All good things come to an end, and so did our trip to Vieux-Québec. It will feel good to be back home again and sleeping in our bed, but the break was an excellent chance to see the beautiful city and recharge our batteries.
The plan was to have an early breakfast at the hotel then get on the road. Things didn’t turn out quite that way. Between busloads of students and the Pee Wee hockey tournament, the hotel’s restaurant was full and people were lined up down the stairs and into the lobby to get a table.
Off to Cosmos, we went. We’d eaten there before, and their breakfast was good. The bonus was the lack of line up for food. Things changed quickly though after we arrived. People who were tired of waiting at the hotel joined us.
I had my phone with me, so after we finished eating, I took on the ice slide outside the restaurant. By now there was a lot of sandy snow on its surface which made it difficult to get moving. But as you can see, I did.
I even struck a pose afterwards.
We got Buddy all settled into his place in the backseat where he can look out the window, and we were off.
The stats for today weren’t worth getting excited over. I beat my daily step goal but compared to the previous days; I couldn’t consider myself an over-achiever.
At breakfast, we decided to get a picture of our room from outside the hotel. We knew we were behind the one bank of elevators and at the end of the corridor between them was a window. We left the curtains open unevenly so the window would be easier to spot from the ground.
As always, we seem to migrate directly to Dufferin Terrace. This one bench was the most exposed of all of them. Getting down was one thing. Getting back up, was something completely different. I was like my friend in Scotland said once “you’re like a buck-it yowe.” Something to do with a ewe that is unable to get up.
My little Wienerschnitzel, Buddy, is turning into quite a little ham.
We watched the folks who were brave (crazy) enough to do the toboggan run. Hubby wanted to do it. Refer to the word in brackets above. With there being three lanes and a substantial barrier between each, you have to keep your feet tucked up into the person’s in front of your lap, or be the driver and have “vos pieds” under the curved front.
This man and his dogs (Mona & Lisa) were there every day. He’s meant to be a fur trapper. As you can see, hubby is wearing a coonskin over his head. The dogs have lovely fur beds to sit or lie down on, as well as booties to keep their feet warm and the road salt off.
I envision the streets and sidewalks in my book, It Happened on Dufferin Terrace, looking like this. I know Serenity wasn’t in Vieux-Québec during the winter carnival, but still, it’s white and crisp and beautiful as it was in my book.
We worked our way back to Rue du Petit Champlain and the park where the Smurf house and other ice sculptures were located. And yes, the wee ham is at it again. This one was too slippery for him, so he needed a bit of assistance.
Remember the ice slide I mentioned in an earlier post? Well, here I am. Not video but it will do. Even with a long down-filled coat, it was still chilly on the butt.
Back uphill and we met up with the Mad Hatter again. This time with three of her friends. By the time this photo was taken, the third one had gone off to talk to someone else.
After another fun visit with the Mad Hatter and her friends, we carried on up the street to the Pub Saint Alexandre where we enjoyed a few drinks before returning to Simons where I bought three bottle lights. I already had a clear one so this time I got them in grey, yellow and rose. I wanted another spoon rest like the ones I bought there previously, but they didn’t have any.
Back to the hotel with these purchases (no sense carting things around if you don’t have to).
After a fuel stop at the hotel and having the other bottle of champagne we brought with us, we headed back inside the wall to the pub (we told the girls we’d be back). I looked up the manual for my camera and re-learned how to shoot video with it. This time it worked!
I have two clips of hubby on the slide in front of Cosmos, but a little girl is in the other one waiting for her turn. I opted not to use that one because of that.
I’ve really created a monster. Now the little Wienerschnitzel is taking selfies. I think he best stick to having others take his photo. His poor legs are too short to get the camera a decent distance away from himself.
This was our last night in Vieux-Québec so we wanted to make the most of it, despite the fact we turned into pumpkins around 9:00 (sometimes earlier) each night. But with the fresh air and all the walking, it’s no wonder we were tired.
Feb 14 (and this was a travel day)
Well, after a few flurries early in the morning, the day turned out to be gorgeous. With sunny days in the winter, the temperatures are colder, but we were well prepared.
After breakfast at the hotel, we were off. Our first stop was the slide outside Cosmos. Hubby took Buddy down it. Too bad I didn’t remember how to shoot video (a function I might use once a year at the most with my Canon). With my murky – no completely absent memory – all I got was this shot when he stood up at the bottom. Not what I planned on at all. However; he received accolades and high-fives from folks on the sidewalk afterwards. 😄
Despite my inept video shoot, they do look like they had fun, don’t they?
Further down the street outside the ice castle, there was a sculpture of a VIA train engine. What guy can’t resist pretending he’s driving a train?
Or a girl and her dog for that matter, even if he is a stuffed one?
There is so much snow on Dufferin Terrace that most of the benches are buried under it. Said snow crunched under our feet as we walked.
My favourite street in all of Vieux-Québec, Rue Sous-le-Cap, is once again open from one end to the other. This narrow street at the base of the cliff was closed for some time because of a rock slide.
It might be open, but it wasn’t all that easy to traverse with only tire tracks to walk in and slip and slide as one struggled for traction.
