Gamache Series Open Discussion

Join us here in The Bistro for a discussion on the entire Gamache series. Feel free to ask or answer any questions about any of the books or the series as a whole.

Paul Hochman

Discussion on “Gamache Series Open Discussion

  1. Barbara Johnson says:

    Thought I had better post before I made what I had written go “Poof” off into never, never land.
    Anna, I am certain that your choice of apartment over free standing house and land was the better one. I see so many advantages. I hope Peter is adjusting to his new home, new job and your absence. A lot at one time I know. I just can not even imagine what you are dealing with. The actual moving, the living in a new and unfortunately odd country. I thought for a long time to find a word to describe the current USA. Most of us feel much the same…..when will we awake from this nightmare. We don’t appear very warm or welcoming I am sure. All those
    years ago when we thought of moving to Australia, I never even thought of not being welcome.
    Maybe youth or maybe just another time.

  2. Barbara Johnson says:

    Thank you, Julie. You got something done about our problem of the “disappearing posts” and then the “come and go” Bistro. I tried to find a way to get help but completely failed. Cudos and flowers to you. I was in a panic when I thought everyone was gone. It is hard to realize it has been years since this all started. But on the other hand Three Piners feel like lifelong friends. As Anna said The re-read and then the Bistro were ways of publicizing LP’s books. What came to be is nothing short of amazing.
    Julie, you mentioned entering the discussion fearfully. I could hardly type the first few times. I read and reread each word I wrote. I just knew I was going to say something and someone was going to suggest that I go and read my Fuzzy Duck book. Some may have thought that but everyone was so kind and didn’t say so.
    When I realized how thoroughly everyone seemed to read, I was astounded. Truthfully there was a time I wondered if I had the same edition or what. Yes the title and the names of the characters were the same, but others seemed to be reading a book with more meaning. I have learned to sit back, relax and read all the words… not just rush for the end.

  3. Barbara Johnson says:

    I just had a problem. I went back to add some words I omitted in my first post of today. Fine. Then when I clicked on reply I was sent back to page one. Anyway, I was trying to say I had thought of placing an ad in the classifieds for several weeks but had not. Maybe tomorrow.
    I hope this posts correctly. My own laptop has been perfect today. Wonders never cease.

  4. Anna says:

    Hi Barbara. Your posts appear to be coming through loud and clear thank goodness. Well done to you and your laptop!
    Peter is so busy in DC. He has already had one trip up to Newport and lots of functions in addition to “work” as well as organising the house and car. It is hard enough getting a new home in a country you know let alone one you don’t. I have to say the people we met were lovely. We had a relocation specialist assist us and she was fabulous and good fun. The real estate agent was similarly wonderful and very efficient. We love them both and I am planning on having them over when I get there. I told them Peter could have them to dinner but they may be better off waiting if they want to eat decent food. Pete has many many skills but cooking is still in the basic stages.
    I know what you mean about the energy needed for a yard sale. I should do the same but simply can’t face it. We had one at our last home and it was simply a lot of work. But I do see the value in them and the money could go towards many good things including a new computer…or iPad!
    I had to laugh about the Fuzzy Duck book! Too funny Barbara. We all felt exactly the same about posting because of course we did not know what to expect. Isn’t that like so much of life…first the fear and then the lovely reality. I too am amazed about how much deeper and more meaningful the books became as we chatted about them. What started as a good story took on so many other levels and layers. There is so much that contributes to that. Louise has created a real world full of real people so they bring meaning to their experiences. Of course they are imparted with Louise’s amazing self which adds yet another rich layer. Then we bring ourselves as readers and imbue the story with our own visions and beliefs and ideas. When you add all of us into the mix through our different viewpoints….well no wonder we can find so much more than when we read alone.
    Reading is often seen as a solitary occupation but isn’t it amazing how connected it makes us. That could be a metaphor for life itself…we each walk alone but when we share our experiences we find we are part of something bigger even at our loneliest moments.

  5. Julie Buck says:

    Barbara, I, too, would love to do a yard sale, but don’t have the energy. For me, eBay makes more sense, simply because it can be done piecemeal and at my own pace. The down side is packing and mailing, but those can be done from home using the Post Office site. I can’t actually remember the last time I went to the post office, hahaha.

