LOUISE PENNY’S

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”

Hello all Three Piners. I know it’s been months since I wrote and I apologize. I’m doing well and have caught up with all the messages here. I can so relate to the ‘just lots of little things’ like Julie and Barbara mentioned. Only for me and my back some of those little things were huge. Drum roll please… There isn’t a box left in the living room. All the books I kept are in the bookcases. I set a deadline on myself. I had to have the living spaces of this house decluttered by Thanksgiving. I did it. 🙂 I never did find that 1st copy of “A Rule Against Murder.” lol Granted, there are a few random boxes still in the garage but I rarely lose a book. No problem, hubby bought me another copy a while ago. I’m stuck with the Morrow / Finney family after all, Julie. BTW, how’s that big Jane Austen needlework project going that you were working on with a friend?

Loved your comment about imagining our voices. Hadn’t given it much thought till you mentioned it. Maybe because I am a tiny sprout, I sound very young. Anna is right on that account. At least till evening comes and I’m bone tired. Then my voice starts to sound grumpy, impatient and hubby hides. 😉

Speaking of hubby’s, how’s Sam doing, Barbara? Hope he’s much improved. I’m too am getting to where I don’t like going out much any more either. Do you still visit your sister? I hope you two are happily coloring at least a little.

Has anyone colored in their Three Pines map? I haven’t yet. But I know where my map is! lol…

Anyway, then I was determined to at least have some Christmas decorations by Dec 12th. Big day in this area. A boat parade and the sons and their families were coming over. I still haven’t ‘decked the halls’ in the living room (Maybe this weekend), but I put Three Pines on the dining room buffet. They are small but lit up and I smile every time I see them.

Turns out my leg and back muscles aren’t really strong enough to do step stools so I’ve had to slow down this week, but it feels good to know life is getting back to a semblance of normal. At least a new normal.

Cathryne, I do hope you are bearing up well. Your note about getting a bag of gummy bears and eating them in the quiet of the night as you looked out the window just touched my heart. Strength and peace be with you. With all of us, for it seems we all have our own particular challenges.

To those I didn’t mention by name, please forgive me. It’s been a bit of an emotional day for me. I lost my dad a year ago exactly. It made me realize I really wanted to say Hi, I care about you, and think of you all often and putting it off for even one more day was unacceptable to me. I still have a lot of work to do in other areas of the house, (Barbara, I just can’t seem to sit down and write just yet knowing I have so much left to do but your encouraging words are so sweet and appreciated. And Julie, your words of “de cluttering can’t be done all in one go” really helped.) but I needed to pop into the Bistro tonight and let you all know how important you are to me. Sometimes I get all caught up in what I’m doing and think tomorrow… Well, I wish you all many happy tomorrows no matter your circumstances. I too am practicing Julie’s ‘just decide to be happy’. It isn’t simplistic at all, Julie. It certainly isn’t always easy. But I have so much to be grateful for it isn’t always hard, either.

Love and comforting hugs,
Millie

Thank you Julie. That is very kind. I will look after it and get it back to you. Another good reason to get together when I change continents!

There are lots of good things happening in the world it is just we are so swamped by the negative. I was reading about a family who decided with their children not to have an advent calendar but to do a random act of kindness every day. Little things like writing cards to strangers. One act was to write a card to a little girl, about five years old, who was in a cafe and was being lovely and chatting away to the two ladies she was with politely. The card told her Santa was watching and she was in the nice list and complimenting her with a five dollar reward. The girl turned out to be. A foster child who had to be recently removed from her family. The foster carer with her wrote on Facebook how much that card and money meant to the little girl and to her. Every act of kindness goes so much further than we know.

Isn’t it wonderful to think that one person can make such a difference? Even those of us who do much smaller things have an effect, and we should try to remember that when we’re feeling low. It’s a Wonderful Life must be prompting itself into my subconscious, hahahaha.

I would be so happy to pop my copy in the mail and know that you were reading the same well-loved book that I did. It’s a “little” book in many senses, but Helene Hanff’s style is all her own and so accessible. Maybe that’s what we love about Louise, as well – she lets people in so easily. So – DON’T buy a copy!

I am afraid that my hunt dropped to the bottom of my to do pile with dad and everything happening. I shall resume the hunt. I suspect it will come from Amazon.
My latest reading has been Molokai which was fascinating. A friend in Hawaii suggested it as she is visiting the island soon. In an interesting piece of synchronicity, I picked up an old Kathy Reichs novel as I was cleaning and it talked about lepersoriums in Canada as part of the plot line. Weird when that happens.

