Sunday, 28 March 2010


overcast, rain and sleet on the menu. temps plus 2

Well, we got tricked into wearing our huge winter coats out to breakfast today, only to find it was actually quite mild. Everyone else walking around in spring-type jackets. And're in boots and parkas. At least I left the skunky one on our verandah. That would have completed the image.

And now, when we come in to Montreal, not only will we almost certainly be smelling of eau de pepe le pew, we'll be trailing horse manure. I'm ready for my close-up!

Well, plans for Markus are moving apace. Seems, as Marjorie and others have said, he's a retired racehorse. Thank you for telling us that! You'd have thought we could have googled OTTB ourselves, but preferred to guess. Oye, That Terrible Battle-ax... Our Two Tubby Bottoms... Off To The Booze.

see, it could mean any number of things. But I agree Off Track Thoroughbred is most likely when discussing a race horse.

But, frankly, we can see that he might not have been the most successful race horse. The description of him says he can walk, trot and canter. But it does not mention gallop, which would be an advantage in a race horse. Can you just see him trotting out of the gate? Amazing he lasted as long as he did. However, if that's his approach to life he'll fit in just fine with us. We'll get him a sofa, a diet ginger ale, a croissant and put Animal Planet on the TV...he'll be indistinguishable from Trudy, Michael and me.

jana, our saintly neighbour who has horses and has agreed to board Markus for us, has some questions for the rescue people, but she and I talked just now and agreed none of them was a deal-breaker, and we'd get him out to us (her) and if there're problems, we'll deal with them later.

And - get this - My Assistant Lise spent ten years grooming horses and riding them. Her husband Del was practically born on a horse...and they themselves had horses until their lives just became too packed. I didn't know that about Lise. So more and more this just feels fated.

And to hear from some many of you that you have, or had, horses is comforting. And a little disconcerting. It means I'm unlikely to convince you that OTTB means, Oh That Terrific Book. I only hope I can convince myself!

Wrote almost three thousand words today. Slow to start...each work plunked down, but picked up more and more speed. Quite an interesting, tense, scene. I realize I love to write scenes that on the surface are relaxed, pastoral even, but that crackle with suppressed energy. It's not about two people chasing each other across roofs, it's about a verbal and mental cat and mouse game. Two people sparring across their wine and cheese. Baiting each other, thrusting, hiding, attacking. With words and looks. Tense, subtle.

Very fun to write those scenes.

Need to write the April newsletter. Bye for now - and thank you SO much for all the support, with the book and with Markus.


whalewatcher said...

One of the things I've liked best about your books from Still LIfe on is the way you write using that verbal sparring you spoke of today. It takes thought and planning and it doesn't give away anything, but keeps it all up in the air til the very end. Go Louise!
Happy horse ownership too.....sounds fun to me!

Marjorie said...

Okay, so I was literal about the meaning of OTTB (maybe it really means "outside the trendy box" or "oh, that talented boy"), but let's discuss Markus. It means "of the god Mars" which is also where the name of the month of March comes from, so it seems very appropriate that he has come to you and Michael during the month of March. Fated to be. His name can also mean war-like, but I will assume that means he is strong and determined and not that he will fight with anyone who comes near him! Congratulations on your bouncing baby boy.

--Marjorje from Connecticut

hilary said...

Dear, dear Louise,

Bless you. So much harder to rescue a horse (and more than 16 hands at that) than a dog or a cat. I'm sure Markus is a lovely creature, and, if not, will be after a while with you in a place he knows he's safe.

Well done -- and, yes, congratulations on the addition to the family.


Sandra Dumais said...


Congrats on the new addition to the family! I have a theory that the larger the animal, the more you love them. We'll see!

Also, I love this whole horse thing...since the birth of baby Flora, we have realized we have to find a new home for Ernest, our black lab / newfie cross and it is breaking my heart. But thinking about how Markus has found you and Michael gives me hope that Ernest will find a great family in a beautiful spot that will suit him more than the city. There must be another Michael / Louise out there!?

Mom and I are anxiously awaiting the new book!

Diane said...

It's marvellous what fate has in store for the unsuspecting. Very generous to rescue Marcus -- I expect there are not too, too many people of being able to do such a noble act for a horse.

Reading your snippets about your new book stirs up anticipatory reading delights. Hope the 3,000 word muse remains with you until the end of the book.


Donna K said...

Ding, dong! Ding, dong!!!!!!!
(as I write this I actually am hearing bells. My yellow lab is ringing the bells on the door knob to go out.)

Lucky Markus!!
Thank God for people like you and Michael. Will there be a duck following you around soon? I think you should hang some bells by his enclosure.Congratulations. Just looking at him every day and knowing what you did will bring you the greatest feeling.
Donna K.

Donna K.

Maureen said...

A couple of years ago, my family rescued a little beagle who, like Marcus, was not very good at what he was bred for. Jack was afraid of loud noises, and so was cowering, instead of running with the pack, when the gun shot went off. He was subsequently beaten, and eventually let loose to fend for himself, when Beagle Paws (Canada's beagle rescue organization) picked him up. Jack has made a wonderful family pet, and he gives us thanks every day, as will Marcus, I'm sure.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

how kind and supportive you are! Thank you. Michael and I are filled with excitement and trepidation. And, pastry.

So wonderful to hear your own stories. I love them - please, keep 'em coming. I really do appreciate it when you open up about your own lives. Thank you for doing that!

And Sandy - if you write me about Ernest I'll put it on the blog and we'll see if someone in your area might have room in their home for him. If you're interested. Perhaps you could describe him - etc.

thanks again, and we'll tell you more about Markus when he arrives. Yikes.