LOUISE PENNY’S

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”

Anna – you made it! Wonderful! I hope you are able to get out as much as you want and enjoy the skiing even without your buddy/carer. If that doesn’t work, I recommend the tobogganing, as Cathryne mentioned… most of the same kind of fun without the trauma of having to remain on your feet the whole way down… Of course, I’m sure tobogganing cannot be done on the same slopes, but hopefully, there are hills designated for sleds and toboggans.

I have ordered a Three Pines mug and one of the charity cookbooks that Louise mentioned awhile back, but the mugs were out of stock and I asked them to wait and ship them all together when the mugs came in again. I’m glad you got yours within the window of your being in the country – that makes life a lot simpler, doesn’t it?

Cathryne – I heartily recommend Helene Hanff’s other books, too. There are at least three others that I’ve read and re-read… “Underfoot in Show Business”, “Letter from New York” and the aforementioned “Apple of My Eye”… “Letter from New York” is a series of 5-minute essays that were broadcast in England on the BBC that Helene did for them, and “Underfoot” is the story of her young life as a failed playwright. She struggled cheerfully all her life, I think, and managed to live a “life of letters” without ever having achieved much fame or fortune. The little flurry surrounding “84” gave her enough of a taste, I think, and especially, finally allowed her to go over and see England which she was dying to do! Otherwise, she toiled away in anonymity but had a good, happy life, I think. Wouldn’t she just be right at home in Three Pines? Colorful, a tad acerbic, loyal to her friends and very creative. What more could they want?

Barbara, I loved your “Happy So Far So Good New Year” too. Pretty much covered it all. Yesterday I went to my mom’s Assisted Living facility in the morning and heard someone ask the receptionist how things were going. Her “So far so good,” answer made me think of you and smile.

Anna, I was thrilled to see that you are in Whistler now AND enjoying your Three Pines mugs! It seemed so far away in time when you mentioned ordering mugs to be delivered to you on vacation, but here you are and here they are. How smart of you to think of doing it. And Danny and Lucy did their part so efficiently. Aren’t the mugs nice? Perfect for hot chocolate, with a marshmallow spreading itself across the top. Gingerbread hot chocolate sounds wonderful.
So sorry about your friend not being able to come, I hope the skiing is going well and safely. Are the new ski boots for darling daughter working well?
When I was growing up, we lived in Denver for a year and we often went to the mountains to toboggan, the greatest fun! Happy memories. Even here in Caifornia, we took our sons to the mountains sledding and loved it. In some ways comparable to surfing and ocean kayaking, now that I think about it. I love kayaking and once my older son and I rode a wave into shore at La Jolla Shores with leopard sharks surfing in, one on each side of us! There are many leopard sharks there, just part of the scenery. Or maybe we’re just part of the scenery to them…
Have a wonderful time on your vacation in such a beautiful place. When I think of you I don’t have to imagine you being in a different time of day, tonight or tomorrow, but right now in my own time zone, like Julie.

Julie and Anna, when I read your posts about Helene Hanff’s books, I pulled my copies out and reread 84 Charing Cross Road and The Duchess of Bloomsbury. They were, again, a treat beyond words and just what I needed. I’m so glad you talked about them and shared your pleasure with them here in the Bistro. I’ve had some reading disappointments lately and keep going back to Louise Penny’s books for familiar pleasures, new insights and deeper thoughts. The H. H. books were a lovely interlude and I kept thinking how well Helene would fit into Three Pines!

Well we made it to Whistler yesterday and upon checking in to the hotel I found a parcel waiting for me from Brome Lac Books. Thanks to Danny and Lucy and the team I have my Three Pines mugs. I was very excited. Just waiting for my friend to finish skiing and we are have gingerbread hot chocolate in our mugs. No skiing for me today but maybe tomorrow. I had to leave my ski buddy/carer behind as he needed surgery. It is a very different holiday without him and horrid for him too as he was looking forward to it. My husband, daughter and friends have offered to help but bless them, they aren’t quite as au fait with making it work for me. Needs that combination of doctor and expert skier that my friend is. Still, I should be able to do some baby runs in the morning and a friend who is a ski instructor is going to take me out in the afternoon.
My daughter got her first pair of ski boots today. Hope they work better than rentals to hold her feet together. She also has some unique needs in that department. She is out trying them now.
How is everyone holding up? There has been some cold weather in lots of places. Stay warm. On the flight over the flight map listed different cities and I would think of who lived near each place and hoped all was ok

