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”

I wholeheartedly agree with online shopping. Some things you need to feel and clothes you need to try on unless you are very certain of the design and size, but I buy most stuff online. I certainly do my research online even if I am planning on visiting a physical store. That way I can walk in and walk out with what I want easily. I am sticking our apartment in the US by shopping online. Got sheets and things. Hunting for good doonas now in preparation for winter. Go for it Barbara.
Woke to the news from Baton Rouge. I am shaking my head wondering when it will stop. Erin said this morning, “But DC will be alright won’t it?” Problem is, I want it all to be alright. I want all my friends from the Bistro to be happy and safe, and all their friends. I want to show my daughter as many places as possible and I don’t want her to be frightened to travel. Hoping for something good to emerge from the craziness.

I would never have thought of not feeding the small animals while the young Hawks are fledging. I hope they will be gone soon – you don’t want to be giving them a smorgasbord… I used to worry about drawing birds to our yard when we had a cat, but it turned out she was afraid of them IRL (in real life). When they were safely behind a window in my apartment, many years ago, she loved to watch them and tell them that she’d get them if she were our there, but once we moved here and she could go out in the yard, if a bird happened to come too close, she’d run away, hahaha. And in another lifetime, I had a cat who couldn’t put her head out the back door because she would be dive-bombed by the starlings. I think she must have wandered too close to their nest (not necessarily innocently, either), and after that, for years, they remembered her and hounded her. She was okay out the front door, luckily.

I hope you have fun shopping, Barbara!

Julie, Thanks, thanks, thanks. Why didn’t I think of something so simple. I can’t wait to check things out. You really listened to me.
We had bad storms last night. We (at Carol’s) lost electricity three times. Thankfully, the yardservice people had cleaned the gutters on Friday. The pines fill them with pine straw.
We hate not being able to feed the squirrels, rabbits and birds here at her house. I called the wildlife people and was told to stop the feeding of bread and corn until the Hawks’ young had fledeged. We can’t bear to see the squirrels looking for treats. He said there is plenty of food for them at this time of the year. The Hawks will leave as soon as the young fledge.
We are supposed to have stroms again today.
As they said, “Keep Calm and carry on.”

Barbara – I know just what you mean about the lethargy of not wanting to go through the whole rigamarole of choosing a new __________ (insert laptop, fixtures, whatever). I’m with you. I still do my own shopping, but I do it pretty much exclusively online. I don’t think you can go wrong with a laptop – whatever Sam chooses for you is bound to be good. For fixtures, I WOULD probably want to have input there – but I’d definitely go to Home Depot’s website and browse. Then, even if Sam needed to go to the store to buy them, he’d know which one, and be able to find someone to help him find something similar if that particular one wasn’t in stock (though you can also order the piece online, and they will ship it to your store, at no cost, and Sam could pick it up there. Those little design decisions have always given me a lot of pleasure.

Yes, Anna – it seems we are subjected to some atrocity or another so often. Through it all we must remember that most people ARE loving, peaceful people who don’t want this violence. We must stand together, united in our hearts.

Hi, Joan. Wow. Manoir Hovey. Was it really great? I checked the website when we were discussing it earlier. Must be much fun. We could really all use such a respite, I think.
Not much to say about France and Turkey. I hope the US Military at the airbase they allowed us to build are safe. The news this AM seems to suggest we may not be able to stay there. The planes fly from there to attack ISIS. Didn’t know about the base.
Also saw that the citizens of Nice were out using the street where the tragedy took place. The reporter said it was business as usual. I wouldn’t be able to go there for a long while.
Anna, I had just assumed that Erin would come to the US. She is right to see what her choices will be. I wish I had had choices about my college career. Two years here at Augusta College and then two at UGA. No questions asked. I am always happy when people are allowed choices. The choice of colleges is so crucial to the future.
My laptop finally gave up yesterday and I’m writing this at my favorite branch library. I just do not want to go through selecting another. I will probably send Sam to buy one like last time. I realize that the more decisions I allow him to make unilaterally, the more dominating he will become. We are having the same problem with fixtures for the bathrooms. I guess I will have to go and walk through that huge store. Of course, That department is across the back of the store. Don’t I sound like a spoiled brat. The world in the mess it is in with so many people suffering and I fuss about going to stores to buy nonessential items. The baths function fine but are just outdated.
I’ll use Carol’s computer until we sort out buying another.
Peace and serenity to all, dear friends.