Heavenly Creatures is quite a disturbing film. Well done but not exactly easy entertainment. Be interesting to see what you think.

I was talking to a friend last night on the phone when he had to run away as he is a surgeon and there was a trauma call. I couldn’t sleep then. I just knew he was in a life and death situation. He was. He rang a short while ago and he had saved the life of a 12 year old boy, literally. The boy was going to die and now he isn’t. I don’t think my friend knows how amazing he is. But that certainly lifts my day, not to mention the boy and his family.

Anna, your comment on Amazon shipping prompts my memory and I was waiting to see if you had managed to find a copy of Helene Hanff’s Apple of My Eye… and then forgot all about it. Did you find one? Or should I pop mine in the mail?

I’ve just started reading a true crime book on the Anne Perry case you told me about. I haven’t yet had the chance to see Heavenly Creatures, though I think it’s available on one of my tv streaming channels. I just need a good afternoon to be able to sit and watch, as I know it won’t appeal to hubby. At any rate, I’ve been thinking a lot about Anne Perry and how she can write such compelling stories of good and evil, and I think she must be speaking from her own experience for a lot of it. I think she has seen both the good and the evil within herself…

Wow, Amazon shipping is amazing. I just received Dads scrabble set and I ordered it five days ago. Impressive and so good as it is big! Hopefully they will be able to store it somewhere in the Home for him. My daughter has already wrapped it in preparation.

Julie, when I went to England via LA for a few days, the jet lag was appalling. I was wiped out for a couple of weeks, waking at 4 am and asleep in my dinner by 5 pm. Luckily we ate early! I think all the physical exercise while skiing helps get the routine going as we sleep early but we are up early to beat the lift queues.

I agree gas fires are much easier than wood, we have one of both. Gas fires feature prominently in my second book which is set in autumn. I don’t like it when it is too hot indoors in the cold as we are usually heavily dressed in snow gear!

We are rainy and dark, but not cold. We’ve had a couple of weeks of bright sunny days and very cold (everything is relative – very cold to us now is about 30 degrees) nights. Our old house has absolutely NO insulation and plenty of places where drafts come through, so it costs too much to heat it, but we figure it would cost more to rip out all the walls and insulate, too, so we just make do. I’ve found that I now consider most Canadian places overheating themselves in winter, and I recall the days when it seemed right to me that you should be able to wear a short-sleeved t-shirt at home! I used to collect all kinds of sweaters and have nowhere to wear them, hahaha. Now I wear a sweater all winter. This old house has a fireplace in the living room that was wood-burning when I got here. When we put on a fire, it would eventually get so hot, we’d have to leave the room, hahaha. Vern converted it to gas about 15 years ago now, and so it gives off a lovely soft heat and of course, is mesmerizing to watch the flames. I love the ambiance of the fire. I also don’t miss cleaning the fireplace, nor trying to light the fire with no kindling. In the evenings, now, we sit by the fire and find we have all we need.

You are much better than I am with the jet-lag. London is 9 hours away from Seattle, and I swear I was still waking up at 3 a.m. when we were ready to leave after 5 weeks. Then it got bad all over again once we were home. Ah well – the fun we had was worth it. Nowadays, I don’t travel much beyond about 3 hours difference and I find that only takes a few days to get used to.

I agree Julie, I hear people with accents only they are more impressions than actual voices. You sound somewhat English. Barbara has a soft drawl. Millie is happy and excited. Cathryne is quieter and speaks more slowly but that could be because I sense she is busy and fatigues and ….worried. I do hope that you are ok Cathryne. I don’t like the sound of my own voice.

I get jet lagged Julie but it is usually only day one and two. We usually arrive in the morning and have to stay awake all day. Some days I can but a couple of trips I just had to lie down and sleep after we arrive. It’s worse coming home as it days time to rests and we tend to wake up at 3 am.

Weather is warming up here especially in the southern states. How are you faring Julie? Is it getting cold? What about you Barabara? It was a lovely 23 deg today but I bet that would have you running for a jumper in Florida Millie.

