The Bistro

The Bistro

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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.

Discussion on “The Bistro”

Oh, Anna – how difficult it must seem! So many little threads in our lives, and when a few of them are pulled at once, it’s hard to know what to do. I’m sure your mum will get better with the antibiotics and probably, the abscess has to go down before the dentist will be able to do much. Meanwhile, the shower will be fixed, the insurance will help and all will be well until the next time. It never seems like that at the time, though, does it? Just one more thing piles on and piles on, and you feel like screaming. You can scream here – Gabri won’t even think it’s unusual! 😀 (I like to think that Gabri is just around the corner, coming with some snacks and drinks)…

Having one of those weeks when fine means FINE. Shower in attached flat has been leaking for ages obviously but we didn’t know. Had insurance assessor out. He was nice. Got call from nursing home first thing. Mum has enormous abscess on face from infected tooth we think. Antibiotics started but waiting on call from dentist. Not sure I can get her there. Oh dear.
Still life could be worse and people pitching in ro help me which makes everything easier

Just spoke to Pete and he made it as far as Toronto so far without incident so the weather didn’t impact his flight.
Spring has yielded to winter again here with cloud and rain and cold. Good day for studying.
I agree about the outside broadcasters. They were doing it during the hurricane and all it did was make it hard to hear and put them in danger while all the while pleading with everyone to stay indoors. Silly.

Phew – cramps in my fingers! I’m so glad the exams are over for a little while at least. I’m sure the next one will go swimmingly, as I’m sure the others did!

The weather completely missed us, but last we heard, was heading up to Vancouver. I hope Pete wasn’t delayed anywhere – that’s likely the only thing that he’d have to worry about – delayed getting in or out of Vancouver… I’m assuming he was heading to Vancouver to catch a flight back to to DC? He can’t have enjoyed much of his time in Victoria, as the weather has been at least unpleasant for the last week now… It seems to be all over now – and we never got much at all right in Seattle.

Glad to see the end of it, just so we can get back to normal news on TV – when did they all decide they should all go outside to report the news? You’ll have reporters standing outside a building that is “several blocks” from a crime scene, etc. – and for the storm, we had not one, not two, but THREE different reports from news people standing on different beaches either talking about how the winds were picking up, or that we were having a “sunbreak” (a weather word only heard in the Pacific Northwest – it’s 15 minutes of sun when the sun dips lower than the clouds but higher than the horizon – our Chamber of Commerce gets to call that a sunny day), or something, but who knows what because the wind was whistling past their mic so fast that all we heard was gobble-de-gook! I’ll be so happy when this particular news “style” is over!

Lake Washington is apparently a sunken home to 109 planes, 50 ships and a coal train of all things so a bridge probably isn’t going to bother it much!
There is some massive storm front but they can’t decide exactly where it will hit. I have been watching because Pete lands in Vancouver in a few hours so hopefully all will be well and you will all be safe.
Our weather was quite cool but warmed up dramatically today. It’s nice that I will see the best of spring and then get winter again. I am happy. I suspect it will be a nasty summer here.
By the way…you can all uncross your fingers and give them a little shake. Next exam a few days away.

You probably know more about the Boeing plant than I do, Anna! I know they are making their expansion plans, but I also feel like they are not getting the orders to justify it, so don’t really know how that’s all going to work out. Since the headquarters for Boeing moved to Chicago a few years ago, we don’t get every little thing reported to us as if it’s breaking news any more, which is good, because we didn’t REALLY need to know every time someone sneezed on the assembly line, hahaha.

Weather here seems just like the normal fall weather right now. They have us bracing for “the storm of the century” starting later today, and who knows? Every fifth time they do that, it does turn out to be a bad storm. But we are used to the strong winds here. Still – in 2006, the rain came down so fast that the streets flooded as we were driving home, and we turned a corner and drove into a deep puddle and totaled the car, because water was brought up into the air intake valve and seized the engine! Later that night, the high winds came, and blew down our fence. We heard it in the middle of the night. My already bummed husband looked out the window and said – “The fence blew down and fell on top of the other car.” In the morning, it turned out it had fallen the other way, so we only had one car that wouldn’t go, which was good. But of course, it was MY car – his was a Triumph sports car that was very unreliable. He’d often drive it somewhere and then have to call me to come get him and bring his tools, so he could fix it to limp home in.