At the other end, the cars had been buried under blown snow (either by wind or mechanical means). I wonder if the one who left the bumper imprint was cleaned off entirely when it departed?
We don’t usually walk with canes, but when you’re on ice and snow, it’s nice to have a little extra support. Ice-picks affixed to the tip work well. Although we walked up the hill a few times, we took advantage of the funiculaire to ride to the top on this occasion.
By riding up the hill, we arrived in time to watch this performance. A freighter going upriver and the ferries leaving the ports of Québec and Lévis at the same time. It’s quite the water ballet.
The plan was to visit Simons after this display of navigational coordination. Who did we run into on our way there? The Mad Hatter! One can’t visit Carnaval and not take the time to speak with someone this famous (or should I say infamous). There were other people in costume in the area but they were otherwise occupied talking with other folks.
We did get to Simons and this time wasn’t out of necessity, but luxury. I love the quality of their wool socks so I stocked up.
It was later in the afternoon so we decided to have a few drinks and an early supper before returning to our room. Between the time we left the store and got to the Pub Saint Alexandre, a young man (not dressed for the weather) asked hubby if he could take a picture with him. We both think the lad thought “homeless” the way hubby carried the Simons bag on his cane over his shoulder.
The girls working behind the bar loved Buddy. I mean what’s not to love? Look at that face.
He’s welcome there anytime because he was so well behaved.
A few drinks and fish supper later, we headed back to our hotel after a stop at the Mary’s Popcorn outlet up the street. The small bag of chocolate popcorn we bought previously tasted like more.
A beautiful moon made the walk back to our accommodations even more romantic.
The adage “red sky at night, sailor’s delight, red sky in morning, sailor’s warning” summed up Friday, the 15th perfectly. Look at the beautiful sunrise in the first two pictures. Gorgeous, isn’t it?
How about now? This picture is of the same view as when we arrived, but the snow was so heavy, practically the entire vista vanished. The tower on the Parliament Building is barely visible!
After breakfast, we girded our loins and headed off to the Metro supermarket on Avenue Cartier for more French’s Sweet Onion Mustard, which is no longer available in Ontario. 😒
Some of the restaurants along Grande-Allée had ice sculptures in their patio areas, but the best ones were in Lower Town. These are just a few.
Created from ice, and it’s a slide! Okay, there’s some bare plywood showing. Remember this picture.
Back to the sculptures.
When we reached this spot, we were asked to take a photo of a group of people with Bonhomme. The young lady taking the picture wanted to be included, so handed me her phone and I snapped some pictures for her. In return, she captured this one of us. If you look closely, you can see Buddy’s nose sticking out of the ‘book’ bag between Bonhomme and me.
And still more sculptures.
So much snow already on the ground, and now with today’s dumping, folks were removing the snow and icicles from their roofs and eaves. This wet stuff was perfect snowman making snow, and with too much weight, a roof could collapse.
After riding the funiculaire to the top of the cliff, we trundled off to Pub Saint Alexandre for a well-deserved drink and a chance to dry out. While there, we bought official Carnaval tuques. Our stuff was so wet; I didn’t think it would be dry by morning and wandering about in the cold in damp clothing does not bode well for one’s health.
This arch was outside Cosmos where we had supper. Just out of the picture on the left is another ice slide.
Tomorrow is Saturday, and they say it will be a fine day. We’ll see if they’re right.
It’s going to be a year of adventures for us, but for now, I’m concentrating on our recent trip to Quebec City, Vieux-Québec in particular.
What better time to arrive in this beautiful old city than Valentine’s Day?
On this trip, we stayed in a different hotel than on previous occasions. Our usual hostelry had no rooms available for the duration of our stay. However, its sister hotel around the corner fit the bill quite nicely.
I love older hotels or bed and breakfasts because of their character, but they lack some amenities – like elevators.
Hôtel Le Concorde not only provided us with a stunning room on the topmost floor (26th) with a fantastic view down the Grande Allée but underground valet parking, too.
I said the view was fantastic.
After settling in and enjoying one of the bottles of champagne we brought with us, we set out. I had to get my Simons fix, although this time it was a necessity rather than a luxury. It seems in the course of packing and rearranging; I left my tuque and scarf behind. Winter and not having those, especially when a snowstorm was in the forecast for the next day, not a good idea.
Suitably attired, we wandered down to the Lower Town where we stopped at Sapristi‘s Petit Champlain location, which we discovered on our trip in November, for our supper, followed by The Fudgerie to stock up on our chocolate, and finally the last stop before returning to our room was Mary’s Popcorn.
Suitably fortified with sweets and snacks for the rest of our time in Vieux-Québec, we headed back to our hotel.
Here it is all shiny and new! The 2nd edition of A Shadow in the Past.
Finally, the day has arrived where I can tell you the 2nd edition of A Shadow in the Past is available for purchase in the kindle and kobo stores!
When a contemporary teen is transported back in time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past…
Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself in Victorian Era Aberdeenshire, Scotland and has no idea how she got there. Her last memory is of being at the stone circle on the family farm in the year 2010.