Barbara, how lovely to “hear your voice”! Isn’t it funny, I actually have given each of you a voice in my head, and of course, when the time comes when we meet and you don’t sound the way I thought you would it will be very disorienting for me, hahaha. Barbara, you have a lovely soft voice, and speak with a beautiful southern accent full of grace and charm. Anna, you of course, have an “Aussie” accent, and sound cheerful and almost song-like. Cathryne is more of a mystery to me. And just so YOU aren’t disappointed, my voice has taken on a squeaky-squawky quality in the past year or so, due to some of my breathing problems. They seem to be playing havoc with my vocal cords. The good news is that there is nothing wrong with them, and I’m able to speak, it just sound funny now, hahaha. I think my public speaking days are almost over now, though.

Barbara, I commiserate with your English friend, and I have given serious thought to moving back to Canada if Trump or Cruz should be elected. Truth be told, there is only one person I would like to be President, and I don’t think he has much chance… I do think both Trump and Cruz will be knocked out though. There’s still a long way to go.

Anna – I am with you on the gun issue. I find it absolutely shocking to still hear people say we don’t have a gun problem, when every one of the guns in their arsenal was procured legally, and who could possibly NEED assault rifles? Surely, even hunters and other gun rights supporters have to see the wisdom in outlawing certain types of guns, but apparently not.

I hope your Mom starts to improve – I have always thought just “deciding to be happy” with whatever lot you got was the best way to approach life, but I know that can be hard, and I don’t mean to sound so simplistic. Still, I’m hoping that’s what I will be able to achieve.

I know your trip to Whistler will be so fun! I hope you don’t have too much jet-lag.

But at least you were using copy and paste. Yay Barbara. Whatever has been keeping you busy I do hope life is much more settled and you can enjoy the events you are looking forward to next week.

Dad is doing better than I had hoped but mum is very unwell and that is a struggle emotionally. They had the Home Christmas party yesterday which was ok for dad but we let mum go to bed as the noise and crowd was too much for her. Two of the carers took turns going in and feeding her while I looked after dad. I found a larger sized scrabble kit for dad on Amazon. The board and tiles are bigger. That’s coming for Christmas too. Nice to get him something other than clothes.

Today is quieter. It is very hot and windy and we are having a quiet time eating the delicious red velvet cupcakes Erin made on her first day of summer holidays. I am happy to be the beneficiary but it’s back on the exercise bike for me! I need to anyway to be strong for skiing. Can’t wait for Whistler. Loving to see snow falling there. Should be a better a cover than last year. If it gets a bit cooler the village should get some snow when we arrive. So very exciting.

The news from San Bernadino was devestating. Even more shocking was hearing the response was for people to buy more guns. Scary.

Back to writing and editing. Sending love and good wishes to you all.

Hi, To All. Things were sort of a mess for the last month or so. Everything seems to have calmed down…….even me. Hubby is at a Christmas Party at the College tonight. The Alumni Board. Last night they lit the Christmas Tree on Campus. It is mainly for children with activities for them and singing Christmas Carols. Didn’t go and neither did Sam. We aren’t really expected to. I love the idea but the nights have turned chilly and I’m trying to stay well so I can attend the only two events I want to … next Tuesday and Friday nights. I really don’t enjoy going out anymore …haven’t for years.

I hope all is going well for everyone. Anna, Glad your Dad is setteling in. You are a member of what we call ” The Sandwich Generation”. You have parents to care for on one side and are rearing a teenager on the other. I wish you strength, my friend. Hope the writing and editing is going well.

Julie, As you said in mid Nov., Lots of little things were happening. You know me. The Jane Austen Party sounds great. Trifle is pretty and always looks so festive. I have to admit I have never made it. Oh, speaking of food. You and Anna talking about seafood made me think of the wonderful oyster dressing we always had with our turkey. There was also “regular” dressing just the same except no oysters. I would sneak back to the kitchen several times after the meal to get “just one more taste” of the oyster dressing. Fried Shrimp , not as large as prawns, are favorite memories of family meals. I could eat a platter of them now. Yes, platter.

The US Signal Corps Band is on TV. It is the concert they play every year at First Baptist Augusta. I enjoy military bands very much.

Thanks for thinking of me when the San Bernadino news broke. I turned the TV on to watch an old program on Antenna TV but the TV was set on the CBS channel so that was that. I must say that I was impressed with all the officials, FBI, Sherriff, and Chief of Police. Each spoke calmly, with a steady, strong, firm voice that said, without saying, “We will handle this and do our jobs”. It was very reassuring.