When I first moved here, the first November, Vern was out of town, and the high winds came and apparently, an old, unused floating bridge broke free of its moorings and was floating quickly toward the new bridge, and would cause a lot of damage if it hit it, so the air force had been dispatched to bomb it before it could get too close to the other bridge. I must admit, I wondered, at that point, what kind of place this was, hahaha. Luckily, the main reason it broke free, also sank it before it came to that. They had cut big holes in the pontoons, which let water in when the wind was high and formed waves – that caused it to be heavier than usual and break away, but as it floated, the waves continued to fill the hollow pontoons and it eventually sank. Luckily, Lake Washington is a very deep lake and the bridge didn’t bother any boating traffic. They’ve left it down there as a “wildlife refuge”, whatever that is supposed to mean, hahaha. They had apparently cut the holes in the first place, to store waste from the grinding down of the surface of the bridge (they had intended to resurface it and use it for one-way traffic). The environmentalists said they couldn’t let that waste go in the lake, so they put it in the pontoons. The holes were cut too low, and the weight from the waste caused the pontoons to sink a little lower anyway, and so the waves just filled them up with water. You sometimes wonder how any of these people got these jobs. Now, instead of a little waste in the water, we have the whole bridge, hahaha.

We are not expecting that kind of wind this time, though.

Absolutely Julie. I could see the practical but for her it was all about the emotional release. Erin is at math tutoring today. Time to switch gears. She does have one more English exam for extension but it is a couple of weeks away.
Just watching a documentary on building the new Boeing plans Julie. Wow. The factory is big enough to have all of Disneyland inside. It has roads and a fire department and seven coffee shops inside. Wow.
How is the weather Julie? It’s snowing on Whistler mountain and I saw strong winds predicted for the West coast and Washington state. Stay safe.

What a good idea to burn her notes! Especially since you are paring down for moving, it’s not like she’d be keeping them anyway, and what a good way to get rid of the pent up anxiety!

Having survived English exam number two, I am watching Erin burn her class notes. Its a symbolic moment of purging. Lucky its cool enough to have a fire. Very soothing.

Thanks Barbara. I know typing…crossed fingers makes typing tricky, as if it were hard enough already! I look forward to being welcomed. I will be here all the time with questions I am sure.
Great image Julie but you haven’t missed the real drama…that will be getting the results and we will be in the US for that. Anyway exam number two is and hour away. Less anxiety today. Maybe resigned to her fate….

Wowee – I missed the whole drama! So sorry! I, too, thought of Monet, however, I had a picture of him, with his beret, his palette, and brushes, approaching… with an exam rolled up sticking out of a pocket in his smock! (not that I have any idea what Monet looked like, of course!) I hope it went well, and continues to (which, of course, it will! ) Hang in there, Erin!

Thank you Peg and Cathryne. Feeling much calmer now number one is out of the way. Second English paper tomorrow morning. Relax fingers but be ready to go again 0900 our time.
You made me laugh Cathryne, which I needed, describing the art exam. Very Three Pines of you! I saw a Monet exhibition n Canberra a few years ago. Good fun!
Did I mention our flights are booked? I will be living Stateside in two months….less!

Moment, not Monet! Got it! When I read the post my mind tried to imagine an art exam! I like the idea of analyzing a Monet painting, the real thing, of course, for an exam. Well, moving on…fingers crossed, powerful calm thoughts coming for you, Peter, and Erin at exam time. It’s her chance to shine, to show off a bit!

Could you all cross your fingers and think calming thoughts as Erin’s final state exams start today. She, and 77000 other students, will be all sweaty palmed this morning. Actually she has been quite calm but there may be butterflies as the Monet approaches in three hours. The exams go for three weeks and a bit so feel free to uncross the fingers periodically!!