    I wish I could talk to Vern about moving, but he is adamant that there is nothing to talk about – he’s staying here. Period. The thing I worry about is that we’re not doing yard work these days, and also not paying to have it done. It’s just sitting there, looking more and more wild. I keep saying we should hire some people, and Vern agrees but does nothing. At this point, I think he is just “shining me on”. He doesn’t realize that the longer we leave work undone, the more our property is losing value. Ah well – this, too, shall pass. Meanwhile, I’ll dream of the apartment… Of course, I have so much stuff that I’d have to get rid of before we could move, that this will take me years just to do that, so I should get on with it and stop bellyaching, haha.

  6. Julie Buck says:

    I can’t stop saying how much I appreciate you all now that we’re back! Like Barbara, I really was fearful that you were all just gone, and no way to find our way back. I’m so thankful to Paul for fixing it.

    Cathryne – while we were “away”, those few of us who had each other’s email, decided we might have to keep in touch that way. We wanted to ask you to join us, but none of us knew how to get in touch with you. We have a little “mini-group” of Anna, Barbara, Millie, Peg from Wisconsin, and I – and we very much want you to join us, if you’d like to. We will be two things – a back-up just in case the lights go out in the Bistro again, and a place where we can discuss “off-off-topic” things without worrying too much that we are being a major snore for anyone who comes in to the Bistro and finds that we’re not discussing books at all! Paul is going to give you my email address, and we hope you write to allow us to “include you in”…

    If there are others who don’t say too much, but want to keep reading about our lives in between issues of the latest book, please speak up – we’d love to have you, we’re just afraid of boring you or making this feel like a closed clique instead of the warm, inviting place it really is.

    Isn’t it funny, how we all worried that we weren’t able to contribute to the discussions? You all seemed so smart and so well-versed in literature – the depths you found in the books amazed me! I really love how much I’ve learned from you all.

  7. Julie Buck says:

    Anna – your description of the DC move has me fascinated – how exciting to do this – I know I’ve said that before, but it really IS! And like Barbara, I’m a little embarrassed at what the world must think of us these days. Honestly, most people in America are NOT like the loud, mouthy, hate-spewing people who make the news! It’s a lovely country and very welcoming for the most part. I just know you’re going to have fun.

  8. Julie Buck says:

    Seems like I’ve got lots to say this morning – sorry about that. I’ve just found this online learning place – Futurelearn, it’s called – there are many free online courses going on that I had no idea about. The Jane Austen group tipped me off to one on English Country Houses in literature (it starts next week), and then one of the group who worked on the food for the Netherfield Ball program in our Jane Austen group, told us all of one about Historic Food. It’s called something like Royal Feasts in Historic England or something like that – we are starting with Henry VIII in this first week (we started officially this morning, but I got my first email with course materials last night). We will move on to Elizabeth I, James I, Charles… my memory fails me here – I know there will be a number here, but I can’t remember it – George III and then Victoria – what meals were like in each of their “courts” – the kitchens, etc. For Henry VIII, the kitchens being discussed are in Hampton Court and the celebration for which we’re looking at the food is the christening of Edward VI (I think I got that number right – anyway – Henry’s only son who lived past early childhood). We are getting recipes to try, and videos of techniques, etc., and it’s all so interesting so far. I now have a recipe for swan, including a black pudding made with the blood drained from the swan…. According to this course, it’s not illegal to eat a swan in England, just to kill it – so you have to come across some roadkill, or a swan who’s flown into a downed electrical wire, or something… So I’m keeping my eyes open, hahaha. I probably won’t be making that one. One thing they did for grand dinners was, for swan or peacock, they would pluck it, of course, then roast it, then decorate it with all the feathers that they’d saved from the plucking – to make it look like it did in life… a but much for me.

    There are two recipes from this week that I WILL try, though – one is a wonderful looking cheese tart, and the other has a name I can’t remember, but it’s basically pork slices served in a caramelized onion sauce… Yum! The cheese tart came complete with a video, and the guy made a crust that stood up on it’s own with no pie tin around it – he just folded up the edges and crimped them, then put the filling in and then the lid – I’m not sure my crust would do that, but I’m dying to try it.