My English friend and I had Lunch on Monday and she was upset that Donald Trump is being taken seriously since he does not appear to think before he speaks. She will move to her home in England if he is elected.

Thinking of you too, Cathryne. Hope things are going well for you.

Keep writing Millie. Anxiously awaiting your book.

Love, Peace, and the Best to all.

Hi, To All. Things were sort of a mess for the last month or so. Everything seems to have calmed down…….even me. Hubby is at a Christmas Party at the College tonight. The Alumni Board. Last night they lit the Christmas Tree on Campus. It is mainly for children with activities for them and singing Christmas Carols. Didn’t go and neither did Sam. We aren’t really expected to. I love the idea but the nights have turned chilly and I’m trying to stay well so I can attend the only two events I want to … next Tuesday and Friday nights. I really don’t enjoy going out anymore …haven’t for years.

I hope all is going well for everyone. Anna, Glad your Dad is setteling in. You are a member of what we call ” The Sandwich Generation”. You have parents to care for on one side and are rearing a teenager on the other. I wish you strength, my friend. Hope the writing and editing is going well.

Julie, As you said in mid Nov., Lots of little things were happening. You know me. The Jane Austen Party sounds great. Trifle is pretty and always looks so festive. I have to admit I have never made it. Oh, speaking of food. You and Anna talking about seafood made me think of the wonderful oyster dressing we always had with our turkey. There was also “regular” dressing just the same except no oysters. I would sneak back to the kitchen several times after the meal to get “just one more taste” of the oyster dressing. Fried Shrimp , not as large as prawns, are favorite memories of family meals. I could eat a platter of them now. Yes, platter.

The US Signal Corps Band is on TV. It is the concert they play every year at First Baptist Augusta. I enjoy military bands very much.

Thanks for thinking of me when the San Bernadino news broke. I turned the TV on to watch an old program on Antenna TV but the TV was set on the CBS channel so that was that. I must say that I was impressed with all the officials, FBI, Sherriff, and Chief of Police. Each spoke calmly, with a steady, strong, firm voice that said, without saying, “We will handle this and do our jobs”. It was very reassuring.

My English friend and I had Lunch on Monday and she was upset that Donald Trump is being taken seriously since he does not appear to think before he speaks. She will move to her home in England if he is elected.

Thinking of you too, Cathryne. Hope things are going well for you.

Keep writing Millie. Anxiously awaiting your book.

Love, Peace, and the Best to all.

You will be having a wonderful time, obviously, with the snow they’re expecting.

Yes, Barbara – stay away from the news. I am heartsick, of course – how many of these incidents will be too many? When will we do something, rather than just sit and wring our hands?

About five weeks. We arrive on Jan 7. Ordered my Three Pines mugs and Danny and Lucy are shiping them to our hotel. They are so kind and thoughtful!
We had a dusting of snow in the Southern states here in last couple of days. We are swinging between extreme heatxand chill but that is ok.
Been watching the news from California. Once again hoping everyone you know is safe and not caught up in it.
Dont go near the news Barbara. Stick with sports news. Jason Day won the Inaugural Greg Norman award in Australia. Stick with that.
Dad settling well into the Nursing Home. I have ordered him a large print dictionary and thesaurus and a scrabble book for Christmas.
Just sitting with mum trying to get her to rest. Daring not make a noise!

I know I was wishing for snow Julie but t they are forecasting feet of it over the next few days for Whsitler and Washington. I hope my wishes don’t cause you any trouble! Stay safe and stay warm and hopefully you have a fire to snuggle up in front of and think relaxing thoughts.

Haha – you’ve got to stop and think what you’re wishing for, Anna! No – we won’t get any snow here in Seattle, or if we do, it will last a few hours at most. Since I don’t have to go out and drive in it if I don’t want to, it won’t be a problem for me, so wish away! How soon do you come up to Whistler?

Sounds perfect to me Julie. I love Washington State and the whole northwest. Give me cool any day.

Cooler weather here has given firefighters some relief fortunately. The cold front that brought snow down south has cooled things here.

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving full of family and peace.

Oh, prawns are another favorite, and I have no idea where ours come from (which is awful when you think about it), but I could eat a lot of them, too! Another thing I love cold with sauce, but at least that’s cooked, my hubby says! He can’t imagine how I can eat the raw oysters!