Oh, don’t we all wish we lived where time was just what we needed it to be! I seem to always be in “catch up” mode… Yes, Millie – I see the gratitude that Jamie feels, and of course, that he never brutalizes Jamie in any way, unlike the Randall character. It WAS hard to read that part – and I will admit that I’ve only read these books once, and I’m pleased that, to a certain extent, the story line that bores me has been relegated to a side-route… I was reminded a lot of the plot points and other things by watching the TV series, which is very well done. And if you thought it was hard to READ the rape scene, it’s even harder to watch. And you are quite right – it’s a complete shredding of Jamie as a person – his whole being was broken, and had to be put back together again as best he could. Still, there was something in the idea that now he understood John Gray’s love BECAUSE of what Jack Randall had done to him – that’s in there for me, somehow, and maybe I’m putting it in and it came from my mind, not Diana Gabaldon’s. But it just seems to me not to be part of Jamie’s story… Small thing, and hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the rest of the books. Though I haven’t read them all by any stretch – on some level, they’re so big that they’re hard to hold while lying in bed, hahaha.

Julie, the character whose name you couldn’t remember was John Gray. Interesting view on that subplot. What I took from it was that Jammie felt a love born of gratitude towards John for offering to care for Jammie’s son and also the many times he helped his daughter, Briana. There was even mention of John Gray not wanting to risk his friendship with Jammie by making any sexual advances towards him.

I found the detailed description of Black Jack Randall’s torture of Jamie very hard to read. It was more than rape, it was meant to physically and brutally break the body and soul.

Anna, I have bookmarks to skip over that entire section. I too can’t stomach brutally and prefer character driven stories where if there is murder it’s not detailed.

Cathryn, I noticed the book you mentioned was number six in the series. Did you read the previous five?

Barbara, I haven’t forgotten your kind words of welcome. There’s so much more I’d like to comment on but that’s all I can do for now. Have to get ready for an eye appointment. Wish I lived where time was fluid like in Three Pines.

I had a look Millie. Always new medical advances bringing hope to someone thank goodness.
Interesting discussion about the role of female authors and nurturing. I love that Louise makes it ok to write about kindness, although balanced by darkness. It gave me permission to not follow the trend of brutality in so so many books. I couldn’t face reading them let alone writing one although I used to. I got tired of nastiness, there is too much of it around. So while there was a serial killer in The Cove he was kind of a background threat not the main focus of the novel really.
I have read loads of thrillers, crime novels, spy novels etc and what I look for now is characters I like and want to know more about and obviously I am not alone. I read Girl on a Train and my comment on finishing was that I felt nothing much for the characters even though the plot was ok. It was a major best seller so I gues there are plenty of people who were either content with that kind of book or read it out of curiosity like me.
I don’t know if it is just female authors that create sanctuaries but it certainly isn’t a feature of many books.

Oh, that’s really interesting, Anna. I read Girl on a Train and I liked it, mostly because of the convolutions of the plot. But I must say that I agree that I didn’t care about the characters. And really, when I think about it from that point of view, I SHOULD have cared, at least about the girl on the train! It was one of those books that I enjoyed while reading and then promptly forgot – and would never think of reading again. It’s often been compared to Gone Girl, but beyond the word “Girl”, I’m not so sure about that, either, hahaha. It was just a sales hook, I think. Gone Girl had a very involving plot, and of course, you CARED about the characters, but didn’t like them. Either of the main characters. Interesting way to think about this…

Millie – thank you for the article – that’s very encouraging, indeed. One of my doctors had told me there was an exciting new therapy being developed – maybe this is what he was talking about. I love that my doctors are aware of what’s the latest news.

It’s funny what you say about Diana Gabaldon. I love some aspects of her books, but the thing I got bored with was the whole side story of homosexual love between Jamie and a person (whose name I can’t remember), supposedly coming from his rape by “Black Jack Randall”. I don’t understand how you get any good thing coming from rape, and find the whole sub-story to be there for titillation’s sake, and not worth my time.

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