MAY 2/4 weekend – on the ancestral trail


Friday, May 17 – I didn’t have to teach this morning as I was attending a workshop.  It was a lovely way to end the weekend.  The meeting was held at the first school I taught in, about 18 yrs ago.  I tried to remember where my classroom was, in spite of extensive renovations to the building.  At any rate, the morning was interesting and not particularly eventful, until 9:43am.  We all heard a rumbling and I easily recognized the sound and feeling of an earthquake.  Everyone looked at each other as I mentioned we might want to find the exit.  We sat there, not moving.  About 10 minutes later, we actually heard the aftershock coming towards us, rumbling but not quite shaking us as it got to our building, as if it had changed its mind at the last minute.  Well the rest of the morning was uneventful, anyway.

Back at school in time for lunch and then 2 afternoon classes,  I was anxious to leave for our weekend trip to Quebec City.  Leon messaged me around 1 pm that he had won tickets to the hockey playoffs, should we change our travel plans?  The tickets are actually for Sunday night, so we will just come home a day early.  I am not much of a hockey fan, but attending a playoff game has to be on someone’s bucket list if not my own.

The rest of the day continued as planned.  We left Ottawa in the late afternoon, drove through Montreal, in traffic, and made our way to Drummondville where we have stopped for the night.  The campground is beside the St. Francois River and well rated.  Unfortunately, we won’t be here more than one night.

Sunset, May 17.  It's promising to be a beautiful weekend.

Sunset, May 17. It’s promising to be a beautiful weekend.

We had planned to have dinner at the Royal Hotel in St. Leonard d’Aston.  Back in December, we met the owner of said hotel while on vacation in Cozumel.  I remembered some lovely old hotels in Australia that are not for sleeping but rather for a meal and a pint, so I was looking forward to a late but hardy dinner.  The small town is located about 30 km northeast of where we are camping.  It has a lovely church, overlooking the Nicolet River.  We drove around the town center (about a block, maybe 2) for at least 5 minutes before Leon decided to ask the locals at the gas station.  Sensible man, my Leon…

Before I continue the story, I have to tell you that Leon is taking a French course at the university and has decided to immerse himself this weekend.  He started speaking French to me at soon as we left the province of Ontario.  His accent is quite good and his intonation is delightful.  My favourite part was when he called me darling, then corrected himself and called me mademoiselle and finally madame.  He went from a” hey there sexy” tone of voice to a “oh pardon me madam” formal expression.  Really cute!

Anyway, back in St. Leonard d’Aston, Leon located the Royal Hotel.  It is a derelict building with no sign out front, just a frame where the sign was.  The only indication that it might be a drinking establishment is the patio out front with beer signs on it.  We parked out front and walked in just to check it out.  I explained who we were to the barmaid, telling her about meeting this gentleman in Mexico.  She reminded me of his name.  I mentioned that this wife was a teacher, right?  She was very confused.  You see, in French, teacher and pregnant can sound the same (enseignante, enceinte), so at that point I think she was thinking I met the guy in Mexico with his pregnant girlfriend.  Oy, have I started a rumour or what??  I think I cleared it up alright but you never know.  Now I wonder what he will think when she tells him we called.  Will he be mortified that we saw what he described as a hotel in the country town or will he be tickled we looked him up?  Somehow, I doubt he’s the kind of person who would be mortified, judging from the appearance of his “fine” establishment.

We didn’t have dinner at the Royal Hotel, as you can imagine.  We drove back to Drummondville and went to one of my favourite rotisseries, Scores.  Salad bar and BBQ chicken was a great end to a surprising day.  As a night cap, Leon purchased a fine bottle of Australian wine – Wallaroo.  It comes with an Australian opener, perfect for camping situations (it’s a screw top).  Clever Australians.  Leon said the shop/gas station in St. Leonard d’Aston had only one kind of wine, so the choice was easy.  He also said that each bottle was covered with a thick layer of dust. Perfect, a very old vintage!

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