre in Montreal. Did a taped interview with the fabulous Shelagh Rogers for her CBC national radio show. Tomorrow I have a 1pm event at the Arnprior Book Store near Ottawa with Andrew Pyper. Then off to London tomorrow night. Don't think I'll be able to blog for a day or so...not sure what the internet access is in our flat in London. But our tradition is to get arrive in London, about 7:30 am. Get to the rented apartment about 9am - buy some groceries at Marks and Spencer (the real reason we ever go to London), then nap. Then wake up mid afternoon and go to Afternoon Tea at Harrods. Then back to bed.

Great life. Pretty much eating and sleeping.

You're welcome to join us in the Big Smoke.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Amazon Top 10!!

overcast, cool, slight drizzle, temps 4

Dull day outside - but fabulous day in every other way! I'm feeling all better - thank you SO much for your kind thoughts and support. As I said, I hate having to cancel anything...I know the work people, and particularly bookstores, go through to make an event successful and fun - and then to have the author cancel at the last moment is really awful. so I am very grateful for their understanding.

Fortunately by yesterday I was feeling well enough to head down to Burlington, meet my friend Maddie, the regional head of Barnes and Noble community relations (she lives in Cape cod, lucky one) and her husband Rich for dinner....then off to the B&N in South Burlington for an event. Met lots of you there. Thank you for coming out. I know some of you, including Mrs. C. came from quite a distance!

I just had a wonderful time! And, as a total surprise, Maddie gave me a Nook...their e-reader. I've never used one, but so many people do. Michael is working with it now...we're trying to connect to our wireless using the Nook. Nothing will ever replace paper books for me - but I can see when traveling that this will be amazing. So generous of Maddie.

Arrived home last night and this morning we got the wonderful news that Amazon in the States has named Bury Your Dead one of the Top 10 Mystery/Thrillers of 2010!!!


Off now to give a talk to the Contactivity Centre in Montreal, followed by an interview with The Montrealer Magazine (cover gal for November issue!) Tomorrow I have a taped interview mid-morning with Shelagh Rogers of CBC Radio. And Saturday off to Arnprior, outside Ottawa for an event with the wonderful Andrew Pyper at 1pm at the bookstore there....then flying to London overnight.

A whirlwind...but a happy one.

Thank you again for your kindness and concern when I wasn't feeling well. I so appreciate it. Makes me feel quite comforted. Hope you're feeling well - healthy and happy. If not, I hope you are at least comforted. No small magic there.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Spoke too soon -

overcast, cold, temps 4

Wouldn't you know it! Went to bed last night feeling fine, but tossed and turned and then suddenly....a quick trip to the bathroom. This after I bragged in yesterday's post that I haven't gotten ill on this tour.

Well, I sure got ill last night, and am now in bed staring at the wall. Not sure if it's the flu or food poisoning. Either way I've been hoisted on my petard. (what's a petard?)

But i feel just horrible about having to cancel the event in North Conway tonight! It was going to be at White Birch books and I know they've made lots of wonderful preparations. But since i can barely get out of bed, it's impossible to drive 4 hours there - then 4 hours back (I need to be back in Montreal for 8am tomorrow).

My apologies to White Birch books - and anyone in North Conway who was hoping to come to the event. I will definitely re-schedule, if that works for them.

I was blogging yesterday about a typo in the November newsletter where I called it White Birth...leading to some confusion. But I realize I was very lucky with the typo. It could've been much worse, like White B*tch Books. I feel a bit like that today!!

But I hope to be all better in time for the 7pm event tomorrow in Burlington, Vermont, at the Barnes and Noble.

Today it's flat ginger ale and naps. Remember the fun film The Devil Wears Prada? The Emily Bunt line, 'I'm just one flu away from my goal weight.'? Love that line. Well, I'm about 100 flus away, or perhaps now 99. yay.

And, of course, I feel like a fraud.

But Sarah at Minotaur was wonderful. Called the store. They were very supportive. So I'll just spend the day napping.

Hope you're feeling well.

Monday, 1 November 2010

White Birth?

overcast, dreary, damp - temps 5

Cold day - with snow on cars and sticking to the ground.

We sent the newsletter out - written by me but designed and put together by Linda Lyall. She did the hard work. We read and re-read it. Michael read it. We edited and adjusted it over the course of a week. Added things and smoothing.

and never once did I notice that I'd told everyone I was doing an event tomorrow night at a bookstore in North Conway, NH called White Birth.


Sounds like a supremacist gathering. Which it is not (in case I need to make it clear!) Or, as one reader said, it sounds very New Age. Sadly, it's not that either. It's my inability to edit. Or rather, my ability to read what I expect to see, not what's actually there. Happens all the time in manuscripts. I give the final one to Michael because I know I read for content and miss the typos. And I'm always astonished by what he finds.

Like - White Birth. Though even he didn't find that one.

By the way, the actual name of the bookstore is White Birch. 7pm. Tomorrow. Sea yoo their.

So - the tour continues. I'm totally amazed I haven't gotten sick - not even the sniffles. When you consider the flights, the handshakes, the hugs and kisses. The door knobs I've licked (perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned that). And I'm not a germ conscious person, so while I wash my hands I don't do it all the time, nor do I use handi-wipes or that anti-germ lotion. I keep meaning to, and keep forgetting. Licking door knobs will do that.

But I do think my hair is letting me down. I see photos of myself and my hair is all over the place! Funny, but sometimes I'm satisfied with the photos that are taken at events, and then I go through seasons where I think they're just awful. I'm not sure I've seen a really good one this whole tour.

Perhaps it's just me. Though I did see one great one and was very happy - but then Michael suggested it was photo-shopped. See what I mean about kissing a door knob? Men - honestly. fortunately he immediately reversed his opinion. But not before he gave me the great gift of being able to tease him. And blackmail him.

Off to New Hampshire tomorrow...then Burlington at the Barnes and Noble on Wednesday. I love independent bookstores and am so grateful for all their support. The vast majority of my events are thanks to independent bookstores. Indeed, this is my only Barnes and Noble event - but I'm also very aware of how good B&N has been. How supportive they are of the series. Meeting my friend Maddie from Boston, who is coming for the event. She's the Barnes and Noble Regional Community Relations exec. she and her husband and Michael and I will be having dinner together. then the event. Then Michael and I will probably drive back to Montreal.

Be well.