  9. Barbara Johnson says:

    Sam thinks we should buy another computer. I don’t know what I want. I’ll have to check around. He said it was just an accident that I broke the hinge…like when I hit Carol’s car when pulling in beside it last year. Yes, I’m accident prone. This poor laptop was two years old on the 11th.

    • Anna says:

      Unfortunately technology is not designed to last Barbara, it has built in redundancy. I think we are all a bit accident prone…accidents happen to everyone. I second getting a new computer. Or a refurbished one. Only problem with the latter is a lot of computers really don’t last long so they have already used up some of their functional life. We have had lots of different sorts, Dell primarily for PC and now MAC for lots of reason. MAC are expensive and Apple are big on their equipment having a short use by date but I do find them easy to use now.
      Julie, don’t give up on the apartment. I bet inertia and sticking with the devil you know is a big part of the reluctance to move. I was just talking to my cousins this morning and one of their friends was forced to move from a big house to a small villa. Their house had dreadful asbestos used in the insulation…it was a scandal here and the government essentially repossessed the house for a fraction of its real cost because of public safety. It forced them to declutter in a big way but now they only have what they really need and love. If the yard is not being cared for then it is time to leave. Maybe you could organise to see one of the apartments you love…or have you done that with hubby?
      The move to DC continues. It is taking a lot of energy. Simple things are much harder in a new system. Getting a car is difficult if you don’t have a credit rating and some won’t talk to diplomats at all. Anyway, lots of calls and emails and we are making progress but its a tiring thing. I spend a lot of time on the internet checking prices and facts and car models…..you get the idea.
      Two more days for Erin and then winter holidays. Yay for us both. Getting her to school at 730 is wearing me out! Actually she is worn out. It has been a big term for assessments. One to go. Next term I will have you all sending waves of positivity for her trial exams which count towards her final mark and then the big ones are in October. So anyone with powerful connections to Spiritual beings….we would appreciate your entreaties on her behalf.
      So nice to have you all back. I hope no-one left thinking the lights had gone out permanently? Please just say hi if you are still out there!! We miss you.

  10. Barbara Johnson says:

    So many details and hoops to jump through. I never thought of the credit hurdle. I’m glad the relocation person and the realtor were of help and likeable. I would have thought that diplomats would have no trouble securing whatever was needed. Then I remembered diplomatic immunity.
    Of course, some people behave in ways that makes difficulty for others.
    Your life in DC is going to be very exciting, but like everything, not perfect.
    Wishing the best for Erin at a very important stage in her life. Remind us when the test times come. Prayers will be raised.
    Good thoughts to all.

  11. Julie Buck says:

    I, too, think a new computer is the way to go, Barbara. I would probably get a Surface if I had to get one today, because you could use it both as a tablet and as a laptop. In general, I don’t like Microsoft, and so I’m hoping when the day comes for me to need a new computer, there will be other similar choices from other companies. If I could find a tablet with enough memory to have software on it, that would be the way I’d go – and just get a keyboard for it… but so far, tablets don’t seem to have the capability of running software like I’d want, and I don’t think we are there yet as far as running software that’s in the cloud…

    Anna, I never thought of the credit hassles, and like Barbara, I was amazed that some won’t deal with diplomats. I guess because they are here today and gone tomorrow, perhaps some have left debt unpaid when they left… I never would have thought that! I hope he can get things sorted out and can settle in somewhat. I don’t know what public transportation is like in DC, but expect it’s not good enough to forego having a car altogether. Now, New York would be a different matter altogether.