I forget how many of our images of Christmas are tied to snow and Santa Claus, which is odd, considering that if we’re really talking about honoring the birth of Christ, it should be hot and desert-like…

I’ve heard of your awful bush fires – we have the same problem in California and it’s seeping northward so that even Washington (which should still be damp after winter rains) smolders in the summer these days. I love summer for the carefree days I remember as a youth, but to actually go out in the sun and heat – ummmm – no. hahaha I am actually in the climate that suits me best. While the sun doesn’t shine much, it DOES sometimes, and it never gets too cold, and seldom gets too hot.

The end of the school year is nearly upon us Julie. The Private schools begin to wrap up late next week. The public schools have a couple more weeks after that and they all go back at the end of January so 6-8 weeks off for summer. Not quite as long as in the US. They also get breaks at the end of each term for about two weeks.

Very hot and windy here today but talk of snow in Tasmania! It’s been wild weather across the country. Awful bushfire in South Australia has destroyed a lot of property and taken at least two lives. Summer has become more a tense time of storms and fires instead of the carefree days of my youth but it is a mix.

Christmas is a little bizarre as so much of the celebration is heavily influenced by what happens in the Northern hemisphere, the carols, the idea of snow and snowmen and sleighs. We lap it all up as we eat salads and cold meats and he’d from the sun. When I was young we all sweltered through roast lunch, although chicken was more common than turkey. We have become more sensible over the years.

It’s a pain about your local seafood Julie. Oysters certainly appear on Christmas menus herbal thou I am more of a prawn girl. We couldn’t have them much as my mum is allergic but my daughter will eat a kilo if you don’t watch her!

I often think of the internet friends I have made who live in Australia and New Zealand, and what Christmas must be like in the summer rather than the winter. Are your kids off from school for the summer? If so, they are totally being cheated out of the extra Christmas holidays, hahaha. The lamb dish sounds amazing, Anna – I had to look it up, and while I don’t like curry, this one seemed that it would be less like a traditional curry and more like a really interesting taste on lamb, which I love in any form.

I remember Christmases when I was young – Christmas day, after all the gifts were opened and the turkey was in the oven, we would have a long open stretch of afternoon to play with new toys, visit with friends to see what Santa had brought, or read quietly, while the house filled up with the marvelous smells of turkey roasting- there is not much that smells as wonderful (the exception being bacon and onions being fried together).

I have a new recipe for cornbread sausage stuffing which I will be making. I love my mother’s recipe for stuffing, but my hubby is not overly fond of it, so I often try something new. I envy you all the summer sun and seafood, but we normally get lots of seafood here, so it’s not really bad, hahaha. This year, however, we’ve been warned not to eat the oysters and there is no fresh crab to be had. El Nino has sent up a big block of sea water that is 3 degrees warmer than usual, and it’s allowing for the growth of a lot of algae that is proving toxic to a lot of the sea life. We are hoping that the warm water veers away from the coast soon, and takes the algae with it. Add to this the big controversy over “Frankenfish” – genetically modified salmon, that doesn’t have to be labeled as such, and people around here are afraid to eat any of our old staples. I actually don’t think there’s any danger from the Frankenfish – I think they are just worried that they will get loose and mingle with wild fish and change the genetics of all salmon here on the west coast. A pretty reasonable fear, actually, as they are bound to get loose at some point. Ah well – interesting problems to be contemplating…

I am sorry, though, that I won’t be able to enjoy a plate of oysters on the half shell while we watch the Christmas ships roll by our favorite restaurant. There is a parade of ships (okay – boats) decorated with lights that runs by the windows of a lakeside restaurant every December 23rd, and for 25 years, we have been there to see it. It’s our one big main tradition for Christmas, and one I’d sorely miss.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Trifle sounds wonderful and the glass dish should be perfect. Love the sound of the Jane Austen party. Wonder what she had for Christmas?

My daughter made the rule that the tree goes up the first Sunday in December so it will be made so! No turkey for us. There is always a ham on the bone for cold meats and We will either have a whole fish this year and prawns if the boys get to the Fish markets or I have had a request for roast lamb Mussaman. We might get both and a couple of salads and there will be enough for a couple of meals of left overs.

I always look forward to Boxing Day,Dec 26 th, when the drama and work of Christmas is done and we can all lie around and read whatever books we got as presents and watch the start of The Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

Another warm day here with blue skies and sunshine. I hope all is calm where ever you are.

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