Despite having difficulty coming to terms with her situation, Sarah quickly learns she must keep her true identity a secret. Still, she feels stifled by the Victorians’ confining social practices, including arranged marriages between wealthy and influential families, and confronts them head only to suffer the consequences.
When Sarah realizes she has fallen in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, she faces an agonizing decision. Does she try to find her way back to 2010 or remain in the past with the man she loves?
Toot! Toot! My novel is a nominee in the thriller category!
Yes, you read that correctly. YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS is a nominee in the thriller category of the 2019 Reader’s Choice awards.
Who is stalking Katherine and why?
Still reeling from the death of her husband in the London Bombings, Katherine builds a wall around her heart to prevent further hurt.
In a serendipitous moment her first love, Jared Martin walks back into her life. Old feelings are rekindled but as their second-chance-relationship develops, another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter Jared is a passenger on ditches in the North Sea.
Who, if anyone, will survive the ordeal? Is fate still not done its dirty deeds?
Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?
Contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended.
What better place to celebrate the life of Scottish Bard, Robbie Burns, than in a tartan chair in front of a crackling, wood fire.
I’m remiss this year in getting an online Burns Day celebration together. Shame on me. But, I have a valid excuse. I’ve had my head down working on my next novella. If you go by word length, it does qualify as a full-fledged novel, but that’s neither here nor there.
January 25, 1759 – July 21, 1796
It’s Robbie Burns Day. Will you celebrate the bard today with haggis, champit tatties and bashed neeps?
Here at The House of King, we celebrated last Saturday (Jan 19th). My idea of a small haggis (about 1 pound), went straight out the window when the smallest one I could get this year weighed in at almost 3 pounds!
So tonight, I’ll have some leftover haggis, sans tatties and neeps as there aren’t any leftover, with whatever else I make for supper. With Burns Day falling on a Friday, it also means it’s grocery night for this gal. A hearty Scotch broth? Fish and chips? Maybe shortbread or sticky toffee pudding for dessert? Decisions, decisions.
Address To A Haggis
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.
His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!
But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.
Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a haggis!
It’s been a long time since I’ve taken the plunge and created a book trailer. In fact, Windows Movie Maker was still available. I read where you could make them using the Windows Photos App. A little search for ‘how to’ instructions and a lot of tweaking, and here’s the result.
1st December 2010
The ScotRail service to Aberdeen pulled away from the platform at Stonehaven. The next stop would be his destination. As the train accelerated, the carriage swayed from side to side. The action reminded him of his mum rocking him after a bad dream. He drifted into a light slumber. When the compartment he was in crossed through a switch, it lurched waking him.
Less than thirty minutes to go. He settled back but was too excited to relax. When the Girdle Ness Lighthouse came into view, he knew he was almost back to the place he was born.
New, to him, construction dotted the landscape. Fresh graffiti adorned the stone parapets of the bridge over the River Dee. The Mitchell Tower at Marischal College, the clock tower of the Aberdeen Town House and the Salvation Army Citadel, vied for attention over the tops of the cluster of newer buildings.
He fooled the medical staff at the secure forensic unit in the south of England. After feigning rehabilitation, they released him into the community but he didn’t stay there long. He did a runner. He had unfinished business in the north east of Scotland.
Adrenalin coursed through him. Giddy with excitement, it was hard for him to remain calm. He shook his hands to try to stem some of the fidgetiness. Now, he was back in Aberdeen where it all began. How much of the city would he recognize? What changed since his departure?
Were the authorities looking for him yet? He would have to act normal so as not to attract attention. Stepping off, he adjusted his Fedora and strode across the concourse to the exit. Diesel fumes hung in the air and caught in the back of his throat. He coughed.
With the exception of the Union Square shopping complex adjacent to the railway station, Guild Street stayed more or less unchanged. Some of the storefronts in the granite buildings transformed, but overall, not a huge difference since he left.
The pavement ended at Market Street forcing him to cross over the road. He continued eastward. The location he sought should be nearby. He stopped for a breather – pressed his back against the building. The ships that supplied and supported the offshore oil industry occupied the available berths on this side of the harbour. Through a gap, the ferry to Lerwick and the terminal were visible on the far side.
The familiar Maritime Museum dominated the head of Shore Brae. Beyond that, the artery curved and became Shiprow. The cobbled road surface and pavement were difficult to traverse. Even the larger stones nearer the buildings were uneven. When he rounded the corner at Provost Ross’s House, another well-known building peeked out. He had come so far now, he couldn’t go back. He strode with purpose up the hill.
The Aberdeen Town House clock tower stretched above the roofline but that was the place he sought. Nestled between Henry’s Bar and the pedestrianized portion of Shiprow stood the As the Pages Turnbookshop.
When a customer exited holding a carrier bag emblazoned with the same signage as over the door, his heart skipped a beat. He hoped the establishment’s ownership hadn’t changed. That would defeat the purpose of his returning to Aberdeen.
The voices in his head only told him to come back. He had unfinished business with the woman with ginger hair – the one with no soul – who ran the retail outlet in front of him.
Now, to find a suitable place to wait and watch and bide his time until the moment was right.