So many unknowns Julie. Erin hasn’t made a final decision on staying here for college or doing with us. I think it is a big ask for her to decide until after she gets her final results, knows what Uni she has made it into and sampled life in the US which she will do at the end of the year. Moving towards selling. Running the plan past Peter to get his thoughts and then maybe test the market to see what someone might pay. because we aren’t desperate to see we can be choosy.

With all the chaos in the world right now including Dallas, France and Turkey, I would love to be at Manoir Hovey. I don’t know what to say about the ongoing violence except, most people don’t want it. Most people want a happy settled life without the threat of terrorism, domestic or international. Most people are normal caring human beings regardless of where they were born, who they worship or the colour of their skin. I stand with most people.

Joan, I heartily join in the crowd urging you to tell us more about your Manoir Hovey experience! It is something we have talked of with fondness – the idea of someday having the Bistro crowd meet up in person in front of the fireplace at the hotel! Wouldn’t it loverly? I, for one, would love to know how the real hotel differs from the one in the novel, and how it is the same… seems like Three Pines and its environs are places we have come to think of as very real, and we live there sometimes…. while we’re at the Bistro, for sure.

I know it will be hard to leave and not have a home to come home to, but I also know for me, that would be the “easiest”, and these days there’s a lot to be said for minimizing the hassle of things. It would be one thing if Erin would be living there, maybe, while she goes to college – or is she coming to the states with you for that? That would be very exciting for her. But I can imagine then you almost feel like you’re running away from home. Home is where the heart is, though, and I know that your heart is with your Mum and Dad. But I think you will be brilliant at replicating the feel somewhere else…

Thank you for you thoughts on moving Julie. It is incredibly hard to know what to do. For the first time the idea of selling is starting to become the dominant idea. We moved to this area for school and Erin is unlikely to be back here. Peter won’t work here so it would be retirement before we needed this house for that and it is still a little way off. The hold to the area is mum and dad and having a place to stay to visit them but that is a very expensive way to go about it. Renting somewhere would be cheaper overall but less comforting accommodation…..it’s simple economics and flexibility versus the comfort of having a place to come back to that we love just in case. I feel very unsettled now.
Sorry to hear Vern hasn’t come around to at least discussing the pros and cons. The weeds taking over the garden is another big reason this place just won’t work in the long term. I need to replicate its feel internally somewhere else….quiet, sunshine, space…..I shall look.

Hello Joan. How nice to find you by the fire. We come here to sit and chat and spend some time while waiting for the next book. Please do tell more about the Manoir Hovey. I very much want to visit there and would love some details. We are all Louise fans and love talking about the books. What are your thoughts on Nature of the Beast?
Interestingly I was watching a documentary about Hitler’s supergun which he was building to shell London. Fascinating stuff. The team doing the program showed how the gun would work firing successive charges to increase the speed and distance of flight. All entirely possible.

So I give my comments at the end…..just found The Bistro…wish I was sitting in front of the fire with Gabriel bringing me a latte. Was visiting Magog,Cowansville area in June at Manoir Hovey (Vive Gamache) package. Loved every second. Just read Nature of the Beast. ..absolutely delicious reading.

