Tuesday, 20 September 2011
sunny, cool, temps 20
Well, the second leg of the tour has begun. I'm in Kitchener, Ontario - about an hour and a half west of Toronto. Took the train here yesterday. Very civilized. Business class....and felt I'd won the lottery. I spoke to the nice man in front of me and asked if he'd mind terribly not putting his seat all the way back on the 5 hour ride, and he readily agreed. Thank heaven I did, because the man next to him did put his all the way back and it landed almost on the seat beside me. Can't believe anyone would do that - put their seat all the way back without consideration of the person behind. And that VIA rail would design seats that would do that!
If I was the person beside me, and someone did that, I'd be apoplectic.
Happily, there was no one sitting next to me. The seats are assigned, and I just got very lucky. I'm anti-social while being transported from one place to another....I like to just stare out the window and listen to music or let my mind wander. I honestly don't want to make six hours of small talk - it's a sort of nightmare....being caught in an endless cocktail party chat.
So, sitting on my own on a flight or a long train trip is bliss. And means I don't need to feign insanity to be left alone. Very tiring, that.
And - business class in VIA is extremely odd. Not only have they not updated the decor in millennia, but many of the so-called window seats have no window. Just a wall. Makes for an extremely long trip when you're staring at faded greenish wallpaper.
But my seat had a window! A window, no companion, and a nice man in front - honestly - travel doesn't get better.
And then I arrived in Kitvchener. Lovely to be met by my friend Sharron Smith - who is the doyenne of libraries here, and is running the One Book, One community efforts. I'm here because this area has chosen BURY YOUR DEAD as their 2011 read.
She drove me to the hotel...the Walper. Apparently quite storied....and under new management who are trying to update it from a faded grande dame into a modern boutique hotel. I think the transformation is almost, but not quite complete. The room is nice - beautiful fresh paint...lovely new carpet - and reupholstered seats...very old and tired chest of drawers and desks. And plumbing that makes it impossible to sleep after 6am - as the people around me rouses and showered - and it sounded like they were doing it on my head. but the oddest choice they've made as a hotel management is to not have coffee as part of the morning room service. Instead, they provide an old, small, coffee maker, coffee in packets, no milk - and say you can make your own.
Now, for me that's a deal-breaker. I'm very happy to be staying here, since someone else is paying. but this hotel actually offers continental breakfast, brought to your room - but makes a point of saying they won't bring coffee or tea. Seems almost willful.
So, at 7am I got up and dressed and went to an absolutely delightful cafe attached to the hotel - cafe culture. Got a huge bowl of cafe latte and sat by the fireplace. No one else there. heaven. Called Teresa in London, as per our agreement, and had a nice long chat.
Now, a very good and perhaps correct argument could be made that if the hotel had offered room service coffee I wouldn't have had that very, very nice respite in a great coffee shop - with a far better coffee than the hotel could provide. But, I have to say, the effort of having to get dressed and out the door at 7am to get the coffee outweighed the subsequent delight. Besides, it would be nice to have a choice.
Have a lot of events today - a welcome reception at the local newspaper. A TV, then a radio interview. Book signings around the area....then an event on stage with the local Chief of Police, to discuss investigation techniques, most of which will be news to me. That event is open to the public and it would be lovely to see you there. It's in the Victoria Pavilion in Kitchener at 7pm.
Tomorrow I have a public event at 1:30 at the Waterloo-Oxford secondary School - then in the evening a question and answer with Robert Reid, of the local newspaper on stage at the First United Church in Waterloo.
Thursday at 1:30 I'll be speaking with writing students at St Benedict's High School, and an evening event, open to the public, at the University of Waterloo school of Architecture. 7pm.
Packed schedule. Then, God and Air Canada willing, I'll be flying to Victoria, BC on Friday to start the Western Canada leg of the book tour.
It would be lovely to see you at one of the events!!!
that photo above was taken at the event at Chapters in Montreal on Sunday....actually, after the event, when our friends the Mounts, and Susan, went for coffee. I love this photo. there's Michael, calm, warm, gently listening - and there I am looking as though I've been goosed. Clearly we're hearing different stories. Or, I've just been told there's no coffee delivered to the hotel room.
As you can see, the scope of my problems is so small as to be almost invisible. A hectic few days ahead....but how lovely to be meeting so many supportive people. Thanks for coming along!