It’s funny, isn’t it, how much you care about Patsy and Helene? She (Helene Hanff) was another one who had a real gift and it is so wonderful to read about her adventures and friendships. She was what I think of as one of the many, many, unsung talents toiling away in obscurity. She poked her head up once, for awhile, and got some recognition, with 84 Charing Cross Road, but her other books are just as wonderful, in my opinion, and she was clearly a very intelligent, well-read person. I missed being in New York at the same time as her by a few months. She lived in the last apartment (whose real address is on the letters in the book) until she died, in April of the year we went, but we went in October. I still went to her building, to see where she sat on the “stoop” outside with all the dogs and their owners, and spoke to her doorman. He said lots of English people came to see the building, but not many others. I also went to see the hotel she stayed at on her first trip to London, though she’d never have been able to afford it now – they “poshed it all up” to the extent that I was too intimidated to go in and have a drink in the bar, hahaha. I’m a silly girl…

Thank you Julie for the book. I rationed myself as much as possible but I finished it just now. Of course I can read it again and again. I am sure much of NY has changed but I will not something of what it was as well as what it has become! I can hear Helen and Patsy’s voices chatting away as I see the sights, Helen telling informative anecdotes and Patsy dashing around excitedly and saying “Write that down!” I was so sad to see Patsy died young.

I read Louise’s newsletter and smiled and cried all at once. Her life is a book worth reading.
I find it helps when mum sleeps a lot to remember dementia is a neurological disease and that is what happens. It’s good when she sleeps as she is at peace. Michael seems at peace at all times.

I haven’t read Louise’s newsletter so I will get on to that. Another quiet morning here….lovely! The dinner was very Three Pines, quite a cooperative village atmosphere and full of characters. Loved it Millie.

Spelling mistakes….who cares. As long as you all write I am happy to read! Keep it up Barbara.

Been reading about New York for two days while watching the Sydney skyline. I have to ration myself as I don’t want the book to end. Love Helen and Patsy! Thanks Julie.

I know what you mean, Millie – Louise’s newsletter was sobering yet hopeful and loving… a few tears, a few smiles. She has an uncanny ability to make it seem as if she and I are friends and she is talking about things we’ve talked about before… a beautiful way to write.

Anna, your New Year’s dinner sounded like it could have taken place at Clara’s – where we’ve seen so many Three Pines meals. It sounded wonderful.

Barbara – I’m with Millie – I didn’t notice any misplaced words when I read it – the heart comes through loud and clear.

A simple HAPPY NEW YEAR is about all I can manage, Barbara. I must need more coffee also because I didn’t notice any misplaced words in your post. I thought it was a sweet message. A great reminder to us all to notice the little things that give us joy.

I read Louise’s newsletter today. So touching. I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or cheer for her. So I did a little of both.

Well, time to bring out my new calendar.

Happy so far so good.New Year to all ! I was asleep when the new year arrived. I pray 2016 will be a good year for Three Piners everywhere. Now I need another cup of coffee. Rainy day, dog in lap, Yep…. so far so good.

Thanks Barbara. I hope Nww Year is wonderful for everyone!
We had a very privileged beginning watching the Sydney fireworks from my husbands Navy base. Our friends live across the road and my brother and hia friends came. There were 5 little girls under 14 playing and being lovely and everyone chipped in to help with dinner. It was like living in a little village. A lovely quiet calm way to start the year.
I wish you all the peaceful feeling I have right this precise moment listening to the waves wash on the shore, my daughter showing me amazing photos from the Royal Astronomy photo competition and my friend doing adult colouring in. Peace in the New Year

Dear Julie…..Thank you! I just this second arrived home to find your copy of Apple of my Eye in the mail. Can’t wait plan a trip to Washington to give you a big hug of thanks! Now I have something to read this afternoon after finishing my novel yesterday.
I do hope you are regaining energy and feeling more yourself. Sorry you missed Christmas. It is a big deal in this house driven hard by a 14 y.o who still gets Santa presents….talk about gaming the system. We are hoping for a White one next year.
It sounds far too hot Barbara. Hotter than here for sure. I see big storms are still milling about. Hope everyone stays safe.