I can imagine it would be very hard to figure out what to do, Anna. My parents brought us kids up to be nomads to a certain extent. My brothers both reacted by finding a place to live when they were young and staying there forever. I, on the other hand, have never minded moving – this is the longest I’ve ever been in one place, and I know it’s because Vern just can’t bear the thought. I understand it. Being 15 years apart, we are of two different generations, really. And his generation is such that the biggest and best thing you can do is own a house. It’s ingrained into him, and he will never feel that an apartment will give the same value. I feel differently, but there’s not much I can do. We did have another little talk about it, and he just can’t even see that what I’m saying is seriously what I’d want to do. He’s still in the “You’re kidding!” mode when he hears me say we’d be more comfortable in a condo. To him, it’s a step down and after a lifetime of work, he doesn’t want to step down, and I don’t blame him. He doesn’t see it, and so I will just have to grin and bear it, and de-clutter as I can. There may come a time when we’ll have no choice, and while I have said that that’s the worst time to decide to move, he just isn’t seeing that at all, so here we’ll be for the foreseeable future. It’s a nice house, in a lovely neighborhood, I just hate to see the weeds taking over… That’s another story, though.

If it were me, I probably wouldn’t hesitate to sell now and buy another house when you come back. But there are reasons why you might not – for instance, if you think that what you’d get for the house now wouldn’t be enough for you to buy a comparable house when you come home. And if you really love THAT house, whose to say you could even find a comparable house? But being absentee landlords is hard, and the costs involved in maintenance can be high… Do you know how long you will be away? I somehow am thinking it was two years? If that’s the case, and then you definitely are going back home, I’d probably rent it out… but if there’s a chance that at the end of a contract, you might be signing another and staying longer… as you say, it’s hard to think of it from all angles…

I remember you hurt your back Julie. I do hope it is getting better. I was wondering if you had any further thoughts on moving? I ask because we had the house values again today and I am starting to wonder if we should sell. I can think of lots of reasons not to but in the spirit of decluttering, the idea of getting rid of all non essentials when we are in the States is very liberating. If we rent it there will be maintenance issues and tenant issues and if we don’t rent it then we will be missing out on a lot of income. So hard as I do love the house and the idea of being without a base here is a bit scary too.

Yes, the empath discussion had a big impact on me. Mostly in understanding a little better why I take so many things to heart. I was intrigued by how many of us (empaths) found this site – I’m sure it was some kind of signal to us that it was safe to talk here… all I know is I’m so glad we all made our way here… Barbara, you made me giggle when you said I have the most unusual interests, hahaha. I do seem to go off on tangents, one interest taking off from another… I am one of those people who has never understood how anyone can be bored… it’s never made any sense to me at all, when there are so many things to do, to find out about, to read… I guess I’m one of the lucky ones.

Anna, I’m so pleased the pie continues to work even with taking a short-cut here and there. It’s past time I put another cheese pie together, I think… and of course, I keep forgetting to put the ingredients in the freezer. Today for sure! If I could remember in the “morning” (around noon for me), I’d be able to make a pie in the afternoon (say, 6-ish). And I’m not forgetting that meat pie which I am determined to make soon. I’ll tell you all about the pie lady when I go to her class – don’t know yet when I’ll make the time, but I WILL. I’d love to get Becky to come with me.

Meanwhile, don’t know if I told you, but I hurt my back last week, and have been on pain pills for some time, which make me kind of dopey. I’m almost back to normal now, though, so hopefully, any crazy things I’ve said won’t come back to “bite” me, hahaha.

Yes, Millie I well remember the discussion. I thought you might be dealing with feelings. Like Anna said, we will be waiting with open arms. Sending caring thoughts and understanding to you .

Love the pie website Julie. I just ate a slice of my second applie pie. Erin says it is better than the first one. Phew!
I cheated big time and made it in a couple of hours and still the crust wasn’t soggy. I just chopped butter and put it in the processor with the the flour straight from the pantry..no pre freezing. Mind you, it’s -10 C here today and no heat in the pantry so it was cold! Might be different in summer. I rested the dough in the freezer for ten minutes only then rolled it. Much easier than when it was really cold. I did pop the base in the fridge for a few minutes while I rolled out the top. Thought I had brought disaster on myself as I drained but didn’t let apples cool. Nope. All good. I reckon that recipe makes fool proof pastry even without the freezing so thank you again!

Dear Millie,
We will be waiting for your return with open arms. Take care. Sending calming thoughts. Deep breath!

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