    Vern won’t even talk about moving. I’ve barely got him talking about hiring someone for the yard, and he talks, but no action… I will jump at any opportunity, but who knows if he will ever be open to moving until we have to for health reasons. If you wait until you HAVE to move, you have a lot less control over the situation, because you’ve got to take whatever’s available. We’ll see how things fall out over the next couple of years – I do know that I’ve got to do a LOT of decluttering yet, and that I can’t do it all at once, so it’s just as well…

  12. Millie says:

    Hello all. I just wrote a nice long post which went poof when I went back a page to copy a few lines from a post from Anna. I had written thanks to Barbara for mentioning way back on page 77 that the synopsis for the latest book was posted on FaceBook which allowed to me look for it on Louise’s webpage once I could read again…

    I don’t seem to have a confluence of uninterrupted time and energy to comment in a timely manner lately. But I have been reading and feeling the true caring for others that shines so brightly at the Bistro. And sometimes the words here reach further than we realize to uplift, comfort or help another. My younger son is going through a rough time so I read him these lines from a post from Anna on the previous page:
    “I hope you remember to be brave the next time an opportunity presents itself because I know you were all brave to post and keep coming back. Revealing yourself to new people is not easy but every risk has its rewards and life is really deciding to step up to each new challenge hoping for something good despite our fears.” I was just what he needed to hear.

    Thanks :-) Thank you all. But now, it’s past cooking dinner time. There seems to be a crazy amount of business that I must tend to lately which limits my Bistro time. But I care for you all. Big (((hugs)))

  13. Nancy says:

    Hi all. Nice to read your posts. We’re finally enjoying/wallowing in/delighting in…summer! The weather here has been perfect. How wonderful it is not to have to wear parkas and boots, hats and mitts, etc. etc. I’m trying to soak up each beautiful day since I know that it just speeds by.

    Anna,I can sympathize with your credit rating problems. We are duel Canadian/American citizens but when we moved back to the U.S. briefly (only 4 years) we found that we had no credit rating and no driving history for getting car insurance. Nothing transferred to the U.S. which seemed a little surreal since we had only moved an hour’s drive away. We also had problems getting our car registered because it was a Japanese model which hadn’t been sold in the States. Somehow everything worked out (and we didn’t have to buy another car..phew!) but at times I wondered if it would. I forget if the same thing happened when we returned to Montreal but each move has had it’s challenges.

    • Julie Buck says:

      Hi, Nancy – that’s so interesting about moving back to the US after some time in Canada – who would have thought that these things don’t transfer at all – you can bet a bad credit rating would follow you everywhere! If you are an hour’s drive from Montreal, are you in Vermont now? I dimly remember (how I remember everything these days) that you said that, but I can’t quite recall.

      Something very strange just happened. I came to the bottom of page 88 to reply to Nancy’s post, and started typing. When I looked up, I was on page one, and my reply was going to be posted there. So I quickly copied what I’d written and went back to page 88. I’m copying again, just in case that’s where most of our replies had been going – to page one – when messages were disappearing… Of course, it’s also entirely possible that I just hit the wrong button with my heavy-fisted typing!

  14. Anna says:

    Hi All and a special hello to Nancy!
    I am glad anything I said was helpful Millie. I am thinking of your son as he faces challenges but he will be fine because he has wonderful supportive family to bolster him when things are tough.
    The credit issue is an interesting one. We have back up from the Embassy so we have bank accounts and credit cards etc. I think it will be fine. Interestingly BMW deal with diplomats so that has made it easier but we were never intending to go down such a prestige route! Sold Pete’s car yesterday so that helps. He loved that car and it was only two years old so he is a it sad but he will cope!
    I can understand having credit issues moving for Australia but Canada. Gee Nanacy that makes it tricky. Glad it all worked out. It sounds like you are having a good summer without firenados and wicked storms. Pete had storms and flash flood warnings this evening when I spoke to him. We have gale force winds and it’s very cold with snow in the mountains. I love weather!

    Erin has done her speech but hasn’t texted to say what happened so of course I am on tenterhooks as I know she was very stressed.

    I am glad we all the support here. Everyone has their humps in the road but we are all on the sidelines cheering each other on and over the obstacles.

  15. Julie Buck says:

    Nancy, Cathryne and anyone else who’d like to be included – I’m just going to jump in and put my email address here. abucksworth@gmail.com Please email me if you’d like to be part of our back-up group that is on email only. The regulars here got antsy when we couldn’t get into the Bistro for a little while, and it really made me realize how easy it would be to lose contact with people I truly consider close friends. So if you’d like to keep in touch even after a catastrophe here at the Bistro, please let me know, and I’ll get you on our list… Poor Paul never realized he was going to have to keep the Bistro open forever…

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