Julie, my husband is a “convert” to Christmas Celebrations. His family hardly took note of it. ” A waste of time and money. Gifts are only for children. No more Santa, no more gifts.” His brother and sister were also introduced to fun and festivities by spouses. The children grew up enjoying the holidays.
You are smart to celebrate with friends.
So sorry you didn’t get to go with your Jane Austen group. I’m sure it would have been fun.
Take care of yourself.

Cathryne, I didn’t realize you are in San Diego . The climate is supposed to be ideal from what I read. Of course, San Diego means the Zoo to me. The Johnny Carson show often featured animals from the Zoo. To hold a baby tiger in your arms would be fantastic. I know they are wild animals and not pets, but just for those few weeks…….
I hope things are better for you. Remember to take care of yourself…..we care.

Glad you had a good visit with your mother on Christmas, Anna. We don’t ask for much do we ? Hope your Dad is enjoying the Cricket Matches. We saw a team practice in Bermuda and we’ve watched a few matches on TV but that’s all.
I’ve read a few books recently too. Cussler’s Solomon was a good read as I enjoy the Sam and Remi Fargo series.
Louise recently mentioned her friend Rhys Bowen again. I have read all in the series of Lady Georgianna Rannoch (broke of course) who is 35th in line for the British Throne. The most recent, Malice at the Palace, had a bit of the paranormal in it.
I also read Laura Childs’ Book, 13th in the Scrapbooking Mystery Series, Parchment and Old Lace. I just love to read how they crate the beautiful scrapbooks, memory boxes, invitations and posters. The characters are fun and New Orleans is such a fascinating city. A friend of Sam’s grew up in the Garden District and used to tell us great stories. Here again, no Louise Penny but good reads. Thank goodness, the Library has started buying books again.
Saw the snow in Dallas on News. What next ? At least snow is seasonal while here we have turned air conditioning on for the 4th day. Heavy overcast with humidity in high 90’s. Sun peeps out for a few minutes and then is gone again.

Just saw the Anne Perry post Julie. Glad you are finding interest in the back story. I think it adds an extra layer of depth to reading her work.

Anna, it really does. Now that I know it, it’s hard to reconcile with a modern writer, but it certainly does add something to her “mystique”. hahaha

Love your post Barbara and hearing that you had happy Christmas thoughts. I hope Petey continues to improve. Your sisters gift was similar to my mum’s. A good visit with her made my day.

Everyone’s ideas for the laundry are great and I did think about including the vase Barbara, I just worried about sharp bits if it broke! Bourbon and branch in a hip flask anyone…

Having a quiet day hear. Going to watch some Endeavour DVDs and drink tea. Enjoying the latest Lee Child novel as light reading. He isn’t Louise but not everyone can be.

My sister says they have had snow in Dallas now. Wild weather everywhere. Stay safe all.

What a lovely post, Barbara! I can just see you in the laundry room with the special vase! The Christmases you describe are just what Christmas ought to be, and I’m so happy you have had some wonderful times. I have always loved Christmas. Unfortunately, neither of my husbands has. I shocked my friend Becky once when I just burst out one year – “I’m never getting married again, but if I were to, I’d check to see how the person handles Christmas!” I was so frustrated, as Vern is the kind of person who gives to me every day, but can’t serve it up “on demand” for Christmas, and he always says that he is not going to waste money on buying a present just to have something under the tree… Which I find very frustrating, because I want to do the whole thing where you find just the right thing, and shop all year, but I’ve come to terms with that now, hahaha. I have my friends who love Christmas, and we celebrate in our own ways, and it all works out.

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