Friday 31st August 2018 – THIS EVENING JOSEE ASKED ME …

… what I had done during the course of the day and, do you know what? I was hard-pressed to remember.

I’m definitely cracking up, aren’t I?

One thing that I do remember was being awoken by the fridge and the air-conditioning, which seem to be programmed to come on together at about 04:30 or something like that.

However I was quickly back to sleep again until the alarm went off at 05:20.

For some reason or other the morning went really quickly. I had just the usual amount of work to do but there just wasn’t enough time to do it, even with only a short pause for breakfast, and in the end I ran out of time to do it.

Instead, I went off down to the Jean Coutu chemists in rue St Catherine Est. And this is another place where the staff are so unhelpful.

It’s a huge chemist’s with all kinds of stuff on sale – just the kind of place where you need some professional advice – but there was no-one on the floor. In the end I buttonholed a shelf-filler and she told me “aisle 6” – but there was nothing in aisle 6 that I could see that was of any use to me.

As I have said … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I just don’t know what has happened to North American customer service.

Having dropped off my purchases (such as they were) at my hotel room, my next stop was the bus station. I need to book a ticket from Florenceville-Bristol to Montreal.

But even here I didn’t have any luck.

Montreal is serviced by the Orleans Express coach company, and New Brunswick by Coach Atlantic. And as my trip starts in New Brunswick it has to be made with Coach Atlantic and not Orleans Express. So that was rather a waste of time.

Still, you live and learn.

The next stage of my walk took me down to the port.

Having had to go into the Berri-UQAM metro station to renew my transport ticket and being confused about the exit, I found myself a-wandering down through the CHUM (Centre Hospitalier de L’Université de Montreal) campus, where I had never been before…

champ de mars montreal canada august aout 2018Bursting out into the sunlight at the back of the hospital it took me a second or two to get my bearings.

And then I realised that I had come out at the back of the Champ de Mars.

I walked along the Avenue Viger for a moment to admire the buildings across the Boulevard Ville-Marie. These are some of the Government and the City’s administration buildings

From there I wandered down to the harbour for a good stroll. MSC Alyssa had gone, but Oakglen and Gullwing were still there.

chestnut port de montreal harbour canada august aout 2018We also had a new arrival.

Moored up at one of the inner berths near the entrance to the Lachine Canal was a ship called the Chestnut. There was a good view of her from up on one of the upper piers

Although she might not look it, she was built as recently as 2010 and has a gross tonnage of about 20,000 tonnes. She had called in on her way from Bayuquan in China to Hamilton, Ontario.

promenade port de montreal harbour canada august aout 2018There were quite a few good views from up here too.

One of them was of the promenade and the park down on the quayside. I’d not seen it from this perspective before.

I also saw in the distance two railway locomotives heading down towards the port. So I waited for them to arrive. But just before they got into range they stopped, reversed and never came back.

amphi tours montreal canada august aout 2018We’ve seen one of these before, haven’t we?

Back in Halifax when we were there in 2010 of course, wandering around the town with fare-paying passengers on a sightseeing tour.

And so there’s another one here in Montreal doing a similar job. And if I’m not mistaken, I might have seen if before.

site of marguerite bourgeoys school montreal canada august aout 2018I’m not sure if I’ve seen this building before though.

It’s not the building that interests me – nice though it is – but it’s the fact that on the spot where it’s situated is said to have been the site of the first school run by Marguerite Bourgeoys

We are told that her school was created in 1658 and was in an old stone stable given to her for the purpose

citroen 2cv montreal canada august aout 2018This is even more exciting.

Of course, 2CV citroens are two-a-penny (figuratively speaking) back home in France and so hardly noteworthy. But here in Canada, this one is only the second that I have ever seen

and if the registration number on it is correct, it comes from the Ile-de-France – Paris-Banlieux district of Val-de-Marne.

By now it was long-after lunchtime so I stopped off at a Subway for a sandwich and a drink. And something of a rest because it seemed as if I’d been on my feet for quite a while.

Another thing was that I needed a few bits and pieces to make my sandwiches for the flight. Not that I might need them because, after all, we were only going to be a couple of hours in the air, but I’ve been caught out like this before, as regular readers of this rubbish will remember.

gare montreal metro st michel canada august aout 2018One thing that I’ve been doing while I’ve been on my perambulations around Montreal is to go to the terminus of each of the metro lines to see what happens there.

I didn’t recall having been to Saint-Michel before so now seemed to be as good a time as any.

But I was in a sense disappointed because I recognised it from some time ago. Once when I’d been out to the Galeries d’Anjou and I had walked back.

But never mind that now. I took a photo of it and walked back in the oppressive heat to the metro Jean Talon, making a few stops in the shade on the way back for a rest.

Josée was awaiting me at the Metro Place d’Arts. Apparently she had been able to leave work early.

four drummers free concert centre desjardins montreal canada august aout 2018Hearing some kind of noise from within the Centre Desjardins, we went in for a look around to see what was going on.

It turned out to be a group of no fewer than four drummers giving a free concert.

Not the kind of thing that you might have expected, but it was certainly interesting. I actually enjoyed it.

We went to watch the pavement chess for a while and then headed off for food and drink.

First stop was Josée’s favourite bar – the one that we visited on a previous occasion where they have the rather artistic toilets.

Next stop was the food, and having had a late lunch, I wasn’t all that hungry so settled for a bag of chips. Josee had a hamburger

Now here’s a thing.

Anyone who has ever known anything at all about will know that due to certain events in my childhood I have a horror of musicals. I shan’t dwell on it here, except to say that when Josée invited me to the Opera I was perturbed.

But as I have said before, it’s not where you are or what you are doing, but who you are with that counts so I tagged along.

Whether or not I like opera, I can always recognise good music and good singing when I hear it and there’s no doubt that even given the weaknesses of the story in Madame Butterfly, the performance was excellent. Josée wasn’t a big fan of the direction but I thought that it was particularly good.

All in all, it was a far better night that I was expecting it to be.

Josée wandered off home again and I went to my hotel. First job is to make my butties.

Second job was to make sure that everything was packed.

Third job was to do my best to crash out. I’ve an early start in the morning.

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